Friday, March 13, 2009

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Wii) Review

I'm slowly moving the review database to SuperPhillip Central, leaving the Invisionfree forum as but a memory. Not only is today the release date of Resident Evil 5, but just recently this week it was announced that the sequel to Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (the subject of this review) is going to be hitting the Wii. Let's take a look back at this on-rails shooter.

Resident Evil: House of the Dead

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The light-gun genre-- a once prevalent form of gaming dating back decades. The genre has since been gunned down essentially, but with the Nintendo Wii's new motion sensing capabilities and most notably IR pointing, a cornucopia of light-gun shooters have gone locked and loaded. Old arcade shooters have gotten a new life such as Konami's Target Terror and Sega's two titles, Ghost Squad and The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return-- the latter of which is most similar to Capcom's newest entry into its long-running and highly-acclaimed Resident Evil franchise in the form of The Umbrella Chronicles. Now, when one thinks of Resident Evil they most likely think of the free-roaming, tank control-using, horror-fest of the main series, so how do you turn a series like Resident Evil and make it work as an on-rails shooter? Well, to put it simply, wonderfully, but not without a few bumps in the residential road.

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Zombies. Had a feeling you'd show up.

As the name implies, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles details the fall of the once powerful pharmaceutical firm, Umbrella. The Umbrella Chronicles has you playing through the events of Resident Evil 0, the original Resident Evil, Resident Evil 3, and a whole new scenario where Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield with a team of special agents infiltrate an arctic base. There's the standard missions where you play as one of the main characters, but there's also side missions that can be unlocked which delve deeper into the story. These allow you to discover what our old buddy Wesker was up to behind the scenes, and they also give you the chance to take command of Richard Aiken, the doomed S.T.A.R.S. soldier who accompanied Rebecca Chambers during the mansion incident only to heroically be slain by a gargantuan snake. Additionally, there are files scattered throughout the game's levels to collect, each revealing detailed information regarding the plot, characters, and enemies.

Most rail shooters can be completed in the span of an hour. Blast away this notion when referring to The Umbrella Chronicles. This game will take hours and hours to fully complete. A standard mission (there's twelve main story missions total) usually takes anywhere from ten to twenty minutes on your first run through. You'll most likely get caught up, possibly die, or get stuck in a heated boss battle, so the duration can go up exponentially. The aforementioned side stories add another dozen to already impressive amount of missions to play through and/or master. While these side missions include tougher enemy groups and new boss battles, a lot of the areas you pass through are recycled from the main stages offering less new sites to see but new dangers to watch out for all the same.

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Not outnumbered, just out-zombied.

You'll want to gun through levels multiple times as not only are there three difficulty modes to shoot through but high scores to attain and grade rankings at the conclusion of each mission to score. These rankings (C-S) give you stars which can be used to upgrade your firearms to give more ammo and increase reload speed. Additionally, there's branching paths in many of the missions giving players the option of where they want to move to, and some paths are more perilous than others. Players will want to return to stages to uncover secret files hidden inside various objects such as paintings, vases, light bulbs, and small furniture.

Many dangers come crawling, limping, leaping, flying and puking-- yep, puking. The Umbrella Chronicles commands that not only that you have a fast trigger-finger but an accurate one as well. All enemies have weak points that can be shot at to immediately dispose of them such as shooting the edge of the top of a zombie's head to explode his mushy cranium (or what's left of it). The aiming recticle will grow into a larger red ball when your aim is hovering over a monster's weakpoint. And if your handgun isn't cutting the job (it's the only weapon that can score critical hits), during each mission you can pick up new guns such as shotguns, machine guns, and grenade launchers to add to your arsenal of firepower.

Controls are very good and quite responsive-- the "thank God" aspect of a shooter. You aim with the Wii remote, fire with the B trigger, pick up loot with the A button such as files, ammo, health, and grenades, shake the Wii remote to reload, cycle through weapons with the d-pad, and hold A and press B to toss a helpful grenade or hold A to draw out your trusty and rusty knife for close encounters of the macabre kind. But wait, there's more! Umbrella Chronicles borrows from Resident Evil 4's repertoire by having quick time events. These are events where you must press the specified button (or waggle accordingly) when prompted in order to dodge an attack or evade a foe. These can get frustrating when you're going for a perfect run and have one going, only to screw up a QTE and die because of it-- costing you your time bonus. It doesn't happen often if you pay enough attention, but it's happened to me and it's maddening when you fail from that. You can even utilize the Wii Zapper for this title, and it works rather well. You need not sacrifice your aim just to reload; you just need to shake the nunchuk. However, when it comes down to it, the normal Wii remote/nunchuk combo works all the same, if not better.

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When a zombie grabs you,
initiate the right button/waggle to counter!

And if you can take a break from gunning down zombies, giant spiders, and other nasties, you can appreciate the presentation of The Umbrella Chronicles. It's an impressive title in this regard. I was worried that an on-rails shooter would abandon the fear I felt from the traditional Resident Evil titles. There's less moments of feeling unnerved, but there were some occasions when I first played missions that were tense-- slowly peering around a corner not knowing what kind of monstrosity was on the other side waiting for me. And in Resident Evil, you could run from your opponent when you felt overwhelmed. This isn't the case in Umbrella Chronicles. You're stuck where the game takes you, and your aim is all that prevents you from coming to an untimely end. Oh, crap! That crimson head is charging right for me! You know, for a game that was supposed to be designed as a rail-shooter to be easier for the casual gamer, this game's quite difficult-- even on easy!

As if the usual normal enemies weren't enough, Umbrella Chronicles throws into the mix some incredibly intense boss battles to cap off almost every mission. These range from mainstays like Nemesis (necessary "STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS!!!" mention), the giant scorpion from the train of Resident Evil 0, and everyone's favorite snake, Yawn. This is definitely where your precision comes in. Most boss attacks can only be stopped by shooting at the boss' weakpoint, otherwise you'll get damaged by their attack. Don't worry if you have to repeat these encounters just so you have an idea of what to do-- I struggled a bunch at some of the battles. There's also a cooperative mode that local players can join. This makes enemy encounters much easier, but players share the same life bar. Also, both have to dodge attacks, so both players need to stay sharp.

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Crimson Heads are much faster and more aggressive than normal zombies.

While the graphics aren't up to Resident Evil 4's standards (which is odd since RE4 is pretty much an ancient title), they do have a lot going for them and are a pleasure to look at. Enemies are detailed, environments are nice, and they have a lot to shoot at and destroy. Lighting is very good as well, especially when you're in the dark and all you have is a flashlight to illuminate the way. There are some things that are bothersome though. There's leeches, bats, and bugs that you have to slice away from your face with the knife which sort of destroys any feel of immersion going on. Also, the vomit-puking zombies are a pain to deal with, but the vomit the project can be shot to be eliminated. Uh... what?

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles may not be perfect, but it's one of the content-heavy rail-shooters on the market. It's an excellent pick-up for any Wii owner, it beckons the player to invest countless hours just to fully experience it, and it's a welcome addition to the mithos of Resident Evil and for the fan who can't stop updating that damn timeline! I highly recommend this game to anyone searching for a quality third-party Wii title.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Me & My Katamari (PSP) Review

Noby Noby Boy from the creator of the Katamari Damacy series hit PSN not too long ago. Rolling with that idea, here is a review from the first portable edition of the Katamari franchise, Me & My Katamari.

Or My Katamari and I.

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In 2004 Katamari Damacy came out for the Playstation 2 with little fanfare. This unforeseen sleeper hit from the kooky minds of Japanese game developers rolled over critics and wowed players open-minded enough to partake in the game's quirky charm and fresh gameplay. If you're a successful company and you want to make money, what do you do? Why, milk that fresh idea until it's dry, of course! Our subject today is Me and My Katamari, an all-new adventure shrunken down to fit inside one teensy-weensy UMD. Rest assured, all the zany and kitschy touches from Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari are present and accounted for, but is the formula beginning to wear thin or is the series rolling up new ideas to make it as fresh as the original?

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You'll notice that I use the word "roll"
or variations of it a lot in this review.

