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Attack of the B-Grade Games 125

The best games on the market are referred to as AAA titles. This refers to the cost required to make them, but it's often used to indicate the quality of a game title as well. Not every disc you pop in a drive can be God of War, though. Games that honestly give their all deserve at least a little respect; B for effort, as it were. Today I have impressions for two titles that favour style over substance and go down swinging, filling the screen with hundreds of NPCs for sheer shock value. Capcom's Dead Rising and the Dynasty Warriors wannabe Ninety-Nine Nights manage to both disappoint and satisfy. Like B-grade films, they're so bad that you just might love them. Read on for the Attack of the B-Grade Games!
  • Title: Dead Rising
  • Publisher/Developer: Capcom
  • System: 360
In the grand tradition of a Romero flick it is totally not associated with, Capcom's open-ended action piece Dead Rising sets you loose in a sprawling shopping complex filled with the living dead. Despite the promise of freedom, something of a Grand Theft Auto with walking corpses, I ultimately found the game on offer poorly pieced together and frustrating. Bursting with promise like a well-fed brain-chewer, Dead Rising just fails to live up to its potential.

As photojournalist Frank West, you're dropped into the Willamette mall to cover the story of the century. An entire town has gone red-eyed and shambling, and you're there to cover it with your camera in one hand and any weapon you can find in the other. The helicopter pilot will be back in 72 hours, and you have exactly that long (by your in-game watch) to do what you will and still get picked up. Within that three-day span you'll encounter mysterious agents, frightened citizens, armed psychopaths, an annoying photographer, a hungry clown, and a whole lot of freaking zombies.

That sounds like a great set-up for a game, and the first few hours tantalize with future payoffs. Where did the zombies come from? Who are the mysterious agents operating in the mall? What's with the crazy Spanish guy? Why would anyone buy a blue set of slacks with a tweed jacket? It quickly becomes apparent, though, that you're really playing two games at the same time in the same space. One game is all about the 'cases'. Certain events happen at preset times. As you work through the game's storyline, you'll have to show up at a place by a specific in-game time in order to see the cut scene and interact with whatever is going on. The clock works tirelessly against you, requiring you to race around the mall to make your appointments. If you miss even one event in the game's storyline, it's all over. You may as well use the time remaining in the game to randomly slaughter zombies, because you won't be seeing the end of the story.

My real frustration is how much the harsh time-table interferes with the other half of the game. The free-roaming GTA-style gameplay Dead Rising's marketing has been playing up only offers so much given that you have to be in certain places at certain times. In between missions you can attempt to save civilians, kill zombies, go hunting for psychopaths, try on clothes, kill zombies, take pictures, mix new beverages, learn new skills, play on a skateboard, and kill zombies. Unfortunately, there's never really quite enough time to let you fully explore your environment, so all the 'neat stuff' you can do becomes merely something you notice as you're running from place to place on the way to a storyline mission. There are a few sizable breaks between cases, but in the meantime civvies will have died and opportunities will be lost.

TFor me, that's by far the game's most frustrating game-play choice. The 'save the civilians' escort missions are infuriating. Civilians are trapped in locales around the mall, and the building's security guard Otis will alert you to their plight at various points during the game. You can choose to help them or not, but my knee-jerk reaction when playing the game was one of sympathy. Frustratingly, especially at the start of the game, it's nearly impossible to get them to safety. Frightened, and barely able to swing a weapon, these characters are nothing more than lambs to the slaughter. As soon as they join up with you and follow you out into the mall's main corridors, they become two-legged lunchables for the zombie hordes. This becomes less of an issue further into the game, as you complete objectives and gain power. Whereas 1st level Frank can barely make it down an empty corridor without slipping and dying, end-game Frank can fight his way through a wall-to-wall zombie love-in and look good doing it. Just the same, your meek charges are constantly trying to get themselves eaten; that's just not fun.

Top this mess off with bad voice acting, a story that tries to make witty jabs at American culture and fails, and often-challenging combat controls. Like the creatures in Dawn of the Dead, this game shambles forward in time to the cheerful muzak.. All promise and no payoff, Dead Rising will make for a good rental if you worship at the altar of bad zombie flicks. If you're looking for a short term stand-in for GTA or Resident Evil, you'd be advised to look elsewhere.

  • Title: Ninety-Nine Nights
  • Publisher/Developers: Microsoft Game Studios, Q Entertainment, Phantagram
  • System: 360
The Dynasty Warriors series is incredibly popular. The title's historical setting and 'button-mash to defeat armies' gameplay has spawned 19 games, including an online title and an as-yet unreleased game scheduled for the PlayStation 3. It should come as no surprise, then, that other developers would try to imitate its success. Ninety-Nine Nights (N3) is the result of discarding the strategy and historical setting from Dynasty Warriors , and replacing them with goblins and fan service.

