Don’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone

Category : Game On, PS3

We are now mere hours away from what will be Day 7 of PSNocolypse 2011: This Time It’s Personal, and I wanted to take this moment to express a few different things that I’m feeling at this moment.

- I still haven’t played Portal 2′s co-op campaign. The PSN outage occurred as I was finishing the single player campaign, and so a very large component of what is already my favorite game of 2011 sits untouched. Yes, I could play the game with a friend on Steam, I know. Trouble is that I’m waiting for one friend in particular, and this friend cannot play with me over Steam.

- I feel awful for all the people who opted for the new Mortal Kombat on the PS3 lured by the prospect of rending foes limb from limb with Sony’s fan-favorite protagonist Kratos of God Of War fame. Even if the game’s King of the Hill mode is all sorts of broken for 360 owners, at least they get to play the game against real people.

- Even though, I don’t care about MK, I do care very deeply about fighting games, and I was going to pick up Aksys Games’ Arcana Heart 3 this week. It was released exclusively as a PSN download for a very fair $30 price point which alleviates some of the embarrassment gleaned from purchasing a game in which the characters are exclusively cute anime girls even though the game itself has the chops to earn the respect of the hardcore fighting game crowd. I can’t buy that game because PSN is down. Not only am I not playing it, but I’m also not able to help support Aksys Games, a company I feel very much deserves support. Horrible timing for them, as I am certain that they are depending very heavily on this release. Side note, throw them a bone and pick up 999 on the DS if you haven’t already. It is an AMAZING game and it took serious balls on the part of Aksys to pick it up and localize it in the west.

- Pained by my unfulfilled desire for Arcana Heart 3, I’m left to stare longingly at Super Street Fighter IV, yet another game I cannot play against real people right now.

- I feel awful for the people who have been waiting for SOCOM 4. SOCOM players are incredibly hardcore people who have already paid their dues by having to tolerate online play on the PS2, which is no small feat. Since the release of the PS3, they’ve already had to suffer though a sub-par SOCOM experience which was not made by the people who are supposed to make SOCOM. This was supposed to be their day in the sun, but the darkness fell before their eyes could even adjust to the light.

- As far as I can tell, this is how this whole thing has gone down: One day, there was a guy who circumvented the copy protection on the PS3. He told everyone his name, he showed everyone his face, and then released his nefarious work to the public. Sony, having already had one console killed in the west thanks to rampant piracy, needed to do something, anything, to show third parties that they were serious about preventing piracy on their systems and thus protecting the investments of publishers and developers who take a chances by releasing their games on Sony’s consoles. Naturally, they took the shameless hacker to court over the mess he had made. Meanwhile, an anonymous hacker group called Anonymous decided that Sony shouldn’t try to protect their business relationships and declared a hacker war on Sony. The people at the head of this hacker organization, however, quickly realized that their hacker war on Sony was going to piss off regular people more than it was going to piss off Sony, and because they so desperately want to seem like a populist organization, they called off their attacks. They did so publicly, at any rate, because soon afterward a hacker attack on PSN caused Sony to shut it down indefinitely in order to protect the integrity of their network and the privacy of their customers. The anonymous hacker group (Anonymous) publicly stated that they had nothing to do with it, but also through in the caveat that it was entirely possible that anonymous members of the anonymous hacker group (Anonymous) could have been (probably definitely were) responsible. Now, because hackers are jerks, I can’t play video games and I will likely have to get a new credit card and change many of my passwords.

So thanks, hackers, for being jerks and doing jerky stuff. Thanks a bunch.

First Impression: Steam on PS3

Category : Game On, PS3, Reviews

So yesterday was Portal 2sday, which we all know to be very, very important. Truly, it is, and I will have more on that in the very very near future. However, the other important thing about yesterday was the debut of Valve’s Steam service on its third platform, That Triple. As much as I have looked forward to Portal 2, I’ve almost been more excited about this Steam thing and what it could possibly mean in the future.

I probably should have tempered my expectations a bit. Steam on the PS3 is exactly what Valve told us it would be, which isn’t a bad thing. Actually, it really highlights some of the flaws of PSN in ways that I’m sure Sony had hoped it wouldn’t. Pressing the select button during Portal 2 gameplay brings you right to the Steam overlay, letting you quickly chat with anybody on your Steam friends list much more quickly than sending them a PSN message, and it lets you view your own and your friends’ Steam achievements before the XMB could even finish the obscenely long trophy sync operation. Even in this limited implementation, I think it would be great if other publishers were able to take advantage Steam integration. It remains to be seen how things such as updates will work, but I’m optimistic and feel that overall this is a step in the right direction.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there is science to be done and then I can tell you all about how much I love Portal 2 because I love it quite a bit.

Episode 02 – At the Con: TempleCon

1

Category : Conventions, Game On, Guest Appearances, PC, PS3, TempleCon, Xbox

At the Con: TempleCon (Ep 02)

On the show, I go to TempleCon. EA is in hot water, Playstation has been busy and Undead Labs is having a very good week.

NEED TO KNOW
**News**
Sony PSP2: Sony announced technical specification for their next generation portable. Dubbed the PSP2, it comes packed with features, including a 5” multi-touch OLED sreen, WiFi & 3G connectivity, dual analog sticks and a rear touchpad, front and rear cameras and built-in GPS. Sony is looking to bridge the gap between console & portable gaming.
Read the Sony Computer Entertainment press release: http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/110127a_e.html

Playstation Phone: A norwegian site, DroidNYTT, got their hands on a leaked commercial which seems to confirm the Playstation Phone is real and it has a name. The latest leak reveals the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, expected to officially be announced at the Mobile World Congress, taking play February 14-17, 2011. The commercial suggests the phone will run on the Android platform.
Watch the commercial on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MV09PRsAU2Y

Undead Labs teams up with Microsoft Games to bring their open-world zombie survival game to XBLA. Code named “Class 3,” this first look at their big picture asks gamers to put their survival skills to the test in the zombie apocolypse. Incorporating a “choose your own adventure” aspect, the content is influenced by the decisions and actions of the players as they determine where to find shelter, how to obtain resources and how to face off against the zombie hordes. The most interesting part of this game development is that Class 3 is the first part of what will become a bigger game, code-named “Class 4.” The development team is so committed to creating a fully functioning and immersive game, they are trying something new by focusing on the game-play aspects to really nail them down, before moving on to expand the world and the multitude of options that will be available in the completed “Class 4.”
Read more at Undead Labs: http://undeadlabs.com/2011/02/news/undead-labs-and-microsoft-game-studios-to-create-zombie-survival-franchise-on-xbox-360/

