Monday, 28 June 2010

Singularity

image

A time warping, puzzle-shooter with more depth in narrative than Bioshock and more revolutionary shooting techniques than… Oh I dunno Killzone.

Why isn’t this being advertised? it looks amazing.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Is There Any Point To Motion Control?

image

Face it, you’ve already made your decision. What with all the advertising that’s been splattered throughout game shops and on websites since E3, I would be surprised if you haven’t already made your mind up about Kinect or Move. You either love it, or you hate it. Simple as that. But have you asked yourself perhaps the most important question? Don’t look confused. Behind the shiny tech demos there’s a question that needs answering. The Wii has so far failed to reach it’s full potential in terms of hardcore games, and thus it’s up to Kinect and Move to prove to gamers, what is the point in motion control, and does it even have any form of benefit to gamers?

The Wii is dead. It’s gone, and we all know it. There’s no more innovation left in the old girl. She’s tired, she’s had a day and now she’s going to sit the rest of her life out regurgitating Carnival Games and games that end with Z’s instead of S’s. Even the pure, first party games lack any sort of pop that was promised when the Wii was first revealed. It’s limited form of motion control is boring, and we no longer care. However with Kinect and Move, we have the finally have the opportunity to combine top of the range motion control kit, with HD graphics and in Sony’s case, 3-D. Are these a match made in gaming heaven, or a gimmick worthy of the Red Steel award for shittyness?

image

Lets think of it firstly, in a positive light. Games with motion control are fun. I remember first getting my Wii on launch day. I loved it. I stayed up all night, and for the majority of the day after, playing Wii Sports and of course Zelda: Twilight Princess. I remember thinking “God, this is it. This works, it’s what we all needed!”. Move promises to do everything the Wii can’t. Precise, handheld devices attached to a high definition console. Sony’s controllers are the Wii HD, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With the quality of games coming out for the PS3 at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some innovate and original IP’s being revealed this year exclusive for Move that are actually worth buying. Considering the price of the console and the controllers, it’s also a given that we won’t be seeing the likes of Carnival Games HD anytime soon either.

However it’s Kinect that’s the most intriguing of the two. Controller free gaming is still, even one year on from it’s initial reveal, mind boggling. Kinect gives developers free reign over anything they would want to do. You only need to look at the Star Wars tech demo from E3, to understand that developers are no longer just limited to two controllers, but your entire body. There is no limit to what they could do, and I’ll be the first to say that I expect us to be constantly shocked by what Kinect games will be offering us in the near future. Running, jumping, kicking, punching, shooting, swimming… It’s all there. Most importantly, this free reign means that the potential for quality, hard core titles is higher than it ever was on the Wii. No more on rails shooters folks, Kinect offers us the real deal.

image

However, what both these devices have failed to show us so far, is any decent titles. True, the potential is present, but that’s all we have. The potential for something truly groundbreaking is coming, but until we see it in action all we have to go on is speculation. At E3 this year, both Microsoft and Sony failed to make any lasting impressions in terms of titles. Sony showed a few rough and tumble tech demos and that Ratchet and Clank…. thing but apart from that the only memorable title was that Dead Space Extraction was coming to the Ps3 with move support. A port of a Wii game? Not a good start Sony. At all. What potential is there for innovation, when already you’re porting over on-rails shooters from a less powerful console? For shame.

Kinect was also suffering from Wii fever, with Kinect Sports, that river rafting game, a dancing… dance… Oh God it bores me to even think about it. Kinect showed off a lot of awesome tech demos, but it showed nothing but Wii Clones in terms of releasable titles. At least Playstation Move had the common decency to not patronise it’s market with Wii Sports on the Ps3. Kinect showed us childish, colourful, fun filled party games, titles we’ve already seen hundreds of times before on the Wii. Microsoft were alienating it’s market, and this is where the alarm bells should be starting to ring. The Wii showed of a lot of hardcore titles upon it’s release, but 90% of them turned out to be nothing more than tech demos. Should we be giving Kinect and Move then benefit of the doubt, or is it a given that history is about to repeat itself?

image

I want to like motion controllers. I really want to like Kinect, especially, because I can honestly see myself jumping around my living room, holding my arm like a shotgun barking orders and my team mates as I storm an office building, shooting terrorists. I know it can be done, because all of the technology present at E3 proved that it was possible. Yet, I see nothing of the sort being shown to me. No upcoming titles, not even a tech demo. Where’s the hardcore market Microsoft?

