The Zacky and Friends Know It All Show Episode 8: E3 Blowout Edition

21 06 2010

As promised its the Zacky and Friends Know It All Show Episode 8, the post E3 spectacular.  I am joined in the studio by Velius and EttenCo for a 3 member blowout of all things E3.  No movie review this week, instead we opt to follow the E3 pattern and do Microsoft first, Nintendo Second and Sony third, finishing up with the big games that weren’t there.  Due to the nature of 3 friends working on this one there are plenty of stories and tangents that we break into, making this the longest and by far the funniest episode yet.  As always be sure to follow me on Twitter @Zackysmack, email me your podcast logo submissions with your mailing address for a chance to win a free copy of Need For Speed Shift for the PS3 at zackysmack@hotmail.com, and finally check out the show at: http://zackysmack.podbean.com/  Enjoy the show everyone, its just the cure for your Mondays.

Peace





E3 Predictions Week: Day 2: Microsoft(Well Xbox really)!

18 05 2010

Hey everyone it’s time for E3 predictions!  Think of this as more of an itemized list, some of the topics I will just state, while others I will go into a little more.  I am breaking this into 3 articles because if I did 1 article it would just be: Wii will be about sales figures, Xbox will say they have outsold ps3 which means there better apparently and then Natal, and PS3 had the best year ever for them (which is still worse than everyone else) and then bring forth and onslaught of games.   So this way I can kind of work each one individually.  Enjoy E3 week everyone, feel free to follow me on Twitter @Zackysmack(caps is important  I guess) email me at zackysmack@hotmail.com with any questions or comments you may have, also catch my podcast on podbean or the iTunes store.  If all that tickles you in the right way maybe you might even want to comment on an article or two.

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Welcome to E3!....Predictions!

Incidentally I wrote these all last week so if something in here has already happened this week, have no fear I am not just lazy, no, in fact I am right and you can feel free to mark it down as a win for me.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘Zack, the Nintendo one was on all things Nintendo and the Sony one will be on Sony, why the Microsoft one only on Xbox?’  Well that’s an easy one, because for Sony and Nintendo it’s all about multiple games platforms, Microsoft just has the Xbox and sense they rarely use the conference to debut new Windows features (and frankly who gives a shit if they do). I am just going to discuss the games aspect of things.  As we all know the big emphasis is going to be on Natal, sense they really don’t have that much else to talk about, but sense I don’t really have anything more to say on Natal, will keep that part of things pretty short.

360

You ever wonder why its a sphere? I mean its the XBox right?

Okay so much like Nintendo, Microsoft will open up with sales figures, and a lot of them.  They will inform everyone that they have still sold more consoles then PS3, again leading us to believe that sales is directly proportional to quality.  The truth is of course that sales and quality do not mean the same thing, but this message is lost on most.  After that, hopefully, Major Nelson and Aaron Greenburg will engage in some witty banter before getting into the games.  Oh yeah and be fully prepared to see games that are not exclusives, Xbox as a brand does not have enough exclusives in the pipe to full a conference so expect them to showcase some games that are multiplatform and simply have an exclusive beta for them.

NUMBER 1 – HARDWARE

Natal

I trade in my 30 dollar controller for a 200 dollar controller.

Natal will be the emphasis of the conference; I would imagine they will take some shots at Playstation Move for having buttons and generally working for games.  They will show off Milo, and my prediction is that Peter Molyneux will be on hand to demo Fable III, yep that’s right it will be running and running on Natal.  They will also show off at least 2 other pieces of software *cough shovel ware cough* running on Natal.  Most likely some sort of Wii sports resort thing, and a Playstation home like environment for your XBL Avatars, another prediction there, home like service for the Xbox.  Also Rare will have an original IP built exclusively for Natal, this will probably some sort of cuter family oriented platformer.    They will then give a release date and price for the Natal, and probably allow you to pre-order immediately after their E3 conference.

NUMBER 2 – SOFTWARE

*Note I put ‘software’ as the title because some of these are not exclusive titles so they shouldn’t count as ‘announcements’ really.

Halo Reach

Actually this looks pretty awesome.

Halo Reach:  Yeah well no shit it’s going to be there and it’s going to be there first in their presentation, sense it represents roughly half of the big bullets they have.  I expect a Single-Player trailer, release date, and probably a live walk through with some guy from Bungie, and maybe a celebrity of some kind, sense Microsoft does dumb shit like that.  As far as big announcements go with Reach there probably won’t be any sense they won’t have a lot of aces left in there sleeve.  The beta is already out and as far as innovations in weapons and story; well Bungie pretty much can’t do that anymore because it would frighten all the Halo loving children.  So all in all there won’t be much to say about Reach other then it is coming and it will probably sell a few copies.

Call of Duty: Black Ops the Beta:  Microsoft will continue their stellar relationship with Activision and Call of Duty and will have the exclusive Beta for Black Ops.  They will also get the reveal trailer and whoever the fuck is the Treyarch guy will come out and give everyone a ton of info.  I am talking story background, characters, multiplayer, demo date, different editions of the game, the whole nine yards.  This will come in the middle and be sort of a shock…I guess.

Bulletstorm

If I am being honest, this looks pretty awesome too.

Bulletstorm:  Announced recently, Bulletstorm is an Epic Game made on Unreal 3 (Although really made by People Can Fly who made Painkiller which you should go play right now).  If history has taught us one thing, it’s that Epic Games and specifically in house Unreal games put a wayyyy higher emphasis on the 360. This implies that the next really big Epic/Unreal game will be shown off on the 360, expect a full on gameplay demo and live walk-through featuring the coolest fucking man on earth, Cliffy B.

Gears of War 3:  Arguably the more important release for Microsoft then Halo, at this point Halo is almost starting to run its course, Modern Warfare beats it in online players, and as far as memorable set pieces and action Gears trounces Halo to death.  So really to me the more important game to showcase is Gears.  Cliffy B will remain post Bulletstorm to talk about this one.  I expect to see it running live, I also expect them to tell us it will be the last one in the series, which only really means that it finishes this story arch off.  I mean Halo 3 was supposed to be the last one and so was MGS3 and we know what happened there.  If I had to guess, and I am, I would say that Horde mode is going to play a much larger role in promoting the online for this game seeing as in Gears 2 the only really decent online mode was Horde mode.  I say this game will finally push the unreal 3 to the fullest and allow 4 players local and online co-op, this will carry over to Horde mode which will now scale for more people.

Cover

100% Fake boxart, but yeah this game looks pretty awesome too.

GTA V:  Microsoft had paid oodles of cash to Rockstar in the last couple years, and they will want to showcase GTA V on their system.  It will be a multi-console title but the reveal will come at the Xbox show.  My money is on London for the setting of this one, either that or a return to Vice City.  I hope they write a check to get exclusive DLC, just so I can laugh at them again for doing it.

Fable 3:  I already mentioned it in the Natal thing, but just wanted to say that it will be there and it’s a marquee release for Microsoft, expect emphasis on this title.

Splinter Cell: Conviction:  I am calling for DLC packs available in the next few months from Ubisoft, it’s essentially a foregone conclusion.

Splinter Cell

Possibly the only game easier then Assassin's Creed II.

Alan Wake:  Also going to say that DLC packs will be announced for this title, available within the next 3 months.

NUMBER 3 – S.W.A.G.

Marky

I mean the charecter was literally named after the term S.W.A.G.

Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess; the backbone of E3 is of course the completely ridiculous predictions; this show would be no fun if everyone knew everything and everything made sense.  So here are the final bits of my predictions; the fun ones that shouldn’t be taken too seriously but probably could happen…maybe.

Xbox portable:  A handheld is coming from Microsoft, maybe not this year but it will be coming, whether in the form of a Zune with joysticks or a full on new product.  There is no question that Microsoft needs things to get people excited, and handhelds do that, or at least drum up interest.  Couple that with XBL and its more or less superior features set and you have a handheld that could really be implemented well.   Signing in with your XBL account and games for windows live account would mean a tremendous amount of on the go gaming interaction, and move us closer to the ‘integrated platform’ concept.

Portable

What is that made out of? Magic? Dreams? It's playing GTAIV, Flawlessly.

