Friday, December 30, 2005

A recommendation for Developers and Next Generation hardware...

Graphics, graphics, graphics. Sure, they are great, but I personally think that hardware vendors and developers have the wrong idea as how to handle it. As I go into this, I want to remind readers that a riveting storyline takes precedence to all of this. But moving on...

Playing the Xbox 360 and reading way too many Sony fanboy posts got me thinking. What do gamers expect? As a computer specialist, I really wasn't expecting some super-amazing graphical jump with next-gen hardware. Maybe I mentioned it before, but we aren't going to be receiving games that look like the Final Fantasy movie (Spirts Within) any time soon. Sorry to shut down hopes and dreams for this generation. It wouldn't be cost effective, and there wouldn't be enough space EVEN WITH a bluray or hd-dvd disc to make a game that looks like that movie.

So what is important?

I personally don't know, but I vote for online features. But we have those with the 360, and probably won't get jack from Sony in that department. So let's instead talk about character graphics and environments.

Personally, I was happy with character models in the last generation. Sure, the best ones were during FMVs, but that is a cutscene deal. What about actual gameplay (HINT HINT SONY!)? If we assume that the models were fine, then that leaves us with animation and environmental improvement. However, good environments in a game will take careful planning. If the environments are too amazing and the character models suck, then the character may seem out of place. Obviously, there needs to be a balance.

I propose using current gen character modeling with next gen animations. We can do without the veins and sweat. If any body part needs work, it is hair. For example, when a female with long hair turns her head, her hair should act accordingly, not just magically go through her body. But maybe I'm jumping ahead of myself. Before even that comes animation. I'd rather have less detail and better animation myself. That alone could provide enough realism. However, that would include animations for body position transitioning. If a character needs to turn, the footwork should indicate such. Turning while crouching is a good example there. You have to move your feet to turn in that position.

As far as environments go, I don't think they necessarily need more detail. What they do need is more interactivity. First, I just want to say developers really should be more clever about blocking off areas you can't go to. Don't show it to us if we can't go there ('nuff said). Second, it's great to be able to move things around, but again, don't put it in there if it looks movable or usable but can't be interacted with (doors for example). Lastly, consider that actual item being portrayed. If a bullet can go through it, then let it! If it would actually break if you did this, then let it break! I don't necessarily care if I can see the wood grain and knots on a crate. But if I shoot at it, and an enemy is behind it, the bullet better go through. If it is a think metal, then ricochet that bullet!

Tiger Woods 06 for the 360 is an early example of good and bad examples of what I'm saying. We were comparing the PS2 06 and the 360 06 at my house the other day. Graphics and environments aside, the 360 version sure is missing A LOT of courses. Since the 360 version was the first Tiger Woods game I've purchased, I really don't mind. Especially since the 360 controller has a much better setup for the game than the PS2 controller.

Starting with the bad, you can almost completely customize the look of your character down to skin texture. Great, but I'd probably just want to use a professional golfer, or preassembled models anyway. That's just a waste of space on that game disc because it isn't that important of a feature. Moving on to good, the grass actually seems like grass (on the 360 version), not a flat polygon with textured-looking grass on it (in the PS2 version). There are spectators, and they react if hit with a golf ball (but ironically, don't move out of the way if they are in the line of your shot). The trees cast shadows, and seem to have branches (instead of being a 2D polygon paper cutout as on the PS2 version).

I appreciate the effort EA put into making the courses look better, but not necessarily the players. I mean, I was happy with the PS2 Tiger, and I'm sure the Xbox (not 360) Tiger looks even better. So take the latter, but improve the environments as they did, but take it a little further. Lose the unimportant-non-affecting gameplay facial and body customization, and concetrate on the courses. I understand offering different clubs, but clothes (other than shoes) shouldn't be a big deal. In this case, I'm already happy with the animation. They had the right idea, although it could have been executed better. Save space as appropriate and give as many features related to gameplay as possible. Unfortunately, the HD requirement doesn't help here. Hi-res is great, but not always necessary worth the space it takes to support.