As for Sony… nyergh. Move is such a shameless Wii clone that I can’t even  begin to describe my disgust for it. As long as I don’t see “MOVE COMPATIBLE” on Uncharted 3, I’ll happily let it die in a corner. I don’t mind pointless gimmicks being present, just as long as they don’t suffocate me from all aspects of my gaming experience.

In short, Motion control has the potential of becoming something brilliant. Sensational, even. If Microsoft and Sony play their cards right they could have something seriously innovate in the works. In the meantime? I’m sceptical. What they’ve shown us so far is just HD Wii games, and I can’t see that as being acceptable six months or a year into it’s release. Will we see some quality hardcore titles that benefit? Only time will tell. Until then, keep your money in a safe place, because you could well just make a decision that you’ll either appreciate making, or regret for a long time to come.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Haters Be Hatin’ (Also, Don’t Tell Anyone This, But I Can’t Get Away With Mass Effect)

 

I’ve received two comments recently that made me want to respond to them in an angry, angsty way. So I’m going to.

The first was this one, on my last post regarding the new Xbox 360 Slim:

Dude :L


I don't know what kind of Xbox gamers you've been looking at, but I only know one person whose anything like what you're talking about and he's fat and everyone hates him.


I know PLENTY of PS3 owners who would argue that LittleBigPlanet is better than life itself, let alone Gears Of War.


You are biased :Z
I do not like this blog anymore.

First of all. Biased? Please look at these two images. I will label them Fig.1 and Fig.2:

2010-06-26 22-29-36.385 Fig.1: My PS3 collection, I count eleven games.

2010-06-26 22-34-26.044Fig.2: My Xbox Collection. Trust me, it makes my PS3 weep.

This year is going to be an incredible year for Xbox, and already it’s surfaced as a console that has a solid grounding within the industry. All generations have at least one that defines the medium. Once upon a five years ago it was the Ps2. Now, it’s the Xbox 360.

I love my Xbox. As a console it’s superb, and in comparison with my Ps3 which is still broken, it’s proven to be more faithful.

I’m not being biased my dear, I'm being critical. It’s what I do. I’m an opinionated teenage web logger. It’s not my purpose to just accept things for what the majority believes them to be.

And if you can’t take a bit of criticism? Well then perhaps it’s better for you to go elsewhere. Meanwhile I’ll be playing Alan Wake, Crackdown 2 and Heavy Rain, enjoying the best of both worlds.

Next up!

Last time I checked, past two years Sony have had more exclusives than Microsoft...you know if you actaully delve around and find stuff out.

Yea, for the past two years Sony have had more exclusives than Microsoft. I fail to see your point? This year Sony showed off far less than Microsoft in terms of hard hitting, action packed exclusives that got the crowd going. In fact if i’m being honest, both companies had very little to show off in terms of exclusives. They certainly didn’t show us anything we didn’t already know about.

Moving on!

image

I’ve been trying to so hard to play Mass Effect. I’ve been trying to get through it for a fortnight and today I finally decided I couldn’t, and I have to give up.

Now before you start laying on the hate, I appreciate how God damn amazing Mass Effect truly is. As a game, it’s superb. Damn near perfect, with it’s incredible graphics, innovate game play mechanics, fully realised, atmospheric settings and believable (albeit, alien) characters. Not only that, but it’s the best RPG game I’ve ever played, to boot.

But I can’t get away with it, because it’s too deep. See, when I first play RPG’s they need to do two things. They need to introduce character, settings and narrative within the first hour in order to make me want to play for the next fifty, and secondly they need to clearly explain how I play it properly like any other game would. A tutorial mission, or a training session, for example. Not hidden away within the behemoth that is Mass Effects “Codex” section.

See, my problem is that Mass Effect has so much going for it, that you need to read about half of it within the previously mentioned codex section for it to make any sense. For most people that’s fine, great even, but it’s not for me. I can’t necessarily enjoy games that present me with such a mammoth task. It’s why I’ve never been a fan of RPG’s.

