FanBolt Gaming Digital Magazine
July 2012 - Special Edition
Voted “Most Anticipated Game” and “Best Game At E3 2012” By The FanBolt Gaming Staff FanBolt Gaming’s Complete E3 2012 Awards Spec Ops: The Line Review Interview With Shin’en Multimedia
July 2012 Special Edition
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DiRT Showdown Review - Page 4 Order Up!! Review - Page 6 Interview With Shin’en Multimedia - Page 8 Nintendo’s Post-E3 2012 Parade - Page 10 Crysis 3 Impressions - Page 11 Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Impressions - Page 12 Ten 3DS eShop Games To Look Forward To - Page 14 Max Payne 3 Review - Page 16 Sorcery Review - Page 18 FanBolt Gaming’s Complete E3 2012 Awards - Page 20 Spec Ops: The Line Review - Page 24
to the unveiling of our inaugural edition of the FanBolt Gaming Digital Magazine! With a strong background in the building of online magazines, writing and gaming, it was only a matter of time before I merged these passions. I also have the good fortune to collaborate with a great team of talented and dedicated writers here at FanBolt and I am proud to be working with them – Shout out to Carlos, Max, Greg and Bill – Awesome job, guys! I can say wholeheartedly that this project has been an absolute blast to put together! We have many hopes for the success of this digital magazine and we look forward to continuing its improvement as time goes on. I’m very happy with this month’s finished product and I hope you will be too. If you like what we have as a kick-starter and look forward to seeing us evolve, please share this with anyone and everyone you know! Constructive criticism is always welcome, so please send us your thoughts and opinions. In turn, we will do our best to meet your expectations as we develop the August 2012 issue. Thank you for reading! Publisher & Creator Andrew Stevens Page 2
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Voted “Biggest Surprise”,
“Best Gameplay Footage” and “Best Action/Adventure Game” By The FanBolt Gaming Staff
DiRT Showdown Review: A Smashing Good Time By Andrew Stevens DiRT Showdown PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Codemasters Racing Racing DiRT Showdown is a fun, intense and very damaging racing title. Damaging due to the amount of abuse you will take and inflict on your opponents. This game is more of a survival racing title with a lot of different types of gameplay modes. But these modes have little to do with racing and more to do with survival and inflicting damage. Motorized mayhem is what this game stands for and it certainly delivers on that!
that is built for intense action and that is exactly what this game delivers. I should quickly say that if you are into racing titles purely for racing only, then you might not enjoy this game so much. It has you going through a lot more of these obstacles or challenges rather than actual racing. There is still plenty of racing though and it’s still a lot of fun on each one of the tracks featured in this game. Plus, if you are a fan of online play you will be able to select just to race online instead of playing any of the other modes. Each mode can also be pretty challenging, especially the further along in the championships that you get. I struggled the most with a mode called Smash Hunter, this is a mode where you smash different colored blocks that are laid out on an open course. Now if you go slow, you can easily smash through all the blocks with no issue. It is when you go fast that it becomes challenging and a bit difficult. Plus, it’s the fastest time that wins. If you miss a colored block, you can’t smash into the other colored blocks to move on until you go back and smash the correct colored block first, otherwise you disqualify.
DiRT Showdown takes you on a Showdown Tour that features 4 stages of championships to compete in, each with multiple events that lead you all the way to the finals of that championship stage. DiRT Showdown isn’t all about racing, in fact you will be spending more time in events that involve doing tricks, trying to destroy other vehicles, trying to knock vehicles off a platform, and trying to survive as long as possible against numerous cars that are out to get you. That just begins to describe the motor mayhem that DiRT Showdown unleashes. When you do have your regular races, it is sometimes just about racing while other times it’s about dominating each sector of each track. However, you will also be involved in 8 ball racing which is a track that is built for maximum wrecks that has areas with “crossover” sections. You are never safe in first place on an 8 ball race.
Speaking of online play - It is set up very nicely and easily for you to navigate your way through. It has both solo and team play. Whether you choose solo or team, you will then be given a choice of what type of events you would like to play online. So, as I said, you can simply pick just the racing game modes or you can choose demolition. They also have an everything option and a party option to choose from. I can see a lot of people enjoying the online features that this game brings. I loved each online event I participated in, especially the grab and capture team play. Any game type that you can play on with a team, especially if it is a team of friends - will be a lot of fun for you.