A problem poses when you try to take a Playstation 2 console game and translate it to the the Playstation Portable. There's less buttons to work with and no analog sticks. Seeing as the original Katamari Damacy utilized both analog sticks to move the katamari (or ball) around, this could be an interesting dilemma for the developers. However, instead of using non-existent analog sticks on the PSP, Namco decided to use the directional pad/analog nub and the face buttons. Holding up on either the directional pad or nub in conjunction with the triangle button rolls your katamari forward. Conversely holding down and the X button rolls the katamari backward. Left and right and square and circle are used to stroll sideways. The buttons used in combination with the L and R shoulder buttons guide your katamari into turns. To perform a boost, alternate between up and triangle. This control set-up may seem strange at first, and well, quite frankly, that's because it is. After a couple levels and/or twenty minutes you'll have it down but not to the extent you'd have with two analog sticks. Also, using the directional pad to roll around can cause cramping as you're holding the buttons to move. The analog nub, though shoddy, is recommended for players.

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If I find myself at a difficult juncture in my life, I ask myself,
"What would the King of All Cosmos do?"

The King of All Cosmos (who identifies himself as "We") whose omniscient tone and grandeur has taken his family on a vacation on the ocean. Compared to the King's large size, the being you control, the Prince, is nothing more than a pint-sized speck. The vacation turns into a task party as various animals come by wishing for islands of there own made out of various materials. Your job is to build a katamari large enough to suit their desires and wishes. However, you won't have all day and night to accomplish the numerous tasks. You'll be under a progressively stricter time limit for each task. By walking around the overworld hub of Prince Island, you can listen to music, look at a record of all your rolling, take up the many animal requests available, and view all of the treasures, items you've rolled, and cousins you've discovered.

The world of Me and My Katamari is for you to roll up. Nearly everything is available to be rolled up and stuck to your katamari. Although you can only roll up items that are lesser in size than your katamari. By rolling up more items your katamari will grow in size allowing you to pick up even larger objects. Make your katamari a certain size and you'll be able to access a new portion of the current level. The world is a mess filled with bottles and cans strewn about able to be rolled up by your katamari. Items range from small knickknacks like fruits and vegetables to people, furniture, automobiles, trees, houses, buildings, skyscrapers, clouds, sea monsters, and even whole land masses. There's a staggering total of 2,434 different items that are able to be rolled up. The same cannot be said for the amount of levels. While there are over twenty tasks to complete until you complete the game, you'll find yourself traversing across the same areas with the exact same objects over and over again. Unacceptable as there are hardly any changes between the tasks besides katamari size standards.

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Now we're getting into the big time.

The aim of the game is not only to meet the size requirements that the King of All Cosmos gives you, but also to make you katamari as large as possible to make the best island possible. The King of All Cosmos will turn your rolled katamari into an island for the animal you are assisting. You're scored for how fast you completed your task to how sizable your katamari actually is.

There's more to do than just simply rolling everything up you possibly can. Scattered throughout the levels are present-shaped gifts that can be grabbed. These unlock accessories for your character to wear from armor and masks to hats and cloaks. Additionally, you'll come across one of many cousins that can be rolled up. These will enable you to choose a different character to play as.

The world of The King of All Cosmos and loyal followers is full of interesting sights and sounds. The game retains its simply graphical style, and it looks quite good for PSP standards. A favorite part of many in the Katamari Damacy series is the music, and many themes from past Katamari games return for an encore as well as brand-new songs. Objects you gather make their own sounds as you roll them up. Radios blast music and civilians scream with either delight or fear. It's all good though! Katamari makes everyone happy!

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What's she looking at?!

Me and My Katamari won't win any innovation awards as its older brother did, but it's still a competent addition to the series. However, the formula is starting to wear thin, and the upcoming Xbox 360 addition, Beautiful Katamari, doesn't seem to assist this besides the ability to play against others online. Those jonesing for a quick fix of Katamari on the go will most certainly find a lot fun to be had. Just don't expect to be blown away like you did with the original. However, if you're a newcomer to the series, step up, and begin rolling your katamari around for a good time. Even though many level locales repeat, rolling up objects is incredibly addicting.

The Recap

Story: The Prince, Queen, and King of All Cosmos are on a well-deserved vacation, but there's still work to do in the form of helping out stray animals without an island of their own.

Graphics: Simple but not to the point of being drab, the visuals are colorful and pleasing to the eye in motion.

Gameplay: Rolling, rolling, rolling up many objects from bowling balls to city halls. Complete tasks to unlock new challenges. How big can your katamari muster?

Sound: Many familiar tunes return as well as new ones. Most are all interesting as are the abundance of sound effects.

