Friday, May 20, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well as the title says I've been busy the last few days with work, but more importantly with LA Noire and getting level 50 in Rift.  If you haven't tried Rift I highly recommend it, I can give you a 7 day trail if you are interested.  Anyway, with PSN up now there is some freebies that you can get: You can choose 2 of these games.
  • Dead Nation
  • inFAMOUS
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Super Stardust HD
  • Wipeout HD + Fury

PSP owners will have the ability to choose 2 games as well...

  • LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
  • ModNation Racers
  • Pursuit Force
  • Killzone Liberation

On top of that, some people will also receive this stuff if you fit the description:
  • A selection of “On Us” rental movie titles will be available to PlayStation Network customers over one weekend, where Video Service is available. Those titles will be announced soon.
  • 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership for non PlayStation Plus subscribers.
  • Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive an additional 60 days of free subscription.
  • Existing Music Unlimited Premium Trial subscription members will receive an additional 30 days of free premium subscription.
  • Additional 30 days + time lost for existing members of Music Unlimited Premium/Basic subscription free of charge for existing Premium/Basic members.
  • To welcome users Home, PlayStation Home will be offering 100 free virtual items. Additional free content will be released soon, including the next addition to the Home Mansion personal space, and Ooblag’s Alien Casino, an exclusive game.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Solving Crimes, One Frustrating Lie At a Time

So here I am, police officer Cole Phelps, rising star of the LAPD, recently promoted to dectective, and veteran of WWII.  You start out LA Noire with a tutorial case so you can learn the ropes of gathering evidence, pursuing suspects, handling your weapons, and interrogation.  The first thing you notice when you play LA Noire is the amazing facial capture technology that they employ.  You can actually see emotions, and easily recognize actual Hollywood actors who as used not only to voice characters you encounter but also are recreated as the character themselves with the new technology.

LA Noire isn't like most sandbox games like GTA or Mafia 2.  You aren't rewarded for causing mayhem across the sprawling backdrop of LA, you can't pull your gun at any moment and go on a killing spree.  You are a cop and cops play by the rules and don't run down pedestrians for the fun of it.  So even with a huge playground to wander around in this is very much a linear adventure telling the story of Cole Phelps as he rises the ranks and moves on to more and more important cases.

John Noble in full video game glory
So far I've been having a grand ol time in this "blast from the past" detective story.  Oddly enough, even though there is a lack of action and gunplay, I find myself more engrossed in not getting tricked or lied to by a suspect or witness.  It's really more of a thinking game than a shooting game.  It angers me to no end when I get duped by a suspect or accuse them of lying without proper evidence to back my claims up.  I feel as though I failed as a cop.  I actually started a case over that involved a 15 year old girl getting abused because I pushed her too hard and I felt like a complete asshole.  

This is an intriguing game so far and I'm very much into it's atmosphere and it's way of story telling.  Watching videos of someone else playing doesn't do this game justice.  You have to make your own justice on the mean streets of LA to really understand the beauty of this diamond in the rough.

LA Noire Review...Soon

Just got LA Noire from Amazon so expect my review of what I think of it later today after I've gotten a taste of some murder and shady suspects.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Man on Man, or Woman on Alien Woman

Mass Effect, to me, has always been about a cool sci fi story, with good gameplay, and decent RPG elements to tie it all together.  Some people however can't get enough of their fake boyfriends/girlfriends.  While I get the appeal of seducing someone that you particularly like as a character just to see all the facets of what the game has to offer, many BioWare fans want more.

I wouldn't mind a little of that...
Not happy with the purely hetero choices of Mass Effect 2 especially after the symbolic lesbian choice in the first game if you were a female Shepard.  Technically the Asari are "mono-gendered," but that doesn't stop them from having nice racks and all female characteristics.  So backpedaling slightly in the second game you could only get what amounts to a little lap dance from your Yeomen, Kelly Chambers if you were a female Shepard.

