Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some Quick Notes About What I'm Playing Right Now...

Ghostbusters really is like an 'interactive movie'. I just turned everybody off with that statement but it's true. Don't worry, you do actually play the game, it's not a bunch of FMV, I just mean that the writing and pacing is really good- I'm not sure if there's going to be very much replay value in it but the ride is pretty fun right now!

[prototype] is awesome. Don't believe the anti-hype, the game is really good. I'm not put off at all by the graphics (where are they supposed to be bad again?), and while there is some pop-up when you're up high above the streets- it's really not that bad. Better than inFamous? Could be... Definitely a lot more action.

Red Faction Guerilla is a really surprising title. Surprising in that it's really good. I remember the older ones for the PS2 and was a little put off by the switch to a third-person view. If you're wary about it as well, don't be. Volition did a great job here and cranked out what I think it the best in the series. I had heard it mentioned that the destructible environment was not just a tack on gimmick and was actually a game mechanic that worked well and added a lot. That's 100% correct. Try it.

Transformers 2 is in many ways a 'movie game'. There's an arcadey feel here that just doesn't jive with the majority of 'A+' games on the market today. That being said, if you're a Transformers fan you'll probably find something to like (unlockable G1 episodes!), definitely a rental if you're anyone else.

The Conduit is... um... Dammit I really wanted to like this game. I guess I do. It's just that, well, the graphics aren't really that good at all. Also the narration could've used a little more TLC. I can't get used to that control scheme either, would it have been such a problem to offer the classic pad as a UI for those of us who just want to plunk down on the couch and not swing our arms around!?! People don't believe me when I tell them that I prefer dual sticks to Wii-type and mouse & keyboard controls in FPS's but it's the truth. I play so many of them on consoles now that I've gotten used to it. Oh well, I still like the Conduit. Mainly because of all the conspiracy stuff but still.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nintendo Download

It’s No Reel Fantasy: Water, Sudoku and Silver Stars Can Boost Your Skills

This week’s new downloadable games include a trio of WiiWare™ titles – two built around water-themed challenges and one designed to keep your mental chops in top shape. For Virtual Console™, you’ll find a memorable SEGA character making his return in a classic single-player sci-fi adventure. Rounding out the lineup is a new Nintendo DSiWare™ title that’s sure to have sudoku fans reaching feverishly for the nearest stylus.


Water Warfare™
Publisher: Hudson Entertainment
Players: 1-8
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older) – Cartoon Violence
Price: 800 Wii Points™
Description: Water Warfare is a comical first-person shooter that uses water guns to battle and soak opponents. A map with a particular theme – Playground, Beach, Plaza or Nature Park – is generated automatically when the game begins, so you can think up new strategies each time you engage. Game modes include Single Player Missions, CPU Match and 2-Player Split Screen. On top of that, players with broadband Internet access can use Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection to battle with up to eight players from around the world, or participate in Ranking Mode.

Reel Fishing® Challenge
Publisher: Natsume, Inc.
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Price: 500 Wii Points
Description: Reel Fishing Challenge offers a fun and challenging experience for novice fishers and master anglers alike. Put your skills to the test and discover new types of fish in the challenging mission mode, or relax and enjoy the game at your own pace in free play mode. No matter which mode you play, the game’s beautiful graphics and natural setting bring the fishing experience to life. Choose from a variety of lures to attract and hook the game’s numerous fish. Each fish looks and moves like the real thing – it’s the closest you can get to real-life fishing without putting on your waders.

Silver Star Reversi
Publisher: Agetec, Inc.
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Price: 500 Wii Points
Description: Silver Star Reversi has two modes: 1-Player mode allows you to play a match against the computer opponent, and 2-Player mode allows you to play against another person. In 1-Player mode, you can choose from five different computer opponents, turn the background music on or off, adjust sound effects and access in-game help features. During each match, you can also redo your last move, save the game at any point, or resign from the game. After a match has ended, you can review each move and resume the match from any point you choose.

