God of War III Trailer Tries Too Hard

OK, another gaming confession here: I’ve never played a God of War game. Honestly, I’ve just never seen the appeal, but I have heard that the series is supposed to be pretty good. The next game in the franchise is set to hit in about a month, and the world premier of the associated trailer just dropped on GTTV. Check it out:

One thing that this trailer really accentuates is the massive scale that Santa Monica Studios is trying to achieve. I mean, you fight a giant horse-spider on top of a living mountain. It definitely looks really good, but I get the sense that the marketing team is trying to over-emphasize the God of War series’ reputation for being over the top and brutal. What do you guys think? Are you going to be buying, renting, or passing altogether?

Great Betrayals In Gaming History

Ever been playing a game and everything is moving along swimmingly: health is full, skills are maxed and victory is within your grasp, when all of a sudden, the game turns on you, like a digital Brutus. Et tu, PS3?

This has happened to me a few times and while I tend to not get too caught up in things like that, there are a few instances where the wound in my back from the knife still feels raw. And no, I’m not talking about crap where your favorite series, long exclusive to one console, suddenly becomes multi-platform. That’s not betrayal, that’s business.

One such example is Final Fantasy VII, kind of the most obvious one, so we can start with that. Aeris dies. *GASP* Well, yeah, and while it made some people cry (I call them “pussies”), it made me emotional for a whole other reason: I had spent quite a long time leveling her up earlier in the game and those hours were now wasted! I felt like the game was saying to me, “Sorry, Anthony, maybe you should have taken up another hobby, one that won’t wave its junk in your face and leave you crying in a heap on the floor, numb to all feeling except for the new rug burn on your face!” Or something like that, it got garbled in the translation.

Another time where I felt like the game was out to get me was Devil May Cry. I had spent time, blood and tears building my skills, honing my craft and kicking tons of demon ass in order to be ready for anything the final boss could possible throw at me. And what do I get? A complete change in game mechanics, where it turns into Star Fox 64! How lame is that? Developers: dance with the girl you brought, ok? Don’t change things at the very end just to be able to add another bullet to the back of the box.

But the final betrayal that still stings, that really pisses me off, that actually gets to me emotionally is Chrono Cross. See, in Chrono Trigger, which I played about a dozen times, the game has a nice happy ending. Chrono and Marle get married and become king and queen of Guardia. Until Chrono Cross.

When Chrono Cross starts ten years after Trigger and Guardia, which, if you will remember, we just left happily ever after, has been DESTROYED. That’s right and by their seemingly peaceful neighbor, Porre, too. In fact, to rub a little more salt into this gaping wound (minds back out of the gutter, please), in Trigger, you did all kinds of good deeds and even left the mayor of Porre as a kind and generous man.

You don’t find out the truth until late in Chrono Cross, but it you eventually meet the ghosts of the three main characters of Chrono Trigger. And though countless theories abound, it would appear that they decided to KILL OFF the characters before the game even starts. So much for being a sequel to Chrono Trigger.

The only pain I feel that comes close to this horrific betrayal is when I watch Alien 3 and see Newt and Hicks dead BEFORE THE MOVIE FREAKING STARTS. This is the gaming equivalent and I have to tell you, it hurts. I didn’t play Chrono Trigger over and over again in my youth just to have those characters butchered OFF-SCREEN shortly after I reach the end of the game! Bad Square Enix!

So that’s my outpouring of pain. Do you guys have any stories where a game has treated you like a doormat after you lovingly invested hours in it?

Does the Video Game Industry Need to Slow Down?

Slow DownSome people, if faced with the opportunity to do nothing all day, would probably freak out and have some kind of nervous breakdown. Me? I would just play video games. And I still might not have enough time to play everything I want to.

I don’t know if you have been feeling this way recently, but I know that for me, my free time is getting more and more limited (a job, house, wife, Web Zeroes and writing a novel will do that to you). As a result I’m finishing far fewer games now than I ever have before. In the immediate future I’ve got Brutal Legend waiting for me, assuming I don’t do any repeated playing of all the games I’ve bought recently.

