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PS3 Fanboy reviews: Go! Sports Ski

Go! Sports Ski is the latest title from Sony in their casual Go! series of downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, following the Go! Puzzle pack released earlier this year. Dubbed a 'ski simulator' by Sony, Go! Sports Ski offers the usual bundle of features for most of Sony's PSN offerings -- including 1080p support, online leaderboards, and a cheap price (a mere $2.99).

What sets Go! Sports Ski apart from many of the other recent titles is fairly robust online multiplayer support. The game has several different online gameplay modes, including time trials, battle runs and slaloms -- as well as the ability to download the ghosts of the top players in the world. Once you've downloaded the ghosts you can either watch them for tips or compete directly with them in the single-player game. It's a nice little inclusion and I hope that Sony starts offering this level of online multiplayer support for all of their upcoming PSN titles.

Go! Sports Ski's real hook though is that it is controlled exclusively by the Sixaxis motion controls. Yes, like Lair and Super Rub-a-Dub, you control your character entirely via tilting the controller around -- the surprising thing is that it actually works pretty darn well. To move your skier forward, you tilt the controller forward. To turn your character to the right, you tilt the controller to the right. To do a sharp turn, you tilt the controller in the direction you want to turn and tilt it back at the same time. To jump, you simply jump the controller up quickly. While there is a bit of a learning curve (like all motion controlled games), it only takes a couple runs to get comfortable with the controls -- and once you do, you'll be surprised at the precision that is possible with it.

Gallery: Go! Sports Ski

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PS3 Fanboy review: Heavenly Sword

    Sony has recently started up their holiday blitz by releasing three highly anticipated games for the PlayStation 3; Warhawk, Lair, and Heavenly Sword. While Warhawk was released to almost universal praise, Lair was largely met with torches and pitchforks. So where does Heavenly Sword fall? Does it achieve the soaring greatness of Warhawk or is it doomed to languish in the used sales bin at your local videogame store like Lair?

    Gallery: Heavenly Sword

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    PS3 Fanboy review: Lair

    While Colin gets the delightful task of reviewing Warhawk (9.0), I'm left with the arduous burden of reviewing Lair, one of PS3's most hyped and anticipated games. What could possibly go wrong with a game where dragons fly around, killing each other? With stunning graphics, incredible production values, and dragons, Lair easily had a ton of potential. However, it all goes to waste through unresponsive controls and flawed level design.

    As any Gamecube owner knows, Factor 5 is a team comprised of technical wizards. Their previous Rogue Squadron games pulled off graphical techniques on Nintendo's last generation machine that most Wii games still don't take advantage of. Factor 5 managed to rip out the most celebrated moments of the Star Wars films and make a captivating series that delivered action faithful to its inspiration. So, why does Lair feel like a retread from Factor 5's previous games?

    Gallery: Lair

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    PS3 Fanboy review: Warhawk

    Warhawk has gone through a rather bumpy development cycle. Originally slated to be an epic single player game with a strong multiplayer component, rumors started circulating earlier this year that Incognito was experiencing development problems and were unhappy with the single player portion of the game. The murmurings turned out to be true, with Sony confirming just a couple of weeks later that Warhawk had officially become a multiplayer-only PlayStation Store title and that the single player portion of the game had been dropped.

    Though a lot of people took this announcement as a portent of doom for Warhawk (dropping half your game so late in development is never a good sign), a highly successful beta during the summer was able to garner a quite a bit of positive press for the game. This combined with some glowing previews made the public suddenly a lot more interested in Incognito's foray into online warfare. So did they pull it off?

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: Warhawk

    PS3 Fanboy review: Piyotama

    Piyotama is the most recent original title from Sony to hit the PlayStation Store, and unlike the most recent offerings, it's actually not a dual-analog shooter. Instead, Piyotama is a puzzler somewhat along the lines of Bejeweled, where you are tasked with matching up eggs of the same color for mama Piyo (a large chicken with a seemingly endless supply of eggs).

    On paper, the title offers a lot. You have a bargain-bin price of $2.99, attractive and well done graphics with 1080p support, online leaderboards and decent Sixaxis support. Unfortunately, when you fire up the game you realize that it's not enough, the one thing Sony forgot in to put in is decent gameplay that rewards skill. Hit the jump to find out what went wrong.

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: Piyotama

    PS3 Fanboy review: Nucleus

    Hot on the heels of the critically acclaimed dual-analogue shooter, Super Stardust HD comes another game trying to steal its crown. Nucleus was released a few weeks after SSHD, sneaking into the PlayStation Store with all of Sony's E3 goodies. Nucleus is another game, like SSHD, that fits in the "we never saw it coming" category. With no hype and a covert release during a week when everyone was busy talking about E3, is it any wonder we've heard so little about this game? Or is it really just so darn awful that people have nothing to say about it? We've got the answer for you after the jump.