Contrarily, you've never been able to engage in what would be considered a male on male romance, whether that be an alien male or human.  A lot of forum goers on the social website maintained by BioWare for all it's games have been clamoring for equality in romance partner choices.  Casey Hudson the games director who has been recently introduced to twitter is spilling the beans on a lot of the games aspects that people want to see improved.  Recently confirming that there will indeed be M&F same sex relationships.

Personally I don't really mind if the options are there or not, though I realize some people might not agree with them morally or religiously.  However, more choices in an RPG to me are never a bad thing, unless of course you are given far too many.  I don't really have a problem with a little more romance, but the thing I still don't get why it is so incredibly important to some people.  I play Mass Effect for the story and gameplay, not as a dating sim.  Having a relationship adds to your personally crafted story, but it seems like such an unnecessary thing to be devoting half your crew to the possibility of romance, when you should be out trying to save the damn galaxy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Downtime and LA Downtown

No I don't mean PSN still being down... but ya that's still true.  I'm sure most of you were well aware that the site was in Read Only mode for a while, and hopefully now that it's back up it stays up.

Update: Here is the video I was talking about, check it out before it gets taken down again.  This guys capture card is terrible so bear that in mind.

I was doing some browsing yesterday and ran across the "first 15" of Rockstar's new detective story/open world game.  Sadly, the youtube video was taken down, probably just as well since the guy that recorded it had a terrible capture card.  From what I saw of the game though it looks fantastic.  I know what I'll be buying next week, and I encourage everyone else to check it out and do the same.  Now I just need to figure out if I go ahead and get the PS3 version or the 360.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On The Brink of a New Addiction?

Firstly, I apologize for the ridiculous title.  I just find it funny when people try to get clever with titles as it relates to the game they write about.  Anyway, Brink is an over the top shooter with a lot of emphasis on parkour mixed in with gunplay.  I unlocked the game last night through steam I was tired and I tried out some of the singleplayer.

The AI is pretty stupid in SP, but I was only playing on normal difficulty though.  Who the hell cares about AI anyway, the real fun if this game is in the multiplayer.  I've been playing for a good hour this morning and minus out the lag from a newly launched title which seems standard for any multiplayer FPS, there is a lot of fun to be had here.  There is quite a few buggy things as well however, and some balancing issues with some weapons seeming useless compared to another of the same class with better damage and stability.

Running train on the rebels...
If you frequent major gaming sites you will probably come across mixed reviews.  Now let me just tell you this, half of those reviews are just about singleplayer so their whining is somewhat stupid and  hollow.  The other half are a little too lenient on some of the games faults, which it surely has, it is a Bethesda game after all.  If you want to see how the game plays, video streams honestly don't do it justice.  Rarely is it fun to watch someone playing a game.  However, once you really get the hang of how everything works the fun starts to sink in.

I say you should give this game a chance if you think you would at all enjoy it, just be prepared for some spotting multiplayer performance for a while, and a pretty significant memory leak if you alt tab while in full screen mode like I was doing right now to write this.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So... Whens that Diablo 3 coming out?

I'm sure many of you have played your fair share of Diablo 2 in the past, and if not, you were probably playing Starcraft.  Blizzard has had its share of successes, and gameplay has always been key to their success. No where is that more apparent that World of Warcraft.  Say what you want about the game, but it stayed successful because it had the right balance of ease of use and gameplay, topped off with some relatively challenging raids.

This isn't about WoW's success though... or is it?  Because of it's huge following Blizzard has put WoW on the forefront of its business for years now.  When you look at how long it took to develop Starcraft 2 it makes you wonder what all that time was spent doing?  The game, which is great sure, is essentially mildly spruced up in graphics, but the gameplay remains the exact same.  Gameplay is king though and if you had a winning formula why muck it up?