Dashboard Upgrade:  The new XBL upgrade will be announced, it will feature a ton of integration for Natal and not a whole lot else.

3D:  It’s the new industry buzz word, expect Microsoft to assure you that 3D will be coming to their platform either with an upgrade add-on or with a dashboard update, and this will happen by summer’s end at the latest.   I call that because I completely believe that this falls games releases will start to push 3D.

New Rare game:  More than just the Natal game actually.  Microsoft paid a shit load of money for Rare and so far has gotten exactly nothing out of them.  Having been quiet for a year now, Rare has clearly been working on something, and I think it’s going to be a new AAA shooter for the Xbox only.  Rare used to be gods of FPS, look for them to recapture there old glory.

KI Logo

I am not saying its going to be Killer Instinct, but its going to be Killer Instinct.

Price Drop:  I think Microsoft is going to knock another 50 bucks off their console to get it under the PS3, for at least as long as it takes for Sony to have their press conference.

MMO:  Fully expect at least one MMO to be announced for the 360, either the ailing Age of Conan or something new, but sense most systems have harddrives now this is once again a possibility.  It’s an interesting market because you would have to pay an XBL fee and a fee to play, so we will see how gamers deal with that.

Portal 2:  Yep it’s going to be showcased here, not at the Valve show because I think Microsoft cut them a hell of a check to get it.  If that is true then you bet your ass Half-Life 2 Episode 3 will be coming to 360, and my money is on a bundle of the two games.

Portal 2

I will be an adult about this and just say 'Fuck you Valve.' and then go buy it from Steam.

So there you have it, my list of E3 for Microsoft, be sure to check back tomorrow for the PS3 write up, sure to feature plenty of games.  In a couple of weeks you can print out your copy then sit down in front of your computer and see what  I was and wasn’t right about.  Hell by the time this is published some of it might have already happened, as its going up about 7 days after I wrote it.

Peace





E3 Week is Coming!

14 05 2010

Hey everyone just a quick reminder, next week will be E3 week here at Zacky Knows It All.  Monday night at around 7pm Central time my Wii predictions will be going up, same time Tuesday night my 360 predictions will be going up, and then same time Wednesday night my PS3 predictions will be going up.  So come back everyday for another 5 pages of E3 predictions, broken down into, hardware, software, firmware and S.W.A.G. which are my total shots in the dark.  Anyways yeah its a theme week, three days of content, enjoy everyone!

Peace





(Not weekly)News roundup, May 10th edition.

11 05 2010

Hey everybody it’s time for a news roundup (dropping the ‘weekly’ from the title for obvious reasons) as we get closer to E3 the amount of news starting to leak out is fricken ridiculous so I figured it was my duty to start sifting through some of it.  Although I will be clear that this is not E3 predictions, this is just de-bunking things in the news right now.  As always make sure to follow me on Twitter for work related hilarity @zackysmack, or hit up my email zackysmack@hotmail.com for any questions comments or concerns you may have, and last but not least you can find my podcast on the iTunes store by searching ‘Zacky knows it all show’ or catch it on podbean.  So take part in the Zacky community folks.

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As fair and balanced as Fox News.

LittleBIGPlanet 2 first looks hit the intertubz today.  Verdict: I am still grinning

LBP Logo

Like this, only with a '2'.

I remember when I got LBP, I was really excited to play it and even more excited to jump into the online world and start making stuff.  Well after the first few days I realized the controls were lacking somewhat which really hurt the whole platforming aspect of it and the creation tools were….how can I put this….about as difficult as trying to have sex with someone while wearing a chastity belt, yeah that metaphor works pretty well.   Some people made great things (which the admin’s promptly deleted) but most people didn’t, most people tried to make one to two levels and then just gave up and played levels made by those select few with enough crippling social skill issues to actually make a vaguely playable level.  That is not to say it’s a bad game, on the contrary it was a brilliant game, the ideas and concepts it opened people up to were nothing short of incredible, it was fun and cute, and generally made everyone feel pretty comfortable with playing it.  But as far as delivering on its promise of fun easy tools that would let anyone make God of War in a night, well in that aspect it fell woefully short of expectations, much like Bionic Commando – ZING!

Bionic Commando

$10 at Best Buy, no shit, cheaper then Haze.

A sequel was inevitable, the game sold well and is currently in Meta-critics top 10 games (which technically mean absolutely fucking nothing), so today the first batch of screens, trailers, previews, and website launches hit the net and I spent a good part of my morning reading through them.  Now because of what I listed in the first paragraph I think it’s safe to say I was somewhat skeptical of the sequel, but for once my lack of editing skills comes in handy as ‘was’ is the proper word to use here.  I am excited for this game, no let me rephrase that, I have been smiling sense 9am this morning when I read what I read.  The depth to the toolset that is now being created is, to quote Ghandi ‘Totally fucking insane’ (Editors note:   Ghandi should be replaced with Alex Evans from Media Molecule.)

Alex Evans

In my defense he kind of looks like Ghandi.

Let me just give you a short list here; dynamic camera angles, programmable NPC bots, CPU chips to allow programmable vehicles and events, ability to record voiceovers, ability to design cutscenes, and web integration with your own sub-domain so you can link people levels to download on facebook and shit.  That is just the new features they listed today, what this means for the idiots out there is that it’s no longer a platforming game that allows you to make more platforming games.  It is now a platforming game that lets you make any game.  The adjustable camera allows for top down shooters, top down racers, and RTS games.   The NPC’s and cutscene integration allow you to make story driven games as well as RPG’s.  I could go on but honestly it will be more fun if you just think of things you can do yourself.  Layers of complexity are not all that has been added however, they have simplified and streamlined the toolset.  The biggest thing is the CPU however, now you no longer require a 1600’s style set of switches to make something work, the  CPU allows you to engineer whatever you want, hell you can change the control scheme around if you want and implement(please don’t) SIXAXIS.

SIXAXIS

Seriously do not use it.

The long and short is that the level of new stuff is so impressive that I am excited for this game all over again, my mind is already racing with things to do in the game, and this time it might actually be possible.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 comes with a DVD that teaches you how to play. Verdict: That is the dumbest and smartest thing I have ever heard.

Okay, I don’t like Nintendo, I especially don’t like the Wii, mostly because it’s a children’s toy for children and old people, and it is not a video game console.  It dropped that moniker about a year ago, and if you disagree then you can fuck right off and go back to writing Samus fan-fic you useless fanboy idiot.  So when Nintendo said there going to include a DVD with SMG2 that teaches you how to waggle your remote and hit ‘A’, you probably expected me to be spewing all kinds of hate towards the little white (black now too) box.  Get ready for a shock here because I actually think it’s a good idea, sure initially I sat and made fun of it with my roommate for literally hours, but after a few days to think about it I start to see why this is a good idea…..well sort of.

Box Art

Pictured Above: A Good Idea.

You see Nintendo, for all they do that pisses me off, still will drive the industry on occasion, and sometimes in a positive way.  In this case Nintendo helped pave the way for motion control, and although I am not a fan of the Wii mote, I am warming up the PS Move and project Natal as being effective ways to actually help video games at least be more accessible to the average folk.  With development costs spiraling out of control like my lingering connection to human beings, there is a point where the gamer nation is going to have to accept a certain amount of casual gamer pandering is required to fuel Call of Duty 900.  So in that regard the idea of a disc to help parents and their children learn how to play a game that is significantly more complicated than that boxart lets on, is something that I am more or less behind.  In the end the disc in theory is a good idea that will help people not to be so frustrated, but theory, as John Oppenheimer learned, is a dangerous thing that can sometimes blow up in your face.

Atomic Blast

IN THE FACE!!!!

Now that was obviously the reasoning behind ‘Smartest’ now the reason it is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.  To put it quite simply; the DVD doesn’t actually work in the insanely unpowered Wii.  That’s right folks, people who are already technically retarded will crack open there game case and see a handy instructional DVD.  They will then put that DVD into their Wii at which point nothing will happen, said people will then most likely take the game back to the store and complain that they got a corrupt disc.  This will begin a horrible cycle of buying and returning and general levels of frustration.  Let’s assume eventually you figure out the disc needs to go into a DVD player, in order to really use the disc you will then have to have two tv’s in your living room or wherever you’re playing, in order to see the instructions and be able to apply them to the game.  So what family with the level of retardation required to need this disc is going to have two independent tv’s in their main family room?

