Friday, April 20, 2012

Mario Tennis Open (3DS) New Trailer

Showcasing the numerous customization options for your Mii in Mario Tennis Open, this new trailer has been released by Nintendo of America fresh off the heels of Japan's Nintendo Direct presentation. Dress up as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong, and more to boost your stats on the court. It'll be a game, set, and match before you know it. Mario Tennis Open takes to the court on May 20th in North America.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS) Logo and First Screens

During Nintendo's Nintendo Direct video presentation, the company unveiled a game that we knew was coming to the system. We just didn't know what it would be called. Well, we have our answer-- New Super Mario Bros. 2. Check out the logo for the game and the first screen as taken from the video. Notice the return of Super Mario Bros. 3's raccoon suit and a gold version of Mario. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is planned for release this August in Japan.

Rank Up! - Indiana Jones

Let's cap off the week with Rank Up! We're going off-topic this time with Indiana Jones! The Indiana Jones movies are some of the best blockbusters I have ever witnessed on this great earth of ours. I don't always watch movies, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis. ...Anyway... I was going to make a top five list of my favorite movie trilogies, but why not cut out the middleman and just do Rank Up!? These four movies are the ones I always watch when they appear on television, even though I already own all of them and can watch them unedited at any time. Any fan knows what four movies I'll be ranking, but for those that don't, here you are:

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


With a trademark whip, fedora, leather jacket, fear of snakes, wit, and five o'clock shadow, Indiana Jones is the most legendary fictional archaeologist on the planet. His movies have grossed nearly two billion dollars worldwide, and for good reason-- they are incredibly entertaining adventures that take you for a wild ride across the far corners of the earth. When Harrison Ford puts on the familiar wardrobe of Jones, you know you're in for something special.

4) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


While the other three Indiana Jones movies deal with biblical mythos, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull dealt with aliens. The two decade wait between Last Crusade and this movie made it so it would have been impossible for Crystal Skull to live up to the hype. And it was impossible. The main villain wasn't very foreboding, Jones' son was played by Shia Lebeouf, an awful actor that should have stuck with the Disney Channel and one that I'm sick of Spielberg shoving down people's throats, and the infamous fridge scene was implausible at best. That said, I really enjoyed seeing Marion Ravenwood return as Jones' love interest and marrying her longtime boyfriend, some of the action scenes were entertaining (though Shia swinging from vine to vine like Donkey Kong with a bunch of monkeys was stupid), and the trademark comedy of the franchise was present and accounted for.

3) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


The only Indiana Jones movie that had nothing to do with the others, the Temple of Doom was decidedly the darkest of the four movies. When you have hearts being pulled out from people's chests, human sacrifices into scalding lava, and Indiana Jones being possessed, you have some disturbing imagery to see. That doesn't mean the movie isn't bad. Sure, Willie was incredibly obnoxious, but Short Round was funny enough. Scenes like the dinner from hell, the mine cart chase, and the spike room booby trap where Jones says "We are going to die" in grumpy fashion make for some sublime entertainment. The villain was delightfully evil and his plan of stealing a village's children to mine for the final Shankara stone made for the desire for Jones to kick some bad guy butt. The dark nature of the film turned me off a little, but it is still a great movie.

2) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark


The very first Indiana Jones movie took us to what our hero does best, taking treasure from a booby trap-infested area. Of course, all of his work would be for nothing as the villain of the film, Bellock, would take the golden idol from Indiana. We would first see Jones's love interest, Marion Ravenwood, learn of his fear of snakes early in the film (and see how he would have to face it in the asp-filled Well of Souls), and discover that Jones is one funny guy (like when he was facing a saber-clad swordsman and basically said the hell with it and nonchalantly shot him). The desert chase, the chase through the city streets of Cairo with Marion in one of many baskets, and the final scene where the fury of the ark rains down on the Nazi horde. To say this movie is a classic is a disservice. It is mythical in quality.

1) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


I have chosen... wisely. River Phoenix as a young Indiana Jones (he's named after the dog, y'know) was an interesting look into the early life of the hero. We saw how he got his famous fedora, where he began his whip training, and how he got his phobia of snakes. The actual plot of finding the ultimate treasure, the holy grail, was intensely intriguing and fun to watch. The relationship between Indiana and his father was adorable and warmed my heart. Scenes like the church turned library in Venice ("X marks the spot"), the boat chase, the castle revelations, the motorcycle chase, Hitler signing Jones' journal in Berlin, the blimp hilarity ("no ticket!"), the tank battle, and so many more memorable scenes make Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade my personal favorite Indiana Jones film.

===

We're not done with this week on SuperPhillip Central. A Nintendo Direct is planned for tonight, offering new news and hopefully news of new games. Stay tuned for all the fun!

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS) North American Box Art

The North American box art for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, a game due out early July, has been released by Square Enix. I like it much better than the Japanese one. The North American box art has the villains on one side and the heroes on the other. There's the logo in the middle with the anniversary logo for Final Fantasy on top of it. Very nice, indeed!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Report Card - Xbox 360

Last week I debuted an all-new segment to SuperPhillip Central, Report Card. I graded the Nintendo Wii's hardware, software, features, and online in fine fashion. Now, it is the Xbox 360's turn to be schooled. Sure, the Xbox 360 is currently outselling its competitors in sales, but does it deserve to? Let's find out with our second installment of Report Card.


Hardware

Let me say four words to preface this portion of grading: Red Ring of Death. It plagued the Xbox 360 for the majority of its life, and even made Microsoft spend a billion dollars or so in repair costs. They've easily made up that money. Why? Because gamers are willing to take it up the you-know-what and give a blind eye. When I read or hear people buying second, third, fourth, or even fifth 360s, I cannot help but throw up a little in my mouth. Yeah... that'll show Microsoft that they can't build shoddy hardware and get away with it! You show 'em, gamers! I actually had principles, so when my 360 died, I did not bother buying a new one. And I won't either. Gamers might be pathetic little losers who don't mind getting screwed over on a consistent basis, but I'm most certainly not one of those.

Grade: F

Controller

The ergonomic controller of the Xbox 360 is simply divine, regardless of what color you decide to buy. The analog sticks are not parallel like the PlayStation brand, so they offer more comfort and ease of use. Like Sony's controller, they can also be clicked in. The colorful Skittle-like buttons for A, B, X, and Y feel smooth and are shiny. Additionally, the triggers and buttons on the shoulders of the controller work wonderfully as well. But by far the most ingenious feature of the controller is the Home button, smack dab in the middle of the controller. At any point during a game you can press it in and have the home menu pop up. You can see what friends are doing, check out desired achievements, and much more all without leaving your game. That said, not all is well with Microsoft's 360 controller. The d-pad is a nightmare and one of the more worse ones in gaming history.


Grade: B

Kinect

You are the controller... well, if your controller was unresponsive and had a huge delay. That is exactly what you get with Kinect. Many people called the Wii a fad (even though the system has had a normal console cycle-- but don't tell the trolls that!), but then they don't bat an eye to Kinect. At least the Wii had an abundant amount of games worth playing. You cannot really say that with Kinect. Maybe Kinect Sports and Dance Central? Everything else is a tech demo or doesn't work the way it is supposed to. The reason is because of the aforementioned delay between actions and what happens on screen. Kinect is promising tech, but all it has done is made gamers (the most afraid of change people in the world, it seems) hate motion controls even more.


Grade: D

Features

The Xbox 360 can download plenty of unique content for owners. There's applications for YouTube, Zune, ESPN, HBO Go, Xfinity, and many more. There is a myriad of uses for one's Xbox 360, and most of them turn your system into an elaborate media hub. With Kinect you can use your voice to activate certain programs and guide yourself through menus. Sure, an actual controller would work just as well (maybe even better), but hey, people love gimmicks!


