Sunday, August 30, 2009

Batman Arkham Asylum mini-review

The Good:
Graphics, art, music, sound, level design, and stealth gameplay.

The Bad:
Combat gameplay, boss fights, and too much use of the color green.


Can't wait for the sequel. I hope there's full campaign co-op :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Minotaur Torture

Hans Zimmer to score Modern Warfare 2.

Great fit, considering how often the Infinity Ward folks try to emulate Zimmer-scored movies.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Old Republic's Multiplayer Dialogue system

Finally! A multiplayer interactive dialogue system!

For a few years now, I've always thought the next logical step in the interactive dialogue system found in many RPG games was the introduction of multiplayer input. After all, singleplayer systems already allow your party companions to interject with whatever they feel like.
Throwing in multiplayer just seemed like the "duh" thing to do.

I wonder if I could've copyrighted this idea somehow?

Anyway, this game's art style seems fairly terrible to me. I just don't like it. It feels out of place with the mood of the game, too. But, it's good to see that there's a cover system in the game at least (it's featured in another IGN video if you're interested).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Even more stuff to buy

22. Kingdom Under Fire II (360)

I really enjoyed the first KUF for the Xbox. Its mix of strategy and Braveheart-style slash'em-up action was great. Haven't gotten around to trying the second game though. Might have to pick that up if it's compatible with the 360.

Funniest thing about KUF was that the word "Pope" was censored out of the dialogue audio. So the characters would say "I can't believe the *silence* is doing this!" I had no idea what was going on at first, and thought my Xbox's audio was screwed up, or that whoever they were talking about was so utterly evil that they could not utter his name for fear of reprisal.

But nope. They were just saying Pope.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

LEGO Ninja Assassin

Check out this LEGO version of the Ninja Assassin trailer. lol

And here's the original:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More stuff to buy

20. Tales of Vesperia (360) $25

I thought Tales of Vesperia was coming to the PS3 in an enhanced edition, so I was waiting for that. But apparently this version is only going to be released in Japan. I suppose the release of the PS3 Slim in September and the likely growth of the PS3's North American userbase could increase the chance of a TOV PS3 release in the US though.

This game looks amazing and I've always wanted to try it. The real-time combat and multiplayer co-op seem like a lot of fun, too. The biggest thing holding me back, though, is my belief that the game may be meant for a much younger gamer than I. Hmm.. perhaps I can justify the purchase by playing this with my girl.

21. Final Fantasy 13 (PS3) $60

I'm currently playing Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core on the PSP and am enjoying it quite a bit. The "action RPG" style gameplay keeps things interesting. On Normal difficulty, the game is a nice game for the subway trips to and from work. On Hard difficulty, I felt like jumping off a bridge, as the game's difficulty seemed to go from "pretty easy" to "insanely hard" with nothing in between.

Anyway, I've never gotten into the FF series outside of Crisis Core. I put 10-20 hours into the last PS2 FF game and thought it was dull. There was simply too much repetitive gameplay for too little plot development. I was basically travelling from Point A to Point B for huge periods of time, with little compelling reason to do so. The game just felt too slowly paced for me.

Still, FF13 appears to be some kind of gaming event for everyone else, so I will probably try it out just to see what the fuss is about.

18 things to buy.

Here's a list of 18 things I am pretty certain I will buy in the future, if I can afford it. It totals to about $1009 after taxes.

1. Demon's Souls Collector's Edition w/ Soundtrack CD (PS3 - ) $50

The uniqueness of this action RPG, and it's multiplayer especially, is what's got me interested. While it's a single player focused game, the game has an interesting semi-multiplayer system going on alongside it. You can leave hints for other players on how to advance. And upon death, you can travel to another player's game in attempt to regain your life by either killing them or helping them defeat a boss.

