While I missed the boat on the original Phantasy Star Online for Dreamcast when it released over a decade ago, I played preposterous amounts of the later three Episodes on the GameCube and PC. The novelty of a "true" action MMORPG and an addicting rare loot system was fair incentive for me to spend hundreds of hours grinding across Ragol with friends both online and offline. Imagine my disappointment a few years later when I played Phantasy Star Universe, the next major Phantasy Star title, and discovered that most of that great PSO gameplay had been almost completely eviscerated. It could have totally passed as completely different series if not for a few trademark IPs present in the game.
Thankfully, Sonic Team realized they had blundered and began incorporating more and more of Phantasy Star Online's gameplay back into the subsequent spinoff titles on the DS and PSP. Some fans even joked that the next game might as well be "Phantasy Star Online 2"if the trend were to continue. Imagine their surprise when, at an event celebrating the tenth anniversary of the series, Sega announced a true sequel to PSO.
I recently had the opportunity to play in the Japanese closed beta for Phantasy Star Online 2 on the PC, and after about a week of playtime I can say that PSO2 more than lives up its predecessor's name. Not only does the game evoke ridiculous amounts of nostalgia for the original PSO, it also cherry-picks the best gameplay enhancements introduced in the Universe games while adding a plethora of features new to the franchise. Could this game end up being the best action MMORPG gaming has to offer when it releases later this year? More than likely, I would say.
Oh, Sonic, Sonic, Sonic... How long has it been since you had a good game? I suppose that answer will vary depending on how much individual Sonic fans are willing to forgive, but the general consensus is that it's been far too long. I myself am a huge Sonic fan despite being a die-hard Nintendo fanboy. While other kids were reading comics about some lame guys in tights called Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, I was busy reading up on the blue rodent with an attitude and an appetite for chili dogs. Despite my love for Sonic, playing Sonic and the Secret Rings for the Wii felt like each member of Sonic Team coming up to me one by one and slapping me in the face and spitting in my eye. Needless to say, that game completely turned me off of the franchise I once adored (at the time I didn't have a 360 or PS3 for that Sonic the Hedgehog to do it for me). Praise the gaming gods for Sonic Generations! Ever since its first trailer, the game has looked great, but fans (myself included) remained understandably skeptical. Now that the game is out, and I've spent countless hours with it, I am very pleased to say that Sonic Generations broke the curse of the Sonic Cycle and is the best Sonic game I have played in a long time.
Undoubtedly many of you have seen that there is yet another new Sonic game in development, Sonic Generations, and undoubtedly many of you slowly moved your hand to your forehead, shook your head, and went on with your day. Well why don't you brighten your day a little and take a gander at this gameplay video:
The latest issue of Famitsu lifted the veil on Sega's Project Ringo. Turns out Ringo is the latest installment in the long running Puyo Puyo puzzle franchise. We don't know much about what to expect yet, but Puyo Puyo 7 is certain to come packed with lots of fever-like modes and extras, when it hits Nintendo DS, Wii and PSP. Famitsu has already confirmed online multiplayer, which is bound to become a big part of the game, given the franchise's competitive orientation.
Personally, while I like me some Puyo Puyo crazy comboing alright, I'd also have loved for Project Ringo to be something totally new and different, à la Yuji Naka's Let's Tap for example.
The DS version of the game will be released on July 30, while the other versions will have to wait for a cryptic Winter '09. Sega's official site is still teasing the announcement as of this writing, but we can expect a more official unveiling this friday. Mini Flash teaser embedded after the break for maths afficionados.
It's a great time to be alive if you're a fan of massacring zombies. The world of video games has finally realized just how amazing gunning down the undead really is. A few short months ago we were given Left 4 Dead, we still have Dead Rising Chop Til You Drop later this month, and Resident Evil 5 next month. Not to mention the just announced Dead Rising 2. It's the golden era for zombie slaughter and I couldn't be happier.
Looks like videogames' two biggest stars are set to return in a sequel to last year's Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Predictably, the game will be based around the various winter sports featured at the Olympics. Expect skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and the like. Wii Fit owners will be pleased to learn that their version of the game will make use of the Wii Balance Board.
Hit the spring for a teaser trailer and the official press release.