Speaking of gimmicks, Microsoft opted to "borrow" the Mii idea from Nintendo with their version of the humanoid creations. You know them as Xbox 360 Avatars. These don't allow as much customization, but they are more lifelike than their source of inspiration. Unlike Miis you can actually dress your Avatar in one of many outfits. Some games even tie achievements (which is the next subject of this segment) with certain costumes. I remember one Sonic game unlocking an Eggman costume for performing a certain objective.


A feature that started on Xbox 360 are achievements. They don't do anything except give you a higher Gamerscore to brag to your friends about, but they create satisfaction in accomplishing in-game goals that you might not have tried without them. In fact, I've played games much longer than I otherwise would have thanks to achievements. They are a welcome addition to gaming, but I hope the next generation of this invention gives players actual in-game goods for completing them.

Then there's the matter of Xbox Live Arcade, the best source for original and not-so-original arcade-style experiences, quick downloads, and indie titles. Even if Microsoft's offerings aren't the greatest, the sheer amount of compelling content makes XBLA the place to go for digital games like Rez, Braid, Shadow Complex, and a whole slew of other games.

Grade: A-

Online

Xbox Live is without a doubt the best online money can buy. Though, if I am spending $60 a year just to play online, why am I still being bombarded with ads? I already know Microsoft is a money-hungry company that cares more about profits than the consumer's experience (more so than any other company), but this is ridiculous. My money should take care of having to need ads.

Seriously though, why should I have to pay for online when the PlayStation Network offers almost the same amount of online functionality but for free? Sure, there's no party chat option on PSN, but is that worth a $60 difference in price? Xbox Live is full of bigots, racists, and homophobes, and it really paints a poor picture of humanity. It just shows that through anonymity, cowards the world over will use voice chat and messaging to create enough expletives and hate-filled language to make the Angry Video Game Nerd blush.

Then there's games that are now totally unplayable like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It is full of hackers, glitchers, and cheaters who make playing online virtually impossible. Why should Activision fix it when they have the newest Call of Duty to worry about? It's things like this that make the sums of Xbox Live's parts just a pain to deal with. Why should I pay for the luxury of being called gay, shot by a person standing outside the actual level, and seeing an assault of advertisements?

Grade: C

First-party Exclusives

I originally wanted an Xbox 360 for the sole reason of being able to play Rare's games. They were one of my favorite developers in the world, but Microsoft (as good as they are at this) decided to dissolve them and make them do Avatars and Kinect software. Thankfully, this change didn't happen for some time. Xbox 360 owners got sensational titles like the vehicle-assembly, mission-accomplishing Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, the pinata-luring, pinata-mating Viva Pinata and its excellent sequel, and a game that is near and dear to my heart because it is based off the best FPS on the Nintendo 64-- it's none other than Perfect Dark Zero, which I enjoyed more than Halo just because of the mission structure and bots in multiplayer! Yes!

Microsoft is obviously more Western-focused than other first-parties. This is a turn-off for me as their output for this generation is in my eyes the worst between Nintendo, Sony, and them. I can only handle so much Halo before I am burnt out on it. Unlike Mario, Zelda, LittleBigPlanet, and Ratchet & Clank, Halo doesn't really change its gameplay between entries. All that changes are the set pieces and scenarios. That is the definition of a rehash in my book (take note, friends). Then you have another shooter for dudes and fratboys known as Gears of War and a more than competent racer in Forza Motorsport.


Even their attempts to enthuse the more casual gamer come off as insulting. Their Kinect lineup reeks of ill-conceived ideas and knockoffs. I mean, Kinect Sports is basically Wii Sports for the whole body, and Dance Central is basically Just Dance for the whole body. But I guess as long as Microsoft gets their sales, they don't care if they are putting out poor software. That's an easy solution-- I just won't buy them.

Grade: C-

Third-party Games

At the start of this generation, Microsoft was courting third parties left and right. They wanted Japan. They secured timed and permanent exclusives like Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata, Lost Odyssey, and Tales of Vesperia. When it appeared that the Japanese people wanted more than Microsoft could offer, the company retreated and desired to conquer the West. I have to give Japan some credit there.

