games

411 Games Roundtable: September 2008

September 23, 2008 | Posted by Sean Garmer

Hello everyone, it is the in between month where summer ends and the fall begins and sadly including hurricanes as well. Enough about the weather, things are starting to settle down some after all the big expo’s and game conventions, but the best part is that we are starting to get some big games on the horizon. Spore, Rockband 2 (XBOX 360 only, for a while,) and Wario Land 2 all hit store shelves this month. So, let’s get on with this month’s table. Sorry for it being a few weeks late, I was hoping to have more staff members, but we all got busy, and so I eventually had to just post it before it became completely irrelevant. Enjoy!

Here with you today are…

Rod Oracheski A Video Game Reviewer and writer of Achievement Unlocked

Jordan Williams A Video Game Reviewer and writer of Working Title

Theo Fraser Writer of Nintendophiles

Sean Garmer Host, and Video Game Reviewer

1. Biggest Winner of the Month

Rod Oracheski: PAX Organizers. once again they put on a huge show that delivered a ton of entertainment to attendees. These guys can manage it, but the video game industry puts on a snoozer? Wake up, guys.

Theo Fraser: Nintendo Core Gamers. Bear with me on this one! Even though Nintendo’s E3 keynote speech highlighted their current dedication to the casual market, other developers have stepped up to the plate to provide core gamers with their necessary fix of ‘mature’ titles. We already knew about the Dead Rising port, Mad World looks better and better each and every time I see it, and then SEGA revealed House of the Dead: Overkill at the GDC last month, so there’s plenty of titles to look forward to in the coming months if you consider yourself a core gamer.

Jordan Williams: European Gamers. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cop out to pull the
“WE ARE THE REAL WINNERS” card. But you over there in Europe got the REAL gamers convention that is Liezpeg. Sure, Nintendo decided to no show but as a whole you all pretty much popped one off in E3’s ass. You all remember that the core of the gaming industry ins’t the industry, but the GAMERS. So they convention was made around them and showed what we really wanted to see. I.E Not a whole lot of damn keynote speeches.

Sean Garmer: Gamers. With all the conventions that happened it just gave us more information on the games that we are all waiting to arrive on shelves in the near future. The more info on that, the better and gamers from all walks of life can enjoy that.

2. Biggest Loser of the Month

Rod Oracheski: Microsoft: they get a game that’s moving consoles in Japan and…they don’t have enough supply to meet demand? They don’t have more on the way? Nice job screwing up that one. They took another hit with news of their price drop leaking over a month in advance. That’s bound to slow sales for the month as people hear and hold off.

Theo Fraser: Silicon Knights. Silicon Knights. Too Human spent, what, a decade in development? Upon its release last month, it was met with reasonably positive reviews at best. “Above average” is a term I’ve seen thrown around. Not exactly the kind of glowing praise Dyack and co. were hoping for, I’d imagine. Was it really worth the wait? Probably not.

Jordan Williams: Silicon Knights. Seriously after ALL of this talk and ALL of that damn hype this is all we got? A glorified hack n’ slash with a few RPG elements thrown in for Too Human? Color me disappointed.

Sean Garmer: Silicon Knights. Dude come on, they took forever to make this game and we get an average game that was supposed to be huge? That’s sad.

3. Biggest News Story of the Month

Rod Oracheski: KEVIN NASH IN TNA IMPACT! Wait…no, not that. Radical Entertainment laying off half their staff. that was pretty big. Growing development costs have meant change, and it’s unfortunate when that change leads to things like this.

Theo Fraser: EA team up with SUDA 51 and Shinji Mikami Despite the Leipzig Games Developers Convention and PAX both being held, the month of August didn’t really throw up any major, industry-shaking stories. However, what really caught my eye was the promise of a new project headed by EA, with SUDA 51 (Mr No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (of Resident Evil fame) on board as project designers/producers. I’m a huge fan of both men’s work, and being in conjunction with EA ensures that the title will have a more “Westernised” approach, which can only be a good thing considering Killer 7 and No More Heroes were both deemed a little too ‘out there’ for some. If you’ve ever considered yourself a fan of Mikami or SUDA’s previous accomplishments, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on this one.

