Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Third Rate Game Play: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode II

System: Xbox Live Arcade

Developer: Dimps/Sonic Team

Publisher: Sega

Player: Mark

Experience: Played Episode I, hated it

(Check after the jump for the full article)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Third Rate Game Play: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode 1

System: WiiWare

Developer: Dimps

Publisher: Sega

Player: Mark

Experience: Grew up playing Sonic games

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Third Rate Game Play: Sled Shred

Game: Sled Shred

System: Wii

Developer: Just for Fun Studios

Publisher: SouthPeak Interactive

Player: Alex

Experience: Played briefly to test mechanics

Monday, November 4, 2013

NYCC 2013: Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!




Nintendo’s booth at New York Comic Con had not one but two Zelda titles on display. While one of them was on the Wii U (Wind Waker HD), the other title was on the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS – The Legend of Zelda - A Link Between Worlds. This adventure takes place within the same Hyrule as A Link to the Past, some far time later, but the game also brings Link into a new world, a dark kingdom known as Lorule.  I fought the crowds to get a complete playthrough of the demo Nintendo had available, and I walked away wanting to play so much more.

A Link Between Worlds played like the earlier overhead Zelda titles, with a clear focus on the mechanics of A Link to the Past. Unlike the past DS handheld Zeldas, this game played entirely with the circle pad and face buttons, the touch screen being used to select items and survey maps. While playing, it felt like Link moved and attacked faster than in previous games, which made the game feel smoother and allowed for less down time and more action! Besides Link’s trusty sword - a formidable weapon that could shoot energy at full health - the demo also equipped him with bombs, bow, hammer, and the fire rod. These items worked similar to how they did in the past, except for the fire rod which would create a tower of fire in front of Link instead of just a blast of flame. A significant change to the items in this game is the lack of ammo; instead, they use energy from Link’s energy bar. While this bar did replenish on its own, using the items too quickly would leave Link without magic to use these items. Another use for the magic bar was for the game’s new major mechanic – turning into a mural within the wall and being able to walk alongside it. This was important to use in order to reach hidden items in the overworld as well as complete the demo’s dungeon.

The demo had two starting points, outside Link's house and at the entrance of the demo dungeon.  The overworld area was closed off except for one path leading me toward the Eastern Palace, which was the first full dungeon in LTTP. This area immediately made references to LTTP with its grassy trails, stone statues, and hills of varying heights.  I also encountered various enemies taken from A Link to the Past such as knights, rock-spitting Octoroks, and Armos statues. Luckily, Link was well-equipped to deal with these enemies. Beyond the nostalgia, the demo did have a new environmental layout and more puzzles throughout the overworld. Exploring Hyrule, I found a number of switches which I could hit from afar in order to unlock rupee-filled chests. Also by using the wall-merge ability, I was able to find a few heart pieces that were on top of high ledges or within an otherwise-inaccessible alcove. The use of this ability completely changed how I approached the world, switching perspective from 2D overhead to 3D within the environment. Venturing through the classic overworld with this new power may lead to some unique discoveries.

After navigating the ruins, taking out Armos after Armos, I found my way into the temple. Surprisingly, when I entered the Eastern Palace, I found myself in a different dungeon – The Tower of Hera. Much like the dungeon in LTTP, this dungeon was an extremely tall structure requiring me to scale floor after floor in order to reach the temple boss – Moldorm, right where he was on the SNES. Where A Link Between Worlds differed from the past title was the use of the hammer, which originally did not show until later. Besides using the hammer to kill the dungeon’s tortoise enemies, Link had to use his hammer on strange smiling springs that would launch him upward to a higher ledge or even onto the floor above. As I moved higher into the tower, Link had to be careful of bumpers and beetles as they could just as easily push Link back down a number of floors, all seen far below.  Looking down the floors was important, as sometimes I actually needed to fall down to grab a key hidden below.

I also had to make use of Link’s new wall-merge ability in order to move further into the dungeon. At one point, I had to use that power to squeeze Link through metal bars in the window and continue climbing the tower from the outside! Even outside, I had to use the power to stick to rising blocks in order to reach higher floors and avoid falling into the abyss below.

