Archive for the Game On Category

Wii own your soul!

Posted in Game On with tags , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2008 by gamelord

With Doc Sanity covering Microsoft, and my review of Sony done, it’s time for the big dog.  Yes, according to NPD ratings The Nintendo Wii is the top selling video game console in America. To drive this point home, the Wii sold 700,000 units in the past 3 months. Those are numbers completely unheard of outside of the holiday season. But let’s face it, you’re not looking for numbers, let’s hear about the games.

Now there was a bit of a disappointment in that there were no huge games announced, no Mario or Zelda, but there was still plenty to get excited about. The first show of the conference was Shaun White Snowboarding, a game that will utilize the balance board to what looked surprisingly smooth.  Next up was the next installment in a popular franchise, Animal Crossing: City Folk is on its way and will feature a 24 hour real time clock and come packaged with the Wiispeak peripheral. Shying away from a headset set up, Wiispeak is a community microphone and speaker so where your character is, you’ll hear people around you as if you were in an actual place. To show off the diversity of the console and controllers, footage from 3 games was shown off in the form of Star Wars: Clone Wars, Rayman Raving Rabids TV Season, and Call of Duty: World at War.

As great as the Wii is, you can’t ignore Nintendo’s real money maker. The best selling video game system of all time, The Nintendo DS, made sure its double screened voice was heard. And with 20 million DS units sold in the United States alone, that’s a damn loud voice. Once again, there was no huge announcement, but a version of already infamous game Spore will be coming to the DS in the form of Spore Creatures, a New Pokemon Ranger game is slated for a November release, and a game that will turn the DS into a global cookbook are all set to come to the handheld powerhouse int he coming months. The biggest announcement for games on DS was the announcement of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, an entry in the popular franchise designed specifically for the DS.

Now games aren’t all that were announced. Nintendo unveiled a new attachment for the Wiimote, the Wii Motion Plus. A small square that will plug into the bottom of the Wiimote and seemingly double its sensitivity and accuracy. The Wii Motion plus will come packaged with a Wiimote jacket and Wii Sports Resort, which will include frisbee, jet skiing and sword dueling next spring.

Another aspect of a Nintendo press conference is the presence of a very important man. I’m sure you know who I mean, but the father of modern video games: Shigeru Miyamoto. And once again he did not disappoint with his unveiling of Wii Music. This game is every air bands dream come true with over 50 instruments to play including guitar, drums, saxophone, violin, of course the cowbell, and finally the appearance of the conducting game Miyamoto demonstrated two years ago. To finalize his appearance Miyamoto and a cast of others played the Mario theme in game and weren’t too bad.

Overall Nintendo did a good job, but as I said before, the lack of a Mario, Zelda, or any of Nintendo’s other iconic franchises was a bit of a let down. But Nintendo isn’t the top dog for no reason, so hopefully what they did show is just the tip of the iceberg. But to truly judge, check out Nintendo’s press conference for yourself.

Once again I’d like to thank everyone at G4 for their coverage of E3, making blog posts like this possible. I’d also like to assure you all that this isn’t the end. The press conferences was just the begining, there are loads more game news to reveal and you’re going to hear it all.

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Sony on the attack!

Posted in Game On with tags , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2008 by gamelord

Well as I promised, E3 is a huge time of the year for gamers and DAMN if this isn’t a great E3. The announcements, surprises, and drool-inducing trailers are abound. I’m gonna be a busy little Game Lord and what better place to start then with the House that Sony built? Now, with Microsoft announcing that Final Fantasy XIII will be released on the 360 as well as the PS3 in America, Sony had to make sure they put on a good show. Now though we didn’t get all the information we wanted, we did get a lot of good news.

For starters, lets hit some stats. Fires the good news, Playstation 3 sales are now up 150% from this time last year, that’s a big increase, thanks in no part to Blue ray’s win of HD-DVD. The bad news however is that Sony is still losing 3.3 billion dollars from production costs. Ouch. However, the coming holiday season and beyond should definitely see that number drop.