Replay Value: Getting high scores on the various tasks is always an option to see if you can get a perfect 100 on each task. There's also the many cousins and presents to gather, plus there over 2,000 different objects able to be rolled up. Are you up to that challenge?

Overall: 6.5/10
- The fun is still there, but the freshness the series once had has rolled away.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (Wii) First Look

If IGN is great at anything, it's that they do some terrific previews and score some great exclusive footage that other sites would pass on or not even be asked to obtain. Do you remember Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 All-Play? If not, here is a friendly refresher. This fine trailer will show how Wii MotionPlus seems to improve the game's controls and mechanics for the better. We'll see if we'll be swinging like Tiger or shanking it like your uncle after a few too many appletinis when Tiger returns to the Wii this June.

Kororinpa: Marble Mania (Wii) Review

MadWorld shipped yesterday, and it should be readily available in most retail stores. That's not the big story this week though. No, the big story is that today is the release date for Marble Saga: Kororinpa for Wii. Marking this occasion, I have one of my earliest reviews period with my assessment of Kororinpa: Marble Mania, the original game in the series. When it released, the game was $40. It had about 40 individual "Kororinpa" (levels) to play through. Compare that to the sequel that costs ten dollars less initially at $30, has 150 levels, balance board and Mii support, and online level-sharing.

The following review is mostly unedited. It's rather short compared to my reviews now, and it even includes the old recap at the end of my early reviews. Enjoy a neophyte reviewer's review!

UPDATE: Apparently this game is now rare. Don't fret though. It seems the sequel has more than enough content in comparison, so don't feel like you're missing out totally.

Marble Madness!

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Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz introduced Wii owners to the tilt the world to guide your pawn to the goal concept first. Kororinpa: Marble Mania takes the form of that concept and expands upon it. The aim of Kororinpa (Kororinpa meaning the levels you play on) is to guide your marble along various themed worlds, tilting and flipping the playing field with your Wii remote to guide your ball to the goal. While doing this in each level, your ball will need to collect a set amount of orange crystals to unlock the goal. If you have less than the amount required as you reach the end, you'll be teleported back to the beginning to grab those last couple crystals. Unlike Monkey Ball, when-- and not if you fall because later on in levels you WILL fall-- you do not lose lives. Instead, you are just transported back to the start of the Koronipa you're on with the time counter still running. Placed on a plethora of Kororinpa are green crystals. These help the player unlock new, more challenging Kororinpa. There are numerous locales as well including the park, candyland, a cityscape, toyland, and even space to name five, and most of these locales change after every ten Kororinpa completed.

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Roll on wooden platforms...

Starting off, you'll probably roll through the first world of ten stages. Each level or every other level successfully adds a new twist into the Kororinpa formula ranging from slippery slopes of water, to wall-less platforms, to cannons that shoot you into the air, to a magnetic track that carries you across gaping maws, and etc. Later on in the game you'll need to twist and turn your Wii remote to complete areas in some devilishly clever levels. Unlike Monkey Ball, the game doesn't feel too frustrating either. For the most part, the remote controls the marble well. Sometimes when you're forced to turn the level on its side (i.e. turning the remote on its side as well) it can get a little overwhelming, but with practice these levels aren't as challenging as they may seem. However, a lot of the later levels kicked my ass for sure, rest assured.

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...Or take it to the streets.

Graphically, the game won't win any rewards, but at the same time it is not bad to look at whatsoever. The music is fun, catchy, relaxing, and very well done to this listener's ears. The game boasts longevity that some sites and reviewers missed out on. Collecting the green crystals as stated previously unlocks new stages/Kororinpa. Also, beating levels with gold trophies unlocks content as well such as new BGM, marbles like the cute penguin and flatulent panda balls, and new Kororinpa. In fact, after completing the game, you'll unlock a mirror mode of all of the Kororinpa in the game for more fun.

Overall, Kororinpa: Marble Mania is an excellent game which I prefer to Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz. It's fun, engaging, seldom aggravating, and is something anyone can get into. The Wiimote hardly feels unnatural while playing which is a great relief.

The Recap

Graphics: They could be better, but it's nothing ugly for sure.

Gameplay: Use the remote to guide your marble around various courses picking up orange crystals on the way to the goal. Fun stuff indeed! No, really. It IS fun.

Sound: I'm still humming some of the music if that's any indication.