The Xbox 360's architecture and hardware might be weaker than the PlayStation 3, but it is much easier to develop for. This is why most third party titles run much better on Microsoft's system than Sony's. Just look at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and compare versions. One runs smooth as butter while the other is a nightmare to play. The 360 has the lion's share of software from companies like Activision, EA, Ubisoft, THQ, Square Enix, Namco Bandai, Capcom, Sega, among others. From Batman: Arkham City to Assassin's Creed, there is no shortage of compelling software for the system.


Grade: A-

Overall

I'm not going to split any hairs here. The Xbox 360 is one of the worst consoles I have ever owned. It is without a doubt one of the most overrated ones. The online is a sham that is overpriced, the community is hateful and skewed young, and the exclusives are mediocre in my mind. Kinect is what is selling consoles, and I bet most people are just getting the bundle and never buying another single game, something Wii critics claimed happened with Wii Sports despite evidence of the contrary. Regardless, if you want the best versions of third party titles, want a capable controller to play them, love digital downloadables, and like having lots of non-gaming features to go with your purchase, you cannot go wrong with the Xbox 360.

Overall Grade: C-
(not an average)

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Not exactly the most popular opinion of the console, but my judgment on the Xbox 360 has been made. What are your quarrels or agreements with my grades? Hit me up with a message in the comments section.

God of War: Ascension (PS3) First Trailer

Another day, another sequel in gaming. This time around we have God of War: Ascension, a game that hopefully has some changes to the tried and true formula of the God of War franchise. For now, all we have is this teaser trailer with more information being revealed in the near future.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SPC Quickies - Volume Eleven - 3D Classics Edition

It was back in September of last year when the SPC Quickies last made their appearance. Let's make up for lost time with Volume Eleven. Today I will be swiftly reviewing five 3D Classics games from the 3DS's eShop. It's been awhile since our last SPC Quickies segment, so here's how the scoring goes:

5 - Fantastic

4 - Great

3 - Fair

2 - Poor

1 - Awful

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3D Classics: Excitebike



This 3D Classics title was original free for 3DS owners up until July 6th of last year. Now that it costs money, is the game worth the $5.99 asking price? Well, no, it really doesn't. There are but two modes to try out: one has you racing by your lonesome against the clock while the other has you racing against CPU racers. Then there are only five pre-made tracks with the ability to create your own, but even here you are limited as there are less than a dozen pieces to utilize making for quick boredom. You can probably complete Excitebike in a sitting or two, and see everything the game has to offer. Do not buy.

[SuperPhillip Says: 2/5]


3D Classics: Kid Icarus


Available from pre-ordering Kid Icarus: Uprising at Amazon, Best Buy, or Gamestop or purchasing it outright from Gamestop, 3D Classics: Kid Icarus brings with it multiple levels of the angelic hero Pit taking on Medusa's nefarious forces. The backgrounds have been altered from their plain black backgrounds from the NES version with trippy colors and effects. The game looks better for it. Be warned, though, as Kid Icarus was always a difficult game, and even with the addition of shooting more arrows at a faster rate, the game can be massively challenging. It's a welcome challenge, however, and worthy of being in your 3DS collection of downloadable games.

[SuperPhillip Says: 4/5]



3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure



Originally one of the last titles released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Kirby makes his 3DS debut as a downloadable title in 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure. The Star Rod has been stolen by the sinister King Dedede and broken up in seven pieces spread across seven worlds. It's up to the restless Kirby to save the day. This game was one of the first titles to allow Kirby to suck up foes and steal their powers, perfect for taking out enemies in a variety of ways. The parallax effects and stereoscopic 3D make for an impressive feast for the eyes. The game can be pretty hard at times, too, such as the battle with Kirby villain Kracko. That said, Kirby's Adventure is definitely worth a look and a buy.