Virtual Console™

Fantasy Zone™ II: The Tears of Opa-Opa
Original platform: SEGA MASTER SYSTEM
Publisher: SEGA
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) – Mild Cartoon Violence
Price: 500 Wii Points
Description: Ten years have elapsed since Opa-Opa restored peace to the Fantasy Zone. Now history is repeating itself, and the planets that make up the Fantasy Zone once again find themselves attacked by the mastermind of the Nenon planet forces. This mastermind is secretly constructing a huge fortress in the Fantasy Zone and aims to put an end to their ambitious plans. Just as he did 10 years ago, Opa-Opa must do battle to save the Fantasy Zone.

Nintendo DSiWare™

Publisher: Hudson Entertainment
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points™
Description: SUDOKU MASTER offers 150 unique puzzles that beginners and experts alike will enjoy. A handful of tutorials will help you learn the rules and controls as you go, and handy features like Write Mode and Temp Numbers make Sudoku pleasantly user-friendly. Feeling confident? Then try your hand at Title Mode to work your way up from Rookie to Sudoku Master. All puzzles were created by Sudoku veteran NIKOLI Co., Ltd., and tips from Sudoku godfather Maki Kaji are offered between games.

Friday, June 26, 2009

iD software sold (and somehow I missed it.)

No idea how.

Id has been purchased by Bethesda software parent Zenimax. There'shttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif a pretty good interview up on Kotaku about it but, basically, the statement from John Carmack is that id just had too much on it's plate.

They have an abundance of IP's that they can't really take advantage of properly and farming them out is getting hit and miss so this partnership will allow them to better make and distribute their games.

Overall it sounds logical, but I wonder if the sinking economic picture factored into the proceeding at all. After all, it's not exactly getting easier to do business and working under a parent company does offer a degree of protection. Especially one like Zenimax that plays host to two monster franchises like Fallout and Elder Scrolls already. Add Doom, Wolfenstein, and a bunch more and it's definitely a win for them- and probably for iD as well.

As long as they don't start getting rushed that is.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Now this has potential-

So you all know that I'm pretty amped up over the promise that Natal has for gaming and technology in general right?

Well this little beauty has a little somethin somethin going for it as well:

True 3-D, albeit viewed through a portal device is awesome. I'm in for this ASAP.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nintendo defeats patent suit

Guardian Media Technologies Ltd, yeah I don't know either, had filed suit against the big N alleging infringement on patent no. 4,930,158.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision,” said Rick Flamm, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of Legal and general counsel. “Nintendo vigorously defends patent lawsuits. At the earliest stages of this case, Nintendo convinced the Court to dismiss this case as Guardian’s patent had nothing to do with Nintendo’s products.”

That's all well and good but what's the patent for? Well, as near as I can figure, and bear in mind that I can just barely understand the legalese. It's a code that a user (that's you) can input into a piece of recording equipment that inhibits viewing by anyone other than themselves.

Why this was filed against Nintendo in the firs place is anybody's guess.

Prey for iPhone

Yup, it's out. Been out for like a week actually. I didn't think we'd ever see it to be honest with you.

Live and learn I guess.

Y'know what is interesting though, Prey is a fully fledged FPS but iD couldn't figure out how to make Doom: Resurrection work as one?

iPhone Doom more than a port less than an FPS

The upcoming (next week) iPhone version of Doom, Doom: Resurrection, will not be a first person shooter as I first thought.


What it will be is an 'on rails' shindig similar to the upcoming Wii port of Dead Space. So what that means is that you have no control over your character's movement in the game, he just trudges along a predetermined path while you make with the shootin'. This might actually fit the iPhone better than a fully fledged FPS, but it still takes a lot of the excitement out of the game for me.

Can't have everything I guess.

Friday, June 5, 2009

UMD for DLC initiative for the PSP Go

Sony has announced a plan to provide digital copies of UMD's already owned by folks who want to upgrade to a Go over their current model PSP, whichever one that may be. (I still have a 1000)

Good idea. My collection of UMD's is a big blockade when it comes to me personally switching over to a Go. The thought of buying a title over again isn't really that appealing.

“I think we’ve got the best thumb-based controller ever created,” Mattrick told Edge.

And I definitely agree.

I picked this up from an Edge.com article about Microsoft's potential plans to drop the standard pad in favor of using the Natal as a full time human interface.