Replay Value: Unlockables include new stages, marbles, and BGM for gathering green crystals and gold trophies help lengthen the experience.

Overall: 6.5/10 - A game that won't make you lose your marbles in a bad way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop (Wii) Review

The hotly-anticipated Resident Evil 5 hits stores nationwide this Friday. Let's warm up our zombie-blasting with a look at a game based off one of my favorite 360 games period, Dead Rising. Here's a review of the not-so-hotly-anticipated Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop for the Nintendo Wii. (So much italicizing for this introduction. Now I remember why I don't do it for anything else!)


Attention Willamette Shoppers: There is a Clearance on Zombies.

From the creator of Mega Man came a game showing the wackier side of those lovable hunks of rotting meat that just want to eat our brains out-- zombies. The end result was the superb yet flawed Dead Rising for the Xbox 360. After its grand success, Capcom decided to bring this franchise boasting thousands of zombies on-screen at once to the Nintendo Wii, a console not known for its overly powerful visuals but for its powerful controller. The notion seemed preposterous. Screenshots and videos only further diminished the idea that such a port could be a wise idea from Capcom. The end result is Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, a title that I even railed against heavily. Is Chop Till You Drop worthy of the Dead Rising name, or is this game better left for dead?

"I told you people already-- ONE! PER! CUSTOMER!"

The fictional countryside town of Willamette, Colorado has been put under lock-down by the Colorado National Guard. With a tip of something big going down, hotshot freelance journalist, Frank West, infiltrates the apparent mecca of questionable activity, the Willamette Mall. What he finds there is that an infestation of zombies have crippled the city to ruin, and the remaining survivors are all holed up inside the mall. With camera in hand and a coverage of wars under his belt, Frank aims to discover the truth of the appearance of these flesh-feeding zombies and get his story no matter what. Even with some cut-scenes (minor characters) edited out of the Wii installment, it's still very much an enjoyable story of the game even in all of its disturbing glory.

Calling Chop Till You Drop a port is somewhat of a misnomer. Compared to the excellent 360 original, Chop Till You Drop is very much a differently structured game. In the original Dead Rising, Frank had three days (roughly 6 hours in real time) to explore the entirety of the Willamette Mall, track cases-- the main story of the game, rescue survivors he happened across, and take down various bosses in the process. The mall was Frank's to explore fully, but there were problems. It did get frustrating for many being either constantly crunched for time or waiting minutes for the next mission to come up. The save system was also rather archaic. The Wii version addresses these issues while creating a very unique experience-- albeit more linear-- compared to its more polished and powerful predecessor.

Aiming with such precision is a novelty that hasn't worn
off yet, and I don't think it ever will for most of us.

As in the original, the security room serves as the safe haven for Frank and any other survivors the wily reporter comes in contact with. Saving can happen in any restroom around the mall, or after every completed case. Each story mission-- divided up into eight cases and aftermath-- progresses in a straightforward manner with no way to miss anything of importance. Don't misunderstand though as there's still plenty of opportunities for traversing the mall for fun (who doesn't love getting way too into cross-dressing?) and time limit-free. When Frank gets a stretch of time before the next section of the story, the chief janitor Otis will let Frank know of any survivors in need of help. These missions are mandatory and must be cleared to progress further in the game. They're usually divided up to 1-3 missions available at a time. If Frank leads the survivor or group of survivors back to the safe room in fast enough fashion with little damage and enough zombies exposed of during the mission, he can earn an "S" rank. These ranks not only can give Frank rare items, but they can also unlock more missions giving Frank the chance to save even more survivors.

The survivor A.I. of the original Dead Rising seems to have been left untouched as the A.I. in Chop Till You Drop is still rather brainless. I thought the zombies were the dumb ones! No longer can Frank hand survivors weapons to fight back or carry, grab, or hold onto them to make the trek back to the security room that much safer. However, not all is bad. The task of retrieving survivors is much less frustrating as 1) there aren't as many zombies to deal with (more on that later), 2) there's not as much of a crunch for time as you don't have to juggle trying to lead your ragtag bunch of morons just so you can try to save another bunch of morons all at once, and 3) you can't leave behind any survivors in a section of the mall. Frank says something to the effect of not being able to leave them behind to their demise. The most people Frank can have with him at once is three. This means in one of the later missions he has to make two trips back as there are five survivors to contend with. This isn't as big of a deal as it seems as the location isn't too far away.