Sony started their press conference by stating that “2007 was for hardware, 2008 is all about the software.” For those who don’t know, allow me to translate: games. Games! GAMES!! Yes Sony is upping their anti in the game department and I, for one, can’t wait. Several previously Xbox 360 exclusive games will be making their way to PS3 including musical RPG Eternal Sonata, and big time successful shooter, Bioshock. On top of that, Final Fantasy XIII Versus is going to remain a PS3 exclusive title. But fret not because that’s not all Sony is getting plenty of their own games as well. Resistance 2, sequel to the smash-hit Resistance: Fall of Man, is slated for release by the end of the year or early next year. Little Big Planet is looking better and more fun every day and, although there is no release date yet, Sony actually did their opening presentation all in a level created in Little Big Planet. And to really get the juices flowing, Sony announced that their Greatest Hits franchise make a return int he current generation. Many games will be re-released as greatest hits and retail for $29.99, these games will include, Ninja Gaiden, Motorstorm, and Assassin’s Creed.

Not to be outdone, the PS2 is still staying strong. That’s right I said the Playstation TWO. The PS2 is still considered an active console and actually has up to 130 games slated to come out this year including the new Madden and NCAA games, Lego Batman and Yakuza 2. Further, a special PS2 bundle will soon be available packaged with Lego Batman, and the Justice League movie, retailing at $149.99.

Finally we have Sony’s never-say-die handheld console, The Playstation Portable. Many people considered the PSP dead in the water, however with the PS3 connectivity, and some downloads, the PSP has became stronger then ever. Out soon will be not one but 2 bundles for the PSP, including a Madden pack and a Ratchet and Clank:Size Matters pack(which will come packaged with National Treasure 2 on UMD) Both of which will retail at $199.99. Bundles and connectivity aren’t all the PSPhas to offer. With games like Resistance: Retribution, LocoRoco 2, Patapon 2, and Valkyria Chronicles coming out, Sony’s handheld powerhouse may be primed to get more face time then some consoles did.

Now I’ve been a bit misleading, Software isn’t JUST games. It’s also features, namely: network. With Xbox Live dominating the world of online console gaming, what is Sony doing to keep up? A lot actually. With every system update more and more features are added to make the Playstation network more streamlined, smoother, and more fun. And with 180 million downloads to date already, I’m eager to see what else they can do. One such feature that will be added is a Universal log-in enabling you to acces information and mantain your account from your PS3, PSP, or even via a PC or cellphone. Another big part of the online gaming experience is downloading games. Many people already know about Home and Little Big Planet, but there’s so much more on the horizon. Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty, is slated to come out for download via the playstation network to directly continue the storyline of Tools of Destruction. On top of that games like Fat Princess, Pain Ammusement Park, Siren, and Ragdoll Kung Fu: Fists of plastic, are all set to hit the Playstation store soon.

Finally, another huge news bomb, and answer to Xbox Live’sdeal with Netflix, is sony’sannounced partnership with Disney, Lion’s Gate, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and MGM to bring movies, for purchase or rental, to the PS3 via download in regular and High Definition.

Lastly, but certainly not least, a glimpse of the future. Slated for a September release, an 80 gigabyte Playstation 3, with allt he workings of the current 40 gigabyte version, will hit shelves for $399.99, look for these to be BIG this Christmas season. Also set for release this year are SOCOM US Navy Seals: Confrontation, Guitar Hero World Tour, and Killzone 2. Oh, and if that’s not enough to make you curse time for moving slowly. Set for early next year: God of War III. Get ready Microsoft and Nintendo, looks like Sony is looking to take back the glory they once had. To see Sony’s press conference in its entirety, click here.

I would like to send out a big thank you to Adam Sessler, Morgan Webb, Kevin Pereira, Olivia Munn, and all the X-Play and Attack of the Show, crew, and just G4 in general, for making it possible to get these E3 updates as soon as they happen.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Posted in Game On with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2008 by gamelord

Being that it’s the middle of July, I don’t think anyone is under the delusion that it is Christmas time. No: The time I am referring to is convention time. E3 time. All this week the big developers and publishers will be dropping their bombshell news of expected games, and (hopefully) wowing us with new titles. Stay tuned folks, this is gonna be good.

Rumors of Evil

Posted in Game On with tags , , on June 6, 2008 by gamelord

 

When you think of video games, a few famous series will undoubtedly come to mind. When you think of horror video games, one particular famous series immediately comes to mind: Resident Evil. Resident Evil 4 was a stellar game, earning amazing reviews all across the board from IGN, Game Informer, to Joystiq. The sequel, Resident Evil 5, looks to copy the success but still launch the series to new heights of horror delights. For simple proof, check out this and other videos, courtesy of gamespot.