Common Sense Media seeks sanctions against EA: At the heart of the Dead Space 2 marketing campaign is a commercial boasting “Your mom hates Dead Space 2,” showing reactions from a group of mothers being shown graphic footage from the new game. The shock advertising is meant to appeal to rebellious young gamers. Dead Space 2 has been rated for players age 17 and up. The accusation here is not the campaign itself is offensive, rather that the campaign works too well, enticing gamers under 17 to play. The ESRB has already denied the request, reminding Common Sense Media it cannot be proved the commercial targets gamers of a specific age. Further, the ESRB was consulted and approved the commercial prior to its airing.
Read more from the LA Times coverage: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/02/your-mom-hates-dead-space-2-advert-stirring-controversy.html

**Games released last week include:
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops (PC)
Earthrise (PC)

**Games being released this week include:
Mario Sports Mix (Wii)
Sniper: Ghost Warrior (PS3)
Hyperdimension Neptunia (PS3)
Trinity: Sould of Zill O’ll Zero (PS3)
Dungeons (PC)
Fate of The World (PC)
Two Worlds II (PC)
EverQuest II: Destiny of Velious (PC)
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble (Nintendo DS)
Test Drive Unlimited 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
You Don’t Know Jack (Nintendo DS, PS3, Xbox 360)
Body & Brain Connection (Xbox 360 w/Kinect)

**On the Calendar, check out these Upcoming Events:

Total Confusion
February 24-27, 2011
Holiday Inn in Mansfield, MA
Website: http://www.totalcon.com

PAX East
March 11-130, 2011
BCEC in Boston, MA
Website: http://east.paxsite .com

GET IN THE GAME
On this episode I am at the con, covering TempleCon 2011. Check back at Good To Be A Gamer later this week for more coverage.

TempleCon (Board, Card, LARP, Miniatures, Video Gaming & Steampunk)
February 2-4, 2011
Crowne Plaza in Warwick, RI
Website: http://www.templecon.org

Temple Games
167 Columbus Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Phone: (401) 305-0836
http://www.thetemplegames.com

Thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music. http://magnatune.com/artists/sterling

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the host and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek.

Creative Commons License Disclaimer Code:
Creative Commons License
Good To Be A Gamer Podcast by Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Game Review – Enslaved Odyssey to the West

Category : Game On, PS3, Reviews, Xbox

 

 

Publisher: NAMCO

Photo courtesy of NAMCO

 

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3

Game Rating: T-Teen

Review Rating: 7 out of 10; BUY

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is the follow-up game to Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword. 150 years in the future, Mankind is struggling to stay alive. The remaining humans are hunted and enslaved. When a slave ship crashes in New York, the only survivors are Trip and Monkey. Trip is a tech-savvy young woman from a tribe that has remained hidden while robots rule the earth. You play as Monkey, a big, burly fighter with acrobatic skill. To increase her chances of survival, Trip enslaves Monkey to ensure he will protect her as they travel across the treacherous landscape to find a way back to Trip’s people, fighting off mechs along the way. The story is well-told and integrates nicely with the game-play.

Enslaved is set in a post-apocalyptic world. Instead of going for the typical dust-bowl landscape we’re used to seeing from so many games, players are immersed in a lush, green environment which reminds me of the History Channel’s Life After People. Steel, concrete and brick crumble under the oppression of nature, as plants scale structures. The destabilized structures also provide a great environment for the platforming aspects of the game, adding that bit of danger when you realize your hand-hold is crumbling under your weight. Quite simply, the game is gorgeous.

Photo courtesy of NAMCO

 

Another fantastic aspect of Enslaved is the facial recognition. A lot of effort has been put into the character design and motion capture to add an additional feeling of realism. A prime example is the inclusion of Andy Serkis, of Lord of the Rings fame, who lends himself to Enslaved for the facial and motion capture, as well as the voice of Monkey. In addition, he puts his considerable talents to good use as co-director of the cut scenes.

In terms of the actual game-play, the game is fun. It combines strategic planning and combat, platforming and hack & slash with a dash of shooter game-play. The companion aspect with Trip is done well. While your primary mission is to protect her, Enslaved doesn’t make it feel like a babysitting job. The companion aspect is a welcome interactive experience, providing necessary assistance to get through the game. The fighting is not especially difficult, but the developers have done a great job mixing in different types of game-play to prevent the game from becoming too monotonous.

Sadly, it’s not all good for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Somehow, the game has not been able to avoid dreaded hang-ups. There are more than a few instances when you will find yourself stuck in the background, forcing you to move back before you can continue forward. Hanging on a piece of scaffolding when hopping from one piece to the next is a sure way to be removed from the gaming experience. Another issue is physical interaction with Trip. Too many times you will find yourself walking into and around Trip in order to find just the right stance to toss her to the next level.

To find out more about Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, visit Namco’s Official Site.

2010 Spike Video Game Awards – Live Blog

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Category : E-vents, Entertain Me, Game On, PC, Product Announcements, PS3, Spike Video Game Awards, Television, Xbox

The 2010 Spike Video Game Awards opened with a musical number to introduce Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), this year’s host. When Harris took the stage, he quickly dispatched the tuxedo wearing chorus boys with his “firearms.”

Game of the Year Nominee Announcement – Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Game Trailer – Batman: Arkham City, to be released Fall 2011.

Olivia Munn (The Daily Show, Attack of the Show) presented the award for Studio of the Year to BioWare. The other nominees included Blizzard Entertainment, Bungee Studios, Rockstar San Diego.

Bethesda Game Studio presented the preview trailer and announced Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be available 11/11/2011.

Game Trailer – Mortal Kombat Playstation 3 Exclusive – Playable Kratos from God of War.

Actor and Comedian, Dane Cook (My Best Friend’s Girl, Good Luck Chuck) presented Character of the Year Nominee – Ezio of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

Another Character of the Year Nominee is revealed – Kratos of God of War 3

AnnaLynne McCord (90210, Nip/Tuck) presented a sneak peak at the preview trailer for Thor: God of Thunder, to be released 5/3/2011.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) presented the award for Best Action Adventure Game to Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The other nominees included God of War 3, Red Dead Redemption & Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Denise Richards (Blue Mountain State, The World Is Not Enough, Wild Things) introduced My Chemical Romance for a performance of their song Get Up and Go from Gran Turismo 5.

Jason Ritter (The Ev3nt) presented Game of the Year Nominee Mass Effect 2. Following the performance was a preview trailer for Mass Effect 3, scheduled for release Holiday 2011.

Danny DeVito, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Glen Howerton, & Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) presented the award for Best Shooter to Call of Duty: Black Ops. The other nominees included Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Halo: Reach & BioShock 2.

After Olivia Munn goes off on Neil Patrick Harris, explaining why she deserved to host the Video Game Awards, Harris presented the game trailer for Resistance 3, to be released 9/6/2011.

Dane Cook returned to present another Character of the Year Nominee – John Marston of Red Dead Redemption.

Nick Swardson (Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time, Reno 911!) presented Game of the Year Nominee God of War 3.

Another Character of the Year Nominee was revealed – Sgt. Frank Woods of Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Rachel Bilson (Jumper, The O.C.) presented the award for Best Performance by a Human Male to Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker/Amazing Spider-man (Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions). The other nominees included Gary Oldman as Sgt. Reznov (Call of Duty: Black Ops), Daniel Craig as James Bond (007: Bloodstone), John Cleese as Jasper (Fable III), Martin Sheen as Illusive Man (Mass Effect 2), Nathan Fillion as Sgt. Edward Buck (Halo: Reach), Rob , Sam Worthington as Alex Mason (Call of Duty: Black Ops) & Rob Wiethoff as John Martson (Red Dead Redemption).

Tony Hawk presented the debut trailer for Prototype 2, to be released in 2012.

Director and Producer, Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Pan’s Labyrinth) made an appearance to announce that he is teaming up with THQ & Volition to develop his own game, InSANE.

He also presented the award for Best Independent Game to Limbo. The other nominees included Joe Danger, Super Meat Boy & The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom.

The cast of The Deadliest Warrior presented the award for Most Anticipated Game to Portal 2. The other nominees included Batman: Arkham City, BioShock: Infinite & Gears of War 3.

Michael Chiklis (No Ordinary Family, Fantastic Four) introduced Jose Gonzalez to perform his song Far Away from Red Dead Redemption.

Dominic Monaghan (Flash Forward, LOST, Lord of the Rings) introduced a clip from the guys at Top Gear US who presented a preview trailer for Forza Motorsport 4, to be released Fall 2011.

Nathan Fillion (Castle, Waitress, Firefly) made an appearance, accompanied by a live violin solo, to announce Game of the Year Nominee Halo: Reach.

Sam Trammell & Rutina Wesley (True Blood) presented the game trailer for SSX: Deadly Descents.

Character of the Year Winner is Sgt. Frank Woods of Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, Tru Calling) presents the premiere trailer of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, to be released 11/1/2011.

Game of the Year goes to Red Dead Redemption.

* All game trailers provided courtesy of GameTrailers.com.

At the Con – E3 2010: Sony Keynote Liveblog

Category : E-vents, E3, Game On, Product Announcements, PS3, Xbox

Courtesy of Sony Entertainment

 

Jack Tretton, President & CEO

“Consumers want all their games, music, photos, movies and TV shows accessible in one place from one device and PlayStation has the most capable and connected platform on the planet.”

Pres & Group CEO Sony Computer Corporation. President, Sony’s Networked Product & Svcs Group Kazuo Hirai

enabled every PS3 through system software to be 3D your enertainment hub. Titles include: Super Stardust, Pain, Wipeout HD. Available in PSN with another 20 title by March 2011.

  1. Killzone 3 – Hermen Hulst. Created from the ground up for 3D for Complete 3D integration. FPS. February 2011. Exclusively on PS3. Fully compatible with PS Move at launch.
  2. 3D games: Gran Tourismo 5, Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat, Shaun White Skateboarding, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Tron Evolution, NBA 2K11.
  3. PS Move compatible & 3D – The Fight: Lights Out, Eyepet, Tumble, MLB: The Show

PS Move – Peter Dille Sr VP, Marketing & PSN. Traditional game & PS Move compatible can be shipped on same disc. Does that mean, there will be no price increase? Power is just as important as movement.

  1. Sorcery – Christian Busic. created specifically for PS Move. Spring 2011.
  2. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 – Head of Worldwide Development for EA Sports, Andrew Wilson. authentic sports motion. PSN update also available on PS Move demo disc.
  3. Hereos on the Move -
  4. Coca-Cola brand partnership – products will highlight PS Move & PS3. Consumers will have the opportunity to win prizes. Kevin Butler makes an epic appearance. “Gaming is having a ridiculously huge TV in a tiny 1-room apartment. Staying up til 3am to earn a trophy that isn’t real, but is. And it’s girls who know that the way to a man’s heart is through a melee attack.”
  5. available in europe 9/15. north america 9/19. japan 10/21. PS Move $49.99. Navi controller $29.99. Sports Champions Bundle includes PS Move controller, PS EYE & Sports Champions game $99.99. PS3 Sports Champions Move bundle includes, PS Move, PS EYE, Sports Champions game & PS3 $399.99. 15-20 PS Move titles available at launch plus more than 40 during holiday season.
  6. Socom 4, Time Crisis: Raising Sotrm, NBA 2K11, Ruse, Killzone 3, Singstar Dance, Echochrome 2 & Eyepet.
  7. Toy Story 3, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Heavy Rain, Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition will include software update to allow PS Move functionality.

PSP Exclusives

  1. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker launched last week.
  1. Invizimals – augmented reality using camera peripheral
  2. God of War: Ghost of Sparta
  3. Tron Evelution
  4. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
  5. Toy Story 3
  6. Ace Combat: Joint Assault
  7. UFC Unleashed 10
  8. The 3rd Birthday
  9. 70 new titles by December 2010

PSN

50 million registered accounts. The Tester season 2 casting begins 6/16. thetester.com. Season 2 airs in the fall. 7/1 video delivery service in Canada. E3 booth available on PSN.

Little Big Planet 2 – Alex Evans of Media Molecule. New character abilities, new creative tools and easier to share.

Mod Nation Racers

PS Plus – subscription service. Access to exclusive content, early demos & beta invites. Discounts on PSN store. $49.00 for year, $17.99 for 3 months. 3 months free. Users own content for the life of their subscription. Available this month.

