October 28, 2009

Disney Sing It: Pop Hits - Wii/PS3

Author: JohnnyXeo

Genre: Singing/Party Game
Release: October 2009
Game Rating: E for Everyone
Average Cost: $59.99 (with microphone), $49.99 (with out microphone)

Zoe Mode and Disney Interactive Studios have released another great Sing It title with Sing It: Pop Hits provides a great selection of 30 new songs to sing along to from artists such as Duffy, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Colbie Caillat and Taylor Swift just to name a few. All the songs in this title are well known to fans and even will be familiar to people who may only hear these songs on the radio.

Sing It: Pop Hits plays like your basic karaoke game where you select a song and follow along with the words that are displayed on the screen. The game is broken down into Sing It and Sing It Pro with Sing It Pro being your tutorial. Sing It Pro is the best place to start off the game where Tiffany Thornton, who you may recognize from her role as Tawni Hart on Sonny with a Chance will walk you through the basic concepts that you will need to learn. Sing It Pro has changed a bit from previous Sing It titles with the tutorial broken down into four categories: Breathing & Accuracy, Highs & Lows, Duets & Harmonies, Sliding & Riffing.

Each category has five lessons that must be completed in sequence and a minimum score must be achieved to move on to the next lesson. Through a short video at the beginning of each skill category, Tiffany explains what each lesson will teach and will perform an example that you will have to duplicate. The lessons in the tutorial are more complex than I remember from the previous Sing It titles. This was a welcome addition because the lessons felt more like a vocal class, rather than a how-to video. After completing the four lesson categories you will be able to attend Master Class which is some advanced lessons that will challenge you in all four lesson categories.

The only downfall to Sing It Pro is the repetitiveness of the melodies that were used to complete the lessons. Melodies that consisted of “La La La”, “Ohs” and “Yeah’s” became quite tiresome after a few lessons and I wished that the lessons were taught with lyrics to spice it up a bit.

After completing Sing It Pro you will be ready to play Sing It which is both single and multiplayer. In Single Player you can either sing Solo, where the lyrics will appear on the screen or really challenge yourself in You’re On Your Own where you are literally on your own with no lyrics appearing on the screen. Each mode has difficulties of Easy, Normal and Hard depending on how vocally talented you are.

Multiplayer mode has a few more game modes to choose from including: Showdown, Dual Mic Duet, Single Mic Duet, Run the Risk and lastly multiplayer You’re On Your Own!. Showdown is a head to head gameplay option where you compete on the same song, and the winner is the singer who attains the best score. Dual Mic Duet is where you duet with one player singing Part 1, and the other singing Part 2. Now, if you don’t have two microphones you can Single Mic Duet where you pass the microphone back and forth sharing the singing responsibilities. Run the Risk is where you choose a score goal and compete against your opponent in order to defend or increase you score. Finally there is multiplayer You’re On Your Own which works the same as the single player mode.

Looking for more fun gameplay, you should check out the challenges found in the Achievement section of the main menu. As one would expect this section will list all the achievements you unlocked and could unlock by completing pre-determined skills/feats such as reaching high scores, completing “x” amount of songs, getting a certain percentage of accuracy etc. but it also contains a set of challenges. These challenges like the achievements provide you with a feat or skill to complete in a particular song but these you can attempt at any time and will bring you directly to the song you need to complete it in.

Unlike the previous instalments of Sing It which really catered to a younger generation overflowing with Disney Channel and High School Musical favourites, Sing It: Pop Hits will appeal to a wide variety of individuals as it contains many popular songs from the radio more people will be familiar with. This version of Sing It was by far my favourite for this reason alone, since knowing the music meant I didn’t have to learn the songs from scratch in order to play and get a decent score. With the many different multiplayer modes perfect for family fun, challenges and a great song and music video selection this is definitely a title you will want to pick up.

Family Feud 2010 - Wii

Family Feud 2010 - Wii

Author: GamerWifeV

Genre: Game Show/Trivia
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Game Rating: E for Everyone
Average Cost: $39.99
Players: 1-4

Family Feud
is a widely familiar, classic game show that has been watched on television for quite some time and now comes to your gaming console in the form of Family Feud 2010 for the Wii or DS. If you haven’t heard of the game you have certainly been missing out on a great trivia game show. The game asks you to provide the top answers against those provided from the individuals surveyed. The questions are greatly varied and can include such questions as “Where do you find skeletons?”, “At what age do children get their first crush?”, “Name something that is sold in gallons?” just to name a few. The family that collects 300 points first will advance to the Fast Money round where they will have a chance to win $20,000 dollars.

The game brings the true television experience to your home with the voice of John O’Hurley, the current host for Family Feud on television hosting this game version. There is also the familiar ding of a correct answer, the negative buzzer of the strikes and lets not forget the catchy theme song that really rounds out the entire experience.

Play head to head in single player or multiplayer mode against different families in this fun and fast paced trivia game show. As mentioned, your objective is to find the top answers for a variety of trivia questions and score 300 points over the course of four rounds. In the first two rounds the point values stay the same and in round two and three these points are multiplied by two or by three

At the beginning of each round a family member from each side will face off and meet at the center podium where they will be given the round question, asked to ring in the fastest and give the top answer to win control of the round. We had the chance to try out the game for the Wii and in this version ringing in is performed by flicking the Wii Remote down as though you were actually hitting the buzzer. As a personal disappointment, the creators left out the customary handshake of good sportsmanship prior to the buzzer battle. If you are lucky enough to provide the top answer you will be given the chance to pass the question to the other family or play and try to provide all the answers on the board.