Jordan Williams: Leipzig. It actually was a pretty slow month of gaming outside of all the conventions. But it just seems to me that all of the news we need to know about came from Liezpeg with all of the wonderful games on display and new footage. Yessss.

Sean Garmer: The Conventions. Like I said previously these conventions gave us important information of what is coming to us soon and it has been a slow month in gaming too.

4. Classic Game of the Month (Does not have to be a XBOX Live Arcade or Virtual Console Game)

Rod Oracheski: System Shock 2. Even though it’s now ‘ancient’ by PC game standards, this one has tons of that vaguely-worded “atmosphere” that everyone aims for. Some parts are still genuinely creepy.

Theo Fraser: Super Mario RPG. I’ve been pleading for Nintendo to bring this title to the Virtual Console for almost two years, and now that it’s here, it’s my duty to pimp it at every opportunity.

Jordan Williams: Monkey Island 1 & 2. God, I love these games too much.

Sean Garmer: Sly Cooper 1. I recently purchased the entire series for 20 bucks and I’ve been playing the first game, and I have really enjoyed the cool missions and platforming gameplay more than I thought I would.

5. Best Game released in August

Rod Oracheski: Madden NFL 09 (All Systems) It’s got some issues, but it’s the best football game in years.

Theo Fraser: Bionic Commando (PC, XBOX 360 & PS3)

Jordan Williams: Soul Calibur IV (XBOX 360 & PS3) Although it sucks because I’ve been an Astaroth player FOREVER and now that they broke him in SCIV I have to deal with people telling me I suck because I use him. Damn it, Namco.

Sean Garmer: Madden NFL 09 (All Systems) The best football game in many years, I reviewed the Wii version, and I own the 360 version. It is a nice change to see for this series and they deserve some applause for that.

Winner: Madden NFL 09 (All Systems)

Overall Winner: Microsoft & Sony Though everything was multi-platform, thanks to all the votes (mainly the Soul Calibur IV vote,) and XBOX 360 & PS3 being in all three games they get the share of the vote.

6. Currently Gaming

Rod Oracheski: Castle Crashers, Disgaea 3, Mercenaries 2, and Too Human – plus the NHL 09 and NHL 2K9 demos. It’s a big month for hockey fans!

Theo Fraser: Psychonauts (PC), Guitar Hero III (Wii), Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii), Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS), Final Fantasy IV (DS).

Jordan Williams: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Monkey Island 1 and 2.

Sean Garmer: Infinite Undiscovery (XBOX 360), Madden NFL 09 (XBOX 360 & Wii), Sly Cooper 1 (PS2), World Ends With You (Nintendo DS), FIFA 08 (XBOX 360).

Here are some of the Games coming out this month, I listed them in ABC order and by release week, so it’d be easier to find. Please keep in mind that just because we don’t talk about a game, doesn’t mean it’s going to suck. I send out the template for these two weeks in advance, so sometimes changes are made in release dates by then and we don’t get to talk about any new games added. If you see a game on the list that intrigues you, we implore you to take our advice, and find information on it on your own. Here we go.

Games released the week of September 7th

Hell’s Kitchen (Nintendo Wii & Nintendo DS Action Game, Ubisoft)

Rod Oracheski: I’m not sure what to expect from this one, given the toning down of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s…uh…we’ll call it ‘personality’ I guess. Seems like the best part of the show, to me at least.

Sean Garmer: This is one of those games where it could turn out very good or very bad, I would think anything with Gordon Ramsay involved it can’t be the latter. Cooking games for the most part are well received on the Wii and this should add to the list.

NHL 09 (XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, PS3, PC Hockey Sim, EA)

Rod Oracheski: My only reservation about this one lies with the new focus on online – last year’s online multiplayer frequently had issues with one-on-one play…what is six-on-six going to be like?

