You don’t get the show #26: Christmas in July


With all the sales on games, toys and electronics this summer we decide to celebrate Christmas in July by looking over the top Christmas toys from the 80’s to today. From Transformers to the BeyBlades, we reminisce about our favorite toys, watch some weird toy commercials and try to remember why some of these toys were popular.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus

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Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus

This game was originally released on the original Xbox as Ninja Gaiden Black, then it was updated to “Sigma” for the PS3. The Sigma plus you would rightly assume is the Vita port of this game, should it have been left out of the launch window or is it one of the best titles on the system?

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

Keep reading to find out.

Story

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus isn’t a narrative powerhouse, but it’s full of a great kind of kitch story telling. It’s about honor and family, sensei’s and demons. The fun is actually in the cheese, and in that way the story doesn’t disappoint. You play as Ryu Hayabusa, a member of the Dragon lineage (and the Dragon Clan as it turns out). Your family protects the Dragon swords, one evil sword and one…not so evil one that Ryu carries around. In the first chapter Ryu’s village is attacked and your adventure begins.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

You meet a few interesting characters along the way, and even get to play as another character in the story (a monster hunter named Rachel). Really though this game is about the great action and challenge you’ll face while playing this title. The story doesn’t drive you forward like some of the great narratives in the medium, but it keeps you interested with the next strange conversation you’ll hear, or by learning a little more about Ryu and his famous sword.

Gameplay

This is where this title really shines. As an action game Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus is a thrilling experience, the action is challenging of course, but it’s never cheap, and you always know that when you die, no matter how frustrating it may be, that if you practice you’ll improve. You start with the Dragon sword, but as the game continues you get numerous other weapons to rely on. Throwing weapons, bombs, staves, dual katanas, nunchuku, etc. etc.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

Some of these weapons are necessary for certain enemy types, but they’re all fun to use, and easy to learn. Ninpo magic is something you’ll work with as well, which is a bit of a help especially in boss battles. I didn’t use it very often preferring the melee combat, but the Ninpo magic certainly saved my butt when I was in a jam.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

There is a bit of platforming in the game, but luckily Ryu is an agile guy, and can run along walls, climb ledges, and do just about anything you need. Don’t expect Assassin’s Creed level of platforming, but those sections in this game usually make you think, and although they were sometimes frustrating, just like the combat, it isn’t cheap.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita -

 

Upgrades are another thing you’ll find in Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, you can upgrade your accessories for upgrades (like extra health or defence) and every weapon can be upgraded to do more damage ala God of War. Upgrades, health potions and accessories are all available for purchase from in game shops and strangely enough statues of blacksmiths. You buy upgrades with the yellow orbs you collect from killing enemies. It has a familar economic feel just like other action games, and it works well, and there’s just that much more incentive to go out and kill some more baddies.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

Some of the shooting mechanics are a little annoying though, you use the touch screen to shoot arrows and other projectiles. They take a little while to get used to, but luckily they’re not that common of a hindrance. You’re lucky in the way that you can kill almost any enemy with your awesome melee combat.

Graphics

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus actually looks quite good on the Vita. The game runs really smooth, and the animations  are great. The first time you see Ryu use nunchucks you might get a flashback of Bruce Lee from Enter the Dragon. They took a lot of care when they first made this title. The animations are different for each weapon as well, making them all really interesting to use.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

The environments in this game aren’t the most exciting, but then again you have to take into account when this game was made. It won’t blow you away with amazing settings like Uncharted Golden Abyss did, but the places you see in this game are at least quite varied, you’ll go from a small village to a large capital city, to dungeons, and even an Egyptian crypt. I don’t give away all the environments of course, that would spoil it a bit, but you’ll be surprised along your way, that’s for sure.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

The voice overs are actually well done too, they really push the cheese factor that the story calls for. The pre-rendered cutscenes are great too, you’d be surprised how over the top they are. The music is decent as well, but it won’t really blow your mind. I don’t ever remember it being annoying or memorable in either way, I guess I was more working on the great combat.

Is Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus Worth it?

Undeniably yes. If you’ve never played this title and have a Vita, buy it. There was a ton of content in this game too, it took me almost 20 hours to complete the main story, and there are many “ninja challenges” that test your skills too. The difficulty in this title is a little extreme as well, and for perhaps good reason they developers put in a mercy button for you (after dying a few times they ask you if you would like to continue your quest, if you say no, you’ll be pulled back into the game at a lower difficulty, this wasn’t explained sadly though, so I unwittingly ended up finishing the game on the lowest difficulty, there being three).

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus - PSVita

What really had me hooked, and I mean up till 3am in the morning hooked on this game is the great gameplay that is visceral and satisfying. This is a great title for the Vita, make sure to check it out.

9/10

Metal Gear Solid 4

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Metal Gear Solid 4

Back in 1998 I was almost unaware of Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation. It wasn’t until Metal Gear Solid 2 was announced that I was aware of how popular the series really was. I played the remake of the original called Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes on the Nintendo Gamecube and loved it. I also loved the 2nd and (especially) the 3rd game on PS2. However it took me until just recently to get a PS3, and I made sure Metal Gear Solid 4 would be my first adventure on the console.
metal gear solid 4- ps3 - gameplay screenshot -
 The game takes place five years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 2, with most of the world in some type of war or conflict. Snake is taken out of retirement for one last mission. He arrives in the Middle East but later will visit other areas of the world including one very familiar spot. The newest game-play additions are the 3rd person aim, a chameleon-like camouflage suit, and a new (and ironically inferior) radar.
metal gear solid 4- ps3 - gameplay screenshot -
I will have to say, even with all my experience with the Metal Gear series I had to take some time adjusting to Metal Gear Solid 4. The first area you land in is a total war-zone and using stealth is much different than before. Also in the older games, most of the non-boss enemies were typically average soldiers, but you are now faced with unmanned vehicles. Such as the walking Gekko tanks which are quite fearsome.
metal gear solid 4- ps3 - gameplay screenshot -
Overall I thought 4 was a fantastic game. Though while I enjoyed the story, there was some parts I wished were different such as Snake’s accelerated aging. While I enjoyed the variety of each location, some (especially the last one) don’t just make stealth optional but it’s almost impossible to get passed many areas without an epic battle. While the third game is my favorite (so far) in the series, the fourth lives up to its pedigree.

Mega Man 9

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If Capcom was so intent in keeping Mega Man 9 in an era of NES classics, why are we paying for downloadable content? All of that work to keep this firmly planted in its roots is wasted if you can unlock secret characters with cash instead of skill. ~Matt Paprocki

Mega Man 9

There’s something wrong with Mega Man 9: It doesn’t fit. That’s not necessarily a knock against the game itself, but purely a poor design call by Capcom. Why have we went back all the way to Mega Man 1 and 2, when the last game was on the PlayStation and Saturn?

MegaMan 9 - PS3

The true 8-bit stylings run deep through this retro revival, in the truest sense. This is a NES game, right down the flicker. The music is phenomenal, the pixel art excellent, and boss design mostly interesting (Galaxy Man looking a little too much like the obscure Japanese monster Guilala).

MegaMan 9 - PS3

Here’s the problem though. Mega Man 9 is hard, and any fan of the series should expect that. However, Capcom has taken that mentality and multiplied it, creating some absolutely absurd level designs that even die-hard masochists will frown upon. While past Mega Man games relied on memorization and precision, Mega Man 9 requires a higher level of both. You can almost hear the level designers laughing at how devilishly difficult certain segments are.

MegaMan 9 - PS3

It’s certainly up for debate whether or not this is an attractive feature or a reason not to buy. Regardless of where you stand, you have to agree that a certain level of fun is still necessary for this game to succeed, and much of the difficulty saps that away.

MegaMan 9 - PS3

Part of the problem is the original 8-bit style, and that means true original 8-bit. Even though Mega Man 3 introduced the slide move and Mega Man 4 brought us the Mega Buster, Mega Man 9 has neither of those. If you can get past the graphical downgrade which doesn’t let this game fit into the timeline, not including these classic maneuvers really messes with your head.

MegaMan 9 - PS3

That’s not saying the visuals are bad. In fact, they’re wonderful, especially just to see the style brought back (the dragon mid-boss is arguably the highlight). The problem is in calling this Mega Man 9, it’s following a 16-bit and 32-bit entry. Making a Bionic Commando sequel that looked like this would have made far more sense given that franchise lived and died on 8-bit hardware.

MegaMan 9 - PS3

Also, if Capcom was so intent in keeping this in an era of NES classics, why are we paying for downloadable content? All of that work to keep this firmly planted in its roots is wasted if you can unlock secret characters with cash instead of skill. This is such an authentic experience, you can’t switch weapons with the triggers. You need to enter the pause menu. Yet, we need to pay more for a complete game.

MegaMan 9 - PS3

From a pure play perspective, Mega Man 9 is fine. It’s the same game any true gamer should have played numerous times before. The platforming is spot-on, as are the controls. The bosses maintain their own attack patterns, acquired weapons do extra damage to the right enemy, and the final castle stage is an absolute nightmare to pass.

MegaMan 9 - PS3

Had this come out and been called Mega Man 7 on the NES, it would have been slammed by critics for being more of the same with nothing new to offer (much like Mega Man 6 was). However, the passage of time has gave way to warm nostalgia, which Mega Man 9 tried to bring back. In most cases, it does, but it more or less limps its way into your nostalgia-fueled mind instead of Mega Busting it.

Demon’s Souls

Demon Souls

Demon’s Souls has been out for awhile now in the US, but only recently has gotten released in some other locations. I put off picking this up because while it looked and sounded good, I tend to wait until games are a bit cheaper to acquire them. Additionally, the game is always being touted as insanely hard, and in my ‘old age’ I’ve grown to enjoy slightly less taxing games. Sure, as a kid I walloped on Ghosts & Goblins, the Ninja Gaiden games, Contra without the 30 lives code and plenty of others. However, I’ve gotten to a point where getting my butt handed to me by lines of code does sometimes get frustrating and I wasn’t sure I wanted to take this particular plunge.

Demon Souls

However, I can say after giving this game a good long play, it was a lot of fun – despite some frustrating moments along the way. That said, I feel like the game can be had at an incredible value, if you are someone who can enjoy a challenging game without getting too frustrated with it.

Graphics – 8.5:

Demon Souls
The animations sometimes feel just a shade off, but the magic and fire effects are nice, and the world is imaginatively presented. I’ve also seen some slowdown at odd times; and a world of lag and slowdown when one of my matches got invaded. That might fall under something other than graphics, but it was graphics that seemed the most affected (I was blocking but taking huge damage from a guy who also appeared to be blocking. Things were just not lining up at all). That said, the rest of the game looked really good, with some very impressive scenes – some of which really stood out (like the dragon sweeping the bridge to burn everyone on it).

Music and sound – 9.0:

Demon Souls
All in all, it sounds good. Narration is solid, sound effects are somewhat varied with voice acting at most interactions. The voice acting is not always great, and I wish I could just skip through the repetitive people sitting in the Nexus. I have surround sound however, and it should be noted that it has been a lifesaver for me at times in this game; on par with the zings of Modern Warfare’s bullets. The music is also very impressive. It fits the theme of the game wonderfully.

Gameplay – 8.5:
Demon Souls
This is a tough one for me. The game responds pretty well most of the time, though the lock-on mechanism can get you in trouble early on until you master it. As I’ve mentioned, the game can be hard. Now, I don’t think it’s quite as hard as some people make it out to be, but there are some cheap deaths in there (a pit you see that it looks like you should be able to descend but actually leads to death, any time something knocks you back when you’re on stairs/a ledge, or a ridiculously hard enemy you have no business fighting but might not have any idea of).

Intangibles – 9.5:

Demon Souls

New game plus is cool, if brutal. Tons of customization. A deep game that makes you feel like you’re genuinely learning as you play. I mentioned above that there were cheap deaths, but most of the time it’s just your own fault for not handling the situation properly. Also, the online aspects really deserve to be mentioned. There’s a unique, almost beautiful in my mind, system of online play where you can see bloodstains on the ground and see the final moments of a player’s life. There’s been several times I touched it and watched someone barrel ahead only to get dropped from an attack they never saw coming – but I did thanks to that experience. Also you can leave messages that you can rate as useful as well. There was one part with a bridge and a dragon swooping down where the advice saved my arse. The PVP aspects I’m kind of down on. It’s creatively handled when you can invade someone else’s realm, or they can invade yours, but almost every time it’s happened my game stuttered and broke up pretty badly. I’ve seen others complain about the same thing and the general response from others is: play offline. In my opinion, you’re doing yourself an overall disservice if you do so. It adds a tremendous sense of ‘life’ to your world when you see ghosted images of other players, bloodstains and messages on the ground.

Overall – 8.75:

Demon Souls

Demon’s Souls is hard. It’s meant to be hard. There is no easy mode. It doesn’t hold your hand or give you easy replays like Final Fantasy 13 does. It does however create a challenging, atmospheric adventure that if you can play without getting too frustrated, will provide you with a good deal of accomplishment as you conquer new tasks. The online features are pretty unique and for the most part they’re enjoyable, if not perfect. Adding to the game’s value in my mind is how much cheaper it has gotten of late. Gamestop had new copies for $40 and used for $26. Not bad for a game that many people thought of as Game of the Year for the PS3. I’m not sure I’d give it that particular title this year or last, but it is a solid action-RPG game that gives you a lot to do on your adventures.

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken announced on Kickstarter

Nexus 2 - The Gods Awaken

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken announced on Kickstarter

HD Interactive and Most Wanted Entertainment have announced the next stage in their quest to develop a sequel to their highly-rated Space RTS game Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, with the company launching a campaign on high-profile crowdfunding site Kickstarter to supplement their own financing.

“Nexus 2 is a very special project for the company”, said company director Mike Horneman,  “Nexus was our first game, and we still have many of the original team-members on board, with full plans in place for what we’d do for a sequel”.

Nexus 2 - The Gods Awaken

Launched in 2004, the game was highly acclaimed as one of the best spaceship battle games ever made, and continues to attract fans even to this day.

“We re-launched the original Nexus on Steam a while ago, and even now we see a substantial amount of new players buying the game each month”, said Horneman. “We have a very vocal fan base, and know that there’s a large number of people out there who would love to see a sequel made”.

 

HD and MWE are looking to finance the project with a mixture of their own funds supported by crowdfunding.

“We’re happy to put a large chunk of our own resources into making Nexus 2”, said Horneman, “but realistically we cannot fund the whole project ourselves. So, with Kickstarter, we can offer all our fans out there a chance to be part of the Nexus 2 project.”

