Month: April 2014

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z Review 4

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z Review

Ninja Gaiden has long been on the road to decline, so it’s no surprise that Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z should stray so far from the pack, grasping for anything it can latch on to to stay relevant and lucrative. In this day and age, staying relevant means inviting zombies into a franchise. Much like Yakuza: Dead Souls before it, Yaiba introduces a league of the flesh-starved undead for players to hack, slash, and otherwise maim in unspeakable ways. It’s a far cry from the typical Ninja Gaiden series you may be used to, with a completely different kind of hero and a wholly different kind of game. This Dynasty Warriors-esque zombie-slaying marathon, however, is all bark and no bite. 

The instant you fill Yaiba‘s profanity-laden shoes, you’ll note a marked difference in tone and gameplay. This Ninja Gaiden outing revels in the quick-time event, so memorize the zombie takedown demonstrated early on if you want to get ahead. As you carve through the advancing hordes of the shambling undead, it becomes abundantly clear that you serve a singular purpose: clearing a path through organic matter. You accomplish this with several well-timed button presses, squeezing the L2 trigger when the exclamation point pops up above an enemy’s head. 

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Yaiba receives a brief health boost and soldiers on, giving you abundant opportunities for an endless loop of carnage, so long as your timing is good. Plain Jane zombies afford little bonuses, but as the game attempts to bolster its defenses with more challenging swarms of the undead, you’ll receive larger rewards and pull off flashier QTEs. If you’re lucky, Yaiba might even use a pair of arms freshly ripped from their sockets to beat their owner to (second) death. 

It sounds fabulously gruesome and endlessly fascinating, but even though I could appreciate the machinations as a gore hound, ripping the limbs or armaments from my enemies simply wasn’t engaging or logical. It’s not even immediately obvious that you must do this in order to procure additional weapons. It’s a bizarre decision given other Ninja Gaiden games’ methods of simply presenting weapons to players at the right time or allowing you to stumble upon them. With hordes of enemies rather than the smaller, focused assaults of Ninja Gaiden, the additional firepower should be meted out accordingly, and not doled out to players left to their own devices. 

It doesn’t help that the game is its own worst enemy, with camera woes and self-defeating mechanics that work against you rather than with you. Instead of a third-person view, you’re stuck with fixed camera angles that make the hundreds of inevitable cheap deaths Yaiba will succumb to feel as though they’re supposed to happen. Enemies become invisible by proxy, and most of your time will be spent either searching for where your enemies have gone to or anticipating where they’ll come from next so you can frantically mash your attack button to fend them off. When you are locked in combat, it becomes so endlessly repetitive that not even ripping zombies limb from limb remains entertaining, and for a game that touts over-the-top gore and violence, this is a massive issue. 

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Then, right when you’ve become accustomed to the repetition of Yaiba’s repertoire and the mindless hacking through enemies, you’re forced to stop and do an about-face as a familiar character reappears and the game asks you to once again acclimate yourself to the same Ninja Gaiden you’ve always known. It’s as if you’ve been playing with a poor brainless sod up until this point and are finally given a competent avatar. It’s pointless, frustrating, and nonsensical – almost as if Team Ninja wanted this game to fail.

While the game is competent and can hold its own as the most by-the-book instance of a zombie hack-and-slash game, its myriad issues hold it back significantly, enough so that you should take one look, recoil in horror, and opt for an earlier Team Ninja release instead. If you’re just jonesing to kill zombies, perhaps you might opt for Oneechanbara. At least it makes no apologies about what it’s trying to be.

Marvel Invades Disney Infinity - 2014-04-30 14:55:28

Marvel Invades Disney Infinity

Disney announced today that a gigantic amount of Marvel characters will finally make an appearance on Disney Infinity.

This new update is called Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes and it seeks to expand the universe of Infinity by bringing in many of the heroic characters we hold so dear.

The title will be available on all previous platforms in 1.0 as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, finally dabbling in the next-gen software.

But what exactly will this new update bring? The answer: lots and lots of Marvel love.

The new starter pack will include a mysterious crystal shard piece coupled with Thor, Black Widow and Iron Man with tower defense and dungeon modes.

Joining the starter pack characters are Hawkeye, Hulk, Captain America, Loki, Spider-Man, MODOK, Rocket Raccoon and Groot (with more to come).

See a pattern? There is a lot of focus on both The Avengers and The Guardians of The Galaxy, probably because of the recent movie announcements and releases. We here at CGM are par for the course though as getting to play as Rocket Raccoon will be a blast to say the least.