Hopefully the future will present us with better-balanced games. I have high hopes for Gears of War and Halo 3. Halo 2 only needed better hit-detection and better animation in my opinion, so hopefully the next installment will fix these problems and give more interactive environments. I guess we'll see in a few months how Ubisoft does with Splinter Cell: Double Agent.

Why the PS2 is no fun

Me? I'm annoyed. I wish I could get people in my previous mindset to realize that the XBoxes are fun machines. I will cover points in no particular order.

Online support is terrible

Um...what online support? When I buy a network adapter and only 3-4 games I own are compatible, I feel like I wasted effort. When actually online, there's no centralization or organization. It makes gaming online lame.

The graphics aren't that hot

Um, after playing the Xbox, going back to the PS2 feels like I'm going back a generation. The PS2 versions lack crispness, features, full animations, etc.

The controller is outdated

Having two analog sticks in the middle is really annoying. For games that are d-pad oriented though, it's great (i.e. Tony Hawk). The analog sticks are also extremely floppy and hard to be precise with.

No good FPS's

Still nothing that compares to Halo. SOCOM is highly over-rated in my opinion. The gameplay is weak, the AI is stupid, and the controls leave much to be desired. No comparison.

There is a lot of crappy games for the system

Sony's system has more games. But that also means they have more low quality games in the percentage. I've decided it isn't safe to buy a PS2 title unless you do your homework. I've been disappointed in a couple dozen PS2 titles, but only a handful of Xbox games.

It is really slow; no hard drive

Okay, so the PS2 can have a hard drive. But literally only 2-3 games support it. The slim PS2 doesn't even support a hard drive! That means ridiculous loading times and usually in annoying places. Isn't that like another system that's out? *AHEM* PSP! *COUGH*

Homebrew is limited

This is Sony's fault, but not necessarily a bad thing. The PS2 is difficult to program for, so this is to be expected. But XBox homebrew is way more useful, easier to use, and fun!

Hardware problems

Disc Read Errors, DVD trays not opening, bad DVD playback....and they are difficult to fix.

Sony has lost its gaming sense and has exchanged it for business

Ever read interviews? It's all hype and business from their execs. I wouldn't be surprised if NONE of them game. All the interesting info comes from the developers (who happen to be quite content with the 360 by the way). At least the staff at Microsoft games and knows how to have fun. Screw specs, let's play! Sony just wants to fool you, and make sure you THINK that the Playstation brand is the best. It doesn't matter if it's true or not.

Yup. I'm disgusted with Sony. I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. Will I still play their games and buy their systems? Yes.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Nintendo DS

Finally! A game that has my attention for 3 days straight (although it should have been two, but I lost a save). What is it? A CSI/Law and Order game. Don't get me wrong, you won't be scientifically analyzing evidence or anything, but you get that fealing. Essentially, half the game is on the crime scene, talking to those involved and gathering evidence to use in trial. Sound simple, but it can be satisfactorily time consuming.

This game also reminds me of those old "Choose-your-adventure" books. Although it is possible to lose, the game does somewhat try to help you out.

In anycase, in the courtroom it is your job as a defense attorney to find contradictions in the witnesses' statements. It ends up becoming somewhat of a logic game. Thankfully, you can review evidence at almost any time if you forget anything. You'll definitely need it, as the four cases after the first are far from straight-forward.

For portability, the game almost lets you save at any time. The only times I noticed that it won't let you save is when you are specifically asked to show "decisive evidence". However, that is okay. This game is long, so being able to save almost anytime is excellent.

The game didn't seem to get old, although sometimes were frustrating. The frustrating times were when you are not sure where to go or who to talk to. In the courtroom, it is occasionally not obvious enough at what evidence you are supposed to relate to. The Judge will allow several stupid mistakes, but after that he will get annoyed and decide you have no case. Very interesting.