EA Partnership – John Schappert. PS3 exclusives

  • Medal of Honor. Greg Goodrich, Exec. Producer. Limited edition, including re-mastered high def Medal of Honor: Frontline game 10/12/10. exclusive tier 1 operator interviews at medalofhonor.com 6/28. multiplayer online beta 6/21.
  • Dead Space 2. Steve Papoutsis, Executive Producer. Limited edition pack with Dead Space: Extraction
  • Also Tiger Woods, Madden NFL, FIFA, Need for Speed
  • Portal 2. Gabe Newell of Valve. Coming to PS3. Also with Steam participation. 2011
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online.
  • Mafia 2. 8/24. exclusive content. Hours of arcade style gameplay and new missions free.
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Exclusive missions. Multiplayer beta exclusively on PSN. 11/16/10.
  • Gran Tourismo 5 launces 11/2 fully playable in 3D, both versions on 1 disc
  • inFAMOUS 2 – infamousthegame.com. 2011.
  • Twisted Metal. David Jaffee & Scott Campbell co-founders of East Sleep Play. 2011. PS3 exclusively. 16 player online death match plus 2 & 4 player split screen mode. NUKE game mode

At the Con – E3 2010: Nintendo Keynote Liveblog

Category : Conventions, E-vents, E3, Game On, Product Announcements, PS3, Xbox

Courtesy of Nintendo

 

Reggie Fils-Aime, President & COO of Nintendo of America

“Technology is only a tool . . .”

“The best experiences always comes when technology and game design are perfectly matched.”

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – exclusively made for Wii using Wii remote & Wii Motion Plus. Wii remote is the sword and the Nunchuck is the shield. New items include bombs, a beatle you can use to retrieve items and a whip that will also allow players to have fun with enemies and interact within the environment. To be released 2011.

“Our goal is to provide new experiences for everyone.”

Madden NFL 11, Pro Evelution Soccer 2011 & MLB 2K10, NBA Jam (exclusive to Wii), Mario Sports Mix – to be released 2011.

  1. Wii Party – 13 party game modes, including board game island, balance boat. 70 different mini games. Holiday 2010.
  2. Just Dance 2 – 40+ tracks, dance duets, just sweat mode, crew face-offs. Up to 8 players. Fall 2010. exclusively on Wii
  3. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn – Holiday 2010. Nintendo DS.
  4. Goldeneye 007– FPS. November 2010. Excessively for Wii. Split screen & online Multiplayer. 8 classic. Bond characters. 16 game modes including, Paintball, Melee only, you only live twice. Goldeneyegame.com
  5. Disney Epic Mickey – Exclusively for Wii. Warren Spector (General Mgr & Creative Director, Junction Point & Adam Creighton (Producer, Disney Epic Mickey). Holiday 2010. including forgotten disney characters & locations and theme parks. Mickey uses paint and paint thinner to change or delete characters and locations, so each players experience is different. Travel Zones are side-scrolling platform games with the look and feel of the classic b&w cartoons. Exclusive interview with Warren at e3.nintendo.com
  6. Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Side-scrolling platform game. 1st starring role in 7 years. Fall 2010. Just as adorable as ever.
  7. Dragonquest: Sentinels of the Starry Skies – Nintendo DS. 120 mini quests, 300 monsters, 900+ items to customize your character. Link with 3 friends to quest together. Tag mode will independantly seek out other nearby players to add new characters and maps to your adventure. July 11.
  8. Metroid: Other M – Wii. 8/31.
  9. Donkey Kong Country Returns – side-scroll platform. Holiday 2010

Nintendo 3DS. Saturu Iwata. 2 screens, top with 3.5”, bottom with touch screen. 3D without the glasses. Users can adjust the 3D effect with a slider control. Also improvement in graphics. Slide pad for analog control. Motion sensor & gyro sensor. Camera with 2 lenses to take photos you can view in 3D. Also watch 3D movies. Project Sora established to create games specifically for 3DS. Kid Icarus: Uprising. Communicates via wifi or with nearby 3DS regardless of what games are being played, without proactive action from user. No monthly fees. Working on Nintendogs & Cats. Some third party development includes Activision-DJ Hero, Square Enix-Kingdom Hearts,EA Sports-Madden NFL, Capcom-Resident Evil, Ubisoft-Assassin’s Creed, Konami-Metal Gear Solid

At the Con: E3 2010 – Ubisoft presents “Games You Can Feel”

Category : Conventions, E-vents, E3, Game On, PC, PS3, Xbox

Gorgeous graphics synchronized to music, creating an immersive first-person shooter is one way to begin a keynote. Fans of Ultimate Rez were thrilled to see Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who started the keynote with a game-play demo of Child of Eden showing off its Kinect capability to open the show. In addition to the motion controller compatibility, Child of Eden can be played with standard controllers. Get lost in the psychedelic action when the game is released on PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 30, 2011.

Actor and television host, Joel McHale took control to present a section of the keynote dubbed “Games you can Feel.” Keeping the up momentum, Vincent Pontbriand, Producer, and Patrick Plourde, Game Director brought us Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The newest in the popular franchise expands on Ezio Auditore’s role as an assassin in rennaisance Rome. This time, he is hunted by the Templars, shifting the focus of the game to offensive attacks, including horse fighting. As with the previous games, the graphics and scope of the environment is expansive. The online multi-player demo appears intriguing and impressive, calling on other assassins to complete missions. Don the assassin’s cloak again November 16, 2010 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Courtesy of Ubisoft

Joining Joel McHale, Shaun White appeared to show off his newest game, Shaun White Skateboarding. Nick Harper, Creative Director and Alexia Jolis-Desautels, Game Designer were also on hand to expound on the game and present a game-play demo. One of the key elements of the game is Transformation. Transformation includes shaping aspects which allow the player to influence the environment and create new skate opportunities on the fly. The new elements give each player an individual game experience.

If you are anything like me, the one thing missing from the motion controller hulabaloo is laser tag. Ubisoft is looking to fill that void with Battle Tag. Gaël Seydoux (Producer) & a group of players ran through the E3 audience to demo the game-play to show off this real life shooter you can play at home. The game is a combination of Laser Tag and a Shooter that will allow for co-op play for up to 4 players on each team. Battle Tag also allows players to track their game results on their home computer. Battle Tag will ship in late 2010 with 2 guns, 1 UbiConnect, 4 tags & 2 harnesses.

