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Hi and welcome to yet another new blog series I've decided to start up. Inside The Box will focus on packaging and extras that come with various "editions" of games, though I won't limit myself to just games. Anything nerdy is fair game on this blog!
The inaugural post features one of the most highly anticipated games of this year, The Last of Us, specifically the Survival Edition of the game.
**Note: This is NOT a review of the game, only the packaging**
The Last of Us - Survival Edition
Release Date - June 14, 2013
Developer - Naughty Dog
Platform(s) - PS3
Price - $79.99
Price Paid - $79.99 (Amazon)
Retailer Exclusive - No
I decided to make an unboxing video for this!
To summarize the above video:
- Collectors box/packaging
- Steelbook case featuring Ellie/Joel
- Sounds and Sights DLC
- PSN Avatars and Theme
- 170 Page Hardcover Artbook
- Issue #1 of The Last of Us comic
The Last of Us Survival Edition is one of two different special editions, the other being the Gamestop exclusive Post-Pandemic Edition which substituted a 12 inch statue in place of the Artbook included with the Survival Edition.
This edition is available for $20 more than the standard edition, which seems fair for what you get with it. The box is much larger than I expected it to be, below is a comparison picture with a standard PS3 game.
The box everything comes in is large and looks like one of those promotional display boxes you'd see at Gamestop. That said, the artwork for the game is nice and I know I won't mind putting this box up for display on a shelf somewhere. However, a box this size might be the bane of those more space-conscious that myself.
The steelbook is simple yet elegant, with the added bonus of having artwork on the inside as well. The Artbook is definitely a premium book, more along the lines of the Uncharted 2 or Mass Effect artbooks rather than a small pack-in artbook most games get.
The DLC and PSN Avatars/Theme are a nice bonus, but definitely not worth any amount of money. Finally, the comic seems to be the afterthought of this edition, being more of a teaser than anything else, likely in the hopes of getting you to buy more issues of the comic as it comes out.
Overall you get your extra $20 worth out of this edition, though not much more than that.
Presentation - 9/10
Price/Value - 8/10
Extras - 7/10
Score - 8.0 / 10
Edit: The art book is available separately, albeit as a preorder (July 2) and at $40 MSRP (
$27 on Amazon)
What did you think of this type of review? More videos or more pictures in upcoming ones? What would you like to see next?
This started out as a couple of dumb one-off jokes I made earlier today, but then I realized...why not go further with it? Why not make it a number of dumb jokes?
Why not indeed.
So, in today's post, I'll be talking about some upcoming video games that are taking way too long to come out. But not just that - I'll also be revising their names to more accurately portray their current state and poking a little fun at them along the way. I've got my poking stick set to "stun" and my jokes set to "kill," so let's get this thing on the road!
Revised name: Undercover Agent
This is literally the game's entire existence.
Do you remember Agent? No? No one does, so if you said yes, go sit in time out, Mr. or Ms. Pants on Fire. It was announced in 2009 or so, and since then there's been nothing - total radio silence. Suffice it to say, it appears Agent has gone deep undercover, so until Rockstar pulls him from active duty, he won't be seen in the public eye unless he's in disguise. Let's just hope Momma Agent doesn't get a letter saying he was KIA.
Final Fantasy XV
Revised name: Final Fantasy 2015, At the Earliest
Revised revised name: Pretty Boys with Sharpened Toys
At first they were going to call it Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which is a heck of a mouthful. Makes sense to shorten the title a bit, especially after it's completely failed to show up on store shelves since its announcement in 2006, right? But Squenix wasn't just shortening the name, they were telling us something. Something to do with 15...what does it mean? Well, I've deduced that it means 2015 is the absolute earliest we'll see this game on store shelves. So if they rename it to FFXVI, be prepared to wait another couple of years, at least.
The Last Guardian
revised name: The Last Guardian of the PS3's Legacy
"Woof! I mean...meow! I mean...hold on, let me think about this."
Let's pretend for a moment that The Last Guardian is still coming to PS3, because that may be the only way for some of you to hold back the tears. Got rid of the sniffles yet? Good, let's move on. The Last Guardian has been "in development" for a while, being announced in 2009, and has always been slated to come out on PS3. Since it looks like the PS3's lifetime will expire before this game ever comes out, I've taken the liberty of crowning it the Guardian of the PS3's Legacy. Once every PS3 game that will ever be released has come out, ol' Trico will finally spread his wings and soar onto the system to secure the console's legacy with one final, amazing game. Unless it turns out to be terrible, like most games that stew in development hell for years, but let's just do what it takes to keep from crying and hope for the best.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Revised name: Beyond Good Graphics and Evil Executives 2
BG&E was a fan favorite and a critical success, but it didn't really do well commercially, so fans were ecstatic when it was announced the game was getting a sequel in 2008. And yet now they've been waiting...and waiting...and waiting. At this point, I'd like to think that by the time the game finally does come out it will have amazingly advanced graphics, probably powered by the Playstation 5, Xbox Two, and Wii U Me, and the developers will have finally found a way to convince the publishing bosses that the game will turn a profit.
Revised name: A Longer Development Cycle than Prey, 2
Now with twice the prey!
Prey 2 was announced in 2011 or so, but they've been pretty quiet since Bethesda told everyone that it was being polished up to their standards. What standards those are, exactly, we'll never know, but it probably involves releasing it with a host of hilarious glitches. In any case, the original Prey took around 12 years to finally see the light of day, and while Prey 2 has only gotten a few years in, the complete lack of any new info points to the developers trying to match or exceed that cycle. I'm pretty sure at that point it stops being "development hell" and turns into "development hell frozen over."
Kingdom Hearts 3
Revised name: We Ran Out of Kingdom Hearts Spinoffs 3
I'm confused about those 3 things behind the logo too, Sora.
It finally happened. After so many long years, we finally have confirmation. It's what we all expected, all hoped, all secretly knew. And our waiting has paid off as Square Enix has revealed...that it has finally run out of Kingdom Hearts spinoffs.
Revised name: No-Life 3
While you wait, enjoy this mockup that took someone literally seconds to make.
Because people who are still going around looking for clues of this game's existence have no life. That, and the game itself doesn't have a life, since it doesn't exist. It's a double whammy of painful realization!
Revised name: Starcraft: Ghost
I don't know if this is an actual screenshot. No one remembers what the game looks like.
Some of you may be saying that these are the same games I featured in a past article (welcome back, SeÃ±or or SeÃ±ora Pantalones de Fuego) but I talked about them differently this time, so it makes it new. So nyah.
So what do you think? Did I hit the nail on the head with my revised names? Do you have a better name for any of these? Or do you not care either way and just want to sound off in the comments about something else? Whatever the case, head on down there and speak your mind!
While I do enjoy playing Magic The Gathering on my iPad and PS3, it seems good sportsmanship exhibited by other players rarely exists. I'd estimate that in 80-90% of the multiplayer games I'm in where it's obvious I will win the match, the other player will exit the game which causes a slow down waiting for the computer to take over for them.
I'm not sure where the lack of sportsmanship comes from. Anytime I know I'm going to lose, I give my opponent the satisfaction of finishing me off and completing the game. It's a real shame the game doesn't punish those who quit out.
Even worse than people who "quit out" is people who will take the maximum time for every move they make likely in an attempt to get you to quit once you lose patience. Magic 2015 definitely gives players way too much time to make moves.
Perhaps the anonymous nature of online interaction encourages rudeness...who knows...
Alright kiddies, strap yourself in. The Angry Leprechaun has been dormant for too long, here is another attack at your eye balls, I suppose if you read this this out loud it's an attack on your ear holes as well, but that's not the point.
The console war, a vicious cycle. New consoles come out, people argue over which is better and cite various statistics, lather, rinse, repeat. I won't lie, I have been involved in the past of "Console War" hoopla and who won, lost, is in a rubber room in a straight jacket wearing a tin foil hat to keep the enemies from seeing his thoughts and simultaneously cooking his brain like a baked potato. Can be good fun and is ultimately futile. So why rant if ultimately I'm OK with it, you ask? Well first off, thank you for being polite and asking a good question, second don't interrupt me while I'm typing, it's rude, just let me get to the point on my own you impatient little... moving on.
Every single day, in various news outlets/sites/forums, I can't help but see a "Console X" has already won the "Console War". (Yeah, I like that, I'm putting quotes around that for the rest of the rant, because of how stupid it is. In fact, imagine me doing air quotes whenever you read it too. For fun you can do the air quotes yourself if you'd like. Go ahead, no one is watching you. Anyway...) Whenever I see this, I am overcome with a multitude of emotions, well maybe not a multitude, it's mostly just overbearing annoyance and rage.