Set in a somewhat forgettable fantasy realm, N3 tells the intertwining tales of seven heroic figures and their fight against the forces of darkness. Beginning with the attractive Inphyy, you slash and hack your way through hundreds and thousands of goblinoid baddies to make the world safe for us human-types. The identical subhuman antagonists come at you in waves of sameness, starting with a few dozen all in a bunch but ramping quickly up to hundreds at a time. As you defeat your foes, you'll gain levels and acquire items to improve your stats. There's no real strategy to be found here, just an RPG-lite beat-em-up with a grand feel.

The scope of the conflict is the most successfully executed part of N3. The 360's graphics do a great job of showing off huge battle maps, hordes and hordes of enemies, extremely shiny attack effects, and well-done character animations. With a few exceptions, the console handles the load without complaint, allowing you the satisfaction of seeing hundreds of opponents fall before you. There's no abstraction here; you'll get to see every single goblin you put down over the course of the game.

To take out the baddies, you'll be doing combos, stringing attacks together in long chains. N3 is incredibly combo-focused, and 'success' is measured by your ability to dive into a mob of baddies and destroy the whole bunch without ever giving your sword arm a rest. Each character levels up to new abilities as you move through their tale, but you start the game with several simple and efficient moves. XXX, YY is a typical combo, allowing you to cull the goblin horde like a farmer working his field. Unfortunately, you'll never need much more than that efficient first move. Despite the initially very satisfying experience of tossing hordes of baddies aside with a mere wave of your arm, you'll quickly realize that the entire game is going to consist primarily of XXX, YY repeated ad nauseam. Worse, the game actively works against your efforts to combo. Enemies often stupidly stand out of the range of the fight, and your NPC soldier buddies are the worst kind of ineffectual. Most frustrating of all, cut scenes interrupt your combos; running out of enemies I can handle, but falling just short of a 1000 enemy combo because a pretty-looking guy has to spout inane dialogue is just frustrating.

You do get to occasionally loose an 'orb attack', a cool-looking screen clearer earned by collecting shinies from your defeated enemies. Each hero has two different orb attacks, and they're all ludicrously entertaining. Even the satisfaction of the orb attack is muted somewhat, though, by the slowdown it prompts in the hardware. If the screen is wall-to-wall enemies, loosing an orb attack can result in chugging movements and choppy graphics. It's particularly jarring because the rest of the game looks so good, and never fails to distract when it occurs.

All around, N3 just isn't very good, but I couldn't help but enjoy the mediocre and repetitive gameplay. It's pretty, it's unpretentious, and there's something ridiculously satisfying about tossing a dozen goblins into the air with a single sword swipe. That said, this game is strictly a rental. You'll be able to complete the storyline for the first hero in about three hours or so, and it's not hard to imagine working through all seven heroes in a single weekend. It was fun for me in a Krull/Dragonslayer/Conan kind of way; light fantasy with no storytelling to 'get in the way'. If that's all you're looking for, you won't be disappointed. Those looking for goblin-bashing with a little more substance might want to try something a little more traditional.

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Attack of the B-Grade Games

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  • N3 opinion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:27PM (#16000950) Homepage Journal
    I agree that N3 is a B-Grade game, but the XBOX360 does not really have too many turn-your-brain-off button mashers. I am fairly happy with the game as it allows a winding-down from playing something heavy and involved like oblivion and yet still maintains a sense of scale and grandeur. Although the 300 enemies pouring over the hill are the same you have faced before, it still feels good to use some of the orb moves and cut through them all. I think N3 is the type of game that you say you dont like, you dont recommend to anyone, but play more than you think you should.
    • by SuperRob ( 31516 )
      I like it for one reason, and one reason only. Easy Achievement Points. :)
      • If you think those are easy. Well you've too much time on your hand, that game is pretty long, no easy mode and the difficulty is mid to high. Plus for 40 bucks there's better games for "Easy" points.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:29PM (#16000959) Journal
    Actually, I like Zonk. It's just so damn fashionable to make fun of him that I couldn't help myself. It's the peer pressure, the peer pressure made me do it!
    • You like Zonk because its cool to be different than the crowd that doesn't like him? Ok, I like Zonk because he provides so many video game links. Who else likes Zonk?
      • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:52PM (#16001098) Journal
        Actually that's why I like Zonk, too. Websites and magazines that are part of the gaming industry tend to parrot the party line, giving every suck-ass game at least an 8/10 stars. This isn't primarily a gaming site, and Zonk is no gaming insider, so the things he writes are less biased than I would expect elsewhere. Plus, he's the only editor who actually, you know, writes things.
        • I like him because he's an Xbox fanboi. Or wait - he's a Nintedo fanboi. Can somebody remind me which it is today?

