Ok, I won’t write a cheesy intro paragraph about Modern Warfare 2. You know what this game is. I won’t even make a statement about how you have to have been hiding under a rock to not know. I think it’s safe to say that we’re all familiar with this game, its controversies, and some of its more publicized info leading up to the epic launch this week. This is without a doubt the biggest title to drop this year. So, with all of the hype, how did it stack up?
Has hell frozen over? Are pigs flying? Are Republicans and Democrats holding hands in the streets? The only reason I ask is because Final Fantasy XIII (and no the number on the end doesn’t represent the development cycle) finally has itself a good and proper release date. Imagine that! The game drops on March 9th, 2010 in the US and Europe.
Is anyone else pumped about this? Which console will you buy the game for? Playstation 3 here. Sticking to my roots. Also, check out the new trailer for the game, which rules.
I love Ratchet and Clank. Full disclosure: These games just make me happy on a level that few games can. That being said A Crack in Time is not the best entry in the series, but it’s still more fun than 90% of the games out there.
A Crack in Time takes place after Quest for Booty, the PSN exclusive released last year. The premise is that Ratchet and Clank are separated and Ratchet is trying to locate his robotic buddy. Clank was kidnapped by the Zoni, who were duped into it by Dr. Nefarious and his butler, Lawrence. Dr. Nefarious, you may remember, was the villain from Up Your Arsenal and he wants Clank so he can get into the Orvus Chamber, which will allow him to travel back through time and alter history. Clank’s origins are revealed in this game and we learn why he is the only one who can get into the Orvus Chamber.
Ratchet and Clank’s story is not really the main draw, but one thing must be said: it’s hilarious. The characters, from Dr. Nefarious to my personal favorite, Captain Qwark, all have moments that made me laugh out loud. The cutscenes are very well done, making the game look like a Pixar movie. In most games, I can barely pay attention during the cutscenes, but during this game, I was looking forward to them.
The gameplay is divided into a few sections. There is Ratchet’s traditional platforming/gunplay, which is always fun, especially for those who love collecting things. The planets you visit, while not as numerous as other installments, are varied and no two ever felt the same. The weapons you use during these areas are not as exciting as those that came before, but there are a few cool ones, like the gun that turns enemies into monkeys. Never got old. For fun, use the Groovetron to turn the monkeys into disco dancing freaks.
Once Ratchet gets his ship, right after the first planet, you will find yourself in an area of space with a few small planetoids that you can fly to and complete objectives in order to aquire Gold Bolts and Zoni, which unlock extra skins and upgrade your ship. These are pretty fun and are good for getting extra bolts to buy new weapons, but I grew tired of them after about 10 or so. They are round spheres that you walk over, which some have compared to Super Mario Galaxy, but was actually done first in an earlier Ratchet game, Going Commando. When Nintendo is cribbing from you, you must be doing something right.
The final section is interspersed throughout the main narrative, which is Clank traveling through The Great Clock using a very inventive puzzle system. Clank’s sections have a little platforming and combat, but are mainly puzzle-based, which is a nice break from the constant explosions of the Ratchet sections. The puzzles involve Clank making copies himself to open doors and hit switches. For example, Clank stands on a time platform, starts recording and then walks to a switch on the floor and stand on it. The switch raises an elevator to a higher level. Next, you stop recording and return to the time platform. You stand on a different platform and record and play the recording you just made. The copy you just made walks over and raises the elevator while you walk over to the elevator and are taken to the top. This is just a simple example, as it gets much more complicated with up to 4 copies of Clank running around doing different things. The feeling of satisfaction I get from completing is something I have only felt while playing Portal, so I highly endorse this section of the game.
A Crack in Time is a step forward in some ways, a step back in others and simple stands still at other times. This series is so much fun though, I hesitate to say that it needs to be overhauled. The franchise has evolved into gaming comfort food. Kind of the way I look at the band Collective Soul. They aren’t going to blow you away, but you are going to get 12 songs that you will be humming for the next month, no doubt about it. I loved this game, but it’s not the next level in platforming goodness.
