Monthly Archives: September 2010
Games - Devil May Cry Revamp looks like a certain movie...like Scott Pilgrim
At the Tokyo Game Show, Ninja Theory (makers of games like Heavenly Sword on the PS3) has given us a glimpse on their take on the series Devil May Cry, after Capcom gave them permission to take the reins on it and give it some innovation.
Looks a bit like Matthew Patel from "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"Ã‚Â, doesn't he? The reason behind this according to Ninja Theory was that wanted to redesign the character and the game to better appeal to consumers of today, (this blogger feels really old right now). Immediately after the release the entire gamer blogging world went into some kind of civil war. A lot of people cheering it on because of the fresh new look, while other people were asking for Ninja Theory's blood because they didn't like the change from the classic white hair, chopper driving, pizza-chomping slayer. But only time will tell as the game is still in development. Things can change. But for now, I'll leave you with this:
Industry News - Obama's connections with technology
Regardless of how you feel about Obama or his politics he hasn't been known to be a huge gaming advocate, but he has been known as someone that understands technology. Upon entering the White House he openly complained about the technological limitations of the White House saying, "It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari."Ã‚Â
Obama has always had an appreciation and understanding of technology, his campaign was run by people that were technologically savvy and his methods changed the way in which future presidential campaigns will be run. However, during his first years, videogames were something Obama just wasn't familiar with, in his words, videogames came across as harmful distractions to education and achievement. "I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox," This kind of quote wasn't uncommon for Obama, but it was an annoying association for those of us that love playing games.
Thankfully Obama seems to have changed his mind about gaming by transitioning the medium from an enemy to a possible ally. Last week Obama announced the launch of the National STEM Video Game Challenge which consists of two different contests for different sets of mind. The Youth Prize is a contest aimed at children in middle school, while the Developer Prize is for experienced game developers challenging them to design an educational mobile game.
It'll be interesting to see what games get designed and whether or not these will succeed as educational instruments.
To read more about the Youth Prize, http://www.stemchallenge.org/youthprize/
Game Review - Halo:Reach
Bungie's last Halo is out, offering everything we've come to expect from a Halo game. Full-fledged multiplayer, added and upgraded game types, as well as a solid campaign. Bungie hasn't been sitting idle in a vacuum of their own ideas, they've obviously been taking notes to improve the game we love, , Halo, but is Halo: Reach the best?
While the conclusion of Halo: Reach is known before hand, it doesn't mean the game is incapable of packing a wallop. If you're familiar with the Halo universe then you should already know what happens on Reach, the humans fail to defend it. The Covenant's invasion of Reach is successful. The narrative backdrop keeps the game consuming, the future grim, and the battles constant.
Since the outcome is known, Bungie had to focus on the delivery and making it compelling despite that. In Halo: Reach you play as Nobel Six, the sixth member of Nobel Team, a group of Spartans that work in unison of a larger army. The game makes that clear in the campaign's opening when your squad leader welcomes you. "Were glad to have your skill set, but we're a team. That lone wolf stuff, stays behind."Ã‚Â It's an odd meta moment referencing previous Halo games that haven't occurred in the time line of Reach, but it sets a pace that's felt throughout the campaign. You always feel apart of something bigger.
The campaign sets you in a variety of gameplay scenarios, attacking Covenant installments, pushing back Covenant advancements, and vehicle segments that feel like breathers from the rest of the action. War skirmishes also look and feel more intense then they have in the past. Halo encounters have always had a particular style, they occur in large open areas giving you the option of taking down enemies in the order and manner in which you please. Halo: Reach maintains that, but has modified the games aesthetic to match the intensity of the doomed climate. The grunts no longer look as cartoony as they have in the past while the brutes look significantly tougher and more intimidating. The pacing has a slow start, but quickly ramps up as the rest of Nobel Team become familiar comrades, and Reach's demise becomes evident.
Reach's Multiplayer is really where most fans of the series will spend the bulk of their time and it definitely offers everything you'd expect from a Halo game, but not without improvements. Halo: Reach has added custom loadouts to multiplayer that can be selected before the match and after every death. This allows players to make slight alterations to their strategy depending on their specific circumstance. The loadouts are specific skills like: sprint, jetpack, or the ability to drop a shield. Your loadout also allows you to choose your starting weapons. Nothing game changing, but rather helpful in accomplishing specific objectives. This definitely reinforces creativity and makes those painful massacres a little more bearable.
