The first good console MMO?

Why MMOs are almost exclusively a PC genre is sort of a mystery these days. Sure, console gamers that are used to paying just for the initial box and maybe some future dlc would balk at paying a monthly subscription fee and keyboards are far more versatile for the genre in general, but the sheer lack of attempts is staggering. I mean there have been a few canceled projects and that's about it. DC Universe Online is hopefully set to change this mindset when it comes out in about a week and a half. I've been able to play a few sessions here and there in the beta, and the game actually works incredibly well with the PS3 controller, giving you a much more action-packed grind than you get out of WOW. Of course, it's easy to forget that this is a new MMO, just about to come out of beta, and there are still plenty of maintenance issues (the reason I'm not playing right now is because the servers are down, which has been an issue the last few days really). But frankly the ability to be a superhero running around with the likes of Supes & Batman and even minor leaguers like Steel while fighting the likes of Grodd and Braniac. I unfortunately think I won't really have the time to devote to make a monthly subscription worth it, but it seems like once the maintenance issues are under control it will hopefully be the first of many quality MMOs for consoles. We'll see when it hits on the 11th.

One other service I've been giving a shot is Hulu Plus, and while it does show a lot of promise, it has a long way to go if it wants to be on the same level as services like Netflix. Sure, Netflix doesn't have current shows most of the time for streaming, but it has an absolutely tremendous back catalog, far less issues streaming and no ads. Aside from being able to play it on my PS3, I'm not compltely sure what benefit I get in paying for this since some content that is on Hulu for free isn't available on the Plus service. Admittedly the sheer fact that I can watch at least some episodesof current TV or catch up on seasons I've been missing out on for a mere $8 a month seems like it might be worthwhile.

That's pretty much it for today, have a happy New Year, and I'll see you in 2011, leaving you with the TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Casino Jack


10 Reasons to still play your Wii in 2011

Yeah, the future isn't looking entirely bright for the little underpowered console at the moment. Nintendo is most likely focused on launching its new baby, the 3DS, which is just a few months from launch, and they pretty much seemed to have blown their load on catalog releases this past year, coming out with an entry for pretty much all their established franchises. And both Sony and Microsoft have gotten into the motion gaming arena, offering similar options in high def. Might as well dump the Wii now while it's still worth something right? Not so fast. Like every year, there are actually a fairly decent amount of reasons to not only keep your Wii, but possibly play it just as much if not more so than the "hardcore" consoles, and here's 10 to look forward to right now :

10. Retro City Rampage

Unfortunately no longer a Fall 2010 release or aWiiware exclusive, because otherwise it'd probably be higher on the list. But that doesn't changed the fact that this is a real GTA "de-make" that promises to brilliantly spoof both classic 80s games and the sandbox crime saga genre that GTA itself defined is one of the most anticipated downloadable titles in ages.

9. de Blob 2

The original de Blob is one of many excellent third-party Wii efforts that sadly went mostly unnoticed by the Wii audience,so it's no surprise that much like RCR above, it's expanding to all 3 consoles for the sequel. But the original was a great example of awesome gaming using the waggle, so the sequel should be no different in quality, and hey if you already have a Wii, why pay extra to get something that will pretty much be the same on any other console?

8. Mario Sports Mix

Hey not every game is going to be for us hardcore people, and putting three sports into one box Nintendo would usually sell as 3 separate titles is an unusually good value assuming they play well. Mario sports titles have a pretty good record overall, and this is the kind of game you could enjoy with more casual gamers in your family/circle of friends without being ashamed to even own it unlike say Carnival Games. The real icing on the cake would be competent online play(it does have online play, but only one-on-one and still needs friend codes, which should be dropped altogether), but since this is Nintendo, that's probably not going to happen.

7. Conduit 2

The Wii is better built for shooters than most would lead you to believe. It's why games like the Metroid Prime Trilogy are considered a must buy and the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 is considered essentially the best version. Because when done right, the shooters stand right up there with the likes of COD and Gears of War. So, aside from lack of a coherent online system, it's sort of puzzling why more high-profile shooters don't end up here. But the Conduit series was intentioned from the get go to be a hardcore FPS that Wii owners could claim as their own. Now while the first didn't completely live up the ridiculously high bar it set for itself, it was still an incredibly solid game, and the sequel really promises to improve on that experience.

6. Dragonquest X

This would probably be significantly higher if a damn thing was known about this latest entry in the biggest RPG series in the world. But this is actually shaping up to be a rather strong year for Wii rpgs, with several to be known in development, this arguably being the biggest one. All we really know is that this is confirmed for the Wii and it's supposed to be out sometime in 2011. But since it's a DQ title, that may be all fans need to know anyways.

5. Xenoblade

Admittedly all I really know about this title is that it is a critically acclaimed rpg in Japan that seems ripe for a release over here. Though no official announcement has been made, both fanboys and websites  alike have been been drooling over it, so it would make a 2011 release at least seem a likely possibility. It looks gorgeous and seriously long, so any rpg fan should snap it up right away if it does come out here.

4. Lost in Shadow

Just a few days away from release, Lost in Shadow is already one of the more intriguing titles this year. It's a 2d side-scrolling platformer, which is becoming increasingly rare and it uses a really unique hook being that you literally are a shadow and have to pretty much use the background as your guide. Hopefully it lives up to its lofty promise as reviews have been a tad mixed, but those who love it truly think its brilliant.

3. Last Story

It's another rpg (I told you it looks like a good year for Wii rpgs), but this one is from famed Final Fantasy director, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Offering what seems to be a solid single and online component along with an epic quest. Last Story has been looking more awesome with each preview, so this should be an rpg hopefully on par with any other epic out there this year.

2. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

It's ZELDA. Do I really need to explain much more than that? The showing at E3 was awesome, Zelda is always incredible. This will probably be the premier 2011 title for Wii, and that's not because of a lack of other stellar titles. Zelda games stand out pretty much any year, and this one should be no exception.

1. Games You Missed

See that game right there? It's a highly praised Wii title that no one bought. And it's one of many. Other excellent action games like No More Heroes 2 & Sin & Punishment also pretty much died at retail while crap like Just Dance 2 sold like hotcakes. Wii owners who enjoy real games cry time and time again about the lack of non-shovelware but when someone tries to come out with something for that crowd, they hardly show up. If your Wii isn't getting much playtime, odds are there is more than a few noteworthy games released not only this past year, but in the last several that you can pick up on the cheap now and discover. Titles like the original Conduit, the first de Blob, Zak & Wiki, Madworld and many many others. If you seriously wanna bolster your library, the bargain/used section at most stores have plenty of awesome titles for under $20 if you're willing to dig just a little.

So yeah, hardly time to turn in that little underpowered waggle-machine just yet. And 2011 hasn't even started, so I'm sure Nintendo has a few surprises up its sleeve like it usually does. That's pretty much all for today, but I should be back with another post tomorrow. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Line Runner 2


The obligatory Christmas post

Sorry about only one post this week, but my schedule has been kind of screwy lately, so until I get that sorted out, this'll be m last post (but shouldn't be more than a week or two). So in the meantime, here's some Christmas cheer for you all:

The Tron Holiday Xmas Special

The Robot Chicken Christmas Special

10 Must-see Xmas Horror Movies

The 12 most Unintentionally Disturbing Xmas ads

4 Bad Lessons from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer



Lonestar vs. Captain Jack?

Yup, former space hero and alien ass-kicking president Bill Pullman is all set to join the upcoming season of Torchwood, along with Mekhi Phifer (who had a pretty good run on Lie to Me). It does seem like they are cast under a mandate of having somewhat familiar American actors in the show because as awesome as Torchwood is, much like Doctor Who it's following in America is small at best; however these seem like 2 very awesome additions to the cast (though to be fair Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke would've made a lot more sense to long-time fans). I can't wait for the series to finally start sometime next year.

Maybe I've just been spoiled by the pure awesomeness that is Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (even if it is missing a couple obvious classics like Toejam & Earl and General Chaos), but it's far and away the best compilation out there and should be an example to others for sheer content alone. Now, most aren't going to be that massive, and I accept that, but the Super Mario All-Stars compilation seems like such a major jip. 4 Games? All of which you can simply get on the Wii Virtual Console for a cheaper price. The graphics are only moderately updated (to 16-bit). This just seems like a really pathetic cash grab to me. If they had made them all multi-player like the New Super Mario Bros game or included a few more classics such as Super Mario World or Yoshi's Island, it might be worth it, but it really seems like this was a big throwaway idea. Let's hope the newly confirmed Dreamcast collection isn't also a let down (and as long as they include Skies of Arcadia, it probably won't be).

Another "classic" out this week on both PSN & XBLA is the old X-Men arcade game. It's arguably a re-skinned Ninja Turtles game with very similar mechanics, so whether it's worth picking up or not may be dependent on your love of simplistic old-school brawlers. I considered it worth the $10, though value beyond that is arguable.

Ok that's pretty much it for today so until next time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Take me Home Tonight


Well looks like my 2011 calendar is pretty much taken up...

At least as long as there are no massive delays. The completely pointless Spike Videogame Awards aired last night, but they did show off a ton of awesome games for 2011, including Arkham City, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3 and the OH MY GOD IT ACTUALLY EXISTS Elder Scrolls V. As pumped as I am for new chapters in the Mass Effect & Uncharted series as well as the sequel to the best superhero game ever, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion ate up my game time like few other games have, easily spending a couple hundred hours on it and never even finishing the main quest. Seriously, I hope Nintendo has nothing awesome planned for next year (besides the 3DS, which likely won't have much worthwhile software he first year anyways, like virtually all consoles), because I don't know if I'll have time. Well, maybe for Skyward Sword, but that's probably pushing it.

I haven't been paying much (really any attention) to the Doritos-sponsored xbox live development series that resulted in what should be 2 horribly cheap games. I haven't actually tried Harm's Way, just doesn't seem like my cup of tea, but I might try it at some point. Crash Course, on the other hand, is unexpectedly awesome. It's basically Ninja Warrior with avatars, pulled off incredibly well. Pretty much the only thing missing is a level editor so you can make your own stages, it would nearly infinite replay value.

That's really all I've got for today, so I'll just leave you with your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: THOR


Shaking things up...

Expansions rarely change the core of the game. They are by definition, pretty much an extension of what you already have, sometimes only a little, sometimes a vast amount, but the core game itself remains virtually unchanged. This week's biggest release, the latest expansion to the hugely popular World of Warcraft game, Catyclysm, actually drastically alters the Azeroth landscape and some of the biggest changes in game history, even bringing major changes to familiar classes.

Now anyone who has actually followed this blog since the start knows that I had somewhat brief (at least in MMO terms) addiction to it back in its infancy before any expansions were released, then pretty much quit cold turkey near the endgame and really hadn't looked back. My wife however, discovered it a few months ago and is completely  hooked, and has even gotten me back into just a little, so of course we picked it up. I haven't really tested out the new races myself, but many of the changes already have taken place with the last major patch and it's pretty awesome not to mention refreshing to see them make really big changes like this rather than the mostly minor tweaking they've been doing even with the previous expansions. If you have been lax in your WoW lately or have been away awhile, this probably provides the best reason to come back in a long time.

XBLA & PSN are prime opportunities to re-live arcade classics, and someone has finally gotten around to releasing a long overdue one as X-Men arcade hits XBLA next week (PS3 owners unfortunately have to wait til February). Now if someone can get their heads out of their asses and release the far superior Simpsons arcade game we'd pretty much be set.

And out this week is this almost obligatory tie-in the the latest nerd-gasm worthy-looking movie, Tron: Evolution. I really have very little interest and the game though, and I'm sort of wondering why Tron is even popular in this day and age. Ok, it has a cult following, lots of crappy movies do. It was a giant flop when it was released, and if you watch it today, it doesn't really hold up in any shape or form. Fantastic idea? Absolutely, but the execution was pretty ho-hum. Whether or not the sequel actually delivers on the promising idea of the original is yet to be seen. I do plan on seeing it if not next week in the near future so I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I do.

Ok thats really all I have for today, but I should be back later in the week with something. Til then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Endeavor


Epic Fail?

There's a lot of positive things to say about what Warren Spector has done here with Epic Mickey. The art style is fantastic, making it one of the best-looking games on the Wii and proving once again that processing power isn't everything. The fan-service is immense with nods not just to Mickey himself but to a vast majority of Disney's contribution to animation in general. But while the overall style and fanservice is top notch, the game fails in a couple of key areas that seem like really obvious issues. Firstly, the voicework, or overall lack thereof. With the excpetion of the Narrator, no one really has a voice in Epic Mickey. Now, that is pretty standard for most Wii titles, but given the famous voices that should be involved here, it's pretty inexcusable that they don't talk.

Secondly, many times you are given at best a vague idea of where you are supposed to go or what you are supposed to do, and the system to help you out (little lights called guardians that can point to your next objective) works poorly at best.

But really the biggest issue is the camera. Now a bad camera is almost expected as even with all the advances in technology getting a really solid consistent camera in a 3D game is a near impossibility even in the best of the genre. But this has to be one of the worst cameras I have ever had to deal with, making many battles a guessing game and platforming sections a huge leap of faith for the most part. A camera this bad is pretty inexcusable on what is supposed to be a AAA title right up there with Nintendo's finest efforts.

So is it a bad game not worth your time? It depends. If you are a huge Mickey/Disney fan, it's probably worth it for the presentation and fanservice alone. It presents a ton of value through multiple playthroughs, and there are certainly enough times where everything clicks to show the game's full potential. However, I don't think there is enough here to make it worthwhile for people who are not Disney fans or animation buffs.

Moving on, if anything seemed like a giant cash grab at this point, it would be a Back to the Future title. There hasn't been a new movie in a long time and no attempt to re-make it yet (thank god), but the guys at Telltale games are not ones for quick cash grabs, making the highly amusing Sam & Max titles as well as the latest entries in the Monkey Island series and the Wallace & Gromit games. So when they are the ones making a Back to the Future title, you should know its worth checking out, which they have definitely confirmed with this awesome trailer for the game, due out in the next several weeks:


Supposedly they are also working on a Jurassic Park title, but I don't see nearly as much potential there.

That's pretty much it for today, but I should be back Tuesday with thoughts on Catyclysm, Inception and probably a few other things. In the meantime, here is your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Your Highness


The Top Nine worst castings of iconic characters...

Well I took a bit longer off than I originally intended, but yes I am back and should be back to my regular schedule of at least 2 posts per week. I do have Epic Mickey and will write about that next time, just don't think I'll get enough time in today to give a really thorough impression. Now, some of you may have already heard, but the latest game franchise sure to be completely ruined in movie form is Uncharted. While great Indiana Jones-style move fodder it is, rather than cast someone who can play the smarmy charming Nathan Drake (like say Nathan Fillion, who even campaigned for the role) they chose Marky Mark Wahlberg. Now, I don't share the ultimate hate for Wahlberg many do, even though he makes plenty of bad movies. But hey, plenty of actors do. But he is horribly wrong for this role. However he's not the first person cast in some iconic role when they clearly don't fit the bill. Here's 9 that might just make casting the funky one seem brilliant in comparison.

#9. Kevin Costner as Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

This just barely makes the cut because I absolutely love this movie, but it is in spite of Costner's absolutely terrible portrayal. Costner is one of the worst big name actors in recent history, and his inability to pick an accent and stick with it in this film doesn't help matters. Luckily the film is saved by everyone else around Costner, but that doesn't really make his "acting" excusable.

8.Hayden Christensen-Anakin Skywalker in The Star Wars Prequels

This is sort of only half the actor's fault. Sure, he's wooden and not the spitting image of the ultimate badass we saw in the original films, but Lucas' terrible dialogue and direction really seals the deal. And I won't really harp on Jake Llloyd because frankly he was 10, and really, how many good actors around that age are there?

7. Mark Wahlberg as Max Payne in Max Payne

This is probably why Wahlberg should actually know better than to jump into another video game adaptation. Max Payne is an intense noir thriller, and while Wahlberg can do gloomy serious cop, he can't really do the pain (no pun intended) of a scarred individual like Max justice. It didn't help that the gritty tone went down to a PG-13 rating orthat the trailers implied a supernatural element to a series that has none. Bad all around, but the heaviest anchor bringing this ship down was Wahlberg.

6. Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese in Terminator: Salvation

Now don't get me wrong, Yelchin was absolutely gold in Star Trek as Chekov and he's got a promising career ahead of him. But he's no Kyle Reese. At least not the Kyle Reese who was badass enough to be John Connor's bestest buddy and most trusted soldier, only to go back in time, live out the fantasy of banging his best friend's hot mom and hold off the ultimate robot badass for about 99% of the movie. This Reese is lucky to have lasted 5 seconds in the apocalypse, and Connor wouldn't let him anywhere near a battlefield.

5.  Dolph Lundgren as the Punisher in The Punisher

Yup. Russian steroid machine Ivan Drago as all-American killing machine Frank Castle. To be fair, the new Punisher may actually be worse, but that's more the fault of the movie. This is one of those casting choices that just makes you wonder how much blow did the execs go through before they were convinced this was a good idea?

4. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin

I probably don't need to do much explaining here. One of the biggest disasters ever to be filmed, the failures run across the board. But arguably the most bizarre decision was to cast the hulking future Governor as the wiry extremely brilliant and extremely layered Victor Fries. Arnold was a great action star and even had some comedic range, but dramatic range just wasn't there, and buried in Schumacher's campier than Adam West could ever hope to be vision, it made even less sense.

3. Jean Claude Van Damme as Guile in Street Fighter

Guile is the All-American army boy in the Street Fighter franchise. So who better to play him than a Belgian who can barely manage English? Yeah, that's a brilliant idea. It's Street Fighter, we aren't expecting brilliance, and Van Damme wasn't exactly at his prime when this movie came out to begin with, so why they wouldn't just save money and cast some random American black belt who can speak proper English? It boggles the damn mind.

2. David Hasslehoff as Nick Fury in Nick Fury: Agent of Shield

David Hasslehoff in anything is pretty much a joke, but none more so than this ill-fated made-for-tv disaster. Granted, the land of TV movies is a mostly barren wasteland of pure trite, but this literally seems to come out of the fact that they producers needed an actor with some kind of name recognition, as admittedly before Sam Jackson came into the role, anyone who didn't obsessively read Marvel comics wouldn't have the slightest idea who the hell Nick Fury was. But it doesn't change the fact that Hasslehoff has made a career of being a complete goddamn joke, which makes him a pretty terrible choice to be one of the baddest non-superhumans in the Marvel Universe.

1. The entire cast of the Super Mario Bros. Movie

Oh dear god the horror. The horror. Two non-Italians butchering the admittedly stereo-typical but most famous Italians all of time. Dennis Hopper as King Koopa? A weird humanoid lizard as Goomba? What cocaine/ecstasy/lsd-fueled board meeting even cooked this up? To paraphrase a certain famous movie quote: What you've just produced is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever witnessed. At no point in this rambling, incoherent experience were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having watched  it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Ok that's the list, and let's start things off with the FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Super Pixelknight


5 reasons the digital age is bad for gamers

Yes the digital age is coming. Hell in some aspects it's already here. PCs and consoles have tons of downloadable content and games you can only get through online channels, and many are awaiting the "glorious" day where everything will be download-only, cutting out middle-man brick & mortar stores, which would hopefully lead to cheaper prices (yeah, right and Superman 64 is the best game ever). But in my opinion, the move anytime soon to a strictly digital service like say Steam, is a terrible, terrible idea, and here's 5 perfectly good reasons why:

5. The waiting/space game: Full retail games are humongous downloads. Odds are most people these days are no more than 15 minutes from somewhere they can pick up the latest videogame. A game the size of your average retail title could take far longer than that to download and install, and though hard drives are getting bigger and bigger, they could eat up your space fairly quickly, especially if you keep more on your hard drive than just games.

4. Rushed or unfinished games: This is already a huge issue. Games ship all the time nowadays with huge bugs or missing content that was promised for launch to be fixed later via a patch. I get why this happens, I mean everyone has to deal with budget and time constraints and sometimes you just have to get a game out the door. But the fact that many companies can now get away with releasing sloppy or unfinished products is probably only going to get worse, I'm sure somebody will try gouging gamers for an episodic game released in parts.

3.  Cutting off your audience: Here's a hard slap in the face: The internet isn't nearly as widespread and influential as most people on the internet think. If that was the case, Firefly & Arrested Development would still be on the and Scott Pilgrim would be the highest-grossing film of all time. A rather large portion of the population owns consoles and has never connected them to the internet. Hell only about 6% actually purchase dlc. Doesn't mean it won't grow and expand, it will, but there's just too huge a market of people who don't have the access or don't want to bother with it. Hell I'm extremely internet savvy and I rarely buy dlc, maybe a couple titles a year. It will be a huge mistake to try and go purely digital anytime soon (see the PSPGO for a prime example of this).

2. Pricing: With taking games away from the traditional brick and mortar settings, we are pretty much subject to whatever the publisher wants to charge for as long as they want. This means no $15-20 giftcards that stores often provide as incentives, arguably far less sales and price drops as DLC now as it stands stays fairly firm on price on long periods of time. Granted, in a purely digital age, the market may adjust accordingly, but seeing as many titles that have been available for years have seen little to no change in price except for the once in a blue moon sale, I seriously doubt it.

1. The disappearance of the second-hand market: Yes yes, everybody hates the evil, evil Gamestop and their pawnshop-esque practices and their hardly-used new games for the incredibly low price of $5 less than brand new. But really the second-hand market helps gamers far more than it hurts. It saves gamers money allowing to to buy more titles than they normally would and also it allows you to get older out of print titles for usually a pretty reasonable price. In a digital age, this goes away. If I always have to pay full price for games, I'm buying a lot less. Also what if a company decides to no longer offer a game for download? What, you have to wait for them to hopefully re-release it? There are some things that should be fixed and developers should certainly get some share especially now that everybody seems to be jumping into used games but the death of the second-hand market will drastically alter the landscape of gaming in general, and in my opinion not in a good way for the most part.

Ok, this will be my last post for a little while, as I am getting married next week and going on my honeymoon, I should be back to posting regularly in late November (probably fairly close to when Epic Mickey finally hits). In the meantime, I leave you with the FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: EPIC COMBO!


Schafer leaves me wanting a whole lot more...

Tim Schafer is a creative genius. Psychonauts, Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island. Even blunders like Brutal Legend had interesting characters and a fun story. So with that in mind we come to Double Fine's first digital release, Costume Quest, a charming funny halloween-themed rpg reminscent of classics like Earthbound that I enjoyed quite a bit. For the roughly FIVE hours it took to beat it. Seriously. And one go-through netted me nearly all the trophies, so the replay value is pretty low. Granted, I wouldn't be so annoyed if it wasn't $15, which qualifies it as an upper-tier downloadable title. And I'm not expecting an epic 20+ hour quest, 10-12 (which is about how long the Penny Arcade RPGS were) would've been perfectly acceptable. Ultimately a few really awesome hours is obviously better than stretched out mediocre ones, but these over-priced bite-sized experiences keep me from venturing into the waters of DLC more than once in a blue moon.

The biggest retail release this week may be the most non-apologetic full-priced expansion ever, Fallout: New Vegas. While many sequels could certainly be qualified as mere expansion packs, offering little new yet still charging full-price, few in recent history seem as blatant as this. Sure, it's a whole new land to explore, but pretty much everything else seems the exact same, it's more like just throwing a Vegas-style paint job over the original wasteland. I have been able to grab a rental copy and if it's a different enough experience, I'll talk about it more in my next post, but given the reviews, I doubt it.

All right, that's really all I have for today, I should be back with a post on Friday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Warrior's Way


The state of Nintendo's E3 lineup

E3 for Nintendo fans was almost like Nintendo finally giving some serious effort to appeal to those who bought a Wii system for games that weren't for the more casual set. Metroid: Other M, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Epic Mickey along with a couple others were leading the charge. Well, Metroid Other: M, to put it bluntly, sucked hard. It might actually be the worst game Nintendo has put their name behind that doesn't have the word "Wii" or "Olympics" in it. To be fair, this was a rare incident of Nintendo having an outside party developing the game, and that rarely turns out well (especially the developers of the extremely shallow Dead Or Alive series).

To a smaller degree Dragonquest IX & NBA Jam were supposed to supposed to help draw in gamers but frankly while they were perfectly decent releases, they didn't really set the world ablaze with their somewhat ancient gameplay mechanics. And their much touted multi-player features weren't quite up to snuff.

So with that in mind we come to Kirby's big return to a home console in Kirby's Epic Yarn. While Kirby is not one of Nintendo's big three (Mario, Link, Samus) he has been a long-running character popular with the gaming crowd, mostly on Nintendo's portable systems. The reviews are rolling in already, and while they all agree that it's a gorgeous and fun game, the average play-through of about 6 hours doesn't exactly make this more than a strong rental reccomendation imho. Not exactly the great lineup we were promised, and frankly, Goldeneye isn't looking so great. Us Wii owners will have to hope Donkey Kong & Epic Mickey deliver because Nintendo's lineup isn't living up to it's high promises so far.

Ok I should be back next weekend with another post (earlier if I can manage), in the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Road of the Dead


The Force Actually feels unleashed now

I wasn't a huge fan of the original Force Unleashed. I loved the concept mind you, and the story was arguably the best effort since the Knights of the Old Republic titles. But for a game that was supposed to make you feel like one of the most badass Jedis this side of Coruscant, you were kind of limited in your variety of powers. Sure there were a couple of nice cinematics and set pieces, but the actual action got kind of repetitive after awhile. The demo for the sequel that dropped this week however, holds a lot more promise. Your force lightning can shock scores of enemies, force push can blow away tons of foes, and you can do things like throw tie fighters into a goddamn tower! Now that seems like it's delivering a lot more of the power really promised in the original. Hopefully when it hits on the 26th, we'll get a true feeling of a really powerful Jedi.

Another title that promised huge things, but failed to deliver was the original Scribblenauts. The concept of writing virtually anything and having it appear in order to solve puzzles was a fantastic concept. The execution was terrible however, with horrid collision detection and controls. Super Scribblenauts thankfully not only fixes those issues but ads the oh so important adjectives. If you want a rabid zombie bunny, you get a rabid zombie bunny.

Finally, Sonic's long-awaited return to 2D on consoles came out on all three platforms this week with Sonic 4: Episode 1. Sure it's a return to form, but at $15 for just a few levels, it's a giant rip-off when you can pick up the far more magnificent Sonic's Ultimate Collection for only $5 more. For shame, Sega. Even when you finally do a Sonic game right you do something else wrong with it. Hopefully at some point they'll offer the whole collection for a nice cheap bundle of around $20, then it will be worthy of picking up.

That's really it for today but I should have another post up tomorrow with thoughts on Epic Kirby among other things. Til then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Drive Angry


Video Day: I got nothin'

Yeah aside from trying out demos for Comic Jumper (extremely funny, but just halfway decent gameplay) and Lords of Shadow (generic yes but better than I expected and having Patrick Stewart narrate is always a plus), I don't have much to talk about so hopefully I'll have something more concrete next time. Today is video day with random cool geeky videos from the interwebs:

8-Bit Glee

The Killing Joke, Lego style

Undercover Video Game Boss

Jersey Shore-The RPG

Total Inception

And of course your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Hemp Tycoon



That's right kiddies, one of the most awesome franchises ever makes it's return on the Wii today with the release of NBA Jam, and thankfully according to reviews, it finally brings the franchise back to form rather than bein some last desperate cash grab. It is an extremely tempting package, seein as I played it like mad during the 16-bit days, though the $50 price tag seems high for something I could've sworn was supposed to be like a $15 downloadable title. I'm sure the sheer amount of content justifies the price alone, but I dunno if I'll be picking this up right away. Hell I barely know half the guys who plaqy basketball anymore, though that was never the real appeal of this title.

Also out this week is Enslaved, an action title from the same team that gave us the underwhelming Heavenly Sword. All I can really say about it is that I played the demo and it seemed like another decent copycat action title. Not necessarily a bad title mind you, but more something to probably kill time between whatever big title you just finished and the next big one you plan on picking up.

And speaking of generic copycats, we have the "re-launching" of Castlevania with Lords of Shadow. Which in this case has gone from being a series that is pretty much the same as Metroid (i.e. focused on exploration and puzzles) to a more God of War-esque style. And again, while there's nothing really wrong with that, it sure as hell won't be what Castlevania fans are expecting, and why play a God of War clone when you can just play God of War (or Dante's Inferno on the 360, it's close enough)?

 In movie news, they've picked a director to try and bring back Superman for the umpteenth time and it's Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen). This seems like a great opportunity and I love Snyder's work, but we all thought Bryan Singer was a safe bet as well. I guess it depends on how they tackle it. It probably shouldn't be an origin story, that's one of the few things Superman Returns did correctly, but starting mostly fresh would probably be a better idea than having the baggage of any of the previous films to deal with. I do have faith that a team composed of Nolan, Goyer and Snyder probably have a better chance of making this work than anybody.

That's it for now but I should be back Friday with another post. Til then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: I am Number Four


Is $300 too much for a portable system?

Nintendo has finally announced the first details about the 3DS, namely that'll hit Japan in February and should be out in the US & UK in March. Boo! I think everybody was banking on a late holiday release. But also of note is the pricing. No while no official price has been announced for other territories, in Japan it's going to be $300, and prices between territories don't usually vary much. Seems kind of pricey when I can get a PS3 or 360 for the same amount. Sure, it's portable 3D gaming, but arguably one of the biggest appeals of Nintendo's long line of portables is that they've never been horribly expensive. That goes for the games too. If we start seeing 3DS games in the $40 and up range it may make many budget-minded gamers (and parents) think twice about shelling out the cash. I do like that it will have a virtual console feature, though you should be able to transfer VC games you alread have on the Wii frankly, as you can do that with the PS3 & PSP.

Bottom line, at that price tag they will need one hell of a killer lineup, but it looks like Nintendo has that covered...

Admittedly if all that stuff is out launch day, I maybe scheming and saving to get one right away myself. But odds are I will hold off til the launch hype dies down if not a price cut, I sure as hell wasn't an early DS adopter and honestly it's something I've never played a ton of, portable gaming for the most part just doesn't have the same appeal to me as console gaming. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'll get one, just would take a hell of a lot for me to get it launch day,

I managed to watch the latest DCAU movie last night, and man am I glad I rented it instead of buying like I've been doing lately. I dunno whether he just doesn't care anymore of if that magic almost Pixar-like touch is gone, but even though Bruce Timm has a hand in nearly every film, they've been very hit or miss since the end of Justice League: Unlimited. This was a huge miss. I mean, it's awesome to have Kevin Conroy & Tim Daly back again as Batman & Superman, it always seems wrong when they get someone else. But the dialogue is pretty laughable and the animation just plain sucks. Batman & Superman actually look disturbingly feminine. Darkseid has BOOBS! It's just pretty much a disaster. This might actually be the worst DCAU film I've seen, and I think I've seen all of them (though sadly it's still better than a lot of the Marvel animated films). Hopefully, All-Star Superman will make up for it, though looking at the trailer, I'm not too hopeful...

And Square's second go at online officially commences tomorrow with the release of FFXIV for the PC along with its extremely controversial "fatigue" system, where it actually essentially penalizes someone who plays one class to long. Now with the ability to basically switch classes on the fly, this isn't quite the blasphemy some are making it out to be, but it still seems a little ridiculous that Square is almost forcing everyone who plays for long periods of time to have essentially a more jack-of-all trades character then a highly developed specialist. So what if more casual players fall behind? And I say this as someone who works around 45 hours a week and has a significant other. My gaming time is fairly limited, and I don't see the fatigue system as a good thing. Oh well, with any luck it might even be completely gone by the time the PS3 version finally hits (which is supposedly March).

That's pretty much it for today, but I do have a plan for at least one more post Friday or Saturday, so keepan eye out for that. Til then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: True Grit


Vegas= The New WWII?

WWII is the most overused backdrop in all of gaming. Granted, there seems to be a refreshing amount of games not based on it this year, but that just means companies will jump all over some other hot backdrop until we are completely sick of it. That backdrop mayeasily be Vegas. Actually already featured in quite a few titles, though not to the point to be overwhelmingly obvious, the glitz, glamour and anything can happen aura of the city is probably quite the enticing setting for those lacking originality. This week sees a big send-up of it in the highly anticipated Dead Rising 2, where you can try your luck against hordes of mindless zombies. While I enjoyed the original, I kinda got bored after a few hours of mindless zombie-slaying mayhem, so not much appeal for me persoanlly. Also coming soon is Fallout: New Vegas, throwing an apocalyptic coat of paint on the home of the Rat Pack. That already seems like slight overkill to me, especially with many games at least throwing in some nod to vegas whether it be a city or particular level. I doubt it reach the ridiculous overusage of WWII, but if companies don't cut it out, people might start getting so tired of seeing Vegas everywhere they won't even want to go to the actual city.

Well now, if I remember correctly, Wednesday should be the day Nintendo finally announces the release date for the 3DS. Now, they promised it'd be out everywhere by March, but I'd put good money on it being out in November here to really capitalize on holiday sales with a hopeful $200 price tag (which recent price drops of the DSi/XL support). Now that being said, it would have to have a fairly impressive lineup for me to buy day one or even really soon after launch. No system has really had a strong launch library frankly (usually one or two awesome games surrounded by garbage) and it usually takes at least a year for quality software to really start coming out at a rate that makes owning the hardware worth it. I mean, look at the DS. Nobody understood how cool the touch screen was and everybody thought it would be pulverized by the PSP. These days the DS is the most popular system on the planet and the PSP is struggling to even be relevant to the point that it's worth wondering if there's even a point to making a PSP2.

Unfortunately that's really all I've got for today but I should have a much meatier post next time with thoughts on the pricing/release date of the 3DS, FFXIV, Superman/Batman Apocalypse and more all in my next post. Til then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Megatankman


The Top 11 Adorable badasses in gaming

Gaming is pretty much all about being a badass. You slaughter monsters, aliens, evil soldiers, rescue the girl, save the kingdom, planet, universe etc. Most of these games are populated by guys who you would never mistake for anything but a badass. But some games feature some of the cutest characters ever to give anybody an ass-whooping, and here are the top ones you wouldn't want to mess with on your best day:

11. Meracle (Star Ocean: Til The End of Time)

Gaming is filled with tons of sexy catgirls, but Meracle is deceptively amusing and adorable, and never crosses over into annoying, being the source of some of the best comedy moments in the game. She's also a complete maniac in battle, building her up properly with talents so as no guard and stun can make her the deadliest warrior in your group by a long shot.

10. Baby Mario & Baby Luigi (Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Mario Kart series)

Aside from being pretty decent drivers, any infants who travel through time in order to help their grown-up selves defeat evil aliens are babies who totally kick some ass. And they definitely aren't a hinderance like many younger partners in video games, having often to fight on their own against enemies just as powerful as anything the adult Mario Bros have ever faced.

9. Rocket the Slime(Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime)

Dragon Quest slimes are almost annoyingly adorable, being the official mascot of the DQ series and always grinning as though hiding something as you slaughter them mercilessly. Rocket is a rare breed however who manages to free his fellow slimes from the evil Plob. Plus he owns a giant tank that he can destroy just about everything with.

8. Bomberman (Bomberman series)

One of the most adorable mascots and yet one of the most psychotic. Seriously, the guy bombs the hell out of everything, and I mean everything. He will blow your ass to kingdom come just for looking at him the wrong way. He blows shit up with powerful explosives and looks adorable doing so. Seriously, everyone should be scared out of their wits whenever they see this guy anywhere, you know the little terrorist is just waiting for an excuse...

7. Moogle (Final Fantasy Series, Kingdom Hearts series)

Though mostly relegated to supporting roles as of late, the Moogles have a pretty solid history of badassery, most recently in the Tactics spin-off series, but their shining moment was probably FF VI, where not only was the incredibly powerful Mog a valuable party member, but early on in the game they fend off a fierce squad of soldiers from the evil Empire to defend an unconscious Terra.

6. Vivi (Final Fantasy IX)

He was supposed to be just a soulless weapon of mass destruction, but somehow an actual person emerged and we have one of the most endearing Final Fantasy characters ever. His childlike naivete and almost crushing moments of soul-searching make him someone you just wanna hold like a young child and tell them everything's going to be ok. And lurking under all that is still a weapon of mass destruction that could fry an army in 10 seconds flat if you truly piss him off.


5. Yoshi (Mario Series)
Mario's little green dinosaur sidekick has the toughest tongue (and 2nd strongest stomach) in gaming. The dude can eat just about anything, including spiny's and bomb-ombs, can hang from poles with it. Hell, he can even fly a little. That's pretty cool. To top off his badassness (and possible future descent into villainy), he takes his unborn young and hurls them at foes. That's like Punisher-level badassness right there.

4. Mickey Mouse (Kingdom Hearts, Epic Mickey)
Granted, his last 60 or so years of being someone Ned Flanders would think of as too bland doesn't hold well in his favor. But Mickey's early 8 & 16-bit games had him going on huge adventures and defeating villains with rather cool costume powers among others. And his recent role as mysterious Yoda-esque warrior in the Kingdom Hearts games have upped his badass credibility considerably. Add in the upcoming Epic Micky where he can kick your ass with a paintbrush and you have one cuddly ass-kicker.

3. Young Link (Zelda series)

Ganon is arguably one of the most badass villains in gaming. His plan is almost always to rule the world, and he always makes a very serious attempt (unlike say Bowser who has failed in his plans so many times it's a running joke now). And who usually stops him all by himself? More than a few times it's been a child named Link who takes on Ganon and his evil minions all by his lonesome, or with help from completely helpless sources (Tingle, Midna, Zelda, etc.). Mario might save the princess, but Link saves the world and usually the girl in the process, time and time again.

2. Mew (Pokemon series)

So adorable, and yet he could make Professor X's head explode with barely any effort. Arguably the most powerful psychic creature in all of fiction. This little pink dude can  probably rearrange the Universe if he really wanted to. He'd pretty much make any other badass run in complete terror, adorable or otherwise. Only one other adorable badass would probably have a chance of stopping him, and that's...

1. Kirby

Sure Mew is a powerful psychic, but a nearly indestructible pink ball of fluff that can swallow ANYTHING and copy its powers? That's the badass of all adorable badasses. Probably of regular badasses too. His upcoming Epic Yarn may be the cutest game of this generation and yet he does things like transform into a freaking giant tank! Kirby is the ultimate adorable badass, and if you tell him otherwise, he'll just swallow you up and spit you out like so many before...

That's the list. I plan to update again this week, hopefully Thursday or Friday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Dilemma


Sony's biggest mistake with Move...

Well first things first. I have gotten a few hours in with Halo: Reach. Arguably the biggest improvement is that while previous games were mostly corridor shooters with a few open levels, Reach is mostly open and has a tad more variety to it. The much touted space combat isn't anything special, though and it's a pretty brief affair.The A.I., at leaston normal (I'm honestly barely good enough to play on Normal, no way I'm playing Heroic or Legendary) is vastly improved, with teammates actually being helpful and enemies actually employing tactics (though I think enemy A.I. being able to use armor lock is pretty goddamned cheap). It is an overall improvement, but if you are still playing Halo 3 (and a lot of people are) it's hard to imagine paying full price for this game (although with all the special offers going on this week with most places offering some kind of $20-25 gift card/coupon, that may be enough incentive for anybody on the fence). Ultimately, Reach lives or dies by its multi-player, and while that may be the huge incentive for some, I'm pretty much in the same boat as Penny Arcade guys:

And frankly since match-setting like that don't really exist, that doesn't really do it for me. However, I did just renew my Xbox live gold membership since they had it on sale for only $30 this week, so I may have something down the line to really take advanatage of that. Hell, it may even be Reach if there's a good sale on it.

Would you buy a movie made up entirely of game cut scenes? CEO of Activision and Gordon Gecko wannabe Bobby Kotick certainly believes so. And granted, this isn't actually a new idea, but usually it's something released as a bonus feature or something you can get for about $10 rather than the $20-30 Kotick is looking to charge. I don't think it's an evil thing, as seems to be the kneejerk reaction from the internet, but Kotick seems to be forgetting that pretty much 99% of story and acting in gaming still makes Michael Bay films look like oscar-worthy material. Until that changes, I seriously doubt many would pay to watch these kinds of films.

Finally, yes Move is out. And the reviews kind of speak to what I've already been talking about. It's impressive enough tech, but not really any compelling software. Sports Champions is a weak Wii Sports wannabe, and not one of the launch titles is impressive. Arguably most important, to really get the full use out of Move is pretty costly. At minimum (assuming you already have a PS3) you are spending a minimum of a $170 (for the bundle and 1 extra set of controllers). If you don't have a PS3, that bumps it up to a whopping $470. That a lot of money for HD waggle. Granted, if Sony actually really sticks with Move, we may see some amazing stuff come out, but that's probably going to be next year at the earliest, and most companies (and gamers) probably won't wait that long.

That's all for today. I leave you with the FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: My First Quantum Translocator


The "I'm not talking about Reach" post

Not that I don't plan to, but seeing as it's on the way from gamefly, I'll wait til it actually gets here before talking about it anymore (which will hopefully be tomorrow).

But hey other games came out this week, arguably most notably yet another attempt to cash-in on Lord of the Rings, Aragorn's Quest. While I am certianly not against the idea of LOTR games out when there's no movie to promote, these should be games that really further explore the Middle Earth universe, not unoriginal cash grabs no one cares about. Arguably the only interesting note about this game is that it is compatible with the Playstation Move, though I seriously doubt such a lazy attempt will make good use of it.

More importantly, the best sitcom on network TV, Big Bang Theory, had its third season released today. If you haven't seen the fantastic episodes (including 2 awesomely evil appearances by the fantastic Wil Wheaton) this is a great opportunity to catch up.

And also a couple of big anniversaries happened recently. Firstly, the Playstation, the unbelievable juggernaut borne of a hapless rift between Sony and then completely dominant Nintendo, came out 15 years ago. To celebrate, Sony is having sales on PSone classics every week, so keep an eye out. Last week it was the rpg classic Suikoden, at a sweet price of $2.99. Hopefully they will put actual classics on sale each week, as the PS one library is filled with many titles no one would consider classic. I'm personally hoping for a nice sale on FFIX, as that would be a good excuse for me to own it digital form in addition to physical.

A much bigger anniversary is Mario's 25th. It's crazy to think the icon who essentially rebooted the whole gaming business is still around, as good as ever. You can certainly question other Nintendo properties, and possibly even his foray into other arenas, but the main Mario titles have rarely had a misstep, even extending to the surprisingly excellent series of role-playing games extending all the way back into the Super NES era. It's hard to imagine another 25 years of consistent quality, but if anyone can get it done, it's Nintendo.

ok, that's really all for today. I leave you with the TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Hereafter


Bungie's finest hour...

Halo: Reach. Most fans of the series and especially anybody who read the surprisingly excellent Fall of Reach know that it's a story about the fall of humanity's second home from a massive Covenant invasion. It's also Bungie's last Halo game possibly ever (they've said it's their last, but you never know), as they have moved on to try their hand at a new multi-platform franchise.And admittedly, the formula may be feeling a bit tired at this point. My personal interest isn't that high, even though I've watched most of the promotional vids and been reading the glowing reviews. And that sort of apathy seems like the common opinion among non-frat boy gamers, with more realistic games like Modern Warfare 2 still dominating their Deathmatch time. That being said, there are a lot of really great offers to entice people to buy it and I will certainly at least be renting it and hopefully give me opinion Wednesday or Thursday.

And yes, I have gotten in some time with Birth By Sleep. I've been playing through Aqu's (the female keyblade wielder) story. That admittedly may not have been the best option to start, as she comes at a point in each world where a lot hasalready happened, making the narrative downright confusing. But the battles are still just as engaging, its one of the most gorgeous psp games to date, and its still fun to see all the Disney characters, especially since this is mostly completely new territory you are exploring. They ditched the biggest glaring flaw of KH I & II-there is no gummi ship! Though the camera still has issues that actually become more problematic with this being mainly a solo adventure as compared to the main games in the series where you usually have at least 2 partners. But unlike the slightly underwhelming 358/2 days and the mostly terrible Chain of Memories, this is a true Kingdom Hearts title. The fact that it doesn't feature the continuing adventures of Sora & co. should be nothing more than a minor quibble, making this one of the few really good reasons to own a PSP.

Ok that's really it for today as I'm incredibly tired from working virtually the whole day and most of the weekend. I should be back Wednesday with thoughts on Reach, Move and a couple other things. Til then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Vertical Drop Heroes



Ok, this post is later than I expected, but I spent most of last night and this morning finally finishing off Star Ocean 4, which I've been working through off and on since late last year. I did pick up Birth By Sleep on Tuesday, but to be honest, I've only played  few minutes, which isn't really enough for any kind of proper impression or full review. I will hopefully have one next time I post, which should be tomorrow or Friday.

Two games I did manage to play before I got into my lengthy Star Ocean session were two big superhero releases that came out this week: Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions & Batman : The Brave and the Bold. Ever since Arkham Asylum came out last year and showed everyone exactly how to do a superhero game, everyone was hoping other studios would take note. For its part, Shattered Dimensions starts with tons of promise. The looks of the different dimensions and the face that they all have different play styles seems to promise the best Spidey game since Spider-Man 2. But it all falls apart due to extremely loose and shoddy controls. For instance, in the Noir universe, which is completely based around stealth, I can't even do a from above take down with an enemy right below me half the time. In more action-packed universes where precise web-slinging is pretty essential, it constantly doesn't respond in a timely manner or I web jump when I should be just swinging. Even wall-crawling is problematic. Though arguably this could be worked through if the camera was competent. It's complete and absolute garbage. I can't even see where I am going most of the time. It's too bad because the presentation and ideas are great, a decent camera could've saved it.

Now Brave and the Bold starts off much like Spider-Man. The presentation is right in line with the look and the surprising humor of the brilliant but short-lived cartoon. The game itself is presented as an old-school brawler along the lines of Streets of Rage and Scott Pilgrim, and while its a fairly simple premise, its fun and it works. But it's hard to reccomend at $40 to all but the biggest B & B fans because it's a so simple. A $15-20 downloadable title seems much morethe proper price. Still, way better than Spider-Man.

Hopefully someone will actually take the lessons of Arkham Asylum and incorporate without just trying to copy them. Until then, we just have to wait for Arkham City.

Ok, that's pretty much it for today. Have to actually get some time in with Birth By Sleep so I can give some impressions next time. In the meantime, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Due Date


You just can't keep a shitty franchise down...

Yup. Duke Nukem lives again. I really don't get the continuing appeal of this franchise. It hasn't even been good since it's heyday of 2D sharware, much less it's unexplainable explosion of popularity by going to 3D and ripping off everything from Doom to Evil Dead. Nevertheless, it just won't seem to die. Of course, I dunno what anyone's expecting at this point, the game has been in the works in some form or another for like 15 years. The final product, assuming it ever actually comes out, will probably be extremely dissapointing, we've seen it before with games that take multiple generations of consoles to be made such as Kameo & Too Human. Granted, 2K games is no slouch, but we already are overloaded with ridiculous macho heroes in games, I don't see this making much of a dent.

Ok so rather than outright buying, I ended up renting both Metroid: Other M and Disney's Guilty Party. Metroid: Other M's flaws are fairly apparent right from the get go, but easily the biggest flaw is the godawful story and acting. Nintendo's never reallytried to put together a deep story for any of their flagship characters, and this is a prime example that they probably shouldn't. And there's better acting in porn. The saving grace is probably the combat. Sure, first person is clunky, but it's handled well enough that it's not an issue and moves she as jumping on an enemy and shooting it in the head never get old. I'll probably pick it up somewhere down the line, but honestly I've got several lengthy rpgs in my backlog I'd rather work on first.

Guilty Party on the other hand is a surpring delight (aside from the incredibly annoying theme song). The  characters you can play are varied and interesting. The minigames are admittedly mediocre, but the game's Clue-esque mystery solving is it's biggest draw. This isa pretty prime exmple that casual isn't a dirty word and can be fun and done extremely well if actual effort is put into it.

Finally, a bit further thought on the whole Xbox live price hike. Last time I commented that it seems like a lot just to play Halo. But as Tycho has rightfully pointed out, I am one of those who doesn't really play online much(the last game I seriously got into online was Halo 3), so the value of easy matchmaking and cross-game chat along with various other subtle but important differences easily make the soon to be $5 are month a worthwhile investment for most. However, seeing as my primary uses are things I would get equal performance of on other consoles (netflix streaming)  or would get for free anyways (updates, most demos, etc.), it's still not a worthile investment for me personally.

Ok, that's pretty much all for today but I should most definitely be back by Tueday with thoughts on Birth By Sleep and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions along with anything else that goes down. Til then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: KA-BLOOM


Teh worstest Nintedo game everz!!!

It's generally accepted that the large majority of the Wii's library is filled with piles and piles of completely useless shovelware. Why does anybody continue to buy it, then? It can't just be Wii Sports Resort & Wii Fit, right? Oh alright, it probably can. But odds are if you are not one of the casual gaming crowd (i.e. somebody who actually made trash like Carnival Games a success) and you own a Wii, it's pretty much for the first party exclusives that you can only get your hands on by owning a Nintendo system. There are a couple other hot properties Nintendo has, but generally they've kept an extremely loyal hardcore following with the holy gaming triumvirate of Mario, Link & Samus. These 3 legendary gaming icons and their series are generally considered some of the finest gaming ever offered. Nearly every title has been met with resounding critical acclaim and huge sales. The most amazing thing is probably that though these are Nintendo's flagship franchises, they have rarely played it safe. Each entry is usually a drastic departure from the previous one, and in over 20 years, this has rarely resulted in a bad game.

With this in mind, Metroid: Other M hits today, and reviews started popping up Friday. And compared to the usual high praise, it's taking quite a beating. The majority of reviews are positive, but even those have similar complaints of a terrible story and a very clunky first-person mode. I'm honestly not sure if this will affect sales much, Nintendo loyalists tend to treat anything given less than an outstanding review as "bias" and will snatch it up. I most likely will be picking it up later today, so hopefully I'll be able to at least give some impressions next time I update (most likely Thursday).

Also out today may be the sleeper hit of the year for the Wii. Earlier I said most of the Wii's more casual oriented library is pure garbage. Which frankly might be an insult to garbage. But once in a blue moon, the planets align correctly and you get a really fun game that's aimed at casual crowds yet really well done. This may very well be Disney's own take on Clue, Guilty Party. Not only are the early reviews pretty solid, this quirky little out of nowhere title got quite a bit of attention at E3 for actually being quite fun. I also hope to pick this up today so I'll give my impressions on that as well.


Actually Gamestop apparently has a plan to detail with the inevitability of everything going digital, and boy is it stupid. Granted, I don't think the day where you download all your games is only 5-10 years years away. The PSPgo being a total and utter failure is evidence of this. There's still a lot of things to work out in the digital space, proper pricing probably being the biggest one, but also that the public is slow to adapt to a huge shift in media. Sure, internet savvy users are already chomping at the bit, but if the internet actually represented anywhere close the majority of the populace, the Wii would be a failure and Scott Pilgrim would be the highest-grossing film of all time. That being said, Gamestop's so-called solution is pretty stupid. Who is going to want to go to the store, purchase content to download, then go back to download it? It's probably still a couple decades off really, but once games truly go digital, Gamestop is in big trouble.

Microsoft has really had a hard time continuing to truly justify charging people to access features most other consoles give you for free (streaming netflix, online play, etc.). So what are they doing about that? They are raising prices.

Sure, that makes sense, the economy is just booming right now, so why not raise prices? Granted, if you buy in before the price hike, you actually save $10 off the previous price of $50 (and if you buy cards instead of renewing online you could be set for years). But I feel most will see this as a ridiculously ludicrous expense just to play Halo: Reach online.

Ok that's all I have for today, but hopefully I should be back Thursday or Friday with impressions of both Metroid: Other M & Guilty Party as well as anything else going on. Til then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Town


Sony not expecting Move to well, move?

In a rare show of caution, Sony is actually not only saying that their entry into the motion control field might not be a huge hit come launch day, they are practically expecting it to start off slow. While this rare attitude towards the launch is almost commendable, one has to wonder about the VP's comment, comparing it to the "hugely successful" Eyetoy. Pretty much nobody actually owns an Eyetoy aside from the small cult following behind Eye of Judgement. It also causes worry about what kind of post-launch support Move will have, as the library of titles that even support Eyetoy is practically non-existent. Sure, Sony is pushing plenty of titles out of the gate, but if sales don't really happen right away, will it be much like the Eyetoy or even Wii's Motion-plus where only a few titles even support it? And sure, some major titles (LittleBigPlanet 2, SOCOM 4, Heavy Rain) are having Move support, but if the experience is equal or better with a normal controller, why switch in the first place? That's probably what most gamers will end up thinking. The real failure on the Wii has been publishers rushing in with a bunch of "me-too" titles with minimal effort. Nintendo and a few select others have shown that quality games that offer a really unique experience can be done that you currently can't get on other platforms. All I've seen so far from the Move lineup is a bunch of Wii knockoffs. And frankly, even if the response is tighter, it won't matter if Move can't offer something unique. They need something that you couldn't possibly pull off on a Wii. Ironically, something like Kinect's in-development Star Wars title would probably be perfect, assuming it could really do 1-to-1 motion.

Well all I've really got left for the day is Shank demo impressions. It's actually pretty reminiscent of the Scott Pilgrim games in a lot of aspects. Has a great, unique style in gloriously unapologetic 2D. And seems nearly impossible and downright cheap in single-player. Encouraging multi-player is all good, but these two titles could also offer a much stronger single-player with just a little tweaking. Hopefully they'll at least fix it in Scott Pilgrim soon, as I'm getting a little tired of being killed by Ramona's lesbian ninja ex...

That's pretty much it for today, I might have something about Metroid: Other M this weekend if I have time. Til then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Megaman vs.Metroid