Sony Smash Bros?

So the latest crazy, yet seemingly likely rumor is that Sony is developing a fighting game featuring its stable of characters, much like Nintendo's Smash Bros series. Some may scoff at the sheer insanity of pitting Nathan Drake against Cole MacGrath or Sweet Tooth against Captain Qwark, but it's no crazier than Solid Snake mixing it up with Nintendo's stable of characters. I'm willing to take the cautiously optimistic approach here, it could be fantastic if done right, and hopefully it will.

In incredibly stupid ideas, rumors have started flying about the next systems from Sony & Microsoft, and sadly the most seemingly concrete one is that for the next Xbox, Microsoft is again going the multiple sku route of one completely bare bones model and one aimed at the hardcore gamer that actually has a hard drive and probably a few other bells and whistles as well. While from some financial perspective this probably makes sense, it's still a really bad idea for developers, because they more or less have to work on the assumption that the audience doesn't have a hard drive less they cut off a potential section of the audience. This obviously also cuts people off from being able to access the growing digital space that Microsoft pretty much has always touted as their strongest weapon in the console war. This means a significant portion of developers won't be able to readily rely on it and that's handicapping them right out of the gate.

That's all for today, I honestly didn't mean to not update for a week, but the holiday was busy and exhausting, I should be back to regular posting this week. Until next time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island


The Legacy of Zelda...

Today is the day Wii owners and Nintendo loyalists have been waiting for as Skyward Sword finally releases, being the shining example that the Wii can do amazing core games that truly incorporate motion without being in a wagglefest. I've pretty much already touched on the fact that there is really no excuse for this, we should have been getting a regular stream of games like this from years, but frankly we didn't either from Nintendo or their biggest supporters. This is why the Wii is basically done and the 360 and PS3 both still have a lot of life left in them.

Lately this seems to be the Legacy of Zelda. If you look at the N64, the Gamecube, and now the Wii, Mario probably (deservedly) got the spotlight, but Zelda has always been a core showcase, a lengthy challenging fun adventure that really shows off what the system is capable of. And often it's too little too late. Maybe it's just the trap of the long developmental cycle to make games this good, but that's one team in one company. Hopefully they really have learned their lesson and strive for longevity with the Wii U, because a cash-in fad won't work a second time.

That's it for today, I should have another post up Monday or Tuesday. Til then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


To buy or not to buy at launch....

Gaming has always been a expensive hobby, but with more and more quality titles coming out virtually every year around the same time with fancy collector's editions (and bugs to boot), it does beg the question, why do we all buy games at launch? If we wait, we can get the bugs fixed, the price dropped and hell eventually usually some game of the year edition with most if not all of the bugs fixed and all the dlc included for probably half the price it was when it originally came out. So why? Well it may be irrational, but me personally, if I don't get a game right when it's launched, I usually don't end up getting it. Wait a few months and there's something else vying for and usually worthy of my attention over some game that clearly wasn't important enough for me to buy when it came out so it can wait longer, probably forever. Also, even with a wife and a job I'm a pretty regular gamer so my backlog usually isn't very big so usually I don't have a ton of different games to play at any given time. Also, I rarely pay full price for a game, usually I'm trading something in and trade-in values can decrease rapidly.

But also a game is treated very much like an opening weekend for a movie or a premiere night for a TV show. If it doesn't hit right out of the gate, it's pretty much considered a failure. Now there are games that build a steady audience over time and succeed that way, but that is the exception, not the rule. So if you want the games you like to continue to appear on shelves, you should probably buy them as soon as you re financially able.

This really isn't a pro-buying games at launch argument, times are tight and gaming is a luxury some of us are lucky to be able to afford at all. Just keep in mind if everyone waited til games were bargain bin prices, bargain bin games might be all we get.

That's all I have for today, I hopefully should get another post up this weekend. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Hunger Games


That old familiar feeling...

Arguably the biggest complaint you can have against Skyrim is that's it's not any kind of massive improvement from Oblivion despite the 4-year gap between games. Combat is intense but clunky and while the character models look better, they still are awkward. That being said, the little touches that they have made make the difference. Combat is more varied and visceral with the ability to dual wield just about anything. There's a ton more stuff to do and all of it as easy as having the right items whether it be smithing, cooking or alchemy. Lock-picking, which seemed nearly impossible to do manually in previous titles, is easy to understand. And waypoints are much clearer. I've gotten about 12 hours in already, more than enough to beat your standard action game, and I've barely scratched the surface. So this should keep me busy through the rest of the year and possibly beyond quite easily. There's a growing sentiment that games are giving you less and less bang for your initial buck especially when it comes to single player. Skyrim is a big strike against that argument.

So the demos for 2 other big games dropped this last week and I did get some time in with those before Skyrim. That being Lego Harry Potter years 5-7 which came out Friday and Rayman: Origins, which comes out this week. The newest Lego Harry Potter suffers from pretty much the same issue many of the latest Lego games have been suffering from, it's all too familiar. I think they really need to go somewhere fresh and possibly unexpected for their next game if they want to keep at least somewhat entertaining. Granted maybe the young kids who play this won't care, but the Lego games initially were true family entertainment and with so little of that in gaming it'd be sad to lose it.

Rayman: Origins is absolutely beautiful game. That is also a complete rip-off of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I mean, c'mon you can even "bubble up" in it (anyone who has played Mario Bros. Wii knows exactly what I'm talking about). That being said, if you don't own a Wii it's a great way too experience that insanely fun game without buying a Wii. But this is another game that seems like it shouldn't be released in a huge holiday season because it will be virtually ignored. Too bad, because supposedly if it does well that bodes well for Beyond Good & Evil 2. But given that the wonderful critically acclaimed original Beyond Good & Evil also released during a huge holiday season and was virtually ignored you'd think Ubisoft & Mr. Ancel would've learned their lesson.

That's it for today, with a little luck I should've have another post up tomorrow. In the meantime here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Kit & The Octopod


Too little, too late?

So yes, Skyrim is out today. I plan to talk all about it in my next post, because it's 7:30 am right now and my Gamestop doesn't open til 10. So let's talk about two other huge games that aren't even out yet, but the reviews are coming in, most extremely positive, showing examples of what the unique hardware can do. Those titles are Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Mario finally provides an original game for the 3DS that actually makes the 3D more than a nifty gimmick, and Skyward Sword may just be the best Zelda game to date, making great use of the motion + and proving the Wii hardware is capable of more than just gimmicky minigame collections.

So, for both the 3DS and the Wii, but especially the Wii, the question arises, why are these experiences so few and far between? It's like console business 101.  You can start off a little rough but a continuous flow of quality software is pretty much necessary to keep the system going. This is the real reason why this far into this generation of consoles the 360 & PS3 are still gaining steam while the Wii is pretty much done. It really might not have been had a stream of steady, quality releases been a constant. There are a number of quality titles on the system to be sure, but infinitesimal to the number you find on the competition. How excited am I supposed to be about a system that got maybe 4-5 top quality games a year? Sure that's good for my wallet, but not for the gamer in me.

Now obviously the 3DS has not even been out a year, so it's in a slightly different boat, but a lot of the signs are there. A gimmick over quality gameplay, unnecessary add-ons that are confusing and again a serious lack of quality software. Ok Mario is almost here. What else? Mario Kart in December and... yeah, that's what I thought. We have Kid Icarus sometime in future and that's really about it. Nintendo claims the quality games are coming, but we seem to be having a similar issue here to the Wii, where quality is a far distant second to cashing in on gimmickry. And if that's the path the 3DS follows, it's going to fall a lot quicker than the Wii did.

That's it for today, hopefully I will get one more post in this weekend with Skyrim impressions. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


An age of Dragons...

We are a mere two days away from arguably the biggest release of the year and easily the biggest rpg in several. I am beyond excited as I easily spent a few hundred hours on Oblivion, its predecessor, and never even got anywhere near finishing the main quest. That is my big worry, actually, that if Skyrim is a little too similar to its predecessor. I tried to get back into Oblivion recently and was bored because I guess I spent too much time on it previously. It's why I couldn't really get into Fallout: New Vegas, frankly. It wasn't different enough from Fallout 3 and frankly the modern Fallout games share a lot in common with the Elder Scrolls games as well, so they feel pretty similar too. If all Bethesda is throwing in is fancier graphics and Dragons, I probably still enjoy it, but not on the multi-hundred hour length I enjoyed Oblivion. Either way, this is the last rpg release until well into next year, and it should actually have the content to keep most players busy that long.

That's pretty much it for today, but I should have another post up either Friday or Saturday with impressions of the Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 and Rayman Origins demos and thoughts on Super Mario Land 3D. And maybe some Skyrim impressions if I've gotten enough time in on it. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Xenosquad


Call of the Battlefield...

Sorry for no other posts this past weekend, but it just seemed to get away from me with work, a relative in town, and my mother-in-law's birthday. I should be able to get in at least 3 posts this week pretty easy.

I have gotten through a solid chunk of Uncharted 3 and I can honestly say it ups the ante on set pieces to completely insane levels. Most of the time this is insanely fun. But occasionally its just insanely cheap and difficult, especially dealing with snipers, armored agents with sawed-off shotguns and guys with rocket-launchers all at the same time. As fun s the game is, stuff like this is almost enough to make me quit and it's been  constant issue in the series. I hope they work on making them a little more balanced next time.

The other big shooter of the year comes out this week as Call of Duty 3: Modern Warfare finally comes out after all that controversy surrounding it. Is it better primary competitor Battlefield 3? Can the magic of 2 be recaptured after the defect of so many key members? I've repeatedly stated I'm not a huge shooter fan, In fact the last shooter I seriously got into was the original Modern Warfare. I think if this wasn't such a huge month game-wise I might be willing to give it a try but frankly Skyrim, out Friday, should be enough to scare just about any other game releasing anywhere close to it.

That's it for today. I should have another post up tomorrow hopefully. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Safe House


Playstation+: Still worth it...

Yup, I just re-upped my Playstation plus membership. While I continue to question and seriously doubt the value of my Xbox live membership, I have no qualms about re-upping my Plus. I mean seriously, is a slicker interface truly worth $60? Because that is literally all they offer over the competition. Thanks to plus I've enjoyed betas, themes, discounts and most importantly, free games. And not shitty games no one cares about. Back to the Future, Sega classics, great indie gems. And just for re-upping I will get Telltale's Jurassic Park, which already nearly covers half the membership. This is one of the best things on PS3 and MS would be wise to take some lessons from.

I have not played War in the North or Sonic Generations nor do I really plan to. The reviews have been mixed at best and my schedule barely allows time to play the games I already have. I've really barely scratched the surface of Uncharted 3. It did get me thinking about a quote from Naughty Dog, the developers.  Saying in essence that they have no intention of stopping at a trilogy and will keep making Uncharted games as long as fans want them. It makes me wonder how many will be interesting though. I mean they've done just about every place you can have a huge Indiana Jones-type adventure. You can't do another Jungle or Desert or Snow romp, it's been done. They might be able to do something with Atlantis or some lost underwater city, that's about all I can really think of.

Ok that is pretty much it for today, I should have another post up tomorrow though. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK:  21 Jumpstreet