Let's start with the fact that the 2 latest consoles have been out for just over 6 months. Their previous iterations have been around for over 7 years. You mean to tell me from 6 months of sales data, you are predicting that the white flag is waving? The fat lady is singing? Let's face it, you're an idiot. If I recall, the PS3 was off to a rocky start with it's high price tag. So you want to try telling me again that 6 months of sales figures declares a winner? Go jump off a cliff. The "Console War" isn't won with the console itself, it takes games too.
Bringing me to my next point, neither the Xbox One or PS4 is worth purchasing currently. I'm sure many are going to disagree with me here and frankly, I don't care. I have played the PS4 and I own an Xbox One currently and that is only because I won it in a costume contest on Amazon. The honest truth is neither console has games for it to be a fully justified purchase yet. I'm not saying there aren't fun games out there, there are, but not yet are there any that make me want to run out and spend a couple hundred dollars. This is why out of current gen consoles, I probably enjoy my Wii U the most, while the library is small, the quality of that library is excellent. (And I'm drooling thinking about X releasing, oooooooo yeah). They will be worth it, games will come, I will buy a PS4, but until they have some console sellers, the "Console War" is still going to be at a stalemate in my mind.
OoLaLa Retired Robin, Would you look at dem gams?
Another thing I can't wrap my head around is, why is everyone so quick to decide a clear winner? This is one of the very few instances where I can say without a doubt, winning is a BAD thing. If there is a clear winner declared, sure be happy your console of choice is the "winner". Here's the thing, what if that "win" actually knocks the other console of of contention completely? Competition is the reason why I own a PS3, 360, Wii, WiiU, Xbox One (well technically Amazon is the reason for this). Competition is what drives innovation, what creates amazing games, what pushes these companies to be better than the other in an attempt to "win". As a gamer, you shouldn't want someone to win, you should want them to fight and win battles instead of the war. While the companies battle, we reap the benefits. The argument could be made that a single console means that all effort would be put into that console, I doubt it though.
In summation, stop declaring a winner. It makes you look like a moron and I hate you.
I didn't think it would be possible to follow last years hype, last years upsets, and last years incredible matches. Well, I was wrong. I bring you again, the summary of Evolution Championship Series. Now if you're unfamiliar with what EVO is, basically the Olympics of fighting games. There's a medley of fighting games to be played ranging from Street Fighter to Super Smash Bros Melee. However, the roster is ever changing. Almost each year, the main 8 games played change up, allowing newer and fresher games to be showcased. And this year was definitely a crazy ride. Without much more intro, let's dive right in.
Ultra Street Fighter IV The series 6th year at EVO
1st. MD â”‚ Louffy, who played as Rose, from France.
2nd. Bonchan, who played Sagat, from Japan.
3rd. RZR â”‚ Fuudo (Winner of EVO 2011,) who played Fei Long, from Japan.
In quite possibly one of the biggest upsets of an entire generation, a huge portion of the favorites to win the tournament were eliminated before even the Semi-finals. It just goes to show you that even the changes they made for Ultra can really impact the level of competition.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 The series 4th year at EVO
1st. EG â”‚ Justin Wong, who played using the team Wolverine/Storm/Akuma, from the USA.
2nd. GG â”‚ NYChrisG, who played using the teams Morrigan/Doctor Doom/Vergil, Magneto/Morrigan/Doctor Doom, from the USA.
3rd. RG â”‚ Fillipino Champ, who played using the teams Magneto/Dormammu/Doctor Doom, Magneto/Doctor Doom/Phoenix, Morrigan/Magneto/Doctor Doom, from the USA.
Finally, it happened again. Justin Wong returned as the Marvel champion. It's been too long since we've heard the crowds of viewers cheering his name and he definitely deserved this.
Super Smash Bros Melee The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. C9 â”‚ Mang0 (Won EVO 2013), who played as Falco, Fox, from the USA.
2nd. CRS â”‚ Hungrybox, who played as Jigglypuff, from the USA.
3rd. P4K.EMP â”‚ Armada who played as Peach, Young Link, from Sweden.
Quite possibly one of the coolest things to see this year, not only because of the competition, but because of Nintendo's support. Before the finals began, it was nice to see Reggie on screen thank the players and such. At least after last years almost nightmare, it's nice to see the turn around. Smash is not done.
Killer Instinct The series 1st year at EVO
1st. KN.RM â”‚ CDjr who played as Sadira, Jago, from the USA.
2nd. RG â”‚ Rico Suave who played as Thunder, Fulgore, Glacius, Jago, Sabrewulf, from the USA.
3rd. EG â”‚ Justin Wong who played as Sabrewulf, from the USA.
Straight up, I'm not a KI fan in the least bit. But watching the grand finals was pretty intense. Higher level play of most games can still almost always give you that tight feeling in your chest of, 'oh, that was freaking cool.'
Blazblue Chrono Phantasma The series 1st year at EVO.
1st. Garireo, who played as Litchi Faye-Ling, from Japan.
2nd. Dogura, who played as Azrael, from Japan.
3rd. BE.TSB â”‚ Dora_Bang, whoa played as Bang, from Japan.
Quite possibly the most hype matches I've ever seen for this game. The commentators were fantastic, the players were outstanding and my heart was racing every single second.
King of Fighters XIII The series 3rd year at EVO
1st. Qanba â”‚ Xiao Hai, who played as EX Iori/Mr Karate/Kim, from China.
2nd MCZ â”‚ Tokido, who played as EX Iori/Mr Karate/Chin, from Japan.
3rd. LDA â”‚ ET, who played as Clark/Mr. Karate/EX Iori, EX Iori/Mr. Karate/Kim, from Taiwan.
It's sad to see the hype for King of Fighters XIII dying off so early. It feels like it could still have a lot of life left in it, but with the past EVO champion, Reynald, unable to participate as well, some are skeptical to the future. Even the commentators felt weaker compared to last year. KoF XIV might be in the near future, but these players show case a series of beautifully executed combos and game knowledge.
Injustice: Gods Among Us The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. RG â”‚ SonicFox, who played as Batgirl, from the USA.
2nd. AK â”‚ Pig of the Hut, who played as Zod, from the USA.
3rd. IC â”‚ Mit 88, who played as Deathstroke, Aquaman, from the USA.
Having the second fewest signups this year tells a great deal for the future of the game. I'm fairly certain that most people are getting excited for Mortal Kombat X at this point, but still. It's fun to see Batgirl deliver some butt whooping.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. Twitch â”‚ JDCR, who played as Heihachi/Armour King, from South Korea.
2nd. Twitch.MCP â”‚ Gen, who played as Bob/Leo, from Japan.
3rd. BE â”‚ Ao, who played as Alisa/Miguel, from Japan.
Sadly, Tekken seems to be dying off a tad at EVO this year, seeing the fewest entries compared to the other games. However, in contrast to this, series director Katsushiro Harada displayed a new teaser trailer for Tekken 7. The Devil is returning, we just have to be patient. In the mean time, we can enjoy and get hype over one of the best Tekken games since the original Tekken Tag.
That concludes this years Evolution Championship Series main events. While this does not cover every single tournament that was played at EVO 2014, it does cover the top 8 most signed up for. Something else worth note, I felt that EVO seemed a lot more main stream this year. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. On the upside, sites like IGN and Kotaku posted coverage on it the entire weekend. it made following the events I missed a lot more convenient, not to mention archives of the grand finals matches. It was a tad sad however, to see so much advertising for things like Mountain Dew. I can understand them being a sponsor, but this is the sort of thing gamers made fun of Microsoft and Activision for with the whole Doritos and Mountain Dew giveaways. I just hope it doesn't evolve into something out of control for the future. Regardless, it was definitely one of the most hype years yet and I can't wait for next year. With games like Persona 4 Ultimax, Mortal Kombat X, Tekken 7, and possibly a new patch for Ultra Street Fighter 4 to be out in time for EVO, there's gonna be a ton of new stuff to watch.
Hope you guys enjoyed my quick coverage of the event! If you enjoyed a particular video or game, leave a comment below. Same goes for disliking. Let's spread the love of the Fighting Game Community~â™¥
The year of 2012 has been rather a disappointing year for gaming so far. After the stellar releases of 2011 (though the disappointment there was they were all sequels), 2012 has come acrop with fan favourites such as Ninja Gainden becoming mediocre thanks to its simplified 3rd instalment & the Resident Evil spin off Operation Racoon City whilst an interesting idea, it failed when it came to the simple gameplay & ludicrous AI. The biggest disappointment in the world of gaming this year has to be with the whole furore over the Mass Effect 3 ending leaving millions of fans (myself included), feeling let down as the credits rolled.
