Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Zelda

Game Reviews has a short and interesting article about the Legend of Zelda games. Specifically, this is the first year this decade with no new Zelda released. Worth a check.

No Zelda this year for the first time decade

Back to AC

So I started Animal Crossing: City Folk and am obsessed with it. Anyone who has it, let's meet up. I have peaches, cherries, oranges and pears.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prince of Persia skins

I just beat Prince of Persia for the 360 and found it incredible. Of course there are things in it that I dislike but overall it was amazing. I can't wait for more from this game.

To let you know, in case you missed it somehow, you can change the skins that both the Prince and Elika have. So you can make them look different. There are 4 skins for each of them, and you start out with one each. I thought I would tell you how to get the others.

The Prince:
The Prince - You start with it.
Sands of Time - This is the Prince from the sands of time game. To get it you must go into "Extras" at the main menu and then hit Y for the pre-order thing. Input 52585854 and you should unlock him.
Prototype - Collect all 1 001 orbs. Only available on the PC version.

Elika - You start with it.
Farah - This is Farah from the sands of time game -- not the donkey. To get it you must go into "Extras" at the main menu and then hit Y for the pre-order thing. Input 52585854 and you should unlock her.
Prototype: - Collect all 1 001 orbs. Only available on the PC version.

I haven't gotten the Prototype skins yet and I'm not sure I will be going for every single orb, but there you are. Comment if you have any questions or concerns.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Have a good Christmas everyone! If Christmas isn't your thing, have a good whatever you do then!

I'll try to post regularly about any of the games I get and how I feel about them.

Geekmas is upon us

I know that's an incredibly dumb term.

Anyway, something you should know is that Castle Crashers is getting patched in about three hours. Yes. I said it. Patched. That means we can finally play it online! Yes! I'm so happy! So far this Christmas has started off great. If anyone wants to play some of the old game tomorrow, hook me up.

Also, to add to the holiday time, Doctor Octoroc has made an 8-Bit Techno album based on Christmas tunes. You can find it here. He titles it: 8-Bit Jesus. Some tracks I find noteworthy are The Legend of Noel and Have Yourself a Final Little Fantasy. The best part about all these songs is that they use the music you find in the game to compose the Christmas jingle. So you will hear only notes used in The Legend of Zelda when hearing The Legend of Noel.

Now for something not holiday themed, however it fits in with 8-Bit Techno. I've known about 8-Bit Peoples for a while now and I don't really know why I didn't show you guys more of it. This site has some of my favorite 8-Bit Techno I've ever heard as it is so deep and well put together. I would post some of my favorite albums and songs, but I can't quite remember and all my music has been erased when my computer crashed.

Have a great holiday everyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The 2008 VGA Awards

So people who know me know I love video games. And they'll know that video games and the news and industry surrounding them are like blood to me. So as I have done for the last three years now, I tuned into Spike TV's Video Game Awards. This year - 2008, this sixth annual - was awful.

Now you are probably very confused as to why I would say this. "But Sean, it's about video games!" My problem with it was that it was talking the stereotype of "gamer" a bit too far. I will start off by saying it was a much better idea to have Jack Black as a host over Samuel L. Jackson. However, I don't like how we as "people who play video games" are to be thought of as chubby men in underwear all day. I know it was a joke, but with the decrease of the 'hardcore gamer' and 'casual gamer' differences moving along quickly, it kind of gets rid of the point.

What's else? This. That in its entirety is quite true. I'm so tired of having companies use attractive women to make us care about their product. The fact that she made up a gamertag was even worse. I'm also getting tired of the stereotype of 'women don't play video games.' We all know that that is no longer true. Nintendo makes a killing proving that stereotype wrong daily.

I also don't see how the announcement of a Gears of War 2 map pack was the BIG SURPRISE! Especially since this game Isn't even a month old yet - which brings up the argument whether it is a fair add on, or a lousy and rude marketing strategy (but that's for another day).

In the end, I didn't even finish the entirety of the show. I'm glad that I didn't because I didn't need to hear and see anymore announcements that will be on Kotaku by the end of the night. Also, did they really need two hours for about thirty minutes of actual game awards?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crap of 2008?

Here is Wired's article of The 10 Most Disappointing Games of 2008. Some of the games I agree with -- like Mario Kart Wii -- but some I just can't see -- like The Prince of Persia and Dead Space. What do you guys think? Should some of these games actually be up there? If not, which ones should?


Giant Bomb has put up it's Christmas wish list for this year. It made me think of what I want, and what you guys want.

I looking to get The Prince of Persia, Chrono Trigger and Tales of Symphonia 2 - to name a couple things - this year. What are you guys asking for?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I've been busy with stuff! Like buying video games! These ones:

  • Dance Dance Revolution Universe 2
  • Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
  • The Prince of Persia
  • Rock Band: AC/DC Track Pack
  • Scene It?
  • Tales of Vesperia

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jumping Christmas!

Review: Midnight Club: Los Angeles - 7

Midnight Club: Los Angeles has the feel and look of most arcade style racing games, but is brought down by its difficulty and various flawed game play elements. The overall look and set up of the game is nice and works for this style of game, but it doesn’t fit well when placed together with the extreme difficulty. It has a lot of stuff going for it but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

Midnight Club: LA uses the concept of an open world for you to drive around in and find racers to take on. An open world means that you have an entire city to drive through and the races that you take part in are set up in certain areas /streets of the city. For example, this same concept is found in games like Burnout Paradise and Need for Speed Most Wanted. This game requires you to open your map and select your next opponent, then drive and find them. At times, you will be able to race your opponent to the start line which adds a bit more to the experience. Though, this game doesn’t really require an open world setting for it; the style of venue doesn’t really add much to the game. The city doesn’t have many notable land marks, so you won’t be able to remember how the city is laid out. What makes it weirder is that even though it’s an open world, during the races you still have check points to meet. So you can’t find your own way to the finish line. But you can still drive off the path, which can cause you to fall far behind and adds to the game difficulty.

The game play in Midnight Club: LA also is feels off. Because it isn’t a simulation racer (a style of driving game where the car’s mechanics replicate driving a care in real life), it focus’s on the concept of “hold down the accelerator and dodge obstacles.” This kind of game play is found in the Need for Speed and Burnout games. What this game falters on with this control style is that it focus’s too much on this. In most games with this style of racing, the break button is still needed during some sharp turns or to help avoid an obstacle. Unlike those, Midnight Club: LA doesn’t use the brake button at all. In fact, using it will cause you to slow down so much at a turn, that you will easily have your opponent(s) pull ahead. This makes you have to always worry about whether you are going to fast or not when reaching a turn and hoping you have enough room between you and the guy behind you to use the brake. Not being able to use the brake button much can make driving in between cars and taking sharp turns very difficult.

On the other hand, the game awards you with new “Special Abilities” the further you go through the game. These can be anything from slowing down time so you can manoeuvre better for a few seconds or even causing an opponent to break down for a bit. These help out quite a bit during a race; slowing down time when you realise you need to make a sharp turn immediately can really save your life. The addition of these abilities are good and fun to use and ease the pressure of the game difficulty. They allow for more thought and strategy to be used in the race and gives you more diversity to the way you handle the tracks.

This brings us to the difficulty of the game, which is very high. With a lot of racing games, not having a super clean run can cost you the race. This aspect is quite frequent in Midnight Club: LA. What makes this even worse is that the opponents will hardly ever crash into anything or overshoot a turn. Your opponent(s) always knows exactly how fast they should be going and the best route to the finish. This causes you to always need to be on your toes. No matter how far back your opponent is, one wrong turn or collision can still cost you first place.

To add to the difficulty, they set you up with four different levels of challenge to play. Green is easiest, yellow is medium, orange is hard, and red is hardest. For the majority of the time I spent with the game, I was playing either green or a few yellow runs. Green became quite easy for me once I upgraded my car as much as I could, but I was still only winning by a few short seconds. Yellow was the level I had to play at to have a challenge and yet still have some chance of winning. Normally you’d be able to keep replaying the races so that way you can memorize some of the hard sections and practise it – not in this game. Each time you do the race again, after losing, it changes the track. You’re still doing the same race, but now you’re driving through a different set up. This makes any chance of trying to practise at the areas you screwed up at impossible and greatly increases the game’s difficulty. Not being able to memorize key turns and the layout of the race tracks can really annoy you.

If you do get tired of the computer players, you can take your driving online. The game allows for up to sixteen players racing at once with various different game modes. Besides the standard racing modes you can play types such as Keep Away, the player must hold onto a flag for as long as they can; as well as Stockpile, the player must collect as many flags as they can. The online also adds a couple more special abilities for you to use against your opponents.

