Friday, February 25, 2011

Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PS3, 360) Review

Let's wrap up this week with the game I received for my birthday which is this Sunday. I got the PlayStation 3 version, obviously, as Microsoft sucks at making reliable hardware. They will never be forgiven. Regardless, it's Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and the review starts now.

A Game A Decade in the Making

In 2000, Marvel VS. Capcom 2 hit arcades as well as consoles, and a new fandom was born. This game had it all-- a colorful cast of characters, insane combo opportunities, and lightning-fast gameplay. Fans yearned for a sequel, but they would have to wait a good ten years for it. Now Marvel VS. Capcom 3 is on store shelves, and that day is finally here. You'll be taken for a ride, but not before getting spammed to death, cursed out for winning against someone online, and annoyed by hearing Nolan North's voice in yet another game. Is Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds worthy of the Marvel VS. Capcom moniker, or is its fate sealed?

What is immediately apparent when sitting down to the game is how barebones it is mode-wise. What you have for single-player is arcade, mission, training, and local versus. Online-wise you have ranked and player matches. You can also join lobbies with up to seven other players. Ranked matches can link you up with opponents of the same rank as you, or if you're feeling bold, you can opt to take on someone with a much higher rank. Rank is acquired by completing battles. Of course, if you win, you'll earn more points than if you lose. Rage-quitters and early DCers will have their points taken away from them, so it's best to stick around and take your beating like a man. Yeah, it's not politically correct, but it's true. What's surprising and all the more disappointing about online play is that there is no spectator mode to speak of. Perhaps this will come later as DLC? In my humble opinion, it should have been in the game day one since Super Street Fighter 4 has it. Nonetheless, online battles on the PS3 have little in the way of lag or framerate issues. In fact, I noticed nothing of the sort in my many battles of playing the role of the scrub.

Stages boom with personality as do the 36 characters.

Arcade mode is what you'd expect. Maybe even less. You battle six rounds of teams of three followed by a battle against the universe-destroying tyrant, Galactus. Depending on which teammate of yours scores the final hit, you'll be rewarded with their ending. This goes again with the barebones argument. Instead of a cool movie in style with the opening of the game, you get two comic book-like still-frame panels featuring voiceless text. Talk about not going any extra miles, Capcom. The endings themselves feature characters not present as fighters in the game such as Ghost Rider and Phoenix Wright. They're usually pretty funny or at the least entertaining. There's thirty-six fighters in all, so you'll be getting to know the arcade mode (And Galactus) quite well if you want to unlock every character's ending.

Speaking of character, Marvel VS. Capcom 3 has plenty of it and plenty of them. While the roster isn't as large (or as broken) as its predecessor, there are still eighteen candidates to fight with and against on each side of the line. There's shoe-ins like Ryu, Chun-Li, Morrigan, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Wolverine, but there's characters you wouldn't expect like Amaretsu from Okami fame, the comical, fourth wall-breaking Deadpool, and M.O.D.O.K. to spice things up. Each team leader starts the battle out by taunting their opponents, and ends the battle with a victory taunt and ending commentary. Based on who you battle, the commentary is different. A character might even comment on a certain opponent. For instance, M.O.D.O.K. says when he's defeated Captain America that his suit looks more red than red, white, and blue after the beating he's suffered in the hands of M.O.D.O.K. I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Each character oozes with personality, and frankly, there really isn't a loser in the cast. Promised DLC foretells that the cast will only grow larger with Resident Evil's Jill Valentine and Marvel's tentacled menace Shuma-Gorath soon hitting the marketplace for their respective consoles.

An unlikely alliance, indeed.

In Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, battles consist of three-on-three affairs. Players can tag in their teammates, and while they are resting, a portion of their life bar will slowly refill. Assist attacks occur when a player calls in their teammate to attack. There's three types of assists attacks for each character, so choosing the right one usually is the difference between victory and defeat as is the usage of hyper combos. As you fight, a gauge in the bottom corner of the screen fills. As it fills, you can perform hyper combos which are super-powerful moves. If you save up enough of your gauge, you can unleash a team hyper combo to inflict massive damage to whatever unlucky opponent stands in your way. Of course, they can block your attack to minimize the damage or simply punch or kick you at the last moment to make you waste a portion of your hyper combo gauge.

In the subculture of Marvel VS. Capcom 3, there's a whole slew of technical terms to learn and master from snap-backs to advanced guards. Snap-backs knock away the current member of the opposing team and exchanges them with someone else. Advanced guards occur when you're blocking and press two attack buttons at the same time to push your opponent backward, giving you distance and room to maneuver. There's also aerial combos to consider, aerial blocks, and other terms that scrubs will have to learn if they want any kind of advantage in battle.