Not much is known about the game, though the rumors are aplenty. What we DO know is that Resident Evil lead man and Code Veronica co-star Chris Redfield is once again taking the lead roll. Another thing we know, as confirmed by producer Takeuchi Jin, is that the game will take place in a remote village in Africa. Finally, as for the game fitting into the time line, Resident Evil 5 takes place 10 years after the destruction of Raccoon City. However these little tidbits of knowledge have led to quite a bit of rumors.

For starters the location of Africa, from what we’ve seen bears a bit of resemblance to a certain flashback by one Billy Coen from Resident Evil Zero. If that IS the case will Lt. Coen finally make his return to the Resident Evil Universe. My money is on yes.

Another rumor is the identity of the Brown haired beauty Chris interacts with int he video seen earlier in this post. The smart money says that it is Chris’ little sister Claire Redfield, though I harbor a bit of doubt. At the end of the video Chris says “Don’t worry, my last partner was a woman.” Wouldn’t Clair already know that? We’ll see. Speaking of beauty’s, past videos, all of which can be seen on Gamespot, show a mysterious blonde women. Could it be Sherry Birken, freed from Wesker’s imprisonment? This is a possibility, but hard to call just yet. I wouldn’t put it past capcom to sneak one in there.

The last item to address isn’t a rumor, but speculation. What causes the violent behavior in these African people? Now based on the video we’ve seen it appears to be something similar to the plaugas from Resident Evil 4, however look more zombie-like then the ganados. Perhaps Wesker has been experimenting with the plaugas, mixing it with the T-virus? Again, Capcom has been mum and I doubt they will reveal anything anytime soon.

One thing is for sure. Capcom is looking to replicate the success of Resident Evil 4 with the latest iteration in this classic franchise. And by the looks of things, they’re damn well gonna. Oh, one more rumor confirmed: Enemies with chainsaws are back. Fuck.

State of the Gaming Union: Consoles

Posted in Game On with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2008 by gamelord

Here we are ladies and gentlemen: 2008, another year in the console wars going on between Sony’s Playstation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and Nintendo’s Wii. All three of the systems have stepped up in the past year, releasing highly anticipated games, and loading us up with so many special features and glimpses of future products that the gaming nation is salivating.

Many people were hesitant about, and even angry with the Playstation 3 at launch and into the following months, but Sony kept backing their sleek and sexy machine and it’s showing now. With a variety of games to back it up such as Assassin’s Creed, Heavenly Sword, Devil May Cry 4, and Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction to keep fans of any gaming genre and every age happy, there’s much less complaining about the library the PS3 offers. On top of that, with price drops and constant system updates, the features the PS3 brings to the table just gets more and more exciting. However the real push that the house that Sony built has got with the recent ‘victory’ of Blue-Ray over HD-DVD. With more and more company’s going over to Blue-Ray exclusive, more people are buying the PS3 because it’s a cheaper Blue-Ray player, as well as a gaming system. The Playstation 3 definitely gets my nod as the system to watch. Sony won’t go down without a fight and they are eager to win back all their fans who ditched them in the face of a high price tag. And judging by the look of upcoming titles like Resident Evil 5, Final Fantasy XIII and Metal Gear Solid 4, coupled with the fact that over the past several weeks the PS3 has been outselling the 360, they may be well on their way to accomplishing that goal.

Nintendo has been a real shock to me personally. Since its release in November of 2006 the Wii has been in huge demand. To this day, over two years later, stores can bearley keep their shelves stocked with the motion-sensitive fun machine and not for lack of effort on Nintendo’s part. The system is so in demand there are still people camping out outside of Toys R Us’ and Gamestop’s across the nation to get their hands on them. The system has seen it’s share of criticism as well over its somewhat more childish and easier games, but the library is actually well-stocked with something for everyone. Several of the games the Wii offers are truly marvels to behold. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is regarded by many as one of the best games in the series and when you consider the other games are marketed as some of the best games of all time, that’s saying something. Super Mario Galaxy, the successor to Super Mario 64, is showing why Mario is the king of platforming, and just a few weeks ago, Super Smash Brothers Brawl showed how much fun it can be to have your icons and heroes beat the tar out of each other. All in all, with the stacked library, the incredible demand, and the blasts from the past, Nintendo has hit gold with the Wii and proves that maybe being the worlds biggest crack-head isn’t a bad thing.