A new GameSpy piece by comedian Michael Drucker covers this very topic, and is making a simple request of the videogame industry: stop making games for one year. His point? There are simply too many great games coming out to keep up. While it is meant as a mostly humorous piece, there are parts of it that ring ridiculously true, such as when he notes that a Legend of Zelda game was maybe the 10th best game of last year. 10 years ago, that thought was absurd. Anyway, the article is a great read, and made me laugh out loud a few times, so I’d definitely recommend checking it out for yourselves.

How many of you guys have felt this way lately? Right now, I’m a little disappointed that I’ve had too move on past great titles that warrant more replay time (Borderlands, Dragon Age, Modern Warfare 2 to name a few). What games are on your backlog?

Source- GameSpy

GamerSushi Asks: Your Gaming Setup

Over the weekend, I became the proud owner of a new 46″ Samsung LCD TV. Needless to say, I’m rather excited by this new development. For the past few years, I’ve been gaming on a 32″ Samsung LCD, so this isn’t much of an upgrade in quality (though the last TV was showing some awful image retention issues) as much as it was in size. What was once small is now huge in comparison. I played Mass Effect 2 like crazy today and loved every minute of it.

I know it’s goofy (and maybe more than a little obvious), but I haven’t been this excited about something I’ve purchased in quite some time. The wife and I have said for years that once we bought a house, we’d buy a big TV to match the new living room, so it was time to finally cash in on that deal. Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll pick up a new surround sound system, as ours is old and more than a bit dated.

Anyway, this upgrade got me thinking about you guys, and what you play your games on. So, tell us about your gaming setup. Go!

Review: Mass Effect 2

mass effect 2
OK, word of warning first: this review might contain words that, when strung together to form a sentence, may or may not become spoilers. You’ve been warned.

If you’ve been paying attention to the pre-release hype for Mass Effect 2, one thing that BioWare was constantly touting is this: your Commander Shepard can die. Not like the cheap video game deaths where you re-load a save and try again, but permanent death. This applies to all members of your party, and you’re constantly reminded of your mortality as Mass Effect 2 progresses. The Grim Reaper is waiting for you out in the reaches of space. Will you sacrifice yourself to save humanity or will you pull through against impossible odds?

Death comes repeatedly for Commander Shepard, though, who gets turned into space dust by a brutal surprise attack in the opening moments of the game. Not one to let a little incineration put him down, Shepard’s body is recovered by shadowy pro-human black-ops group Cerberus, headed up by the Illusive Man, ably voiced by Martin Sheen. It seems that after you saved galactic society at large two years prior, the threats presented by the Reapers, sentient machines that harvest all life in the galaxy every 50,000 years, have been swept under the rug. Only Cerberus knows who the true enemy is, and they’ve brought you back to deal with them.
Continue reading Review: Mass Effect 2

Metroid: Other M Will Shine More Light on Samus Aran’s Humanity

I’ve always thought that the strongest aspect of Metroid was the franchise’s unique take on narrative; specifically the feeling of loneliness on a hostile alien world. As a series, Metroid hasn’t been stuffed with ancillary characters; it’s all been about Samus and her conflict with the Space Pirates. That being said, the Metroid does have some interesting sci-fi, and I’ve been curious as to what other types of characters inhabit this futuristic series.

It looks like Team Ninja and Metroid co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto were thinking along the same lines for the new entry as they recently told Famitsu magazine that Other M will be “[Different] from the rest of the series, this time we’re strongly depicting the human side of Samus through such things as movies,” obviously referring to the smattering of CG-based cut-scenes shown in the Other M announcement trailer at last year’s E3.

While what we can expect from the title gameplay wise still seems to be a mystery given the cryptic answers given in the interview, but Mr. Sakamoto is insistent that the game will have a clear emotional side in addition to being an action title.

