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Sore Thumbs




NIS America

PlayStation 3

Nothing brings out a princess’ inner bridezilla quite like seeing her husband-to-be assassinated at the altar. Such is the plight of Princess Toki, whose rudely interrupted nuptials inspire the awakening of Towa — the violent second soul hiding within her. In addition to harboring dual personalities, Toki also has the capacity to travel back in time, granting her the opportunity to salvage her wedding day. In this increasingly convoluted state of affairs, her slain husband’s freshly disembodied soul finds refuge in Toki’s pet dragon, who functions as sidekick in the series of real-time RPG battles necessary to set things straight. This is the premise of “Time and Eternity” — a role-playing game inspired by Japanese anime in all the worst ways.

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First of all, the story is tone-deaf, with no character unwilling to sacrifice likeability in the pursuit of a juvenile joke. The worst offender has to be Toki’s fiancé, who — even in death — can’t resist lustfully pondering the possibilities of the two-for-one deal his future wife’s secret doppelganger brings to the table. Then there’s the art style, which boasts HD hand-drawn character animation. Such artistry must’ve been time consuming, since the same handful of animations are recycled ad nauseum, with no regard for whether Towa’s animations are appropriate for the more subdued personality of Toki (who differs from her alter ego only in color scheme). Enemies are similarly repetitive, so you’ll be fighting color-swapped versions of the same battle over and over for the duration of the game. Even the most die-hard fans of eastern storytelling and the manga art-style would do best to steer clear of this mess.


dynastybox‘DYNASTY WARRIORS 8’ (T)


Tecmo Koei

PlayStation 3

Like its seven predecessors, “Dynasty Warriors 8” is an exercise in pointless excess. Seventy playable characters! Hundreds of enemies onscreen at once! So what? With a couple minor exceptions, all the avatars handle roughly the same. And what good are vast armies of enemies when they’re simply lining up to be sliced and diced with the repeated press of a single attack button. This time around there’s a co-op mode, so you can have an equally overpowered friend assist you in tediously clearing the battlefield, and the new Ambition mode allows you to spend the spoils of war on additions for your kingdom, so at the very least, your boring bloodlust can result in home improvements.


pacificbox‘PACIFIC RIM’ (E10+)



Xbox Live Arcade

The film version of “Pacific Rim” is light on story and characterization and heavy on robot vs. monster carnage, so if nothing else, the video game version is a faithful adaptation. Giant Jaeger mechs tackle enormous Kaiju beasts in a traditional series of two-player brawls. Freed from the tethers of the film’s scant narrative, we’re even granted the spectacle of monster vs. monster and machine vs. machine smackdowns. But the problem with making a video game out of a movie that already felt like a video game is that you can’t help but be reminded of the many similar and superior video games that inspired the flick in the first place. CV

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