Block or die is the secret to success in Virtua Fighter 5, the first 3D fighting game for PlayStation 3.

 




Virtua Fighter 5

Publisher: Sega

Platforms: PlayStation 3

Rating: T — Teen

Game type: Fighting

Rating: **** (out of five)

 




• What’s the premise?


Take a little Ultimate Fighting Championship, add some pro wrestling and set it in some of the most gorgeous locales in the world and you’ve got Virtua Fighter 5 — the first fighting game for the PlayStation 3. Use the fists and feet of fury of 17 different contenders — including two new ones — to beat the tar out of your opponents.





• This game is most similar to…?


Virtua Fighter 4, Tekken 4.





• Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?


What part of beating the tar out of people didn’t you get?





• One player or more?


Like all 3D fighters, this one is best head-to-head.





• The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Block or die. It’s really not an option. If you just come out swinging and kicking, you’ll be on the mat with little birdies circling your head in seconds.





• What’s missing?


There’s no online play, which is a shame since this kind of combat begs a “beat the champ” kind of ranking system.





• And in the end?


The tight graphics and butt-whipping matches make Virtua Fighter 5 pretty sweet. The ability to create and customize your own characters and a pretty fun quest mode where you can build up your reputation and earn a little virtual cash make it a stand out in a crowded gaming world.






Ghost Rider is an old fashioned punch, shoot and stomp game. Other than switching back and forth from bike riding levels to walking around and fighting levels, this one is really repetitive.





Ghost Rider

Publisher: 2K Games

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PSP, GameBoy Advance

Rating: T — Teen

Game type: Action/driving

Rating: ***





• What’s the premise?


You’ve seen the mega-million dollar movie, now hop on board the Hell-Cycle and battle the hordes of Hades as the spirit of vengeance himself, Ghost Rider (Nick Cage’s nasty acting not included).





• This game is most similar to…?


Devil May Cry, God Of War.





• Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?


The lead character has a flaming skull and rides a motorcycle that would have the baddest biker crying for his mommy. Are you trying to get the little one to wet himself?





• One player or more?


This ghost rides alone.





• The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Feel free to button mash. This is an old fashioned punch, shoot and stomp game where style is less important than just wailing on the bad guys as much as possible.





• What’s missing?


An end to the monotony. Other than switching back and forth from bike riding levels to walking around and fighting levels, this one is really repetitive.





• And in the end?


Being a badass character like Ghost Rider and getting to hop on his awesome ride just can’t quite make up for this game’s shortcomings.









Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007

Publisher: Konami

Platforms: Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PSP, Xbox 360

Rating: E — Everyone

Game type: Sports

Rating: *** 1/2





• What’s the premise?


Hit the pitch and guide your ‘Winning Eleven’ (that’s how many players you field for a soccer game) to glory.





• This game is most similar to…?


Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2006





• Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?


As long as you don’t let them play at those riot-troubled Italian stadiums.





• One player or more?


Up to four players can play in house, while two can go head-to-head online.





• What’s missing?


Where Winning Eleven bows to the giant that is EA’s FIFA series is in licensed teams and players. There’re a lot of key club sides and familiar faces left out. A more structured practice mode might be nice, too.





• The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Work on those passes. You’ve got a bunch of options for how to advance the ball, so work on your timing and remember which button to use to keep the pressure on your opponents.





• And in the end?


The graphics — even on the 360 — are a little weak, but the easy-to-master gameplay makes up for it in a highly captivating soccer experience.









Capcom Puzzle World

Publisher: Capcom

Platforms: PSP

Rating: E — Everyone

Game type: Puzzle

Rating: *** 1/2





• What’s the premise?


It’s time to bust, block and battle! Capcom packs five great games — Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Buster Bros., Super Buster Bros., Buster Buddies and Block Block — into one little package with Puzzle World.





• This game is most similar to…?


There’s some Tetris, Columns, Street Fighter and more.





• Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?


It will improve their eye-hand coordination, but test their patience. You decide if it’s worth it.





• One player or more?


This one’s Wi-Fi compatible so you can go head-to-head with your pals.





• What’s missing?


The tube of myoflex you’ll need to regain feeling in your thumbs after a session of the highly addictive Block, Block.





• The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Just have fun — it’s a puzzle game, not a trip to the dentist.





• And in the end?


You really can’t ask for more out of a puzzle package — except for infinite patience.





jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca