Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Joypad isn't moving!



Oops!
Uhh, yeah sorry about that. We were wrong. Joypad will stay put.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Joypad is moving!

Hello everyone!

This post is to let you know that Joypad will be changing location to the Vanguard's new and improved blog.

Check us out!

http://vanguardblog-psu.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 2, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Demon's Souls



Attention:

North American servers for Demon's Souls will not be up and running until October 6th. So, if you happen to get a copy of the game early, you will not be able to start playing online until launch day. After that it should be fine, however.

The good folks at Atlus just wanted you all to know; that is all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Summer Game Awards

Now that Summer is drawing to a close and the Fall season of games is practically upon us, it's a good time to look back on the last few months and reflect on what worked and what didn’t. But please note: these are not the ‘best of summer’ game awards, nor are they the worst. Think of them as more of a smattering of lesser known and not-so-lesser known releases that all won (or in some cases, won by losing) various awards of my choosing.

So, without further ado, let’s get this show on the road.

Best game destined to fade into obscurity:

Knights in the Nightmare
Atlus
Nintendo DS
4 out of 5 stars

Only Atlus could bring a game like Knights in the Nightmare stateside. The concept almost sounds like parody mish-mash of everything that screams hardcore Japanese—take the stat-based complexities of a strat-RPG, throw them in a real-time setting (sorta) and add a hefty dose of touch screen schmup action (no, I’m not joking) and you’ve got the basic genetic makeup of Knights.

See the little blue thing? You have to keep those bullets from hitting it. And that's an easy monster.

You play a wisp that’s been awakened to revive the dead spirits of knights from a fallen kingdom. In battle, your royal army of shades is controlled by the wisp, who issues orders to the knights by zipping around the screen, arming them with weapons, collecting gems (which refill your character’s MPs) and—wait for it—dodging projectile bullets from monsters. Despite its seemingly at-odds genre amalgamations, though, Knights works rather well. Recruiting the souls of dead knights to join your army is fun, the job classes interesting and the gameplay experience is pretty much unlike anything else out there. It's so niche, in fact, that it’s probably already passed from store shelves into the gloom of a withering retail dusk. If you’re looking for something very unique, Knights is definitely worth tracking down.

Worst reboot:

King of Fighters XII
Ignition Entertainment
PS3, Xbox 360
3 out of 5 stars

Some people may argue with me when I say that King of Fighters XII is the worst retooling of a series to hit stores this summer (especially given the hype it received). That’s fair. At its core, there’s solid design behind KoF XII. Characters contrast and complement each other, the three-on-three bouts and fighting mechanics work well, the game doesn’t resort to being too cheap and the difficulty is balanced. But that’s not the real problem. See, KoF XII is one of those rare cases where less actually is less (as opposed to being more). To put it more bluntly, the game only has a single arcade mode, and it’s entirely bereft of any kind of story or variation.

Sure, KoF XII is pretty, but...well, that's almost everything it has going for it.

Arcade mode is, in fact, nothing more than a time trial; pick your three favorite fighters (from a sadly diminished roster—seriously, where the fuck is Mai?), fight five timed bouts and, uhm, compare your scores. There’s no resolution, other than an HD cutscene telling you that you’ve won. No boss. Nothing. Outside of arcade mode, there’s you can play multiplayer matches head-to-head or online, leaving you with a game you can wholly experience in ten minutes. I’d advise waiting for the bargain bin. It might be a fine fighter at its base, but for what you get, KoF XII is just a disappointment. Pick up Blazblue instead.

Best Superhero game that isn’t Batman:

InFamous
SCEA
PS3
4.5 out of 5 stars

The genre of original superhero titles may not exactly be spilling over with a constant influx of new games, but the InFamous Vs. Prototype debate brought the concept to the fore this summer, before Bats wowed us all with the deliciously dark Arkham Asylum. And as much as I (surprisingly) enjoyed the hell out of Alex Mercer’s uber violent, nonsensical rampage through Manhattan, InFamous edges Prototype out with superior design, art direction and one hell of a polish. As Cole, an ordinary courier imbued with lightening powers after a bomb detonates in the center of Empire City. After a government quarantine kicks in, you have the option to either use your powers for good or evil. What ensues are a lot of superpowered shenanigans, double crosses, twists, etc.

The draw distance isn't even remotely close to the most impressive thing about InFamous.