          Oh, well. Regardless, he's always got plenty of trash to talk about the PS3, so I suppose that's good.
      • You like Zonk because its cool to be different than the crowd that doesn't like him? Ok, I like Zonk because he provides so many video game links. Who else likes Zonk?

        As a contrarian video game enthusiast, I like Zonk exactly for those reasons. Er, actually, what I meant to say is:
        In Soviet Russia, Zonk doesn't like YOU!
      • i like zonk. i think he may be a little nuts though. his weekend marathon runs where he is the only person putting up articles for hour after hour are crazy. but if slashdot seriously does all this manually without a queue they are nuts. i would assume they queue for auto-insertion since they usually hit the mainpage with a certain amount of time spacing. maybe 45 minutes or so weekdays and somewhere around double that for weekends.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Zonk ( 12082 ) *
          We do schedule them out, thankfully. :)

          The weekend runs are hard, but by the time you read something that goes up on Saturday or Sunday morning, it's been scheduled since probably midnight the night before. I don't sleep much, though, so it's possible I'm posting live late on a weekend. I am quite the social butterfly.

          Otherwise, your observations about scheduling are almost entirely correct. That's pretty much exactly what I aim for in story spacing. Obviously, the more news we get the faster we post. Augus
  • by doxology ( 636469 ) <cozzyd&mit,edu> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:29PM (#16000963) Homepage
    Snakes on a game!
  • I saw the TV commercial ads for Dead Rising on cable the other day. I bet you just on those commercials alone, that this will become a slightly popular game. The ads were very impelling. It made you look like you were about to buy and play the next Resident Evil - like zombie killing game.
    • by iocat ( 572367 )
      It's already closing in on a million units and rasing Capcom's stock price accordingly. Everyone bags on some element of the game (as Zonk did, appropriately), but EVERYONE is playing it, at least at my office...
      • by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @03:31PM (#16001772) Homepage
        It's true Dead Rising is the hot property right now for the 360... I don't own it YET but thats only because I've got 3 or 4 other games sitting around that I haven't played yet...

        I've heard nothing but praise from the people who own it. As for Zonk's comment on the time based "appointments" detracting from the running around and exploring aspect of the game... well, in my opinion that's a big plus. I've always been annoyed by games where it doesn't matter if you show up in 2 minutes or 2 hours you always arrive at just the right time according to how the linear gameplay is supposed to play out. Oblivion is a great game but when someone tells you that you need to deliver this message as soon as possible, you could run it there as fast as you can or loaf around "exploring" for 2 months before delivering it and the outcome is usually the same.

        If anything I'd see the competing goals as a reason to play thought the title more then once. Either get the game and tool around in the world exploring places and killing zombies etc. and once you've had your fill go back and play through it in a totally different way, following along with the story... a story that apparently unfolds whether you're there to see it or not, IMO it adds a sense of realism (zombies... yes I know) it's a feature that is hardly ever seen in games today and a good feature IMO.
        • by iocat ( 572367 )
          Oh yeah, to be clear, I'm not complaining, and the save system (about which everyone complains) actually encourages you to restart occaisionally. You don't lose stats when you restart, either, and if you want to finish the game at level 50, you'll need to play through it more than once. My point was just that the game has flaws, and tons of people talk about them, but more important than that, tons of people are playing and enjoying the game. I have some quibbles, but I have put in more hours than with any
    • by Machtyn ( 759119 )
      It made you look like you were about to buy and play the next Resident Evil - like zombie killing game.

      I agree. To me, it looked like a Resident Evil, except more "cartoony". However, it also seems like a short lived game. Something you can play through and get bored of within a couple of weeks.
  • Space Rangers 2! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is an awesome, awesome b-grade game for PC. There is so much to do in it. It's a turn based space strat/RTS/Shmup/Text adventure all in one. Check out the demo available online.

    Also, not a recent game but I can't stress how good it is enough is: Darwinia....just great, innovative, original RTS/Shmup action.
    • Are you sure it isn't good enough to not be a B game... maybe its an A- game and therefore not as good as a B game...blech. Why can't we just agree that some games suck.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nick Fury ( 624480 )
      I hate to tell you but Space Rangers 2 comes complete with Starforce copy protection and can render your CD drive useless.
  • by WankersRevenge ( 452399 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:33PM (#16000990)
    I realized I could ignore all the missions and kill to my hearts content. Now I just pick it up and play for an hour, and put it down feeling rather satisfied. You see, once you fail a "case mission" (the main storyline), the game gives you an option to keep playing. And since your learned skills and abilities carry over to new games, the game gets better with each restart.