One of the nicest things about Midnight Club: LA is the graphics and the way it presents itself. Everything looks real nice and shiny wherever you go. The car crashes aren’t as good as what we’ve seen in games like Motorstorm or Burnout Paradise though since your car will never blow up. However, it does a good job of making your car look like trash if you get banged up enough. The city of Los Angeles in which you play also looks great and has a day and night cycle. The city’s weather can even change from sunny to cloudy to even start to rain on you while you race. So you will never have to race in only one type of setting/weather pattern.

The music in Midnight Club: LA is also good and diverse. You can select different genres in which to play depending on your music taste. The best part about the music in the game is that it allows you to make a Favourites Playlist. This lets you choose which songs specifically you like the most or want to listen to. The inclusion of this is great since listening to music you can’t stand and getting frustrated at the game are not a good combination.

Overall, Midnight Club: LA is a very nice looking game that just gets frustrating after a short while of playing. The game play and difficulty make it a real hard to stick with. However, if you can get past the tedious beginning, it fixes some of these issues when you start getting the better cars and superior tune ups. The game presents itself very nicely and can get extremely fun when racing online. Though it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre and doesn’t stand out as a better racing game against some of the current contenders on the market. It does a good job of looking sharp, but can be hard to get into and if you really want the best racing experience, you’ll look somewhere else.

Overall: 7/10

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I miss RPGs

This weekend has made me realize that I haven't played a good RPG for quite some time. The last one that comes to mind is Final Fantasy 3 and maybe Lost Odyssey before that. Now yes, Final Fantasy 3 was good but I never finished it because the final boss arena required me to go level grinding for a few hours, something I didn't want to do. Lost Odyssey on the other hand - I didn't like.

So this weekend while watching TV, I remembered that Cheap Ass Gamers was saying that all GBA games were $5 at EB. This by the way was very much false (Super Mario World 3 was $45 used!!). This made me think about the GBA games I had missed and wanted to pick up. Earlier in the week I had made a list, it included, Final Fantasy 6, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and more. Those were the big name ones. So since I wasn't able to pick these up earlier this week, I wanted to play Final Fantasy 5.

I had been really hoping to get 6 because I one day want to have experienced all the main numbered ones. But I remembered that I had hardly played 5. So I picked it up, and played it all weekend. And I had a great time with it and will be playing it for a while.

What this has done though is really made me want to get back into RPGs. I haven't really gotten into one for such a long time. Just not many good ones have come out that I've wanted. Now that Chrono Trigger is out, I'll be trying to get that around Christmas time. I really can't wait for it because it'll be for my DS (playing the SP again is a little annoying and I don't feel like grabbing the DS for this) and because it was a huge game when it first came out. I never got to experience it on the SNES so I really want to now.

The next RPG I really can't wait for is Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon for the DS. Why am I so excited for this game? Simple, it is Fire Emblem and I haven't played a good FE game since the GBA games. I actually miss not having a new mission to go into. And there's just something about playing FE in my hands (portable) as opposed to have to set a time in which to sit on the couch and only focus on that.

So those are some of the games I can't wait to get a hold of soon and will throughly throw me back into my old RPG days. And to think that RPGs are my favorite genre.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Review: Shaun White Snowboarding - 4

Shaun White Snowboarding is Ubisoft’s first shot at the snowboarding genre. They teamed up with celebrity boarder Shaun White and came out with an overall bad experience. This game does a bad job of making you really feel like you’re flying down the slopes by its shoddy controls and bad physics. The game was an overall let down and won’t make you want to continue with it.

The graphics in Shaun White Snowboarding aren’t bad. They do a good job of recreating a mountain- scape and the atmosphere included. I generally found the area I was boarding down was nice to look at. One thing though was the character models. I was quite torn about how I felt about them. Normally they looked okay, but I was always looking at my guy from the back. The only aesthetic I didn’t like in this game was the character faces. I thought Shaun White’s character in the game is incredible ugly and looks almost last gen-like when it came to his face.

My favourite part about the game was the music line up. It did a good job on incorporating old pop/classic rock with some new age hits. This wasn’t that big a deal for me and I doubt for many of you since the game other than that wasn’t really fun to play. Though there’s no way to be able to choose which songs you want to listen to out of the selection you have. You can’t make a playlist of your favourites in it.

Now the biggest issue I had with this game was the controls and the difficulty that came along with them. The controls are just awful to work with and they make the game very hard and not enjoyable. Controlling the camera only works if you aren’t moving. You can’t look around you while you’re going down the mountain unless you come to a complete stop. Also you need to use the right trigger for most of your stunts as this is the jump button - it’s also the brake button. This causes you to have to move towards a jump and when you are on the jump, you have to start breaking to that your guy can get more height. All this does is slow you down and you can’t do as many tricks because you don’t have as much air time as you probably would have if you didn’t have to break. Another weird thing is that the right analog stick is for, while on the ground, turning your board. Which if you don’t have any speed, or aren’t landing from a jump, does nothing but help you slow down (giving us now three ways to slow down and stop). These controls just made me dislike playing and ending up getting frustrated to the point that coming back to the game was a challenge.

The next thing I didn’t like was how they made you do tricks. While you are doing a flip or a spin, you have a little meter come up below you to show your chance of landing it. You want to aim for the green middle area of it so that you have the best chance possible of landing the trick. Now when you are grinding something you can control where the arrow is on the meter so you can stay in the green pretty easily. When you are doing an aerial trick, you can’t control it at all. This means you need to judge your landing based on your body’s position, which can get pretty hard as you may not be able to tell the best angle to land compared to the slope below you. This just makes the tricks really hard to do if you’re just starting out which ups the learning curve quite a bit.

The game play in Shaun White Snowboarding is a double sided sword. It does a good job of letting you feel like you have an open environment. You can just mess around with tricks while going down the hill if you don’t feel like doing anything significant or you can move to these floating objects that let you get into a competition. The competitions can range from things like “most points received from only grinds” to “highest multiplier achieved”.

When it comes to the story line, it’s just dumb and needless. You’re some new shot kid who met up with Shaun White and his friends one day after wiping out on a jump. Shaun figures you have what it takes to make it big and that there’s something special about you. This all ends up with you becoming Shaun White’s errand boy by collecting giant floating coins for him. After you collect a complete set, he gives you a Focus Power. For example, the first one you receive is the ability to break through broken fences of some ice walls. After you get these new powers you now have to go collect more coins for Shaun which will test your ability to use the new Focus Power. After mastering the power and collecting all the coins, you move on... to receive another Focus Power to use to get Shaun more coins.

The last thing that felt really off about Shaun White Snowboarding was the speed of the game and the collision detections. No matter what kind of gradient you are faced with, you always feel like you are going really slow. If you ever do find yourself going fast, enjoy it, it won’t last long because you slow down really fast. But there are a few times that you will find yourself really flying, which is a great feeling. Though of course, you are bound to hit a tree or some sort of obstacle sooner or later. But in this game, when you run into an object at high speeds, or slam into a grind rail, nothing really happens to you. You will just bounce off the object with a slight deduction to any speed you still had.

Overall Shaun White Snowboarding was a huge let down and almost tedious to play. The poor quality controls are terrible when you first get into the game and only become tolerable after you pass through its long learning curve. If you do however get used to the game and find you can pull off tricks with ease, you will most likely get bored of the story line you are faced with. Shaun White Snowboarding does a terrible job of making you want to come back for more and should just be left alone.

Overall: 4/10

Friday, November 21, 2008

This is retarded

Looking up the Midnight Club: Los Angeles achievements, I came across this.

T-Mobile myFaves10
Join an online game with 5 of your friends. Stay Connected with MyFaves from T-Mobile.

This is just dumb. Have we really gotten to a point where Rockstar needs to sell the "achievements space" they have? Last time I checked, GTA4 was doing okay. Also it should note that the image for this achievement is indeed the T-Mobile icon.

I really hope no one actually decides they need to get a new cell phone plan because Midnight Club: LA told them to.


I have a french manual for Midnight Club: LA that doesn't actually fit in the box. Does anyone want it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First Impressions: Shaun White Snowboarding

So I popped this gem into my machine and it's not as bad as I thought. Here's why:
  • Shaun White looks awful
  • Apart from people's faces, I like the graphics of the characters
  • Controls definitely need to be gotten used to
  • Awful controls
  • Very hard
  • Objectives are dumb
This isn't much, so I'll add more over the next couple days. Look forward to a review this weekend.

I'm getting a copy of Midnight Club: LA later this week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This is crazy

I should get this up

(That's what she said...)

Anyway, I figured I should write this before it was too late. Talking about the new dashboard for the 360 after everyone has is, that's just lame. So here are my first and lasting impressions:

  • Cool intro video
  • Glad to see that the opening section of "panels" (what are we ever calling those?) can be taken away
  • Everything seems a little to "marketingy". What I mean is that a lot of it just seems like more advertisements.
  • Avatars aren't awful, so if you had a problem with them you may now shut up.
  • Installing games to the hard drive is awesome! I'm not sure how it helps the loads times because I installed The Force Unleashed before ever playing it off disc. So I don't know if it's any fast, but the 360 is quieter! Done. Done deal.
  • An idea (that I am doing) for people who want to install games to the hard drive but only have a 20GB hard drive. Save just the game you are currently playing, or the one you frequently go back to. As I don't go back to many games as I get new ones almost weekly so I save my current game so that each time I get a new game, they run faster and quieter for me. And of course, the old one gets taken off to provide room for the new one.
  • I'm not a fan of the lay out of the Guide after you hit the guide button. I just find it bland and plain.
  • Friends list is cool - even though all my friends have blank Grey avatars - but I think it needs a better indicator if that person is actually online. It took me a while to realize that if they have a little rectangle with either a game or a 360 icon beside the avatars' feet then they're online.
  • I haven't had a use for the Quick Launch yet, but I can't see it being to relevant unless I need to get into an arcade game from my disc game (or vice versa) really fast - which is something that doesn't happen often.
Now for some stuff I'm looking forward to doing once anyone on my friends list gets the update:

  • Party chats, though I can't see myself making a party chat just to chat. And if I'm making a party chat to talk in game, I can just use the in game chat. Though I still would like to try this.
  • Uno Rush! Should be out soon! (Has nothing to do with the dashboard update)
  • Seeing my friends' avatars, hoping there can be something to do with them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Would ya look at that

Turns out I get an advanced look at the New Xbox Experience afterall. I guess they weren't done handing out betas to people. Yay me. I get to check it out tomorrow. I'll post my first impressions about it.

Review: Gears of War 2 - 9.5

Gears of War 2 brings the same game play elements from the first but adds new factors to keep you interested and coming back for more. You play as Marcus Fenix, leader of the Delta squad, six months after the events of the first Gears of War. We can see that the humans struggle against the Locust has gone from bad to worse. You must fight and gun your way through various different terrains in order to try and save the planet Earth from enslavement.

The biggest point that hit me with Gears of War 2 was that I actually enjoyed it a lot. What made this shocking to me was I quite disliked the first game. It should be noted that I only did about the beginning act on the first one, but that was all it took for me to decide I don’t need any more of this. On the other hand, Gears of War 2 started off big and kept me thinking about it and wanting to come back over and over to continue. It had a great beginning that, unlike its predecessor, got me intrigued.

The biggest difference you will probably notice about Gears of War 2 is its inclusion of a deeper plot. Along with this, you will find more emotional scenes tied to the characters. You start the game out knowing that there is a war going on, but you also are told of a side plot in which your teammate Dom is trying to find his captured wife Maria. Throughout the bloodshed you will ensue upon your enemies, you’ll keep being reminded of this extra story going on and begin to feel a connection to Dom. The game causes more emotional relationships with some of its other characters too, such as Tai. This is such a good aspect to the game because unlike the first one, you have more to think about. The first game had you going through it and just killing anything, your objective was clear. Gears of War 2 has you doing the same, but adds in more reasons for you to fight through the Locust army. To some this may seems as almost a letdown or unnecessary part to the game considering it’s so different to the first. Though it actually helps the game quite a bit by connecting us to the characters and trying to make us realise how awful our enemies really are. Overall, it makes the game more engaging and a generally better experience.

The graphics in Gears of War 2 are also incredible. You can just see how much detail Epic Games put in through all the subtle aspects like Tai’s facial tattoo or Marcus’s grotesque face scar. Also the color works so well considering much of the last game was manly shades of grey. Underground you will find nicely glowing mushrooms in fluorescent greens and blue, while the fire and blood have a vibrant and sharp red or orange to them. Gears of War 2’s graphics are definitely top notch and one of the best to date on the system.

Besides the absorbing storyline, the next best thing about Gears of War 2 is its online multiplayer game modes. The newest addition to the Gears of War franchise, online wise, is Horde mode. This was by far my favourite part of the game to play and was actually sad when I had finally completed it. In Horde mode you and up to four other teammates take on horde after horde –or wave after wave - of enemies. Each wave gets harder and harder because the enemies swarm in bigger quantities and their stats begin to increase. You may find that on the first wave the enemy only takes fifty bullets to kill, though on the tenth wave you can see he takes 200. What makes this mode so fun to play is you actually NEED to work as a team to get through it. If anyone decides to hang by themselves and take on some of the Locusts solo, you can bet that he or she is going to die sooner or later. This makes you need to strategize and figure out the best spot on the map to set up a ‘base’ in which you fight off all the monsters from. By far this was an incredible addition to the various online modes offered.

The other online modes also add huge variety to the game in ways you choose to play it. There are the standard warfare modes where your goal is to kill everyone and be the last one standing. Apart from that is modes like Annex in which your team needs to stay in a certain spot for as long as you can before your opponents come and kill you in order to claim it. They also have a capture the flag like game in which the flag is actually a human with a shotgun, so he’ll try to fight you off before you can grab him and drag him around. Overall the multiplayer adds much more diversity to the style of game play you’ll need to use in order to win these games. Just shooting blindly won’t always work for you.

Though the online multiplayer is a bit of a double edged sword. You will find a lot of the time it will be very hard to get into a game; the matchmaking is really bad. The problem is that it takes so long to find you a full team and then find another full team to play against. There were times I had to wait around five minutes from the time I hit “Find Team” to actually getting one. To make things worse, when I got fed up with waiting to get in a game and decided to cancel it, it actually took a good ten to fifteen seconds at times to cancel the searching. This is a real let down considering the online play is so damn fun, luckily it only happens about half the time.

The only other downfall Gears of War 2 has is a collection of technical bugs here and there. I can’t count how many times I saw either a team mate or an enemy appear as if they were floating a few inches off the ground. The other bug I saw happen the most was when someone was knocked back by something. For example, when you’re hit with a smoke grenade (a grenade used to cause a cloud of smoke around the area) your player will be sent flying to the ground due to the shock. Most of the time when my character was hit, I would either slide across the ground like there was no friction at all or my body would twitch consistently until long after I had died.

The achievements in Gears of War 2 are also very well laid out. Of course they have the certain ones for going through the story and beating it. They also have ones for going through a number of chapters in co-op play. The best ones though are the ones that require you to do certain things with your opponents. For example, in one, you must use a downed (crawling) enemy as a meat shield ten times. This forces you to focus on shooting your enemies legs so as to cripple them instead of kill them, then you’re free to grab them. There is also the one for having to kill a down enemy eleven different ways, which causes you to always keep in mind which weapons you should be holding onto for just such an occasion. Then there are the multiplayer ones that are spread out evenly through all the forms of it.

The replay value in this game is through the roof. Once going through all five acts of the story mode on any difficulty level you unlock the Insane level (hardest). That alone gives you four different levels to play the campaign on, as well as the option to play through any of this with someone in co-op. And of course there are all the different kinds of multiplayer options to choose from. Even if you just want to play online and work on your rank you’ll have reason to come back, especially since it shows gameplay level beside your gamertag when online (which is totally awesome).

Overall Gears of War 2 does a great job of continuing the series, especially since fixing the issues the first one had. The game starts off big and continues strongly throughout. It does a great job of keeping the player interested with not only the gorgeous graphics but the storylines weaving through it. The campaign mode also feels like a great length and even when it’s done you will always have the online to go play, if you can get past the annoying wait times it requires. This game does a good job of making sure you will enjoy your time with it and always want to come back for more.

Overall: 9.5/10

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Review: Wii Music - 4

Wii Music combines over sixty instruments and four different game modes for you to wave your wii-motes at until you’re bored. The four modes open to you are Lessons, Jam, Videos and Games. At first glance this seems like you’re getting your money’s worth, but in the end you’ll just be doing the same arm movements to the beat of every song.

The game play revolving around Wii Music is all about making you feel like you’re in a band. It does a good job of recreating the mass amount of instruments you’ll get to play such as a violin, drums, guitar or even bark like a dog; though, each will have you just waving your arms or pressing buttons in no set order. Unfortunately, that’s all there is to the game.

Once starting up the game you will be instructed on how to work some of the most basic instruments. As every other type of instrument to play works off the same mechanics, this is a good way to make sure you know how to play anything in the game.

The game has four game play modes that are all unlocked for you from the get go. The most basic of these is Jam which is like a ‘quick play’ mode. In Jam you get three choices, Instrument Improv, Quick Jam and Custom Jam. Instrument Improv has you picking one of the available instruments and just messing around on it. After a few seconds ‘Tutes’ (computer players) will join you until you have a full band. It does a good job of making you feel like, all together, you’re making music since the computer players will play their instruments at the same pace you are. This won’t last for long though as you don’t have any task or goal to this besides just play until you’re done. Quick Jam is exactly what it sounds like; you get set up with a random instrument and song and go right into it. Custom Jam is similar except you get to choose which instrument you want and which ones you want the Tutes to be playing along with you.

The next mode is Lessons which is just what it sounds like, tutorials. It contains the lesson you had to go through at the beginning and another for harder skills.

The third mode is Games, which I personally found to be the best of the four choices since it contained the most in terms of varying game play elements. In this you can choose Mii Maestro, Handbell Harmony or Pitch Perfect. Mii Maestro is the least enjoyable of the three. You get to be a conductor. This includes waving your wii-mote up and down as the virtual Mii band plays along at your speed. The difficulty here goes up by the addition of a percentage at the end. You get a higher (better) percent if you played at the correct speed and hit A or B to make the band play a special note at the right times. The downfall here is that there is nothing to tell you when to play these notes or the correct speed to go at. You have to guess whether you’re going at the right speed or not; and finding out when there are slow parts can be impossible if you have never heard the song before. Handbell Harmony was my personal favourite part of the game by itself. It’s the closest to a average rhythm based game where you can see the notes coming across and what the correct time to swing your “bell” is. Each song is made up of eight different bell sounds and you control two of them. When you see your color of bell coming, you either swing the numchuck or the wii-mote in time with the song to play it properly. To make it harder, the game throws in special notes that make you have to hold a button down while swinging to hit the note. However, this mode is generally too easy and since you only control two of the eight bells, there will be times where you’re either just the back beat or you might not even play that often because you might be an uncommon bell pitch. Pitch Perfect is small mini game that is taken a bit too far. You get eight levels of difficulty, fittingly titled Level 1 though 8. In this game you need to match tones and pitches by singing or playing Mii’s to one another. You will encounter things like “match the Mii that has the same pitch as the speaker” which will require you to listen to each Mii sing and then select one. This mode gets boring quickly and you won’t enjoy every minute of the eight levels if you feel the need to go through them all.

Videos is the final mode. This is more of a music video like option where you can watch any of the past performances you have saved. In modes like Custom Jam, you’re able to save the performance you just did in order to watch it later here. This is also where the online aspect of Wii Music comes in for it allows you to share your video with friends who own the game. The downfall to this is it’s just for watching. Most people would rather go and play that song than sit there and watch their Mii(s) play it by themselves(s).

The graphics in the game are fine but you shouldn’t expect them to be bad since we’re dealing with almost Lego like detail for the Miis. Apart from that everything is just a video played behind your own personal character so you don’t control too much of it.

The biggest thing of course in Wii Music would have to be its library of songs. The game contains over thirty songs that range from Happy Birthday To You all the way to Material Girl by Madonna. Nintendo has even thrown in some of its own songs like F-Zero’s Mute City Theme and The Legend of Zelda Theme. The Nintendo songs are personally my favourite to play and I had the most fun with them. The majority of these songs are fun to play, especially since you can customize the instruments playing them to themes like “Galaxy” which makes everything sound all techno like. However the overall selection of music probably isn’t what most people really want to hear/play. The bottom line is does anyone really want to play O Christmas Tree that badly?

The worst part of Wii Music is that it has no replay value. Any replay value you will find will just be because you most likely didn’t play it for very long at your last gaming session. The basic game play element is so linear that you won’t find much of a need to continue with it for too long. After you get the just of how every instruments mimics a good portion of the others, there’s nothing really new to experience.

Unlike most music rhythm games, there’s no “note chart” that is scrolling across the screen. You’re left to play the notes in whatever way you like. Though it does try to mix things up a bit, for example, hold the A button down when swinging to hit the drum so you make a different noise. These don’t really have much of an impact to the game as it plays the note it has to in order to complete the song properly. This means that if you’re not playing outside the original song chart, no matter what special notes you’re playing, they won’t sound different. This gives you the feeling that you don’t actually control too much.

Overall, Wii Music feels more like a full priced mini game collection that had a lot of work put it in; despite the fact that this work didn’t help make it a game worth the money you’ll put down. The repetitive game play will make you wish for more and the short extra modes will only be fun for an hour at tops. The game does offer four modes, but only two of them let you actually play parts of the game. And the game play you’ll be faced with is either vertical arm waves, or hitting the two buttons when you think it would be a good time. The game is just too linear.

It should be noted that Wii Music can be played with the Balance Board for use with the in game drums. This allows you to not only swing your arms to hit the notes, but tap your feet for uses such as a foot pedal. I however didn’t have access to a Balance Board and was unable to test out this factor.

Overall: 4/10

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chunk some bullets

So on Wednesday, along with Wii Music, I also received a review copy of Gears of War 2. Lucky for me, I don't have to review it. Many of you probably know that I didn't like the first Gears and quite after the first two acts (or whatever it had). The second is different for me, I'm actually feeling an urge to go over and play a few more minutes before I'm off to start my day. I had planned to make up a review for this site alone but then I was informed of another game I will be recieving this weekend: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows for the PS2. So yes I'll be lugging out my PS2 from the closet this week. This game has come as a complete surprise sine I originally hadn't asked for it, but it's a game and it's Spiderman so I'm glad to have it.

This weekend will consist of Wii Music wrap ups/review. Play more Gears 2, if you pick it up tonight - and I'm sure many of you will - we should get some multiplayer on, Horde mode is very fun! I'll definitly get my first impressions of it up soon and if I don't do a review due to time, I'll just make a huge point form post about it. And Spiderman. Woah lots of games!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wii Music first impressions

So it's pretty dumb.
  • I don't think there's enough to do, especially if you're planning to sit down for an hour or so of play.
  • The difficulty goes from very easy to some way hard parts; though, I would imagine it wouldn't take to long to master these.
  • Playing the instruments isn't really that fun, maybe it's cause I'm a "core gamer" though.
  • Playing the Zelda theme was fun.
  • Co-op is either just as lame or very hard.
  • Nothing really there to unlock except harder tasks, not enough songs to unlock per game play mode.
  • Does anyone really want to play 'O Christmas Tree' that badly?

Monday, November 3, 2008

100th post!

So Wii Music should be arriving at my door step in the next couple days. Look forward to my thoughts on that because I'm sure I'll have choice words for it.

Also now you can find this blog site by searching the name on Google.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inspired by Faith

Looking over Leah Alexander's Sexyvideogame Land blog this evening, I came across her recent article pointing us towards her look on Faith from Mirror's Edge that she wrote up for Kotaku. I highly recommend reading it for it's quality stuff; as we have come to expect from her.

Specifically I wanted to take notice on one aspect she brings up: our relationships to the characters we play as. Now her main focus for the article is looking at how we perceive video game characters and if we want them to look cartoony or not. Though her mention of the connection we sometimes feel stuck out to me. She writes:

Games are intended to be engaging, personal experiences. We don't just watch them, we play, and because of that, game characters must be more than visual art - we must be able to connect to them, or the experience is hollow. So while your character preferences will always have telling clues to whisper about who you are and what you're attracted to, at the end of the day, it becomes about who you'd like to become.
I found this part of her article the most interesting because it made me think if I have ever felt this way towards the countless characters I have controlled. Now I fully agree that the way we play our characters, "[Tell] who we are" (think Fable 2), what's more to think about is hetr idea that these characters and actions we cause them to take show, "What [we're] attracted to."

I made the comparison to Fable 2 - let's branch from that. I specifically made my male character more skinny which in turn gave up on strength. It should be noted that doing this gave me no positive upgrades in the game, I just wanted my guy to look slim as he hacked his way through bandits. What made me do that?

Now don't for a minute think I had a connection to my character in Fable 2. I find it's harder to have a "relationship" with a user generated one over a preset character. Maybe this is just strictly opinion based but I find that user generated characters don't leave a lasting effect since they didn't make a statement in the games look. A game company can't advertise your custom character the way say Konami can for Snake. Having the preset character already gives youa glimpse of what they're like before the game's release and you're not stuck there trying to play as someone who is to resemble yourself.

Now of course there is the idea that you're not modeling this new editable character after yourself, instead you're making him how you want to be - "What you're attracted to". This shows how most characters fall as archtypes - guys are usually strong and tough/muscly, while the females are slender and well-endowed. Though there is always the case where it is just a game and you could care less if this reflects any of your ideal personality goals in life; shooting hookers in GTA4 may be fun but you would never attempt it in the real world. We can't shy away from this being a parallel to our personalities though, something made us do it, and finding it fun can link the two ideas.