The GTA-style open world works well for the game, but where InFamous really shines is in its fluid platforming and animation. The frequent combat is great, as well, but there’s just as much of an emphasis on clambering up buildings and across areas as there is with pumping your enemies with electricity. And did I mention this game is gorgeous? The only downside to InFamous is that it seems clearly geared towards playing as a good guy, since Cole’s motivations for being evil, should you choose to do so, are slim to none. Sucker Punch’s PS3 debut has been long awaited, but it was well worth it—this is one of PS3’s best.

Worst movie-tie in:

Up
THQ
PS3, Xbox 360
2.5 out of 5 stars

Movie tie-in games are almost always bad. Really bad. For some reason, I thought that Up might not be. I guess I had been thinking about the overwhelming pathos of the film, and how cool it could have been if it had been translated into game format. Think about it. How great would it be to have played as Carl in the opening stage, simply sitting on a park bench, or walking contemplatively along a deserted waterfront thinking of his recently departed wife Ellie? Rendered with something akin to Capcom’s MT Framework engine, which brought us the likes of Dead Rising and Lost Planet? I don’t have to tell you how awesome it would’ve been. Instead we get an opening fighter plane level with Dug trying to shoot down Charles Muntz’ evil henchdogs in something a PS2 might have rendered if it crapped all over itself.

Don't expect THQ's Up game to look anything like this.

Then we’re forced to a plodding, forced co-op (and worst of all, boring) platformer with poorly programmed enemies and the like. I know this is supposed to be for kids, but even kids like to have fun. While there technically isn’t anything wrong with the gameplay, it’s too ho-hum to be anything more than utterly forgettable. Not even pretty significant involvement of the cast can save this one from the dredges of mediocrity, and quite frankly, Christopher Plummer, you should fuckin’ know better. Pass.

Best “able to live up to the hype” game:

Ghostbusters
Atari
PS3, Xbox 360
4.5 out of 5 stars

This is a no brainer. After almost (possibly) never seeing the light of day, Ghostbusters clawed its way to the top of heap to become one of the best games of the summer, and certainly the best movie tie-in without an actual film behind it. Basically Ghostbusters is the third film in the series, just minus the celluloid, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis. Taking place two years after Ghostbusters II (that’s 1991 for all you kids keeping track) Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis co-wrote a stellar script with enough scares (inasmuch as the films have scares, which is to say none), laughs, familiar faces and science jargon for any self-respecting ‘Busters fan to keep ‘em from rioting in the streets, which very well might’ve happened had the game sucked.

Aykroyd and Ramis pulled out all the stops to make Ghostbusters an entertaining experience.

Surprisingly, you don’t even play one of the original four—rather instead a rookie the boys hired to essentially do their dirty work and test new proton pack modifications. Missions generally involve splitting off and teaming with one or two of the crew at a time; “Lassoing” spooks into ghost traps is a surprising amount of fun, and even when you’re using one of Egon’s new proton pack toys, a lot of which have different gun-style effects, the classic Ghostbusters tone and feel never goes away. In short, this is about as close to being as Ghostbuster as you’ll ever get. Oddly, despite Bill Murray’s insistence on only doing the game if everyone had an equal part, Venkman’s part in the game seems somewhat limited, which is a goddamn shame (since Bill Murray is in fact a god among men). Still, the anticipation had been building so much for Ghostbusters that it could have ended up a total disaster. Thankfully, it didn’t.

Best use of Tokyo:

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Atlus
Nintendo DS
4.5 out of 5 stars

Ahh, Tokyo. Next to New York and, uhm, Neo-Tokyo (or some approximation thereof) it’s probably the town most often used in games as a site for plague, famine, nuclear war, post-apocalypitca and of course, demons. Devil Survivor, unlike most MegaTen games, is set inside central Tokyo, or more specifically within the Yamanote line circle that encloses the area. Basically, if you’ve ever been to the Tokyo, the gang of COMP-packing teens you play is going to be running around in all the hip places you’ve likely spent time in, from Shinjuku to Roppongi. Only there’s a cataclysmic event that’s going to happen in a number of days, everyone’s walking around with a death clock and there are demons everywhere.

That's Omotesando in the background, in case you were wondering.