Apparently, this game is ported from a Japanese GBA title. The only case developed specifically for the DS is the last one, which is an addition to the original game. It includes Luminol spraying and fingerprinting with the trouch screen. My only complaint is that things like these were not available in the other cases, although they did adjust to the touch screen quite well for the other cases.

I recommend this game for a buy merely because it has a lot of gameplay hours in it. However, there is no replay value because of the length, and there doesn't appear to be different endings (not counting losing as an ending). I believe a game should have plenty of hours in it for the money, and this game fits the bill. Renting it may leave you unable to finish it!

Just for retrospect, a game such as Trace Memory is a pure renter because it can be beaten in a few hours or less with no or little replay value. But a game like Mario Kart or Tony Hawk are games that have replay value, as you can compete online or against friends.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Disappointing Nintendo DS games...

Well, let's see...Burnout Legends, Sonic Rush, Sega Casino, and Tony Hawk are the games I'll comment on today.

Burnout was probably the biggest disappointment. Sure, I didn't expect good's a DS. Graphics aside, the game is flawed far beyond acceptability. Hit detection is horrible, the physics are horrible, and the crash events are nothing close to what is expected from a Burnout game. Since crashing is what makes the Burnout series awesome, the fact that the DS version lacks a fun version of it makes the game worthless. Don't buy this game unless you really want it and it is only $5 to $10 dollars.

Sonic Rush is actually good. It stays true to the Sonic series. Getting used to playing on two vertical screens takes a minute or two, though. I actually like this game, although I'm not a huge Sonic fan. There are some 3D battles, and the typical whipping Sonic around all over the level. The quality DS LCD screens handle the speed very well. Anyway, if you are still into Sonic, it's okay to buy this title; you should like it.

Sega Casino is almost a joke. I am into Texas Hold 'em, but the AI in this game is absolutely stupid. No challenge. Your opponents won't call small bets, but they will always call your all-ins. AND they will suck-out half the time. Sounds like the game I physically played last night. Anyway, the setup is good for the other games...Black Jack, Roulette, Craps, and more. Thankfully you have the choice of using the buttons or the stylus to bet and move chips around. Unfortunately, that's the best thing about this game.

One game I do have to give praise is Tony Hawk American Sk8land. The reviews I've previously read mentioned that the graphics were going to be semi-cartoonish. They definitely are. But it actually works well, and I like this version BETTER than THUG on the PSP. Mainly because the screen doesn't blur and your eyes don't hurt after playing it. All the tricks and TH-goodness is there. Online play was a good addition as well. If you like TH, then grab this game.

Side note time:

Honestly, the only long-running series that is still fun for me to play is Metroid; it has a rather "timeless" formula. Mario and Sonic got boring for me long ago. I bought my girlfriend Paper Mario; apparently it is an RPG. I like RPGs, but this one is just not for me. Too silly.

I think the last Sonic game I was into was Sonic Spinball. Video pinball was finally fun, albeit somewhat difficult. It got boring after a while. Before that, I was into Sonic CD and actually played that through a couple of times. After Sega tried to go 3D with it, I lost interest.

I'm dying for Metroid Prime Hunters. Online FPS action would be entertaining as hell. If they can find a way to Make MP2 online compatible with the Revolution, I really think they will have a winner. I think it could even contend with the likes of Halo! Of course, they'll need to support more than 4 players, and make play lists. But this is really the game that made me buy a DS. I can't wait.

So in review, my personal must-haves for the NDS up to today are:
  • Mario Kart DS (even without online play)

  • Meteos

  • Metroid Prime Hunters Demo

  • Nanostray

  • Pollarium

  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour

  • Trauma Center - Under the Knife

  • Tony Hawk American Sk8land (especially with online play)

There are other good titles, but those are the ones I like to have on hand. Other ones that are good to grab are Pac-pix, Pac n' Roll, Need for Speed Underground, and GoldenEye. Those games do have limited appeal though.

I HATE Nintendogs. I don't understand the allure to that stupid game, other than giving your dog a funny name and making it respond to it. Name your dog "Stains" or something. It probably doesn't help that I HATE dogs.

