Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sonic Colors (Wii) - Sweet Gameplay

Literally. It may be fairly old footage, but this gameplay footage shows off one of the acts of Sweet Mountain, one of the several zones in Sonic Colors, a game looking to break the Sonic Cycle that we all know and abhor. Watch as the traditional run 95% of the time history is gone in this footage. There's actual breather time with platforming action. How cool! Sonic Colors hits Wii and DS (you can try the DS demo yourself via the Nintendo Channel now) mid-November.

Sweet footage here.

And this footage shows off Act One of Planet Wisp. It starts off in 3D, but quickly turns into a total 2D affair. Check it out in the following video.

Friday, November 5, 2010

SPC Mailbag - November 5th, 2010 - U Mad? Edition

It's been awhile and there's been quite a bit of new mail sent my way over the hiatus. Let's answer some in the only fashion I can, condescendingly and jerk-like. I warn you that this mailbag segment I go pretty dark and insult plenty of people. Be forewarned.

Where have you been these past few months?

I was taking a sabbatical where I was bored with video games as well as blogging. I didn't have the drive to play any video games whatsoever or do anything for that matter. I was in a fog, and I didn't want to do anything. I wasn't depressed, mind you, I just lacked that drive. Somehow (and several medications later), I regained that drive and am back to your satisfaction (hopefully).

You don't seem to like many communities on the web. What are your personal worst?

5) IGN
4) GoNintendo
3) CheapAssGamer
2) GameTrailers
1) GameFAQs

IGN is full of people who suck the taints of the moderators.
GoNintendo is full of trolls and hyper-fanboys.
CheapAssGamer has constant trolling.
GameTrailers see: CheapAssGamer x3
GameFAQs is full of worthless topics, memes that stop being funny once GameFAQs starts them, and a shitty moderation staff full of 14 year old mods.

You used to be featured on GoNintendo by the owner, RMC. What happened?

It's a funny story. The commenters on the site suck. You're either a fanboy or a troll it seems like, and the admins there don't care either way as you long as you're giving them page hits because page hits = money. That's why fatass there can sit his repugnant self in front of a computer all day and make a living off it. He does it by leeching off his faithful users completely. He's a repulsive-looking being, mondo fat, and he has this nasty beard that makes you wonder if he loses food inside it. Perhaps I'm being mean, but RMC deserves no sympathy. He's the type of person who ignores e-mails on a frequent basis. Even when they're sure-fire ways to get more views and money for his pitiful fanboy zone.

I came across his loser-in-chief, cortjezter or something stupid like that, and he noticed I was trolling the site totally. He was right, but he threatened that I'd get banned if I continued. And the punishment is? No more making money for a fat-ass and no more being in the company of one of the worst communities around? Oh noes! Thus, that is how I ended my tenure at GoNintendo. Horrible site. He just steals news from NeoGAF anyway. He's also a manchild as proven by the bed he sleeps in. Mario comforter, sheets, and pillows. Can you say "I'm too old for this shit"?

He's 28 by the way.

And with that bit of vitriol, we close the SPC Mailbag for this time. I hope you feel as jaded and filled with rage as possible. No, not really, but GoNintendo does suck big time.

Here's Another Banana-Slamma With Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)!

Another week, another new trailer for the upcoming Wii game, Donkey Kong Country Returns. Watch brand-new levels and locales, Donkey Kong nimbly scooting through levels, and all the impressive visuals effects in this all-fresh trailer. No recycled material here save for the ending logo reveal. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 (Wii) Review

I think it was this next game I'm reviewing that started my hiatus. I'm not going to fully blame Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for Wii, but I'm not passing on blaming it either. Regardless, this year's version sold poorly on all systems especially the Wii. Who knows how EA is going to make people excited about Tiger Woods PGA Tour again? Nonetheless, here's my review of Tiger's newest trick on Wii.

Eye of the Tiger, baby.

Tiger's had it hard this year. Sales of his video game are down to miserable levels, his personal life is in shambles, and his golf game reeks like Vijay Singh's armpits. What's a golfer to do? Well, why not join the Ryder Cup? That's exactly what Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 brings to the table this year along with more in-tune motion controls via Wii MotionPlus. There's 27 courses to be played upon with six or seven new ones, so there's plenty of new content in Tiger's new game, but is it worth picking up if you own past installments? Meet me at the second tee to find out.

Wii MotionPlus brings a lot of new dynamics to the game of golf. The precision is unheard of, and it works really well. If you pull your stroke, your results are going to be brutal. If you hook it just a little bit, you can bet your ball is going to be hooked just a little bit. New this year is the first-person mode which allows players to get inside the shoes of their favorite pro golfers. Who doesn't want to be inside the shoes of Boo Weekley? This time around it's completely possible to miss the ball entirely during a swing. This is why it's a good idea to keep a real life golf ball in front of you as a point of reference to swing the Wii remote over. Alternatively, if Wii MotionPlus is too difficult to play with you can always switch it out and play naked. That is, play without MotionPlus, not actually play without clothes on. Though then you'd have an extra to consider in the wood category of clubs. Playing without the Wii remote is a breeze as there's no way to mess up your shot. You tilt the Wii remote to perform a hook or draw shot and perform a regular swing to whack the ball to the other side of South Africa.

Tiger's game-- wait, are we talking his golf
skill or his actual video game?

Playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 takes some learning. For instance there's all sorts of things to take into consideration from your current lie to wind conditions to slope to the way your swing your club. If the wind is blowing towards me, I should take another club up. If it's blowing with me, I'll opt to take a club down. The game uses percentages to tell you how you should swing your shot. For instance, if you're in the sand, you'll have to swing 10-20% percent harder to get it out and where you want it to land. No rhyming intended between sand and land. By performing a full swing, you get 100% or close to it out of your shot. If you utilize a short swing by only rising the Wii remote to your waist, the ball with go half the distance. This is perfect for approach shots and chip shots and the like. As you can probably tell, there's a myriad of different items to consider when going for the cup.

First-person mode puts you in the shoes of your golfer.

If playing as Tiger Woods or another famous PGA Tour star doesn't roll your rock, then you can create your own golfer using the intricate create-a-golfer tool. This year not everybody looks like Tiger Woods which is a good thing. I don't want the bad publicity after all. You can alter everything from skin color to your hairdo to your eye brow size to your cranium height, width, and depth to your fat capacity and et cetera. You can choose from several animations for post-hole theatrics from snapping your club in two across your knee to the infamous Tiger fist pump. A whole slew of clothing is available (most needing to be unlocked via sponsorships with various companies) for your golfer to get his style on. There's even fantasy costumes such as a knight, the Easter bunny, and more to become more animated on the links.

With your created golfer you now have access to a trio of modes. The first is the PGA Tour mode where you start as a rookie, plowing your way through amateur tournaments as you make your way to Q School. Pass Q School, and you're officially a pro taking on Tiger at his own game. That's golf-- not sleeping with other women. You play all year long earning money and points for the race for the Fedex Cup. Become number one, and that trophy is as good as yours. Meanwhile, the new mode that EA was banking on making this game a success is the Ryder Cup. This mode has you pairing off in teams of two to take on either the United States or Europe. You play doubles matches where the person with least amount of strokes on a hole wins, or an interesting take on golf where your partner plays wherever your ball landed and vice versa. It takes total teamwork and determination to master this mode. The final mode in the single-player campaign has you taking on several golfers for medals. Medals are earned in either bronze, silver, or gold depending on how well you do on each challenge. One might be taking on an opponent in skins play while another might be a driving challenge or chipping challenge. Outperform your opponent well, and that gold medal is yours for the taking.

If only we had some dip for this perfect chip!

Outside of the single-player component of the game, there's the multiplayer including online play. We'll get to online in a bit, however. Local multiplayer consists of a buttload (my technical term) of modes to play from a version of H-O-R-S-E where your try to outdo your opponent's shot to modes similar to what you have in the Ryder Cup. Then there's the wacky Party Mode where you'll be driving golf carts to round up golf balls, putting for various differently-scored holes, the further away the better to chipping balls into targets and teeing off to try to hit several targets for points. And if that wasn't enough there's a new mini golf mode to play with four different, themed courses to play on. I found this mode maddening, but perhaps you'll find it enjoyable.

I don't care what anyone says. Real-life mini-golf rules.

Online play is just as good as last year consisting of match play or foursome simultaneous play where you can see your opponents shots represented by dissimilar colored lines as you play your round. New this year is the addition of online disc-golf. For those complaining about the lack of disc-golf online last year, your whining can subside. Also, there's no friend codes to be found here. Instead, you use an EA tag which is used on every EA game for Wii from Madden to FIFA to Medal of Honor Heroes 2. The online is successfully lag-free and fun to golf on. It's an admirable effort.