I must say that I have had a lot of fun playing DiRT Showdown. I always have a good time in a racing game Page 4
DiRT Showdown doesn’t end with the Showdown Tour and online play. There is also a joy ride mode where you are free to drive in an area that is full of hidden items to collect and maneuvers to perform. If you like to drive around a somewhat closed in area and collect numerous items that have been hidden throughout the area, then
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there is some fun that you can have here as well. Not only is it about finding those items, but they have missions available for you as well. However, these missions are just for going to a spot, performing a trick and then move on to the next mission. It’s still easy to get caught up in the joyride mode, but it’s only there to give you a little something extra to play. There are plenty of events to be won, cash to earn and vehicles to unlock in DiRT Showdown. Each game type has its own selection of vehicles that you can choose from to use. There are only 30 vehicles in total in this game, but each comes with multiple “skins” for you to select from. Some vehicles have a set ability while other vehicles allow you to spend your earnings and upgrade your vehicles. Each vehicle is built for power, strength and handling. Those are the three key attributes of every car and, depending on the game type; you will certainly want a lot of power and strength. One more feature to make note of is Racenet. One of the things that Racenet allows you to do is view your progress online. It also keeps track of every time and score that you’ve achieved with each event. So if you go online to view your records, you will be able to see your score along with the community best score. Now, some people out there have some pretty magnificent scores, thankfully it shows your friends top scores as well so that you only have to worry about beating their times or scores instead of the entire population of Racenet. Another nice feature about racenet is that they do events for you to participate in by downloading them. After that you can give it your best shot and see where you stand in the community. DiRT Showdown is a lot of fun for the person who enjoys a wild drive. There is even enough here for those who enjoy just the regular racing modes. However, you will still have to deal with all of the other modes and there might not be enough for you if the only thing you want to do is race. For those who are up for a smashing good time as well, then you will have it all available to you in this title. DiRT Showdown is a lot of fun and the gameplay handles very well. You can even upload your favorite replays to YouTube if you wish. You can also find your overall driver statistics in the extras for those of you who like to look at such numbers - like I do. It might not be the prettiest title out there, but it’s simple and fun. It also has a decent, fast paced and catchy soundtrack to listen to throughout. However, you will notice a bit of a load time during the game as you make your way from one event to the next. Another issue I take with it is that there is no easy access leaderboards to compare your time or score to. I want to know where I stand compared to everyone playing the game and not just to my friends or those who are first overall. There is nothing that sends this game over the top or that makes it a must own. It’s simply a solid all around game that can keep people happy for awhile July 2012 Special Edition
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Order Up!! Review By Greg Wiggleton
Did you ever dream of becoming a chef one day? Well, Order Up!! for the Nintendo 3DS eShop can help you live out your fantasy of cooking meals for others. While it may not be the first cooking simulation game, it is certainly one of the better ones. This happens to also be one of the first retail games to hit the Nintendo 3DS eShop, as technically the European version was released already at retail. The game begins with your chef character at a simple hamburger fast food chain. It is here where the tutorial shows you the ropes of how to cook and serve basic meals. You don’t stay here for too long as you will soon find yourself opening up your first restaurant. It’s from here where the real game begins. It’s your goal to get 5 stars for every one of your restaurants, and once you do that, you can continue on to unlock more restaurants to master. Each restaurant has its own theme, such as the Mexican restaurant or the Japanese Steakhouse restaurant. To maximize your restaurant’s potential, you will need to buy extra meal plans to serve and impress the local food critic. The more stars your restaurant has, the more people that will come to your restaurant to feast on your food. Almost everything you do in this game is done with the touch screen, even cooking the meals and other mini games. Each meal you need to cook is broken up into three or more parts with each part requiring a certain action to prepare it. For example, some veggies require you to slice them up by repeatedly sliding your stylus up and down until they are done. Others require you to stir a pot in order to keep them from over cooking. To do each part to perfection, you will need to slice or peal the ingredients correctly and keep an eye on your pots and pans to make sure your food isn’t over heating, otherwise you will have to deal with a fire.
some having advantages over others. For example, some assistants turn out better meals you assign them when it involves cutting while others do better with grilled food. You will need to make sure not to over work your assistants; otherwise they might fall asleep on the job. The game has a simple look to it, but it is also a very charming one. There is no need to worry for those of you that love the 3D effect as this game presents you with some pretty good 3D effects. I found myself enjoying the 3D aspect of the game. With an odd sort of characters, this is really an entertaining package. The characters presented are somewhat stereotypical, but the game aims to be funny with its choice of odd characters. From your customers to your assistants, you will find yourself amused with their quick one-liners as you serve them food. The voice acting and the background music really tends to bring the game to life. While this game has a lot going for it, there are a few small issues with it. A very small issue deals with the loading time in-between sections of the game. Usually these are just around 20 seconds, but the main issue with it is that you do tend to hit these a bit often as you go into a restaurant for the day or travel around the world map. Another issue deals with going between the different cooking stations. You use the d-pad or ABXY buttons to go between the different stations. Sometimes this doesn’t feel as responsive as it should be. You might end up over shooting a station and having to redo a portion of a meal because of this. Lastly, another slight issue deals with cooking different meals and once you complete a meal. Once a meal is completed, a little animation will pop up and show you the completed meal. This tends to get in the way sometimes when you’re in a rush to complete other meals. These are all just minor complaints, and don’t really interfere with the game that much other than them being minor annoyances. This is a game that is hard to put down in the end. There is plenty of depth and length to this game to keep you coming back for more. Even after you five star every restaurant, there is still more do with unlocking more meals and other tasks to perform. Order Up!! for the Nintendo 3DS eShop is both fun to play and enjoyable with its quaint use of characters that seem to come to life as you play.
Like any good chef, you will be able to hire up to two assistants that will help you out in the kitchen. There are a variety of different assistants to choose from, with Page 6
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Interview With Shin’en Multimedia Shin’en Multimedia made its name with their visually and aurally stunning shooter franchises Iridion and Nanostray on the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS respectively. With the advent of digital distribution, they’ve had several smash hits on WiiWare and eShop with the likes of Art of Balance and Fun! Fun! Minigolf. But they haven’t forgotten what made them famous in the first place- delivering unbelievable visuals and polished gameplay under WiiWare’s harsh space constraints with Jett Rocket and FAST: Racing League. Manfred Linzner, the CEO of Shin’en graciously took the time to talk to us about their recent successes, digital distribution, space management, and what they’ve got lined up for the 3DS and the launch of WiiU. -Maxwell Marshall First and foremost, we’d like to congratulate you on the critical success of Art of Balance: Touch! We here at FanBolt loved the game, scoring it at a 9.5/10. What does it mean to the team to release a game that is so well received? Manfred Linzner: We are all avid gamers at Shin’en, so we really try to go that extra mile to make all of our releases stand out among gamers. If we then read that fans and the press love a production that took us a lot of time and effort, then we are more than happy.
