Reviews

605 Dead Pixel Live 7.14.11

Dead Pixel Live gives up on chat in this episode. Derrick is under the weather. The DPL Old School Battle Royale contest is announced. More E3 interview from Inversion , Payday: The Heist, and the Videogame History Museum. Mayor Young from the Fantastic Forum podcast pops in to talk about his latest gaming choices.
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5 Star Wrestling Review [PS3]

As the AllGames.com resident wrestling fanatic, which includes video games, and seeing as it's WrestleMania season, I've been tasked with reviewing the new indie game that dropped on the PlayStation Network exclusively for PS3, 5 Star Wrestling. First, to understand the title of the game, you need to know that a 5 Star match in wrestling is the highest ranking you can receive in wrestling. Though, this ranking system was started by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer newsletter, it just caught on and now everyone just kind of follows it. To put this in perspective, the WWE as a whole has only had five 5 Star matches since this ranking system began in the 80's.


The selling point by 5 Star is that wrestlers can/will take damage and that damage will actually affect gameplay. This selling point is what got me so excited for the game in the first place. This was something that no games before it had done, even though the WWE games Wrestlemania 2000, No Mercy, and Day of Reckoning 1 & 2 had damage meters, and the wrestlers would limp or hold an arm, the damage never affected gameplay. The other point, which was also exciting, was unique finisher reversals, some even reversing into the opponent's finisher. This also, to my knowledge anyway, hadn't been done before. So when the game dropped, and I bought it, I had some high hopes. Was I dreaming or did 5 Star Wrestling deliver a 5 star product?

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When starting, and playing this game, I feel it's important to note that this is an indie game. A small team of passionate people came together to make what they felt would be an awesome wrestling game. So keeping that in mind, I also feel that it's completely unfair to compare it to critically acclaimed games like WWF No Mercy, and current games like WWE2k15. I mean, WWE2k15 is basically working off a backbone that was started and has been refined since 1995!


I'm not going to bore you with basic stuff, there's a menu, there's music, language select, all the good stuff. The game menu music is just a randomly played wrestler theme song. Getting into the meat of this game, there's 8 wrestlers, "Raging" Andy Organ, Harvee Dee, Gregg Hearty, Dynamite Pegasus, Jonny "The Bull" Miavia, Mike Iceberg, Curtis Angel, and Ragnabrok. Since the name of the developer IS Serious Parody, I'm sure you can figure out who each wrestler is a parody of. Personally, I find the goofy names pretty awesome because it feels like a throwback to the old Fire Pro Wrestling games that had to come up with a bunch of goofy names for the wrestlers. As for match types, there's 7, with 6 being locked, they are:

  • Wrestling Match*
  • Pin Fall Only
  • Submission Match
  • 2 Out Of 3 Falls
  • No Holds Barred
  • First Blood
  • Last Man Standing


*Available at start

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There's also 1 alternate attire for each wrestler that can be unlocked. You can unlock match types, attires, and arenas by going through the Challenge Mode, and earning coins.


Challenge mode is the main mode of this game. Challenge mode is what it sounds like, a lot of different challenges, each challenge comes with 3 (or more) objectives, and tracks whether your match is a 5 star classic or not. To be honest, the first few challenges I did, i was just killing the objectives and then finishing the match, which lead to 1 or 2 star matches. You'll get more coin for higher star matches.


Graphically, this game is better looking than a lot of stuff out there right now, and it doesn't do the typical indie game thing where it's either pixel art dubbed "retro" or some weird artsy style. While the character models are far from realistic, they'd probably fall somewhere in like with cartoony muscle guys. But it works, so I can't knock it, i like the look of the characters and the arenas. Oddly, there's crowd noise piped in by speakers that you can see in the arenas if you really look, because there's no crowds. I kind of hope they add crowds via a patch or something, but really it's not that important.


Gameplay wise, this is where I have a lot of conflict. The controller scheme is something completely new to me, so it takes some getting use to. After a few playthroughs I really like it now, as you only need to press, at most, 2 buttons (at once) and flick the right analog stick to pull a move off, but mostly you'll be pressing one of the shoulder buttons and either hitting the right analog for grapples, or X for strikes. Working the limbs of your opponents, and seeing their knee give out under their weight while trying to perform a move, or favoring their arm, it's really nice to see that stuff. This game is probably the most cerebral wrestling game on the market right now. Oh, you could use psychology since the N64 days. Working body parts, even now in the 2K games, helps to win matches quicker. but the PRESENTATION of it. The way working the knee affects a match, it's never been done like this before, and it's a breath of fresh air. The problems with the gameplay come with glitches where grapples cause wrestlers to teleport and switch places to finish the move. But, I mean, that's really the biggest, consistent, problem I've seen. And that's not bad.


The sound of the game is typical wrestling sound, though I give immense credit on not using generic rock music or public domain music or something to cut cost. The music in this game is all original, all be it parody of real songs, but even if they're parodies they sound pretty great. My favorite is Harvee Dee's theme.


Considering this is their first outing, and their own original engine, they've really powerbombed it out of the park, and into a table. Is it a perfect game? No. Is it the fabled second coming of No Mercy, no. But it doesn't need to be. Once the little problems are patched, and once whatever planned DLC is implemented, it'll carve it's own niche in wrestling video game lore.It's not the greatest game, it needs small work in a lot of areas. I think once it's patched and everything's working solidly, it'll be one of the greatest wrestling games in the past 10 years.


Score: 3 1/2 Stars

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review (PS3)

 

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The best part about video game conventions aren’t the games on the show floor, it’s the parties afterward where a bunch of geeks can hang out and be themselves. Its not like going to the neighborhood bar where the smell of cigarettes and alcohol is outmatched by the cheap cologne of men talking to women with cheaper perfume.

An industry party is different. Mostly you’re just standing around with a drink in your hand talking to someone about how the big name actors like Patrick Stewart are showing up more and more in games. There’s not a lot of cheesy lines or male bravado because to be honest, there’s not a lot of reason for it. The women at a gamer party don’t have a lot to fear from guys who spend a good chunk of time retracing levels to find that one last health gem.

This party was no different. I had come with my friend who just happened to  fit the role of a stunningly attractive woman. She may not have officially been my date, but that didn’t stop me from feeling just a little bit good about the approving nod I got from the bouncer at the door. As the night progressed we slowly drifted to opposite sides of the room. Every so often I’d see her out of the cornier of my eye hanging out by a Mrs Pacman machine. Even though I’m deep into a discussion about whether the migration from 2D to 3D in classic remakes is a natural evolution or a just money grab, I can still pick out her laugh across the room amongst the background noise. I looked past the blogger blocking my view and see  that she’s talking to a guy we had interviewed  earlier that day on the show floor .I also notice that he had ditched the lanyard and controller based accessories he was sporting at the show and swapped them  for a shiny dress shirt and jacket topped by a gold chain that would be more at home on an MTV reality show than a bar filled with podcasters. I knew the look on his face from experience. He was on the prowl.

5 Star Wrestling Interview on 3/19

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On Thursday March 19th, Dead Pixel Live will welcome Dan Hinkles from Serious Parody to talk about their newest wrestling game, 5 Star Wrestling. You can listen in right here at www.Allgames.com/live  at 7pm EST/4pm PST. The chat room will be open as always so feel free to log in and send us some questions. 

5 Star Wrestling will be available on the PS3 on March 17th and features an innovative control style, varied movesets, and intense action. If you'll be too busy practicing your figure 4 leglock and can't make it to the live show on Thursday, you can always leave your questions in the comments section below. 

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Mom's Minute 6-17-2013

Fresh from covering the Anime Mid-Atlantic event for Allgames.com, Ms. H welcomes everyone to the show with a promise to fill listeners in with more details of the event during her next show -- due to time constraints.  She also wishes everyone a happy "after Father's Day." She reviews Knytt Underground and Sonic the Hedgehog Tennis video games....

Ten Best Consoles of 2013

 

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2013 was a big year for gaming consoles. We were on the brink of a new generation of systems, but the current gen wasn't showing any signs of going away. Huge games like GTA V and Call of Duty Ghosts proved that you didn't need to drop hundreds on new hardware to experience the best gaming had to offer. The influx of Android based platforms finally hit store shelves in a big way. Now low priced, HD games were were available to anyone with $100 and an HDMI cable. But would games that were fun on a phone translate to the big screen? You can't forget the impact that portable gaming made on the industry because when you talk of the best games released this year, a good chunk of them will fit in your pocket. 

AllGames has taken a hard look back on this epic year and come up with a definitive list of the Top Ten Consoles for 2013. If you disagree with some of the placements, additions, or ommisions (let's be honest, you -will- disagree), leave a comment and let us know how you would have ranked the best gaming consoles of 2013.

 


 

 #10 Ouya

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The Ouya started off with a bang, but a dearth of AAA titles and lack of graphical punch really hurt it. Hopefully the upcoming Ouya 2.0 will solve some of the problems, but it’s not the only android system on the block anymore and other consoles are already nipping at it’s heels.

