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Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force for the PlayStation 3 and Steam (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

October 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

SWP Key Art - Web

“Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force” improves over its original with better tables, awesome gameplay and challenging pinball that we have came to love with Zen Studio pinball games.  Featuring very good physics, beautiful table graphics, awesome audio and music plus special effects. “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force” is just  fantastic video game pinball that I highly recommended! 5 Stars!

Screen Captures are from Steam gameplay. “Star Wars Pinball” is under the copyright of Zen Studios. 2013 Lucas Film Entertainment Company Ltd. or LucasFilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Star Wars Pinball

TYPE OF GAME: Pinball

PLATFORM: PlayStation Network, XBOX Live, Steam, Windows 8, Google Play, iOS, Kindle

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: PlayStation 3 (PSN Download)/Steam

DEVELOPER: Zen Studios

RELEASE DATE: October 15, 2013

The biggest Star Wars space battles come to life on the Star Wars™: Starfighter Assault pinball table, releasing in two weeks for the new Star Wars™ Pinball: Balance of the Force pack. Players must choose to support the Rebel Alliance’s Fleet or the Galactic Empire’s Armada as they complete missions while dodging turret fire and destructible ramps!

As missions are completed, players will earn Fleet Upgrades that can be spent to upgrade the fleet, fighters and turrets. In addition, players will be able to advance the rank of their pilot as they progress through the table!

The table includes legendary Starfighters like the X-wing and TIE fighter, along with iconic vessels like the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star II.

SWP_Starfighter_Assault_table_1

Zen Studios is back with three brand new “Star Wars” pinball games as part of the “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force” which was released for the PlayStation Network (North America) on Oct. 15th and the XBOX Live Arcade, Steam, Windows 8, iOS, Google Play, Kindle and PlayStation Network (Europe) on Oct. 16th.

Three pinball games based on the American epic space opera “Star Wars” franchise created by George Lucas, each of these three tables not only gives you more than one can expect from a digital pinball game but so many areas that pinball fans and fans of the films or animated series will be excited about.

To start off “Star Wars Pinball”, you have a choice to contribute your skills to the side of light or darkness. The more you play, the more you see your skills go up and benefit you as a Jedi or Sith.

You can play single player or multiplayer. Single player allows you to play each game and build up your level, while multiplayer for each table is about who can accumulate the most points and reach a certain goal and the game restarts once the person reaches that goal. Multiplayer can automatically search for players and quite often, you may get an invite from a player you have played with before.

But one can play the game to be on top of the leaderboards, to open up PS3 trophies or open up achievements on Steam to challenge oneself and opening and beating many scenes as possible or try to get the best score on the leaderboards.

With “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force”, Zen Studios takes the concept of pinball for the digital realm by introducing various acts, special effects, audio and gameplay elements that you won’t typically experience on a real machine.

For pinball purists who have played a digital pinball game, yes the game requires you to shoot the ball, use your flippers to hit the ball and you can briefly nudge the machine (nudge it too much and you are in danger of tilting). You lose a ball each time it falls down through the center (between the flippers) or far left and right boundaries of the game.

Fortunately, Zen Studios implements a “Shoot Again” if your ball goes down the center early in the game, so you do have a second chance. Also, if you hit the ball in the ramps multiple times, it will activate a “Lite Kickback” which kicks the ball back to play if it goes on the left or right side of the table. Meanwhile, there are ways to get free extra balls as well.

So, a lot of the newer tables add a lot of extra gameplay features that make it worth your time to learn, not only for achievements but also because of certain bonus areas or scenes that you may not know about and also finding out strategies on how to get a high score or how to open up various areas.

For example, one may focus on their main bottom flippers, but some games have flippers on the top that if you time your hit, you can see your score multiplying and building up to millions of points. Some require quick thinking where one flipper must be pressed and immediately released, so a ball heading towards the top flipper will not come in contact. Or other strategies that may initiate a kickback (most pinball games have the frustrating area on both ends that will make you lose a ball) or something that may pick up your ball and shoot it so quickly that by the time you hit the flipper, the ball has gone through the center hole and you lose your ball.

COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED ABOUT THE GAMEPLAY:

Are there difficulty modes? While playing a table, you can pause and select “OPERATOR” on the menu, it allows you to install a difficulty mode such as extra easy, normal, extra hard, etc. BUT this is good if you do not want to play with other players and compete in leaderboards. Easy allows for extra balls and better scoring. But once again, it’s important to note that you will receive a warning that if you change settings, your high score will not be included in the leaderboards.

SWP_Episode_VI_table_screenshot019

 

 

You can play single player or multiplayer on “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force”.  Single player allows you to play each game and build up your level, while multiplayer for each table is about who can accumulate the most points and reach a certain goal and the game restarts once the person reaches that goal.  Multiplayer can automatically search for players and quite often, you may get an invite from a player you have played with before.

Star Wars Pinball: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

First, let’s take a look at “Star Wars Pinball: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi”.  This pinball game is set on Endor and of the three pinball games featured on “Balance of the Force”, is the most unforgiving because of it’s short table and because by hitting the ball, sometimes the ball is shot or reflected to the side which will lead you to lose the ball.  Of the three,  it’s a pinball table where you must stop the ball with your flipper in order to spell out a word.  It takes very good timing.

The game features three flippers, while most of the time, I used two as the third sent my ball to a trap door (hole) most of the time.

My strategy for this game was to use the right flipper,wait until the ball gets right to the tip and shoot it out to hit the left side in which Luke tries to get a hold of Jabba the Hut or trying to target the ball in the area that lights up.

So, this pinball game is about precision targeting than just hitting the ball because the ball can easily land in the outside boundaries.  But I feel that if you try to aim for certain spots, especially towards the bottom left and try to aim your ball to the cave, the more points I was able to accumulate as the game went on.

While I put hours into this game, I have yet to activate a lot of scenes.  One scene I was able to access is where you are on your speeder and trying to go after a Biker Scout.  You must hit the pinball directly center in order to shoot the Biker Scout.

But I really enjoy this game because of the possibilities of discovering ways to open up various scenes.

But it’s a challenging table which I enjoyed playing because of how it tries to make you slowdown the pace of the game by trying to stop the ball and target various areas with your flipper.

 

SWP_Starfighter_Assault_table_screenshot005

Star Wars Pinball: Star Fighter Assault:

For this game, you must choose if you want to play the Rebel or the Empire from the opening animation. For “Star Fighter Assault”, the table is much longer and gives you more freedom to hit the ball and utilizing the four flippers on screen.

Where “Star Wars Pinball: Return of the Jedi” has you slowing down the temp and stopping the ball, this game is more about pinball and hitting the ball.  You do have to aim the ball and make sure you hit it through a ramp that has lights blinking on and off but for the most part, it’s a longer table that in which you can find yourself getting many points.

It’s also a game in which you can have X-Wing Fighters vs. Tie Fighters flying around the screen, so by hitting the ball through a correct ramp, it will activate cannons that will begin shooting at the enemy aircraft.

Cut scenes include you controlling three X-Wing Fighters or Tie Fighters, using your L1 and L2 (or shoulder buttons of your XBOX 360 controller) to move the three ships left or right to avoid asteroids and shooting down the enemy aircraft.  Another features you on a Tie Fighter or X-Wing Fighter and trying to target rebel aircraft, similar to an aircraft shooting simulation game, which I enjoyed.  And I’m sure there are more that I have yet to unlock.

There are modes that allow for “Multiball” in which you can have several balls locked and sent out all at once.  And it’s a game that you may want to use the tilt as there are times where the ball may fall straight down the middle.  So, it does require some quick thinking at times.

An enjoyable table that you will find yourself playing for hours!

SWP_Darth_Vader_table_screenshot009

Star Wars Pinball: Darth Vader

The last table “Star Wars Pinball: Darth Vader”.  This the combination of the first two games where you can play freely but also will need to target certain areas.  This is probably the game where you will amass a ton of points and of the games played, the one I found the easiest to get cut scenes.

The main goal is to hit the target on the top left corner, this will activate a scene and by hitting the balls to areas that are blinking, you can easily get a multi-ball.

Not sure if this is a glitch or special scene but holding the L2 button on your PS3 controller before you begin the game will take you directly to a scene in which Darth Vader is being assembled and by hitting the ball on the assembling arms, you automatically get a million points per arm.

But other than that, this table is for those who want to play freely without having to stop the ball.  But for those who do want to amass points and open cut scenes, you will need a combination of playing freely, aiming the ball and because of the longer table, prepare for balls that fall down straight the middle, which you need to nudge the table (without tilting).

 

 

The controls for the PS3 is fast and fluid, no lag whatsoever, even during multiplayer, I was able to play the game with no lag.  While on Steam, it’s more likely that my PC had a bit more lag, so playing by keyboard was not an option and I preferred using the XBOX 360 controller.

How are the physics of the game?

