Category Archives: video games

Dead Rising 2: First Look at Gameplay

So this Dead Rising 2 trailer just made it to the internet. After taking a close look I have some immediate impressions that I want to air out.

This game does look awesome, but I’m super cautious about getting to excited. A title like this has the potential to do a lot of the same in regards to what the last game did. The original Dead Rising had it’s really great moments, it was fun, interesting, and something that people hadn’t really seen before. So it was really a great game to show up at the beginning of the “Next Gen” console life cycle. But the mechanics of  find weapon, kill zombies, replenish health, find survivor, escort got old pretty fast. And the fact that you were on a strict timeline of events and the clock never really stopped counting down was also kind of frustrating. I really don’t want to see this game do a lot of these things.

I want more RPG elements. I’d like the ability to collect, keep, and even upgrade certain weapons. So I hope that double sided chainsaw stick or the dirtbike modified with chainsaws are something that you can build or customize. I’d also like to see less escort missions. That might be my least favorite gameplay style of all time, and I’m not alone on this either. I know you hate it too.  Finally, and this is a super nitpicky thing that was beaten to death when the first game came out, but Capcom…please please please put text and subtitles in the game that aren’t 1 pixel by 1 pixel in size.

Let’s here what you think about this game. It’s less “Dawn of the Dead” this time which should open it up to more possibilities. Let me know where you think this game will go!

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OnLive, the potential flying car of gaming

The On Live controller and micro-console

The OnLive controller and micro-console


Let’s talk about OnLive, the cloud based gaming service that was unveiled at this year’s Game Developers Conference after over 7 years of development. If you’re not aware of what this is I’ll break it down for you very simply. OnLive is a gaming platform that is entirely based upon the idea that instead of going out and buying expensive and super fast computers/graphics cards/memory, all of your game processing is done by a “cloud” of servers at the OnLive Server farm. The video from the games is sent back to you through there service via your high speed internet connection and you enjoy a gameplay experience without the hassle of owning a PC that you’ve built or bought for gaming. Essentially what this means is that you can play all of the newest and most graphically demanding games on any computer, laptop, operating system, or the proprietary OnLive Micro Console no matter what the quality of your hardware is.

This is an awesome idea, I can’t argue that at all. But I have my doubts about this service actually catching on. While the technology and the potential seems interesting for OnLive I think there is a whole slough of complications and questions that come into play.

First and foremost I can see this being a licensing nightmare. Putting top tier video game titles from different developers owned by competing manufacturers together on a third party platform is going to pose major problems.

Secondly, I have my doubts that this will be anywhere near a recession busting service. Giving players access to games they’d normally pay $60 or more for over a streaming service is going to be astronomically expensive. The only way to avoid an astronomical pricing structure for a subscription service like this would be to plaster the user interface and probably the games themselves with dynamic advertising, and in this economy advertising isn’t doing so well. That or it will have to be a pay per play/on demand type service in which the user is simply renting each game.

The slick looking On Live interface

The slick looking OnLive interface

The third, and maybe biggest problem, I can see is it being hard to bring gamers who already own consoles, gaming PCs, and game collections who also subscribe to their consoles online play services to come to a new one. I think the bulk of people who are going to buy a console for this generation of consoles has bought them already. It’s going to be really hard for a company like OnLive to convince it’s users that the same experience that they get from owning a disc in a green case and playing on a custom built PC is going to be the same as the experience they’ll have with the same game on their service. Traditionally, the pride of ownership has trumped the stigma of a game that only exists when you turn on a machine.

This isn’t to say that I don’t see OnLive succeeding. I hope that one day I’ll be able to play a new AAA game on my macbook, I really do. I long to see the day when I can play the newest games on my PC without having to go out and buy a new graphics card every year or two. And I can’t wait to not have to stick a big oddly shaped plastic case with bright LED lights into my entertainment center so I can play games on my TV. But then again, that’s all part of the experience of gaming. And OnLive will have to really start painting a different and more progressive picture for hardcore and casual gamers alike to really change the landscape of gaming.

March Game Backlog

As of the last few months I’ve begun to embrace the current economic climate and have been trying to find new ways to maintain my video game prowess on the cheap. I tried using sites such as playswitch.com and goozex.com before I eventually had success with swaptree.com. I much prefer the one to one trading on swaptree to the game value to points conversion based economy of many other game trading sites. There is just something that is a little disheartening about being a new user to one of these sites, listing the games, and sending one out in the mail without any assurance that you’ll get your game back. But that’s a discussion for another day.

As I was saying I’ve been using swaptree, ebay, and my superior deal finding abilities very frequently as of the past few months. As a result I’ve realized that for the first time in the past year I’ve amassed quite the backlog of games. Feel free to comment on what you think I should be playing in what order if you feel the need. I could use the guidance.

Bioshock

bioshock

Even though this game came out around the time I got my Xbox 360 I always had some game that I wanted to play before I would get a chance to go out and buy it. I have only ever heard good things about it. It even got a few nods for game of the year from a lot of people, but for some reason I just kept putting it off. A few weeks ago I made a trade and obtained a copy through swaptree and now it waits on my entertainment center to be enjoyed.

