More. That’s the key word when discussing Naughty Dog’s PS3 exclusive hit sequel Uncharted: Among Thieves.
They have given us more of everything we loved from Uncharted: Drake’s fortune. More witty commentary, more weapons, more items, more actions, more explosions, more girls, more modes of play, more… well, you get the idea.
Recently, this writer had eye surgery, and as such, I have had a hard time staring at screens for long periods of time while my eyes healed. Let me tell you, this title was so much fun to play and so hard to put down, that I very well could have destined myself blind in the future from eye strain, especially at a time when my eyes are at their weakest.
Normally I would choose my Xbox 360 over the PS3 due to control preference and number of friends online, however, Sony comes out with amazing exclusive titles from time to time that bring me back to the PS3 powerhouse. Titles like Uncharted: Drake’s fortune, Metal Gear Solid 4, Little Big Planet, and now, Uncharted: Among Thieves. Read more…
No tricks here folks just treats as Guitar Hero rolls out a fine month of DLC for Guitar Hero 5.
It all starts with a Queens Of The Stone Age Pack featuring three tracks from their debut album, with Dave Grohl being featured on Avon you know it’s going to be a blast on drums. The week after that we get three tracks from Billy Squier with “The Stroke” which funny enough was the first Guitar Hero custom ever! Coming up next is Mike Patton’s favourite band Wolfmother featuring three tracks from their forthcoming album Cosmic Egg. Read more…
Let Them Eat Cake!
This has been the year of downloadable games/content. With tons of gems available and consoles finally becoming more network and online oriented, I challenge you to find anyone who has either a 360 or PS3 (maybe even select Wii owners) who has not splurged on any sort of downloadable game. With full fledged disc based games now coming to your PSN or Live store (look up Burnout Paradise, Warhawk, or 360 games on demand service) the future is definitely download friendly!
One of these gems that I will review today is Titan Studios, Fat Princess exclusively for the PlayStation Network. It takes aspects of Tower defense and capture the flag/zones and feeds it a big piece of cake.
I will be very upfront about this, Fat Princess is a PSN game designed with online multiplayer in mind. That is not to say the game cannot be enjoyed single player-wise but the actual mechanics make sense and shine online. You have selections from your standard grunt, mage, priest, worker, and scout. Now you are in full control of one person and once you die you are re-spawned. You can get AI buddies to follow you and help you but let me stress this: you’re in control of your character only and offline that means tons of AI NPC s going about their business. These guys are helpful but no way near as if you had your friends by your side.
Band Hero™ invites music and video game fans of all ages to log onto BandHero.com and immortalize themselves and/or their band within a mosaic tribute to the newest game in the Guitar Hero® family. Submitted photos will populate the mosaic and enter the individual’s or group’s names into a weekly contest where randomly selected winners will score a Band Hero band kit for the platform of their choice and a Nintendo DS Lite band kit. Head over to BandHero.com to learn more. Read more…
DICE annouced last week that players can now unlock the Time Trail mode in the recently released demo for Mirror’s Edge, available at the PlayStation Store and the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. To unlock the Time Trail mode, players must select Race > Play Time Trail in the main menu of the demo, and then enter a 16 number code.
The Time Trail mode challenges players to find the fastest routes through the city featured in the game. Players can also upload their best times to the Mirror’s Edge online leaderboards for others to compete against.
Mirror’s Edge will ship to retailers in North America on January 13 for the Playstation 3 and Xbix 360 and worldwide on January 16 for the PC
Mirror’s Edge shipped to retailers worldwide on Nov. 11thfor the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It will ship to retailers in North America on January 13th and worldwide on January 16th, 2009 for the PC.
On Thursday, 2K Sports announced that a free demo of its new NBA 2K9 is now available for download on the PlayStation Network, and was available on Xbox Live Marketplace on Friday morning. The demo will feature the past NBA season’s finals and play in a four minute quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, according to a press release from 2K Sports.
NBA 2K9 is rated E for Everyone, and will be available in retail stores on October 7 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2.
This week, Midway announced the complete cast of character in its upcoming fighter game, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The game is set for a November release, and will be supported by the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The character list is as follows:
Arcade-In-A-Box announced this week the release of their latest arcade controller, a combo Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 unit. This new unit allows gamers wide compatibility with consoles of any arcade stick currently on the market without the use of adapters.
The Combo Arcade Controller also features Windows PC capability and 100 per cent backward compatibility with PS2 and PSX games played on the PlayStation 3. The combo also has authentic arcade parts that are identical to those used on traditional arcade machines including Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Galaga.
The Arcade-In-A-Box will sell for $219, and a single system arcade panels with similar features and options can be purchased for $119.
Today, EA Sports announced the availability of the demo version of the latest addition to their NHL franchise of hockey games. The new NHL 09 demo is now available on the PlayStation Network, and an Xbox Live demo will follow in early September.
The game features the new “Be A Pro” mode that will have players start in the AHL and work their way up into the NHL, with the ultimate goal of becoming an NHL legend. The new Performance Tracker will rate gamers’ skill in over 60 categories to inform them of exactly what parts of their game needs to be improved. NHL 09 will also introduce the online EA Sports Hockey League, where gamers can create a character online and join a team with friends or scout for players. Finally, the game will also feature the new Defensive Skill Stick, that allows players to use an improved poke check, sweep their stick 360 degrees to block passes, and lift an opponent’s stick when playing defense.
NHL 09 will ship to retailers September 9, and will be supported by the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 platforms.
Today, Activision announced details of its upcoming Rapala’s Fishing Frenzy 2009, slated for a September 2008 release. The game will be supported on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms.
The game will feature realistic simulations of rods and casting maneuvers, and will allow gamers to battle for trophies and catch more than 20 species of fish. Players will be able to compete in 14 Tournament Events and complete various objectives throughout the game. The PlayStation 3’s Sizaxis and Dualshock 3 Controls are utilized to take full advantage of motion sensing and vibration abilities during game play. Rapala’s Fishing Frenzy also allows players to ‘fish’ in over 500,000 acres of authentic fishing locations, such as Clear Lake California, Lake Okeechobee Florida, and the Potomac River in Maryland.
2K just announced that its Top Spin 3 tennis video game for Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii has gone gold overseas. The video game will be available in North America at major retailers June 24, 2008.
Top Spin 3 holds to be the most authentic tennis video game available, and offers features such as high-quality graphics, specialized controls and expansive online offerings. Top Spin 3 allows users to choose from a wide selection of top-ranked professional tennis players for their video game experience, such as Andy Roddick, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova. Players have control over every aspect of their character, including a face sculptor editor, customizable swing animations, hairstyles, tattoos and grunts.
The Top Sprin 2 features new Evolutionary Visuals that show the intensity of the simulated game, as the characters sweat, show fatigue and get grass and clay stains as the match progresses. For the more competitive player, Top Spin 3 allows users to create matches online and compete against friends or other ranked players around the world in singles and doubles matches at a variety of levels.
Rainbow Studios comes at us with another title in their alternative racing series. Their first on the Playstation 3, MX vs. ATV Untamed takes the best features of past titles and expands upon them with new vehicles and modes of play. Untamed touts itself as the comprehensive racing title with everything for every type of player, and believe me, there is plenty to explore and keep you busy in this game.
Depending on your style of racing and your experience, Untamed provides players with a multitude of playing options, difficulties and customization options to make your racing experience as optimal as possible. You also get your choice of racing vehicles from bikes, ATV’s, and ORV sport buggies, to trophy trucks, monster trucks and more. In fact, there is even an option that lets racers choose whatever vehicle they want and race against each other in an all out road war ala Motorstorm. There are also many race types to chose from, including split screen, LAN, and online game modes. You can make your choice of quick races, create a custom event or take part in tournaments. As well, there are a number of mini-games to play online such as graffiti, tag, ice hockey (only available in split screen mode), and my personal favourite, snake (think Tron).
The controls in the game are fairly simple compared to other racing titles out there. Additions to the basic package include a clutch, a stunt modifier (for ATV’s and bikes), a scrub / whip feature, power slides, and a multitude of different camera views to choose from. You can also link different tricks together for bonus points that equate to bonus money. These tricks are performed by combining the triangle, circle and R1 buttons with directions while in the air or on a straightaway to prevent you from flying off your ride. Tack on the optional Sixaxis motion sensor and you’ve got tilt action off road steering. The controls are pretty fast and react well to the slightest touch. However, if you’re looking for a realistic racing simulator, this is not the title for you.
Presented in 720p, Untamed does look fairly nice. The menu is sharp, edgy, and modern, but at the same time, feels very simple and boring. Some aspects of this game appear very realistic and detailed. Mud, tracks, and signs that can be ripped at the specific location your ATV flies into it all look great. However everything else in this game graphically seems lacking compared to something like Motorstorm. The track layouts are interesting and provide an entertaining racing experience. They are, however, sparse in terms of detail and extra additions such as people and buildings. When racing as a larger vehicle the crashes are nothing more than a car flipping on its back and staying there for a second (kind of like a robo-turtle). The smaller vehicles such as ATV’s and bikes are where you can express your sadistic side. When flipping out or messing up a stunt, the bodies fly farther then a Happy Gilmore shot. When racing against multiple people, there is real satisfaction in running over your opponent’s lifeless body before it magically disappears back into the race. The graphics get the job done but could have been so much more. In a racing game, I expect a graphical experience that lets me feel how fast I am racing. This feeling was lacking in MX vs. ATV Untamed.
In terms of how this game sounds, the revving engines and mud splatters of all the various vehicles are all present and sound as realistic as any other racing game out there. The real surprise came from the sound track. In fact, while writing this review I actually have the game playing with my monitor off just to listen to the music. Consisting of mostly punk rock, as well as some hip hop, Untamed offers hit singles from bands such as Bad Religion, Disturbed, Mudvayne, Nickelback, Pennywise, The Used, and NoFX. While Untamed is an alternative racing title, it still doesn’t feel punk enough to have all these punk tracks. When racing, the music sounds great, but it always feels out of place and unwelcome in the middle of a muddy race.
So, MX vs. ATV Untamed isn’t the best game out there, but it is not a bad game either. Untamed provides players with much more to do then most other racing games in the sheer amount of racing options, customization options, mini-games and unlockable items to make your racer and vehicle exactly what you want it to be. Playing alone, with a friend, or online, there are enough racing types to keep even the shortest attention spans happy for a long time. The hardest part is finding an opponent online. Either there is a big issue with MX vs. ATV Untamed’s online package, or no one is playing this game online at all.
Rainbow Studios takes another step forward in their favourite franchise. While some aspects of this title might not exactly be considered revolutionary, they do provide the average player with a little more than the average racer. If you’re a fan of MX racing and like a little variety, pick this title up. Maybe I’ll eventually have more than one person to play with online!
Graphics: 2.5 / 5.0
Gameplay 3.0 / 5.0
Sound 3.5 / 5.0
Replay value 3.0 / 5.0
What has one eye, smells like Magic the Gathering, and can be played against anyone around the world? Sony Computer Entertainment Studios Japan’s The Eye of Judgment, a trading card with a twist. Utilizing the new Sony Eye camera for the Playstation 3, players can collect and trade cards, create decks and play against a friend, a computer or anyone around the world online in a card duel with visual battles taking place on your screen.
When I first saw this title set up on a small table in the corner of a Sony preview show it piqued my curiosity. Sitting there in between a couple of couches and a TV set was a mat with a 3×3 grid on it, a plastic stand with the Sony Eye camera perched on top and different cards placed in different directions on the mat. What I saw on screen was totally different-ice guards throwing projectile shards at a flaming dragon and that dragon in turn melting the guards. Unfortunately, by this point my mind had been blown and I collapsed onto the couch. A few minutes later, I regained consciousness and began to explore this contraption. Included with the title are the mat (a piece of cloth with a grid, spaces for your deck, graveyard and the camera to stand), the stand (4 tubes, and 3 pieces of plastic to hold the camera which are easy to assemble and come with instructions), the Playstation Eye (a high quality USB camera with a widescreen option and built in microphone), starter deck (30 playing cards, and 4 cards used to perform different procedures in game to begin your battling career), a booster pack (8 random cards to change your deck up), and the game disc.
Basically you set up the camera overlooking your mat, and you take turns with your opponent placing cards, either spells or creatures, on the mat. You start off the game with five cards each, and every turn you receive two mana. Mana is the magical force that allows you to cast spells and play creatures. You may play as many spells or actions as you like per turn, but once you play a creature, it performs its action if it can, and your turn ends. Use spells and creatures to defeat other creatures with the objective to gain grid spaces. You win the game when you control five spaces or lose when you run out of cards in your deck or your opponent controls five spaces. You also regain one mana when a creature of yours is killed. The rules go further with specific spaces having different elements to the benefit or detriment of your creatures as well as a locking mechanism which doesn’t open until at least four creatures are on the mat. Creatures battle based on direction, attack style, strength, health, counter-attack style, element, and ability. If this all seems overwhelming or confusing, the disc comes complete with a very thorough tutorial system that includes everything from how to set up the game to a demo of two awkward adolescents playing the game. I must warn you though, the tutorial can last up to two hours if you want to learn everything and after about twenty minutes, you may want to just shut it off due to repetitive music and dull vocal instructions. I feel it would have been more helpful to have a written instruction manual so players could learn how to play at their own pace.
The camera itself is very cool. Using the many options for The Eye of Judgment, you can change the frequency of the camera, input the type of lighting your room has to help with card recognition and sensitivity and even tell the game what side of the mat you have your camera standing on. If you have another friend with a Playstation 3 you can use the eye to have video chats with them anywhere around the world. On top of all this, if you would like, you could download a little video editing program for free off of the Sony store and create your own movies using the camera.
The concept of the game is really cool. Each card has a special hieroglyphic code on the top and bottom of the card, the Eye reads the code on the card and the creature appears in full 3D on the screen. If you wish to take a closer look at the creatures, there is a profile option in the game, where as you toss cards onto the mat, the creature will pop up on screen. From here, you can carry the card around the mat, higher or lower in relation to the camera and your creature will follow with your hand on screen. You can even interact with your creatures by swatting at them and seeing the little critters try to bite your fingers on screen. The game also includes a little mini-battle option where you place up to four cards on the screen at the same time, press X to have them ‘duel’ and the strongest of the creatures will emerge victorious. Perhaps this game type is a little useless, but still pretty darn cool to see these pieces of paper take life on their own.
Another mode of play is the impressive online battle system. Beginning by registering your deck for online play by scanning in your cards in the deck builder option; this shows the game you actually own these cards. From here you enter the online system where you chose your alliance, see your honor points, rank and title and create or join a game to battle anyone from around the world. The online play mode works a little differently than offline to counter cheaters. The game draws cards for you, telling you what cards you have in your hand, you then fish these cards out of your deck and play with them. You never see your opponent through the camera and they never see you, although you do get the option of chatting through use of USB keyboard or the Eye’s built in microphone. The biggest issue with online play is that of cheating. Yes, the game tells you what cards you draw so you cannot cheat that way, but what’s to stop a player from going online, downloading card pictures and printing them out for use in the game? Offline, your opponent could see you using slips of printer paper to fight, but online with no camera interaction, how is your opponent to know if your cheating or not? I have read articles stating that Sony’s cards hold special codes that cannot be reproduced by scanning and printing cards, but I have also read articles and seen video proof that this can easily be done. The only silver lining I found was that when I searched for scanned cards online myself, I could not find a site providing these pictures.
When these cards come to life, not only is it in vibrant colour and full polygonal 3D, but the animation is fluid and the graphics crisp. When a gang of monsters attack, they don’t always attack the same way twice and there’s always one or two monsters acting differently. The spell animations are fast and flowing and with the Eye’s quick recognition speed, the game can be fast and furious with no feeling of lag, trouble reading cards or choppiness. On an HDTV the edges are clean and the detail in creature and spell animation is amazingly clear with supported 720P. The audio is also very well thought out and clean, for the most part. Each creature has their own battle call, attack sound effects, and grunts. As well, each menu has its own music. The music used in game is full of hard metal guitar shredding and, while it sounds very strong and fast, adding to the pace of the game, there is only one piece of music played over and over again. The exception is when your opponent controls 4 squares-then the music gets harder and faster, adding to the overall intensity.
The overall feel of the game is one reminiscent of a mix between Magic the Gathering, Yugioh, and the card game played in Playstation One’s Final Fantasy 8. I must state before you go out and buy this game that it is not for everyone, and chances are if you want to win games and not resort to foul play, you will probably have to spend some extra cash on theme decks and booster packs at local game or hobby stores. If you are into collectible card games and are looking to buy the Eye camera for the Playstation 3, then The Eye of Judgment is the perfect title to pick up. As a game with no story, no end, plenty of people to play against anywhere in the world, an unlockable ‘campaign mode’, and with updates and expansion pack opportunities, the Eye of Judgment shows no traces of slowing down any time soon.
Graphics: 4.0 / 5.0
Gameplay 5.0 / 5.0
Sound 3.5 / 5.0
Replay value 5.0 / 5.0
PS3 launch title, Resistance: Fall of Man is Insomniac Games’ attempt at getting everyone excited for the future of the Playstation 3, a sign of things to come. If this is just a glimpse of what this machine has to offer, then the gaming community is in for an amazing future.
Insomniac, know for such games as Ratchet & Clank, created this FPS (first person shooter) not only to expand their genre base, but also to showcase the capabilities of this machine right off the bat. The difference between this game and the slew of other recent FPS’s is that this company did their research and tried to gather the best aspects of all others of the same genre out there and put it all into this ultimate launch title.
The game takes place in the 1950’s. WWII never happened and instead a monster race known only as the Chimera (not to be mistaken for the Greek mythological creature made up of different animals) have invaded and taken over Russia, Asia and eventually the UK. You play as Nathan Hale, an average American soldier sent into England to battle off the Chimera scourge and liberate the world from this unknown terror.
With creative weaponry (alongside the average wartime arsenal), extremely enjoyable artificial intelligence (the Chimera will actually fall back and reform their strategy depending on how you proceed), and co-op mode (offline only); if you were to buy only one FPS at launch time, this would be it.
The graphics in this game are what you would expect from a next generation launch title, pretty and shiny… for the most part. The weapon and character designs are out of this world (no pun intended) with such detail that one could spend an hour easily just admiring every little facial movement and bullet effect. At a constant 30 frames per second, there is never a skip or a stutter no matter how much carnage and mayhem are on screen. Any number of AI players battling, tanks rolling by and planes crashing overhead will not slow this beast down. That being said, the environment, although it gets the job done, does not really impress the player as one can shoot a tube off a Chimera’s back with satisfaction, yet a grenade will barely move a lid off a garbage can or a corpse on a table. This game supports HD output at a decent 720p, which although makes it look great, is not as impressive as other shooters on the market today.
In terms of sound, it is again what one would expect from a great shooter – explosions and screams from every direction. With a good sound system, the player can actually hear the bullets whizzing by Hale’s head and the ground shake as a tank pulls by. The voice acting when available (Hale is the strong, silent type), is acceptable and in sync with the mouth movements. As with most games where cinematic presence is not as crucial as game play or control, the music suffers. It is what it is, generic war music that pipes up at especially critical moments that serve more as a warning then to set the mood. Not that this is bad, just not particularly memorable. Resistance is presented in THX so don’t forget to plug in that big subwoofer, turn the volume up and let the noise of war take over.
Control is a key factor for high speed first person action, and Insomniac knows when to be creative and when to keep it simple. The controller set up for Resistance is very similar to most other FPS and are just as tight and quick as the rest. What was interesting about Resistance was the ways in which they chose to manipulate the PS3’s Sixaxis motion sensor. At certain occurrences in the game you must shake the controller in your hands to do certain actions such as putting out a fire on your back or freeing yourself from a deadly Chimerian love hug.
The length of this game is quite substantial, netting around 12 hours from start to finish. On top of the story duration there are also extras to unlock and secrets to find throughout the campaign mode giving you plenty of reasons to play again and again. Perhaps a second time through with a friend in the offline co-op mode might make things more interesting. The most impressive aspect of this game was the online multi-playing action. At a constant speed with no signs of lag, up to 40 players can play together (or against each other) at the same time as either the evil Chimera or the brave Americans, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
In the end, however, it’s all about fun, and Resistance: Fall of Man delivers on that front. There are a few negative aspects of the game, the biggest being the lack of interactive environment. It just seems odd that one can see bullet blurs as they whiz by, but cannot shoot a single hole in the wall of a building. The story and character development themselves are a bit fuzzy and not too deep, but again, this game is about fun and a good story is hard to find in a first person shooter. If you’re looking for a fun pick up and play game or a staple for multiplayer mayhem, Resistance: Fall of Man is the way to go.
Replay Value: 5.0/5.0