Tag Archive: spike

A New Challenger Approaches!

The MMA market is one of the fastest growing sports demographics out there. And part of this has to do with the strong showing by some brands in the digital realm. More often than not though, these MMA games are difficult for newcomers to pick up and play and even more difficult to master. But there may be a new contender stepping into the cage to finally appeal to those casual fans out there that are looking to just jump in and dish out a good ol’ fashioned beat down.

Bellator MMA Onslaught is the partnership between Bellator Fighting Championships, who just kicked off their sixth season this past weekend on MTV2, MTV Tres, Epix, and Spike.com, and fellow Viacom property, 345 Games. Looking to try to be a bit less of a simulation like UFC and more of an old-school arcade fighter, Bellator MMA Onslaught looks to differentiate itself from its competition primarily via its arcade-like controls and RPG style fighter leveling up system. This, and the fact that unlike UFC where the fights are picked by management, Bellator lends itself more naturally to the fighting game genre with its eight-man tournament style set-up to determine champions and number one contenders. I had a chance to jump into Bellator’s cage and see first hand just how this game looks to merge modern MMA and the classic fighting game.

The first thing I picked up on was the quicker pace of the matches. This gave a better sense that a fight could end literally at any moment as even when my opponent or myself decided to try to slow things down, there was a tension there that you only feel in the tightest of fighting games. This also allowed us to get more matches in during a shorter amount of time to really determine some bragging rights. One fight isn’t enough. Winning three out of four on the other hand is something to write about.

The next thing I noticed is something that most players complain about still with other MMA franchises and that is the way Bellator controls, especially in terms of player feedback. The punches and kicks were crisp and three, four, and even five hit combos could be strung together if you were fast enough with your inputs, allowing you to turn the tide should you have left yourself open one too many times. But the biggest concern with MMA games typically is the ground game. Much like UFC’s amateur controls though, a simple flick of the right joystick allowed my players to perform some fluid takedowns and easily transition when on the ground. But more so than in UFC, I felt like that it was actually doing something. Again, faster model movement here was a factor in this where it seemed that every flick I made gave me a more clear and instant response, even when being countered by my opponent.

And since we’re down there, let’s stay on the ground. The submission system was likely the best I’ve seen yet in terms of conveying a fighting game, as it was a classic button masher mechanic instead of a confusing mini-game. By mashing the four face buttons to fill up your tap out bar first, you’d either make your opponent tap or you would escape their hold. Again, clear feedback on what I needed to do and how my button inputs were affecting my fighter. And obviously the fighter’s submission ratings, which you can level up when you create a fighter, affects the ease or difficulty it is to fill up that bar.

The presentation was also something that gave the game a fighter’s feel as the HUD featured your classic health and stamina bars. It also featured a balance bar that showed how close a punch or kick was to knocking you off your feet or if you throw a haymaker and miss, how out of position you are. That one was still a work in progress I was told, but the mechanic definitely came across as I started to wobble a few times after failing to block a three-hit combo.

My only real concern is the fact that the game is only shipping with eight fighters at launch and you typically want a larger roster for any fighting game. Of course, with online and offline tournaments, the create-a-fighter mode should supplement this in many ways as I’m sure most people would rather play as themselves if afforded the opportunity.

All in all, although still touted as an early build, I was very impressed with Bellator MMA Onslaught, especially considering this is going to be a PSN and XBLA title. I’d still like a more in-depth look at the create-a-fighter and leveling up system before I comment on them, but promises of being able to customize everything about your fighter, even crossing up several different martial arts when creating your repertoire of moves, has me salivating at the idea of creating a hodgepodge fighter that no one will be able to predict when this game drops in Summer 2012.

Back in December I had the chance to attend the 2010 SpikeTV VGAs and work the red carpet. Here I had a chance to speak with the only version of Commander Shepard for most people, Jennifer Hale, the female version of Commander Shepard for Bioware’s Mass Effect series. We chatted about how more people should look at her as the only Commander Shepard and how it is to be in such a widely popular series.

Back in December I had the chance to attend the 2010 SpikeTV VGAs and work the red carpet. It was here that I got a chance to speak with the man behind Call of Duty: Black Ops’s Sgt. Frank Woods, Mr. James C. Burns. We talked about how it was to voice a character who has quickly become somewhat iconic in the Call of Duty mythos and doing voiceover work in general.

Back in December I had the chance to attend the 2010 SpikeTV VGAs and work the red carpet. Here I got to catch up once again with old friend and Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro. Instead of talking about vampires this time around, Guillermo, Danny Bilson, and I chatted about THQ’s new game that Guillermo is working on called Insane.

Back in December I had the chance to attend the 2010 SpikeTV VGAs and work the red carpet. It was here that I got a chance to chat with the man behind the music for all of the God of War games, Gerard K. Marino.

Back in December I had the chance to attend the 2010 SpikeTV VGAs and work the red carpet. Here I caught up with my old friend and host of GameTrailersTV Geoff Keighley to talk to him about putting on the show year after year and what we could expect from that year’s show.

Back in December I had the chance to attend the 2010 SpikeTV VGAs and work the red carpet. It was here that I got a chance to catch up with the hosts of Spike’s Deadliest Warrior, which is about to launch its 3rd season in July. Geoff Desmoulin, Dr. Armand Dorian, and Richard “Mack” Machowicz are all great guys.

Originally Published: December 9, 2010, on Youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed TNA Impact for the Xbox 360 from the now defunct Midway Games.

Originally Published: November 28, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior video game for XBLA once again.

Who is Deadliest?

Originally Published: July 22, 2010, on ESPNNewYork.com, Lundberg.me, PlayerAffinity.com, Newsday.com, and Examiner.com

Microsoft officially kicked off their Summer of Arcade 2010 last night with the release of Limbo, but considering my next review subject was just released last week, I don’t see why it couldn’t be part of this awesome event highlighting original XBL titles. Of course, I am talking about Spike Games’ Deadliest Warrior: The Game available now.

Based on Spike’s TV show of the same name, Deadliest Warrior: The Game takes seven combatants from the first season and the Roman Centurion from the second and pits them against each other in one of the most fun and brutal fighters to have come along in some time. With only eight fighters and five arenas to do battle in, this game works perfectly as a XBL title; available for 1000 Microsoft points (roughly $8).

The gameplay is near flawless as you can hack and slash your way through a difficult arcade mode to unlock new weapons and costumes for your favorite warriors or try your hand at proving that you are the deadliest in online versus and tournament modes. And trying to unlock new weapons can be surprisingly addictive due to each weapon having various attributes in terms of damage they can deal and the speed with which they can be wielded at so that it is unlikely you’ll have two exact fighters even if they are selected from the same class.

A unique aspect to Deadliest Warrior: The Game is the chance of a one-hit kill due to the realism the game focuses on (a spear through the face is an instant kill and for good reason). The realism that the game incorporates makes many fights faster than most fighting games, but this also makes you less likely to go in swords-a-swingin’ and make you think some before you actually attack. Include a simple, straightforward combat system that features high, mid, low, projectile, and signature attacks each assigned to their own button and Deadliest Warrior: The Game is the best kind of fighter, one that is easy to pick up but difficult to master.

The graphics are also very impressive. From limbs being hacked off and blood gushing around the arenas to the facial expressions of the warriors themselves, Deadliest Warrior: The Game is very pretty. There are a couple of minor glitches, but extra effects like dead bodies twitching at the end of each round more than make up for it.

There are some flaws to the game though. The game lags on occasion and the audio is very bland as a whole. It would have been nice if the game could have been livened up a bit with commentary from the hosts of the show, Geoff Desmoulin, Max Geiger, and Dr. Armand Dorian, or the show’s narrator Drew Skye. With only some generic music, roars of pain from the combatants, and the anticipated SFX of metal on metal leaves you wanting a little more from the audio side of things.

The plot is also non-existent really compared to your standard fighting game. It’s hard to critique it though since it’s the same premise as the show, to find out “who is deadliest?” In that aspect it has more of a simulation feel because the player really decides the storylines. What would happen if a knight took on an Apache? Or how about a samurai against a ninja?

Something that makes this game one of the best XBL titles out there though is the replay value. Aside from your standard online versus modes, there are promises of increasing the fighter roster as the show goes on and more medieval fighters are revealed. You could have a roster of 30 fighters before the show is done. If that happens, I would hope that the developers also include some new arenas.

The only other thing that fans of the show may be wondering is why all the fighters are of the medieval variety. Well, it wouldn’t be very fair to have Al Capone tear a Viking apart with his tommy gun now would it? Maybe they’ll come out with a sequel for modern warriors. I call dibs on the IRA!

Although flawed, Deadliest Warrior: The Game is a fun, unique fighter that is a bargain considering it is only going to cost you $8. Nevermind Limbo, Deadliest Warrior: The Game is the way you’re going to want to kick off your Summer of Arcade.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 9.0: A couple of minor glitches crop up here and there, but twitching dead bodies and blood spurting by the bucketful more than makes up for it.

Audio: 5.0: Generic music, expected SFX, and no commentary take away from the overall experience unfortunately.

Gameplay: 9.5: Unique fighter aspects like one-hit kills and the ease with which you can pick this game up make it a great overall fighting experience. Lag does crop up on occasion though and that’s the only thing that keeps this from being perfect.

Plot/Plot Development: N/A: After giving it some thought, I list Deadliest Warrior: The Game more as a simulation and therefore plot is a non-factor.

Replay Value: 7.5: You have your standard online versus and tournament modes, but the promise of more fighters for download as the show continues will make you come back to this more often than typical fighters.

Overall (not an average): 8.0: A few minor flaws can’t overshadow the legitimately solid experience that Deadliest Warrior: The Game delivers and I know I can’t wait for the first batch of new fighters to be released.

Deadliest Warrior: The Game is available now on Xbox Live.

-Ray Carsillo