Sean Garmer: Well the online play works great apparently Rod, including you being able to have fun playing as the goalie. The introduction of Be-A-Pro Mode for the NHL is great as it is another way to get fans more into the sport by being able to create themselves or using an existing player, and they have a create-a-play feature too, so it seems NHL 09 is another great game from the folks at EA.

NHL 2K9 (XBOX 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, PC Hockey Sim, Team 2K)

Rod Oracheski: The series revamp seems good, based on the demo, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to dethrone NHL 09. Some of the commentary I’ve seen in videos has been horrible… “The puck hits the goalie and goes across the line for a score…” Really? But hey – where else are you going to get your playoff beard simulation fix?

Spore (Wii , PC, MAC, Mobile Strategy Game, EA)

Rod Oracheski: It’s been hyped, delayed, hyped more, and now delivered. Is this going to be the game that people expect it to be, or some sandbox environment you just play in?

Jordan Williams: Here it is ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the new form of digital cocaine. I fully expect this game to take off like a fucking rocket and never look back.

Spore Creatures (Nintendo DS Strategy Game, EA)

Jordan Williams: THIS, on the other hand…I’m not to sure about. EA has a spotty record with porting it’s PC games over to handhelds. I trusted them with Sims 2 and that was horrible on the DS. So I don’t think I’m going to try Spore.

TNA IMPACT! (XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, PS3 & PS2 Wrestling Game, Midway)

Rod Oracheski: It looks to be pretty light on features, but the gameplay seems decent. I love the reversals – the animation is just so smooth.

Theo Fraser: This marks TNA’s first foray into the video game market, and with a reported influence from WWF No Mercy, it originally sounded very promising. But will this be the Smackdown-beater fans have been craving? In recent weeks, Midway have posted gameplay clips with audio commentary from TNA superstars, and whilst they’ve been pretty funny, it hasn’t shown the gameplay in a very positive light. If you’ve been dying to see the likes of Samoa Joe and AJ Styles represented in 3D digital form, go ahead, check it out, you’ll probably find some good in there somewhere. But for those of us expecting it to revolutionize the wrestling game genre, I think we may be left wanting a little more.

Jordan Williams: Even though I am not a TNA fan, I did really expect this game to do to Smackdown vs. Raw what Skate did to THPS. But judging from early reviews and gameplay footage this dosen’t look like it’s going to be the case.

Sean Garmer: Very much like TNA itself, this game doesn’t live up to all the hype placed on it. It’s wonderful that the graphics are pretty, but the gameplay and story mode are nowhere near the same quality. As expected for being the first of its kind it is also light on features and that is going to hurt sales a lot too.

Games released the week of September 14th

Armored Core: For Answer (XBOX 360 & PS3 Mech Sim, Ubisoft & From Software)

Rod Oracheski: Didn’t really like the last one, but this looks like they’ve changed things up a bit. I wish From would have been working on Chromehounds 2 instead!

Crysis: Warhead (PC FPS, EA)

Rod Oracheski: They swear it’ll run on a PC that’s simply “OK” this time! I guess if you were a big fan of the first, a title that I thought looked great but wound up feeling like more of an engine demo than anything, the idea of playing a side story will appeal to you. I don’t really understand how playing through a side story will be appealing to people who couldn’t run the first game.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (Nintendo DS RPG, Square-Enix) -Remake of the original Dragon Quest IV.

Rod Oracheski: It will always be Dragon Warrior to me, damn it! Hopefully it’s a good port – SE has done a decent job on other titles, so chances are good.

Jordan Williams: I keep looking more and more towards the DS for top notch RPGs and I am starting to see why. I was never truly big on the DW/DQ series, but this was one of the few games I did own but never got a chance to beat. Hopefully I can get through it on the DS. I also think I might be reviewing it this month.

Sean Garmer: If you’ve never been able to play a Dragon Quest game, this is the one to start with. The game is very old school and runs in chapters with different characters. Regardless it is another one of those Square-Enix ports that works and is done well. Looking for an RPG on the DS, pick this one up.