When answering the questions you are given twenty seconds and a keyboard on which to input your answers. Though this might seem like a short period of time to get your answer in, the game does come equipped with a special text entry assistance which will pull up predictive answers based on the few letters you type in and the game will also forgive you for spelling mistakes. The spell check feature came in really handy for those difficult words or those tricky words that have both American and Canadian spelling. I found the only flaw with the text entry assistance was in the case of the predictive answers. Should you happen to type in an answer that is not registered in the game for example “centipede” there are no predictive answers that come up. This ends up being a dead give away that the answer is not correct.

Each time you get a wrong answer you will be given a strike. Three strikes and you are out. If you receive three strikes before all the answers are revealed on the board the other team will have the chance to give an answer on the board in order to steal the points. There is some strategy to playing or passing. If you are confident that you know the answers it is best to play however, if you are unsure, it is better to let the other family play which gives you more time to think of an answer should the family not get all the answers. If neither family reaches 300 points by the end of the rounds the game will go into sudden death where you will be given a question with one answer and the family who gets the answer right will win the points and ultimately the game.

The winning team will then go to play Fast Money where you will be asked to answer five questions split into two rounds with the hopes of earning 200 points. If you are able to earn 200 points you will win $20,000. If you do not make it to 200 points you will be given five times your point value in dollars.

As with most games these days you have the option of customizing your player in Family Feud 2010 including changing their hair, clothes, facial features etc. When you win Fast Money in single player mode you will unlock more customizable features such as new hairstyles or different clothes for your wardrobe.

Overall, this title instantly drew my attention, not because of a fancy cover or a heavy advertising push but mostly because I had followed this game show for many years. This title will most likely appeal to those like myself who have watched this game show and loved it. I was definitely not disappointed with the experience as it stayed true to what I had expected. This game really gets you thinking on your toes, offers a platform for friendly competition and a few good laughs in regards to the survey answers.

Mickey Mouse Makes His Wii™ Debut Alongside Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s First Cartoon Star

BURBANK, Calif. – (October 28, 2009) – Disney Interactive Studios today announced the development of Disney Epic Mickey, an adventure-platforming game with light role-playing elements for the Wii™ home video game console. The game stars Mickey Mouse who has been re-imagined for videogames by luminary game designer Warren Spector and his Junction Point game development studio. In Disney Epic Mickey, Spector, a life-long Disney fan, taps into Mickey Mouse’s rich history along with the characters and worlds brought to life by Walt Disney to create an edgy and unexpected cartoon adventure.

“Mickey is an adventurous and rambunctious mouse,” said Warren Spector, creative director and vice president, Junction Point. “I want to bring his personality to the forefront, place him in a daunting world and connect his spirited character with video game players worldwide. Ultimately, each player decides for him- or herself what makes Mickey cool.”

In the game’s fiction, a sorcerer named Yen Sid creates a beautiful, whimsically-twisted world where Disney’s forgotten and retired creations thrive. Originally, the powerful sorcerer from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” in Walt Disney’s 1940 film “Fantasia” was nicknamed “Yen Sid” by Disney animators, although never named as such on screen. In Spector’s game, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit – Walt Disney’s first cartoon star created in 1927 – becomes the earliest inhabitant of Yen Sid’s Cartoon Wasteland after Mickey Mouse is created. Oswald makes the Cartoon Wasteland comfortable for other retired characters as they join him in this magical land. Years pass, and as Oswald dwells in the Cartoon Wasteland, he becomes resentful watching Mickey’s popularity swell. When Mickey curiously stumbles upon Yen Sid’s map, he makes an innocent yet terrible mistake and inadvertently devastates Oswald’s comfortable world. Eventually, Mickey’s mistake pulls him deep into the mysterious Cartoon Wasteland to face the destruction he unknowingly created.

“Having Warren combine creativity and innovation with one of the world’s most famous characters takes Mickey back to his creative roots and allows fans to deepen their engagement with him as a character – especially in video games,” said Graham Hopper, executive vice president and general manager of Disney Interactive Studios. “In addition to Warren’s lifelong love of cartoons, films and comics, his visionary approach to game design and storytelling will make certain that this heroic tale of discovery and redemption resonates with Disney fans and gamers alike.”‪

Players use the Wii Remote™ to wield magical paint and thinner to re-shape the world around them. Paint’s creativity and thinner’s damaging effect give the player robust tools and empowers them to make choices about how they move through the world. Each player’s decisions to use paint, thinner or both dynamically changes the world with consequences that affect the environment, interactions with other characters, and even Mickey’s appearance and abilities.

“The core of this game is the idea of choice and consequence, and how that defines both the character and the player,” says Spector. “By putting the mischievous Mickey in an unfamiliar place and asking him to make choices – to help other cartoon characters or choose his own path – the game forces players to deal with the consequences of their actions. Ultimately, players must ask themselves, ‘What kind of hero am I?’ Each player will come up with a different answer.”

Blurring reality and fantasy, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s role is as significant in the game as it was in real life. The Walt Disney-created Oswald appeared in 26 silent cartoons between 1927 and 1928 for Charles Mintz, who contracted with Universal for distribution. At this time, Oswald was primed to be Walt’s first big animated star. When faced with daunting production costs, Walt asked for more money to ensure the quality of the Oswald cartoons. When a deal could not be reached, Walt lost the rights to Oswald and with the rabbit went much of Walt’s staff. Among those who remained with Walt was animator, cartoonist and long-time friend Ub Iwerks, and together they created a new character named Mickey Mouse.

The initial concept behind Disney Epic Mickey originated within the Disney Interactive Studios’ Think Tank. The Think Tank conceptualized Mickey as a cartoon character thrown into turmoil. Spector expanded and refined Disney Epic Mickey’s concept and built the game for a broad audience fully utilizing the Wii and Wii Remote for accessibility and engaging gameplay.

Article courtesy of Disney Interactive Studios

October 27, 2009

Racers, Drifters and Fans Celebrate as “Forza Motorsport 3” Crosses the Finish Line on Xbox 360

Microsoft and Turn 10’s critically acclaimed video game arrives on store shelves with more than 400 cars, 100 tracks and included downloadable Game Add-on content.

Oct. 27, 2009 — Just five months after its unveiling at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Microsoft Corp. and game developer Turn 10 Studios are waving the checkered flag. “Forza Motorsport 3,” the next iteration in the Xbox 360-exclusive famed racing franchise, is now available at Canadian retailers.

“The reviews are in. The wait is over. The definitive racing game is here,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “The passion and automotive expertise of our team at Turn 10 is evident in every track, headlight and lug nut in ‘Forza Motorsport 3.’ This is the game for anyone who loves cars, regardless of age or skill level.”

In addition to the immense roster of more than 400 cars and 100 tracks available in the game right out of the box, players are also being treated to included Game Add-on content. Available in every new package via a one-time-use Xbox LIVE token, the Motorsport Legends Pack delivers the ’60 Dodge Charger, the ’57 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa and eight other classic racers and roadsters, as well as two extra tracks, all hand-selected by the team at Turn 10.

Currently the highest-rated racing game on either the Xbox 360 or the Sony PlayStation 3, “Forza Motorsport 3” features high-definition graphics, full-body and mechanical damage, rollover physics for each car, as well as true-to-life detailed cockpits, making it one of the most beautifully realistic racing experiences of all time.

“It’s a very real experience,” said pro Formula One and American Le Mans Series driver Stefan Johansson after getting some extended hands-on time with “Forza Motorsport 3.” “I got back in my old R10 Audi, and both the graphics on the track and the feel of the car were absolutely incredible — every bump, every braking point is in the exact same place.”

“Forza Motorsport 3” is not just for racers and drifters — painters and tuners are also invited to hit the garage with the game’s deep Livery editor. Taking advantage of more painting tools and tuning options than ever, Import Tuner magazine is further fueling the creative fires by tapping into the “Forza Motorsport” community to help design a paint job in-game that will appear on a real-life, fully upgraded, track-ready 2009 Nissan 370Z.

“‘Forza Motorsport 3’ is connecting car lovers and gamers all over the world,” said Import Tuner editor in chief Carter Jung, “What better way to continue to stoke those passions than by giving this creative community the opportunity to design something virtually that will live, race and compete in the real world?”

“Forza Motorsport 3” is rated E (Everyone) and is now available worldwide for $69.99 CDN ERP (Standard Edition). More game information, screen shots and gameplay videos can be found at http://forzamotorsport.net or http://www.xbox.com/forza.

Courtesy of Microsoft Canada

Assassin's Creed: Lineage on YouTube

Montreal, QUEBEC – October 27, 2009 – Today, Ubisoft® unveils the 1st of three episodes from the new Assassin’s Creed: Lineage film series on YouTube. For a period of 24 hours, YouTube will have the first episode of the film series on its homepage in eight countries throughout the world.

Developed by Ubisoft Digital Arts and Ubisoft’s Hybride Technologies (the visual effects studio behind 300 and Sin City), Assassin’s Creed: Lineage explores the events that happen just before the Assassin’s Creed II game starts, most specifically, the story of Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, Ezio’s (the main character) father. Combining live action and computer generated imagery (CGI), the films will give insight on the game’s back story and universe.

Assassin’s Creed: Lineage introduces some of the characters that players will meet in the game: foes and friends of the family, like Lorenzo de Medici, the Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance period.

The film series will whet the appetite of players and fans in advance of the game’s release on November 17, 2009. The films series is distributed online to reach all Assassin’s Creed’s fans, but also audiences that are less familiar with the game but would be interested in discovering the Assassin’s Creed’s universe.

Press Release Courtesy of Ubisoft

Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure - DS

Genre: Action/Adventure, Mini Games
Release Date: October 27, 2009
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Average Cost: $34.99 (Canada)
Players: 1

Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure from Disney Interactive Studios brings you into the heart of Pixie Hollow where with the help of the other fairies you will help celebrate the end of Autumn at the Autumn Revelry. There are plenty of things to keep you busy in Pixie Hollow, flutter around, help other fairies by completing tasks, collect items to be transformed into clothing or furniture, decorate your home and most of all play your role in making the Autumn Revelry the best one ever. This DS title has a lot to offer, play in story mode or fairy mode and even take you online to www.pixiehollow.com or DGamer.

In story mode you follow Tinker Bell the tinker fairy as she prepares for the Autumn Revelry. As her special role, Queen Clarion entrusts Tinker Bell with the task of crafting the Autumn Scepter. Though the task seems easy at first she encounters some major setbacks when the special Blue Moonstone for the Scepter is accidentally broken. As the Moonstone is the only one that has been found in the past 100 years, Tinker Bell must find a way to repair it. Thus begins the search for the Mirror of Incanta that can grant one wish to whoever finds it and hopefully restore the Blue Moonstone to its original state.

Story mode is filled with 17 mini-games including puzzles and action sequences. Overall the story mode was fun but a little on the short side as it took less than an hour to complete. Though you may be tempted to close the game rather than sit through the credits at the end of this mode, stick through it. Once completed, you will have unlocked two options in this mode to either play a specific chapter or to play the mini-games on their own.

