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New Sonic Unleashed teaser


Well, that was… different.

Sega just released this short CGI teaser trailer for Sonic Unleashed and well… I’m still not exactly sure what to say about it. So what does it tell us? Well it confirms that Sonic will turn into an angry werewolf at night, It also hints at dodgy voice acting. Oh and it confirms Sonic has fingernails which I’m sure will be a hot topic on any Sonic forum I’ll never go to.

On the bright side, if the werewolf thing turns out to be crap at least the other half of the game looks awesome, the glass is half full.

Sega Deals: NiGHTS: JoD, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity price drops



With all the great games Sega’s been throwing at us this month, we don’t know if anyone has enough cash left in their wallets to afford much else, but there are a couple deals to be had if you can spare a bit more change.

Gamestop is currently offering NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams for $30 brand new. Add the coupon code FREESHIPALL, and you get free shipping on top of the $10 price cut.

If you already own NiGHTS: JoD, Amazon is selling Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity on both the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2 for $30 and $25, respectively.

This is probably the cheapest we’ll see either of these titles for the foreseeable future, so if they’re of interest to you, you should hop on them now.

[Via CAG]

Yakuza 2 officially heading to Europe


yakuza2.jpgWe all figured it was just a matter of time before Sega announced that Yakuza 2 would be heading to Europe. And we were right as Sega announced the sequel to Sega’s most over-the-top cursing game ever will be seeing a 2008 release.

“We are thrilled to treat the gamers in Europe to the sequel of the critically acclaimed Yakuza,” said Gary Knight, Sega’s European marketing director. “Yakuza 2 is one of the most requested Japanese titles in our portfolio and we’re delighted to finally announce a European version.”

Yakuza 3 has just been released in Japan, so it will be interesting to see how quickly Sega can localize Yakuza 2 before the third title is inevitably released in both North America and Europe.

[Via Gamasutra]

Published on March 25th, 2008 under , , , ,

Review: Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (Wii)


Sonic Riders ZG

When the original Sonic Riders was released about two years ago, quite a few Sonic fans and gamers regarded the game as being just a crappy Sonic spin-off, and the game received some very mediocre reviews.

However, there are the select few who played the game properly and actually found it to be a pretty decent title. Apparently, the game hit enough sales to warrant a sequel, which has just recently released on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2.

So what’s new Joe?
Now the riders are back, but with a new trick. To help spice up the gameplay of the original and to ensure the game is not the same game spewed out again, Sega decided to add a new feature – Gravity Control.

Call it a gimmick if you will, but this main feature to the gameplay is how Sonic and company are able to manipulate gravity, using some special bracelets, in order to speed up, open new path ways or destroy scenery. But I shall go into more detail on the Gravity Control later.

Sonic Riders ZG

Anything else to add?
I should really point out that I never got round to playing the original Sonic Riders. Well, not properly anyway. So I’m not going to directly compare Sonic Riders ZG with the original game, because I really don’t know enough about it.

Down to business.
The main part of the game is the single player story mode. In this mode you start off playing as the ‘Heroes’ team, which includes Sonic, Knuckles and Tails. Later on you unlock the Babylon Rogues team, which includes….Jet, Wave and Swallow- who I believe are from the original Sonic Riders.

Sonic Riders ZG

The general story is that a meteor crashes down in the world – but the meteors are some sort of ancient bracelets, which have the power to control gravity. Dr. Robotnik has a small army of security robots, which go nuts and are after the bracelets. Sonic and team happen to find one of said braclets and are soon chased by the robots. (See below video for more)

You also get the alternate storyline, with the Rogues - which also revolves around them trying to find the meteors before both the robots and Sonic find them, but there is a sort of mini twist with their story, and I won’t ruin it for you…. although don’t get excited because it’s not that amazing.

Still I think the whole story is pretty unnecessary here. The acting is pretty good, I guess, but the script is pretty dreadful for most parts. On a few occasions one character will say something to another, and the way the other character responds make no sense to the conversation at hand. I find that very annoying.

Anyway randomly pointless storyline aside - watching the cut scenes is actually kind of fun, in a very bad, rubbish-kind-of-way.

Moving on…
One thing I have to say about this game is that it has one of the highest learning curves I have ever played in a game. A lot of people said the same thing about the original game, well guys it’s pretty much the same thing here.

First of all if you are playing the Wii version you need to figure out which control scheme is best for the game. You have the choice of three control styles.

  • Wiimote only - Horizontal
  • Wiimote only - Vertical
  • GameCube controller

Wiimote Horizontal is my personal worst choice. You hold the Wiimote like you would a NES controller. Fans of Excite Truck will be familiar with this scheme, as you tilt the controller to the left and right to steer, which is fine. But to accelerate and brake, you need to tilt/twist the controller forward and back. Personally I found accelerating and steering in the Horizontal mode, surprisingly tricky. Either I would not accelerate properly, or my turning would be too slow.

Sonic Riders ZG

Using the GameCube controller is also surprisingly tricky. Unlike most (normal) racers, where you would hold down a button to accelerate (like A), Sega decided it would be best to make it so the player needs to push the analogue stick forward and back to accelerate, while also using it to steer left and right, kind of stupid if you ask me. It’s a little better than using the Wiimote Horizontally, but unnecessarily awkward.

Lastly we have holding the Wiimote Vertically. This is pretty tricky to get used to, but once you figure it all out, it actually feels really natural. You have a cursor appear on the screen, showing you just where you are aiming and you use the cursor as a guide to how hard you are steering and accelerating or braking. To accelerate you need to point the Wiimote toward the top of the screen and to brake you need to point towards the bottom.

I only gave the other two control styles a couple of goes each, but I really didn’t like them at all. Holding the Wiimote Vertically was the best (for me at least). Other than accelerating, braking and steering the controls are very basic. You have a jump button and the Gravity Control button.

Sonic Riders ZG

When racing you come across plenty of jumps, which you need to hit the jump button when you hit the top. Depending on when you hit the jump button and how you land, you get a score like C, B, A, AA, S, SS and (sometimes) X. Yep it seems now “X” is the top letter in the gaming alphabet.

What is pretty weird is that you don’t actually seem to control any trick you do in mid-air, so the whole jumping and points scheme seems a bit odd really, as you have such little control over the outcome of the landing and points scored.

Then again, it makes the game that little bit easier, which might appeal more to some of the people who thought that the first game was too hard to play. But I basically try to hit jump at the end of the ramp and hold it down until I’m just about to land and I usually come out with a SS or an X. Depending on how well you do on jumps, you get a certain amount of Gravity power, obviously the better the score, the more power you obtain from the jump.

Don’t let gravity get you down
Really there are three main uses for the gravity control.

  • Tight turns - slows you down and lets you rotate in midair, until you angle yourself just right, and then once you let go you fly forward with a burst of speed.
  • Opening new paths - The gravity affects most things around you, and sometimes walls will break apart, opening a new pathway for you.
  • Extra speed down straights - sends you (literally) flying through the air over the heads of your competitors.

The use of going down straights with extra speed is pretty cool - as you levitate in the air and then burst forward with great speed and fly down the course. What is cool is how objects around you levitate too, and you can use them to give you even more of a boost through the air. By touching the objects in the air, your character will grab them briefly and push them selves off again, sending you flying faster forward.

Sonic Riders ZG

The gravity control can be used at pretty much anytime in the game. However most of the time it is pointless to try and use the gravity control as it won’t always help you. Fortunately the game will tell you the best times to use the Tight Turns and the Speed Boost - with the help of some on screen tips. But finding new paths is usually up to you, so best to explore the levels if you want to beat your friends.

Going the wrong way up a ski slope?
As I mentioned earlier the learning curve is pretty steep - but that was not just referring to the control methods and the new gravity control system. The actual racing and general gameplay is a challenge in itself.

Sure you can pick up the controls and complete a course quite happily, maybe getting 3rd or 4th on your first go. But to actually win a race will take some learning, and it’s not just learning the routes of the courses, but trying to maintain a decent speed, because the computer AI is actually incredibly good.

In the story mode you need to come first to progress through to the next level, and it took me about 5 attempts to do that. Then the second level took me a good 6 or 7 goes. You really do need to try and learn how to pull off the gravity tricks just right and exactly when to use them correctly, to keep up the performance of the rider.

Sonic Riders ZG

But don’t get the wrong impression - I loved this part of the game. It’s been so long that I have played a racing game which offered a bit of a challenge, without the AI cheating or stupid glitches. And here’s the thing, once you do learn the secrets of the game, winning stops being a bitch and the races become even more fun.

There are a lot of games out there which start off pretty hard, and then once you hit a certain point become stupidly easy to finish off. Sonic Riders ZG keeps up the difficulty pretty well, even when you learn everything and start winning, you won’t be winning easily, the AI offers a great challenge and if you screw up at a point in a race then you will most likely find that you will need to start catching up again.

So the game might not be for those that want something easy, like Mario Kart. But for gamers that want a fun, challenging racer it’s pretty good.

As for visuals, quite frankly, I would say there is absolutely nothing wrong with the graphics in the game, the gameplay is fast and the graphics remain smooth and well detailed throughout - especially for a Wii game.

Sonic Riders ZG

The levels/tracks are pretty well detailed, with large objects and bright colours and the FMV is pretty darn good. The only real let down is in most cut scenes, which use in-game visuals. These visuals are fine racing at speed, but up close and still, you may not be so impressed.

Audio is something I’m torn on. Well all the sounds and voice acting is actually very good (very surprising for acting). But the music is something I’m undecided about.

You see the tracks all have different music; some tracks sound very mediocre, and I can take it or leave it, other tracks have a tune that I’m not a fan of, and then you get some tracks which I find myself humming along to merrily as I fly off the edge of the track for a 5th time because I’m not paying attention to the road.

I guess on the whole, the music is pretty good. But there’s not quite enough great stuff to really make an impact on the player, unlike some other games.

Other Notables:
Even once you have finished the story mode, the game offers a hell of a lot of extra play time, with loads of new unlockable characters, new boards and vehicles (like Rollerblades and Broomsticks), plus some extra courses - like the 90’s and 80’s Boulevards (courses with adverts of old Sega games from the respective decades, a great stroll down memory lane).

Also the game allows players to upload their race times to worldwide leader boards, which is nice, but perhaps still not a real substitute for proper online play - which would have been great for this game.

Sonic Riders ZG


Perhaps not the greatest racer of all time, and the difficulty will be too steep for quite a few gamers, but for many experienced gamers Sonic Riders ZG should provide enough entertainment for a good while, especially with the unlockables.

Final Thought:
Far from perfect, but a great racer to own, especially if you like a bit of a challenge. However, if you really don’t like your racers to be taxing, then possibly best to avoid.

7/10 - Very Good


Published on March 11th, 2008 under , , , , , , ,

Sega Superstar Tennis trailer and achievements


Today Sega of Europe updated their blog with a new trailer for Sega Superstar Tennis which will soon be available for the PS3, Xbox360, Wii, DS and PS2. I don’t know about you guys but the more I see of this game, the more excited I am for it.

Developed by Sumo Digital, music by Richard Jacques and full of awesome Sega fan service. You would have to be the village idiot of stupidville to not be looking forward to this game. Yeah! that’s right, you heard me!

That’s not all SoE revealed today they have also given away half of the Xbox 360 versions achievements, they are listed as follows:

Play Ball – Win your first Match. (10GP)
Starting Grid – Win with all starting characters in any mode. (10GP)
Beat Them All – In any mode, beat all characters in Singles matches. (30GP)
Original Teams – Beat all the classic Doubles pairs. (30GP)
Cameo Appearance – Hit a SEGA court cameo! (20GP)
To The Max – Hit 3 Max serves in a row. (20GP)
Seeing Stars - Enter Superstar mode 10 times in a match. (20GP)
SEGA Rally – Hit a 40 shot rally in any mode. (20GP)
Top Gun – Hit 100 aces. (20GP)
Afterburner – Hit a serve over 124mph / 200kph (20GP)
OutRun – Run a total of 6.2 miles / 10km (20GP)
Step Into SEGA World – Complete your first Challenge (Rank A) (10GP)
Classic Complete – Complete all Challenges in one SEGA game (Rank A) (20GP)
Challenges 101 – Complete all Challenges in all SEGA games (Rank A) (30GP)

Tons of new Sega Superstars Tennis info



The last unannounced character in Sega Superstars Tennis has been revealed, and it’s none other than Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe. Total Video Games had a interview with the boys at Sumo Digital. Here is the interesting information from the interview:

  • The game started as Sonic Tennis, but Sumo Digital wanted to do a Sega Tennis game.
  • They got feedback from all the original Japanese studios.
  • Each character in the game has 150-250 animations. The game is very animation driven.
  • Ryo wasn’t in the game because he wasn’t “cartoony” enough.
  • The Playstation 2 version won’t be released in Japan.
  • They would like to do a more Sega Superstars games including a racer or brawler.
  • The game was made by a team of 60 people. This includes all the versions.
  • They started working on the game after the release of Virtua Tennis 3 port for the Xbox 360.
  • The game will feature over 80 mini game!
  • No online multiplayer for the Wii version because it was too complicated, and the DS is more flexible in this department.

Gamersyde has posted videos of the mini-games, gameplay, and a interview with Steve Lycett. IGN has posted four gameplay videos for the Xbox 360 version.

[Via the Forums]

CVG Sega Superstar Tennis interview with Sumo Digital



CVG have a short but very sweet interview with Sumo digital about the upcoming title Sega Superstar Tennis, They don’t give away to much we don’t already know but they did mention the game will have 80 tracks of classic Sega and brand new music composed by Richard Jacques, plus some hidden characters they haven’t mentioned yet!

Were music and sound effects taken from other Sega games?

We’ve been really honoured and allowed to access the Sega archives for the music and sounds. On top of this we’ve also had the services of Richard Jacques to revisit certain game themes to bring them right up to date, as well as add his own brand new music to tie the whole game together. We’ve got over 80 pieces of music in the game, a real fan pleasing soundtrack!

Which Sega characters are in the game?

I’ve got to be careful who I mention, as we’ve got some that have to remain secret for now… I think the ones I can mention are Sonic, Ulala, Amigo, AiAi, Tails, NiGHTS, Shadow, Reala, Beat and Gum.2 We’ve tried to go for a good mix of characters from past and present, so if you’re a Sega fan, there will be someone who you really want to play as.

I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THIS GAME! I’m not a big fan of tennis or any sport for that matter but I don’t even care, this game is going to be better then sex with Scarlett Johansson.

The full interview which any self respecting Sega fan should read is right here.

Sega Superstars Tennis mini game screenshots unleashed



This game is looking great. Every time theres a update, it makes me want it more. This time they decided to show off the mini games that will be featured. I don’t know about you, but mini games where my favorite part of Virtua Tennis, so I’m excited about the ones in Sega Superstars Tennis. The ones in these batch of screenshots are:

  • Chu Chu Rocket – Remember this game on the Dreamcast? It seems that you have to hit the ball where you want the arrow to go, the goal would be the same as the original, get the mouses in the hole and don’t let the cats (or whatever they were) get you.
  • Jet Set Radio – It seems you walk around the court, pick up spray cans and hit the ball in the tag outline to spray it. Pretty cool.
  • House of the Dead - This one has been talked about before. They described it Space invaders meets House of the Dead. You hit the zombies before they can touch you. Its pretty funny looking at Amigo fight off zombies.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog – The blue blur is getting a mini game that actually looks rather cool. The object of the game is to collect rings, but it seems that the ipod looking robot won’t just let you have them.
  • Super Monkey Ball – Judging by the screen posted, you’ll have to hit the capsules into the rings. If the tennis ball is blue, you hit the blue. You get the picture.

segasstennis_jetsetradio01.jpg segasstennis_curienmansion01.jpg segasstennis_sonichedgehog_rings.jpg
Are almost all Sega Superstars Tennis screenshots a bit blurry or is it just me?

Sega Superstar Tennis shows off new characters, mini-games, and court



Yes, a this is our third Sega Superstar Tennis update in a row. This time I promise good news.

Three new characters have been revealed by eurogamer. They revealed four characters but I already posted about Alex Kidd.

  • Pudding (Space Channel 5)
  • Gum (Jet Set Radio)
  • Reala(NiGHTS)

Thats not all though, They also revealed three new Sega themed mini-games.

  • Puyo Pop themed
  • Space Harrier themed
  • Samba De Amigo themed

Also to add to the list is a new court confirmed. This one will be a Outrun 2 court. The court will feature Flag man as a umpire.

[via The Forum]

First Sega Superstar Tennis Trailer


If the video does not work for you, you can see it at these links:

Well there you have! Sega fans everywhere should now have tighter pants, I know I do!That was fucking hot, The music? Classic Sega goodness from the god of music Richard Jacques. The sky was blue the colours were bright and cheery. I even laughed a little at Amigos maraca run and Robotnik’s crazy tennis arms invention!

It’s good to see guys like Amigo and Ulala back again doing their thing, I wonder who or what else from Sega’s epic history will appear in this baby!

This game? Day 1 for me!

This game releases March 18, 2008 to DS, PS2, PS3, Wii, and XBOX360 in the USA.

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