Combine it with the lengthy dialogue sections and I just had to raise my arms in defeat. I want to like Mass Effect. Hell, everyone else does and I can see why they do. There’s just something inside me that says it’s not worth it. I can appreciate why it's so good. I can see why it’s received so much critical acclaim. In fact I’ll be the last person to say I dislike it. However, I will be the first person to say that I don’t have the time, nor the patience for it.

Still, it took me three attempts to get past Megaton on Fallout 3, and I eventually learnt to love that…

There’s always hope, folks.

Leave your hate within the comments section below.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Xbox Fanatics

image

 

I was in Game today pre-ordering Crackdown 2 and there was about six people in the queue in front of me. Every single one of them, was putting deposits down for the new Xbox 360 Slim. This isn’t necessarily an odd occurance, it’s just that every single one of them was trading in all their old Xboxes to pay for it, and only getting a third of the asking price of the new one. This one guy was trading in an original 360, two controllers AND 19 games in order to pay for it. “These are all my games!” he said laughing. What the hell is he expecting to play on the damn thing when he gets it?

It made me realise that with Xbox Live, Xbox exclusives like Halo and new stuff like the Xbox 360 Slim,  Microsoft has created a devout following of gamers. Literally. Xbox is a cult, a cult of fanatics. The kind of people who queue up to buy Halo Wars, and who have never missed a payment of Xbox Live since it’s release. The worst thing is the fanboyism. Like it or not, Xbox owners are the worst kind of gamers (second only to those who make those kind of comments… like me). They’ll argue to high heaven about how Gears of War is so much better than LittleBigPlanet even though they’re two completely different formulas, and PS3 owners don’t even try to retaliate, even though I know you will do so with humour , because they will point their fingers and call you a fag.

Personally I like to act as a middleman.

And argue with myself.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Games I Need To Play – Summer 2010

So as you’ve probably realised, I haven’t been blogging lately. I started my job on Wednesday. My full time job, to be precise, meaning I haven’t really had the time to do anything of late. Still, I’ve reached the point now where I’m going to be able to blog more frequently for the first time in months. Understandably, this isn’t the perfect, daily updates of yore but hey I do the best with what I’m given.

Today, I’m going to tell you the games I’m desperate to play, and probably will be playing when I get my first paycheck. Mainly these are games that have been released, with the exception of one:

image

I haven’t mentioned yet just how much I need to play Red Dead Redemption. Although it never even warranted so much as a single post during it’s development, I couldn’t help be caught up in the hype surrounding it’s release. It wasn’t the bland linear western shoot-em-up I expected. Instead, it’s a fully released free roaming western epic, in the same leagues as one of my all time favourites, Gun. What is it about the wild west that makes game developers shine?

image

Oh come of it. I know it’s been out for ages, and I know everyone knows who the killer is blah, blah, blah. Tell me something I don’t know. I’m a sucker for games with an incredible narrative, so leave me to play it in peace will you? Please? Yea. Shut the door on the way out while your at it. Your bitterness has made me cold.

image

If you’re a frequent visitor you’ll probably know how much I enjoyed Crackdown. A God-damn lot is the answer you’re looking for, and the sequel looks to be even better. This little beauty will be finding it’s way into my Xbox the day it comes out.

image

To reiterate, I’m a sucker for narrative driven games. Alan Wake certainly looks to be one of the better ones as well. Great atmosphere, great setting for an immersive plot. Yea, looks like my kind of game.

 

If there’s anything you think I’m missing out, new or old, make sure you let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

E3 2010 - Opinions

image

 

So all the conferences are over with I think. At least all the major ones. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have stepped up to the bench and tried to tickle our fancies in order to win the quite prestigious title of “Biggest Balls In LA”. Who won this year? Well to be honest I think my hearts went back to Nintendo. A little bit. They’ve managed to present some new tech that didn’t instantly appeal to the casual market. “Here’s our new console guys” they said, “and this is for you Liam”. Metal Gear Solid 3D, Resident Evil 3D… to be perfectly honest I was impressed. Especially by the actual handheld. The 3-D is actually incredibly impressive. Still, early days and it was only a video. Anyway, I’m now gonna go in great detail about every major conference because I’m a nerd.