Fairy Mode is also a sort of story mode where you can choose to play one of five fairy classes (water, light, animal, tinker or garden) and follow your fairy's journey as they prepare for the Autumn Revelry. Once you have selected your fairy's class you will customize your fairies name and appearance (face, skin color, eye color, hairstyle and wing style). To select the name you are given a very extensive list of first and last names to choose from, but, unfortunately you cannot enter your own name selection. Finally pick your fairies wardrobe from a selection of tops, skirts, headwear and shoes. Two colour choices are available to start, however, you can add to your wardrobe later as you collect items around Pixie Hollow.

There is a very linear story progression in the game as you must complete all tasks in order. It was great to see that each fairy class had a unique story line specifically designed for their special skills. Each fairy class will begin in a uniquely styled home which you can decorate with furniture in your possession or furniture that you will be able to create. The majority of the game is spent talking to other fairies and finding out what you can do to contribute to the revelry. Once you know your task, you will continue to help other fairies throughout Pixie Hollow and work towards your contribution. In order to help the other fairies you will either be asked to collect specific items or help them perform a task in the form of a mini-game. Even the mini-games are specially designed to reflect your fairy's special skill. At the end of each fairy mode you will unlock a special feature so it is worthwhile to play through them all.

The game is beautifully designed with vibrant settings and colourful characters and quick but enjoyable mini-games. The stylus is used throughout gameplay to control the fairy's movement and to play the mini games. When moving across the screen your fairy will flutter its wings and glide smoothly according to your directions with the stylus. When selecting areas from the map you choose to move from area to area or you can select Next Destination from your map menu. The Next Destination option was a great feature if you wanted to get right to the place you needed to go, however, if you want to collect items to craft things it is better to go area to area.

If you just can't get enough of Pixie Hollow after playing through the game, be sure to visit www.pixiehollow.com. There you can continue your adventure in Pixie Hollow, create a fairy, play games and chat with other fairies. Once you have an account you can also upload your fairy you created and items collected in Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, get news updates and vote in online polls right from your DS using your Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.

If you’re thinking of purchasing Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure for Tinker Bell you may be disappointed in the actual size of her role in this game. It is less centered around Tinker Bell and more focused around the Fall Revelry and the roles each fairy plays in getting it ready. This title will most likely appeal to a younger crowd with its cutesy feel and the majority of its quick and simplistic mini-games. Overall, it was a pleasant gameplay experience but lacks a bit of replay value that would make this title more complete.

October 23, 2009

Sony Holiday Preview 2009

This year the Sony Holiday Preview took place in a beautiful loft in the Burroughes Building in Toronto, Ontario. The loft was set up perfectly to entice eager gamers to try out the games being showcased with leather couches, big screen TV’s and plenty of space to relax while we wetted our gaming appetites. Here is a brief rundown of some of the games I got a chance to play on various PS3’s that really stood out in my mind:

Assassins Creed 2

As I walked away checking out the games, one game instantly drew my attention and I plopped myself down to eagerly play Assassin’s Creed 2 for the first time.

Assassin’s Creed (AC2) has improved on its previous instalment in every way imaginable. The graphics are exquisite and Italy is the perfect venue to showcase the high quality graphics that this game exhibits. As Enzio walks through the streets of Venice I spotted a flower petal floating through the air while the moon shined down into the waters throughout the city. Gondolas move slowly through the canals and the citizens litter the streets creating an amazing atmosphere for the story of AC2 to unfold.

The mission I played through was broken down into a few different parts. The first part of the mission had me eliminating five archers surrounding a building. The local thieves’ guild is working in tandem with Enzio to assassinate a templar that will work in favour of both Enzio's thirst for vengeance and as well as the thieves’ guild purposes. I made my way through the streets towards the intended targets and easily climbed to the rooftop where the archers were perched. Guided by the representative from Ubisoft I was set up so that I could try one of the new assassination moves on an archer standing close to the edge of the roof. I scaled along the building using the edge to shimmy over to the archer and when I got close enough I grabbed him by the ankles throwing him off the building to his untimely demise. With one archer dispatched I moved on to the others using throwing knives, disarming one archer of his sword and finishing him off with his very own weapon, and I also used the twin blades tucked up Enzio’s sleeves to finish off the others. With this portion of the mission complete I met up with the thieves guild to learn that the archers were replaced by members of the guild and the bodies were disposed off to complete the task.

The final part of the mission had me infiltrate the building that the archers were guarding and assassinate my target. There were quite a few options at my disposal. I could have sneaked in using my cunning and skill or hired courtesans to distract the guards; however I decided to hire some thieves to distract the guards and lure them away from the gates so I could simply walk in the front door. After entering the gates I climbed to the top of the building and started to remove the guards on the rooftops, unfortunately the main target was warned of my incoming assassination attempt and he started to flee. I made short work of the last guard and dived down to the main level of the building where I was greeted by several guards. Instead of taking the time to dispose of the welcoming committee I decided that time was of the essence and I ran after the fleeing target and plunged my blades into his back.

After the assassination I was expecting to run for my life and flee the scene of the crime, however the thieves guild quickly swooped into the building and took care of any lingering guards; solving the problem of running for dear life that took place a lot in the first Assassins Creed.

Suffice to say I was quite impressed with the changes that took place in AC2 and look forward to playing out the full story and experiencing the other changes that will be discovered through a more thorough play through.

Lego Rock Band

Yes, Traveller’s Tales and Harmonix have teamed up to create Lego Rockband which combines the amazing music experience of Rockband and the Lego style of games like Lego Batman, Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Star Wars. Lego Rockband musically plays exactly like the Rockband series however it comes with a Super Easy setting created for younger gamers that will be easily attracted to this title.

