ARTICLES

Champions Online Beta Impressions

24 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 10 Comments

CObeta
I’m a big fan of MMOs. I played Star Wars Galaxies almost every day until Revenge of the Sith came out, and brought with it the Trials of Obi-Wan Expansion, which totally ruined the game with dumbed down controls and even more powerful bugs than before. After that, I started playing World of Warcraft, making first a Mage, then a Paladin, and finally a Death Knight. With Star Wars: The Old Republic and the newly announced World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, looming in the distance, I took it upon myself to try out one of the smaller MMOs on the market.

Cryptic Studio’s Champions Online, based on the pen-and-paper RPG, launched an open beta last week for those of us who had either pre-ordered the game or have a FilePlanet subscription. Not exactly “open” in every sense of the word, but at least it gives people an opportunity to try out the game before they lock into a monthly subscription. (And only for the low, low price of $49.95!)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cryptic Studios, these are the people behind City of Heroes/Villains and the forthcoming Star Trek Online. They have the pedigree of a successful MMO crafter behind them, but does Champions Online have the hooks necessary to combat Blizzard’s juggernaut?

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Phantasy Star Game Blog Part VII: Rock the Casba Dragon

22 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 10 Comments

ps_preso3Picking up where we last left off, I head to Bortevo and use the Polymeteral to uncover Hapsby, who agrees to fly the space ship for me. What? You mean, no giant quest to find Hapsby’s nephew, Wall-E? He doesn’t need a new set of circuits or anything like that? This game must be getting tired or something. I head back to Dr. Luveno who gives me my ship! I will call it Squishy and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy.

Hapsby gives me a choice of 3 places to go, one of them being the very town we are standing in, which seems kind of sad that such an advanced invention has no sense of being, but hey, least that means he is not about to become Skynet or something. I choose Uzo, which is on the desert planet of Motavia. I heard there were Motavians there or something. Once I arrive, someone tells me that Casba is a town to the south and there is a dragon who has an Amber Eye there. In its head! I am going to carve that sucker out, I tell you. I find a good armor for Noah and his frail ass needs all the help he can, so I buy that.

Some guy in town asks if I need a soothing flute? Once again…how does this crap come up? He reveals that he buried one in the outskirts of Gothic, but it’s a secret. Pal, nothing is a secret in this game, ok? Someone also tells me that the Land Rover can get past Ant Lions. Wonder if that was a secret, too? Holy crap! The store here has light sabers! I’ll take a dozen please! Or maybe just one for Odin and one for Alis. Geez, the locals won’t shut up! There is an awesome shield in a village surrounded by mist, but there is poison gas in the sea to the west, so I will need protection. TROJAN MAN! Oh guess what they have for sell here? A land rover! Time to do donuts over all those Ant Lions blocking my way! But first…

Inside the Casba cave, I descend deeper and deeper until I come up on the foul beast: a black dragon. Ok, time out. Is this considered a hate crime if I kill a black dragon? Earlier, I killed a red one, so I think it’s pretty clear I don’t discriminate against dragons based on color. In fact, I think it’s obvious that I hate all dragons I come across. Killing said dragon earns me one shiny Amber Eye.

antlionUsing my trusty new land rover, I drive over the Ant Lions for a few hours (it seems) and then head back to Gothic and retrieve that secret flute. Kinda shocked I was able to get there first since that chucklehead was blabbing his little secret to anyone with a set of working ears. Guess what else? Someone here tells me of a hovercraft that is hidden in the forest at the edge of town. I got vehicles coming out of my ass! I feel like GI Joe now. I have a spaceship, a hovercraft for travesing the sea and a land rover. I think I am set.

Well that is enough for now. Later this week, I will have another post and trust me, we are getting near the end. I hope to have this done in 10 parts total, with maybe one more post summing up my feelings about the game.  Check back later for Part VIII: Going, going, Gorgon!

Battlefield 1943 Looking at PC Delay

21 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 10 Comments

Battlefield 1943You’ve probably seen me commenting around the site, but here’s an intro anyways. I’m Mitch, Canadian blogger extraordinaire, and I’m going to be contributing posts to GamerSushi a few times a week. I hope you’ll like what I have to contribute, and I’m looking forward to bringing you guys my views on our crazy hobby.

If you’re like me, you’ve been playing Battlefield 1943 on either the PlayStation 3 or the X-Box 360 and enjoying the hell out of it. If you’re waiting for the PC version to drop in September, you might be out of luck. Gordon Van Dyke has let it be known that in order to make 1943 a true PC product, DICE is going to have to delay the release into 2010. To make up for the prolonged wait, though, DICE is adding all the neat features that PC gamers take for granted, such as higher player count in matches, Direct X 9 and 10, and joystick support.