    My biggest gripe is the phone. There's no ignore function. Otis will keep calling ... and calling ... and calling. The dude just doesn't take a hint.
    • by DJ Wipeout ( 139210 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:50PM (#16001087)
      I believe VGCats has best described the frustration Otis "calls" forth [vgcats.com].
    • I only played the demo for a few hours before my roommate bought the game and I felt that it was rather fun to just go around killing zombies.

      but I've watched him play about 2/3 of the game and that phone is annoying. I think it's more annoying when you're not the one playing, because you're sitting at your computer reading slashdot or looking at pr0n and all you can hear is the faint sound of a bowling ball crushing a skull with an overpowering, extra loud phone ringing on top of it.

      I think the game would
    • If you beat the game with the true ending *SPOILER WARNING* by solving all cases, making it to the helipad, and then completing overtime mode *END OF SPOILERS*, you unlock inifinite mode where your only goal is to survive (your health slowly ticks down, something like lose 1 health a minute) and EVERYONE is an enemy. In fact, Otis is the first ass you get to kick, and taking a baseball bat to an elderly guy never felt so good.
  • Jones in the fast lane? I spent many a break while at college playing this game with friends.
    • by GrueMoon ( 990213 )
      "Buy two of our burgers, get the shakes for free."
    • This week you made $71 with your computer!
    • Hey, I remember playing that game with classmates on the computer in our 7th (might have been 8th) grade homeroom! We also played the shareware of a somewhat disturbing breakout-style game called something like "Bouncing Bob" where the "ball" was a guy from a mental hospital and the "paddle" was a stretcher moved around by two hospital workers desperate to keep Bob from winding up a red puddle. Then later in science class we played Doom and One Must Fall 2097.
    • You spent the weekend washing your marble.
  • Sometimes you want a game where you can "Press 'A' to see something cool". I hope there will always be room for games like these as they give people the opportunity to just play a game without the sheer involvement of a game like Elder Scrolls.
    • by snard6 ( 990260 )
    • by kirun ( 658684 )
      Well, not quite (sometimes you have to press B or C), but here you go [kirun.co.uk]. It appears to work with DOSbox if needs be.
    • by vimh42 ( 981236 )
      Ah, but in something like the Elder Scolls games, you can just run around and do what you want. You don't have to deal with plot. If you want to find every type of plant in the game go for it. If you want to run around and kill zombies, go for it.
  • Dead Rising... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saige ( 53303 ) <evil.angela@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:35PM (#16001009) Journal
    Too bad the review here also fails to live up to what it promises... He's definitely not played enough Dead Rising to understand what's available. Yes, the whole storyline is discovered through time-critical case files that make it tough to just go around and slaughter zombies and play in the mall. But here's the amazing part - you don't have to do them! That's right, if you decide to skip out on the storyline, you'll get notified that "The Truth has Fallen Into Darkness", but you can just continue on and save survivors if you want, kill psychopaths, and slaughter zombies by the thousands. In fact, some of the game's achievements pretty much require you to do just that - there's no way you'll get Zombie Genocide, for example, playing the storyline. There's just not enough time to kill 53,597 zombies and still do the cases. (That amount is the population of the town, if anyone's wondering about the odd number)

    It's not as freeform as GTA, but it does offer you a LOT of flexibility in how you play it and what you do. And with the hundreds of weapons, if all you want to do is kill zombies, there are plenty of ways to do it.

    Oh, and don't forget the unusual save system - when you die, you can reload your game, which is normal. Or you can save and restart - all your gained levels, experience, and skills remain with you. So you can play again, only with a stronger main character. This is almost necessary - trying to go through the game from a Lvl 1 character is tough. Restart a few times with saving experience, though, and it becomes easier. Not easy, but easier.

    Yes, there are flaws in the game. The aiming system for guns and throwing items, for example, is slow and clumsy. And the survivor AI could definitely use work. But it's a HELL of a lot better than this review implies.

    • Re:Dead Rising... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Babbster ( 107076 ) <aaronbabbNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:07PM (#16001177) Homepage
      It's odd, but the time limit that reviewers are describing as a negative is the big thing that's actually getting me excited about playing this game (I've been "about to get an Xbox 360" for about 6 months now). I actually like the idea of a game dominated by a ticking countdown.

      For example, I've been playing Beyond Good & Evil (great game BTW) for the last month or so. While I've enjoyed it, I must admit that at times the urgency just isn't there. When your companion is kidnapped early in the game, you then have to sneak your way through a large factory in an attempt to find him; but, the way the game is designed you could take days to do so if you felt like it. After hitting a savepoint or two, the urgency kind of washes away. Now, if there was a ticking clock that kicked off as soon as your buddy was kidnapped, I'd really feel more immersed in the game - it would probably be more frustating, but it would be exciting, too.
      • Re:Dead Rising... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:31PM (#16001328)
        "I actually like the idea of a game dominated by a ticking countdown."

        In that same vein, the ticking countdown levels are the exact reason I stopped playing GTAIII 3 years ago and never looked back. I have about 20 deadlines in my real life, where my livlihood actually depends upon it. I'll be damned if I'm going to take that kind of stress from a video game that I paid for.
        • "I have about 20 deadlines in my real life, where my livlihood actually depends upon it. I'll be damned if I'm going to take that kind of stress from a video game that I paid for."