I think I'm going to go play TH right now. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

More DS games, and gaining interest in the PSP finally

I played a few more newer DS games yesterday, and unfortunately it was nothing special. Sonic Rush, Burnout Legends, and TMNT3 were the games I did a quick-play on. I do quickies on the first two on a later post, so I'll just talk about the Ninja Turtles.

TMNT3 (whatever the full title is) was amusing for a mere 5 minutes. I only played with Michaelango, which apparently was a bad choice. The moveset is limited, and I was unable to figure out how to jumpkick. Then I realized that this is the current wave TMNT, rather than the original. That's too bad; the originals are always the best (i.e. Transformers).

I'll probably end up doing some very short reviews on more DS games in the near future. Lately, Trauma Center, Metroid Pinball, and Mario Kart are the only games I've enjoyed. Bring on the Metroid Prime with online play, Nintendo!

I tried to get a PSP on ebay for cheap and failed. That's okay, I didn't really want to waste the money anyway. However, my room mates and I went to eat Chinese food and they brought their PSPs. They had just bought the Midway arcade collection, which included all the original Mortal Kombats. The wireless play performed pretty well, but the PSP I was using was in a funky case so I was having a hard time blocking. It did lag a little bit, even though they were sitting on opposite sides of a booth table. Pretty cool though, other than LOADING times.

Sadly enough, that's the first time I've actually wished I had a PSP. But just to play Mortal Kombat? I have it on all kinds of things already! GTA, Metal Gear, and Death Jr are the last few games I've seen and they weren't much fun. I'm still waiting Sony, although you can count me out if you want me to buy a new one.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Why haven't we moved to smaller Discs?

With music, we're moving to MP3 players. Goodbye discman and walkman. However, that doesn't mean we don't have a need for discs still, be it games, movies, or music hardcopy.

With all the speculation on Bluray vs HD-DVD, it makes me wonder why we aren't trying to move to a smaller disc? You've seen mini-CDs for software and in other instances. They work in most drives as well.

Since Sony's Minidisc was unfortunately a failure, is the smaller disc size doomed for at least a decade or so? Their UMDs seem to be working out for their PSP, although to much bewilderment of many. Will UMDs be the next format? I certainly hope they can increase the space on them before that happens. If UMD outdoes Bluray, I think many will have a hardy chuckle.

Personally, bigger isn't better for something I want to store or transport. If all my media discs were Gamecube game size, I could store much more in a smaller space. Handling them is less clumsy, and warpage is less of a problem.

So instead of bringing yet another full sized disc into the market, why not use the blue-laser technology to give 10-20 GB mini discs? Disc drives are one thing that just hamper reducing the size of popular electronics today, whether it be DVD players, computers, or shelftop stereos.

One interesting aspect about that is the good old Compact Disc. Most albums don't even fill up a whole CD. Why continue to make them 4.5" in diameter when they could be 33% smaller? It would definitely save on some plastic. And possibly make more room on the store shelves.

Think of how much smaller the Xbox, 360, and PS2 could have been if they adopted the smaller size. It would probably reduce production costs as well.

I don't know about you, but I really like the small disc size for the Gamecube games. Looks like Nintendo is going away from that though, which is unfortunate. I don't really see why they would need a bigger disk for the Revolution proposals thus far.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Modding a slim PS2....and it sucks

I'm simply trying to add a hard drive that Sony wasn't kind enough to provide on the slim models. This requires about 34 or so wires, to some VERY tiny spots. It leaves me regretting the decision to take this custom project.

Anyway, if you want more info, visit:

Nope...I still don't have any pictures.

Condemned - Xbox 360

Did I mention that I got rid of Perfect Dark Zero and got an actual fun game?

Condemned is one of the better examples of "Next Gen" I've seen. Unfortunately, it still has some framerate issues, but in some instances it actually adds to the feeling of the game. As Game Informer declared, many of the walls are extremely textured and provide the player with the feeling that he/she is in a claustrophobic hellhole. There's not much to graphically complain about, other than me noticing that the lighting effect on the hole of the pipe weapon. The reflection acts as though the pipe is solid. That's just being nit-picky.

