Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Year for 360 gaming

We just returned from our local Gamestop with lists of upcoming console titles through October.

The Xbox 360 list takes 1.4 pages, the PS3 list about 0.75 pages, and the Wii list about 0.4 pages. Perusing the list, I'm finding over a dozen games that catch my interest, although some are multiplatform (but I'm finding the 360 is the way to go, so it doesn't matter). Three games for each the Wii and PS3 catch my attention.

Continue reading...

  • 02/20/2007: Sonic and the Secret Rings
  • 03/13/2007: Prince of Persia
  • 04/23/2007: Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (I don't want to purchase this for PS2 or Xbox)


  • 06/01/2007: Heavenly Sword
  • 06/26/2007: Ninja Gaiden Sigma
  • 09/03/2007: Unreal Tournament 3


  • 02/27/2007: Bullet Witch
  • 03/13/2007: Call of Duty 3 Gold*
  • 03/27/2007: Guitar Hero 2 w/ Guitar (more songs than PS2 version)
  • 04/02/2007: Army of Two*
  • 04/02/2007: Assassin's Creed*
  • 05/01/2007: The Darkness*
  • 05/01/2007: Burnout 5*
  • 05/01/2007: Tenchu Z
  • 05/22/2007: Mass Effect
  • 06/01/2007: Bioshock
  • 06/01/2007: Half-Life 2*
  • 06/01/2007: Too Human
  • 06/19/2007: Kane & Lynch: Dead Men*
  • 09/03/2007: Lost Odyssey
  • 09/04/2007: Dark Sector*
  • 10/01/2007: Timeshift 360*
  • 11/01/2007: Halo 3

*These titles will also be available for the PS3

While Wii Sports alone is enough to support the console for months, it will be at least 6 months before anything worth buying appears (exclusively) for the PS3. I can only give doubt toward Sony and Nintendo's game sales performance this year; there just isn't enough exciting games coming out. Where the hell is my Metroid Prime 3 or Super Mario Galaxy? What about a Final Fantasy to save the PS3's lackluster lineup? Then again, the Wii's hypetrain has obtained a behemoth size that Sony could only dream of.

I love the Wii, but there just isn't any games for it. The PS3 sections seem empty as well. At the end of the year, the 360 selection will dwarf the others. This implies that the Xbox 360 may as well replace the PS2 in game selection for this generation. Wii can only hope that 3rd party developers/publishers kick in and provide continued fun to rival and surpass that of Wii Sports.

It's becoming increasingly difficult to see the PS3 in a positive light. Developers aren't happy, customers aren't happy, and Sony's profits aren't happy. With no games to justify the 2 ton price tag, we can only wonder how Sony will manage to climb out of the hole they continue to make deeper.

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Game Reviews coming after I settle into my new job

I recently acquired Lost Planet, Phantasy Star Universe, Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Wii Sports. Unfortunately, I will not have much time to play them this week since I'll be busy with non-gaming activities (training at work this week, pool league, etc.). From the short experience I've had with all of these games, I can tell you that none of them is worthless, and I want to point out that Wii Sports is the best fun I've had in a long time, and Lost Planet is the second-best looking video game I've seen since Lost Planet.

More to come!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The "console cost" arguments vs Wii

After leaving Wal-mart with an added $300 to my plastic interest magnet, I realized that the Wii may not be as "cheap" as the fanboys let on. All I bought was a Wii with an extra remote (no second nunchuck), and I'm already at the cost of a 360 core.

First of all, if you want component cables and a wired ethernet connection, be prepared to fork over another $50 ($20 and $30 respectively, which is ridiculous; the console should have come with wired ethernet). Out of the box, the Wii is made for local multiplayer, so buying another remote isn't really optional, which is another $40 bucks. Don't forget the nunchuck with that; you're looking at tacking on yet another $25. It leaves me asking, "Why does this controller come incomplete?"

