Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Are games acceptable yet?

From the Graudian article about tax breaks and umm acceptability of games comes the following comment from Mr Macabre:

It doesn't help the industry in this country when British landmarks ARE used in games they threaten to sue!
What do you think will happen if they set GTA V in a replica London?

Ooooh I don't know? Imagine if we set a GTA in London. What would we call that game? GTA London maybe? Is that what we might call it you fucking muggy cunt. Oh god and it would cause all kinds of controversy! Oh and to prove it, here is the wikipedia link you grade A moron. We might even be able to think of a number of shoddy GTA clones set in London if we thought a little bit harder but we're too busy firing off moronic thoughts into the internet site looking to pick up chicks.

Mr Massivetwat is evidence enough that we don't want games to be acceptable in the same way that we don't want a ringed fist up the arsehole.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Pokemon Ranch- The B Roll

Recently, we were commissioned to review the impossibly cute Wiiware, My Pokemon Ranch. Needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity but we ended up with a couple of gigs worth of extra images that we sadly couldn't use so here's the b-roll.
This is the official longest serving Pokemon, my starter on Sapphire. That was [Checks wikipedia and sighs] 'a number' of years ago now. This guy saw service in Sapphire, Fire Red, Colosseum and extensive duties in Diamond. Also saw action and one of the few mon not to perform abysmally in the Epic Clash . Needless to say he's earned the break on the farm.
Yes, it is actually he of comic fame. Let's not pay too much attention it goes to his head.A shiny Crobat.I wonder why this image wasn't used?I played ten hours of Pokemon Channel and I all I got was this lousy Jirachi. Also, an early contender for the gayest screenshot of the year?I played 30 hours of Pokemon Colosseum and all I got was this lousy Ho-oh?The Arceus obtained from the recent event. That was almost as traumatic as the Mew event. Speaking of which...Very literally nearly died for this Mew way back in 2007. Our inner pedant is screaming SCALE ISSUES but that's not in the spirit of this update.Words literally cribbed from the review proper: "For example which other interactive screen saver lets you create pokemon shaped Art Attacks from the very pokemon you yourself have collected over the years?". We are nothing if not completely objective and impartial.Those who are imagining this whole contrived post is just so we can 'show you our pokeymans [is that the meme yeah?] consider yourself well vindicated.To the reader who made it this far. We are nearly done.One more and then we must dash.DASH- geddit? We must DASH because the above screenshot shows the pokemon from the early Nintendo DS game, Pokemon Dash, dashing. So when we said we must dash we were secretly referencing the above image whilst also ending the post.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Call of Duty 2 Modern 2 Warfare 2- Review

When it comes to Call of Duty, there are two types of people: People who've stuck with the series through all of the newer games, and people who haven't played a game since the original Windows version. The former have seen the series' gameplay tweaked to near-perfection since its original, less-than-balanced state (but have seen some truly odd new weapon designs), whereas the latter dig their heels in and steadfastly refuse to recognize that any Call of Duty exist beyond the original (or, in some cases, Call of Duty 3 before the Modern Warfares).

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2- a sequel to Call of Duty 4- is a game designed to bring these two people together. As far as this goal is concerned, they're a remarkable success.

It feels odd to really review a Call of Duty game these days, because the core of the series remains essentially unchanged from the days of the original. As an army man in a world filled with foreigners from Eastern parts, you're given a new weapon from a man with a moustache and sent out in the world to have an adventure and to try and to shoot them all. You'll need to use your guns to kill others and build up your team, you'll enter eight elemental-themed levels, earn bigger weapons by defeating their leaders, and finally make your way to challenge the most powerful terrorists in all of the land.