recent additions of WiiWare and the eShop made it easy for us to stay with Nintendo. Recently Shin’en has made a habit of bringing its WiiWare franchises to the eShop, with Art of Balance and Fun! Fun! Minigolf already dropping on the platform. We know that a new Jett Rocket game is in the works, so that leaves FAST: Racing League- a criminally underrated and underplayed game. Any plans to bring it to the eShop as well? Manfred Linzner: We also think FAST deserves a broader audience. It was released very late on WiiWare and, although we topped the charts, we think a 3DS or WiiU sequel would be a great way to let more people experience the unique gameplay of FAST. For Jett Rocket, we already have a brand new game coming to the eShop. Currently we are at work on our first WiiU download game. After that we will decide what comes next.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen Shin’en make the move from retail to mostly digital distribution. Unlike other independent developers, it seems like Majesco has always had Shin’en’s back, so getting published was not really an issue. How has Shin’en benefited from the switch to digital? Manfred Linzner: We released 6 downloadable games in 4 years, with two more to come this year. This is only possible because digital game releases give us complete freedom. Of course they also mean a 100% risk on our investment, but as we believe that high quality games will always have an appeal to gamers, we go that way. We didn’t abandon retail but we really enjoy being able to just start a game, finish it, and simply release it a few weeks later. With other big avenues for digital distribution like Steam and the App Store, what has kept Shin’en developing exclusively for Nintendo platforms this generation? Manfred Linzner: Well, we have developed for Nintendo platforms for over 13 years. This is something you don’t change easily. Nintendo always amazes people with new ideas in software and hardware, and we quite like being a part of that. Of course, in the end we need to be able to have a healthy business running, but the Page 8
Details about Jett Rocket: Super Surf has been scarce since it was announced late last year. We know that the game is going to retain its identity as a platformer, but how is going to differ from the WiiWare title? Is it a sequel, a spinoff, or some combination of the two? Manfred Linzner: In terms of gameplay it’s more of a spinoff. The game has now much more action and challenge than the WiiWare game, which was more about exploration and puzzles. Has the team locked down a release window for the game yet? When can we expect to have the gorgeous 3D platforming in our hands? Manfred Linzner: We plan to release the game in Q4/2012 or Q1/2013. Jett Rocket was one of the most visually stunning
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games on WiiWare, especially given the size limitations. How did the team manage to cram such high quality visuals into such a tiny package? Manfred Linzner: Jett Rocket was planned from the start to fit into 40Mb but, while we kept that in mind all the time, it wasn’t a major hurdle in development. Often when I download a game or a demo from digital shops I wonder to myself why the developers often need so much space. We simply continue to use our best size reduction techniques that we learned from GBA and DS development and apply it to current games. For instance, even on the eShop where those WiiWare size limitations don’t apply anymore, we used only 38 Megabyte for Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! This wasn’t planned- it just happened automatically. And we are sure users are happy they don’t need much time and SD card space to download our titles. Super Surf won’t have the same size limitations to work around. We’re pretty excited about the thought of a virtually unrestricted Jett Rocket game in 3D. What are you guys planning on doing with all of that new-found space? Manfred Linzner: We will take the space we need to make the most awesome Jett Rocket game but we don’t plan to waste precious memory of the users SD cards. The most mentioned omission from FAST: Racing League was online play. If it were to come to the eShop, would there be an interest in implementing the feature? Or is online play not a priority for Shin’en? Manfred Linzner: The truth for online games is that it simply doubles the development time and costs. It also means you can’t add certain features you can add when there is no online. So for FAST on WiiWare this would have meant a price tag of 20 USD. That’s way beyond what most users want to pay for a download game. Also, it depends on the platform. For instance, it’s much easier for us to make an online game for WiiU than for Wii. For future releases, online features will of course have a higher priority for us then in the past. One of my personal favorite features of your games is the music. I have absolutely no interest in golfing games, but I bought Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! anyway just to hear the music. Some developers get this wrong, but Shin’en gets it right- the music and sound always add to the game. Nanostray in particular had my favorite music of the bunch. What is sound design process for Shin’en? Musical inspirations? Manfred Linzner: When we started our company, we mainly created soundtracks for GBC and GBA games. It was around 200 titles, so we have a lot of experience in this area. For us, music is equally important as gameplay and graphics. When we create a new game, we July 2012 Special Edition
often try dozens of styles to see what fits best into the game. Once we settle on a style, we try to create the best audio experience possible. Nano Assault seemed to be a different kind of shooter for Shin’en in concept and gameplay- though; we did notice and appreciate the nods to Iridion with the tunnel sequences. What prompted the switch from the traditional shmup to a “twin-stick” shooter? Manfred Linzner: Nano Assault was originally a Wii prototype. When the new 3DS was announced, we had the idea to mix that prototype gameplay with the look of the Nanoscopic world. We quickly knew this was a perfect fit. The Twin Stick gameplay was necessary to allow gameplay that is no longer on a simple 2D plane, but in all directions. You guys have a history of starting a new shooter franchise on each Nintendo handheld, with the Iridion games on the GBA and Nanostray on the DS. Nano Assault is rather clearly a spin-off of the Nanostray universe. Does this mean we’ve yet to see the 3DS’s new IP? Or are we destined to break the pattern and encounter Nano Assault 2 in the future? Manfred Linzner: Currently, we don’t have plans for a new IP. In the last 4 years, we have created 5 new, successful IP’s, so we think now it’s time to take care of them. So our next arcade game is [a spinoff, and] not coming to 3DS, but to WiiU. In a recent discussion with you we found out that you are working on a new downloadable game for WiiU. It was mentioned that it is a futuristic action title. Are there any further details you can discuss with us at the moment about this title? Manfred Linzner: It’s a spin off and, due to the WiiUs power, a real jaw dropper. More details are to be released by the end of summer. What else does Shin’en have lined up for the next year or two? Manfred Linzner: We are currently planning to hit the WiiU launch window with our first WiiU download title. We have quite a few ideas what to do next, but haven’t decided yet.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us and give us more insight into what Shin’en has been doing! We are looking forward to Jett Rocket and the future of Shin’en! Best of luck! FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE Page 9