Nexus 2 - The Gods Awaken

“The more you pledge, the more you will benefit; from thanks in the credits, through special boxed editions, right up to designing spaceships that will appear in the game. The largest donor will also receive a completely unique version of the game, where he or she is the hero, complete with facial likeness and voice over. We’re all very excited!”

You can find more info on the game as well as the funding details here

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhZQEvg1V0Y[/youtube]

About the Developer

Most Wanted Entertainment was formed when a band of Hungary’s hottest games talent joined forces with Dutch games company HD Interactive to create one of Central Europe’s longest-lived and most prolific game developers. We have launched games across many platforms, including PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo DS, iPhone/iPad in all sorts of genres.

Strategy and tactical games are our greatest love, however, with products like Joint Task Force and Nexus: The Jupiter Incident being some of the titles we are most proud of.

With our ranks still numbering most of the original Nexus development team, no other developer can match the experience, insight or love we have for this classic game.

www.mwent.hu

 

Nights: HD Release

nightsintodreams

Nights: HD Release

Fans of the classic Sega Saturn game have something to celebrate as HD release of Nights into Dream will be coming this fall. About 16 years ago, July 5th, 1996, Knights was released for the Sega Saturn featuring a unique gameplay style, beautiful graphics and an awesome soundtrack. The HD release will feature updated graphics and features such as trophies/achievements, and leaderboards.

nightsintodreams

Chris Olson, Vice President of Digital Business at SEGA, said in the official announcement: ”The SEGA Saturn offered many unique gaming experiences, and NiGHTS into dreams… stands out as one of the most recognizable titles that found a home on the system. We’ve gotten a lot of requests about this game over the years, and are very happy to be able to give both former Saturn owners and new players a chance to play it in its most beautiful form to date this fall.”

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Currently we only know that the game will be released in the fall for the PC, PSN and XBLA. As we get a firm date, we will bring it to you. The retro releases continue out of Sega HQ as word of a HD release of Jet Set Radio is slated to be released around the game time.

PSone Classics coming to the Vita

PS Vita

We have kept quiet on the Vita mainly because there is enough coverage elsewhere, but with the announcement of PSone classics coming to the Vita, we felt it was news worthy. Originally, the Vita could not play any of the PSone classics, which made many gamers upset. However, an upcoming firmware update will allow owners of the Vita to place all the PSone classics.

For those of you who already have PSone classics on your PS3 all you will need to do is connect your Vita to your PS3 or you can connect directly to the PlayStation Network and transfer your classic games. As said, if you don’t own a PSone classic and want to play it on your Vita you will have unrestricted access to it. Every game in the current PSone catalog will be available.

Now that’s progress.

Sega Vintage Collection for PSN and XBLA

sega_vintage-collection

More retro gaming from the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis are on their way to both PSN and XBLA. Soon you will be able to play the Monster World Collection, which comes with Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World and MWIV on May 23. Next up will be the arcade edition of Golden Axe along with Golden Axe 2 & 3 and the Streets of Rage Collection, which will feature all three games. These collections sell for 800 Microsoft Points each.

sega_vintage-collection

For the PSN you get Wonder Boys, Super Hang-On, Revenge of Shinobi, and Alex Kidd in Miracle World on May 22. These will sell individually for $5 each. Expect more retro gaming to be released in the next few months for both networks and as we get the details, we will bring it to you.

King of Fighter I 2012 on the App Store

King of Fighters I 2012

Check it out retro gamers, you can pick up King of Fighter I 2012 for your iPhone on the App Store. Here is the official press release:

KOF-i 2012’s controls allow players to perform special moves and combos, and the game features a multitude of modes for thousands of hours of enjoyment and intense battle. In addition, game play experience is enhanced with the addition of new fight rules, previously available only in the PS3 / Xbox 360 version.

Along with the 20 characters in KOF-i, four new teams of characters are now available, including ‘ART OF FIGHTING’, ‘PSYCHO SOLDIER’, ‘KIM’, and ‘IKARI’ team, bringing the total number of playable fighters to 32. The game also includes six bonus background stages, including popular console stages Plaza of Snow and Blue Sky Open Café.

king of fighters i 2012- gameplay screenshot

In addition to multiplayer over Bluetooth, ‘Versus’ Battles in KOF-i 2012 can be enjoyed via Game Center, both in ‘Rank Versus’ mode, in which player ranking varies depending on the total number of victories and losses, and in ‘Friend Versus’ mode, where the player’s ranking is not reflected. Also new in KOF-i 2012, a new ‘Time Attack’ mode is available where players must win 10 matches as fast as possible, as well as additional features like ‘Ending Movies’ for each default team, new challenges, trading cards and illustrations.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY7wK_Uu2wQ[/youtube]

THE KING OF FIGHTERS-i 2012 App is available for $6.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore. Additional characters, including ‘NESTS-Style KYO’ and ‘IORI with the Power of Flames’ are available for $1.99 each through In-App Purchase.
For more information on theTHE KING OF FIGHTERS-i 2012, please visit the official site located at www.iphone.snkplaymoreusa.com/kof-i2012. For more information on SNK PLAYMORE USA, please visit the official web site at  www.snkplaymoreusa.com.

Latest sales figures show all three modern consoles now top lifetime NES sales

xbox 360, playstation 3, nintendo wii

Latest sales figures show all three modern consoles now top lifetime NES sales

The Nintendo Entertainment System defied the odds as the 1980s came to a close.  Released in a video game market that American retailers had written off as a fad, the NES not only revived the gaming entertainment industry but set sales figures that blew away the earlier console generation and the previous king, the Atari 2600.

The NES lifetime sales figure of  61.91 million consoles became the biggest prize for anything released after it.  Going into the current crop of gaming consoles, only two consoles ever topped the lofty mark set by the NES:  the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2.

Now, according to sales-tracking website VGChartz.com the PlayStation 3 has now also topped the lofty NES numbers.  Not only does this put all three PlayStation consoles into the top five best-selling consoles of all-time, but it also means the PS3 joins the Nintendo Wii and XBox 360 in that short list.  All three modern consoles have now topped the NES lifetime sales figures, a first for any console generation in history. (Author’s note: All three consoles have also topped the NES software sales figures, according to the same website.)

“It was just a matter of time before gaming became so popular that the modern big three topped the original console that revitalized the gaming industry,” said Eric Cummings, founder of the group Gaming World Wide.  “I’m happy about it.  It means that the industry has really arrived.”

Another gamer who remains an NES player to this day provided similar thoughts.

“I feel this is proof that gaming is more than just people who play games,” said Eric Perez, host of The 8-Bit Eric Show.  “It is part of a worldwide culture.  The fact that three separate consoles have outsold what I feel was the pioneer of revitalizing gaming shows that the industry is in great shape.  The Nintendo Entertainment System will forever hold it’s place in history, but this is also history in the making.  The next generation of consoles will be something to watch.”

The Top Ten Selling Game Consoles of All-Time (source: combined data from VGChartz.com and Wikipedia listings.  Excludes handheld gaming devices.  All stats are as of date of this article’s publishing.)

1.  PlayStation 2 (Sony, 2000) – 153.68 million units

2.  PlayStation (Sony, 1994) – 104.25 million units

3.  Wii (Nintendo, 2006) – 95.25 million units

4.  XBox 360 (Microsoft, 2005) – 65.80 million units

5.  PlayStation 3 (Sony, 2006) – 62.11 million units

6.  Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo, 1983, 1985) – 61.91 million units

7.  Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo, 1990) – 49.10 million units

8.  Mega Drive / Genesis (Sega, 1988, 1989) – 39 million units

9.  Nintendo 64 (Nintendo, 1996) – 32.93 million units

10. Atari 2600 / VCS (Atari, 1977, 1985) – 30 million units

 

Passwords of the Past

We have to thank our gaming developers for coming up with a way of saving our progress without those annoying long passwords. Remember the good old days of the NES where you would be very far in a game called Metroid. You decide to take a break and go outside for a change and write down the long grueling password. You have fun with your friends and come back for another session of alien beating goodness only to find yourself getting an error message while imputing the password. What did you do wrong, you wonder? Sadly, that was the reality of the golden ages of gaming especially with the Metroid game and don’t get me wrong, the game is great but the most important part of the whole game is knowing how to write the password. I had many problems with this, in fact I had so many problems with this game that I learned to beat the game in one run without turning the NES off so I would be able to see the ending and boy did I have a good ending!

Metroid-NES-Cartridge

Now, I won’t spoil it for you guys because maybe there are a few of you who have never touched this game so let’s just say the ending is well worth it, especially if you beat it fast enough. Anyways, I don’t think my NES minded me playing it for three-four hours straight. It was actually very usual for me to play it that long, but of course, with different games. Now, the only ones that were lucky enough to evade this were the Japanese as they got the game released on the Famicom Disk System which was an add-on for the original Famicom that would let you run disks. The idea was really good until they realized the disk drive would break very easily. So much for making a low cost gaming console… Either way, the Metroid disk would have saving available unlike our version. It made their lives more stress-free and ours a pain in the ass.

Metroid Disc

There were other games with the same situation like Kid Icarus which also got a Disk System only released in Japan and even Super Mario Bro 2J which was never released in the United States until years later. Super Mario Bros 2J would keep a track of how many times you beat the games by adding a small mushroom at the top of the screen, it was quite interesting because I bought a couple of those games for my disk system and found myself with a screen filled with mushrooms! Someone sure loves his Mario! Overall, we have to take into account the changes to video games over the years, things such as passwords were used up all the way to the Playstation one and Nintendo 64 era so they are not that old. Of course, we don’t even use them anymore due to having advanced consoles such as the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

The Memorex PS3 Quad controller charger Review

The Memorex PS3 Quad controller charger

Memorex of CD-R, and for you old people like me, VHS cassette fame, have manufactured a pretty nifty controller charger for the PS3. With this contraption you can charge 2 controllers and 2 Move controllers at the same time. The normal Ps3 controllers plug into two slots on the front of the device, and the move controllers plug into holsters on both sides. It works pretty well, the coolest thing being the charging light on the front. Red if it’s charging, blue when it’s done. It’s pretty quick too.

It’s price point, around $35, makes me consider the following: If you have only 1 PS3 controller, then this probably won’t be worth your while. This product will mainly benefit those with PSMove and extra controllers. For everyone else, just stick with simple USB to console charging.

Pros:

Handy way to charge multiple Dualshock and or Move controllers

Cool lighting feature lets you know when charge is done.

Won’t overcharge your controllers thus depleting battery life.

Cons:

A bit pricey, probably not worth it to those who only own a single controller.

Rating: 9/10

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

General

Naughty Dog has come back with the third installment of the acclaimed Uncharted series and each game that has come out has been better than the last. As amazing as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves(2009) was, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception takes it to a new level yet again with utilizing the capabilites of the PS3 graphics engine and now having only a slight amount of noticeable glitches. There is no question why this is my choice for the 2011 game of the year even with Assassin’s Creed Revelations and Batman: Arkham City in the running.

Nathan Drake
The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen…ever.

Naughty Dog and the History of the Uncharted Series:

Naughty Dog is known for their older, not-as-serious series of Crash Bandicoot and Jak. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune(2007) took me by surprise with how impressive it was and reminded me Naughty Dog actually existed. It had the God of War properties of real time actions but still somehow ran fluidly like a movie with its unexpected twists, climbs and drops in drama, and action scenes. It had me on the edge of my seat like the other two that had yet to come. Uncharted 2 was the same concept but improved with better graphics and an even more engaging story. Now I need to mention something about the word “same” in the world of gaming. The word “same” is usually more attached to the negative than positive. If a sequel is the “same” it can mean it’s repetitive and who wants to pay $60 for a sequel when the prequel can simply be played again? Assassin’s Creed Revelations (review coming soon, hopefully) seems to be getting the heap by those who aren’t fans of the series for this reason. It plays exactly like the two others about Ezio before it. I don’t think so but I’m also an avid fan.

Anyway, Back to the Point…

Uncharted 3, considering controls and gameplay itself is not unlike is predecessors in any way, but Naughty Dog made that work. The Story is compelling and always moving forward. The lack of side quests could help make this possible but you will know if and when you play it that isn’t the only reason why it has such an amazing narrative.

Specifics on the Story Which Are Spoiler Free, I Promise

It shouldn’t be new, especially if you enjoyed the last two games, that Nathan Drake is our modern “Indiana Jones” type except with a realistic attitude and personality. The adventure our heroes progress through can be considered such as well with its historical legends, grave digging, and treasure hunting. “Nate” is only human which makes the story that much more agreeable. Naughty Dog has mastered the way of taking something no one has done research on or never seen and coming up with their own background with backup which is created or not.

Sounds Amazing. Why a 9 and Not 10?

The satisfaction the last two games brought you may not be there this time around. The game seemed rushed and too short, and the final boss seems to be the easiest part of the game. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful experience.

Could be played by:
New players to the series with a few things to be considered:
-All story with no sidequests
-Glitches though they are few and far between
-Difficulty randomly spikes
-These are hardly problems

Fans of the series:
-Go get it.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJuyv_ckh98[/youtube]

Notes:
I didn’t mention the multiplayer because I haven’t played it and I can’t considering my copy is rented from Gamefly.

It is rumored Naughty Dog is working on a third person shooting game for 2013.

The soundtrack is impressive but that isn’t a surprise.

Nolan North is the voice actor for Nathan Drake and interestingly enough, Desmond Miles in the Assassin’s Creed series.

 

Darkstalkers coming to the PS3 & PSP

DarkStalkersScreen

The classic PSOne game will soon be coming to the Playstation 3 and PSP. The game will have ten playable characters including favorites, Morrigan and Felicia. Currently there is no release date, but word is the game will cost you about six bucks.

Here is a video of the classic game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYaVfvpbrWg[/youtube]

Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish

Call of Duty-Modern Warfare 3-Find Makarov-Operation Kingfish

“Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish” is the seven-minute sequel to the fan-made, original film, Find Makarov. The real life movie reveals a key moment in Modern Warfare history as Soap recalls one of his most memorable Task Force 141 missions. For more information visit findmakarov.com.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afs8lcfBY7Q[/youtube]

Created by We Can Pretend, Meteoric, The Junction VFX, and Stealing Time
Director: Jeff Chan
Executive Producer: David Fradkin
Producer: Evan Stasyshyn
Stars John Morgan as John “Soap” McTavish

New NEOGEO Station games released today

Neo-Geo

Playstation 3 fans rejoice, today you can download two new games from the NEOGEO station featuring classic NEO GEO games Shock Troopers and World Heroes:

SHOCK TROOPERS

A run-and-gun shooting game featuring 8 mercenaries who face a huge terrorist organization, enlist for action on NEOGEO Station! You can choose between 2 fighting styles: Control one character in “LONELY WOLF” mode, or pick up a team of 3 soldiers you can switch between at any time in “TEAM BATTLE” mode. Run through the battlefield and choose the best routes and strategy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKYHBAqANDc[/youtube]

WORLD HEROES

The famous versus fighting NEOGEO title with 8 historic characters who have traveled through time to fight each other is available on NEOGEO Station! Featuring two game modes, Normal and DEATH MATCH, where you’ll find merciless gameplay and stages full of traps! Choose your favorite hero from the 8 characters available and become the greatest warrior of all-time!

