Archive for February, 2010

Bayonetta – Welcome To MY Fantasy Zone~

February 27, 2010

Hideki Kamiya isn’t a name that comes to mind when discussing auteur status (Kind of a theme here this week, er, month?), which sucks since the guy directed Capcom greats like Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry. True, that could be because there’s no meaningful throughline in Kamiya’s work. If there’s any message from him it’s to kick ass in the most beautiful, hyper-stylized fashion possible — or rather, to kick evil’s ass so beautifully it flies 1,000,000,000 miles into space before colliding with a million star-fueled explosions. Video games don’t need to make you cry with flowers, pulhoons and braids and stuff, sometimes they just need to make you feel like an all-powerful warrior, someone tough and flamboyant like Claire Redfield, a flaming wolf goddess, Viewtiful Joe or Dante — y’know. Characters.

Like Bayonetta!

You want to TOUCH me~?


Performance Review: Heavy Rain Demo – Press X to Shift Expectations

February 21, 2010


I played the Heavy Rain demo and I got some thoughts.

The scenery looks great. David Cage, the big kahuna behind the game, at least got the atmosphere right. It’s heavy.  And it’s rainy. It’s easy to say, with the constant rain, the disgusting urban setting, and the serial killer plot that Cage is aping Se7en, but since he apes Se7en’s look so well I can’t really complain. I’m a big fan of cities, rain and detectives in rainy cities, so when I saw those opening moments I couldn’t help but feel a swell of excitement.

Presentation-wise, Heavy Rain‘s solid. No heads-up display or doodads get in the world’s way, so the game’s very immersive. At first.

The tutorial that explains the controls classes things up pretty well. Pure white text hovers in the air or appears plastered on concrete detailing which button to press to interact with a car door or which combination of buttons to press to sidle across a wall. It’s all context-sensitive stuff, so there isn’t just one button dedicated to “hit” and another for “jump.” I think the word for that here is intuitive. This is how the Quick Time Events work as well.

Yeah, Quick Time Events. The Simon Says press-this-button-now-or-else baloney made famous first (?) in Dragon’s Lair, given a name in Shenmue, then abused by God of War, Kingdom Hearts and the recent Resident Evils, Metal Gears and Legend of Zeldas, and uh, gosh, nearly everything these days I guess. So it’s like they don’t even matter anymore. Done well, like in Resident Evil 4 they can offer an arcadey thrill. When that’s all there is, that can get pretty dull. And besides walking around and interacting with car doors and muddy hills, that’s all there is in Heavy Rain so far.


Tatsunoko vs. Capcom – Crossover Crazy

February 9, 2010

fred flintstone and george jetson would be FLIPPIN' OOOOUUUT

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, the latest in Capcom’s wacky-yet-honored Vs. series, arrives as the perfect palette cleanser between installments of the chess-like, rage-inducing Street Fighter IV. Like Nintendo’s fanservice-friendly Smash Bros. Brawl, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom relies on easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master gameplay and a heaping helping of nostalgia. Already familiar with Capcom’s stable of characters — Ryu, Chun-Li, Morrigan, Soki from Onimusha, Mega Man (in helmet-less Legends attire) and Viewtiful Joe (most likely in his last game appearance), etc. — it’s tough to get wistful over the Tatsunoko side, represented by a bizarre cast from the anime production company most famous over here for Macross, Speed Racer, and Samurai Pizza Cats. Sadly, characters from those properties aren’t in the game. Hopefully they’ll appear in a sequel?

Regardless, the anime characters — Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan from Gatchaman, Doronjo and Yatterman-1 from Yatterman, Karas, a giant robot named Gold Lightan (?!) to name a few — blend in with the Capcom crew seamlessly. Heck, they’re all cut from the same melodramatic manga cloth anyway! And they all manage to endear themselves rather quickly despite knowing nothing about them beyond a few Wikipedia skims, and any cultural disconnect doesn’t matter once you see the crazy, funny, cool shit these characters can do. And hey … some of them are so … attractive …