This looks vaguely familiar...
Such is Blizzard's approach it seems with D3.  If you've been to their site at all you'll notice that not much seems to have changed.  This of course can be a good thing, but it makes you wonder what is it that is taking Blizzard so long with these games that have just essentially been given a face lift.  Many rumors point the idea that Blizzard may try to capitalize on the success of the consoles to proliferate one of their most beloved franchises to them.  Whatever is taking them so long it gets harder and harder to remain interested.  Blizzard has been known to "never release a product until it's finished" or "never release a product" I forget which.  Well that certainly is admirable it seems more like they are trying to game the public, with things such as 1/3 of the campaign in their first release of Starcraft 2.  I like a trilogy as much as the next guy, but it seems more like a grab for your money and business longevity than anything else.  Maybe I'm just an asshole, but I expected D3 to be well on its way to a release date quite some time ago.  Now I fear that instead of a release date we will get news that Diablo 3 is a trilogy with less characters at the start because they can save that for the next to releases to grab for our money, as though they don't sit on a mountain of cash already thanks to WoW.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Well Sony has been in the news lately for less than stellar reasons, so how about some good news.  Gamestop has a promotion running right now that goes until the May 14th.  If you trade in your old PS3 (40GB model or above) you can save $200 towards the purchase of a newer system.  This includes bundled deals as well.  This is good news for those of you that still have those fat PS3's, I think it's time for you to get off your lazy butt and get a slim with some serious storage capacity. 

If you are interested in a newer Xbox 360 model there is a promotion as well that runs until the 12th; however it is only $100 off the purchasing of an upgrade.  Still a pretty decent deal nonetheless.  I think I might partake in this deal, would be nice to have one of the new models for the 360... already got a 160GB slim PS3 really no need to upgrade.

Update: Apparently I need to work on my reading comprehension because these promotions are ONLY good in Canada... bastards.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Non Game Related News

Feeling pretty good about my last final today, my instructor even cleared some of my absences off my record since technically she should have failed me for them.

In game related news the PVP embargo for SWTOR dropped today, lots of interesting things reveled.  If you are interested in it check out one of these links.

Darth Hater, TORwars, Ask A Jedi

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Old Republic

Star Wars has spawned many different types of games from fighting to racing and even a MMORPG(Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.)  They have had varying degrees of success, not unlike the movies, but at the time when the first Star Wars MMO came out it was quite popular.  This changed with bad decisions by the developer and the entry of World of Warcraft into the MMO scene.  However, Lucasarts wants another shot at that giant piece of pie that WoW has carved out for itself.  This time with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I've been following this game intently since E3 '09 when BioWare (developer of TOR) released Deceived a cinematic trailer to get people hyped for the game.  It did that in spades, but people wanted to know what set this game apart.  BioWare from an early onset said story, or the "fourth pillar" as they call it, would set TOR apart from all the rest of the MMO's out right now. Fully voiced NPC's and missions with a conversation system similar to Mass Effect's dialog wheel; it sure seems like they have that covered.  There is also a big emphasis has been placed on the fact that you will have companion characters similar to the way you had them in KOTOR(Knights of the Old Republic) and will be romancable or killable.  You may want to think about that decision to kill your helpful companion though, this isn't a single player game you can't just reload your save and everything is all hunky dory.

What about the loot, the raids, and PVP you ask?  Well it's all there so they tell us.  They have said next to nothing about raids so far.  Loot has been talked about quite a bit... it will be a heavily loot based game.  crafting skills will apparently take a back seat only the raid gear.  As far as PVP goes this has been discussed by the fansites lucky enough to go play it for 2 days, as fun and not "bursty," which I assume means you can't just unleash everything you got on someone and turn them into a fine paste, and that it "feels like an upgraded Warhammer" style of PVP.  Warhammer had wildly imbalanced classes back when I played but the PVP was fun.  So this all points to what could be an awesome game.

