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Attack Of the Blog
I decided that it's about time I made a new blog post. A lot has happened since last time, but as always, there's plenty of great games around. We have Yakuza 4 coming up very soon, and it's looking to be a great follow up to the game that many of us enjoyed around this time last year. The third (and final) Ar Tonelico game is also coming up this month, which is particularly exciting for me as it's one of my favourite gaming series'. The shift from 2D to 3D graphics is always a harsh one, and while it's not the best looking game around, I think the gameplay will definitely shine through in the end.
Meanwhile, we have the launch of Nintendo's new 3DS handheld to look forward to. Its been a bit over 6 years since the original DS launched here, and the hype is pretty strong as the launch date of March 31st closes in. The first lot of games have come off as a bit weak, but it looks as though many will be picking up a unit just to try and avoid the inevitable shortages that will follow soon after the release. There's a only a relatively small number of them being shipped outside of Japan, so what consoles there are will be snapped up quickly. The fact that the handheld's games are region locked has annoyed some gamers though, so Amazon.com has been taking many international orders for U.S consoles. In any case, the 3DS is guaranteed to be a success for now. Every unit in Japan sold within the first week of release, and the restricted number of units wordwide will ensure that this trend continues.
I was able to have a hands-on go at the 3DS recently. While the 3D effect is great in some games, and not so noticeable in others, it will definitely be the selection of games that either makes or breaks the console in the end. Third party developer support is fairly strong so far, and Nintendo themselves have a few titles lined up to be released throughout the year, so hopefully we'll see a reasonable number of good games for the console this year.
Ok, I think I've gone on for long enough about that. I started a Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT in early February, and that has been great so far. I feel that my experience at this site has helped me to develop as a writer, and being around so many fellow writers and their work is quite inspiring. I've met lots of great people, and gotten some good writing done, so I'm pretty positive about the whole thing.
Anyway, I think that'll do for now. Thanks for reading! :)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker!
It's the PSP game we've waited for all year. Directed by Hideo Kojima himself, and developed by the team who created Metal Gear Solid 4, Peace Walker certainly seems to have everything going for it. So, does it live up to the high expectations fans have come to place on any new Metal Gear game? Well, the answer is...mostly.
Peace Walker finds us back in the heyday of Naked Snake (also known as Big Boss), with the events of the game being set after those of the previous PSP game, Portable Ops. I won't go too far into the details at this point, but as usual, Snake finds himself called into action in order to investigate some strange happenings in Costa Rica - and you can bet that nukes will be involved. Snake is reluctant to take on the job at first, but with the the discovery of an audio recording than seems to prove that The Boss - the woman he both loved and killed in MGS3 - is still alive, he dives straight in.
The gameplay is what we've come to expect from any traditional Metal Gear Solid game, third person stealth action, and plenty of it. The setting is highly reminiscent of MGS3, with Snake trekking his way through forest, jungle, and swamp. The camouflage element of MGS3's gameplay also makes an return, with players able to equip Snake with various camo outfits and a camo indicator on screen at all times. The tranquiliser pistol will usually be your weapon of choice for when your cover is blown, with enemies going down faster depending on what part of their body you shoot.
There are three different control settings on offer, which vary which buttons aim and fire, as well as which ones control the camera. Things can get slightly cramped at times, with players needing to hold down buttons and cycle through menus in order to equip weapons and items, but it's not too bad.
Graphically, the game is slightly above average, with some good character models, but slightly blocky environments. The frame-rate is rock solid. Rather than rendering cutscenes in-game, Peace Walker follows the lead of games like Ac!d by featuring drawn and lightly animated graphic novel clips. Where these differ from what we've seen in the past however, is that some of them now feature interactive segments. Sometimes you'll need to press a sequence of buttons, sometimes you'll need to aim and fire a weapon - it's all really well done and quite seamless. While I'm not a huge fan of the graphic novel style, the integration of these interactive bits really blew me away, and it all looks pretty good.
The audio content in Peace Walker is really strong. David Hayter returns to voice Snake as always, and does a good job, while the supporting cast really perform well. You can access fully voiced briefings about each mission before you start it, and codec calls can be voiced as well, however you'll need to perform a data install to your Memory Stick.
One of the interesting new things that Peace Walker brings to the series is co-op. Every story mission can be played with a friend (up to four on boss missions), which is a really clever idea. I haven't had the chance to try it out myself though, unfortunately the game only offers Ad-Hoc instead of full online support, but I'm sure plenty of people will be firing up their PS3s and using Ad-Hoc Party to get things going.
There's plenty more to talk about, such as the base you can access between missions and the recruitment system, but I'll save them for my review! The game is great so far, and I look forward to playing further. :)
BackGames, rewrite video game plots in reverse.
BackGames is a new internet meme, and one that gamers everywhere can contribute to. The concept behind it is simple, in 25 words or less, write your own take on a game's plot, but in reverse! I'll provide a few examples to make it a bit clearer:
A spaceship tends a galactic garden, growing tiny rocks into huge boulders.
A prince must hide the stars, by rolling them across the earth’s surface, until they break into small everyday objects.
Break out of hell and resurrect everyone with your ungodly powers.
I encourage everyone to have a go and write their own. Here's some that I wrote:
Embark on a quest to free hundreds of enslaved animals, and protect them from harm.
Deconstruct a spaceship as slowly as possible while making sure not to touch the local wildlife.
Destroy a meaningless planet by capturing an anthropomorphic fox and enslaving its guardian spirits.