What do you guys think? There are a lot of games from Nintendo’s staple franchises on the way, and I’ve been clamoring for a new Metroid for a while. I didn’t get around to playing Prime 2 and 3, but the original Metroid Prime is one of my favorite games of all time. Do you think that the new Metroid should focus on a more human story, or is the stark alien-ness of the previous games more your style?

Source: 1up

Get Your Games in Now: Original X-Box Losing LIVE Support

It seems like the end of an era somehow, but as the current generation pushes into the future it had to happen. Microsoft announced their plans to discontinue support for the original X-Box on LIVE today, and that includes playing backwards compatible games online on the 360. X-Box LIVE general manager Marc Whitten explains this move as necessary to facilitate the continued evolution of LIVE as a service, but I’m sure that more than a few people will be disappointed with this action. Microsoft has continually stated that the furtherance of original X-Box games have been holding up certain LIVE features on the 360 such as raising the friend list cap to 100 Gamertags.

While the official press release does do a lot to trumpet the Microsoft horn, it’s good to see that the LIVE team is taking steps to make sure that those who will be adversely affected by this move are being taken care of. Users who are still subscribed to the base LIVE service will receive prorated refunds, and Mr. Whitten had this to say about those being left behind:

“We will contact the X-Box LIVE members directly impacted by this change and if this includes you, I encourage you to check your LIVE messages and associated e-mail account over the coming weeks for more details and opportunities. We view you as a partner in this process.”

Interesting developments indeed, but what innovations are coming to LIVE that required this change? Who here is going to get in a few more games before the serivce gets axed on April 15? Just for kicks, what were your favorite original X-Box games to play online? Halo 2 was a good one, obviously, but who played Crimson Skies? Oh yeah, have you heard that XBL Arcade crested a hundred million in sales last year?

Source: Major Nelson and X-Box 360 Press

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Trailer Begins the Sonic Cycle

Back in September I posted a teaser video for Sega’s next Sonic game, tentatively titled “Project Needlemouse”. Now, after a few months of waiting, Sega has finally dropped an actual trailer for the game that unintentionally reminds us how long it’s been since we’ve had a true Sonic title. The trailer is a progression of Sonic’s sprites from 1992 to 1994 and then it jumps to 2010 and shows off the new 3D Sonic. Right then and there, becomes clear just how much Sega is betting on nostalgia to sell this game. Take a look at the trailer and never forget.

All bitterness aside, who’s thinking about getting this game? I mean, it is a return to form for the blue bomber, and the split second you see of the game is enough to make the ten-year old me leap for joy. To be fair, a lot of things do that because I have maturity issues. Anyways, sound off! Who’s getting this, and for PSN or 360? And did you notice the little room for an icon with a lock on it? What could that be?

GamerSushi Asks: What Type Of Character Do You Choose?

I was playing a number of games with my buddy Ben (Zayven on GamerSushi) the other day and we started to notice something: we always picked the same types of characters. During Streets of Rage 2 and 3, Zayven picked female characters and I always picked the most normal, non-dorky looking guys. Then we switched to Borderlands and the same thing happened.

I thought of our mutual friend, who always chooses weird, non-human avatars and I started to wonder if other gamers have a set type that they always choose, regardless of abilities or skills. And when making your own character, what do you do then?  So guys, what’s your typical character selection look like?

Rumor: Final Fantasy XIV Coming to the XBox 360?

Final Fantasy 14We’ve known for quite some time that Final Fantasy XIII was going to be gracing Microsoft’s gaming console with its JRPG presence in 2010. In fact, just recently we’ve found out how many stinking discs the game is going to occupy when it finally releases for the 360. That’s three discs for those of you keeping score at home. Yes, more than Mass Effect 2. Gasp! Outrage!

Anyway, while we’ve known what the deal was going to be with Final Fantasy XIII, speculation still swirled around the next title in the long-standing series from Square-Enix. Final Fantasy XIV was a big announcement unleashed by Sony at E3 2009, along with the apparent promise of exclusivity. However, a recent LinkedIn profile from a Square-Enix employee suggests that the in-production MMO is going to see a simultaneous release of sorts on the XBox 360 as well. No, that has not been announced, but last year the RPG maker’s executives hinted that talks just might be in the works. While this seems like a genuine confirmation that the speculation is true, it could just be an honest mistake from an employee.

Honestly, this isn’t altogether too surprising, seeing as how many Japanese developers are doing everything they can to garner more of a Western audience, which means opening up to the XBox 360’s predominantly Western core. So what do you guys think about this? Excited? Reserved? Indifferent?

Source- 1UP and Siliconera

GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2009

Well, we’re a bit late on this, but that’s because we were waiting to make sure we had all sampled enough of these games to confidently vote on what we felt were the best 10 games of 2009. This kind of list needs next to no introduction, but suffice it to say that 2009 was one incredible year for our hobby. What once seemed barren and unimpressive became, honestly, one of the best years I can remember, and probably was the best year for the whole generation to date in a lot of ways. We saw new IPs, old ones re-vamped, and got some of the same awesomeness from franchises we already loved.

For the list, we put this together by having the GS staff (myself, Nick, Jeff, Anthony and Mitch) vote on our top 10 games, and then associated a point system with each to determine which games came out on top. So, without further ado, scroll down for the GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2009!


GamerSushi Top 10
Continue reading GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2009

AvP Trailer Proves That Survival is the New Deathmatch

I’m sure that most of us played Goldeneye 007 for the N64 back in our heyday and the majority of that time was spent slotting our friends in the Deathmatch mode. In almost every subsequent game, developers have tried to shoe-horn in a competitive match whether the title needed it or not, mostly based on the popularity of 007’s multiplayer. With the success of games like Left 4 Dead and Gears of War’s Horde Mode, it seems that four-player co-op survival against overwhelming odds is the new mode du jour. The thing is, with the Aliens versus Predator setting, it really, really works. Huddling in a corner with three buddies while the motion tracker makes its incessant beeping showing the xenomorph hordes getting closer and closer…should make for some entertaining games, to say the least. Take a look:

Most of us are still the in throes of Mass Effect 2 addiction, but who thinks that this game might derail them from that most epic of sci-fi RPGs? I think this and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 are strong contenders in that regard. Tell us your thoughts!

GamerSushi Asks: Achievements Hurting The Experience?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m an achievement whore. I get the biggest kick out of earning new rewards, trophies, unlockables, points, you name it. I’m not really sure what bone in my brown body makes me this way, but some primal and awful thing is triggered in my core when I see that “achievement unlocked” bumper accompanied with that sweet melodious noise. While I’m not as into trophies on the PS3, the principle is the same and I love accomplishing these goals.

However, lately I’ve been noticing the way developers are handling the doling out of these rewards, and it’s been a curious study. While early games of this generation were heavy on rewarding players with achievements based on a certain kind of behavior (be it in a solo or multiplayer setting), I’m noticing a new trend. Take Mass Effect 2, for example. The first game rewarded players for reaching certain good/evil (paragon and renegade, to be more precise) levels, while the sequel does not. Honestly, I’m finding that this makes for a better experience the second time around, as I’m not feeling like I have to always lean in one direction to be sure I don’t miss out on the achievement.

Likewise, multiplayer games are dropping the focus on weapon-based achievements (with the occasional ludicrous exception), and are leaning more towards gameplay and gametype exploits. I think one of the worst offenders of this early on was Gears of War, which offered achievements based on what weapons you killed with. This lead to irritating matches with people doing nothing but using one kind of weapon like the torque bow or the pistol, and lead to lots of grumbling when players couldn’t find the weapon they wanted. This is different than say, Left 4 Dead 2’s achievements which rewards playing as a team (spitting on somebody that is being smoked, etc).

So what about you guys? Do you find that this kind of design lends itself to better gameplay styles? Do you even care? Or am I just that much of an achievement nut?