The visuals of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 compared to last year's installment really is marginal in appearance. The models are slightly better and the courses are less jagged. Sound-wise, it's disappointing. The same team from last year, that chick from the Golf Channel (I'm sure she'd love that description) and ESPN's Scott Van Pelt regurgitate the same lines from PGA Tour 10. It's disappointing, and frankly lazy on EA's part. Perhaps there's a new phrase here and there, but I didn't hear it.

Ultimately, if you've played last year's version or the one two years prior, there's a few new gimmicks to try out such as the Ryder Cup, online disc-golf, new courses, enhanced Wii MotionPlus play, and mini-golf. The rest of the package is pretty much the absolute same. So if grinding through the PGA Tour mode once again seems like a rip-roaring good time, then be my guest. As for everyone else, you might think about skipping out on this edition of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. And by seeing the sales numbers of the game, a lot of people did.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.75/10]

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ModNation Racers (PS3) Review

ModNation Racers was a game that came out for both the PlayStation 3 as well as the PlayStation Portable. The following review covers the PS3 portion of the game. This was another game that missed out on a proper review time due to my hiatus. I shall rectify that now with this all-new review.

Mod This!

The kart racing genre is full of competition. It all started with Mario Kart, but now we've got Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing, Crash Team Racing, Diddy Kong Racing, and now Sony's go at the genre with ModNation Racers. Does ModNation Racers dethrone the current champion Mario Kart, or does it need to pull in for a much needed pit stop?

ModNation Racers takes you from a low-class racer with no sponsor to a world class champion in the career mode. Along the way you'll meet friends, enemies, and characters plotting your immediate failure. As you play through the career mode, there's various goals to try out other than the traditional become first or lose rules such as not hitting a wall during a lap, pulling off a set amount of spin points, or zipping across a certain quota of boost plates. Beating these challenges will reward you with special vehicles parts and fancy stickers to stick to your kart. There's also many rivals to take out which will give you the opportunity to race them one-on-one in a test to see who's the best.

A victim of the infamous crusher.

The central nervous system of ModNation Racers is the ModSpot where it all happens. You can perform Quick Races either with up to twelve racers online or four player split-screen. You can worship the top karts and mods (mods are the characters you race as and against) of the day as well as pick between the top created tracks made by other mods online. There's also the ability to enter a time trial, customize your kart, mod, or create a track in the Creation Station. While you play around in the ModSpot, and if you're currently online, other miscellaneous players will be driving along through the ModSpot to chat and message.

The Creation Station is where it all happens creation-wise. You can create custom mods, karts, and tracks with ease. You can alter the eyes, nose, and mouth of your mod, plaster stickers on him to create designs, and tinker till you can't tinker your mod no more. Karts are also a blast to customize. You pick a model to start with (more models unlock as you play through the career mode). Then just like with the mod, you plaster stickers and swap in and out parts to create a kart that will strike fear in the other hearts of mods... or just make it cute pink with ribbons. Either way you're good.

Then comes the track design. Building a racing circuit has never been easier. You begin by driving around an empty field all the while paving the track. These track pieces can be edited to be narrowed or widened with a click of a button. As soon as you link the beginning of the track to the end, you've created your track. But a track without obstacles or challenge is no fun. There's a myriad of different obstacles to place along your track such as giant crushers that flatten any mod silly enough to enter under them, fire barrels that explode on contact, and gates that open and close in an intermittent fashion. You can also create hills to make your track more interesting, create bodies of water, flood the entire area save for your track, and make valleys. If you're not satisfied with how empty your track still looks you can place scenery on the outskirts of your track. Houses, trees, bushes, wildlife, sheep, mills, etc. are there for you to make your track shine even more brightly. Or if you're lazy you can have the game fill in the scenery for you. In any case, track-building with ModNation Racers is a piece of cake, and with multiple themes to choose from, no two tracks will be the same.

Create your track your way.

There's no point in creating tracks if you can't race on them as well as twenty-five pre-made tracks from the career mode. ModNation Racers is fairly beginner-friendly. As you perform powerslides around corners and turns as well as other feats such as sideswiping a challenger or drafting behind a foe, your boost gauge goes up. In turn you can either use whatever juice is left in your boost gauge to boost past rival racers or store it up to fend of enemy attacks. Items are plentiful and just like in Diddy Kong Racing, the more item boxes you hit, the stronger your item attack will be. There's homing missiles, lightning bolts, sonic booms, plus many more to unleash onto your racing rivals. The racing feels tight and well-executed. It's a lot of fun to blaze through a track full-speed to get that perfect run.

Last in the standings but first in our hearts.

Presentation-wise, ModNation Racers is a mixed bag. The game looks gorgeous in SD and even better in pure HD. The penalty for that are the excessively long loading times that pop everywhere within the game. We're talking 30-45 seconds of loading here, folks. Meanwhile, it's very cool to see the ModNation Racing Championship as the backdrop for the game. The banter between Biff and Gary is oftentimes hilarious between career races, and the often commenting crew chief during races gets you in the mood to ride. Some might find him annoying, I find him talkative and endearing. Complementing the audio is an above average soundtrack full of rock and funk music.

"Watch out. Coming through!"

Overall, ModNation Racers is a great kart racer that doesn't quite beat out the reigning champion, Mario Kart, but it does hold its own in the genre, technological problems aside. There's plenty of tracks to be raced on with a bustling community creating thousands each day, the balls-to-the-wall challenging career mode to accomplish, the several goals in each career race to complete, creating your own mods, karts, and tracks, and racing online with friends or locally with a few close buddies. This racer roars onto the track, and has other games eating its dust.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.75/10]

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor (Wii) Review

Welcome to a wonderful Tuesday evening here at SuperPhillip Central. Here, today, we have a new review from a game that was released during my hiatus. It's Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, and it begins now.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

The 3D shump isn't a very popular genre this generation. When one thinks of the genre, they think of Treasure for the most part. They've created several incredible shooter/flying hybrids such as Gunstar Heroes, Ikaruga, and the original Sin & Punishment on the N64. Until the Wii's Virtual Console, the original Sin & Punishment was only available for Japanese customers. Perhaps the unexpected great sales of the game brought about the Wii sequel, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. Does this title live up to Treasure's legacy or is it easily shot down?

If you're looking for story in Star Successor from the actual game, you will be thoroughly confused. All of the background is inside the game's instruction manual of all places. Let me try to read through the lines here, so forgive my confusion. It has something to do with a universe divided into a duo of dimensions, inner and outer space. The two are constantly in battle with one another, and it's a very bad situation. Our story follows two main characters which the player can choose to play as. Our first entrant is Isa Jo who found an android woman named Kachi, our second entrant, who is being pursued by a mysterious organization who wants her for unknown reasons.

Meet the duo of Isa Jo and Kachi.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor plays like your typical 3D shmup. You zoom in and out of areas, blasting baddies and scoring points. The goal here is simple: destroy all the enemies on the screen as possible while cycling through rooms and areas of levels while trying to avoid enemy fire. By not getting hit your score multiplies, but when you're attacked by a shot it goes down by a significant amount. Isa Jo or Kachi's health is displayed on the bottom left whereas the amount of enemies destroyed is situated on the bottom right. There's plenty of items to collect along the way such as health boxes usually produced after a particularly difficult battle, coins that raise your score, and medals which appear when you fulfill specific conditions like destroying a whole line of enemies.

From hoverboards to bikes, we ride in style.

Each level plays through like an interactive movie. You destroy foes while avoiding enemy fire. Occasionally you'll come down against a boss. Most levels have multiple boss characters to take down. Each has its own attack pattern that the player must learn in order to get their coveted victory from them. It's up to the player to figure out a given boss' weak point in order to finish them off. By beating a boss before the time gauge hits zero, you'll receive a bonus score multiplier.

Bosses can be taken down easily
once their pattern is mastered.

At the conclusion of each stage, the results screen will pop up. You'll get points based on enemies defeated, medals earned, a remaining health bonus, and how fast you defeated the stage's final boss. If your health somehow reaches zero, which it will on harder difficulties-- a lot, you'll get a game over. Luckily, you can start at the most current checkpoint you reached. Unfortunately, your points go the way of the dodo. Points are important not just for personal bragging rights, but for the public online leaderboards that the game possesses. It's great to shoot (literally) for number one.

Both Isa Jo and Kachi are maneuverable characters. They can leap into the air and fly on their jetpacks to speed around the screen, avoiding enemy fire. By pointing with the Wii remote, you can aim and fire easily. There's also the option to play with the Wii Zapper, Classic Controller, or Gamecube controller, but the Wii remote/nunchuk combination beats them all in spades. You just aim at the screen, fire, and boom-shaka-laka. You can even lock-on to enemies to get better accuracy in exchange for weaker shots. Isa Jo and Kachi can also perform melee attacks to send back enemy shots or carve up close enemies. Additionally, there's the ultra-powerful charge shot that can clear out a room of enemies with no challenge at all. However, this move as the name suggests much be charged before used.