Unlike Zelda games of old, there wasn’t an item to find here, but I did find the usuals – the map, the compass, and the boss key. Instead of finding a new powerful item, I found most chests were loaded with rupees, which are significant since Link needs to rent or purchase important items from Ravio’s shop; while not in the demo, Ravio is very important to the main game, acting as the game's lead shopkeep and inventory specialist. In the final game, Ravio requests that Link either purchase items at steep prices or rent the items until he falls, and note that as a more classic-style Zelda, losing all your hearts is not as difficult as you might think!

Working my way to the top of the tower, I found Moldorm moving atop a grated platform. For the most part, the fight was reminiscent to the first time I fought him in LTTP, except now it more quickly retracts its tail whenever it is hit. While fighting him, a thought popped into my head. Most Zelda bosses use the item of that dungeon to fight the boss, so on a whim I used the hammer. To my surprise, Moldorm stopped in his tracks for a brief moment before moving again. Using the hammer, I was able paralyze him and reach his weak spot with greater ease as well as prevent him from colliding against me. Thanks to this, I was able to defeat the boss, collect the heart container, and end the demo. I look forward for more changes in strategy like this in the final game!

While I enjoyed watching the trailers of the game, seeing it in motion was remarkable. The game ran at a perfect 60-frames per second even with the 3D turned all the way up. The framerate along with the characters' increased movement speed made A Link Between Worlds a very action packed experience that did not waste time getting things accomplished. As for the 3D, it actually helped me figure out which level Link was currently on. I felt that the depth created by the 3D visuals in the Tower of Hera created some of the best use of 3D in a long time. Other effects such as the fire rod’s fire tower or deflected Stalfos bones were all improved with the 3D display turned on. Even though the game ran smoothly and had cool effects, some of the characters and environments were lacking in detail, especially when compared the other 3DS Zelda, The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time 3D. It is possible that the lower details help make the game run smoother, which I enjoyed. As for music, the parts I played were made of amazing remixes from the old LTTP soundtrack. Hopefully, a similar effort will be made on new songs in the game.

The Legend of Zelda - A Link Between Worlds used nostalgia to pull me in, and once I was playing I found a bunch of new content and challenges to surprise me, especially thanks to the game’s new wall-merge mechanic. While the graphics might not be as advanced as other titles, it ran really clean and quick, and it even managed to do this with the 3D turned all the way up. This is one of a few games that I will be playing with 3D turned all the way up in order to fully experience its multi-layered aesthetic. A unique mix or new and old, I look forward to this game when it comes out November 22nd.

NYCC 2013: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!


The games at Nintendo’s New York Comic Con 2013 booth are due out this year, except for two. Sadly, one of these two was planned for this holiday but was delayed until February. That game was Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, the second iteration of Retro Studios' series of Donkey Kong Country games. In Tropical Freeze, the premise is about the Kongs (Donkey, Diddy, and Dixie), who must travel across a number of islands to get back to DK Island and fend of the Vikings who have invaded it. and I got to play through the demo’s later stage, 2-6 Cannon Canyon.

As one can guess from the name, this stage took place in a large canyon area filled with cannon barrels. As Nintendo has mentioned, the camera in Tropical Freeze shifts around the world, in this case changing around the barrels, allowing for more dynamic barrel blasts through the stage.  I was launched looking down a waterfall, and another time the barrel was going to blast into the background amongst swinging explosives, which required me to time my exit just right or else BOOM! In fact, these roped explosive barrels appeared a lot in this stage, often requiring me to wait and run past them as they swung by. They also appeared regularly as I shot Donkey Kong though barrel after barrel. At one point, debris was falling onto the cannon barrel, so I had to line up my shot quickly or else it was goodbye Donkey Kong. Timing was everything in this stage.

Throughout the stage I could collect the usual items including banana tokens, KONG letters, and well-hidden puzzle pieces. One of these pieces was hidden behind a doorway into an extra mini-game room. This room was filled with bananas and platforms that would move from the background into the foreground and back again. In order to get the puzzle piece, I had to collect every banana before time ran out. Puzzle pieces could also be found around the swinging explosives or hidden just off the beaten path. All of this should sound familiar, as these were the typical hiding spots in Donkey Kong County Returns. Also like Returns, the stage ended with a roulette barrel, which would give Donkey the item showing when hit. Overall, the stage was challenging with a lot going on in it, and all of the hidden items in the stage made it enjoyable to explore outside the already difficult path.

If you have played Donkey Kong Country Returns, you already know how to play Tropical Freeze. I could roll with a shake of the remote, jump on bad guys to deal damage, and ground pound to open paths just like before. What appears to be gone is the blowing move; that move has been replaced with a new pluck motion which allows the Kongs to reveal hidden items and activate changes to the environment. The Kongs can also pick up and carry barrels, bombs, and unconscious enemies, perfect to throw and reveal new paths or puzzle rooms. I felt these mechanics combined could lead to some devious areas later into the game.

While the game has been improved graphically thanks to the HD hardware, Tropical Freeze still appeared to be graphically similar to DKC Returns. There have been some overall improvements such as more things happening on-screen, the shifting camera angles showing full 3D environments, and actual fur-shading on the Kongs to make them more detailed. Even though Tropical Freeze was visually pleasing and ran at a solid 60 frames-per-second, it did not really show that it was a true Wii U title graphically, and I hope that later stages of the title push the hardware more.

While it is still quite some time until Donkey Kong County Tropical Freeze comes out in February, I am already intrigued to see was new platforming elements Retro Studios adds to later stages as well as how much action they can fit onto the screen. I only hope they add unique environments and push the graphical prowess of the Wii U’s hardware. Look out for DKCTF in 2014.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NYCC 2013: Super Mario 3D World

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!


Nintendo had a large booth at this year's New York Comic Con, full of games already out and what is about to release.  Of the games shown, the game with the biggest presence was their next major release on the Wii U, Super Mario 3D World.  I already had the chance to play this particular demo back in June, but having a second time to try the game out, my interest in it has only grown.

Super Mario 3D World is the console sequel to 2011's Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS.  In this game, Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad encounter a pipe into the Sprixie Kingdom, but it turns out that Bowser has already invaded the kingdom and kidnapped its princesses!  Now it is up to all four from the Mushroom Kingdom to save another kingdom from the mighty King of Koopas himself.

Super Mario 3D World is a 3D platforming adventure that combines elements from older Mario games such as Super Mario Brothers 3 and newer games such as Super Mario Galaxy.  The point of each stage is to reach the flagpole at the end of each level, but to get there, players have to venture across a number of obstacles and defeat a number of enemies in the way.  What makes 3D World so unique is that, unlike its predecessor, it allows for up to four players to cooperate together at the same time in-game, similar to the side-scrolling cooperative play in the New Super Mario Brothers series.  However, each character has their own different abilities that make them stand out.  Mario is all-around good, Luigi jumps higher, Peach hovers in mid-air, and Toad can dash the fastest.  When playing single-player, this allows for strategic character choices, but when multiplayer is involved, cooperation becomes even more paramount to ensure everyone makes it through unscathed.

When I first played the game in June, I was left with concerns with cooperative play, as I was continually left behind while other players took initiative, dashing forward without any concern to explore or let other people catch up.  Thankfully, this time I had a bit more control in where the group traveled, and with only three team members in my playtime, there was a little less action to distract and confuse.  As everyone kept exploring and playing around with the game mechanics, there was less catching up and, with that, more time to experience and enjoy the level design.  The issue of cooperation versus competition will always be present when it comes to this game, but hopefully when I get to play the final version, that will not be too much of an problem.

The demo I played introduced the newest power-up to the Mario franchise (and the most noteworthy addition to the game mechanics): Cat Power-Ups.  As a cat, the heroes can dash quickly on all-fours, perform pouncing attacks, and climb up walls with relative ease.  In the demo, everyone in my team of three got to try out this power up, and it is quite entertaining to use.  Suddenly walls were no match for Cat Mario, and slashing and diving at enemies felt just that much more precise, although attacking the enemies with a simple jump sufficed, too.  It was great to explore the world in a way not done before, and that makes me wonder just what secrets they could hide in this game, accessible only to a bit of feline-powered research.