 


 #9 NVidia Shield

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NVidia’s Shield hit late in the year, and it still managed to make a splash. Packing a lot more power then it’s android based brethren, it also added to ability to stream games from your PC. At $250, It’s high price is it’s biggest drawback in getting gamers to take the leap although the NVidia name will go a long way in gaining clout with the hardcore crowd.

 


#8 Nintendo Wii U

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The WiiU makes the list by just being itself. Nintendo wasn’t fooling anyone with it’s claims of ‘hardcore’ gaming at the console’s launch. Once the WiiU realized that halfhearted ports of Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed cutting it, Nintendo went back to it’s family based roots, and the system finally started to shine. New Mario, Luigi and Zelda releases marked an immediate and strong return to form.

 

 


#7 Sony Playstation Vita

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Sony isn’t giving up on portable. Not by a long shot. By adding a number of CrossPlay titles, and pairing it heavily with the new PS4, the Vita has received a renewed lease on life. The jury is still out on how many Vita based titles will be worth getting, but if you have a PS4, this portable is the perfect companion.

 


#6 Neo Geo X

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The Neo Geo X may not have been a big hit (it may not even survive through 2014), but it has a pedigree that outshines a lot of other consoles. Near perfect arcade ports of near perfect arcade games means that this is one retro console that still looks good on the big screen. And if you’re a fan of fighting games, then you really have no excuse not to own one.

 


#5 Microsoft Xbox One

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The Xbox One had a hard road to its release date with a number of PR missteps. On launch day, none of that mattered because the multifaceted console was able to silence any doubters with one of the strongest line up of titles seen on a system’s release day. With a ton of options including music, skype, movies, and tv, the Xbox One has made a solid argument to being the only entertainment box you’ll need. Time will tell if the lack of focus on purely gaming will be a liability.

 


#4 Sony Playstation 4

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The Sony PS4 was one of the biggest launches in the history of consoles, but it was marred with hardware failures and network outages. Fortunately, it was able to rise up from the ashes with the help of excellent titles like Resogun and Killzone that showed off the fourth Playstation’s strengths. Allowing users to stream gameplay directly from the console went a long way to making the PS4 a popular next gen choice. Now it just needs more games.

 


#3 Microsoft Xbox 360

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The Xbox 360 stood strong in 2013. With hit after hit, the console proved that it still had the power to deliver a great gaming experience. Although Kinect add-on was ignored by both gamers and developers, price drops on the core system helped keep the 360 at the top of the charts all year long. Xbox Live continues to be one of the best online services around and the biggest reason the 360 had stayed viable for so long.

 


#2 Nintendo 3DS/2DS

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Nintendo knows portable gaming.They’ve dominated the space since the original Gameboy and haven’t missed a step. A lower price on the 3DS and the release of the 2DS may have gotten the system into more pockets, but the constant stream of excellent games kept those systems turned on. New Pokemon titles, Animal Crossing, and the best Zelda game released in years made the 3DS a must own platform in 2013

 


#1 Sony Playstation 3

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Sony came strong in 2013 with the PS3. The Instant Game Collection promotion that gave PS+ members free AAA titles every month blew away other online services. Sony managed to deliver some jaw dropping exclusive titles like The Last of Us and Beyond Two Souls, along with a number of award winning Indie games. Even with the release of the next gen consoles looming, the PS4 was able to show that it’s not going away anytime soon.

 

Enter the Mom's Minute Ultra Street Fighter 4 Tournament!

It's time again for the Mom's Minute Matriarch Meltdown! This time players will battle each other in Ultra Street Fighter 4 on the PS3, and the winner gets the chance to fight Ms. H herself for the championship.

The winner of the tournament will get their choice of three incredible prizes.

Square Enix Street Fighter IV: Play Arts Kai: Ryu Action Figure
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Square Enix Street Fighter IV: Play Arts Kai: Cammy Action Figure
Street Fighters Play Arts Cammy kai 6

Street Fighter Collectible Mini Figure Series 1 Blind Box Lot Of 20
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Sign up for this free tournament by creating an account and logging in to AllGames and going to Community-> Tournaments  or http://goo.gl/Nj7LdW .  Click on the Join Group button and you're in! The bracket will be created and matches will be set up once the tournament starts. The winner of the tournament will then go one on one with Ms. H, the host of Mon's Minute in a winner take all match. If you're able to defeat her, you will get your choice of the grand prized. But if you lose to her, you will leave empty handed. 