Dan basically says that there no plans to implement such a control scheme - and that's a good idea. I'm floored by Natal, I think it's an amaziong leap in control devices. At the same time though, even if Natal were used to play a game like Halo, you would still need the controller in hand in order to fire your weapon. Used in conjunction, the camera system/controller combo would be an awesome gameplay experience.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wolf 3D on Live

Right now you can go onto Live, unless you work or something, and pick up Wolfenstein 3D by iD software.

This is the classic shooter that really started the first person shooter genre. Sorry Doom. It's also one of the only games I can think of that allows you to shoot Hitler. Repeatedly. Seriously, how many bullets can one man take? As far as I can tell, it has the original sprites and levels intact- should be some easy achievements in there somewhere. And the game is really fun too, don't want to forget to mention that.

Sony E3 Press Briefing

Sony's E3 briefing was a little bit compromised by the plethora of press leaks that led up to it. They didn't have too many surprises as a result, still- they did have a couple of things up their collective sleeves.

5) PSP exclusive games

Sony showed off an all new Resident Evil, Metal Gear Peacewalker (sequel to the PS2's MGS3), Soul Calibur, and a really impressive looking Little Big Planet port. Their PSP lineup was supposed to get a shot in the arm this year. So far it's been a letdown but these games are a great step in the right direction- good stuff all around.

4) PS3 Exclusive games

Uncharted 2 looks absolutely fantastic, Final Fantasy 14 was teased and a montage was shown with a bunch of mostly non-exclusive games in it. Overall I wasn't impressed with the PS3 stuff (outside of Uncharted 2 and #3 on this list that is). It looks to me like Sony pushed out most of their exclusives for holiday '08 and for '09. There's just not that much left to show. MAG looked very forgettable.

3) God of War 3

The game looks great but there's not much I can really say about it. I should say that I'm not much of a fan in the first place and this looks to be exactly the same as the PS2/PSP versions -- but with incredible graphics of course. That's probably the reason that I'll pick it up when it comes out in March '10. Just to see the great look that it has.

My feelings aside though, if you like GoW and you haven't picked up a PS3 yet- well -I think you're gonna want to ASAP.

2) PSP Go

Just like it was leaked out to the press a few days ago- the PSP Go did make it's debut. It's smaller, sleeker, lighter (40% lighter than the PSP 1000!!), and has no UMD port. The PSP Go will be all download. It remains to be seen if this kind of thing is really going to take off with the gaming community at large, I myself am a fan of physical media. I like to actually have the disc, or UMD as the case may be. I think that's probably why Sony is going to be very cautious about all of this - all PSP games will still ship on UMD's, but they'll also be available for download on the same day. That way no one gets burned. The good old PSP 3000 will still be for sale as well. Smart moves in my book.

1) The 'PS3 Motion Controller'

Let me start by saying that this would have impressed me a whole lot more if I never saw Natal in action. I promise that that's the last thing I'll say about it.


The PS3MC (I don't know what the hell to call it!) is a wand that works in conjunction with the PS Eye. Presumably you'll need the Eye to use the wand, maybe a bundle? It has a really cool feature that shows you on the TV with CGI weapons or sporting goods in hand in place of the wand. It looks a little dopey right now but the tech really isn't finished yet. It was a good move for Sony to at least give us all a hint of what's to come rather than just not showing anything. It's cool, it's new- it's got a long way to go yet.

This was a good briefing for Sony. They showed off a lot of new stuff, some that was a surprise some that wasn't. I would've really liked to have seen more in the way of PS3 exclusive stuff. That worries me a bit.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nintendo Press Briefing

Okay, remember last year when Ninty didn't really show that much and really got lit up by the fans and the press for being too blah about feeling the need to impress? Remember how it seemed that they didn't really care about the show that much and just rested on their already sizable laurels?

Not that much has changed.

5) DS games

There are quite a few good looking DS games coming up from Nintendo. Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Story, a new Golden Sun (Yay!), the return of Link in a new Zelda adventure, and others really show that Nintendo has the perfect stratagy for DS gaming.

4) DSi downloadable games

Now you're talking. The anemic DSi shop is about to get a much needed boost in the form of Mario vs Donkey Kong as a download only game. It's more March of the Mini's stuff, it looks great and includes a level editor (!) AND it'll be out next week!