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If I were in charge of the PlayStation division of Sony, I’d be feeling pretty good about myself right now. According to Gamasutra, more and more consumers seem to be buying up the hotly anticipated sequels to Assassin’s Creed and Modern Warfare on the PS3 as opposed to the X-Box 360.
Gamasutra’s article focuses on something called “franchise lineage”, which for us laymen is “gamer intent to purchase sequels to successful games”. The direction of the lineage seems to be changing for Assassin’s Creed 2, which shows the biggest shift. According to GamePlan Insights, the company that ran the research, fifteen percent of those who own the X-Box version plan to buy it on PS3 while only seven percent of PS3 Assassin’s Creed owners are purchasing Assassin’s Creed II on the X-Box.
While Assassin’s Creed II seems to be in the forefront of this movement, the report also indicated that Modern Warfare 2 shows a varying trend as well. The big question is this, though: why is the X-Box 360 losing sequel sales to its competitor? Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Tomorrow marks the release of Dragon Age: Origins and I honestly couldn’t be more excited. Through the recent release of the new Wheel of Time book, the Gathering Storm and Bioware’s new RPG tomorrow, I suddenly have a plethora of fantasy world experiencing to do.
I have to say that I’m a bit surprised by just how pumped I am for Dragon Age. It makes me realize just how long it’s been since I’ve played a really solid RPG. So far, the reviews are giving it great scores and my anticipation is at an all time high on the eve of release. I’m not sure what it is about a good RPG that gets my blood going, but whatever it is, Dragon Age has stoked that fire as well.
What about you guys? What game left on the holiday schedule are you jonesing for? And just for kicks, who else is in to fantasy? Got a favorite series?
Shooter fans have been used to a very ridged structure in their games so far: you progress through levels, you shoot stuff, you move on. Sometimes you pick up different guns, but mostly it’s an aesthetic change than an actual improvement on your previous weapon, barring the rifle-bazooka trade-up.
What first person shooters haven’t had is the in-depth levelling and obsessive-compulsive stat manipulation of traditional RPGs. Enter Borderlands, a first person role-playing shooter from Gearbox, best known for the PC port of Halo and the Brothers in Arms series. Set upon the dismal dust-ball of Pandora, Borderlands has the player choose one of four classes (Solider, Hunter, Tank or Siren) and starts them off on an adventure to find and open a mythical Vault full of alien weaponry. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Even though I appreciated Bioshock’s quality in terms of its immersiveness and story, I just didn’t go quite as crazy about it as everyone else did. I didn’t dislike the game, it just didn’t hook me the way it seemed to for hundreds of thousands of other gamers out there. I keep thinking I want to pick it up and finish it one day, but the sequel so far hasn’t gotten me all that excited either.
However, I do have to say that it seems that they’re really putting a lot of thought into the game’s universe and how it ticks, which is starting to perk my interest a little. The newest developer interview sheds some more light on what the game’s about and who some of its new characters are. I’d suggest giving it a watch. What about you guys? What do you think about Bioshock 2?
The future of PC gaming is something that comes up a lot among the enthusiasts, the media, and even developers. Is it dying, is it going to experience a resurgence, what’s going to happen to the PC? While there are some companies that seem to earn a living just fine by making high-quality PC titles (Valve and Blizzard come to mind), there are other companies that have moved over into console development to supplement their income.
Splash Damage head honcho Paul Wedgewood has a few words to say about PC exclusive development and how it’s no longer financially viable. He maintains that the budget is not there for triple-A quality PC titles which makes it hard to get high-end bonuses like a full orchestra and a rich voice cast. Considering that his studio originally started as a mod house which made “hardcore” multi-player maps for Quake and Wolfenstein, perhaps Mr. Wedgewood is in a better position to judge the future of PC-only development than most people. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you know that Uncharted 2 is the Playstation 3′s big great piece of hype, lying in wait to strike at just the right moment this holiday season. You also might know that the game is the object of a ridiculous amount of affection as gamers and reviewers alike swoon over its pixelated action. So, how does the game actually stack up? Let’s find out. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Okay, I am thoroughly confused by this one. I’m a big supporter of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” game design method, so I’m a little puzzled as to why Infinity Ward thought that their upcoming blockbuster needed a third-person multi-player mode. The following video was taken off a live stream of someone in France (the big source for all leaks, apparently) showing off the supposed alternate view point for Modern Warfare 2. It certainly looks legit, but I’d wait until an official comment comes from Infinity Ward before going too crazy. I mean, those poor guys have enough problems as it is.