What do you guys think?  If you've been following it at all how does it compare with perhaps an MMO you play now?  TOR should be out by the end of this year if all goes well.
If you want to know more about the game take a look at these:
Hope trailer, Info known so far about the game, and a developer walkthrough

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

[Spoiler Free]Reasons to be Excited for Mass Effect 3

The thrilling conclusion to the trilogy set in a near future filled with amazing aliens and unrelenting evils is coming to a close, for Shepard at least.  For those of you blissfully unaware of what Mass Effect is, it is a RPG centered around a character named Shepard.  This Shepard is one of your choosing, male or female, good or evil, a hardened Soldier who relies on his weapons or a powerful Adept that uses mass effect fields to control his/her enemies.  Made by BioWare, it was clear that they wished to capture that RPG essence, but with much more accessible type of game play.  The story basically centers around Shepard's struggle against the Reapers a ancient race of sentient machines who periodically wipe out all life in the galaxy.
Okay so now you're up to speed, lets get on with why this could be the best of both ME1 and ME2 without all the negatives of either of them.
  • If you don't import a save game a 'Previously on Mass Effect' comic will allow you to make major decisions.
  • Skill trees to be larger. 
  • Powers to evolve more times than once.
  • Weapon mods to make a return. 5 variants per part. (Modding is back; was terrible the way it was handled in ME2)
  • Classes can wield all weapons, but only Soldiers can have all of them at once. The rest of the classes will have limited slots. (Very welcome change)
  • Melee attacks will gain more focus
  • Shooting specific armor parts can have certain effects, and the AI of the enemies will have them routing Shepard and will coordinate with each other.
  • Enemy Weapons can be used.
  • NG+ will be a hybrid of ME1's and ME2's. You can go back and finish some stuff in the post-game.
  • The cover system has been improved.
  • You start out with the basic powers from ME2. (Not going back to square one with no abilities is good for those that   import)
  • Shepard can roll and alternate between cover.
  • The Engineer can build turrets, which will distract but not 'decimate' the enemy.
  • There will be more items to loot.
  • Lighting Up is a new charged melee attack, Shepard uses his omni-tool to inflict a burn to the enemy.
This is just a small taste of the changes to expect out of the gameplay, for more in depth look at other facets of the game check out this thread.  ME3 will be out on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 so everyone can now enjoy the series equally or disregard it if it's not their cup of tea.  I should also mention there have been a string of bad decisions about aspects of both ME1 and ME2, but it's all subjective to the person playing it.  Universally however, there is some pretty lazy modeling and additions and subtractions between ME1 and ME2 that are tenuous at best.  BioWare recently dropped the ball pretty hard with Dragon Age 2, so there is some worried fans out their that see a troubling trend from BioWare that perhaps EA is excreting itself to push out unfinished and unpolished products.  I guess we will have to wait until fall to find out if ME3 lives up to everyones expectations.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sony Executives Bow in Apology

It is a sure sign of guilt when you have an apology as good as this 7 second bow by the big wigs at Sony. The recent breach in security and subsequent shutting down of PSN, as a result of still "unknown hackers," may have allowed the compromising of 10 million credit cards along with the  personal data of upwards of 70 million users.  Worse still, this flaw in the system was apparently already known to their in house security specialists, but apparently not to upper management.

Now I'm not one to be an apologist for Sony, especially after their rootkit fiasco.  However, this was what seemed to be an earnest apology for clear negligence on the companies part.  At the very least in the days where companies such as BP will do anything they can to place blame on someone else, it is refreshing to see a corporation acknowledge that the responsibility lies squarely on their shoulders and not deflecting this at instead the perpetrators of the crime.

No word yet as to when PSN will be back up for all the eager fans in the US there are rumors but no official timeline.  Best Buy  also decided this was a perfect time to put Xbox 360's on sale, and I can't say I blame them.

Update:  It seems another security breach has occurred, this time to Sony Online Entertainment.  
"The information from the outdated database that may have been stolen includes approximately 12,700 non-U.S. credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes), and about 10,700 direct debit records of certain customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain."
Sony just can't seem to catch a break.