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Keep in mind that all the toys (characters, power discs, toy boxes) from the current Disney Infinity will be compatible with 2.0, so don’t be worried about throwing away any toy boxes you may have bought so far.

Other additions include a raised level cap of 20 and a new skill tree feature that allows the Marvel characters to initiate certain actions (ie. Hulk climbing up walls). These unique traits suggest much more customization than before and give each Marvel character a big identity, making your choice of character crucial.

Finally, the new update will bring with it a brand new story written by Marvel veteran Brian Michael Bendis. Developer Avalanche Software have also mentioned that things like super-jumps and flight will play a big role in this story, which takes place in Marvel Manhattan.

According to IGN, Bendis seems to be excited for the new tale, saying that “this game could do for this generation what comics did for us.” A bold statement to say the least, but 2.0 clearly appeals to a younger audience and has quite a lot of creative potential.

Disney Infinity 2.0 launches later this year, so be sure to stay tuned to CGM as more details arise. Also be sure to check out our review of Disney Infinity 1.0 here.

 

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLhhh8OP7kY” width=”1060″ height=”940″]Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd [/youtube]

CGM Plays Project Zomboid

CGM Plays Project Zomboid

Watch as Alex Leach tries to survive in the isometric zombie survival game Project Zomboid.

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Has COD Made October The New November?

Has COD Made October The New November?

From a capitalist perspective, it’s quite fascinating—and perhaps a little horrifying—to see how certain products can be like asteroids impacting the market; making craters and ripples that have longstanding effects on everything around them in the consumer landscape. One such product is Call of Duty, a game so successful, so dangerous to other games that most publishers, including Activision, the owners of the franchise, will do whatever it takes to avoid being released at the same time, and thus ignored by the public. The only game brave enough to stand in the face of an annual COD release is another annual series; Assassin’s Creed, which is a 3rd person, big budget, historical/conspiracy action/adventure game. It’s so completely different from what COD is that it targets another audience entirely.

This year, we’re seeing the effects of that in a big way. Right now the only two titles tentatively confirmed for November 2014 are Project Cars and Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey. Both of those titles are indie efforts and don’t even fall in the same AAA “class” as other games. There’s no confirmed release date for either the latest Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, but both have been teased and are probably well on their way to killing relationships and nurturing ulcers as the respective studios race to meet their immovable November deadline. The reason for a November release is simple; it gives games enough time to make a splash on their own while still being close enough to Christmas to justify purchase as gifts if they prove to be a hot ticket item.

So that’s what we’re down to in November. Two tentatively scheduled indie releases and The Big Two. Nothing else is committing to a release in the same month, though E3 might change things in that regard in a few weeks. October, on the other hand, is already fit to burst.

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Originally, we had Batman: Arkham Knight to look forward to as the first big October release, but that’s now been delayed to some point in 2015, most likely February or March. However, that retreat was far from crippling. Alien: Isolation has committed to a very sensible October release for a horror game. Drive Club has also finally found itself a release date from endless string of delays and is now on the same day as Alien, October 7th. Finally, the first big RPG of the current generation, Dragon Age: Inquisition, is lumbering onto the scene on… you guessed it, October 7th. The one thing that all of these games have in common is that in their understandable attempt to avoid competing with Call of Duty, they’re now all competing with each other. On the same day, even. In addition to those big titles, EA is also throwing their hat in with a new Lord of the Rings game while both NBA2K and WWE2K get their respective yearly updates in the same month from 2K Sports.

This wasn’t always the case, of course. There was a time before Call of Duty when plenty of publishers were happy to release their games in November. It was the ideal time for the same reason Activision selected November as their release date. Call of Duty has changed all that, especially with the all-important “mainstream” audience that only buys two or three games a year, if that. One of those games will always be Call of Duty, but that leaves precious few other games as viable candidates, and a release date in the same window negates almost any possibility of addition to a mainstream collection. Even Activision suffered at the hands of Call of Duty with games like their own Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero franchises getting annihilated by their bigger, contemporary military sibling. Spacing games out, however, gives the games more room to breathe for people that don’t buy more than one game every month.

It seems like these days if you’re not a big COD or AC fan, October is officially the month to get excited. Maybe when the popularity of COD finally lapses, sometime years from now, we’ll see a return to November as the month for more than one or two big releases.

Draw A Pikachu In Pokemon Art Academy 1

Draw A Pikachu In Pokemon Art Academy

 

The next game in the widely successful Pokémon series is coming and it’s set to bring out the inner Van Gogh in all of us. Titled Pokémon: Art Academy, this Nintendo 3DS exclusive has players whipping out their styluses to draw and colour every single one of those conniving creatures.

The news itself comes way of Nintendo of Japan who announced that the game will make its way to stores on June 19th. And yes, that’s only in Japan for now but a North American release date should be just on the horizon.

Pokémon Art Academy gives budding artists a new canvas to express their craft on by sending players through art school, giving lessons on how to draw 40 of these curious animals. Tools like an air brush and spray paint allow even the most avant-garde painters to fully customize their creations.

There’s also a Free Paint mode where you can draw anything from scratch, or fill in outlines of over 100 different Pokémon. Perhaps the post-modern Duchamp’s Fountain will arise, or a sequel to Blue Monochrome, or maybe just a blue Pikachu.

Either way, be sure to check out the trailer below and keep it locked to CGM as we cross our fingers for a North American release date.

 

Microsoft to launch Xbox One game console in China - 2014-04-30 10:02:45

Microsoft to launch Xbox One game console in China

Microsoft has said that Xbox One will go on sale in China in September.

It is the first foreign company to announce the sale of its consoles in China after the country lifted a 14-year old ban in January this year.

Microsoft will launch the console in collaboration with BesTV New Media Co, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group.

China’s gaming market, which is currently dominated by PC, mobile and online games, is seen as a key growth area for console makers.

“Launching Xbox One in China is a significant milestone for us and for the industry,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice-president at Microsoft.

It still has yet to be seen what games China will allow for sale legally. This is a major move by Microsoft and we at CGM expect other companies to follow suit.

No expected selling price has been disclosed by either company.

Comics Out Today 4/30/2014

Comics Out Today 4/30/2014

Hey everyone, it’s time to pick the comics we’re looking forward to the most this week.

There’s a return of a hero that’s been away for a year, a future superhero going into the past, a totally MATHMATICAL adventure, some teenagers taking acid, and a fight between a bat and a luchador wrestler.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man #1
By: Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

Superior Spider-Man is finally over and Peter Parker is finally back. How will he deal with being gone for a year while Dr. Octopus took over being Spider-Man?

Also just in time for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie, Electro is back and deadlier than ever. This is a great jumping on point for brand new readers.

Also included in the giant sized issue is the first issue of Inhuman, as well as a number of back up stories.

Flash Annual #3
By: Robert Venditti and Brett Booth

The latest annual for the Flash has a broken Barry Allen from the future traveling back in time to 2014 to prevent himself from making the same mistake that destroyed his life.
This issue also features the first appearance of Wally West who is arguably the most popular Flash for the first time in the New 52.

Adventure Time Annual 2014
By: Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt

Also celebrating their annual issue this week is the Adventure Time comic.

In this special issue, see a young Fiona the Human and Cake the Cat getting into their own brand of shenanigans on Fiona’s 6th birthday. The book features beautiful art that gives it the feel of a storybook.

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Deadly Class #4
By: Rick Remender and Wesley Craig

Deadly Class is about an orphan teenager named Markus who one day gets offered to stay at an underground school that teaches kids how to become assassins.

In this issue, Markus and his friends wind up in Las Vegas, take acid, and get stalked by a mutilated psychopath who wants his revenge on Markus.

Need we really really say more why this is a title that needs to be read?

Forever Evil Aftermath Batman vs Bane #1
By: Peter J. Tomasi and Scot Eaton

During the events of Forever Evil, the inmates at Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison fought for control over Gotham City. Without Batman, a surprising new protector emerged to stop the chaos in the city; Bane. Now that Forever Evil has ended, Batman has come back to Gotham, but Bane isn’t letting him relieve him of his duty without a fight.

Now here are the rest of the noteworthy titles coming out today

 

DARK HORSE COMICS
Blackout #2 (Of 4)
Captain Midnight #10
Furious #4 (Of 5)
King Conan The Conqueror #3 (Of 6)
Pariah #3 (Of 8)
Serenity Leaves On The Wind #4 (Of 6)
Star Wars Rebel Heist #1 (Of 4)(Adam Hughes Regular Cover)
Vandroid #3 (Of 5)

 

DC COMICS
Adventures Of Superman #12
Batgirl Annual #2
Batman ’66 #10
Batman Beyond Universe #9
Batman Eternal #4
Batwoman Annual #1
Green Lantern New Guardians Annual #2
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #12
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #4
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #4

IDW PUBLISHING
Dexter’s Laboratory #1 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE #15
Ghostbusters #15
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #4
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #18
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #28
V-Wars #1
X-Files Season 10 #11  