Interestingly, PDZ pissed me off because I couldn't jump. In Condemned, you cannot crouch or jump. It isn't really necessary though. But when I'm used to jumping and ducking with other FPS', the transition takes a few minutes. However, ducking actually isn't necessary in this game. The crackheads would find you anyway.

Since melee is, well, what I am all about, so this game does it for me. Less shooting, more melee. There is no reloading, and no adding bullets to your gun. If you want ballistics, you better start looking. This adds even more to the effect of aloneness and the brink of helplessness. And for the first time that I can remember, this is a first-person game where you can *gasp* BLOCK! So you aren't totally helpless...but you better be on it.

Of course, you need surround sound to reap the full benefits of the experience. How else are you supposed to know when an enemy is behind you. If you are lucky, a shadow will be cast, but most areas are too dark for such luck.

I have not beaten the game yet, but I've not had much opportunity to play as of late. If you want to hit things and be nervous through every hall you walk through, pick up this game.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Xbox 360 + PC = sweet

I decided to give media streaming from a PC to the 360 a try this weekend. Excellent idea, although I don't really want to leave my computer on for my 360's sake, and I don't want to buy a USB drive either.

Anyway, I quickly installed the Media Connect software on my PC and went to play some XBL Arcade games and test out the media access I had. First off, my computer showed as a device in "the guide". Both mp3s and picture files were available (that I chose to share with the Media Connect software). I could do a slide show and what not, but who cares about showing pictures on your TV?

So I loaded up Zuma and checked out my media selection. The guide let me pick my computer, and it was kind enough to organize my music by Artist, Genre, Album, etc. My room mate and I picked Pantera, and proceeded to laugh at how wrong it was: Zuma + Pantera. It was so wrong, but so awesome. I could even go to the next or previous tracks with my Universal Remote, or by using the guide button.

Good job Microsoft, I appreciate the functionality. It's too bad I couldn't watch videos though. Who wants a Media Center PC? I sure don't, and don't feel like building one...I have too many PCs as it is.

Friday, December 16, 2005

J. Allard vs K. Harai

Another example as why Sony execs are losing the picture about gaming. Notice how Allard talks about actual gaming, and Harai speaks purely business. Lame. Pull the PSP out of your rear.

People that are going to read this article are GAMERS! They don't care about how your business survives; we like the Playstation brand. At least make the conversation interesting.

Personally, I think Microsoft is making up for it's Windows dictatorship with the Xbox systems. From the interviews and products, they really seem to be all about gaming. Just like Nintendo still does, but Microsoft can provide more (they've got the wallet). When Microsoft or Nintendo go to press, it is exciting and fun (play this, control this, look what you can do). When Sony goes to press, it's a popularity contest like a bad teen movie (we're better than everyone else, look at these numbers, we don't need this and that...blah blah).

Anyone else taking notice?.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Consoles hand in hand with your gamer type?

Not based on actual statistics or anything, but it seems to me that hardcore gamers that play consoles play Xbox the most, but own other consoles. Regular gamers pick the PS2 and usually don't have a second console, and casual gamers pick the Gamecube. Naturally there are other variations, but just from reading posts and talking with people, my suggestions above seem implied.

What do you think?

Bad PS2? Called Sony to no avail? Make them pay!

If your PS2 has had a disc-read-error, you called Sony and the fix was too expensive or they didn't help, then check to see if Sony has to fix your drive for free.

Even if you can't prove your purchase or that you called Sony, apparently they will fix it for $41. That sucks though, because you can find PS2s on ebay for less than that if you try.

I still haven't heard anything about Nintendo console problems. Other than maybe dead pixels, but they happily repair that and pay for shipping.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Halo 2, the best and worst FPS of all time

Good gaming tonight, and for fun I felt like making these pro/con lists. It's mostly serious, and in no particular order.