Spread word of the evils of drug addiction and war, then join the military and get high.
My Top Five Games For 2008!
Well, 2008 has been relegated to the pages of history, but now the question must be asked: Which games were the best? Wonder no longer, because here's my top five (in no particular order):
No More Heroes (Wii)
A truly unique action game for the Wii, the game's stylish art direction, great use of the Wii's motion sensing capabilities and over-the-top, yet comical violence really make this game stand out. You can read my review here.
Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)
While Lost Odyssey doesn't bring anything particularly new to the J-RPG genre, it really doesn't need to. The game's story is beautifully written, the characters are likeable and interesting, and the gameplay is solid and keeps you coming back for more.
Naruto: The Broken Bond (Xbox 360)
The sequel to Naruto: Rise of a Ninja is definitely geared towards fans of the anime, as little explanation is given in regards to the story. That aside, the game is a solid fighter (both on and offline) with an extensive single player adventure to explore.
Persona 4 (PS2)
The Playstation 2 may have reached the end of its lifespan, but that doesn't mean great games aren't still being released for it. Persona 4 is an excellent example of this, and really stands out from your average J-RPG by featuring an impressive mix of both addictive gameplay and social aspects outside of battle. It's also a very long experience, with about 72 hours of gameplay. Unfortunately, it's not yet available in Australia, but is coming soon.
Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
The newest game in the much loved Metal Gear Solid series is also probably the best. The game takes everything that made the previous games great and brings it into the next gen, with incredible graphics, an impressive story, and plenty of stealth action. You can read my review here.
That about wraps it up, so I'll just finish by saying that I strongly recommend all five of these games to anyone who's looking for some great games to play, I've had a blast with them. :)
May The Force Be With You
It's been way too long since I made a blog post, so here I go.
I've well and truly wrapped up the Metal Gear Solid series now, I've played through all the games in the series, and just couldn't resist reviewing MGS4 once I was done. I did my best to try and cover as much of the game as I could, but there's a lot to write about, and I'd probably just end up boring everyone if I went on and on. :)
Moving on, the demo for The Force Unleashed was released on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network recently, and I had a go at it yesterday. I'm the kind of guy who watched through the Star Wars films, admired the thought that had been put in to the story and universe, and liked them for what they were. In other words, I'm no fan of the series any way you look at it, so the many games that have been based on the series have mostly avoided my interest, up until now. Force Unleashed is by a fair margin the best Star Wars game I've seen so far, and the first one I'm truly interested in. I really enjoyed the excellent use of the Force in the demo, being able to fling just about anything around, shooting lightning to stun enemies and charging up lightsaber combos, slashing at enemies who get too close, and force pushing multiple enemies out of your way, as well as blasting doors open. There appears to be a levelling up system which allows you to learn new Force abilities, as well as power up your existing ones, and the game as a whole just seems really well put together. This probably reads like one big advertisement for the game, and I apologise for that, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself, and see what you think. You may be pleasantly surprised!
That's it for now, but I'll be making an effort to update this blog a bit more often from now on, so stay tuned.
Wow, busy times indeed. We've got some great stuff going up for everyone to read this week, and are working hard to get all the latest news and reviews up. There's heaps of interesting news around at the moment, a good time to be a gamer.
There's certainly been a big fuss about Metal Gear Solid 4 since it's release, with praise coming from the left, right and center. Personally, I've only ever played the PSP games, which I found decent, but since the series has been getting so much attention lately, I decided to pick up the original on PS1. I've actually found it quite good, which I'm happy about, I'm now understanding more of what people have been raving about in relation to the series, I can start to see why they like it so much. I'm now planning to work my way up from here, though I'm not sure whether to play MGS3 or MGS2 next, tricky choice. The Subsistence version of MGS3 has the MSX originals with it though, so it's tempting.
I'm also playing Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii at the moment, and will have a review up soon. It's a fairly interesting game, but if you've played the Lego Star Wars games, you'll feel a bit like you're doing everything all over again.
Anyway, that's it for now, better get back to work! :)
Greetings fellow earthlings!
My first post was rather pushy, I wanted to get the word out there. This time, I'm going for a more relaxed approach.
News: Lately I've been playing DBZ: Tenkaichi 3 on PS2 (best DBZ game released so far!), and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core on PSP. I won't go on about DBZ, I'm a pretty big fan of the anime, so most DBZ games will go down well with me. :)
Crisis Core however, is something special. Following in the footsteps of Dirge of Cerberus, the game expands the story of FFVII by delving into the past, looking back before the start of the original. It's very well made for a PSP game, and if you're a fan of the Final Fantasy series, I suggest you give it a look. If you enjoyed FFVII, then it's definitely for you, import it now! The battle system is action based however, rather than turn based, so that's something to keep in mind.
Updates: The online community for Smash Bros: Brawl in Australia has been growing rapidly with friend codes being exchanged frequently, and many matches being played. A few different forums around the internet have been organising matches and wi-fi nights, so if you have a copy of Brawl, make sure to join in on the fun! :)
Hey, you there in front of the PC! Listen up, because I'm only going to say this once. If you have a Wii, like me, then you've surely noticed that something is wrong. What is that, you say? Well, if you've been following the progress of Smash Bros brawl even half as much as I have, then you'll have clearly noticed that we don't have it. This is bad. On the other hand, Datel recently released a new Freeloader (a disc which allows you to play any region of game on your console). This is good. So, to those reading this, I say one thing. Get.Brawl.Now. That is all. :)