[SuperPhillip Says: 4/5]



3D Classics: Xevious



If you like games where memorization of hazards and obstacles is key to survival, then perhaps you'll enjoy 3D Classics: Xevious. My first run-in with Xevious wasn't on the original platform the game released on. Instead, it was an unlockable game within Star Fox Assault (GCN). With the 3DS's glasses-free 3D, it is easier to judge distance between ground force shots trying to take you out. Xevious is a difficult game, but practice makes perfect, and gunning for high scores is always a fun treat. Unfortunately, there is no online leaderboard to speak of, so you will be sadly competing against your lonely self. Regardless, 3D Classics: Xevious is an interesting, if not average title for your 3DS.

[SuperPhillip Says: 3/5]


3D Classics: Urban Champion


The third 3D Classics release was a bad and boring brawler named Urban Champion. It wasn't a good game when it released way back on the NES, and it isn't a good game now. The 3D effect is more distracting than anything, offering little to no "wow" factor at all. The game is highly repetitive and unrewarding-- there is nothing to come back to once you've played through this mediocre title. Sure, if you have a friend with a copy of the game, you can play the game together, but why would you want to? Even at a discounted (for eShop's standards) price, it is not a game that I would recommend to anyone-- even my most hated enemy. Okay, maybe I'd give it a recommendation to them...

[SuperPhillip Says: 1/5]



We have concluded another installment of the SPC Quickies. Hopefully we'll see Volume Twelve come sooner rather than later! Stick around for more SPC coming this week!

Ni no Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch (PS3) New Screens

Are you a fan of gorgeous games? Perhaps you are a fan of Studio Ghibli? Or maybe you like RPGs? If you answered yes to any of these three questions, then perhaps a look into Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is in your future. Take a glance at these sensational screens below, and I defy you to tell me you are not amazed. Ni no Kuni embarks on a journey in early 2013.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors (PS3) First Trailer

Don't give it up, Luffy (I know the lyrics, but he shouldn't give it up.). You have a game coming to North America, after all. It's One Piece: Pirate Warriors, due out for the PlayStation 3 in November, on disc and via digital release. No matter what your preference, you will find the numerous characters of the popular One Piece anime duking it out against one another for glory and booty alike.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (PS3, 360) Review

Are you ready for a new review, friends? Oh, so you don't consider me your friend? Okay. That's fine. We'll keep this on a professional level then. My next review was the U.S.'s second best-selling game for the month of March. Did Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City deserve those sales? Let's find out that answer now.

An Unnecessary Evil


Resident Evil 6 is due out in October of this year, so as that game could be seen as the main course, titles like the completely lacking in marketing from Capcom, Resident Evil: Revelations, and the subject of this review, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City could be considered the appetizers. From Slant Six, the team behind the most recent installments of the SOCOM series, the developer lends their squad game expertise to this famed survival-horror franchise. Is this operation a success or a failure?

Operation Raccoon City serves as a non-canonical "what if" scenario for the events of Resident Evil 2, one of the most popular entries of the series. Raccoon City has been engulfed by the T-virus, an infection that spreads to each host, whether human or animal, and turns them into either a zombie or a ravenous beast. You play as a member of the U.S.S. (Umbrella Security Service) with the task of eliminating any evidence of Umbrella's role in the unprecedented outbreak by any means necessary in a procedure known as Operation Raccoon City. The series's trademark cheesiness is noticeably absent from this game, so a different tone is definitely felt. It's not for the better either. Dry, boring dialogue, dull exchanges, and characters you probably won't care for litter the story elements of the game. Thankfully, the five hour campaign mode means you won't have to suffer through it for long.

The gang's all here, so let's initiate the mission.

At the beginning of each of the game's handful of missions you choose from one of four members of the U.S.S. to play as. Each squad member has its own set of skills that can be purchased via experience points (or XP), earned through playing either Campaign or Versus mode. Some skills can cloak your player to slip past dangerous foes while others can add incendiary rounds to your shots for a limited amount of time. You can even boost your defense to bullets by several percentage points. Nearly every ability can be leveled up by paying some XP for it.