But back to the main point. Have I ever felt a connection to a video game character? From what I can think of at the moment, no. Though I'm sure I have an I'm just drawing a blank due to the late hour. Or maybe I can't because no game has been able to reach me in that way, so is it the game companies fault for not creating the game based around me - the consumer? Not exactly, it just means I am probably not enjoying the game as much as I would have if I had felt a connection to the character I controlled. Being able to emphasize with the character when they are sad and sharing in their joy would be a great thing; it would mean the developer has done their job because instead of just watching the story unfold and the actions take place - I'm almost experiencing them. I think it's safe to say that when we find this "relationship" between our virtual puppets, we will find the game an overall better experience; and thus, enjoy the game more.

Leave some comments on your ideas or if you have ever felt this connection to a character.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blowin' Up

Looks like I have become bigger than I thought. With that said I should also point out that the Comic Book Bin is also bigger than I thought. I say this to you because when being bored one moment yesterday, I decided to search up my name (full name) on Google. To my surprise, the fourth link - fourth link - brings you to all my articles over at the Comic Book Bin.

I hope this is going to be a trend!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coming Up

So to let you guys know, my Fable 2 review is up over at The Comic Book Bin in case you want to see the edited version.

Now on to what I meant this post for. Since I have finished reviewing Fable 2, it only makes sense to move onto my next game for review purposes for the CCB.

I will be receiving Wii Music sometime this week if my boss can get it for me. So that should be quite interesting. My first remarks at it are that it looks like something I should play, but won't really enjoy it. We shall see.

The next game I am going to be trying to get is Mirror's Edge for the 360, this one might not be obtainable because appearently EA isn't the nicest when it comes to giving games out. Once again my boss is going to be trying -really hard - for me to get it.

And last is that I will be recieving Prince of Persia: The Fallen King for the DS. This is another game that I don't think I will enjoy judging from the past DS Prince of Persia games. I was hoping to get the main game for the 360 but my boss really wants it. Oh well, I'll just buy it.

Apart from the games I'm getting for review reasons; I plan to pick up a few on the side which I will also review. I'm way looking forward to the new Tales of Symphonia. The first game was amazing and is probably one of my top GameCube games. The other I plan to pick up is Animal Crossing, which will come with Wii Speak. So if you are planning to grab it, let's meet up and fish or something.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Review: Fable 2 - 8

(I don't know why the font always looks weird when I write my review in Word first)

Welcome to the world of Albion, where one man’s actions decide the fate of the world. In Fable 2 you’ll find yourself in a vast environment rich with new experiences, great scenery and thrilling adventures. The choices you make throughout your life’s journey will not only affect yourself - but the entirety of the game. Fable 2 does a great job of keeping the player interested and throwing humour at them left and right, but it sets itself back by being filled with technical bugs here and there.

Fable 2 has your character move throughout the world performing different quests so that you can further the progress of the game. Though the biggest aspect of this game is its concept of moral choices. From the beginning you will be able to perform different acts based on whether you think it’s right or wrong. Choosing the morally right option will make your character more pure; while choosing the opposite will further your character towards a life of corruption. Not only will these choices affect how the people in various villages and towns treat you, but you’ll notice the environments will change as well. Performing good tasks as a child at the beginning of the game will see that your home town is flourishing when you grow up. On the flip side, doing bad deeds or harassing your childhood home will cause it to later be barren and bleak.

The huge focus on these choices is what makes Fable 2 so intriguing to play and continue through to not only the end, but hours upon hours afterwards. The game skips a set of years every now and then and because of your past actions, the world will have changed. Exploring these changes is what makes coming back to the game so fun. For the majority of your actions you’ll just be deciding whether you should: steal from this man, kill these bandits for the farmer or help find someone’s missing son. Though later in the game you will be faced with choices that may even make you pause the game and take a moment to think. Questions like: should I feed the prisoners and risk being punished and loosing experience points? Or should I starve them to death and risk the corruption points?

Another reason you’ll want to keep exploring these new regions and shifting environments is the sheer beauty of them. From the beginning of the game you’ll constantly find yourself surrounded by gorgeous landscapes. From the beginning scene of your home being covered with slow falling snow to running through the fields while the game’s morning sun peaks through the trees and bathes you in light, it’s magnificent. Fable 2 indeed pushes the 360’s graphical capabilities to almost rival that of the PS3.

A new addition to Fable 2 that the first didn’t have is the ability to do online co-op now with your friend or anyone really. The person who is joining gets a certain amount of money and experience that the main character gets. This sounds good on paper but when it’s actually not that good played out. The camera is completely set to the first player and it’s hard to control so you’re always dealing with a bad angle. You also don’t get to use your hero when you join again, instead you’re made to use a template like character. A cool thing about the online instructiveness though is you will be able to see your friends running around in your world set up as orbs. So you could be walking down the street and see the gamerpic of your friend come moving by. You can interact with them through things like giving gifts or even talking to them if they’re close enough.

Though Fable 2 is an extremely addicting and a fun game, it does suffer from several technical problems. The game is riddled with frame rate issues so you will always seem some delay in the game whenever something finishes; whether that be quitting a job or finishing a battle. Several times I had quit my blacksmithing job and while it saved and loaded the town market for me, half of the screens images where missing and replaced with a solid back drop. Luckily it did load the remainder of the town for me after a few moments. Another thing that really hurts the game is that some of the actions of say enemies won’t be fully brought out. More than once I had an enemy look like it was gliding over to me – instead of walking.

Also one thing to note is that for quite a bit of the beginning of the game (more than just the child introduction section) some of the audio was missing. In places where my dog should have been barking for me to go find some buried treasure, he remained silent, but he still had the “Dig Spot” words above his head. It even got bad enough that when I was in combat, as an adult, every time I attacked something it wouldn’t make a noise. The experience for me was really hurt from going through a half silent game. It’s not very fun killing bandits to the sound of background music alone.

My biggest disappointment is the setup this game has for its store system. What I specifically don’t like is how they don’t tell you if you already have this item or if the sword you’re buying is actually worse than the one you have. In order to get around these issues you need to open up your own inventory and look at your current items and the stats they have. Doing that every time I want a new gun is terribly annoying and I don’t want to have to memorize how much damage my current pistol does or if it’s a fast moving sword..

The last issue I found with the games technical aspect was the villagers themselves. Since I had chosen to be strictly as good as I could be - everyone loved me. And they loved me so much that they began to follow me around. This is fine until I would enter something like my house or a store. I had so many people following me one time, I couldn’t leave the building. What made this more annoying is I couldn’t walk into the people to move them out of the way.

If you don’t feel like fighting, why not go buy a house, or in fact buy everything – and I mean everything. Almost anything in this game that resembles a building or a merchant stand can be bought, which does lead to one of Fable 2’s biggest flaws. The money in this game becomes so easy to get, you will never have to worry about it. Since buying a house means you can rent it, and buying a store means you get whatever it can bring in, every five minutes you will receive some money. So far this doesn’t sound like too bad a thing, but you should know that you will also be getting money when the game is turned off; therefore, every time you go back to playing, a big lump of money is waiting for you. This gets rid of the need to go out and grind for some money, or even use the various jobs offered. If ever you can’t afford something, go do a quest and I’m sure you’ll have almost enough.

Apart from that, the replay value in this game is enormous. There will almost always be at least three different quests you can choose to go on, two different jobs to take up or you can just mess around with customising your character. You can buy new weapons, flirt with the ladies (or gents) or go put on some make up, change your hair or even buy new clothes. The character customisation in this game is huge and great. The actions you do will even affect how your body is; therefore, if you sleep way too much you’ll end up fat. This even made me choose to not upgrade my hero’s damage because I thought he didn’t look to good bulky. I decided I wouldn’t buy any fatty food, whether it healed me more than celery or not. There are so many different ways to make your character look and act like you want. You should basically never be bored with Fable 2 since there are so many things inside its world.

Overall Fable 2 does an incredible job of making sure your having fun with your game and that when you come back to play, you stay for a while. It’s a game that everyone should be able to enjoy, whether you just want to cause damage in the town or grind your way through the blacksmithing job for endless money. The possible huge consequence will always be in the back of your mind so you will need to make sure your going on the path you really want. Many a time you will find your own morals being tested just to get a bit more cash. If the action doesn’t draw you in, the striking landscape and cityscapes will. Fable 2 is a great game and is definitely worth the money you’ll put down on it.

Overall: 8/10

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who wants a Ranged Weapon? You do!

I received Fable 2 3 days ago and so far it's pretty good. I have found a few things I don't like about it, and of course I have found some things I really like about that. I won't go into any detail or reveal them because I'll save them for my review. I'm planning on getting the review up on Monday - that is, if I can power through it this weekend. I'll upload it and here and of course it will also be up on the Comic Book Bin.

