Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trudging through Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2 bleeds aged charm, making it easy to see why it was a popular game during it's time. Suffice to say, even with a to-current-gen-console limited polish, it's gameplay leaves a lot to be desired.

Granted, I haven't tried Ep1 or Ep2 yet, but I have my doubts I'll make it there. HL2 is still full of predictable annoyances, leaving it hard for someone who hasn't played it yet to enjoy it. There is little surprise on big fights to come due to level layouts and ammo locations. The levels drag on...just when it seems the end is in sight, it screams on in unnecessary excess. It makes me wonder why we expect 20 hours out of a game anymore. Patience has dissolved over time I think.

That said, I can appreciate the in-game story elements and the vehicle sections compared to other games of the era. There's about a dozen handfuls of weapons to go around. The mini-puzzles, such as the level with the priest, and head-crab surprises were done fairly well, although the latter certainly pales compared to AVP2.

A begrudged search on the internet reveals that HL2 drags on for 14-15 hours. At this rate, I'll be lucky to make it halfway through. An hours play climaxes by me losing interest. Enough is enough.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CNET: Xbox 360 vs PS3 video, 6 rounds

The PS3 has more features and appealing form factor, while the 360 has more games and the smooth online experience. Who wins? Watch the video.

I have to disagree with the judges on the PS3's looks. While the 360 is very conservative, the PS3 is an ugly piece of kit. Some of us may remember when the box-style cars were replaced with excessive roundness (think bubble Taurus). At the turn of the century, designers combined the two opposing aesthetics to "bring sexy back". The PS3 is a perfect example of "design that tries to hard" just like those late 90's models. Too many nonfunctional curves that crash into themselves, making for an awkward aesthetic.

Anyway, I'm not surprised at the outcome of this match up.

NOS Gameplay: Aliens Vs Predator 2 (PC)

Okay, the host is a dork, but most gamers are. The game has many jumpy moments, but I think he's over-reacting. The video certainly doesn't do the game justice however.

We can only hope that SEGA's forthcoming Aliens Vs Predator is up to par with AVP2 and surpasses it. For an 8 year old game, it's high quality, good lighting, has 3 different loaded campaigns, and the multi-player is absolute craziness. A marine runs from the Predator's laser-sites and comes around a corner to be pounced on from the ceiling by an ALIEN.

With today's games, AVP could make for co-op campaigns and Left 4 Dead style versus modes that would keep gamers occupied for a long time. In the AVP universe...DLC could be almost endless.

Yeah, I'm excited. Screw off. And I need one of these for a pet:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is the Blu-ray bonus really a selling point?

Initial reaction to this article is: "So?"

I've never been huge into renting movies, but Netflix has changed my ways. It's just too convenient to pass-up. Most of that content is certainly not HD, but I love it. The content that is in HD is nice, but I tend to forget I'm experiencing extra pixels after a few minutes.

While I did finally find an HDTV that shows a noticeable difference, I'm still note convinced I need it. I can switch between compressed streaming video, DVD, and Blu-ray without batting an eye or disturbance. I just don't see the difference being that important; the content is far more important to me than minor variations in picture qualities. Netflix won't be getting an extra dollar out of me so I can tout my Blu-ray-having-ness, that's for sure.

How important is the extra pixels? Gaming journalism seems to nitpick at whether something is really 720p or 1080p or on Blu-ray. If you are happy with the picture, does it really matter? I'm certainly not going to buy the PS3 version of RE5 just because the worthless bonus disc is BD. Give me some real incentive!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Microsoft and Sony indirectly helped each other on their CPU's

There were IBM, Sony, and Toshiba engineers working on the initial PowerPC core. That was designed for the Cell. But when Microsoft came in and said, "We want something similar, but with all these extra enhancements," we convinced the Sony and Toshiba partners that we wanted to do this one, common core that had these new features and they agreed to that. -Dave Shippy

This quote comes from the fourth question of the interview. He later mentions that further modifications requested from Sony were added. IBM's goal was to use a common core, albeit within different CPU designs.

Naturally, he's approached with fanboy extraordinaire question, "Which [CPU] was the more effective or powerful?" Intelligently, he responds that both processors are "fairly equal".

The last question involves an MS vs Sony business approach comparison. Both companies shot for 2005, and IBM met their goal. MS's was very aggressive and had backup plants (one of which involved relying on software where hardware wouldn't suffice). Sony was conservative, which left to many delays.

For more info, pick up the latest Game Informer and/or get Dave Shippy's book, "The Race for a new Game Machine".

[Dave Shippy interview, page 38, Game Informer Issue 191]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SEGA to resuscitate AVP FPS?

In early 2010, we'll finally have our "AVP3" it sounds like. If it's anything like AVP2 (PC), then I can forget about all other FPS games for a while. I couldn't be happier that ALIENS is going to get some games. Some faith will be required since there really hasn't been a stand out AVP title since AVP2.

“The innovative new AvP game presents an exciting opportunity for us,” says CEO of SEGA West, Naoya Tsurumi. “It represents a fantastic addition to our growing Aliens franchise and the reinvention of one of gaming’s most cherished iconic titles. By adjusting the release of our other Aliens titles to accommodate it, SEGA will ensure that every title lives up to the high expectations of Aliens and AvP fans.”

[via Yahoo]