There's two types of control methods in Marvel VS. Capcom 3. There's the original controls and the simple ones. Simple mode uses the X button to launch your foe into the air for a team or solo aerial combo, the circle button to unleash a hyper combo, the square button to start a normal attack, and the triangle button to launch a special attack. Simple mode might be too simple in the fact that you're limited in the amount of moves you can use on your opponents. Normal mode allows for a more robust moveset at the cost of more confusing controls. Thankfully, there's no full circle moves to speak of a la Street Fighter.

The Bionic Commando sucker punches Doctor Doom.

Along with arcade, training, and versus modes, there's mission mode which is virtually the same concept as in Super Street Fighter 4. Each of the thirty-six characters has ten missions to perform. These are not "kill 10 enemies in 30 seconds" type missions, but more like "perform this move or combo". When the combos are ten moves long, things get confusing and frustrating quickly. You have to have some finger-fu to even come close to finishing half of the missions in this mode. It's unforgiving, yes, but it does give you some options for combat when you play against the computer or online with friends or perfect strangers.

Viewtiful Joe may not get another game,
so any chance to see him is a treat.

Marvel VS. Capcom 3 is a gorgeous-looking game. While there's only ten stages to fight in, each one is booming with eye candy and moving parts with nary a mention of slowdown to speak of. On Kattelox Island (from Mega Man Legends), for instance, the Bonne family stands a top one of their many Reaverbot inventions while fireworks go off in the night sky, and Servebots play around in the background. There's a lot going on. Additionally, characters are cel-shaded, and they look like they were ripped straight out of a comic book. It's a very impressive choice for an art style, and it looks mighty impressive. On the audio side of things, every character, including Galactus, has their own theme song that plays when they arrive in battle. There's a gallery to look at character biographies, endings, 3D models that can be zoomed in and out and panned around to capture that perfect glimpse, and a catalog of voice clips for every character. Most of the music is quite good and stage themes are also above average.

Spam-happy characters like Sentinel here show off their power.

Overall, Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is not a perfect fighter. It certainly demands a lot of attention if you want to get anywhere near good at it. There's a bit of a learning curve unlike Tatsunoko VS. Capcom, a fighter that I prefer to this one, actually. Coincidentally, Marvel VS. Capcom 3 is modeled after that game. Nonetheless, there's leagues of depth to discover in this title, loads of fan service, marvelous (pun intended) production values, and insane gameplay to make most people happy. It's just a shame there's a paltry amount of single-player content to choose from. Where's the survival mode? Where's the endless mode? Where's the spectator mode? While these questions remain unanswered, there's still plenty to love about the fate of these two delicious worlds.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top Five More Most Wanted 3DS Games

In November of last year, I posted a top five list concerning my most anticipated 3DS games. Now I'm returning with five more 3DS games I'm excited for. In November I was talking about how the release of the 3DS was close. Now it's REALLY close with the 3DS hitting the land of the rising sun this weekend. Regardless, this list contains both first and third party games.

5) Steel Diver

Originally planned six years ago in tech demo form for the Nintendo DS, Steel Diver has come a long way. Using the touch screen to control the submarine, 3D cameras, and augmented reality to allow you to move the 3DS around to target submarines and battleships alike, Steel Diver is a new IP from Nintendo that highly interests me.

4) Pilotwings Resort

Wuhu Island has seen a lot of action from Nintendo games lately such as Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort. Well, the island returns as the mainland for the newest Pilotwings, a series that hasn't seen the light of day since early Nintendo 64 times. With initially three modes of transportation to choose from and an entire island to explore, Pilotwings Resort is shaping up to be a recommended return to form.

3) Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

One might wonder why this game isn't part of Resident Evil: Revelations, and you'd have a decent concern. 3DS game cards can hold a lot of information. Regardless, the Mercenaries mode has been popular ever since its induction in Resident Evil 4. The goal here to score kills and multipliers as you slay enemies with pickaxes and chainsaws aiming to take your head off. Play as one of many RE mainstays in this intriguing take on the Mercenaries minigame.

2) Mega Man Legends 3

A game that I along with others never thought would be greenlighted, Mega Man Legends 3 is in fact a reality. When we last left Mega Man Volnutt, he was trapped on the frigid surface of the Moon. The producers behind Mega Man Legends 3 are giving fans the chance to help develop the game by allowing them to give their input in the development process. Admirable indeed, but will this new adventure be worthy of the blue bomber's name?