Table physics are good, at times, it felt the physics were off. For example, I can tape on the edge of a flipper with great power and sometimes the ball only goes a short way up. Sometimes I hit a ball not hard enough but yet it goes farther than what I expected. But I never expect a digital pinball game to have a perfect replication of gameplay digitally but it comes close and once you get to learn each table, the better you will do each time you play.

SWP_Darth_Vader_table_screenshot006

 

 

The graphics for each of the tables are absolutely gorgeous. A lot went into table design and character models but there was good planning when it came to the actual tables. On my HD big screen, colors were vibrant, tables were amazingly well-detailed. The game looks great on the PS3!  The game also looks great on Steam!

The audio for the game is also fantastic! “Star Wars” not only features the voices from the film but also the popular music from the film.

 

 

“Star Wars Pinball” is a game with a lot of replay value if you are into getting high scores. With the number of tables available, it gives one a chance to focus on a table and learn it and move on to the next table and continue getting high scores, topping a table leaderboard and obtaining PS3 trophies or Steam achievements.

Each time I play these games, I feel I discover something new!  So, there is a lot of replay value in any of the pinball games from Zen Studios.

SWP_Darth_Vader_table_screenshot016

Zen Studios has done it again.  After creating the first three “Star Wars: Pinball” and make us all fans again with the more impressive “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force” pinball with great, addictive gameplay, graphics, sounds and music, they managed to improve with three tables in my opinion are even better than the last three!

For this latest “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force”, you get “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi”, “Starfight Assault” and a “Darth Vader” and there is a great combination of gameplay but also challenge that you can’t help but play them over and over again, it’s that fun and entertaining!

When it comes to pinball, growing up, pinball machines were a big part of my life as a child. Playing them at the local burger shop, even receiving a Superman pinball machine as a child, pinball machines were fun, addictive and I continued to play them even when everyone moved towards “Pac Man”, “Street Fighter II” and other popular arcade games for each decade.

My pinball experience would eventually lead me to playing the game on NES, Gameboy and dedicating hours to getting the highest score on “Pinbot”. Then came “Super Pinball” on the SNES, “Devil’s Crush”, “Metroid Pinball” on the DS, “William’s Pinball” and “Akira Psycho Ball” for the PS2 and recently playing various pinball games on my iPad.

But Zen Studios have really taken pinball to even greater heights with innovative table creation (great effects and lighting), obtaining licenses to utilize popular franchise’s or iconic characters including the voices and music from the films and incorporating it into this game.

So far, Zen Studios have made pinball so much fun again! It’s not just about hitting the ball and getting the high score, there is strategy involved in playing a Zen Studio pinball game.

As I said with the original “Star Wars Pinball”, it’s literally pinball crack and they feed your addiction with three awesome tables, in my opinion are much better than the original three.

Once you play, you become addicted to the game and find yourself playing it for hours and trying to figure out various strategies. And while the single player game is fantastic, the multiplayer is OK. It’s more or less a contest of who can reach the most points and the game restarts and you keep on playing. What would be nice is to find out how some of these players during multiplayer rack up millions of points in a short amount of time, so if there was a watch mode, where you can see other players playing a game realtime, that would have been cool to see and also learn from.

These three “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force” tables are also quite creative in gameplay and each are very different from each other, requiring different strategies, so one can expect to put a lot of time playing and replaying to see how things work, especially how to defeat various missions.

As for playing the game on the PS3 versus on Steam, I will say that I felt physics and fluidity and smoother gameplay was noticeable on the PS3 but for those who prefer having the monitor right near them, so they can see things clearly, I’m sure it’s subjective to each player. But the PS3 feels smooth and experienced no lag.  But the lag I experienced on Steam, was mainly through the response of the controls, until I switched to an XBOX 360 controller and I was able to play just fine.

With each table, some require strategy and quick thinking. For example, one would not want to let the ball roll too quickly down your flipper as momentum is so quick that by the time you press the button the flipper, the ball falls quickly through the center and you lose a ball. And sometimes, the placement of a ball will end up in the far boundaries, making you lose the ball. So, you come up with strategies of how to get a kick back (so, if the ball goes out on the left or right boundaries, the ball is kicked back on the table) or to regain a “Shoot Again”, so a lost ball will result in free play ball.

The most challenging is when you have multiple balls in play. This will give you a chance to rack up enormous points but it’s not easy when you have four balls all coming down all at once, so sometimes you act erratically by hitting the flippers repeatedly. So, it requires patients and finding out new ways to deal with multiple balls.

But the big part of the strategy for this game, for me, is to figure out ways to utilize the top flippers and where I should have the ball aimed. Some tables reward nicely if you use those top obscured flippers correctly.

So, each table, I have had a lot of fun playing and trying to learn what the game has to offer and with the addition of playing with friends via the leaderboard or gaining achievements, it adds to the replay factor of the game.

But each time I play each table, I discover something new and no matter how many hours I have put in, I still have yet to try out the different scenes for each table.  So, there is great challenge in these pinball games and it takes some strategy on your part on slowing and stopping that ball and hitting it in the right area.

Overall, “Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force” feature awesome gameplay and challenging pinball with very good physics, beautiful table graphics, cool audio (in this case, also fantastic music) and special effects.

“Star Wars Pinball” continues to raise bar for digital pinball games and for fans of “Star Wars” or pinball in general, you can’t help but be addicted to these games. These tables are not just challenging but among the most enjoyable digital pinball games I have played.

“Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force” from Zen Studios for the PS3 and Steam are highly recommended!

PROS:

+ Awesome and creative gameplay and you discover something new each time you play the game.

+ Additional replay factor to challenge others and win trophies (PS3) or earn achievements (Steam).

+ Wonderful graphics for each table!

+ Great use of sound effects, music and dialogue!

+ Physics are very good for these tables on the PS3, smooth gameplay, no lag!

NEGATIVES:

– Gameplay for some people may be a little frustrating.

– Purists expecting perfect physics may be disappointed.

– A little slowdown on Steam in terms of keyboard response but if you use an XBOX 360 controller, it feels right.

Star Wars Pinball from Zen Studios for the PlayStation 3 (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

May 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

SWP Key Art - Web

“Star Wars Pinball” feature awesome gameplay and challenging pinball with very good physics, beautiful table graphics, cool audio (in this case, also fantastic music) and special effects. “Star Wars Pinball” continues to raise bar for digital pinball games and for fans of “Star Wars” or pinball in general, you can’t help but be addicted to these games.   These tables are not just challenging but among the most enjoyable digital pinball games I have played. Highly recommended!

Screen Captures are from Steam gameplay. “Star Wars Pinball” is under the copyright of Zen Studios. 2013 Lucas Film Entertainment Company Ltd. or LucasFilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Star Wars Pinball

TYPE OF GAME: Pinball

PLATFORM: PC Steam, PC Windows 8, XBOX 360 and Sony PlayStation

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: PlayStation 3 (PSN Download)

DEVELOPER: Zen Studios

PUBLISHED: Microsoft Game Studios

RELEASE DATE: May 13, 2013

Use the Force to guide the silver ball in Star Wars Pinball! The first pack of tables includes Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Star Wars PInball_Balance of the Force

Having reviewed Zen Studios “Pinball FX2″ for Steam, this time around, I take on “Star Wars Pinball” for the Sony PlayStation 3 (downloaded via PSN).  Star Wars Pinball features three tables – “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Boba Fett”.

Three pinball games based on the American epic space opera “Star Wars” franchise created by George Lucas, each of these three tables not only gives you more than one can expect from a digital pinball game but so many areas that pinball fans and fans of the films or animated series will be excited about.

To start off “Star Wars Pinball”, you have a choice to contribute your skills to the side of light or darkness.  The more you play, the more you see your skills go up and benefit you as a Jedi or Sith.

You can play single player or multiplayer.  Single player allows you to play each game and build up your level, while multiplayer for each table is about who can accumulate the most points and reach a certain goal and the game restarts once the person reaches that goal.  Multiplayer can automatically search for players and quite often, you may get an invite from a player you have played with before.

But one can play the game to be on top of the leaderboards, to open up PS3 trophies or to challenge oneself and opening and beating many scenes as possible.

With “Pinball FX2″, Zen Studios takes the concept of pinball for the digital realm by introducing various acts, special effects, audio and gameplay elements that you won’t typically experience on a real machine.

For pinball purists who have played a digital pinball game, yes the game requires you to shoot the ball, use your flippers to hit the ball and you can briefly nudge the machine (nudge it too much and you are in danger of tilting). You lose a ball each time it falls down through the center (between the flippers) or far left and right boundaries of the game. The good news is that if you quickly lose a ball not long after a launch, you are given another chance with a free play ball.

So, a lot of the newer tables add a lot of extra gameplay features that make it worth your time to learn, not only for achievements but also because of certain bonus areas or scenes that you may not know about and also finding out strategies on how to get a high score or how to open up various areas.

For example, one may focus on their main bottom flippers, but some games have flippers on the top that if you time your hit, you can see your score multiplying and building up to millions of points. Some require quick thinking where one flipper must be pressed and immediately released, so a ball heading towards the top flipper will not come in contact. Or other strategies that may initiate a kickback (most pinball games have the frustrating area on both ends that will make you lose a ball) or something that may pick up your ball and shoot it so quickly that by the time you hit the flipper, the ball has gone through the center hole and you lose your ball.

COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED ABOUT THE GAMEPLAY:

Are there difficulty modes? While playing a table, you can pause and select “OPERATOR” on the menu, it allows you to install a difficulty mode such as extra easy, normal, extra hard, etc. BUT this is good if you do not want to play with other players and compete in leaderboards. Easy allows for extra balls and better scoring. But once again, it’s important to note that you will receive a warning that if you change settings, your high score will not be included in the leaderboards.

 

pinball2

First, let’s take a look at “Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back”.   Of the three “Star Wars Pinball” tables offered, this is the most challenging table.   The concept of pinball is the same of any pinball game in the fact that you use the plunger to send the ball for gamplay, use your PS3 triggers to move the flippers up and down (this will control and top flippers), the left analog stick activates a bump but do this too many times and you will tilt (flippers will no longer work).  Your turn ends if the ball falls down the center or on the far left or right sides. Fortunately, you get three balls.

Fortunately, Zen Studios implements a “Shoot Again” if your ball goes down the center early in the game, so you do have a second chance.  Also, if you hit the ball in the ramps multiple times, it will activate a “Lite Kickback” which kicks the ball back to play if it goes on the left or right side of the table.   Meanwhile, there are ways to get free extra balls as well.

With your plunger, you can send the ball to go to various areas (top, middle or lower) section and obtain a “Skill Shot” by hitting a spinner.  To score effectively, you want to spell out the letters, which require the ball to fall in certain areas or by sending a ball to various ramp.

Visually, it may seem simple but the challenge is that you have Tie Fighter targets on the lower left, orbits and ramps.  Sending a ball to the left of the ramp, you can spell “R2D2″, sending a ball to the left ramp can activate a “Lite Kickback” (left side), “Jedi Jackpot” and spell out the word “EMPIRE”, send the ball towards the center and you can spell out “VADER” (Super Skill Shot), send the ball to the right ramp allows you to activate “Lite Kickback” (right side), “Jedi Jackpot”, “Yoda” or “Cloud City”, while the farther right section allows you to spell “FORCE” and can lead to a free extra ball.

So, it’s one thing to play pinball by hitting the ball and getting mass points and be on top of the leaderboards but for a game like “Star Wars Pinball”, you find yourself holding a ball with your flipper and trying to see if you can master that ball by letting it fall down to the tip and see if you can spell out “FORCE” or get the ball to a Tie Fighter Target.

But this requires a lot of practice and time with the game.  But once you start mastering it, you’ll be able to not only increase your multiplier, assemble C-3PO, bring out Darth Vader and also take part in Jedi Training.

Jedi training is a little diversion from the pinball game as you will be taken to screen where you must deflect blasts from a droid using a lightsaber and get a free ball.

But a mode that comes on that most people will have fun with and increase their score is “Force Hurry Up Modes”, which will only happen if you light up all “FORCE” letters and from this mode, you will notice you can increase a massive amount of points quickly.

There are modes that allow for “Multiball” in which you can have several balls locked and sent out all at once.  While great for points, managing 2-4 balls at one given time is not easy.

“Star Wars Pinball” also offers scenes.  By hitting various areas on the table, you can activate up to six scenes.  For example, selecting scene one gives you 40 seconds to hit the left sink hole a total of three times.  Watching where the lights are flashing on the table gives you an idea of where to send the ball.  The challenge is how to come up with your own strategy to make the ball go where it needs to go.

But definitely one of the most challenging tables from Zen Studio.

clonewars

The next table is “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and is based on the animated series.  This table is the easiest in terms of amassing a large amount of points.  It’s also a table in which your top flippers are highly effective of earning a lot of points if you can keep the ball up in the top section.

While any of the ramps can lead to combo jackpots, it’s the maroon ramp on the right that allows you to activate the “Council” in order to take on various missions. Unlike “Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back”, the missions are non-timed.  “War on Christophis” puts up a purple shield and you need to find a way by collecting bombs on a ramp and then detonating it on the purple shield.

“Cloak of Darkness” features a fight against Asajj Ventress but the goal is to hit the ball where you see flashing ramps.  This one is timed and you have only 30 seconds to do it.

“The Monster” is non-timed and Savage Opress is on a floating platform, you just need to hit the platform with the ball but you have to be careful because each hit sends the ball back quickly and it may lead to the ball goiong down the center.

“Attack on Kamino” is about hitting the flashing lanes.

“Weapons Factory” is another that you have to hit flashing lanes or ramps to destroy a weapons factory.

The game also offers “Training Mode”, if you spell “Training” (left of the T6 ramp on top), you will be taken to a training playing field.  The object is to hit the ball on various areas with lights.  Sounds easy, until you need to hit the farthest left or right light, which requires patience and figuring out how much you should let the ball roll to the tip of the flipper.

But this is a table that I found to be a lot of fun and probably one where people may want to start playing first because of how much easier it is compared to the other tables.

pinball3

For the “Boba Fett” table, this table is probably the second easiest of the three “Star Wars Pinball” tables currently available.  It’s also one that you want to plan and figure out where you are hitting the ball as you can open up extra scenes if things are properly spelled out or amass a large number of points.

While you can open up various bounty missions by spelling words like “Boba Fett” by hitting the ball into those areas with letters, there are some bounty missions that require to hit the ball on each ramp or opening and you get a million points easily for each ball traveled into the area.

There are missions that require quick thinking and areas that require hitting the ball in the same area.  For example, “Escape from the Sarlacc” has Boba Fett captured by tentacles.  If you can hit the tentacle 4 times, you can free him.

A crazy mode is “Triump of Mandalorian” which requires you to play with five multiple balls at one time and you have 60 seconds to get as many point as possible.

Unlike the other two tables, you have only one top filter and one that I don’t find too effective but great to slow down a ball, just in case that you want to stop it in order to use your left flipper to hit the ball to a certain ramp.

It’s also a game where you can use homing missiles to destroy a flashing lane also a table where you can take part in a sharpshooter mini game.  There are certainly many modes I discover the longer I play but there are various bounty jobs in which Boba Fett can earn quite a bit of money.  But the game has a mix of easier elements for people to get into and also some challenging sections.

CONTROLS:

The controls for the PS3 is fast and fluid, no lag whatsover, even during multiplayer, I was able to play the game with no lag.

How are the physics of the game?

Some table physics are good, at times, it felt the physics were off. For example, I can tape on the edge of a flipper with great power and sometimes the ball only goes a short way up. Sometimes I hit a ball not hard enough but yet it goes farther than what I expected. But I never expect a digital pinball game to have a perfect replication of gameplay digitally but it comes close and once you get to learn each table, the better you will do each time you play.

GRAPHICS & AUDIO:

The graphics for each of the tables are absolutely gorgeous. A lot went into table design and character models but there was good planning when it came to the actual tables.  On my HD big screen, colors were vibrant, tables were amazingly well-detailed.  The game looks great on the PS3!

The audio for the game is also fantastic! “Star Wars” not only features the voices from the film but also the popular music from the film.

REPLAY VALUE:

“Star Wars Pinball” is a game with a lot of replay value if you are into getting high scores. With the number of tables available, it gives one a chance to focus on a table and learn it and move on to the next table and continue getting high scores, topping a table leaderboard and obtaining PS3 trophies.

clone2

Growing up, pinball machines were a big part of my life as a child. Playing them at the local burger shop, even receiving a Superman pinball machine as a child, pinball machines were fun, addictive and I continued to play them even when everyone moved towards “Pac Man”, “Street Fighter II” and other popular arcade games for each decade.

My pinball experience would eventually lead me to playing the game on NES, Gameboy and dedicating hours to getting the highest score on “Pinbot”. Then came “Super Pinball” on the SNES, “Devil’s Crush”, “Metroid Pinball” on the DS, “William’s Pinball” and “Akira Psycho Ball” for the PS2 and recently playing various pinball games on my iPad.

But Zen Studios have really taken pinball to bigger heights with innovative table creation, obtaining licenses to utilize popular franchise’s or iconic characters and making pinball so much fun again!  It’s not just about hitting the ball and getting the high score, there is strategy involved in playing a Zen Studio pinball game.

“Star Wars Pinball” is pinball crack.  Once you play, you become addicted to the game and find yourself playing it for hours and trying to figure out various strategies.  And while the single player game is fantastic, the multiplayer is OK.  It’s more or less a contest of who can reach the most points and the game restarts and you keep on playing.  What would be nice is to find out how some of these players during multiplayer can get up to 12 million points in a short amount of time, so if there was a watch mode, where you can see other players playing a game realtime, that would have been cool to see and also learn from.

These three “Star Wars Pinball” tables are also quite creative in gameplay and each are very different from each other, requiring different strategies, so one can expect to put a lot of time playing and replaying to see how things work, especially how to defeat various missions.