I can’t really fault DICE for wanting to give due attention to the PC, but this puts the release dangerously close to Bad Company 2, which might over-shadow its little brother. What do you guys think? Is it worth the wait, or will 1943 get left behind in the early 2010 rush?

Source: Kotaku

Final Fantasy XIII and the Disc Debate

21 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 16 Comments

ff13Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix’s long-awaited entry into the Final Fantasy series that has been approximately two decades in the making (not really) will finally be coming to both the PS3 and XBox 360 next year. Not only is it cool to know that this game is right around the corner, but it’s even cooler to know that the game is going to take between 40-50 hours to complete, according to recent reports.

However, there’s been some cause of debate about the game between those lovely fanboys. For years, we’ve heard that one of the PS3′s big advantages over the XBox 360 is the storage capacity of Blu-ray. However, it hasn’t really been an issue for many games in this generation until now. It seems that Final Fantasy XIII is going to take “about” three discs for the XBox 360 version as opposed to the PS3 version.

This is causing massive fanboy flame bombs, as you can imagine. Especially considering that Rage developer id software hinted this week that the XBox 360 version of the game could require a separate disc for multiplayer.

So, what do you guys think about switching discs for the XBox 360 version? Will it deter you from a purchase of the game, or is it really not that big of a deal and do you view it as a huge limitation? Personally, I’ll be getting FFXIII for the PS3, but I think it’s an interesting debate nonetheless.

Source- Kotaku

GamerSushi Asks: Best So Far?

20 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 24 Comments

re5-1The future-sounding year of 2009 is rapidly drawing to a close. I mean, seriously, can anyone else believe that it’s almost September? While we haven’t gotten to the incredi-blast of games yet, there have been some titles for everyone to enjoy over the course of the year so far.

For me, if I were to have to pick a game of the year right now, before the holiday releases, I’d pick Resident Evil 5 hands down. There was simply so much game for the value there that it really took me by surprise, and the co-op action just adds to it all the more. On top of that, Capcom completely succeeded at giving the game tons of replayability. Besides that, I’d also have to say that Battlefield 1943 and Wolverine would be in the running.

What about you guys? What is the best game you’ve played this year? It doesn’t have to have come out this year, even. Go!

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Trailer Has Style

19 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 6 Comments

In case you hadn’t heard, the new Castlevania: Lords of Shadow game is being made by Kojima Productions. I think it’s definitely good to let them tackle something that is not Metal Gear for a change, and so far the results are looking pretty cool. The Lords of Shadow trailer definitely has some cool style to it, and count me pumped for Patrick Stewart’s voice, which instantly makes everything exponentially more awesome. What do you guys think?

PS3 Slim Due First Week of September, Price Dropped to $299.99

18 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 15 Comments

ps3_prints_moneyWell, after months of speculation, it’s happened. Sony dropped the PS3′s price to $299.99 and announced a 120 GB PS3 Slim. Does this change anything for any of you guys? Do you think this will allow Sony to surge past the 360? Or are they destined for 3rd place for this cycle?

GamerSushi Asks: Life in the Sandbox?

18 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 10 Comments

prototypeI’ve been playing through some of Prototype this week, and as with most sandbox games, it seems to do a few things really well, but a bunch of other ones in a largely mediocre way. Traversing the city is perhaps the best part of the game. Skyscraper running is so addicting I almost can’t believe it, so moving back and forth between objectives is actually more fun than even doing them.

But it falls short in other ways. I’m not even very far into the game, and the story is a mess. Likewise, all the objectives are already repetitive, and I’m only a few hours in. On top of that, the draw distances and the graphics are pretty laughable, and the city doesn’t feel like a living, breathing world.

It makes me wonder why sandbox games seem to be so hit-or-miss in all of these other areas. To me, to have a good sandbox game, you need a fun way to travel the world, unique diversions, non-repetitive missions and a fully functioning world to make as your playground. In the last couple of years, I feel like Saint’s Row 2 is the closest I’ve gotten to playing something that meets all of those.

What about you guys? What’s your favorite sandbox game, and what do you think is the most important aspect of the genre? Go!

Griefing Table Manners

17 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 23 Comments

campingGriefing. It is perhaps the biggest bane of an online gamer’s existence. No matter what system or game that you choose to leap into the online mega-verse with, you can not escape its pull. Whether the griefing takes place in the form of an obnoxious brat screaming obscenities or even team-killing, you know that you are going to run into it in some way, shape or form on any given night. But what happens when you are the one accused of griefing? And are all griefing sins really so equal? Let’s discuss.

