Monthly Archives: September 2011

I’ve missed Thursdays

Sunny and Archer were new tonight, and both were unsurprisingly hilarious. But that pales in comparison to next week, which will have the full slate of NBC shows (Community/Parks & Rec particularly) and Sunny/Archer. It’s the best night of the week.

  • I’m not going to say I’m in the tank for Batman, but I’m almost certainly going to buy every piece of DLC I can for Arkham City. Including Catwoman.
  • I haven’t been paying that much attention to Skyward Sword. I mean, I love Zelda games, but I’ve felt a little burned out on the 3D ones since Twilight Princess, so I’ve just been assuming it will be good and otherwise not taking much notice. But the crafting system looks pretty great, and I love the visual style, and I’m starting to warm up to it. You got me again, Nintendo.
  • I understand wanting to prevent class-action suits, especially after some high-profile ones, but this seems like a PR disaster from the get-go.
  • I own a Mac, which is why I get to make these kinds of jokes. “Nobody punches my little brother but me” and all that.
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Renegade Ops first impressions, and Survivor

So I got a chance to play a little bit of Renegade Ops today, and it’s a fun little dual-stick shooter. Leveling up tends to win me over when it creeps into any genre, so I can see myself grinding out for new abilities. I also like the ability to bring down enemy buildings with a well-timed spin; it sort of reminded me of the N64 game Blast Corps. Does anyone actually remember that?

Survivor came back tonight, and I’m back on-board. I like Amazing Race much more, but I’ve been getting back into Survivor lately. Quick thoughts: Coach strikes me as fake, Ozzy seems like a nice enough guy, and they almost voted off the huge nerd for sheer fact that he was a huge nerd. So far, though, I really like Papa Bear — both because he seems like a genuinely sweet older man, and because he snuck LGBT slang into the show. I’ll probably get into longer thoughts as strategies deepen and conflicts arise.

Speaking of TV, Persons of Interest is probably my most anticipated new show. Michael Emmerson looks fantastic, and the Minority Report-like concept could really lend itself to a serialized format.

Also, both Sunny and Archer tomorrow. It is a red letter day!

  • I bought all the DLC for Fallout 3, and none for New Vegas. I’m sure I’ll get around to them sometime, maybe when they’re on sale. All this to say, Lonesome Road sounds interesting, and everyone seems to think Old World Blues was fantastic. So I should catch up.
  • I’ve got a few of my definite pre-orders in, but I haven’t ordered Halo Anniversary yet. The announcements just keep coming and convincing me more that I need to get on that asap.
  • I enjoy Ratchet, but I’m more of a single-player gamer most of the time. I’m wondering if All 4 One is going to be pointless if I can’t find three partners.
  • Yep. This sounds like a Suda game.

Storm brewing off the coast of Portable Bay

I’m just getting off the late late shift at Shacknews, having come around at midnight to cover Sony’s TGS conference. It was a long one, as Sony tends to be, but the story of the night has to be how little game footage they showed. Like I mentioned on Twitter, this is about as damning an indictment you can have about the current dedicated portable system market. We all know the iPhone and Android are closing in on the market like sharks; but for a company to detail its new game hardware at the Tokyo Game Show surrounded by games press and spend almost all of their time talking about phone-like features? That’s pretty ominous.

On the bright side, Final Fantasy X HD remake? Hell yes.

I finished up Resistance 3 tonight, and it really won me over. It’s such a nice varied campaign with a killer ending and great weaponry. I haven’t had that much fun with a weapon playground since Bulletstorm, and before then not for a long time. I think they’re both in the running for my favorite shooters this year, just for the variety and sense of pure “play” you get out of the combat options. I’m not much into multiplayer, but I’ll probably mess around with it a little before I send it back.

I’ll be sending back Star Fox 64 3D too. I finished all the planets at least once, and while I have a deep and abiding love for the game, I’ve done it before. I might still grab it on sale, but for now it needs to go back to GameFly. Sending both it and R3 assures I can get Gears 3 and Kirby next week.

Renegade Ops is this week’s PSN Play game, but I haven’t gotten a chance to crack into it yet. Expect first impressions in the near future.