Aside from Wii sports, that's a couple of games worth in accessories alone. I'll definitely say that it's still a better value than a core 360, but not necessarily a premium. As far as fun and usefulness goes, adding the Wii to my entertainment room has made the PS3 the worst console of the group that offers essentially nothing. There's just nothing that makes the PS3 stand out from the crowd. The Wii brings fun back into our lives, and the 360 is the vessel for our online and classic gaming needs.

Take it all in before claiming that the Wii is some "cheap" alternative to the other consoles. No matter which path you choose, your wallet will be lighter. If you were to ask me which console had the best overall value, I'd say the Xbox 360 Premium, mainly because it is currently the only current generation console with a plethora of solid games. This may change in the future at any time.

Got Wii? I do.

My room mate, who is way more motivated than I am, decided to inquire at Wal-mart as to when they were getting Wii's. That night, in a couple of hours. He got us ticket #9, and I decided it was time to complete my console collection.

All I got was an extra Wii remote, as I wanted to try the thing first before dumping more money into it. I also knew they were hard to come by. And before anyone tries to get me to buy Zelda, I'll say right now; I haven't liked Zelda since the original. So no need.

We are playing Wii Golf right now, and I must say that it's great simplistic fun. Surprisingly, the graphics aren't that bad for a composite connection. The characters are plain, but the backgrounds are better than expected. HD comparable? No, but decent enough.

It's quickly easy to understand what all the fuss about the Wii is. You just have to play it. The fact that it is different and easy for anyone to play is what it's about. Will it replace PS3/360 style consoles? Not a chance. But it's really made for everyone, and the kid-oriented game selection really show it. They will sell many of these units to gamers of all types.

On another note, we've not hung out as collective room mates in months, and the Wii has us doing it. Praise to Nintendo for providing this twist on the entertainment everyone should have a chance to enjoy.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Resistance completed....feeling unfulfilled

Well, I made it through Resistance: Fall of Man last night. After all the praise this game received for having a story, I'm still rather unimpressed.

I found the narrated black and white story boards to be annoying. There are action sequences but their use seems so few and far between. The story becomes negligible when you just want to blast through game. Why? The story is mostly shallow and uninteresting as the game trudges on.

After the credits role by (preceded by an annoying non-boss fight), there's an expected "surprise" cutscene. It's probably the best one in the game, albeit short.

Overall, the game is solid, but even my original review is probably too generous. It seems to me that the PS3 desperately needed to have something to praise, and RFoM was the only semi-eligible candidate. Gears of War outshines Resistance in every way except having more information on the story. And I already think Gears is over-praised!

Free PSP "Gangs of London" Demo

Playstation Underground emailed me today with an offer for a free Gangs of London UMD.

Only the first 2300 to register will receive the demo, so hurry up and click here. Look for the above picture in the upper right corner after skipping the first few intro videos.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Carbonated Games says 'Bigger [game size] Isn't Better'. Someone alert Sony.

Next Generation - Interactive Entertainment Today, Video Game and Industry News - Uno Dev Says ‘Bigger Isn’t Better’

“From my standpoint, more isn’t better,” he says. “The 50MB cap, I think, has served its purpose. Its purpose was to demonstrate to developers that you can really do a tremendous amount in that size space.”

Microsoft pulled a smart one on us. Not only does this apply to XBLA, but to retail games as well. Not that 8.5GB is that limiting, but restraints actually reinforce creativity in any industry.

I've been in situations where complete access to a system cannot be obtained (or proper documentation cannot be found). However, using existing tools, there are always a workaround. I've solved some really annoying problems at previous jobs with this mentality. One example is companies tend to be cheap; if they don't want to pay for domain licensing, a Linux-box can do the trick.

In gaming, limitations such as these promote better programming and more effective use of resources. Size restraints lead to cutting the fat, which result in faster downloads and better performance. It really makes them think more, which can even affect gameplay in a positive way.

Nintendo has done impressive things with huge constraints. Essentially, they should be the role model the other two companies look up to when it comes to short and small games that come through with two thumbs up and a boatload of entertainment.

Use a WD hard drive in your 360!

Xbox-Scene News: TheSpecialist's HDDHacker v0.5B - Install your Own HDD on Xbox360!