These downloads will cost between $6.99 & 8.99.

Check out the NEO GEO Station website here – http://neogeostation.snkplaymoreusa.com/na/

Video of the Day: Game Deaths

Classic video game deaths

This video is just to awesome not to share. This video shows death scenes from various classic games to a great remix tune. Enjoy.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ6APKIjFQY[/youtube]

(Dir.: Rob Beschizza, BoingBoing. Music is Rob’s MIDI homage to “Mad World,” by Tears for Fears, and you can download the MP3 here:http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/28/game-deaths-mp3.html and buy their original song here [MP3]: http://tinyurl.com/4wzqgry ).

Resident Evil 4


Resident Evil 4 - PC Review - Gameplay Screenshot

Resident Evil 4 on the Nintendo GameCube is a uniquely sublime game, sporting some excellent eye-candy, an above average plot and moments of sheer horror followed by extended, yet relaxing, periods of violently shooting stuff. It also is an obvious, major even, evolution of the whole Resident Evil series and the first RE game to do away with zombies and go for the rather more nimble possessed peasantvariety of baddies. Oh, and it’s in glorious real-time 3D.

What’s more, RE 4 has also been made available for the mainstream PS2, which, despite the underpowered hardware, got a pretty impressive port, only slightly lacking in the looks department and more than making up for this drawback by offering a few extra gameplay hours. Kudos to Capcom for successfully pushing the PS2 hardware, then.

Resident Evil 4 - PC Review - Gameplay Screenshot

So, what happens when Resident Evil 4, the same president’s daughter saving supernatural survival horror video game that amazed the console crowds, hits the PC? Tragedy, that’s what. Or to be more precise, what happens, is a tragedy of such epic proportions Sophocles might consider producing it, for Capcom has somehow ignored the hardware muscle of the PC, the fact that the mouse is now (for this deceivingly 10 year long decade, at least) considered a pretty standard piece of high-tech equipment, that contemporary gamers like to have a proper save (let alone quicksave) function and that PC gamers aren’t as game-starved as in the very early eighties, and went on to promptly produce the shoddiest Resi 4 port imaginable.

The game, cunningly avoiding to offer mouse control as an option, is virtually unplayable without a gamepad (even though being prompted to press buttons 1, 2, 3 or 4 can still be baffling) as the keyboard-only control method is frankly shocking (WASD to aim?). Even if, and this will be a very ill-conceived if, you do decide to give RE4 a try just to experience the story and visuals, think again.

Resident Evil 4 - PC Review - Gameplay Screenshot

The thing not only plays but looks decidedly shite and doesn’t even bother to provide a way to exit the game without going for the ol’ ctrl-alt-del trick.The graphics themselves are a travesty, which could a) have been easily avoided b) really wouldn’t be so important if they hadn’t removed daylight, night and fog effects in a brilliant attempt to strip away any sense of atmosphere. Then again, instantly disappearing characters have been added, thus succesfuly adding to the hilarity of the whole affair. Obviously anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and modern soundcard technology have seemed to evade Capcom‘s attention all together. And still, the bloody thing will eat up almost 5 Gigas of your hard drive. For what? I really can’t imagine. Probably just to irritate you.

Warning, obvious conclusion: Avoid Resident Evil 4 PC like the plague. In fact, given a choice, go for the rotting away to death fetish, and if you really desperately need to play Resident Evil 4 -which you do- you’re better off buying a GameCube and the original version. Or a Wii and waiting a bit. Or, why not, a PS2. Heck, you’ll probably enjoy playing the offending Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man more. Oh, and to remind you… THERE’S NO MOUSE SUPPORT. Tsk, tsk.


Neo Geo Station: Latest Release

NeogeoStation_logo

SNK Playmore has released two more games from its classic gaming library for the NEO Geo station on Playstation 3. Gamers will be able to play “THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’95” and “BASEBALL STARS 2” as downloadable content.

NEOGEO Station” is a commemorative project that allows players to enjoy the many classic fighting, action, sports and other NEOGEO titles released after 1990, exclusively on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems. The first set of 10 titles, which included “METAL SLUG,” “SAMURAI SHODOWN,” and “THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’94,” were released on December 22, 2010. This time, two new titles have been released for a total of 12 titles.

THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’95

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NRO1bi7ScA[/youtube]

The legendary “SNK Dream Versus Battle” is back with this 2nd installment full of improvements! KOF’95 is the start of the “Orochi Saga,” a new story in which Kyo Kusanagi is the main protagonist. His sworn enemy, Iori Yagami, appears for the first time, so charismatic and stylish that he could overshadow Kyo Kusanagi!

BASEBALL STARS 2

This sports game recreates a powerful arcade-style baseball with over-the-top animations like bench-clearing brawls. With its “Auto Operation Mode” for beginners, magic “Power Bat Mode”, and the “Special Players” introduced by the team’s owner, BASEBALL STARS 2 is full of exciting moments.

Both of these titles are available today for $8.99 on the PS3 and $6.99 on the PSP.

The Unsurprising Incompetence of Sony


We all know what’s going on with Sony. For those of you who don’t know, you either don’t game or you live under a rock. The greatest hacking escapade of 2011 has left the company’s loyal consumers hanging on the sideline while they hope to the heavens that their credit card info hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder. If you haven’t cancelled your credit card, asked for a new number, or put out a fraud alert by now it’s best advised you do so now.

What I really wanted to get into with this article isn’t Sony’s time and time again ability to completely fuck up everything they touch. I want to know why anyone would even remain loyal to this colossal abortion of a company?

Because Microsoft is the devil, Umar!

Microsoft can be whatever you want to call it but Xbox Live has provided some of the best online multiplayer entertainment compared to their other console rivals. True, the Xbox live community is immature at best. Again, it is true, most of the games that come out for Xbox are also available on the PC but this isn’t just about comparing PSN to Xbox Live.

I don’t care about the other consoles. Disregard the Wii, Xbox, or the PC in this decision. Why should someone remain devoted to Sony games or devices? If you can’t get past that, you’re missing the point entirely.

What is the point then, you fat asshole?

The point is, as a customer, why should you remain with a company that can’t protect your CC information? Why remain with a company who has been so crippled by the attack they have yet to restart their service? Why remain with a company that markets with an asshat like Kevin Butler? Why remain with a company that barely has anything to show at E3 time and time again and when they do manage to reveal something it becomes an internet meme?

And this is just with their Playstation portion of the company. They recently announced and moved forward with the shutting down of all Sony Online Entertainment games due to this “intrusion”. That means games like Everquest 2, Everquest… and what other games would be affected by this? Didn’t they seize operations on a huge plethora of their games? I know they have DCUO but how many customers can you upset by bringing that game down? Their ten remaining customers? Big deal. If this assault doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for DCUO then its loyal subscribers are used to be being screwed over and over again.

For a company that is already struggling to breathe in the MMO market, this setback is going to draw more players to WoW, LOTRO, and/or Rift. How can they recoup their losses? Offer a free month for the month they’re already going to lose? Give away 700 Station Points?
Thanks for the piece of mind, Sony. I’ll enjoy these small tokens of your appreciation for my loyalty while some criminal abuses the shit out of my credit.

Face it, loyal Sony fanboys. You’re on the Titantic and you can get off the ship and survive or freeze to death in the piercing icy waters of Hell. You aren’t Rose. No one wants to draw you naked. You won’t live through this.

I know a couple of people who are still riding on Sony’s cock. To them I say you’re a complete moron. Enjoy lubing up your ass with olive oil while this company and its attackers continue to fuck you from behind.

Now I want to hear from you, the reader. I want to know why on God’s green and polluted Earth would you want to stay with Sony?

Retaining

deadliest-warrior

Bravo’s series Deadliest Warrior got me thinking about all the great games over the years featuring ninjas, from the classic System 3 game The Last Ninja to various beat ‘em ups. But there is one series I am not a fan of – Ninja Gaiden. It’s just one of several similar games on the way.

I am not a fan of the “dojo game”, the genre typified by Devil May Cry and the God of War series (which is making its way to PS3, along with HD versions of the first two games). However, let me make it clear from the start I am not saying that they are “bad” games – I’m saying that they are not my cup of tea. That’s down to two main factors – the difficulty level and the button combos.

I do not see the challenge in mastering 100-button combos and posting a video on YouTube about it. One of the biggest problems seems to be balance. There is a fine line between rewarding high levels of skill and letting the player get through the game. Too often it seems easier to button bash than to time and execute moves, particularly when the combos rely on exacting timing. And hacking your way through wave after wave of the same enemy soon loses its appeal.

Then there are the puzzles – they rarely progress between simple switches or moving something from A to B. A sequence from the original God of War highlights why Nintendo’s new Demo-play feature (designed to give tips as you play) could work. And if you have not played God of War, consider this next piece a spoiler. A room with a gate can only be left by activating the large pressure pad in the middle of the room, which opens the gate for a short time when Kratos stands on it. But there is no way to get past the gate before it closes again (since you have moved off the pad). The answer is hidden in your inventory – the head of Medusa can be used to turn an enemy to stone, making it easier to kill. Freezing an enemy on the pad lets you get past the gate, but it wasn’t immediately apparent to me and I spent several minutes before the idea dawned on me. If Demo-play can highlight an area of screen or give a clue by suggesting you look in your inventory, it could help guide players through such a puzzle rather than relying on an online guide.

The most promising of this new wave of dojo games looks to be Bayonetta from Platinum Games. The team were responsible for bonkers PS2 beat ‘em up God Hand and the more recent Madworld on Wii, and with a heroine whose hair is a weapon it seems they are trying something different again. But will it get good reviews and sales to match? It seems unlikely, given the competition, and that could be disappointing and discouraging for a team that dares to be different.

 

Portable problems

PSP - Playstation Portable

Sony had the chance to shake up the portable console market and to maintain its grip on gaming. Somewhere along the line things went wrong after such initial promise. The latest iteration, the PSP Go, has boosted sales but does it have a long-term future?

When Sony announced a portable Playstation the specs were interesting, promising PS2-quality games in the palm of your hand, wireless multiplayer and much more on a clear, wide screen. Many experts did see a potential flaw in the plan, Sony’s new UMD format. The much-maligned optical disk brought technical problems and slow access, and the film companies did not fall in line to support it.

Sony also fought a running battle with the hackers and the homebrew specialists. The processing power gave the chance for great emulation, and the use of memory sticks opened the door to illegal downloads. Firmware updates were met with fast responses from the hackers, the process aided by replacement batteries and other hardware hacks.

Giving the console a make-over quickly proved both a good idea and a drawback for Sony. The PSP Slim models (the 2000 and 3000) both gave a brief increase in sales but made very little real change to the hardware. Sales of games slowed whatever the model, with many stores discounting them and UMD movies soon after release.

More problems hit Sony as its marketing plans backfired. Graffiti ads in America caused controversy, ads for the white PSP were considered racist and the “All I Want for Christmas is a PSP” campaign was embarrassing. The ad company started blogs and put up supposedly amateur videos of kids who wanted the machine for Christmas – only for the gaming community to pour scorn on the whole thing.

One of the biggest problems for Sony was tailoring games to the handheld console. Too often developers tried to shoe-horn a large game more suited to playing at home into a UMD. Gems such as Loco Roco and Patapon were hard to find among the predictable movie licenses and multi-format failures. The Monster Hunter series did wonders in Japan but was slow to propagate worldwide. Gamers bemoaned the lack of a second analogue stick, but did appreciate the ability to download old PS1 games.

The PSP Go was a badly guarded secret that was finally given substance at E3 in 2009. Gone was the UMD drive and in came a new wave of games. The likes of Rock Band Unplugged and LittleBigPlanet showed some ambition. There was still no second stick, the screen was smaller and the sliding mechanism (to hide the controls) seemed like a gimmick too far. Another nail in the coffin came from retailers who refused to stock it due to the lack of additional game sales – since all the games have to be downloaded from the PSN. Room (the PSP equivalent of Home) may just be another bad move. Will existing owners upgrade? Sony threw another spanner in the works by announcing plans for users to trade in UMDs, only to cancel the idea and generate a lot more bad press.

So does the PSP have a future? It will be up to gamers to provide it, but Sony needs to look carefully at its strategy.

 

Games coming out in March 2011 for Consoles

Crysis 2 wallpaper

It is March Madness and I am not just talking the NCAA. There are a number of good games coming out this March so I hope you have paid off all of your x-mas debt because it is time to open that wallet or purse.

Dragon Age II – Mar 8th


BioWare is back for the next full chapter in the Dragon Age series. This RPG will feature updated graphics and gameplay and a continuing storyline.

Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8th


I got some feedback for not mentioning sports games so here It is. We know 2K sports does it well and even if you are an EA fan you know 2K will make a good game and it looks as if MLB 2K11 will live up to the legacy.

Homefront – Mar 15th


PS3 fans rejoice because now you have a chance to play this story-driven first-person shooter set in the year 2027.

Top Spin 4 – Mar 15th


I was always a fan of the Top Spin tennis series and it is good to see it back for the next gen consoles. You can select over 25 pros and play in a ton of stadiums around the world and even create your own tennis star. Another hit from 2K Sports.

Crysis 2 – Mar 22nd


Remember the benchmarking game called Crysis? Okay, it was not a benchmarking game, but it did make a ton of people upgrade their computers. For us console owners this first-person shooter returns powered by the CryEngine 3 and looks as incredible as ever.

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – March 22nd


You have to give it up to the Lego series, even if you were not a fan of the Indian Jones and Batman Lego games the Star Wars series has always been fun to play. This time we enter the clone wars with overhauled visuals and new gameplay including cooperative action.

Shift 2 Unleashed: Need for Speed – Mar 29th


The unleashed series combines what we love the most about racing, fast cars and crashes. It is this mix of racing and violence that made Burnout fun and looks like it works for the Need for Speed series as well.

 

 

WWE All Stars – Mar 29th


One large complaint from the Smackdown versus Raw series was the fact that you could not play many of the classic stars from the WWE’s past. With WWE All Star the entire game is dedicated to the legends of the wrestling world and you can pit them against todays superstars.

Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday – Mar 29th


Yes, this is a PSP game and yes it takes the Parasite Eve series and makes it more like a shooter than an RPG, but there are some redeeming elements including story that makes this game worth the buy if you already own a PSP.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – Mar 29th


The Witcher 2 is a direct sequel to developer CD Projekt’s mature-themed fantasy role-playing game based on the works of author Andrzej Sap.

Back in Debt

There you have it, our list of worthwhile games to check out and perhaps buy. We will be back next month with a brand new list and trailers on games to buy, obsolete gamer style.

 

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday Trailer

Parasite Eve The Third Birthday

In this latest trailer from Sqaure Enix we begin with Aye laying just outside of a church bloodied wearing a wedding dress. We then dive into gameplay footage once again showing that this game is more run and gun, action oriented than the previous PE’s that were more action RPG related. Switching back to CG the trailer shows that Aye has to remember how it all started. Perhaps we will learn more about the backstory of PE. Keep in mind the Parasite Eve series began as a follow-up to a novel.

So for those who spent the cash on a PSP and are fans of the Parasite Eve series this game could still be worth the purchase.

DCUO: Qualms With The Game And A Plea For Fixes

Bat Family DCUO screenshot
Bat Family DCUO screenshot

DCUO: Qualms With The Game And A Plea For Fixes

This is a copy/pasta of a post I made on the DCUO official forums.

I am writing this in hopes that SOE sees this and takes the time to actually start some sort of plan to save their latest MMO DC Universe Online. I am not calling in the apocalypse of this game but I am simply stating that right now it has been poisoned by bugs. I have played many MMORPGs and since World of Warcraft’s release there haven’t been many AAA MMO launches. Many games falter in their idea to cash in on the WoW craze and create clones and other games try mechanics that just seem to fall flat because they failed to fix game breaking bugs before release. I don’t have much faith in many of the MMO’s coming out in 2011 but I did feel and still do feel that DCUO was going to be the one to stand with the greatest potential.

Lawl? Did u not hear of Star Wars TOR, newb?

Okay, fellow forum readers. Yes I’ve heard of Star Wars but I do not have high hopes for that game as I generally don’t see things with rose tinted glasses. But this is besides the point. I don’t want to banter SOE with “IM GUNNA QUIT AND GO TO ” bull. I don’t want to put out an angry, unproductive statement out that does nothing but sound like another QQ fest. I want to state what I think they need to fix in order to prevent this game to going into a crippling decline.

People in my guild r already leaving, newb! Dis gaem is a failure.

I understand that people are leaving but people always leave MMO’s in their first month. It’s a common thing to see a mass exodus of people leave one game, talk highly of the new toy, and then pinch a loaf all over that toy, and go back to another game that presents the same grind or what not. That isn’t a great argument at this point as it is a common thing amongst MMO gamers.

Now that I have the generic forum responses out of the way, let me get into my issues with the game and why they are stunting to its growth.

League Chat Breaking

Never have I played a game where a chat is broken. Shout is never broken, yet somehow, some way, League chat breaks. How are groups of people supposed to connect to enjoy the game together? No one plays an MMO to play it in solidarity for everlasting months. The thing that keeps people playing is 1) Yes, content, but we’ll get into that later and 2) the ability to form bonds with fellow server mates for an enjoyable experience.

Those of you who have spent time with guildies or leaguers and just goofed off racing around cities, griefing someone as a group, or just doing something pointless can attest to the good times that can be had with friends and clansmen. Even without additional content, good friends can make a game last awhile, probably not as long as a game with constant content, but they’ll last longer than the average solo king player.

League Chat breaking over and over seems like an easy bug to fix as most MMO’s don’t seem to screw up their chat systems. This is the first time I’ve ever witnessed this kind of issue in anything ever. Without League chat, what’s the point of a League? How can people communicate or introduce themselves to one another? No bonds are made thus no establishment is set into the game’s community causing a rift of players to either leave to where they came from or hold out until the next MMO that will save them.

Queues Breaking

I can see how this is an issue that can take awhile to resolve but it should have been resolved early on towards the end of beta. Some sort of contingency plan should have been brought up to fix the issue if queuing loads being too dramatically hectic is causing them to shatter. If it isn’t the load of players using the queuing system that is breaking it, then what is it? What is so difficult to fix that it has taken two weeks for someone to still not figure out?

A lot of games have a ton of levels for you to grind through so it takes awhile for major sums of their player base to hit the endgame cap. DCUO makes you super right away by making hitting 30  a quick and easy thing to do. This is mostly because most of the content is for level 30 characters. That is great but when most of this content is governed by the queue system, well that is where the main focal point of the game’s design seems to get blinded.

How is a game that promotes fast leveling and quick end game experience supposed to last when their main method of entering these adventures is blocked by a queue system that breaks too often. PvP queues, Duo queues, Alert queues, all broken. The only queue that seems to work is The Vault and that is completely aside from anything else as it just teleports you to a single player map.

But OP! You can run to Arkham, Containment Facilities, and many more!

That’s true, poster. You could run to those instances. I, for one, have been. I refuse to allow a broken queue to stop me but when I can’t do my duos or get into certain instances, I feel like I’m being cheated. I’m not saying that SOE owes me Marks of Triumph (though, that’d be pretty nice.) but I do feel like I’m paying $15 a month to be blocked out of content I was able to play earlier in the week.

Watchtower Crashes

This bug personally hasn’t affected me but I can see where the issue can bother some people. In WoW, when Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor crashed, you couldn’t get on your character in that continent. However, there was another continent always available for both factions.

When Watchtower is down, you’re locking out a good chunk of one faction while the other isn’t hindered at all. This is an increasingly difficult issue because if queues aren’t working, and Watchtower is down, so goes your cross city travel system.

Bugs I Can Deal WIth For Now

There are certain bugs I can handle right now because there are work arounds for them, but that doesn’t mean to ignore them.

I can deal with the platform in Star Labs arena being exploited by flying enemies contesting the node from underneath since I’m a pro and took grounding abilities.

I can deal with the loot bug at the end of an alert where if I hit L before seeing the “overall data” chart  I won’t get to roll on the item. I already know to wait but I can see where a ton of people would be having an issue over this. (Protip: Leave the instance and you can still hit need out of the alert and the item will go to you and show up in your bag.)

You Sound Mad, Bro! Do You Like Anything About This Game?

Yes, I like this game and unlike many people I have faith in SOE. I know EQ2 was a pile of garbage but they really turned that game around. If it released maybe 2-3 years ago instead of 6 it could have been a contender, it could have been a somebody! They dish out content in that game constantly and it’s great to see a company throwing resources into a dying game like that (though they probably wouldn’t admit EQ2 is suffering.).

Of the MMO’s I’ve played at release, this game is pretty solid and enjoyable. I know they’ll keep pushing out content because they understand how big DC is right now with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, the upcoming Green Lantern,  the role DC heroes play in children’s media, the announcement of the new Superman flick, and the success of Smallville.

The combat system isn’t something you find in any MMORPG to date and it works out for the action packed fluidity of the comic book genre. I never thought the class system in this game would work because class systems tend to fail in most Super Hero MMO attempts but I think this is probably one of the best implementations out there and I have no issues with the balance of paper, rock, scissors. I enjoy the three class trinity synergy and the ability for anyone to DPS.

The excitement of being able to fight side by side with notable characters, heroes and villains alike, adds to the feel of the game. The voice work is grand and I hope they can keep it up, unlike in EQ2 where they stopped their voice acting in newer installments of content. With Time Warner having some role over the development of this game, though, and their ability to profit from it as well, I can see the voice acting remaining relevant  if the game remains a standing contender in the current 2011 MMO battle.

So as you can see, I am satisfied with the game. I am still hyped up and enjoying everything I possibly can right now with DCUO. It’s fresh, different, and exciting especially with friends. I would like to keep it that way.

I know that SOE is planning a huge update of content in February but please do try to fix the bugs as well first or simultaneously. Additional content is useless with a dwindling player base.

 

POD: Crystal Defenders

Crystal Defenders Logo
Crystal Defenders Logo

Crystal Defenders is the tower defense game based on the Final Fantasy Tactics series from Square Enix. The game is very fun and easy to learn. In a nutshell, monsters will come in through one area and make their way down a set path. You job is to place characters along the side of the path to kill the monsters before they reach your crystal. You can place characters that do damage or slow the monsters among other things and you can pause the game in order to plan your defense.

The game itself has been on mobile phones for a few years now and was ported over to the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now the game is available for Android users. CRYSTAL DEFENDERS for Android will have two versions: W1, an introduction of the game, and W2, in which players can utilize the Power Crystal feature to play more strategically.

The cost of the game will be between seven and ten dollars. The pictures below are from the Ps3.

SNK Launches 8 new classic NEOGEO titles for the PSP on PSN

NeoGeo Station logo
NeoGeo Station logo

Today via the Playstation Network, you will be able to download eight new classic games for your Playstation Portable. Here is the list of released games.

ALPHA MISSION II
A classic shooter from the early days of the NEOGEO, blasts off once again from NEOGEO Station! Equip up to three pieces of armor, which also serve as weapons, for a variety of attacks such as the laser and flamethrower. Use them to defeat the evil “Fulvar” and save mankind!

ART OF FIGHTING
The fighting game that redefined the genre, also the first 100 Mega Shock title, is back on NEOGEO Station! Its innovative spirit gauge and super attack moves, combined with exhilarating effects and dramatic event scenes, make it a must-play for all fighting fans.

BASEBALL STARS PROFESSIONAL
A title that launched with the NEOGEO in 1990, suits up for NEOGEO Station! Inspired by big league ball, it features a VS Mode and a Tournament Mode, dynamic animation, voiced commentary, and an array of up-close action shots for the complete baseball experience!

LEAGUE BOWLING
A simple yet exhilarating bowling game, rolls onto NEOGEO Station! Players select their own ball and which arm to use. Then it’s just choosing a direction and how much power to apply! Features three game modes and hilarious, over-the-top animations when you get that strike!

MAGICIAN LORD
A platformer from ADK and a NEOGEO launch title is resurrected on NEOGEO Station!  Set in a mystical realm, players go on a quest to defeat the evil wizard Gal Agiese and his horde of monsters. Use magic attacks and combine elemental orbs to change between six different forms!

SAMURAI SHODOWN
The original weapon-based fighting game, is back for battle on NEOGEO Station! Samurai, ninja, and other exotic fighters star in this classic that focuses on powerful strikes. Features a rage gauge that turns incurred damage into attack power, and intense, button-mashing weapon clashes!

SUPER SIDEKICKS
SNK’s first soccer game, takes to the field on NEOGEO Station! Dribble, pass, and shoot your way to victory as you go head to head with powerhouses from around the world in the SNK Cup. Come out on top and enjoy a toast worthy of a champion!

THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’94
The first game hailed as a dream match of SNK characters, makes its way to the NEOGEO Station! Still beloved by countless fans, its revolutionary three-on-three team battle system sets it apart from all other fighting games.

The titles are available for $6.99 each.

Angry Birds and Tetris to the PS3 and PSP

Playstation Network
Playstation Network

As a follow-up to our review on Angry Birds the game is set to fly onto the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable Console this week.  The only question that remains is will the addictive puzzle game be a winner on a major console system.

In other news one of the most famous puzzle games out there, Tetris will be making its debut on the Playstation Network this week.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday

Parasite Eve The Third Birthday
Parasite Eve The Third Birthday

Oh look, another game from a series we love on a game system we don’t. While it was true many fans of the Parasite Eve series did not think part two was a proper follow-up they were still chomping at the bit for another installment. Unfortunately, the next PE is only going to be available on the PlayStation Portable and to add to that the game is going through some… changes.

The story this time starts with an assault on Manhattan by creatures the police call the Twisted. Within a year a task force called CTI or Counter Twister Investigation is formed and our favorite supernatural superpower heroine is part of that squad.

The gameplay will have a bit more third person shooting elements, but will still have a little survive horror and RPG aspects to it. You will have a number of new abilities including one called Overdrive which allows you to not only control team members, but jump into the minds of the Twisted to do some major damage.

As you can see in the video most of the gameplay is from a behind the back or over the shoulder view and you spend most of your time running and gunning which could turn off fans of the slower but more interesting RPG and puzzle style. Most of Aye’s power-ups will be there including liberation which gives her a burst of super energy to mow down her enemies.

Personally, I am torn because while a run and gun game can be fun it is not Parasite Eve. Yes, there was a lot of action and shooting in PE, but the RPG aspect of the game really made it worth a purchase for me. In addition, being forced to buy a PSP just leaves a sour taste in my mouth and it is the reason I did not buy the latest Final Fantasy 7 game.

Sony needs to wake up and realize that while the PSP is not a bad system it is not a winning system and they should spend their time focusing on the PS3. If you want to go the Nintendo route and release new versions of fan favorites fine, but do so for your main console and stop trying to ram this system down our throats.

The Third Birthday is set to release today in Japan and Q1 in the US and EU.

Games to Buy: Console Edition: Nov 21 2010

video games store
video games store

A new name and a new way of doing our weekly report on games coming out the following week. With so many games out there the fact is some will be worth the cash and some will not be. Beyond that some games may be worth picking over the others and so we have come up with a dollar sign rating system. One $ means it can wait until it’s in the bargain bin and five $’s means you should be waiting in line to purchase it.

This week we have a good mix of new games and classic games being released, in fact pretty much every game is either a follow up of the old or a remake of an old game. This is just more proof of how important classic games are. So sit back enjoy the trailers and commentary and get your wallet warmed up.

Gran Turismo 5

With over 1000 cars and 71 courses to choose from Gran Turismo 5 is a racers wet dream. Sure, there has been a ton of delays for this game but with the way it looks now it seems to be worth the wait. Of course you will be able to race basic cars from Honda and Ford, but you will also be able to get behind the big boys like the Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren F1. A ton of brand new tracks have been added including the Top Gear test track and many more tracks offering night driving and the new dynamic weather system. All in all if you are a racing fan or just a car aficionado and have a PS3 then you have to pick up this game.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I have to bow to the Wii on this one because I loved the original DKC and this version looks incredible. Donkey and Diddy are back and you have never seen two apes go through so much for some bananas. The game is as massive as it is beautiful offering various lands including a jungle, beach, ruins, caves and a forest. As with the classic Donkey Kong Country the environment matters from knowing where and when to jump to the assortment of enemies on the screen and in the background.