As for playing the game on the PS3 versus on a PC, I will say that I felt physics and fluidity and smoother gameplay was noticeable on the PS3 but for those who prefer having the monitor right near them, so they can see things clearly, I’m sure it’s subjective to each player.  But the PS3 feels smooth and experienced no lag.

With each table, some require strategy and quick thinking. For example, one would not want to let the ball roll too quickly down your flipper as momentum is so quick that by the time you press the button the flipper, the ball falls quickly through the center and you lose a ball. And sometimes, the placement of a ball will end up in the far boundaries, making you lose the ball. So, you come up with strategies of how to get a kick back (so, if the ball goes out on the left or right boundaries, the ball is kicked back on the table) or to regain a “Shoot Again”, so a lost ball will result in free play ball.

The most challenging is when you have multiple balls in play. This will give you a chance to rack up enormous points but it’s not easy when you have four balls all coming down all at once, so sometimes you act erratically by hitting the flippers repeatedly. So, it requires patients and finding out new ways to deal with multiple balls.

But the big part of the strategy for this game, for me, is to figure out ways to utilize the top flippers and where I should have the ball aimed. Some tables reward nicely if you use those top obscured flippers correctly.

So, each table, I have had a lot of fun playing and trying to learn what the game has to offer and with the addition of playing with friends via the leaderboard or gaining achievements, it adds to the replay factor of the game.

Overall, “Star Wars Pinball” feature awesome gameplay and challenging pinball with very good physics, beautiful table graphics, cool audio (in this case, also fantastic music) and special effects. “Star Wars Pinball” continues to raise bar for digital pinball games and for fans of “Star Wars” or pinball in general, you can’t help but be addicted to these games.   These tables are not just challenging but among the most enjoyable digital pinball games I have played.

“Star Wars Pinball” from Zen Studios for the PS3 is highly recommended!

PROS:

+ Awesome and creative gameplay and you discover something new each time you play the game.

+ Additional replay factor to challenge others and win trophies!

+ Wonderful graphics for each table!

+ Great use of sound effects, music and dialogue!

+ Physics are very good for these tables on the PS3, smooth gameplay, no lag!

NEGATIVES:

– Gameplay for some people may be a little frustrating.

– Purists expecting perfected physics may be disappointed.

TECMO KOEI ANNOUNCES DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 FOR PLAYSTATION 3 AND XBOX 360

April 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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BURLINGAME, Calif. April 3rd, 2013 – TECMO KOEI AMERICA is pleased to announce the upcoming release of DYNASTY WARRIORS 8. The next installment of the fan-favorite tactical action franchise will be available in stores on July 16th, 2013 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

As with previous titles in the series, DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 follows the stories of the kingdoms of Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin through the actions of historical military and political figures of the time as they fight to gain control over the Three Kingdoms of China.

However, this sequel takes the much loved IP one step further, merging numerous replay elements like multi-endings and extra modes with synergies between action and game systems, making a game that people won’t want to put down.

Apart from the Story Mode, which comes with new episodes and characters and takes a deeper look at the drama that unfolds in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 includes all new ‘What if?’ scenarios. Breaking away from historical fact, this mode takes a look at what could have happened if famous characters had lived to fight another day. Stories branch out to different outcomes providing variety in the course and ending of the game, and giving the players the power to view an alternate version of history depending on their choices.

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DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 also boasts a vast number of new and returning playable characters, as the highly anticipated officers Yue Jin and Li Dian from the Wei Kingdom, who make their first appearance in the series, alongside more than 70 playable characters that fight to prevail in the battlefield.

Giving stronger emphasis in the stage of these epic battles and inspired by the landscape of ancient China to deliver a wide range of visual treats, DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 will feature more than 40 completely new stages: verdant plains, desolate wastelands, sharp ravines, huge castles, and other breath-taking sites.

For more DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 news and a first look at the new playable characters please visit http://www.tecmokoeiamerica.com/dw8/  and www.facebook.com/koeigames.

About TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP
TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. On April 1, 2009, TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD was established as a result of the TECMO, LTD. and KOEI Co., Ltd. Merger.

Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

February 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ is a game that long time fans will be proud of. It’s a game that manages to bring Buronson and Tetsuo Hara’s popular, violent and exciting manga series to the video game world with efficacy and combining it with KOEI’s “Dynasty Warriors” style of gameplay.   Unlike the first game, these are the characters and the battles that fans want to see and play!   If you are a fan of “Dynasty Warriors” games and a big fan of the manga or anime series of “Hokuto no Ken”/”Fist of the North Star”, give this game a chance, because I really enjoyed it!

Images courtesy of © 2013 KOEI. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2

TYPE OF GAME: Fighting

PLATFORM: Sony PS3 and XBOX 360

PSN DOWNLOAD SIZE: 9GB

DEVELOPER: Koei

COMPANY: Koei Tecmo

RATED: M for MATURE

RELEASE DATE: February 5, 2013

Kenshiro and over twenty other characters from the Fist of the North Star series are ready to unleash rage in another game from Tecmo Koei. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 has Legend mode that covers the entire manga storyline from the Raoh Saga to the Land of Shura. Dream Mode has original storylines made just for the game that often focus on minor characters from the Fist of the North Star series.

“Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ is back!  And with the sequel comes a whole lot of changes to the overall gameplay but most importantly, an epic storyline that is heavily-based on the popular “Hokuto no Ken” manga series from Tetsuo Hara and Buronson.

The second video game adaptation features legend mode, over 20 playable characters, new moves, dream mode plus online co-op and versus play.

“HOKUTO NO KEN/FIST OF THE NORTH STAR” HISTORY

In 1983, the manga “Hokuto no Ken” (Fist of the North Star) was unleashed in Japan.  Illustrated by Tetsuo Hara and written by Buronson, the manga series was serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump” from 1983-1988 and has spawned anime TV series (one which lasted over 150-episodes from 1984-1988), two films, OAV’s, novels, video games and more.

Needless to say, in Japan, the story of “Fist of the North Star” has been a big part of Japanese pop culture as it was a story that showcased good vs. evil in a post-apocalyptic era in which the world is now unstable with fear running rampant across the land. Where power is justice and power ruled.  Those without power are left in fear.   Those who have power command great armies or a ragtag group of the men who have succumbed to evil.

So, popular the manga/anime series, the antagonist Raoh can be seen like a Japan equivalent to characters such as Darth Vader, Cobra Commander or even Megatron.  Villains with power and despite being evil, their fan following is tremendous.  In fact, Raoh is so popular that back in 2007, a mock funeral was held for the character in order to promote the theatrical release of “Raoh Den Gekito no Sho” (a retelling of the final battle between Kenshiro vs. Raoh).  And thousands of people attended the mock funeral, and many genuinely mourned Raoh as a man who touched their lives (despite not being a real person).

And suffice to say, both Kenshiro and Raoh are the two primary characters that are featured in this latest video game, “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″.

The storyline featured four adoptive brothers who were taught the “Hokuto Shinken” (aka “God Fist of the North Star”).  The four are eldest brother Raoh, Toki, Jagi and Kenshiro.  With the main storyline focusing on the eldest, Raoh and the youngest Kenshiro.

In the  series, Kenshiro has been chosen as the successor to the martial art known as Hokuto Shinken, a martial art that is 18-centuries old and involves using the body’s 708 vital pressure points to either destroy or heal a person from within.  Kenshiro is a man who is in love with Julia and instead of having a happy life, his evil brother Jagi uses his influence over Kenshiro’s good friend Shin, who is from a family which is a rival to “Hokuto Shinken” known as “Nanto Seiken” (aka Sacred Fist of the South Star).  If Hokuto Shinken is the Yin, Nanto Seiken is the Yang.  Two can’t exist without each other.

In the storyline, Kenshiro has been seen as the younger brother who is not at all strong.  His brother Raoh has chosen the path to be a conqueror of lands, Toki who is the healer is thought to be dead (due to radiation poisoning) and Jagi, the jealous older brother of Kenshiro who is upset his younger brother is thought to be a better fighter than he is.

So far in the storyline, Kenshiro’s girlfriend Julia was kidnapped by Shin and Shin defeats Kenshiro and leaving him for dead.

The first video game “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage” is similar to the Dynasty Warriors games from Koei Tecmo.  The game introduced a LEGEND MODE which followed the original manga series in which you played Kenshiro (or other characters) as the story progresses, building up your characters skills and your character while gaining additional special moves.  With each character you encounter, once you beat a level, the key opponent/major character will be added to DREAM MODE, and those characters will be playable.  And an additional CHALLENGE MODE in which one can play Kenshiro and take on a string of opponents.

The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360.

And now, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of “Hokuto no Ken”, “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ has been released courtesy of KOEI TECMO.

FIST OF THE NORTH STAR: KEN’S RAGE 2 is the second game of the series which was developed by Koei, not Omega Force (who did the first game).  Unlike the first game, “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ is available for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Wii U (digital distribution only), while available as a physical release for the XBOX 360.  Also, the release was only two months after its release in Japan.