Burnout Paradise

burnout paradise

As I’ve said in a previous post this was a game that I bought used at Gamestop after hearing a lot of great things when the “reboot” of the game was released this winter. I’ve played about 6 to 8 hours of this so far and have really enjoyed it but I feel like its a game that I can pick up and put down at random. Maybe it’s because I’m not really a driving game person or maybe it’s because that’s how the game is designed. Regardless, it’s still on the backlog list.

Guitar Hero World Tour

guitarhero

This was my first ever rhythm game purchase. I have only ever played these types of games with my family or friends. I was always under the impression that I’d feel like an idiot banging on plastic drums alone in my room. But last week when I found an ebay listing of the full band version of the game for $99. I was skeptical as I usually am with ebay listings, but after some investigation I found out that the box was opened but the game was never even played. The seller had about 400 of them and had a very good reputation so I made the purchase. I’d enthused to play this but I’m still trying to figure out the level of committment you need to make to the game for it to be really enjoyable. So for now I’ll play here and there with my girlfriend until I can make time to start racking up the achievements.

Prince of Persia

princeofpersia

This is one of my two games I’m renting from Gamefly at the moment. I have heard mixed things from this game, but since it’s just a rental I won’t mind if it’s bad. I played through the first level just to get an idea of what it was like and had an okay time. It feels like more of a rhythm game than a normal third person action game. This seems like a game that if I don’t like it I’ll still finish for the achievements.

Mirror’s Edge

mirrorsedge

This is the second game I currently have rented from Gamefly. At the date of this writing, I’m at the very last section of the very last level of this game and I’m frustrated. After hearing things about the achievements and subsequently scoping things out for myself, I decided to play the game without shooting any enemies. This has made the game fairly challenging in a very good way. It seems more like a puzzle game when you take the guns out of the equation. But this section of the last level seems almost impossible. Maybe I’m just not good at the hand to hand combat in this game, but I’ve tried so many times and cannot complete it. So for now, until I feel up to trying it out again, Mirror’s Edge is in my backlog.

I’ll update on my progress as I wade through these titles, but it may take me a while. Until then I’m going to try to divert my attention from any other games I feel I need to catch up on for my sanity at the very least.

Impressions

In this post I’m going to go over some of the games that I’m currently playing but haven’t finished. I’ll do a full review of these games when I’m finished, but I think it would be awesome to see my initial impressions at the start of a game and my final thoughts on the entire game.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Xbox 360)

I waited on this game for a while. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. I know every line to the original triology, I often think about distances in parsecs, and to be totally honest I used to play the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. In fact, I still have my entire collection of cards just sitting at my parents house. So I was very cautious about this game, since I knew it took place after the events of the bad trilogy and before the events of the good trilogy. I played the demo cautiously and found the controls to be really wonky. It felt like they were trying to be more complicated than they should have been. But my brother talked this game up to me and convinced me.

So recently this game came to me in the mail through Gamefly. As of right now, I’m only on the second level (not including the prologue.) I have to say that it took a good bit of time to get used to the controls but I’m really liking them now. I think the hardest thing for me was using the force to pick up large objects and throw them at enemies. It seems like one of those things that you just have to keep doing to get it. I like the force point system even though there isn’t any interface for displaying how many you’re receiving as you play the game, other than the graphic indicator you get when you level up.

The combat is nice mix of fun and challenging. Your enemies are all low level grunts and the occasionaly tough droid or guy with a repeating blaster. Running into bigger enemies also seems to mark your progress. So far I’ve battled AT-ST walkers and Junk Titans at the mid and quarter points of the levels. Each level concludes with you fighting a different jedi master. These battles usually take place in what I thought could’ve been a more substantial set piece, but really the camera just shifts and stays relatively fixed unless you move drastically. These battle are tough, but often only because you either can’t stop your opponents special force attacks or because the camera angle is wonky.

This game has been fun so far. More to come on this when I’ve finished the main storyline.

Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)

Burnout Paradise came out at the beginning of 2008, more than a year ago! Now, when I played the original demo of this game I wasn’t impressed. First of I’m not really that interested in driving games, cars, or Guns ‘N Roses. So initially I discounted this as another game that I was not going to play. Until I started hearing about the large amounts of FREE downloadable content being pumped out and then the subsequent revamp of the entire game. I hear other reviews about how good this game was from people just like me.

Last week I picked up a used copy of this game since the price was right ($17.99 and I really just could’ve bought a new copy for $2 more) but I’ve been super impressed so far. I’ve only put maybe 4 or 5 hours into the game, but it’s impressed me graphically, technically, and contextually. I must say that even though it’s a pretty repetitive game it ends up being fairly addictive. Each event win chalks up another point on your licence. Once you get a new license, you get a new and better car. You’re also able to drive better, faster, and more powerful cars along the way. The promotion of discovery for the sake of convenience and advantage during races is excellent. Each car seems to handle differently from the next and the turbo like power ups for each vehicle vary from car to car as well. I’m going to forge ahead with this game and let you know how it turns out. I’m not sure if I’m going to be a completionist about this one or not, but that goal seems pretty accessible so far.