Brand new and exclusive to the Wii version are two new unlockable modes, Odd Jobs and the cleverly-titled Second Amendment. Odd Jobs features a series of missions putting Frank in all kinds of interesting predicaments from tackling the feat of besting giant zombies to going all WWE on some zombie asses. Second Amendment tests your aim with the sniper rifle from clearing a path for someone before they are clobbered by a zombie to playing hide and seek "tag, you're it, I mean, dead" style. Both modes give some very cool rewards and are well worth the time.

"Axe" and you shall receive.

Chop Till You Drop utilizes the very same engine used in Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, and honestly it's almost just as entertaining to use. Drawing out a gun or projectile, aiming it a zombie's head, and letting loose is just awesome. Whereas the Xbox 360 version was more about melee weapons rather than firearms (the rather poor aiming helped with that conclusion), the Wii version is based more on shooting at zombies. The variety of items isn't as immense as before, but Chop Till You Drop has plenty of melee weapons available to unleash Frank's frustrations with. Each weapon has two types of attacks. The A button attacks with a weaker jab as opposed to slashing once with the Wii remote which assaults the enemy with a more stalwart strike. When a zombie is dazed, you can perform a special move with the Wii remote either when Frank's bare-handed or with weapon in tow. Unlike something recent like Tenchu 4, Dead Rising recognizes the thrust-like movement needed without fail which was surprising. There's no manual jump in the game. There's only various marked sections where Frank can leap over, so that secret katana on the awning in Paradise Plaza is still yours for the taking. The camera functionality which was for superfluous things in the original like photos of polygonal crotches. The camera is only used once, and it's another "press the button combo here to activate" thing. The only complaint really-- regardless of one's love for zombie-surfing gone missing-- with using the Resident Evil 4 control set-up is that moving around like a tank when zombies are 360 degrees around Frank is rather archaic. You can quickly turn around 180 degrees, but making 90 degree turns is a tad on the slow side. It's by no means a deal-breaker (far from it), but it's still a notable problem.

We're having a Red Light Special here,
but we ran out of lights and improvised.

The mall itself isn't as packed with zombies as it was in the Xbox 360 version. At first it just seemed like laziness on developer Tose's end. However, Frank's constant need to stop and pop an enemy with one of many guns (handgun, magnum, shotgun, sniper rifle, etc) would make having more zombies to contend with interrupting your aim and shots constantly nerve-racking. On the easiest difficulty of three, the mall is rather bare. On the hardest difficulty, zombies are much more aggressive and in bigger numbers. There's definitely enough of the undead for even the macabre fetishist in Chop Till You Drop, and especially so in the maintenance tunnels. Not only will Frank have to contend with zombies of the human variety, but in this version of the game he'll deal with zombified... poodles... and parrots. I'm still out on that one. Not for the ridiculousness of a parrot dropping a grenade from above, but from the lack of variety in the animals. Why just poodles and parrots? Regardless, zombie versions of Jo, Kent, and Cliff, who have no bearing on the story at all this time around, later inhabit the mall as the story rolls on for even more danger.

As for the other psychopaths, boss characters who had such hopelessness regarding the zombie outbreak that they had no other alternative but to snap, they're still all well and accounted for. Well, that's at least until Frank gets finished "interviewing" them as "witnesses". The only main change from the 360 canon is that in the Wii version, the gun store owner is kept alive and begins selling guns, ammo increases, and books. Why Frank just didn't kill the hick and rob the store instead of saving his life only to get rewarded by paying for the crap instead is still a mystery to everyone. The boss battles themselves aren't too glamorous. No one will be saying "I'll remember that (I better make up a name to prevent spoilers) Bob Saget fight as one of the best ever" anytime soon. The only other main change is that one fight is now completely a quick time event. I know Resident Evil 4, the game Chop Till You Drop uses the engine of, made this game mechanic popular, but it's beyond obnoxious no matter how short it is-- especially to a player who still gets the B and Z triggers on the Wii remote confused.

I won't kill you because you're trying to kill me.
I will kill you because your outfit is TOO tacky.