Family

These people are certainly retarded enough.

Overall the concept is good at its base level but like most things Nintendo, it’s just that: a concept, a poorly realized idea that someone at Nintendo had a few months back and no one else bothered to put any thought into.

Remedy has said there entire studio depends on Alan Wake doing well.  Verdict: Why is it on 360 then?

Box Art

Admittedly a cool box.

Alan Wake has been getting great reviews, praising the story and atmosphere of the game as well as the interesting innovations in lighting and gameplay mechanics.  Okay sunshine, what kind of game does that sound like to you?  ‘3RD Person action Zack’ No shit, I mean what console do you assume a game with those attributes will be on?  The obvious answer is PC, which isn’t even a console you idiot, it’s no surprise that Remedy has always been a PC developer.  Those snobby pricks with high end gaming rigs love to brag about interesting and innovative games that seem to flourish on their platform, but if we then eliminate the PC’s from the mix what happens?  When you think of games that take risks with different story telling techniques, different gameplay mechanics, and main characters with traits that vaguely resemble humans, do you typically then think of those games being associated with the 360?  No of course not, the 360’s bread and butter are hardcore FPS.  See that’s my point here, this game is too interesting to be on the 360.

Halo

See its interesting and new, and also not real.

Now this isn’t just a strong PS3 bias that I have been accused of having, and still maintain that I don’t have, (Seriously I crucify Sony regularly) speaking here.  I am honestly trying to help Remedy out because I love Remedy; they made Max Payne which is one of my favorite game series of all time.  Earlier last week they stated that they pretty much staked the entire company on Alan Wake, which if you consider it’s a 360 exclusive title and the questions I posed above then you begin to see why I don’t understand the decision to bet your future on a 360 game.

I am honestly just trying to help Remedy because as far as I know they have no allegiance to Microsoft Game Studios, this was just a decision they made a few years ago.  Ditch the PC which must have been tough for them, and considering it started development about 5 years ago, the decision to dump the PS3 would have been painfully fucking easy.  So what was left?  Well the 360 of course, it’s essentially a PC anyways.  Hence the reason it’s on the 360, Remedy isn’t getting a lot of money for this, as apparent by the in game advertising and Remedy’s statement of ‘We will be out of business if it doesn’t sell well.’  So in the end there depending on the 360’s owners group to want to go out of their way to try something completely new and interesting.  Which is why I am nervous for Remedy, the 360 crowd isn’t into the whole ‘interesting’ or ‘new’ section of games.  That’s more of a PC and PS3 thing; see Braid, Trine, Heavy Rain, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., LittleBIGPlanet, and Demon’s Souls.

STALKER

In case you didn't know, STALKER is pretty fucked.

Overall my suggestion is that Remedy will probably break even on the 360, but honest to god if they ported it to PS3 I would guess that more PS3 gamers would take a leap on it then 360 gamers.

Call of Duty: Black Ops, or Medal of Honor?  Verdict: *Shrug*

No seriously I haven’t played either one of them so I have no idea which one is better; I don’t think anyone knows which one is better.  But that hasn’t stopped those questions from being raised has it?  At this point we have one Black Ops trailer that is 45 seconds of 1 second cuts, and two Medal of Honor trailers that are just cutscene’s.  Other than that, we know Treyarch is making BO which is typically the kiss of death for any game, and we know EALA is making Medal of Honor, and they typically make RTS games.  So fuck it you know?  Neither of these companies really deserve to be making either of these games anyways so I am just going to have no expectations and hopefully be surprised in a couple of months when I will most likely buy them both.

Medal of Honor

Although I am probably getting this one first.

The rest of you are invited to do the same, or most likely, go to forums and talk about who sucks more cock; Activision or EA because in the end that is all that really matters anyways isn’t it internet?

Miyamoto tells gamers that the Wii is an online platform; then lies more.  Verdict: It’s ranting time!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha oh my god I don’t like Miyamoto very much at all, he is like Phil Harrison used to be at Sony in my opinion.  He is kind of a face they wheel out so everyone will be star struck but the second you actually ask him a question his entire moniker falls apart like an argument about Chuck Norris.  He will always provide the dumbest possible answer, and then probably contradict that answer with an even dumber one.  Granted he is not speaking his native language and native Japanese translates to English about as well as Megan Fox translates to my penis.  But if that was really the issue they probably would have just gotten him a fucking translator by now.

Miyamoto

Needed: A Fucking Translator.

No the issue here is that he is a gamer maker and an average one of those at that, that has somehow gotten into a PR roll with Nintendo where he is forced to answer questions that are well beyond his knowledge base.  When people talk to Cliffy B they ask him how much bigger and more badass his next game is going to be, to which he replies ‘totally fucking bigger, totally fucking badass….er’ and that’s the end of it.  They do not then ask him about EPIC games 5-year online console and pricing strategy because ‘bigger and more badass’ no longer applies.  Miyamoto not only gets asked those questions, he typically feels he is qualified to answer them.  I don’t care if Nintendo saw fit to move him up into some sort of director’s position with the company, it’s at best a figurehead spot he was given to say thanks for all his years of loyal service.

So when asked today about Nintendo’s online strategy he replied that Nintendo is not playing catch up in online features, they are in fact right with everyone else and Nintendo would love it if every Wii was connected to the internet all the time.  Well if that was the case then why didn’t they come with Ethernet ports?  Surely autoconfigured ports are easier then setting up wireless on the Wii?  360’s are the same price and they have an Ethernet port, and a fucking harddrive, although curiously no wireless.  Anyone who says the Wii is an internet ready machine that can match up to Xbox Live and the PSN is an idiot or Miyamoto, who is also an idiot.  Just because you finally released a game with multiplayer functionality (Monster Hunter Tri for the uneducated unwashed masses out there) does not mean you are now an ‘online’ console.  Much like Wii speak does not mean you have headset capability (which no joke is an argument he made a year ago).

Wii-Speak

Not a goddamn headset.

The thing that pisses me off about it more than anything else is that, simply put you let him get away with it, and by ‘you’ I mean those ‘real’ gaming journalists.  When Gabe Newell, Bobby Kotick, Dr. Z, Peter Moore, or literally anyone else in the industry is asked the kinds of questions that Miyamoto is asked, those people respond with good intelligent answers and if they don’t the interviewer proceeds to ask them more questions and generally make them look stoopid.  Notice that some of those people are lower on the totem pole then Miyamoto is now and we still expect them to have answers.  The gaming journalists of the world never ever ask him the tough questions, nor do they go after him when he has the wrong answer, it’s like there too star-struck or too nice or too envious or whatever the reason.  However, I guess its okay that no one else cares because I am pretty sure this shit only really bothers me…..and Garnett FUCKING Lee!

Garnett Lee

Recognize

The best part is later in the same fucking interview Miyamoto said that Nintendo’s online platform is in fact so ridiculously goddamn good that they should probably start charging people to use it.  Yeah that would be great because we could all laugh at the 5 dollars that would bring in monthly from like the 10 people using their Wii’s online to play Animal Crossing.  Whatever, so Miyamoto said something dumb and Nintendo online model is good for 1 of the 5000 games on the system, what an earth shattering announcement by me, next I might tell you that the Sun is hot, or that Bruno Ganz plays a mean Hitler.

Ganz

One mean Hitler.

Peace





Weekly News Roundup Volume 2!

20 02 2010

Good news, more content and games reviews are coming, I got friends of mine to write up reviews for Wii and PS3 games that I don’t own or don’t have time to play.  Sense I won’t pay them in anything except love, I can’t guarantee when those articles will be available to me to publish, or when I will get around to uploading them.  For that matter, when WordPress will not glitch up long enough for me to upload something, I swear when I get a job I am going to buy some cheap web hosting for this site.  So yeah if anything is reading this that isn’t the two friends I have writing now, you have a reason to be excited.

Fox News

As fair and balanced as Fox News.