    Gallery: Nucleus

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    Retro Review: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

    File Size: 356 MB
    Price: $9.99
    Developed By: Konami
    Published By: Konami
    Original Release Date: October 2, 1997

    Short Review

    One of the most frequently requested PS1 titles finally hits the PlayStation Store, with Konami releasing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The title holds its age remarkably well and clearly shows why it is considered one of the finest titles of the original PlayStation era. The graphics look surprisingly sharp and colorful on the PSP and hold up nicely even when displayed on a 52" HD TV via the PS3. The gameplay is the real selling point here though, as you romp through a fairly non-linear castle, with a full RPG-like leveling system, magic, special moves and colorful monsters, the lengthy campaign is well worth paying the higher-than-normal cost of this retro title. Overall, Castlevania: SotN is a fantastic addition to the PlayStation Store's lineup and should not be miss by any Castlevania or 2D platformer fans.

    Full Review after the jump.

    Continue reading Retro Review: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

    PS Fanboy review: Ninja Gaiden Sigma

    A lot of people give Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Team Ninja as a whole a lot of heat because they keep recycling the same game over and over. This review isn't about that, and here's why. I am a PlayStation fanboy. Before I grabbed onto my PS One back in late '95 or whenever, I had mostly stuck to Sega and Nintendo consoles and aside from the Wii, still do. Never has my wallet coughed up the cash for a Microsoft system -- this isn't meant as flame, but a setup to this review. I've played neither Ninja Gaiden nor Ninja Gaiden Black. That's what you're going to get in this review: the viewpoint from someone who has never played the games, but recognizes the basic structure is from years ago. This begs the question: is Ninja Gaiden Sigma a must-have for all gamers, or just PlayStation fanboys who've never experienced the game before? Read on and we'll get you your answer.

    Continue reading PS Fanboy review: Ninja Gaiden Sigma

    PS3 Fanboy review: The Darkness

    Starbreeze's Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was one of those titles that you really, really should have played. The critically acclaimed game was known for its incredible graphics, atmospheric story and brutal, violent gameplay but was largely ignored by gamers who wrote it off as another cheap movie tie-in or were distracted by Half-Life 2 and Doom 3, both of which had just been released. It's a shame though, because Riddick easily held its own against both of those titles and is considered by many people to be the best FPS of 2004. And now, three years later, Starbreeze has done it again with their latest effort, The Darkness. Though only a little more than half-way through the year, The Darkness is an early runner for best FPS of 2007. A fantastic amalgamation of tight gameplay, mature storytelling and excellent graphics, the title is an absolute must-buy and is an instant classic.

    Based on Top Cow's long running comic series of the same name, the story revolves around an anti-hero by the name of Jackie Estacado. Adopted by a mafia Don when a child, Jackie was raised to be the perfect hitman and enforcer for the mob. Things were going swimmingly until his 21st birthday when a strange and evil power within him called the Darkness is awoken. Older than time, this menavolent entity gives its host incredible powers and protection -- but nothing in this world is free and Jackie is about to find out what the cost of ultimate power is ...

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: The Darkness

    PS3 Fanboy review: Rainbow Six: Vegas [Update]

    After much delay, PS3 owners are finally able to taste the dish Ubisoft first baked for Xbox 360 owners back in mid-November. Has the extra six months in the Ubi incubator, provided PS3 gamers with a far superior version? Does the PS3 version blow its Xbox cousin out of the water? Does the PS3 rendition give you superhuman powers?

    Rainbow Six: Vegas weaves an interesting-enough plotline, centering around southern boy Logan Keller, a recent rising star amongst the ranks of the Rainbow team and whose face you'll become intimately familiar with as you duck him behind crates or crane his neck around doorways to spot and eliminate bad guys. One of our hero's first missions starts the Rainbow team off in Mexico, where you're being sent to eliminate a terrorist threat led by international terrorist Irena Morales. The game's plot is riddled with conspiracy-a-plenty, taking twists and turns while leading the Rainbow team to locales like Mexico, Vegas (of course) and later, an expansive hydroelectric dam.

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: Rainbow Six: Vegas [Update]

    PS3 Fanboy review: Super Stardust HD

    There have been many dual-analog space shooters in the past. Geometry Wars popularized the genre on Xbox, and Sony attempted a similar effort with Blast Factor. What makes the newly released Super Stardust HD so much better than its genre predecessors? It's easy to see, literally. Super Stardust HD looks eons better than any of its competitors. But, not only does it feature good looks ... it features easy-to-understand gameplay and a great deal of subtle complexity that will appeal to casual and hardcore gamers alike.