Nintendo’s Post-E3 2012 Parade By Andrew Stevens This year at E3 2012 Nintendo had the opportunity to really shine brightly with a ton of announcements for both the Wii U and 3DS. We did learn a lot from Nintendo at E3 this year and we got to see a lot more coverage than ever before, but it still came across as a disappointment to a lot of people. They had their regular Nintendo conference which focused primarily on the Wii U and then they also had a conference set aside strictly for the 3DS. What made the whole situation interesting is that during the 3DS conference we only saw games that we already knew about, but in further detail. This decision had most everyone crying out for more and it just didn’t come. However, a few weeks after E3, Nintendo hosts another Nintendo Direct session and unveils the new 3DS XL with full detail on the release – which is under a couple of months away. Now this is some pretty big news that many people felt belonged at E3. We also learned that Namco Bandai Games is taking on a new Smash Bros. title for the Wii U and 3DS. These two things would have dominated the news for Nintendo at E3…and maybe that’s why we didn’t hear a single thing about them during the expo. I think it was actually a smart move by Nintendo to do things this way. If we look at E3, we all know how big of a stage that is for the video game industry and how much attention that it receives all around the world. With that, shouldn’t they announce all the big ticket items? Not necessarily. It’s actually a brilliant move in my opinion; why not use that stage to really showcase what is already known or what might not normally get as much of attention that you would like it to receive. Let the lesser things dominate the show because you already know that you will get plenty of attention from the utilization of Nintendo Direct sessions. Plus, when it’s an announcement that is as big as the 3DS XL and Smash Bros., you know that they will carry themselves in the news without the need for an E3 stage to bolster them. I must admit that I was also a little disappointed by Nintendo this year at E3. I thought we would have seen
a lot more, but now that I see it from this point of view I can completely understand. It’s the perfect business move by them because they know that we will eat up anything we get from E3 and discuss that. I now believe it’s the same reason we didn’t get further details about the Wii U – Why would we? They needed to focus on things that we wouldn’t be as excited about because they want to make sure that those things get just as much of attention as anything else. Full Wii U details such as specs and a release date can come at any time they please and it will dominate the conversations at that point in time. It was a perfect move to announce the 3DS XL and the new Smash Bros. when they did and not during E3. As a result, all of the media and fans know more about everything that was shown by Nintendo at E3 instead of being caught up on even bigger announcements that would have stolen everyone’s attention, thereby drowning out the smaller ticket items. There really is a perfect time and place for everything that Nintendo does. We all know that more announcements are coming; we simply need to improve our capacity for patience as we wait on them.
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Hands-On With Crysis 3
By Carlos Chinchilla
When Crysis debuted it distinguished itself with the most stunning visuals of any game to that day. Since then it has become known for its great gameplay and solid cinematic storytelling. So with Crysis 3 on the horizon, plenty of fans are on the edge of their seat wondering how it will stack up. Well, I’ve had some hands on time with it and I can say that it was quite a treat. The mission I had was a short and pretty straightforward one. Get in, take out a bunker with explosives and then get out. This of course involves fighting your way through hordes of enemies. Your classic abilities are back with your sprinting, armor and invisibility; all there when you need them to get out of a jam - or into one. Prophet is back and he’s got some visions of a future disaster that he needs to prevent. The game continues to be beautiful with lush environments. You may wonder how that works since the game takes place in New York. Well, New York is now a domed city run by a corporation, but it’s fallen into decay. The wilderness has crept in and it’s now more of a jungle and not the urban kind. So you will be racing through lush vegetation and rivers, and all of the nice visual elements from the first game. The weapon variety is also increased. Your base weapon is now a bow with the ability for you to switch ammo types. Certain arrows release an electric charge and can be used to kill groups of enemies in water. You also have arrows that have some sort of sticky explosive and another with the ability to arc around cover. Of course you will also have your basic puncturing of the enemy skull arrow. The aiming takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s a very exhilarating weapon to use. Beyond that, they’ve also added the ability to use alien weapons. I only had the chance to use one, but it was July 2012 Special Edition
used to a devastating effect. It had the ability to bombard an area with massive energy blasts that clear the enemies with the greatest of ease. Clearly it’s a power weapon that will quickly run out of ammo. From there it was a matter of making my way through a facility and fighting my way past waves of defenders. This tended to get hairy when they were supplemented by turrets, but it was easy enough to turn the tables. You see, one of the many cool abilities you have is the ability to hack. Spend a few seconds behind cover and that turret behind your enemy turns from their ally to yours. That’s certainly one way to clear a room. This all finished off with action packed cinematics involving the Prophet deciding to deviate slightly from the plan. He goes off to a key location to blow more stuff up and from there he will make a narrow escape. Although in the end, it’s the time you spend actually playing the game that counts, and the good cinematics work to properly supplement your enjoyment. In this case it was an all-around enjoyable and consistent experience. If you’re a fan of Crysis then this game is right up your alley with more of the same gameplay goodness you’ve come to expect from Crytek. If you’re new to the series and a fan of military style sci-fi shooters, then go ahead and check out the previous two games first to gear up for this title. It looks to be well worth it.
