Random Encounters II

Every now and then, I will sound off on a number of topics that are on my mind lately. As the Triple-A titles start rolling in this week, here are a few of the things occupying my grey matter this week:

1. Shadow of the Colossus is such a great, artistic game that makes you feel like a tiny ant next to these behemoths, while also making you feel like a bad-ass when you take them down. But then you feel terrible at seeing such majestic creatures tumble in agony and you question whether or not you are the hero in this game. Also, I love the simplicity of it. Find a Colossi, kill it. That’s it. No fetch quests, no nothing. Want more like this. Can’t wait for The Last Guardian

2. Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes out on the 31st and I am pretty excited. I don’t really care for much for the story of this game, but the time-travel aspect has me more intrigued than I should be. As long as the battle system is improved or unchanged, I know I will enjoy my time with this game. Having spent the extra twenty bucks for the Collector’s Edition, I can’t wait to hear the soundtrack that accompanies it.

3. The SOPA blackout was a success as the legislative momentum has died out, but I would like to see more alternatives to combating piracy from the groups opposed to the bill. The solutions I see most are getting more content in an easier place for people to access, but most things are already plenty easy to obtain. The most pirated movie of the year in 2011 was Fast Five, which clearly shows we are dealing with a species unfamiliar with quality. Fast Five was still successful, but also making the list was Source Code, I Am Number 4 and Sucker Punch, all of which had lackluster revenues. I can’t help but think piracy had something to do with this and I would like to see the brilliant minds of the Internet devise a workable solution to limiting piracy.

4. I drive myself crazy trying to decide whether to trade in a game or keep it. Some are easy: Dead Space 2 and Killzone 3 were fun, but I don’t see myself ever going back to either of them. But Uncharted 3 and Batman: Arkham City are so fun and there are moments I want to go back and relive or in Batman’s case, collect all those Riddler trophies. I always tell myself that I will do it when I have the time and have no other games to play, but will that ever happen again? I have less time every day and more games coming out every week to play. I honestly don’t know what to do.

5. I hear talk about people Occupying E3 for some reason that I have not bothered to pay attention to and all I have to say is: No. Stop it. As ardent a liberal as I am, the Occupy Movement had its place and it raised awareness for the issue of income equality so much that it is being used to damage certain candidates in the Republican Primaries. It was a success. To leverage it into a protest at E3 is just annoying and unimaginative. It’s become a trend and it should be stop before it becomes the political version of a flashmob.

6. Finally, I plan on getting Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii, which releases on April 2nd. It’s only being sold through Nintendo’s website and GameStop. Trying to avoid ever setting foot inside a GameStop again, I went to Nintendo’s site and there is a disclaimer that they will begin shipping at the end of April. The game comes out on the 2nd! WTF! Sorry, Big N, but you just drove me right to GameStop. Why would they make it such a terrible deal to get the game from them? This is Nintendo! Surely they can pull some strings and get better shipping times for people! My only hope is that enough people buy this game that Nintendo decides to bring The Last Story to the U.S. as well.

Well, that’s my take on these topics. What’s your view on any of these? And what else is on your mind? Pull up a chair, pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and let’s just talk.

Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Castlevania: GabrielIn 2009, I remember feeling a little left out of the geek fervor when I went to go attend a showing of the new Star Trek movie. For some reason or another, I just had never been a fan of the beloved series, and had only ever seen one movie (which I thought was boring). Still, the new movie seemed like it would be worth a watch, so I thought I would check it out with the rest of the red-shirt masses. Long story short: I left the movie feeling high on adventure, and itching to check out all the Star Trek that I had missed up until that point.

If you want to bring this over to gaming terms, I guess you could say that Castlevania has always been my Star Trek, so to speak. It’s one of those titles that I’ve just missed out on over the years. And now, after having spent a whole weekend plumbing the depths of Konami’s newest entry in the long-running classic action franchise, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the results are the same: I think Castlevania’s got a new fanboy. Continue reading Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Team Ico Collection for the PS3 is Happening

Shadow of the Colossus

I guess it’s for real this time.

Several months back, there was a rumor that a Team Ico Collection coming to the PS3 at some point in the near future. This little anthology would feature both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, upgraded to glorious and stunning HD to match their already gorgeous art design.

Well, this juicy rumor has now been proven real, and confirmed by this week’s issue of Famitsu, the Japanese gaming magazine. Now, when it will release – and for what price – is still up for grabs. However, there are rumors going around placing its release in March or April 2011 for a price of about $40. Call me crazy, but I like it.

While I’d rather be playing the game at Christmas, I guess I can live with getting this game next year, because let’s face it – these are two of the greatest games of last gen, put together on one disc for our enjoyment. Who else is ridiculously excited about this?

Source – Andria Sang

Team Ico Collection Coming to Blu-Ray

Team Ico CollectionOK, I figured I would contrast that sad gaming news from earlier with something super badass, so I now bring a pretty awesome piece of news that’s been floating around. We all know that Team Ico makes great games, including both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus from the PS2 days. They are also working on the highly anticipated Last Guardian for the PS3, which I simply can not wait for well.

Well, it looks like they’re going to have another PS3 release early 2011 in the form of the Team Ico Collection, which will consist of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, running on the PS3 in glorious HD. To me, this is one of the coolest things I’ve heard in a while, as I simply loved SotC, and never really got to actually play Ico (though I watched my best friend play through a bit of it).