Microsoft

image

 

In general, the Microsoft conference was very poor. Kinect (Project natal) was focused upon far too much, with Microsoft pushing towards a casual market and completely alienating it’s hardcore fanbase in the process. We don’t care about Kinectimals or whatever the it’s called guys. Yea, it might be good for our kids or nephews or… oh wait they have Wii’s. Yea. They don’t care either. Really. Sorry.

The conference picked up a bit when the real games started coming through. Gears of War 3 Co-Op is looking good, as it the campaign of Halo Reach. Fable 3 is… Fable 3 (still) and the Xbox is getting COD exclusive DLC… still. So… nothing new really. Crytek’s new game looks promising of course, but apart from that the Xbox has a rather underwhelming line up of same old, same olds.

Of course, the Xbox slim was the highlight of the show. A new console which looks to me like an Alienware laptop had sex with Bill Gates… and produced something beautiful. It looks to be a top notch piece of kit. They’ve even sorted out the red ring. It’s only been five years guys. Will I be buying one? No, but as it’s the same price as the current models it certainly is tempting.

 

Nintendo

image

A new E3, a new DS. It’s became a bit of a tiresome tradition to be perfectly honest with you, but at least this year they did things a little differently. No casual shit heaps, just pure hardcore nuggets of wonderment (no one dare steal that. Ever). The lineup is… well it’s already got more potential for classics than the Wii currently has with four years under it’s tiny casual belt. Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Kid Icarus, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Starfox 64, Zelda 64… Remember when the DS was announced and all the hype surrounding hardcore games was at it’s peak? Well Nintendo are finally delivering. It’s probably not acceptable, but I’m going to forgive them. Purely for the graphics on the damn thing. Way to step up your game Nintendo! Seriously. Well done.

Other highlights included the announcement of Zelda: Skyward Sword (about time) and Epic Mickey (looking good). However, I can’t say 'I’m so sure about Goldeneye Wii. Seems a bit of a stupid idea if you ask me. A “reimaging” of a classic? Come on, surely Pierce Brosnon would have popped his head into a recording studio if you paid him a little bit more than you paid Mr. Craig? No? Fair enough.

Sony

image

OK so Sony started off poorly as well, to be perfectly honest. Move? Don’t care. Heroes on the Move? Oh come on Sony… you can do a little better than that can’t you? 3D, blah blah blah, yea we get it you make 3D Bravias. No we won’t buy them. Ah right here we go. Games.

Killzone 3 is looking smooth, Grand Turismo is looking gorgeous… is that it for exclusives? Oh Ok fair enough. Playstation Plus seems like a fair deal. For the same price as Xbox Live you get free games and other cool content? Automatic downloads of demos, themes, wallpapers… yea that’s pretty cool. Not for me but hey it’s there I suppose.

Now Sony’s third party aspects really impressed me today. First of all the amount of exclusives EA are offering is just… lovely. Yea, that’s a good word for it. Lovely. Dead Space 2 will come with Dead Space Extraction. For free. With move support. Sorted! Medal of Honour will come with a HD remake of Medal of Honour Frontline. Bargain! Sony have secured the Assassins Creed 2 multiplayer Beta. Bravo! However can you top that. Oh, Portal 2 is coming to Ps3 and will be their best version. Oh Gabe you cheeky, chubby bitch. I love you. Whatever they paid you I’ll give you double.

Still doesn’t change the fact you have barely any exclusives though Sony. Tut tut.

As I said, overall E3 was a bit disappointing. Still, it’s always nice to have some fresh news eh?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Halo 3: What If It Wasn’t Halo?

image

I finished Halo 3 today. It’s taken me… a year. Yea. Round about a year. I hate Halo, I think it’s boring. The problem is I’m the only person in the world who seems to hold this view apart from people who hate it for the sake of being different (but secretly love it anyway).

So I’ve decided to write a review for Halo, but in a different way. I’ve decided to write a review for Halo in a universe where Halo 1 + 2 were never made. Instead, Halo 3 was a standalone Xbox 360 game that was released to an audience that had never played any of the previous instalments in the series. Obviously I won’t mention the story elements because that would be silly, of course the narrative wouldn’t make sense. Instead, I’m focusing purely on game play. Enjoy, and please, no hate mail.

