Free Console MMOs?

You'd think with the launch of DC Universe, consoles would probably be years away from getting free MMOs. After all, only recently are they becoming a serious thing on PC, with nearly everything with the exception of WOW and a few others going to that model. It is a great way to nearly ensure at least a decent user-base to survive on, and many have found that model far more profitable, since people seem more willing to spend money on in-game goodies and bonuses when they aren't already being forced to pay a monthly fee.

But yet here we are. Yesterday, Free Realms was actually released on PSN to download. It's been available on PC for a few years, but now you can play it on your PS3 no charge. This is potentially huge, as why would someone pay to play something like DC Universe when you can play Free Realms? Well the immediate answer is fairly obvious much like it is with WOW-Something like DCUO offer a much more involved and deeper experience, though for those more casual players or people who just don't have the time (personally I haven't touched DCU since Dragon Age II came out, making me regretting buying that 3-month subscription because while I plan to get back into it, that probably won't happen til after it expires) it's probably a more enticing offer since there's no real commitment. Admittedly I haven't played any of the free rpgs out there, but if they start popping up on consoles on a regular basis I might.

PS3 owners aren't the only ones getting a free MMO either. Dungeon Fighter Online is supposed to be coming to the 360 at some point this year. Though whether that actually happens or this becomes yet another scrapped MMO idea is yet to be seen. It'll be interesting to see how this development affects the future of console MMOs. Many console gamers scoff at paying for anything beyond what you already get in the box as is, so something that's free to play may be far more appealing than something that has a monthly charge to it.

That's really all for today. I should have another post up this weekend sometime. In the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Infinite Tower RPG



No I haven't gotten a 3DS yet. I'm not really planning to in the very near future, but if you have gotten one I'm sure you're enjoying it immensely. Not really sure what games to get for your shiny new portable though? Kotaku has a pretty comprehensive list of what to get and what to avoid (Ghost Recon is getting surprisingly solid reviews, that might just be one of the big sleeper titles).

It took a little while, because in addition to being very sick, injured and working a lot, I still wanted to get through Awakenings, but I finally have gotten some quality time in with Dragon Age II. It's been the point of a lot of controversy, as people who loved the slower, more tactical approach and much deeper customization in the first game, not too mention the much lower average completion time (i.e. the first DA could run you anywhere from 40-60 hours, not including DLC, DA II seems to top out around 25-30). Now I'm about 9 hours in. I really enjoy the frantic combat, it makes for a much more involved affair and frankly you can be just as tactical as you can still pause to order around your allies, and give them very specific tactics to use in battle. Arguably the real let down is the lack of ability to really tweak your characters equipment. You can change out weapons and accessories, but aside from a couple of arbitrary upgrades, you can't touch their armor. I also like the cast quite a bit, Varric especially standing out as a favorite. I think it would be a solid choice any time, but admittedly this seems like a weak year for rpgs, what with only Mass Effect 3 & Skyrim on the horizon and those aren't coming out til at least November. So I would say this is a very solid choice for those of us needing a new rpg, which most of you probably do by now.

That's pretty much it for today, but I should have another post by Wednesday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Captain America


7 reasons you shouldn't buy a 3DS. Yet...

We are just a week away from one of the most anticipated launches of all time with Nintendo's newest portable, the 3DS. I want one, you want one. It's awesome, it's really hard to argue any solid reason why you shouldn't get one. Eventually. But launch day? Not so much, and here are 7 perfectly good reasons you should wait at least a little while:

7. It's too expensive: At $250, the 3DS is the most expensive portable Nintendo's ever launched. I'm not saying you don't get your money's worth, it looks like one hell of a deal. But $250 is pretty damn steep, and apparently the whole reason it's that high is because reaction to the system at last year's E3 was so overwhelmingly positive. So odds are once the excitement dies down a bit the price will too. And that's just the system. The games are running higher too, hitting the $40 mark. Granted, there's not really a legitimate reason to immediately declare a portable game not worth that much, but given the more casual approach you usually see in portable games, it does seem on the high side.

6. There's nothing good to play: Has anyone actually looked at the launch line-up for this thing? I mean sure Kid Icarus and Ocarina of Time 3D are not far off in the future, but you can always buy those later. The launch line-up is pretty much a joke. Pilotwings Resort? Nintendogs + Cats? Those are the big titles? Yikes. I mean sure, Street Fighter looks impressive, but fighting games just traditionally aren't all that great on portables.

5. Extra money for Advil: Though not  a universal experience, many people have experienced headaches playing this thing in 3D for an extended period of time, even to the extent that Nintendo has warned against little ones playing it in 3D at all. I'd prefer a headache-free gaming experience thank you, even if it requires glasses.

4. You might have to bring a book: One of the best feature of Nintendo portables to this point has been the battery life. These things usually last 10 or more hours on a single charge, long enough for most plane trips, bus rides, etc. The 3DS has a rather paltry battery life, even if you don't use the 3D, with things like wi-fi being enabled can drastically cut the battery power without you even realizing it. Hopefully Nintendo or someone will come with a battery extender because that seriously damages the travel possibilities with this thing.

3. See what the competition has to offer: And I'm not just talking about Sony here, though seeing how the NGP stands up to the 3DS in terms of things like price & software wouldn't be a bad idea. Phones, the itouch, tablets, even the massively more expensive Ipad all offer multmedia experiences along with a constantly improving selection of games (at a far more affordable price at least on the games side). Even Nintendo has said it's biggest worry is Apple, so there's probably good reason why.

2. It's a gimmick: I'm not saying the 3D doesn't look cool and that Nintendo won't use it in some pretty inventive ways, but how many 3rd party companies will actually use the 3D to enhance the experience, rather than just shoe-horn it in, sometimes to the detriment of the gaming experience? Well the answer to that question should be pretty clear if you look at the piles & piles of shovelware lining both the shelves of the Wii & DS sections. Odds are it will be awhile before a number of good quality titles are available for the system, if ever.

1. Bigger, stronger, faster: Ok, not necessarily bigger, but how many versions of the DS have there been? Not counting limited editions like the Zelda or Mario Kart ones, there has been a whopping 4 iterations of the 3DS' predecessor, 3 or which you can still buy in pretty much any gaming section of any store. Nintendo's portables constantly have new versions come out, usually offering a thinner package, better lighting, etc. So odds are this time next year we will either already have word of a new version of the 3DS or it's arrival might even already been emminent, making those people who had to have it right away already for some buyers remorse for not waiting for the newer, arguably better version.

Now obviously this isn't really a knock against the 3DS at all, it should be a completely awesome system and I seriously doubt anyone who buys one will really be dissapointed with it. But like many console launches, there are plenty of issues that if you wait a little while will probably be worked out.



The banhammer dropped on Sony?

Companies sue each other all the time for copyright infringement, it's just part of business. Usually these really lead nowhere. Some agreement is made to pay somebody or the claims are unfounded to begin with and business goes on as usual. I think this is what we pretty much all thought would happen when electronics manufacturer LG sued Sony, claiming the PS3 infringed on several patents. Again this is nothing new, pretty much all 3 companies have been sued numerous times, most of the time nothing really comes of it. But surprisingly, this lawsuit may actually have some legs and far-reaching implications, as shipments of PS3s were seized and Sony is currently not allowed to import them into Europe. But this isn't something irrelevant to us Americans as LG is pushing for a ban here too. Will it succeed? Honestly if it happened across the pond there's a decent chance it could happen here. But does that mean that PS3s will cease to exist? I really find that hard to believe, as there's just too much money at stake here. They might become a little scarce for awhile, so if you were planning to get one anytime soon, I'd do it now just to be safe.

It's good to be king right? In Fable 3, not so much. Not only are you tasked with saving your people from a horde of evil monsters, but now someone is trying to outright assassinate you in the latest DLC expansion, Traitor's Keep. I'm not heavily invested in Fable 3 so I haven't played much, but the wife is completely obsessed so its pretty much a must-buy for me.

And finally the PS one "classic" Vagrant Story is on PSN this week. A lot of people are very psyched about this but I remember it being really overly complex and dull. Most of the reviews at the time it came seem to at least somewhat agree with my assertion but still gave it high marks anyways. I'll wait for the next "classic" thank you very much.

That's about it for today, I should be back Thursday or Friday with something else, but until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Meaty Boner