I will be reviewing the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

GAMEPLAY:

There are slight differences between the first and second game.  While the game keeps to the “Dynasty Warriors” theme, the game has removed the option to jump and is replaced by a dodging system.  During a game, characters can find hidden scrolls to help add to their character’s abilities.   After each battle with a key rival character, one can learn a signature move.  Saving the game takes place after a major chapter and while a chapter can be long, there are interim saves, but unfortunately, interim saves will not start where one has left off but at the beginning of a chapter.

As for the modes featured in the “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″:

LEGEND MODE

This is probably my favorite part of “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″.  The first game didn’t really explain characters all that much, but this time around, KOEI decided that the story would be a primary focus for Legend Mode.

And instead of featuring short stories, KOEI allows for more character development, by allowing you to play these other characters.  But most importantly, developing a long story that covers the remainder of the “Hokuto no Ken” storyline revolving Kenshiro and his brothers.

So, one can possibly expect anywhere around 10-20 hours of gameplay, because some of these chapters are long, cut scenes also can be long but the biggest part that made me enjoy this game even more, is the fact that KOEI featured the following the manga series:

  • Kenshiro meeting Bat and Rin as children
  • Kenshiro storyline involving Shin and Yuria
  • Kenshiro taking on Rei and also introducing Mamiya
  • Kenshiro taking on those who represent Nanto Goshasei
  • Kenshiro taking on his three brothers Jaki, Toki and Raoh +  other opponents
  • The Golden Celestial Storyline featuring a grown up Bat and Rin and the Falco storyline
  • The Shura storyline featuring Kenshiro taking on those who know Hokuto Ryuken, and introducing and including battles with Jukei, Shchi, Han, Hyoh and Kaioh
  • Conclusion of the Bat, Rin Mamiya and Bolge storyline

These arcs are quite long and if KOEI wanted to, they could have easily stopped at the Raoh storyline and save the other for a third game, but instead, the Shura/Hokuto Ryuken is featured in “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″.

The object of LEGEND MODE is to play Kenshiro and going through what was featured in the manga series.   Similar to Dynasty Warriors, hordes of enemies come from every direction and your character begins with either 3-4 signature moves.  Using your buttons, you can do straight hits, combo moves, grab, taunt, etc.  Scattered in each area are chests that contain a chicken or bread (for extra health), a canister (for extra aura) or scrolls that can enhance your character.

You can equip five scrolls and each scroll may have 1 to 4 symbols.  A green heart for extra life, a yellow flame aura which allows one to have a quick recharge to pull off a signature move, a red fist for attack, blue shield for defense and purple for technique.

Some scrolls allow for a special ability, such as RECOVER which can allow your character to recover faster, STAMINA for added stamina during battle, others that activate more defense, better aura when you are low on health and more.  Scroll levels start at level 1 but as you progress, you eventually find scrolls that feature higher levels and adds to your character’s life, aura, attack, defense and technique points.

But LEGEND MODE is a straightforward story mode with long cut scenes after each battle or after a segment during a fight against a key rival character.

To explain the bar segment (as shown on the image above), on the bottom at the screen during a fight with a key rival character character, you will notice their red health bar is broken down by three (or four) segments.

When one bar of segment goes down, the main fight will stop, transition to a cut-scene and feature a storyline in which Kenshiro or an opponent will get stronger, question a character’s fight style or continue a storyline with a new revelation.

Because LEGEND MODE follows the manga series, this style is much different than other games which allows you to take on a key rival character, fight to the death and then a cut scene.

Some are major opponents, captains or low ranking commanders and thus, some will not have a save point until after the chapter ends.  While there are interim save points, this is not one of those games where one has 10 minutes to play and hope they can find a save point.  Sometimes, some chapters are quite long, so for those wondering if they can play a game and save at any point of game, this is not one of them.

The game also allows other type of gameplay instead of fighting.  Some levels ask for one to be stealthy and sneak and kill an enemy guard without being detected, another allows objects to be thrown at an enemy from the distance and some enemies rely on different strategies and standard hits or kicks may not work.  Other levels have you protecting a child or a wounded comrade, while moving through a violent area.

But as the story progresses for Kenshiro and friends, LEGEND MODE is the most satisfying part of “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ because of  how much of the manga is presented in this mode.

DREAM MODE

Dream Mode allows one to play with characters that were opened up in LEGEND MODE.   The story is similar for those who have played Dynasty Warriors in which you are presented with a map which show where enemy forces have occupied several bases. Your job is to take back five of the bases (after beating the first base, you are joined with soldiers who fight for you) which have around 50 people plus two commanders or captains and after taking back five of the bases, you then take on a key rival character (which sometimes is followed by a second key rival).

The good news is that your soldiers actually do some fighting.  Where in the first game, even if an opponent is nearly dead, you could never trust your soldiers as they seemed weak.  And a lot of time, you had to go back to the bases you have beaten and reclaim them.  The issue is not the case with “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″.

You can play over 20 characters (which represent Hokuto Shinken, Nanto Seiken, Hokuto Army, Hokoto Ryuken, Lone Warriors and Others), many characters who are available after beating their storyline in LEGEND MODE and level them up (all are level 1 with the exception of Kenshiro who maintains the same level for those who played LEGEND MODE first).

But the object is to defeat each map level by controlling your character on the map, reclaiming about five bases from the enemies and taking on the key rival for that area on the map.  It’s important to note that two simultaneous bosses/key rival characters on screen have been removed but there are two simultaneous commanders or captains that are featured during battle.

The bad news for those who loved the missions of the first game, the missions are no longer featured in DREAM MODE.  It’s now focused on claiming bases and taking on final key rival in that map area.

You can choose from a STORY MODE, FREE PLAY MODE and ONLINE.

For STORY MODE and FREE MODE, you can access one of the many characters and play up to 10 maps plus a challenge level for each character.  The main difference between the two is that STORY MODE contains an alternate storyline with cut scenes.

At the time of this review, there aren’t many people playing ONLINE MODE at this time (for the PS3) but what is available is CO-OP PLAY and TEAM MATCH.  The benefit of co-op is that you can access high level scrolls that are not available in the offline single player version of the game.

I do feel that KOEI is taking the risk of not letting characters be available for ONLINE MODE.  You are forced to play LEGEND MODE first and literally beat the entire game before going into DREAM MODE which one can play Kenshiro.  But I do understand the reason for this is because of the STORY MODE, which feature characters that can only be featured if you beat LEGEND MODE.  So, it’s a restriction that does hurt the ONLINE mode.

It would have been nice to have two-player co-op but because of the restricti0n, it does make people focus on the single player aspect of the game much more.

Also, available is GALLERY which allows you to view artwork and movies that were saved after beating LEGENDARY MODE or STORY for DREAM MODE.  You can also access SETTINGS to change difficulty, if you want a tutorial featured during play.

Also, DOWNLOAD for DLC content is available and as of right now, the characters Amiba, Nameless Shura and Han can be downloaded for $8 each.

 

CONTROLS:

For controls, you use the L3 stick to control your character, but most of the time, you will be using SQUARE and TRIANGLE to unleash a string of combos.  CIRCLE to unleash your signature move and other buttons to dodge, taunt or grab/strike your character (which is important in facing off against stronger, same-size opponents, as you will need to do combos such as SQUARE, SQUARE, TRIANGLE, GRAB.

I felt the fighting mechanics for the second game is much better but this is subjective as some will miss the jumping ability of the first game.

While controls are fine and I rarely had problems, I did have issues with camera.    Not all the time, but a few times during a fight against a major opponent, where I try to have my character pull off a string of combos, when the opponent circles around, it becomes a first person perspective.    Granted, I could easily move out and re-position  my character but during battles where timing is important, especially vs. Raoh or Kaoh, you don’t want these camera issues to happen and affect timing.

Once again, this did not affect me too much but it did happen a few times.

GRAPHICS:

The graphics for “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ are good (don’t expect big budget graphics like “Final Fantasy” or “Mass Effect”).  But I enjoyed the character designs for this game.  The characters compliment Tetsuo Hara’s character designs from the manga and I was quite pleased to see how the emotion and violence was captured in this video game.

Because it’s based on the manga series, most are 3D based characters that are featured as still images, but there are moments when the characters are in full movement and are speaking.

For people familiar with the manga or the anime series, the series is extremely violent and bloody.  Characters are beaten, eyes are gouged out, heads explode, one scene has a character being drilled to death.  So, for “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ you expect to see characters bruised, bloody and beaten and you see that in this game.

Did I experience lag?  Just once, during a scene where there were a ton of characters, there was a slight lag and choppiness but other than that, I was quite pleased with the game because having played many other “Hokuto no Ken” games, his is the best I have seen of a game so far.

AUDIO:

“Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ was quite immersive.  Listening it on a 7.2 system, KOEI definitely let a lot of the sound effects be utilized through the surround and rear surround channels.  Dialogue was crisp and clear but probably the highlight is the voice acting.  The Japanese voice acting is fantastic.  From the emotion coming from Bat, Rin, Yuria and Mamiya, to the evil that comes from Kaoh.  I was quite pleased with the overall voice acting for the game.

