Category Archives: Screenshots & Photos

Street Fighter V Review

SF5Street Fighter V (Available on PC and PlayStation 4)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1 to 2
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Dimps & Capcom
Release Date: February 16th, 2016

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Street Fighter V T for teens because of suggestive themes, violence, and mild language. The series has its own unique art style, and isn’t overly realistic in its depictions of violence and everything is over the top. The suggestive themes are mainly because of the scantily clad female fighters, but that too isn’t as far reaching as some other fighters out there. Honestly if you’re old enough to understand how to play fighting games, you’re old enough for Street Fighter V.

Plays Like: I’d hate to say that if you’ve played one Street Fighter you’ve played them all because that would be a flat out lie, but the core gameplay mechanics and structure have remained largely the same since the original Street Fighter II. Yes the series has greatly evolved since then to introduce advanced combos, parrying, and so many other concepts, but those original gameplay mechanics like best of three rounds, unique joystick motions to pull off special moves, and more are still featured here. Street Fighter V is a wonderfully compelling game that will take hours upon hours of your time to get competent at, and will takes years to master.

Review Basis: Sony sent us a review copy to play in advance of the official release date. I played through the entire story mode, I played a bunch of versus matches locally, and got destroyed online.

It has been since the Super Nintendo that a Street Fighter was exclusive to a home console. That sure didn’t last long back then before the series hit the Genesis, and every other platform known to man shortly afterwards, but for a short period of time Street Fighter II was only available on the SNES, and that changed the landscape of the console wars forever considering how big of a success Street Fighter II was in the arcades.

Today Capcom and Sony have partnered up to bring Street Fighter V exclusively to the PlayStation 4. Yes it’s also getting released on PC at the same time, but having console exclusivity is a really big deal. Whether or not it helps further the divide between the PS4 and Xbox One is up for debate, but the fact that the PS4 will now become the de facto fighting game system of choice for fighting game fans the world over speaks volumes.

Having sat out Street Fighter IV for most of its existence means I’m reviewing this game having stepped away from the series after the Street Fighter II, III, and the Alpha series. Those series were incredibly influential in my understanding and enjoyment of fighting games. So does V have enough special to make me want to devote time, effort, and energy into the latest Capcom fighter? Let’s find out together!

SF5_5The Great:

The complete package. That’s the first thing I think of when I think of Street Fighter V. There were four different versions of Street Fighter IV, the original release also known as vanilla Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, and Ultra Street Fighter IV. Each of these games added new characters, costumes, backgrounds, and gameplay tweaks. The problem was, and one of the key reasons why I stayed away from that game for so long, is that if you missed out on the original release, you always felt like you were playing catch up. If you wanted the complete experience, it always felt like it was just out of reach.

With Street Fighter V, it’s clear that Capcom designed the game from the ground up to be upgradable. Capcom has built a game that will allow players to constantly add new characters, new costumes, new gameplay tweaks, and even new gameplay modes, without forcing the player to purchase an entirely new game. New gameplay features will be free to everyone via downloadable patches. Characters, costumes, and stages will be purchasable DLC, however you can use the in-game currency, Fight Money, to purchase these goods. Yes you can purchase the goods via the Season Pass, or real-world money (Zenny), but the fact the option is there to use an in-game currency makes all the difference in the world.

At launch Street Fighter V has 16 playable characters, with a nice roster of new characters and returning favorites from previous games in the series dating back all the way to the original Street Fighter. The line-up includes Ryu, Chun-Li, Nash, M. Bison, Cammy, Birdie, Ken, Necalli, Vega, R. Mika, Rashid, Karin, Zangief, Laura, Dhalsim, and F.A.N.G. First year DLC characters have been confirmed to include Alex, Guile, Balrog, Ibuki, Juri, and Urien. That’s quite a nice roster if I do say so myself, and who knows how this will play out in the years ahead.

The current gameplay modes include a Story Mode, Versus, Survival, Challenges, Training, Ranked Match, and Casual Match, but as I said before, there’s room for additional gameplay modes in the future. Capcom has already confirmed a Cinematic Story expansion will hit in June for free to all players. It’s what’s available right now, plus the promise of future support that ultimately makes this an exceptional fighter. The future looks exceptionally bright for this one.