3) New Super Mario Bros. Wii & Super Mario Galaxy 2

It's really unclear if NSMBW is a straight port of the DS game or a new installment based off of it. The one thing that is clear is that it allows for four player simultaneous co-op play. SMG2 is a little clearer still, the sequel to the original smash hit, Galaxy 2 takes the last game and adds more of the same, which is in no way a bad thing.

2) Team Ninja Metroid

In a very surprising move, Nintendo has allied with Ninja Gaiden creators Team Ninja to develope an all new, all different Metroid. Called Metroid: Other M, it looks awesome, like a cross between 3D and the old school 2D titles. Almost like God of War- but better.

Very excited about this one.

1) More 'Whaa?' peripherals

I really don't know what they're thinkig with these things. Reggie Fils-Aime showed off the Motion Plus for the second straight show. It still looks exceptionally 'meh', and now theres really no comparison to the Natal from Microsoft. Soooo much more interesting than the little better motion tracking that the MP offers.

More 'Whaa?' came in the form of a long winded speech from CEO Satoru Iwata. He lectures the audience about the philosophy of Nintendo -- which no one really needed to hear -- then he showed off the Wii 'Vitality Sensor' which, well honestly, I'm not sure what the hell it does. Apparently it's supposed to help you relax. Just what you want from a video game company.

Maybe just stick to the games for the next E3, huh Nintendo?

Microsoft E3 Press Briefing

Wow would be a good word to describe the Xbox showing at the newly re-energized E3. There's been a lot of buzz about '09 being a big year for Sony and it's PS3/PSP, but they're going to have to have one hell of a lineup to top the stuff Microsoft has showed off here.

Here are the top five points that stuck out in my mind:

5) Third party games (multiplatformers too) being treated as Xbox exclusives.

This includes Final Fantasy (which looks awesome), Modern Warfare 2, Rock Band Beatles and one really big one that you'll read about further down the list.

4) Exclusive games

Crackdown 2 looks amazing, Alan Wake looks like it used that extra development time to become a real stunner, Splinter-frickin-Cell Conviction (YESSSSS!!!!), Left 4 Dead 2 -- see where I'm going with this?


3) HALO returns with a double whammy

Halo ODST was shown off and looks really good and really different than H3 thanks to a pseudo-squad mechanic that looks pretty neat. The big bomb though, was Halo: Reach.
Presumably this is based on the novel of the same name and is a prequel to the trilogy. It features the fall of the human military stronghold planet Reach to the Covenant. My best guess is that this is a true squad-based game like Rainbow 6 since the trailer seems to show a team of Spartans integrated into the logo.


Play to your core fans and you will never lose. ODST hits this year but you'll have to wait for Reach, it's not coming out until 2010.

2)Metal Gear Solid (!)

No, not a port of MGS4, a true multiplatform release of the next Gear -- Metal Gear Solid Rising. If you've played MGS4 on the PS3, then you know Hideo Kojima makes with the next-gen awesome.

It's really a gigantic coup for the Xbox team. MGS has always been Sony's darling. Even when the earlier games came to the first Xbox, is was well after they had already dropped on the PS2. Now that they've gone fully multiplatform, there really aren't any marqee titles exclusively on the PS3 other than Sony's own in-house stuff. Which is great stuff but, what are they thinking letting MGS go?


and finally...

1) Project Natal

The full body motion controller/camera/voice recognition system makes it's appearance. Now, I don't like motion controllers. I don't. I like Wii games in spite of the controls, not because of them. I just know that Natal is going to be blown off by a lot of players who consider themselves 'hardcore', but I wish they would give it a chance. Read on and keep an open mind.

That being said, Natal is amazing with a capital 'A'. The camera system picks up movement in three dimensions and is does it well. Watching the demos, I was more and more impressed by each until we met 'Milo'.

Milo is a creation of Fable designer Peter Molyneux. He's a 'real' person that you can interact with, talk to, play games with, etc... It's not so much Milo that impresses me so much (he does, but go with me here...) as it's the sheer amount of possibilities that the imagination conjures up for this incredible piece of tech. Watch the demo, use that imagination that's rattling around up there, you'll see what I mean.


I don't know what kind of controller Sony is going to be showing off, but Natal blows the Wiimote into atoms. Truly next-gen.