Login | Signup

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. Quantity

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
A Valley Without Wind 2, Bioshock Infinite, Dead Space 3, Fist Of The North Star: Ken's Rage 2, Guild Wars 2, Kitchen Sink Development, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Podcast, PWNCAST

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. Quantity

This week, we chat a little bit about what we've been playing this week - including Guild Wars 2, Metal Gear Rising and Bioshock Infinite - as well as looking at the trend towards 'kitchen sink development', whereby we're seeing more and more games trying to tick every box by advocating comprehensive content over focused quality.

Jon also gets very angry about Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. Quantity, Recorded: February 16th, 2013

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be a few instances of strong language.

Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. Quantity PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. QuantityPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. QuantityPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. QuantityPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 6 - Quality vs. Quantity

COMMENT | Wii U Woes: Let's Talk Solutions

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Nintendo, UK retail, Wii U

COMMENT | Wii U Woes: Let's Talk Solutions

2013 has been a bit of a mare for the Wii U thus far. There's certainly a lot to look forward to, especially from the summer onwards, but Nintendo's new console has spectacularly failed to set the retail world alight. Following news that the brand new device only attracted a 1.6% market share in terms of January software sales, one of its most important exclusives has jumped ship and retailers are up in arms. A destructive culture of doomsaying has sprung up around the Wii U over the last few months, both from gamers, pundits and even us hacks.

I've always tried to play devil's advocate, but there's no smoke without fire. Unfortunately, much of this negativity is well deserved. Nintendo have made a fair few compromises to release in time for Christmas, while there's a huge amount of work ahead for the venerable manufacturer if they plan to compete with the next generation of Microsoft and Sony machines (not to mention those pesky tablets). So rather than dwelling on problems and having a good old moan, let's take a look at some constructive ways that Ninty can capitalise on the next few months.

Price Cut?

COMMENT | Wii U Woes: Let's Talk Solutions

Let's deal with the big issue straight away. We've received numerous comments from readers who'd consider buying a Wii U if it was cheaper, while UK retailers suggest that manufacturer-led price cut would be a quick and easy way of netting some impulse sales. It's a win-win solution at face value, but things are rather more complicated than that.

Click here to read more...

Most Romantic Moments In Video Games | Valentine's Day Special

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, Illusion of Time, Mass Effect 2, Most Romantic Moments in Video Games, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Valentine's Day

Most Romantic Moments In Video Games | Valentine's Day Special

Happy VD everybody! Valentine's Day, that is, not the...erm...other thing. As we discovered earlier in the week, this industry has not exactly covered itself in glory at times when it comes to coupling, with forced romantic storylines often proving alienating, immersion-breaking, and sometimes downright disturbing (*cough* Sonic!). But interactive entertainment has also offered us some absolutely fantastic moments of such romantic bliss that it almost brings a tear to the eye just reminiscing.

So we gathered up the team and put together a little list of our favourite romantic moments in video games...

Carl Phillips - Shepard & Jack (Mass Effect 2)

Most Romantic Moments In Video Games | Valentine's Day Special

If you heard the recent PWNCAST in which we discussed romance in games, you would have already seen my choice coming a mile off, but for those of you who didn’t listen (BOO-urns to you) I will helpfully clarify my most touching moment  for you - Jack finally opening up to Shepard in Mass Effect 2.

Starting out as possibly the angriest person in the galaxy (with good reason) Jack slowly began to confide in my Shepard over the course of the game, leading to me helping her destroy her childhood memories with a nuke (which I think you’ll agree is one hell of a first date.) Slowly getting to know the girl who had faced the worst the galaxy could dish out her entire life, topped off with her frequent use of profanity, provided what I felt was some the best storytelling in the game. However, the scene that took place before the suicide mission, when Jack turns up in Shepard’s cabin, is the one that gets me every time.

With her emotions finally on show, the psychotic biotic had finally found something worth taking a risk on, and I got to see Jack in a moment of peace and happiness. The end result of not giving up on her was a tender scene between two people who had been to hell and back, and because I was projecting my own feelings through my version of Shepard it made the moment resonate even more.

Sure, she would end up punching me in Mass Effect 3 upon our reunion, but it was worth it. Jack was always worth it.