SF5_4The Good:

  • Interesting story mode. Unlike traditional story modes where you fight through a lengthy roster of characters, here you battle your way through three or four opponents and that’s it. Each character has a very detailed, almost comic-book style infused cutscene-based storyline that details some part of their past leading up to the current events of the game. The overall storyline will be fleshed out in an update coming out this June, but it does act as a nice starter. The artwork is also fantastic, and will tickle the nostalgia bone of long-time fans of the series.
  • Online play is very responsive and the net code is great. Playing this prior to launch I had very little problems connecting to online matches, and there wasn’t any noticeable lag. I played through a bunch of matches and they all went off without a hitch.
  • The Capcom Fighters Network is awesome! It highlights where battles are happening all over the world, you can view player profiles, match statistics, designate rivals which allows you to keep an eye on their performance, register your friends and follow your favorite players. You can even find out about the latest tournament news, watch replays, and best of all, send battle invites out. Overall, this is a phenomenal way to keep everyone connected and up-to-date, which is crucial considering this is supposed to be the only version of Street Fighter V ever released. With this system, Capcom has created a key way of allowing them to update everyone in a nice, clean, and elegant manner. Hardcore fighting game fans are going to absolutely love this.
  • Combat is smooth, with good weight to the various characters, and the fighting feels tight and responsive. Classic Street Fighter moves are present throughout, however the new aspect to this iteration is the Variable or V-system. Each character has a V-Trigger, a V-Skill, and a V-Reversal. The V-Skill is completely different based on the character, some perform an offensive, defensive, or mobility enhancing move. V-Reversals are very similar to Alpha Counters in the Street Fighter Alpha series and allow a player to counter an incoming attack. They take some time to master, but can allow you a chance to start up a wicked combo. The V-Trigger works like Ultras from Street Fighter IV in that they’re designed to allow one player to turn the tide on the other. Once triggered they unlock a character’s true potential. They can make standard moves more powerful, and they can turn a super special move into an ultra-move. Take Ryu for example, if you have full V-stock and EX stock, you can trigger a Denjin Hadouken, by far his most powerful singular move. You may have noticed I said EX stock, and that’s right, you can keep stock of EX as well, which allow for more powerful version of standard special moves. Overall the system is fairly easy to get into, and robust enough that when coupled with the deep combo system, players should be able to spend countless hours seeing what’s possible.
  • The audio visual presentation is excellent. You can really tell they put the Unreal Engine 4.0 to good use here, and yes it’s true there’s a distinct style to the game that doesn’t go for realistic fighters, this is still the prettiest Street Fighter ever made. The backgrounds in particular look great, and the comic book-style cutscenes in the story mode are just great. The most important part, the entire game is running at 60 frames-per-second in wonderful 1080p resolution. The soundtrack is fantastic, and the new renditions of some of the classic tunes sound wonderful. Even the voice acting is pretty good, which really surprised me. Overall, it’s Street Fighter you know and love, but in glorious next-gen HD.
  • PS3 arcade sticks work! That may not be a big deal to some, but considering professional sticks are often around $150 and up, I can tell you many people will be extremely pleased with this aspect of the game.

SF5_3The So-So:

+/- The training mode is your basic training mode, where you can set some features like move displays, frame boxes, command inputs, etc. What it lacks is what made the training mode in Killer Instinct so exceptional on the Xbox One, it fails to teach you how to string combos together, or how to understand the fundamentals of the game. This won’t even be a blip on the radar of series veterans, but it is an important element missing for brand new players to the genre. Understanding the basics before getting online is crucial.

SF5_2The Bad:

  • While the game does offer a lot of options for fighting game fans, it feels a bit barebones at launch. The roster is nice, the backgrounds are great, however the story mode is over in a flash, and there’s not much else here except for online combat, the survival mode, or local versus multiplayer. Sure the future promises to increase the content dramatically, but for now, there’s nothing to unlock, and thus very little else to chew into outside online play. Mortal Kombat X felt much richer in terms of sheer content at launch.

SF5_1The Lowdown:

I have to admit that it was really nice being able to sit down, whip out the old arcade stick, and just lose myself to a fantastic Street Fighter. It feels like I haven’t done that in far too long, and that’s the truth. This is one I want to devote more time, effort, and energy on because it feels like it deserves it. This is an absolutely excellent game that is well worth the price of admission, and with the promise of no new Street Fighter V releases, and loads future content delivered directly through this one game, fans of the series may have just found the ultimate Street Fighter experience. If you like fighting games, honestly, this one’s a no-brainer and is likely already on your pre-order list.

Final Score: 9/10

Nintendo Announces Big Pokémon News

Are you a Pokémon fan like Steven, well if so, Nintendo has some pretty awesome news for you. During today’s special Pokémon Direct, three big pieces of news broke. The first was that the limited edition blue and red 3DS XLs will be released in North America, Europe, and Japan on September 27th. That’s two weeks before the official release of the game, leading everyone to agree that these systems won’t come with the game pre-installed.

3DSThe next piece of news was the announcement of the Pokémon Bank. For years players have been asking for something like this, a permanent home for their Pokémon. The Pokémon Bank allows players to store up to 3,000 Pokémon for use in future Pokémon games, as well as X & Y. There is a small catch though, and that’s the fact this new service requires an annual fee to access. While we don’t know the official North America and European pricing at this time, the service will only cost 500 Yen (about $5) a year in Japan, so we assume it will be priced accordingly here. Nintendo also revealed the Pokémon Teleporter app, which will allow owners of Black & White and Black & White 2 to transfer their Pokémon to the Pokémon Bank. Nintendo said there will be a trial basis before the fee kicks in, but we don’t know how limited the features will be at launch.

Pokemon BankThe last bit of news will likely be even more exciting to long-time Pokémon fans. It was revealed that Professor Sycamore will not be the one offering Chespin, Fennekin, or Froakie as your starter Pokémon. Instead those will be offered from a friend. The Professor will instead offer players Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle, as a nice throw-back to the original Pokémon games. That means you can now have two starter Pokémon! These classic Pokémon will also have the ability to eventually reach their Mega Evolutions, although players will need to locate a special item called the Mega Ring, and also acquire a Mega Stone in order to trigger the Mega Evolution while in battle.

That’s pretty much all she wrote on today’s special event, but it should be more than enough to get Pokémon fans excited. So are you?

Warner Bros. Interactive Reveals Dying Light

Are you looking for a next-gen open world zombie game? If you said yes, Warner Bros. Interactive and Techland have you covered. The game is currently in development for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PS4, and Xbox 360. We currently don’t have very much information to go on except for some really nice looking screenshots and the following details.

During the day, players will traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population. At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown. Players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning’s first light.

“We are excited to partner with Techland on Dying Light, which is an original gaming experience for next-generation consoles,” said Kevin Kebodeaux, Senior Vice President, Sales and Operations, Americas, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “The partnership with Techland allows us to combine their successful development capabilities with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s one-of-a-kind publishing expertise to deliver on this title.”

“The next-gen technology allows us to create a truly dynamic open world that features a game-changing day-night cycle,” said Paweł Marchewka, CEO of Techland. “Inventive free running mechanics also allow for nearly unrestricted exploration and weapon-crafting to further enhance the action survival experience.”

I know it’s not much to go on, but take a look at the screenshots below.

Dying Light7 Dying Light1 Dying Light2 Dying Light3 Dying Light4 Dying Light5 Dying Light6

Looks pretty nice no?  We’ll have more details once E3 hits, but what do you think of what you’ve seen thus far?

Here’s The Mighty Morphin 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro

That’s right folks, Nintendo has just revealed the new Circle Pad Pro for the 3DS XL, and it combines the powers of nature to increase your XL to XXL mode!

That must be an absolute beast to hold.  That’s pretty much all I’ve got for you as Nintendo has yet to announce an official release date, pricing details, etc.  More when I have it.

First Pics of New PS3 Surface

All credit goes out to Technoblog for breaking this story.  The Brazilian website noticed some rather incredible findings with the Brazilian Agency of Telecommunications (which works like the FCC).  Not only did the agency have the new model numbers that broke last week, but also included specific details on the size of the HDD in each new version of the console, 250GB, 500GB, and a smaller Xbox 360 Arcade-like version coming in at 16GB.  Keep in mind these pics look a little rough, and we have no way to confirm if they are in indeed legit, but based on the design it looks almost guaranteed at this point.

If Sony can release a PS3 around the same dimensions as the Slim PS2 I think that would make a lot of people really take notice.  Currently the 160GB Slim PS3 sells for $250 in North America, so it’s not out of the question to believe a small price drop could be in order to go along with the new design.  Sony has also confirmed they will be taking part in Gamescom running from August 15th to the 19th so if you like to bet, the good money is on Sony making this announcement there.

What do you guys think of this third redesign for the PlayStation 3?

Biggest News of the Century – Halo 4 Box Art Revealed

There’s virtually no story to report on here.  You want to see the official Halo 4 box art, and I’m more than pleased to show it to you.  So here it is…

Amazing, no?  Yeah I didn’t think so either.  Wait a sec, that looks like a hack job.  That can’t be right.  Perhaps this is it…

What do you think?

Insomniac’s Next Game is for…Facebook?!?

You read the headline correct Insomniacs.  After being with Sony for so many years, it may come as a surprise to learn that Insomniac, famed created of Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance, has now become a true independent third party.  We’ve already taken a look at their new multi-platform action game,  Overstrike, but before that arrives the developer plans to release an action adventure game for…Facebook.  Yeah, none of us saw that coming either.  We’ve got the first trailer for Outernauts right here.

Ted Price, President and Founder of Insomniac Games had the following to say about the new game.

We see a huge opportunity to reach an entirely different audience of gamers through Facebook.  As we have demonstrated for nearly twenty years in the console games space, we’re confident we can help evolve the definition of a game experience on Facebook. With Outernauts, we are delivering a deep story with real RPG strategy, coupled with Insomniac’s signature sense of humor.

The press release EA sent over does a really good job of pitching the game to the masses, so here goes.

Outernauts is an adventure role-playing game that casts players as members of United Earth’s elite Outernaut force. The Outernauts are charged with capturing and training exotic alien beasts as they uncover the riddle behind mysterious “ancients” while battling pirates and evil corporations seeking to control the galaxy. Players will explore planets, harvest loot, and fight asynchronously alongside or against friends to master a wild, untamed universe.

I’m not going to leave you with just that.  Instead here are the first screenshots that go along with the trailer.

I suppose the only thing left to say is, what do you guys think of this?

Beyond Good & Evil 2 Confirmed For Next-Gen

Computerandvideogames has links to a video interview Michel Ancel gave, where he is quoted as saying…

“We are in an active creation stage and at this moment we are only focusing on the game and making it the best game that we can.”

When questioned about which platform the game might hit, Ancel said:

“That decision would just distract us from that objective. I can say that it’s a very ambitious game and we need some tech to achieve that ambition.  We focus on the game. We create it first, then we’ll see what can run it. We don’t say 2013 because we don’t know when it will come. We’re working to create a great game and it needs more tech.”

Ancel continued:

“We had this concept even before Mirror’s Edge launched. And we have a different approach to the first person perspective that Mirror’s Edge has. Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed are closer to what we have in mind with the control of the character in a third person perspective.  We use a very dynamic camera that shakes a lot during the action to add life to the camera, giving the impression of an action news cover team following Jade. Maybe that could be similar to Mirror’s Edge but the game itself is very different.”

One screenshot showing the new engine is action has also been released, so be sure to check it out below.

I can’t speak for everyone else, but this is perhaps the most exciting news I’ve heard in months.  I can’t wait!

Huge “Nintendo Direct” Announcements Made

Tim already reported on the big New Super Mario Bros. 2 news, which will hit the 3DS in Japan and North America this August!  As you can tell from the screenshots below, the racoon tail is making a return, and the old P meter.