This game brings back all the love and frustration of the original. Honestly, if you are not a pro platformer or haven’t played DKC before you might have a hard time because this game is tough. The mine cart level alone can drive you as crazy as Ninja Gaiden did me. In addition, even the boss fights will not be simple and it takes timing and recognizing the right pattern to win. However, it is totally worth it and with the visuals, the music and the awesome controls Donkey Kong Country is a must have for fans of the series and platform game lovers.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Splatterhouse

If you love beating the holy hell out of demons and monsters then this game is for you. The folks over at Namco Bandai have taken a bit longer than expected to release this game and they have gone through some troubles, but all in all the new Splatter house looks to be a fun game.

The game pretty much is a reboot and you play as Rick who was murdered when his girlfriend Jennifer was kidnapped by the evil Dr. West. As you lay dying a demon mask bonded with your body brining you back and now the two of you need each other. Rick needs the masks power to make his way through the horde to his girl and the mask needs rick to feed it the blood of pretty much anything.

The visuals look really good and the game is more than just blood and guts, though that is most of what it is. There is also a puzzle component to the game and you have to take time moving through some levels. However, what makes the game is the gore and you can pull of spectacular murder moves on your enemies and use the environment to take them out as well.

All in all if you liked the original and have a flair for eviscerating people then this game is worth a pick-up.

Buy Worthiness: $$

Honorable mentions

We have a bonus this week, two classic games that are sure to give you some enjoyment.

Crazy Taxi

The incredibly fun taxi driving game from the Dreamcast is back. Choose your driver and transport your passenger across town in the craziest manner possible. This game is loads of fun and it’s good to see this Dreamcast game coming to the 360.

Worms: Battle Islands

War on an epicly small scale, take control of your worms and battle against your friends using tons of different warfare tactics. Believe me, don’t let the cute voices and visuals fool you. In Worms you have to have some strategy or you will be…err worm food.

Low Balance

So that’s this week’s top buys. We will be back next Tuesday with another rundown on what games to buy.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 16TH 2010

EbGames rack
EbGames rack

Ah, turkey time is almost upon us and though we are still playing our way through Black Ops there are a few good games being released next week that are ready to suck the cash right from us. This week we are looking at three games that are worthy of a purchase, but let’s take a look at them first and then decide.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – PS3

What is better than an assassin, a team of assassin’s.  In Brotherhood we continue where ACII left off with Ezio Auditore da Firenze and a new villain who is the son of the villain from part 2. There have been a number of changes to combat and added horse-riding moves and abilities. In addition the Desmond storyline continues with promises of real answers and some conclusions being given. The graphics look even better this time around and the city is like three times as large. If you liked any of the other Assassin’s Creed’s you should definitely pick this one up.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

EA and the development team wanted to bring the NFS franchise back from the dead. They admitted that the last game was just not what it should be and blamed it on a number of things including how long they were allowed to work on it. Now with more time the team has put together a game they hope will restore NFS to its former glory.

First off, they didn’t go the open world route which so many racing games are doing these days. Instead the team focused on making sure the tracks were designed to the max from the ground up to look stunning and have the fun factor that racers want.  The game is about chases and it goes both ways. Play as the cops and the racers and level up on both ends in single player and pick your side in multiplayer. With a ton of awesome cars and incredible locations to race em this game might just put Need for Speed back on top.

NBA Jam

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing and that is the motto used in creating this new NBA jam. If you played the old arcade versions the only differences you will notice is new NBA players and updates to the visuals. The thing is that is a good thing. NBA Jam was fine the way it was and now you can continue the legacy of over the top dunks and full court jump shots. Put together your perfect duo by choosing from 30 NBA teams all licensed and trademarked. Sure, it is not 2K11, but it isn’t supposed to be. This is NBA Jam, home of the BOOM SHAKA LAKA.

Insufficient funds

Those are the top picks this week and we are sorry you will yet again be inviting your girlfriend over for chicken hotdogs and a bittorrent movie. However, with all these great games who needs a girlfriend, that’s why they invented X-Tube.

Martyn Brown: Team 17 Software

Team 17 logo
Team 17 logo

Name: Martyn Brown

Company: Team17 Software Ltd.

Profession: Everything over the years, currently heading up business development at Team17.

Favorite Classic Game: Football Manager (ZX Spectrum, circa 1983)

Quote: “I openly admit hiding behind the sofa, not able to look, when I guided the mighty Lincoln City to Wembley.”

Bio: I co-founded Team17 in 1990 and have been here for 20yrs. Recent releases in 2010 for Team17 have been Worms Reloaded on Steam for PC,  Alien Breed: Impact on Steam and PlayStation Network for PS3, Alien Breed 2: Assault on XBLA and Steam, Worms 2: Armageddon on PlayStation Network for PS3 and also on iPhone and iPad. Forthcoming releases include Alien Breed 2: Assault on PSN, Alien Breed 3: Descent for XBLA, Steam and PSN and also Worms: Battle Islands for PSP from PlayStation Network as well.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 9TH 2010

Call of duty Black Ops release date
Call of duty Black Ops release date

You’re finally coming down from the sugar high ready to get back to gaming, so, let’s get to it. We are in a lull period between holidays and it seems with the election the push of top games have been lessened. This week will be the shortest console preview in Obsolete Gamers short history as only one game gets the nod for purchase.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

First let me start by saying that I was not happy with many of Activision’s decisions involving the COD franchise, especially when it game to network and multiplayer support. In addition I was not pleased that the common wisdom of pushing out a Call of Duty game in one form or another every year was now a company requirement. There have been debates across the internet questioning if Call of Duty is the best modern warfare game out there with games like Medal of Honor stepping it up. However, if there is one thing that’s for certain it’s that they know how to get you hype for a game from its trailers to the information I have read on the game.

Call of Duty Black Ops adds a little something new with the good parts of something old. The over the top firefights are still there (for better or worse) and you have new features such as varied weapon modes. Anyone who knows the term Black Ops knows it means covert top secret missions, normally where if you are caught you are out of luck. In this installment the game takes place in various time periods and locations from Russia to Vietnam and more.

The single player mode has been enhanced with small things done within missions like controlling troop movements from a plane high above the earth and it really matters where you send them. Also little things like the banter between the NPC’s and your player who actually have a voice and opinions and uses them.

Variety is the spice of life and what has made Call of Duty so much fun for me was the various ways you completed your mission and Black Ops continues giving you more, even more than Modern Warfare 2. In the single player you will find a mixture of stealth using the element of surprise to make your way through the enemy’s base. You can snipe your enemy from far away or move in for the silent kill using your knife or the crossbow.

On other missions you have the run and gun that Call of Duty is known for, repelling from Helicopters in a hot zone and calling in airstrikes on buildings just across from your position is a staple. Sure, the fighting might not be realistic, but when you breach a building and see the slow motion camera kick in before firing an explosive arrow into the gut of the bad guys you we be glad realism was checked at the door.

Single player is great and all but it is multiplayer that can determine whether a game will be a hit or a quick rent and beat. Treyarch has kept many of the multiplayer aspects from Call of Duty that we like and add in a few new things and one of the coolest ones is the wager match.

Anyone who has played the newer Call of Duty games knows you level up using experience points and there are tree’s you use to unlock new weapons and accessories. While the EXP leveling system is still there you also earn CP which is the equivalent to cash. In some matches you earn CP and XP and in others you earn only one or the other. So let’s say you have a lot of CP but not enough XP to buy that new gun, well now you can purchase it using CP. Now you might ask, how do you end up with way more CP than XP? Well, one way is the wager matches.

In wager matches you can enter into specific maps where you bet your CP points on who will be the winner. The winners are the top three people in the game but everyone has to bet. One can either quickly win or lose CP but at least you can’t lose XP. The match types for wager matches are pretty cool to including a game called One in the Chamber, where you only have three lives and one bullet. You have to kill someone to get their gun and hope he didn’t waste his ammo. In another match you start with a handgun but as you kill someone with it you get another gun. There are 20 total guns and you have to kill your opponent with each to progress, but here’s the kicker. If you are knifed you lose a level and the gun that goes with it which will make for some interesting online games I can imagine.

Now for you newbies to Call of Duty this might seem overwhelming but fear not because in Black Ops you can train against the AI in multiplayer tactics to learn how not to get owned. You can go up against the computer in various scenarios to give you a feeling for the game. Now of course there is no substitute for a human player but at least this lets you get your feet wet before your head does.

Once you are out in the field you can view how you did in the theater. For Halo fans you will be used to this section. The game automatically records your game and you can decide to keep it to see how you did and what you did wrong as well us upload and share footage with your friends and enemies alike.

Speaking of enemies, you can make custom emblems and logos within Black Ops and place them on your gun for the world to see. It’s a pretty good customizer too so you can make clan symbols or just something to make you stand out in a crowd of bodies. Also, you can even customize your reticle so when you kill someone and they view your screen they can remember it’s you and maybe get some revenge.

Of course there will be a ton of new multiplayer maps from various missions you’ve played as well as multiplayer only maps. You will also get a number of new weapons to use including shotguns, crossbows and even a user guided missile.

Overall from what I have heard, read and watched it looks as if Call of Duty Black Ops will be a pretty good game. Honestly if you are a fan of the franchise it is a must have and the additions to multiplayer will give it a longevity that is important to many gamers in hard economic times. If you need a break from Halo but want that same high paced action on planet earth then COD is your game. You can pick up Call of Duty Black Ops pretty much everywhere on November 9th.

See you next week!

Demon’s Souls

Demon’s Soul box
Demon’s Soul box

Demon’s Souls

If the hype surrounding the PS3 exclusive Demon’s Souls was to be believed, I was looking forward to a game with a brutal difficulty not seen since the heyday of Rygar and Battletoads; one that had a more terrifying atmosphere than Silent Hill; and with more varied and gruesome ways to die than Dragon’s Lair combined with Space Quest. In short, the ultimate challenge for the hard-core. With the bar set so high, it seemed likely to disappoint in at least some respects. What I found was a flawed but thoroughly enjoyable third person hack and slash/dungeon crawler that threatened to send me to a video game addiction clinic before I finally managed to best it.

The basic mechanics of the game can be summed up as follows: “Kill Demons, Get Souls”. Souls are released by killing enemies and they can also be found on the corpses of deceased adventurers. Souls are effectively the unit of currency in this game and can be used to buy items, repair or upgrade equipment, learn miracles and magic, and even upgrade your character’s stats. If you die, you start back at the beginning of the level as a spirit and with all of your souls gone. There will be blue-glowing bloodstain at approximately where the game determined you messed up (if you fell down a well, for instance, it will be just before you left the ground), and if you can reach it before dying again, you can get your souls back.

Demon's Soul character
Demon’s Soul character

Combat is action-packed and extremely unforgiving. Button mashers won’t make it very far, as many of the enemies have good shields and are only vulnerable after they attack. Defensive players can turn a fight their way with a perfectly timed parry/riposte combo or open themselves up for a flurry of blows. Almost anything can kill you, so situational awareness is a must-have to survive. The game’s wide variety of weaponry and shields can be equipped in either hand and there are spells and items that can be used to enchant them. Demon’s Souls has an item upgrade system where blacksmiths can fortify your equipment in exchange for various types of ore. Some of the benefits include adding poison, bleeding, or fire damage; health or mana regeneration; and bonuses to critical hits, to name a few.

Demon's Soul
Demon’s Soul

Player characters are customizable down to the bone structure of the face and there are several “classes” to choose from that ultimately only effect your initial equipment and stats. One is free to upgrade their combat skills as they see fit and pursue different avenues of magic or types of weaponry. It may take a considerable amount of stat upgrading to do so, but it is very possible to turn a robe-clad magician into a full-plate wearing berserker with a sword nearly twice his size.

The game consists of a central hub called the Nexus that serves as your home base and has passageways to the five worlds. Each has its own distinctive art style and feel including a European castle with all the requisite archers, pikemen, and a couple of fire-breathing dragons; a shantytown filled with plague-rats, mosquitoes, and leeches, all surrounded by some of the most disgusting swampland imaginable; a temple full of samurai skeletons and flying manta-rays; and a mine that seems to go the depths of capital H hell. Each world has three or four stages each with a boss Demon that must be defeated. The souls of the boss Demons can be traded to different NPCs in exchange for spells and miracles, and in some cases, can be used to create powerful weapons.

Demon's Soul nexus
Demon’s Soul nexus

One of the innovative features in Demon’s Souls is the world tendency system. Tendency ranges in a continuum from pure white to pure black and can affect many aspects of the game. The player’s health in soul form is higher in a white world tendency and lower in the black. The amount and difficulty of enemies ramps up the blacker you get, and the type of loot dropped is also a factor. Some NPCs will only appear in pure tendencies, and there are even portions of the levels that are otherwise inaccessible until a certain world tendency has been reached. There is a system in place for keeping track of character tendency as well but it has a less dramatic effect on the game except in a few select situations.

Demon's Soul nexus
Demon’s Soul nexus

Players navigate through the game’s areas while either alive or dead. In corporeal form, the player has more health and the ability to summon up to two Blue Phantoms (spirit form players) to help him defeat the stage’s Boss Demon. Being alive has its drawbacks: dying in a level will shift the game’s world tendency towards black. There also exists the threat of being invaded and killed by a soul-hungry Black Phantom player. Spirits gain bodily form by defeating a boss Demon or assisting a player as a Blue Phantom (both of which will shift world  tendency), successfully invading and killing a host player as a Black Phantom (world and character shifted to black), or by using a magical item.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

In addition to the relatively seamless co-op and PVP experience, players are able to see ghostly images of other adventurers in the same areas, as well as the ability to give them hints or lure them to their doom. One of the first things you’ll notice while playing online are pools of blood scattered around. These are grisly remainders of other players that have died. By touching a bloodstains, you are able to see the last four or five seconds leading up to that player’s demise. This can be a great way to spot traps and ambushes that would otherwise give little to no warning. Another way that players can interact is by leaving messages, which can be entered through a Madlibs-style system using a library of the game’s terminology. Players can vote up useful messages and this will reward their creators with health. There is no way to down-vote messages that are misleading, false, or simply situated in places that will kill you if you try to read them, unfortunately, but there are a couple of messages (“beware false messages”, “liar!”, etc.) that can be left as tip-offs.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

For players that manage to finish the game’s main quest, a NG+ is available to start at the beginning with a character’s weaponry and stats intact to fight through an even more sadistic challenge. The game’s difficulty increases the more times you beat it (up to NG+8, at least!).  There is an in-game hall of fame called the Pantheon to show off the players that have the highest number of souls, most trophies achieved, etc. and this can be helpful to see what sort of equipment is favored by the best.

