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July 3, 2008

Across the Pond

So I figured that since I'd pretty much played out God of War: Chains of Olympus, WipEout: Pulse, and haven't been in the mood for heavy Japanese grinds (a la Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness), I should probably look into picking up something new for my plane ride to Europe.

I've been wanting to buy Dead Head Fred since its release, but never got around to it. My impending trip and the game's recent price drop to $15 were enough incentive to get me to take the plunge.

Five hours in, and I can see why the game got an award for its writing. The story is humorous and engrossing, with unique characters, amazing voice acting (John C. McGinley, of Dr. Cox fame, voices the main character) and an art style that gives everything unique personality and disturbing charm. The platforming isn't too difficult, but it's not too easy. The environments are fun to explore and the load times are minimal for a portable game.

Problems I've encountered so far were minor (I couldn't figure out how to win the first boss fight). The camera is good for a portable game, but lacking a second analog nub on the PSP means you get into some weird situations. While the options and customization due to the switchable heads adds good amounts of depth, it can seem shallow at times. Combat has lots of interesting combos and animations, but you're never compelled to use any of them- I quickly found that a Square + Square + X, used repeatedly, will interrupt all special and normal attack sequences farely quickly, while dealing minimal damage to yourself (bosses are faster than other enemies, so you can take some hits there).

The heads offer unique styles of gameplay and puzzle solving for anyone, and the upgrades are actually useful.

In short- Dead Head Fred, while not the most popular title (I don't think it even qualifies as a cult classic), is definitely worth the minimal scratch you throw down to acquire it.

Oh, and Diablo3. Looking forward to playing it, Winter of 2011.

June 30, 2008

Trophies and In-Game XMB? What More Can We Ask For?

Just recently, Eric Lempel (director of PlayStation network operations) has released a video demonstrating in-game xmb and the trophy system that will soon be released to the gaming community. This is big news to PlayStation owners since this is what they have been waiting for ever since the launch of the PlayStation 3. The new 2.4 update will include the following that have been confirmed so far:
-In-game xmb
-In-game music
-In-game messaging
-A display of the date and time
-The trophy system
-New display of gamer profile
-Search feature

The expectation of the arrival for 2.4 will be July 2nd. Here are the following videos that were posted on the PlayStation blog:

Part 1


After 2.4, what more can PlayStation owners ask for? All I can ever think of is in-game pictures and videos.

June 26, 2008

Monkey see, monkey do.

So it's a tradition of publishers and developers, worldwide, to begin releasing 80% of their games in the late Fall/early Winter season. It's some kind of "lets release for the holidays! it's bound to sell some!" craze that has gripped them for years. You'd think that they would have learned by now that doing this is a practice bound to kill your company off, if you're lucky.

The chances of your game being rated favorably (70-average, on most "school-style" scales being used by many reviewers) at 85 or higher is very low. The chances of your title being a triple-A hit, or at least a 93 or so (A-range) are even lower. Many titles that release in this pre-holiday window ARE potentially qualified for triple-A* status, this year's examples being Fallout 3, Fable 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Tom Clancy's EndWar, Prince of Persia... etc.

That's a (possible) 5 or 6 games, given that not all of these can reach the top, and some unexpected ones might.

How many games ARE releasing in this window? I'd guess (for all platforms) it's between 40-50. A good half of these are going to be shuttleware crap, especially for the Nintendo Wii. Random shooters, such as Legendary, Fracture, the newly announced Damnation (which inspired this article) are pretty much doomed to the bargain bin. Potentially adopted by some (memories of myself and TimeShift come to mind), but generally overlooked and possibly under-appreciated. Why? Because these people choose to get their games out for the holiday season instead of pumping up the market during the classic lulls (early spring, mid-summer) and getting much more publicity and a larger possible adoption rate than they would ever achieve in the months of falling leaves.

Games I could see easily slipping through the cracks this year are some that definitely don't deserve to be overlooked: Far Cry 2, Sacred 2: Falling Angel, Tom Clancy's HAWX (probably going to be delayed, as are the previously listed titles), Dead Space, and I'm making lists again.

My point is- congratulations, you've made a game. The best game? Probably not. Quirky, appealing, not too hyped? Almost definitely. Is it going to sell in the holiday season? Not unless some ironic miracle takes place. Developers and Publishers need to start realizing that the games they push are not going to always be amazing, always be new and loved. It's suicide to push them in between titles from huge studios with media resources behind it that cost more than the studios that make the smaller games. All gamers know and dread the summer drought, that famous time when people scoop up games they'd traded away months ago just for something to play.

Look at things like Gears of War: Refresh. In a time when people have mostly ditched Gears, gotten bored with other things, and are looking for something new, we have a perfect repackage. Battlefield: Bad Company- a mediocre game on all counts, with a mediocre frame-rate, lackluster environmental destruction and seriously flawed design choices in multiplayer that cripple an otherwise pretty fun game. The game has gotten way more publicity than it might have in the fall (although it has EA behind it). People are a little slow to buy it right now, but it's a viable summer entry, and it's guaranteed to have a strong playerbase for at least a few months.

People need to start getting smarter about their release dates, and start realizing the truth- they aren't developing a cure for cancer, their game probably won't sell nearly as well as they want it to, and Fall will burn them alive. Space out your releases, and benefit yourself as well as the gamers who now get something to play in a normally dry (no pun intended) season.

*Games listed as potentially triple-A are based purely on personal speculation and general media perception.

June 23, 2008

Live and let die!

Im cheering this board up with none other than!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sims dying! Yes click the link to see 13 ways to kill sims. Also on the youtube site are funnier sims videos like a girl getting hit by a asteroid. A guy killed by a swarm of babies. Also some how a dumbass drowns in a toilet. Also sorry my spelling isn't perfect ok. Like baby Jesus always said "Blow Me". Fin.

June 21, 2008

Metal Gear Online Pictures =D

So today I took some awesome pictures in Metal Gear Online and I was thinking, "I should share it with the people at this blog." Anyways here's the pictures that I took.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Look! A PMC soldier!



What time is it?

I'm going to die, am I?


Do you guys see the ghosts?

Hm? A comet?

June 20, 2008

Pressure is building...

This is an important message for anyone who happens to stumble across it: Valve, the owner of Steam, is hosting a Team Fortress 2 Free Weekend! Coinciding with the new Pyro update, which fleshes out the class with some really cool new weapons, you can try out the critically acclaimed Team Fortress 2 in it's entirety for a whole 2 days, no charge!

Team Fortress 2, for those who don't know, is a class-based shooter with a cartoon style not unlike Pixar's The Incredibles. One of the most well-balanced, quirky games I've ever seen, it offers a map, gameplay style, and fun for everyone.

To download the Steam client, click HERE. The client doesn't take up much storage space, is easy to install, and it's free. Then, go through the motions of creating the SteamID you need to access the service. It's your typical registration process. After that, come back and click HERE.

That link should let you pre-load the game, and make it easy to launch. After that- launch the game, and have fun!

Oh- and here's the great new "Meet the Sniper" video released on Wednesday of this week.

June 13, 2008

IGN hands out another perfect 10

Well there you have it, Metal Gear Solid 4 has received a perfect 10 from Which reminds me to tell you, I will not be writing an impressions of MGS4 (I am currently 50% done with 11 hours) but I will be writing an overview, which to me is kind of a review, without scores. Do you know why? Because I think scores are stupid.

With that said, I still urge you to go read this review if you are contemplating buying a PS3, because this game is truly a masterpiece.

PS: I can confirm that indeed, Raiden is a straight up badass in this game.