Riddle me this in new Batman: Arkham City trailer

Move over Jim Carrey – there’s a new demonic Riddler in Gotham City. A new teaser from Rocksteady Studios shows Mr. Edward Nigma taking on a much more formidable role in the upcoming Arkham City, this time threatening to kill innocent citizens if Batman fails some of his puzzles.

Joystiq likened the new Riddler role to that of Jigsaw in the horrific Saw franchise. You can easily see where they’re coming from, what with the creepy mind games and sinister accent. Yes it certainly has a tint of the iconic film villain, no doubt staking a claim for Edward Nigma as the number one baddie in the Batman video games.

Viewers with a keen eye will spot a glimpse of a holographic Riddler, as well as a password device and plenty of rotary blades. Although there’s not much else to see besides ambiguous dialogue and algebra equations, it’s refreshing to see some attention for the man in green.

New Okabu trailer shows off environmental gameplay

Get ready to jig to some tribal beats and protect the environment in this brand new Okabu trailer. The video shows off some interesting new mechanics which include safely leading groups of villagers, bringing life to nearby vegetation, directing cranes and encouraging bulls to smash through gates. It’s all wrapped up in an adorable cel-shaded art style, coupled with an upbeat tune and some positive critical acclaim.

Watch out for this one when it drops on PSN later this year.

First trailer drops for No More Heroes: Red Zone

No More Heroes was always a pretty gruesome and erotic game. Now Suda51 and the guys at Grasshopper Manufacture reckon that they can top it with No More Heroes: Red Zone. The zany Wii title has already been ported to the PlayStation 3 in the form of No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise, but this version promises to be a little bit special.

This new trailer shows off the game’s exclusive features and a restoration of its original adult Z rating. In comparison, Heroes’ Paradise was changed to fit a more socially acceptable D rating. Players can expect Red Zone to have support for PlayStation Move, online rankings, five returning boss characters from No More Heroes 2 and ten missions that were cut from Heroes’ Paradise.

The end of the trailer also reveals a download code that unlocks four new beam katanas, four bike colour variations and a “Forbidden View” mode. Konami states (found via Joystiq) that Red Zone is the same version being released as Heroes’ Paradise in America.

I’m not a Wii owner, so I’ve always been very excited to try out the No More Heroes franchise on a HD console. The compatibility of PlayStation Move means that the PS3 should be an ideal platform for carrying over the gameplay from the originals. Fingers crossed eh?

New trailer and screens for Sonic Generations

The blue blur is celebrating his twentieth birthday at Sega. What better way to mark the occasion than reuniting him with his pudgier Genesis sibling? Check out the new trailer below:

Sonic Generations has two main characters; classic Sonic and modern Sonic. Together they’ll be revisiting the best levels from the Mega Drive, Dreamcast and other home consoles, such as Green Hill Zone shown above.

The new trailer shows that each level will be re-imagined twice. Starting with the classic first stage from Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis), it looks like players can pick and choose how they tackle each level. Prefer lanky Sonic’s homing attacks and mid-air tricks? Throw yourself into modern Sonic’s exhilarating 3D rollercoaster. Want to spin dash your way through Robotonik’s baddies instead? Classic Sonic has you covered.

This could potentially be the perfect game to please both veterans and newcomers to the Sonic franchise. I stress that it could be. I was a Sonic fan up until the current generation of consoles, but threw my loyalty aside after the monstrosity that was Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Although I’ve read a considerable amount of positive feedback about Sonic Colours, it would take a lot to truly win over my admiration and trust.

So far there are no annoying side characters, towns, NPCs or gimmicks to speak of. Let’s hope and pray that it stays that way. I’ve dropped a few images unveiled by CVG below (all copyright and kudos is owned by them). Sonic Generations will be out on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 later this year.

Beyond Good & Evil: HD and sequels

A remake of the action-adventure title Beyond Good & Evil will be hitting the Xbox Live Arcade in late February. Despite having never played the original, I’ve somehow found myself hooked on this HD update and the future of the franchise. The original, which was released in late 2003, has gained somewhat of a cult following on the internet. So what’s the big deal with Jade and Pay’j?

The first time I saw footage surrounding the HD remake, I was left with an overwhelming sense of ‘meh’. Achievements and trophies? A leaderboard system? These were perhaps the most mundane, boring and unimpressive features that a PR official could possibly choose to show off at an interview. The visuals appeared reasonable, but it was difficult to tell whether or not they were much of an improvement over the original.

Back on the last generation of consoles, Beyond Good & Evil had adequate, but by no means inspiring sales figures. The futuristic title follows Jade, a young reporter who uncovers an alien conspiracy on her home planet. Human trafficking, abductions and social revolution blend with basic combat, platforming and puzzles. Presumably it didn’t entice many gamers at the time.

Therefore, my initial assumption was that the HD remake was a simple cash in for Ubisoft. However, that was before I stumbled upon a few scarce details on a rumoured Beyond Good & Evil 2. Suddenly it seemed like Ubisoft was carving out a future for the forgotten franchise. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Kotaku that:

“We were, as we are, working on the game. What is very import with this next product is that it will be perfect.”

Developer Michel Ancel’s “intention is to come [out] with something really exciting. But everybody needs a little bit of patience.”

A brilliant CG teaser trailer was circulating the internet at the same time, showing off Pay’j in a delightfully humorous scene. In my eyes, decent action-adventure games (and to some extent, even 3D platformers) were starting to become thin on the ground – so this instantly caught my interest.

More speculation was thrown into the fray when a second piece of footage hit the headlines. The black mop of hair, combat staff and outlandish clothing certainly made it look like Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, but was it legitimate?

Ubisoft, as far as I am aware, has never claimed ownership of the footage or quoted it as being authentic. The apparent ‘gameplay’ looks highly scripted and set in a locale that I wouldn’t expect from the franchise. Fans continue to speculate its origins.

Despite all of my cravings for a sequel to Beyond Good & Evil, I have still never played the original. Ridiculous, I know. Thankfully, Ubisoft is ready to cater to newcomers and outsiders such as myself with the release of the aforementioned HD remake.

I’m still not entirely convinced on its high definition credentials. It still looks like a last generation title and without playing the original, it’ll be hard for me to tell what textures have been changed. Still, I’m happy that the game is getting another outing and hope that it will pick up more followers as a result. With enough support, Beyond Good & Evil 2 might finally come to fruition.

Gears of War 3: Trailer

You either love the Gears of War franchise, or you hate it. Both games have never tried to hide what they’re about; a white knuckle-ride pumped with so much testosterone that you hardly notice the absence of a single logical plot point. Brilliant in co-op, both offline and online. Point the analogue stick and shoot alongside Marcus, Dom and the Cole Train. Simple.

So as you’ve probably gathered from the trailer above, Gears of War 3 has just been announced for April 2011. Not a lot seems to have changed from the visuals or core gameplay, but the atmosphere is a lot, lot darker.

It starts with the gripping audio. The song in the background is Heron Blue by Sun Kil Moon, a chilling vocal track layered over an ever looping guitar riff. The motion cap for Dom is as hammy as ever, but when he hits the ground and looks up wearily at the locust (0:30 – 0:45) there’s a genuine sense of weariness and despair. With Maria truly gone, perhaps there is little left for him to fight for. Did I mention how cool his beard looks as well? I like beards.

Delta Squad is no longer overrun by masculinity! Anya makes an appearance as a female COG, unleashing hell with her own assault rifle. I’m hoping for some classic brotherhood banter about her inability to drive or carry weaponry properly in the campaign. There were a few hints at a love pairing between Anya and Marcus, but I actually hopes that this emerges as nothing more than courting. Somehow I just can’t see Epic doing a traditional romance justice in the Gears universe.

The new giant Lambent looks interesting enough, but did anyone else notice that some of the locust were shooting at it from the front row? Perhaps this is hinting at some more problems with their inability to control the ranks.

Lastly, the message ‘Brothers To The End’ sends a chilling reminder that this could be the last instalment for Gears of War; or at least with this current set of characters.

I’m not too bothered about how Epic has fine tuned the gameplay, because Gears of War 2 was already a pretty well refined beast. I’d really like to see the team step up the plot instead, with a larger focus on:

* Adam Fenix. He was hinted at being still alive in Gears of War 2, with the message “This is Adam Fenix, is anyone out there…? Can you hear me…? This is Adam Fenix, can you hear me…? What have you done…?”

* The Pendulum Wars. The name on its own sounds epic. What happened and how were Delta Squad involved?

* Locust vs Lambent. From the looks of it, the COGs are going to be teaming up with the locust in order to bring down the more formidable Lambent. It’s a very unoriginal plot device, so I’m hoping Epic do something a little more original with it.

* Why was Marcus in jail at the start of the first game!?

* The emotional toll of the war on Delta Squad. Rather than constant action, I’d like to see some moments where our heroes reflect on the situation and show some of their weaknesses. Dom’s storyline goes someway to fulfilling this at the moment, but Gears of War 3 could truly become a classic if it pulled on the heart strings a little more often.
JetSetNick