This is good news. Unfortunately, we are not to the point of actually using any increased size, but this is opening the doorway to such a glorious future.

Apparently, some tools have been written that can setup any Western Digital 2.5" SATA BEVS hard drive for 360 use, such as a 40GB. As a reminder, the special connector is still required, so core users will need to find a way around that, or buy a hard drive enclosure (read: find a bad 360 hard drive on ebay and use its casing).

The creator says that as soon as Microsoft releases a bigger hard drive, we can use these WDs up to that size.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lost Odyssey Preview // Xbox 360 Gamer Magazine Online

Lost Odyssey Preview // Xbox 360 Gamer Magazine Online

This is a good read. This sounds and looks more interesting than Blue Dragon in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Inside Bungie - Edge Online

Inside Bungie - Edge Online

Interesting words from Bungie. It's funny the disdain for Halo 2 the employee has, when it's been the most addictive video game I've ever played.

BTW, I apologize for not being able to put time into these articles. I'm being forced to revive some Pentium I machine that is required for some old proprietary hardware that the company doesn't want to spend $500,000 to replace. Unfortunately, relearning old DOS/WIN95 is a PITA, like using the PS3.

Monday, January 22, 2007

News - Kojima keen on Xbox 360 /// Eurogamer

News - Kojima keen on Xbox 360 /// Eurogamer

So the Sony-fan "god" wants some 360 action in the future.

It's really okay to leave MGS4 on the PS3. Then maybe someone will buy it at my house and play the PS3. I know I don't care about the game.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's Official: Don't waste your money on Blu-ray (or HD-DVD?)

We finally got a hold of a Blu-ray movie today. I must say that it was difficult to find one to review because I wasn't interested in most of the movies available (extremely limited selection in Wal-mart).

I also know that we'd be better off picking a recent movie that would be recorded in HD originally. But then again, I wanted to pretend I was an average consumer, thus I wouldn't have knowledge of such things. Besides, both versions blabber on about 1080p on the packaging, so we needed to see the "difference".

Terminator 2 was my most recent DVD purchase. I figured, hey, why not get it on Blu-ray so we could compare side-by-side? It was only twenty bucks as opposed to the upcoming AVP which will be forty, so I figured it was worth a shot. I'll end up buying AVP anyway, so I can do a comparison on it later.

As you could probably guess, my Blu-ray player is none other than the PS3.

Continue reading...

We popped in the Blu-ray T2 first and ran it at 1080i over HDMI on a 27" Westinghouse LCD television. The results were nothing short of disappointing. There was no "high def" to be seen, and the picture was actually STILL grainy/snowy. We lowered the resolution to 720p, and the results didn't change.

At this point, I was already getting frustrated because the poorly designed triggers on the controller would get pushed every time I put the controller on the ground. That caused some unwelcome fast forwarding in addition to the high-def no-show we just witnessed.

We popped in the DVD version. The PS3 put black bars on both sides AND letterboxed it. Since the PS3 can't upscale, we were stuck with 480p. Up close and personal, we could barely tell that the picture was a tiny bit more snowy/grainy. But from 10 feet away, the DVD vs Blu-ray difference was not discernible.

Then we had the DVD version upscaled to 1080i. Essentially no difference between the two.

I moved on to my 51" rear-projection television, which has a component switchbox. I paused the upscaled DVD version and Blu-ray versions in the same spot. Then I used the switchbox to bounce between the two frozen pictures. No difference. We scrutinized all the details, and concluded that I just wasted $20 on this Blu-ray movie.

Maybe I was "lucky" and T2 is a Blu-ray movie encoded in MPEG2, so the quality is poor. Still, the movie is being sold as being superior to the regular old DVD version when it is essentially a night and well...night difference.

Save your money kids. Not only is the PS3 frustrating, but Blu-ray is a giant scam. I have little doubt in my mind that HD-DVD will fail to provide anything better.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Yellow Dog installation results in new-gen "theory"

*Note, this is not a video of my machine, just someone running a SNES emulator on Yellow Dog

For those thinking that the PS3 is currently a replacement for your computer or modded Xbox, think again.