With that being said, not everyone likes listening to a video game in Japanese with English subtitles.  And those who prefer it to be dubbed, like the first game, may be disappointed to find out that the game is only in Japanese with English subtitles.

REPLAY VALUE:

While I considered LEGEND MODE to be the main mode for “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″, the fact that there are over 20-characters that one can continue playing on DREAM MODE, adds to the replay value of the game.  It’s been a staple of the DYNASTY WARRIORS type games to include so many characters, that you get your money’s worth and the fact that each character have their own fighting style (and these are NOT clone characters), is a plus.  And the addition of an ONLINE MODE adds to the replay value of the game.

I was very fortunate to have grown up with “Fist of the North Star”.  The manga series that was released in the U.S. from Viz Communications and the anime series released on VHS easily made me a fan, but it was the old Streamline Pictures animated film that introduced me to “Fist of the North Star” and that was back in 1991.

I was captivated by the Mad Max storyline, a post-apocalyptic world where power rules over cash and the world turned into chaos because of it. And like many other anime/manga fans during the very early ’90s, we also played the import games and one of the first import games that I purchased was the side-scrolling game “Hokuto no Ken: Shin Seikimatsu Kyuseishu Densetsu” for the Sega Mega Drive, which I still own today.

And when I visit Japan, suffice to say, I still tend to look for anything related to “Hokuto no Ken” (First of the North Star) and another fighting series titled “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”.  And while both games have been released in arcades in Japan, I have hoped and long wished for the series to have an awesome video game release.

By 2003, with the release of the animated OVA series, “New Fist of the North Star”, I was hoping that there would be of interested in Japan for a new video game.  While there was a focus on bringing it out as a game, moreso for pachinko.

By 2008, I was excited about the release of “Hokuto no Ken: Hokuto Shinken Denshosha no Michi” for the Nintendo DS, just to find out it was a digital comic which required touching vital points.  In 2009, with the release of the animated OVA series featuring Raoh titled “Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden: Ten no Haoh”, I immediately purchased the video game which featured the characters of the OVA series and the game was a 3D fighting game, more on the “Street Fighter” side.

In 2010, I was excited to find out that KOEI would be releasing a “Dynasty Warriors” type of game but in the “Hokuto no Ken” universe and heavily inspired by the manga series.  For me, “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage” was awesome to see made for the current gen consoles, but what I wanted to see and play are the characters leading up to the final half of the series.  Kenshiro vs. Shin, Kenshiro vs. Raoh, Kenshiro vs. Kaoh, etc.

So, when I started seeing the promotional videos from Japan for “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″, I couldn’t wait!  Because the version I wanted to see and play for so long, is now here!

Before I continue with my review, I need to say that I’m not a “Dynasty Warriors” hater.  Many reviewers who dislike the game, I feel should not be reviewing it in the first place.  They score the games low, they hardly play it and every year, they talk about how the game lacks innovation and can’t understand why people play them.

I’m not that kind of reviewer.  In fact, I have owned and played many “Dynasty Warriors”, “Samurai Warriors”, “Dynasty Warriors: Gundam” games, for a variety of consoles, and I enjoy playing the Musou games.

Perhaps it was because I grew up with games such as “Final Fantasy”, “Streets of Rage” and many others were you fought the same looking characters, repeat the same moves.  I’m so used to playing Japanese RPG’s, level grinding for hours upon hours and I don’t mind it.

And while there are a niche group who will forever support these games, I know there are people who don’t and they are vocal about it in their review.

In my case, I enjoyed playing “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″.  In my opinion, this is the best game to come out featuring the characters and how awesome is it that the video game is based on the manga series.

The character design compliments Tetsuo Hara’s style, the voice acting is incredible and while the game leans more to the easier side (which can be fixed by difficulty select in the settings), the fact that Kenshiro has so many cool signature moves and find a way to defeat these herds of soldiers or psychopaths as quickly as possible is quite fun.  But what made it worth my while is the LEGEND MODE.

I realized that KOEI could have stopped anywhere after the long arc which involved Kenshiro vs. his brothers, especially Raoh.  But the story continued as it goes into the Falco storyline and just when you think that the game would end on a teaser for possibly a third “Ken’s Rage”, you are then presented a new long storyline revolving the Shura and the battle against those who possess the Hokoto Ryuken.

And just when you think the game was about to end, you are then presented with a new storyline revolving around the character of Bat.

Looking at my character profile and how long I have played, LEGEND MODE, I was near 20 hours.  Granted, probably 18 hours at the most as those extra two hours was testing interim save and having to replay a level again and finding a way to beat Kaoh underground in a sulfur pit, but playing this mode alone, I felt the game was worth the money because the interactive cut scenes based on the manga were fantastic and for any “Hokuto no Ken”/”Fist of the North Star” fans, this longer LEGEND MODE was so, worth playing!

As for the DREAM MODE, this is where I can see some players being a bit upset with.  The mission mode is no longer there, the hordes of enemies that are featured in LEGEND MODE are now broken up into 50-men armies, many characters are not available until you beat LEGEND MODE and because some people don’t want to get involved in a long storyline with long cut-scenes to access players for DREAM MODE, I can see a few frustrated gamers.  And because of the lack of players, it won’t help much with the ONLINE MODE because everyone would have to play LEGEND MODE to unlock the characters.

So, I can see the frustration for some gamers for DREAM MODE in that aspect.  But if you did beat LEGEND MODE, you realize that because the games within DREAM MODE for story relates to many characters that have yet to be opened, it makes sense why KOEI went this direction.  But it was a risk for KOEI because it does hurt gameplay for those who want to play online immediately.

As for problems, the main problems that I experienced was just camera issues for a few matches against key opponents.  The camera would switch to a first person view when fighting that it easily distracts your rhythm if you are trying to create a string of combos.  Fortunately, it happened a few times and that was it.

As for lag, I didn’t see much of it.  Only one time, where I can remember it going slow with so many things on the screen but other than that, I had no issues with the game at all.

But I think that where people may have difficulty with this game are outside of the game modes, are repetitive  gameplay and the interruption of fights against key rival characters.  Rarely do we see boss fights in a video game that stop the momentum and go into a lengthy cinematic sequence, but it does happen in LEGEND MODE a few times for a good reason.  It adds to the storyline as it was featured in the manga, especially when it focuses on the turn of the battles.  Where the opponent may be kicking Kenshiro’s butt but then all of a sudden, he finds a way to make his comeback.  This is how those fights are set up, if you manage to beat the key rival character and see their health bar decrease by a segment (which I explain above in gameplay).

In the way it was implemented, I didn’t mind so much.  Unless one was low on time and had to leave or go to sleep, I can see why some may get frustrated because you could only save after the end of a chapter and some of these chapters are long.  It would have been great if interim saves would allow for a restart where you last saved, but because of the way the game was built, it’s not possible.  That was probably the only thing that did make me frustrated, not knowing how long the chapter would be and if a save would ever come.  There were times it took a long while just to get a save point.

Graphics were good, not great but the character design compliments Tetsuo Hara’s work from the manga series.  Audio was very good as it utilized the surround channels, but another caveat for some, may be the fact that only the Japanese dialogue with English subtitles are included.  While the Japanese voice acting was fantastic, those who dislike having to read subtitles, may have a problem with this game not having an English dub.

But the positives outweighed the negative for me.  I’m an avid gamer who enjoys “Dynasty Warriors” type of games and I’m a big fan of “Hokuto no Ken”.  While, I’m not sure if “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage” will continue, especially with more stories that can be explored with “New Fist of the North Star” and “Fist of the Blue Sky”, if this is the final game in the “Ken’s Rage” series, I feel that KOEI gave “Hokuto no Ken”/”Fist of the North Star” fans a game that was exciting and a storyline that kept to the manga series with efficacy.

As for differences between the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360 version, the PS3 is not available on physical media in the U.S. but as a digital download on the PSN store, while the XBOX 360 is available in physical media.  While I did not play the XBOX 360 version, I can say that the PS3 version is over 9GB long and you will need to have at least 18GB free to install it.

People who hardly play the “Dynasty Warriors” style games, may it be “Dynasty Warriors”, “Samurai Warriors”, “Dynasty Warriors: Gundam” or even “One Piece: Pirate Wars” will always complain about repetitiveness and to tell you the truth, that has been going on since “Dynasty Warriors 2″ for the PS2.

“Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ is not perfect but by no means is it terrible.  I’ll proudly say it’s the best “Hokuto no Ken”/”Fist of the North Star” made so far.  The LEGEND MODE is a reason enough to buy this game alone and the DREAM MODE was like extra content that added to replay value and I love that.  But for those in it for the ONLINE MODE, will be disappointed and will say, do not buy this game if your priority is online gaming or online co-op.