Reasons that Halo 2 is the best online FPS:

  • Beat Downs and Assassinations

  • Fast matchmaking

  • Always has available players

  • More playlists than you can handle

  • Voice work (Killtacular, Slayer, etc.)

  • Grenades can be thrown while holding a weapon

  • Sword

Reasons that Halo 2 is the worst online FPS:

  • Sniping is too easy (no breathing movement)

  • Newb Combo

  • Modding (although not as bad as before)

  • Lag

  • Spartan and Elite only differ in appearance

  • The Sword has no "ammo"

  • Isn't Aliens vs Predator 3

Of course I had to throw in that last one. I really wish I had played AVP2 online in its glory days. One more:

Reasons that Halo can't possibly be better than Halo 2:

  • Online support isn't built in

  • The multiplayer levels look like crap (think Wizard vs Warlock)

  • The multiplayer levels aren't well balanced

  • The voice work in multiplayer sucks

  • Beat downs are too easy (long range)

  • Master Chief looks like crap

  • The built in playlists aren't very fun

  • Grenades have no arc when thrown

  • Can't hijack vehicles

  • Rocket launcher can't lock-on

  • Oddball doesn't require you to pick up the ball (you can throw it at your opponent and kill them when they catch it)

  • The assault rifle doesn't move upwards when the trigger is held down

  • Cortana looks like crap

  • The vehicles don't boost (slow)

  • No dual weilding

  • No Sword

  • No Battle Rifle

  • You have to worry about health AND a shield

  • The AI isn't as good

  • The campaign levels are repetitive

  • Walking results in slow running

  • Reloading the Assault Rifle takes forever

  • The game is more outdated

Do I like anything about Halo 1?
Um, the blurring around zooming in is cool. Falling from a height results in damage. The last level is kind of fun. That's about it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Xbox 360 Next-gen gripes? Shut up!

I am tired of the media whining about the 360 not being truly "next gen". I wasn't expecting anything amazing at launch. The PS2 was crap at launch; we were supposed to be totally blown away by the new Sony product, and I must say that I sure wasn't. The 360 is no different.

Now that the launch is over, we can expect some better titles. The development rush is over, so we can expect to see some amazing titles about midyear 2006. I'm definitely looking forward to Gears of War and Splinter Cell 4. However, the more quality titles Microsoft can get under its belt before the PS3 comes out, the better. It's painfully obvious I am rooting for Microsoft this time around. I've been burned by Sony's products too many times.

HD doesn't make better games. It makes them look better (in many cases). But to get the most out of it, an LCD TV is a MUST. If you are using an HD CRT, you might as well forget it. There's no comparison. CRT technology is being phased out thankfully. However, I am impressed with my RCA TruFlat CRT. It isn't HD, but it sure looks like it when using component.

One interesting thing I've noticed with my TV: Halo 2 looks better on the Xbox 360. Yes, I was using component for my old Xbox as well. It doesn't compare to a 27" LCD or anything, but it's better than on ther other TVs in the house. Hmmmm....

Friday, December 09, 2005

Media Works

I cannot believe the volume of forum posters that are completely convinced that the PS3 is going to blow the Xbox 360 out of the water. However, sitting back for a moment makes me realize that I probably did the same type thing at some point. Now I can say it's not fair to rag on a system you don't own, because I was proven wrong.

Here's some personal points I would like to make:
  • I was personally a huge fan of the PSX. Not so much of the N64. I felt no rush to get into the PS2. I was interested in the Dreamcast, but it died out before I even got a chance to look into it.

  • The Xbox got me excited about playing video games again. With XBL, better graphics, and trigggered controllers, it felt like a new experience. Going back to the PS2 feels like I'm settling, and the controller feels like a cheap toy. I modded my PS2 to hopefully get some use out of it...but I'm still bored with it. I'm down to 1 old PS2, 1 slim PS2, and 1 broken slim PS2. Got rid of the others; won't have a use for them.