I ran through the Yellow Dog install last night, which requires a DVD and a USB thumbdrive for the bootloader. It took way longer than expected, and it didn't run as fast as you'd think a 3.0Ghz multi-threading processor should. I'm sure this will improve, but we need to keep in mind that Sony is NOT providing access to the PS3 GPU. This kills the chance for strong-running emulation or even quality stand-alone games.

It was nice to use Firefox instead of the Sony-provided browser. In the end, it was cool to have a Linux PC without building another box (not that I don't have 8 computers already, but a linux box is never a bad thing). My hope was that the PS3 could replace my laptop in my gaming rig, but it looks like that's a ways off. Not to mention it won't be running AVP2 any time soon, unless some Linux version appears and GPU access is granted.

During this whole process, I realized one thing: the PS3 is designed for HDMI use. The text is an eye-strain to use even in component due to the glowing effects they use in the "game-os". We pulled out our Westinghouse 27" LCD to try it out and everything was comfortable to read. The only problem was that LCD TV's and HDMI reveal all of the imperfections in textures on EVERYTHING. Sloppy shading even on Gran Turismo HD becomes prominent. This is why I like component connections on rear-projection TV's. That slight softness actually makes games look better. Play Halo 2 on an LCD and you'll see what I mean.

Overall, it will be interesting to see how this develops. I assure you that most people will not want to go through the hassle to get this up and running though. If you strictly want an easy-to-use gamebox, the PS3 is probably not for you.

I've come up with a 3-part metaphor because of this experience:

The PS3 is like work. Your career can be fun at times, but at other times it's a giant pain-in-the-ass. Not everyone likes to take their work home, but some people love it all the time.

The Xbox 360 is like a hobby. We love our hobbies. They can be taken seriously, or just be plain fun. They take work at times, but we love doing it as often as possible.

The Wii is pure entertainment. Just unadulterated fun. You pick it up, and having a good time. There's really nothing to take seriously, just swing around and let loose.

The question is, with your personal gaming habits, which sounds right for you? I like all three, but gaming is my hobby, which is why I still think the Xbox 360 is the best console for me.

Friday, January 19, 2007

PS3 vs Wii via e-Harmony

This article isn't new, but some might find it humorous. Basically, a couple of guys turned consoles into dates on e-Harmony to see how they stack up.

It didn't do much for me humor-wise, but maybe the light-hearted will get a chuckle?

Thanks for the link, Mike!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

PS3 quick comments

Many controls and options don't seem as "obvious" as they should be. They aren't as intuitive as the Xbox 360's interface. It's not always obvious where you are or what you're supposed to do (i.e. press right to go to the next part of menu, but the arrow indicator is tiny and doesn't stick out).

The controller does get out of whack at random intervals. It's really aggravating. I've died several times in Resistance because I lost control of my character for 2-3 seconds.

The controller is too feels like it's made out of cheaper plastic than the Dualshock controllers. The buttons are overly sensitive.

The PS3 is huge and heavy. And it's still ugly. The chrome dressing looks like a cheap sticker.

The analog sticks on the SIXAXIS are quite a bit better than the dualshock's.

The online experience is very impersonal, and it makes me feel removed from my gaming experience.

The system is quiet. I've not tried any DVDs to see if the noise increases.

I'm lucky, my television will handle 720p apparently. I wasn't sure if it did or not. Thankfully, no 480p downscaling for me.

The extra features aren't really that inviting. Web browsing is awkward.

More to come...

Resistance: Fall of Man not like Call of Duty (it's like Killzone with much less suck)

While Resistance is the most hyped up PS3 game right now, it certainly doesn't deserve it. One of my room mates, who is trying to stand behind Sony, even mentioned that he expected more. A lot more. The game isn't bad by any means, but it fails on many levels.

Some get brash and say this game's multiplayer is comparable to Halo. It isn't. There's no intensity, and it feels like roaming a graveyard. The necessary sounds may be there, but they just aren't...felt. In Call of Duty 2, when a grenade goes off nearby, you feel it. It's dramatic, the sound fits, and the rumble is there to add to it. In Resistance, a similar sound is there, but the dramatic effect is lost, and of course, there's no rumble. It ends up feeling extremely hollow. Unfortunately, this problem affects single-player as well.