If anyone wants to get some coop sessions going this Friday or Saturday, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Because I could only think of 2

I thought I would take some time out of my busy schedule of trying to finish Grand Theft Auto IV before Fable 2 arrives to share with you My Top 2 Xbox Live Arcade Games With The Worst Leaderboard Setup.

I guess it would be important to state which type of leaderboards I'm talking about. The two I think of when it comes to leaderboards is the in game ones, which can range from just one general thing related to the game, to a whole bunch of different leaderboards for specific aspects of the game. The other would be the leaderboard that you can see from the Dashboard which is generally really generalised; I'm going to be talking about this one.

For those of you that don't know what a leaderboard is, don't worry, I will inform you. Leaderboards are a section of a game that shows how good you are incomparison so your friends or to everyone in the world. It will rank you on things like ''ammount of kills'' or ''highest score'' and so on.

Without further adue:

Sean's Top 2 XBLA Games With The Worst Leaderboard Setup

1. Castle Crashers
So the way this game's leaderboard is set up is it shows your highest level character and ranks you based on it. Now let it be known that the level cap for this game is 99. So everyone who has a character at level 99, you are tied for first. Congrats!

My thoughts for a better way to setup this ranking system would to have either shown the total level all your characters combined are, or maybe show how many enemies you have killed. Even something like, total damaged dished out would have been something cool to brag about.

2. Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2
The way this game works is very good when looking at the in game leaderboards, but the dashboard setup annoys me. It shows your total score of all your games combined; I guess this would be the only way you could really do it. The reason I dislike this is if someone has beaten my score on a specific game mode, but doesn't have an overall better score than me, I'll never know till I go into the game.

The best way to fix this in my opinion is none existant, or at least I haven't thought of it yet. Something around the lines of the ammount of enemies killed overall would be ok, but that number would be incredibly big and I think a little much.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How to get an ONSQ

This is actually really funny and true in each way. Hopefully you guys will find it good. This is the how to get an Official Nintendo Seal of Quality made by SomethingAwful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What I did this weekend and what I played

So this weekend was all about the Grand Theft Auto IV. As you know this usually isn't my type of game and really, I can't say I was super happy about playing this game so much this weekend. I think I'm around 2/3 done and it was okay but nothing amazing to me. I think I'm sticking with Crackdown being that one game that I like most from the sandbox style games.

What did you guys play this weekend?

Today, Transformers was on, so of course I watched it (who wouldn't??) and then I realized that I needed it on DVD. This is probably where your saying "but Sean, you already own it on HD DVD!" and yes that it true. Though I wanted a copy for when I'm traveling and for my computer or the TVs in my house without my HD player. I guess when I get a Blu-ray player I'll need to get it on that too since I demand a perfect copy of Transformers.

The next thing I bought was NHL 2K7; let it be clear that I still dislike sports games. I bought it used for $3 so I thought that was a fair trade. I haven't started it yet and judging from all the games I need to get through at the moment, I won't for a bit. Man when Fable 2 gets here I'm gonna be way behind.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


As you may have noticed, over the last couple weeks the sidebar of this site, specifically the main introduction section, has been changed to say I now work on a couple other sites.

The first is The Comic Book Bin which like it sounds, focuses a lot on comics; it does contain a section for video games too. I work there as a game reviewer and you can see almost all the reviews I've posted here up on that site. I very much like working for them as the people I've spoke to all seem really nice. The best part has to be that I can receive some games in the mail, which I am quite looking forward to. Currently I'm waiting on Fable II, so you can look forward to my thoughts on that.

The next site: TalkXbox is also quite fun to work for and like the name implies it focuses mostly on the 360. I'm a news reporter there and you will usually see my posts on the main page when you go there.

I will also update this site when I can, though as you may have noticed, I am slowing down. I haven't given up though! I will keep this site alive.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


So I beat the endless set list 2 on Rock Band 2 last night with the help of Cory "missing that unison bonus" Purdy and Gryphon "I'm not taking my shirt off" Anderson. Needless to say, I ache inside. So it's the next day and we're doing it again this time on medium for another achievement. This one requires never failing or pausing a song, so hence the medium.

So far song:

13/84: We've started palm strumming and silent druming.

14/84: 3 stars and Gryphon has yet to hit a 4x combo. 100% guitar solo with the elbow.

21/84: This is hell.

32/84: Guide came up by itself, I'ma kill something.

So we stopped for the night, we couldn't take anymore of Rock Band after that. The next morning (today) I got up and started it again and by 3:30pm we had done it. All endless set list achievements are mine.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Professor Layton 3 trailor!

The japanese trailer for Professor Layton 3 is now out. God it looks so good, time traveling and everything! Man we better get the second one over here soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What're you playing this weekend?

Me? I'm going to be either playing a lot of Viva Pinata 2 or GTA4 (yes I finally got my hands on a copy). Then again Rock Band 2 might take over again....probably the latter.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Point and click on the DS

After picking up what would be last months Nintendo Power I believe (yes I still subscribe); I came across an article about a game I hadn't heard of before that caught be attention: Time Hollow. Upon further reading of the subject of this game I found it's another point and click adventure game based on a mystery going on. Reminded me a lot of Hotel Dusk: Room 215, which I loved.

Your a seventeen year old boy who woke up one day to find yourself twelve years in the future (don't quote me on the exact year number there). You are given the Hollow Pen in order to draw circles which act as portals through time. From what I got, you need to go back in time to change the present so that you can find out what happened. Sounds pretty cool, I'll probably pick it up eventually.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about how many point and click adventure games are on the DS right now. A while ago you wouldn't think these to be any fun, from just the premise of the genre alone it doesn't stand well. A game where the point is to click on something to read some text just so you can go click on something else to read more text doesn't sound like something most people would be into. Yet they seem to hold well on the DS and the games may not seem to be the most popular, they do hold up well when it comes to the review scores they are given.

Myself personally wouldn't find playing one of these kinds of game on the computer if they had only come out for that platform, which is sad for I would have been missing out. Though this would probably be because I don't play games on my computer. My guess is that many people who did enjoy games like Hotel Dusk and Trace Memory, probably wouldn't have picked it up either if they had found it on the PC instead of DS.

Which makes me think why? The conclusion I come to is that maybe it's the portable element. If say hypothetically that Hotel Dusk was coming to both the PC and the DS and I was well informed about the game, which would I have chose? DS. Then again this may be because I don't computer game, so what would the gamer who does both pick? My answer would still be DS. I think this is because the idea of sitting down for a few hours to point and click my way through twenty hours of dialogue doesn't strike me as fun. Whereas on the DS I can read through all this while walking or taking a bus places. Then again I just sat around my house and played Hotel Dusk, so I guess I'm a rare section to that.

So maybe the point and click genre isn't doing so well because people don't want to devote their time to it. There are definitely not as many of this kind of game on the computer as there used to be, and if there's many, then it just goes to show because I don't know about them. But by being able to whip out the DS and go for twenty minutes instead of waiting for the computer to boot up, we find ourselves more into this. Which shows the DS may be restoring the old point and click genre, because they tend to have some great story. Though that's probably because story is mostly the whole game in point and click games.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not entirely crazy, just mostly

A while ago, Chris and I completed the Endless Setlist in Rock Band. Now with Rock Band 2 out, I have just completed the Tour mode and found the Endless Setlist 2. I plan to do it again.

So your probably thinking; "whatever, he did it before, how is this different?" Well good sirs and ladies, this setlist has around twenty more songs and takes about ten hours with no breaks. Now of course I plan to do this with other people. So I have three friends joining me, though we will only be doing guitar and bass due to that being the only instruments we can play on expert.

Just to add to the ludicrousness, once we complete it on expert to get those three achievements. We play to play it again. Why? Because there's an achievement for going through it without ever stopping or failing a song.

So two weeks from now we will have almost twenty-four hours of Rock Band 2 straight. I'm not crazy. I'm not.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One pair of broken eyes later...

The ever popular Giant Bomb has updated it's homepage site. It can also be turned white, which I'm not a fan of.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Review: Rock Band 2 - 9

Rock Band 2 is the sequel to the highly popularized music rhythm game by Harmonix. The game is clad with fake musical instruments; a guitar, a drum set and a microphone. What Rock Band 2 does isn’t so much a true different take on the first Rock Band, but more just fixes some of the issues the first one had and does so in a surprisingly ‘well worth you money’ way.