I had been following this game for a while, back before it was announced that there was even going to be a North American version and many people were importing Demon’s Souls from Japan. Gaming forums were full of people trading war stories about how many different ways they died before beating the first level, and I think the average was about twenty. Import sales continued to rise to the point where Demon’s Souls was released stateside. I snagged a copy from Amazon but it languished on my shelf for a couple of months before I decided to break the plastic and possibly my spirit by playing it for myself.

Demon's Soul shrine
Demon’s Soul shrine

When I finally worked up the courage to pop this game into my PS3, I was immediately grabbed by its atmospheric soundtrack and the bleakness of the art direction. The tutorial level showed me the basics of the game mechanics and drove home the message that a scrawny demon with a broken sword and no shield could easily take me down if I didn’t watch myself in combat. More and stronger baddies are introduced including the dreaded blue-eye knights with the ability to bash your shield out of your hands, chain three or four attacks together, and heal themselves if somebody did manage to wound them. More advanced combat tactics were required, such as the parry/riposte combo. I eventually found out that if I could get behind an enemy, there is a brutal backstab attack that would make the TF2 spy blush. Past the knight was an even bigger foe: the morbidly obese Vanguard demon that swings a battle axe twice the size of your character. I was under the impression that this was an unwinnable fight to utterly demoralize new players since the tutorial level invariably ends with your death, but I’ve read that it is possible to beat Vanguard here, even with the newbie equipment.

Demon's Soul valley
Demon’s Soul valley

The next couple of hours were a blur of gristly deaths. I would get past one obstacle and find myself stabbed, ambushed, crushed by a trap, toasted by a dragon, stabbed again, filled with crossbow bolts, and impaled by the blue-eye’s tougher counterpart: the red-eye knight. I was nearly at the home stretch but missed a step going down a spiral staircase and found myself plummeting to my doom, landing right on the switch that opened the gate to the end-boss. Obsolete Gamer cohort Stirge dubbed this game “You Can’t Win” around this point, which I think has a nicer ring than my nickname: “Kill Yourself Dungeon 3000”.

Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

There are few things that I didn’t like about this game and I don’t want them drowned out in a flood of praise for the stuff that was done right.

  • The targeting system stinks; when locked on to an enemy, it changes the controls so that moving side to side will strafe around a target rather than turn. This is usually a good thing when fighting one-on-one, but throw two or three extra combatants into the mix, and I’ll find myself dodging right into someone else’s attack or even off of a cliff. Also, if an enemy is out of range to be targeted, it will reset the camera, usually to face the wrong direction.
  • The camera is your biggest enemy. Demon’s Souls has a pretty good third-person camera system assuming you’re in an open area without a lot of debris. The camera fails miserably when in underground catacombs, some of which can be quite twisty and hard to maneuver even when you can see where you’re going.
  • When logging into the server, the world tendency will be reset to the average of all players, which can make it very hard to get to pure black or pure white. There are some occasions where the tendency will be set to pure white or pure black, such as holidays or announcements from the developers, but aside from special server events, logging in shouldn’t affect anything.
  • You can get booted back to the main menu if your internet connection becomes broken while playing online. I’ve found it better to play offline than have to gamble with the PS Network logging me out.
  • Contra-lag. The game can slow down if there’s too much stuff on the screen, like in the old-school space shooters. In some games, this bug ends up like a feature; a free bullet-time mode when things got hectic. This is unacceptable in a next-gen title.
  • This one is a minor gripe, but there is no way to sell items to merchants, so the only way to get any currency is by slaying demons or eating soul items.
Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

Every time you die, you start back at the beginning of the level, where you will have to fight past the legions of demonic assholes that you barely survived fighting in the first place, just to get back to your bloodstain. Many times, I’d find myself trying to rush through the beginning wave of enemies only to find myself mercilessly swordraped by some of the weakest dudes in the game.

There is a good variety to the Boss Demons. Some are relatively human-sized, others stand two-stories tall; most can kill you with a single attack, even if blocked with a good shield. The Dragon God from World 2 (Stonefang Mine) almost seems to have been borrowed from the Scarecrow sequences in Batman: Arhkam Asylum, as keeping out of the Dragon’s line of sight is the only way to survive.

Demon's Soul tunnel
Demon’s Soul tunnel

The Tower of Latria wins my award as having some of the game’s most freaky moments. You start near the top floor of a prison in a medieval castle and have to go through all five stories of it to find the keys that will let you out. There are narrow walkways and breaks in the floor that can drop you to your death if you’re not paying attention. Through the bars of the cells, you can see the emaciated forms of the prisoners, some of which will drop to their knees when you go by, as if they’re begging to be put out of their misery, others will hide in the shadows and try and shank you to death. Several lantern-carrying guards walk slowly up and down the corridors, and the only sound aside from the gibbering and shrieking of the prisoners is the eerie tolling of a bell that gets louder as the guards get closer. It somehow manages to get more disturbing once you get out of the prison and into the cathedral but I won’t spoil all the surprises. I also wouldn’t recommend playing this part right before bedtime.

Demon's Soul valley
Demon’s Soul valley

I would have to give high marks for nearly every aspect of the game’s presentation. The quality of the in-game graphics are pretty good, but perhaps a bit lacking when compared to some of the cinematic cut-scenes that introduce some of the bosses and locations. The levels are well designed and nuanced for the most part. The sound design pops; there are tons of great weapon clashes, monster growls and squeals, and magic effects. There isn’t a whole lot of voice acting in this game, but what little there is benefits from a diverse cast of expressive voices. The music ranges from epic symphonic scores to stuff that would fit right in to a 1970’s horror movie, but what I found interesting was the way that music cues are held back for boss fights or other major plot developments; for most of your time exploring the five worlds, you will be enveloped in ambient sound. This, along with the ghostly images of other players’ phantoms, helps heighten feelings of isolation and strangeness unique to Demon’s Souls.

Demon's Soul warning
Demon’s Soul warning

Playing online can be a blast if you don’t mind the occasional PVP encounter, as Black Phantom players can and will jump in on your game if you’re in body form and attempt to murder you at the most inopportune times. I’ve been able to recruit a couple of Blue Phantom players the last time that happened, and it ended up turning into a huge brawl. Summoning Blue Phantoms can be a double-edged sword, as the bosses get much harder the more players there are.

I think it was on the second or third night of my Demon’s Souls addiction, after a three hour soul-farming bender, that I left a cautionary sticky-note on the inside of the game’s case; a warning to future-me to think about what I was getting into. Of course, I didn’t pay it any heed; this game is too challenging and deep to blow off just because it’s aggravatingly hard. Also, this is one of the only games in recent memory to give me adrenaline rushes when the action gets furious. In closing, Demon’s Souls is a cruel mistress and if you like to wear nipple clamps or enjoy a good flogging, this one is for you. I’d like to leave you with some survival strategies I’ve picked up from my time with the game.

  • Watch your equipment encumbrance weight. You can load up to your maximum with a suit of plate armor and a comically large battle-axe, but this comes at the price of maneuverability. One the things that will save your skin is the rolling dodge, and if your endurance is too low for that amount of gear, you will end up on the ground for a few seconds in a very vulnerable way. The magic number to stay under is half of your maximum equipment weight.
  • Weapon upgrades. There are a limited number of Crystal Lizards that will spawn in each world, some of which are the only source for the various rare ores needed to upgrade your weapons. If you’re trying to trophy-whore this game, I recommend looking up a guide to finding out where the spawns are in advance.
  • On Royalty and magic. When I found out that the Royal class started out with a magic ring that can regenerate MP, I dumped my Temple Knight build and started the game anew. Talk about easy mode! Royals have practically no starting armor or weaponry to write home about, but the Fragrant ring is a great item for a caster, not to mention the fact that they also come equipped with Soul Arrow, the magic missile equivalent in Demon’s Souls. Having a pure caster almost breaks the game, however, as I was able to storm through most of the worlds blasting everything that moved with my pea shooter spell and effectively unlimited ammo, given a book or a magazine to read while it replenishes. I cheesed out some of the major bosses by nuking them from a distance or even by casting poison and running away. I beat the game but I feel like I’ve cheated myself in the process. Now I’m in the process of playing through as a fighter and the game is so much more challenging.
  • Common sense. A lot of this game seems like trial and error, but your biggest defense is not being dumb: keep your shield ready, peek around corners, listen for footsteps, etc. If you see a pile of freshly incinerated corpses, keep it in the back of your mind that whatever caused that will probably like to do the same thing to you.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Fantasy I Want No Part Of

FFXIV online logo
FFXIV online logo

E3 2009 took us by surprise when Square-Enix opened up with the trailer for Final Fantasy XIV. It wasn’t expected to be announced and was rather hush-hush until the presentation. What really blew people away, in my opinion, was its suggested release date. When an MMO is normally announced to be in production you expect 2-3 years from that date or more for the game to be complete and released. Releasing such a big brand name in such a short time made me insinuate that this project must have been in works for quite some time in silence. As with most utterings of a Final Fantasy game being released, high expectations are hoped to be met by their fan base. Can Square-Enix bring out a AAA title in such a short time frame? The company certainly has not released anything close to AAA quality in quite some time and this MMORPG must have occupied many of the company’s resources for its production.

Final Fantasy XI was a highly acclaimed MMORPG in Japan and did moderately successful worldwide. With the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft, a company like Square-Enix seemed like the most powerful competitor to steal some WoW’s players. The time to capitalize on the market of people waiting for the next big MMO was netted in by this announcement. With Star Wars: The Old Republic not ready to debut until Spring 2011, Final Fantasy XIV had a chance to pull in a strong player base of MMO nomads.

As the release date began to draw near, open beta was announced and it was time to check out what Square-Enix was hiding behind the curtain. After getting my beta invite email I decided to follow the instructions. I was taken to a link that I had assumed would have a registration key and login section to get this fixation underway. Instead, the link took me to a portal with the “requirements” to play the beta. There were no links to sign into my Square-Enix account and the page was outright inadequate. Their “System Requirements” section on the page just directs you to another page with the information on the minimum system requirements. This portal page was completely and utterly useless and vague at best.

I finally decided to just go to the Final Fantasy XIV official page to login and see if I can find a registration code. Finding any reference to this code in my account page was impossible and adding Final Fantasy XIV to my service only asked me for a code anyway. When I finally did find the code page, they had closed registration codes for the time being and will release more at a later date. After spamming the refresh button a million times I eventually did get this code for my wife and myself to play.

Finding the download section for the game was another hassle as it wouldn’t open up the torrent file at all. I eventually had to find it off another site to begin the patch. My download time for this nearly 8GB file was 5 weeks. My wife’s download time was an hour and thirty minutes. After some surfing on the internet I saw a ton of people were having a problem with the game patching in a reasonable time frame. I guess we got lucky my wife’s download was speedy. When her download finished I just transferred a copy of the completed files to my computer so we could get started.
Now, onto the meat of this review. The game itself.

Performance: My machine is fairly new so I’m not even going to rate the performance based on that. My wife’s unit is older and has an Intel quad-core clocked at 2.40GHZ, 4GB of DDR2 memory, and an ATI 5870. The game ran beautifully. There was little to no chopping even in the populated cities with the settings set to max. Particle effects offered zero lag and the game probably ran the smoothest out of any next-gen MMORPG we’ve played in the past 3 years. For an open beta, this was highly impressive. Any midrange computer can handle this game at full settings with just a bit of tweaking if a hitch ever came up.

Controls: Developers of this game came out straight and said this game was designed to have the UI revolve around the use of a controller. Just like in Final Fantasy XI, this unrelated sequel of sorts incorporates the use of a controller even for the PC. It is not keyboard and mouse friendly at all. For God’s sake, you can’t even hotkey anything. For some of the most simple tasks you have to take a journey through a plethora of menus for miniscule options. It is ridiculous, cumbersome, and ill planned. Yes, the game is releasing for the PS3 and these controls must be comfortable for them but guess what? They aren’t releasing the PS3 version until sometime next year. What is the purpose of releasing the PC version with this horrid UI and control scheme if the focus of its movement isn’t even releasing until the following year? It makes little to no sense. It seems to me they are releasing this version of the game just to make the deadline “promise” they made at E3 2009.

LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV
LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV

Sound: Classic Final Fantasy sounds make their appearance in this game. It is clear and sounds great. The music really puts you in that role-playing mood if you’re into that sort of thing. It shoves you into this world and makes it come to life. As always, Nobuo Uematsu knows how to compose some grand and fantastical musical choices. Unfortunately, all this goes to hell the moment the voice-overs pop in. The studio that handled the voice acting must have hired the student’s from Ms.Spifz’s High School English Class. The actors sounded as though they were involuntarily picked to read aloud to the class the next section of The Great Gatsby. The voices are uninspired, bland, and lacking any emotion. The music sets you up for this grand adventure and then the actors from Twilight decide to make an appearance as voice actors and ruin the entire mood. I felt blue balled.

Gameplay: I know this is what you all have been waiting to hear, so here it is. The game immediately tosses you into this adventure to go kill whatever furry monstrosity is waiting for you in the newbie area, the inauguration for every great RPG adventure. If it isn’t stomping on giant rats, its killing boars or bunnies. After going through a thousand clicks to accept the quest, I opened my map to see where I should begin my journey. The newbie zone was right on the edge of town. Guess where they started me? At the OTHER side of this 5 mile city! Not only was it difficult to find my way around but I couldn’t leap down staircases to make shortcuts. And with that we bring up my biggest peeve in anything ever!
I hate games that don’t let me jump.

I don’t care how good it is.

I hate not jumping.

Walls that were two feet high were preventing me from crossing the fastest way possible. I had to trek all the way across the wall just to get around. I can shoot fireballs from my hands and cleave through the sturdy flesh of an Orc but I can’t hop over a small bump in the ground. I hate being bored in groups and not being able to prance around the dungeon as we continue onward. I hate not being able to cancel my spells with a small little hop. The lack of a jumping feature takes away from the gaming experience for me. I can’t even vault over the damn thing like in Gears of War.

Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV
Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV

Finally reaching the newbie area was probably the most frustrating part of the game. The mob I needed to kill sparsely speckled the newbie zone and the amount of new players looking to kill this mob were outnumbering its spawn rate. The hotbar techniques only correspond to the number on your NUMPAD. I couldn’t find any other way to map it elsewhere for more convenience. After spending maybe an hour searching for three of these mobs without any luck I decided to uppercut a Dodo bird which kept running by me constantly. Instead of considering its level, I shoved my lancer’s spear into his face and I was quickly dismembered in only a few seconds. As I laid dead on the ground I began to wonder when my release timer would come up so I could respawn. After a minute of waiting I began to realize why I saw so many dead players that hadn’t released their corpse earlier in my adventure. There is no release button. You have to excavate through your menu and find a “Return” button to get released to a spawn point. Nicely done, Square-Enix. Your vague manner really helped me there.