Recently I became a quarter of a century old and one of my housemates got me some games as a present. One was Mafia II which I like alot & it gave me a chance to try out the dlc that I missed out when I traded in my old copy (it was for Portal 2 so I think it was fair). The other game was Homefront. When this game first came out I was very intrigued by the main story (A unified Korea invading the U.S.), which was quite original for the military FPS genre. However after hearing the reviews of how short the campaign was I decided to leave it. While playing I actually enjoyed the campaign but it just ends. Quite abruptly too. I thought great in one month I've been disappointed by the ending of two games. Then this gave me the idea for a blog and write about these and the other games that I have been disappointed by this generation.
Oh and before I begin let me give out the obligitory !SPOILER WARNING! For these games.
Home Is Where the War Is! Is That Where the Rest of the Story Is?
Let's start with the game I mentioned earlier, Homefront had alot of things going for it when it was annouced. Boasting a massive 32 player multiplayer on massive maps (which is actually quite fun and the leveling system is not as unbalanced as CoD's), and a story which is interesting. After the death of Kim Jong Ill in 2012 (freaky eh?), his successor manages to unify Korea & Annex China & Japan. In 2027 Korea attacks the U.S. with a massive EMP strike & invades. You take the role of a fighter pilot recently recruited into the resistence movement. you spend the game going through different areas of occupied America, helping the resistence in a number of missions. Whilst the characters you are with aren't that well developed, the landscapes you go through are very well done and set the mood for the game perfectly. The music is also a highlight of the game. The downside is the single player is incredibly short. Even by CoD standards.
When the story was being advertised everywhere I was looking forward to playing a military FPS that actually had an original story to it & was written by the man who did Apocalypse Now & Red Dawn. The final piece of the game is where you are fighting for control of the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the hardest fights of the game & as you get control of the bridge you end up in a jeep shooting at an enemy goliath, then you get blown from the jeep, and watch one of your teamates run towards the enemy cavalry holding a flair as a signal for an airstrike & as the enemy gets bombarded, the camera pans out and fades with a voice over saying how they will win the fight. Then the credits appear. All in all it took me about 4 hours to complete the game. FOUR HOURS! All I was left with was the question "Is that it?" It was blatantly left for a sequel which makes me furious as I hate it when developers do that.
Bringing Tedium to New Heights!
Ah the Fable series one constant disappointment after another. Out of the trilogy though its Fable III that takes the 'P' in RPG (see what I did there?). Peter Molineux once again claiming that this time you will be flooded with hard and tough choices to make in the game. And once again you're not. Bascially the premise of the story is you're the brother/sister of the current king who has become selfish with his wealth when it comes to the needs of the kingdom. So you escape the palace and go on a quest to unite the land and overthrow him. Along the way you make promises to each group of people that you need to help overthreow your brother that you are intended to keep once you become king/queen. The game is simple Fable fare where you can fart & flirt with most NPCs and if they take your fancy you can marry them and have kids (the novel aspect of Fable II where now the novelty has worn off). You can also buy properties and take part in pointless & uninimaginative mini games to help earn you some money.
Once you overthrow your brother the game completely changes and you find out that the reason he was being stingy was so he could protect the ingdom from a pending evil, which is now your job to stop. You have a certain amount of time to raise enough funds to protect the kingdom or it will be destroyed. You spend the rest of the game, stuck in your castle, either keeping the promises you made to the people (which means less money), or go back on your word (which means money for the treasury). That's it. Those are the "tough choices" you have to make in the game. Which aren't that tough and if you could actually tell these people what was going to happen im sure they would have agreed instead of calling you a selfish bastard.
What really annoyed me about this game was the 'interactive' pause menu. Instead of pressing start and going into your inventory to see quests & what not, you end up in your "throne room" where all the wepaons you have are on the wall, and all your outfits are in their own room. What entails is bloody tedium which makes measuring the hight of your lawn with a ruler more fun. What's makes it worse is you only have like four weapons & outfits. Armour class & type have no bearing what so ever & your wepons level up or 'evolve' as you use them. Also the map is intereactive which increases the tedium of trying to navigate it.
Full Motion Capture Disappointment!
I hated L.A. Noire when it came out. Most likely that's down to it being my first professional review & I had only two & a half days in which to write it. Anyone who has done a review can tell you that's not a long time. Especially for a game as large as L.A. Noire. Because of this every negative aspect of the game that I found jumped out at me as this glaring error of epic proportions that hampered my way towards completing the game. Once I was done with it I immediately traded it in for a copy of Mortal Kombat & with Scorpion, every enemy I told to "get over here" I imagined to be Cole Phelps. After about a year I got convined to play it again as I had forgotten most of it & i hadn't actually completed it.
To my chagrin, the things that annoyed me the first time around were still there (though obvioulsy no where near as hate inducing). Whilst the game looked great & the attention to detail was astounding, it was the gameplay that really got to me. It was so simple. The combat was still unispriring and the gunplay reminded me of the GTA games on the PS2. The detective elements which drove the lure of the game aswell as the motion captured faces, became boring and predictable. Searching for evidence became an annoyance all its own with far too many red herrings.
To me the story culminated into a frantic mess. Parts of an over arcing story kept coming in an out at conventent times, and the downfall of Phelps towards the end seemed force and was too out of character from what he was for most of the game. What made me disappointed about this game was that Team Bondi seemed to spend more time focused on the motion capturing than anything else and the rest of the game suffered because of it.
A Prime Example of a Game Becoming Dissapointing The More That Gets Added to it!
I'm a massive Gears fan (or was). I've got all 3 games, read all the books, and have stood up for the game on a number of forums. However the longer that this game has been out the more disappointing I have become with it. Being the thrid game in a trilogy the game tried to be bigger, longer & more epic than the previous two. It does do that, the campaign is the largest of the three and the story ends nicely. However one of my friends pointed out that they do run out of ideas how to keep the campaign going. After playing through it again I realised that she was right. Most of the campaign involves you looking for fuel, and when you do find it, it gets destroyed so you have to look for more. That being said, Dom's final moments were to me, brilliantly done & if you had read the books, had great emotional impact. However the main focus of the story seemed to be Marcus & Cole, and to an extent Dom, but leaving Baird & Carmine in the background, which is a shame as out of all of them they were the ones that could have done with more screen time & characterisation.
The main gripe for me was multiplayer. Whilst the majority of the gameplay had been improved, there were two new guns, the retro lancer & the sawed of shotgun. Both were hated by veteran players (especially the sawed off), but they were there for novices which was fair enough (sort of before people satarted to abuse it). However the multiplayer was a vast improvement over Gears 2, and me & my friends enjoyed it immensely as it was balanced and you won through skill and not having access to more powerful weapons because you were a higher level (I'm looking at you CoD). Unfortunately Epic decided to throw dlc after dlc at the game & now it has become to bloated with content and gameplay tweaks to the game that it just isn't fun anymore. It was released in september & this month the 4th map pack dlc is released. That doesn't include the 6 title updates, two non map multiplayer dlc & the single player dlc. All this in such a short space of time has really spoilt the game in my opinion. There are too many maps and quite a few aren't that well designed. It's too much too soon, Epic didn't give the players enough time to digest one piece of dlc before giving them another. Not to mention that if you didn't buy the maps you couldn't play the game on the servers. Which is just digraceful behaviour.
If They Stay Like This One Will Be the Final One!
Ah Final Fantasy, how the might have fallen. Alot of people are contributing the decline in JRPGs to SqaureEnix as they are the industry leaders. I say that's not the case, there are plenty of good solid JRPGS out there, Xenoblade Chronicles & The Last Story are to name but a few. What I found most disappointing about this game (as did many others) was just how bloody linear the game is. It's pretty much just one corridoor after another. Considering how vast the lanscapes were in XII you think they would have expanded on that in a new generation on consoles. Instead we get treated to a film with walking elements. Whilst the story is still epic Final Fantasy, unlike prevous titles the beginning is so confusing you need to spend at least half an hour trying to figure out who is what. It took me awhile trying to figure out who or what the Pulse were, and who was a Pul'sie, a fal'cie or a l'cie. After explaining my confusion to my firend he told me that it takes a couple of hours for the game to actually explain to you which is which. A couple of hours? Not in those first two hours AFTER them. That is not good story structure. Even then by the end of the first disk I was still trying to figure it out (or maybe that's just me being slow on the uptake).
Whilst the linearity of the levels was infuriating enough the enemies are in the world like in XII and you can choose to fight them or go round them. However, due corridoor design of the levels most of the trime its impossible to evade enemies so you have to fight them anyway! It's pretty much just being able to see the random encounters. The combat goes back from the realtime of XII to a turn based system but you can only control the leader of your group, and the character progression in this game is something called Crystarium, where you unlock new abilities and spells. Later in the game you can pre select how your other party members fight but thats several hours into the game. Also the combat system itself is another hurdle to overcome in terms complexity. It took me awhile to get to grips with the mechanics, any by the time I got to grips with them I get new abilities available and have to figure out how to use them (really hope it's not just me that had these problems).
