inFamous 2 Beast Trailer Revealed

2 06 2011

One of my most anticipated titles for this year, inFamous 2, is just around the corner. I adored the original especially the ending which set the stage for a stellar sequel and so far from the trailers I have seen it does not seem to disappoint. These trailers revealed Cole’s new powers and locations among other things but what about the Beast and which Cole was destined to fight since the original inFamous? While we have seen glimpses of what appears to be the Beast we don’t truly know what we are up against, until now. In the newest trailer, which you can see below, we are given an indication of what Cole is up against and the type of destruction this Beast can cause.

See for yourselves …

Look for inFamous 2 on shelves June 7th 2011 exclusively for the PlayStation 3. Also stay tuned for a review of inFamous 2 right here at Beyond The D-Pad as I suspect I will be playing quite a lot.

Are you excited to play inFamous 2 or is there another title you are highly anticipating? Let us know in the comments section below.





MLB 11 The Show Review

22 03 2011

Introduction

For the past few years the MLB The Show franchise has been regarded by most sports fans as the diamond performer of the baseball simulation games. Despite battling repetition, like all sports games, the developer over at Sony San Diego have consistently put out a stellar product each and every year. They hope to duplicate that success this year with numerous upgrades and revisions. the most notable being the addition of analog stick controls to the series.

With that said can MLB 11 The Show continue its current dynasty run at baseball supremacy or will this years installment simply strike out? Continue reading to find.

Single Player

Although I haven’t played a baseball game since Bases Loaded on the NES I am a huge fan of sports in general. The fact that my T.V. is almost exclusively tuned to ESPN and that my SMS tone is the SportsCenter theme should be proof of that. I mention those facts to reiterate that despite being a sports fan I have found that most sports games have become unplayable to the casual fan due to the level of detail and control the player must posses.

While MLB 11 The Show has that minute level of detail and management sports fans enjoy it does not over complicate how it is carried out. For example the new analog pitching gives you much more precision which is vital for success but is also more fluid and immersive than the traditional face button controls. These new analog controls are challenging and realistic but can be mastered with some experience. The pitching controls aren’t the only thing being converted, all of the controls now have an emphasis on analog controls.

While it did personally have a steeper learning curve than pitching I have similar praise for the analog hitting as well. Simply pressing back on the analog stick to transfer your weight back then pressing the stick forward to time your swing with the pitch again just feels more natural than simply pressing a face button. These motions let you feel the pace of the game more intimately resulting in a greater engagement of the game. I did not however enjoy the analog controls for fielding as I found it much easier to keep jumping and diving mapped to the right stick and use the face buttons to control which base to throw to.

That said because each player will have different preferences and strengths you can easily mix and match your analog and button control scheme to fit your play style which is a huge plus. Better yet this customized control scheme will carry over to all game modes including online.

Speaking of game modes The Show is packed full of options and all of the traditional sports game modes are present including exhibition, franchise and season modes. These modes are fairly self explanatory for instance in exhibition you choose your team and play against another player or the CPU whereas in franchise mode you pick an organization and control everything from ticket prices to concession prices. Then obviously in season mode you again choose a team and play through the grueling 162 game season with hopes of playing into October.

The mode this series is best know for however is The Road to the Show which is basically a create a player mode. As you start up you create a player to man any position on the diamond. Once you manually adjust some sliders regarding the type of player you want its off to double A. Here is where you will develop your player through training modes and in-game performance in hopes of making the transition through the minor leagues to one day playing in the big show under the bright lights. The way The Show has chosen to develop a pro seems more sensible and accurate than previous games. As an example instead of just rewarding specific milestones in-game like RBI’s or homeruns you instead get training points based on each at bat. Let’s say you strike out but it took 10 pitches to do so instead of not getting any points like you would before you know will be granted a small amount under the new system since you made the pitcher work. The training modes also seem more purposeful in developing a useful talent. All of this adds up to a much more realistic and enjoyable way to have your player progress than I have previously seen.

A problem I’ve had with other sports titles was establishing a sense of place and time. The stadium or sports complex never felt lively or changed with the flow of the game. The Show was able to fulfill this illusion in multiple ways. First off graphically the game looks amazing but the small details like all 30 stadiums having their real life jumbotrons realistically placed and represented and the stadium specific chants adds an authenticity while also allowing each individual stadium to have a personality all their own. This attention to detail really adds to the level of engagement and realism and is what further sets this game apart from its competition.

Multiplayer

Due to the amount of skill and dedication to play sports games I was never a huge fan of playing competitively online. Unfortunately MLB 11 The Show provides no incentive to change that. While it technically works besides a few occasions were I ran into lag issues I would have just rather played against a computer or buddy sitting on the couch next to me.

The one bright spot in my eyes for multiplayer was the addition of the unique Challenge of the Week. It’s an interesting incentive to not only perfecting your skills but to compete with friends in a controlled arcade style fashion via online leaderboards. In this mode you are given one free try a week to score as many points as possible in a scenario based event such as Joe Mauer hitting against CC Sabathia. Each week winners are awarded real-life prizes like authentic signed jerseys. If your not happy with your first score you can play an unlimited amount of times at a cost of $0.25 per attempt. Hopefully this mode can breathe some life in an otherwise stale online mode.

Overall

The baseball game genre has taken some big strides since Bases Loaded and MLB 11 The Show appears to be the pinnacle so far in that aspect. The new analog controls provide precision and depth but are not impossible to use for the newcomer. The Show also provides an abundance of different modes that can please each type of fan with a compelling, engrossing and custom fit baseball fantasy that is unmatched in any sports game to date.

The MLB season doesn’t officially start until March 31st but don’t tell Sony San Diego that as MLB 11 The Show is the closest replication to Americas favorite past time as you can buy. If your a fan of baseball or sports games altogether then I believe The Show is a game you should definitely pick up even if you have been away from the genre for awhile like myself. Play Ball!

MLB 11 The Show for the PlayStation 3 was provided to me for reviewing purposes by Sony Computer Entertainment. I played through an entire 162 game season as the Texas Rangers and ended up making the playoffs. I also subsequently played a handful of games online and competed in the Challenge of the Week while obtaining 8 of the available 36 trophies. MLB 11 The Show was developed by SCE San Diego and published by Sony Computer Entertainment and was released on March 8th 2011 exclusively for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 systems.

To read about our stance on the review process click here for more answers. Find all of other reviews here; better yet bookmark that section so you won’t miss any of our future reviews as well. If you would like other information to be included in the reviews give us some feedback and let us know, or if you would like us to review a specific title drop us a line we welcome and encourage your feedback. Enjoy!





God of War 3 Review

26 06 2010

Introduction

Santa Monica Studios latest installment to the action adventure God of War franchise, God of War 3, was released on March 16, 2010 exclusively for the PlayStation 3 system. God of War 3 picks up immediately where God of War 2 left off, with Kratos riding on Gaia’s back as she ascends Mount Olympus in an attempt to assault the gods. As like all of the previous installments you control Kratos in a third person view as he unleashes his fury upon the world with combos and gory impalement’s and dismemberment’s.

Can God of War 3 be revered and have the sort of impact on the PlayStation 3 that the previous games had on the PlayStation 2, or has the series lost its luster over the years? Continue reading to find out.

Single Player

If you are worried that Santa Monica Studios changed the formula for God of War 3 this generation then don’t. I am here to say that God of War 3 hits all of the desired bullet points: satisfying combat, check – familiar controls, check – puzzle solving platform sections, check – quick time event boss battles, check – angry Spartan looking for revenge, check. To some leaving much of the basics unchanged may seem like a monumental failure but as a fan of the series I am happy that the development team is confident enough in their skills to realize while many games have tried to copy the God of War formula but nobody quite fulfills that promise like Santa Monica Studios. Granted while most of the core aspects have remained the same enough additions and revisions were introduced in God of War 3 to definitely make the experience feel entirely different and new.

