Its a MadWorld and an Evil one, with an LE Review, too

This is probably the first week of releases that really has my attention this year. MadWorld and Resident Evil 5 drop this week….and there was much rejoicing.

But first, let’s start off like we always do:

New Games

A surprising haul this week:

Sonic and the Black Knight (Wii)
Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition (360)
Tomb Raider: Underworld (360)

Three retail games isn’t bad all things considered. I used a little of my leftover cash for Sonic. Its worse than Secret Rings, but I don’t think its complete garbage like IGN does. Still, I’m sure most people would rather shy away from it and I wouldn’t blame them.

Dead Space was a birthday present from my mom. I was able to find a copy for the relatively inexpensive price of $225.

As you may or may not remember from my previous posts, I already have a copy of Tomb Raider:Underworld for the Wii but I just can’t help myself. I have Legend and Anniversary for the 360 and the Wii so I wanted to have the trilogy complete across both consoles. Anyways, Underworld was on clearance at Target for $30 but when I got to the register it rang up at $15, so I got lucky there. I paid a quarter of what I would have paid pretty much anywhere else.

I’m also looking at a few Virtual Console games, specifically Super Mario RPG and Ogre Battle, both of which I didn’t spend much time with when they were out on the NES. The main thing that’s stopping me is that I don’t really feel like rearranging my fridge, as they say. My Wii hasn’t had enough memory since WiiWare has launched and since then I’ve only bought a handful of games, even though there are more than a few that I’m interested in on both the Virtual Console and WiiWare.

We know Nintendo is working on an update that let’s you download to an SD card, although its kind of misleading to say that that’s what it does. From what I’ve read, the update is basically just a shortcut. You still need to have enough memory on your Wii for whatever you’re downloading because the Wii will download the game to your system memory then move it to an SD card. We also don’t know if the update will let you play games stored on an SD card. I’m guessing not.

Sonic & The Black Knight Review

Click on the link in the title above the video to read my full review on the latest, unfortunately not greatest, Sonic game.

I’ll just summarize a few things right here. Sonic and the Secret Rings was called a step in the right direction for the Sonic series. Sonic Unleashed’s day levels blew many fans away only to be disappointed by the werehog stages. It seems Sonic’s recent console games have been finding their way toward the mark recently. Unfortunately, Sonic and the Black Knight doesn’t come as close to it as other recent games have. Most people will hate it, and I can see why. The gameplay isn’t the greatest and the concept alone, Sonic with a sword, already has people spouting words of hatred despite most of them having not spent a minute with the game.

The game is not great, its not even good. Its decent. Its playable. It looks great, and plays ok. The level designs are uninspired, but aren’t broken (I only found one level particularly frustrating). If you aren’t carrying any anti-Sonic baggage and can play the game for what it is, then you can find an enjoyable time here. If, however, you’re already burned out on Sonic and the very idea of a new Sonic game illicits a groan from you, then skip the game, its not going to make you feel any better.

Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition

The Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition was only available for the Xbox 360 via EA’s online store. So, let’s see what’s inside.

  • Dead Space
  • Bonus Disc
  • Dead Space: Downfall
  • Dead Space hardcover graphic novel
  • Art of Dead Space
  • Signed print by Ben Templesmith
  • Signed Thank-You Note
  • Ishimura crew patch
  • Box

Dead Space: Just the regular retail copy of the game. Nothing special about it here.

Bonus Disc: Now we’re starting to get a little bit special. The bonus disc includes developer diaries on things like the zero gravity gameplay, strategic dismemberment and such. The game also includes various trailers released leading up to the game’s launch. Lastly, the disc also includes an animated version of the Dead Space grapic novel (which is also included in this edition). For some reason it says PC DVD Software when its a DVD Video.

Dead Space: Downfall: An off the shelf copy of the prequel video. No specialness here.

Dead Space hardcover graphic novel: Another item available at retail, though maybe a little harder to find than the other two retail items so far. The hardcover graphic novel collects the six issues of the Dead Space prequel comic that was written by the game’s writer and illustrated by Ben Templesmith of 30 Days of Night fame and includes some concept art for the comic as well.