Graphically, the game looks pretty much like a high definition version of Super Mario 3D Land.  The models are more akin to Super Mario Galaxy with a touch more smoothing in the models.  The animations were smooth and fast to fit the pace of the gameplay, and the environments were colorful and bright.  The textures could have been a little higher resolution, but the game did not look bad by any stretch.  On the GamePad, the game looked just as fine, so off-TV play for single-player should not be a problem.

Super Mario 3D World felt as quick and fun as its predecessor, but the addition of HD graphics, multiplayer cooperative play, and the cat power up give promise that the game could end up even better than its 3DS counterpart.  Super Mario 3D World releases later this month exclusively on the Wii U.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NYCC 2013: Dustforce

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!



At Capcom’s booth there were a number of downloadable titles on display, and one of them was the console port of Hitbox Team's Dustforce, a combo-heavy platforming game about dust and ninja janitors.

Dustforce stars four unique janitor ninjas in their effort to clean the corrupting filth of the world. The team consists of a blue janitor with his broom, a red janitor with her push broom, a short purple janitor with feather dusters, and an old green janitor with his vacuum cleaner. While each have similar controls, they each have slightly different movements, such as jumping a touch higher or attacking faster. The point of the game is for these ninja janitors to race through each stage and clean up as much mess with as much ninja skill as possible. Playing the demo I got to try out a forest area covered in leafs in need of sweeping. Racing into the stages, my janitor would run along walls, across ceilings, and clean off any leaf-covered animals in the stage all while avoiding multiple hazards.

The gameplay of Dustforce was very reminiscent to N+ and other wall-running platformers. The largest difference Dustforce brought was its focus on cleaning up the stage while racing through them. As I ran through the stages, I would clean off the surface I touched, be it floors, walls, or ceilings. Besides wall-jumping, the janitors could also quickly dash forward, double-jump, and even super clean the entire screen once they accumulated enough of a combo meter. Occasionally, I stumbled onto enemies made up of dust or animals turned evil by the dirtiness. By attacking these airborne enemies, I not only freed them from the clutches of messiness but also my janitor earned the ability to jump again to reach higher enemies or more leaf-covered flooring. The major emphasis of this title was to clean off all the surfaces without stopping in order to keep the combo score increasing. At the end of each stage, I was ranked based on my time, how much I cleaned, and the combo score.  Clearly this game was designed more about mastering the combos than beating the stages, as they were nowhere near as frustrating as other indie platformers out there such as Super Meat Boy. However, I did have some difficulty judging my jumps and accurately using my cleaning skills. In order to clean a wall or ceiling, I had to move the joystick in the direction of the mess before I got there. This tended to throw me off, but it could have just been poor reflexes.

The game’s graphical style was a unique blend of colorful geometric forms. Rather than represent each character and leaf with realistic detail, everything was simplified to simple vector forms of color, designed as if everything was toon-shaded. The game also ran at a silky smooth framerate with fluid animations, which complimented its fast-paced action. As for the game’s audio, I sadly wasn’t able to make it out in the noise convention hall, so I will have to judge that at another time.

Dustforce, the ninja janitor platformer, was a joy to play, but I could see that mastering each level is where this title is going to push players. I do hope that the other regions in the game offer unique platforming gimmicks to keep it fresh in order to stand out from all the other challenging indie platformers. With its unique style and premise, I look forward to give this title another go when it comes out on consoles.

Dustforce is available now on PC, Mac, and Linux, and it being ported to XBLA and PSN this upcoming January.

NYCC 2013: Strider

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!


This year, Capcom's New York Comic Con booth focused mostly on upcoming downloadable titles from the publisher, and the big game front-and-center was Double Helix's Strider, a re-imagining of the arcade original.  I will admit I have never played the Strider games before this, but I can say that what I played at Comic Con was a smooth and intriguing experience.