Right-o time for another installment of my weekly news rundown, that isn’t weekly at all.  I have got 6 subjects on the line for today and some of them are pretty good, others are things only I care about.  But sense I wrote it and could give two shits about what you want, so here you go.

Is the 360’s decision to use DVD’s starting to hurt them?  Verdict:  Uh, pretty sure it has been for a while.

FF13 Dvds

What the current 360 situation is.

Okay so everyone needs to dust their brains off here for a second because I am going to ask you to think, ready?  Think back 3 years ago to a time when shiny new HD consoles were just starting to compete with one another.  The Wii was in its only little world of sunshine, daisies, and happiness, blissfully unaware that its only good games for the next 4 years had just come out, and the rest of us were unaware that this wouldn’t matter for some reason.  The 360 was enjoying a healthy dose of ‘hardcore’ dominance with hits like Halo 3 and the surprising dose of excellent that was Gears of War.  The PS3 was just out and attempting the almost impossible task of crawling up the massive hole that Sony and Microsoft had collectively dug for the PS3.  Sony had one big weapon it was using to get customers, the Blu-ray disc, capable of 40GB of data storage, it was supposed to usher in this wonderful new world of gaming where everything would look like a Pixar movie and play as good as Shadow of the Colossus.

Heavy Rain

The affore mentioned Pixar/SotC mix.

So Microsoft did something that was so incredibly brilliant, I am shocked to admit it happened, they went out and paid money so all those developers who were strapped for cash because of the massive cost of building new game engines, would release their games on both consoles.  This was good for devs for a couple of reasons, first they got big checks from Microsoft, second developing for the 360 was like developing for the original Xbox or a PC you just had more power on tap so the costs were relatively low, and third it made them all pretty much hate the PS3 for being overly complicated, overly expensive, and there was almost no advantages to it all.  So here you have this massive block of power that is the 360, and next to it you have the PS3 which is undoubtedly more powerful but that power is broken up into a bunch of smaller pieces you have to make worth together, which is hard, and devs are lazy lazy lazy folks, work is like the plague to them.  So Microsoft effectively neutralized the advantage that the PS3 had in hardware, because it was cheaper and easier to make it for the 360, so they did, and then ported it to the PS3.  So basically every game was only as powerful as the 360 could be, not as powerful as the PS3 could be, but see things designed to work on 360 hardware with DVD’s don’t work so well with PS3 hardware and Blu-ray discs.  So we entered into this wonderful world of subpar ports and massive hard drive installs, because a Blu-ray reader is half as fast as a DVD reader so you have to install all the data to the hard drive to make up for it.  So after owning say 10 games in the first year, your entire hard drive has already been eaten up.  I think my best example of this would be DMC4, everyone cried out for Sony’s metaphorical head when they found out DMC4 had a 5GB install on the PS3, when they should have been asking for Capcom’s head.  What the fuck?  Sony didn’t program the damn game, if Capcom can’t figure out how to mask load times that’s their problem, I criticize because Uncharted had already come out and was eyepoppingly good looking with no hard drive install, if they could do it so could you Capcom, but that would have required work.  Orange Box is another one to look at, let’s be clear here, Half-Life 2 is a great game, probably one of the best ever, but Source has never really been a graphics powerhouse.  So when Orange Box got ported to the PS3 it would stand to reason it would look pretty good, christ my 5 year old laptop can play Half-Life 2 pretty flawlessly.  But if you played Orange Box for PS3 you would know that it looks like Half-Life 2 running on the Commodore 64, because all EA did was take the PC code and dump it on a Blu-ray disc, that game had memory leaks you could drive an Aircraft carrier through.

Nimitz

Relativly speaking thats a small Aircraft Carrier.

Sony stood their ground and said ‘In 3 years you’re going to rue the day you decided to make the 360 your lead platform!’ and everyone laughed.  Now 3 years later guess what?  Actually it’s not what you think; about a year ago most studios switched over and made the PS3 the lead platform.  Rockstar started the murmurings when they spent the vast majority of the last year of development complaining about having to cut a lot of shit out of GTAIV because it just wouldn’t fit.  It’s funny because EA D.I.C.E. is one of my favorite targets in the world, they just make it too damn easy, but they were the ones that made the switch.  Mirror’s Edge was lead dev’d on the PS3, and something really remarkable happened as a result, D.I.C.E. came out and said that making PS3 lead was struggle at first but after growing pains it was really fast and allowed them to push the game well beyond what it would have been.  Then people saw MGS4, and Resistance 2, and Killzone 2, they saw the tech demo’s for Heavy Rain, the first shots of God Of War III running.  They found out that Sucker Punch made infamous on an optimized PS2 engine and it looked better then a lot of their lead 360 games that got ported.  It dawned on everyone, Sony was telling the truth.  There system was expensive and cumbersome at launch but it was future proofed for years to come, the 360 was easy at launch but now basic games require 2 discs just to run on the fucking thing.  If you think I am just blowing smoke, think about this, would Microsoft be touting Natal as a relaunch of the system if they had years of power yet to be unlocked?  There games are maxed out so there shifting the focus to something else instead.

Natal

Thank god, it had been a year sense I bought Halo again! RE-FUCKING-JOYCE!

All of this is building up to the rather simple point that the decision to use DVD’s instead of a new media standard was a move Microsoft made to capture the eye of studios struggling with spiraling development costs, and to keep their system cheap to capture new gamers.  But all that was stuff for launch and the 2 years that followed, they had no real concrete plan after that, and now everyone who is willing to admit it, is seeing the cracks in the mighty Microsoft juggernaut.  The DVD’s were always a problem, they were always going to be a bigger and bigger problem with each passing year, id Software was the first major player to say it.  There new title ‘Rage’ was going to have to be severely compressed to fit on 2 Xbox DVD’s, while the PS3 one was 1 disc that ran faster, with less load times and looked better.  The Lost Planet 2 team is lamenting that 30% of their game is going to have to be released as day-1 DLC packs because they can’t fit it on the discs.  Oh yeah in case you weren’t aware that’s why day-1 DLC for Multi-console titles has become big because they can’t fit it on the fucking discs and have to give it back to you right away.  700mb of content is roughly 1/10 of a DVD, so bonus quests and characters and maps and modes have to be sold back to you later.  Sony loves it because developers pay by the mb on the PSN, so now all the sudden the 360 is costing them more money than the PS3, how do you like that?  Payback, as they say, is a bitch.

Payback

Payback, personified.

Sony America’s new PSPgo promotion from an early adopter’s standpoint.  Verdict: My balls hurt from being busted so much.

PSP Go

That is Sony's metaphorical cock, slapping me in the face.

Okay so admittedly that first one was a bit of an anti-360 rant as well as piece about why Microsoft knowingly fucked there users from day 1.  Sense I am nothing if not a fair and balanced individual, lets balance the scales out by talking about how Sony fucked there users from day 1, and then 6 months later decided to slap them in the face for letting themselves get fucked.  I want to make a point clear first, I bought a PSPgo day 1, drove 40 minutes to get it too, so I could use Best Buy coupons to make its price a little easier to swallow.  I really like it, its light, it looks cool, and the idea of a handheld that is digital only is really cool; it opens the door for Sony to do some neat things with it.  Just look at Steam, everybody loves it, hell my 60 year old Dad loves it because it’s easy and intuitive and most importantly it understands that as a digital only delivery platform it can do deals and promotions and still make gobs of money.  You can tell that Sony looked long and hard at the iPhone as a games platform, and how its distribution works, and then they looked at Steam and how it delivers content, and then proceeded to take all those wonderful things they learned and throw them into a fire, and then take the ashes and piss on them, and then launch them into space.

Launch

Bye bye solid advice! We barely knew you!