Rock Band 2 is a music rhythm game that focuses around making you and your friends an imaginary band. By having fake instruments to be tapped, strums or sang into at certain times, it simulates the experience in a way you would want from fake rocking in your basement. A music rhythm game requires you to hit notes that move across the screen at a certain time. With RB2 you have a note track coming down towards you with colored bars on them. When the bars go in the area at the bottom that matches their color, you have to play that note. Playing that note differs with the instrument. Playing the guitar requires you to hold down the same colored fret button and strum when the note is in place, same goes for the bass. Playing the drums requires you to hit the corresponding color pad when the note is in place, or stepping on the foot pedal accordingly. If your using the microphone, you need to sing the words as they scroll across the screen. You will see lines for the singer and those indicate what pitch you should be at. If the line is high up, sing high and vice versa.

The major difference from the first game to this one is the exclusion of the average single player mode you found in RB1 or the Guitar Hero games. This may seem like something a little crazy but it’s really not because if you’re playing RB, I’m pretty sure you’re playing with friends. The tour mode does a great job giving you stuff to play for a long. It would have been nice to still have the main ‘go through every song’ kind of mode again, because then you can see how well you can play songs on that difficulty. Though it doesn’t harm it that much since when you beat these kinds of modes, you never go back to them, like ever.

Instead of that, this time it’s main focus is on the Band World Tour mode that the first one had. Though the first game had this as a solid multiplayer mode but with some flaws, and the flaws were quite big. Things like having to play multiplayer (or trying to do two instruments at once) made it something you couldn’t play any time you wanted. Now you can play that mode by yourself, which makes sense since there are no other major modes to play alone. It also helps that they brought in the idea to let one character play any instrument you want, so now you don’t need three characters to get all there is out of each instrument. Most importantly they now allow for band world tour to be played online with other people. This is probably one of the best additions to the game for this mode was easily the thing to play in the first game and now being able to play it whenever you want makes it great. And even though you may not be able to talk to the person you’re playing with, it doesn’t feel like you’re missing too much.

Another big addition to RB2 is the idea of band challenges or battle of the bands. In these you get requested to do certain songs in a set list and it’ll rate you on how well you did overall by things like the highest overall score, or the amount of stars you earned. These will be posted up on the leaderboard and by the looks of it, will close and more will be added throughout RB2’s life. Some of these will require an entire band, while some may just be solo or even things like you can play anything as long as there is one vocalist. One of the best things with this is that it shows the overall leaderboard and that it shows your friends leaderboard as a separate section. So you can see which of your friends did better on each individual challenge. Though because of all the leaderboard stuff this game has, it needs to update the servers each time you finish a song/song set which from what I experienced (with a decent connection) took a good ten seconds. This may not sound like much, but when you’re sitting there staring at a loading screen just cause it needs to update scores, it gets old, fast.

The hardware bundled with the special edition of the game is slightly different now too. Though at the time of this game’s launch, you couldn’t pick up the hardware, which always sucks. But if you did have the RB1 controllers, you can use those. The new hardware comes stronger and has sensors in some of the instruments so that you can just hold up like the guitar to the TV and it will calibrate for you. This is a huge advantage now because calibrating is always a hard thing to do and is extremely important in this kind of game. Though when trying to calibrate the RB1 guitar for this game, it never seemed to be able to get it to work. I have no idea why.

Harmonix has always focused quite a bit on downloadable content and just getting your RB library to be as big as possible. This has included with every week they release three new songs to download and every now and then they release a free one. They added the ability to have all the downloadable songs from RB1 to work in RB2 and vice versa. One thing you can do is that if you have the first RB, you can export most of the songs from that game onto your hard drive do you can play them in RB2, and of course these songs will show up during world tour mode put into set lists and what not. Another bonus Harmonix has done is added a code on the back of the manual that will get you twenty free download songs. It tells you to go to their site to input the code in order to get a redeem code to be emailed to you to use in the Xbox Live Marketplace or Playstation Network. As of right now it’s just a message saying thanks for buying the game but having the news of getting twenty free songs is quite great and puts RB2’s songs that come with the game over 100.

The biggest thing with Rock Band has always been the multiplayer aspect. Even once finishing every mode completely, which by the way will take a long, long time; you will still be coming back to this game. With the amount of songs they offer that are rivalled by no other game, you will always find yourself with new things to play. If you don’t have friends around to come over and play, you can always play online with one of the three online modes, or just play them by yourself. Though the game can sometimes seem intimidating to some who aren’t comfortable singing in front of their friends or just in general think they suck at the game. RB2 fixes this by adding a no fail mode where you...can’t fail. This is a great idea, but it still has the crowd bar on the left so you can see how well your doing, which I don’t think was necessary. It will never hit the bottom but it will go down into flashing red, so your track list will flash red. If you’re someone who knows they’ll usually be in there, it can be innerving that it’s always flashing red at you. It would have been a better idea not to have the crowd bar at all so you can just focus on the song and no indicator of failing ever shows itself. After all, if you’re using this mode, you probably don’t really need something telling you you’re doing well, your just there to play and mess around.

Rock Band 2 is the best band rhythm game out there to date and is only rivalled by it’s prequel currently. You can just see that this game was made by people who know what it’s like to go through the real deal here, where over two thirds of the loading screens are information of the band your about to play. Along with subtle notes and how things are generally run in the tour mode, you can feel this game was made properly. Overall, it just feels tight and well put together. You will find yourself having endless hours of fun despite how awful your friend can sing Hello There by Cheap Trick. And with the no fail mode, it’s fun for everyone. You’re definitely getting your monies worth for this game, even if you’re buying all the hardware as well.

Overall: 9/10

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moment to note: Rock Band 2

You Won...
Merch Girl

"...and act as an unofficial band den mother...a den mother who is always trying to make out with you. Still, congrats!..."

Update: Even better moment
I was playing with a game generated character, and his name was The Duke of Gravity!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Watch it

Tonight on Spike TV at 11:30pm Eastern time there will be a count down to Rock Band 2.

Here's more info.

Seems pretty crazy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reverse psychology!

The Office theme and picture pack is now on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 150 MS points and 100 MS points.

New dashboard stuff

With the new 360's new dashboard rumored to be less than a month away; Gamerscore's latest blog entry is all about some of the new features we can look forward to. They plan to do one of these weekly, and they're hopeing that they'll have enough info to make one each week. Though they state to check back regularly to learn more. Keep in mine Gamerscore Blog has recently been added to our blog feed on the side bar if you need a link.

We will try and have a breif overview of their post each time they update so that you can read what exactly they mean.

Today brings us news of the Games Played slot and how it will look and work. When you click on your gamercard you will be able to change themes, check messages, edit your avatar, manage your account, switch profiles, and of course, check your played games. The first card shown on the picture is an overall card to show the achievements you've got and your highest possible gamerscore. I'm not really looking forward to that part, i don't like being reminded that I'm not even half as good as I could have been. The next thing to take into mine is the next panels will be the games you have played, weird thing is, if you have played 500 games; you will see all 500 panels. Hopefully loading this wont be too long. Each panel will show you which achievements you have unlocked, and what's left to do.

That's all for this update. We'll let you know when they update again.

Guitar Hero World Tour setlist revealed

Through all the leaks out in the past few weeks, we now have the official GH World Tour setlist out. Please take note that thirteen of the songs are in this game as well as Rock Band 2.


Here's the setlist, the bolded and italicized ones are in both the games.