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Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Demo Impressions By Bill Radloff
This is a game that I’ve been waiting for a long time now. I got hooked on the series years ago thanks to an ex giving me a copy of the original, and I actually made a special 2 hour drive (hour each way) just to buy KH2 on release day. So needless to say, I went in with some high expectations for this game and they were met pretty well. First off, I started with the control tutorial to see what they had changed since the last title in the series, Birth By Sleep on the PlayStation Portable. Immediately I ended up groaning as the very first thing that the demo will do is place you in a battle on a wooden raft against Ursula. Oh, yay, we’re going back to Atlantica...my most hated world in the franchise. However, I dug in and did the little move/aim/shoot tutorial. (Ursula waves her tentacles at you forcing you to dodge and attack them. You will finish up by using the magic commands to destroy the last few). After that you will teleport to Traverse Town, this is where the meat of the demo is located. Traverse Town gets you into a few other new abilities, starting with Reality Shift. Reality Shift is a very cool new feature which allows Sora to change the reality around him by using objects in the environment as weapons. The only thing that you can use this on in the demo is some large barrels that are scattered around the streets. When you use it by holding X and A together, there’s an animation of Sora jumping up into the air and then diving into the barrel. Once that happens, the touchscreen becomes an aiming screen and you will use the stylus to aim and fire the barrel at whatever you need to hit. This is a VERY powerful attack and it can wipe out weaker enemies easily, plus it can weaken the larger enemies rapidly. In the final bit of the tutorial it demonstrates a new movement feature called Flowmotion. When you jump towards a wall, pole, railing, or enemy and press the Y button - Sora will start a high speed dash accompanied by some really cool and colorful trail effects. It’s a gorgeous effect, but the really impressive part is that it makes getting around the environment incredibly faster and more fun. The feel of Flowmotion, when it’s going, is almost like watching a ninja-based anime where the characters are bouncing off of walls and rooftops at high speed.
Flowmotion also brings in some new attacks based on what kind of object you use. If you’re spinning around a pole you will get one attack and if you bounce off a wall you will get another. I actually found myself using the Flowmotion attacks more than regular ones since they seemed more powerful at all times. However, the BEST attack is to jump into a large enemy, trigger Flowmotion, and then tap A. This will cause Sora to spin around the enemy like it was a pole. Sora will then drop to the ground where you will be able to grab the enemy and throw him a long distance. It gives a really nice animation, and it’s very powerful. Now we are out of the tutorial and into the meat of the demo which possibly includes a little bit of the story. Sora begins the demo standing on the balcony over the cafe that had the four candles in the original Kingdom Hearts(long time players will remember this location as one of the hidden puzzles). As he’s looking around trying to figure out why he’s in Traverse Town and why his outfit has suddenly changed. A new character arrives and starts talking about a game, and he ends up showing Sora a strange clock on his hand. None of the opening cutscenes make any sense whatsoever since it seems to be taken from part of the bigger storyline, and it really seems to assume that you have some idea of what’s going on at this point.
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Once the cutscene ends, the first thing you’ll notice is that this is NOT the Traverse Town you remember. It’s a new area called District 4 and it looks beautiful. There are lots of darker corners and really bright neon lights everywhere as well. You’ll also notice that there are two little creatures following you around. These are the new Dream Eater enemies that you can capture in the full game and they will act as your party. As you fight alongside them, a meter will fill up, and when it’s maxed out you can touch their portrait on the touchscreen to trigger their special. There is a pig looking dream eater that has Sora jumping on the back of the pig where he will then bounce around the area and do damage to anything he lands on. The cat one triggers a rhythm game which is somewhat reminiscent of the Stitch summon in Kingdom Hearts 2. Once you begin exploring, you’ll find that none of the shops (or the Coliseum that seems to have gone up since Sora was last here) are open...the doors are there, but you can’t go in. There are also wild Dream Eaters all over the place, which give a great chance to practice using the new Flowmotion moves. Also, in a very well lit square on the left side of the map (from where you start), there’s a little icon that shows up saying “Cloud”. If you click it on the touch screen (I’d suggest clearing the Dream Eaters out of the area first) you’ll trigger a fight with Cloud’s familiars, who are a couple of huge fire dog things. If you can kill them in less than 60 seconds, you’ll get some bonus prizes. I’m assuming that this is something to watch for in the main game as well, almost like a side quest. Once you’ve cleared the area, it will be time to head into District 5. The map will helpfully show a huge flashing arrow in the direction you need to head in order to get there and just outside the door is where you’ll spot the new Coliseum. Head on in and you’ll find yourself in an open area with a bunch of pools and a tall building directly in front of you. If you bounce around a bit with Flowmotion, you will get up onto the roof and trigger the final battle in the demo.
boss is easy to avoid as well. The only thing that it does that is somewhat difficult to time is to throw punches with what seem like telescoping arms. Just dodge those with Flowmotion, get in close with a flow attack, and continuously press the X button to use your skills. Just before the fight ends Hockomonkey will smash the glass roof you’ve been fighting on and you’ll fall inside the building, but there’s no time to look around since the moment the boss dies the demo ends. One sort of fun part after the demo is to watch the Pig dream eater ally do different things after every playthrough. Once I saw it go bouncing around off of walls and down stairs. Another time it was digging at the ground and sniffing for some reason, which is another neat little bit to watch after you are done. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is looking to be one of the best entries in the series, based on the short 5-10 minutes or so that you’ll get out of the demo. It’s pretty obvious that the demo barely scratches the surface of the game, but it should give you a good feel of what’s to come at the end of July. (Release date: July 31st)
The boss is a huge monkey thing colled Hockomonkey. It’s pretty easy to drop since the Demo makes Sora very, VERY strong (you’ll have most every magic and attack skill you could ever want), and the July 2012 Special Edition
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Ten 3DS eShop Games To Look Forward To By Greg Wiggleton
The critically acclaimed escapeVektor title from Nnooo is soon heading to the Nintendo 3DS. For those of you that have played the original chapter 1 on WiiWare will know exactly why this is something to look forward to. For those that are new to the game, this is a 2D pac-man like experience with mesmerizing music and gameplay. Set in the computer world trapped by the CPU, you have to escape without being caught by the CPU. This is not just a remake, but an expansion as it contains four times the content than the original game did. While all of the action occurs on the top screen, the bottom screen shows a unique 3D downward view of the level continuation from where you are. So if you have to travel down, you can easily see what’s ahead.
Bomb Monkey: (Review Coming Soon)
After tackling the classic platforming genre with their Mutant Mudds release, Renegade Kid is back at it with their take on the falling block puzzle genre. What does the game involve? Well it just happens to involve monkeys dropping bombs on blocks to clear rows. If a monkey dropping bombs doesn’t sound fun, then I don’t know what is then. To allow for greater bomb dropping action, the game is played on its side. This of course means no 3D effect to be found here. However, because of this, two people can get involved in co-op or verses with just one 3DS system. Soon you will be able to challenge your buddies to some bomb dropping action.