For me the whole go of online distribution is that you can get things to people cheaper and faster than disc based, which would imply that things for the PSPgo would be cheaper then say the regular PSP, that implication however is dead wrong.  It isn’t cheaper, not even 1 cent cheaper, in fact when you factor in powering the device and paying for the internet connection to download it, it’s probably more expensive.  Let’s start from the beginning though, when the Go launched in America I got a voucher for Rockband Unplugged, it was a completely free game, and could not have cared less about it.  No instead I went and got Patapon 2 and God of War, you know games that people care about and buy systems to play.  Europe got Gran Turismo PSP for free, and got to trade in three PSP UMD discs for download vouches, essentially getting 4 free games for buying the fucking thing.  Weeks later they were giving codes to download LittleBIGPlanet PSP, Assassins Creed Bloodlines, or Motorstorm.  In case you’re wondering that tally is now up to 5 free 40 dollar games, which math teaches me is roughly 200 dollars, which  means European owners paid around 50 bucks for their Go’s.  Japan got similar deals with different games, and months later here in the U.S. the best I have gotten is still Rockband Unplugged.  I think I qualify as a fairly loyal Sony consumer; I am one of maybe 250,000 U.S. PSPgo owners, basically the early adopters that are even allowing Sony to continue with this games Platform.  I have maintained the entire time that eventually Sony will wise up and start giving discounts to Go owners via the PSN, and maybe some game vouches.

Steam

Like another really popular content delivery platform does.

So imagine my joy last week when I found out that they were finally bringing the AC:B and LBP deal to the U.S. all you had to do was register your device on the PSN and you would be sent a voucher…..wait, what the fuck?  What if I already registered my device on the PSN months ago when I bought the fucker and couldn’t use it for 3 days until I got a goddamn wireless signal to do a firmware update sense you can’t do that over a corded connection for some arbitrary reason?  If that’s the case then congratulations you have been completely fucked over by Sony, the deal is only valid for brand new PSN users, therefore only good for brand new Go owners.  The rest of us that spent our hard earned money to support you in your fledgling days are getting nothing out of this whole deal except a big middle finger.  Maybe someday if the whole thing works will get to say we were there, we were good men who would not roll over in the face of a tyrant, we fought for what we believed in, that a world could exist where digital distribution would not cost the same as disc based content, and hardware manufactures would appreciate there consumers a little more, and shortly after that me and my magical unicorn dragon will ride into space and find the kingdom of infinite cake.

Art

This will happen before Sony does something smart with the GO.

Non-littleBIGplanet Avatar pictures were released.  Verdict?  2-7!

Whenever the hell it was that I wrote my last news rundown thing I mentioned first off that Deadspace Extraction should release as a PSN and XBL download for 15 bucks and it would probably sell better then the Wii version.  Well were about to find out if that’s true or not because EA is going to do just that, now that reaffirmed the undying love I have for myself, and stroked my ego into a giant ascending whirlwind of flame.  So you can imagine how happy I was when found out that Sony once again read my blog and did exactly what I told them to do by releasing premium avatars that weren’t lBp.  So last week they put out ones based on M.A.G. and I am pretty sure I am going to get the team Raven one, sense Raven is my team and I will admit that despite it being so far in last place in game statistics its frankly embarrassing, I still like them to a punch of hoodie wearing psychos over at S.E.V.R.  Besides I get ball tons of bonus for finishing first all the time.

Raven

See, in context thats worth 50 cents.

This comes down to that same old impression as Home, which is, is it pathetic to buy stuff for an Avatar in a game, even if it is only 50 cents?  Well no I don’t really think it is, weird as this sounds.  See my PSN Avatar is seen by nearly 65 friends on there now.  I buy a new shirt because I don’t want to look like a slob or the same as everyone else and that’s only for about 4-5 real life people that I care enough about to spend money on clothes.  I spend a fuck load more money on games and care about my persona in online gaming a whole fuck load more too, so 50 cents to set myself apart in that world is really pretty worth it to me.  In the end I just wanted to toot my own horn for being right again, much like Michael Pachter does for his industry best 1 out of 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 predictions.

Pachter

He got his own fucking TV show :*(

Yakuza 3 is coming!  Verdict:  Hell yeah it is!

Yakuza 3

This is what popped up when I googled Yakuza 3

So this week a demo for Yakuza 3 was released on the PSN, later that night I was inundated with literally 2 emails asking me how excited I was for that game.  Well the answer I would give is that I don’t think I know anybody that has played any of the other previous Yakuza games or knows anything about them that wasn’t really really really excited when they heard it was coming to the U.S. after a lot of speculations.  For those of you that don’t know, the Yakuza series is probably the best example of the ‘Like GTA but’ genre of games.  However unlike its bastard inbred cousins (Just Cause, Saints Row, etc) Yakuza has never been able to build any sort of U.S. fanbase.  Well not one big enough to justify releasing the games over here.  I mean they have, but every time they do they sell like a 9-year old boy in a chur….uh like a….Starship Enterprise replica at a Star Wars convention i.e. not good.  After which Sega swears up and down that they will never release the next installment over here stateside, but then the next installment makes enough money in Japan that they can and do release it everywhere else.

Yakuza Tatoo

That tatoo ain't cheap folks.

The focus of Yakuza is less on gunplay and general mayhem and more on good cohesive storytelling and good old fashion beat-em-up games.  Like Double Dragon or River City Rampage(or, if you accidentally download a batch of nes games with porn mods, Pussy City Rampage), this game has you fighting with fists of fury.  There’s an interesting notion, why did those kinds of games die off over here?  Japan still loves beat-em-ups, so does Europe, but America just fell out with them, like Healthbars in FPS’s.  Anyways, think Godhand with more than one background, and GTAIV without a brown/grey filter on it and you pretty much have the notion of Yakuza.  The demo was a good start, and I think that Yakuza could really become one of those rare transitional franchises, where something really popular in Japan actually translates well to the U.S. market and sells well here too.  The sort of game that people in the U.S. actually wait for to come out of Japan, if they market it right it could be a success story, here is hoping it is because there a fantastic series of games that really deserve some recognition.  More than likely it’s going to get lost in the March shuffle though, sense that fucking month has become the new November for some reason.

God of War 3

Pictured Above: The likely result of the Yakuza 3 vs. God of War match.

Bobby Kotick says he is not a ‘Dick’.  Verdict:  But he is.

I mean really, the guy is a tremendous dick; this guy releases like 20 Guitar Hero games a year and then fires his employees when they don’t sell well.  He approves making Tony Hawk Ride which is a shitty game with a shitty over priced skate board you have to plug in to use, and then tells console makers there shit is too expensive.  He wants to make MW a pay to play service, you know because it offers you so many awesome features that other online shooters don’t to justify that cost.  In short he is a very short man, with an even shorter amount of integrity, and will gladly hang you and everyone else out to die if it means getting his stock options up 1/10 of a point.  Which makes him the enemy of any gamer that likes originality or new and interesting concepts, and for those of you that think what we think doesn’t matter, remember EA.

Kotick

How Bobby Kotick see's the world.

Remember 10 years ago when they would release Madden 09, Head Coach 09, Player Trainer 09 at the same time and for every mother fucking system on earth?  When they would hold their employees inside at gunpoint and force them to program crap before they would feed them.  Well now they take risks with new and interesting ideas like Mirrors Edge, and shake up established franchises like giving Battlefield a single player aspect/campaign.  That’s because we stopped buying there shit and sent them hate mail up the ass; remember consumers still hold the power here.  The very fact that Kotick is making statements like this shows that he is starting to be slightly concerned about his image with gamers, maybe there dwindling returns on games this year, even MW2 really, is already having an effect on him.

Valve is sure they’ll make games for PS3 in the future.  Verdict: Oh well thank you Valve.

Valve

Valve, cool logo, uncool company.

Well get ready because I think Valve has consistently pissed me off the most of anybody in the world over the past 5 years, and I spent 2 years dating a bi-polar girl.  I really want to know when Valve got this inflated view of themselves as some sort of messiahs of gaming, who could actively ignore, no, who could actively antagonize an entire section of the gaming world for years and then just wake up one day and say ‘Yeah we’ll make some games for you I guess’ and were all supposed to just melt and thank them and throw roses at their feet.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, be thankful because you too can now wait for the rest of time for Half-Life 2 Episode 3 to come out, in the mean time enjoying a completely underwhelming, yet inexplicably popular, dose of mediocrity known as Left 4 Dead.  Seriously I have tried to play L4D no less than 6 times now, and every time I just haven’t gotten why people like it so much.  You run around the exact same environment and fight zombies, the zombies change up now and then but that’s really all the game brings to the table.  It’s graphically unimpressive and the Havok physics are once again laughable at best, with zombies frequently falling onto a board and then launching into the upper atmosphere.

Unleashed

Proper use of Havok Physics.

Source is just freaking old now, and Valve won’t make a new one for anything; they refuse to make HL2:E3, often saying they don’t even know how to end it yet; Left 4 Dead 2 was released recently and couldn’t have impressed me less.  In fact the only thing they made in the last 7 years that has been at all worth it to even play was Portal, and they didn’t even make that, a local college that licensed there engine did.  The last time Valve released a game for a Sony console was the original Half Life for the PS2, 10 fucking years ago.  I would like to think that Sony gamers have gotten along just fine without them for this long, so I don’t really know what Valve expects to happen here.  A Left 4 Dead port will sell like shit, they know that, which means that they would have to make Portal 2 for PS3 or HL2:E3 for PS3 neither of which I would think they would want to do based on some of the stuff they have said over the past 5 years.

Headcrabs

Pic unrelated.

I really wouldn’t have cared that much, I mean there are plenty of people that don’t make PS3 games and I still like them.  Epic Games are great fun; they have Cliffy B who is the logical opposite of Bobby K.  The reason I don’t hate Epic is that every fucking time Cliffy B has opened his mouth for the previous 5 years he has not gone out of his way to insult Sony, the Playstation brand, and anyone that owns one.  This, in case you didn’t know, is exactly what Gabe Newell has done.  Gabe Newell is the fattest man on earth, and it seems he has let all that fat go directly to his head.  I mean some friendly ribbing now and then is okay, but in over the last 5 years he has said, the PS3 is useless, that no sane person would own one or make games for it, Valve would never waste the money to make PS3 games, Left 4 Dead won’t be on PS3 because the community is awful, they didn’t care that Orange Box was awful on PS3 and that none of the patches were released for it.  I mean it’s just classless, you get the impression Kaz Hirai must asked him how far along he was the first time he met him.  He seems to have a completely un-rational hatred for all things Sony; he had neither PS3 development going on, nor any plan for it, so why the hell did he sit there and say it was expensive and complicated all those years?  How did he know it was?  Randy Pitchford the CEO over at Gearbox basically said Gabe was full of shit and should shut up, which, trust me, is what a lot of people out there are thinking.  For that matter the CEO of Insomniac called him a dick on their Podcast, followed by Sucker Punch’s CEO saying Newell needed to lay off Sony and get some work done.  Even their own quotes show an unnecessary level of hate, they didn’t even care that their own game sucked on the PS3, and how can you not care that something you made isn’t any good?

Orange Box

Pictured Above: Something that was not well done.

If you don’t want to make PS3 games, then fine don’t, no one is forcing you too.  But you can’t expect to do and say the things he has said for the previous few years and then all the sudden realize that there is money to be made, and then change your entire attitude toward something.  Maybe if they apologized or something it would be better, but when they come out and say ‘Yeah I guess we can’ there still acting like some emo-child you asked to go into the sunlight.  It’s the most backhanded compliment I have heard in a while, I would tell you to boycott there shit to teach them a lesson but that would just give Newell more ammunition in his quest.  No I would ask that you look at the simple merits of what you’re being presented with, with all the great stuff available for you to get on PS3, are you really missing the Valve stuff that much?  Don’t be a crying baby like Newell, approach this intelligently and with dignity, leave the crying and dick jokes to yours truly.

Arnold

Hey Gabe, Arnold has some words for you.

Peace.





Weekly news rundown!

1 02 2010
Logo

As fair and balanced as Fox News

Okay been a while once again sense I posted anything, so I came up with a new idea to maybe cover a lot of what I have been missing for the last week or so.  This is a list of current news and topics that I find interesting, I’ll give a verdict on whether or not I think it’s true or useful or something like that.  Then I’ll make some quick comments afterwards; enjoy my rundown of what interests me.

BattleFront III is real and it’s being developed by Slant Six, and its online.  Verdict?  Great.

Logo

A theoretical logo for a theoretical game

Yeah okay so I got a serious soft spot for Battlefront games, and I have basically been waiting for Lucasarts to get its shit together and get this game made, for about 4 years now.  Its bounced around to 3 development houses that we know about, and every last one of them either was closed or purchased by someone else.  Lucasarts wants to be a publisher but they don’t want to support any 3rd party studios, so I think they have been having a hard time finding a free studio to make the game for them so they can still have publishing rights.  I would assume the rest of Lucasarts is working on trying to explain to me how the fuck there can be a second Force Unleashed when the main character either dies or becomes Darth Vader in the end.

Evil

Evil gets some badass armor though.

I digress however, Battlefront III is a sure seller even if it sucks and Lucasarts knows this.  Slant Six is a pretty competent development house and surprisingly they aren’t owned by Sony, they basically made SOCOM: Confrontation on the PS3 and all the online stuff to go with it.  Granted the launch of that game was as messy as a dog when it finds Geese shit, but actually after the initial trouble the game smoothed out tremendously and became what is still one of the most played online games on PS3 (MW2 and MAG not withstanding).  Taking the game and making it online that I am a little weary of, I mean it will keep the game going forever but there has to be a single player aspect to it, or at least some local multiplayer options.  I am talking of course about Bots, a concept that everything thinks is beneath them for some reason now.  Look I get you don’t want people boosting levels against bots (Here’s looking at your Team Fortress), so do like Warhawk and make it so that only matches with set rules count for leveling, that seems like a pretty easy thing to do.  In the end if they announce it tomorrow I will pre-order it tomorrow to get some bonus Boba Fett armor or something like that.

Natal, is it the future of gaming or just fallout from the Wii?  Verdict? I hate it.(Wii fallout)

Sensor

About 100 bucks a camera.

So two points to make before this starts; 1 this is a personal opinion about how I feel about Natal, and 2 this is not a fanboy rant, I feel the same way about the Wii and about Sony’s motion controller.  But sense no one on earth could give two shits about Sony’s motion controller I will go with the option that Microsoft is going to ram down my throat tell I shit it out so hard I break the floor, and that option is Natal.  What is Natal?  Well Natal is basically the motion sensing tech that Nintendo passed on 7 years ago when it was new, and then it’s the stuff Sony passed on 4 years ago when they had their own better system in development.  Microsoft excepted it because it meant no work for them, and they could sell it to you at an insanely overpriced price point, also they could talk about how innovative and cool they were because they could sign a check as good as anyone else.  Okay so why do I hate it so much?  Simple it’s all just pandering to the casual gaming crowd that is starting to directly affect my good games with their shitty games.  I spent the first 2 years with my PS3 living with the goddamn sixaxis crap until everyone just gave up on that and I didn’t have to deal with it anymore, and games like Lair weren’t ruined by it.  Now it’s just coming back with a vengeance as a completely separate controller that is going to cost more money.  Okay so that was a side rant; Natal is a giant camera you plug into your Xbox then it takes you doing stuff and puts it into the game, kinda like the Eyetoy did 10 years ago, but this time it’s bigger and blacker and its going to cost roughly 3 times as much, because that’s how Microsoft usually prices technology. (Hey harddrives there still like 2 bucks a GB right?)

Harddrive

So about 30 bucks for the device and 150 for the packaging.

Look in the end its pretty simple really; remember when ‘The Departed’ won a bunch of Oscar’s and everyone loved it?  Remember how every month for the next year an exponentially shittier dirty cop movie came out?  This is the same concept, the Wii came out and accidentally hit a massive market of old people and young people who had shit loads of money to spend on games that sucked and over priced attachments because they didn’t know any better.  Immediately Sony and Microsoft said ‘Oh we have motion sensing stuff too!?!’   Now it’s coming to fruition and probably won’t really tap into new markets or make a bunch of money, because A. all those gamers then went from Wii’s to Xbox’s and PS3’s did so because they got sick of the Wii’s bullshit all the time, why would they buy it again for their new systems?  B.  All those that own Wii’s are never going to see benefits to buying another new console.  Remember what I said earlier?  ‘Old people and young people’ do you really want to play with them all the time?  No you don’t you want to play with people you’re age who are good and cool.  In the end, the Wii is still the best at selling it, Sony has the most impressive Tech because it’s a wand like the Wii that can do full 3D 1:1 motion, but no one is going to buy it, and Microsoft has the least impressive piece of hardware that costs the most by far.  On the principle of it I would hope people would finally boycott this so that hardware makers get the message that they can’t get away with this shit anymore.  Course it’s probably going to sell millions so that bros can stand in their rooms and pretend there football players, and fat people can pretend there Marcus Fenix(because you can’t do that with a controller and your brain anymore apparently)

Natal

Now I am a NINJA!


iTablet, another brilliant piece of technology from Apple?  Verdict?  ……you gotta be shitting me.

iTablet

So the future is a giant iPod Touch?

Alright I own an iPod, and iHome, I think iPhones are pretty cool, and I even own a PSP go, so trust me when I say that the iTablet is my winner for most useless and unnecessary invention of the last 5 years.  Please someone explain to me one benefit of this thing, just one reason why it needs to exist?  Someone should come up with something, because Apple’s reveal of it showed that they have absolutely no idea why they made it either.  Other then the fact that Steve Jobs is a living personification of ‘Self Serving’ and feels the need to live out his messiah complex every year by unveiling something that all those Mac Cult people will go out and buy regardless of any technical merits.  That’s just it isn’t it?  They have such a feverish and rabid fanbase that they could release an iShoe at $700 and people would murder each other for it.  Celebrities always use them because they think it makes them relevant and cool to normal people, and basically the whole cycle makes me kinda sick really.

Maria

If you buy an iPhone you'll be sexy and exciting too!

It’s the same as that Natal crap, every marketing add says the same thing; ‘People who stand to profit from this say you should buy it.’  ‘Why?’  ‘Because you should.’  ‘Okay!’  And that works, how?  If I go to people and tell them to buy my poop because they should, they would call the cops.  The iTablet to me is a bigger iPod Touch, it’s worse than a tablet PC in what it can do and it will undoubtedly cost several billion dollars at launch.  The presentation/reveal told you how could sync it with other Apple devices, do Word Processing, Surf the Web, use the full range of Apple and Microsoft products, use the Apple store to download Music and Movies.  Okay so does that sound familiar to you?  You know kinda like every other fucking device they or anyone else makes.  That’s my whole point, is it bad?  No not really it’s a slick package that does neat things, but does it do anything new to justify its existence?  No not at all, nothing it brings to the table at all improves or enhances the user experience; except it increases the chances that people who see you will think you’re a dick.

Jobs

The biggest Apple Dick of them all.


Bioware, are there games getting stale?  Verdict?  Not really.

bioware

My CEO has a PHD in something!

I read some articles last week bouncing around after Mass Effect 2 launched that said Bioware just keeps making the same game over and over in different settings with different storylines.  Well then it’s not really the same game is it folks?  I get the argument; most Bioware games in the last 10 years have the same relative combat system and the same branching dialogue system.  But that’s really about where it all stops for me as a player, everything else about them is different, and the rest is the important stuff.  God of War is the same game but no one complains about that, same with MW, Final Fantasy reinvents itself all the time and all it really does is divide the fans (FF8 is the best by the way, but a lot will argue that point, which is my point).  If you give me new characters in a new setting with new stories and motivations and dialogue then there giving me enough of a new game that I am going to pay for it and probably enjoy it.  I played KotOR 1 and 2 to death and I loved Dragon Age, so basically to me if you have a base engine that works and is fun then by all means keep using it.

Duke Nukem

Pictured Above: Bioware CEO Ray Muzyka

Homage vs. Copy, what/is there a difference?  Verdict?  No.


Is a crazy person just eccentric if there rich?  Was Howard Hughes not a total basket case just because he had billions?  No he wasn’t, he was fucking bonkers.  The word used to describe something shouldn’t change the meaning of it based on some arbitrary metric that has nothing to do with it.

eccentric

This man is worth $750 million, therefore he is eccentric.

So let me explain, Dante’s Inferno is a God of War clone and everyone hates it for that, calling it unoriginal and unfun and all kinds of other nasty things.  Darksiders is a Legend of Zelda clone, sure it’s a different setting and story, but it has the goddamn hookshot in it.  The difference between that and what Bioware is doing, is that Darksiders wasn’t made by the Zelda team, it was made by someone else who really liked to make games but didn’t want to do all that pesky ‘trying’ stuff.  Yet everyone loved Darksiders for being a good ‘homage’ to Zelda.  This whole situation left me somewhat confused, because it’s the same thing then isn’t it?  I was in a Gamestop and the two guys working there said ‘Dante’s Inferno is just such a cheap knockoff isn’t it?’  ‘Yeah man that’s lame; oh hey I just got Darksiders’  ‘Oh is that any good?’  ‘Yeah its really fun, I hate how everyone makes fun of it for copying everyone else, like you have to copy or you don’t really have anything new anymore.’  I wanted to punch a Gamestop employee more than usual after listening to that.  Look just because someone did a better job of copying someone else doesn’t mean they should get critical acclaim for copying someone else really well.  Don’t misunderstand me, Darksiders looks really fun, it’s on my shortlist of games to buy,  but don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining.  Don’t tell me a game is not a copy because it’s a good copy and a game is bad because it’s a bad copy.

darksiders

Something about him is more awesome then Link though.


GTA Episodes from liberty city on PS3.  Verdict?  Who cares?

2 Complete 3 hours stories in one box!

No seriously who cares?  Did anyone see that news and get excited about buying DLC packs to a game that was released 2 years ago?  The DLC for GTAIV was a cluster from the get go, Rockstar sat there and told everyone over and over and over again that it would never release on PC or PS3.  Of course everyone on earth new it would, exactly 6 months after the release of the final batch of content on 360 when their exclusive contract with Microsoft was up.  Which is exactly what happened, 6 months after ‘Gay Tony; they fooled nobody and just looked like idiots all the time, and didn’t do much to help relations with the folks in camp PC, and camp Sony.  Okay first off Microsoft paid insane amounts of money to get the DLC packs, and then Rockstar took a goddamn year to get the first one out the door, and it was good but flawed in that none of the cars or weapons from the DLC pack could be taken back to the normal game.  So it was already a waste of money, then another year passed for another DLC pack with the same problem.  $15 bucks for a fun 4 hours?  Did Rockstar go to the Valve school of episodic content?

Parachutes

We have parachutes now! INNOVATION!

So now Rockstar is bringing them to the rest of us because why not right?  Microsoft paid for the whole thing, any copy they sell is pure profit at this point.  If anything all this really seeks to prove to me is that all the major console makers should stop paying for exclusive DLC packs, no one is going to buy a console so that they can get a game with ‘exclusive’ DLC for it.  Especially sense again this whole exercise proved that nothing is ever ‘exclusive’.  Spend your millions on games and game makers, that’s what swings things.  The 360 has its boot on the throat of Sony, but they backed off on games and just bragged about exclusive DLC for the multiplatform games, and now Sony is catching up because they pumped their money into the games.  DLC is great and it’s a good way to keep people interested in your game during the 2 year cycle of development before the next one comes out, but that’s it, it’s just icing on the cake, it’s not a selling point.  In its worst form its flame for Fanboy wars, and Christ none of them need more of that.  The GTAIV DLC fit none of these requirements, it took too long to release, Rockstars next 3 games are Red Dead Redemtion, L.A. Noire, and The Agent.  Not a GTA game, of course more GTA is coming but were talking a year maybe more before it hits, nothing to do with GTAIV is going to keep people interested.  Focus on making games not DLC packs, which goes for Publishers, Developers, and Console makers.

Dr. Ned

Unless its Borderlands Content, then keep pumping it out!


Medal of Honor, Modern Warfare Killer?  Verdict?  Good possibility.

Medal of Honor

I am so awesome the ground explodes where I walk.