The high amount of difficulty of the game also interests me. It's like it's challenging me. I must accept this challenge. lol :-P

2. Lost Planet 2 (360) $60

Played the LP2 demo on Xbox Live a few days ago and had fun with it. I thought the first game was certainly worth my buy it-complete it-then sell it routine, so I think I'll get enough fun from this one, too. LP2 has 4 player co-op throughout the entire game, and some of the new VS units (robot suits) in the game allow 3 people to man a single unit, which is cool. One guy pilots and shoots some small guns, while the other two players can hop on and act as heavy machine gunners. The texture graphics in the demo of LP2 seem to be less refined than its predecessor, though. Hopefully that's just a demo issue.

3. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) $60

The greatest comic book game yet, the reviewers are saying, and some are saying it's the best game of the year, too. While the game is full of solid Metroid-style exploring and backtracking, as well as solid combat and stealth gameplay mechanics, one of my favorite aspects of the game is the voice acting cast. They're all from the Batman Animated Series show. I love Mark Hamill's Joker work (he's Luke Skywalker if ya didn't know), as well as the voice actress who does the voice of Harley Quinn.

It's great to see that Batman is being done right finally :)

4. Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker (PSP) $40

I love this trailer! There's so many fun and interesting new co-op ideas going on here.
I hope the game controls well though. The PSP's lack of a second joystick seems like it will cause problems for the control scheme that has been borrowed from MGS4.

I also hope there's Internet multiplayer (as Portable Ops had). Otherwise I'll never get to play co-op with anyone, as no one I know has a PSP. I'm also hoping Kojima lets the players choose from 3 other characters, instead of all 4 players being identical copies of Big Boss. It just seems... odd.

Finally, I'd love it if the game introduced a playable character that played radically different from how Snake does. If not, this will be the sixth game featuring Snake's core gameplay behavior. It'd be nice if more options were available.

5. Metal Gear Solid: Rising (PS3) $60

This game features Raiden as the main character and will release on both PS3 and 360. Hopefully Raiden will actually play like how he behaved in MGS4.

If this game has solid multiplayer, I might have to get this for the 360 instead. The PS3's online multiplay just isn't too hot. Free or not.

6. Diablo III (PC) $50

I really enjoyed Diablo 2, although never to the extent that so many others did. I simply didn't understand the purpose of playing the game after completing the campaign and experiencing all the classes and their skills. I feel like it's my duty to play this game through, though. Hopefully I can sell it after I'm done. But these days, many online PC games link their CD keys to your email account, thus preventing resale. I hate that.

7. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty (PC) $50

I never got into Starcraft 1, and didn't even realize how immensely popular it was until I started seeing massive message threads about Starcraft 2. I've been more of a Warcraft 3 player, but I've always loved Starcraft's style, so I'll have to try Starcraft 2. I hope the game comes out well. I'm concerned that its' lead designer, who was formerly working for the Command and Conquer franchise, is not up to RTS par. Plus I may simply revert to Company of Heroes playing, as I like that game's up close and personal tactical feel that Starcraft doesn't seem to have.

8. Gundam Senki (PS3) $80

I'm really excited for this game. Or, I would be if it was going to be understandable to non-Japanese speakers such as myself. Instead, the game features a great deal of story/plot elements, with great looking animated cutscenes, and some Japanese text heavy robot customization menus. The online multiplayer is also a rare thing to see for a Gundam game, too.
I'll still probably import this at it's ridiculously high price.

I just don't get Bandai Namco. They're in the process of porting the flight combat Sky Crawlers game to the US Wii, despite the game failing miserably in Japan, and also being the game tie-in for an animated movie that no one in America has seen. Meanwhile, Gundam games, some of which are quite good, are not coming Stateside. It makes little sense to me since all three of the major action summer films in the US featured either large robots or mechanized power suits (Transformers 2, GI Joe, and District 9). There's obviously a lot of interest in robot destruction in the US pop culture these days, and James Cameron's upcoming Avatar film will only add more to it. I think Bandai needs to capitalize on this and bring this Gundam Senki game over here. The game's story also appears very self-contained, so people totally ignorant of Gundam lore should be able to hop into the game with no probs.