In the gameplay department, Devil Survivor takes a different tack than Persona or Digital Devil Saga, (though it’s closer to the former) by acting as a strat-RPG more than anything else. Battles are set up in a fashion similar to Front Mission, meaning you move your units (consisting of a demon handler and up to two demons in their possession) and enter old-school Persona-style battles upon enemy contact, rather than simply trading blows a la Final Fantasy Tactics (additionally this means health items and special summoned demon abilities can be used outside of skirmishes). Like any Atlus game, it’s challenging, the art style is great but you’ll have to grind a lot. The story, characterizations and localization are, as usual, up to Atlus' extremely high standards, however. And who doesn’t like saying, “Hey, I’ve been there,” when they’re playing a game?

Best idea that didn’t quite come together:

Cross Edge
NIS America
PS3
2 out of 5 stars

Cross Edge seems like it started out as a good idea. It has characters from Disgaea (Prinnies!) and Darkstalkers, as well as the, uhm, more obscure Ar Tonelico, Mana Khemia and Spectral Souls games. All mished mashed together, like an ultra-hardcore-niche version of Namco X Capcom (whose import-only status should tell of its own decidedly less-than-mainstream appeal). Still, for fans of these RPG (and…fighting?) series, seeing your favorite characters join forces together should be exciting. Right? Maybe. But then you start playing. What might tip you off first is that despite being HD as hell, Cross Edge looks like a damn PS2 game. The sprites are tiny and don’t show much movement. Even the character portraits aren’t terribly exciting, with only one major expression to each character. The story revolves around everyone from their respective universes getting amnesia and ending up in a magical realm where there’s an evil force trying to destroy all existence. In any case, you’ve heard it all before.

What a fucking nightmare.

Then the battles start. Oh, lord, the battles. Cross Edge has, without a doubt, one of the worst battle systems of any RPG I’ve played. And I’ve played a lot of RPGS. It’s kind of like a four-ally quasi-real-time system similar to Valkyrie Profile or Xenogears, on a broad level. But then the nitty gritty basics start. There’s a gauge for taking actions. All actions take AP (even using items). You’re only allotted a certain amount of AP per turn, and there’s a gauge that measures it. In addition to basic moves mapped the Dualshock’s face buttons, you can also perform EX moves, but they take as much AP as three regular attacks do. There’s a level measuring that. On the defensive side, there’s overkill and guard break meters, as well as no less than four different measurements of defensive power that are depleted with enemy attacks. Then there’s combo attacks. Following all this? I sure as hell can’t. After about hour you’ll probably give up—between the nuclear physicist degree prereq and the tepid story and gameplay, Cross Edge just wants to be too many things for too many people, which ultimately ends up destroying any fun you might have had with it to begin with.

Friday, August 21, 2009

review: Battlestations: Pacific


Battlestations: Pacific is a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, the game has an interesting take on both the usual generic limitations of WWII as well as a unique approach to fairly limited offerings of available console strategy games. You can decal the nose of your favorite fighter with swell period pin-up girls for use in online dogfights. Taking command of a massively powerful battleship like the South Dakota class (armed with a full battery of 16” guns) feels undeniably bad ass.

On the other hand, the grainy, real-life film footage shown before each mission begins is, sadly, a little misleading. Pacific’s tactical-yet-arcadey combat may reach the tracer-saturated fever pitch depicted on the back of the box from time to time, but seemingly just as often the chaos of the Pacific theater’s large-scale naval, air and infantry battles (the last of which isn’t playable here) seem strangely muted.

Dive-bombing is often a key component to a successful aerial assault.

The game throws numerous scenarios at you in which you control, say, one or two cruisers or a destroyers, but rarely allows you access to the entire naval armada, instead seeing fit to dole out command of ships one to three at a time (and even then only as replacements for any vessels you may have lost). Carriers, which act as RTS-style bases, can produce fighter planes to help you maintain the offensive or defensive upper hand, but only allot one four-plane squadron each. The result is a campaign of island hopping support that, while enjoyably strategic, isn’t necessarily spread evenly and can feel somewhat sparse at times.

What’s baffling about Pacific is that despite a serious graphical overhaul and boost in available units, in some ways it’s a step backward from its predecessor, Battlestations: Midway. Covering the earlier part of the war in the pacific (including the battles of the Solomon Islands—where there’s some over lap with Pacific—and, clearly, Midway itself) Midway used a full blown narrative and the ability to choose which tactical maneuvers to utilize in order to crush the Japanese resistance.