  • The stupid second 3DS analog stick looks incredibly likely to come to the U.S. Crap.
  • I do not understand why Angry Birds is so popular. I don’t think I ever will. I own the game. I’ve played it. I just don’t care.
  • Release date for the Vita in Japan is December 17. Despite my concerns about portable gaming hardware, I actually like things that are designed to do one thing really well, and so I’ll probably pick one up. Especially with a pretty great (theoretical) line-up.

Nintendo, Star Fox, and Fantasies

Tonight was the 3DS press conference, and I watched it for Shacknews. It was very tailored towards Japanese sensibilities, so it’s really no wonder they didn’t bother providing an English translator. Just how Japanese was it? “Bravely Default: Flying Fairy.” That much.

I got Star Fox 64 3D in the mail today from GameFly, and made a quick run through the hard path. I know me some Star Fox 64, and I’m 99% certain that they toned down the difficulty for the 3DS setting. You can choose N64 difficulty, but they claimed the differences were tuning for controls. I was good at the game back in the day, but even so, I breezed through some of the tougher parts on my first try for this one. The Copperhead missiles and Andross’ brain, in particular, seemed to take more hits in the old version. Those missiles were downright damage sponges back in the day.

At any rate, I hit it all in one life, so I’m confident that my skills haven’t left me entirely. I didn’t get perfect scores, though, because that’s just straight memorization that left me a long time ago.

I think I’ll run through twice more — the easy and medium paths — and then send it back. I’m almost finished with R3 too, so I can turn them both around so I won’t have to choose between Gears of War 3 and Kirby Mass Attack next week. (Kirby won my informal Twitter poll).

I seem to have won my first week of Fantasy Football, and I’m more convinced than ever that it is mainly luck. However, I’m taking on Woho next week, and her team beat my score by 150% this week, so let’s just say I’m uneasy.

I didn’t write this story, but some friends and I had this exact idea years ago. I’m sure it’s not that unique an idea, but I’m glad someone is doing it.

  • Purdy.
  • I don’t think Microsoft is donating directly here, but raising awareness of the charity is nothing to sneeze at, especially from such a huge corporation.
  • I was underwhelmed by FF13 — or rather, very whelmed, and then only slightly whelmed, and then not very whelmed at all. My enthusiasm for the battle system faded as I realized the story made no sense and I didn’t like anybody. But Square keeps saying the right things about 13-2, so I’m open to it. And if it’s good, why not another?

Resistance 3 first impressions

I got Resistance 3 in the mail today from GameFly. Usually new releases come on Thursday, so I suppose that proves that they ship them out Monday instead of the Tuesday of release. I was a little disappointed when it didn’t come yesterday, before reminding myself that a video game rental coming 24 hours later because I got a day off from my job that requires me to stay at home with the internet is basically the epitome of a “First World Problem.”

Oh, MC Frontalot, you help keep things in perspective.

I’ve played about an hour so far, and I’m really enjoying it. Bringing back the weapon wheel alone makes a huge difference, and I think Jeff Cannata nailed why in this week’s Weekend Confirmed. This is a series that really thrives on its weapons, and giving you your entire arsenal at all times means you have a ton of strategic options at your fingertips. Switching to the two-weapon system in R2 might’ve seemed fashionable, but it totally undermined what makes Insomniac games so great. Imagine a Ratchet game where you only keep two weapons at a time.

I agree with Cannata’s thoughts on the red-screen haze too, but that’s a minor gripe. I just got through the boat mission, which was a weaker encounter set than the first few, but didn’t last overly long. I’m glad they gave you the Augur right away, because it helps show off some of the creative weaponry right off the bat.

  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution may have had some problems, but it deserves success.
  • Cool swag.

Politics, Puns, and Football

It was a big night, between the Obama speech and the NFL game. I watched them both. I thought Obama gave a strong speech, but we’ll see how it bears out in the next few days as he gives more details on the exact deficit reductions. Still, you can’t say that guy is a poor orator. The NFL game was a pretty high-scoring game, though the best part was when a commentator claimed a player had done a barrel roll.

“Never give up! Trust your instincts!”

I would think it was viral marketing for Star Fox if it weren’t such an amazing move.

I tried starting a meme the other day with the best character from any movie of the last few years, or possibly ever. Bear Dude. The basic idea revolves around bear puns, and I didn’t really figure it would catch on. Imagine my surprise when browsing Reddit today I found this. Success! Inasmuch as he used the picture, but totally missed the pun aspect. Oh well. I’ll take it.

  • It’s kind of amazing how many patent suits have hit Nintendo since they started focusing on getting out of the hardware rat race and doing their own thing. Throw another one on the pile.
  • I played some Dead Rising 2 and didn’t like it as much as Case Zero, but the problem wasn’t really load times. The whole experience just felt a bit stilted and arbitrarily challenging, which didn’t bother me in the short Case Zero experience. But sure. Sounds great.
  • Looking at the comments, I’m glad other people also thought this game involved punching fish. I thought so when I was writing it up, but realized otherwise. Apparently it’s a semi-transparent overlay and those motions are supposed to be reeling in the line. Still, it looks an awful lot like punching fish, which would make that game so much more awesome.

Slow news day is slow

Today was an oddly slow news day. Maybe the 3DS analog pad threw everyone off their game? At any rate, I had an extremely quiet couple of hours during the daily grind, which isn’t normal at all.

I played a little Crimson Alliance tonight with partners on Xbox Live. It’s got a little bit of slow-down with four players, but at least now I can find teams. I also found the filters pretty helpful. One match had my dumbass partners running through without stopping at any of the secret stashes, so I set my filter to “completionist” and found someone as meticulous as I was. I already finished the game as the Assassin, but I’m trying to get her best weapons and armor to boot. Then I’ll move on to the other classes, I think.

Resistance 3 is getting some really good reviews, which I’m glad to see. I really enjoyed the first Resistance, even if it was a launchy-launch game. R2 had great co-op (which I wish was included in R3), but the campaign was a wash. This sounds more like R1, so I’m looking forward to getting it from Gamefly tomorrow.

  • It’s smart for Sony to make a public display of their new security chief, even if the issue has more or less blown over in the minds of most consumers. Investors still seem uneasy, and at least now they can say they won’t have to hire outside firms.
  • I didn’t play Cars 2, but Toy Story 3 was really a genuinely great kid-friendly game. That proves Avalanche has some great talent, so it’s always terrible to see them laid off.
  • I played Out of This World, but never finished it, because it was hard as hell. Maybe on iOS I’ll give it another shot.

WayForward: 4; Skepticism: 0

I’m sort of developing a minor (not so minor) crush on WayForward, because it’s track record just keeps pressing out games that should not be nearly as good as they are. Contra 4 was my first encounter, and they did an accurate job of carrying on the Contra legacy. So accurate, in fact, that I never finished the game. A Boy and His Blob showed a softer side — it had a hug button — but was just as charming. Batman: The Brave and the Bold captured what makes that show so damn fun, and had some really clever gameplay options to make it accessible for younger players who would be attracted to it.

BloodRayne: Betrayal came out tonight, and my early impressions are thus: it is very hard, and beautiful. WayForward always impresses me with its 2D animation, but this is probably the best I’ve seen so far. Videos don’t really do it justice, you have to see it yourself. I don’t even care about the BloodRayne series, but I like this direction.

I haven’t played their Thor game yet, or Aliens: Infestation, but I’m assuming they’re fantastic. I think I’ll pick up Shantae: Risky’s Revenge too.

  • True to form, Payton stepped out about as gracefully as he possibly could have. No matter how he did it, some of the peanuts gallery would rag on Halo and talk about how he has no faith in it, but his side of the story seems fair.
  • I don’t really play a lot of Dragon Quest games in general, but an online-centric Wii/Wii U title seems like a weird choice. Requiring subscription fees seems weirder. But in Japan, who knows? It might be a hit.
  • Ten bucks, huh? Well alright then.

Crimson Alliance first impressions

For the first time this year, I went for all of the Summer of Arcade games to get the freebie. I didn’t realize that meant I’d also get it early, but I got the code for Crimson Alliance last night. This blog is already coming a little late, so I thought I would just chime in with a few thoughts.

It really doesn’t put its best foot forward with the first stage. It’s a little too slow, especially if you play by yourself. It’s definitely a game meant for multiplayer, and once you get rolling with upgrading your character it has a lot more meat on its bones. So far I’ve played mostly as an Assassin, but a little as the Mage. I think I actually prefer the Mage, since the speed difference isn’t actually that great.

Anyway, seems enjoyable so far! Hopefully next Wednesday the player pool will be bigger so I can find more players.

  • Montreal did feel a little incomplete in Deus Ex, so it makes sense that they planned to have more of it. Would’ve been nice to get out of that one singular building.
  • As underwhelming and stupid as the ending of Resistance 2 was, at least they have the good sense not to bring Nathan Hale back for R3.
  • Like one of the commenters, I thought Jensen’s 3-day absence was some kind of stasis or hypersleep or something. Apparently they meant to imply that he had other adventures there? I don’t know, I didn’t get that vibe at all.
  • This story was actually a lot meaner to Dynasty Warriors in its first draft, but my editor wisely had me tone it down. I was going for humor! Oh well.

Going Madden

I promised thoughts on a ton of games tonight, and by God I’m going to deliver. First up is Madden 12, and I’m admittedly a newbie. I only recently started picking up the football titles, so I can’t really criticize all the nuance of it as compared to previous years. Garnett Lee is a huge fan, so he picked it apart rather nicely in his review.

As for me, I’m liking it. The minimalist hub and collision system are nice touches, and I like being able to play as the Ravens. (When I played NCAA, I had no real affinity for any college team). The Fantasy Football connectivity seems like a nice touch, but it could be fleshed out a lot more with actual match-ups featuring your fantasy team. The Ultimate Team is kind of a strange hybrid of the Exhibition and Fantasy modes, with a sprinkle of collectible card game. At the moment I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the different modes and options, so I’m dipping toes in tentatively.

The Baconing is more DeathSpank. I only played the demo of a previous game, but it’s pretty well what I expect. I’m dying a lot. And the dialogue seems funnier than I remember from the demo, but still never laugh-out-loud funny. I’d be mad at Hothead for canceling Penny Arcade for this, but as previously mentioned, that’s being taken care of by another indie that I really like, so no harm done.

Summer Uprising! Train Frontier Express is a really cool set of building tools, and if you like model train sets I have to imagine it would be a dream come true. Chester seems like a decent platformer.

NES Ambassador games! I tried all of them out for at least a moment, and what follows is what I remember of my impressions when going through the list:

The Legend of Zelda! Whoo! I… wow, the first dungeon only takes like 5 minutes? I thought it was longer. It definitely seemed longer before. Alright, how about Zelda 2? This isn’t so bad, I can get through this. Where do I go? Hammer? Oh screw it. Hmm, Super Mario Bros. Yep. That’s 1-1. Metroid! Got the ball form, and… eh, I’ll come back to this. Man, Donkey Kong Jr is hard. And Mario is being a dick. How about Yoshi? Wait, so do I flip these things to… is it three in a row? Maybe the eggs, maybe if you… no, that’s not it either. Wait, what the hell do you do in this game? Fine, whatever. Open Tournament Golf, everyone knows how to play golf. So do I hit the button in the middle, or…? Okay, 19 strokes later, I got it. Did people not notice that Balloon Fight was basically Joust? Wrecking Crew is… okay, no idea what I’m doing here either. Why were these NES games so obtuse? I bet some kind of digital instruction manual would help. Last one, Ice Climbers. Oh, Popo, no wonder you haven’t had a game in 20-plus years.

  • I’m not sure if anyone, even Sony, is expecting the PlayStation Suite to be a smashing success. I just wonder if they’re diluting the brand.
  • I’m not sure if I’m the only person who broke down the per-month PSN numbers in this story to compare registrations before and after the attack, but my story is the only one I saw that took that step. Maths!
  • I find most trailers that are supposed to be creepy unbelievably cheesy, but this one for Corpse Party is genuinely kind of disturbing.