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Observations from PAX East 2012: Are video game gimmicks finally maturing?

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Screenshot

Being a 3DS and Kinect owner as well as a fan of Japanese robots/mechs, two neighboring games on the main exhibition hall of PAX East immediately caught my attention: Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor for the Xbox 360 and Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir for the 3DS. Both games are updates to game franchises that were once considered innovative back when they were first released.

Is Dead or Alive: Dimensions child pornography in Sweden?

Dead or Alive: Dimensions Art

Is Dead or Alive: Dimensions kiddy porn? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

The Dead or Alive series has never pretended to be anything but what it was. It featured nubile, scantily-clad women with entertaining breast physics that kicked and punched opponents across a fighting ring or stage. It was a game aimed squarely at young men and over the years it catered to that demographic to much success.

The Horror Geek presents E3 2009: Early look at Undead Knights for the PlayStation Portable

This magical week of E3 goodness is drawing to a close (which is sad…), but that doesn't mean I have nothing left to show you before normal life resumes its relentless attempts to crush your very soul.

For example, here's Tecmo's new PSP title, Undead Knights. One common refrain over the years from gamers has been "hey, why can't we play games as the bad guy?" No one ever gives  a satisfactory answer for why this is (and to be fair, there have been some recent games where you can play as the villain), and now gamers who want to explore their dark side will have another opportunity to do it when this game eventually hits shelves.

Bargain Basement 17 – Trapt

Although the camera is ridiculously slow and unresponsive (an intentional choice to alleviate the motion sensitivity Japanese gamers are so prone to?), it's as sickeningly entertaining as it ever was to lay down a giant bear trap, snap it closed on an approaching attacker, shoot him full of electrified spears and then drop a giant flaming boulder on his head, laughing as the whole mess explodes.

Tokobot – Consumer Guide

According to ESRB, this game contains: Mild Cartoon Violence

Tokobot – Review

Considering the anemic status of the PSP's library at the moment, it pains me to see UMDs with potential that end up being mediocre, one right after another. Every time something new hits shelves, I wonder if it's going to be the thing that kickstarts Sony's shiny black portable into being a valid take-along option, but besides Lumines, I'd be hard-pressed to pick a game that has less than a handful of problems and rough edges. A perfect example of this consistent failure to thrive is the all-new intellectual property (IP) from Tecmo, Tokobot.

Tokobot

Game Description: Tokobot is unlike any other PSP game you've played before. Exploring some ancient ruins, you discover small and friendly creatures called "Tokobot". The Tokobots have incredible abilities called "joint-acton" that help you past obstacles—and you'll need it, as you'll have to reveal mysteries and save the world from a horrible plot!

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Second Opinion

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Screenshot

I agree with Mike in finding that Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly is one of the scariest, most unsettling game experiences around but only when I wasn't being bored out of my mind by the game's busywork and glacial pace. I do share our horror maven's sadness at seeing such a promising title go astray, but I'm not quite as forgiving as he is.

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly


Game Description: Based on a true story, Fatal Frame, a horror adventure game, leaves its victims breathless as they become immersed in a world full of supernatural spirits and sheer terror. Guided by her sixth sense and armed only with an antique camera, Miku sets out to solve the mystery of her brother's sudden disappearance. As the story unfolds, she discovers gruesome details about the Himura mansion's troubled past. The property and surrounding area have a dark history involving grisly murders, an evil cult, and restless spirits.

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Review

Fatal Frame  2: Crimson Butterfly Screenshot

This use of music and sound is perhaps the greatest strength of Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly, the sequel to Tecmo's underrated survival horror offering Fatal Frame. While Crimson Butterfly never wants for a gruesome or terrifying visual, it's the audio component of the game that makes it so creepy. As it stands, the game is a veritable primer on how to use sound to create atmosphere in a horror game.

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