After calming down and letting my heart rate return to a safe set of beating, I decided to return to town and try out the crafting professions. I always liked fishing in an MMO so I decided to take up Fishing as my career choice. I needed some money to buy some of the equipment needed to pursue my profession so I sold some vendor trash and went ahead on my new path. After equipping my pole and bait I went ahead to begin the process of being a bad ass fisherman. After spending 4 minutes wondering how to even begin fishing since the keyboard controls were complete garbage, I got on my way. The whole fishing endeavor was much more complicated than I thought. I had to choose my depth, the quality of the water I was fishing from, and the casting point. When the message that something had bit my line appeared, I had to begin a struggle with the fish to drag it out of the water. You have to constantly “Jig” with the fish back and worth as it tries to take the line till the fish is too tired to struggle and you capture him. It’s basically the combat mechanics of a Pokemon battle. I found fishing way more enjoyable than the actual game’s combat since I spent most of the time running around with my spear trying to find rats to poke. I could easily see someone making their crafting profession their main source of entertainment in the game as it is rather enthralling.

The fatigue system was something I didn’t really experience as I gave up just way too soon on this game from sheer lack of enjoyment. From what I’ve been told by friends and from other sources, you can’t barrel through the game. Powergamers will not find any euphoria in this game as the fatigue system penalizes you for using one class for too long. After 8 hours of gameplay, your character will hit a block in progression that will offer them no experience points. They will have to change classes and try something else for another eight hours. Each week the debuff is cleansed and you are allowed to continue on with the class that was previously penalized. What does this sound like to me? It sounds like this game is probably two-thirds complete and they are putting roadblocks so they can successfully complete their endgame. By the time the PS3 version of the game releases, I prophesize that this system will be scrapped since the game will be officially completed.

Final Verdict: This game falls short in so many places. It is beautiful and quite breathtaking. It isn’t as user friendly as one would hope. Newer gamers to the Final Fantasy Online universe can easily get lost in the complexity of its interface and mechanics. It does require a bit more patience than most MMOs and getting the hang of it right out of the box isn’t something that will come easily. A small fraction of brain power is needed to solve the puzzles of the menu and to get used to some of the mechanics for the crafting professions. If you’re looking for something to dive into right away, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for a powergaming experience, this game isn’t for you. If you enjoy excelling in one area, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for beautiful graphics and dream inspired settings with an enjoyable RPG experience filled with the wonder and adventure of killing large rats and Dodo birds, this is the game you’re looking for! Overall, the game failed to grasp my attention for longer than five hours.

For something that was expected to take the MMORPG genre a step forward, this title took two steps backs and one step forward. What was expected to be a monsoon of intrigue and JRPG adventure ended up becoming nothing more than a minor swell lost in a sea of upcoming MMOs.

Why am I still paying for Xbox Live?

Pool Balls XBL – PSN
Pool Balls XBL – PSN

So, as everyone knows by now, Xbox Live got that wonderful price hike of $10. It’s not too big of a deal I guess, although nobody likes a price hike. It is just $10, but it’s brought up two interesting points for me. People keep saying that Playstation Plus isn’t worth it, and Xbox Live is. This interests me because I am attracted to things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For this segment, I will refer to the whole of PSN (as opposed to specific PS+ things) and the whole of XBL. Now with that in mind, the two points I have are, essentially, 1) Why do people think Xbox Live is better than PSN? and 2) Why in God’s name am I still paying for Xbox Live?

I’m not saying Xbox Live isn’t bad, it’s great, if you only have an Xbox. If you have both, ultimately it should come down to where your friends are (most of mine are on PSN, just as a disclaimer) but even for the actual services, what you get is mostly different. So lets look at the new breakdown:

Playstation Plus Logo
Okay, I will admit this peggle-looking ad is a bit much…

PSN(+):

  • $50 a Year or $20 for 3 months
  • Timed 60 min game trials, (option to purchase after)
  • Qore
  • Free PS1 games every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Free PS Minis every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Discounts on DLC, Downloadable games, essentially everything but full games
  • Access to Betas that they keep out of the hands of the free customers
  • (Free already) Online multiplayer
  • (Free already) Video Chat

I didn’t make any of that up, it’s everything i’ve gotten so far being a PSN+ member. Maybe because popular opinion is so far in Xbox Live Gold’s direction that they feel that they have to practically spoil PSN+ customers in order to get them to pay (and given the opinion of most so far, it’s probably true) but that is a lot of stuff for $50 a year. With Xbox Live Gold, I get:

Xbox Live
Xbox Live

XBL Gold

  • $60 a year, $10 a month or $25 for 3 months
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Facebook & Twitter
  • Parties/Cross game Chat
  • Last FM
  • ESPN
  • Video Kinect
  • Demos that they keep out of the hands of the free customers

I didn’t bother putting anything about video or Netflix, because they both can do them, and besides anything the Wii can do technologically isn’t up for discussion here. Thats all I can find for both PSN+ and XBL. This list speaks for itself. Essentially it’s more money for less features. If we take the “it’s where my friends are” out of the equation (because it’s circumstantial) the better service is the one with the better features, and honestly, that’s Playstation Plus. There just aren’t many (if there are any at all) discounts of games on XBL, and there’s absolutely nothing free ever unless there’s a large cutoff of Xbox Live, and even then you get a free game like “Diner Dash” that nobody plays anyway.

Be honest, how many times do you use this?

I don’t see this as a rant against XBL so much as I see it a rant against the people who say that Playstation Plus is “not worth it.” Be honest, didn’t you just use Facebook & Twitter that one time just to see if it worked, then never use it again? Of course you did, because you use Facebook and Twitter on your computer and phone, because that’s where it’s easiest to use. And even Facebook on Xbox Live doesn’t work as well as Facebook on PSN. On XBL, you can edit your status and see your friends status updates and all that fun stuff you can already do on your computer, only now with the added frustration of using analog sticks or a keyboard the size of a pack of gum to type it. The Playstation 3 has a web browser if that’s what you’re really into. (Or you could, you know, just use a f**ing computer) So when we see things like the Playstation 3 posting your trophy accomplishments and things you’ve purchased to Facebook in order for your friends to comment on them, that’s what I want to see out Facebook. Give me a reason to use Facebook on my PS3 specifically, not just a game console port of it.

Speaking of that sentiment, there is XBL’s ESPN service, which is exactly what I was just talking about. Now there’s a reason to watch ESPN specifically on your Xbox. Ratings, Video on Demand, all those wonderful things will probably make it a blast to use on XBL, and that’s the point.  It’s better than the service we have now, so it compels users to use the console version rather than the everywhere else on the damn planet version.

Now the last part of this is simple: it’s why I wont be using Xbox Live Gold anymore, because it’s a waste of money for me personally, for several reasons:

First off, my Xbox 360 is not currently connected to the internet. It can be, I just have to run my 100ft ethernet cable from my room all the way to the living room where my computer’s internet connection is, literally on the other side of my house. it barely makes it. Seeing as that’s absolutely ridiculous, I really don’t want to do that every time I turn on my Xbox. It’s obvious that my 20 gig system doesn’t have wifi, otherwise this wouldn’t be a problem. But it is. It’s a huge problem. Honestly, it matters most because I need a bigger hard drive, and since Microsoft only uses proprietary hard drives that are practically Netbook expensive, I figure I might as well combine the two and just get a whole new system. Maybe with that ugly grey controller with the better D-Pad. Another $300 to replace a working system I already have? Sure Microsoft, got that right here for you.

I didn’t want to talk about it in the actual fact based part because it’s so circumstantial, but now that i’m talking about myself I can say I really have no friends on Xbox Live. All but one of my friends are on PSN, and frankly, he’s not worth it. If he was reading this right now, I’d tell him that unless he wants to split the cost of XBL with me, i’m not paying $50 a year to be able to play Modern Warfare 2 with him. Left 4 Dead 2 was the game I played most on online multiplayer, and that came in a whopping 5 times. Why am I still paying for this?

I do of course, buy XBLA-exclusive games, because every so often someone releases a puzzle game that will scare the ever loving hell out of everyone that lives here, and probably some of my neighbors and me in a past life. But I can do that on Silver, which isn’t $60, it’s free. I’ve heard that certain demos or games come out a week later on Silver, but okay I can wait a week for that much money.

Here’s a huge difference. With PSN+, I get a lot of “free” stuff. Yes I know it’s not free, i’m paying $50 a year for it, but as we’ve seen with XBL, they don’t have to give it to me. But they do. And I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Mortal Kombat II was half off, some of the Minis are fantastic (Age of Zombies mostly) and the other discounts make it so that for that $50, I’m getting actual games. It’s allowed me to play things I’d never even consider looking at before, just because my subscription brings them to the forefront.

XBL is $60, and PSN+ is $50. In my opinion, PSN+ does a lot more to warrant my money than XBL does. But tell me, when looking at all the things both services offer, regardless of which console your friends are on, which service would you go for?

POD: Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever hail to the king

This game was the running joke for my friends and I for so long. We called it Duke Nukem for-Never because we thought it would never come out, but it looks as if finally the duke will have his day. 2K and Gearbox announced the long awaited game will be released for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC next year.

“All great things take time… a lot of time,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “After a hiatus from the video game world, Duke Nukem is back and better than ever. The return of the King from the glory days of shooters will satisfy our patient, die-hard fans, as well as a new generation of bubble gum-chewing, flat top and shades-wearing bad-asses. Make no mistake about it – Duke Nukem Forever is a testament to the era of when shooters were bodacious and fun.”

For those of you lucky enough to be at PAX you will get to see the game in action. Now the question is with all the hype and time between its original release and when it finally comes out next year will it still be a hit?

“Hail to the king, baby! It’s unbelievable, it kicks ass and it’s totally going to happen!” said Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software, “Gearbox has enabled die-hard key Duke Nukem franchise builders and skilled veteran game makers to stand together and deliver. All gamers deserve a happy ending and after all of us gamers feeling the full range of emotions about Duke Nukem Forever, I am thrilled to be in a position with the trust, power and means to make it happen. Am I crazy? Balls of steel, baby, balls of steel!”

Well we know they are excited and we will see what the fans that checked out the game at PAX thought. For now here are a few humble screenshots.

More to come.

POD: Homefront

Homefront logo

Today’s Picture of the Day comes from the THQ game Homefront. I first heard about Homefront shortly before I went to E3 and learned more about it once there. I like the story behind the game and it does look like it will be a load of fun.

Here’s the story:

The year is 2027. The world as we know it is unraveling after fifteen years of economic meltdown and widespread global conflict over dwindling natural resources.

A once proud America has fallen, her infrastructure shattered and military in disarray. Crippled by a devastating EMP strike, the USA is powerless to resist the ever expanding occupation of a savage, nuclear armed Greater Korean Republic.

Abandoned by her former allies, the United States is a bleak landscape of walled towns and abandoned suburbs. This is a police state where high school stadiums have become detention centers, and shopping malls shelter armored attack vehicles. A once-free people are now prisoners… or collaborators… or revolutionaries.

Join the Resistance, stand united and fight for freedom against an overwhelming military force in Homefront’s gripping single player campaign penned by John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn). Stand alongside a cast of memorable characters as an emotional plot unfolds in this terrifyingly plausible near-future world. Experience visceral, cinematic first-person shooter action as you fight your way across Occupied USA using guerrilla tactics, and commandeer military vehicles and advanced drone technology to defeat the enemy.

Multiplayer brings epic warfare to the online arena as infantry, tanks, attack helicopters and combat drones battle across huge, open battlefields. A rich feature set offering layers of tactical depth combined with a game-changing innovation in the multiplayer space will set a new benchmark in online warfare.

Check out this trailer about Homefront’s backstory.

Now on to the screenshots.

GAMES COMING OUT SEPTEMBER 2010 FOR CONSOLES

Halo Reach trailer
Halo Reach trailer

Ah September the time when many go back to school and fall is just around the comer. Nah, forget about that, you can’t tell the seasons are changing if you are locked onto your television screen now can you? This month there is actually a good reason to succumb to your gaming addition.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Fans of the Kingdom Hearts saga can rejoice the Square Enix hit is back. Here’s the story: Long before Sora was chosen by his Keyblade, the worlds’ safety lay in the hands of the true Keyblade Masters. Three youths – Terra, Ventus and Aqua – have been training long and hard under Master Eraqus to prove that they, too, exhibit the Mark of Mastery. But they will soon find themselves in the middle of a crisis affecting worlds far beyond their own – just as another Keyblade Master, Xehanort, goes mysteriously missing. Three friends, three destinies. Everything will link back to the beginning. I really was hoping to see some Marvel characters since Disney acquired the studio. Maybe next time.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Quick, what’s better than Spider-man? If you said four Spider-men then you are correct. Activision releases Shattered Dimensions which has Spider-man fighting to reassemble pieces from a shattered tablet and along the way he runs in the different versions of himself. Hey, as long as it’s not as bad as that awful clone saga this one could be interesting.

Halo: Reach

Seriously, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this game? Simply put, if you like any of the Halo’s you are getting this game and if you don’t well I guess this awesome trailer will mean nothing to you.

Dead Rising 2

So there is this gameshow where you battle against a city full of zombies and if that isn’t enough other human players. Dead Rising 2 is a zombie slayers wet dream and with thousands of ways to take out your undead foes it is guaranteed to keep you interested this fall.

Now there are more games being released, but honestly with a line-up like this you are going to be booked this month. Don’t worry though October is looking good to with games like Castlevania: Lord of Shadow so stay tuned.

Mafia 2 Release Party Miami

Mafia 2 Release Party Miami by Honorabili

Our friends Kevin Wasielewski and Hector Penton at OriginPC invited us to come to the club Grand Central Miami to celebrate the release of the Max Payne/GTA/Saints Row clone sequel Mafia 2. Grand Central itself was a nice club. It seems to be a converted train depot.

Here are some pictures of JA Laraque and some hot Mafia 2 models to get your attention. Hey, sex sells!

The event was free and open to the public.

I got a chance to play the Mafia 2 demo on the PCs that were doing the demo of the game by OriginPC. As far as my impression of it goes (just based on the demo and me playing and beating the original Mafia 1), the game seems a lot easier than the first game with your guy regenerating health if he doesn’t get hurt within a certain amount of time, a trend in many recent games. Mafia 1 was really brutal from what I remember in the last time I played it. Mafia 2 itself is nice eye candy and the version of the game I played was using the latest and greatest 3D gaming technology that was supplied by NVIDIA. I spent a good amount of time talking to Andrew Coonrad, the Technical Marketing Analyst from NVIDIA. He informed me (and I agree) that we will see this 3D technology implemented in a lot of future games. I think it works really well with games where stuff is being shot at you like FPS games or stuff like Descent as well as a lot of racing games.