1) Resident Evil: Revelations

Sporting gorgeous graphics and impressive 3D effects, Resident Evil returns to a handheld. The last Resident Evil game to hit handhelds was as port of the original entitled Resident Evil: Deadly Silence. This game features Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they battle the undead aboard a tanker floating in the middle of the ocean. With buckets of blood to be bled and many weapons to choose from, this new zombie-blasting adventure is one of my most anticipated 3DS games.


With ten of the most wanted 3DS games of mine listed, surely you have your own set you'd love to let the world know. Don't be shy. List them in with your own commentary in the comments section.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Demo Round-Up 2: Killzone 3 (PS3) and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS)

In May of last year, I did my first Demo Round-Up with ModNation Racers and Rocket Knight, both PS3 games (Rocket Knight is also on XBLA). Nonetheless, with Killzone 2 being a disappointment to me unfortunately, I felt I should give the sequel a chance through the demo. To give more back story, I played LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on the Xbox 360 when mine was working. I got 980/1000 achievement points, and enjoyed the game for its humor and simplicity. Now I will be giving my thoughts on both the demos for Killzone 3 (PS3) and LEGO Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS).

Killzone 3 (PS3)

The character of Rico in the second Killzone game, the first for the PlayStation 3, was one of the most unlikable characters I had ever come across in a video game. He was foul-mouthed and an utter moron most of the time. In Killzone 3, he's cleaned up his act. When he or you lose all your health in combat, you can use some sort of zapper to heal one another and gain your lost health back. This makes otherwise severely difficult sections of the demo more reasonable to complete.

I'm getting ahead of myself. The demo begins with your character, Sev, riding on a craft, armed with a turret, taking down the Helghasts' oil platforms in an arctic wasteland. After this, a rocket blasts your craft down from the sky, and it's all on-foot from here. Sev and Rico saunter past enemy fire, using cover which players can slide out from, shoot the enemy or get up close and personal using one of many tactics to take out a Helghast soldier including but not limited to slitting their throat with a knife.

After Sev and Rico split up, Sev decides to take out the enemy himself using a newly-acquired jetpack. This is the coolest part of the demo. With the L1 button, you thrust yourself into the air, having only a limited amount of airtime to reach adjacent platforms. You then reach a platform where many Helghast soldiers await to ambush you. You can fly and shoot at the same time, so taking down these enemies isn't too much of a problem. The objective on this tanker is to disable the enemy's anti-air turret. After succeeding, your jetpack malfunctions, leaving Sev to slam his body against a platform, nearly drowning by a giant wave, and being picked back up by Rico.

After being carried to the next portion of the mission, you soon get bombarded with enemy fire by a whole row of Helghast (or is it Helghasts?), and the only thing left to do is to run to the side of them, use a turret, and bring down devastation and destruction down upon them. Then, a tank rolls out which sets its sights on you and Rico. By using said turrets, you bring it down, allowing you access to the opposite side of the battlefield. After taking down more Helghast standing in your way, you reach the opposite side, taking solace behind more turrets, taking down enemy mini-cannons, troops, and yet another tank.

After destroying the last of the Helghast, you run into a corridor that the tank came out of, finishing the mission. Overall, the controls feel much less heavy than in the previous game, and the overall structure of the aforementioned mission was exhilarating. From riding air transport to running and gunning with Rico to maneuvering around the area in a jetpack, taking down tanks and unwary Helghast soldiers, there was a lot of fun to be had. Prompts come up frequently for new objectives and weapon pick-ups or quick QTEs like slicing a soldier's throat with the L1 button. All-in-all, the Killzone 3 demo was enjoyable, but it wasn't without graphical hiccups. At the point where Sev's jetpack malfunctions, the framerate was extremely choppy.

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS)

As stated in the preface, I really liked the fun simplicity of the second LEGO Star Wars game. It was a blast reliving my favorite scenes of the original trilogy. Now we go from that to something I'm less familiar with-- the Clone Wars. The same tried-and-true gameplay is here. You destroy enemies and objects to obtain studs, the in-game currency of the title, solve simple puzzles, and defeat bosses in battle. For this demo, I played the PlayStation 3 version as the Wii does not have demos for retail games and my 360 is dead (thanks for the awesome hardware, Microsoft).

There are two missions to choose from in the demo. One is a standard run and gun/slice, and the other is a flight battle. The first has you running through General Grievous' ship, destroying robots of all kinds. You use your force powers to reconnect pieces of equipment together to advance. There's even some puzzles thrown in for good measure such as a Simon Says-esque puzzle for C3PO where you must use the d-pad to repeat the pattern shown on the screen. There was also a puzzle where R2D2 had to use two panels to rotate two circular patterns to match.

To play, you use the square button to deflect shots from the rebel soldiers as well as slice and dice or shoot your way to victory. You have four hearts to work with but unlimited lives. Each time you die, you lose a portion of your stud collection. At the end of the level your stud total gives you various bonuses. By holding down the circle button, you use the force to move objects into their proper place to open up new areas. By returning to levels, you can obtain secret power units of which there are several in every level. You can be sure a trophy or achievement will pop up when all of these are obtained much like past games.

The flying level has you collecting pink energy balls and throwing them back at pink targets to take down Grievous' ship. This is actually Chapter 2, and the mission before was Chapter 3. I did them in reverse order. Not much to say about the flight controls. Double-tapping in a direction meant you'd do a barrel roll as Peppy Hare is so fond to mention. I'm crossing game references now. Better wind this down.

All-in-all, LEGO Star Wars III seems to be more of the same which isn't really a good thing when Traveler's Tales has been making the same game with different levels for years now. If you're a fan of the simple battle controls and puzzles and don't mind this, then you're sure to love the game. As for everyone else, there are far better titles to look forward to in March.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Even More Stats According to the Nintendo Channel

With the Wii players can download the Nintendo Channel and find out how long they've played various games. It's surprising that the other consoles don't have something like this. It's a cool feature to track how long you've played a given game. Nonetheless, here are five games with increased or new playtime data. If you're new to this segment of SPC, check out my past installments:

More Stats According to the Nintendo Channel
Most Played Wii Games According to the Nintendo Channel - Games 10-1
Most Played Wii Games According to the Nintendo Channel - Games 20-11
Most Played Wii Games According to the Nintendo Channel - Games 30-21

Donkey Kong Country Returns - 31 Hrs. 46 Min.

Donkey and Diddy return for an all-new adventure, and whether I was playing solo or with my older brother in cooperative play, there was some serious fun to be had. The game featured eight unique, themed worlds with the goal to collect all of the K-O-N-G letters in a world to unlock a super secret banana temple level. These were much more challenging than the usual levels which were already difficult as it was. With a friend, when one of you perished, a barrel held up by a balloon would slowly hover to the ground for you to tag your partner back in. Instead of taking turns like previous DKC games, you played together simultaneously. A wild ride indeed, Donkey Kong Country Returns nearly reached New Super Mario Bros. Wii levels of playtime.

Kirby's Epic Yarn - 28 Hrs. 39 Min.

Originally planned to be a game starring a new character, Kirby was thrown in midway in development as a character people could latch onto. It worked well as the sales of Kirby's Epic Yarn are in the millions as we speak. Like Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's Epic Yarn had cooperative play as well. You could grab your partner be it Kirby or the Prince of Patch Land, and toss him up to higher, out-of-the-way locations. Something impossible to do in single-player mode. Also like DKCR, there were several themed lands to explore from grass to space, water to fire. The music, too, was excellent with a heavy focus on light instruments such as the piano. If you're looking for a relaxing platformer, Kirby's Epic Yarn is the game for you.

Sonic Colors - 28 Hrs. 13 Min.

What is this-- a great 3D Sonic game? 2010 was the year of Sonic the Hedgehog it seemed, or at least the year Sonic got his groove back. There were three titles starring Sonic including Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (winning Multiplatform Game of the Year at the SPC Best of 2010 Awards), the somewhat decent Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, and finally, Sonic Colors for Wii and DS. We're focusing on the Wii version which featured six worlds each with six acts and a boss level. You could beat the game in a handful of hours, but collecting all the hidden red coins (five in each act) was a challenge all to itself. With superb visuals and a stirring soundtrack, Sonic Colors was a pleasant surprise for a hedgehog who just couldn't seem to catch a break.

Mario Sports Mix - 23 Hrs. 39 Min.

A variety of time spent with Mario's latest sports outing was divided up between solo play and cooperative play. Each tournament lasted three cups of three rounds each. After completing a given cup, you could play it again for the chance to play on secret routes to unlock new characters and stages. There were four sports in Mario Sports Mix: basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and hockey. Hockey was my least favorite as the games went on seemingly forever. I would have the AI chase me around my own goal just to kill time. Regardless, Mario Sports Mix is a game of genuine quality. While none of the sports are as deep as they would be if they were each a video game all to their own, each sport had enough depth to keep us interested.