Rockband 2 (XBOX 360 Music Game, EA, MTV Games, & Harmonix)

Rod Oracheski: I don’t know how they can really top the first game, but making the old songs compatible – even letting you strip them out to the HDD – is a big first step. Hopefully they can start delivering on more of the albums they talked about, though it’s tough to complain about weekly DLC.

Sean Garmer: MTV and Harmonix last year took what they made famous in Guitar Hero and transferred that ten-fold to Rockband. Now they have a 2nd edition of their awesome and popular game, they make the World Tour available online and add more songs, you can’t beat that combination.

Star Wars: Force Unleashed (All Systems Action Game, LucasArts)

Rod Oracheski: I wasn’t really amazed by the demo, but maybe it’ll grow on me as The Apprentice grows in power. A cheat to allow unlimited Force power would kick ass – the quick drain of my Force power was a quick drain on my fun.

Theo Fraser: The premise of the game caught Star Wars fans’ attention instantly; you get to be a badass Sith apprentice and destroy stuff. With lightsabers and energy bolts from your fingers. Awesome. The ‘definitive’ versions look to be the 360 and PS3 versions, due to the impressive physics engine. Wii’s Force Unleashed does hold its own and reportedly controls very intuitively, but unfortunately it’s incredibly short, so most likely only worthy of a rent.

Jordan Williams: Honestly, while I do dig this game I am started to wane on it. After I played the demo it seemed like a lot of the luster was taken out of it. I’ll still play it and enjoy the hell out of it, but it seems like there is a lot less to it than they originally hyped. Give me Battlefront III.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (PC MMORPG, EA Games)

Rod Oracheski: Mythic might have some issues with balance and PVE content, but they do large-scale PVP battles better than anyone else in the MMO market. If Warhammer can bring back some of the Dark Age of Camelot Realm versus Realm magic, I’m in.

Games released the week of September 21st

Brother’s In Arms: Hells Highway (XBOX 360, PS3, & PC FPS Ubisoft)

Rod Oracheski: Really looking forward to this one, which has me actively avoiding videos. I’m hoping they haven’t taken it too far away from the original game’s pacing and strategy.

Kirby: Superstar Ultra (Nintendo DS Adventure Game, Nintendo)

Sean Garmer: You can’t beat this Kirby Game. The original favorite with new graphics, cut-scenes, and new modes, I really want this game. I loved it as a kid.

LEGO Batman (All Systems Adventure Game, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Rod Oracheski: I thought the whole LEGO series of games was getting kind of played out, then tried Indiana Jones and realized there’s still a lot of fun to be had with it. Maybe they just need to change licenses regularly, so they don’t get that ‘been there, done that’ feel again.

Theo Fraser: Fans of the LEGO video games series know exactly what to expect here. I was hoping for a little more innovation this time with some new gameplay mechanics, but this unfortunately doesn’t stray too far from what we’ve seen in the Indiana Jones and Star Wars iterations of the franchise. That’s not to say it’s bad or under whelming; the concept is still great fun to play. Just don’t go in expecting to find a whole new experience.

Mega Man 9 (Wii Virtual Console, XBOX LIVE Arcade, PSN Network, Action Game, Capcom)

Rod Oracheski: OMG – it has FLICKER! NO SALE! Just kidding, if it’s actually a ‘good’ Mega Man game, I’ll check it out.

Jordan Williams: When it was just going to be a retro-themed game, I was all for it…but then it started to get out of hand. However after spending two weeks and TONS of research writing two giant assed columns about it I am back on the MM9 bandwagon and hoping that this does somewhat well. Maybe a port to handheld systems is in it’s future?

Sean Garmer: Coming out on all three platforms this promises to be a great flashback to the old Megaman, I hope it lives up to the hype, cause I love the Megaman franchise.

Wario Land: Shake It (Nintendo Wii 2D Platformer, Nintendo)

Sean Garmer: A return to the old Wario for the Wii seems like a good idea to me.

Well, that is all for this month folks. Join us very soon for the jam packed month of October.

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