Friday, October 30, 2009

afrika on ps3

One of the major issues I take with game reviewers online is that sometimes it seems like they judge all games against the standards of the most fun, most mainstream, most popular game to have come out recently rather than fairly judging a game against its own standards. If a game sets out to entertain you for hours with bloody and crazy first-person shooter fun, then judge it to that standard. If it instead sets out to teach you something, or help you lose weight, or make you relax or think, these are the standards it should be judged against! In particular I am seeing this happen with a new Playstation 3 game called Afrika. Afrika seems pretty much like a realistic safari version of Pokemon Snap - you cruise around the African plains as a professional photographer shooting prize-winning photos of African species on the Serengeti. This game is suffering from the fate of a wide disparity between critics' scores and user scores, and I think the problem is the one I outlined above. Of course if you are a huge fan of Halo 3: ODST and you compare Afrika to that you will probably think it is boring! I haven't tried Afrika yet so I guess it could totally suck but I just can't believe that it deserves IGN's score of a 3.5 "Bad". Lucky for me I still get my GameStop privilege of "signing out" a game for a few days like a free rental - I think this game is the perfect candidate as, well, it's just not a good time to be spending $50 on a glorified Pokemon Snap!
Anyone out there tried Afrika yet? What did you think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

modern warfare 2 controversal leaked footage

Gameplay footage of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (launching on November 10th) has hit the internets and has incited more controversy over the presence of realistic violence in popular video games. You can check out some of the footage here courtesy of Game Trailers. Modern Warfare 2, the follow-up to Infinity Ward's insanely popular first-person shooter fourth installment of the Call of Duty series, apparently opens with a disturbing scene of heavily armed terrorists killing unarmed civilians in a setting that looks suspiciously like Los Angeles' LAX airport. Thanks for that comforting idea right before the start of the holiday travel season! The game's developer defends the scene saying that it establishes the true evil of the Russian terrorist group that the player ultimately must defeat to win the game. A game like this is bound to get some people riled up but this does seem a little... overkill? I mean, every day we wake up to new reports of deadly attacks and terrorist scares - aren't video games where we go to escape that scary reality? I guess some gamers get their kicks taking on the role of our country's military defenders; me personally, I find comfort in fantasy universes, colorful and vivid world depictions, and rolling a giant katamari ball around picking crap up. Then again, that is the beauty of video games - there truly is something out there for every gamer's interests!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

cool iphone puzzle app to check out

When I first got my iPhone I was like, "nah, I'm not gonna play games on it. Cellphone games are stupid." Fast-forward to now, and I have several totally awesome game apps installed on my lovely 3GS. The first I got was I Love Katamari, which got much play despite being insanely hard due to the tilt controls. More recently I got totally addicted to EA's Clue, which, though its gameplay is a departure from the classic board game, is a really fun and well-made app game that has in my opinion pretty infinite replay value. Lately I wanted to fill a couple of empty spots in my app selection and so I expanded my game-app library, adding Dots, Checkers, Beirut/Beer Pong (not as fun as it might sound; watching an animation of drinking a beer is just not the same as the real thing) and a really tight, beautifully animated Wooden Labyrinth 3D puzzle game. This labyrinth game is one of the best uses of the iPhone's tilt mechanism I've seen so far - the puzzle is simple enough that any little tilt alters the view and (obvs) affects the way your ball will roll. The free/lite version shows you an ad every few levels that you can skip right through so it's totally worth it. It's not super new but it's currently in the Top 25 freebie apps so it's easy to find. Check it out, fellow iPhone addicts!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

xbox live or playstation network?

With last month's console price drops for both the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, the debate of which system to go with rages on. The PS3's new claims of "It only does everything" are, well, kinda true. At the same time, the Xbox offers a highly populated online gaming community that the PS3 hasn't really developed as well (yet anyway). For a price of course. This article goes into both sides of the next-gen console debate in a lot of depth, including the differences in the online services as well as the hardware advantages to both systems. So if you're considering taking the plunge to buying a new $299 gaming system, check out this article for the lowdown on both options.

has uncharted 2 made all other games obsolete?

Personally, I don't think so. But apparently some people do, as the follow-up to one of the best PS3 games, Uncharted, has set new precedents for awesomeness in gaming after its release last week. Uncharted 2 brings the badass-ness in its action-adventure elements, its environmental puzzles, its totally awesome graphics/animation, its well-acted and professionally-voiced characters, and, well, a lot of other supercool aspects of the game. Plus it has an addictively challenging and fun multiplayer mode, adding more substance to the Playstation Network's online community. So I can understand why some people feel that Uncharted 2's developer Naughty Dog has brought the gaming industry to a standstill when it comes to innovative and new gaming territory.

new super mario bros wii preview

Many Wii gamers are eagerly anticipating the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, coming out November 15th. Fans of the classic Mario series will be glad to know the upcoming Mario Bros. game will actually challenge your gaming skills. One of my favorite sources for upcoming game news and very detailed reviews, Game Trailers, has an awesome preview video of New Super Mario Bros. Wii showing the co-op gameplay and other exciting aspects of the highly anticipated game. Check out the video and get excited about playing Mario Bros. with a bunch of friends, all on the same TV screen (what a concept in these days of online multiplayer only, right?)!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

uncharted 2 is awesome

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves came out for the Playstation 3 this week and it is really living up to the glowing reviews it's been receiving for weeks now. The graphics are truly beautiful and the game moves along quickly with slick controls and an engrossing plot. The sequel to one of the Playstation 3's best exclusive titles, Uncharted 2 brings the action suspense in a way that few games achieve. The pacing gets your heart going and sometimes the timing is so close that you can't believe you made it through whatever adrenaline-inducing scenario the game has thrown at you. The character acting is great and the voicing is well done. All in all, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a great new title out for anyone with a PS3. Definitely worth trading in some boring old games to pick this one up!

Friday, October 9, 2009

demon's souls on ps3

We are very excited for Uncharted 2 which debuts next week, but until then our latest PS3 acquisition has been getting a lot of play: Sony exclusive title Demon's Souls. An RPG with as much customization as you could ask for, Demon's Souls is a dark fantasy-themed game involving a land corrupted by demons and beasts that you of course need to save. The graphics are very nice to look at and the online integration is cool and innovative. You can leave notes along the way that others connected to the Playstation Network can view and rate as helpful or not. If the note is found to be unhelpful it disappears, but if your note gets voted as helpful then you even get a health bonus in your own game! Cool stuff. There is a lot to look forward to on the newly-cheaper PS3 and Demon's Souls is definitely one to try if you like RPGs with a lot of good fighting in them. Most reviews I've read have been very positive, like this one from PSXextreme that goes into quite a lot of detail. IGN even gave it a 9.4 "Outstanding"!

this potential wii game sounds cool

So I randomly came across mention of this game called Sadness for the Wii recently and although it doesn't have a release date for the US that I could find, it does sound pretty cool and I would love to try it if I could. It looks to be a survival-horror style adventure game with a story centered on a Victorian-era woman and her blind son in turn-of-the-century Russia. Claiming to make you face your greatest fears, the game deals with themes of paranoia, schizophrenia and nyctophobia, a.k.a. fear of the dark. The game uses the Wii's nunchuk and wiimote controllers as the character's hands, giving the player a sense of immersion into the plot. The latest news on this game is from over a year ago so who knows if this title is languishing on some developer's desk somewhere. IGN has some pretty cool images that look like concept designs more than anything else, but they do look scary and cool. The game is in all black and white and would be a nice addition to the small but growing library of Wii games aimed at older gamers.

Friday, October 2, 2009

anti-violent gaming advocate sues facebook

You may have heard of Jack Thompson, an activist who has taken a stand against violence and sexual themes in video games, speaking out publicly about the dangers of games like the Grand Theft: Auto series and other violence-heavy game titles. He notably responded after a case where a kid killed several people and cited the GTA games as inspiration, which Thompson called a "murder stimulator". Well, people on Facebook apparently don't like Thompson too much and called for all kinds of mean actions directed at him, and he has now taken legal action against the 300-million-users-plus social networking site. It's an interesting case that involves a lot of digital media and the questionable legality of censoring a site's user comments. This should be an interesting case to follow as Thompson proceeds with his efforts to get Facebook to halt what he finds to be threatening and harmful messaging directed at him and his efforts.

cursed mountain

I got a chance to play through a bit of Cursed Mountain, a 2009 survival-horror Wii title by developer Deep Silver and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! The reviews that were out for this game were mostly of the "meh" variety, citing a cool story but shoddy motion controls and outdated gameplay. I love games with a good story and this one definitely has a cool one, supported by findable notes full of useful information about your goal and the setting around your character. The animation is also very cool to see on the Wii and shows that the Wii is a lot more flexible with realistic (but not ultra-realistic) graphics than some developers seem to think. I only played for a few hours but found the controls pretty intuitive, fairly tight and not annoying. The fighting system is kinda cool and involves a variety of strategies to beat the ghost enemies that haunt the mountain village where your journey begins, and of course the cursed mountain itself. If you're a fan of scary-supernatural plots in games then this may be one to try out.