I really love the trend that Sony’s been on lately of packaging last gen games together for people to play them on their next gen system, like the God of War Collection. Now I’m just holding onto hope for one that includes Metal Gear Solid 3. Fingers crossed.

In addition to that, someone on NeoGAF has posted mock-ups of Ico running in HD through a PC emulator, and they are simply gorgeous. Go check them out!

So what do you guys think of this news? Who played the first games? Go!

Source- TheSixAxis

Are Games Emotionally Engaging?

Mass Effect 2One phrase that we have been hearing a lot lately from the videogame industry is the idea of making our current gaming stories more engaging in terms of emotion. Doing something like this seems to be one of the last great barriers in the minds of game makers, considering what the technology of their platforms can do.

Specifically, Bioware is the company speaking about this most of all. In a recent interview with Kotaku, company manager Ray Muzyka shared Bioware’s vision statement. Namely, to “create, deliver and evolve the most emotionally engaging gaming experiences in the world”. The article goes on to talk about character development and progression, and how Bioware aims to create these feelings in all of their franchises.

The problem with this? As good as Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins were, I don’t know if I ever felt “emotionally engaged” at any point of the stories. Sure, there were characters I was crazy attached to, and moments that took my breath away or dropped my jaw- many of those, in fact. But I wouldn’t say that there was any point that hit me like moments of Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, or Shadow of the Colossus, and those are all from previous generations. To me, it’s odd that developers are still trying to hit this, but to me it comes down to the writing.

So what about you guys? Do you find that games are emotionally engaging enough? What games have you played that have done that for you?

Source- Kotaku

Destructoid Posts Top 50 Games of the Decade

sotc-2List time! We all know how lists put gamers in such a frenzy, and this newest entry from Destructoid is no different. The dudes (and a few ladies, I’m sure) have put together their comprehensive list of what they feel are the best 50 games of the last 10 years, running from 2000 to now.

While I generally don’t get my panties in a bunch over a list, I do like to take the things that they are measuring and think about how I would have ranked them on my own. I do have to admit that their top 50 list has some quality entries (Half-Life 2, Portal, Shadow of the Colossus are in some great positions), it also has a few things that I feel are misplaced. Valkyria Chronicles, for one, seems just a bit high at number 8, while Knights of the Old Republic is shockingly low at the 49 spot. Beyond that, the omission of both the Halo franchise as a whole as well as Fallout 3/Oblivion certainly raise an eyebrow or several hundred.

So what do you guys think of this list? And what are some of your best games of the last decade?

Source- Destructoid

Rumor: Next Team Ico Project Revealed

Team Ico, the awesome guys that brought us classic legendary titles like Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, have been hard at work on a new, super-secret project. Well, according to PlayStation LifeStyle, that PS3 project has just been revealed, codenamed “Trico”. While they have no source on the trailer below, it definitely has the look and feel of some of their past projects.

The footage shows a boy and a strange creature that seems to be a dog/rat/bird thing, and the two engage in co-operative platforming through awesome environments. I don’t know how I feel about the animal, but the footage definitely has a great feel to it. No word on whether this is real or not, but the music isn’t original and appears in the movie “Miller’s Crossing”.

So what do you guys think?


Source- PlayStation LifeStyle

Gaming and Religion: Why Not?

megamanAs a storytelling medium, there is no doubt that gaming has come a long way. From the early years of navigating pixelated plumbers on to the revolutionary cut scenes of the late 90’s and finally to the high definition narratives of today, gaming is truly growing up in more ways than one.

While there are those out there that will always claim that gaming is not and can never be art, or that gaming can in no way tackle deep issues, I propose that those people have not been emotionally moved or impacted by a game before. Even though gaming is still an adolescent in terms of its medium, some great strides have been made in storytelling that place video games right alongside some of the best books or Hollywood blockbusters.
Continue reading Gaming and Religion: Why Not?

A Shadow of the Colossus Retrospective

sotcShadow of the Colossus is one of my favorite PS2 games, if not one of my favorite games, of all time. It is one of the prime examples of “games as art” that we have at this point, and might go down as the Citizen Kane of gaming, or something comparable. Everything from the design, to the story and the gameplay, all work in tandem to create a one of a kind experience.

However, not everyone has had the fortune of playing this fine piece of gaming history. Including the dudes over at Crispy Gamer, who have put up what is essentially a play-by-play of Shadow of the Colossus, as they go through it for the first time. It really is fascinating to read someone’s first time experiences of it as they beat each colossus, and it made me want to pick the game up and play it again after all these years.

Definitely worth the read. How many of you guys have played Shadow of the Colossus? How many would put it in your top 10 favorite games?

Source- Crispy Gamer

What Ever Happened to Boss Battles?

After defeating the mighty Gears of War 2 this weekend, I was hit with a startling realization that I had heard repeated a few times before in its reviews- the ending boss was majorly lame. It was truly baffling. In this day and age, many of the blockbuster titles that we seem to play don’t have those uber boss battles that we used to know and love from when we were younger.

Continue reading What Ever Happened to Boss Battles?


Wow, the possibilities just seem endless when I look at LittleBigPlanet. Take this new video, for instance, where a student re-created a Colossus from Shadow of the Colossus in LBP as a level. When I see stuff like this, it makes me both tingle with excitement and ashamed of my own lack of creativity.

Waiting on Team Ico

It looks like we might not have to wait much longer to hear something about Team Ico’s next project. The creators of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are apparently hard at work on whatever their next game is, set to appear on the PS3. Sony worldwide head Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed that the game will be shown “soon”.

Continue reading Waiting on Team Ico