Continue reading...

As for the "creative weapons", there's some great ideas there. But there is definitely a disconnect between the weapon descriptions and the weapon's effectiveness. The "Sapper" for instance sounds really handy and even more so impressive with it's multiple mine shooting and detonating abilities. The description provides a "Hell yeah, I'm going to blow stuff up," feeling. That feeling is painfully denied when the Sapper in use proves itself rather lame. It's range is uncomfortably limited, and it shoots these organic bubbles that pop into a slight spray of goo. No explosions. It leaves for serious disappointment.

Many say Resistance seems like Call of Duty with aliens. More accurately, I'd call it Killzone with solid controls, better AI, and better graphics. Yet it doesn't have the graphics of Gears or War, or multi-player that's comparable to Halo 2. The game mechanics and audio work are looking up to Call of Duty's quality, but are still learning.

However, this is the most solid exclusive FPS on a Playstation product to date. The controls can be completely modified per desire and the SIXAXIS does well for it even without rumble. The AI is good enough to be entertaining, the weapon selection is decent, and the graphics are above par. The environments are large, and while the detail is slightly lacking, there is a lot of three dimensional background "stuff" that makes this game seem a little different than any console FPS we've seen so far.

Essentially, this game is as good as the PS3 gets for now. Hopefully we'll see some better titles in the future.

-Large environments
-Interesting weapon selection
-Plenty of vehicles

-Multiplayer lacks the intensity of Halo, FEAR, or Counterstrike.
-The campaign seems like it's dragging rather early on
-The narration is abrupt and uncomfortably breaks up the gameplay

The game seems to mimic Killzone's repetitiveness and pacing. Like Killzone, the story should be more interesting than it ends up being during the game.

Rent or Buy:
This depends. If you want online FPS multiplayer on the PS3, this is your option. In that case, buy. Otherwise, rent.

MSRP: $59.99
My Appraisal: $29.99

-8.5/10.0 at
-8.6/10.0 at
-9.5/10.0 from

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Unboxing my PS3

No, I still don't have a camera.

Anyway, because of this week's $100 PS2 trade in toward a PS3, I decided to pick up a "premium" model for the "core" model price. Because as I remind everyone way too often, I have too many PS2's, most of which have died typical deaths.

I don't remember where I read it, but one reviewer suggested that the PS3 seemed lighter than the 360. That is a fallacy. The PS3 feels like a brick.

Like the XMB interface? While it may be aethestically minimalistic, it already seems to be overloaded (read: too big). I didn't like it on the PSP, and I don't like it here.

I'm waiting for it to update. And yes, as others have mentioned, the text input via controller is annoying.

More to come.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Desire for Wii end in death?

My friend Jaret reports per X96.1 in Utah that a radio station in California held a contest to win a Wii. The name of the game was, "Hold your wee, for a Wii."

The objective for the contestants was to drink as much water as they could without going to the restroom. One losing contestant went home and passed away, supposedly from drinking too much water?

Be careful on what you're willing to do for these new generation consoles, kids.

Update: Death was caused by "Water Intoxication" according to Joystiq.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Reflecting on Geist with a new review layout

The typical 10.0 rating system seems quite diluted nowadays. We seem to see too many in the 7 and 8 range, which somehow means "give it a try". To add specificity, some reviewers such as Team Xbox and Game Informer, will rate or comment on individual aspects in the review summaries. While this is good, it doesn't directly respond to a question that should come up often in this hobby: "Is the game worth the entry price?"

I've made minor attempts to "improve the answer" by passively suggesting to either "Rent it" or "Buy it". It's an attempt at a good start, but I really need to standardize. So from here out, I will do my best to include the following in my reviews:

  • 3 pros minimum

  • 3 cons minimum

  • What the game seems to take inspiration from (i.e. Saints row takes from GTA)

  • My Rent or Buy suggestion

  • My personal appraisal on the game's value (aka what I think it's worth)

  • Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP)

  • 3 links to other related reviews minimum

Since I've recently plowed through Geist, I figure it could be the first victim of my template, even though the game is a couple years old at this point.