Overall, “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2″ is a game that long time fans will be proud of. It’s a game that manages to bring Buronson and Tetsuo Hara’s popular, violent and exciting manga series to the video game world with efficacy and combining it with KOEI’s “Dynasty Warriors” style of gameplay.   Unlike the first game, these are the characters and the battles that fans want to see and play!   If you are a fan of “Dynasty Warriors” games and a big fan of the manga or anime series of “Hokuto no Ken”/”Fist of the North Star”, gives this game a chance, because I really enjoyed it!

PROS:

+ The Best “Hokuto no Ken”/”Fist of the North Star” game made so far!

+ LEGEND MODE is awesome and fans of the series will no doubt love it.  15-20 hours of gameplay for LEGEND MODE alone.

+ “Ken’s Rage 2″ features more characters that many of us have been wanting to play!

+  Fantastic voice acting!  And respectful design based on Tetsuo Hara’s manga designs.

+  Better fight mechanics than the previous game.

CONS:

– ONLINE MODE for DREAM MODE requires one to play through LEGEND MODE first.

– Camera tends to go astray a few times.

– Mission mode removed from DREAM MODE and 50-person battles per base may seem to easy.

– Some may find the halting for more cut scenes during major key opponent battles to be bothersome.

TECMO KOEI ANNOUNCES NINJA GAIDEN 3: RAZOR’S EDGE FOR PLAYSTATION 3 AND XBOX 360

February 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

New Iteration of Famous Action Series from Developer Team NINJA Is Packed with New Features, Brutally Tough Challenges, Additional Playable Characters, and Bonus Content

BURLINGAME, Calif. – FEBRUARY 6, 2013 – TECMO KOEI America today announced that NINJA GAIDEN 3: RAZOR’S EDGE, the latest chapter in the famed action series, is coming to the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. In the Team NINJA-developed title, the enigmatic warrior Ryu Hayabusa must fight to lift a curse that threatens to destroy him. NINJA GAIDEN 3: RAZOR’S EDGE features additional playable characters, a new gameplay mode, a redesigned battle system with enhanced enemy AI, a robust Ninja Skills upgrade system, expanded online features including bonus content, and a host of other features. The game is scheduled to launch both at retail and via digital download on April 2nd 2013.

“NINJA GAIDEN 3: RAZOR’S EDGE is the most action-packed and feature rich NINJA GAIDEN game ever created,” said Yosuke Hayashi, Team NINJA leader. “The brutal combat will challenge the hardest of hardcore NINJA GAIDEN fans while also rewarding them with tons of bonus content and new features including three playable female characters, new stages, and three times as many Ninja Trial missions.”

NINJA GAIDEN 3: RAZOR’S EDGE was designed from the ground up to satisfy core action fans with a redesigned battle system, improved enemy AI, greatly reduced QTE scenes, and the return of dismemberment. Even with severed arms or legs, enemies will fight on and players will find they have to change attacks on the fly to win brutally tough battles—the challenge level leaves little room for error. The Ninja Skills systems lets players use Karma earned in combat to freely purchase weapon and Ninpo upgrades, feats, and costumes. Adding to the variety of gameplay, Kasumi, Ayane, and Momiji all join Hayabusa as playable characters. Ayane will get her own chapters in story mode while all three female characters can be played in the new Chapter Challenge mode and Ninja Trials co-op play with multiple costume options.

Chapter Challenge mode is available with ten chapters including all-new Ayane stages. In this mode, players will compete for the highest score possible in each chapter of the story. Six brutal weapons are available to Hayabusa throughout the game, including the new Jinran-Maru & Blade of the Archfiend dual swords, Lunar Staff, and Kusari-gama. Additionally, Inferno, Wind Blades, and Piercing Void have been added as deadly new Ninpo. In the new Tests of Valor challenges, players who find Crystal Skulls hidden in each level will be transported to face off in skill-testing battles with familiar bosses from the NINJA GAIDEN series.

The online features in NINJA GAIDEN 3: RAZOR’S EDGE have been greatly expanded, with all the previously paid DLC from NINJA GAIDEN 3 available as a bonus. The Ninja Skills upgrade system works online to let players use Karma to purchase 64 customizable features for the Unknown Ninja used in multiplayer Clan Battles. Supporting up to eight players, five brand new Clan Battle stages have been added. Players can use all of Hayabusa’s weapons and Ninpo in Clan Battles, giving them access to their favorite methods of attack. The number of missions in Ninja Trials has been tripled to 100, and all four playable characters—Hayabusa, Ayane, Momiji, and Kasumi—can be used in this co-op mode.

For more news about Team NINJA, visit http://teamninja-studio.com, and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/teamninjastudio and follow us on Twitter @TeamNINJAStudio.

About TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP
TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. On April 1, 2009, TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD was established as a result of the TECMO, LTD. and KOEI Co., Ltd. Merger.

NINJA GAIDEN(TM) 3: Razor’s Edge (C) 2012-2013 TECMO KOEI GAMES CO., LTD. & Team NINJA. All rights reserved.

Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

TECMO KOEI AMERICA RELEASES DEAD OR ALIVE 5 ON XBOX 360 AND PLAYSTATION 3

September 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BURLINGAME, Calif. – SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 – The next evolution of the fighter has arrived! Today TECMO KOEI America announced that the hotly anticipated fighting game DEAD OR ALIVE 5 is available at retailers nationwide. Developed by Team NINJA, the intensely competitive but eminently accessible fighter is out now for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, with a GameStop-exclusive DEAD OR ALIVE 5 Collector’s Edition also available for both consoles.

DEAD OR ALIVE 5 incorporates a wealth of martial arts fighting techniques into its distinctive fighting style to create a captivating new generation of DEAD OR ALIVE combat. Players will once again take on the roles of the legendary cast of DOA fighters in an action-packed brawler set in visually striking locations from around the world. The famed DEAD OR ALIVE hand-to-hand combat unfolds in new and expansive 3D stages that dynamically change as the fight progresses.

DEAD OR ALIVE 5 also includes a wealth of new online features that offer players the best online experience of any DOA game so far. Combatants can set up and engage in online bracket-style tournaments that include up to 16 players, while the fighter list allows players to view opponents’ battle records and call them out to fight at any time. The online dojo allows players to practice and train with others, while the spectator feature lets players chat while watching online battles. Players can also rock bragging rights by posting titles and sharing fighting records with friends on Facebook.

“The release of DEAD OR ALIVE 5 puts this generation’s premier fighting game in the hands of everyone from casual brawlers to competitive fighters,” said Amos Ip, SVP and General Manager of TECMO KOEI America. “With a refined new combat system, astonishing interactive stages, innovative online options, and the most dynamic cast of beloved returning martial artists and all-new brawlers to grace a fighting game, DEAD OR ALIVE 5 is set to deliver pure fighting bliss to eager fans across the world.”

That all-star roster includes returning DOA favorites: Ayane, Bass Armstrong, Bayman, Brad Wong, Christie, Eliot, Gen Fu, Hayate, Helena Douglas, Hitomi, Jann Lee, Kasumi, Kokoro, La Mariposa, Leifang, Ryu Hayabusa, Tina Armstrong and Zack. Also in the lineup are two new contenders: Mila and Rig. Plus, a trio of guest characters from SEGA’s Virtua Fighter – Akira Yuki, Pai Chan and Sarah Bryant! Each of these new and returning fighters represent the best-looking and most detailed characters in a DOA game to date, with true-to-life movement, expressive emotions, and realistic reactions to the environment. Beads of sweat will trickle down fatigued faces, breathing becomes heavy as a fight wears on, and environmental grime will stick to the sensual and burly bodies of the entire DOA cast.

DEAD OR ALIVE 5 is ESRB rated “M” (Mature) and is available for an MSRP of $59.99 for the regular edition and $79.99 for the Collector’s Edition. Available exclusively at GameStop, the Collector’s Edition pulls out all the stops to provide a rich package of physical and in-game items for fans, all enclosed in a sleek embossed keepsake steel case.  DEAD OR ALIVE 5 was developed by Team NINJA and published by Tecmo Koei America.

To access the DEAD OR ALIVE 5 launch trailer, visit:

https://www.box.com/s/l3r5pjfin9boztsg23n6

For screenshots, artwork and other key assets and info, visit:

https://www.box.com/s/98r6jf9x5gqe9unu5fuq

For more news about Team NINJA, visit www.teamninja-studio.com, and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/teamninjastudio and follow us on Twitter @TeamNINJAStudio.

About TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP:
TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. On April 1, 2009, TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD was established as a result of the TECMO, LTD. and KOEI Co., Ltd. merger.

“DEADLIEST WARRIOR: ANCIENT COMBAT” AVAILABLE NOW IN NORTH AMERICA

April 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

345 Games’ Retail Compilation of Downloadable Xbox LIVE®Arcade/PlayStation®Network Titles “Deadliest Warrior: The Game” and “Deadliest Warrior: Legends” is On Shelves Now

New York, NY – April 17, 2012 – “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat,” the retail compilation of “Deadliest Warrior: The Game” and “Deadliest Warrior: Legends,” is available now at North American retailers for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.  The disc-based game/TV show hybrid, based on the successful multi-platform Spike TV series “Deadliest Warrior” that pits two of the most feared warriors history has ever known against each other in a battle to the death, contains 30 new weapons, a brand new arena and episodes of the popular show exclusive to the game.  Also, gamers who preordered “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat” at GameStop before April 17, 2012, will receive an exclusive DVD featuring additional never-before-released episodes of the hit show.