9. Heavy Rain (PS3) $60

I thought Indigo Prophecy, the developer's previous game, was very entertaining, so I'm looking forward to this one. It seems like Indigo's "interactive movie"-type gameplay will be here too.

10. Mass Effect 2 (PC) $50

Bioware's writing is top notch, but their gameplay is always piss-poor. I thought Mass Effect 1's combat was tolerable though. I loved the story and pace of the game (besides those dumb Mako driving segments), and really got absorbed into the universe. I finished this game within 2 days of getting it. I was that hooked.

11. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3) $60

I love ninjas, so I would've gotten this for the 360 by now, but the reviews weren't too hot. Hopefully those things will be rectified for Sigma 2, which will also have a new online co-op side mission mode.

12. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) $60

The game press buzz about Uncharted 2 is through the roof. I've heard from various gaming press people that Uncharted 2 is "the best looking game" they've ever seen, and most of them seem to really dig the stories and characters of the Uncharted series. I haven't tried Uncharted 1 yet, so I'll have to rent that somewhere before Uncharted 2 comes out. I wonder if the multiplayer co-op and versus are cool. If so, I might actually keep Uncharted 2 after finishing it!

13. Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC) ~$120

I put ~$120 here because I will probably get this game as soon as it comes out, then plop down a few months of subscription fees in order to complete the game's multiple storylines. The graphics look too cartoony, too WOW-ish, for a Bioware game though. And the gameplay, so far, looks like uninspired, derivative MMORPG genre fluff :( Still, it will be good to be back together with an Old Republic game.

14. God of War III (PS3) $60

I believe I played through the first God of War, and thought it was fun, despite its forgettable story. I didn't get far in God of War 2 for some reason, and gave up on the PSP God of War at some point, too. Still, I enjoy these games and will probably get #3 for a quick play through. It doesn't seem like the game will feature an online ladderboard/high score game mode though, like Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 likely will. So I'll prolly sell this on Ebay after I'm done ;-P

I gotta say the trailers don't leave me too impressed thus far. They just have Kratos violently killing stuff like he always does. And the fact that the developer of GOW 1 and 2 is not working on this game is cause for some concern.

15. Darksiders (PS3) $60

Yet another God of War/Ninja Gaiden-style game. I really like the art style of the game for some reason. It reminds me of World of Warcraft. Hopefully the gameplay is strong. This will probably be a buy-then-sell game for me.

16. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PC) $50

I feel somehow obligated to buy this one. Like it's my duty (pun!). I enjoyed Call of Duty 4, but I didn't understand why it became such a smash hit. The multiplayer was extremely addicting, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing. I feel like I'm getting too old and sluggish for the Call of Duty games nowadays. It's extremely fast paced, with a shootout occuring every few seconds. The levels are so small, compact, and deathmatchy that you're constantly running into a conflict everywhere you go. I think I prefer the more wide open battlefields of the Battlefield games, or the more methodical combat of the Rainbow Six games. If only Battlefield didn't take this Bad Company route, and Rainbow Six wasn't so ugly. :-P

I'm looking forward to the co-op score challenge mode though. And I even kinda want that special edition Night Vision Goggles bundle. Haha.

I recently bought a Auzentech Mystique soundcard for my PC, so that I can hook up my PC to my TV sound system with discrete 5.1 channels. So now I can go back to playing FPS games on my PC, where I should've always been doing that. Ah.. mouse and keyboard combo. Why did I leave you?

17. The Beatles: Rock Band (360) $20

I've never been a fan of the Beatles, but maybe this game will make me a fan. Besides, my girl knows the lyrics of all these songs and should enjoy this. And I love playing the drums :)

18. MAG (PS3) $60

Graphics don't look too hot, but the gameplay looks fantastic. Looks like Battlefield 2 but with a decent facelift. I'm bummed out that there will be no controllable aircraft though. I really want to see how the 256 player capability plays out. Will there be portions of the map where the majority of those players are in the same area, and you see 200+ tracer streams flying about the area? If so, that could be pretty incredible.