Torpedoes can be tricky to use, but devastating to the enemy.

Aside from offering virtually no story aside from a spotty approximation of historical events (brought to tepid life by a cast of either bored or far too overzealous voice actors) Pacific has a penchant for tactically shoehorning you into using certain air or seacraft to accomplish various tasks (though it should be noted that additional units can be unlocked as you progress). The trade-off is that Pacific has a little over twice as much gameplay as Midway, complete with a full, alternate history Japanese campaign; beating both campaigns and unlocking everything will be more than enough to keep some of you coming back to this one.

Thankfully, despite a bit less tactical wiggle-room, Pacific’s arcade combat is still fun. Though controls and tutorials for the game’s dual sea and air fleets may seem a little daunting at first (the game even uses the two letter call signs actually used during the war to identify different types of air and sea craft), they’re streamlined so that even novice tacticians can enjoy the game. Letting off a volley of AA or dual-purpose guns is as easy as firing a gun in an FPS, and the intuitive targeting and formation systems can make even the most overwhelming battles manageable. Although you technically control units one a time, the game (mostly) lets you simultaneously carry out naval and air-based actions, issuing different commands while you control your preferred unit. This gives Pacific gives the overall feeling of a more hands-on RTS, which is pretty swell indeed.

Learn to love the tactical map; it'll save your ass on more than one occasion.

Pacific also has its fair share of moments that are a tremendous rush. Laying waste to an entire fleet of Japanese warships in minutes with a bombardment of long-range guns (not to mention actually watching the explosion of twisted metal from a damaged hull or magazine) never gets old, and dodging through an intense hail of AA fire to successfully deliver a torpedo or bomb payload is exhilarating. In short, these are the moments that will make you want to keep playing. The sheer number of different units is a great touch too, although in order to really use them effectively you’ll likely have to take some prep time to familiarize yourself with the catalog.

At the end of the day, Pacific earns its wings as a more than competent strategy-action hybrid. There are times when it may feel a little too straightforward and, let’s be honest, the story and presentation generally come off as worse than a History channel re-enactment. Despite some setbacks, if Eidos Hungary can learn from their mistakes I have faith they can really put out the complete package with their next Battlestations effort. Give it a shot if you’re in the mood for a different kind of war game. At the very least, it beats the hell out of yet another tired period shooter.

Battlestations: Pacific
Eidos
Xbox 360
$59.99
3.5 out 5 stars

review: Bit.Trip Core

Let’s face it: outside of clans, forums and fan communities, significant cultural memes sprung from the collective consciousness of gamers generally aren’t things you hear about every day. “Popular” modes of expression are usually limited to pop-culture commercialism, and even original projects (like, say, fan-made sequels to popular games) are often subject to intense cease-and-desist litigation.

On the other hand, I would argue that chiptunes don’t follow general modes of gamer expression. Using hacked Game Boys, Nintendo’s and the like, chiptune artists combine “chip” sounds, utilizing archaic hardware to compose electronic bleep-bloop melodies that hearken back to gaming’s infancy, creating a sound that is uniquely retro and modern at the same time.

Having stated this, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I learned that chiptunes play a central role in Bit.Trip Core. As the second of four Bit.Trip titles to hit WiiWare from Gaijin Games, Core (much like its B.T predecessor, Beat) revels in its hybridization of old and new.

Ostensibly, the game looks and feels like a cross between a multi-directional shooter and DDR, with a serious aesthetic fetish for all things Atari. Looking at it in terms of arcade history, it’s a natural progression from Beat, which basically reconstituted Pong, juiced it up and added a really crazy difficulty curve (as well as trippy chiptunes and visuals) for a unique retro-modern arcade feel.


Welcome to your Bit.Trip.

Continuing on the idea of gaming progress, Core then fully embraces the conceptual lineage of arcade shooters, mimicking tube shooters like Tempest, only on a 2D plane. The screen is marked with what amounts to a diamond targeting reticle—from the center of the reticle you can aim bars of light up, down, left and right. Your objective is to shoot the various dots, lines, arrows and boxes that fly across the screen when they intersect the path of your light beams. The more hits you get in row, the higher your combo chain and score.

Aside from its shooter-esque mechanics, Core also functions as a rhythm game—a notion
directly linked to its evolutionary ideology. Each successful shot produces an in-key tone, which accompanies the background beat or baseline of the level. As your combo chain grows higher, the music you create evolves from flat, static chipped sounds to full-bodied notes that compliment each track’s (and level’s) musical growth.

Screw up, though, and you’ll fall back down to “nether” status (the game measures your hit rate on four point-based tiers)—a stark, black and white (and one would assume, tongue-in-cheek) representation of the game featuring only the metronomic skeleton of the level’s track. On the flip side, should you actually reach “super,” (the highest) you can flex your musicality muscles by improving notes in the background to go along with the beat. Each note while in this mode nets you 1000 points, so it’s a good way to rack up high scores.


See where all those lines and vertices intersect with the cross hairs? You have to hit ALL OF THEM.

Not that it’s all that easy to stay in super. Core may start off by throwing relatively slow moving patterns of dots at you, but by the time you’re hurtling through the last level the visuals—and challenge—can be quite ridiculous. Patterned dots, lines and others will split off, multiply, rotate around the center of the targeting reticle, jump off in odd places, shift patterns suddenly, seemingly break the rules by traveling diagonally…you get the idea.

It can be quite a madhouse. (For more proof just click here ). The game does afford you one screen-destroying bomb per game, (I'd save it for the boss patterns, which can obviously be very tricky) but given the extremely limited availability of these, you'll mostly have to rely on your own wits and pattern memorization skills.


Pay no attention to the 3D geometric shapes behind the curtain.

But everything is meticulously calculated, and nothing is impossible. In the long run, it makes for a game you can beat based on repetition and perfection, such as throwbacks like Contra or Gradius. But with the obsession that’ll soon take hold in chasing each level's elusive perfect score, (not to mention the game’s fantastic tunes), this isn’t one for simply playing through once and then walking away. And for six bucks, how can you really go wrong?

Now, that just leaves me with one question for Gaijin: when do we get the soundtrack?

Bit.Trip Core
Aksys Games
WiiWare
$6
4.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This... is pretty much the best news ever.


[From PC WORLD]: Goodbye speculation, hello LEGO Rock Band, the game you were never really expecting but you'll probably stand up and cheer for anyway. You know, like LEGO Final Fantasy. Or LEGO Fallout.

Improbable? Seems that way. I mean, the hypothetical legal red tape involved had to be staggering. LEGO Group, MTV Games, Harmonix, Warner Bros., Travellers Tales, Backbone Entertainment, another dozen I'm probably forgetting yet to be announced...what are the odds?

Like the LEGO-less version of Rock Band, this presumably kid-friendlier version with cute claw-grip plastic abstractions is due for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii, release date vaguely heralded as "holiday 2009." Oh, and a version for the Nintendo DS, too. Sounds like a clip-on peripheral a-brewin', though the DSi's lack of an old-style Gameboy cartridge slot leaves the question of "how?" hanging in the wind. Ad hoc wireless peripheral?

Traveller's Tales, who've handled the trunk LEGO games (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman) thus far, will cover all three console versions partnered with Harmonix, the guys responsible for the first two Guitar Hero games and the trunk Rock Band series. Backbone Entertainment (they did Rock Band Unplugged for PSP) will work with the TT and Harmonix on the DS version.

Tracks teased so far:

"Boys and Girls" (Good Charlotte)
"Kung Fu Fighting" (Carl Douglas)
"Song 2" (Blur)
"So What" (Pink)
"The Final Countdown" (Europe)

And now, clips from the film Armageddon, set to Europe's rock epic, The Final Countdown.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trent Reznor talks id software, innovation, old school games

I was watching this Digg Dialog interview with Trent Reznor earlier, and thought it would be cool if someone mentioned his work doing the sound effects and music for Quake. Much to my surprise, it was mentioned--and thus we get Trent offering his own intelligent observations on the game industry. It's around the 23-25 minute mark, but you should really watch the whole thing, since Mr. Reznor has a lot of great insight to share. Enjoy!

Review: 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand


In an interview before the release of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, two of Fiddy’s boys, G-Unit rappers Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, revealed they were more than just rap stars lending their voices to the multi-platinum rapper’s new game.

The duo name-dropped both classics as well as new favorites among the gaming elite, but confessed they really just liked to play the best new games rather then trying to pay close attention to the ever-changing litany of original IPs, spin-offs and franchises commonplace in the industry. And who can blame them? They’re professional rappers, not gamers.