Nintendo also announced Kirby Anthology for the Wii, which will be released sometime this year featuring your favorite Kirby games all on one Wii disc.

Animal Crossing 3DS will be released this Fall in Japan, but Nintendo didn’t reveal anything new whatsoever.  All they did was release a few screenshots you see below.

There’s also a new 3DS firmware update being released on April 25th, which will allow users to create folders for their games, where up to 60 icons can be saved per folder.  This should make navigating the interface much more user friendly, and finally allow us to store all our Virtual Console downloads in the same place.  The new firmware will also allow patches to be downloaded directly from the eShop.

We’re not even at E3 and already there’s so much exciting news.  Just imagine what the big show will reveal!

 

Some Info on Project X Zone

Project X Zone is a crossover that bears a striking resemblance to the (unfortunately unreleased-in-the-West) Namco X Capcom). Details are scarce for the time being, but information has slowly been trickling out. Other than the fact it is a collaborative effort between Japanese gaming giants CAPCOM, Sega, and Namco, little has been known until now. Famitsuhas recently posted screenshots of some of the characters featured in the game. Here’s what we know so far:

  • The game is a 2D sprite-based strategy role-playing game featuring characters from all three companies.
  • A trailer for the game is supposedly on the way.
  • CAPCOM characters: Ryu and Ken (Street Fighter 0), Mega Man X and Zero (Mega Man X), Demitri and Dante (Darkstalkers and Devil May Cry, respectively), and Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine (Resident Evil).
  • Sega characters: Shinguji Sakura and Ogami Ichiro (Sakura Wars), Pai and Akira (Virtua Fighter), Kurt and Riela (Valkyria Chronicles), Ulala and Touma (Space Channel 5 and Shining Force EXA, respectively).
  • Namco Bandai characters: Sanger Somvold (Super Robot Wars), Jin and Ling Xiaoyu (Tekken), Kos-Mos and T-elos (Xenosaga), Yurie and Estel (Tales of Vesperia), Kaito and Black Rose (Dot Hack).
Information courtesy of Adriasang. You can visit the game’s official website here. The main website will update with new information on April 17th, 2012.

How to Get Kicked Out of PAX: Get Your Sexy On Like This Girl and Guy

You know what the Penny Arcade Expo is lacking in? Booth babes and pant-less men. But apparently, neither has a place at the gaming-oriented exposition according to the boys and girls in charge of the event. Potentially NSFW pictures and additional details inside.

 

The weekend’s scandalous tale goes a little like this…

 

Jessica Nigri as Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw

 

Jessica Nigri was hired to cosplay as the lead character from the upcoming Grasshopper Manufacture game, Lollipop Chainsaw. As such, on Day 2 of the convention she donned a pink jumpsuit, and a revealing one at that. Jessica has done a lot of other cosplay at conventions in the past, but this may be the most memorable in terms of the attention it received. Although her costume accurately represented game character Juliet Starling, PAX has a policy pertaining to hired booth promoters: don’t reveal too much skin. It’s a far cry from conventions like E3, where you can expect to see half-naked women dressed as nurses slapping stickers on people below the belt. The reasoning behind PAX’s policy? To keep the focus on the games. Fair enough.

 

On the other side of the gender divide was Nathan Barnatt (aka Keith Apicary in his video game related adventures), a guy who runs a feature called Talking Classics over at Screwattack.com and a comedian who loves to take it to the extreme at video game conventions. He took it to the extreme again at this year’s PAX by walking into Rooster Teeth’s Red vs. Blue panel, jumping onto the mediator’s chair and tearing off his pants, then dancing. He received a lifetime ban from PAX.

 

Instead of looking at a picture, you should watch the video for the full effect. 11:10 is when Keith comes on stage.