PS3 users will need to get their mics up and running for this game to be all that it can be. I wish Sony had simply bundled a cheap USB headset with the system, because right now, people are using a variety of Bluetooth headsets with the PS3, and 90% of them don't seem to be more than barely compatible.

19. Nissan LEAF (Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car) ~$25,000

Ah, I probably don't need to get this. lol. I suppose the idea of having a car named LEAF amused me. Plus driving around all day without guzzling any gas just has that sci-fi feel to it

But if I did buy it... I'd need $26,000 by the end of 2010 to cover all these items.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

X-men Origins Wolverine

After getting to the 30 or 40% mark in X-men Origins: Wolverine.... I uninstalled it. Such a repetitive game. I'll let this Gamespot forum poster, purerage34, sum up the game.

"I just want to warn people before they sink their hard-earned cash into buying this game as the reviews i read tended to be more positive than I think the game warrants.

This game is like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance except that there is only one character - wolverine, there is less unlockables and items to find, and there is no multiplayer.

Every stage is the same -> see an enemy, lunge to him, button mash for a few seconds, see next enemy, lunge to him, button mash for a few seconds, see next get the picture

Every boss is the same -> wait for boss to swing at you, miss, and be dazed for a few seconds, jump on his back and slash away until he knocks you off, rinse and repeat.

It is by no means the worst game i've ever played, but I wouldn't recommend spending money on it."

This game gets a 5/10 from me. Blech! If only the game was shorter, then the repetitive gameplay might be tolerable. But they really drag out the game (over the course of a 10 hour game reportedly), despite it's gameplay horse having been beat to death long ago. Like.. in the first 10 minutes.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I give up on RTS games (till Starcraft 2)

I don't know why I keep playing Company of Heroes. I've sunk hundreds of hours into it, and I don't think I even enjoy it that much! When I lose, I feel pretty bummed out. When I win, I feel nothing. Ehhh... not a very good cost-benefit ratio there... especially considering my 2:3 win-loss ratio.

Maybe I need to give up on RTS games (at least until Starcraft 2 comes around). Could make me a happier, more upbeat person. lol.

Call of Juarez (and work!)

Hello! Haven't been here in a while, since I got a new job in late May and have been busy with that. Plus the period of unemployment before that was quite depressing, so I wasn't in a blog writing mood during that time. :-P

I still love to game though!

The most recent game I've completed is the Cowboy shooter game, Call of Jaurez: Bound in Blood.

If you've gotten tired of shooters involving WW2, space marines, or terrorists, and are looking for a great FPS game, you've got to give Call of Juarez a try. The production values are great, and I never found the gameplay dull. There's even a pretty decent story!

The game is basically Call of Duty, but with cowboys, and a much stronger narrative. You start off fighting on the side of the Confederate South during the US Civil War, and move onto having shoot outs in saloons, gunning down town deputies in quickdraw gunfights, blasting through Apache Indian camps, and looking for gold in Mexico. You'll ride horses (and "drive" them around as if they were vehicles in a Battlefield-style game), explore some open-world areas of the game in order to make money, and buy upgraded weapons. Oh, and there are Christian Bale and Penelope Cruz-look alikes as main characters, which is fun :)

The gameplay, like Call of Duty, is all about shooting people. No puzzles to solve here. Despite the simple formula, the environments and combat situations are kept diverse enough to avoid a feeling of repetition. Plus, your characters have the ability to go into a Matrix-like slow-motion period, allowing you to gun down multiple targets with ease. There's also great music and sound effects here, too, but the class-based multiplayer is reportedly quite unbalanced due to some classes being overpowered.

Rating: 8.0 / 10