Strider is a side-scrolling action title in which players control Strider Hiryu, sent to Kazakh City in order to hunt down and defeat Grandmaster Meio.  Getting to Meio is problematic, however, as he has many followers and soldiers at his disposal.  Within mere moments of nearing the city, Strider is shot down from the sky, leaving him at the outskirts of the city, still hot on his mission.  The city is massive in scale and the enemies numerous and ferocious, but thankfully for Strider, he is only going to get stronger as he makes his way into the city to face Meio.

The new Strider game is set in the sprawling Kazakh City, allowing players to explore and gather power-ups and secrets at their own pace.  As players rush through the landscape, slashing enemies with the help of Strider's Cypher, the world's large map updates and spreads out, much akin to a Metroidvania title.  In fact, this game's camera and action sequences feel very much like Chair Entertainment's Metroidvania game Shadow Complex.  At the beginning of the game, Strider has plenty of basic attacks, but in order to progress past certain obstacles, the player has to find special powerups for him or Cypher hidden around the city.  For example, there are a number of grates that are too small to cut through, but with a found ability, Strider is able to slide-slash right through the grates and out the other end.  Paying attention to where these air ducts are located will also provide health upgrades and other helpful powerups in the midst of the adventure.  Even with this example, it is clear that backtracking will be a large element in the game.

Graphically, the game looked crisp.  The color in the world was somewhat muted by a monitor overlay, complete with scanlines, but this only seemed to enhance the style of the game rather than muddle it.  There is distinct bloom from the glowing lights around the complex, helping to emphasize the stark contrasts of the shadows across characters and locales throughout the game.  The animation and framerate seemed very smooth, a good sign for a demo of what is to come.  The gameplay was kept frantic and active, and loading was kept to a minimum throughout the excursion.  My only concern about the graphics is the environments; I hope we get to see more interesting worlds as we venture further into the city (although the introductory screen had a pleasant background to see, for sure).

Those worrying about difficulty will know that while it started easy, the game became increasingly complex and difficult as the demo progressed.  Strider would run through enemies, swiftly cutting the lesser minions in half with relative ease.  This would change once I encountered larger, stronger warriors; at one point I faced an enemy who attacked unfazed by my attacks and ended up dying because of it.  The boss at the end of the demo, a large dragon robot, was equally armored and made for a hectic showpiece in the game.  I feel that considering this is the early portion of the game, the difficulty and complexity in combat will only grow and keep in time with what fans are looking for from the arcade action franchise.  Whether it will exactly match the difficulty of the older games, however, will have to wait until it is released.

The gameplay mechanics were as smooth as the graphics, quick to the point and in constant motion. Platforming was also swift, trying to maintain the hectic speeds expected of an arcade action adventure.  Upon colliding with a ceiling or wall, Strider immediately grabs hold of it, allowing for great maneuverability in rooms or in floating platforms throughout the world.  There were a couple instances when I would grab hold of a platform when I did not want to do so, but I imagine I would get used to the wall-grabbing mechanic further into the final game.  On the offensive side, even though I started with a number of powerful attacks, new upgrades piled on very quickly early on.  This makes me wonder whether the game was going to give that many upgrades so early in the game, but it could also be indicative of how many abilities will be given over the course of the final game.

Strider was a fun experience and ran very smoothly.  I cannot say how it compares to the earlier Strider games exactly, but from an outsider, it felt like a solid experience to look out for. Strider is set for release in 2014 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Monday, October 28, 2013

NYCC 2013: Earth Defense Force 2025

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!


In ShiftyLook and D3's booth, D3 Publisher showed off upcoming titles in their licensed franchises, but the company also showed off a demo of the upcoming sequel to its original IP, Earth Defense Force 2025.  We got to play through a mission of the game, and from what we experienced, it will be a treat to those who liked the series before, even if it retreads a bit on the chaos of its prequels.