  • I honestly wasn't dying to have an Xbox 360, and I'm not really looking forward to the PS3 that much. The 360 could wait until Halo 3, Ninja Gaiden 2, and Splinter Cell 4 came out. What I am extremely interested in is seeing the new Revolution and its controller in action.

  • I don't understand the allure to any of the Metal Gear Solids, especially the last installment. The game is too cheesy; running around stabbing alligators is lame. MGS4 doesn't get me excited at all. Um, Splinter Cell anyone?

  • It's probably safe to say I'll get a Revolution at launch, since it will be around my birthday. It better have a new Metroid Prime.

  • I learned not to underestimate XBL. If they get XBL Arcade exclusives that get popular, people may start forgetting about Sony. Note to mention Microsoft set it up in a really cool way for the 360. In reality, I'm still bitter that I bought a PS2 network adapter, and none of the games I had were Sony Online compatible! Sure, I didn't buy the network adapter to play online, but I was still disappointed.

I find it funny how I'm personally moving away from Sony. Love Nintendo, Love Sega/dislike Nintendo, dislike Nintendo/love PSX, Love Xbox & 'Cube/dislike PS2. Somewhat of a vicious circle. Maybe the PS3 will bring me back, but Sony has scored really low with me lately in everything. Oh well, my girlfriend will want Devil May Cry 4, so they still get my damned money.

Xbox 360 launch comparison at

I would post a link, but I can't find it. Anyway, only one line is important from the blog I read, which mentioned the PS2 has had a whole pile of crap. The truth revealed. And on a bad note for Microsoft, he metions their launch is only a little better than average.

The PS2 does have A LOT of games. Go to the gamestore and you have a whole wall dedicated to PS2 software. Talk about misleading. Most of the games I've bought lately have been boring and a waste of time. God of War was a fresh breath of air. I have high hopes for Shadow of the Colossus (and others I don't remember the names of).

Since multiconsole games usually go to the Xbox, why buy the PS2 or Gamecube version? Live makes a big difference, especially with replay value. God of War was fun, but I have not desired to replay it since I saw the end. Sans gore, Ninja Gaiden is just a better all-around game in my opinion. With NG Black, I can compete in score with the world. The probablem with NG is it takes more skill than the average gamer can dish out. Tell that to a Sony fanboy.

Also, who plays PSX games anymore? Hardly anyone as I can tell. So I'm sick of hearing "back-catalog". Give me Intelligent Qube & Final Fantasy VIII and I'm good (but I won't play them). When the PS3 comes out, won't we want CURRENT gen games anyway? Pretending we're going to go back to PS2 games for long is silly. Nintendo is a different story in that retrospect though.

I've learned to check reviews on a game before trying it, ESPECIALLY when a game is on the PS2.

This time around, I can say that both Microsoft and Sony will have piles of crap games. Developers will get the most out of the 360 first though, so that means we should see some great titles in the future. Sony will take the same amount of time, but who wants to wait for them to catch up?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Perfect Dark Zero vs Quake 4? - Xbox 360

I was a little disappointed to see negative reviews for Quake 4 and positive reviews for PDZ. It seems the only complaints on Quake 4 were about the framerate and the hesitance when moving around corners.

Personally, I don't think the minor problems with Quake 4 inhibit the gameplay. It would have been nice for them to clean it up some more, but I'm not complaining - they were rushing to get it out at launch. The game gets very intense in places, and the vehicles are under-rated in my opinion.

I don't understand why Perfect Dark Zero receives good ratings. Is it a bad FPS? No, but it lacks intensity. There are some great ideas within the game, but nothing that keeps me interested. And not being able to jump reminds me of old Doom. The graphics are great, the weapons are good, but the game gets old pretty quick. I haven't touched it since playing it the day I bought it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Call of Duty 2 for Xbox 360

I will mention right away that I do not like war/military games. The fact that the events involved have actually happened before somewhat makes the games disturbing. Not to mention I was previously not a huge FPS fan.