As you complete songs and rock challenges you win Lego Studs, unlock more content and collect vehicles which the band uses to get to their gigs. Lego Rockband features “Build a Band and Rock the Universe” where gamers can personalize their characters, bands, instruments and even your entourage. Gamers can also decorate and accessorize their own personal Lego Rock Den with their own style. The tracks for Rock Band Lego are family friendly and will have something that every member of the family will enjoy. Below is a peak of what songs you will be able to rock out to this holiday season.

• The Automatic - “Monster”
• Blink 182 - “Aliens Exist”
• Blur - “Song 2”
• Bon Jovi - “ You Give Love a Bad Name”
• Carl Douglas - “Kung Fu Fighting”
• Counting Crows - “Accidentally in Love”
• Europe - “The Final Countdown”
• Foo Fighters - “Breakout”
• Good Charlotte - “Boys and Girls”
• The Hives - “Tick Tick Boom!”
• Jackson 5 - “I Want You Back”
• Kaiser Chiefs - “Ruby”
• Pink - “So What”
• Ray Parker Jr. - “Ghostbusters”
• Sum 41 - “ In Too Deep”
• Tom Petty - “Free Fallin’’
• Vampire Weekend - “A-Punk”

Where The Wild Things Are

As a child I remember reading this book over and over again and when I found out I was going to be a father for the first time “Where The Wild Things Are” was one of the first books I bought to read to my son.

Before I got my chance to play this title I watched it a bit and was instantly blown away at the high quality graphics for a title that is geared towards a younger audience. The monsters were detailed, vivid, and scary all at the same time. The lush environments on the island are so full of life with gigantic trees, unique plants and gigantic insects.

Taking on the role of Max, a boy who fashions himself as a monster, you team up with the monsters that are native to the island. Throughout the game you will solve action puzzles, play through obstacles, and solve the mystery that has taken hold of the island. In essence the game is a large variety of mini-games that you play through while unlocking a whole new story that is not included in the motion picture slated to come out October 16th, 2009.

The game plays well with Max using his sceptre to battle creatures and he also teams up with the various monsters on the island to solve the puzzles, navigate the environment and search for more than 400 collectibles that unlocks special rewards in the Wild Things village.

All in all this title was quite impressive for what I consider a children’s title. The graphics are amazing and the gameplay is a lot of fun. The title stands alone without having to watch the movie or read the book which will bode well for some children.

Tekken 6

One thing I can say about Tekken 6 is that the graphics are gorgeous and it looks amazing in HD. I remember playing Tekken in the arcade when I was younger and Tekken 6 has brought the series to a whole new level with the largest roster of characters ever. There are over 40 unique fighters with six brand new characters to play as well as franchise favourites such as Eddy, Jin, Kazuya and Heihachi.

I got beat pretty badly the few matches I did play in but I did have a good time getting my ass handed to me. I did learn pretty quickly that I could be punched through walls and kicked through the floors providing the ultimate insult. Tekken 6 also features an online VS mode, as well as an online co-op mode where you and your friends can battle AI controlled enemies. Tekken 6 also boasts a robust character creator where you can take your character online in VS and co-op modes.

Overall Tekken 6 is an upgrade to the series that boasts some new features that fans and newcomers to the series I am sure will enjoy.

The Saboteur

To be honest I have not heard much about this game, except that it had something to do with WW2. The story is about a man named Sean Devlin who is enraged with vengeance when his best friend is murdered by a Nazi. The mission I played takes place somewhere in Germany shortly after Sean’s friend is killed and he is working his way out of the building where they were held captive.

At first I had to sneak out of my room and silently take out one of the guards, which I horribly failed and alerted everyone that I was attempting an escape. This quickly put me in a position where I had to shoot my way out of the building, which required a lot of dodging, retreating and an insane about of luck. My luck was strong though and I made my way out of the building alive where I stole a truck and started my getaway towards the French border. It took a few seconds to get used to the controls before I started speeding through the streets of a German town splattering soldiers on the front of my wind shield and doing my best to avoid innocent bystanders, which in the end cost me my truck as I totalled it against a brick wall. Lucky for me there was a man with a motorcycle driving by and I quickly punched him, took his motorcycle, and sped off down the road. The motorcycle is much quicker than the truck, but what it made up in speed it lacked in protection. I was constantly wiping out or running into trees due to my inability to control the motorcycle so I decided to steal another truck which I used to finally escape Germany.

I really liked how the gameplay works for this title but I had a lot more fun with the driving then the regular gameplay, which I hope doesn’t deter other gamers from the story that unfolds throughout the game. This is a title that I would keep on the radar to watch out for more developments.

DJ Hero

DJ Hero has to be one of the coolest peripherals coming out this year and really looks really exciting to play. The DJ turntable is built with both left and right handed players in mind where you can switch the controls in the options and just turn the buttons to the side you wish them to be on. There are three buttons on the turn table, two that are for performing scratches, and the other for sound effects. On the left is your slider, sound effects knob and your Euphoria activation button. Also, if you have a guitar peripheral there is also several songs that you will be able to play along with the DJ for a great co-op experience.

It takes a bit of time to get used to the controls but in the end it works just like any other music game, in this case though you have a different controller to match up your notes on screen. The music makes this game what it is and the mixes that you get to play are pure gold, and YES you do have the option to just play them and listen to these great tracks. Here are just a few of the songs you will be able to play in DJ hero.

