Archive for June 2010

The Electronic 3 SONY! zzzzz

June 16, 2010

I fell asleep during the Sony press conference.  It was around the time I heard Kaz say 3D for the 100th time.  I woke up in time to catch the end of Kevin Butler’s marketing/stand-up routine and from following the headlines it looks like I didn’t miss much in between.  As I had expected their main focus was on Move, although I was surprised about how much time they spent talking about 3d gaming.  With 3d ready TVs costing in the thousands and the glasses needed to use them in the hundreds, 3D seems much to far away to be focusing your E3 press conference on.

I can’t really think of any games that piqued my interest like some of the Nintendo stuff did while watching the part of the conference that I did.  Killzone 3 looked ok (it was real blurry on the standard-def network G4).  The special bundles that Medal of Honor and Dead Space 2 will come in have me very interested in the PS3 versions of both games.  Two games that are now on my radar are the Sly collection (I never played any of the originals) and the new Twisted Metal game.  I’ll be interested to see how they sift to faction oriented game play.  The individual characters are one of the things that really made those games shine.

Alot of extra stuff has come out since the Nintendo conference as well.  Specifically that there will be 3DS remakes of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Starfox 64.  I pretty much must own a 3DS now.  Nintendo will once again take me money with their crazy ideas.

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The Electronic Three NINTENDO

June 15, 2010

Just got finished watching the Nintendo Press conference on G4 and thought I’d share a few thoughts.

The new Zelda’s vibrant art style looked great but due to the technical difficulties, I really couldn’t get a good look on how it controlled.  I’m a bit weary of it for now, hopefully it’ll look like it plays better in the future.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Donkey Kong Country Returns both look awesome.  I love 2-d platformers and I love great art design and these 2 had them in spades.

I don’t know what I expected from the 3DS.  I knew they couldn’t show the 3dness on TV but I was still excited to see it.  Surprise, it looks like a DS!  It has a few improvements however with the analog stick and dual cameras on the front.  The ability for the cameras to take 3d pictures sounds pretty cool, even if it is a bit of a novelty.  The only game they showed was Kid Icarus: Uprising.  Finally the return of Pit and many he didn’t shut up throughout they whole trailer.  The game looks like Sin and Punishment though so that’s cool.  I never understood the outcry for a new Kid Icarus, the first one was not all that great and way too hard.  It should also be said that the 3DS must have some major horsepower, because Kid Icarus looked like a Wii game.

Next up is Sony.  Hopefully it’s not all Move focused.

The Electronic Three!

June 14, 2010

E3 2010 is upon us and apparently Microsofts press conference took place today.  I was not aware of this,  I thought all festivities took started tomorrow so I did not follow it as closely as I would have at work today.  Apparently I didn’t miss all that much though.  Project Natal is not call Kinect and will have 15 games at launch.  I don’t have any interest in Kinect just yet ( I’ll have to wait and see how it plays for myself) but man do I hate that name.  It sounds like a bunch of suits in an office thought this was the greatest idea of all time.  Hopefully it’s cool though.

They also announced the new Xbox that should be in stores sometime later on this week which is cool if you don’t already own an Xbox.  The also announced ESPN programming on Xbox Live free for Gold subscribers which got a big fat yawn from me, but I’m sure a big segment of the audience will find that real appealing.

A release date was given for Fable III which is October 26 and the first footage of Metal Gear Solid: Rising was shown which are both exciting.  I didn’t catch the press conference live but from reading the headlines I think the whole thing was a pretty dull affair.  With the focus on the new Xbox and Kinect and nothing new really shown of new games it’s kind of disappointing.

Hopefully Nintendo and Sony can make up for that tomorrow!  With the unveiling of the 3DS and perhaps a new Zelda title I can definitely say that Nintendo is the one I’m most excited for.  If Sony decides to put all their focus on the Move like Microsoft did with Kinect, then Sony’s conference might not be as exciting.  Hopefully they have some tricks up their sleeve.

Getting Back in Rhythm

June 12, 2010

I haven’t had much love for music games here lately.  Up until a few days ago, I could safely say that if I never played another new music game I would be happy.  This coming off the heels of the release of Green Day: Rock Band featuring a band I don’t altogether hate but haven’t been a huge fan of in years.  There’s no way I’m spending 60 bucks on Green Day: Rock band, but maybe I’ll pick it up when it inevitably goes clearance like the Beatles did.

So why am I so enthusiastic over the news of Rock Band 3?  This thing right here would be the reason.

Awesome

The introduction of the keyboard into the game has me absolutely thrilled on the prospect of buying a new music game.  “But you just said you would be happy without ever buying a new music game ever again” I can hear you thinking.  This new addition adds the instrument I love the best.  But that alone wouldn’t be enough to get me this excited it’s after having seen this footage and reading this information,  that I truly started drooling over Rock Band 3.  The thought of playing The Cure’s Just Like Heaven note for note with the song on the keyboard with Rock Band Pro is just too exciting for me to pass up.  Learning how to play the keyboard has always been something I wanted to do, but never knew how to exactly go about it.  If this game can teach me how to play some of my favorite songs, then maybe that can be some baby steps to learning how to play an instrument.  It all seems like some pie in the sky nonsense ideas that I normally wouldn’t get that excited over.  It’s kinda like when you hear people getting Wii Fit to actually lose weight.  But after seeing the footage I can’t understand how this won’t work.  They have the full keyboard onscreen, it’s not just colors like on the guitar and they say that you’ll be playing whatever the actual notes of the song are.