  • 311 - “Beautiful Disaster”
  • 30 Seconds To Mars - “The Kill”
  • Airbourne - “Too Much Too Young”
  • The Allman Brothers Band - “Ramblin' Man”
  • Anouk - “Good God”
  • The Answer - “Never Too Late”
  • At The Drive-In - “One Armed Scissor”
  • Beastie Boys - “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”
  • Beatsteaks - “Hail to the Freaks”
  • Billy Idol - “Rebel Yell”
  • Black Label Society - “Stillborn”
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - “Weapon of Choice”
  • blink-182 - “Dammit”
  • Blondie - “One Way or Another”
  • Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - “Hollywood Nights”
  • Bon Jovi - “Livin’ On A Prayer”
  • Bullet For My Valentine - “Scream Aim Fire”
  • Coldplay - “Shiver”
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - “Up Around The Bend”
  • The Cult - “Love Removal Machine”
  • Dinosaur Jr. - “Feel The Pain”
  • The Doors - “Love Me Two Times”
  • Dream Theater - “Pull Me Under”
  • The Eagles - “Hotel California”
  • The Enemy - “Aggro”
  • Filter - “Hey Man, Nice Shot”
  • Fleetwood Mac - “Go Your Own Way”
  • Foo Fighters - “Everlong”
  • The Guess Who - “American Woman”
  • Hush Puppies - “You're Gonna Say Yeah!”
  • Interpol - “Obstacle 1”
  • Jane's Addiction - “Mountain Song”
  • Jimi Hendrix - “Purple Haze (Live)”
  • Jimi Hendrix - “The Wind Cries Mary”
  • Jimmy Eat World - “The Middle”
  • Joe Satriani - “Satch Boogie”
  • Kent - “Vinternoll2”
  • Korn - “Freak On A Leash”
  • Lacuna Coil - “Our Truth”
  • Lenny Kravitz - “Are You Gonna Go My Way”
  • Linkin Park - “What I've Done”
  • The Living End - “Prisoner of Society”
  • Los Lobos - “La Bamba”
  • Lost Prophets - “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd - “Sweet Home Alabama (Live)”
  • Mars Volta - “L'Via L'Viaquez”
  • MC5’s Wayne Kramer - “Kick Out The Jams”
  • Metallica - “Trapped Under Ice”
  • Michael Jackson - “Beat It”
  • Modest Mouse - “Float On”
  • Motörhead - “Overkill”
  • Muse - “Assassin”
  • Negramaro - “Nuvole e Lenzuola”
  • Nirvana - “About a Girl (Unplugged)”
  • No Doubt - “Spiderwebs”
  • NOFX - “Soul Doubt”
  • Oasis - “Some Might Say”
  • Ozzy Osbourne - “Crazy Train”
  • Ozzy Osbourne - “Mr. Crowley”
  • Paramore - “Misery Business”
  • Pat Benatar - “Heartbreaker”
  • R.E.M. - “The One I Love”
  • Radio Futura - “Escuela De Calor”
  • Rise Against - “Re-Education Through Labor”
  • Sex Pistols - “Pretty Vacant”
  • Silversun Pickups - “Lazy Eye”
  • Smashing Pumpkins - “Today”
  • Steely Dan - “Do It Again”
  • Steve Miller Band - “The Joker”
  • Sting - “Demolition Man (Live)”
  • The Stone Roses - “Love Spreads”
  • Stuck In The Sound - “Toy Boy”
  • Sublime - “Santeria”
  • Survivor - “Eye of the Tiger”
  • System of a Down - “B.Y.O.B.”
  • Ted Nugent - “Stranglehold”
  • Ted Nugent’s Original Guitar Duel Recording
  • Tokio Hotel - “Monsoon”
  • Tool - “Parabola”
  • Tool - “Schism”
  • Tool - “Vicarious”
  • Trust - “Antisocial”
  • Van Halen - “Hot For Teacher”
  • Willie Nelson - “On The Road Again”
  • Wings - “Band on the Run”
  • Zakk Wylde’s Original Guitar Duel Recording

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rock Band + Colbert = :)

Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report has just gotten his song Charlene (I'm Right Behind You) into Rock Band as a free downloadable song. I quickly grabbed it upon hearing this and found it quite a good song. Though lack of the video does decrease it's overall effect - it still is a great addition to any Rock Band library.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Castle Crashers has an Insane Mode!

Hey guess what?! Castle Crashers has an Insane Mode. Which loads of you may have heard something about, I bet a good portion can't find it.

When you start up your normal quest, yes you can use your normal guy (in other words, you don't need to start a new knight) press down. If you have beaten the game as this guy you will be able to move lower on the map from the "Home Castle" area and the "Barbarian Boss" spot. From there you will move down into that cave in the ditch area.

Selecting it makes that spot light on fire for the remainder of the time your in insane mode - so you know which mode your in. Though each time you go into this mode it shows the opening scene. A quick way to get past this is by hitting Start and then Return to Map. Then you can proceed along to where you were next. Exiting is the same so don't think you need to go back to normal to leave properly.

This is great because having my guy at the high 40's in level and not being able to continue on and level up without using the Catfish of Batboss tricks was awful. Now I'm hitting like one new level at each new spot.

Happy Crashing

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Review: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - 8

If your one of the many who didn't play the original Viva Pinata or find that it's just a child's game, you really don't know what your missing. Though now's your chance to see what this whole thing is about with Rare's sequel to the first: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.

Viva Pinata is all about taking care of a garden full of Pinata pets with focus on collecting them and making them romance. Like a real garden, you'll also be able to grow many different types of plants and decorate it with various materials and objects. Though the main point is to have specific items in your garden to attract foreign pinatas and get them to move in. In VP2 you are doing manly the same thing. Which, if your just coming from playing the first one; you might find yourself bored now. The biggest problem with this sequel is that it feels more like an expansion pack that a true stand alone game.

Like it's predecessor, your main goal is to gain levels by growing new plants and trees and making new pinatas come and join your garden. With each new level you will find that you can buy more things, get new equipment and sometimes get more garden space. The game works well in dishing out the experience points, rewarding you each time you see a new pinata, each time one visits and lots for making new pinatas residents and then romancing them. The main point of this whole thing is to keep expanding your garden and get newer and more valuable pinatas. The next main thing it wants you to focus on is romancing pinatas, which involves them having a baby. To do this you must meet each pinatas romance requirements before they can get busy. Romance requirements can be anything from eating a seed to eating a pinata.

What was a major flaw in the first game was all the loads screens it had for even tiny things like buying one seed. You have to open the menu, go to the next menu, wait for it to load, go through some dialogue then go through the stores menu, then buy the seed. VP2 fixes this issue a bit buy letting you have a seed buying tool in your first menu, so there's no load screens if your just buying some seeds. What makes it that much better is if your over a plant and go into this tool; it opens up a selection of fertilizers instead of seeds. This tool makes things much faster and your not always being forced to waste time at a million loads screens.

The thing with this game is that your always multitasking four or five things are once. You may have just planted a tree, so you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn't dry out, but at the same time you might be trying to romance two pinatas, but at the same time one of your pinatas is getting eaten. So the game can get quite hectic, quite fast. This thing alone is probably the biggest note to set it back for being thought of as a game for kids. It require some serious thought to how things work and lots of focus on many things at once. The thing that probably makes this game the hardest is the idea of sour pinatas, which try to ruin your garden. Every now and then you'll have to kill one by breaking it open with your shovel, just to find it laid two weeds. If you don't get rid of those weeds fast, your gonna have an infestation on your hands.

One thing for people who don't want any of this hassle is a new mode called Play For Fun; where you just get to do whatever you want with unlimited money and no worry for any sour pinatas coming in. This also makes getting new pinatas easier so it essentially just makes the game loads more easy and stress free. Though you won't be able to get any of the achievements when playing this mode and it takes a lot of the rewards out of it. Playing the main mode can be more fun because your constantly being rewarded for all your efforts, which is a nice thing to have.

Probably the biggest difference from the first game is the ability to leave your garden to go to different regions. Some pinatas will only be in the two outside regions: Pinarctic and Dessert Desert and you must go there to get these pinatas. When you in the region you must bait traps to capture the pinatas, like other pinatas you will need to check to see what kind of bait work for which pinata. After catching a pinata you can bring it to your garden and begin working on meeting its resident requirements. This works as an good idea but you'll find yourself ignoring those areas a lot of the time because there's plenty of pinatas to get in the main area. It also doesn't get new pinatas as much as the main region does. This is probably the biggest reason this game feels more like an expansion.

Another big difference this game has over it's prequel is the inclusion of Pinata Vision. This uses the xbox live vision camera to scan cards in order to get special things in your garden. Any card you find can be held up to the camera and whatever the card if for, will plunk down into your garden. Now this works fine in theory but it's much to easy to just find a bunch of high level pinata cards online and use them in order to boost your level. Which is fine if you want to just breeze your way to the top level, but it takes away most of the gameplay.

This game also supports online play with up to four people. So now you can have co-op gardeners going around helping you out. This is a great addition for sometimes the stress of a huge garden can become over bearing and it's nice to have a friend to cut some of the work off you. It also has the option of limiting your guests controls so that they don't just got around killing all your pinatas. This idea is good overall and can be fun if you have people who you know won't be jerks.

Apart from this game being looked down upon from the 'core gamer' Viva Pinata 2 is a great game and will get you addicted if your new to it. It shouldn't be looked at as a kids game because a lot of small kids probably wouldn't be able to take all the stress that can build up if you get lazy. So it's ok to like this game and still be into Gears of War. Though if your into the more fast paced games out there and don't really like games like Harvest Moon, you probably won;t gravitate towards this game. Don't take me wrong, this game doesn't match Harvest Moon, but it's probably the kind of game that would be closest to this, specifically the farming part.

Overall Viva Pinata is a fun and good experience for all. You'll most likely find that you won't have this game and the people who are into it, very much like it. Though it does feel more like it should have been an addition to the first, or maybe some parts should have been DLC, you can't really get to angry at that fact since this game sells for budget price at $40. If the beautiful graphics don't pull you in, hopefully the cute and fun pinatas will.