Matchmaking is now available not only in multiplayer, but for the campaign as well as for cooperative game modes like Firefight. Bungie is definitely predicting that Halo 3 fans will migrate over to Halo: Reach's multiplayer and with good reason. Halo's multiplayer has never offered as many game types and specific game mode alterations as Halo: Reach. The system allows extremely customizable game types. If you want everyone to have jetpacks and use Rocket launchers, no problem. If you love the new game, but dislike the new loadouts, turn them off in the menu. You can then share your game types and playlists with other people on Xbox Live. Not only keeping players happy, but encouraging players to play around with all of the options by give them the resources to share their ideas.
The game isn't perfect, the frame rate drops every now and then and the game's campaign suffers from a slow start, but the ultimate package is solid. With all of the features offered through multiplayer, the bar is set ridiculously high for future shooters. The number of hours one could spend with this title is practically limitless and rewarded with in game currency. While the currency is used to unlock only audio and cosmetic changes to your specific character, it definitely makes playing another round a little more justifiable. The one negative thing Halo has been known for is an obnoxious online community, but even for that, Bungie created a solution. The "Psych Profile"Ã‚Â feature promises to keep like minded gamers playing together. If you've never liked the Halo games, this one won't change your mind, but if you've been a fan of any of them, there isn't a reason to avoid this one.
Definitely a Must Buy
Industry News - Steve Wiebe wins again!
Steve Wiebe reigns again! Twin Galaxies has officially releases a press release statement regarding the newest Donkey Kong arcade record. As of August 30, Washington state's Steve Wiebe now holds the world record once again with a score of 1,062,800, besting Billy Mitchell's July 31 title.
What a competition. King of Kong star Wiebe has not held the title since he made his mark in the spring of 2007, shown in the documentary "King of Kong"Ã‚Â. Mitchell pulled ahead shortly within a few months. In March, Hank Chien of New York pulled ahead to one-up Mitchell's previous three year held record. However, Mitchell fiercely regained the title this past July. Now, the down to earth family man Wiebe has set the new world record, officially verified as of today.
This is the third time in this year alone the world record has been shattered, the most changes to the official record made in a single year. Although he puts vast effort into live competing, Wiebe recorded this specific score to submit to Twin Galaxies. Could Mitchell still have an ace up his sleeve? I guess we will have to see if 2010 marks a fourth break in the record.
Games - Air Jordan to return in digital form!
Control is the name of the game. Being able to fake left and go right. For all the NBA fans, NBA 2k11 is bringing control right to your hands. Players will be able to control their favorites like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dwayne Wade like they never have before. If you want to side step before you crossover, spin-move then go behind the back or step back for a pull up jump shot, YOU CAN! NBA fans should be excited for this game; I mean Michael Jordan is on the cover this year. When was the last time we saw Jordan attached to a video game? Most sports games are very repetitive and rarely have any new and better features then the previous year, but with NBA 2k11 that will change. NBA 2k11 will be released October 5th.
Girl Gaming - Down a percentage
A recent UK study observed at female presence in the games industry and showed a drastic decrease within the past four years. 12% of gamers in 2006 were female, compared to only 4% today. The survey, conducted by Liverpool PhD student Julie Prescott surveyed 450 UK women. The results showed the rise in females in business as a major factor.
32% of the sample claimed to work over 45 hours a week, with 22% that worked between 6 and 55 hours a week, and 10% that worked more than 56 hours. 43% of surveyed women said their long work hours negatively impacted their well-being.
Furthermore, 79% of surveyed women did not have children, therefore Prescott concluded that children had less to do with the decrease in female gaming than business.
However, certain things should be taken into account in regards to the dramatic drop in female gaming and the results from Prescott's study. For example, 450 women make up a relatively small sample, and with completely different women surveyed than in 2006, the results may not necessarily be entirely conclusive.
Personally, I believe there is more than just the increase of work hours deterring women from gaming, although work definitely contributes as a giant factor. For one, mainstream games nowadays have become way more masculine than games of the past for example, there is a huge difference between the era of games like Mario, and Banjo Kazooie, and Crash Bandicoot, to now where first and third person shooters, games like Grand Theft Auto, and sports games have become the main focus. That is not to say RPGs and "cute"Ã‚Â games are no longer relevant, but people like what they can easily find. On top of it, certain stereotypes (that really shouldn't matter) do exist about female gamers stigmas of being "dorky"Ã‚Â deter women more than they would men, especially as females hit their teens and twenties.