Earth Defense Force 2025 is the latest in the revived Earth Defense Force series.  Much like its predecessors, EDF puts players in control of the Earth Defense Force, the last line of defense made to protect the world from alien lifeforms whose sole purpose is to destroy the human race.  These aliens use their technology to create gigantic bug monsters as well as to develop their own mechanical monstrosities to level the landscape and end humanity.  Not only are these monsters large and in charge, but there are a vast multitude of them attacking in hordes.  This creates for extremely intense situations, but at the same time, it makes completing these assaults on a myriad of alien enemies highly rewarding.

Earth Defense Force 2025 is a third-person action title, and in each mission, the players are given a goal to complete, usually revolving around the mass murder of giant bugs or warships.  Players have the ability to choose one of four different classes of soldier: Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider, and Fencer. Rangers are  basic foot soldiers, capable of using basic weaponry as well as vehicles and other artillery available within the battlefield.  Wing Divers have jetpacks and laser weapons, allowing quick mobility in the air around the enemy.  Air Raiders can set up air raids and larger attacks from the sky, and finally Fencers are heavily armored and weaponized warriors.  Between these different classes and the large assortment of weapons to collect in each mission, the game is full of variety, and seeing as there are many difficulty levels for each mission, replayability is even further emphasized.

In my playtime with the game, my brother and I worked together to kill off a myriad off ants as they ravaged through the city, attacking any passerby they encountered.  I personally chose the reintroduced Wing Diver, and I found it to be a delightful experience.  While I was much weaker than my brother, who played as a Ranger and later a Fencer, I was able to fly over the enemies and use highly-destructive lasers and rocket launches from afar.  In usual co-op fashion, I accidentally killed him at least once with a large pulse of my weapons, but thankfully players can revive each other with minimal loss of time.  Still, there is definitely a need for cooperation if every player wants to make it out alive.

The graphics for the game have improved a bit over that of Sandlot's previous installment, EDF 2017.  The city has more variety, and citizens do not simply appear and vanish quickly in front of us.  There is more detail in the buildings and monsters, but there are still some lower polygon areas, especially amid the rubble of the battlefield.  Also, as is the norm in EDF, the framerate starts slow enough, but when action gets heavy, the game can quickly become a slideshow.  There are just so many monsters and explosions happening at once that the game can barely handle it, but with as many enemies as there are, perhaps it is for the best for things to slow down a touch in order to ensure correctly-timed dodges.

My only major concern is repetitiveness.  While the game shows plenty of promise with different weapons to gather and now four different classes to control, I wonder exactly how much of the game will be similar to that of its predecessor.  Thankfully, since the game is pushing more toward a cooperative experience, it is likely that the experience will remain fun and intense with friends much more than when playing it alone.  Regardless of that concern, if it can please me as well as it has in the past, I can say this will be a go-to game for anyone into an action-packed alien massacre with city-leveling explosions on top.

Earth Defense Force 2025 releases February for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


At New York Comic Con 2013, I got a chance to try out Earth Defense Force 2025, the latest edition of the EDF franchise. Having played earlier games in the franchise, I looked forward to playing this action-packed title, filled with large insects and massive explosions, and it did not disappoint.

In my hands-on, I played the first mission through the game's co-op mode, a franchise staple. The mission briefing opened up with an emergency call claiming there were alien invaders in the city. Although the group thought it was just a prank call, it did not take long for the crew to be proven wrong as gigantic ants began terrorizing the city, attacking anyone nearby in a very gruesome way - more violent than I remember from the other games. Just like in the other EDF titles, it was our duty to hunt down and destroy the invaders (with the city landscape as collateral damage). In this first level, all the objectives revolved around heading to different parts of the city to kill all of the ants there. Once they were exterminated, we would receive another order to take down a new cluster of ants invading another part of the city. This continued until the mission ended in victory.

Before the mission started, I was able to select from different classes of EDF soldiers. The one I selected was the Ranger class, armed with a shotgun and grenade launcher. The satisfaction of blasting away alien monsters and the occasional building was still there, complete with explosions and falling debris everywhere. I did notice that the buildings had more resistance than in the past, but I guess that is more realistic than the fragile buildings of yore. I think character movement had reduced itself somewhat, as it felt slow-going to get down streets and face off against more bugs. Once I got used to the new movement and readied my shotgun, I found myself blasting away ants like it was my job, which it was.

