Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Fight is finished...Halo 3 campaign review

For the first time ever, I actually waited in line for the launch of a video game related item. Sure, I waited at Wal-mart for the Wii when they received a dozen or so, but it wasn't a line. Just a dozen or so people standing around the Customer Service desk. In contrast, there were hundreds of people waiting to pick up Halo 3.

Anyway, it took a couple of hours to get through the line just to get a ticket. Personally, I think this was time-burning hoop-jumping. After that, we had to stand in line again at Midnight to redeem said ticket. Demolition and I rolled our eyes in shame as obviously disturbed individuals ran off into he night with 2-3 Legendary editions in hand. "[WTF]," is about all I could muster.

In the end, I can say it wasn't worth it. No console or game has ever been worth standing in line for hours in my experience. It seems to be a practice in futility by building an overwhelming tower of unrealistic expectations. But I digress.

Continue reading...

The first thing Demolition and I did was play through the campaign. Immediately I can say that anyone who complained about the graphics can stop. Halo 3 is a beautiful game, although the human faces were quite a letdown. The Elites and Master Chief looks solid and highly detailed, and the shadows aren't grainy as many 360/PS3 games seem to be to this point.

The gameplay was as expected; the real problem is the story and presentation itself. While completing the campaign, I couldn't help but find a correlation to Terminator 3's pacing. It felt rushed and the story itself seemed slapped together for a disappointing finale. They even resulted to copping out on re-using a Halo 1 level mechanic (you'll know what I mean when you get there). Bungie, unfortunately, failed to get us re-attached to any of the characters, and they made Arbiter and MC way too much of yes-men.

The last few levels ended up being a mad-dash just to get through it...we stopped trying after a point. I can say that the length is about right, but the missions themselves lack quite a bit of oomph. Comparing to the previous Halo campaigns, I would rank it 2nd place. The first Halo has to come in last because it was just too repetitive. Halo 2 had a good bit of action and battle scenarios, so I'll keep it at first place. Halo 3 is somewhere in the middle.

However, we all know that we really buy Halo for the multiplayer...the story is only for hardcore fans. I'll touch that part after playing it more. From the beta and the few matches I've played so far, this looks to be the best Halo yet. See you online!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Still here...and no time again

I have a trainee at work and a high-maintenance contractor is in for the next 7-8 days so I'm not going to have much of a chance to write anything until this bump has been passed.

We did have a Halo 2 LAN party with my room mate's co-workers last night. 8 guys and 1 girl. It was fairly hectic, although it's obvious that almost none of them have played online before. Demo and I had to be on different teams or it would have been a slaughter.

I'm thinking...oh that I've sold my 51" big screen we have a LAN party. Damn. I had to bring the 27" LCD and Demo had to bring his 32" LCD. It was chaos, but a good time. Hopefully we'll see more of these LAN parties when HALO 3 comes out...and hopefull we can just do them over XBL. LOL

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ninja Gaiden II dismembering our minds soon

In light of Heavenly Swords and God of Wars that keep action slow, boring, and very un-ninja, Tecmo has finally come out to show us our savior. Fans of the not-for-the-unskilled-gamer reiterations of the original title ran dry from salivation long ago. While clamoring for the oasis of an actual sequel, it appears that Team Ninja has been upping the difficulty, weapon selection, graphics, and all around violence. Yet the nimble and precise movements not found on the competition's games are still there, reminding us why Kratos is Ryu's bitch.

One problem I see with the demo of the game is that those new to the franchise probably won't get it. It also doesn't help that whoever is playing the game is obviously not as seasoned as some of the original title's zealots. It'll be difficult to appreciate that the AI is even smarter, and the enemies even more relentless.

Ninja Gaiden fans, take a look. The wait will be worth it. Take a gander at these screenshots. 1up and IGN have a little bit more info to check out as well.

The gameplay is so fast that it's hard to watch. Hard to keep up with. Lots of blood. Bodies getting chopped in half. Ryu pins enemis on the ground, thrusts his sword in, and they explode!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Holy Super-sized DS

engadget brings us the HUGE DS mod.

Yes...that is ridiculous. Note that they still had to use a DS to connect to the big screens...but they control with the big screens. I want...the DS is too damn small.

Monday, September 10, 2007

TeamXbox discovers VMD; gets over-excited

It looks like someone pointed TeamXbox to the "been around for a while" VMD format. Apparently, HD gets appended to the beginning of it to let us know that it's serious.

As a reminder...EVD/VMD uses multiple layers with a RED laser. This is why the players are multifuctional and under $200 right out the door. If memory serves correctly, they use up to 10 layers at 5GB each...1080p is supported and they are plenty capable of anything that HD-DVD and Blu-ray can do (whether they have the rights is another matter).