Original Dungeon Keeper Reviews: “PURPLE SCI-FI SHOOTER”

I finished PSS today. It’s taken me… a year. Yea. Round about a year.

I picked up PSS when I first got my Xbox because a mate of mine said the online was OK. Not as good as Gears of War or Modern Warfare but OK. It was cheap, so I decided to give it a go.

Upon booting up the main campaign It was instantly clear that this wasn’t going to be the greatest gaming experience of my life. It’s main character “Conventional Protagonist 1” handled like any other FPS character from Playstation era. He even jumps really high, something I thought they’d gotten rid of along with “Bullet Time”. This may seem like a minor complaint, but perhaps I’ve just been spoiled with the realistic movements of Soap Mc.Tavish, swaying left and right as he runs and bending his knees as he jumps. In comparison, CP1 may as well be a cardboard cut out with a camera attached to him.

After running through a jungle area I encountered by first enemies. Tiny, dwarf things that ran around shouting comments that even a five year old would cringe at. Still, all is fair in love and war so I pulled out my gun and pulled the trigger. My gun, what initially appeared to be a machine gun, may as well have been a super soaker full of piss. Flimsy little thing, it spat out bullets and laid waste to the creature in front of me in a way that was as exciting as an episode of the antiques road show. Again, this may seem like a minor complaint but the gun looked so conventional that the mere fact that it gave no satisfaction to fire whatsoever meant that it basically added insult to injury in doing so. In a desperate attempt to gain some enjoyment out of what I presumed was going to be my major pastime throughout the course of the game, I scrounged the corpses for some alien weaponry. Instead of some kind of devastating corpse creator, I picked up something clearly made my Tomy. It was purple, with bits of green taped on. Upon pulling the trigger it fired… green laser… balls. I put my head into my hands and sighed. Did they seriously think this work? Did they shred the big book of videogame clich├ęs and mash it up into a game disc? Still. Like the brave little trooper I am, I carried on.

What followed was ten levels of shooting, terrible level design, unoriginal enemies (Shoot this one in the back, this ones slightly tougher than that one, this ones a token undead enemy, etc.) and really uninspired driving sections. Even the locations were dull and failed to make me take any interest in their importance whatsoever. PSS was a boring, sloppy and uneventful game that has failed to impress me one little bit. As an FPS it’s boring. As a Game, it’s completely dull.

Oh, and that Multiplayer my friend was talking about? It consists of super soakering your enemies until they get close enough to you, then you melee them so they die. That’s how you play it. Seriously.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

What I Love About… Dead Space

image

Dead Space, the survival horror extravaganza that made me poo myself more times than a laxative pie, has many fantastic aspects to it that make it a brilliant game. It’s unique dismemberment style game play, it’s fantastic voice acting and it’s life like animations, to state but a few. However, in my opinion it’s the location of the game, the USG Ishimura that is it’s greatest feature.

What strikes me as the most spectacular aspect of the game is that it holds up as one of the greatest piece of sci-fi gaming to date. The ship and everything within it functions perfectly, and creates an almost industrial atmosphere, bringing with it feelings of depression and suffocation. Refusing to adhere to conventional sci-fi representations of space ships, Dead Space shows a ship that could be created today. Things are rusty, things break. Perhaps most impressively, every room serves a purpose that is believable to the player. A testament to excellent game designing.

Just like Bioshock’s Rapture, the Ishimura holds one quality that makes it exceptionally impressive. You can imagine how it was before the necromorphs took over. You can imagine people working, interacting, living within it’s walls. That, is what I love about it most of all.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Ratchet & Clank, Counter Strike and Mario

image

Since I last blogged I’ve became completely obsessed with the original Ratchet & Clank Games. I’ve finished Ratchet Gladiator so far and now I’m currently working my way from the start. I’ve done them in a bit of a strange order but screw it I’m enjoying myself.

image

I’ve also been playing Counter Strike and erm… well I’ve been doing OK at it. Which is something I never thought I’d say. I’ve playing it on and off over the last few days.

Finally how beautiful is this video please?

Expect more regular updates from here on in.