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Assassins Creed 2 Dev Diary

16 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 4 Comments

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m a big fan of developer diaries. I’ve found the string of Ubisoft ones particularly interesting, especially in regards to titles such as Splinter Cell and more recently, Assassin’s Creed 2. In this video, the creators delve into a few of the new gameplay tweaks, including the new banking system as well as gaining notoriety within certain factions. Both of these are cool because of the way they frame it within the context of history. I really can’t wait to see more of this game. What about you guys?

Time Well Spent

13 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 14 Comments

elder-scrolls-iv-oblivion-screenshot-_41I have a decent collection of games for the 360 – more than a dozen, if you count XBLA titles – but the game I’ve played far more than any other is Oblivion. At last count, I’ve put in somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 hours. I have a friend who has put in 200+ hours and he hasn’t even finished the main quest line. I think he just likes grinding in dungeons.

Now, I love the game, but I reached a point recently where I started wanting nothing more than to just beat the damn thing. That’s a bit of a herculean task when it comes to an open-world game like Oblivion. It’s not that I haven’t done my best. I’ve completed the main quest-line, as well as the quest-lines for almost all of the guilds and both the Knights of the Nine and the Shivering Isles expansion packs… but I’m not done yet because I don’t have all of the achievements.

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GamerSushi Asks: Arkham Asylum Thoughts?

13 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 6 Comments

batmanThe typical fall slew of games starts dropping in just a few weeks, with Batman: Arkham Asylum officially ushering in the new onslaught. As I’m sure many of you know, the game’s demo just hit the Web this weekend, allowing thousands (perhaps millions) to play as the Caped Crusader, Splinter Cell or MGS style.

While I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this game, I have to say that playing the demo totally pulled me into its web of immersion. I haven’t been that sucked into a video game in awhile, and I was literally on the edge of my seat as I played through what the demo had to offer of Arkham’s dark and brooding hallway interiors. The opening cutscenes for the game are fantastic, and hearing Mark Hamill reprise his role as the Joker was so much fun.

The game is gorgeous and moody, and really fits Batman’s world. I also have to say that the challenge room where you have to take down the guards was bloody fun, and I can’t wait to try more diverse ones. My only worry right now is that combat felt like it could grow old quick. Right now, it just seems like a mashing of the X button (or square for you PS3 friends).

So what about you guys? What were your thoughts on Arkham Asylum?

Dragon Age: Origins Character Creation

12 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 3 Comments

For whatever reason, I keep forgetting that Dragon Age: Origins exists and that it’s actually coming out in November. While the most impressive thing I’ve seen from the game was at PAX last year, I’m still convinced it’ll be a blast to play. I mean, heck, it’s Bioware, and they’ve yet to lead me wrong. Those dudes even just released a bit of the character customization, including some glimpses at the ability tree. Nothing super exciting, but it definitely whets my appetite for more of the game. Anyone else interested?

Phantasy Star Game Blog Part VI: The Strange Appetite of Dr. Mad

12 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 8 Comments

ps_mad3Crazy old Dr. Luveno decides he wants me to fetch his assistant. Fine, makes sense that this batshit inventor would not be able to function without a handler. Hell, Paula Abdul has a whole team of them and she can’t even judge a talent contest. This quest turns out to be pretty easy as the assistant is hiding in the underground passage in the middle of town. 30 seconds later, I have him back safe and sound with Dr. Nutsy. Oh, but Luveno needs funding to build the spaceship, which will set me back about 1200 mesetas. Not a bad bargain when you think about it, but money is scarce in this game. Since I literally have no choice at all, I pay up.

But I’ve been had! I can’t fly the damn thing without Hapsby, the Laconion Robot Pilot! Is there no obstacle this game won’t throw my way? I think I figured out who made this the thing: the DMV. Only thing is that the load times are pretty short, so maybe it wasn’t them. Have to think on that one. Anyhoo, I head up to Bortevo, the town where I heard the robot is laying around somewhere. I literally have to walk through lava to get there. Whatever crazy stuff Lassic (the bad guy, remember?) is up to doesn’t involve cleaning up after a volcanic eruption.

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Miyamoto Says No to Digital Distribution

11 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 23 Comments

miyamotoAs more companies are turning towards digital distribution, the face of gaming continues to change. Heck, Steam is making forward progress in this realm all the time, while services like XBox Live and the PSN prove that new huge games can be released digitally like Battlefield 1943 and Fat Princess. Even Nintendo delivers some great old games on the Virtual Console.

While many point to digital distribution being in gaming’s future, one Shigero Miyamoto says this is not so. In a recent interview with Mercury Evening News, the man behind Zelda and Mario says that one thing you can’t do online is the distribution of new and exciting hardware. Uh… duh?