Compared to its predecessor (2017), the details of the city and alien ants were much improved. However, I felt that the low framerate made all the on-screen action rather hard to follow, but this may have been because the demo I played was using split-screen co-op. Despite the framerate, EDF 2025 was still a blast to play in co-op with explosions, buildings, and alien parts going everywhere.

I really enjoyed my short time with Earth Defense Force 2025. My only concern is whether the framerate will improve any before launch. Besides that, the game is sure to make EDF fans happy with alien-killing action and destruction everywhere.

NYCC 2013: Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know!

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!


In the ShiftyLook and D3 booth, D3 Publisher was present to show off the upcoming video games for Cartoon Network's biggest shows, and on a couple console displays, they were showing a playable demo of the upcoming Adventure Time game, Adventure Time - Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know!  Unfortunately, due to our constrained timeframe, we were unable to get our hands onto the game, but we did score some brief video clips for you to watch.  It is a shame the sun wanted to come in and play on the television screen, but we did what we could at the time.

Adventure Time's second major game adventure launches this November on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PC, and Nintendo 3DS.

NYCC 2013: Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!


Located at D3 Publishers’s booth at New York Comic-Con 2013 was a number of Nintendo 3DS’s displaying the first game based on the Cartoon Network hit, Regular Show - Regular Show - Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land. This title was inspired by classic games of old, from the graphics down to Jake Kaufman's retro-styled soundtrack. Sadly, although it advertises some interesting gameplay-changing mechanics, I only had a short time with the game and was unable to reach any special events. I instead got a chance to play a few of the game’s general 2D side-scrolling stages.

As stated in the title, the game had me playing as both of the Regular Show’s main duo, Mordecai the blue jay and Rigby the raccoon.  Each of the two had their own benefits and drawbacks.  For example, while Mordecai had the ability to double jump, Rigby was a smaller target.  Having multiple characters is not unusual for platformers, but what made this game special was the ability to switch between characters at the press of a button. In one area, a ledge would be too high for Rigby to reach, so I had to switch to Mordecai. In another place, Mordecai was too big to fit into a tunnel so I had to become Rigby. As the stages progressed, I found myself having of switch more and more; it was important to learn each character’s strengths and weaknesses even that early in the game.

In the early stages, I navigated across grassy terrain with the occasional shrub here and there. These stages were filled with the usual fare of platforming segments along with enemies such as large snails and thick-skulled bullies. Luckily, Mordecai and Rigby are able to overcome these obstacles with well-timed jumps. Besides jumping on enemies, there is also a power up that gives our heroes mullets, allowing them to shoot punches and lasers, similar to fireballs in another platforming series. However, also like that other game, after taking one hit, the power up went away.  Dollar bills also riddled the stages for the two to collect. This money would be useful at the end of each stage where there would be a mini-game; in this game, players can use the money to place a gold coin on one of four paths. The marker would then move up the path, crossing any intersections it came to, until it reached the end of the paths, containing extra lives, more money, a fany-pack, or bottomless pits.

Even though Regular Show - Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land claims to be an 8-bit adventure, the game’s sprite work was more complex than would be possible in 8-bit, but it still had a unique pixel-art style. The characters’ animations were smooth and managed to keep the characters’ personalities from the show while still being "retro." While the graphics are more advanced than what one would find in an 8-bit title, the game’s music could have been ripped straight from games of old. The music was a perfect match to fit with the retro style they were aiming for. As for the 3DS's 3D display, they were fairly basic and added minimal effects to the game, but the effects did not harm the game's performance when activated, which is always a good thing.

Regular Show - Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land is the Regular Show’s first video game offering and it fit well into the retro platforming style. Sadly, I was unable to try out any of the gameplay-changing levels, which I feel may make this game stand out more. Without those elements, the title felt like an average platformer, which we know is not what people expect from a Regular Show video game. Hopefully, the game will surprise people when it comes out tomorrow!