Courtesy of Ubisoft

Gaming is not all about the frantic energy of shooters, hack and slash games or platformers. These days developers are working hard to get us healthy. Enter Innergy, brought to us by New Concept Directory, Tommy François. Attach the finger sensor peripheral, which can connect to any computer anywhere. Focus on the graphics as Innergy helps you to focus on your breathing to achieve much needed relaxation. Feel the calm when Innergy is released for PC in 2011.

Keeping the focus on getting gamers active, Felicia Williams, International Brand Manager, and Michael George, Fitness Expert & Personal Trainer, introduced Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, being release exclusively on Xbox 360 for Kinect. Combining sports games like skiing, soccer & football, as well as, personal training, fitness classes or fun gym activities, plus online connectivity. Gamers can send activity challenges to connected friends and follow their stats and compare results with their friends. Interconnected with social networking so you can share your experiences with Facebook friends. June 10, 2010

Courtesy of Ubisoft

At the Con: E3 2010 – EA . . . Innovative and Online

Category : Conventions, E-vents, E3, Game On, PC, PS3, Xbox

Electronic Arts (EA) has long been one of the most popular and respected game publishers in the industry. With games to appeal to players of all genres, I am excited to see what we can expect from the company in the near future. Announcing 10 upcoming titles and a loyalty rewards club, EA has a bit of something to appeal to players of all genres.

The keynote opened strong with a frantic chase scene from the upcoming release, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Craig Sullivan, Creative Director at Criterion Games appeared to highlight the latest game from the popular franchise. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit gives players the option to play as a career driver or a police officer in high speed car chases. Criterion Games has set out to push the franchise beyond the 2-player experience by incorporating online connectivity. Sullivan expounded on their mission, “we are setting out to re-imagine Need for Speed in a Criterion Games style for a connected generation.” The Autolog component to the racer allows players for compete and compare their results with connected friends. Watch the Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit trailer below and get ready to play “cops and robbers” on PC, PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii beginning November 16, 2010.



Courtesy of Criterion Games

John Riccitiello, CEO of EA, took the stage to announce the remaining 9 games set for the coming year, starting with Dead Space 2. Steve Papoutsis, Executive Producer at Visceral Games, boasted the unmitigated success of the Dead Space franchise with the original game, comic series, animated feature and Dead Space: Extraction. Followed by Rich Briggs, Producer on Dead Space 2, who took the stage to show off some gameplay. Dead Space 2 is set to bring back all the gruesome violence and tension-filled, creepy atmosphere that helped the original game capture the horror/thriller game genre. Battle the necromorphs on PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 on January 25, 2011.

Courtesy of Visceral Games

In some of the most anticipated news, EA Los Angeles and DICE teamed up for Medal of Honor. Sean Decker, General Manager of EA LA, presented the first person shooter which takes place in Afghanistan and provides a single-player experience, as well as online multiplayer gameplay. The muti-player game includes Team Assault mode, a death match mode where teams go head-to-head attempting be the first team to earn a set number of points. To show just how impressive the multiplayer game is, EA staged a live 24-person demo. Become a Tier 1 Operator when Medal of Honor launches on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 12, 2010. Pre-order the game now to gain access to the online multiplayer beta which goes live June 21, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

Katrina Strafford, Senior Director Online at EA, provided a break in the game announcements by presenting the Gun Club. Gun Club is a rewards program for loyal EA gamers and provides early access to news, events and beta gameplay, as well as weapon unlocks and special features. The first incentive is for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VIPs who pre-order Medal of Honor. They will be rewarded with beta access to Medal of Honor beginning June 17, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

EA also likes sports to prove it, they are releasing EA Sports MMA. A game in development for two years that brings authentic details from the look of the athletes to their individual fighting styles. EA Sports MMA also works in the international aspects of the sport with different training facilities and cages, fighting styles and rules. Peter Moore, President of EA, touched on the integration of online connectivity stating, “where, as always, we’re providing deep innovation for the core, we’re also on new platforms with new experiences and we’re infusing online aggressively into everything that we do.” The EA Sports Live Broadcast functionality of EA Sports MMA is a perfect example of how online community is factoring into game-play. With EA Sports Live Broadcast, gamers create their own fighters and hype videos. The online community selects the fighters they want to see battle it out. The selected fighters meet in the cage, while the match is broadcast live online, via console and internet, with live commentary. Get ready to square off on PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 19, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

Looking to capitalize on the motion controller buzz, Andrew Wilson, Head of Development, took the stage to introduce EA SPORTS Active 2. Making the most of online functionality, wireless and biometrics with an included heart monitor, more than 70 exercises and the ability to track progress online, EA is doing their best to help keep gamers active. EA SPORTS Active 2 will launch November 16, 2010 on PS3, Wii and Xbox 360, with Kinect compatibility.

Courtesy of EA

Keeping with sports, Peter Moore was joined by Hall of Famer, Joe Montana to talk Madden NFL 11. Tying Joe Montana’s insight into the complexities of calling plays with the new features in Madden NFL 11, EA’s mission with this installment of the much beloved franchise was to create a game that was “Simpler. Quicker. Deeper.” To that end, EA created a game that cut the time to play a full game in half and gives gamers more control in calling and changing plays. They also included 3-on-3 co-op gameplay. Get in the huddle on PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360 and Wii on August 10, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

This year Sims get free will. Rob Humble, Executive VP at EA Play Label introduced us to a wold of endless possibilities with Sims 3. Building on the fully immersive game, EA is taking it further with the ability to customize just about everything, from the look and personality traits of the Sims themselves to the design of their dream home. Sims 3 is available now for PC and will be available for Nintendo DS, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 this fall.

Courtesy of EA

In a world on the brink of anihilation, you are the ultimate supersoldier struggling to save New York City from an alien invasion in Crysis 2. Cevat Yerli, Founder, CEO & President of Crytek brought an action-packed demo and announced the Holiday 2010 release on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, including 3D versions.

Courtesy of Crytek

If you are looking for an over-the-top shooter, People Can Fly, part of Epic Games, would like to introduce Bulletstorm. A first-person shooter where players are rewarded for excessively violent and creative kills. Adrian Chmielarz, Creative Director at People Can Fly, Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games and Tanya Jessen, Producer at Epic Games presented a live demo that highlighted extravagant explosions, blood and foul language. This game is all about the havoc you can wreak. Why not earn points for the carnage you inflict? Look for Bulletstorm to blow up on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 22, 2011.