The rest of the time I talked to a lot of local gaming people, drank about 7 cups worth of cranberry & vodka, downed a bottom of a local drink called Game Juice (which they make in Medley, FL and it tasted somewhat like Mountain Dew Baja Blast mixed with some other flavors), and talked about the future of gaming and a ton of science fiction movies with my friend Nery Hernandez, CTO of Monkey Plum Media.

For the most part they had a bunch of hip hop music playing really really loud.

As far as loot goes the event dropped a nice XL Mafia 2 shirt as well as a bunch of posters, stuff we can give away to you guys in the future. 😀 They had a contest where they randomly picked whoever screamed the most and gave them free shirts and copies of the game for PC, PS3, or XBox 360.

Overall, I will be playing Mafia 2 shortly (and probably comparing it more to the original game if I review it).

POD: Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2 title screen
Dead Rising 2 title screen

Our Picture of the Day comes from Capcoms Dead Rising 2:

North America – August 31st, 2010
Genre: Zombie Action
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Rating: TBC
Developer: Blue Castle Games

Several years have passed since the Wilamette incident, and Dead Rising 2 shifts the action from the everyday world of mid-West America to the glitz and glamour of Fortune City, America’s latest and greatest entertainment playground. People flock to Fortune City from around the globe to escape from reality and the chance to win big and for some, this means competing in Terror is Reality.

Like millions of Americans former national motocross champion, Chuck Greene, is gripped by the TV sensation that is Terror is Reality. Hosted by the flamboyant Tyrone King, Terror is Reality pits ordinary members of the public against an arena full of zombies with a simple challenge – kill more zombies than your opponents and stay alive with the winner collecting big money and the chance to come back and secure even greater prizes. So, what is it that has forced Chuck to come to Fortune City and risk his life in the modern day gladiatorial contest, is he trying to recapture the fame of his motocross days, does he have a reason to hate zombies, or is it simply the lure of big money?

False Start

ps3 slim
The race to the next generation of consoles may have already started, but how certain are the predictions? First it was David Reeves of Capcom with his suggestion of two to three years. Now Murray Pannel, head of marketing for Ubisoft has predicted a similar time scale.

To a large extent this would make sense. Previous hardware generations have been about five years, and there has often been an advantage for the machine to launch first. However, once the design of a new machine has been started, technology can overtake what has been put together.

There is a very large counter-argument that the next generation is further away, and that is the strategy of both Sony and Microsoft to produce new add-ons for their current consoles. The “slim” SKU’s for both were a stop-gap, a way of improving the quality of the base machine, although for Sony fans the removal of backwards compatibility is a sharp pain that can only be eased by the rumoured “HD Classics” range. But Kinect and Move are both aimed at expanding the potential audience and creating a new wave of software that will last for years.

Sony confidently predicted a ten-year lifespan for the PS2, and that has come to pass. They are now suggesting a similar tenure for the PS3, and it could be to their advantage. This year has been a strong one for Sony with exclusives and good sales on the back of the PS3 Slim, and another good Christmas with interest in Move could push it further. Meanwhile, Kinect is going after the Wii’s audience to a large extent. Microsoft still has the edge in online gaming for many with Live, but the gap has narrowed. Moving on from the 360 may not suit Microsoft either, now that is making good profit and building its user base.

So where does Nintendo fit into this? The 3DS is clearly one important part of its strategy, but rumours of an HD Wii or Wii 2 refuse to go away. Could the big N once again pull a surprise out of its sleeve, continuing its “disruptive” policy? And will the familiar franchises keep the hardcore gamers satisfied alongside the new and expanded audience?

There is another joker in the form of the cloud gaming systems, OnLive and Gaikai. While OnLive has now launched in the USA to a mixed response, the news that games from Electronic Arts will be available on Gaikai is a major coup. These devices will, however almost certainly be fixed technology with frequent updates of the firmware, relying on a fast broadband connection to provide both the data and much of the processing power. It remains to be seen how they cope under the huge stresses of multiplayer gaming.

Whatever, the outcome will be good for gamers. Competition promotes development and innovation, whether it’s the mobile games on the touchscreen of an iPhone or the complexities of a PC strategy game. Next year, or maybe the year after, the real race will start.

Tecmo Bowl

Tecmo Bowl
Tecmo Bowl

Tecmo Bowl

It may not have had the correct team logo’s or jerseys, but at the time Tecmo Bowl was the best football game out there and to this day still attracts fans of the series. It was easy to learn fun to play and even the music got you into it. Just recently Tecmo Bowl throwback was launched for XBL and PS3. There is no doubt this game was a classic.

Tecmo Bowl was released to the arcades in 1987 where it had moderate success, but when it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System it became a huge hit. While it was not the first football game for a console it was considered to be the best because it used the real rosters from twelve top NFL teams. However, Tecmo Bowl was not able to get NFL consent to use real tram names which is why it uses the home city or state instead.

Tecmo Bowl
Tecmo Bowl

You could play as the following teams, the Indianapolis Colts, the Miami Dolphins, the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks, the Los Angeles Raiders, the Washington Redskins, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears, and the Minnesota Vikings. Each team had its specialty for instance Miami was known for passing and so instead of the normal two running, two passing plays they had three passing and one running. If you were unlucky enough to pick Minnesota you would find yourself at a great disadvantage because at the time they did not have the best talent or playbook.

The key to the gameplay was speed. What mattered most was avoiding defenders because while the mechanics to break tackles were there the best thing to do was to avoid them altogether. If you were passing the key was to look for the route that went toward the out of bounds line or the route that would hook back toward you. Doing this allowed you to almost always complete a pass. On the other hand if you tried to “thread the needle” and pass to someone covered nine times out of ten your pass would be intercepted.

Tecmo Bowl box
Tecmo Bowl box

Tecmo Bowl wasn’t perfect and the fact was that if you picked San Francisco or Chicago versus Minnesota you pretty much was guaranteed a win. Also there were many cheap plays you could select that almost never failed. Another funny thing was you could pick a running play, run backwards and bunch together the defense and then run around them for a touchdown. This worked with better players like Walter Payton, but could be done with almost everyone.

I lived in Chicago at the time which was great because they rocked in Tecmo and I was actually good at this game and could best almost anyone. Tecmo Bowl is one of those great games that was designed so well that even in the days of 2K and EA it is still fun to play.

Tecmo Bowl title screen
Tecmo Bowl title screen
Tecmo Bowl screenshot
Tecmo Bowl screenshot

Final Fantasy XIV: Release & Pricing

Final Fantasy XIV concept box
Final Fantasy XIV concept box

Square Enix announced that the PC version of FF14 will be released on September 22nd and 30th respectively. Currently there are two versions available the standard edition which will retail for $49.99 and the collector’s edition which will cost $74.99.

The collector’s edition will be launching first on the 22nd of September and will come with an early access code that will give you a six day head start. In addition you will receive a Behind the scenes DVD, Buddy Pass Insert, “Right of Passage” voucher, In Game Item, Branded Security Token, and Travel Journal and of course the game disc and 30 days of gameplay.

The subscription cost is $12.99 per month and an additional $3.00 for every extra character on the account up to eight in total. You will receive however a “retainer” character that is non-playable but can hold additional items and be used as storage, the term “Bank Alt” comes to mind here. This feature is free for the first one and a $1.00 for each additional.

The beta is set to go live sometime in July and pre-orders begin today. When you pre-order you will receive Garlond Goggles with the standard edition and an Onion Helm for the collector’s edition.

Now some bad news for PS3 fans, the console version will not be released until March 2011. Sorry guys.

CDW – Tecmo Bowl Throwback

Techmo Bowl cover
Techmo Bowl cover

Quick, what is the best arcade football game in history? If you said Blitz I won’t hate you, but you’d still be wrong. Tecmo Bowl was football in the 80’s and early 90’s and though it didn’t achieve superstardom in the arcades when it was ported to the NES in 1987 it became a mega hit.

What was so great about TB was not only to use of real NFL teams, but the gameplay incredibly was fun. Now I will admit the idea of fading back and getting the whole opposing team to follow you only to run a circle around them for a touchdown was a little cheap, but it was still wildly fun. Now you can experience that again on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Here’s the official rundown:

The legend is back! Tecmo Bowl® Throwback is a remake of the classic Tecmo Super Bowl, with the same rules and fast-paced gameplay as the original, but with the option to play it in brand new high definition 3D graphics. Switch it back to old school in real time with the same graphics and music from back in the day! Tecmo Bowl® Throwback brings back the gameplay you loved, and stays true to the Tecmo Super Bowl legacy!


With updated 3D graphics or the option to use the original 2D classic look and additions like online tournaments you can defiantly relive the past or introduce Tecmo Bowl to a new generation of gamers. Tecmo Bowl Throwback is available now for 800 Microsoft points on XBL. Currently there is no release date for TBT on PSN.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Onslaught

Battlefield Bad Company 2 tank
Battlefield Bad Company 2 tank

If you’ve experienced BBC2 you already know the fun you can have gunning down the enemy in lush fully destructible environments. Now with the Onslaught download content patch you get four all new multiplayer maps.

The 4-man cooperative mode includes the maps: Nelson Bay, Attacam Desert, Valparaiso and Isla Innocentes. It is currently available for download on the Xbox 360 via XBL and the Playstation 3 via PSN. Bjorn Johnsson from DICE spoke to IncGamers explaining the difference in the new maps and Coop play:

“Basically they are the same maps but we have enhanced them in many different ways,” he said.

“We have different effects like the sandstorm in Attacama Desert, you play one of the night maps in daytime and one of the daytime maps in night mode, basically.”

“Also we added a load of other weather effects and different lighting,” he added.

“We have tweaked it quite a bit to make it feel different.”

As for the question of when it will come to PC;

“The problem we have on PC is that all our servers are dedicated with providers. Changing a server from Conquest 32 players to Onslaught 4 players cuts out 28 player slots from the total ammount available. This could have a dramatic affect on the PC online environment if enough servers changed to Onslaught,” DICE associate producer Barrie Tingle explained.

Medal of Honor Leave A Message

Medal of Honor cover
Medal of Honor cover

EA shows that their new modern war shooter may be a game, but war itself is hell. In this teaser trailer we get a glimpse of Medal of Honor’s latest military project that will be released on the PS3, 360 and PC on October 12, 2010.

The trailer is a tribute to Steven Spielberg who created the Medal of Honor franchise. If the trailer has a familiar feel to it that is because it was designed that way.

“The best way we knew how to do this, was to recreate the Omaha Beach landing with Jimmy Patterson [from Medal of Honor: Frontline,” Greg Goodrich executive producer said. “Except now, instead of arriving on the shores of occupied France in the hull of a Higgins boat, our Ranger would arrive in the Shahi-Kot Valley, in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, in the modern day equivalent, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Basically, Normandy in the desert.”


The trailer shows in-game footage taken from the first Ranger mission of the game and through it has been edited slightly for the trailer it looks incredible. The game is meant to have a more mature, serious feel than just a standard military shooter. We’ve seen the effects of adding drama to war shooters and I can’t wait to see what MOH does.

No word yet on a beta besides it is coming “soon” when it does we will let you know how to get in.

GAMES COMING OUT JUNE 2010 FOR CONSOLES

I could have been lazy and copied Honorabili’s post since the list is pretty much the same but my high work ethic wouldn’t allow me to do that. However, I am willing to take this month’s breakdown of new releases in a different direction so bare with me.

Alpha Protocol – June 1st

Alpha Protocol Xbox box cover
Alpha Protocol Xbox box cover

You know this game is going to be good because of the silhouette of the man holding the gun. Not only is showing an image like this the true sign of a winner, but it’s sexy too. Check out the subliminal message of the lady holding the gun near his crotch. The question is who will fire first.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands – June 8th

Prince of Persia box
Prince of Persia box

Jake Gyllenhall is movie gold, no really he is. Alright fine, this is about the game which has 25% more sand and more time travel than a Lost episode. If you’ve played any of the modern POP games you know there will be incredible jumps, cool combat and interesting puzzles and ladies I hear you can unlock shirtless pictures of Jake.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior – June 8th

Sniper box
Sniper box

Everyone hates a sniper, so much so that many end up on Oprah wanting nothing more than a hug. Step into the shoes of this misunderstood soul as you pick people off in South America. See people believe its all “Boom head shot!”, but it’s more than that. You have to spend time (too much time) searching for that perfect spot to make your kill, but once you do it’s on. Again look at that box, this guy is deep.

Naval Assault: The Killing Tide – June 15th

Naval Assault Xbox box cover
Naval Assault Xbox box cover

The killing tide is the type of title that lets you know there will be tides. Hop inside your WWII submarine with a load of seamen and blast away. This game looks like it could be fun if you like old navel sea battles through honestly some of the water effects look kind of strange. With Naval Assault you’ll find yourself in many battles across the North Atlantic so run low and silent commander.

Transformers: War for Cybertron – June 22nd

Transformers box cover
Transformers box cover

Go back to a time when Optimus Prime was just another robot fighting for his homeland, a time before ebonic robots and Shia LaBeouf. Unfortunately it is also a time before Megan Fox, but you have the internet for that. War for Cybertron takes a step away from the movies back to when the war was brewing up and the battle lines were drawn. In the single player campaign you play both an Autobot and Decepticon story where you see each side recruit their forces and engage in skirmishes. You know what happens in the end, but like the movie Valkyrie you’ll still be interested in experiencing it right?

Singularity – June 29th

Singularity box cover
Singularity box cover

So you have a time reversing device that can do things like restore an old box of ammo to the time when it was new and full of bullets and yet when you use it on an enemy it turns to dust? Okay, I get it, if they turned to babies or even before that there would a lawsuits and Tea Party members raising kain. Overall the idea is pretty cool, traveling back to the 50’s and using time as a weapon looks like a winner. I wonder if you can target specific body parts and restore it?

Arma 2 box cover
Arma 2 box cover

It’s not Modern Warfare or Bad Company.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Assassins Creed Brotherhood
Assassins Creed Brotherhood

Coming this fall for the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 is the third installment in the Assassin’s Creed story.  Ezio is back, a legendary master assassin he continues his fight against the templar order and leads his own brotherhood of assassins to conquer the enemies of Rome. This time Ubisoft has added multiplayer elements to the game which will bring a new dynamic to the series.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Published by: Ubisoft

Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal

Genre: Action

Release Date:

US: Q4 2010

RP-M+ for Rating Pending

Also Available On: PC, Xbox 360