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Cover Critic
The Cover Critic Goes Hunting
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 15, 2012   |   Episode 79 (Show Archive)  

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But since I've never heard that expression used against video games I figure that it's open season on the box art you see every day. This week he takes a look at a great big PlayStation Vita title, the wrath of Asura, unlimited outdoorsy fun and something called Binary Domain. And if that's not enough, Sega has yet against screwed up a Crush box. All this can be yours when you tune into another exciting episode of The Cover Critic!
Asura's Wrath
[ System: PS3/X360 | Company: Capcom | Final Rating: B- ]
You know what I like about February? It's the month where everybody is allowed to unleash their inner psychopath and unload a year's worth of aggression on everybody within shouting distance. Just this morning I spent an hour and a half yelling at the FedEx driver for delivering my review copy of Never Dead. It's not that he got it to me late or anything; I just don't want to play Never Dead! But I don't care, because it's February, the month when all of our asshole behavior is forgiven. Don't believe me? I pushed an old lady into on-coming traffic and got a standing ovation from the people at the bus stop. It's the best time of the year.

Asura is taking full advantage of February. You can tell by the way his eyes glow and skin seems to be peel away from his body. I sympathize; we've all been there. I get that way when people with hidden cameras replace my regular coffee with Folger's Crystals. It's hard to say what has Asura's goat, but you can tell from the fire and flames that it's probably some hellish pit of despair. My guess would be the DMV or Hot Topics. Hopefully he's able to get all of that rage out in four weeks, because March is a month made out of apologies.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss
[ System: PS Vita | Company: Sony | Final Rating: B ]
Oh Nathan, what have you gotten yourself into this time? Not content to wow gamers on the PlayStation 3, Sony has decided to shrink Uncharted down for the brand new PlayStation Vita. From the look of things, Nathan is up to his old tricks. Here he is running around ancient civilizations in the dense forest. He's hanging from a helicopter and barely surviving. In other words, it's exactly like every other Uncharted game you've ever played. But hey, now you can dangle from precarious situations on the go, all while collecting rare gems and keeping that hair perfectly maintained.

Sony wants me to look at this box and see a fun adventure full of familiar Nathan Drake excitement. They want me to get excited for yet another action packed adventure, much like the one released four months ago on the PS3. Unfortunately, when I look at this cover I'm reminded of Uncharted's horrible shooting mechanics. I cringe at the idea of aiming at a tiny character in the distance while holding onto a moving rope. It's hard enough to hit these guys when I'm standing perfectly still, let alone dangling from a helicopter. When I look at this cover I see a company trying to run a hugely successful franchise into the ground.

[ System: Nintendo 3DS | Company: Sega | Final Rating: D ]
Crush is one of my absolute favorite PSP games. It is a triumph of both concept and execution, offering a near flawless experience that oozes with creativity. It's the kind of game that will wow non-believers with its innovative gimmick. The idea of crushing the world from 3D to 2D in order to solve puzzles is ingenious, the type of thing I have yet to see copied. It's the kind of thing that is hard to wrap your mind around, but is immediately intriguing once you see it. Sadly, Sega decided to slap together crummy cover art and not advertise the game. Instead of showing what was so amazing about the game, they dwelled on the angsty story and dark visuals.

Now Sega is giving Crush a second chance. This is Crush3D, the cheeky remake/port of one of the best PSP games ever made. This is Sega's chance to right the wrongs and prove that they learned the lessons from their failed first attempt. By looking at this box one this is clear: Sega has no idea what they're doing. Gone is the dark story and teenage protagonist; replaced with Harry Potter and the Half-Assed Cover Art. Even if you can forgive the wizard's cloak and that giant smirk, the game doesn't stand a chance with that slogan. Is this a must play 3DS game or the geekiest Kate Hudson rom com of all time? Looking at this cover leaves me with only one question: What does Sega have against Crush?

Binary Domain
[ System: PS3/X360 | Company: Sega | Final Rating: D+ ]
Video game characters are too flexible these days! They are always rolling around, climbing up ladders, double jumping and swimming to safety. Worst of all, the player has complete control over the whole thing. Thanks to modern gameplay mechanics, gamers are forced to memorize dozens of commands that do little more than keep you alive and look really cool. If you're the type of person that hates all of the freedom you are given in most games, then Binary Domain is for you!

This new Sega action game doesn't have amazing acrobatics, because it's a game about a dude who carries another dude to safety. Our hero slowly moves across the battlefield, unable to climb, jump, swim or roll to safety. But he can shoot and smile. He has a great outlook on life. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that he's walking away from the hundreds of scary soldier guys with giant guns. He wouldn't be smiling if he just turned around. When he gets back to the base he's going to wake this survivor up and warn him about the dangers of wearing that kind of hat on the battlefield.

Outdoors Unlimited
[ System: PC | Company: Mastiff | Final Rating: A ]
I love the outdoors because they're unlimited. It's not like being indoors, which is totally limiting. That's because you're outdoors, where it's unlimited. You can do and see anything in the outdoors. Well, you can't watch an America's Next Top Model marathon or sleep in a waterbed when you're outdoors, but outside of that it's super unlimited. Just like this cover, which demonstrates how unlimited the unlimited outdoor action actually is. Play a guy with a dog who is forced to make breakfast for his axe murdering kidnapper. Shoot the final elk on the planet. Catch fish and then undercook it so your kidnapper gets food poisoning and you can make a hasty escape.

As you can tell, the outdoors is pretty unlimited. Unfortunately this limiting Outdoors Unlimited box art doesn't show you the other unlimited-like things you can do in the outdoors-esque locations. Like swimming for your life after you've finally broken free of the crazy axe maniac who killed the rest of your family. Or what about the part where you have to wrestle a bear just to make it into town and tell the police? The box doesn't show you making an improvised splint for your broken leg after falling down a giant cliff. Maybe it's a good thing that the Outdoors Unlimited is limited to camping, hunting and fishing.


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