If that sounds familiar to you, it should. The basic gameplay of Call of Duty is the same as it's always been. Essentially, they're runny shooty games.... YOU GET THE IDEA ALREADY. We're not picking on the Escapists particularly but fuck me are there a lot of identical reviews out there.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Poke-fever grips the UK

Its the countdown now! only a few more days till Heart Gold and Soul Silver get released. We are all sitting twiddling or thumbs in anticipation of the next addition to the series. Well, some of us, personally at Thatguys, we are frantically EVing a set of 4 pokemon to take us though the game (the other 2 slots will be filled with HM whores). Of course we cant actually tell each other the pokemon we are EVing, as well there is a good chance the ones we are leveling may be for our NEXT POKEMON TOURNAMENT! After last year's event (where I thrashed Cunzy!) we decided for our next tournament we would choose from one of the 17 types (though we vetoed Dragon, as I already had all of them). Harnessing the power of a random number generator, we were both assigned a type. We have to train and level 6 pokemon of the same type (though dual types are allowed i.e. a fire team would also be allowed fire/rock pokemon) and the same rules from before still count, no ubers, evasion clause etc. And until then we just dance around each other not telling each other whet we have.

Though I digress, Heart Gold and Soul Silver are out on on Friday, and of course all the poke-maniacs are snapping it up without question. It's an odd one, it is the next iteration, though technically a remake of the Gold/Silver games from years ago. Of course now updated with all 493 pokemon, the new mechanics, and a couple of balancing issues (sorted from Diamond and Pearl). 

On yet another digression the folks over at bulbapedia published a quite interesting article entitled "HeartGold and SoulSilver- a return to form or a lazy rehash?".

It bring up some points as to whether these versions are "required" being that it is an updated re-release, and especially since Generation V has been announced and due in around a year. However different iterations aside, I personally have fond memories of playing though G/S, and in the time since it was released a whole new generation of Poke-players has arisen... who. have. not. played. it. Couple that with the Game series' motto "Gotta Catch 'em All" which technically isn't possible with the current gen at the moment, it was inevitable. And there is plenty of new stuff, new mechanics new moves for pokemon, new breeding methods, meaning anyone who is into "endgame" will HAVE to get this version! And of course the pokewalker, hardly revolutionary, but guaranteed FUN!

Bottom line! It's more pokemon and YOU KNOW YOU LOVE IT!

Lugia and Ho-oh

Richie X

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wii Are Online

Finally. Finally, we got the Wii online this weekend. Why the long wait? Well it's a combination of one part refusing to give in to having the internet in the house, two parts getting the internet requires phoning people and organising things and twenty parts I have problems with other people in online spaces.

This last one is fairly debilitating much like my Valvitis but I get the shakes and some serious anxiety when I game online with other people. It is super exhilarating but also very nerve wracking.

Anyway these issues were conquered. The internet was switched on and here's what I did next:
I think I am the only person who loves the Wii channelsDownloaded all the Wii channels from't Nintendo Shop. Having done this laborious task at least four times for friends who had no idea the Wii could even be "online" I was happy to do it for someone who might actually use the channels more than once in a lifetime. I appreciate that the news and weather channels might not be up everyone's street but there is nothing finer in life than sitting in your pants eating cornflakes and checking out the weather on Christmas Island on the telly. The Nintendo Shop has ballooned since I last had a rifle through it and I spent a good couple of hours absorbing everything on the Nintendo Channel and adding all my favourites to ummm my favourites before checking out all the interesting stats for the games. The kinds of games that people voted as casual over hardcore was particularly interesting (I also spent some time scrutinizing the household gaming records. One game is up to 350 hours and another is up to 200 hours. The shame!). Everybody Votes and the Mii Contest Channel are right up my street. The I-player means that we might never watch real TV ever again. A fervent dislike of mysticism combined with an unwillingness to submit my personal details meant that the only channel I didn't stick with was the Today and Tomorrow Channel.
In my one weekend of experience 100% of Mexicans CheatNext I played a shit load of Mario Kart Wii. I love the idea of the competitions and put in some pretty feeble times on the latest one, I then made myself feel a whole lot better by beating a bunch of ghost data in time trial races and I acquired 1000 race points racing online. Mario Kart Online is the kind of game I can tolerate playing online without passing out from that weird anxiety disorder. I don't want to speak to any of them, I don't want to hear from anyone else and I don't want to have to zealously subscribe to the community ettiquette or face torrents of abuse. So MKWii lets me measure my performance against the dip stick of the "community" without actual interacting with it. It was a great deal of fun although the occassional cheating (from Mexican players on two separate occasions??) did slightly mar the experience.
Don't. Just don't.Yes this got downloaded. All I'll say on the matter (in this post at least) is that I can understand why it was rated 4/10 by everyone and their dog but for us it hits the spot as well as providing a much needed vent from all the little bastards kicking around on Sapphire, Fire Red, Xd, Colloseum and Diamond. In the meantime I. Can't. Stop. Watching. It.With some spare Wii Points, we hit the Shop. The G/F vetoed Swords and Soldiers so Lit was downloaded. It is indeed ace.

Now all we need to do is find some 'friends' to get the last furniture from Animal Crossing, start beating people to unlock Morrigan and Ken on We Love Golf and to get much better at Super Smash Brothers Brawl again. This all needs to happen before April 23rd.
Dang y'all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Co-op IP from Bethesda? Oh yes, dear god yes!

Ok, I'm a bit of an Oblivion nut. It was the first real game on the 360 that i got lost in (and still do to this day) Richie then moved me on to Fallout 3 "It's oblivion with guns!!" and Ive gotta say I'm enjoying that universe and the seemingly endless, yet rich DLC (no horse armour here!) However I've always been a sucker for a more traditional fantasy setting, so when we heard from GDC about a new Dungeon Crawler from Bethesda with a 2 player Co-op focus i think i soiled myself slightly.
So what is it?
Well it's called Hunted: The Demon's Forge (Anyone else picturing the Chaos Sanctuary in Diablo 2?) and it's a third person, 2 player Co-op game based around 2 hero's, E'lara (think Amazon Bow and Arrowey type person) and Caddoc (Barbarian Tank type person with insanely big swords and grunts) 
The co-op is restricted to online co-op (Richie you in?) as they wanted to 'maintain a level of detail' 
There is also a Match Making system if you don't have a friend which has been modeled on dating websites. For me i can't leave a dungeon until every little bit of the map has been explored , so naturally it takes this in to account when when finding a suitably anal/stoner type. Alternatively if you are doing a speed run you should be set for a comrade just the same.

With classic weapons (swords, bows and axes), a fantasy setting, levelling spells, a demon in the title of the game, switchable characters, combination moves and a (seemingly)  proper implementation of Co-op im pretty psyched about this game (can you tell?)
Unfortunately for now in terms of release date all we have is 'when it's done' and with Fallout: New Vegas expected in Fall 2010 I'm not expecting this badboy until 2011


Monday, March 15, 2010

Cheevo Whores Unite

Windows Phone 7 series Xbox Live integration

Is this the future of handheld gaming?
I hope not.
I might be being shortsighted here but I really think there needs to be separate real estate for controls for any meaningful gaming. (Tap Tap Revenge isn't meaningful) 
With Web browsing and scrolling through contacts, touch makes sense, you touch it once then view, with a game (short of a Guitarhero style rhythm game) you need to be able to view the screen and react quickly without smudging it up with your fat fingers.

Bring back snake I say!

However given the Xbox Live integration with achievements, there will no doubt be endless subpar titles purchased and played solely for boosting their penis compensating GamerScore.

However, with that said if they make Diablo 2 on this sucker, with cheevos, I'm in!!


Still not over it yet.

At various points over the weekend this image from that Neogaf thread had us inappropriately laughing whilst just going along, or on the bus, or at two o clock in the morning in bed.
Next gen
Oh god, uploading it got me going again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A picture says a thousand words

So here's 2130 words on the PS3. Merely a small slice of the moronic bleating everyone has had to put up with from PlayStation fanboys and hacks looking to make easy copy. Hopefully now blinkered addlepates will concede that there is no Sony wild card. This is their trump. They all played out. Goodnight!

I'd say hardcore?

Shit Just Got Casual. The future is the PlayStation 3.This is not a video game machine, this is not a games game machine. The console is more into what I would call the toy market, because most of the Wii games I've enjoyed felt more like toys than like games. The PS3 is doing the same for games as the PS3: pushing the graphical envelope, but it’s also added a multimedia element to proceedings by coming with a Blu-ray player. We're not tailoring it to the hardcore or the casual, this is just a strictly better interface for the kind of games that we want to makeAt a recent interactive entertainment conference, Tal Kerret, Oberon Media chairman, pushed the issue that the PS3 is currently not really for casual gamers.

The internet we love how fast you move

Screenshot of the Year?

And we're done. We would have thought it was going to be a stiff competition but we've got a clear future-proof winner in early March. Outstanding.

This is a screenshot/promotional material for a title called Sports Champions for the PlayStation Move. If the rest of the game is like this we can hardly wait.

Before the confirmed announcement of PS Move there was a harmonious balance amongst factions of the gaming community. What the Wii lacked in pure power it more than made up for in gameplay and what the Xbox 360 and PS3 had in pure shininess made up for the lack in diversity of genres on offer, the lack of any decent software on the PS3, that whole Sixaxis sham, the constant slimlining and different versions nonsense, the incessant patching, the non starter of face capturing and the one by one release of launch titles which were tired and passe before they even launched four years too late. However, now that Wii Sports and Wii Fit have come to the PlayStation have the scales been tipped?

In HD no one can see when you've reused assets.

Ah ha ha ha
So is this living? Is that what they meant by the Third place? The power of the PlayStation can cure cancer but can't deal with more than three kinds of cowboys? Even Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop had more types of zombies. Oh Jesus Christ. AND it's appear to be either an on-rails shooter or a static shooter? Aren't they supposed to be bad? Holy shit. This game has to be free for it not to be widely condemned.

PS Move

I am Jack's Complete Lack Of Surprise.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Video Game BAFTAs

Yes! The Uk's third fourth favourite tolerated awards-ceremony-organiser people also do awards for video games. Badly.

This image has little to do with anything
Let's take a butchers shall we?

Initial impressions are, what are the criteria for being chosen? Like when is the cut-off point? How come Halo Wars and Flower is on there as well As Cod 2? Were they all released in a twelve month period of each other? Because where's Resident Evil 5 then? Who knows?

Also, as RPS's Alec Meer points out Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-o-rama. Actual most boring list of games ever. So vanilla. And also really? Best story Dragon Age: Origins really? Best strategy Halo Wars really? Why is left for Dead 2 all over that list? Why is Street Fighter IV the only Capcom game on there? In fact where are all the Wiiware, Indie and PC games? Even the Film BAFTAs have those boring foreign film awards. Where are all the good games? Since when was driving a sport? Oh and Dara O'Briain is the host. The TV guy who couldn't beat the Berserker in Gears (I'm such a dick!). Great. Here's our run down:


Assassin’s Creed II- Didn't play it, average.
Batman: Arkham Asylum- Grow up.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2- Boring, didn't play it.
inFAMOUS- Boring, same as that other one we also didn't play.
Left 4 Dead 2- Flinch 4 Flinch Flinch as it is now known. Boring. Didn't play. Worse than Resident Evil Outbreak.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- The only PS3 game of 2009 so FAIR.


OKAY. Thought experiment time! [Sorry]. Look at these six games and guess which award they are up for. Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Flower, Streetfighter IV, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves HIGHLIGHT FOR ANSWER: Artistic Achievement O RLY?

Best Game

Assassin’s Creed II- Best average game that did what the original should have.
Batman: Arkham Asylum- Best not horrible Batman game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2- Best game for meatheads.
FIFA 10- Best game for criminals.
Left 4 Dead 2- Best game for girls.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- Best game for the PS3 in the last...since ever Flower.

Family & Social

The Beatles: Rock Band- Social benefit.
Buzz! Quiz World- Social service.
EyePet- National Socialist Party.
Guitar Hero 5- Socialitis.
New Super Mario Bros Wii- we've run out of social words.
Wii Sports Resort- Socialitis wasn't really one anyway.


Batman: Super Assassin’s Duty Calls Bro- See above
PixelJunk Shooter- Red Faction Guerilla was awesome.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- You could literally walk through buildings in a mech.


Battlefield 1943- Hmm does it have to be a real person to count as multiplayer or can it just be the kinds of organisms that play Battlefield?
The Beatles: Rock Band- Sitting in silence a room listening to plastic clacking and hit/miss beatles songs staring at a screen and looking like a twat has never been so fun with friends
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2- See Battlefield
Halo 3 ODST- Didn't play it.
Left 4 Dead 2- sigh
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- SURPRISE!

Original Score

Assassin’s Creed II- Dare anyone to try to recall any of the score.
Batman: Arkham Asylum- Dare anyone to try to recall any of the score.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2- Dare anyone to try to recall any of the score.
PixelJunk Shooter
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- Dare anyone to try to recall any of the score.


Colin McRae: DiRT 2- Not a sport
FIFA 10- Not again
Football Manager 2010- Not a game
Forza 3- Not a sport
Wii Fit Plus- Not a sport
Wii Sports Resort- Phew. Got there in the end.

Story This award is sponsored by the society for people who have been locked in basements for the first fourteen years of their life and who have never actually heard a semi decent story before.

Assassin’s Creed II- REALLY?
Batman: Arkham Asylum- SHOCK!
Broken Sword – Shadow of the Templars: The Director’s Cut- Is this out?
Brutal Legend- REALLY!
Dragon Age: Origins- TOLKIEN?
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- Better than Schindler's List I hear?

Best Game Featuring An Asylum

Assassin’s Creed II- REALLY?
Batman: Arkham Asylum- SHOCK!
Call of Duty 2 Something Warmens- SHOCK!

Use of Audio

Batman: Arkham Asylum- LIES.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2- LIES.
DJ Hero- A nomination that makes sense.
Flower- Was there audio?
Left 4 Dead 2- Yes screaching internet twat.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- Better than Crash Bandicoot?

A Fuck Load of Other Sponsored Or Newcomer Award Probably:

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Assassin's Creed 2
Left 4 Dead 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

It's being streamed live from the BAFTA website on Friday the 19th of March so make dinner plans. Go on a date with your Boyf. Perhaps go and see the ballet or go to the pub with some friends. The cinema is always nice. That's all we've got time for this week but be sure to tune in next week. Let's thank 2009's special non-award-nominated guests: Moon, Mirror's EDGE, House of the Dead Overkill, GTAIV: Episodes, Dawn of War II, Killzone 2, Empire:Total War, Resident Evil 5, Pokemon Platinum, The Chronicles of Riddick, Boom Blox Bash Party, Red Faction: Guerilla, Little King's Story, Borderlands, Torchlight and Dead Space Extraction. Fuck you BAFTA. Fuck you very much!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Omastar Comics #26

Spring is almost upon us! But new seasons do not always bring good tidings. Ruminate us up like a Mofo Omastar.

If you care enough to read the alt text you are also probably wondering is it an exo skeleton? Or not? Both?
Not wanting to put too fine a point upon it but you were a bit of a dick Kabutops.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Diablo III, Blue balls extreme

Diablo 3 wizard. Apparently looks like Russel Brand.

I'm fed-up with dribs and drabs of Diablo 3 news! Early on last year there was a playable version of the game and evry few months they bring out concept art (Not actual in-game gfx) of characters. At this rate its gonna take years to release. Ok fair enough they are working on Starcraft 2, and WoW: Cataclysm Milking the cash cow. But all these little teases are not good for my health. And plus, at the back of the gaming communities head, we all know they might just pull a Starcraft: Ghost on us. And before we know it, it's just not been released. 

Dear Blizzard,

Do us a favour, please stop dangling the preverbial carrot, in the form of hypothetical character art, precious time is being wasted while you do this. We will all buy your game, just make sure it is out quickly! Think about it, there are people dying every day, and the chances that Diablo/Diablo 2 fans are dying getting higher and higher, given there age and demographic. Each second you delay this game, you are preventing it from being played by those true to your original cause. We know you now answer to Activision and we know WoW is your favorite project, but c'mon just c'mooooooooon.

Love and Wirt's leg.

Richie X

Monday, March 01, 2010

The credibility of games journalism

Ok. So you are thinking you want buy Game X, but you are not sure if it's going to be a game you'll like, how do you get a decent overview of whether or not its going to be the game for you?

Do you go to Gamespot, IGN, Metacritic? Do you wait for your EDGE subscription? Do you wait for the Demo? Or do you take a chance, because the name is cool and the box art is pretty? I doubt many folks do the latter, either due to common sense or due to a previous fit of ill-advised spontinaity. I think at this point there are few people who will trust the "journalism" sites. After the great Gamespot walkout, I'm surprised it has any followers. And the same goes for most of the other sites, I find it hard to have faith in a site which has a full screen/page Ad of the latest flavour-of-the-week 3rd person romp. Understandably publishers are going to want advertise on games related sites; anyone who's on a "games" site is going to be interested in some form about their product. But you know that site has taken money from them, and does it just stop at advertising space? Well, past experience shows us it does not. Yet still these sites remain getting hits. Getting hits for scripted "Please give my game a good score, we'll give you money" reviews, granted you have to be creative in delivering a plausible reason as to why below average mechanics, graphics etc. are a good thing. But you didn't go on the site to critique the stylings of the resident literary whore, you wanted information...

As its stands so much of games news is not about games, it's just games related; an endless muddle of knitted master chiefs, interviews with insignificant members of the industry, creepy cosplayers, pantsu collectors editions, or ignored bloggers ranting about the credibility of games journalism. Couple that with the reviews getting hidden amongst ads poping up, previews, cheats, spoilers, pics etc. Finding and actual bit of information pertaining to the game you wish to get a review of can be an unholy arduous quest.

Games reviews have always been a difficult one to judge there are so many ways of "scoring" a game the most popular one is of course is percentage based, but even that gets abused. Halo 3 for instance, 100% game, however personally I would give it 65% as, I believe that the narrative was bland, the enemies cliched, and the combat uninvolving, however I did enjoy the ambiance of the game, and despite completing the main story in one night (even though chapter V bugged out, not giving me the achievement), I did have fun, but ultimately it did not justify the price I paid on release. My point is that, even if we were not to consider that "review sites" had been paid off, the scoring mechanic itself is too subjective. When you see a game reviewed at 80% it is simply a rating that review site X has given this game within the 2-3 days that they have had to play it (amongst the other titles they are reviewing) and essentially publishing a generic number of the gut feeling they got from this game. And unless you trust a site's opinion, ha, that score is less than meaningless 

Frequently on review sites you will see "our Score" and "Your Score" where users are able to vote on the score they would give it. Now lets debate the demographic of people who are going to click that button and create a vote? Would you personally log into Gamespot or whatever and give your score for an Average game? Probably not, given the state of the community you know any scores you see are going to be 90% submitted by Trolls or Fanboys. 

So what do we do? The way I see it there are 3 choices.

1. Give into the pre-launch hype.
A huge game is looming on the horizon, every gaming site out there is running features and articles on it, however their Preview and Review section remains blank. All you have to go on is snippets of the cuscenes and the strength of previous titles from the developer. 

2. Wait for the demo.
Not always a viable option as some games/consoles don't get demos and they are not always reflective of the game. For games with a huge scope, such as RPG's, how do you capture the mechanics and the intrensicities that keep you going for the full 100+ hours of the actual game.

3. Ignore it, buy it pre-owned 3 months later, and for half the price.
But you run the risk of spoilers, and also the camaraderie of you and all your mates (online or offline) playing the game at the same time. 

In conclusion, I think we need less review sites, nobody cares.

Love and irreverent old arguments,

Richie X