The game's levels are pretty much linear affairs. You are constantly moving from waypoint to waypoint while mowing down corridors full of enemies such as special OPS humans, zombies, hunters, lickers, and crimson heads. Occasionally you will find yourself running from a boss or scurrying around an arena in search of three items to advance, but for the most part, you will be blasting away at foes. Unlike the entry of the series Operation Raccoon City is based off of, there is an ample amount of ammo scattered around the levels either dropped by enemy soldiers or resting comfortably in crates.

I don't think running away would
be seen as cowardice in this instance.

As I stated there are not many missions to play through-- perhaps six or seven. However, there are some feats to accomplish outside of just progressing through each level. Each mission holds various data that are hidden well within each stage as well as security cameras that need to be destroyed. These are optional, but they give you XP that adds up. Additionally, there are multiple difficulties to try out. Professional is the most challenging, offering enemies that take more bullets (as if they weren't already bullet sponges on Casual) and foes that deal more damage. At the end of each level you are awarded a letter grade depending on your performance. You get graded on how long it took you to finish the level, how many enemies you defeated, how many times you died, and how many items (data and cameras) you discovered. Getting an S rank is the ultimate goal, but really, the game isn't entertaining enough to stick with this feat.

Raccoon City: Where the Streets Are Paved With Blood

One reason for this is because playing alone is way harder than playing with other friends or total strangers. Alone you have to work with partner AI that is about as brain-dead as the zombies you are fending off. They will constantly stand in your way, sit still while you are being assaulted, and will die on a minutely basis on harder modes. With human partners you can work as a unit, take foes out together, and pass through levels in a faster pace. You can opt to start a Private match or Public, meaning players can hop online to your game at any moment.

With the threat of infected zombies comes the threat of being infected yourself. When infected, you must inject yourself with an antidote or face becoming a zombie. As a zombie you lose all control and must become killed by your teammate(s) or let some time pass to recover. Another of what I am going to call "status ailments" comes from being shot a lot. You, a partner, or an enemy can bleed out a lot causing a blood frenzy. The scent of blood will summon dozens of zombies to the location of the person bleeding out. Who needs to shoot foes yourself when you can get an army of flesh-eaters to do it for you?

Most enemies are bullet sponges
making for some annoying gameplay.

Aside from the campaign, there is Versus mode which delivers an abundance of copy-and-pasted modes from other titles. There are four main modes to select from including Team Attack, Biohazard, Heroes, and Survivor. Team Attack pits two teams against one another to score points through killing the numerous creatures that prowl the battlefield as well as players on the other team. The team that meets the target score or has the most points when time runs out wins. Biohazard is pretty much a Capture the Flag scenario. You collect samples of a virus, and you run them back to your zone. Meanwhile, Heroes puts players in the roles of various heroic and villain characters from Resident Evil 2. The team that destroys all of the adversary's characters is the victor. Finally, Survivor focuses on two teams working as one to endure wave after wave of enemies up until a helicopter rescues them. The modes aren't the most creative, but they offer a distraction from the campaign. Though, to be fair, with the gameplay of Operation Raccoon City, many won't find a reason to come back to multiplayer.

Jill Valentine returns for Team Heroes.

One reason is just how sloppy the game feels. Shooting feels off completely. Guns feel like they shoot B.B.s instead of powerful rounds. Even when an enemy is shot it doesn't look like they are hurting too much from it. It gets hard to tell whether you've damaged them or not. Then comes melee which feels unwieldy and hard to aim at the right foe. Another problem comes from the cover system. Most games assign a button for you to press to hide behind cover. In Operation Raccoon City's case, all you do is run up cover to defend yourself against attacks. This can be problematic when the game doesn't let you for whatever crummy reason, or you are simply trying to run away and your character relentlessly hides behind cover instead of continuing to scamper away.

But by far the most obnoxious fault to the gameplay is the lack of invincibility frames for your character. When you are smacked to the ground by an assault, you can incessantly be attacked by foes, never being allowed to come to your feet because you keep on being hit. I oftentimes went from full health to death because of this cheap tactic. Needless to say, this was quite infuriating. Then there's graphical glitches like your squad mates flying in circles when they die and game crashes. Sloppy almost seems like an understatement to sum up my experience with the gameplay of Operation Raccoon City.

