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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.

June 11, 2008

Happy birthday, Keanu!

I know it's not really gaming related, but today is the site's co-creator Keanu's birthday!



Or did I miss it by a few days...

June 10, 2008

Smooth move, Japan.

For those of you who weren't paying too much attention to the conference that Microsoft recently held in Japan...

They held one?

It showcased several (j)RPGs:

  • Tales of Vesperia. I made a post a while back about this, and Tales games are pretty much the only JRPGs I bother playing. Sadly, it looks like I may not get much of a chance to play this one.
  • Star Ocean: Last Hope. Star Ocean is an alright series. Not the best, not the worst. I played through the first one during a summer stint at a cousin's house, long ago. Good? Bad? Who knows. Generic? Probably.
  • Infinite Undiscovery. I saw a trailer on this several months ago. It looked interesting. The entire "lets sneak around and avoid ogres, and then run away" concept doesn't appeal to me in the least, however. It's a cool idea, but it looks really gimmicky in its execution *cough wii cough*.
  • Last Remnant. The small information page on IGN makes it look like some kind of Japanese version of Viking: Battle for Asgard. Doesn't look that interesting. Haven't seen the trailer they've supposedly released, but I suppose it could play out well.
So we have a healthy lineup of Japanese RPGs heading out (mostly) at the end of the summer. Tales of Vesperia hits on August 9th, 2008. Several days before Madden 09 (I think) and 10 days before Too Human. That raises the question: Do I plop $60 for a new Tales game only a week and a half before Too Human, the game I've been looking forward to for over 3 years, comes out? Will I be able to enjoy it all by then? Will I have enough goddamn money?

The answer is, regrettably, no. I will probably not end up getting this game, or any of the other ones mentioned in my nice bullet list. I'm interested to see SquareSoft's new IP's, sure, even if I do hate the company; but nothing will stand in the way of my enjoyment of the games we all know we'll be playing instead: Too Human, Gears of War 1.75, Fable 2, and Fallout 3.

I have respect (not much) for the jRPG genre, but I still don't think that Asian developers have anywhere near the production values that Westerners do, with the exception of very few games such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Ninja Gaiden 2, or any well-respected fighting series (Street Fighter, DBZ, DOA, Virtua Fighter, etc.).

And I have to ask: great, you're making 4 new games, but...

Where the hell is the diversity?

(Hit the title for an IGN LiveBlog)

June 4, 2008

Meat Shields and Mayhem.

It would seem that I was wrong. I will now offer an official Gears of War 1.75 classification, as opposed to the 1.5 I had given it earlier. The new multiplayer details announced by IGN state that new weapons, more execution options, an ability to block chainsaws/retaliate, and other things will be included.

That's all fine and dandy, but I still hold that none of this makes it a sequel. I suppose you can justify it by saying that the story progresses, as it does with Rainbow Six Vegas 2; but honestly. Gears of War's story? Who would even want to use that as an argument.

I will probably give in to peer pressure and buy this thing when it comes out, and I have to admit that the new pistol and improved Boltok specs sound interesting. Returning maps are the super-popular Gridlock, and the DLC Subway, also known as "map of a thousand ways to roll into the abyss and run around pissing people off".

You may not have been aware of it before, but the Hammerburst was one of the most overpowered weapons in the game. Firing incredibly accurate and quick burst shots, an experienced Hammerburst user could easily have you down in seconds, popping your knees and melee'ing to finish it off. It's brutal, efficient, and fairly easy. And now it appears they've gone and made it even more powerful. Sounds like a lot of fun.

My point is, they've managed to add a lot of new features. That's a good step in the right direction for really fleshing the game out, and I'm glad they took it. The problem that remains is still in the technical parts. Will Gears continue to trade performance and color range for super-detailed bump mapping? Have the idiots at Epic figured out how to write proper netcode? What use is all the new features if we still have a pile of glitched-out shit when the dust settles? How will they balance all the new features out, when it took them over a year and a half to get it marginally acceptable the first time?