The AllGames Injustice Free For All Online Tournament!

 

allgames injustice 900

AllGames.com presents the Injustice Free For All Online Tournament for the PS3! Players will face each other in one on one battles until only a single hero (or villain) is left standing. NetherRealms latest addition the the Fighting Game genre is the long awaited Injustice:Gods Among Us, featuring the most powerful characters from the DC Comics Universe. Built using the Unreal Engine and the acclaimed engine from Mortal Kombat(9), Injustice: Gods Among is now the battleground for another exciting AllGames Tournament.

 

The champion will win the grand prize of a stunning imported Kotobukiya DC Comics Statue and a PSN Plus Membership!  

The runner up will get the new AllGames Tshirt, hot off the presses.

And to make sure everyone has a chance to win, 2 random players will be chosen win prizes from the AG Prize Box.

(You do not have to be in the U.S. to play, but you must have a U.S. based PSN account and prizes can only be shipped to U.S. Addresses)

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The beatings will start on April 27th and wont end until a final victor has been chosen.   


The tournament will be held using Injustice :Gods Among Us for the Playstation 3. Register by clicking on the 'I will enter this event' check box on the Event Page and you will be placed in the bracket. You must be logged in with an AllGames account to sign up. When the AllGames.com Injustice Free For All tournament begins, matchups with a deadline will be posting in the forum and you and your opponent must agree on a time to fight. Report the winner and the process starts again for the next round.

 

Game Settings for the fights are

Best 3 out of 5 Matches

No Time Limit

Best 2 out of 3 Rounds

Rules are subject to change based on the organizer's discretion and game capabilities. Please ask any questions in the comment section below or in the AllGames Chatroom.

Retro City Rampage (PS3)

 

retro city rampage 01When I saw her, the first thing that went through my mind was that she doesn’t belong in a place like this. She’s leaning up against the bar, drink in hand and facing the crowd, oblivious to the mass of people. Her blood red dress contrasts against the dull woodgrain of the world around her.

Her curves. Every line on her body forms a flowing curve. Her shape forces your eyes to make the journey from floor to ceiling. My eyes take note of each destination. Legs. Hips. Chest. Face. It’s as if she was created from the molds of the women I’ve known in the past. The best parts of them sculpted into the work of art thats taking inventory of the room from the bar.

It’s a methodology shared by Brian Provinciano, who has taken iconic traits from legendary games and managed to form them into a fun, expansive title that can be as deep or as straightforward as the player wants. There are the obvious nods to well known classics like Duck Hunt, Contra, and Frogger. But there are just as many influences from lesser known but just as deserving games like Bionic Commando and Top Gunner. From the moment the opening title screen appears, Retro City Rampage makes it clear that its about to take you on a ride into the past.

Her legs. The thin red fabric of the the dress outlines the long supple shape of her legs. Her pose accentuates their tone, creating an angle that allows the slit in the dress to do it’s job, exposing a single, tanned thigh to the world. Exposed is the wrong word. Revealed is better. The cloth separates and is replaced by flesh. It’s an immediate and yet barely noticeable transition. It’s revealing.

retro city rampage 02Hidden in each section of Retro City Rampage are layers of reasons to replay each level. Not so that you can get extra power ups or max out your point total. Instead you want to make sure that you’ve seen every little in-joke and bit of pop culture that was crafted into the area. Provinciano has taken his time in dotting the game’s landscape with layers of memories from gaming history.

The dress. It was from a different era. A vintage relic from the past that made me question why things had to change. Sheer skirts, low cut blouses, tight jeans, they are all just pretenders to the throne that this dress reigns over. Its fabric hugs her body without being greedy. Instead of being skin tight and trying too hard, the cloth just kisses her skin, tracing the form that nature sculpted for her. The neckline dives down her chest, just barely promising a glimpse at the arc of her breasts.

Like that dress, Retro City Rampage is a piece of the past that has been forced into the modern era. It calls itself ‘retro’ and proclaims that it’s a parody, but thats not true. It’s not a mockup of what people think gaming used to be like. It actually is a game from those times. Its nonsensical story, exacting controls and multiple gameplay styles have created a game that doesn’t parody gaming history, it celebrates it.