Art of Dead Space: Here’s some more specialness. This art book has a lot of concept art for the game as well as the comic. The book also includes 3D glasses for several pages of 3D artwork. Its not the greatest video game art book, but its nice and the 3D plates at least make it unique.

Signed print by Ben Templesmith: A printed pice Dead Space artwork signed by Ben Templesmith. Its an excellent piece of work in Templesmith’s unique style and its signed. Not too much more you can say about it.

Signed Thank-You Note: This is a small card signed by Glen Schofield, Executive Producer of the game, thanking you for purchasing the limited edition. His signature is on a starfield and below it lists what piece of the limited edition it is. Mine happens to be 624/1000. On the back of the card is some artwork of Isaac Clarke stomping a Necromorph as another sneaks up behind him.

Ishimura crew patch: Kind of like a prop from the game. Its a sew on patch like the one worn by the characters in the game and its design is actually in the art book.

Box: Where it all comes packed in. The box has a few compartments for the game and the movie, a little slot for the patch and space for the two books. It looks nice and it gets the job done. The artwork on the front is a clean version of the artwork for the game (save for the ESRB rating) and the back has a starfield along with the ESRB content descriptors.

This is an interesting Limited Edition in that its actually limited and we are told exactly how many units were produced, in this case, one thousand. The MGS4 Collector’s Edition guide, by comparison, had a print run of 43,000, although technically that’s a Collector’s Edition, and doesn’t really imply limited availability, just a premium version of the original. Still, its refreshing to see an edition that actually has a fairly small print run whose quantity is known.

On the package itself, it actually feels like part bundle, part LE as a good number of items in the box are available seperately at retail. The edition was available via EA’s online store for $150. The game ($60), the DVD ($20), and the graphic novel ($25) would come out to $105 on their own and, while not sold at retail, the art book has been made available elswhere to promote the game so its not unique to the set either. So all that’s really left to justify the rest of the price are the two signed items, the patch, and the box. In terms of value, I’m not entirely sure its all there.

Still, the items that were included are more along the lines of what I’d like to see in an LE than many others available. The art book, the movie, the bonus disc, and the graphic novel all give a more comprehensive view of the source material, which is something I’m particularly appreciative of. Much moreso than little trinkets and figurines whose best hope is to sit on a dresser or just kept in its box. The only thing that would make this complete, I think, would be a soundtrack CD. Oh well.

The whole thing is presented well in the box made specifically for it as opposed to some, like Assassin’s Creed where everything is just thrown into a tin big enough to hold everything. The presentation isn’t perfect, however. The bonus disc is given a sleeve and left to roam free. I don’t think it would’ve been too difficult or expensive to get a 2-disc case for the game to give the bonus disc a real home. Oh well. I’m buying a 2-disc replacement for it so it won’t be a problem.

While this was available for $150 before the game launched, at 1,000 copies (.1 percent of the million copies of the game sold) it sold out relatively quickly. The gray market price was incredibly high just after the game’s launch with copies going for anywhere from $300-$500. At this moment, there aren’t any available on ebay. There are currently 3 copies available on the Amazon Marketplace, two for under $260 and a third, unopened copy for $460. From a purely collector standpoint, I’d encourage anyone who can find a copy and can snag it to do so. There aren’t very many Limited Editions in the video game world that actually fit the description of a limited edition, so you should jump on it if you have the chance. On the other hand, if you’re just a fan of the game, there isn’t much here that isn’t available elsewhere for a more reasonable price. Dead Space: Downfall is available at retail, and even on Blu-Ray if you purchase it seperately. The MSRP on the hardcover comic is $25 so you shouldn’t have much difficulty finding it cheaper. Even so, the animated version of the graphic novel is available at several places online for free and the art book, while not terribly common, can be found floating around ebay at a reasonable price.

And that’s about it for this week. I’m really looking forward to MadWorld and RE5 this week. Its technically Monday so, as usual, I’m crossing my fingers for Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, and/or Castlevania: Bloodlines on the Virtual Console. I’ll buy either of those regardless of my memory situation.

Hmmm, that gives me an idea. I just might write up a little something about Castlevania, specifically the classics; why I love them, and why I think the series has lost its way. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve written something along those lines before, but its my blog and I’ll write whatever I want =P.

As usual, comments are appreciated as well as suggestions for game and LE reviews. Thanks much!