Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Lego Batman, Sonic Unleashed, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.
Since certain people keep complaining about the lack of content supplied by yours truly, I now intend to write several extremely short reviews of the games I have been playing recently. While this could be constrewed as a bad thing, I intend to be to the point and will even include a Grade - since this is the only thing anyone actually cares about anyway. These opinions may not necessarily agree with that of the other writers here, but then that's why opinions are opinions. So here we go, in alphabetical order (and I apologise in advance for the lack of graphs):
Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
Both similar and totally different to everyone's favourite adventures of Bear and Bird. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts seems to be having a marmite effect amongst most gamers; you either love it or hate it. Try not to go into the game with a platformer mindset, or you will more than likely belong to the Hate camp. You really have to give the building aspects of the game a decent shot to find enjoyment, if you try to get through the game with as little designing as possible and constantly anticipate the next platforming section you're going to be sorely disappointed. With that in mind, I found Nuts and Bolts to be thouroughly enjoyable. Vehicle creation tries to bring something new to the franchise as well as to mainstream games in general.
The Lego prefixed series of platform games have consistantly been pretty solid kids games, offering their own spin on whatever franchise they're taking on to the younger generation. While they've certainly had highs and lows - largely due to the lack of action scenes and diverse cast to mimic in Indiana Jones - Lego Batman is definately a return to form for Traveler's Tales. Dispite being simplistic in nature, as with all of the Lego *blank* games, the level design and cutscenes spread throughout never make it feel like there's no point in playing. Offering vast amounts of gameplay with two seperate stories, mountains of unlockables and a massive cast of Batman heroes and villains, Lego Batman is definately worth playing if ever you find yourself at a loose end; especially for fans of Batman, Lego or Platformers. Of course that is all totally superfluous, because why else would you play it?
Sonic Unleashed (Just the running bits)
Oh my god, oh my god! Did you see? Sega announced a new Sonic game! Look how shiny the graphics are, and how fast he runs! How could Sonic Team POSSIBLY fuck up this time? Truly this is a return to form for Sonic.
Yeah. Sonic Unleashed is, incase you didn't already know, split into two seperate modes of play. The fast paced running levels blend 2d side view gameplay similar to Genesis Sonic and 3d from behind racer game-esque steering like Secret Rings, and while there are sometimes sections that involve the obligatory pit of doom or unseen wall, the speed levels themself offered a promising look at how Sonic could have been if people had stopped buying the games when they started to suck. While far from Super Mario Galaxy in terms of length and quality, had they chosen to make an entire game of this style I'd imagine most people would have been pretty pleased.
Sonic Unleashed (Everything else)
Sadly they didn't, and the other 60-70% of the game is what we get as a result. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, where Sonic still commands the respect of a small blue God, and people will throw their wallets away for a glimpse of him. Also I hate you furries, for keeping him alive. What's left of the game after the relatively high quality running levels largely consists of ... ugh ... Werehog stages - a poor man's God of War - and quick time events. I list quick time events seperately because there are ENTIRE levels that are one long quick time event. Not levels with lots of quick time events that you happen to navigate around. Automated cutscene type levels where you have no control other than that of your quicktime buttons. Combining that with the Werehog stages' repetitive nature, poor camera, blind jumping/fighting and overall sense of being something no one asked for means I'm afraid I'm going to have to give you an
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes
To put things simply, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is quite possibly the greatest Wii game most of you will never play. Displayed in a similar side on 3d style to that of Street Fighter IV (minus the Okami brush strokes), TvC released in both Japanese arcades and on Nintendo Wii this past December. Similar in tone to the much accliamed Marvel vs. Capcom series of fighting games, TvC finds our beloved heroes of the Capcom universe pitted against the forces of characters from the Tatsunoko anime company... because Yami (of Okami) has decided to... bring them into the real world. Or something. It's fairly standard Capcom backstory affair. The game does everything in its power to make you feel good about playing this game; whittling down the often complex controls of Capcom Fighters to 3 attack buttons (for light medium and heavy attacks) and 1 partner button (for striking and tagging out)... and also 1 taunt (for taunting!). Even more "complex" sounding actions within the game are down to simple commands, breaking grabs and combos for instance (something often overlooked by more casual fighting game players) is as simple as hitting all 3 attacks + partner button. Combining these facts with the Tatsunoko anime license and the fluidity of the character animations, which manage to make each series of attacks at least look like it was an intentional combo, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a great stepping stone for those looking to get into fighting games - and a joy for fans of the genre too.
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise
As you can no doubt tell, given that it generated some of the first original content ScathingAccuracy had, I enjoyed Viva Pinata: TiP. Be that as it may, I find it difficult to review TiP. The biggest problem I have with the game is also the biggest reason I like it, it is basically Viva Pinata 1.5. The additions to the game are definately nice - new Pinatas, Cards, a retooled story mode, co-op mode, new garden locations - but the whole thing really just feels like it should have been DLC. And I know that's likely not possible on a technological level, but that doesn't make me feel any better about the game being full retail price for what is essentially almost the same game that I bought a year and a half before hand. That being said, not everyone bought the original game, and in a time where yearly sequels are becoming more and more standard I suppose over a year and a half isn't too bad. Over all, Viva Pinata is a great chill out game for all ages - dispite its aesthetic feel.