          Oh, man, I couldn't possible agree more! Back in the day, all my free time was spent playing Sonic the Hedgehog. It was what I lived for, it was my all-consuming passion... and it nearly landed me in an EARLY GRAVE. After every class, with their essays and pop quizzes and projects and labs and other clock-ticking syllabus monste
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        I don't like the idea of a countdown. Instead I'd prefer if the world had schedule when what happens but 1. doesn't tell you when that is outside of clues (e.g. a demon army is advancing towards the capital, obviously there'll be a battle when it arrives or people telling you they've seen a strange person around town that comes out during the night) and 2. has enough going on that you don't have to be at every event that happens. Perhaps you're busy defending a town while on the other side of the world the
      • What a game that was though - and, to be fair, there are a couple of Race Against The Clock parts to the game, and they don't add much. They were added when it was appropriate - getting your buddy OUT of the factory, for example - and I don't think sneak-em-up style games like the entering-factory section of BGaE would do too well out of timed challenges. Besides, there were races to compete in as well...
        Also, it was an exceptional game in its own right - given when it was released, its graphics were intere
    • Re:Dead Rising... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) * on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:19PM (#16001241) Homepage Journal

      I can save and restart, allowing me to replay the same sections of the game over and over until I'm powerful enough to advance? That's not an innovation. At best it's a weird loophole allowing those willing to restart and restart and restart to get an edge. At worst it's an old friend in new clothes: grinding. I got tired of grinding with the original Dragon Warrior.

      As for the ability to simply ignore the main plotline and go do the other stuff, it seems sucky that you have to pick one or the other. Maybe some things (like the Zombie Genocide) should require you to make an either or decision, but why force the player to make that decision for lesser side-expeditions like rescuing civilians? Many gamers will focus on the primary plotline, feel frustrated that they failed so many side quests, finish the game, then be done.

      These aren't misunderstood features, this is simply bad game design.

      • by Saige ( 53303 )
        I see the "Save and Restart" feature as a way to adjust the difficulty to the point that fits you as a gamer. If you're massively skilled and can get through the storyline starting with a lvl 1 character, then awesome. If you keep dying, then a save and restart effectively makes the game a bit easier for you. You don't have to grind if you don't want to.

        And you CAN save civilians and complete the storyline at the same time. It's just that you have to manage your time well to do so. In fact, the "Saint"
        • by clu76 ( 620823 )
          If you want to be able to save everyone and solve the storyline at the same time, and to have it be not that hard to do, then yes, you'll think it's bad design since it's not easy to do, but that's because they WANTED that heavy time pressure. I remember a time when getting good at a challenging video game was considered good design. For whatever reason, it is now considered bad.
          • At worst it's an old friend in new clothes: grinding. I got tired of grinding with the original Dragon Warrior.
            I remember a time when getting good at a challenging video game was considered good design. For whatever reason, it is now considered bad.
            Well, which is it?
            • by clu76 ( 620823 )
              Well, which is it?

              Dead Rising never felt like grinding to me. And I generally despise XP based video games. I beat the game first time through, without restarting from the beginning. Considering that it doesn't take long to max out at level 50, my vote goes to Dead Rising be primarily skill based.
            • I think grinding is typically described as doing the same thing over and over again, almost literally. Fighting the same monsters over and over again in an RPG, whether it be Dragon Warrior or WoW, is considered grinding. Now a lot of people don't mind the grind, because the reward of being power-levelled is often greater than the work put into it. There are some games that I personally have not minded grinding at all, because I just liked the game that much. That part is subjective.

              I wouldn't consider the
    • Agree 100%. Plus, there ARE alternate endings, some of which you can only get by failing certain missions.
    • Re:Dead Rising... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bones3D_mac ( 324952 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:29PM (#16001307)
      I'm amazed how anyone can hate this game. Sure, the game feels like a gimmick at first with all the flare of "Night of the Comet', but there's actually a lot of depth to it once you realize you aren't restricted to the single, repetative section you start out in. You can even go outside of the mall and locate other entrances to different sections while fending off hundreds of zombies and crazed, escape convicts hell bent on killing anything that moves, human or otherwise. There are even some really unusual weapons, such as snowblowers and motorcycles, that can take out entire crowds in the most gruesome manner imaginable.

      Other weapons I really enjoy:

      - Katana Sword (it slices and dices with the greatest of easy)
      - Sledgehammer (great for watermelons or human skulls)
      - Scythe (hook the neck and pull to remove head)
      - sub-machine gun (perforate them all before they know what hit them)
      - stun-gun (sizzle till they pop)
      - heated frying pan (grill 'em and kill 'em)
      - mall benches (have a seat, or else)
      - propane tank + handgun (fire in the hole)

      Other useful items include insects that will wipe out entire crowds and electric mixers that will convert various combinations of food items into temporary power-up drinks (2x Pie = "untouchable", 2x Wine/yogurt+ice cream = "quickstep", etc...). If you really want a challenge, try a cooking oil and orange juice cocktail.

