Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu 1.5 Xbox 360 review Hyper Edition!

Cave keeps churning out AAA quality shmups and we keep buying them , nearly two and a half years have passed since the original Arcade release and finally Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu has come home to consoles for the Japanese Xbox 360. If you are a shmup fan and have been against the fence about picking up a Import 360 there is no better time then now. This may be Cave's best release so far for the System and that is saying something as half their back catalogue is playable for 360.

The graphics are the same high quality 2d sprites Cave is known for and the soundtrack is classic Mananbu Namiki with a thumping Trance beat. The game features Novice mode (for beginners) , Xbox 360 mode (Arcade Mode) , and a few Arrange modes A + B that mix up the gameplay a great deal and extend the replay value of the package. The Xbox 360 mode is a the basic Arcade mode with enhanced graphics and the same gameplay as the 1.5 Arcade version which features a 4 button setup with a dedicated button for Hyper. The chaining in the game is easier to maintain then prior games in the series and makes for more enjoyable experience.

My favorite mode so far has to be the 1.51 version that is included only in the 1rst run Regular edition and the Limited Edition. It features a more conventional 3 button setup reminiscent to Dodonpachi Dai Ou Jou and a less demanding Extend system that any decent Cave player should be able clear 1CC. The hyper is tied to the same button as the bomb in this mode similar to DOJ and the difficulty seems tweaked to a point that it is almost as if it is a ARRANGE mode in itself. If you have a chance make sure to pick up the 1.51 version as this is a important part of the game and really fun to play.

The game options are very deep with a easy to access menu. The video options have support for both 16:9 and 4:3 televisions and monitors with a wide arrange of zoom options as well make fitting to your viewing window easy and painless. This is a welcome addition as the last 2 Cave ports (Deathsmiles 2X + Guwange) omitted a option for 4:3. Not only has Cave crafted a worthy addition to the Dodonpachi franchise they are adding to it by releasing Dodonpachi Black Label February 3rd 2011 as DLC and a retail release.

With so many games modes and deep scoring systems added with the welcoming change to the chaining system this game is easy to pick up and play and is rewarding for both intermediate and hardcore gamers. I highly recommend it's purchase immediately. You would be crazy not to. I score this game a 10/10

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu Black Label Announced for Xbox 360 as Retail Disc and DLC due out February 3rd 2011

Cave announced that Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu Black Label is coming out for Xbox 360 as a Retail release and DLC February 3rd 2011. The game features an entirely new Arranged soundtrack.The DLC version is priced at 1200MSP and will include a novice and original mode. The disc based release includes novice ,original and a special Arrange mode featuring ships from Ketsui. The retail release will be 5040 yen. I have included a promotional video below.

Muchi Muchi Pork / Pink Sweets release date revealed! February 24th 2011

Cave announced that Muchi Muchi Pork / Pink Sweets will release in Japan on February 24th. The game includes original arcade versions of each as well as online leaderboards and arrange modes exclusive to the console port. It was also announced that these games would feature no Xbox 360 upgrade in visuals unlike previous Cave produced ports. The game will support DLC which will be announced at a later date. Both games were produced by Shinobu Yagawa of Raizing fame. I have included a promotional video below.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Guwange XBLA Review / Xbox 360

Guwange is a game I have played for years now and when Cave Ltd. announced they would be releasing a Xbox Live port I was ecstatic. I could not wait to compare my scores with friends and play online co op. They also promised extra modes such as Arrange and a Blue Label which add to the game play depth. Unfortunately with some great additions come some major issues. First off the game displays in a forced 16:9 mode which is windowed even worse when you play on a 4:3 television or on a Arcade monitor. This takes away from the experience as the aspect ratio is unnatural and zooming only causes you to lose game play space.You can TATE the game playing it in a true arcade style vertically but the game is still displayed within borders.

Outside of the ruined aspect ratio of the game the controls are pretty responsive and the options are somewhat deep. In this game you control one of three characters who you use to defeat enemies in a scrolling top down shooter style. This game is very different in style because you control human characters who walk instead of the traditional flying shmup. Those character also have a "Shikigami" controllable option which appears when you hold down the shot button. This "Shikigami" is used to slow down the bullets from the oncoming horde of enemies which you can then cancel out by destroying the enemy with the "Shikigami" after having buzzed them. The games scoring system relies on a chain system that you must maintain from start to finish making scoring in the game very difficult for some players. I consider Guwange one of the finer Original Shmups ever producded with it's unique feudal Japan theme. The soundtrack is also very fitting featuring a unique Japanese sound. The lack of local leaderboards for individual players is puzzling. This is another issue that is a oversight.I would score the game higher if the games video options were more flushed out and gave you the ability to fill the void on screen and local individual leaderboards were added.

Hopefully they can address the issues with a patch in the future. Overall the game is a wonderful experience that is not completely ruined by its short comings. Go and buy this game it is well worth your 800 MSP, I will revisit this review if the game is ever patched , As is the game is a 7/10.

*I said I would rescore the game when they patched it. Well the score is now a 8/10 at least we get 4:3 option but the menu sizing is still out of wack and no individual leaderboard is a terrible omission.