Marvel Pinball 3D: (Review Coming Soon)
Zen Studios is back at it again with their Marvel pinball tables for the Nintendo 3DS. Join Blade, Iron Man, Captain America and Fantastic Four and their respective tables in this collection. Zen Studios has proven itself already with its release of Zen Pinball 3D. Expect great 3D depth that actually helps the gameplay here. Wish for more? Don’t worry; more tables are coming your way after launch via DLC.
The popular Cave Story series is now getting a new home on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. While a DSiWare and 3D remake retail version do exist, this will be a new remake with added 3D effects and widescreen added. Included are enhanced graphics and improved challenges added to the game. For Cave Story fans out there, keep an eye out for this game. All others who enjoy 2D platforming and shooting games should also
keep an eye out for this.
Originally a 3DS retail game in Japan, this RPG is heading to North America via a 3DS eShop download. This is a dungeon crawler RPG with great emphasis on story. All you RPG fans should keep an eye out for this game later this year.
ATV Wild Ride 3D:
What could be better than an eShop ATV game with 24 off-road tracks? How about an eShop ATV Game where you can go head to head with your friends in both offline and online player modes. This title might just be the first eShop game that features competitive online interactions. Not only that, but with impressive 3D visuals, this is a game to look forward to. Keep an eye out for this game to be released sometime later this year.
NightSky takes on a unique experience that happens to put you inside an ambient and mysterious universe. This 2D game is part action and part physics puzzler. Already a hit on Steam, this indie title will be a perfect for your collection as soon as it launches later this year on the Nintendo 3DS.
Jett Rocket Super Surf:
Shin’en is bringing its hit game, Jett Rocket, to the 3DS eShop by the end of this year. It is not entirely sure if this will be an updated port or a new version, but Shin’en has made it clear this will be a platforming game. Shin’en has a great record so far with eShop releases, and this one should be no different.
Coming both to the 3DS eShop and Wii U eShop is 1001 Spikes. This is an updated version of an XBLA game, Aban Hawkins & the 1000 Spikes. This is a retro platforming game that is expected to be just as hard as the original. Nicalis is bring new art, graphics and sound to the eShop. Not only that, but the game also will feature four-player local multiplayer.
Mutant Mudds 2:
Yep, that’s right. A new Mutant Mudds is heading our way sometime next year. Renegade Kid has recently confirmed that this is on its way, and will feature a few additions to the game. One of the new additions is that each world now holds 5 levels instead of four. The fifth level of each world will now be a boss for that world for which you will have to beat before moving on to other worlds. Not much is known beyond this info on this future title, but if the first game is something to go by, it is something to look forward to for platforming fans.
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Max Payne 3 Review By Andrew Stevens
Max Payne 3 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Rockstar Games Action/Shooter Max Payne 3 is set around the main character Max Payne, a former cop who has been spiraling downwards after the loss of his wife and kid. Max Payne 3 takes on a very mature setting and takes you through his rather dark lifestyle. Hopped up on pain killers and continuously finding the bottom of a bottle, he still finds his way into a protective service job of guarding a wealthy family - or at least trying to. In this game, things keep going from bad to worse and Max never seems to catch a break. Even so, he still goes out of his way to figure out what exactly is going on around him. Max Payne 3 presents you with an interesting style in presentation as you go through the entire game. This is especially true right from the beginning and I thought the opening presentation was really well done. This unique style was evident not just by the cut-scenes, but also with the style they used to go along with the cut-scene that help give you an idea of just how tripped out Max is at times. They did it mostly during the times that he’s been drinking and popping pills. As you play through the missions, Max continues to tell you his thoughts and gives you some of the background story as you progress through the game. You’ll go from shooting someone, to mov-
ing forward while he continues to help narrate the story. It’s a big reason why time goes by so quickly throughout this game. There is almost always something to be done, something to be heard and there really isn’t much of a break at all. Things get busy right from the beginning of the game and quickly have you fighting off numerous enemies. One of the first things I noticed was how easily I became engrossed in the play and storyline. Time flew by and hours seemed to pass quickly as I was drawn further and further into the game play. It’s always a good sign when you can become so enthralled with a game that you lose track of time! This certainly happened a lot to me throughout this game. There were still moments when things tended to get a little tiresome, with more and more of the same enemies to shoot. But thankfully it’s not dragged on for too long and you’ll find yourself moving forward again. I’m just saying that there will probably be a couple of times that you will want to put the game down for a bit and take a small break. Each chapter in the game, 15 in total, is full of good action sequences for you to enjoy and this is especially so when it comes to the use of bullet time.
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Bullet Time is of course one of the game’s main features where you tap it and everything slows down around you as you shoot. You can even jump forwards, sideways or backwards during bullet time to dodge bullets coming at you. It really adds to the fun of playing Max Payne and
it can also get you out of trouble on plenty of occasions. I would have to say that the main game isn’t more than 10 hours long and it will fly by very quickly. You’ll have multiple difficulty levels to play it on and you will also get to choose your aim assistant or free aim. If you are a trophy/achievement person, you will want to go over those before you begin the game, as a lot are based on situations in the game on a particular play style. Thankfully, once you beat the game you can choose to replay any chapter you would like. Max Payne 3 is certainly a very mature title that revolves around a dark setting in this game. It’s interesting to see how Payne thinks when situations come about. No matter what the odds are or how messed up things continue to get, it’s good to see him continue to try to make a positive difference all the way up to the very end. His logic will somewhat annoy you though, but that’s in a good way. He mentions how it would probably be better to go one way instead of the other and you will agree with that assumption 100%. Yet, he basically says “Screw it!” a lot of the time and makes his entrance into certain situations in a less desirable way - a lot more gunfights happen because of his logic.