These additions and revisions vary from subtle new weapons or items to use like the Bow of Apollo or the Head of Helios to the much more noticeable and over the top gruesome combat or innovative camera angles. The developers certainly didn’t stop there either as they apparently revamped the entire feel of the game to a much grander scale and much darker tone. As a player now more than ever you begin to feel the sense of scale that the game portrays and realize just how big these obstacles are that stand in your way. If you thought Kratos was a vengeful blood thirsty killing machine before then you are in for a surprise as the combat is much more gory and gruesome than in the previous games.

Just as in the previous installments God of War 3 truly presents itself in amazing fashion. For instance the environments are meticulously laid out with a surprisingly amount of detail that is showcased by the stunning graphics and smooth framerate. Even the pace of the game and the careful mixture of combat, exploration, platforming and puzzle solving is perfectly balanced never making the game feel redundant. These aspects all come together to present a fun and fluid gameplay, this fluidity in turn makes you feel like you are actually accomplishing these momentous tasks and performing these stunning acts. The story while it does not play an integral part in the allure of this type of title also isn’t as throw away as some other titles. However I believe the story has enough substance to keep you invested in the progression and eager to see it unfold.

Despite this apparent love affair God of War 3 did in my opinion a have a few faults. Although they are small complaints I personally felt the game gradually lost momentum over the course of playing. I still found the entire game to be enjoyable and satisfying but think because the opening sequence was so epic and memorable that the rest of the game gradually lost that momentum that was captured at the beginning. This may have been due to the fact that its difficult for any game to continue on from such an impressive first 15-30 minute opening that cements such a lastly feeling throughout the game. My only other problem were occasional issues with traversing the world that could have just as well been my fault as the games however those sections could have been more clear.

If you remember I discounted Dante’s Inferno on its replayability because the only option was the single player campaign and even though God of War also only has this one option I don’t feel the same way. My problem with Dante’s Inferno was not that it only had one mode but that the single player was not memorable enough that I wanted to play through it again, God of War 3 in my eyes doesn’t have that same problem. However since its still only just a single player campaign the replayability is slightly hindered but with the thoughtful inclusion of different difficulty modes, collectibles, and unlockable challenges as well as attainable yet rewarding trophies there is plenty to do if you so desire.

Overall

God of War 3 had just enough similarities that while it felt familiar it also felt completely new and adventurous. The presentation was amazing and while you were recovering from the fast paced yet rewarding combat you were continually wowed by the gigantic set pieces that all culminated into momentous events and puzzles. God of War 3 allows you to participate in a heroic clash and journey of remarkable proportions that I didn’t want to end but was satisfied when it did.

I believe this current installment will have the type of lasting effects and will be looked back upon in a positive manner like the two previous titles on PlayStation 2. If you haven’t yet picked this game up its totally worth your purchase and I whole-heartedly recommend that you do, you won’t be disappointed.

The Wife’s Take: God of War 3 in my eyes is overly gory and gruesome and the pristine graphics help illustrate that message more effectively. Therefore as a mother and due to those reasons listed above this is not a game that I would want my younger children playing without first speaking with them or some adult supervision.

God of War 3 for the PlayStation 3 was purchased for full price on the release date. The games single player campaign was completed on the default setting in 9 hours. God of War 3 was developed by Santa Monica Studios and published by Sony Computer Entertainment and is available exclusively for the PlayStation 3.

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To read about our stance on the review process click here for more answers. Find all of other reviews here; better yet bookmark that section so you won’t miss any of our future reviews as well. If you would like other information to be included in the reviews give us some feedback and let us know, or if you would like us to review a specific title drop us a line we welcome and encourage your feedback. Enjoy!