      The AI of the zombies is surprisingly random, but not to the point of being all to predictable. They also get more intelligent over time as they get more desperate to feed. (For example, they'll try to sneak up behind you and attack in large swarms further into the game, as well as becoming increasingly skilled at navigating complicated terrain, such as looking for openings to enclosed counters and traversing stairs.)

      Finally, if you play along with the storyline, you'll find some of the human characters pose a greater threat than the zombies themselves, as you slowly uncover the mystery behind how the zombies came to be.

      Overall, if you weren't a fan of the sometimes repetative gameplay of the Grand Theft Auto III titles, you may not find much value to Dead Rising. But if your not afraid to explore, Dead Rising will offer plenty of challenges to keep you busy long after the initial 72 in-game hours. Capcom really offered what was promised... anything within reach can be used as a weapon.
    • That's not very discoverable for someone who isn't actively trying to figure out how the hell he is going to get his money's worth out of a game.

      I tried the demo. I extrapolated from the demo that the game was too hard, the cutscenes were horribly interruptive, the acting was bad, and I just plain wouldn't have enough time to go around doing cool stuff. This added up to "shitty game, don't buy".

      However, if the story is optional, that makes a difference. And the save system sounds innovative enough that I'd
    • Save and Restart is also used in Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball. You may know this game as one of the worst pieces of crap ever to come to the US from Japan.

      You play though the game, making some advances. At the end of the time limit, you restart the game, keeping your accomplishments (which in this game consists of buying jewelry and bathing suits for your stable of bimbos).

      It makes for repetitive play, and it is rarely a good thing in a game.

      I did like this style of "reset" in Majora's Mask though, so it
  • Historical Note (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @01:37PM (#16001020) Homepage Journal
    Games that honestly give their all deserve at least a little respect; B for effort, as it were.
    Since you're using "B-Grade Games" as an obvious play on "B-Movies", I'd just like to point out that the historical context of "B-Movie" is not the grade scale commonly used in schools. Rather, the term emerged from the concept of Double Features in theaters.

    When theaters showed a Double Feature, they usually showed the ticket-selling movie first, then tacked an inexpensive movie on the back of the first. This way they were able to advertise a "two for one" type of special, without investing in two major motion pictures. Since the second film (known as the "B" movie) was usually of lower quality than the first movie (the "A" movie), the "B" Movies in Double Features became associated with poorly acted and produced films that rarely had much of a plot.

    And now you know... the rest of the story. Good day!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A plausible story that could be full of shit. Why do I feel like I just read Wikipedia?
    • Actually, I thought the A-movie/B-Movie thing was from drive-ins (remember those?). The B-movie was the feature that ran before sundown, typically a lower quality film, the A-movie was the 'Top billed' film people actually came to see, and generally ran after sundown for better picture quality.

      The last one I remember seeing was 'Return of the Living Dead/Desperately Seeking Susan', but I'll be damned if that's not an exception to my explanation... they're both 'B' movies at best!

      At least 'Return' is themati
    • Actually, a B-movie is just a movie produced on a low budget [answers.com]. I lot of people fail to understand that, thinking that the "B" has something to do with a grading system. I have friends who insist on calling crappy movies they don't like "B-movies", even if these movies are very expensive Hollywood productions (they are often right about the quality of the story and the acting, however). The same thing obviously goes for games: the cost of production does not necesarely relate to the quality of the gaming expe
      • Actually, a B-movie is just a movie produced on a low budget.

        Um, say what? From your own link:

        A movie produced on a low budget, originally made to accompany the main feature in a double billing.
        The term B-movie originally referred to a Hollywood motion picture designed to be distributed as the "lower half" of a double feature. Today, there is no longer a clear distinction between "A-movies" and "B-movies".

        Thank you for being nice enough to add weight to my argument, though. Even if yours didn't wor

  • Black and White 2 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now *that's* a B-grade game! Well, maybe a D.

    I've had the game for a week now and I still haven't been able to get out of the non-optional tutorial section. I don't have 8 hours a night anymore to devote to a game and being forced to go through a tutorial is UBER annoying.

