Friday, February 29, 2008

PS3 Buywatch

My current PlayStation 3 bundle purchase requirements:

  • Some form of backwards compatibility, for the girlfriends Singstars at least (look, they are hers, and you certainly will never caught me singing Barbie Girl). I thought I remembered reading that the new Singstar was going to have this, but apparently it doesn't. Status: No.
  • Any two of: Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted, and Singstar (look, it's for my girlfriend), bundled with it. I've had a look around, but I can't find a suitable bundle of games anywhere. Status: No.
  • Two DualShock 3 pads, since I don't want spare shitty pads lying around the place, and I certainly wouldn't want to be saddled with any when I know the DS3 is just around the corner in Europe. Status: No.
  • Under £300 for the lot. Status: Yes.

Put that into a big whirry machine, and you get the answer that ..... this weekend I am 25% likely to buy a PS3.

Come on Mr Sony. Just tick the other three boxes (or possibly just two of them, but especially the first one. I can't stress how important that is to the acceptance of this purchase in our house), and you'll have yourself an extra £300 in your back pocket for getting a few beers in on Saturday night.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Absolutely Fableous

Here's a top tip for you - my method for vastly increasing the chances that you'll enjoy Fable 2.

1) Have a look at a single screenshot of Fable 2 - this should be enough for you to gather that it's a fantasy themed game.

2) Play Fable 1. I think it's on Xbox originals now, and the PC version is probably easy to get hold of. Or just have a look for some Youtube videos of it being played. You'll soon realise it's an action role playing sort of thing.

These first two steps are to weed out people who will definitely not enjoy it, because of the setting or type of game. The only people still reading should be those who would be interested in a fantasy themed action role playing game. Step 3 is the important one for those people.

3) Never ever EVER read, watch, or listen to, any development diaries, interviews, soundbites, or basically any output at all from Peter Molyneux. Not about Fable, and not about anything else (just to be on the safe side).

This was the method that I used before Fable came out, and it worked out well. While I was playing it I was enjoying what was there. But anyone who disobeyed the golden third rule had a very different experience, and spent their entire playing time noticing what promised elements weren't in the game after all.

So there you go - to enjoy Fable 2, try and know nothing about Fable 2.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Devil May Cry 4's Agnus is a very scientific lover

Hypothesis: Arousing Nero will result in his sexual pleasure.

2:46pm - Experiment begins.
2:48pm - Tickled Nero's balls at a medium intensity for 5 minutes.
2:53pm - Experiment concludes.

Devil May Cry 4 has terrible dialogue.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bargain Alert

For anyone in the UK - Game are selling Overlord for £15 at the moment. It's definitely worth picking up for that price.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Movies Games and Videos

Recently I thought I'd try out the Video Marketplace thingy that MS have finally released in the UK. My main reason for it was that I have a high def TV, but it's only 32" (girlfriend acceptance factor dictated tht I couldn't get anything much bigger), and I was curious to see if an HD movie format would actually look noticably better than the upscaling DVD player I have at the moment.

The marketplace itself is quite nicely laid out (certainly a lot better than the Arcade), allowing you to search by genre, popularity, or year of release, and offering up "if you liked X you might want to try Y" links. Once you've downloaded a movie it's very clear how long you have to watch it, so you're in no danger of something accidentally timing out on you.

I probably won't use it very often though, for two main reasons:

First off is the price. It seems high to me, especially for the HD stuff. Currently I rent using Blockbuster's online service - as many movies as I can watch (3 at a time) for £15 a month. And that includes Blu Ray and HD DVD.

I would have thought the HD movies would cost the same, or possibly even been cheaper, than SD, to tempt people into using it more - especially if MS really are trying to kill the HD format war so they can step in with downloads. The standard def version of "300" costs around £2.90 - a better option for most people would be to buy the DVD for only £3.99 and watch as many times as they liked (or sell it on if they didn't like it).

The second downside is the poor selection of titles. At the time of writing there are still only around 40 titles, about three months after the service launched. Everything on it seems quite old, and the recent titles (recent in that they're only a few months after DVD release) have even more hiked up prices.

I can understand the need for a back catalogue to be presented, but surely to provide a useful movie rental service you need to ensure each week's new releases are added promptly? How many people do MS think are sat at home thinking "oh if only there was a way that I could watch Wild Wild West and Executive Descision, yet those two titles are simply impossible to rent or buy"?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Burnout Paradise: An Apology

The full game is indeed a lot better than the demo. So, to any Criterion bods reading: I'm sorry I said you'd cocked it right up.

The lack of a teleport option is still a big pain in the arse though. I've lost count of the number of times I've wanted to warp to a junction, or even just a scrap yard. And for a game that couldn't have a "retry" option because it would add loading screens, it seems to have a lot of loading screens.

But in general it's a good fun blast, enjoyable for the same reasons that Crackdown is - messing about in the city is fun, even if the core content is average at best.

Showtime is also quite nice, though not as rewarding as a Crash junction, since the nature of it (that allows you to continue for as long as you can) requires that it cleans up your destruction as you go, robbing it of that "holy shit, that is a big pile of wrecked cars" sensation. But since Alex Ward hasn't yet come around my house and snapped my Burnout Revenge disc in half, I still have a way of getting my Crash fix.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Blub, more like

What is it about people called Ward?

I "got it", I just didn't think that the core concept - stylishly killing people for points - was fully carried through by the gameplay. Certainly not in the demo, and after a quick look at the website it seems the full game offers little new.

You can either shoot someone, or shoot them in the head. It didn't have any other type of skill shot as far as I could tell.

Killing enemies felt dull. No over the top death animations, or excited text telling you how good you are.

Movement felt slow and rubbish. No diving, flipping, or cartwheeling while you kill targets to increase your bonus.

The weapons felt bland. A dozen variations of 'rifle' and 'shotgun'. Where's the harpoon gun for pinning enemies together for bonus points? The molotov that sets targets alight (who then set other targets alight as they run around screaming, earning you a multiplier)? The bonus for playing an entire level using just the aluminium baseball bat?

Basically, it's worse at what it does than Max Payne, or Total Overdose, or Stranglehold or Quake 3. It has no flair, no soul, and is a completely missed opportunity.