I point to a quote from user Mr_Shingles at the IGN boards, who sums up my position fairly well:

"Gears of War was a flawed game. It was built on an engine designed specifically to look better than it actually performs (hence heavy texture pop-ins and lack of diverse color palettes). The game's online netcode is some of the worst ever conceived, resulting in rampant bandwidth wasting, poor usage of combined processing power, and extremely limited application. Tweakable settings are minimal, the lobby system is terrible. Lag/"host advantage" caused by stupid and lazy programming puts heavy strain on host's connection. When the host DOES have an acceptable connection, game performance is fine, but the host then gains enough of a speed boost to dominate the match uncharacteristically. Because all actions must pass through the host's router (the central hub), all outside connections take twice as long to transmit data to other players compared to the host. The host's packets only travel half as far, because the data originates at the host router, so no time is wasted transferring data twice.

These flaws also allowed for the game's many glitches, more than I have ever seen in any triple-A rated game before. Not only does the flawed multiplayer design make it nearly impossible for Epic Games to make a permanent fix for these problems, it is the reason why players can keep on making up new ways to break the game.

That's not even getting into balancing issues, incredibly stupid enemy AI in campaign, and the generally uninspired drivel that was campaign. "

Has Cliffy "The Bitch" Blezinski learned from his rookie entry? Will we finally have balanced gameplay, functioning multiplayer, and actual features? That all remains to be seen in the coming months; and I really do hope that I'm proven wrong. For Gears of War 1.75 to be an amazing game would make me really happy, because although I love to hate on the original, it had some great ideas that I hope have been polished and upgraded.

Hit the link for the IGN article that inspired this post.

Disagree? Think I write like a monkey with Alzheimer's? Post a comment!

June 3, 2008

Master Ninja Leaves His Village

Ever since I found about this around 4:00 A.M., I didn't want to report on it, but it's about time I do. Tomonobu Itagaki, creator of the "Dead or Alive" series and the modern "Ninja Gaiden" series, head of TECMO development branch Team Ninja, and overall genius Japanese developer ahead of his time and culture has resigned from TECMO and filed a lawsuit against the company for their injustices towards him. His full statement reads:

I, Tomonobu Itagaki, hereby announce that on the 14th of May 2008 I filed a complaint in the Tokyo District Court against Tecmo Co., Ltd. for unpaid completion bonuses, and against the President of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda, for such unlawful acts as unreasonable and disingenuous statements made towards me, claiming damages in total of 148 million yen. I also announce that this complaint was delivered to the defendants on May 22nd of the same year.

In addition, I hereby announce that I have today submitted a letter of resignation to Tecmo Co., Ltd. stating that I will resign as of the 1st of July, 2008.

Before the start of development on DEAD OR ALIVE 4, Tecmo Co., Ltd. had agreed to pay a completion bonus to me for this Xbox 360 title, which I produced. However, when the time came for the actual payment, Tecmo Co., Ltd. went against its previous agreement and refused payment. President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant, telling me "if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it." In addition, he made demeaning remarks about me to my subordinates and colleagues, causing me significant emotional distress and worsening my personal relationships and work environment. Thus, I have no choice but to resign from Tecmo Co., Ltd.

The conduct of Tecmo Co., Ltd. and its president Yoshimi Yasuda towards me has been unbefitting of a publicly-listed company.

I have filed this lawsuit with a strong intent to question the social responsibility of Tecmo Co., Ltd. and its President Yoshimi Yasuda, as well as condemning them for their unjust acts. Today, in addition to announcing the reasons for this lawsuit, I make clear my reasons for resigning.

To All Game Fans

I truly feel sorry to all the fans of the games I have made. NINJA GAIDEN 2, which will launch on the 3rd of June will be the last NINJA GAIDEN I will create. I will also never be able to make DEAD OR ALIVE 5. I regret the circumstances that have forced me to leave Tecmo, where I had worked for so many years, and I regret the disappointment this will cause my fans.