Continue reading...

Geist is one of those games with phenomenal intentions that were poorly executed. The game revolves around the main character becoming a spector that can posses both animate and inanimate objects. With this ability, the main character seeks a means of escape and exposing the people that did this to him. All of this is done from first-person perspective.

To add challenge, all potential living possesees must be scared before the character can hop right in and have his way. Of course, this involves possessing non-living things in many cases to use against the upcoming victim.

Sounds great, doesn't it? The potential seemed almost endless just in reading about the game's basic mechanic. Unfortunately, most hope gets shot down within the first few minutes of the game. The game plays very straight-forward, leaving only a few instances where the player may not know exactly what to possess.

As far as the graphics, they are a joke, even for 2005. There really is nothing pretty about this game; it feels as if it was released 3-4 years ago instead of 1-2. Collision problems, blocky characters, and low-res textures are what you will find here.

Another issue is the Gamecube's controller's inherent flaws can't hide in a can of soda on this game. It seemed that about half of the game involved FPS'ing, and the no-traction C-stick can get annoying. Beyond that, there is no option for sensitivity adjustment, so be prepared to get frustrated. Thankfully, pinpoint accuracy isn't a requirement in most cases.

Those things said, the game is still definitely worth a playthrough. It's a different experience, and the few low-difficulty puzzles are amusing because of their quantity. It's difficult to label Geist as a shooter because there hasn't been much to compare it to. If we're lucky, someone will appropriately capitalize on this great idea that didn't have the right effort behind it the first time.

  • Different experience via interesting possessing mechanic

  • Interesting multiplayer twists on classics such as "Capture the Host"

  • The idea of possessing a showerhead in the ladies room may excite the eccentric

  • Graphics are beyond dated, and will turn fickle eyes away in disgust

  • Progression is too linear, leaving little for exploration

  • Gamecube controller isn't suited for FPS controls

Seems inspired by:
First person shooters in general with a bit of a "point and click adventure" intentions

Buy or Rent?: Rent
Original MSRP: $49.99
My Appraisal: $10.00 maximum

Other reviews:
5.5 on 1up
7.8 on Gamespot
6 on GameInformer


That seemed to work out okay. Feedback is welcome as always.

Naughty movie makers decide on the next HD format

I'm going to have to watch my verbage because of my current location.

Anyway, the "naughty" industry original decided to go with Blu-ray. Apparently though, Sony is restricting XXX films from being printed on the format so that industry will have to go with HD-DVD. Originally, they were going for Blu, but it seems Sony's naivite has removed them from the war.

One of the big problems they have with Blu-ray is its expense, followed by its market share. -Aaron McKenna, TGDaily

Whether we like it or not, wherever the XXX movies go, the consumers will go. All the game industry combined can't touch the XXX industry in profits. It's sad, but it's true. In effect, without their support, Sony might as well pack their bags on the movie format side of things, and start concentrating on making PS3 games that don't suck.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

DRM and you.

At the close of last year, there were miniscule steps away from DRM that probably went unnoticed. Arstechnica posted a good-read article in December which pointed out that some upcoming music that was without DRM drudgery. Apparently, the managers had to struggle against the label in order to get the DRM ball and chain removed.

This is begging the question, "What does this have to do with gaming?"

Continue reading...

Begrudgingly to some, high definition movie-playback has become a hot topic among our new consoles (minus the Wii). The result leaves gamers not only taking sides with a console manufacturer, but potentially with HD-DVD or Blu-ray as well. Currently, the PS3 force-includes a Blu-ray drive while the Xbox 360 has an external HD-DVD option that's also PC compatible.

DRM not only infects music; it infects video as well. While some Sony advocats are praising HDMI for it's slight picture improvement, the real concern with it is DRM-ish compatibility. One big issue with HDMI is that it is made with DRM in mind.