Entertainment is something that will not just become digital. If I look at Wii MotionPlus, this is something that you’re not doing via digital distribution.

Basically, digital distribution can’t be the future because you can’t give people new peripherals to waggle with over the Inter-tubes. Ah, Miyamoto-son… a pillar of ingenuity, he is. What do you guys think? Is digital distribution the future of gaming? Or is it just part of gaming’s future?

Source- VG247 and Mercury Evening News

Rumor: Halo Movie Revived with Steven Spielberg?

9 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 19 Comments

spielbergWow. So there are rumors and there are rumors, and I’d say this one falls in the latter category. As many already know, the Halo movie that was in development hell for months and then killed was originally helmed by Peter Jackson as the Producer and Neil Blomkamp as the Director. Unfortunately, all negotiations were finally killed due to Blomkamp’s inexperience, and the two went on to make the cool-looking District 9.

However, a new name has been attached to the Halo movie: Steven Spielberg. That’s right, the maker of Indiana Jones, ET and Jurassic Park is apparently blown away by a Fall of Reach script that was written by Stuart Beattie last year, and some negotiations are rumored to be underway.

Personally, I’ve always thought that if a Halo movie ever did come to life, the Fall of Reach would be the perfect story to attach to it, as its much more interesting than anything the actual games had to offer. Like I said though, this is a rumor in every sense of the word, but next to Peter Jackson I couldn’t see someone better to tackle a Halo movie than Spielberg. What do you guys think of this?

Source- IESB

Review: 1 vs 100, Season 1

8 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 8 Comments

1 vs. 100 FailHi folks. Just a quick introduction here… I’m Jeff, sometimes known as JJ, sometimes known as Unsquare. I’m the webmaster of the Smooth Few Films and Gamersushi sites. I’ve been getting back into gaming over the past year ever since I purchased myself an XBox 360, and I’ve been feeling the desire to contribute to this site a bit more now that I actually have opinions on games and such. Hopefully you’ll start seeing posts from me every once in a while. Can’t promise they’ll be as hilarious as Anthony’s Phantasy Star adventures, however.

Anyways, enough about me. Recently, Eddy, Nick and I have been playing a lot of 1 vs. 100 on Xbox Live. It’s a surprisingly addictive game, and if you haven’t already checked it out, it’s a great way to spend a few hours with some friends and seems ideally designed for the party system.

None of us have played it enough to make it into the Mob, let alone the hallowed position of The One, but considering the people who do make it to that top position, I have to wonder what exactly we’re doing wrong. In some ways, The One has been the only really disappointing part of the 1 vs. 100 experience.

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GamerSushi Asks: How Much Would You Pay For Natal?

7 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 16 Comments

project-natal-xbox-360Now, this question may seem premature, but I think it might be of use to Microsoft. There are no games yet and we don’t even know how accurate the demo at E3 was for certain, but based on what you have seen and their projections, what do you feel is a fair price for Natal? Bear in mind that you need a 360 to play it, though I am sure there will be bundles available. So if you don’t have a 360 and want to play Natal you will have to buy both. So what’s your projected price point?

PS3 Ready To Launch Offensive?

6 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 16 Comments

ps3-price-cutDespite what you may have heard, the PS3 has held it’s own against the 360 despite having a higher price, less blockbuster exclusives and having to build an online network from the ground up. But two of those have been corrected and now all that stands in the PS3’s way is the price. Which brings us to a few items:
Sony has revealed that they have managed to get the cost of a PS3 down to $270 per unit. They also have doubled their usual order of components needed to build the consoles. The topper is that they are having a 3-hour keynote in Germany on August 18th. What does this all mean?

It appears as if a price drop for the PS3 is imminent. And it could be the very thing needed to propel the PS3 past the 360 and perhaps even take on Nintendo, far off in the future anyway. Keep in mind that the PS2 sold over 120 million units. Most of those people are probably just waiting for a price drop. Many people say $100.00 would be do it, but I think Sony should go for the jugular and drop it $150.00. Even in these dark economic times, that would cause a serious boost in sales and just in time for the Christmas season.

Would a price drop get you guys off the fence and buy a PS3 or are you not even interested in it? Is there a magic number you are waiting for?

Machinarium Trailer

6 Aug 2009 | Posted by | 2 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I asked about point-and-click adventure games. Well, if you’re into those, then Machinarium might be right up your alley. I have to admit, I’m completely fascinated by this trailer. It really has some cool visual elements, and the music sounds just as awesome as the game looks. The art is simply incredible. It’s supposed to drop in October 2009 for Mac and Windows systems. Who else thinks this looks awesome?