Click here to read more...

Blast From The Past | Aliens vs Predator 2

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Aliens vs Predator 2, Blast From The Past, FPS, Monolith, PC games, Retro games

Blast From The Past | Aliens vs Predator 2

Or: How To Make A Great Aliens Tie-In

Aliens: Colonial Marines has finally stumbled out of its torturous development cycle, and without putting too fine a point on it, we're in for some chop. SEGA sadly didn't give us an advance review copy this time around, though considering the savage critical beating it's currently receiving from our peers, I use the word "sadly" in the most general and academic way possible. Aliens fans seem to have received short shrift yet again, this generation providing us with little of merit save a surprisingly decent DS platformer.

It's genuinely depressing, doubly so because we know that the rich Aliens universe can make for truly exceptional videogames. It's high time that we cast our Blast From The Past spotlight on one of the very best.

Back in 2001, Monolith were at the height of their powers. Atmospheric shooters were their bread and butter, long before they abandoned the likes of FEAR and Condemned for forgettable downloadable frippery, and they set their considerable skills to good use on a truly superior game. Bringing in lore and inspiration from the Aliens films, comics and even the Predator mythology, Monolith created a title that brought fear and empowerment in equal measure; three games in one that each offered unique gameplay experiences and a respectful take on a sprawling, engaging storyline.

Blast From The Past | Aliens vs Predator 2

Better yet, the second level started within a hapless human's ribcage... whereupon we fangloriously chomped our way out of his living body as a newborn Chestburster. Oh my. I'm talking, of course, about Aliens vs Predator 2.

Click here to read more...

Silent Hunter Online Hands-On Preview | Depth, No Charge

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Blue Byte, Das Boot, Free to play, Silent Hunter Online, Simulation, Ubisoft

Silent Hunter Online Hands-On Preview | Depth, No Charge

Platform: PC (Browser, F2P)

Developer: Blue Byte

Publisher: Ubisoft

Depth is the key in Silent Hunter. As an unterseeboot (U-boat) captain patrolling the deadly oceans of World War II, you'll stalk allied targets beneath the waves, quietly slipping back into the deep leaving only burning hulks behind. Both predator and prey, omniscient and uniquely fragile, you'll play a deadly game of cat and mouse against ever-tightening odds as the Royal Navy deploys the best it has to offer in an effort to send your crew to the bottom of the Atlantic. Knowing when to surface and when to crash dive will save your life, not to mention the Kriegsmarine's war effort.

However, depth is also the watchword for one of the most hardcore simulation franchises on the market, which has arguably seen better days. After the shocking mess that was Silent Hunter IV and the DRM-stricken Silent Hunter V, Ubisoft made the decision to set course for Free To Play waters, with Blue Byte promising to deliver a new take on the classic series.

Silent Hunter Online is the result: an experience that tries to shoehorn "everything great from the series" into a browser window, along with brand new 'Wolfpack' multiplayer and compelling persistent elements designed to keep captains coming back on a daily basis. From what I was able to play over at Blue Byte's Dusseldorf headquarters, there's certainly no danger of it being shallow.

Silent Hunter Online Hands-On Preview | Depth, No Charge

Click here to read more...

Top Ten Tuesdays | Worst Video Game Couples

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Top Ten, Top Ten Tuesdays, Top Ten Worst Video Game Couples, Valentine, Video game valentines

Top Ten Tuesdays | Worst Video Game Couples

Valentine's Day is almost upon us and so we figured that it would be best to run through a list of the finest couples that gaming has given to us. Then we realised that we'd already done that, not mention written a few words from the heart ourselves last year (Jon is still not allowed within 50m of Mr. Carmack). So this year we're taking a gander at the uglier side of the industry's approach to romance. From horribly forced couplings to interspecies shenanigans. Here's our list of the Top Ten Worst Video Game Couples...

10. COGS and their WAGS

Top Ten Tuesdays | Worst Video Game Couples

As someone who was surprised to find out that Marcus Fenix and his chums were actually characters rather than slabs of steroid-addled meat products, I was more surprised to find Epic shoving it down our throats in Gears of War 2, particularly considering the burgeoning (b)romance that I thought was brewing between Marcus and Dom. But no, Dom has a wife, and constantly talks/moans/bitches/cries about her all the damn time.

We get it Epic. You'd really like to try and humanise these chunks of men, but in all honesty I was slightly relieved when it comes to *that scene* because I hoped it would stop the whining. Can games do emotional storylines? Sure. But this is Gears of War. It's a complete U-turn in terms of character. It's like dressing a steak in a little lettuce skirt and declaring it suitable for vegetarians. Mind you, at least *that scene* was handled better than this...

9. Dante/Nero and Trish/Kyrie


Devil May Cry needs a place on this list if only for securing the dubious accolade of being the game with one of the worst, most hamtastic lines ever uttered by anyone ever (see above). It's just so very awful.

Mind you, the series has never exactly been the standard-bearer for realistic representations of the relationship between men and women. We'd hesitate to call any of the women who pop up in the series 'characters' simply because they're more one-dimensional than a line of sub-atomic particles.

DMC4 gave us Nero's titanic struggle to save his darling Kyrie. Of course, we had no idea why she was so important, what she was even like, how they got together (indeed if they even were together). Nero just shouts her name a lot until we get the point.

Click here to read more...

Mars: War Logs Preview | The Logs of War

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Focus Home Interactive, Games previews, Mars: War Logs, PSN, RPGs, Spiders Games, XBLA

Mars: War Logs Preview | The Logs of War

Platforms: PC | XBLA | PSN

Developers: Spiders Games

Publishers: Focus Home Interactive

The digital marketplaces are growing every day, offering deeper, richer, more compelling experiences than ever before, and fleshing out their offerings to include far more than retro throwbacks, re-releases, and arcade-tinged fun-fests. With the middle ground shrinking faster than ever, and double-A setups forced to look to avenues other than traditional retail, these digital platforms - with their variable price points and convenient routes to audiences - are the ones that benefit.

So it is that the idea of a fully-fledged, RPG, replete with 3D real-time gameplay, dialogue choices, variable companions, a relatively rich crafting system, side quests, and an expansive skill tree cropping up on such platforms maybe isn't quite as farfetched as it used to be.

Mars: War Logs Preview | The Logs of War

Of course, that's not really saying much. It still sounds wildly ambitious, almost too good to be true. The fact is that we've seen precious few games such as that outside of a rather niche PC existence. Dungeon crawlers can work, as can well-paced narrative vignettes, and there's no doubt that we're seeing bigger and better games hitting the digital services; but we're talking about role-playing games here. A truly expansive, Western RPG on XBLA and the PSN? Some might scoff at the perceived impossibility of such a thing.

The folks at Spiders clearly like a challenge, because Mars: War Logs is a game that seems specifically designed to render the impossible possible.

Click here to read more...

The Sunday Seven: Sony's Other Big Reveals for Feb 20th

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Next Generation, PlayStation 2013, Playstation 4, PS4, Sony, The Sunday Seven

The Sunday Seven: Sony's Other Big Reveals for Feb 20th

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard that Sony has a big reveal lined up for a PlayStation Meeting on February 20th. We don’t think Sony would have the nerve to announce anything other than their Next Generation console at the meeting. Next gen rumours are at their highest point and it’s about time we got some answers and not something like PS Move+.

So, assuming Sony don’t just show us a console shell on a podium before cheerily bidding us goodnight and promising a second date at E3, I think we’ll be shown a few more things on February 20th. Don’t forget we still have a big year of gaming ahead of us regardless of the PS4 and Sony will be keen to avoid accidentally killing off the market for the PS3 and Vita by announcing their new machine alone. Instead, I think they will want to strengthen their brand to ensure they move onto the next gen leaving the best final impression of this generation. But yes, we think they’re going to show us some jaw-dropping new stuff too. I’ve already gone into detail about what they should do to rebuild their controller, so here’s my list of seven other things I think we may see at the meeting.

Click here to read more...

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild Speculation

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Clairvoyance, Playstation 4, Podcast, Prophecy, PS4, PWNCAST, Rumour, Sony, Speculation, The Black Hole of Solid Facts

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild Speculation

As per Realhoneyman's request, this week we cast our eyes ahead to the upcoming Sony presentation on the 20th. We throw on our analyst hats, then rip them to shreds and have a good old natter about what we'd like to see from the presentation, along with some predictions concerning likely reveals.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild Speculation, Recorded: February 8th, 2013

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be a few instances of strong language.

Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild Speculation PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild SpeculationPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild SpeculationPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild SpeculationPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 5 - Wild Speculation

Opening Scenes | Dead Space 3 Gameplay - First 20 Mins

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, Dead Space 3, EA Games, Opening Scenes, PC games, PS3 games, Videos, Visceral Games, Xbox 360 games

Opening Scenes | Dead Space 3 Gameplay - First 20 Mins

Dead Space 3 is out today here in the UK and so we've got another episode of Opening Scenes for you, this time showcasing the first twenty minutes from Visceral's latest instalment in their award-wining action-horror series. As per usual, there's no cuts, no edits, and no waffle...just pure gameplay.

Click here to read more...

Anno Online Hands-On Preview | Fief Of Time

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Anno, Anno Online, Blue Byte, Browser games, Flash, Free to play, Microtransactions, PC games, Ubisoft

Anno Online Hands-On Preview | Fief Of Time

Ubisoft have committed to the expanding Free To Play market in a big way, and Blue Byte are leading the charge. The German studio swelled from fifty to several hundred developers worldwide, entrusted with translating several massive franchises into Flash-based browser games. With a promise to create "triple-A free to play games" supported by a "fair to play" model, they're certainly pulling no punches when it comes to talking the talk, but can the likes of Silent Hunter and Might & Magic Heroes Online speak for themselves?

Their first title, Anno Online, represents familiar territory for Blue Byte seeing as they're responsible for the previous Anno games. Its meaty core of building and micromanaging enormous historical cities is a natural fit for the free-to-play space (as evidenced by the likes of Evony and even Blue Byte's own Settlers Online), and as such, a bare minimum of tweaking has been necessary to facilitate the jump from boxes to browsers.

Basically, Anno Online is business as usual. Only you can play it in your browser. For free.

Anno Online Hands-On Preview | Fief Of Time

Click here to read more...

Top Ten Tuesdays | Hack & Slash Games

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Top Ten, Top Ten Hack and Slash Games, Top Ten Tuesdays

We've been playing the MGR: Revengeance demo on repeat for the last week, and it made us think back to some of the other stellar hack and slash titles that the 3D era has gifted us. Time was when hack'n'slash referred to dungeon crawlers, but now it tends to encapsulate action titles fundamentally built around combat against multiple enemies at once. Here we shall find the industry's premier button mashers, reams of combo lists, and bushels of fast-paced, impossibly balletic, ego-boosting action...

10. Dynasty Warriors 4

Top Ten Tuesdays | Hack & Slash Games

Tecmo Koei will be pumping out Dynasty Warriors games for years to come, and that's fine. They're never going to be the finest games, nor titles with the most finesse. But for lazy weekends, spent catching up with friends, when talk was perhaps more important than teamwork, when instead of wracking your brains for button combos you simply wanted to dispatch hundreds of soldiers in the name of sheer badassery, Dynasty Warriors was perfect.

We revelled in its silliness, we cared not for its historical inaccuracies. We just wanted to deploy our superior Musou and watch the bodies fly.

9. Shinobi

Top Ten Tuesdays | Hack & Slash Games

What a fantastic premise for a hack 'n' slash title: you have a sword that needs to feast on souls. If it doesn't get fed, it'll start to snack on you.

We loved the original Shinobi back in  the days of side-scrolling, bastard-hard action platformers. But the 2002 PS2 reboot brought with it super-slick 3D swordplay, a cracking protagonist in Hotsuma, and it still managed to be deliciously difficult.

Click here to read more...

The Sunday Seven: Most Wanted Franchise Comebacks

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Gaming articles, Most Wanted Series Comebacks, Retro games, The Sunday Seven

The Sunday Seven:  Most Wanted Franchise Comebacks

Maybe it’s seeing Stallone and Arnie back in the cinemas recently that has me feeling nostalgic and hankering for the good old days. I even had a good root through some of my older games that I’d packed into the attic. Or perhaps I can’t blame it on the return of the aging action stars, it’s more likely to be the amount of kickstarter campaigns for retro game reboots, studio closures, stagnating sequels and brand retirements that made me think about what games from years gone by could lift gaming out of this over-familiar slump in which it finds itself.

The Sunday Seven:  Most Wanted Franchise Comebacks

Onimusha

Seriously, how bloody awesome was Onimusha!? The Feudal Japan based hack ‘em up titles were one of the most respected series on the PS2. The third game even managed to have a storyline that involved modern day Paris and still be brilliant, in no small thanks to a chain-blade wielding John Reno.

It may have relied on many pre-rendered backgrounds, but they were frequently jaw-droppingly gorgeous on the PS2, just imagine what they could do with today’s or even the next-gen’s technical grunt. Capcom have flogged the Resi series to an embarrassing death and there’s only so much they can do with Street Fighter.

A lack of enthusiasm for the setting can’t be blamed for the series’ disappearance. Just think how many Dynasty Warriors games have been released this generation. Actually, don’t, it’ll make you sad. Well Capcom, if you’re not going to bother with this, at least think about bringing back Okami or Dino Crisis.

Click here to read more...

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGs

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Final Fantasy, Infinite Space, JRPGs, Lost Odyssey, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Podcast, PWNCAST, RPGs

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGs

With Ni No Kuni releasing this week, we reflect on JRPGs as a genre and discuss their niche appeal here in the West. We chat about our favourites, and try to come up with a top three, as well as discussing how the genre might broaden its appeal outside of Japan.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGs, Recorded: January 31st, 2013

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be a few instances of strong language.

Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGs PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGsPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGsPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGsPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 4 - JRPGs

Blast From The Past | Dragon Quest

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Blast From The Past, Chunsoft, Dragon Quest, Dragon Warrior, Enix, JRPGs, Nintendo, RPGs

Blast From The Past | Dragon Quest

We're having a bit of a JRPG love-in this week in preparation for Ni No Kuni's release tomorrow, so we rather thought that for this week's BFTP we'd dig up one of the grand-daddies of the genre - a game to which pretty much every JRPG from 1987 onwards owes an enormous debt. A game called Dragon Quest.

Dragon Quest appeared in 1986, emerging onto the NES at a time when most games required a certain amount of dexterity and swift reactions. RPGs had been around for a little while, but mainly restricted to tabletops, home computers, and generally presented a more action-oriented affair. Epitomised by Nihon Falcom's Dragon Slayer series, which would in turn influence the likes of Ys and The Legend of Zelda, there were a number of titles offering up open-ended gameplay, some incorporated the top-down perspective that would become synonymous with JRPGs (largely thanks to 1988's RPG Maker), we already had stories involving damsels in distress, games and choose-your-own-adventure novels that gave us dialogue choices, a few even showed signs of turn-based tactical battling...but not all of those were video games, and none incorporated all of those features.

Blast From The Past | Dragon Quest

None, that is, until Dragon Quest showed up.

Click here to read more...

Top Ten Tuesdays | JRPGs Of This Generation

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
JRPGs, RPGs, Top Ten JRPGs Of This Generation, Top Ten Tuesdays

10. Persona 3 Portable / Person 4: The Golden

Top Ten Tuesdays | JRPGs Of This Generation

Now this is a bit of a cop-out perhaps, but the localised, rebooted versions of Persona 3 and 4 on Sony's portable handhelds were so damn fantastic that they earn their place here by reminding us just how phenomenally great a series Shin Megami Tensei can be. Seriously, though, give us Persona 5 already!

9. Dragons Dogma

Top Ten Tuesdays | JRPGs Of This Generation

It's a JRPG, Jim; but not as we know it. It came from Japan. It counts! Dragon's Dogma makes the list thanks to rewriting the rulebook on what an RPG from a Japanese dev had to be. Capcom smashed their capacity for splendid combat systems together with Monster Hunter-esque RPG considerations and a vast open world filled with loot and monsters, polished off with the gloriously innovative Pawn mechanic.

Click here to read more...

The Sunday Seven: THQ’s Best Games This Gen

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Administration, The Sunday Seven, THQ, THQ’s Best Games This Gen

The Sunday Seven: THQ’s Best Games This Gen

This week saw the sad end of an era as THQ’s assets were finally sold off at auction. While many of the licenses, franchises and development teams found new homes, there were a few that are still holding out hope for a lifeline. Check out Jon’s roundup of who has gone where in his feature article.