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Outside of the main campaign you can play in the arcade modes which feature Score Attack and New York Minute. Score attack is simply that, as you make your way through each chapter of the game you will try to obtain a high score. The scoring system works based off kills and kill streaks. New York Minute takes you through each chapter with a different goal which is trying to complete the chapter as fast as possible. Once you complete the chapter you can unlock New York Minute hardcore for an even tougher challenge. Then of course you also have online multiplayer modes for you to play in against others. You will have customization of your character, your weapon loadout and more. So outside of the main campaign, there is still more than enough to keep you busy for a long time. Lastly, Max Payne 3 has good visuals with both character animations and with your background and surroundings. I also want to make sure to mention the soundtrack, which plays a good role in some of the bigger parts in the game and it helps key you in on the task at hand. The music has a lot of good moments that you will enjoy as you go through the game. Max Payne 3 is a good, yet a very dark and mature title. Its transition between story and action is smooth and well done. It’s a non-stop look into the life of Max Payne and what he thinks of the mess that he has gotten himself into. The gameplay handles well and can be a lot of fun, especially with the use of bullet time. Plus, there is more than enough to keep you busy for awhile with the additions of arcade modes and online multiplayer.
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Sorcery Review By Andrew Stevens
Sorcery PlayStation 3 Sony/The Workshop Action/Adventure Sorcery is an action/adventure title available for the PlayStation 3 that requires that you use the PlayStation Move controls to be able to play it. The PlayStation Move controls allow you to play the game and act as though you have the wand in your hand. You play the role of Finn, who is a young teenage apprentice to a Wizard by the name of Dash. Being young, his curiosity gets the best of him as he travels to the land of the dead in search of a potion ingredient. Throughout the game you are accompanied by Erline, who is Dash’s talking cat. As you both explore the land of the dead, you accidentally stumble upon something that was meant to remain secret - something that the Nightmare Queen has been looking for. I must say that it wasn’t hard for me to fall in love with this game. I loved the opening presentation that draws you into this fantasy adventure that you can’t wait to embark upon. I also loved the musical score and I must say that the music throughout the game is absolutely wonderful. It both fits the theme and sets the mood perfectly. Not only was it just the opening presentation, but the entire presentation of the story throughout the game is very well told. I thought the game had a great story to tell and it’s by far one of my favorites. The characters are also perfect - you have the “anxious to be an epic wizard” in Finn and then you also have the “smarty cat” Erline, who is a talking cat, that is probably the coolest talking cat ever. It’s just so easy to fall in love with the world they created. Fur-
thermore, it was designed and presented so well that you can easily imagine yourself to be there. The gameplay is a lot of fun, though I must say that during battles you will sometimes have issues with the camera. It’s not just the camera either, you will sometimes find yourself in some battles where you are trying to hit a particular enemy, but the camera continues to position you incorrectly making it difficult to attack your intended target. That is one aspect that I wish was in this game - a way to target enemies and switch between them. This only happened when I had enemies on both sides of me, otherwise you normally just have the enemies in front of you and it’s easy to target them at that point. You just aim the Move controller at the enemy you want to attack and it’s as easy as that. The overall camera issues aren’t horrendous though, it’s just not as smooth as I would prefer. Thankfully it doesn’t affect the game much at all and the camera doesn’t actually screw you up to the point that it causes an enemy to get you. It’s still very manageable, but it needs to be noted that this is a weak feature. The enemies are fun to battle against and the bosses are even more fun because the player gets to find their weakness. Throughout the game you will learn different abilities, such as being able to control wind, ice, fire and lightning. Each one of those abilities will be discovered along your journey and each one has a special use. To get through the game you will need to use spe-
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cific spells to figure out a puzzle or to defeat a specific boss. The game does a good job of keeping each spell relevant as you move throughout it. That makes things a lot of fun and something that makes it even more enjoyable is when you have the opportunity to combine spells. Such as when you have the chance to pull up a wall of fire and then send a wind tornado through it causing a fire tornado – my personal favorite. I could then shoot my regular attacks through the fire to create fire attacks. It’s just well done, easy to control and even easier to switch spells at a good enough speed. Thankfully, as you switch between spells the game will slow down for you so that you can go from one spell to the next without much delay. It really is fun! One of the other things you will do on your journey is collect potion ingredients and this is how you are able to level up your character. There are 8 different ingredients to find throughout the game that, when correctly combined, can create a numerous amount of potions. You will be able to create potions that increase your health, your mana, your defense, how long your wall of fire lasts, how effective your earth strike is, etc. By the time you beat the game you wouldn’t even have used everything; therefore, making a second play-through even more interesting as you get to experiment and see what the other potions do. It’s set up easily as well and it isn’t hard to figure out, plus they make you use the wand to mix the ingredients together. The motion controls for that are simple and fun enough, as they are with the entire game. I must say though, my arm does hurt from playing the game as much as I did and for as long as I did in one sitting, but it was worth it. As you travel throughout the game you will come across a number of hidden pathways that will lead you to hidden treasure chests. For the most part you just need to use one of your spells to open a pathway, such as setting it on fire or using wind to remove spider webs. Other times you will need to solve a quick and easy puzzle to get through. You will also have areas July 2012 Special Edition
that block your path, where you simply just need to wave your wand in one direction to move the object obstructing your path. There are a lot of little things that are done right with the controls and with the overall gameplay that makes this one of my favorite overall motion controlled games.
Sorcery is an awesome game that is a lot of fun to play right from the start and all the way up until the end. The length of the game is just right as well and it doesn’t drag on. I enjoyed this game so much that I could easily see myself playing it again sometime soon. The story is a good one that is well told, and the music that is featured throughout is perfect for this game. I really enjoyed my time playing through this title, casting spells, creating new potions and fighting each enemy. If you have PlayStation Move then you must have Sorcery, it’s as simple as that! If you are on the verge of getting PlayStation Move, now would be a perfect time to do so along with a copy of Sorcery.