When asked what they thought about Blood on the Sand, Yayo probably said it best. “This is going to be my favorite game when this [sic] comes out,” he said.

For Yayo and his fellow G-Unit members, not to mention Fiddy and company’s countless fans, Blood on the Sand may be just what the doctor ordered.

A cover shooter with 50 Cent’s insistently high production values, the game does a great job of wiping away the bad memories of Fiddy’s first game appearance, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, which, despite strong sales, received tepid reviews.

And while Blood on the Sand is a far more solid game, it’s anything if not staid. The cover shooting is perfectly adequate, but overall the game lacks any kind of innovation and certainly offers little you haven’t seen before—outside of its nonsensical story anyway.

Hope you like this camera angle--you'll be seeing a lot of it.
.
It’s not that Blood on the Sand is a bad game. It’s just one that falls short of what it could have been. What saves it from mediocrity, is, surprisingly, Fiddy’s involvement himself.

This time around, Fiddy’s out for blood in the, uhm, Middle East somewhere, when his payment for a concert, a priceless diamond encrusted skull, is stolen by a gang of ethnic terrorists who ambush the rapper’s humvee.

Yeah, the story makes little sense. All you really need to know is that Fiddy kills a lot of terrorist scum and throws lines around like “That bitch stole mah skull!” But that’s part of the game’s, uhm, charm. (Well, that and lobbing F-bombs like Molotov cocktails).

To their credit, Fiddy and G-Unit members Tayo, Banks and DJ Whoo Kid do a bang-up job with their voicework—especially 50 himself. I have to say I was pretty surprised by the quality of Mr. Cent’s performance, especially considering that kind of voice acting licensed games usually have, but he actually makes Blood on the Sand a hell of a lot more enjoyable. Kudos also must be given to the script writers for not oversaturating the game’s F-bombs.

Obviously Fiddy likes to speak his profane peace, and does so often. But it doesn’t really sounds forced, not like in say, Capcom’s so-bad-it’s-good Beatdown: Fists of Vengeance. And there’s something inherently satisfying with hearing Fiddy yell out, “Motherfucking cocksucker!” before he blows them away.

The game also (I would guess at Fiddy’s insistence) makes for good fan service—the soundtrack is riddled with old and new tracks from the rapper, and unlocking extras like music videos will be fun for some die-hard followers.


Blood on the Sand's hand-to-hand combat leaves much to be desired.

But Blood on the Sand also suffers from some really ho-hum game design. Outside of getting more powerful weapons, the terrorists never really change, and the level design is uninspired and bland at best and cumbersome at worst.

The game tries to make up for this by presenting you with a number of timed challenges that pop up often. You may have to take down a couple of grenadiers, blow up a tank or pick off a few snipers, to name a few, before the time runs out. Do so and you’ll get extra points (yes, this game actually has a point system) and can unlock extras in the game.

But ultimately, as fun as the challenges can sometimes be, they've become just another feature to slog through by the time you reach the end--just like the game’s combat itself. Not even Blood on the Sand’s large assortment of weapons, which can be bought with cash you find lying around in random crates, can save 50's new adventure from the "kill waves of enemies until the level ends" design, leaving little difference, aside from obvious ones of firepower, in your selection. Fiddy likes to take his time reloading too, which I found irksome.

Surprise, Bitches!

And with glaring flaws like the no less than three separate encounters in which Fiddy’s made to take down a chopper with an RPG, It just seems like Swordfish Studios sort of ran out gas halfway through the design process and hoped no one would notice—to say nothing of the game's continuously poor AI, weak hand-to-hand combat (essentially Resident Evil 4-style quick time events, but easier) on-rails sections and obvious graphical glitches.

Credit must be given to game’s inventive point scoring system, which will net you more point if you waste a bastard from outside cover and while making liberal use of the taunt button, but with so many other compounded problems it’s a somewhat hollow victory.

But really, chances are if you’re a big fan of Fiddy himself (especially if you were burned by Bulletproof) or you’re just looking for the next cheap-thrill popcorn shooter, Blood on the Sand’s generic trappings, done up with G-Unit paint, will probably suit you just fine. For the rest of us, well, there’s always Gears of War 2.

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
THQ
PS3, Xbox 360
$59.99
3 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 3, 2009



Update: the Dead Rising contest is now closed. Thanks everyone!