Amongst all the misery, there have been numerous reminders of some of the great times THQ games have provided over the years. So here’s my tribute to some of the best games I’ve played from THQ over the years on this generation of consoles.

Click here to read more...

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo Rising

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Mario, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Nintendo, Pikmin 3, Podcast, PWNCAST, Strike Suit Zero, The Wonderful 101, Wii U, Zelda

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo Rising

Following Nintendo's big Wii U Direct presentation this week, we pick apart the announcements as well as discussing the Metal Gear Rising demo, Strike Suit Zero, and Ni No Kuni.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo Rising, Recorded: January 24th, 2013

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be a few instances of strong language.

Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo Rising PWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo RisingPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo RisingPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo RisingPWNCAST | Season 3: Episode 3 - Nintendo Rising

Why We Love... Baby Park

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Karting games, Mario Kart, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Nintendo, Why We Love

Why We Love... Baby Park

We celebrated the Mario Kart series' twentieth birthday in Europe this week, and marked it with the first in what will hopefully become a semi-regular series of gaming showdowns - pitting the SNES original against its N64 successor. Of course, when it comes to picking a best Mario Kart game (let's face it, the portable ones rock the hardest), the GameCube's instalment - Double Dash - tends to be left out in the cold, having attempted to stuff the franchise with a number of seemingly-superfluous additions, and suffered some rather disappointing lapses when it comes to inventive design.

It says much about the game when the most enjoyable track in the whole thing turned out to be a simple oval. After the excellent driving mechanics exhibited in Super Mario Kart, and the superb track layouts in MK64 afforded by the 3D engine, Double Dash's recourse was to feed more items into the mix, have two characters per kart, and throw as many colourful things into  the ideas blender as possible, whilst nixing the hop so favoured by time trial aficionados.

Why We Love... Baby Park

There's an argument to be made that Mario Kart: Double Dash was, to borrow a fellow writer's description, a complete and utter mess.

But  mess can be fun. Food fights, mud wrestling, that scene in Zombieland where the protagonists go into that abandoned store and smash everything to pieces. There's a reason why Double Dash was stuck in our Gamecube at uni for years, and that reason was named 'Baby Park'.

Click here to read more...

The Showdown | Super Mario Kart vs. Mario Kart 64

Author:
Staff
Category:
Features
Tags:
Karting games, Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Nintendo, Super Mario Kart, The Showdown

The Showdown | Super Mario Kart vs. Mario Kart 64

This week marked the 20th anniversary of Super Mario Kart's release in Europe - a game that would fuel an entire genre for years to come and birth a franchise that would see a new instalment across each subsequent Nintendo platform, both home console and portable. Many would come to try to claim Mario Kart's throne, many mascots and their chums would strive to prove that they could do kart racing better, but there really is nothing quite so appealling or so addictive as hooning around a gloriously designed set of tracks plucked from Nintendo's archives of excellence.

On SNES, N64, Gamecube, and Wii we punched the air in victory, often our friends in defeat; we prayed that the smiling gods would bless us with the right colour of shell or adverse weather conditions; we learnt how to make blue sparks fly from our wheels, and how to time a feather or a mushroom perfectly for maximum advantage. We learned to hate Lakitu's smug face as he fished us out of the ether for the tenth time on Rainbow Road. There was always time for just one more race, and never a good enough excuse to put the controller down. Across four generations of Nintendo consoles, it's been the standard-setter for pick-up-and-play multiplayer goodness, for ghost-busting time trials, and vehicle-based battling shenanigans.

The Showdown | Super Mario Kart vs. Mario Kart 64

But naturally, reminiscing about the series led to a spot of verbal handbags. Which was better:  Super Mario Kart or Mario Kart 64?And so, in the first of what we hope might prove to be a series of semi-regular features, we bring you the premier instalment of...The Showdown. Forget the Clash of the Titans, forget the Rumble in the Jungle, here stand two games and two champions - two arguments for two causes. But only one can be crowned victorious. We'll stake our claims, and then we'll let you decide the winner...

Click here to read more...