Courtesy of People Can Fly & Epic Games

Finally, to close out the keynote, Mary Bihr of Lucas Arts and Greg Zeschuk of BioWare brought the news every Star Wars fanboy (and girl) has been waiting for . . . a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. The much anticipated massively multiplayer online game (MMO) touched most of the audience with a poignant and inspiring cinematic trailer titled “Hope”. In addition to the interactive game-play, allowing players to engage in player versus player battle using lightsabers and the power of The Force, each player will get their own starship. The starship will act as a home base, where players can interact with their companion characters and other players, or plan their next adventure. Watch the “Hope” trailer below and feel The Force.


Courtesy of BioWare

EA always promises innovation. With 10 upcoming releases, including games with 3D and motion control integration, they have lived up to expectation for the coming year. Integrating online connectivity and games to appeal to every kind of gamer is sure to entice more people to spark up their PCs and consoles. I’ll see you in game.

Game Review – Bayonetta

Category : Game On, PS3, Reviews, Xbox

Publisher: Sega

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3

Game Rating: M-Mature

Review Rating: 8 out of 10; BUY

Lately, I have given my PS3 all the attention. Bayonetta provided the perfect opportunity to show some love to the old 360. “To the GameStop, Alfred!” After opening the eyes of a young clerk to the reality of female gamers, Bayonetta was mine. Now, I have heard raving reviews of this stylized game. I even played the PS3 demo and knew I had to play this game. With all the hype surrounding Bayonetta one has to wonder . . . is that all it is? My answer – Yes and No.

Who could help being drawn to the female lead? Sega was reaching directly into the stereotypical male fantasy here. Sexy librarian in a skin-tight catsuit anyone? Bayonetta was raised by, but set apart from, Umbran witches. Magical powers – check. Umbran withes represent the dark or evil in the world. Along with their counterparts, Luman Sages which represent light and all things good, they possess the “Eyes of the World” which act to maintain balance in the world and create history. Danger of world domination – check. The biggest problem Bayonetta faces is her amnesia. That is right folks, the woman cannot remember who she is and she is looking for answers. Mysterious – check. What she does best, is kill. She is a hired gun that makes her living disposing of a whole host of angelic forces. Violent tendencies – absolutely.

On to the looks. Bayonetta is a raven-haired beauty who dons a catsuit, made of her own hair, that hugs in all the right places. She is of the magical persuasion and uses her hair to summon demons to aid in dispatching heavenly creatures in battle. Freaky and a little kinky – double-check. Rocking out the outfit are the most fantastic set of boots to make this gamer drool. Seriously, what angel does a gal need to kill to get some of her own 5″ boots equipped with auto-firing gun holsters? Add a lovely pair of glasses, a british accent and a few innuendos and there you have Bayonetta. Oh, did I mention the stripper pole?

About those magical powers . . . I’ve already told you about the hair demons and that truly is the most awesome of her magical powers. Right from the intro cut scene you learn Bayonetta has the power to open portals to alternate dimensions which she uses to communicate with people in the “real world” and call demons from Hell. She does have a few more tricks up her sleeve, like the ability to change form;  make her jump and she morphs into a butterfly. Soon you discover she can release her “beast within” and become a panther, providing essential speed and agility. When she evades an enemy just before it attacks, she engages “Witch Time” which allows her to freeze time to finish off her enemies or walk on water. In the moonlight, Bayonetta can engage “Witch’s Walk” to walk up walls, in some environments.

As for the supporting characters, there are few. The developers have created just enough extraneous characters to tell the story and that is it. There are few extras here. Even as you travel through the world, everyday people are mere shadows of those walking around in an alternate dimension. Here’s a quick summary of the supporting cast, without giving away too much plot:

Rodin - a large black man, Rodin is owner of the night club, Gates of Hell. He is also a gun-runner with a personal portal to the underworld, where he makes or procures Bayonetta’s weaponry, and lollipops, of course.

Enzo - a short portly italian man, Enzo is a rat. He is loud and obnoxious, moreover he looks out only for himself.

Jeanne - a tall blond with an affinity for motorcycles, Jeanne is a sister Umbran witch. In this game, she is the proverbial cat with 9 lives. Jeanne knows Bayonetta and she knows what is in her past. She has the answers Bayonetta needs. If Jeanne is a sister witch, why is she always fighting you? Is she a friend or foe?

Luka - a charming ladies man and journalist, Luka has been chasing after Bayonetta almost his whole life. At an early age, he saw Bayonetta murder his father. A great part of him would like to bring about her demise and see justice done, yet he is afraid of her, or is he overwhelmingly attracted to her?

Cereza - a small girl, wandering alone in the town of Vigrid, Cereza believes Bayonetta is her mother. She does resemble Bayonetta quite a bit, but it is hard to envision the gun-toting heroine as a mom. Along with her knit stuffed kitty, Cheshire, Cereza is the key to Bayonetta’s future. The true question is what can she reveal about Bayonetta’s past.

Gameplay is good and actions are fluid. There is not a lot to master in this game and it does not require any great skill. I am actually excited about this. I am not a huge fan of massive kill moves that need strings of commands. Bayonetta does not require a 15 button code to execute a single move. That is not to say there are no combo commands - there are. There are many combo sequences to try and I highly suggest you do. They are not necessary; however, it is what makes the game so much fun. Get on a combo kick and watch the hair fly. Aside from utilizing her own weapons, Bayonetta can take advantage of the weaponry her fallen enemies leave after their death. Firing a gun is fun, but wielding a battle-ax is great too.

The graphics are gorgeous. Characters are bright and vibrant. The developers took full advantage of the light and dark concept. After this game, you will never think of heavenly entities the same way. Archangels look like relatives of pterodactyls in colorful robes, some even carrying musical instruments as weapons. Bosses are truly twisted incarnations of cherubin children. The Demonic hellbeasts of hair are creative and differ with each angelic host they are called to defeat.

The world you travel through is in decay after hundreds of years of destruction. Most “real-world” locations are in some level of ruin, or are actively being destroyed. There is a blending of old world styling with new world convention. Most locations are set among cobblestone roads and antique brick buildings. Meanwhile, there is a modern-day air base, highway and a glittering metropolis on an island in the sea. The locations throughout the world and dimensions are well done, if sparse. Do not travel far from your appointed task, you will not get far. I can appreciate the limited environment. Too often developers create a vast environment with little purpose. In these cases, the world looks great, but gamers can spend the better part of an hour wandering an empty village, breaking jars to collect magical coins to find they were 20 paces from the Boss at the beginning of the level. That is not to say games that encourage exploration are not good; however, that is not why I picked up this game.

The storyline is interesting and amnesia as a device to encourage our desire to know more was a good idea. What was more curious was how the information is revealed throughout the game. The basics of the plot can be gleaned early on; however, there is a bigger story being told and you will find more than a few WTF moments, wondering how it all ties together. The dialogue, particularly in the early chapters, is dreadful. Thankfully, as the game continues there is less trying to make us laugh and more of a wish to progress with the story. That being said, the dialogue sequences can get lengthy in the latter chapters. The biggest mystery has to do with the cut scenes. In my opinion, cut scenes are just as important to some games as the gameplay. Unfortunately, this is where the game let me down. The cut scenes are flashbacks, that is not the problem. The majority of the cut scenes consist of stills, presented as scenes from a film. This is a mistake on the part of the developers, particularly with a game being praised for its slick cinematic feel. Something I loved about this game is the camera control, or lack of. I will admit, I dislike games that require gamers to control the characters actions and perspective. I find it annoying and unnecessary. Bayonetta allows you to control camera perspective; however, you will not miss a thing if you never change the angle.

All in all, Bayonetta was a great way to spend a day for this hack-and-slash lover. The brilliant graphics, easy gameplay and a bevy of attack options (especially the hair demons) made this an excellent game. To my dismay, I ended the game with a general sense the developers did just enough to make the game. The sparse locations, still photography cut scenes and inspired button-mashing do get tedious and the game loses some of its momentum.

If you still aren’t sure you want to lay down the $59.99 to buy Bayonetta, download the demo available on Xbox 360 and PS3. For more information, visit the official game website.

At the Con: PAX East 2010 – Gameplay from the Show Floor

Category : Conventions, E-vents, Game On, PAX East, PC, PS3, Xbox

Last weekend I was one of the lucky 50,000+ gamers to attend the first PAX East event. Held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, PAX East created a community, no, a home for like-minded geeks who like to play games. PAX East is a gaming convention, so the biggest draw was the game-play.

The 1-1/2 hour line to play the demo, clearly made Red Dead Redemption the most anticipated game of PAX East. The third person western shooter from Rockstar Games looks to redeem the disappointment players felt with Red Dead Revolver. Immediately players will be drawn in by complete and expansive landscapes. The beautiful landscapes come fully inhabited with wildlife such as coyotes, rabbits, horses and bears, all of which you can hunt, but be warned, they can hunt you too. One of the new features is Deadeye, letting the player slow time and mark targets to improve accuracy and create adrenaline-pumping shoot-outs. Look for Red Dead Redemption to be released May 18, 2010 for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Another game with a large presence was Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands from Ubisoft. I know what you are thinking . . . another video game/film tie-in. No need for concern, the game has no ties to the upcoming movie release. The third person adventure is reminiscent of the originalPrince of Persia game and combines aspects from original game players will appreciate, such as acrobatics and classic wall-run movement, with a more powerful gaming engine and the ability to control nature for some interesting game-play. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is scheduled for release May 18, 2010 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

Perhaps war games are more your speed. Atomic Games has you in mind. With roots in creating military simulations, the company looks to put you into the action with Breach. A first person, multi-player shooter where you play as an elite member of a CIA field team – the kind the government sends in when no one can know. This game uses real world tactics. One of the most exciting features is that just about anything you can use for cover in the game, you can destroy. Shoot through brick to create the perfect sniper position, punch through ceilings to get the drop on enemies, Breach will have you looking at FPS action in a whole new way. Breach will be available exclusively for download on Xbox Live Arcade beginning July 1, 2010.

One of the things the Penny Arcade crew feels is important is giving independent game developers a voice. One way they help is by sponsoring the Indie Showcase. Indie game developers get space on the exhibit floor to demo their games as a way to get their games in your hands. With enough people talking about their games, the hope is the interest and the demand will grow.

One such game is Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley from Twisted Pixels. Have you ever wanted to play the superhero in a comic book? Here’s your chance. Accompanied by your snarky costume and your lovely sidekick, you will fight and shoot villains as they threaten the peace of your city. Wreak havoc on hordes of ladies as you make your way to face off against your arch-nemesis, Brad. Comic Jumper brings back a bit of nostalgia, is funny and fun to play.

Shank is another indie game that everyone, including myself, is excited for. Developed by Klei Entertainment, this is a no-holds barred, 2D, side-scrolling bloodbath. Parents, I do not recommend this game for children. If you like a hack-and-slash game, this is for you. There is not a whole lot of information out there about the lead character, but here is what you need to know. He has a score to settle, there are a lot of guys he has to kill and he is very good at killing. As far as the weaponry goes, he has pistols, a chainsaw and knives. Truly, you do not need any more, you can create more than enough damage to quench your blood thirst. The game-play is gory and fantastic. The art is simple, yet gorgeous. Shank proves you do not need over the top graphics to make a good game. Unfortunately, I did not get a released date, but keep your eyes out for Shank to be released for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC.

There were, of course, many more games that graced the exhibit hall. This article is only a quick overview of the games I got to experience hands-on. One thing is sure, no matter what kind of gamer you are, there is a game being developed for you. So far, 2010 has me excited to spark up my console and upgrade my gaming PC.

Game Review: Bayonetta

Category : Game On, PS3, Reviews, Xbox

Publisher: Sega

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3

Game Rating: M-Mature

Review Rating: 8 out of 10; BUY

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsAJ0EaTi4E]

(Game trailer courtesy of Viso Games [YouTube User, Games])

Lately, I have given my PS3 all the attention. Bayonetta provided the perfect opportunity to show some love to the old 360. “To the GameStop, Alfred!” After opening the eyes of a young clerk to the reality of female gamers, Bayonetta was mine. Now, I have heard raving reviews of this stylized game. I even played the PS3 demo and knew I had to play this game. With all the hype surrounding Bayonetta one has to wonder . . . is that all it is? My answer – Yes and No.

Who could help being drawn to the female lead? Sega was reaching directly into the stereotypical male fantasy here. Sexy librarian in a skin-tight catsuit anyone? Bayonetta was raised by, but set apart from, Umbran witches. Magical powers – check. Umbran withes represent the dark or evil in the world. Along with their counterparts, Luman Sages which represent light and all things good, they possess the “Eyes of the World” which act to maintain balance in the world and create history. Danger of world domination – check. The biggest problem Bayonetta faces is her amnesia. That is right folks, the woman cannot remember who she is and she is looking for answers. Mysterious – check. What she does best, is kill. She is a hired gun that makes her living disposing of a whole host of angelic forces. Violent tendencies – absolutely.

On to the looks. Bayonetta is a raven-haired beauty who dons a catsuit, made of her own hair, that hugs in all the right places. She is of the magical persuasion and uses her hair to summon demons to aid in dispatching heavenly creatures in battle. Freaky and a little kinky – double-check. Rocking out the outfit are the most fantastic set of boots to make this gamer drool. Seriously, what angel does a gal need to kill to get some of her own 5″ boots equipped with auto-firing gun holsters? Add a lovely pair of glasses, a british accent and a few innuendos and there you have Bayonetta. Oh, did I mention the stripper pole?

About those magical powers . . . I’ve already told you about the hair demons and that truly is the most awesome of her magical powers. Right from the intro cut scene you learn Bayonetta has the power to open portals to alternate dimensions which she uses to communicate with people in the “real world” and call demons from Hell. She does have a few more tricks up her sleeve, like the ability to change form;  make her jump and she morphs into a butterfly. Soon you discover she can release her “beast within” and become a panther, providing essential speed and agility. When she evades an enemy just before it attacks, she engages “Witch Time” which allows her to freeze time to finish off her enemies or walk on water. In the moonlight, Bayonetta can engage “Witch’s Walk” to walk up walls, in some environments.

As for the supporting characters, there are few. The developers have created just enough extraneous characters to tell the story and that is it. There are few extras here. Even as you travel through the world, everyday people are mere shadows of those walking around in an alternate dimension. Here’s a quick summary of the supporting cast, without giving away too much plot:

Rodin - a large black man, Rodin is owner of the night club, Gates of Hell. He is also a gun-runner with a personal portal to the underworld, where he makes or procures Bayonetta’s weaponry, and lollipops, of course.

Enzo - a short portly italian man, Enzo is a rat. He is loud and obnoxious, moreover he looks out only for himself.

Jeanne - a tall blond with an affinity for motorcycles, Jeanne is a sister Umbran witch. In this game, she is the proverbial cat with 9 lives. Jeanne knows Bayonetta and she knows what is in her past. She has the answers Bayonetta needs. If Jeanne is a sister witch, why is she always fighting you? Is she a friend or foe?

Luka - a charming ladies man and journalist, Luka has been chasing after Bayonetta almost his whole life. At an early age, he saw Bayonetta murder his father. A great part of him would like to bring about her demise and see justice done, yet he is afraid of her, or is he overwhelmingly attracted to her?

Cereza - a small girl, wandering alone in the town of Vigrid, Cereza believes Bayonetta is her mother. She does resemble Bayonetta quite a bit, but it is hard to envision the gun-toting heroine as a mom. Along with her knit stuffed kitty, Cheshire, Cereza is the key to Bayonetta’s future. The true question is what can she reveal about Bayonetta’s past.

Gameplay is good and actions are fluid. There is not a lot to master in this game and it does not require any great skill. I am actually excited about this. I am not a huge fan of massive kill moves that need strings of commands. Bayonetta does not require a 15 button code to execute a single move. That is not to say there are no combo commands - there are. There are many combo sequences to try and I highly suggest you do. They are not necessary; however, it is what makes the game so much fun. Get on a combo kick and watch the hair fly. Aside from utilizing her own weapons, Bayonetta can take advantage of the weaponry her fallen enemies leave after their death. Firing a gun is fun, but wielding a battle-ax is great too.

The graphics are gorgeous. Characters are bright and vibrant. The developers took full advantage of the light and dark concept. After this game, you will never think of heavenly entities the same way. Archangels look like relatives of pterodactyls in colorful robes, some even carrying musical instruments as weapons. Bosses are truly twisted incarnations of cherubin children. The Demonic hellbeasts of hair are creative and differ with each angelic host they are called to defeat.

The world you travel through is in decay after hundreds of years of destruction. Most “real-world” locations are in some level of ruin, or are actively being destroyed. There is a blending of old world styling with new world convention. Most locations are set among cobblestone roads and antique brick buildings. Meanwhile, there is a modern-day air base, highway and a glittering metropolis on an island in the sea. The locations throughout the world and dimensions are well done, if sparse. Do not travel far from your appointed task, you will not get far. I can appreciate the limited environment. Too often developers create a vast environment with little purpose. In these cases, the world looks great, but gamers can spend the better part of an hour wandering an empty village, breaking jars to collect magical coins to find they were 20 paces from the Boss at the beginning of the level. That is not to say games that encourage exploration are not good; however, that is not why I picked up this game.

The storyline is interesting and amnesia as a device to encourage our desire to know more was a good idea. What was more curious was how the information is revealed throughout the game. The basics of the plot can be gleaned early on; however, there is a bigger story being told and you will find more than a few WTF moments, wondering how it all ties together. The dialogue, particularly in the early chapters, is dreadful. Thankfully, as the game continues there is less trying to make us laugh and more of a wish to progress with the story. That being said, the dialogue sequences can get lengthy in the latter chapters. The biggest mystery has to do with the cut scenes. In my opinion, cut scenes are just as important to some games as the gameplay. Unfortunately, this is where the game let me down. The cut scenes are flashbacks, that is not the problem. The majority of the cut scenes consist of stills, presented as scenes from a film. This is a mistake on the part of the developers, particularly with a game being praised for its slick cinematic feel. Something I loved about this game is the camera control, or lack of. I will admit, I dislike games that require gamers to control the characters actions and perspective. I find it annoying and unnecessary. Bayonetta allows you to control camera perspective; however, you will not miss a thing if you never change the angle.

All in all, Bayonetta was a great way to spend a day for this hack-and-slash lover. The brilliant graphics, easy gameplay and a bevy of attack options (especially the hair demons) made this an excellent game. To my dismay, I ended the game with a general sense the developers did just enough to make the game. The sparse locations, still photography cut scenes and inspired button-mashing do get tedious and the game loses some of its momentum.

If you still aren’t sure you want to lay down the $59.99 to buy Bayonetta, download the demo available on Xbox 360 and PS3. For more information, visit the official game website.