Okay so the next Medal of Honor game was shown off at the Spike VGA’s *Shudder*, and well it looked exactly like Modern Warfare 2.  Which is a bad start when you’re trying to relaunch a franchise, but actually when you look at how EA is handling this, then man you get the idea that this game could really be what they (and me) want it to be.   First off E.A. Los Angeles is handling the single player, which immediately gets me excited.  For those that don’t know EA:LA is the old Dreamworks Interactive combined with what used to be Westwood studios.  All in all they have been making games for nearly 20 years, primarily focused on Command and Conquer games and Medal of Honor, but after Airborne sold like shit and was basically shit, EA let them have the last 4 years to make other games and get a break from WWII shooters.  They come back with a renewed focus and hopefully some cool ideas to use.  The muti-player is being developed by EA D.I.C.E. which means its going to be a hell of a lot like a Battlefield game, which is also good I think.  So wait did I just say that EA is using multiple studios to help develop a game, playing on the strengths of their many in house studios and *gasp* coordinating efforts?  Holy shit I think I just did say that, somewhere down in hell Satan just got a chill folks.  So over all this makes me think that EA actually cares, they want this to be good, so they can make more obviously; but the intentions are there.

Cold day in hell

Shit, EA must have done something smart!

Can it kill Modern Warfare, or at least unseat it, well funny thing is that Modern Warfare actually unseated Medal of Honor 5 years ago when it burst onto the scene.  This is EA trying to take it back, and the plan is far more complicated then you might think.  It starts with Battlefield Bad Company 2, which is going to weaken the stranglehold MW has on online play; taking back the PC fans, by giving them everything that MW took away.  Sounds strange but it’s true, it’s like a multi wave attack on Infinity Ward, once Battlefield weakens MW, Medal of Honor supposedly will come in and deal a killing blow, retaking the Military Shooter crown.  In the end its all hearsay because aside from a short trailer and a guy with a rocken beard on the cover, we really have no idea what this game is or what to except.  If I had to put my money on it, I know Bad Company will do its part, that’s a must buy for me, I know D.I.C.E can do the multiplayer just fine in MoH, the weak link or where it could all go wrong is if EA:LA drops the ball.  Time will tell, but boy I am excited for it already.

EA Sports Logo

Drop the ball, get it? Cuz they make sports games? Anybody?

White Knight Chronicles where are you?  Verdict?  Inexcusable

Boxart

Hey 2007 called, they want there game back.

So history lesson here, when the consoles launched and everyone was fighting with everything one fan bases, Microsoft did something rather bold, they attacked the Japanese market.  Often viewed as suicide, they went at it with money and bravado, buying up big name JRPG exclusive after another.  Moral of story is that all these games that Microsoft help make sold like crap in Japan and were quickly ported to PS3 where they sold much better.  However there was a big of time where Sony was nervous about having no JRPG’s to talk about; it was during this time, 2ish year ago, that they showed off a game called White Knight Chronicles.  I was actually pretty excited for it, it looked good and I knew that if Sony was putting might behind the game then I would get to play it pretty soon.  Now I suspect that when all those games they were scared off didn’t do well in Japan or the U.S., Sony changed their turn and didn’t put the rush on localization that they would have.  Sense you know 2 years later I am reading about WKC 2 in Japan and I still don’t have the first one.  Okay so the obvious point here is that this is the largest software company in the world and have shown there very willing to just throw money at Developers to get the job done (a literal Blank Check was written to Naughty Dog for Uncharted 2).  So to me it’s pretty goddamn inexcusable when the localization process for the U.S. has taken damn near a year and half, Europe will probably be waiting longer.

Map of Europe

Pictured Above: The nation Sony hates

I know its dialogue heavy and you have to translate and re-record and all that nonsense but Christ 2 fucking years is just too long, especially when the sequel is coming out soon.  I can count 3 new RPG IP’s that launched after WKC and are bringing out there sequels before WKC makes it to the U.S. shores.  None of those new IP’s have the money and resources behind them that WKC does, so what the fuck Sony?  This is just so typical of them, promising so much so early before the know how long it’s going to take to actually do, so they just look dumb when its delayed over and over again(Playstation@HOME anyone?).  The really lesson here is that WKC was shown off during a JRPG draught and every would have bought it just on merit, but sense they dicked around for so long with it that market advantage has been lost.  There is still a hungry JRPG crowd here in the U.S. that’s for sure, but sense Valkyria Chronicles, and Demon’s Souls hit that audience has been placated for the time being.  So now what?  Well in there infinite wisdom Sony has decided to get as close as they can to releasing WKC in the U.S. around the same time FF13 does, and I think the rest of that story will just write itself.

FF13 Box Art

It sold more copies then there are people in Japan.

No More Heroes 2 was just released?  Verdict?  Waste of money.

No more heroes

More like the struggle to sell copies, ha ha!

Okay here is the deal, I think the Wii has some good games and can be a good games platform when Nintendo releases a game.  Madworld, House of the Dead, Deadspace Extraction, The Conduit, No More Heroes, etc. etc.  There are pretty decent games, some even moved up into great territory.  So whats the correlation between those games?  Well, there all mature titles on the Wii made by people other than Nintendo, and every last one of them sold about as good as a hooker with AIDs sores on her face, which is not good in case you were wondering.  Deadspace famously sold 9,000 copies in its first week, on a console that has an install base around 60,000,000 and a fanbase that spends 6 hours a day minimum wining on forums about not having enough good games and being ignored by Nintendo.  Only selling 9,000 copies with all those advantages is just awful really, they could have made the same game and released it on PSN and Xbox live for $15 and sold 100,000 on the first day.

Bass Fishing

This sold more copies on the PSN then Deadspace sold on the Wii.

The kicker is that Deadspace is a really good game, it got exceptional marks.  Of course you can argue that the pool of games to compare on the Wii is so lack luster that it’s easy to give slightly good games very good scores.  I.E. on the Wii you’re comparing MadWorld to Nintendogs, while on 360 and PS3 you’re comparing MadWorld to Uncharted 2 and Gears of War 2.  But I digress this is a Wii article goddamn it, so the point I am trying to make is that developers see the Wii as having a massive install base and cheaper development costs so we should make games for it that appeal to the core gamer.  Okay listen to me very carefully, THERE AREN’T ANY FUCKING CORE GAMERS ON THE WII ANYMORE!  They all went out and bought 360’s and PS3’s years ago when they realized that they hadn’t bought a new game for the Wii in 6 months.  People that own and buy Wii games are family’s, and kids, not the sort that want games about men with Chainsaw arms killing other men with Chainsaw arms.  Nintendo isn’t going to help you either, they told EA to fuck off when they asked for help with Deadspace, and then blamed EA for the game selling like crap saying ‘It wasn’t up to the standard of Wii titles’  What fucking standard?  I remember at E3 this year when Nintendo showed off the Wii Motion Plus thing, they had games for it, all made by Nintendo.  The non-Nintendo Wii developers in the audience were cursing under their breath because they realized that Nintendo had had this thing for at least 6 months and they were just finding out about it now.  Nintendo pulls this shit all the time; they intentionally handicap Devs other than their own because they hate to have someone else make money on their console.  The Wii has been stagnant for months now, living on the promise of Mario and Zelda sometime next year, as it has sense launch.  The really scary part is that it works; starving there gamers for months at a time and then releasing one Mario game, which is mediocre at best, that game then sells millions of copies.  Honestly tell me how much you think it cost to make New Super Mario Brothers Wii, and it’s selling like hotcakes, it’s ridiculous to think that anyone would put up with this shit.  But we’re talking about an audience that willfully purchased a Gamecube with a waggle controller a few years back.

WiiCube.

See even the Gamecube knows it.

Look here 2 paragraphs in here and I haven’t even mentioned what this was about, No More Heroes 2 was released this week.  Once again it’s getting great reviews, and once again it’s selling like shit.  I was shocked when I found out it was even coming out, no one is advertising it, and outside of the Nintendo Power community no one even knows it existed.  I would wager the PS3 version that’s coming out is going to sell better than the original did.  It’s embarrassing, I think, that the once great Nintendo is now the laughing stock of the gamer community, because Iwata and Reggie are more than happy to sell out everything there company stood for during the last 100 years for a truck load of money.  So great games like No More Heroes are sent into the world to die, at some point I hope developers will get sick of this and just boycott the damn thing all together.  Nintendo tricked a lot of people into buying it at launch but if they think these numbers will carry over into the next generation then they are going to have a really rude awakening.

Rude Awakening

Pictured Above: A Rude Awakening, also Megadeath.

Peace!