• "Feel Good Inc." (Gorillaz) vs "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Marvin Gaye)
• "Jayou" (Jurassic 5) vs "Rockit" (Herbie Hancock)
• "Bustin' Loose" (Chuck Brown) vs "Time of the Season" (The Zombies, DJ Shadow Mix)
• "All Apologies" (Nirvana) vs "Give It to Me Baby" (Rick James, DJ Shadow Mix)
• "Let's Dance" (David Bowie) vs "Jack of Spades" (KRS One, DJ Shadow Mix)
• "Shout" (Tears for Fears) vs "Pjanoo" (Eric Prydz)

Tony Hawk: Ride

The new controller for Tony Hawk: Ride is going to change the way we perceive any other skateboard game that comes out from this day forward. The controller, which looks like a board without wheels, is actually really cool. To be honest I was a bit sceptical of how well this controller would work, if at all; however, I was really surprised after playing around with it for a bit at how well it worked and how sensitive the controller is. On the board itself are four motion sensors, two on the side and two on the end, all which will aid in getting the skateboard in motion and in performing tricks.

I got to play through a street course where I swung my foot to the left of the board to get myself moving and started rolling down the street. I had to lean forwards or backwards to move to the right and left respectively and if I wanted to jump I just had to tap the back of the board really quickly with my back foot to get airborne which would then allow me to do some spins or grind down some railings. The street mode I played through was set on easy so a lot of the tricks were automated and I just had to steer my board to the right place and perform the right motion to plant the trick.

The next mode I played through, and was the one I enjoyed the most, was the half-pipe. The trick to the half-pipe was to get my speed going to get a lot of air so that I could perform grabs (waving my hand across the motion sensor beams), spins (leaning the board forwards or backwards) and some crazy moves where I spun the board around trying to do a 360 motion which I am not sure what exactly it did, but it scored some awesome points. The board has been tested to hold up to 300 lbs and I learned the hard way that socks or some flexible footwear are the best options to play for optimal performance.

Overall Impressions

As you can tell the Sony Holiday Preview was quite exciting and so full of action that made it so I could only to get sneak peak some of the games available. There are plenty more titles coming out this season for the PS3, PSP and PSP go to wet any gamers appetite and I have to say that just by walking around the preview event I was amazed with how many quality games were available for all the Sony platforms out there. I would have to venture to say that this holiday season is going to be a great one for those loyal to the Sony brand of video gaming products and for those just finding out what the PlayStation brand has to offer.

October 14, 2009

Bust-A-Move™ Live! - XBLA

Genre: Puzzle and Word
Released: September 30, 2009
Game Rating: E (Everyone)
Cost: 800 Microsoft Points (Canada)

This was one of my most loved arcade games of all time and the addition of this title to the Xbox arcade line up was a real treat for me. I remember playing this game on the old arcade machines and loving it for two main reasons: 1) the quick thinking puzzle style gameplay and 2) it only cost a quarter to play and you could play for a quite a while if you were good at the game.

The concept of the game is simple, attempt to clear the entire game board of coloured bubbles in as little time as possible in order to earn the most points. To do this you must shoot a randomly coloured bubble from the bottom of the screen into a group of at least 2 similar coloured bubbles to clear them. If you are unable to match the bubble at the bottom of your screen with a group of similar coloured bubbles on the game board you have two options: 1) you can attempt to clear the bubble by shooting it in such a way that it will not stick to existing bubbles or 2) you can attempt to place the bubble somewhere on the board which will be easy to clear in the future.

To shoot the bubbles you are provided with a directional arrow which you can move 180 degrees. In your tutorial/training mode you are also provided with a trajectory line which will show you where your bubble will go based on the position of your directional arrow. The simplest shot involves shooting the bubble straight into your desired group of bubbles. You can also shoot your bubbles against the walls to perform banked shots to get around obstacles that may be preventing a straight shot. After the tutorial, you will no longer have the trajectory line so it will become a little more difficult. The better you are with angles and estimating trajectories the easier this game will be. However, if you happen to fail at a level, the game will give you back your trajectory line in an act of pity/sympathy for your failure.

At times, the bubble that you will shoot will be a special effect bubble. Two examples of special effect bubbles are: 1) a bubble that will turn the colour of the first cleared group of bubbles around it (For example: if you shoot this bubble and then clear the red bubbles next to it, the bubble will turn red), 2) a bubble that clears the first bubble it hits and all similarly coloured bubbles on the game board (For example: if your bubble intersects with a green bubble, all green bubbles will be cleared).

This game is a lot of fun and really makes you think on your toes and form some quick strategies in order to clear the boards. The game has quite a few levels and game boards but also has some great replay value for those who like to try to beat their best scores. Overall, the game is a great value for price and I would strongly recommend the title, especially to anyone who enjoys puzzle style games.

October 13, 2009


SEGA® of America, Inc. today announced Niccolo Balce as the winner of "Bayonetta Re-Envisioned," a user-generated art contest at WizardUniverse.com centered on the heroine of SEGA's BAYONETTATM

video game. After hundreds of votes were cast to assist the judges from Wizard and SEGA in gauging fan favorites, the collective panel selected its eleven favorites with the overall winner being chosen by PlatinumGames' Hideki Kamiya, the creative visionary behind the game.

While Niccolo Balce's art took top prize, the 10 runner-ups were Darren Geers, Jamine Tyndall, Jason Meek, Jessie Lam, Levi Somerville, Eric Huang, Feliciano Mario Mora, Jesse Elliott, Autumn Lorne and Salvador Samano. As the grand prize winner, Balce will receive an Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, a 50 inch Panasonic TC-P50X1 HDTV Plasma TV, a developer-autographed copy of BAYONETTA for Xbox 360 and will have his submission featured in Wizard magazine. The runner-ups will all be posted in a special gallery on WizardUniverse.com and each will be awarded an autographed copy of the game when it is available in January 2010.