IMAGE COMICS
Black Science #6
Chew #41
Dream Police #1
Egos #4
Elephantmen #56

MARVEL COMICS
All-New X-Men #26 
Avengers #28 
Avengers A.I. #12,  
Avengers World #5 
Hulk #2 
New Avengers #17 
Origin II #5 (Of 5)
Silver Surfer #2 
Uncanny Avengers Annual #1 
What If Age Of Ultron #5 (Of 5)
Wolverine #5
X-Force #4

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Movie) Review 6

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Review

I love Spider-Man. Like so many kids, the character was my introduction to superheroes and Stan Lee may as well have designed him as the gateway Marvel hero. He’s a dorky kid who’s secretly a superhero and whose daily life is filled with failure, flubs, and tragedy even though he approaches it with the same noble intentions as his crime fighting. Spider-Man is the original neurotic superhero, and in an age of Marvel blockbusters, it should be the easiest character to get right. Yet, we somehow live in a world where Captain America 2 feels like a classic while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is as dull and mediocre of a superhero movie as you’re likely to see on the big screen. It makes no sense. Captain America should be nearly impossible to get right on screen while Spider-Man should be a bunt. However, we also live in an age where the folks who run Marvel Comics are also directly responsible for Marvel Studios film production while the folks behind the Amazing Spider-Man movies seem to have never read a comic in their lives and are making their movies purely because printing Spider-Man on a movie is an easy way to make a billion dollars. Sigh… How did this ever happen?

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We catch up with our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man doing what he does best, swinging around the city and beating up bad guys. In this particular case, the bad guy he’s beating up is a Russian mobster played by Paul Giamatti (if you’re wondering why, don’t because he essentially shows up for a cameo). From there we see that Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is still in love with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and he still lives with his loving Aunt May (Sally Field), and he’s still trying to figure out what happened to his dead parents. All of these plotlines are sort of followed, and sort of not by the screenplay cranked out by four different writers who may or may not have even been in the same room while they were stitching this mess together. Most of the screen-time is dedicated to halfheartedly setting up two villains. The first is Jamie Foxx’s Electro, who starts as a nerdy and psychotic Spider-Man fan. It’s a clever idea for a villain’s origin story, and it doesn’t really matter that it ditches comics continuity given that Electro was always most memorable for his glam rock costume anyways. Regardless, all of that is dropped once he gets his superpowers and essentially turns into an electric version of Dr. Manhattan for some reason. Then Harry Osborne shows up, whom we learn was an incredibly important friend in Peter’s life even though he wasn’t even mentioned in the first movie. Of course, based on his haircut and the comics, TV series, and previous Spider-Man movies we know he’s going to turn into a certain goblin of a certain color. It doesn’t really matter though. The plot is just a hodgepodge of loosely connected scenes tossed together to set up the big moments for the trailer.

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The weird thing about these Amazing Spider-Man movies is how needlessly confused and convoluted they’ve turned out to be despite the fact that the hero at the center is the most simple in the Marvel Universe. Marc Webb and co. continue to do narrative backflips to set up some pointless conspiracy plot tying Peter’s dead parents into the origin of the radioactive spider, despite the fact that it adds absolutely nothing to the mythology. Now, there’s nothing wrong with changing and massaging source material for a film adaptation. In fact, that’s what should be done. However, when you change things around just for the sake of making changes without any thought or reason then it’s a problem. The new backstories for Spider-Man and Electro do nothing except slow down a movie that is already perilously too long at 2.5 hours. Then in their place, material that would actually add to the story is sacrificed. Sally Field’s Aunt May has nothing to do despite being at the core of Spider-Man’s character. The Harry Osborne plot is so rushed that there’s no sense of betrayal or tragedy. The fact that Dane Chronicle Dehaan was a perfect choice for the role means nothing when he’s given so little to do (seriously, Dehaan’s haircut gets a more of character arc than Harry). This is a big messy movie made by people who don’t understand the appeal of Spider-Man and probably wouldn’t even bother seeing a Spider-Man movie if their name wasn’t in the credits. At a time when superhero movies are peaking, to waste one of the most iconic characters in the comic book medium is a tragedy for geeks everywhere.

And yet, much like its predecessor The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t a complete disaster, which is perversely even worse than if it were. To explain, were this flick a Batman & Robin level turd, at least it would bomb and the world would cry foul. But it’s not. Andrew Garfield remains a perfectly cast Spider-Man who is able to communicate the charm, neurosis, tragedy, and power of the character even when the screenplay doesn’t. His pairing with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is dream casting and their scenes together have spark. When they share a certain iconic moment in the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy story in this film, it has an emotional power in the moment, but doesn’t really work overall given that the story around that scene is such an awkward mess. Likewise, the special effects team was given a damn near limitless budget and deliver some fantastic Spider-Man slinging sequences. So, the casual superhero movie audience gets the most basic things they want from the movie, and that’ll be enough to make it a hit, even though most viewers won’t realize how much better it would be if the movie surrounding Garfield, Stone and Spider-Man was worthy of those elements.

