Friday, February 25, 2011

Gaming Habits, First Impressions, and Greatest Hits

With the lack of any particularly enticing gaming news today I had the majority of the day to sit around and play some video games and watch a movie or two. Over the past couple of weeks I've been playing the Assassin's Creed series, a series which I didn't give much of a chance when it was first released. The games aren't without their faults by any means, but I've been enjoying the narrative quite a bit. But before I pass judgment on the games I'm going to finish out the games that have been released. Tonight I finally beat Assassin's Creed II and am about to move onto Brotherhood.

I've also been intermittently playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. I've haven't sank as much time into as I'd like, mainly because I've been absorbed by Assassin's Creed. But my first impression is it's a well polished game, the characters are fantastic, the combo system works wonderfully, and I love the addition of the mission mode. For those of you who haven't played MvC3 yet, mission mode is a gameplay mode that essentially teaches you how to play a character. The first couple of missions start off easy, doing one special move or maybe combining a regular attack with a special move, but they quickly escalate into 15-hit combos you have to pull off flawlessly to pass the mission. Every fighting game should have some variant of this mode, it works far better than the standard training dummy to improve your skills. I think the biggest selling point of the game though is the crossover aspect, who doesn't want to beat the living hell out of Zero, Wekser, or Chris Redfield using Spiderman, Wolverine, and Deadpool?

My only complaint about the game is the way the menu system is set up and the availability of online matches. The two kind of go hand in hand. When I attempted to find a match via XBL I couldn't connect to any, this could be because of my low ranking or the low player pool to choose from at the time I was on. But for whatever reason it would say it couldn't find any ranked or non-ranked matches and would boot me back to the main menu. That's where I found a problem with the menu system, each menu takes a few seconds too long to load for a menu for me, especially when the menu is just giving you three text options. And you have to go back through the main menu, select the XBL-mode, then go through those options selecting between ranked matches, non-ranked matches, finding lobbies, or creating a lobby. The lobby system, although I haven't messed around with it too much, seems to queue you up for matches in the lobby and you have to wait your turn to fight, all the while just sitting there on a barely active screen. The most entertainment in the lobby is watching the health bars of the current match; not very exciting and very poorly implemented.

Playstation is rereleasing some games into their "Greatest Hits" collection, the entire list is God of War III, Uncharted 2: GotY, Heavy Rain, Mod Nation Racers, and UFC Undisputed 2010. This is some exciting news for me because maybe I'll actually be able to justify buying Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2. I've been wanting to play Heavy Rain ever since I heard it was coming out, Indigo Prophecy was one of the hidden gems of last generation and I expected Heavy Rain to be just as good. It got spectacular reviews almost across the board, but I heard the replayability was so terrible and the game was relatively short, that I couldn't being myself to part with $50 dollars for it. Uncharted 2 is another of the games I couldn't justify paying the price they wanted for it, I've heard nothing but fantastic things, but it takes more than just hearing about it when the first incarnation of the series was barely above-average. I enjoyed Drake's Fortune but not enough to spend the $40 on the second game.

As far as the PS3 goes, the only game I'm excited for coming out soon is InFamous 2. I cannot recommend the first InFamous enough, it is one of the best PS3 exclusive games, yes PS3 has exclusives, released. And they just released a new trailer for the second installment. So enjoy.

There be Dragons Here: Skyrim Gameplay Trailer

I'll have another proper post up later today, but until then enjoy the new Skyrim trailer with actual gameplay footage. This trailer has me thinking November can't come fast enough.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nintendo's New Line-Up Fail

The Nintendo 3DS is due to release March 27th in the US, making it the fifth release of a DS systme including the original. I'm not a major fan of 3D technology as I find it more of a gimmick than anything. What I've seen of the current 3D market I'm unimpressed, it is usually used to explain a gigantic price hike while eliminating the need for plot, character development, and everything else. Simply put 90% of the 3D market, at least in cinema, is pure crap. I've yet to play a 3D game since it's currently out of my budget to get a new 3D television.