BAYONETTA is a cinematic, stylized action game from the famed creative mind of renowned game developer, Hideki Kamiya of PlatinumGames. Bayonetta, the game's protagonist, is a graceful, gun-wielding witch who awakens after being entombed in a coffin at bottom of a lake for 500 years with no memory. As players embark on this quest with Bayonetta, they will begin to unfold the mystery behind her past and her purpose in the game, such as why she fights against angels and other countless fantastic enemies. In combat, Bayonetta uses weapons, magic, acrobatics and her larger-than-life hair to redefine the look and feel of the action genre.

BAYONETTATM is slated for release in January 2010 for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. For game details, visit sega.com/platinumgames/bayonetta/.

(Article courtesy of Sega)

October 8, 2009

Disney Sing It: Pop Hits

BURBANK, Calif. - (October 6, 2009) - Disney Interactive Studios today announced the availability of Disney Sing It: Pop Hits, its hit-heavy multi-platform karaoke-style video game. A perfect convergence of pop culture, Disney Sing It: Pop Hits features some of the biggest names and chart-topping songs in pop music to create the ultimate video game singing experience, complete with singing tips and vocal lessons with singer and actress, Tiffany Thornton, from the Disney Channel Original Series "Sonny With A Chance."

"Disney Sing It: Pop Hits offers a great collection of hit songs that today's teens will instantly recognize and players of all ages will come to love," said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. "Players can also improve their skills with vocal lessons and breathing exercises in the game, helping them to become superstar performers in their own living room."

In Disney Sing It: Pop Hits for WiiTM, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, players can match their talent with some of today's best known performers, including master recordings and popular music videos from global fan favorites. Among the notable acts in this third iteration of the franchise are Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Colbie Caillat, Demi Lovato, Hannah Montana, Jesse McCartney, Coldplay and One Republic.

Featuring a variety of ways to play, Disney Sing It: Pop Hits lets players grab the microphone and take center stage in a single player mode, harmonize with friends and family in duet mode to earn higher scores, or compete with them head-to-head in multi-player modes. Players can also get tips in a newly expanded "Sing It Pro" mode led by Tiffany Thornton. Tiffany shows players how professional singers improve their vocals, from breathing and pitch exercises to the techniques involved with harmonizing in a duet and riffing. In addition to the vocal rewards that come with practice, the game also provides players with special pins, background themes and other prizes.

New features in the game include "Sing It Encore," which allows players to play back performances and "Run the Risk," in which contestants try to outbid their opponents on predicted scores.

The Disney Sing It: Pop Hits song list includes:

Miley Cyrus
"7 Things"
"Fly on the Wall"
"The Climb"
"Hoedown Throwdown"

Demi Lovato
"Get Back"
"La La Land"
"Don't Forget"

Jonas Brothers
"Hold On"
"When You Look Me In The Eyes"
"Love Bug"
"Burnin' Up"

Colbie Caillat

Vanessa Hudgens

Jesse McCartney
"It's Over"
"How Do You Sleep?"

Taylor Swift
"I'm Only Me When I'm With You"

One Republic

‘Warwick Avenue"

"Violet Hill"

Steve Rushton

Love & Theft
"Don't Wake Me"

Mitchel Musso and Tiffany Thornton / "Hatching Pete" (Disney Channel Original Movie)
"Let It Go"

Mitchel Musso
"The In Crowd"

Hannah Montana
"Let's Get Crazy"
"Let's Do This"

"It's Amazing"

(Article courtesy of Disney Interactive Studios)

October 1, 2009

Microsoft's X09

On September 29th, 2009, Xbox held their annual showcase of the new and upcoming games being released this fall. On display this year was a wide variety of games including: Tony Hawk: RIDE, Left 4 Dead 2, Forza Motorsport 3, Halo 3: ODST, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction™, The Beatles: Rock Band, DJ Hero, South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play!, Lips Number One Hits and Modern Warfare 2.

The first game we had the chance to try out was Forza Motorsport 3. Racing through the new Amalfi Coast circuit in a realistic style racing seat with the steering wheel and pedals which really brought the game to the next level for us. However, for the average home gamer rest assured the game was just as impressive on its own. The new circuit design was so beautiful and fun to drive it almost didn’t matter that I ended up in last place (watch a clip of the experience below). Along with the addition of the new track design Forza Motorsport 3 will also feature over 400 cars to drive, including 29 Ferrari's. The game is available in Canada October 27, 2009.

Next on our must see list was the new Tony Hawk: Ride. What made this game such a focus of interest was the new skateboard controller. The controller consists of a skateboard deck with the addition of four motion sensors on each side of the board. This game allows you to take your skateboarding virtual through sixlocations across the world where you can skate through courses from start to finish or try your hand at the half pipe. There are also over 100 skateboard tricks which you can learn and perfect in each. The board feels comfortable to stand on and requires a good sense of balance for those of us who aren’t seasoned skaters. To perform tricks you need to either rotate, tilt from side to side, lift it and at times use a combination of these and hitting a sensor button. Check out some half-pipe footage from X09 below. The board has been tested to hold up to 300 lbs and learned the hard way, for optimal performance, socks or flexible footwear is a must. This game is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2009 in North America.

Due out at the end of October is the new DJ Hero from the creators of Guitar Hero. As the name might suggest this game allows you to try your hand at mixing tracks on your very own DJ turntable. Unlike Guitar Hero, DJ Hero offers a wide variety of musical genres available through the more than 100 tracks included. With the greater variety in genres this game is set up to appeal to a broader audience. For those who have a Guitar Hero Guitar Controller you might be happy to know that you can use this controller to play co-op with the DJ. This title was the one that had the most demand, and unfortunately we didn't get a hands on experience of the title, but we can say with certainty that this game looks really freaking cool. Be sure to check out the set list to get a feel of what you will be able to play when this title is released.