This boss is one bad mamma-jamma.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor isn't the most graphically intensive game on the Wii. There's texture problems here and there, but that's okay since the amount of carnage on screen at once is very impressive-- especially as there's little-to-no slowdown to speak of. Bosses are especially intimidating with their beautiful attack animations and special effects such as fire, magma, and sand. The music is usually muzzled by the intense action and shots being fired from both sides of the good guy/bad guy spectrum. When you can hear it, the J-rock is appropriate for the game and doesn't annoy whatsoever. It's just there.

Overall, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a worthy title to Treasure's collection of excellent games. The story may be nonsensical to most, and the graphics may be on the weak side, but the high-adrenaline action and hardcore shooting makes for a very fun time. Perhaps if the game was a bit longer (the stages themselves are already long enough) as in more stages then I could give the game a higher score, but as it is Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a wonderful 3D shmup with an impressive feat of having so many enemies on the screen at the same time yet no slowdown. Treasure fans may have a new favorite game to play.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review Round-Up - June-October

Samus Aran seldom has a day off from bounty hunting.

I was off for several months from SPC, but as we know the old saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well, hopefully that's the case with many of you as I am now back to my old hi-jinks. Since we've been gone you've been missing my reviews, yes? Well, miss them no longer as I crafted many between the months of June and October. October was slammed with new reviews to make my absence feel like a distant memory. Who would have guessed that a portable tennis title would outclass Samus Aran, Kirby, and a bunch of Miis gathering for a party? Certainly not I! Yes, it's Hot Shots Tennis: Get A Grip with the best score this Round-Up with an 8.75. Closing in behind very closely are Kirby's Epic Yarn and Metroid: Other M with a score of 8.5 respectively. Meanwhile, Wii Party received a 7.75 while Planet Mini-Golf (June's only review) got a 7.0. Note: now you can play Planet Mini-Golf with Move controls, so the experience may be different from what it was with analog controls.

Planet Mini-Golf (PSN) - 7.0
Wii Party (Wii) - 7.75
Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii) - 8.5
Metroid: Other M (Wii) - 8.5
Hot Shots Tennis: Get A Grip (PSP) - 8.75

Come to mama!

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Coming Off the Sugar Rush Edition

Welcome to another Monday here at SuperPhillip Central which means it's time for another batch of five songs from my favorite VGMs. This week we have music from No More Heroes, Viva Pinata, and Phantasy Star Universe just to name a few. For better immersion, put on some headphones or ear buds or whatever you crazy kids call them!

v591. No More Heroes 2 - It's Kill or Be Killed ~ Destroy Resort

Here's a provocative pic to start our countdown to 600 vids. It's from the original No More Heroes-- the pic, that is. This song, entitled "It's Kill or Be Killed" is the vocal version of the infectious main theme. Except since we're dealing with foreign vocalists, it's more like "It's Kirr or Be Kirred". One could say it's Sylvia's song since it usually plays while she's instructing Travis Touchdown on his next assassination mission. To all my fans.... as she would say.

v.592. Wii Fit - Hoop Dance

This catchy melody plays during the Hoop Dance minigame where you use your body to lean your way to catch as many hula hoops as possible. Toru Minegishi is your composer for the majority of Wii Fit's theme. Have you played Wii Fit or know anyone who owns a copy of this workout phenomenon? What do you or they think of it?

v593. Tales of Symphonia - Walking On Tethe'Alla

When the anemic amount of Gamecube RPGs, Tales of Symphonia was a shot in the arm to boost the console's catalog of games. I really enjoyed Symphonia. It was my first and really only Tales Of game I played. This song is the theme of Tethe'Alla, the other world Lloyd and the gang visit on their quest to save both worlds.

v594. Phantasy Star Universe - With You

This beautiful, poetic song plays during each chapter intermission of the horrible Phantasy Star Universe. God, what a piece of rappy crap. Let's talk about a better game instead-- Phantasy Star Zero. Now that was a terrific game. It was fun playing on a portable, questing, besting bosses and other baddies, and customizing and upgrading your gear. Regardless, what Universe has over Zero is a phenomenal soundtrack.

v595. Viva Pinata - Day 6

This song sounds like a theme for a majestic castle or royalty, don't you think? It comes from Viva Pinata, one of Rare's more creative titles since parting with Nintendo. I sure would love to play this game again, but it appears my 360 has died. Oh, the humanity! Before I go into a rant on the 360, let's switch our focus back to the theme. Grant Kirkhope sure knows how to compose and orchestrate with the best of them as this soundtrack among others show.

There goes another edition of my VGMs down the commode. They were chunky yet beautiful little ditties, don't you think? Until next week, that's all you'll hear from SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs.