Friday, October 26, 2007

Colorado off to a Rocky start, almost time for some hockey, and hey, it's Friday!

T.G.I.F. dudes! Hope you have some wicked awesome parties this weekend! Halloween! Woo! Yeah! Here's the rundown:

  • Game 2 went better for the shaken Rockies but still ended in defeat. We'll have to see how the Red Sox fare in Colorado without the Green Nation backing them in Fenway. Will the Rockies crumble? Will the Sox stumble? We shall see.
  • Gonna pick up NHL 2K7 next payday to see how fun hockey is. The nice thing about sports games is once the new game comes out the value of the old game plummets. NHL 2K7 is running about $20.
  • Yes I broke down and ordered Manhunt 2. It's only going for $30 and I have to admit that I want to get a copy before they all disappear or are destroyed or whatever nonsense I trick myself into believing.

That's it for now. Carry on about your Friday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Russian serial killers, a pretty cool mystery game, & more!

Today is the first day I was able to wear a sweater vest this Fall and I am happy. Fall in Texas consists of 90+ heat until the middle of October when a cold rain blows through and drops the temperature 40 degrees almost instantly. Then it's very nice for a week or two until it rains until Thanksgiving. Gotta make the most of it while we can.

  • Looks like the Russkies have themselves another kick ass serial killer - Alexander Pichushkin "The Chessboard Killer". He managed to kill more people than Andrei Chikatilo - 61 vs 53 respectively. Granted Pichushkin tagged mainly drunk old guys and Chikatilo killed and ate women and children. Apparently the Russians did away with capitol punishment and are giving Pichushkin life in prison, huh, learn something new everyday.
  • Clive Barker's Jericho has garnered okay reviews - it sounds like a rental or pick it up if you see it used.
  • Game One of the World Series is on tonight - Red Sox vs Rockies. Personally I don't know if I'm pulling for either team but I just want to watch some kick ass baseball. With any luck it'll be a real battle instead of a rout.
  • Might give in to the temptation to purchase Manhunt 2. I was a fan of the first game and am looking forward to this new one and Hell it's Halloween season.
  • I checked out the webgame Sleuth yesterday and am pretty addicted to it. Basically you create a detective and solve text based mysteries. Doesn't sound that gripping but it's a lot of fun and is more fulfilling than Bejeweled or some of the free puzzlers out there.

In fact it's time to get some lunch and play some Sleuth. Woo! Livin' on the edge!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

David Arquette makes a movie and I win WWII all by myself...again.

Not much in the way of news or reviews lately folks. Sumimasen. Here's what I scraped up this morning

  • Just in time for Halloween David Arquette's The Tripper was released on DVD. Apparently an axe murderer dresses up as Ronald Reagan and chops up hippies gathered at a music festival in the woods headlined by Fishbone. "Party at Ground Zero" indeed.
  • I polished off the Nazi Menace - a.k.a. Medal of Honor: Airborne - this weekend. Little did I know that there is an unlockable bayonet so I'm gonna play through a couple more times until I unlock it. All in all it was a pretty good game. The last two levels really tore me a new one until I was able to really buckle down and focus...or get a wheelbarrow full of explosives with which to smite the Hun. This game's Operation Market Garden was a great deal of fun but the house to house combat could have been a little more intense though I did nearly crap my pants when I realized I had to face tanks as well.

That's the long and the short of it today folks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jesper Kyd scores Assassin's Creed.

The title of the post says it all.

Jesper Kyd is one of my favorite composers. Ubisoft is one of my favorite game companies.

News like this totally makes my day.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Do you like puzzle games like Bejeweled? Do you like old school styled RPGs? If you answered yes to either of these questions then you should download Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. It's definitely worth the 1200 points.

The basic premise of the game is land of blah, blah, blah is being invaded after years and years of peace by the living dead and orcs and assorted baddies. It's up to you to go from town to town rallying forces and teaming up with other characters and fighting the good fight. Build your levels to gain skills and buy better gear and all that good stuff.

The puzzle aspect comes into play during combat and in various mini-games. Variations on the "match 3" game makes for a pretty intense and difficult game. Trying to stay ahead of opponents and utilizing skills to the best of you ability is really challenging. There have been several - a bajillion - games I have lost simply because I made one mistake and the computer crushed me.

Puzzle Quest is a genuinely enjoyable game - being crushed by the computer aside - and as far as I can tell a really lengthy game. It also has online puzzle battle capability if that's your thing.

Medal Of Honor: Airborne - First Mission Impressions.

The Medal of Honor series is a pretty safe bet as far as a solid gaming experience goes - except for Rising Sun. Medal of Honor: Airborne is a solid addition to the series. If you need for WWII FPS action then pick it up. If you are pretty much sick and tired of the WWII FPS genre then don't bother.

The good:

  1. The action kicks ass. The AI will flank, pursue, and generally kick your ass if given a chance. Everything is pretty much as it should be in a franchise like Medal of Honor. Graphics, music, voice acting, and gameplay are all solid.
  2. The Airborne part of the game is an interesting addition though controlling the parachute and landing is giving me a fair amount of trouble. One time I had a bad landing next to the enemy and he beat me to death with his rifle butt.
  3. Enemies speak Italian if they are Italian and German if they are German. Trust me - it makes a difference.
  4. Yeah, it's a Medal of Honor game.

The bad:

  1. Where is my bayonet? I am tired of playing WWII games without a freaking bayonet. If I'm gonna get stuck in melee combat I need something more than a rifle butt. Just saying.
  2. Apparently the Germans who fought in Italy were robotic warmachines with iron heads and heavy body armor. The hit location is pretty wretched - if I put an M1 Garand round in top of some Hun's head I expect him to die not charge me like some Wolfenstein uber-mensch.
  3. It's a Medal of Honor game. Nothing to really write home about.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Las Vegas.

You can be pretty confident that when you see Tom Clancy in conjunction with Ubisoft you're gonna be getting a good game. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six is no exception. Solid gameplay, excellent AI - both friendly and enemy, excellent graphics, great sound design, and smooth control. Really no complaints.

What did strike me as odd was in-game advertising. I don't mind advertising at all in my games - it adds a level of realism I can appreciate. What's peculiar is the fact that are ads for the DVD of 28 Weeks Later which just came out. The game was released last November. I'm not particularly sure how this happened. There was a download update when I first put in the game in. Quite perplexing.

Now I'm interested in how long it will take for in-game advertising to tailor itself to my gaming preferences.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion free download.

Boo-yah. Looks like Elder Scrolls: Oblivion has a new - and final? - download. That's pretty cool but what's cooler is it's gonna be a free download for a week starting Monday 10/15.

Fun with Classic RPG nonsense!

I was posting on a forum about what I liked and didn't like in RPGs and started going off. It made me laugh so I'm reposting here.

What I don't like in RPGs:

1) Japanese psuedo Miyazaki mumbo jumbo eco-story lines - i.e. A band of misfits must restore the balance and heal the spirit of the life blood of the planet who has been turned into a monster/demon spirit by the evil corporate military-industrial complex that has angered the earth spirit/demon/life force by tapping into the life force/spirit energy and is causing a rift and our band of misfits must heal the wound in the spirit/life force in order to stop the angered demon spirit from destroying everyone and everything and sending all that we hold dear into a spiralling spiral of forgetful sadness. Oh yeah and one or more of the characters are plucky, sassy, and/or are some kind of anthropomorphic girl.

2) Fantasy RPGs are boring. I've been playing them for over twenty years and eventually I get bored. In the last quarter of the game I just get bored to the point that I go read a book or go outside or - god forbid - see what's on TV.

3) Grinding for EXP. I liked the fact that I could train in "Elder Scrolls: Oblivion". Mindless, repetitive combat is not my idea of a good time.

4) Idiotic dialogue. You all know what I mean.

5) Dungeon crawling. I've crawled through miles and miles and miles and miles of dungeons, caverns, swamps, forests, ruins, temples, and sewers. Enough. Finis. Unless you are willing to spice it up with intelligent puzzles, challenging traps, and monsters - thank you "Overlord" xoxo - don't bother.

6) Step and fetch quests. How many of you remember something like this?:
  • You need a key to enter the Dungeon of Stone. Speak to the gatekeeper in his hut outside the Dungeon of Stone. He is bored and needs something to read, perhaps a book. Where do I get a book? He doesn't know but perhaps the Gatekeeper at the City of Air can tell you. Where is the City of Air? The Gatekeeper of Stone used to know but it has been so long that he has forgotten. Perhaps the Witch in the Forest of Gloom south of the Dungeon of Stone knows how to get to the City of Air. After wandering through the Forest of Gloom you find the Witch's House. Where's the Witch? Why is she not home? WTF! Break and steal everything not nailed down inside and outside the Witch's home. Decide to spend the night in her house. During the night you are awakened by the Witch's pet Ghost. The Ghost says that the Witch was kidnapped by the Shades of the Swamp of Mist. You can follow the Ghost through the Forest of Gloom to the edge of Swamp of Mist but can't show you through the Swamp of Mist because *cue flashback* the Ghost is tied to the Forest of Gloom. The Ghost warns that it is easy to get lost in the Swamp of Mist and mentions that if you had a light you could find you way much easier. Perhaps that Ruby from the Palace of Flame could be useful - it worked in Labyrinth of the Abyss. Equip. Press A to equip. Are you sure? Press A. To use press A. Are you sure? Press A. The Ruby has no energy. Walk back through the Forest of Gloom, past the Witch's house, past the Gatekeeper of Stone, across the Frosted Ice Plain, across the Mountain Peaks of Treachery, into the Halls of Ash, and speak to the Gatekeeper of Flame, enter the Castle of Flame, rest at the Inn, reequip - press A - and get into the Castle of Flame and then speak to His Majesty the Keeper of Flame. He says he'll power up the Ruby just this once. If you need to power it up again he will need a favor done for him. Like you didn't save his Kingdom of Flame from the Iron Beasts and their Digging Machines. Before you leave he mentions that if you him a favor then he will give you a gift. Do you accept? Press A for Yes or Press B for No. Jesus, since I'm here Yes. Are you sure? Press A. Apparently His Majesty the Keeper of the Flame has been having problems with his daughter the Princess of Flame, Ember. She has run off into the Molten Chasm and His Majesty is concerned for her safety. Will you find her and bring her back? Fortunately there is an entrance to the Molten Chasm in the dungeon and here is the key. Dungeon crawl the Molten Chasm. Princess Ember is fighting a Crimson Burrower and is doing well but falls down and you run to her aid. Defeat the Crimson Burrower thanks to Princess Ember's fire magic. Back to the throne room of the Palace of Flame, dysfunctional family dialogue, Ember joins you on your Quest, His Majesty allows you to loot the treasure rooms and gives Princess Ember her mother's weapons and armour. Apparently the Queen kicked ass and died. Reequip, visit the Inn, save. Now what the Hell were you supposed to do?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New downloads for Carcassonne! Woo!

Though we don't play as much Carcassonne as we used to thanks to cable and other distractions we still play it here and there. With the new download I'm sure I'll get a couple of hours of play out of it.

A little love for the PS3.

I miss Playstation sometimes. My PS2 rarely (never) gets any love though I still have a short stack of games I want to play on the console. There are plenty of rumors of price drops and bundles for the PS3. One rumor I came across is that the new 40GB model is not going to be backwards compatible. Wha'?

Then there's the issue of well...the exclusive games just aren't there for the PS3 yet. GTAIV is going to have exclusive content for the 360. I read somewhere that Rockstar's La Noire is going to be PS3 exclusive - if it actually comes out. The game that is exclusive and looks completely awesome is Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Really solid, top notch classic adventure games are pretty few and far between for some bizarre reason. Indiana Jones games are pretty much total disappointments. Uncharted has been getting some solid press and Naughty Dog knows what they are doing as far as making fun adventure games what with their Jak & Daxter series. Here's one of the trailers...and yes that's Nathan "Captain Tight Pants" Fillion:

Start saving your pennies kids...

Someone is selling a Titan 1 Missle Base sans Titan Missles for 1.5 million dollars. How could I not want to buy a Missle Base? If I had the money to spend on a mansion of the same cost then why would I buy a mansion? Now I am going to spend the rest of the day thinking about how completely awesome it would be to live in an abandoned Missle Base. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Smell the Glove.

What's wrong with being sexy?

Ubisoft is throwin' rocks!

This game looks pretty damn cool:

Conan. The Demo.

I was excited about the Conan game yesterday. Today I am not. It's not that the demo was bad it was just kind of underwhelming. I'm not the world's greatest button combo *cough button masher* gamer when it comes down to it so I couldn't do any particularly fancy moves though I did manage to hack off some one's arms.

The game looks good when in play and kind of weird during the cinemas. It's like they made the game look very similar to the Frazetta palette but then the cut scenes looked...weird, like ugly action figures. The game play was pretty straight forward. If you've played God of War then you'll have no problem with the controls. I like RB being the action button - I'm not sure why but I like it. What I don't like is jump.

Mini rant:
Jumping has it's place - in cartoony platformers and ninja games and fancy lad Prince of Perisa games . Otherwise it's really fucking stupid. Who the hell jumps? Sure the occasional leap of faith but wedge that into one of those interactive cinemas that are so popular. If the character needs to get onto a ledge then hit the action button and they climb up or interact with the environment to find another way. If I have to play another action game where I have to bunny hop over walls I'm gonna crap out my eyes.

I guess the rest of the demo is okay. This is one of those games that I'll eventually rent but with the rest of this winter releases Conan definitely gets put on a backburner.


Conan is voiced by Ron Perlman (Hellboy) but you wouldn't know it. This sounds phoned in on one of the Professor's coconut phones.

Bladestorm! Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of Koei!

If you're not familiar with the game company Koei then I recommend dropping what you're doing and go buy a copy of Dynasty Warriors 2 or 3 and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening button mashing hordes of enemies.

Koei has produced a great number of strategy/historical combat games - Romance of the Three Kingdoms I-??? and the Dynasty Warriors series being the most popular. They are usually pretty good games but after playing their games for over a decade, well, they're pretty much the same. I wasn't really all that thrilled to play Bladestorm - the newest Koei release set during the Hundred Years War - but fired up the demo because I needed something to play. I was not only surprised not only how good Bladestorm is but how much fun I was having. Add to that I can't wait to get home and play the demo some more and I think Bladestorm might be a winner.

The long and short of the game is you play a mercenary lending aid to either the English or the French or possibly both. As you battle across France you gain fame and fortune and troops and skills and loot'n'booty and other kick ass stuff. I think I enjoy the fact unlike Dynasty Warriors where you play a super warrior whomping on everyone in Bladestorm you have to command and rely on the troops you are with. Troop commands are straight forward - RB to attack and Y, X, B for special attacks - and once I got the rhythm down I was doing some serious damage to the enemy.

This wouldn't be a Koei game without mountains of micromanagement. Each troop type can be trained and equipped with various skills and all sorts of mumbo-jumbo. I'm sure there's more but hey it's only the demo.

I look forward to picking this one up.

Did someone finally create a multiplayer I'd play?

Over on there's a drool inducing preview of the multiplayer of Kane & Lynch. From what they are talking about it sounds like the guys at Io have put together another awesome game. The multiplayer is going to be various criminal endeavours - i.e. heists - and all the goodness that goes along with that. It sounds like it's going to be a total blast and the first serious caper game. This is the first game I am actually excited to play multiplayer, hell yeah.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just another kind of sort of slightly almost manic Monday.

Several updates in my inbox today that I feel need passing along. If you don't appreciate the awesomeness then the hell with ya.

  • In case you needed another reason to pine for a 360: the Conan demo is available today. Conan: The Videogame should be pretty hack'n'hewtastic but I think I read somewhere that he has some kind of magic and I don't know how I feel about that. I'm gonna be playing the demo this evening so I'll be letting you know about it in a day or two.
  • In case you haven't had your fill of suckheads with Moonlight then rejoice because Rise: Blood Hunter is coming out on DVD tomorrow. Personally I'm not gonna go out of my way to rent it but what the hell - it's almost Halloween.
  • The Diamondbacks poisoned the Cubs, the Phillies felt the wrath of the Rockies, the Red Sox ripped the wings off the Angels - will the Indians scalp the Yankees? Game one was great fun with the Indians winning 13-3. Game two was an 11 inning battle that was marked by swarms of Canadian Soliders - basically ants with wings - and was a blast to watch. I didn't watch game three - I was busy playing video games. Apparently Steinbrenner was threatening to fire Torre if the Yankees didn't win the Series. The Yankees won Game 3 and tonight is Game 4 - hot damn. I don't want to get my hopes up but like we say around here, "Fuck the Yankees."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Rundown:

Blah, blah, blah...let's get down to brass tacks.

  • While I like the fact that acts like Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse are gaining popularity and creating a main stream interest in Soul I do have to admit that I'd still rather just listen to the originals. The yesterday I heard a band on WNYC that made me drop what I was doing and turn up the radio - Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. Their third release 100 Days, 100 Nights is at the top of my must buy ASAP albums. These guys are great, top notch classic Rhythm & Blues Soul. Sharon Jones has a blow the doors off the hinges burn down the house sound. The Dap Kings are just stellar. I seriously can't wait to buy their albums and based on the strength of their work I'm gonna take a good look at the rest of bands on the Daptone Records label. Of course they were here in Austin last SXSW. Damn it, but that means with any luck they'll be coming through town again.
  • Black Sheep is being released on DVD next Tuesday. If you're not familiar it's a Kiwi movie about genetically altered sheep that go bonkers and attack people. Supposed to be gory as hell, I guess that makes up for the idiocy of sheep attacking people. I want to see it but damn I'm tired of humor in my horror. Fido - the Billy Connolly zombie movie comes out on October 23rd as well.
  • The Darjeeling Limited has opened to mixed reviews. Premiere and Rolling Stone and Ebert all have high praise and everyone else makes it sound like it's a Wes Anderson movie...oh is a Wes Anderson movie. Now that I have cable I can rest easy knowing that one day I will see it on cable or netflix if cable doesn't work out.
  • A Minnesota woman - Jammie Thomas - has to pay the Recording Industry Association of America $220, 000 for downloading and sharing music. 220, 000 dollars. I'm curious as to what she downloaded and shared - The Rolling Stones? The Secret Hymns of the Illuminati? Seriously. What the fuck - how is anyone supposed to pay that off?

And that's pretty much it for now. If someone has a copy of Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty - I would like to borrow it so I can listen to it and then go out and buy a copy of my own - please let me know. I've had that song stuck in my head for days now and I can't just download it like a normal person.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Del Toro, Lovecraft, finally...

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back on January 12 I found a post about the script for Del Toro's adaptation of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. Well today I found another post stating that this will be the movie Del Toro works on after Hellboy 2: The Golden Army - an awesome name for the movie.

Personally I think Del Toro should put out At the Mountains of Madness sooner but that's just me.

The best review of Halo 3.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Upcoming releases for 360 & PS2

October and November are going to be busy - and expensive:

" Who Tommy? Ze Germans?"

Apparently the Germans - like the Australians - ban and restrict video games for being too awesome. After reading a few articles last week about Germany's clampdown on Clive Barker's Jericho I was jumped on playing the demo on XBOX Live. The demo is also available for download for the PC. I suggest that after you read this you go download the demo.

As far as first impressions go Jericho looks too good to be true. I had pretty much written Clive Barker off - his novels haven't been too impressive, his game forays have been lacklustre, and his movie/tv ventures have been piss poor. Jericho has an old school Barker styled story - before Adam & Eve there was the Undying. The discarded and unloved Undying went bad, blah, blah, blah cut to modern times an elite squad of supernatural ass-kickers are investigating a swirling vortex of evil in the middle of nowhere desert of the Middle East. Then it all goes bad.

For a squad based FPS the squad control is simple and smooth and being able to switch between characters with D-pad is nice. The squad in the demo is made up of your standard big guy with a gatling gun and pyromancy, hot chick with telekinesis and sniper rifle, and stealthy hot chick with katana and creepy "blood magic". I have had a bit of trouble using big guy's pyromancy - I think that I'm hitting the wrong button - but his gatling gun shreds enemies. The sniper is my personal favorite and I dig the fact they gave her a grenade launcher. Stealthy girl is fun to play with and not quite as squishy as she could potentially be. What I like is the fact that when not being directly controlled the characters do what they should be doing - taking cover, taking point, and generally kicking ass. I look forward to seeing what the rest of team can do.

Jericho is going to be scary. If I can get the heebie jeebies and jump at shadows just because of a demo either I have turned into a bigger pussweed or this game is effective. The undead/demon/creepy whatever the hell they are awesome looking. The whole demo is awesome looking. Codemasters really nailed it with this game - Jericho looks great. Halo 3 doesn't look this good. Bioshock does though Bioshock also has a unique style to set it apart from everything. It remains to be seen wether or not Jericho has any truly new and refreshing elements. After all I've seen castles and catacombs and sewers and rivers of blood and skinless corpses and demon knights and the Apocalypse before. I do have high hopes for this game though.

It has a release date of 10-23-07 so expect a review soon after that.

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