It just shows how these companies are ripping us off. Unfortunately, VMD isn't likely to go far since it has no studio support (HDCP support not required, which they won't like).

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Square-Enix not amused with Sony's poor advertising

It looks like the good ol' SE might be getting hesitant. Square Enix President Yoichi Wada wants Sony to pick a solid marketing strategy. Understandable, seemingly how Final Fantasy XIII is likely the biggest FF undertaking thus far (isn't the current one always?). They are going to want to see some returns for their game.

Commenter Crono, put it best:

This is the biggest problem with these all in one devices. They spread themselves too thin and end up alienating all their customers. As a multi-media/blu ray player, the PS3 is average. Its not the best thing, but its not the worst either. But as a game machine, its currently not the best, and its overpriced if you're going to use it just for gaming. It ends up having no target market.

Well put, Crono. I totally agree. I don't know what the hell my PS3 is supposed to be. Currently, the console doesn't appear to do anything very well. Sure, it plays Blu-ray, runs Linux, plays games, browses the web, and has media center functions. I'm glad it has all these features, but most of the time I'm already getting those functions performed by other devices. And the non-multifunction devices generally do their respective jobs better.

The main purpose of my purchase, which is gaming, isn't being fulfilled yet. There are no games I'm itching to buy for it. The second main feature of Blu-ray hasn't impressed me enough to start purchasing $20+ BRDs instead of sub-$20 DVDs.

While I obviously like the PS3 the least of the current generation, I still want them to at least compete better. We don't want Nintendo or Microsoft to completely take over...or we'll have 3 companies screwing us hardcore.

We'll see if Sony's chess game can improve. I'm guessing they underestimated the competition...and you'd think they would have learned from Nintendo's mistakes when Sony usurped their spot.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Gaming Status: Now and then

I was thinking the other day about how the volume and passthrough of my gaming has changed since I was in gradeschool.

As memory serves, my parents rarely bought me games. Understandably so; games were upwards of $50 or more in many cases. Even Commodore 64 games were spendy back in the day. So how did we bide our time?

Aside from borrowing games and what not, I remember having to rehash through old games constantly when I wanted a gaming fix. Christmas and my birthday were always a long ways off. Naturally I didn't have a job, so mom and dad were the hand that fed. So when whenver I or my friends procured a new title...we played the hell out of it. The Ninja Gaidens and Street Fighter were particularly bad.

Ugh, so much Ghostbusters...

Fast forward to today; I make my own money, and can buy games whenever I want. Continue reading... While this sounds like a good thing, I'm beginning to question it. Now I buy new games before I've finished playing the old ones. Too many options and just not enough time. It's even worse owning all the consoles and handhelds.

Currently, I have at least a dozen games I have to complete. Some I don't even get very far in before trading them in (Call of Duty 3 and Crackdown come to mind). Only the stellar games are getting my time, which is cutting me off from some potentially memorable experiences. Right now, I've got Bullet Witch, Lost Planet, Metroid Prime 3, Resident Evil 4 (Wii), Sonic and the Secret Rings, Dead or Alive 4, Phantasy Star Universe, Tiger Woods 07/08, Guitar Hero II, Bioshock, and more on the plate. I've already accepted I'll never get around to these unless I stop buying games for a while.

Sounds easy enough, but the problem is there's too many stellar titles coming out now. Rock Band, Guitar Hero 3, Halo 3, Stranglehold, Timeshift, Mario Galaxy, and others. While Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Halo are not optional...I'm thinking I can start holding off on the others. Finish what I have first, and by the time I'm ready to move on...the other games will be cheaper.

Maybe going back to the getting-a-new-game-is-rare situation of being a child gamer isn't such a bad thing.

Jumbled up cleanup: XBL > PSN exclusives; more FF7:CC

How's that for some unrelated subjects! I just need to clean out my "write about these" articles. So I'm going to mish mash them together like jelly and concrete...err... To exacerbate this subject salad, we'll add a format war article in there, too!

Math has come into play when it comes to evaluating the online exclusives game between XBL and PSN. Getting to the point, XBL has 61 to PSN's paltry 23. These numbers also include unreleased items to date (16 and 12 respectively).

XBLA has over three times more than PSN. And as a cherry on top, half of them have a Metascore of 75 or over. A measly three of PSN’s eleven releases can boast the same.

Why is this important? Peter Dille was quick to dismiss the competition as only rehashing legacy games. The numbers say otherwise, Peter. Worth mentioning though is that a few of PSN's titles are quite ambitious, like LittleBigPlanet. We'll see how those fair.

In a completely different world, where Final Fantasy is the only game ever, we're getting more coverage on FF7:CC. Check out the extended trailer. Then check out how Zack is the new-old Cloud. My PSP is crying waiting for this game. *play me, PLAY ME*

And on an end-note, more writers have decided that the format war is in a disgusting stalement, regardless of either side's claims.