My first experience with this game was at a Wal-mart kiosk. The King Kong demo was confusing and boring, so I went to COD2. Unfortunately, I was too busy paying attention to the nice HD LCD screen they had hooked up to actually see how good the game was. I did think it was interesting how the zoom button actually brings the gun up eye-level instead of zooming in. Much more realistic, and more difficult!

Since DOA4, Burnout: Revenge, and Gears of War are not out yet, I decided to get rid of one of my useless PS2s (don't worry, I've still got 4 left!), and get this game.

We played it as long as I can stay awake. The game is intense: even if you are ducked behind cover, the enemy will find any openning possible. They are not afraid to use grenades either. Relative safety is not something you will feel in this game. It forces you to watch corners, rooftops, and doorways. "Fascists" and "Jerries" are all over.

The controls are a bit different than other FPS games, but they work well. Thankfully, the right analog stick button is totally melee. For us that use Green Thumb on Halo, this is a godsend. I'm also rather akin to the left trigger being zoom/sights aim from playing Quake 4.

I'm currently only on the American Campaign (I don't know how many there are), but I'll likely keep going until the end.

Currently, I vote this a must-have title if you enjoy FPS games.

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks Part 2

Well, we finished up this game. My prediction was correct; this game is essentially the story of Mortal Kombat 2 following directly after the end of Mortal Kombat.

After playing through the game, the only bosses that presented a problem were Reptile and Shao Khan. More so the latter. My new opinion is that the game is a little too easy, except for the end. However, we did not run through the game again to get all the extras or on Hard mode.

We actually got the ability to be Scorpion or Subzero. In my opinion, they are much more fun than being Liu Kang or Kung Lao. Unfortunately, if you play the game with them, the other characters still refer to you as Kang and Lao, so it's a bit over-cheesy.

This game would have been a lot better if you could pick ANY of the MK2 characters to play (including Noob Saibot and Jade) with their respective stories and different bosses accordingly. The other characters wouldn't even need the full-length game; it would have just been nice.

We also played vs mode once, but it wasn't that exciting. For good vs action, stick with Deadly Alliance or Deception.

This game is worth playing through at least once. I can't say a gamer would want to run through the game a 2nd time right away.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks for Xbox

I picked this up the other day since Gamestop had a buy two get one free offer when I was doing some Christmas shopping. I needed a third game. If they had Burnout: Revenge, I probably would have got that instead. I really want that game!

Anyway, I have read reviews and MKSM didn't rank that high although it didn't have bad scores. The idea of the game appealed to be because it wasn't so much a fighting game as it was an action-rpg. I didn't expect Ninja Gaiden this time, and I didn't get it. Does the game suck? Hell no.

First things first: graphics. The reviews gave me the impression that the graphics were bad. They aren't realistic or anything, but that wouldn't match the style of the game. The graphics are actually pretty good! There are some questionable animations sequences, but most of the FMVs are straight out of an action movie. For the style, the graphics are definitely up to par.

I know I've always wanted to do fatalities while fighting a mob of enemies. Now I can do that, and I can even get the ability to run around and do mulitple fatalities. The controls and moves available are definitely usable and I have no complaints about them.

Co-op is definitely a plus for this game. It's great to run around destroying any demons in your path, but tag-teaming is so much more fun. For example, my friend would melee it up on an enemy and get it up in the air with Liu Kang. With Kung Lao, I would take over from there and start kicking the opponent in the air. When other characters show up, the AI does some butt-kicking as well.

We are only about %20 though the game according to the save, but we've enjoyed ourselves thus far. Although I wouldn't consider this a must-have title, I would say pick it up if you've enjoyed the MK series and are looking for some single player or CO-OP action. I haven't even tried Versus mode yet.

The bad news? It's not yet compatible with the Xbox 360.

360 sidenote: I looked up how to update and I'm impressed. When updates are available, you can either go to XBL to get them, download the update and burn it on CD, or order the Update CD from Microsoft. Good thinking MS.