 

While Keith’s hilarious outburst probably merited being kicked out of at least this year’s PAX, Jessica Nigri’s situation was a bit different since she was simply doing her job, not to mention she didn’t leap onto the table at someone’s panel and go nuts. She was, according to Destructoid, simply told that her exceptionally low-cut costume was not appropriate for the event, and to leave until she’d changed. So, she reverted to the outfit she’d worn on Day 1 of the conference. However, although it was acceptable on the first day, oddly enough the same costume didn’t fly on Day 2, likely because of the attention she’d garnered from staff for her more revealing attire. She was asked to change again, but fortunately allowed to come back for Day 3. Here is a picture of the transformation, as posted on Jessica’s blog:

 

The outfit on the left from Day 1 apparently wasn’t suitable as a back-up on Day 2.

 

Keith was not as lucky as he’d previously signed an agreement with Penny Arcade top business honcho Robert Khoo that granted him admission to PAX as long as he didn’t pull off any ridiculous antics. Jumping around half-naked and uninvited on the stage of another presenter was deemed a ridiculous antic. Accordingly, he received the aforementioned lifetime ban. It’s a shame, because he brings a lot of fun to these events. We can only hope he’ll be back in the future.

 

Don’t do this at PAX.

 

It’s good to see PAX actually enforcing what the event managers believe in with the games-over-skimpy-clothing focus, and the disciplinary action taken towards Nathan Barnatt/Keith Apicary was admittedly warranted given the agreement he’d signed. However, I can’t help thinking that Ms. Nigri’s situation is a bit harder to judge seeing as her costume was actually quite relevant to the game’s source material. Regardless, rules are rules and they’re keeping it classy at PAX.

 

Does this mean I can’t show up in just a turtle neck and my Harvest Moon skivvies next year?

 

 

Super Mario 3D Land Gummies, Cards

I didn’t bring a bento (lunch box) to work today, so during the noon break I went over to a nearby convenience store with my buddy and picked up a tuna mayo onigiri (rice ball), a rather rubbish sandwich, and for the heck of it, some Super Mario 3D Land candy. Popular Japanese game mascots and franchises are promoted like no tomorrow over here (ie. Monster Hunter coffee), and as one would expect, Mario is no exception. Here’s a shot of the package on the left:

The product title at the top reads “Super Mario 3D Land Gummy”. Below the coin rocketing out of Mario’s butt, it says “coin shaped, pineapple flavoured gummy”, and on the far right it explains that there is one plastic character card in each pack and twenty different cards to collect in all.

The collectable card I pulled was a Tail Goomba. Or as written in Japanese, a shippo kuribo. ‘Shippo’ means ‘tail’ and ‘kuribo’ is the corresponding Japanese name for ‘goomba’. I expected the card to be a cheap cut-out, but it was actually made from relatively firm plastic, translucent purple, and quite sharp looking. Will I collect them all? I don’t like candy all that much (though the gummy was admittedly tasty), so probably not. But here’s to another day of cool Japanese food product promotions!

Sony Officially Announces LittleBigPlanet Karting

Back in February there were heavy rumors that Sony was going to be releasing a kart racing game based on the LittleBigPlanet IP, which we were all confused by. Why would Sony challenging their ModNation Racers IP with another one of their flagship series? Well, we’ll get to that in just a second, first sit back and enjoy the debut trailer.

Ok so let’s jump right into this shall we. United Front Games, the original developers of ModNation Racers on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable are working on this new game, which is scheduled for release sometime later this year. They didn’t work on Road Trip, which was instead handled by an internal team at SCE San Diego Studios. So the question on your mind right now should be, huh, why even bother with this?

What we know right now is slim, but we can confirm there will be an adventure mode, a battle mode, boss battles and tons of mini-games. The Play, Share, Create motto created for the original LBP is also going to be utilized in this game. Players can customize their karts, racers, and create new tracks and even entirely different games centered on racing.

As for answering why bother making a game that already so closely matches this overall experience, the only thing I can think of is that Sony will retire the ModNation Racers brand because if they don’t then indeed this would appear redundant. MR does pretty much exactly what this new kart racer appears to be doing, with the exception that this one is already based on a multi-million selling franchise.

What are your thoughts on this? We’d love to hear what you have to say so leave a comment.