The players themselves will get to answer the question of “Who is the deadliest?” as they can take control of history’s most brutal warriors, choose a weapon, and then apply their own skills to answer that question on their terms.

“Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat” combines the wildly popular downloadable console games, “Deadliest Warrior: The Game” and “DeadliestWarrior: Legends,” in addition to all downloadable content packs, an exclusive new level, 30 new weapons and exclusive TV show content.  Fans of the show will be treated to never-before-released episodes from all three seasons.

Notable features include:

·         The brand new “Graveyard” arena exclusive to “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat”

·         30 new weapons, including a “Lockbar Axe” for William Wallace, the “Monk’s Spade” for Sun Tzu and a “Tsonga Battle Axe” for Shaka Zulu

·         Both digital titles and all DLC included for only $29.99

·         Cross-play with consumers of the original digitally-distributed titles

·         Hidden zombie mode allows players to keep on fighting even headless, armless and torso-less

·         Never-before-released episodes of the show exclusive to “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat”

Do you have what it takes to be the “Deadliest Warrior”? Rated ‘M’ for Mature by the ESRB, “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat” is available today with a $29.99 MSRP at North American retailers everywhere. For more information about “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat” please visit deadliestwarrior.spike.com or follow the game on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deadliestwarrior.

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ABOUT 345 GAMES

345 Games, the video game arm of COMEDY CENTRAL and Spike TV, develops products based on the MTV Networks Entertainment Group’s franchises and brands.   The first two titles to be released under this label included COMEDY CENTRAL’s hit animated show “Ugly Americans” and Spike TV’s successful multi-platform series “Deadliest Warrior.”

ABOUT DEADLIEST WARRIOR

Each week on Spike TV’s “Deadliest Warrior,” episodes pit two of the most feared warriors civilization has ever known against each other. Along with the use of 21st century science and the latest in CGI technology, each episode enlists warrior-specific world-class fighters and experts to provide insight into what makes these combatants tick, analyzing every facet of their unique skills of destruction, culminating in a head-to-head final fight between two legends of the battlefield that will produce the deadliest warrior. Highly-lauded showdowns include: Joan of Arc vs. William the Conqueror, Saddam Hussein vs. Pol Pot, Hannibal vs. Genghis Khan, US Army Rangers vs. North Korean Special Operations Force. Check out “Deadliest Warrior” on Facebook

Resident Evil 4 Now Available for Download

September 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Beginning today, Resident Evil 4 is available for download on PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Games on Demand. This release marks the first time that the beloved game will be available in HD. Resident Evil 4 features upgraded visuals and support for Trophies and Achievements.

One of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, Resident Evil 4 catapulted the series in a new direction, with a strong focus on all-out action as Leon S. Kennedy battled hordes of cultists, mutants and mind-controlled villagers. Now available for the first time on PS3 and Xbox 360, the release also contains all the bonus content available in previous versions of the game, including the Separate Ways epilogue.

Resident Evil 4  is rated “M for Mature” by the ESRB and is available for purchase for $19.99 or 1600 Microsoft points. For assets including the brand new launch trailer, please visit the Capcom Press site at press.capcom.com. For more information on Resident Evil 4, please visit http://www.capcom-unity.com or http://www.residentevil.com/rehd/.

505 GAMES DELIVERS THE ULTIMATE GREASE™ SINGING AND DANCING EXPERIENCE FOR KINECT™ FOR XBOX 360 AND PLAYSTATION®MOVE FOR PLAYSTATION®3 SYSTEM

September 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Relive the Movie’s Legendary Songs and Choreography Re-Imagined for Today’s Generation Featuring Motion-Controlled Technology

Woodland Hills, CA – September 13, 2011 – It’s the one that you want!  Global video game publisher 505 Games announced today that this fall they are releasing the ultimate singing and dancing Grease™ experience for both Kinect™ for Xbox 360® and PlayStation®Move for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.

Grease delivers the movie’s signature choreography and legendary songs combined with today’s motion-sensor technology so fans can dance and sing along to their favorite Grease tunes including iconic anthems like “You’re the One That I Want”, “Greased Lightning” and  “Summer Nights.” Grease allows players to sing or dance as a solo act, in a duet or four players can team up to sing and dance together for a sensational musical performance.

Grease key features include:

SING!: The game features 15 song compositions from the original film and 5 bonus classic rock ‘n’ roll tracks.
DANCE!: Hours of fun with rock ‘n’ roll routines from the movie, including duet choreography and freestyle sections where players can express their individuality and dance for increased points.
GAMEPLAY MODES: Game includes Dance Mode and Karaoke Mode with both featuring versus and co-operative play.
COOPERATIVE GAMEPLAY: Up to eight-players can compete in Party Mode — two teams of four players consisting of 2 dancers and 2 singers at any one time.
Developed by Zoe Mode and published by 505 Games under license from Paramount Digital Entertainment, with officially licensed song compositions and timeless choreography from the movie, Grease provides an interactive social singing and dancing experience where players can turn up their style and release their inner rock ‘n roller.

Grease for Kinect for Xbox 360 and PlayStation Move for PS3™ is rated “T” for Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and will launch in North America on October 25 and worldwide on November 4. For more information about Grease please visit www.greasethegame.com

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About 505 Games
Based in Los Angeles, CA, 505 Games (U.S.) is the North American division of 505 Games, a global videogame publisher. Launched in the U.S. in 2008, 505 Games publishes quality interactive entertainment on all handheld, mobile and console gaming platforms, offering a broad selection of videogame titles in all genres for players of all ages. For more information on 505 Games and its products please visit www.505games.com.

About Zoë Mode
Zoë Mode makes games that are accessible; simple, social, games that are effortlessly fun but don’t take themselves too seriously.  Based in Brighton, London and San Francisco, its diverse work force is unified by its attitude to gaming. Zoë Mode believes that games are powerful ways of bringing people together and having fun and that there’s more to life than gaming, but that gaming can make life better; and strongly believes that there is a game for everyone. Zoë Mode is part of Kuju Entertainment Limited.

Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE are either registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

UTV IGNITION GAMES RELEASES EL SHADDAI: ASCENSION OF THE METATRON DEMO FOR XBOX 360® AND PLAYSTATION®3 SYSTEM

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles – Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) Booth #5500 – June 7, 2011- UTV Ignition Games today announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) that a playable demo for the stunning upcoming action title, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, is now available for download on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PlayStation® Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.  The demo, which is the same version playable on the show floor at E3 this week, allows players to bring the thrill of the ultimate video game expo into their own homes and get their hands on El Shaddai before it streets on July 26 [US].

In the demo, players jump right into the game’s third chapter where protagonist Enoch enters the Tower of Babel and faces Ezekiel, the first of seven Fallen Angels whose souls he must capture in order to prevent a great flood ordered by Heaven.  In this level of the tower, designed by Ezekiel to express her obsession with nature, players will be immersed in an element-inspired, gorgeous and constantly moving watercolor world, and must traverse the level’s fantastical 2D and 3D platforming segments.  Additionally, they will be introduced to some of the game’s key characters, get a further glimpse into the rich storyline and experience the simple, yet surprisingly deep combat system that will appeal to gamers on every level.

Developed by a hugely-talented, Tokyo-based team headed by the legendary Sawaki Takeyasu (Devil May Cry), El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron draws players into a rich storyline inspired by events in the Old Testament’s apocryphal ‘Book of Enoch.’ In the game, players take on the role of Enoch and must harness his natural combat skills to master a range of powerful and Heavenly weapons under the guidance of the watchful Archangels. Through a mesmerizing combination of combat, 2D and 3D platforming, Enoch must deliver the souls of the Fallen Angels and spare the world from a great flood ordered by Heaven.

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron will be showcased at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo on the show floor at Ignition’s booth: 5500 in the West Hall.

About UTV Ignition Games Ltd.
UTV Ignition Games is a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Software Communication Ltd, India’s only global media and entertainment conglomerate. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in the U.K. with offices in Marina Del Rey, California, Austin, Texas and Tokyo, Japan. For more information on Ignition and its products, visit http://www.utvignition.com

About UTV Software Communications LTD:
UTV Software Communications Limited is India’s leading global integrated media house with business interests in Television, Movies, Broadcasting, Games Content and New Media. UTV India & its subsidiaries (UTV) create, aggregate and disseminate content of various genres across varied distribution platforms. Listed on India’s premier stock exchange, The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Mumbai UTV is India’s only diversified media and Entertainment Company with content creation abilities across platforms and genres. It has subsidiaries with offices across India, UK, USA and Japan. The Walt Disney Company holds a strategic stake in UTV.

Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox Live are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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