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FanBolt Gamingâ€™s Complete E3 2012 Awards Chosen By The FanBolt Gaming Staff
Best Press Conference
Best Racing Game
Madden NFL 13
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Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Best PS3 Game
The Last of Us
Best 3DS Game
Luigiâ€™s Mansion: Dark Moon
Best Wii U Game
Best Fighting & Best Multiplayer
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Continuing Our Complete E3 Awards Best Survivor Horror Game
Best Music Game
Dead Space 3
Best Xbox 360 Game, Best Shooter and Best Trailer
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Most Anticipated Game and Best Game at E3
Biggest Surprise, Best Gameplay Footage and Best Action/Adventure Game
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Spec Ops: The Line Review By Andrew Stevens
Spec Ops: The Line PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 2K Games Shooter
Spec Ops: The Line is a third person military based shooter – but it’s a unique military shooter with an experience like no other. The story takes place in Dubai where a series of strong sand storms have left the city in ruins. You and your team are sent to search for both survivors and another team that was sent in prior to your squad. What was supposed to be a quick search and rescue mission quickly turns into chaos as you move deep into the city. It’s just you and your squad trying to figure out what exactly is going on and it leaves you to make tough decisions along the way.
Spec Ops: The Line is a military type shooter that puts you into such a chaotic setting that it doesn’t feel like your typical squad based military type shooter. That in my opinion made the game very unique in style, while still giving you a good experience. It’s still one shot – one kill in some situations and it’s a great deal of fun to play this title on the hardest difficulty. It gives you a good sense of gameplay and the need to take cover. The other thing I liked about this game is that there are no military
drops for more ammo. This means it is up to you to make every shot count and to find as much spare ammo as possible that is scattered throughout the game. There were plenty of times when I ran out of ammo as well, resulting in a mightily difficult situation. When you play on the hardest difficulty you won’t be able to stick your head out for more than a second or two or you will die. So you will definitely want to take good care of your ammo and make your shots count, otherwise it’s a chicken run to try and find additional ammo or pick up an enemy weapon. Right from the beginning I absolutely loved the gameplay in this title. It plays out so smoothly outside of a few times where you can’t get off a wall quick enough from being in cover. I love the character movements, as well as the shooting and the ability to switch the camera from shoulder to shoulder to give you a better visual angle. The gameplay really speaks out loud for this title and it is something that you will enjoy. The only time I really had issues with it was when I couldn’t get off the wall quick enough to avoid a well thrown grenade. However, once you get use to the cover system and how it works it will be easier to avoid grenades. It was just another part of the wonderful challenge that this game presents you with. There are 3 initial difficulty levels for you to choose and play on. Once you beat it on the hardest difficulty, you will unlock an even harder difficulty after that. I must say – playing on the initial hardest difficulty level is certainly the way to go and where you will have the most fun. It’s the perfect way to get
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the best experience out of this title and it’s the most fun and challenging way to play. You’ll run into a few difficult situations, but if you play patiently you will find your way out of a mess. It makes the game a better experience overall and it will cause it to last a bit longer. I say that because on recorded time, I beat the game in four and a half hours. However, it took me a lot longer due to playing it on the hardest difficulty. If you play it on easy, not only does it take away from a better and more enjoyable experience, but you could walk through the game far quicker and not get the best experience at all. I’m not saying you won’t enjoy it, the gameplay is great no matter what, but if you want to have a good experience then you will want to feel pinned down behind a wall for a while and be afraid to stick your head out. There is a good deal of weaponry to use on the battlefield, plenty of turrets and different types of explosives to use as well. As I said – ammo is scarce, but enemies drop weapons and you’ll find ammo boxes every now and then. The enemies are a challenging bunch to face, with good shots and well placed grenades, but not overly ridiculous in any way. There are a few moments throughout the game that a guy will rush you with a blade and try to catch you off guard. You will also come across heavily armored soldiers with heavy machine guns that are a pain to deal with. But everything ends up being very enjoyable throughout the gameplay. The maps are built up interestingly and are fairly enjoyable. There are many explosives set up throughout each map that you can shoot at and have them explode on your enemies. There are also moments where shooting out windows will help by causing a cave in with sand – it’s a sandy place. For those who like to collect items placed on each map, you will be able to locate further Intel on the situation and if you collect it all you will get yourself an achievement/trophy. Visually the game doesn’t look the greatest, but it’s solid and whatever scars you get along the way will stay with you all the way up till the end.
mates take them out. You will need to be careful with how you use them though, if they take too much damage they will go down and you will have to save them - otherwise it’s game over. One slight annoyance about commanding your squad is that your character will always shout out something and about midway through the game you will begin to get tired of it. It becomes very repetitive and the same goes for every time you take a bullet. These guys have a bit of a “mouth” on them as well, but the voice acting is fairly well done. I enjoyed my time with Spec Ops: The Line. It was a unique experience all the way to the end. It also has some moments where it forces you into some tough and dark decisions as the story progresses and really shows you just how messed up the situation becomes. Also, these decisions shape the story and how things turn out as you will be presented with multiple endings depending on your reaction to various situations. Spec Ops: The Line is a unique military shooter that takes you on a journey through a story of downward spiraling situations and presents you with enjoyable gameplay throughout it all. *Note: There is a strong online multiplayer presence with a lot of customizations to choose from as well as a ranking system to build on. Shortly after launch they are releasing a free co-op game mode with four maps for you and a friend to fight your way through. Unfortunately, I am yet unable to try the online multiplayer, but check back soon for a follow up post with my opinion on this feature.
One other thing with the gameplay is that you can select an enemy to have your squad focus their fire on. So if an enemy has you pinned down, you will be able to select that enemy and have your teamJuly 2012 Special Edition
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