As the game progresses the story does improve and as you come to grips with everything the characters become more likable as you leanr more about them (even that whiny git Hope). But when you get to the third disc, the game switches into cinematic mode and the combat becomes one boss fight after another, which just gets tiresome after awhile. Especially as some boss fights can last 20 minutes or more, and some bosses will require trial and error when it comes to tactics (seriously someone in the comments, tell me you had the same problems so I don't feel like a complete plonker). It's just disappointing that throughout the game you have to endure so many things to experience the story.
I think I shall wrap it up there before I depress myself thinking of the hours I wasted. Anyone agree with me on these games? Dissagree? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
The Baconing (Just not as good as the original two).
Mario Kart Wii (Why is there no co-op grand prix like in ALL the others?).
Mass Effect 3 (I think you know why).
Halo Reach (Poor uninspiring level design).
Duke Nukem Forever (I know there's alot but mainly only being able to hold two weapons).
Devil May Cry 4 (Stop whining Nero or should I say Dante Jr?).
Aliens Vs Predator (The PC classics are still the best).
GTA IV (Boring mandatory side missions, bad car handling).
Star Wars The Force Unleashed II (So much wasted potential. Still better than the Phantom Menace).
The Grand Theft Auto series is undoubtedly a very popular one. In the many different installments developed, players have been hijacking cars and causing havoc for years, especially with the popularity of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Now, we“re getting a brand new entry added to this awesome series from Rockstar.
With the recent announcement of Grand Theft Auto V, many fans are speculating over the various possibilities the game could present. One of the big areas of discussion is who the protagonist of this game might be. Rockstar has done a fabulous job already representing different races, ethnicities, and nationalities. Furthermore, while it's mostly talk of someone that has already appeared in previous Grand Theft Auto installments, those who do offer their own ideas of someone that is new to the series rarely suggest a female protagonist over a male one.
Look at all those handsome menâ€¦ Butâ€¦ where are the ladies?
Getting to the point, what the Grand Theft Auto series desperately needs is a female protagonist. After over ten years of the series, I believe we are exceedingly overdue for a woman to take the reins. Not just an over-sexualized gal who barely wears anything, either, but someone who“s strong and kicks an extreme amount of butt. We see men as the main characters in games such as Grand Theft Auto all the time (not to mention movies, television, and books). A woman“s impact and view into the crime world of the Grand Theft Auto series could present something fresh for players. The dramatic change from a male to female protagonist could be great if necessary and deep thought is put into place.
It's even difficult to find female protagonists in any game that exude these qualities. While Lara Croft and Bayonetta are big name ladies and do get the job done well, they obviously put out as much fanservice as possible. While the way they are presented isn't necessarily wrong, it's less than ideal. Moreover, let“s face it: do we really want another typical woman like that to play as? Samus from the Metroid series, on the other hand, is an excellent way of having a woman being portrayed in video games (well, maybe not in Metroid: Other M, but that's a topic for another day). Other women that I picture in mind include Jade from Beyond Good & Evil and Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII.
These ladies know how to get stuff done.
Now getting back to the topic at handâ€¦ Gamers may be scared to even try out a game that has only a female protagonist. It“s happened before with games in the past such as Final Fantasy X-2 and Wet. Not to mention the way our society is driven: growing up with stories about men rescuing the damsel-in-distress and therefore saving the day. Developers like Rockstar realize this and it“s probably why they haven“t tried it yet. However, if they play their cards right and put careful thought into how this could all work out, gamers will put aside the fact that the character that they are playing as is female and appreciate that she is just as strong and adamant as the characters Rockstar has created before.
With Grand Theft Auto being a big-name series, it could possibly even lead the game industry in a new and different direction with how female protagonists are handled and trying to insert them as lead characters more often. Not to mention possibly bringing some more female gamers into trying out the Grand Theft Auto series.
While this is a fake screenshot, at least someone else out there desires a female protagonist enough to make it in the first place.
While I would love for it to happen in the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto V, it most likely won“t happen (and if it does, I will most certainly be much more excited and more apt to pick the game up!). It may be a while before Rockstar does put a lady as the main character of a Grand Theft Auto game, unfortunately. Hopefully, fans of the series share my thoughts and will become vocal and noticeable enough to catch Rockstar“s attention so that this may be a plausible future.
Images courtesy of:
Developer: Griptonite Games
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: Out now
ESRB: T for Teen
Like a ninja from out of seemingly nowhere, the Shinobi series sees its first release in over seven years on the Nintendo 3DS. It also returns to its roots by favoring side-scrolling over the 3D worlds of the last two entries. Despite being a well-received series, I have never picked up a Shinobi title before this one. My avoidance towards it is mostly because the games can be notoriously difficult. Is this game right for newcomers to the series, or is it too hard and should be left for the old fans?
In Shinobi, you take the role of the ninja Jiro Musashi (the father of Joe, the famous ninja of previous Shinobi games). What little story there is doesn“t really matter (and to be frank, it“s confusing anyway) – you“re going to be playing for the frantic platforming action. You have an array of ninja equipment and moves at your disposal and you“re going to be wanting to use every last thing such as your trusty katana, kunai, magic, and parrying.
Even during the beginning stages, you“re going to be wanting to have some fast reflexes, knowledge of your attacks and defense, and be expectant of whatever may be lurking at the sides and top of your screen. In later stages, enemies will start to become especially overwhelming with their shurikens and whatnot pretty much filling up the whole screen.
This game is hard. Even on beginner and normal modes, you're going to have a tough time getting through certain spots and bosses. Thankfully, beginner mode does offer infinite lives to help those new to games like Shinobi. Included is also a very hard mode that boasts that nobody will be able to complete it unless they are a real ninja. In this mode, you're only granted 1 extra life, 3 continues, no auto-saving, and even more challenges spread throughout the game. If you're able to beat the game on this mode, you are a god amongst men.
Unfortunately, multitudes of spastic enemies aren“t just what makes this game difficult. The controls do feel a bit stiff and in this kind of game, it makes a major difference. With complicated wall-jumping and such over bottomless pits, these controls could mean many irritating deaths.
The graphics for Shinobi are okay, but like the story, they aren“t going to be the focus. Level design takes priority anyway and you“ll have the pleasure of going through awesome renditions of feudal Japan and a future of mechanical machinery. The 3D effects are sparse and minimal with some objects popping out slightly. Even though there are some problems with double images when the 3D is turned on, it“s still pleasant to look at.
There are also cutscenes in Shinobi with simplistic and minimal animation, but they“re beautiful and work out perfectly. The only voicing done is from a narrator reading some inspiring (and sometimes cheesy) quotes that will pop up from time to time during these scenes. The only negativity about these cutscenes is that they are unskippable and may be forced to watch them repeatedly with how often you“re going to be dying.
The music for Shinobi is great and fits the game perfectly. The main theme that plays on the main menu is simply awe-inspiring and gets you pumped and ready to begin your adventure. A neat little note about the music is that Norihiko Hibino of Metal Gear Solid fame composes it.
Some cool little extra features put into the game include unlockable concept art, music, cheats and more. There are even achievements like those for PS3 and Xbox 360 games in Shinobi for those who are fans of that. With the extras this game provides, you“ll be pouring even more time into it and get your money“s worth.
Shinobi is really a game made for fans of the series, although it seems to be a good entry point to those new to it and seeking to get into some ninja action. Despite the game kicking your butt nonstop, there's nothing like the feeling of overcoming the intense obstacles in it.
+ Pure and intense side-scrolling, platforming action
+ Fun extras like achievements and unlockables
- Stiff controls can lead to many infuriating deaths
- Unnecessarily and mercilessly hard at some points
Overall Score: 7.0 (out of 10)
Fans of Shinobi and other similar series should consider picking this up, but be somewhat wary if you“re not used to fast-paced, butt-kicking action.
Developer: Marvelous Interactive
Platform: DS, 3DS
Release Date: Out now
ESRB: E for Everyone
This review is based on the 3DS version of the game.
Being a fan of Harvest Moon since Save the Homeland on the PS2, it made me excited to see the series get its first installment on the 3DS. This time, it boasts a thrilling new feature: being able to live in one of two towns (hence the title of the game). Does the game present itself well enough with all its new additions? Will it all warrant a playthrough over other Harvest Moon games you might“ve been skipping out on?
Before the actual game even starts, you are greeted by a cheery, upbeat FMV opening sequence. Something like this is not usually seen in a Harvest Moon game, so it“s a bit impressive. The story, like one for any other Harvest Moon game, is incredibly simple. You crash your horse cart and are found by the mayors of two neighboring rival towns. They give you the option of living in Bluebell (a European-centric town that focuses on livestock) or in Konohana (an Asian-centric town that focuses on crops). Regardless of your choice, you can raise livestock and crops and interact with the villagers in both towns, as well as the ability to change residencies between either town (at a cost). It is soon that you realize that the goal of the game is to get the mayors to befriend each other and reunite the two towns.
In The Tale of Two Towns, your main objective is farming, of course. Along with cows, chickens, and sheep, new animals to add to your barn are brought into this installation, such as alpacas. Raising crops is pretty much the same as in any other Harvest Moon title: dig a hole, plant your seeds, and water until they“re ready to harvest. There are new bonuses in this game, however, such as creating trenches to ease your amount of watering and being able to water twice a day to reduce the amount of time needed for a crop to mature.
Other features new to the Harvest Moon series that are present in The Tale of Two Towns include a request system, hand fishing, and bug/creature catching. All of these make the game much more pleasurable and apt to keep your attention longer, as well as put more money in your pocket and make the townsfolk appreciate you more.
Of course, you have the option of taking a bachelor or bachelorette“s hand in marriage, of which there is a wide variety to choose. It“s almost hard to choose just one, though! Another new addition to The Tale of Two Towns is being able to take your potential husband or wife on dates, which helps increase their relationship with you. When you two lovebirds do get married, you“ll also be able to have a baby.
Throughout the game, you“ll get to experience the game“s beautiful mountain environment, as well as the unique architecture for both towns from which they derive their culture. The music is equally as fun and wonderful and I often find myself having it stuck in my head long after playing. The game looks and sounds splendid, but because the 3DS version is basically a port of the DS version, it does not take full advantage of the system“s graphical prowess.
Speaking of which, it“s important to denote the differences between the DS and 3DS versions. The 3DS version does have enhanced graphics that will pop out slightly when the 3D is turned on, however, it quickly loses its charm and there“s no real point in keeping the 3D turned on (not to mention NPCs“ portraits will look slightly blurry). The 3DS“s wider top screen proves advantageous over the smaller DS screen. Other 3DS-specific features include a special animal petting minigame and Street Pass.
The Tale of Two Towns is not without its faults, however, of which there are quite a few. For some reason, the game will be restrictive on what you name your character/animals/etc. Even seemingly harmless names will sometimes be blocked. The off-putting saving system, which only allows you to save before going to bed and ending the day, will sometimes become infuriating for those who are prone to wanting to save often and does not bode well with the 3DS version“s tendency to freeze. The 3DS version also unfortunately suffers from some slowdown issues.
With these thoughts in mind, it is more worth it to pick up the DS version of The Tale of Two Towns over the 3DS version, especially with its lower price tag. Despite some shortcomings, you will enjoy either version of this fresh and innovating installment of the Harvest Moon series (especially when there“s alpacas involved!).
+ Freedom to embrace game“s challenging portions, or simply keep things basic and easy
+ New features keep things fresh
+ Cute graphics/art style and fun music
- Freezing and slowdown issues in the 3DS version paired with restrictive saving system will frustrate many
- Loses luster after marrying and completing â€œstorylineâ€
- Restrictions on naming characters/animals/etc.
Overall Score: 7 (out of 10)
Fans of the farming simulation genre should definitely have a place for this on their shelf.
This is my first attempt at a blog since the beginning of time I never actually considered that I have anything special to blog about (still don't think so) but I decided to create one mainly as a dairy. Now why I would do that I still don't know, I just thought that I might as well try it! Also it's good for office procrastination!
So I guess that there won't really be a theme, I'll just make random posts with things that I find interesting - possibly not video game related some times since I'm not that avid a gamer any more (aaand I can mainly play games that run on a virtual machine) - or other random stuff and junk!
Feel free to read and comment but I can't promise you that you will be at all entertained
To kick this off I decided to write a post with Anime series and movies to watch (mainly as a to do list for myself) and VNs to play Semi-ordered mainly be recommendation order
*High School of the Dead
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi
UFO Princess Valkyrie
Yoake Mae yori Ruriiro na: Brighter Than Dawning Blue
Pani Poni Dash
Seto no Hanayome
Ouran High School Host Club
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories
08th MS Team
Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
Higarushi no naku koro ni
Yu yu hakaso
Flame of recca
Howl's Moving Castle
The Castle of Cagliostro
Girl who leapt through time
5 centrimeters per second
Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo
Cosplay Fetish Academy
Saya no Uta
Yume Miru Kusuri
At this point I'd like to thank Jared, Jason Clement, barrel, Ludono, Kezins, Number 905, mr. me, chronorayven, DarkCobra86, Jordan Haygood and Leah who helped with the lists! I am a big rookie in these fields and it was really nice of everyone to suggest things!
Now to close this, I wanted to ask whoever reads this, should I constrain myself to sort of site related stuff (so mainly animes and games) or go berzerk and write about any random thing that pops up in my everyday life (would include but is not restrained to miniature painting and volcanoes:))
Thanks for reading
PlayStation Plus is a service offered through the PlayStation Network that gives subscribers access to exclusive and discounted downloadable content. This content includes, Full Games, Game Trials, Betas, Qore, Dynamic Themes, Avatars, and more. I will keep a running tab of how much money I have spent and saved each week by being a subscriber to the service. Not only that but I will also include what trials I downloaded, betas I have enlisted in, etc. since these don't have a real cost value but are exclusive to the service all the same. IGN's PlayStation editors are doing this and I figured it would be a good idea for me to do it here at Game Podunk as well. At the end of the year hopefully I will have atleast saved myself the $49.99 I initially invested!
I wanted to factor in a system so casual gamers could get an idea of how good Plus would be for them. While an avid PSN user like myself values the opportunity to play all the games PS+ has to offer, critically acclaimed or not, casual gamers might have a more mild experience. At the end of the day I couldn't come up with something that worked well so it will be up to each reader to decide whether the following purchases and downloads are worthy of their own hard earned buck!
The Scroll of Savings
February 2, 2011
Digger HD: $9.99 Free
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage: $5.99 Free
Karimogi (Mini): $2.99 Free
Hero of Sparta (Mini): $4.99 Free
LittleBigPlanet Sackboy Prehistoric Moves: $5.99 Free
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Dynamic Theme: $2.99 Free
February 8, 2011
Stacking: $14.99 Free
Qore Episode 33: $2.99 Free
Fat Princess: Blue Princess Avatar: Exclusive Free
February 14, 2011: Valentine's Day
Flying Hamster (Mini): $2.99 Free
February 15, 2011
Let's Golf (Mini): $4.99 Free
Sonic The Hedgehog Dynamic Theme: $2.99 Free
Yakuza 4 Demo: Exclusive Free
February 22, 2011
Overall, February was a great start to my PS+ experience. Stacking was excellent and lead my PS+ content for the month. The Minis were fun and gave my PSP some new life. Exclusive demos, Qore and dynamic themes kept the content rolling although they were not my main interest. Apparently, March will be the month of free Sega content for Plus users. Sonic with trophies? Sign me up.
March 1, 2011
Sonic The Hedgehog: $4.99 Free
Spyro Year of the Dragon: $5.99 Free
PIX'N LOVE RUSH (mini): Exclusive Free
Playstation Move Heroes Demo: Exclusive Free
March 8, 2011
Qore Episode 34: $2.99 Free
Mortal Kombat Demo: Exclusive Free
March 15, 2011
March 22, 2011
Playstation Move Heroes Game Trial: Exclusive Free
Socom 4 Beta: Exclusive Free
March 29, 2011
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus: $9.99 Free
Comet Crash: $9.99 Free
Vector TD (mini): $3.99 Free
After my second month with PlayStation Plus I am still very impressed with the program. The first and last week of the month were packed with free content including two PSOne Classics, Comet Crash and Sonic the Hedgehog. The middle of the month wasn't as impressive but still had the early demo for Mortal Kombat (which I loved) and the Socom 4 Private Beta. So while they don't offer free games every week, there is almost always some cool playable content to check out. No official word on whats on the horizon for April but I thought I read something about Red Faction: Battlegrounds. I guess only time will tell!
April 5, 2011
Sonic The Hedgehog 2: $4.99 Free
Qore Episode 35: $2.99 Free
April 12, 2011
Killzone 3 Steel Rain Map Pack: $4.99 Free
Yakuza 4 Dynamic Theme: $2.99 Free
April 19, 2011
April 26, 2011
To put it mildly, April was not the best month for the PlayStation Network or PlayStation Plus. Although I really enjoyed both Sonic 2 and the Killzone 3 DLC, they were overshadowed by the PSN outage/personal info debacle which began on April 20. It will be interesting to see how Sony compensates Plus members in relation to the rest of the PSN community. Will April showers bring May flowers for Sony, stay tuned...
May 3, 2011
PSN Downtime Continues
May 10, 2011
PSN Downtime Continues
May 17, 2011
PSN Up! Store Down!
May 24, 2011
PS Store Still Down
May 31, 2011
PS Store Still Down
April was bad but May was worse. With the PlayStation Store down for the entire month there was not a single update of PlayStation Plus content. Sony has stated that there will be multiple updates per week until the content is caught up so perhaps an overloaded June will make up for the lack of content. Sony is also adding 60 days to current Plus user's subscriptions so while the damage is not yet undone the news isn't all bad. Hopefully June will have plenty of content and get PS Plus back on track.
June 2, 2011
MAG Interdiction Misson Pack: $4.99 Free
Qore Episode 36: $2.99 Free
June 3, 2011
MAG Escalation Mission Pack: $9.99 Free
June 7, 2011
Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2011: $9.99 Free
Infamous 2 Dynamic Theme: exclusive Free
June 14, 2011
Qore Episode 37: $2.99 Free
Streets of Rage 2: $4.99 Free
June 21, 2011
June 28, 2011
UNCHARTED 3 Drake“s Deception Multiplayer Beta: Exclusive Free
The Return of the PSN! June was my favorite month of Plus so far. As a big MAG fan, getting all the add-on content for free was a nice surprise and got me back into the game. Magic: The Gathering and the Uncharted 3 beta left me satisfied and smiling as well. Hopefully these high quality offerings continue and aren't directly correlated to the fact that every PSN user had Plus as part of the PSN Welcome Back package this past month.
July 5, 2011
Bomberman ULTRA: $9.99 Free
Medievil: $5.99 Free
Alien Zombie Death (mini): $3.99 Free
Qore Episode 38: $2.99 Free
July 12, 2011
Golden Axe: $4.99 Free
Back to the Future (Full Series): $19.99 $9.79
July 19, 2011
July 26, 2011
July is my favorite month of the year. With it comes amazing weather, my birthday and now, excellent PS+ updates! Not only did Sony put out loads of free content but they also had their annual Summer PSN Sale where PS+ users got 50% off! I only snagged Back to the Future but I was tempted by Hard Corps: Uprising and Pixeljunk Shooter 2. Medieval was one of my favorite PS1 games so it was a pleasant surprise to see it offered for free this month as well! Six months through and I am doing quite well! Hopefully the second half of my subscription it just as fruitful!
August 2, 2011
Crash Commando: $9.99 Free
Destruction Derby: $5.99 Free
Qore Episode 39: $2.99 Free
OMG-Z! (mini): Exclusive Free
City Dynamic Theme: Exclusive Free
August 9, 2011
Comix Zone: $4.99 Free
Crash Commando Add-On Bundle: $4.99 Free
August 16, 2011
August 23, 2011
Resistance 3 Multiplayer Beta: Exclusive Free
LittleBigPlanet Dynamic Theme: $2.99 Free
August 30, 2011
God of War Origins Collection Demo: Exclusive Free
August wasn't the best month for PlayStation Plus but after last Spring it certainly wasn't the worst either. Crash Commando combined with the DLC was a fun game to play although it didn't hold my attention for long. The big offering for me this month was the Resistance 3 Beta. As a huge Resistance fan, I couldn't help but put in a ton of hours demoing the latest from Insomniac and I was impressed. With the entire PS1 library to offer, I was alittle disappointed with Destruction Derby but I guess free is free. The LittleBigPlanet Dynamic theme was icing on the cake though and Sackboy is still running in circles on my background. I have yet to hear what Sony is offering in September but lets hope they try to blow users away!
September 6, 2011
Assassins Creed Revelations Multiplayer Beta: Exclusive Free
Altered Beast: $4.99 Free
Astro Tripper: $4.99 Free
Plants vs. Zombies: $14.99 Free
Clouds Dynamic Theme: Exclusive Free
September 13, 2011
Bulletstorm Game Trial: Exclusive Free
September 20, 2011
Resident Evil Directors Cut: $4.99 Free
Resident Evil 2: $2.99 Free
Resident Evil 3 Nemesis: $2.99 Free
Resident Evil 4 HD: $19.99 $10.00
September 27, 2011
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves Drake's Fortune MP Pack: $2.99 Free
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves Golden Weapons: $.99 Free
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves PlayStation Heroes Pack: $2.49 Free
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves Sidekick Skin Pack: $1.49 Free
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves Siege Expansion Pack: $2.99 Free
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves - Eye of Indra 1-4: $1.49 Free
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves Nathan Drake Avatar: $.49 Free
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves Tetram Avatar: $.49 Free
September was... WOW! PlayStation Plus completely paid itself off in that month alone! Sony offered up tons of critically acclaimed free games, free content for exclusives, an anticipated beta and big discounts on new HD games! Strategic zombie decapitation in Plants vs. Zombies, Resident Evil 1-4 (4 in HD) for only $10 and all the DLC for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves free packed into one month is absurd! If you are even remotely interested in PS Plus, Sony has proven that they will try their damnedest to make you proud of your investment.
October 4, 2011
Qore Episode 41: Exclusive Free
Costume Quest: $14.99 Free
Elemental Monster Online Card Game: $.99 Free
October 11, 2011
October 18, 2011
Burn Zombie Burn!: $4.99 Free
October 25, 2011
inFAMOUS Festival of Blood: $9.99 $7.99
PlayStation Plus slowed down a bit in October. Although I downloaded less content, the overall quality was on par with previous months. Costume Quest, Burn Zombie Burn and inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood are all enjoyable experiences that represent the best the PSN has to offer. I am thirsting for a good beta but I'm not sure there will be any in November. Two betas I would love to see on PS+ are Starhawk and Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City but we'll have to wait and see. Unrelated to PS+ but equally awesome: DC Universe Online goes free to download and free to play November 1!
November 1, 2011
Hydrophobia Prophecy: $9.99 Free
Crash Bandicoot: $5.99 Free
Crash Bandicoot 2: $5.99 Free
Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped: $5.99 Free
Crash Team Racing: $5.99 Free
Qore Episode 42: Exclusive Free
November 8, 2011
inFAMOUS 2 Festival of Blood Dynamic Theme: Exclusive Free
November 15, 2011
November 22, 2011
November 39, 2011
de Blob 2 Game Trial: Exclusive Free
Another good month for PlayStation Plus. My PSOne Classics are starting to rival my collection of originals! I'm not sure how I feel about the new format where they offer the majority of downloads at the start of the month. Although they offer a good amount of content, I enjoyed have little surprises every week or two. The PlayStation Network has had a lot of ups and downs this year, it will be interesting to see how they close it.
December 6, 2011
Spyro the Dragon: $5.99 Free
Tomb Raider Underworld: $14.99 Free
I am Alive Dynamic Theme: Exclusive Free
Qore Episode 43: Exclusive Free
December 13, 2011
Marvel Pinball: $9.99 Free
December 20, 2011
December 27, 2011
December was a pretty weak month for PlayStation Plus. I expected Sony to close the year out with a bang but instead they went out with a whimper. While Tomb Raider: Underworld was a quality offering as a free game, the PS1 classics had already been included in previous updates and Marvel Pinball provides only a limited experience without any of its DLC packs (which were not free). With all that said, I expect January and 2012 in general to pack some impressive offerings through Playstation Plus.
January 3, 2012
Swords and Soliders: $9.99 Free
Syphon Filter $5.99 Free
Syphon Filter 2: $5.99 Free
Syphon Filter 3: $5.99 Free
Darksiders Full Game Trial: Exclusive Free
January 10, 2012
Nothing! (Wanted Crysis on sale but missed it)
January 17, 2012
Starhawk Beta: Exclusive Free
January 24, 2012
Assassin's Creed Revelations Dynamic Theme: Exclusive Free
Hitman Absolution Dynamic Theme: Exclusive Free
Qore Episode 44: Exclusive Free
January 31, 2012
Sony kicked of 2012 with an impressive PlayStation Plus line up. The complete series of Back to the Future games were available for free along with the entire Syphon filter series. Unfortunately, I already purchased Back to the Future earlier this year through a PS+ sale so I missed on that free game. In the second week of the month Sony ran a 12 in '12 sale which offered great PSN games for 50% off to Plus users. I was too busy to take advantage of the sale however and missed out on Crysis and Pixeljunk Sidescroller. Dynamic themes and the beta test for Starhawk rounded out the exclusive content for the month. It's doubtful that Sony will follow up the great start to 2012 with an equally impressive offering but last February was quite impressive so I'll keep my fingers crossed.
February 7, 2012
House of the Dead 3 Demo: Exclusive Free
Simpsons Arcade: $9.99 Free
Final Fantasy V: $9.99 Free
February 14, 2012
House of the Dead 3: $6.99 $4.89
Far Cry 2: $9.99 Free
Battle Fantasia: $19.99 Free
Fatal Inertia EX: $29.99 Free
Inferno Pool: $9.99 Free
Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars: $9.99 Free
House of the Dead 3 Dynamic Theme: Exclusive Free
February 21, 2012
February 28, 2012
Dark Jak Avatar: Exclusive Free
Current Investment/Savings: $82.64/$499.05
Well that's it for 12 months of PS Plus and the verdict is in! WINNER!
I have saved loads of money on everything from full downloadable games to PSOne Classics to Dynamic Themes. With almost $500 in savings, it's hard to argue with the amount of content Sony is offering but what about the quality? Over the past year I received discounts on games like Resident Evil 4, House of the Dead 3, inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood and Crysis (offered but I accidentally missed it). In addition to the discounts, I received critically acclaimed games like Stacking, Costume Quest and Plants vs. Zombies completely free!
As a hardcore PSN user I took advantage of each and every Plus offering but many people wonder if PS Plus still beneficial for casual PSN users. The answer is yes. Even if you're not going to download Qore episodes, Dynamic Themes, and PS Minis, Playstation Plus is still well worth the investment. Exclusive betas like Socom 4, Resistance 3, Assassin's Creed Revelations and Starhawk in addition to free games like Hydrophobia: Prophecy, Tomb Raider: Underworld and Far Cry 2 are excellent draws for the casual crowd.
PlayStation Plus is the best and most generous offering of gaming content out there. Now that PS Plus has finally hit it's stride, the year ahead promises to be the program's best year yet. Do yourself a favor and subscribe now!
In my last post, I mentioned some technological jumps the gaming industry has made, specifically about the mobile gaming industry. The most prominent one for mobile games and the handhelds is that touchscreen controls are being utilized. Well, while those 2 genres were being innovative with the touchscreen controls, consoles went to a different gaming platform to help them out: PC games. Specifically, the console market has been taking pages from MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games) in the form of downloadable content (or DLC).
I will keep expanding...FOREVER.
MMOs are well-known for having never-ending and ever expanding content. While there is a story that holds the universe of the game together, the game itself never ends unless the player wants it to end (by not playing the game). Since there is no actual ending to the game, there is always more items to get, or something you haven't done, even if you hit the current end game section. New content and bug fixes are done through patches. Basically, more coding to expand on the game that already exist. With the current consoles having the power to do just that, developers are using it to their advantage to produce more content to please (or potentially displease) the fans. With technology moving at the pace it does, it was only matter of time before downloadable content came about for the consoles.
Console games are built with an ending in sight. They always tell a story that conclusively ends in some way, even if the game ends with a cliffhanger. There may be lots of optional content, but the content is already included in the game. Obviously, the big component downloadable content allows for console games, is that the games can be patched, fixed, and expanded upon just like MMOs. You no longer have to be stuck with a game with a certain glitch (unless you want to use the glitch yourself). Universes can be expanded upon through single player experiences, like what Gears of War 3: RAAM's Shadow did. This is the kind of DLC that many would want. It expands on the single player experience for a game that has been out for a little bit of time. Imagine if the Gears of War example was used on even older games. While Gears of War 3 provides a good example of expanded single player content, there are times where consumers feel cheated out of good DLC.
PLAY AS ME!
The backlash CAPCOM received from leaving Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath as DLC was incredibly strong. The reason for the intense backlash was that the coding for the characters was already on the disc. The two characters could have been regular unlockables, but CAPCOM decided to just lock the character data unless you paid for it. By locking what could have been regular unlockable content, the player is left with an incomplete game. Another strong example of unnecessary DLC includes the Batman Arkham City challenge maps that include Nightwing. It would have been great to see Nightwing's challenge maps, which were released soon after Arkham City, to have been regular rewards for completing other parts of the main game. Lastly, there are the game of the year editions that are released at discounted prices with DLC included, and lots of the single player games include multiplayer DLC.
Games that focus on multiplayer, such as Call of Duty and Street Fighter IV, are able to capitalize on downloadable content more. Although Call of Duty has the potential to release single player expansions, the market the game caters to is multiplayer, so they end up offering lots of multiplayer expansion packs. Street Fighter IV just offers some fun costumes. The new and offered content only helps to keep the game's fire lasting longer. The extra content does not come off as something that is necessary. It would be nice to play in Cody's revamped classic outfit, but you don't need it in order to enjoy the game.
Cody's original outfit (top) and one of his many downloadable ones (bottom). Which one do you want to use?
While DLC certainly has lots to offer, it needs to be done right in order to make the best of it. Companies are going to use DLC in any way they can. DLC is certainly here to stay, and it's a great way to keep the life of a game going. Just remember that DLC is always optional, no one is forcing you to buy it.
The mobile gaming market has become this vast giant recently. With smart phones being the norm nowadays, it's only normal that they are able to play games. It always seemed like a long shot, but mobile gaming is a big thing. According to Flurry Blog, in 2010, mobile gaming revenue nearly doubled to 34% of the portable gaming, from 19% in 2009. This shows that the mobile gaming market is growing at a tremendous pace. But I am not here to talk about the numbers. It's an extreme statement, some people have said that mobile gaming will take over handheld gaming altogether. While I don't agree with that notion, I can certainly say that it is reshaping the gaming industry in many ways.
The mobile game market provides opportunities for small development teams to create games which are inexpensive and have a high potential to reach large audiences. The games tend to be rather simple and short, allowing for many who don't play games to easily grasp the controls and therefore enjoy the game. This can be much harder for handhelds (The World Ends with You for example) and even console counterparts. Plus, the developers don't have to worry about other factors, such as designing a picture for the cartridge or the case. The mobile games also provide different forms of innovative controls, mainly due to the touchscreen interfaces that handhelds are just now releasing, and consoles will find difficult to use. Should a successful mobile developer dive into handheld or console gaming, their experience with touchscreen interfaces could potentially translate into something completely new and innovative for a handheld game or console game.
Touchscreen interfaces can make unique control schemes when applied to games.
The biggest factor for the mobile gaming market growth is the fact that almost everyone has a cell phone. It's something that you carry with you pretty much everywhere you go. There is no carrying extra stuff, which is what bringing along a handheld game system feels like. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access the shop and find something you want. There's a large amount of games and they all offer instant gratification. Since you carry your phone with you all the time, you just wait a little bit for the game to download, and you are ready to play!
You can go to any app store, and find a slew of games from a slew of developers. Some of those games are free, and some of them aren't. The games that are not free aren't terribly expensive either. This is certainly a great thing for the consumer. You can get free games! Who doesn't like free things? Compare that to the $40 average price for some handheld games out there, and it seems you have a winning formula. The fact that the games are rather cheap can help spread good games to many people, and therefore the developers can get recognized. Exposure to the field can be dwindled unfortunately, because there just may be too many games out there to check out, and not everyone has the time to do that. However, with all of the ways the mobile gaming market is changing things, I don't think it presents as big a threat to handheld gaming as people believe.
Are these the future of gaming, or just another form?
One large component that the mobile gaming market won't hurt handheld gaming as much as predicted is the mentality that goes into the games. These games designed for smart phones are mainly seen as â€œtime wastersâ€. People carry their phones everywhere with them, and these little games offer something to do while you are waiting for something. You play your game for a few minutes, and then you are on your way to doing what you planned on doing. A handheld game played on a handheld system has the same mentality as a console counterpart, where you play and are immersed in the game. You sit down for a full â€œsessionâ€ of gaming so to speak. So while the mobile gaming market is very convenient, it certainly can't compete in terms of content offered by handheld games. Its convenience is where it shines, but the quality of the games don't compare to handheld gaming.
The other large component working against the mobile market is the device itself: The smartphone. What is the main purpose of a phone? Communication between people, whether it is through making phone calls, texting, or emailing, the main purpose is to communicate. Gaming is a secondary function of the smartphone, and is therefore not usually on the top of the priority list when it comes to developing and buying such a device. The handheld gaming systems are made for just that: Gaming on the go.
Don't worry guys, we're still here.
Is the handheld market taking a hit? Of course it is. Since almost everyone has a cell phone, it's only natural that they check out other functions of the phone. The amount of people who own a cell phone is much higher than those who own handheld gaming devices as well. Is the mobile gaming threat as large as some make it out to be? I don't think so. As long as developers, publishers, and consumers are out there for the handheld gaming market, it will be there.
For more information, you can check out these 2 articles:
as well as this video:
Hey, remember when almost every game was trying to jump into 3D? Now that trend has been reversed. Seriously, look at New Mario Bros Wii, Kirby's Return to Dreamland, and Donkey Kong Country Returns, among others. What have all of them done? They went back to their original formats that made them famous. Mario didn't have a full 2D sidescrolling adventure on consoles since Super Mario World on the SNES (not counting All-Stars, which is a remake/compilation), which was released in 1991. New Mario Bros. Wii, wasn't released until 2009. That's a good 18 years everyone! Mario's eternal rival Sonic, did the same thing. Sonic 3, and Sonic & Knuckles were both released in 1994. Sonic 4 came out in 2010. That's 16 years before the blue blur went back to pure 2D on the consoles. Those are just platformer examples too. There are many games that have been revived, or brought back to their roots not only for the businesses to make money, but to the delight of fans as well.
As a business model, this has worked well for everyone that has done it. It's a whole new marketing plan. Create an entirely new game in the format that made the game famous in the first place. The developers tons of money, and the fans get a new game. Everyone wins. What did CAPCOM do with Street Fighter IV? It went back to using the cast that made the game famous in the first place (I will admit, I think it's a lot harder for battle games to grow). Little Mac returned to the ring in the new Punch-Out!! and Donkey Kong came back with Donkey Kong Country Returns. Both of those games did very well. Nintendo has been doing this for a while, and we've been soaking up every game that decides to go back in time (gameplay wise of course).
One great side of this is variety and nostalgia. Mario has been having grand adventure after grand adventure ever since he went 3D on the consoles (N64). A trip back to the old days with revamped graphics is a nice way to change things up, especially on the console market. Older fans go crazy over the nostalgia factor and get to tell the new generation of gamers that this is how things started. Developers like to make nods to older gamers, or ones that have played the earlier games with easter eggs or secrets. The new generation of gamers get to experience what they could not have unless they managed to get their hands on remakes or originals from friends or relatives. Some of these new gamers may not be used to pure 2D movement, but it should be a heck of a lot easier to adjust to that from a 3D game.
Mario and friends, 18 years apart.
Another great way to look at going backwards is that the developers not only please fans and themselves, but they actually manage to integrate the new with the old. The best examples of this is the new Mortal Kombat, and Sonic Colors. Both series have had games that seemed like they could have been much more if the developers had more time, or could integrate things better. Sonic's 3D and 2D sections in Unleashed were great for the daytime levels, and they were made even better for Colors.
But all is not good on the horizon. Going back to their roots is a great thing, but the games that started it all only have so much substance. Is it that gamers are just that much better nowadays? Due to online capabilities, it's certainly easier to find people who are better, worse, or on the same level as you. Is that it, or is it that because of the power of the current systems we just expect that much more from our developers? The fact that we are getting such games could also be a sign that developers are low on ideas. Granted, it's been such a long time since we've had a â€œclassicâ€ style game for our favorite gaming heroes, (keep in mind we also need to note the definition of the word â€œclassicâ€), so it's fine if we get a new game every once in a while in the classic format, but that could be a sign that developers are unsure of where to take the series next, even if the characters and formats work well together. If developers, by extension, keep re-hashing classic games, then they aren't so classic anymore, right? If we keep asking for more of the same thing, then doesn't nostalgia kind of defeat itself?
A few bumps in the road can lead to success!
As much as I love the old school, they have their place. Those games have been cemented in history already. As we grow as people, the developers grow in the way they integrate new elements into the games we know. Sometimes they have to put the series out of its comfort zone, or step away from what has made the game so successful in order to integrate the successful formula with something completely new. Sonic never had all of those powers he used during Sonic Colors. The wisps were the new gameplay element that allowed for a lot of puzzle solving and exploration that Sonic could never do before. Would SEGA have been able to come up with such an idea if they didn't have Sonic in the storybook games, and Unleashed? Without Unleashed, would Sonic have the boost ability implemented the way he does now? Without going through the bumps that he did, Sonic Colors wouldn't be such a critically acclaimed game. If it was released soon after Sonic Adventure 2, then it would be seen as a game that is very much in that same veil.
Sometimes moving forward requires that you take a step back, or even actually moving back. That way we can find ways to bring the old and the new together.
The first game for my new Sony powerhouse (the PS3) ended up being Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Having only one controller, I was hoping to bust knuckles with strangers online, but the game doesn't support online multiplayer. While this initially saddened me, it got me thinking about the multiplayer scene, and it made me glad to see that Scott Pilgrim does NOT offer online multiplayer. So many games today focus on online multiplayer, (especially those FPSs) that it feels like local multiplayer is slowly losing its place. (or maybe it's just me) It's like everyone expects every game to support online multiplayer. Scott Pilgrim not offering online multiplayer also reinforces the old school arcade feeling that the game exudes. Remember those days of playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or X-Men in the arcades? Do you remember what going to the arcade felt like? It also saddens me that many of you that may end up reading this don't know that feeling. Yeah, Scott Pilgrim is going for that.
Local players only!
Personally, I love the feeling of playing with another person. Usually you will end up cooperating with your partner, which can make for great saves. With another experienced gamer, both of you end up fighting against multiple enemies solo, and then realize that's not such a great idea. Trouble and hilarity usually ensue. Let's not get started on the competition battle games bring along. And remember when arcades were around and someone would â€œsaveâ€ you in a battle game? Yeah, that was sweet. (How many of you know what I mean by â€œsavingâ€)? Ultimately the best part about local multiplayer is the person (or people) that are there playing with you. The fact that you can simply talk to them, laugh with them, yell at them, whatever it is. Yeah, you can speak to others with a headset during online multiplayer, but it's not always the same as having a friend right there sitting next to you.
With online multiplayer, sometimes you end up with people who don't know how to play, and you can't do much to help them out. People end up holding you back, and you're not prepared for it. The best case scenario is when you and your team are just steamrolling the competition without saying a word to each other. Somehow everyone is in perfect sync, filling their roles, or matching their playstyles with the right people. While that can be great when the team manages to kick ass, when no one is physically there, the same feeling is not replicated.
By no means am I saying that online multiplayer is a bad thing, I'm only pointing out one social fault. It's amazing, and I wouldn't give it up, but the interaction with other people being in the same room and playing the same game at the same time is what makes gaming part of what it is. Gaming is a media form that brings people together, just like going to the movies. People get together to play video games together and have a good time. It's also an interactive form, so you are, in some way, shape or form, in control of what happens in the game. (That's not something you can do at the movies!) And for those non-gamers out there, why don't you give it a try when a friend asks you to join in on playing?
There are many reasons to like and dislike both forms of multiplayer, but which version do you prefer?
The popularity of independent video games has soared over the past few years. Independent game developers (or Indie game developers) are game developers that do not have the publishing power of the big name companies such as Nintendo. They tend to release their games as downloadable titles for the various systems that are out nowadays, which has expanded so much from consoles. Now people use their smartphones for games as well. Look at how popular Angry Birds is. Soon after the release of that, there have been carbon copy games with the same premise and format.
When video games were becoming popular in the late 1980s, the technology was not able to push for realism. The audience and the developers were required to use their imaginations. In 2011, we see games that are realistically bringing New York City, London, and Paris to life from a game machine. Nothing seems impossible for the consoles of today and independent game developers are taking that phrase literally.
Independent video games are the games that are bringing video games to the forefront of creativity yet again. They are the ones that are bringing back the notion of what a video game was originally defined as. New characters, new environments, and simple, yet addicting gameplay. (hopefully. Not every game can always have all of them) Every game out there does not need to have intense graphics in order to be deemed a good game. It's not that Nintendo is not being creative upon releasing a new Mario or Zelda title, but those characters have been on grand adventures before, and the audience has seen what they can do. There is a familiarity aspect when going with a known brand or title. But when an unknown title manages to capture an audience, word of mouth will cause the game to have more attention and hype. Just look at the success of World of Goo.
It's not that the video game industry is doing bad, it's just that I think the independent game developers are having more success on the creative front, and that is what the market needs. The market needs something new and fresh. Why are games like Prince of Persia and Uncharted so successful? Because there are no other games that are like them. There are a myriad of first person shooters out there, which can look practically the same. The video game industry seems too afraid to try anything new, so they stick to what has been successful, which is why the market sees games that are very similar (the many first person shooters) or they stick to sequels, remakes, and reboots. The indie game developers are pushing the new characters and new worlds, but don't have the financial backing that the big name companies do.
The independent game developers need to somehow team up with these big name companies. If the indie teams had the resources that larger companies have, then maybe we will see the video game industry jump the hurdle that is needed of them.