JB Hi-Fi Staff Have Done It Again!

We love our video game reviews and descriptions to be short, sharp and most importantly, witty!

Luckily for us JB Hi-Fi staff have a knack to nail their game reviews and descriptions. Who needs to read pages full of text when you can just rock up at a JB Hi-Fi and get informed on the spot.

Here are (quite) a few JB staff write-ups that caught our eye today:

 

Is the ‘Alien’ Universe So Beloved?

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

Another multiplayer shooter title set in the “Alien” cinematic universe for consoles and PCs is in the works at game developer Cold Iron Studios. The developer was just acquired by FoxNext Games, part of 21st Century Fox.

Aaron Loeb, FoxNext Games president of studios, said in announcing the deal, “…all of us at FoxNext Games are thrilled to be working with them (Cold Iron) as they create an action-packed persistent world, steeped in the mysteries of this beloved ‘Alien’ universe.”

Loeb’s quote got me thinking: Is the “Alien” universe still “beloved”?

“Alien: Covenant” was a big disappointment at the box office. It doesn’t seem like the best time to invest in making a new “Alien” game. There needs to be a break from the “Alien” franchise for a while. I’m an “Alien” universe fan. “Alien 3” for Super Nintendo and “Aliens: Colonial Marines” for Xbox 360 are two of my all-time favourite video games. And James Cameron’s “Aliens” is one of the greatest action movies ever made.

When it comes to first-person shooter games, it’ll be hard to top “Aliens: Colonial Marines.” If FoxNext Games and the creative team at Cold Iron can create something as entertaining as “Colonial Marines” it’ll be a surprising accomplishment, but fans of the “Alien” universe are not demanding a new game. But if they make something fun and original, I’ll probably be buying it on the day of its release.

Lately, with the films “Prometheus” and “Aliens: Covenant,” I’ve felt a little burned by the franchise. I did find the third act of “Covenant” entertaining, but overall, it felt like forced storytelling by the legendary Ridley Scott.

Game play is key; although, could a new game set in the “Alien” universe tell a better story than some of the recent films? As an “Alien” fan, I’ll keep my hopes up that FoxNext Games can produce something distinctive.

 

image source: jonvilma.com

 

Japanese Game Localisation: English games releasing in Asia

image source: Play-Asia

We often think about localisation of video games being one-way, Japanese to English, but what about localising English games to Japanese? There is also ‘Culturalisation’ of video games to consider too. All this and more is discussed in this excellent blog post on Play-Asia. Take a read!


Gunbird Review on Nintendo Switch: It’s Shmup-tastic!

If you are a long time shoot’em up fan, there is no doubt you would have come across Gunbird on other platforms (or in the arcade). If you have fond memories of Psikyo’s beautiful vertical shmup and are now in possession of a Nintendo Switch, we reckon it is time you reacquainted yourself with Gunbird.

Let’s start by saying that Zerodiv have done an absolute corker of a conversion on the Switch. Not only can you play Gunbird in landscape form, you can also turn your Switch 90 degrees and play it like it should be, in portrait /vertical goodness. If the label Psikyo sounds familiar, it may be due to their pedigree in games, one example being Aero Fighters 2 (Sonic Wings 2), which we absolutely love. Lucky for us (and you too!), Gunbird hits the shmup sweet spot by being up there with the aforementioned beauty.

The premise of the game doesn’t really matter, but for those that want the back story, Gunbird provides 5 protagonists, each one with their own special chosen craft. The story plays out in between levels and before boss fights, telling a tale of how the protagonists are trying to collect pieces of the Magic Mirror of Atra to make their wish. The antagonists are a group called The Trump, yep, you read that right, The Trump, who are lead by the fearless female, Rogue.

Just like all great vertical shoot’em ups, Gunbird has a plethora of power-ups to pick up to bling out your artillery to ridiculous levels and also bombs, which are in limited supply, so they should be saved for the awesome boss fights!

Gunbird can be played in single player or with a friend in co-op mode – which amps up the playability! The cut-scenes between stages are quite funny and add to the charm of this exquisite shmup.

Gunbird ticks all the right boxes for a shoot’em up and we are glad that it’s not one of those full-on bullet-hell type games, although you can dial up the difficulty for it to be one. This game caters for all skill levels, from monkey (yep, apparently monkeys  can’t play as well as a child) to rage-inducing hardness.

In conclusion, if you are into shoot’em ups, then Gunbird should be an instant buy. At AUD$9.99, it really is great value. Gunbird is an absolute 10/10 blast that should be in your Switch games library right now!

Gunbird was kindly provided by Zerodiv for this review.

Double Dragon: Busting Heads For 30 years

If you have been with us since we began our retro gaming journey, you’d know that we are huge Double Dragon fans, especially the arcade game!

Speaking of the arcade, would you believe that Double Dragon is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year! It’s amazing that after three decades, this game is still being talked about with such affection.

Kung-Fu Master and Renegade may have preceded it, but Double Dragon was the first co-operative beat’em up on the arcade block. Who could forget the two Lee brothers punching, kicking, elbowing Black Warrior thugs to get to their damsel in distress. Let’s not spoil it for those that haven’t finished the game, but let’s just say that brotherly love doesn’t count.

Being the first co-op beat’em up game, Double Dragon paved the way for all that came after it and kickstarted the golden age of the beat’em up. Long live Double Dragon!

Interesting fact: Double Dragon’s arcade board is quite complex – instead of utilising an expensive 16-Bit CPU, the game runs on two 8-Bit CPUs with a third CPU dedicated to sound! How ingenuous!

 

The Incredible Hulk: Smashed It On The Sega Game Gear

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

My love for the comic book character The Incredible Hulk started with my Sega Game Gear. As a kid, when I got a Game Gear, I played The Incredible Hulk game on the console all the time. I played it on the school bus; late at night when my parents thought I was sleeping; and when I should’ve been working on homework. I couldn’t get enough of the side-scrolling action game.

The Sega Game Gear gets a bad rap, but the small console had several great games. When all of my friends had Nintendo Game Boys, I was playing my Game Gear. I always thought the graphics were sharper on the Game Gear than the Game Boy. The game play looked similar to the actual Sega Genesis game.

Playing The Incredible Hulk everyday made me a fan of the green superhero. I started collecting the comic book because of the Game Gear game. My collection began with a few comics, but as my love for the character grew, a few comics became a hundred in about a year. I’ve always been fascinated by how Dr. Bruce Banner can morph into The Hulk and his dilemma with controlling it. Is it a gift or a curse? Both Banner and The Hulk have many layers as characters. When I was a kid, I connected to both characters.

I was bullied in grade school. Perhaps a part of me wished I could change like Dr. Banner could when he got angry. I played the game before school because my Game Gear was a pleasant distraction before the sometimes harsh school day began.

The Incredible Hulk was a simple side-scrolling game, but those were my favourite games when I was young. I never used the cheat codes, because I enjoyed the challenge of progressing through every level. And I took pleasure in being The Hulk and causing as much destruction as possible.

The Hulk game and my Game Gear were a nice escape at a time when I needed it. Sega may have not sold as many Game Gears as they had hoped, but I cherished mine, and found it far superior to the Nintendo Game Boy.

image source: Game Oldies

 

Tomb Raider Film Looks Like 2013 Game

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

It is rare that the tenth instalment of a video game is the best of the franchise. 2013’s Tomb Raider, an action-adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics, was a reboot that reconstructed the origins of Lara Croft. The Warner Bros. Pictures film, coming out in March, starring Alicia Vikander, looks very similar to the classic ’13 Raider.

I liked the gritty, dark turn the ’13 Raider took. The violence was slightly outrageous, but it definitely pleased the fans of the franchise. It was time for a reboot and Crystal Dynamics and the publisher, Square Enix, knew it. It was vastly different from all of the prior Tomb Raider games and it was grounded by Lara Croft’s origin story. I think it’s one of the best games of the decade…so far.

The new Tomb Raider film’s trailer has the same colour pallet as the ’13 game. It looks like the film’s director, Roar Uthaug, has pulled various scenes directly from the hit game. The game centred on Croft’s survival and exploring an island and its various tombs. That’s what the film appears to centre on as well.

image source: The Nerd Mag

Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander looks just like the ’13 Croft; it’s indistinguishable. She’s an excellent actress; just watch Ex Machina or The Danish Girl. It’ll be interesting to see if Vikander can pull off such an iconic action character in a film that could be a tent-pole film for Warner Bros. She has the physicality and dramatic chops to bring a truly captivating Croft to the big screen.

I hope Vikander’s Croft is as cold blooded as the’13 game version. The gritty compositions, and some of the tilted camera angles in the trailer, mirror the imagery from the game. It’s just a teaser trailer, but I like what I see. The costume design is also on point, which is important for a property that has such a large following.

We have to wait until March to see if Tomb Raider will be that one great film based on a video game. From the teaser, and being an aficionado of the ’13 game, I’m anticipating Raider almost as much as Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story and Avengers: Infinity War.

Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft had good trailers too. I turned Assassin’s Creed off fifteen minutes in.

It’s astonishing that a film studio still hasn’t cracked the code on making an exceptional movie based on a video game franchise.

Tomb Raider has to be rated R to truly be like the ’13 game. Will it be as bold with its violence and death scenes as the iconic game? I bet it’ll be a safe PG-13 for box office reasons.