A study about women in more countries in the UK would prove most efficient to compare the female presence in the gaming industry worldwide. But, for now, it is definitely interesting to see the impact of innovative business concepts on media and entertainment.
Industry News: Increase in Gold Accounts for XBOX LIVE
It's easy to be angry with Microsoft and easier to not care, assuming you have the funds, but the $10 price hike on Xbox Live is both a warning to consumers and a wake-up call to Sony. As a consumer we've got two options, renew when our subscriptions are over (for $10 more) or to play all of our games online with the PS3. Neither option makes us happy. We got used to paying $49.99 and were happily complacent about it. So why the price hike now?
Microsoft isn't one to throw free money away, their board meetings must have agreed on one thing, they were going to make more money from the people that would renew for 10 extra bones then they were going to lose from people being offended by the cost increase. Essentially, they know we're hooked. So as consumers we'd be silly not to watch Microsoft for service improvements, because our $10 dollars should be going to something.
As for Sony, they can't feel great knowing that a large share of their target demographic would rather pay Microsoft $10 more then switch over to their FREE service. The 2 main reasons that Microsoft can get away with this is that they have stronger exclusives that require online play (Halo) and because Live is simply a superior way to connect with friends. If I were Sony I'd announce a number of things, at least some improvement to their online service, because right now is the ripe opportunity in which to respond, but will they?
Game Reviews - Halo: Reach Online Experience
Multiplayer for Halo Reach will give players options they have not had before. Reach will give players the options of "loadouts"Ã‚Â a feature that allows player to choose a predefined choice of weaponry when they spawn. This feature is a dramatic change gamers will love. Gamers will be able to choose between having a jetpack, sprinting faster, camouflage or having an energy shield when playing against others. This feature will completely change how gamers play with one another. Competitive gamers will need to use the different loadouts for strategic purposes against other teams. Gamers will be able to choose their Spartan gender and customize their armor as they play and obtain experience. The multiplayer for Reach will have the standard Slayer, but new games have been added. In "Headhunter", players drop skulls upon death, which other players can pick up and deposit at special zones for points. When a player dies all their accumulated skulls are dropped as well. "Stockpile" has teams race to collect neutral flags, holding them at capture points every minute for points. "Generator Defense" pits three Spartans against three Elites. The Elites' objective is to destroy three generators, while Spartans defend the installation. After every round the players switch roles. "Invasion" is a six versus six mode with 3 squads of two on each team. The gametype pits Spartans against Elites; Elites look to control territories to disable a shield guarding a navigation core; once the shield is disabled, they must transfer the core to a dropship and the Spartans must prevent this from happening.
Games - Demanded Firefight is in Halo: Reach
Halo: Reach comes out tomorrow with a significant amount of improvements, but the mode I'm most excited about, is Firefight. When Halo 3: ODST came out about a year ago we weren't playing an elite soldier like we'd been used, but rather a combat rookie. The lead character in ODST was an interesting method of revealing the truth about the Halo universe "Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ if you aren't Master Chief, if you aren't a Spartan, you're a glass cannon at best.
All of the tools of destruction were there, but with a health bar that wouldn't recharge, avoiding shots became essential and this reality is what made ODST's contribution to the Halo universe so exciting. Firefight was a four-player cooperative score-based mode about surviving waves and waves of enemies and using strategies that would give you the most amount of points for the least amount of sacrifice. It helped illustrate the new character's weakness while showing the strength of human resistance. There was only one Master Chief, but a smart strategy could make a world of difference.
The only issue with Firefight was that it hadn't included online matchmaking, which meant if you didn't have friends to personally invite to your game, you couldn't take full advantage of the 4 available player slots. Thankfully, Halo: Reach has added online matchmaking to both Firefight and the campaign.
It'll be interesting to see if the mode Firefight will be as engaging as it was in ODST now that you'll be playing a Spartan again. Firefight in ODST was about high risk, high reward. In Halo: Reach the only way to maintain that same degree of excitement would be if the enemy bar was raised to compensate for the additional health. This should translate to an increase in destruction and intensity, I can't wait.
Items 1 to 10 of 11 total