 Of all the three systems, the Xbox 360 is, in my opinion, the biggest disappointment. That isn’t to say the system isn’t huge, and it’s not selling like hotcakes, but overall, compared to the other two, I have to say that the 360 is lacking. The system launched an entire year before the PS3 or the Wii, and did nothing. There were no huge releases, there were no epic games. Now yes, that was 3 years ago, but it still bugs me. Since then we have seen the release of truly historic games such as Gears of War, Blue Dragon, and Halo 3, which despite my personal feelings, is one of the best selling franchises of all time. On top of that, Xbox Live is still one of the most active things on the internet anywhere, driving gamers wild with its points that do nothing but give bragging rights. However with no truly innovating gameplay styles, such as the PS3 and Wii’s motion sensitivity, the games, though gorgeous, still play like last generation games. Further knocking the 360 down in impressiveness is the fact that in order to watch movies in hi-def you have to actually go out and buy the player, meaning to do what the PS3 does out of the box, you have to shell out more money, lowering the gap in price-difference between the two systems. The ultimate embarrassment, however, for Microsoft is the problem they’ve had since launch and still cannot seem to fix. I’m sure all you gamers know whats coming: The Red Ring of Death. Still with no idea how or why it happens, around 16% of Xbox 360’s will stop working. Upon attempting to power up their 360’s gamers found only 3 red lights around the consoles power button which is essentially Microsoft’s way of saying “oops.” once the Red Ring of Death appears there is nothing to be done except send the system back and wait for it to be repaired by the company. It is because of this problem and the lack of ‘next-gen’ gameplay that the Microsoft has ranked lower then the PS3 or Wii, however they do get marks for improving their library, especially since launch, and taking a more active roll in including games like Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, getting away from the First Person shooter stereotype the original Xbox had.

It’s been an exciting year for video gamers everywhere, with all three systems offering something for everyone and being relentless in claiming that top spot. 2008 is going to be a very interesting year and should prove to be very exciting, making sure we’re all gaming for a long time. Whether you be an Xbox fanboy/girl, a Sony loyal, or and Old-school Nintendo die hard, one thing is sure. It’s good to be a gamer.

The Brawl to end Them All

Posted in Game On with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2008 by gamelord

 

We’ve been patient, we’ve waited, we even put up with ridiculous delays…but the time has finally come. Nintendo has finally released the LONG awaited Super Smash Brothers Brawl. The premise of the Smash Bros. franchise is simple: Take all of Nintendo’s iconic characters, and some lesser ones, and have them beat the crap out of each other. Simple? Well some of the best things in life are simple pleasures. Fun? Unbelievably so. I have spent, probably, an inordinate amount of time with this game and not a moment of it is regretted. The gameplay is much the same as past iterations, though many of the glitches that were exploited in Melee have been incorporated into the game or fixed.

The first thing anyone will notice upon starting up the game is the updated roster. Many new characters have joined the Brawl this time around ranging from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance hero, Ike to an unnamed Pokemon Trainer. However the and truly amazingly unique feature of this entry is that it actually features two characters not from a Nintendo series. Konami’s flagship war-torn soldier Solid Snake takes on the like of Mario and Pikachu armed with claymore, landmines, and rocket launchers. As if Snake weren’t enough, the battle to end all battles can finally, after years of dreaming, take place. Fans will finally see Mario duke it out with his lifetime rival Sonic the Hedgehog. Solid Snake, Mario, and Sonic the Hedgehog…Life is good gamers. Life is good.

Aside from the new characters, new stages, items, and features have been added. Long awaited and hoped for Online play is alive and well in Brawl, offering smooth connections with minimal lag. One new item offers a whole new degree of strategy to the game in the form of Smash Balls. Upon picking one up your character will perform a ‘Final Smash’ super move that will deal out heavy damage and often result in an instant K.O. As per tradition, Brawl features an adventure mode dubbed “The Subspace Emissary.” In past versions of Smash Bros. the adventure mode has been fun to visit, not to stay. That has been completely changed with Brawl. Subspace Emissary is practically a game all its own. It’s fun, engaging, and flows smoothly with the battles. The only complaint I had was the lack of voice acting for characters who actually have voices, such as Star Fox or Meta Knight.

All in all, the game is a must have for any Wii owner. It’s fun, action packed, and has great online play. If you own a Wii, but don’t own this game, you’re a damn fool. So here we go Game On fans, the part you all love: Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers Brawl very easily earns a 9 out of 10.