In HDMI's HDCP spec, it has a manufacturer option for a security token that prevents full HD video if the video connection isn't HDMI. This security token downgrades all resolutions to 540p, which essentially removes the HD benefit. For all the bragging that the Blu-ray and HD-DVD companies do about the wonder of 720p or 1080i/p, they seem awfully willing to sell the goods that could perform much less than advertised.

Ask yourself, is that right? Do those with HD televisions that lack HDMI (or DVI with HDCP support) feel good about such a "feature"?

The explanation revolves around the movie companies fearing the possibility that someone could record an analog component signal. In order to "prevent" that, they want to refuse 720p and 1080i/p resolutions over non-certified connections. We all know that pirates will find ways to circumvent this beyond-annoyance anyway, so they are giving us unnecessary headache.

As consumers, we can only hope that the entertainment we purchase will move beyond these fear-of-pirating tactics that crumble the enjoyment of the medium. Commenter "Paul" hits the nail on the head about being a DRM-victim in response to engadget's take on this information.

It's getting difficult to remember a time when our equipment worked the way it was supposed to.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Late Post-Holiday Roundup

To peruse the obligatories:

Bad PS3 news:

Steady supplies, or lack of sales? Probably the latter. I can vouch that I've seen similar signs posted at stores (see the article).

Kojima knocks on HD, blu-ray, and wants to do Wii. I don't really care about Kojima's opinion, but the PS3 maggots do.


Good Xbox 360 news:

Achievements are praiseworthy, and are better received than expected. I love them. In fact, they've ruined old-gen gaming for me, unless we see those games pop back up on XBLA.



Atlantic brings us waterproof DS and PSP carrying cases. Since I entered the boating world last year, I have taken these into consideration.

CG cutscenes get discussed. The majority of commenters say, "Away with thee, foul CG cutscene!" I'm with them.

$60 game prices may not stick. Good news for gamers everywhere.


Hopefully some spicy news will enter our dry mouths that hunger for exciting gaming info. Say, "Aaaaahhhh...."

Revisiting some "last gen" titles

My universal controller has me revisiting some of my dusty "to-do" games.

As for wrapping up Xenosaga, I felt the finale was a bit dry. On the other hand, I don't really know how else they could have done. Overall, the series was worth it, and I can say that the story annihilates anything labeled Final Fantasy. Anyone tired of the usual boring RPG fare should pick up the Xeno trilogy. The road is bumpy and the story is complex, but the experience is a satisfying one.

After that, I finished up The Suffering: The Ties that Bind. That is one crazy game, and I was loving the switchable 1st to 3rd person modes. The story is a little hard to follow, and the ending didn't prove its worth for the effort required. It was enjoyable, but it's not for everyone.

Following that, I finally completed Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. My gusto for the game has waned since I haven't played it for so long. However, upon completing it, I came to find that the "true ending" only comes after playing the game three times all the way through. In the beginning, there are three paths to take, so this makes sense. But without achievements, updated graphics, and solid mechanics, there's little motivation to run this game again. If you beat the game once and that's enough for you, then check out the true ending on

Tonight, I've been working on Geist. The universal controller is leaps and bounds better than the Gamecube controller for this game, mainly because of the better right-analog stick. As opposed to before, I'm enjoying this game now, although I expect to take an non-completionist approach to reaching the end in the upcoming days.

This should complete the games I desired to finish for last gen, sans the upcoming God of War 2. I still have to tackle ICO, finish Panzer Dragoon Orta, and the Megaman X collection, but those can be saved for rainy days.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Xbox 360 with HDMI angers early adopters?

Will there be throngs of bloodthirsty 1st gen Xbox 360 owners because of this? I'm actually surprised that some gamers are already throwing temper tantrums.

I think people are forgetting that most users don't have HDTV so the addition of a HDMI port really isn't that big of a deal at this point of time. Until HDTV penetration at least doubles, the concern is low. Another thing to consider is that many "cheap" HDTV's may not even have HDMI, and those models will be mobbed up first.