    The basic concept of the game is simple. You control a spaceship with an infinite supply of destructive capabilities. The left analog stick controls movement of the ship, while the right analog stick controls the direction of your weapon. Using swift maneuvering and careful aim, players will have to destroy a seemingly endless onslaught of meteors and alien space craft.

    Meteors will fall towards a planet, and players will have to traverse the globe, trying to defend the planet. Each Armageddon-sized rock will splinter into smaller pieces of debris in a beautiful and chaotic spectacle. As players progress through the various stages, an even greater amount of objects will fall from the sky, providing players will a daunting challenge that borders on the insurmountable. Thankfully, players have a number of tools at their disposal.

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: Super Stardust HD

    New Folklore demo is great - let us tell you why

    Those lucky Japanese will be getting their release of FolksSoul (FolkLore, to us English speakers) in three weeks. Because of this, the Japanese PlayStation store has been updated with a new demo of the game. We've played it. Twice. You should too. Click here if you need help setting up a Japanese PSN account. Got it all set up, and started downloading? Then read on after the jump to find out exactly what you'll be playing once that gigabyte demo lands on your PS3.

    Continue reading New Folklore demo is great - let us tell you why

    Metareview + Our Take: Mortal Kombat II

    Today gives us the opportunity to look at the reviews given to the PS Store's downloadable Mortal Kombat II. Before we get into our impressions, we'll do as we always do and cite the big-name review sites. Their scores for this game were surprising. There aren't too many reviews on the game, though. Without further ado, here are some of the scores given to MKII.

    • IGN: 7.3 / 10
    • GameSpot: 7.9 / 10

    What we noticed in these reviews is that the reviewers didn't actually review the title as what it is, rather, as what it was. "Oh, this game was great in 1993!" were slapped over both reviews, listing what the game offered back then and how it still does all those things. What our impressions were entailed how that doesn't matter two kicks of the donkey -- the game as it is now really sucks. Read on to listen to our reasoning, or just flame away for no reason now.

    Continue reading Metareview + Our Take: Mortal Kombat II

    Initial Review Roundup - Calling All Cars!

    After delay after delay, Calling all Cars! has finally gone gold and the initial rounds of reviews have started to trickle in. Gamespot, 1up, and IGN have all weighed in on David Jaffe's 'casual' follow-up to God of War, and the response has been... interesting.
    • IGN gave it an 8.5, stating that "Calling All Cars is Sony's first truly original, must-have title on the PlayStation Network, and it bests just about everything there is to be found on Microsoft's online arcade center."
    • 1up gave it an 8.0, calling it "a chaotic successor to the likes of R.C. Pro-Am and Super Off Road that's easy on the wallet, and it's also among the best examples of how the concept of downloadable content should be used."
    And then there's Gamespot.
    • Gamespot gave it a 6.7. They said it was a "frantic good time that's cut short by a serious lack of content." They dinged the gameplay for being too random and luck based, and practically rioted over the inclusion of only four maps, saying "that it feels more like a demo than a full game."
    As you can see, there is some interesting contrast in reviews between the 'big three' gaming sites. Unfortunately, we cannot really give a rebuttal at this point, since us mere mortals will not be able to get our grubby little hands onto it until next Thursday.

    Conveniently though, David Jaffe has posted a rebuttal for us! It is a surprisingly thoughtful critique of the Gamespot review and game reviewers in general. Check it out, I highly recommend it:

    (P.S.: First post!)

    Awesome Alone in the Dark trailer, nuff said [update]

    It's time for another flowery post on a game that I'm personally excited about. We're talking about Alone in the Dark -- headed to the PS3, 360, and PC "later this year". We've talked about it a few times before, but we haven't had anything really exciting to show you other than our fantastic mad writing skillz. The "z" makes them more extreme... or X-treme, as the case may be. Now things are changing -- we've got a trailer for you to download and it's pretty excellent (you'll have to click the "launch player" button on the right of the website).

    It starts off with a "everything you see is real-time gameplay footage" disclaimer which makes the following scenes all the more impressive. Taking place around events focusing on the pseudo-mystery of Central Park in New York City, something supernatural is out to get you! Whatever... the trailer does a much better job of setting the story up. Anything that gets an insane choir singing in some other language (reminded me a little of the Ghost in the Shell movies/series... and a bit of Suikoden III's opening) is going to get gamers pumped. Let us know what you think.

    [update: apparently the trailer is really old, but it doesn't change the fact that it's cool, right?]

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