While Tose did an excellent job bringing the mechanics and reworking them for the Wii, the game could have used some visual polish. This is the only part of the package that feels truly lazy in some regards. For one, cut-scenes are ripped directly from the 360 version. I wanted to see my Frank in a Servbot mask and one-piece bikini talk to the bad guy! Also, zombies have a habit of spawning in view of the player far too much. A player just killed a group of zombies in the distance when a new batch slowly appears where the undead dead ones just fell. Performing a 180 turn also brings out zombies from nowhere, too. Load screens are rather fast, so waiting isn't as long as the 360 version. To be fair, the 360 was loading a lot more, but a victory is a victory no matter how small. The soundtrack is as wonderful as ever with a delightful combination of licensed tracks and original recordings. Well, at least the ones where the singers don't yell expletives loudly and roughly for no reason at all.

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop is not really like the 360 version at all. It plays completely different-- better in some aspects, worse in others. Those who couldn't stand the time constraints, survivor frustration, and odd save system may just like this version. Those who loved Resident Evil 4 on Wii will no doubt enjoy the controls without fail. As for those who love Dead Rising, this version on Wii is still very much worthwhile as it's familiar and new simultaneously. As for which version is better, since they're both so diverse in how they're executed, it's up to the player to decide which they like best. For me, I rated the 360 version higher just because it was the original and a new experience at the time. Regardless, just as the original Dead Rising was worth it for 360 owners, now Wii owners have a version that they can be proud to know is worth it, too. Both games do the Dead Rising brand proud.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]

NeoGAF - We're Going For GameFAQs' Crown, Baby!

I always used to think that NeoGAF was the predominant forum for intelligent video game discussion. I've never been a member, but I do lurk and get most of news there. Perhaps I was wrong. Unfortunately, if this is the best the industry can do in "intelligent video game discussion", I very much weep for it. The Wii is a popular item to hate upon. It's not viewed as a "core" system, and it's thus not given the time of day by the majority of members. Just read these selected topics and cry. They're just god-awful. It's crap you'd read on GameTrailers or GameFAQs. What is this nonsense from the elite NeoGAF?

Why Sony Is Surpassing Nintendo in Game Development

This is perfectly fine. Purely subjective. However, the sheer content of idiocy that is allowed is disgusting. It's interesting that for a forum with the elitist attitude and their constant jabbing at the quality of GameFAQs' boards that this topic seems ripped straight out of that site's boards. It's fanboys calling out fanboys calling out fanboys, etc. It's saying that Wii owners can only look forward to NPD sales charts because they have no games to play. Unfortunately, for a site that shares anecdotes of "I haven't turned on my Wii since Brawl", it seems that not even NeoGAF is immune to willful ignorance towards the Wii.

IGN Madworld review - 9.0

Do you remember my Wiitriol editorial from last week? NeoGAF is perfect for it. A perfectly fine thread with people excited for Madworld turns into complete crap as trolls take over with their willfully ignorant spewing. Now that a mature "hardcore" Wii game has been given a good score by the enthusiast press, it's no longer good enough. The game needed online leaderboards, co-op, and hell, while we're at it-- it should have been on the HD consoles instead! Thank God this isn't the Killzone 2 official thread, or the mods would have cared to do something. Here's hoping they do someday...

The main point isn't that the majority of users on NeoGAF trash one console specifically over another. The main point is that this site that claims to be the superior board for intelligent discussion is anything but intelligent. The constant derailing of threads pertaining to the Wii is beyond obnoxious and pathetic. The fact that the mods wait to let the fun play out is also beyond obnoxious and pathetic. At least on GameFAQs (a site GAF trolls to death) the moderation staff actually mods people for blatant, ignorant trolling. This is not so on GAF... well, at least when it comes to the Wii. For a site that is supposed to be "in-the-know" regarding the industry, how can most of NeoGAF be so incredibly ignorant and intolerable when it comes to the marketleader this generation? And how can the staff just sit by and let it happen?

One of mods actually joins in all the time. Here's a great one from someone who hides behind his staff position to troll endlessly:
Nope, there's a totally awesome "real" (as opposed to Umbrella Chronicles which is "fake"?) Resident Evil that just came out though. Too bad you're too busy whining about not getting it on Wii to get a job and pay less-than-you-did-for-Wii to get a 360.

Honestly... Wii trolls are without a doubt the most pathetic group of "gamer" this generation. There is no question, and by the logic of many I'm a "fanboy (a word that makes me go back to 2nd grade arguments) for saying such a ridiculous thing. This same person doesn't mind when someone wants to play a game on HD for the great graphics instead of the Wii and its waggle...