Maybe I'm biased because I like component better. Analog HD is easier on my eyes because it provides a little softness which smooths out the overall picture. DVI/HDMI on the other hand, seem to be too razor sharp and it's almost painful to look at. Not to mention it exacerbates the blue/green screen effect that HD video sometimes has (it makes people look like cardboard cutouts). Adjustments can be made to counter these problems, but then the supposed benefit is lost.

Either way, why not slap an HDMI port on there if they can? Did people get mad because the slimline PS2 was well...slim, and and came with a (useless) built-in modem and network card? No, they didn't. What's the problem here? This upgrade doesn't even require a proprietary cable. As an early adopter, I don't see a problem myself. This is one of the risks of buying early.

As far as the prospects of a bigger hard drive, that's where people should be getting upset. $99 for a 20GB HDD is insane, and I'm really disappointed on how MS prices some of their accessories (i.e. WiFi adapter @ $99, PNP kit @ $20, AV cables @ $20-40). According to this pricing, a 120GB Hard drive should be $499, which would be outright ridiculous. Obviously, they won't do such a thing because they have a choice unlike the PSP and it's $300 multi-gigabyte flash memory cards.

I still insist that Microsoft should do away with the HDD-less model of the 360, and upgrade the core with the 20GB HDD and the Premium with a 60+GB HDD. Hell, make a Platinum version with HDMI, wireless headset and a 120GB HDD for $500.

I wouldn't consider three models out of the question, but they could simply drop the "core" idea altogether. Everyone needs a hard drive, Microsoft. The HDD is one of the few things Sony got right amid their PS3 conundrums.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Big guns = Big fun?

Has Wayne here been hanging out with KOS-MOS?

A weary feeling has seemed to be taking its toll as of late. All the new consoles are out, and it's been a couple of months since the release of the last big game (Gears of War). Between restlessly reaching for the Xenosaga finale, getting through Eternal Darkness, and sending my 360 to the Xbox hospital, I've failed to notice that the hype train for 360 games has slowed. Maybe it needs to let the equivalent PS3 train catch up (or even get started).

Sure, I have interest in Phantasy Star, Call of Duty 3, and Tiger Woods '07 (which I purchased on Saturday). But the interest isn't enough for me to put down the entry price. *sigh*

In comes Lost Planet. It's been on my radar, but it's been there so long that the blips have been tuned out even though it's a few days away from release. I remember blasting through the demo on Xbox Live last year, and realizing that this was going to be the next big gunner after Gears. The reviews have a glut of positives somewhat hampered by a few annoyances. I have to wonder if the reviewer's opinions were tainted by the Gears experience? We'll see in any case; expect a Lost Planet review here soon.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Universal Controller Review

A while ago, I promised a review on the awesome xbox-style universal controller.

My prediction on the d-pad was right; it's weird. It's lumpy, but somehow functional. The face buttons look a bit cheap, but they function just fine. The turbo function is "easy money"; hold the turbo button, press the button to be become "fully automatic" and release. Repeat to return to "semi automatic". Unfortunately, there is no turbo indicator LED. But that's okay, it hasn't bothered me.

One problem I couldn't have been prepared for is that some games require the holding of multiple buttons. Normally, this is fine, except when they assume that you have four shoulder buttons (which is a good assumption in this case). While holding L1+X+O is easy on a Dualshock, this controller leaves you attempting to hold X+A+White Button (all face buttons), which can be awkward. Thankfully, not many games do this (the mini game in Xenosaga III was the only culprit for me thus far).

Overall, the controller feels just as solid as Microsoft's s-controller. It is leaps and bounds more comfortable than either the Dualshock or the Gamecube controller, so the controller effectively serves its puprose. I enjoy it so much that I don't even use my wireless PS2 controller any more.

If the s-controller for the Xbox is your favorite controller and you have multiple consoles, then it'd be a lie to say this controller was optional.


  • Good overall feel (buttons, grips, etc)

  • Easy Turbo setup

  • Works with all three last generation consoles


  • Odd d-pad texture

  • Didn't have white/black buttons also on the shoulders

  • Although a rarity, it doesn't function properly with some games

Feels like:

  • an S-controller with Turbo