Halo 3: ODST was released in Canada on September 22, 2009 and is a must have title for any fan of this franchise. Continuing on with the traditional gameplay style of the previous Halo titles, this game differs as it takes place in the destroyed city of New Mombasa and instead of taking charge as Master Chief you play the part of an "Orbital Drop Shock Troopers" or ODST. Play through campaign mode or take a hand in firefight an all out alien shoot out. This game is sure to keep you entertained with its new story line, multiplayer maps and firefight gaming option. Check us out later next week when we give an in depth review of Halo 3: ODST.

Be sure to check out Part Two of our visit to X09 for some more coverage of the must have titles for this fall gaming season.

Toy Story Mania - Wii

Spend a fun filled day with Woody, Buzz and a cast of your other favourite characters from the Toy Story saga at the carnival staged in Andy’s room. Toy Story Mania is based on the actual Disney attraction that is found at Disneyland Resort and Disney World. It is a collection of mini-games offering a variety of carnival themed games that the whole family can play including balloon pop, skee ball, ring toss, plate break, shooting galleries, and many more. Play through story mode to win tickets to earn prizes or pick and choose your favourite games to create your own carnival experience.

The game play options available are free play, which includes quick play (you select one game to play), play all (all available games will be queued) and build (pick and choose from the mini games available) or you can choose one of the six levels of story mode which include the themes of Space, Dinosaur, Western, Army, Tea Party and Animals. At the end of each level in story mode you will earn tickets depending on how well you perform in the mini-games. These tickets can be exchanged for prizes such as new games, stickers and sticker pages for your sticker book. The sticker book is found in the prize menu and lets you create pictures by putting unlocked stickers on a variety of themed backgrounds. There are quite a few games to be unlocked for each theme, but watch out for the 3D games that you can unlock to add a whole new experience to the gameplay.

Each game you play begins with a set of instructions and then objectives. As the game contains multiple mini- games the controls for each will vary; however the majority of the games involve shooting of a projectile by pressing the A button and aiming with your Wii Remote in order to hit the targets. The game has a built in cursor icon that will help in aiming, or if you prefer some added difficulty this can be turned off in the options menu. There are also some games that require you to mimic the motions of the characters on screen with your Wii Remote like Ham dancing in What’s Shakin Bacon?, or Woody’s Lasso Trick Roppin’. If a Wii Remote symbol appears during a game, mimicking the action will open up a new chance to score points and at the end of the game you will have the opportunity to earn bonus points by performing an action with your wii remote.

In order to continue on to the next game you must complete a percentage of the objectives and you must complete all the objectives to win the game. The objectives will also vary depending on the mini-game but most will include a score level to surpass along with some game specific tasks such as popping three sheep in a row or popping all six balloons on the clouds in Bo Peep’s Baaa-Loon Pop.

Multiplayer can be played with up to four players, but only supports 2-player simultaneous play where you and a friend can both play at the same time using the same controls that you learned in single player. Players compete against each other for the best score. When more than two players are participating the turn order and pairing is arranged at random.

The gameplay is near perfect, intuitive and very easy to pick up and play. There are times though when the controller doesn’t seem to respond as well as you hope. With that in mind I am sure the gameplay will delight many gamers as it did so for my family.

Toy Story Mania has easily transitioned to the Nintendo Wii keeping the animation style that Toy Story is known for identical to its original source material. The mini-games are artistically designed with great attention to detail while keeping the atmosphere bright and colourful. The mini-games are full of action with many of the game elements in constant motion creating a chaotic but entertaining experience. With all of the action going on you might expect a bit of delay, but the animations move smoothly along with no lag at all.

Toy Story Mania does a great job of keeping a 3D feel, but if you want to push the game to actual 3D you are able to unlock six 3D games with the tickets you earn throughout the game. Put on some 3D glasses, which are included in the game, to experience the 3D gaming feature. The only drawback to playing the game in 3D is that the colors are not nearly as vibrant as they are in regular gameplay.

One of the most memorable features of a carnival for me was always the distinct sounds such as bells and whistles and of course the happy and upbeat music you would hear. In all of these areas, Toy Story Mania does not disappoint. Each mini-game features tailored music to set the mood of the game such as the military anthem in Sergeant’s plate break to the classic saloon style western music in Woody’s western shooting gallery. Throughout the game you can also expect to hear your typical upbeat polka style carnival music.

The sound effects are also well done. Each pop of the balloon, plates breaking, bells and coins jingling, shooting noises, curtains opening and even the tallying of your score bring you ever so close to a real carnival experience. The game also makes use of the Wii Remote speaker and you will hear sounds like cheers when you successfully complete a game or a special sound effect when you successfully activate a feature in a game like a rushing water sound from the water tower in Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shooter.

As the game features many characters from the Toy Story movies, you can expect to hear their well loved and familiar voices with it appearing that most are from the original cast, or the voices being nearly identical to the original likeness.

Toy Story Mania provides a fun carnival-like experience filled with plenty of mini-games. These tend to be a little on the simplistic side and geared towards a younger audience; however older gamers will find the games entertaining and at times challenging when attempting to complete all the game objectives. There are plenty of unlockable items which will keep you playing in order to win as many prize tickets with your high score. Overall this game will mostly appeal to gamers who are fans of the Toy Story franchise, or fans of the actual theme park attraction, along with anyone who just can’t get enough of mini-games and family fun.