However the 3DS has piqued my interest for the simple fact that it doesn't require glasses. To me this is an innovative feat considering even now you have to wear 3D glasses at the movies. But I fear that Nintendo is just trying to cash in on gimmicks in an attempt to make more money, i.e. Wii's motion controls, and 3D graphics. That's not to say that Nintendo doesn't make outstanding games still, but 90% of the third party games on either the current Nintendo DS or Wii are shovel-ware. The 3DS's release line-up seems to confirm that that's exactly what Nintendo is attempting to do.

Nintendo's current release line-up consists of three games actually developed by Nintendo, Pilotwings Resort, Steel Driver, and Nintendogs + Cats. The rest are third-party games, Street Fighter IV, the Sims 3, Madden NFL Football, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Ridge Racer, Super Monkey Ball, Bust-a-move Universe, Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, Asphalt, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs, Rayman, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars.

The current price point released for the games is $39.99 USD, at least for the Nintendo developed games. Not one of these games is something I would consider a console seller, nor would I pay $40 for any of these games, 3D or not. Yes, I'm extremely interested to see a 3D driving game or a 3D fighter, but is my interest piqued enough to spend the price of the console plus another $40 for the game, the answer is no.

Nintendo should have waited to release the 3DS until they had at the very least a decent first party game. This is the first Nintendo console without a Mario title being released at the same time. I think this kind of manuver will only hurt Nintendo until some of the anticapted titles are released like Kid Icarus, 3D Zelda, and a 3D Mario title.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Anticipation: Bulletstorm

I have not been this excited about a first person shooter in sometime. I generally find the genre to be overfilled and most of the games to be extremely mediocre. But Bulletstorm has me waiting eagerly for it's release. Epic Games' newest game is releasing this Tuesday and I'll be picking it up as soon as I can.

In Bulletstorm you play as a space pirate stuck on a planet filled with man-eating plants, mutant tribes, massive monsters, and your old army platoon trying to hunt you down. All this is topped off with an over-the-top crude sense of humor. And overall a game that, unlike most of its genre, doesn't take itself too seriously. To me this just screams pure and unadulterated fun.

Even if this game didn't seem as fun as it does, I'd still pick it up for one major reason. FoxNews hates it. And simply on principle I'd have to buy it. Any game that pisses this many people off is at the very least worth a look.

The only disappointment I've found so far is the announcement of that there's no co-op play. The only multiplayer I know in the game is a horde mode where a couple players fend off waves of enemies coming at them, and the possibility of an online leader board.

I'll try to post a review of the game once I get it and play through it, or at least a good chunk of it.

What're your thoughts on Bulletstorm? And the controversy surrounding it?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Class3: Of All Things Zombie Related

Zombies are everywhere. Some people believe the market is overstaurated with everything zombie related. From Left 4 Dead, one and two, the Dead Rising games, and even branching into the physical media sector with books like World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide. This isn't even counting the countless zombie movies, Zombieland, 28 Days/Weeks Later, Shaun of the Dead, or the AMC show The Walking Dead. It's really hard to argue with them. Zombies are everywhere and have taken over our popular culture.

So it's kind of hard to explain why I'm actually excited for Undead Labs' current project, codenamed Class3, from the Max Brook's novel The Zombie Survival Guide. Class3 looks to be a different style of zombie game. Instead of the typical zombie hunting game, the developer's boast that the game is more about survival than anything; just surviving the zombie apocalypse instead of taking as many zombies with when you go. This sounds to be an extremely different play style than the normal run and gun zombie game.

Class3 is an open world environment set in the fictitious city of Dunniway. The game is wholly based on surviving the zombie apocalypse, building a settlement of fellow survivors, and then fortifying its defenses.

When first announced Undead Labs' claimed that the game was going to be the definitive MMOZ, massive-multiplayer-online-zombie, game. Since then Undead Lab's attitude has changed and it's now being released as a 360 exclusive and only being available through the Xbox Live Arcade. They've also dropped the MMO from the game instead opting for a single player and co-op experience.