    Hell, I've already began to replay games I've already completed. Thankfully, I only spent $20 (US) on B&W2.
    • LOL, you should've been there with Ultima IX, I owned it for aroud six hours before selling it (double priced) to a fanboy-friend of mine that was waiting for his own ordered copy. The fun part is that he was really really happy, even if he never finished the game (I guess most fanboys don't need to play the real thing, since they played it continously in their minds while anticipating).
    • It does have a longish tutorial... but not that long (it took me about an hour). If it is taking you a long time to complete then perhaps you will need the skills that it is trying to teach you in playing the game. I don't understand this backlash on tutorials recently... must we all prove our "leetness" by playing games with no fundimental understanding of how to do so(a big problem with MMOs right now)?
      • But how hard would it be to put in an option that lets you skip the tutorial. I bought B&W2 about half a year ago, installed it and started the game. There was quite a bit of overkill in the tutorial. At one point, the player is taught how to "move left" and right after is taught how to "move right". Redundant aspects like that create a mandatory tutorial incredibly boring to play through. It totally turned me off of the game. I think I logged a total of maybe 2 hours playtime. However, it was fu
      • by grumbel ( 592662 )

        I don't understand this backlash on tutorials recently...

        There is absolutly nothing wrong with a *good* tutorial, fact however is that lots of tutorials these days are completly rubish, they teach you little to nothing and are absolutly boring to play. The tutorial of Black&White1 (can't comment on part 2) spends a good ten minutes with teaching you extremly basic mouse moving skills, which everybody could figure out himself in a few seconds without much throuble. All this completly unskipable, it was

  • Simple2000 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ludomancer ( 921940 )
    It seems like this article really just wants to push the games in question, considering they're all "AAA" (whatever that means) titles with lots of marketing and existing online following. It's too bad he doesn't review some real B-rate titles. In Japan there is a budget line of games titled Simple2000 (costing 2000 yen, or 20 bucks a pop). Some of these games are the best entertainment I've had in years. One in particular, Earth Defense Force 2, is some of the most insanely fun gaming I've ever experie
  • by jidar ( 83795 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:03PM (#16001163)
    What the hell? What rock has this guy been living under that he thinks Dead Rising is a B Grade game? This game huge in both development costs and anticipation. It's been one of the A-List anticipated titles on the 360 for months.
    • and while it has an A class budget, it is not an A class game for the very reasons the reviewer said.

      I feel the game should in fact be patched to allow you to do all the different quests in one run if you're good at bat (so to speak) and skilled enough to budget your time.

      The whole "you have to fail one mission to succeed at another" qualifies as realism, but sucks at escapism. If I wanted to remove escapism I'd go outside... oh wait a minute, bad argument, bad argument!!! :)
      • I feel the game should in fact be patched to allow you to do all the different quests in one run if you're good at bat (so to speak) and skilled enough to budget your time.

        A skilled played will be able to rescue all the survivors (minus one) and finish all the cases in one game. No patching required.
  • by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:08PM (#16001179)
    Let me admit that I'm actually having a good time playing N3. While at the outset you can plow through hordes of enemies by random button mashing, some attention becomes necessary at later levels as power ups get scarce. Some combos work better than others in certain situations, and most have a window of vulnerability.

    What I really miss is the strategic element of the Dynasty Warriors series. In Dynasty Warriors, you have to decide whether to go after the enemy generals, close the enemy reinforcement gates, attack the enemy leader, defend your generals, or defend your leader. N3 is almost completely linear, with few choice points. Plow through grunts, fight a boss, do it again. And no save points, so if you fall to the last boss, it's repeat the whole mess. That can get old fast.

    Still, the game is undeniably beautiful. There are none of the fog or draw-in problems of the Dynasty Warriors series on XBox or PS2 (I understand that there's an XBox 360 DW title, but it's not really next generation, with only modest improvements). It's great to see 2 or 3 dozen enemies and friends on the screen at once, each apparently acting independently (although the game takes care to space them out a bit to limit what it has to deal with). Still, there are some wild melees. Perhaps fortunately, you can't hit your allies; you can charge through a crowd of friends, staff swinging wildly, and nobody but the bad guys will get a bump on the noggin. Characters are beautiful, and whereas every battle in DW seems to take place on a blasted plain, some of the N3 battles occur in lush forrest settings (although curiously "dead"--as you charge through the forest, weapon flailing, not a leaf or frond stirs in response to your passing). However, while the levels are big, and often with long sightlines, you are still constrained to well defined paths, and frequently you are unaccountably barred from going in a direction that appears passable.

    The game succeeds mostly on flash. It is one of the first 360 titles that really screams "next generation." For now, it's fun--in 6 months, the sharp graphics and high character count will be old hat, and nobody will be interested in playing such a crude beat-em-up
  • by derobins ( 998629 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:09PM (#16001188)
    I'd like to point out that you can't play Dead Rising unless you have an HDTV. On an SDTV the text is so tiny it looks like a white blur. This makes it impossible to figure out what Otis is telling you to do and you can't read the map.

    In all fairness, some other X360 games have really small text, too. PGR3 car descriptions, for example. I've just never seen it make a game impossible to play before.
    • by wguy00 ( 985922 )
      I was wondering if anyone else had problems reading the text. I have an SDTV and had to get a dining room chair and sit right in front of the tv to read whatever was on screen. Good to know it's not my eyes.
      • You are not the only person to complain. Check out the posts at Capcom's web site. http://www.capcom.com/BBS/forumdisplay.php?s=&foru mid=142 [capcom.com] My advice is to not buy this game and rent it instead. If you really feel the need to purchase it, just wait a few weeks for all the people with SDTVs to return it. I'd guess it'll get down to $20 for a used copy at EB/Gamestop within a few weeks. Some people are talking about a patch, but I don't see how they can push one out. They'd have to have designed
      • by nekojin ( 855341 )
        Or, y'know, you could just enable widescreen mode. It makes the text perfectly legible even on standard televisions. I have an HDTV myself, but I was curious to see just how bad the text problem really is, and even without widescreen, you only have to squint a little.
    • This is where the beauty of the XBox 360's "Live" capabilities come in... given enough complaints, it shouldn't be *that* difficult for Capcom to issue a small, downloadable update for the game that would make the dialogue text bigger on non-HD displays.

      It may be possible to push them into developing such an update if enough people contact Capcom USA's consumer service department requesting a fix for the issue. Here's the info:

      Phone: (408) 774-0400
      Hours: 8:30am - 5pm PST

      Snail Mail:

      Capcom Entertainment Inc.
    • by Allison Geode ( 598914 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @03:51PM (#16001924)
      to those lacking hd-tv's, i reccomend doing what i did: shell out 40 bucks for the xbox 360's vga adaptor and plug it into a crt computer monitor. its like getting a cheap HDTV for your xbox!
      there's a plug that you can use to have the audio go through pc speakers, too (i think the vga adaptor actually included it.... but i forget: i actually already routed my game consoles through my pc's "line in,")
    • by Pyroja ( 616376 )
      Just a question: Are you using the Component cables, or the Composite? When I first bought the 360, I didn't realize the huge difference component made until trying to use Composite for other devices. There's a very notcieable difference in the picture, and I can understand how fine details could easily be lost. I'm sporting a $170 Samsung SDTV, but I use the Component inputs, and I've never had trouble reading the text in any game, PGR3 or otherwise. Just a thought, I'm likely totally off base here, but e
  • That was a pretty good review. I totally agree with everything you've said. As an addition, a B-Game that has AAA-Game fun was Worms Armageddon. Amazingly good. Such simple game dynamics, but the options were endless, as was the multiplayer action!
    • by neminem ( 561346 )
      When was that ever a B-game? I could see calling Worms (the original) a B-game with AAA-Game fun. Ok, maybe only single-A fun. It was good, but there were flaws. Most of the flaws got fixed in Worms 2, and most of the rest got fixed in Armageddon. By that point, they seemed to have gotten a pretty large, vocal fanbase, too. Then their fanbase all left when they produced Worms 3d, which was just totally missing the point of the series... but I digress.
  • by Warlock7 ( 531656 ) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:32PM (#16001330)
    Everybody has them, but nobody wants to hear from anyone else's.

    For a title that got an 8.4 from Gamespot reviewers and a 9.0 from the players [gamespot.com], I'd have to say that this reviewer is just another opinion.
    • by Hyrodan ( 998665 )
      By the way, this is a forum, also a forum about a review. It's sole purpose is to gather opinions and reviews of said review. So what exactly are you doing here?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I understand the b-grade game sticker being given to 99 Nights..But Dead Rising?

    Dead Rising is a game like Resident Evil finally done right. Yes zombie games have been done before but this one finally comes without a control scheme that puts a player on stilts. That is what has always frustrated me about the entire Resident Evil series. If the game had controls like an arcade, they would have exposed the shortcomings of the limited environments of the games due to that generation of console's technical l
  • God of War was fun, but I'd put it in the B-game pile as well. Poor camera, boring platform sections, over reliance on FMV, too many spiked poles. It felt more like a poor man's Zelda to me.
  • This can be serious. Yes, i died within the first 24 hours (in-game) 3 times before i could make it throught the first night. The game is very togh the first time around but it's still a lot of fun. Honestly, Zonk can't have a job or leave his house very often for a complain like: "I didn't see every single thing the game has to offer the first time around." Let's get this straight, nobody can get through the storyline, get the saint achievement(save almost everybody) and try everything the first time, but
  • # All The Time In The World (Rinoa Rule)
    Unless there's a running countdown clock right there on the screen, you have as long as you want to complete any task -- such as, say, rescuing a friend who's hanging by one hand from a slippery cliff edge thousands of feet in the air -- no matter how incredibly urgent it is. Dawdle or hurry as you will, you'll always make it just in the nick of time.

    http://project-apollo.net/text/rpg.html [project-apollo.net]

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant