Monthly Archives: April 2009

PixelJunk 1-4, more like, uh…

If you’re not familiar with PixelJunk games, then you are sorely missing out. As downloadables on the PlayStation Store, Monsters and Racers were great games, but Q-Games really showed what they were capable of with Eden, a genuine sensory experience rather than a mere game for the sake of gaming.

PixelJunk 1-4 has fun with fluids

PixelJunk 1-4 has fun with fluids

You may notice that PixelJunk 1-4 doesn’t quite flow off the tongue as well as something like PixelJunk Eden, and that’s what Q-Games wants you to help with. Q-Games is holding a naming contest where contestants submit their best ideas for a name. The winner gets a big box of pride, his or her name in the credits, and a PixelJunk shirt featuring the winning name, a prize shared by five runner-ups as well.

At the official contest page, you can view some screenshots and a trailer for some inspiration and information on how you’ll be shooting at the environment for fun “fluid simulation.” However, instead of letting that tell you the whole story, read the hands-on impressions by Kotaku, Shacknews, and Joystiq (or anywhere else you’d prefer) for more fleshed-out details on the gameplay.

Also, continuing the trend from PixelJunk Eden, the music is still kickass. Never have I wanted to be around hot flowing magma more than right now.

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Dead Rising 2 Trailer Full of Badassery

Nowadays, deadlines and embargoes have become less of a strict doctrine of the concrete nature and more of a hope that somebody doesn’t pull the trigger early. Lucky for us, InsideGamer let the river flow about half a day early and dropped some Dead Rising 2 knowledge on us. Watch and reap the rewards below:

Though the beginning starts off a bit like a Resident Evil movie trailer, things quickly pick up in the oddball Dead Rising sort of way and you realize one thing: that Chuck Greene fellow is a straight-up badass. Only a real man like Chuck “Death Dealer” Greene (unofficial nickname) has the tenacity to punch zombies in the face and not apologize for it.

Besides fist-to-zombie action, you get a decent glimpse at the new Vegas-themed goodies available for new and old Dead Rising fans alike. Charging at zombie hordes with a moose head, duel-wielding chainsaws like you’re Darth Maul, and fashionable mixed drinks are all in there, even an almost certainly Bruce Campbell-inspired scene involving a motorcycle, duct tape, and even more chainsaws makes an appearance. Hopefully this means you can homebrew your own weapons in the game, though probably only to a very limited degree.

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Marvel vs. Capcom 2 coming to 360, PS3 this summer

It’s been one of the worst-kept secrets so far this year, but Capcom has finally confirmed that the hit fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will hit Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Store this summer for $15 (or 12,000 Microsoft Points).

A demo should be available on the PSN on April 30th. No word on a 360 demo.

As a fan of the old Dreamcast/Arcade game, this is really exciting news. I like fighting games enough as-is, but throw in classic Capcom and Marvel characters and you’ve really got me hooked. I mean, that’s most of the appeal to the Super Smash Bros. franchise.

Look for more information when it comes. I’ll hopefully have some images straight from Capcom’s press site in the near future, but until then, we have a trailer!

I’ll only go to ESPN.com if I can enter the Konami Code

Thanks to Kotaku for making this one known: If you head over to ESPN’s website and enter the famed “Konami Code” – Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Enter – everything becomes a million times better. With MAGIC!

Keep typing and more magic happens. It’s like the magic never stops!!!

This is far more interesting than NFL draft news, let me tell ya…

::EDIT:: ESPN.com removed the magic. What a shame… They’re missing out on so many potential site hits.

::EDIT #2:: You can still perform the trick on the cached page: http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:ssdn4F46EEYJ:espn.go.com/+espn.com&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

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Uncharted 2 Multiplayer Previews

Uncharted 2 Multiplayer beta with inFamous purchase

Image courtesy of Kotaku

Merely a rumor perpetuated by the token camera phone picture less than a week ago, the existence of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves‘ multiplayer component has been decidedly confirmed. Just today, the one of many embargoes from Sony’s PlayStation Gamers’ Day has been lifted and just as good as a press release, dozens of previews of the co-op and competitive multiplayer modes have erupted onto the Internet.

Pretty much any major video game news outlet will have a preview, including Kotaku, Destructoid, GameSpot, 1UP, Shacknews, and plenty more. At Naughty Dog’s portion of Gamers’ Day, the slow reveal of the “electrifying announcement” blew the attendees’ collective mind in kind. Well, as gradient as an <omg>UNCHARTEDMULTIPLAYER</omg> reaction can get, but you get the picture.

Her name is Chloe.

Her name is Chloe.

Those in attendance were treated to hands-on time with Uncharted 2‘s co-op, deathmatch, and Plunder modes. Co-op allows three players to team up against a seemingly torrential onslaught of mercs that ostensibly never ends. In the vein of recent co-op games, dying is rarely truly dying (by way of an Resident Evil 5-esque team revival system) and double-teaming elements in the map becomes a necessity for advancing through the story, though the story, unfortunately, is an alternate one from the single-player campaign.

Deathmatch is a 5 on 5 affair and repeatedly stated as a “standard” deathmatch experience (whereas the co-op landed more on the “brutal” side of things). Plunder, despite the name, is also an almost straightforward capture the flag event, though instead of a flag, you have a gold idol that slows down the carrier and inhibits his or her gun usage, which stresses teamwork.

These multiplayer modes also highlight a Call of Duty 4-inspired “perks” feature that allows you to buy bonuses such as enhanced accuracy or air strikes. Supposedly, this will span through both the single and multiplayer experiences, but has yet to be detailed.

Heros vs. Villains

Heroes vs. Villains

Read those first hand accounts for more opinionated writeups of what the multiplayer was like. Personally, I loved the first Uncharted and when Among Thieves was teased, I nearly lost all remnants of sanity in lieu of my overflowing geek-citement. Adding multiplayer to the series can only lead to good things. Your thoughts?

Look to access the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves multiplayer beta with your inFamous purchase and be sure to watch the latest debut, beta announcement, and design interview trailers.

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Portable NES + Light Gun = Awesome

fc_mobile_ii_black

There’s no shortage of handheld devices that can play emulated (and therefore almost always illegal, but hey) games from old systems, but more rare are the systems that can play the original games that you have stashed away in your parents’ attic.

But the FC Mobile 2 is different. For about $60, you can now play your old Nintendo Entertainment System games on a system that’s far smaller than the games themselves (oh, technology…) This successor to the original FC Mobile (what, you didn’t have one?) adds the ability to hook the system up to your TV just like a real NES, and thus comes with wireless controllers and a wireless Zapper.

Some may say that’s better than the real system. Especially if your NES no longer likes playing Bionic Commando and freaks out when you try to play Contra with a friend.

What do you guys think? Assuming this is a quality product, is it something you’d actually consider lugging around with you in order to play Zelda II on the go? Or would you rather just jailbreak your iPhone to serve the same purpose?

Early Rhythm Heaven Review

My review of Rhythm Heaven for the Nintendo DS is done and will hopefully appear in the paper (or at least on the DT website) on Monday or Tuesday. But I figured I could give you a little tease now. So here it is:

Thumbs Up!

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Mini-Review: Resident Evil 5 Versus Mode

As much as I absolutely loved Resident Evil 5, I originally wasn’t going to pick up the “Versus Mode” add-on – especially considering it’s a $5 purchase for a 1-2MB download – but Capcom sent me a review code for it, so I decided to check it out.

You, however, should not.

Versus Mode basically takes the gameplay of RE5, an environment similar to the game’s “Mercenaries” mode, and creates a competitive game for 4 players.

The results aren’t very good.

For one thing, the matchmaking system is horrid. Rather than having the option of simply dropping you into an available match – a la games like Halo 3 – you are forced to sort through a list of lobbies. This would be fine, except that by the time you try to join most lobbies, the game is either full or myseteriously unavailable.

Maybe it’d be possible to get past this… If the game didn’t drop you back to the main Versus menu and force you to start the whole process over each time.

Thus, joining a game at all can be an excercise in frustration.

versus_014_bmp_jpgcopyWhen you do get into a game, the gravitas of everyone’s complaints about the controls fully come into play. You can’t run and shoot at the same time, which isn’t too bad for the single player game (this is, after all, Resident Evil) or even Mercenaries mode… But when you’re trying to play a deathmatch-style game against human opponents, the cumbersome controls are nothing more than annoying.

Similarly, while on-the-fly inventory management wasn’t a huge deal in the main RE5 campaign, trying to drop an empty weapon to make room for a new one takes far too long when under fire from opponents.

Resident Evil 5 is a fantastic single-player experience as well as an outstanding co-op game… But this competitive multiplayer DLC – which, again, is not even free – is not worth your time or money.

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Bioshock Movie on Hold

While anticipation builds for Bioshock 2: Bioshockier, one might wonder about the progress on Gore Verbinski’s (The Ring, Pirates of the BioshockerCaribbean) movie adaptation of the original Bioshock.

Wonder no more, as Variety reports that Universal Pictures has put the film on hold.

The film – gearing up to start shooting in LA – was apparently approaching a budget of $160 million, and now Universal wants to try to lower that number, perhaps by filming overseas.

Variety also reports that Verbinski has opted out of directing the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film (there’s a 4th?!?) so he can focus on Bioshock. That sort of faith in the project might be a good sign. Hopefully this minor setback (and perhaps a lower budget) won’t hurt the film drastically.

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OnLive – Flop or Future?

OnLive LogoFollowing this year’s Game Developer Conference, a lot of people asked me what I thought of OnLive.

Unfortunately, I didn’t yet have much of an opinion, even after watching the entire press conference. Sure, I was blown away by the potential, but I still had a lot of questions on my mind. And the way I see it, OnLive could become the future of video games … or one of the industries biggest disappointements.

For those not “in the know,” OnLive takes the idea of cloud computing and puts it to use for games. Rather than running your video games on a console or powerful PC, the games would instead be running off a server farm of supercomputers located elsewhere (hopefully close to your location, to avoid as much latency as possible).

A low latency video feed of the gameplay is then streamed to your location – not unlike watching a streaming video online, only much much faster – while your inputs to the keyboard/mouse/controller are similarly uploaded to the off-site computer. According to the OnLive guys, the algorithms and video compression software they’ve created to do all the calculations at an extremely fast speed, meaning that the ‘lag’ you would experience is practically unseen.

So, say you want to play Crysis – a pretty graphics-intensive PC game – but only have a crappy laptop that you bought for school. Maybe it’s evenOnLive Controller and Mini-Console one of those small $300 machines. Well, assuming OnLive works and you’re subscribed to the service, you could download a very small plugin (I believe they’re saying less than a megabite?) and play Crysis even on a crappy computer. Your computer isn’t the one running the game, after all. You’re essentially only running a video of the action, even as you play it.

You can also play games on your TV via a “MicroConsole,” which they say is so small and cheap that they might be able to simply include it for free with OnLive subscriptions.

Sounds great so far, right? Even though I haven’t listed all the promises and features of the service, it should be sounding pretty darn sweet.

But a number of questions come up:

Cost: Here’s the thing: Even when you’re subscribed to the service, you have to pay to either buy or rent games (which, of course, will be stored on the OnLive service rather than your own hardware). This makes complete and total sense, but it raises a very important question. How much will the subscription itself cost? The OnLive folks have said it will be “comparable to Xbox Live,” which you can get for about $50 a year. That actually doesn’t sound too bad, all things considered.

Latency: You can tell me about compression and algorithms all you want, but I’ve been gaming since age 6. I tend to notice if things are even a little off. Sure, in some games it will barely matter and in others it won’t matter at all… But what about Street Fighter IV? Every frame counts in that game, especially if you’re playing against a human opponent. What about high speed racing games like Burnout? Will your reaction times be quick enough to avoid a fiery crash?

And the further you get from an OnLive server farm, the worse the latency is going to be. Will you be able to play games from Abilene if the closest OnLive location is Lubbock? What if they never reach places like Lubbock at all, and are only in really big cities? Is there still a use for the service in that case?

OnLive WelcomeLow-Speed Areas: Back home at my parents’ place, we’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s a nice house we built in the country, but the only broadband service available out there is a wireless solution, which is NOT acceptable for something like this. Despite more and more homes having high-speed connections, is there enough of a market?

Offline Play: Say your internet is down but you really want to play Dawn of War 2. What are you going to do? Apparently, the answer is nothing. You can’t play without an internet connection.

Bandwith: A lot of broadband companies currently have bandwith caps. The numbers are something like 50GB a month usually (if I’m not mistaken… Which I might be), but if you’re gaming all the time, especially in HD… Those gigs will ramp up quick.

I think OnLive still has a ways to go before convincing me that this is a must-have for the hardcore gamer (though it sounds good for more casual players), but the potential is certainly there for something great.

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