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What’s most deeply frustrating about these two failed Amazing Spider-Man movies is the fact that they replaced a franchise that was already working (well, except for Spider-Man 3, but let’s just pretend that’s not a thing). Sam Raimi’s take on the wall crawler may have been a little too goofy and old fashioned for some people, but at least he knew and loved the mythology. His bright, colorful, and canonical Spider-Man movies pulled the cinematic superhero genre out of an era of dark shadowy comic book movies that were merely copying what Tim Burton did with Batman. Raimi’s Spider-Man series paved the way for the Marvel movie era. In theory, the franchise should be peaking right now in the centre of the superhero blockbuster renaissance. Instead, thanks to hiring director Marc Webb based purely on his last name (he’s said repeatedly in interviews that he had no interest in the franchise and signed on purely for the money/opportunity), The Amazing Spider-Man movies feel like relics of the 90s. They’re dogged by all of the problems that are no longer an issue in most superhero movies: too many villains, pointless celebrity stunt casting, poor writing, and a complete ignorance about the legacy of the character they’re representing. It’s a real shame because with Garfield and Stone at the centre these movies have potential that they consistently fail to reach. Hopefully one day Marvel Studios and Sony can work out a deal to return the prodigal son to his rightful home and give the fans the Spider-Man movie they deserve. These $300 million Spidey teases are getting tiresome. It’s time for the real thing.

 

Wolfenstein: The New Order Trailer Shows a New Way to Play

Bethesda Softworks UK released a new trailer for their upcoming Wolfenstein: The New Order game that releases next month. It’s been pretty obvious that this time around, the studio is working on something that will make gamers feel like they’re playing an over the top 90s shooter.  In the trailer though, they show that it doesn’t have to be played like that.

It starts with a scene from the game where B.J Blazkowicz is told by an old guy to kill every Nazi in the base. There are a lot of ways to kill quietly. The trailer shows knife throwing, pistol silencing, lock picking, and cool animation where you cut the back of an enemy’s leg then stab him in the neck.  That whole fun fest took up around two thirds of the trailer.

That’s because the last minute is all about destruction. It’s pretty much the Leroy Jenkins approach. This is some pretty standard stuff as far as Wolfenstein is concerned. There’s dual wielding, awesome grenades, and more dual wielding all while the blood squirts all over the camera.

Wolfenstein: The New Order Launches on May 20, and if you pre order it, you can get a Doom 4 beta. So, how will you play?

DRIVECLUB Races Its Way To PlayStation 4 This October - 2014-04-29 15:12:01

DRIVECLUB Races Its Way To PlayStation 4 This October

A new trailer from Sony not only shows off Evolution Studio’s gorgeous social racer DRIVECLUB, it also finally lets us know when players can begin starting their engines.

The release date is October 7th and if the trailers are any indication, Gran Turismo might be losing its top spot as Sony’s best racing simulator.

Originally announced at Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal meeting, DRIVECLUB plans to bring a much more connected and social approach to racing.

The main focus is on creating clubs, which seem to function much like guilds or clans in other titles. One of the trailers shown had players walking up and entering a car, making it clear that Evolution is trying to hone a sense of realism and engagement in the video-game automobile universe.

Set to release in early 2014, the title was then delayed due to the team needing more time to reach its full potential.

In a PlayStation Blog article, Shuhei Yoshida said “the problem with being ambitious is you have to be prepared to accept there will be challenges along the way. What DRIVECLUB offers has not been previously achieved in this category, and, because of this, the team needed more time to give you the game you’re waiting for.”

If you haven’t checked out the DRIVECLUB trailer, now is the time. The game is a PlayStation 4 exclusive and should be at the top of the list for any owner, especially due to its extremely detailed vehicles.

Be sure to check back to CGM as we get ready to take on DRIVECLUB.

 

“We planned for the game to be ready for early 2014 and are committed to delivering on our ambitious promise of creating a truly innovative, socially connected racing game,”
Read more at http://gematsu.com/2014/04/driveclub-release-date-set-new-trailer#5d3UwVbJHFgQWlrr.99
“We planned for the game to be ready for early 2014 and are committed to delivering on our ambitious promise of creating a truly innovative, socially connected racing game,”
Read more at http://gematsu.com/2014/04/driveclub-release-date-set-new-trailer#5d3UwVbJHFgQWlrr.99


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