The only question that needs answering is do I spend the 130 dollars on the keyboard and the game or just by their MIDI input for the 360 and the game for 100 bucks (I already have a M-Audio MIDI controller).  My concern with getting the MIDI input would be that my controller is big and I’m not sure how great it would be to have in the living room playing a game on.  Also the Rock Band keyboard was made for playing the game, my M-Audio one is not, so I’ll probably spend the 130.  A plus to that would be that I would have an extra MIDI controller lying around with the Rock Band Controller having it’s on MIDI out port.

I do hope all of Harmonix’s grand ideas come together.  It will get at least one gamer who’s jaded by the craziness the rhythm game genre has spiraled into back on the saddle.

Riding into the Sunset

June 11, 2010

As I predicted, Red Dead Redemption was the 1st game I completed in the rather large haul of games I collected in that short period of time.  My one sentence review would read as follows: Wow, what a ride.  I’m sure I had other gripes with the game, but the one I the stands out to me the most happens towards the end.  I’ll be venturing into spoiler territory here so be forewarned.

I love the ending to this game, my only problem with it is I couldn’t tell when it actually happened.  The mission leading up to the final encounter with Dutch reminded me a lot of the final mission of Grand Theft Auto IV, in that it was broken into several parts but wasn’t nearly as challenging.  And after you kill Dutch (or rather he kills himself) you are presented with a strange cowboy song about following your compass back to your love or something just as cheesy and an icon representing your wife on the map.  This is when my confusion set in.  Was I done with the story?  Would I just meet my wife and son and then the credits would roll?  With so many questions, I hopped on my horse the game decided to give me after so many of mine had been eaten by wolves and rode as fast as I could to the giant A on my map.  What was I presented with a hero’s welcome and a grand finale with epic music and long ass credits?  No, it was a herding mission.  I hate herding those stupid cows.  After gritting my teeth and getting through that ordeal, my ranch opened up with more missions from Abigail, Jack (my son) and the old man who everyone just call Uncle.

Was this taking place after the story?  What was I doing?  I wasn’t quite sure since all the missions seemed to be more like missions that were in the tutorial.  Was I living the life of a rancher now and these missions would never end?  With heavy confusion setting in I looked to the internet for answers.  I was trying to avoid any spoilers should there still be any that would come up.  With this in mind I looked up Abigail on the Red Dead Wiki and whats the first thing that caught my eye?

“Abigail Marston dies in 1914 from causes unknown”

Dammit!  That’s something I didn’t want to find out from reading the Red Dead Wiki.  But my mission was a success, I found out that the story was indeed not over.  I soldiered on doing rancher things such as scaring crows from the corn silo, wrangling wild mustangs and teaching my boy how to hunt and be a man.  It wasn’t too long before I wasn’t confronted with the real final battle of the game, the United States Army and the government agent I had been working for the entire game Edgar Ross.  They attacked my ranch from all angles and killed John’s uncle.

Things were looking quite grim from John and his family.  Having sent his wife and son off to safety, John stood outside the door of his barn while the rest of the army and Ross gathered outside.  He open the door, took a few steps, fired off 6 shots to six army man heads and promptly got shot countless times by the men outside his barn.  John Marston was dead.  His family rode back to investigate after hearing the shots and found their loved one lying in a pool of his own blood.  Jack and Abigail buried John on a hill overlooking his ranch.

A couple of achievement notifications and a fade out later, I found myself playing as Jack Marston a few years older after burying his mother next to his father.  Was that the end of the game?  Was this the open world “go finish the stuff you didn’t finish” endless part of the game?  Why couldn’t I kill Edgar Ross?  I hated that dude the moment I heard him talk and knew that he would have a bullet in the head before the credits rolled.  Well I hadn’t seen any credits yet so something still must be lingering.  I headed to Blackwater for some unfinished business.

Sure enough I found a well dressed man who had a stranger mission and told me about Edgar Ross’ life after working for the government.  He was living in a cabin by Lake Don Julio.  It was on now, Edgar Ross must die.  I headed down to Lake Don Julio to find his wife and she told me that he was out hunting in Mexico with his brother.  Now I was off to Mexico and found his brother who told me he was down river.  Now I was starting to question when I was going to find him.  Each person I came across was telling me he was somewhere else.  I headed down river and sure enough there he was.  There wasn’t much discussion before the duel was initiated.  I didn’t hesitate to pump that bastard full of as many bullets as the game would allow.  Afterwards Jack turns to the camera,  screen flashes red with the Red Dead logo and the credits roll.

Finally I had reached the end without question.  I was a few hours off what I thought was the original ending and was a bit annoyed when it wasn’t and I still had to herd cattle.  But in the end I appreciated the ending much more after having spent time with John’s family.  It definitely meant more when John died after having seen him as a father and a husband just trying to fix his life.  His son picking up his gun and exacting revenge of Ross only made the ending that much more sweeter.  I would have to put it up as one of the best endings I have ever seen in a game.

But what will be next I wonder?  Super Mario Galaxy 2 more than likely.  I have enough stars to finish the game, but I still want to get as many as I can before then.  I doubt I’ll get the 240 that are in the game (or even the 120 for that matter).  I got all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 and I was in middle school then.  I must not have the same level of masochism as I did when I was 11.