"If anything, the confusion created by the lack of a standard has made more people in the mass market not want to pay attention to the subject," Taylor said. "It makes them not want to care."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Comments on Wii fit and Nintendo "ignoring" the gamers

I was reading Game Informer's disappointing experience with Nintendo's E3 presentation this morning. NintendoWiiFanboy seemed glum about it as well. Joystiq had a similar disgruntled experience at LGC07.

The consensus seems that Nintendo is shying away from actual gamers in lieu of non/new-gamers. This especially has to do with the lack of games that cater to more experienced players. Said experienced players are casting "Worry More" on themselves.

I'm not sure what "hardcore" gamers expected. Nintendo tried to stay in the game with the N64 and the Gamecube. While those consoles weren't complete failures, they made Nintendo seem to drop off the grid. As soon as Nintendo broadened their audience, they became a gaming company again, just not the kind we remember. Now anyone can play their products, especially the Wii. As a company, they should unfocus on the hardcore and move on to the greater populous where growth potential lies. It's in their best interest, and I support them in it.

Wii Fit has been the subject of much of this whining. I don't see why; the idea is absolutely brilliant. Exercise is generally a boring time consuming activity. It begs for video game assistance to make it fun. I've wondered why no company has been successful in making an exercise game, aside from the ever-popular DDR (which isn't for everyone). Just think of the new years resolutions you could go for with Wii fit!

I don't know about you, but I assumed that the Wii wouldn't be a core gaming machine. I never expected to play it everyday to fulfill my gaming desires. It was just something to do to take a [short] break from the other stuff. I'm starting to think that more people should take the same stance as well. For serious gaming, there's the 360 and the PS3. For everything else, there's the Wii.

Edited 09/07/2007: Updated links again. Confused LGC07 and E3.
Edited 09/06/2007: Spelling corrections and link added.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Microsoft Xbox 360 banter

I love how the media whines about the Xbox 360 needing a price drop. For two years. MS finally does such, and then we see, "They didn't need to do that."

Same with the whining about how the 360 didn't have HDMI. Then it gets it, and people still complain. Good hell.

A similar not-being-able-to-appease-consumer-actions was when Sony reverted to the old controller design in accordance to batarang mockings. Then we come to find the included motion control would have made sense with the original design! Lame.

Make up your minds.

In other news, Halo 3 is getting its high reviews already. GamesMaster gave it a perfect anyway. That's good to hear. Take a look at the H2 vs H3 comparison.

Elsewhere, some devout Playstationists may have been converted. The Register Hardware office was presented with the Xbox 360 Elite, and they came to find fun, a solid unit, and a good deal.

Totally random? Thus, banter!

Sony sinks low with their own fanboyism

Sony made a feeble attempt to leave a stain on the juggernaut known as Halo 3.

Sony should be banned from the internet. Permanently. Between faker websites, and these pathetic 5 year old marketing tactics, one has to wonder if they really are THAT desperate.

Hyped up games getting slammed: Eternal Sonata, Lair

EGM was apparently unimpressed by Eternal Sonata. A 6/10 rating must mean something is awry with the new RPG that was supposed to have a unique story.

Lair gets the shaft in Joystiq's metareview. It averaged barely over 50%, which is not a good sign. Great graphics, bad controls seem to be the encompassing summary.


Holy Final Fantasy VII stuffs

Non-turned based battle system in action.

Crisis Core in Midgar with remixed tunes.

Pretty images that will look like crap on my TV adapter.

Japan FF7:CC ad hits.

Honestly, I can't get to a lot of this media, but I'm assuming it's awesome. I'll check it out when I get home, but FF7 hasn't failed to disappoint yet. Maybe because I haven't played Dirge of Cerberus.

A few days away was good: Metroid Prime 3

Life moves on with or without you. I've got my head up and I'm ready to return to gaming.

I finally popped in Metroid Prime 3 and tried it out. The control scheme takes some getting used to. Regardless of what has been previously said by MP3-lovers, I still think the old dual thumbsticks or mouse and keyboard setup is the way to go. The Wii remote makes a great mouse, but the way it was implemented seems to put FPS action in slow motion on the player's end. It still seems to be the best Prime yet, and I'm excited to get a chance to play through it.

MP3 may have outsold Bioshock, but I still think Bioshock is the more unique experience. My guess is that since the Wii has outsold even the PS2 (in its respective time frame), that bored Wii owners are clamoring for a good game. Metroid seems to be the first REAL game for the Wii, so I expect it to sell as such. I guess some people were happy with Zelda, but it wasn't able to hold my interest.

For their sake, Wii Sports, Zelda, and MP3 are all the Wii has. That's pretty bad for the top-selling console. Nintendo doesn't seem to be bringing much more to the table as for stellar games either. Impatience is money lost or something.