I can't think of any group that my article describes so aptly. It comes off as me constantly defending the Wii, but who else will? The only source for decent Wii coverage puts out inflammatory reviews like Wii Music where the person purposefully played horribly. We have a huge vocal minority of whining little man-children who can't help but cry that other people have different tastes as them and act elitist towards VIDEO GAMES. Video games, people. You're acting high and mighty over video games?! Jesus Christ... Why bother even discussing the Wii? So many people have made up their minds and are quick to jump to conclusions. It's honestly embarrassing to me to be associated with this group of people.

And it's really embarrassing to me that there is NO place for intelligent gaming discussion in this industry. NeoGAF, which has multiple people in the industry who post regularly, are no better than GameFAQs or any other site when it comes to console tolerance. Does every site need to have console wars debate? Does every site need such flagrant bias? Does every site allow the basis of discussion to be off fiction? The thing of it is that if you can't turn to NeoGAF for "intelligent gaming discussion" without bashing one console and pretending no one plays it and it has no games, where in the world can you turn to? There really is no decent place for discussion on gaming. Does this mean one has to kiss up 24/7? No, but at least don't come off as a douche which is typical of the man-child mindset. I'm guilty of it, too, when I posted on GoNintendo (whiny, overly negative people there, too). Why try to hold a discussion when no one wants to listen? Just read those GAF posts, and congratulate yourselves on supporting and prolonging the frat boy mentality of the industry from IGN's hyperbole-filled reviews to "Wii don't sell games" from bitter third parties.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Excitebots: Trick Racing (Wii) - Debut Trailer

I don't know if you noticed on SuperPhillip Central, but I always seem to get kicks of a certain platform. When LittleBigPlanet came out, I was all about Playstation 3. Before that it was all handhelds. Now apparently it's time for a lot of Wii-centric stories. Here is the first video of the game in motion courtesy of IGN.

It honestly looks like a blast. I didn't see any "waggling", but I did see gesture stuff like rolling the Wii Wheel (or Wii remote by itself) to spin on that red bar. What other game can you get a Super Leg Smash and get rewarded for it? What do you fine folks think? Does the game look appealing to you?

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - "Farewell, Mario" Edition

My review for Friday is almost finished. I just need to see how the online works in order to give my complete analysis. Expect it by the end of the week.

This installment marks the final Mario edition of our four series set. Let's cap things off with a listen to Mario's role-playing and kart-racing escapades. We have music from the original Mario RPG, Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi, and Mario Kart 64 and Double Dash.

V266. Super Mario RPG - Beware the Forest Mushrooms

We kick off the second half of Mario's various spin-offs with his first foray into the realm of role-playing games with Super Mario RPG. This is one of the more popular tracks in the game, so I'd be amiss if I didn't add it into my own collection of favorites.

V.267 - Paper Mario - Mysterious Dry Dry Outpost

This track comes from Mario's second RPG outing, Paper Mario, which was originally and tentatively titled Super Mario RPG 2. The wait for this game seemed to be forever, but after finally playing it I think it was worth the wait. While the soundtrack of the Paper Mario games don't hold a candle to Yoko Shimomura's compositions, there's still some quality to be found. Here is the theme of Dry Dry Outpost.

V268. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga - Hoohoo Village

This quaint and cozy mountainside town, Hoohoo Village, is the home of this whimsical tune. The song as well as the village itself are courtesy of Yoko Shimomura and are featured in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Mario & Luigi 3 is set to release sometime this summer for lucky Europeans with no date yet planned for North America.

V269. Mario Kart 64 - Circuit

Vroom! Mario and company speed into 3D with Mario Kart 64-- one of the best multiplayer games of its time. This volume contains the theme of Luigi, Mario, Royal Raceways, and Wario Staduim-- it's Circuit.

V270. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - Circuit

We round up our look and listen at Mario's various spin-offs with Mario Kart: Double Dash's Circuit track. This song is used numerous times for Luigi Circuit, Mario Circuit, and Yoshi Circuit. Double Dash gets a bad reputation with some, but I had some of my most memorable and enjoyable Mario Kart experiences with this great game.

That's it for now. Next week we start with a brand new series, and this one is quite legendary. Think you know what it is? We'll see if you're right next week!