Not even fire can stop the zombie masses.

At least for all the faults of the game (and there are many as you've just witnessed), Operation Raccoon City at least looks like what a Resident Evil game should resemble. Dark, foreboding passageways, steam rising from streets, fog bellowing up in cemeteries, fire ravaging city blocks, and zombies who certainly look the part of bloodthirsty savages. Not all of these sights are without problems, however, as the framerate can chug to low levels within the game. Then comes the sound which can crackle one's speakers during loud explosions. At least the music fills the player with a sense of tension, even if the game lacks many scares. The voice work is all right, I guess, but it often feels stilted and forced.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is an obvious attempt at cashing in on the franchise by Capcom. All this game is is SOCOM with a Resident Evil finish. It is a shame that the lion's share of marketing dollars went towards this game and not the definitely superior Resident Evil: Revelations, a game that deserved sales no matter how much Capcom sent it out to die. No amount of awesome ambiance can give Operation Raccoon City a recommendation. It plays bad, it feels bad, and it is bad.

[SuperPhillip Says: 4.25/10]

Monday, April 16, 2012

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Take Five and Call Me in the Morning Edition

Dr. SuperPhillip here, and I have a prescription for more of my favorite themes from the annals of video game history! What do I have today to share? Well, there is music from Disney Epic Mickey, Kingdom Hearts, and Wave Race 64, so turn your head and cough as there are some good tunes to listen to!

v86. Disney Epic Mickey (Wii) - Mean Street



A charming game from the mind of Warren Spector and his faithful team at Junction Point, Disney Epic Mickey was not without its share of problems (e.g. a sloppy camera, constant points-of-no-return, etc.), but it had some intriguing concepts such as the paint and thinner mechanic. And while the decisions players made within the game did not really affect the endgame as much as Spector and company had hoped, they are at it again with Epic Mickey: The Power of Two due out for all three major platforms this fall.

v87. Kingdom Hearts (PS2) - Traverse Town


From one Disney game to another, this time around we are combining Disney's magical and famous characters with lore from the Final Fantasy series. Who knew that this wouldn't be a recipe for disaster and would instead be a brilliant decision? Yoko Shimomura is the mastermind behind the music of the series, and this theme constantly welcomes players home to Traverse Town with its lovely piano and clarinet. I am one of the few people in the world who played the game's sequel but never the original game. I really need to get on that!

v88. Dynasty Warriors Gundam (PS3, 360) - All for One


All for One is not only a rocking, heroic theme heard in Dynasty Warriors Gundam, but it is also played throughout its sequel, a game that did not appeal to me after getting a 100% completion on the original. That took a lot of hours, patience, and commitment-- let me tell you! I'm more interested in the third installment of the series as it has wonderfully cel-shaded Gundam. The game looks really good aesthetically. Maybe one day I will track down a copy for the PlayStation 3...

v89. Wild ARMS 4 (PS2) - Totally Busy



Beginning with a sampling of strings and then coming in with percussion, Totally Busy is a catchy little ditty that warms the heart. Apart from the strings and percussion, the song eventually gains pizzicato strings and a woodwind to accentuate the main theme. There were in total three Wild ARMS games for the PlayStation 2. Depending on your tastes, any one of these trio of titles is worth a look.

v90. Wave Race 64 (N64) - Sunset Bay


Kazumi Totaka lent his composing abilities to the soundtrack of Wave Race 64, a launch window title for the Nintendo 64. Mr. Totaka is also known for his work on such games as Wii Sports, Animal Crossing, and various Wii channels like the Shop Channel's music. Sunset Bay is exactly like it looks, a bay coated with an orange sunset. The waves are not too choppy, making for a smooth ride to the finish. Just don't crash!

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We're entering the nineties with the next set of SP's Favorite VGMs, so buckle up and enjoy the ride! Next week five more themes will be posted on this humble blog. Stick around, friends!

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