Her face. Everything else was just a prelude. Her hair cascades over her shoulders, catching what little light that was in the room and framing her cheekbones. Her pursed lips show only a hint of a smile. It’s a sly expression that lets you know that whatever she’s about to say, it will be about you. Long lashes cast shade over her eyes, and yet their sharp, silver tone still flashes through. She’s scanning the room, like a predator bored with the hunt.

retro city rampage 03The seconds that I’ve been mesmerized by her feel like hours. It’s as if I’ve been standing in a museum, examining the brush strokes of a Matisse, with more details uncovered every moment. She wasn’t perfection. But she stood there with a smoldering confidence that dared you to notice any perceived flaw.

The faults with Retro City Rampage may be there because they’re inherent in the style of game it is. But they’re still there. No matter how detailed the pixel art is, it’s still pixel art. The reduced color palette may be authentic, but after spending a lot of time with this game (and most likely , you will be spending a lot of time with it), it drifts into being gaudy. But those are shortcomings that can be happily tolerated. Because in return you get a rare title that even though it takes pride in being wholly unoriginal, is one of the most original games released in years.

Score 9/10

Review - Abyss Odyssey [PC]

“To sleep, perchance to dream,” in Abyss Odyssey therein is the rub. Out now for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC Abyss Odyssey presents a very interesting story wrapped in a brawler, a platformer, and a rouge-like game.

Drop into the darkness.
The story is set in the 17th century Chilean capitol of Santiago. Evil creatures are coming up through a hole in the center of town and threatening to overtake the city. You start out as Katrien, a swordswoman who specializes in short swords. As she arrives at the edge of the mysterious hole, the soldiers guarding it tell her to leave, that this is no place for a lady. She tells them they have no idea what they are facing. That they are fighting creatures that are the result of a Warlock sleeping at the bottom of the abyss. Those creatures are being created from the nightmare he is having. With those bold declarations, she drops into the abyss to begin her journey to the bottom in order to confront the Warlock.

abyss screen3 caverns15

Along the way you will die. Several times in fact. Such is the nature of Abyss Odyssey. The first time Katrien dies she reveals that she too is a part of the Warlock’s nightmare, that she died a long time ago. The dying part isn't as bad as it first seems. When Katrien falls she is replaced by a soldier who promises to revive her at a shrine, provided he makes it. The soldier is less powerful, but not entirely helpless. If he does fall in battle, then you are revived on the surface and have to fight your way through again. There are no save points in the game, but you can have temporary checkpoints. At special shrines you can change it into a checkpoint, provided you have the key for it. A note of caution, these checkpoints have a limited number of times you can be revived. Once used up you start at the surface again. This is not necessarily a bad thing either. As Katrien observes, the abyss, like a dream or nightmare, is never the same. Which means that every time you enter the abyss it is randomly generated, making it something new and different every time. It is a nice touch that provides for a lot of replayability.

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While you start out as Katrien you won't play as her all the time. Besides the soldier you will be able to eventually unlock two other characters, the Ghost Monk and Pincoya. Both, like Katrien, have their basic attacks, but also special attacks and weapons. If that's not enough variety of characters for you, there's a way to acquire more. You can capture souls of enemies you defeat. Once captured, you can turn into them and use their powers and abilities.
Choose your weapon wisely.

The characters have some role playing game characteristics in that you can level them up and tailor their fighting styles. You may be slow and sluggish at the start, but carefully choosing how to level up your characters will result in a lean mean demon killing machine. Weapons can be found in the abyss or bought from merchants. A small problem for me was that you couldn’t sell your old weapon. This necessitates spending your money cautiously and wisely. Found weapons can only be picked up if they match your current character's weapon style. So if you are playing as Katrien, you can't pick up pole arms, only small swords.

abyss screen1 plantworld01
Pretty as a picture.
Graphically Abyss Odyssey is stunning. It looks like someone crossed a storybook with art nouveau prints; it's colorful and beautiful. One of the touches I really liked was when you use the block move to stop a hit, a halo appears around them. The halo's design takes on the look that's almost a trademark of art nouveau prints. This art style is present in everything, from the backgrounds to all the enemies. I would love to see an art book created from this game.

Final word.
Abyss Odyssey is a downright stunning game. The art, music, story, and gameplay come together in a beautiful arrangement. Even when you finally get to the end and finish the story the randomly generated abyss makes the game different every time. On top of that the developers, ACE, have stated that at current count there are about 37 enemies are to be captured and used. ACE has hinted at more enemies and bosses to be added to the game in the future. The game also really challenges you with that rougelike system. Can you make it to the end with no saves and limited checkpoints? It's a game that I really think is a contender for my top 10 of the year. I like it that much. If this sounds like your cup of tea, pick it up now.

  • Published in PC
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