That doesn't mean that Undead Labs' have given up on the MMOZ game that they originally thought to produce. Class3 turns out to be the first step in Undead Labs' plan with a follow-up game aptly titled Class4 which is supposedly the MMOZ they promised with Class3. ArenaNet co-founder and former WoW lead programmer Jeff Strain is founder of Undead Labs and had this to say about the removal of the MMO element, "We plan to create an ambitious open world XBLA game and use its gameplay, setting, and technology as the foundation for a full online world game" With the flood of MMOs being released it is nice to see that Undead Labs isn't just in it for the money. That they're actually attempting to create a decent MMO by first working on the core game mechanics and are attempting to make a genuinely fun and interesting game out of it.

What are your thoughts on the Zombie genre of games? And on the idea of an MMOZ?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mortal Kombat

A new Mortal Kombat game is slated for release later this year. And it is yet another game that I feel I'm the only one not looking forward to. This month's GameInformer has a six page spread dedicated to it, GameFAQs had a full homepage ad for it, and Kotaku's run numerous stories on it. Am I honestly the only one who doesn't care about the Mortal Kombat series anymore?

There hasn't been a  good MK game since three came out. And even that was worse than it's predecessors.  Mortal Kombat has always been a based on the gore and shock factor. When it was released it started loads of controversy due to the "graphic" blood that was in it.

Most mature rated games released currently include extremely violent and blood filled scenes which I think is to the detriment of the MK series. Once the blood, gore, and violence has become common place it no longer stands out. Mortal Kombat has essentially lost what made it popular in the first place. Supposedly the developers are returning to the old school MK feel, but I doubt that will be enough to pull it from the pit it found itself in. The MK series was never a great fighter game, it was a novelty that did not withstand the test of time. Most fighting games released have been vastly superior to the MK series. Every major fighting series anyways, BlazBlue, Soul Calibur, Street Fighter, Tekken, and Virtua Fighter.

It might still be worth a try at the least, maybe the developers have just overall improved the feel of the game and the fighting system.

What are your thoughts on the new Mortal Kombat? Or the series as a whole?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pokemon TCG: Online!

In my younger days I was a major TCG (trading card game) player; not competitively, just an addict. I've played just about any game I could get my hands on ranging from Pokemon, to Magic the Gathering, and even played the Yu-Gi-Oh card games. I've always liked the idea of converting a tabletop TCG to a virtual one, but very rarely do they get it right.

The Yu-Gi-Oh games seemed to be a great start at it for the most part, with the exception of the console versions. However the games always lacked cards from certain sets which I cursed to no end. The Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers game that was released seemed fantastic up until Wizards of the Coast wanted to release cards as DLC and overcharge for them.

Now Pokemon is releasing an online version of their card game which seems like it's going to fall into the same pitfall as MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers. Pokemon Trainer Challenge, the online TCG, is slated to release in April and comes with three preconstructed decks. A trading card game should never release with just preconstructed decks, this was another problem I had with Duels of the Planeswalkers. Half of the fun of a TCG is the fact that you can build your own deck trying out different strategies and finding your own unique playing style.

Shortly after the game's release the table top version will be releasing Pokemon Black and White theme decks. Which when bought will include a code to allow you to play with their virtual counterpart. This also strikes a nerve with me. In a virtual game I should not have to purchase real cards, at full price to be able to use them. It seems money grubbing to say the least.

However for all my complaints there is one upside, upon release it is free; only requiring flash and an account on their site. I'll at least give it a try, although I haven't played the TCG since it's heyday when I was a kid. I'm just hoping that they'll eventually implement a build your own deck system into it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nothing Important

Something came up at the last minute and I won't be blogging any this weekend and had no time to prepare anything to post. I'll be back sometime before Monday and continue posting.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kevin Butler Tweets Key

I'm not sure if it's just me but this is hilarious. After all of Sony's complaining and suing people over it their spokesperson tweets the PS3 master key. Not sure how Sony's gonna spin this but I'll be laughing all the way.

Also, my apologies if you had left a comment on a previous post I accidentally deleted all of them. Won't happen again.

Fate of Two Worlds

Next Tuesday (Feb. 15) Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is released. I for one am psyched about the return of the Marvel v. Capcom series. They've proven time and time again that they know how to make a fighting game and this iteration of the series looks to prove that it's no exception.