The video is of questionable quality, which is a natural consequence of recording off a live stream. It shows the action well enough, and it does look like MW2. The third-person modes in question appear to be Team Death Match and Cage Match, so I wouldn’t expect to see this camera option appear in the campaign or SpecOps. What do you guys think? True or fake, and is this a weird move for the series?
Edit: So, it looks like this is true. Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling confirmed the existence of a couple third-person playlists, citing it as “another way to play”.
Woah. So Uncharted 2 is one incredible game. If you have been on the fence about getting a Playstation 3 (or a PS triple, as some would say), you no longer have any excuses. Go out and get this game right now. I’m being serious. There will be punches if you ignore me on this.
Now that that’s out of the way, on to what I was really trying to say. This morning I finally finished this fantastic game, and I found myself sad to see it over. Most of the time when I beat a game, I usually find myself excited about my accomplishment, being able to move on to something else. It’s only with movies and books that I get sad during an ending. Which really says a lot to me about the quality of Uncharted 2′s storytelling. In fact, I was so engrossed throughout the whole game that it was often hard to put the controller down. On nights that I needed to go to bed earlier, I would purposely avoid the game because I knew once it was one, it was go time.
Honestly, I can’t really remember the last time that a game struck me with that same sense of “holy crap I can’t put this down”. For a single player game, it’s certainly been awhile. What about you guys? When was the last time you suffered from “can’t put the controller down” syndrome?
OK, I’ll be the first to admit that we’re probably getting pretty close to the Borderlands saturation point around here, but this story was too good to pass up. Three weeks ago, Borderland’s Creative Director Mikey Neumann promised that he would play the post-apocalyptic Role-Playing-Shooter with you and drop some rare loot if you could provide a picture of yourself pre-ordering the game via Twitter. It turns out that this little boast kind of back-fired on him as over 200 people took him up on the offer.
Since Borderlands released last Tuesday, Mikey has been ploughing through his list trying to get through as many of the lucky players as he can. The game hasn’t even come out on PC yet (it lands on Monday), so I bet that he’s got a ways to go.
This strikes me as admirable, considering the few weeks after a major game launches is when most of the studio’s development team takes their vacations. Essentially, Mikey is giving up the beach to play some Borderlands with the fans, so kudos to you good sir.
Borderlands itself is doing quite well; it’s topping the Steam sales chart, beating even Left 4 Dead 2. Every retail store I’ve visited has been sold out, too, but this is due more to a shortage in shipped products (so the clerk at EB told me, anyways) than overwhelming demand.
I’m waiting for the PC version personally, but are any of you playing it on the 360 or PS3, and what do you think?
God bless IGN, ya know? For all the flack that they take from the gaming enthusiasts, they can still surprise you sometimes, like with this excellent parody video of Gearbox’s CEO Randy Pitchford explaining Borderlands to some casual game testers. Hilarity ensues.
Keep your pimp hand strong, Randy. Keep it strong. Oh, if you’re watching in a public place, wear some headphones. Just to be safe.
Hey, so, I guess that InFamous 2 is in production! I had no idea, but apparently Sucker Punch, developers of the original lightning-themed open world game and the Sly Cooper titles, are fishing around for a new motion-capture/voice actor for the game’s protagonist, Cole McGrath.
The biggest part of this rumor for me is that InFamous is getting a sequel, which is awesome. As you may remember from our Quick Hits feature, I gave InFamous a nice healthy A-. I had a lot of fun playing that game, and even though the story was kind of silly, I’d like to see where it goes.
I didn’t mind Cole’s voice, personally, but I think that if they’re re-casting Cole, they should re-work Zeke as well. He was a pretty awful supporting character with few redeeming qualities. Anyways, enough about my musings on the re-casting, what are your guys’ opinions? Did you play InFamous, and do you think that re-casting Cole is a step in the right direction? What are some games that you enjoyed, but would re-cast the main character?
Two great single player games are coming out today, in case you didn’t know. That’s right, both Uncharted 2 and Brutal Legend are dropping today, and from the reports, they are both awesome. In fact, Adam Sessler referred to Uncharted 2 as the greatest single player game he’s ever played. Ever. While it’s usually hard to take such grand statements seriously, I can’t help but get hyped for this game.
So it got me thinking about what the greatest single player game I’ve ever played actually is. There are quite a few of them, to be honest. Knights of the Old Republic, Mario 64, Final Fantasy 7 and Suikoden III come to mind. Also, Shadow of the Colossus is a strong contender for number one as well.
I’m very much aware that this topic of discussion is the complete opposite end of the spectrum from one we had last week, but I wanted to explore it anyway. So what about you guys? What’s the best single player game you’ve ever played? And are any of you going to pick up Brutal Legend or Uncharted 2? Go!
If there was a technical term in the video game industry that was the equivalent of what it would be like to have mind boners, then this new trailer for Dragon Age: Origins comes dangerously close to producing this effect in me. It’s hard to necessarily quantify how badass this trailer is in words, so I’ll just let you guys do the watching. Needless to say, there are dragons in this fantasy game, and it’s something that’s been sorely missing from my favorite pastime.
Who else is getting this game on November 3rd? I’ll be first in line.
Mindless beat-em-up brawlers occupy a special place in my heart. First off, they’re the easiest games to pick up and play: just grab a controller and mash the hit button until everything is dead. Second, brawlers are awesome for co-op, especially if they are vested in a universe that both you and your co-op partner are interested in.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 takes its cues from a lot of different games and smashes them together with the Marvel universe in hopes that you’ll like the offering. It does have a lot going for it: the Civil War storyline that Marvel published a couple years ago is the main background for the game even if it does make a left turn at the corner of Metal Gear Solid 4 and go all nano-bot on us, forgoing the actual conclusion of the comic series. It is a lot better than the “cram everything in for fan service” campaign from the original Ultimate Alliance where you would be fighting Arcade one second then dusting up Mephisto the next. A more coherent story helps move the game along at a fairly brisk pace while keeping you engaged. The voice-acting is a little hit or miss, however, but the most painful gaffs are confined to the minor characters. Visual representation for the game is serviceable, as you always know what your looking at and your characters are easy to follow. It’s not the most beautiful game by any means, but it’s far from being the ugliest. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
There is no question that Modern Warfare 2 is the most anticipated title of the year, with a hype level that has been snowballing as of late. As if that wasn’t enough, the folks over at Infinity Ward have released a brand new trailer for the game, moving me from excited to a near fever pitch. One of the wildest parts of the trailer? Images of what looks to be Washington, DC under attack. Why isn’t it November yet?
We’re getting closer to 2010, which mean that we’re starting to see some new media from a lot of next year’s big titles. Mass Effect 2 and Splinter Cell have been conducting the information blitz, but one game I’ve kept my eyes peeled for especially is Battlefield: Bad Company 2, seemingly the millionth game this quarter to bear the number “2″ in it’s title.
The original Bad Company’s multi-player was surprisingly robust, owing in part to the amazing environmental destruction mechanics. With a year and a bit of refinement behind it, Bad Company 2 is well positioned to deliver the same crazy shoot-outs, even if it looks like it’s been bitten by the Call of Duty bug. Check out the trailer, which contains a surprisingly large number of epithets, so exercise discretion if you’re around those with sensitive ears.
The game also looks really polished graphically, so consider me psyched for this! Is anyone else looking forward to some more Bad Company, and what systems are you getting it for?