However, I can no longer continue to work with President Yoshimi Yasuda, a man who chooses not to honor promises even when he is able to do so.

I truly hope that nothing like this happens again in the future.

Tecmo Co., Ltd. Creative Officer
Leader, Team NINJA

Tomonobu Itagaki

Microsoft also released this:

"Tomonobu Itagaki has decided to leave Tecmo and Team NINJA to pursue other opportunities. We thank Tomonobu Itagaki for the many years he has supported Xbox as he has contributed immensely to the success of the videogame industry as a whole."

It's really hard to predict Itagaki's next actions as a developer. He's too proud and egotistical for a Japanese company, and too Japanese for an American company. I see two possibilities:

-Microsoft picks up Itagaki since he has been their most valuable Japanese developer since the original Xbox and gives him his own side branch to continue making projects. They could possibly even buy the rights to DOA and NG from the recently failing TECMO and give it to Itagaki to continue his work. I see this scenario likely since Microsoft even published NGII for Itagaki.

-Itagaki forms his own company and hires many of his own TEAM NINJA employees. They would form new IP's and have more freedom than they did under TECMO. Microsoft would likely publish for them since they did so for NGII.

Nobody knows what the future holds for Itagaki, but I hope he finds his way and continues making great games. I hope this will be the final nail in TECMO's coffin, since they wronged the man who kept the company alive in the 90's.

Long live Tomonobu Itagaki.

June 2, 2008

Polls Closed, New Category System

I would first like to thank every single one of you for following the site so far. It has been a fun ride, but we still have an exciting year of gaming ahead of us.

Lets get down to business, shall we? Up above you will see the pie chart I made to sum up the results for our most recent poll. As you see MGS4 takes a huge percent of the pie chart, 39%, or 16 votes. Which reminds to say that I am simply amazed that a small blog like ours brought in 41 votes.

This piece of news is more for our authors than our readers, but nevertheless I'll tell you anyway. Within the next 24 hours of this post I will update some of the blogs interface and add categories in the form of labels. So authors, this means that those labels that you put at the end of you post will, from now on, be labeled with previously used categories, or if you think that your new label will be a category that will be used later on, go ahead and submit it.

If that totally made no sense what so ever than let me say it a little simpler. Instead of putting random things in the label field put one of the previously used categories of a new category which will be used later on.

Well, there you go, another insight on how AAF is getting better and better everyday.

Summer is here: PS3 - Weekly/Monthly Feed

Well, spring has already closed to an end and now the big event of summer and fall games are about to come. It's going to be a spectacular time for gamers since games such as, Battlefield: Bad Company, Gear of War 2, MGS4, Guitar Hero 4, Socom Confrontation, etc are coming to town. So gamers, get your controllers ready this summer because it's going to be a blast.

Now what exactly will we be exactly expecting for the ps3 this month?

-Due to a leaked video of update 2.40, people will be expecting to have 2d trophies, in-game xmb, and in-game music which will be released on the days of June 11-20.

-Upcoming games:
  • June 3: Grid
  • June 3: Ninja Gaiden II
  • June 3: Kung Fu Panda
  • June 3: Lego Indiana Jones
  • June 3: The Bourne Conspiracy
  • June 5: Fatal Ineteria EX
  • June 5: The Incredible Hulk
  • June 10: Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit
  • June 10: Nascar 09
  • June 12: Metal Gear Solid 4
  • June 23: Battlefield: Bad Company
  • June 23: Top Spin
  • June 24: Hail to the Chimp
  • June 24: Hell Boy
  • June 24: Overlord
  • June 24: Wall-E
  • June 29: Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
That is all I have for today, stay tuned this month for more Weekly/Monthly feeds on other consoles besides the PS3.

June 1, 2008

Resident Evil 5 Preview

Here's a new trailer from Capcom for Resident Evil 5.
It looks like they'll pick right up from Resident Evil 4's winning formula.