Metroid: Other M - 17 Hrs. 5 Min.

I only performed one playthrough of Metroid: Other M, and unlike a lot of people who were put off by the story and the linear approach to the gameplay, I happened to enjoy the game a lot. Initiating attacks and moving around with the d-pad was a breeze, and pointing the Wii remote at the screen to scan objects and fire missiles was usually problem-free save for one hard-to-get expansion in Area 1. The Bottleship vessel held all kinds of secrets to uncover, bosses to battle, and areas to explore. Even if you grew restless hearing about "the baby", there was enough story to properly understand why Samus Aran acted the way she did in Other M. I look forward to the next Metroid game whenever and wherever it appears.


Which games do you think you've spent the most playtime on, for any console? Give me a holler in the comments section.

Monday, February 21, 2011

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - A Warm Winter's Day Edition

It's been unseasonably warm recently with temperatures yesterday hitting the 70s. This is Central City we're talking about! Nonetheless, it's yet another Monday, so it's time to unload some of my favorite songs from video games. This week we feature music from Killer7, Wild Arms 2, and the Munchables.

v661. The Munchables - Blue Sky Lounge Remix

We've heard the original Blue Sky Lounge. Here it is: It was the very first song we heard from the Munchables. I really loved this game. Did 100% of everything. It was an awesome game, and it was definitely worth the budget price I paid for it. In fact, I wrote the very first review for the game! That's how much the mainstream losers didn't care about this game. Regardless, and to shorten my review, you should definitely check the game out if you like a Pac-Man meets Katamari experience, and if you own the incredible Nintendo Wii!

v662. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future - Main Theme (Live Version)

I like to feature versions of game music that most people would overlook. Not good ol' SuperPhillip though! This is the main theme of the excellent puzzle adventure, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future/Last Time Travel (depending on your region). It's not just the main theme though-- it's the live version performed with real life instruments. My favorite puzzles in the Layton games are logic puzzles. I absolutely abhor math ones. For instance, I greatly enjoyed the multiple banana-sliding puzzles in this game. It reminded me of that ice-sliding puzzle in Tales of Symphonia and puzzles of its ilk.

v663. Ice Climber - Main Theme (SSBB Remix)

"Hey, guys!" Well, hey, yourself, you eskimo bastards. I never played the original Ice Climbers on the Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom. Like many of you, when they were announced for Super Smash Bros. Melee, I had no idea who the heck this cute pair of siblings were. It was until it was revealed, I went, "Oh..." Ice Climbers is a franchise that I would be interested in seeing a revamp for. Perhaps it would be perfect for Nintendo's newest handheld, the 3DS?

v664. Wild Arms 2 - Battle VS. Liz and Ard (Rocking Heart Version)

Liz and Ard (Lizard, har-har) were recurring bad guys in Wild Arms 2. I greatly prefer the original Wild Arms' soundtrack, but number dos isn't bad either. I just have a lot more themes I enjoy from the original. This theme, Battle VS Liz and Ard comes from Wild Arms the best ~Rocking Heart~. It's an all-rock arranged soundtrack that encompasses themes from the entirety of the Wild Arms series. Let the work of Michiru Yamane rock you to your very core!

v665. Killer7 - White Sugar

This is a sultry and sexy theme from the cult-classic, Killer7. Killer7 was a very polarizing game. Those who loved it, loved it, and those who hated it, hated it. Like I said, very polarizing. Killer7 featured a band of assassins all living under one alter ego, Harman Smith. The twist at the end, however, revealed an alternate truth. This mindf**k of a game was quite suspenseful, too. Not knowing where the sinister Heaven's Smiles would creep up was a tad scary to me. They were ugly suckers, too, and came in all kinds of varieties. Nonetheless, "White Sugar" features a piano melody and some smooth accompaniment.

That was another wild ride through the mystical land of VGMs, don't you agree? That's all for now, but let's do this again next Monday with more of my favorite VGMs.

A Trio of 3DS Game Trailers

Just uploaded to the Wii's Nintendo Channel are three new trailers for three launch window titles for the hotly-anticipated Nintendo 3DS. The games are Nintendogs + Cats, Pilotwings Resort, and Steel Diver. Out of those three, the one I'm most interested in getting my hands on is Pilotwings Resort followed by Steel Diver. I hold some interest in messing about with my portable animal friends as well.