I’m normally not one to play fighting games. Sure, I’d like to get into them the way most pro players do, but it always seemed like the learning curve for fast-paced, 2D-fighters has been too steep. However, I don’t want to feel as though I’m playing a “dumbed down version” of a fighter. Luckily, it looks like the upcoming Persona 4 Arena is going to change that, offering an experience that both pros and newbies can enjoy together.
I love me a hard video game. Dark Souls, Super Ghouls N Ghosts, Battletoads, etc. all appeal to me because while these games can be relentlessly difficult, each death pushes me to try and make it just a little bit further than before. When I saw that the game Spelunky had hit XBLA, I decided to check out the trial. When I realized that the game shares a brutal level of difficulty with the games mentioned previously, I immediately purchased it. Goddamnit, I love Spelunky.
Spelunky is a brutally difficult 2D platformer with an old school feel.
Originally created by Derek Yu as a (still available) freeware game for Windows, Spelunky is a 2D roguelike platformer that tells the story of an Indiana Jones-esque adventurer who explores an ever changing cave system in the hopes of reaching the end. Throughout your travels you’ll rescue damsels (or dudes or dogs!) in distress, find golden idols protected by nefarious traps, and unlock new gear to better help you survive the caves. However, anything and everything will kill you, ranging from bats to arrow traps to giant scorpions. Hell, even shopkeepers won’t think twice about swiftly ending your game should you anger them. But to say that this is all the game is: a 2D platforming romp, wouldn’t be fair to Spelunky as it offers so much more than what’s on the surface.
Awesomenauts is a lot of awesome mixed with MOBA.
The MOBA genre (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is one that I personally have never been into, but once I saw the beautiful and witty art style of Awesomenauts, I decided to give it a endeavor. If you can deal with some unbalancing issues, you will find Awesomenuats to be a simplified 2D arena shooter with some real legs to keep you coming back.
If you are familiar with the MOBA genre then getting into Awesomenauts will not take long. The goal of each match is to conquer your opponents’ base by destroying their turrets defending their main base. This is done by players controlling a group of different classes, each with their own set of unique abilities. Each stage possess its’ own set of different ways to approach your opponents’ base, and some even have hidden paths to sneak up on your enemy.
Following up on last week’s news regarding a cryptic e-mail from ATLUS, it has been revealed that Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena will be released outside of Japan. The gorgeous 2D fighter from ATLUS and Arc System Works will be renamed to the much simpler Persona 4 Arena and will release on the Xbox360 and Playstation 3. The story takes place two years after the original game and involves the heroes (as well as characters from Persona 3) investigating a fighting tournament taking place inside the T.V world. Can’t wait to hear more details about the title, but for now here are a few screenshots to whet your appetite.
In an e-mail sent to members of the ATLUS Faithful newsletter, recipients received a blank message and a completely black image. After saving the image and adjusting brightness levels, the words “Stay Tuned” appear in front of what looks like broken glass.
Creepy? Yes. Awesome? Double Yes.
The rumor behind the cryptic message is that we will be hearing about Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena getting localized. For those who aren’t in the know, the game is a 2D fighter developed by Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue) that hasn’t yet been confirmed for a release outside of Japan. Being a fan of both Arc System Works and an even bigger fan of Persona 4, I’m extremely excited with this news. We’ll keep you posted when the mystery behind the message is revealed. Now if they would only start hinting towards the next Shin Megami Tensei game…
Generic brown shooters are boring. Sure, I play them, but I’m not exactly sure why. A majority of the third/first-person shooters that came out last year are good in their own right, but they don’t seem all that original or engaging. The stories in these games may have one or two moments that really suck you in, but for the most part it’s the same stuff we’ve gotten before. In a sense, TPS/FPS games could be considered the procedural TV cop dramas of video games in that the market is so saturated with them that its hard to notice or care when a new one is released because they all just tend to bleed together. That being said, if shooting games are the cop dramas, then Rayman Origins is the wacky Saturday morning cartoon show you watched as a kid. This game reminds me why I hate TV cop dramas.
Rayman Origins, developed and published by Ubisoft, is a 2D sidecrolling platformer starring Rayman and his friends as they battle an evil force that has been disturbed by, well, Rayman and his friends (in a hilarious, yet cool opening cinematic). For the most part, this is all the story you get which is a breath of fresh air for people who just want to enjoy the game. The game begins with you and up to 3 of your friends playing as Rayman, the big blue frog-thing Globox, and tiny blue creatures known as Teensies. Players go from world to world, completing levels and their challenges in order to obtain Electoons which are needed to continue on to new worlds, unlock secret areas, and unlock new characters. Players can jump, attack, sprint, and… well that’s about it aside from several new moves learned throughout the game. Although this isn’t such a bad thing as you have to worry less about controls and more about having fun.
Each level is pretty straightforward, with a few secret areas to find. Ubisoft deserves much praise for the level design though, as many of the levels are lain out so that a player can sprint through an entire stage jumping on enemies, swinging from vines, breaking through barriers, and jumping up walls without breaking their stride. Lums, which act as points towards a level end reward of more Electoons, are littered throughout the stages both hidden and in plain sight. Trying to collect all or as many of them as you can adds to the game’s challenge as many extra Lums will float away or are tucked in a narrow passageway surrounded by spikes. Nothing changes too much from level to level in terms of the gameplay formula, although the game does throw new things at you from time to time, such as the last stage of every world which has you riding on the back of a mosquito and shooting enemies ala Gradius.
As I said before, Rayman Origins is a cartoon. This game has got to be one of the most vibrant, detailed, gorgeous games I’ve played since Odin Sphere. Everything from the environments to the characters is beautifully drawn to the point where you feel like this shouldn’t be a video game, but rather a cartoon on Nickelodeon. The in game worlds at first seem to be your standard “Forest World, Ice World, Fire World”. However, these areas have so much personality and charm that you can’t help but fall in love. Whether you’re jumping on drums in the Desert Of Dijiridoos or dodging flying forks in Gourmand Land, you can be assured that each new world will be completely unique and a blast to play. The art style and the environments are great on their own, but the music really brings it all together. Everything from ukuleles to kazoos and even chipmunk-esque vocals (I promise you, it’s good) further suck you into Rayman’s world and fill your head with tunes that get stuck for days.
Not owning Rayman Origins will leave a cold, empty space in your game collection. Not playing Rayman Origins will leave a cold, empty space in your heart. This game reminds me about how awesome it was to be a kid, where I played video games to have a great time and challenge myself as opposed to playing for trophies/achievements. A lot of gamers will pass this game up thinking that Rayman Origins is some kiddie game, but since when did “Game for kids” mean “Game not for grown-ups”? Oh well, their loss.
Final Score: 10/10