I'm not the biggest fan of fighting games but I do enjoy playing them one on one with my friends. There aren't many games where two people can sit down to play together and have fun, atleast not anymore. Fighting games are great for just a couple people hanging out something FPS's, party, and a majority of racing games cannot claim.

We'll have to wait until Tuesday to see how the new Marvel v. Capcom stacks up against the other big hitters, Super Street Fighter 4 and BlazBlue. My money's on Marvel v. Capcom 3.

I'll have more on the game when I pick my copy up.

Dragon Age II

I'm not exactly looking forward to the next installment of the Dragon Age games. The general consensus seems to be a form of extreme anticipation that I'm just not understanding. The trailer looks beautiful to say the least and I'm intrigued by the magic he uses, mainly summoning the hands of Dagon to rip his enemy apart.

But I found the first Dragon Age extremely lackluster. I've only played through the game once, but I've played through a couple of the different intro stories. The character I was using happened to be a mage, and maybe that's why I dislike it. About half way through the game it began to get extremely boring and repetitive. No matter the enemies I always ended up casting the same rotation of spells and winning every time.

To me this is one of the worst offenses a game can commit. Core gameplay should never get boring. I can live with a game with a boring story, with mediocre or even crappy graphics, but when a game becomes repetitive and boring that is a serious problem. When you get down to it games are meant to entertain and one with boring gameplay cannot do that. All these things are important to a game, but to me gameplay is the end all be all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PS3 Serial Numbers

The latest rumors to hit the net about Playstation are talking about the PS3 games getting serial numbers, i.e. computer games. Supposedly this is a response to fail0verflow cracking the console's root key.

This is type of anti-piracy measures tend to hurt legitimate players more than it hurts pirates. Serial keys have never worked, not on PC and I doubt it'll change on consoles. The only way this could even possibly work would be on multiplayer games. Some publishers are already a step ahead of Sony on that front. THQ for instance, is withholding online play for people who buy the game second hand unless they pay THQ for their code.

It will be interesting to see how far Sony is willing to take it and how it'll impact the lending of games from friend to friend, the used game market, and game rentals like Gamefly.

tl;dr: screw Sony's serial number idea


Fallout: New Vegas

Spoilers Ahead - You Have Been Warned
A bit late is better than never. I finished Fallout: New Vegas in December and was less than impressed with it. This is the game that Fallout 3 should have been. The game has a larger play area, more areas to explore, better characters, a more impressive story, and best of all an actual ending.

Over a couple weeks I put in over 80 hours into Fallout: New Vegas most of the time was extremely enjoyable. I played through the story twice with two different characters, both receiving different endings. (Favorite being Yes-Man throwing a general off Hoover Dam) However the game isn't without its faults, mainly the glitches that Bethesda games are known for.

Nearing the finish of the game I was roaming around the wasteland searching out the remaining side quests to finish. Many of the side missions are glitched and unfinishable. One quest was located in the basement of a bombed out church in a  radiation filled town, you're required to find radiation suits for a group of mercenaries looking to loot the city. You do this by running back to a different razed town to talk to a man who knows where the radiation suits are. The problem with this is that the topic of radiation suits does not appear, he simply tells you to piss off. There's another aide mission about rescuing a ranger from a vault infested with drug fueled bandits, however the ranger being rescued randomly disappears and walks back to the fort. On the trip he may or may not die.

In the long run these glitches will be fixed, at least by Bethesda's overactive modding community. But no game should be released with this many glitches right out the box. One should not have to wait a month to make a game playable.Although enjoyable, I can't recommend this game to someone who doesn't know about Bethesda's severe lack of beta-testing. But for the Bethesda fans out there, you know what you're getting into, and you'll love every minute of it.

I'm still looking forward to the next Bethesda game, Skyrim.

New Gears of War 3 Screens

I'm eagerly awaiting the next incarnation of the Gears of War franchise, supposedly due out later this year for the 360. These screenshots just increase the anticipation and give me something to drool over until then.