September 29, 2007

PSP Bringing the Pain - Crisis Core Impressions

Filed under: Previews, PSP, Games — DW @ 4:56 pm , Permalink

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I don’t go too much by sales numbers but since its the one time that the PSP beat out the DS by over 100% in sales, I can’t help myself. You can blame the figures on one sole title perhaps - Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. Expect similar results during the US release. But seriously, 190% is insane!! Nuff respect to Joystiq.com for this.

- PSP: 277,794 182,307 (190.92%)
- DS Lite: 70,523 9,451 (11.82%)
- Wii: 24,992 1,189 (4.54%)
- PS2: 11,373 1,755 (13.37%)
- PS3: 10,732 2,369 (18.08%)
- Xbox 360: 1,687 444 (35.72%)
- Game Boy Micro: 243 471 (65.97%)
- GBA SP: 106 16 (13.11%)
- Gamecube: 68 29 (29.90%)
- GBA: 33 33 (N/A)
- DS Phat: 15 — 0 (0.00%)

Click more for my impressions…

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August 23, 2007

A Night in Rapture

Filed under: Previews, PC Gaming, Xbox 360, Games — DW @ 1:59 am , Permalink

I got a chance to download the Bioshock demo tonight for my PC [vista enabled 5gb dual core *2, 512mb nvidia GC rig] . I will pick up the full game later this week so I can loose myself in it over the weekend after being teased by this demo. Below you will find my general impressions and some screens that I took while playing.

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Besides the obvious fact that this game looks good, it plays just as well. There was an interesting difficulty setting in the game called “You played a lot of Shooters!” that was not selectable. I was very annoyed by this as my brethren are aware of my love for taking on an impossible challenge. That must be the insane setting because playing it one difficulty lower will be challenging enough for most players. Even though that’s the case the game still plays well, rewarding you just in time so that the difficulty does not appear to be too harsh. While playing I had a heighten sense of all the objects in the game, and this is a must if you expect to survive.

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If dirt was the leading elemental character in Motorstorm, then water takes the spot light in Bioshock. Mind you the game is running on limited settings. Though I was able to max out the settings on my PC, there were few options that were not made available in the demo, specifically shadow highlighting and all that volumetric mama-jama nerds go gah-gah over. But looking at the above picture, with the game running at a mere 800*600 resolution, do you really need it? Then again I was running it on Vista, so take note.

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The entire feel of this game is something to talk about, from the audio, characters, and the themes used to get a design point across, this game is top notch. Though the default PC control layout was questionable, once you have it set to your liking, everything works beautifully. It’s tough to get an FPS to feel right, and this game ebbs a level of smoothness that I haven’t felt in a FPS for quite sometime. The default sensitivity is a little high for my tastes but this is adjustable as well. A key setting that should be adjusted as you will have several foes attacking you at once. During the insanity of switching between plasmids, and weapons, and dealing with the roster, the game maintains a solid frame rate. My hat’s off to 2K for this game as I haven’t been impressed by a demo this much in a long time. Expect my full review soon, Click “more” to check out extra screens.

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August 6, 2007

TEKKEN 5 OnLine Preview

Filed under: Previews, PS3, Games — DW @ 1:06 pm , Permalink

Soon Virtua Fighter would have made it online and perhaps I’ll stop bad mouthing it, but until then, it can kiss my Tekken loving a$$. After itching so much about frame rates, it will make it online soon. Well on to Tekken.

There will be two versions for the next Tekken 5 DR HD PSN update. You can download the update if you already own the current HD version, or get the full version if you have not done so already. Currently, in Japan, they go for 1,000, and 2800 Yen respectfully. That’s about $8.50 and $23.00 dollars over here. If the price for the full version sticks, this will go down as the most expensive PSN title to date. Still, $23 is not much; depending on your budget. For those of us who are less skilled in this game, you will be able to pick who you want to fight based on current stats/ranks. It’s also possible to just play a quick match, where the computer will just assign whoever it finds available at the time. Nothing new. Friend based matches are also possible.

All this simple means is that you can limit your matches to small , large, or private groups. Namco said that the interface is very simple, and easy to use, so don’t expect anything too complicated. My main worry is that the damn thing does not load as much as Rainbow 6 Vegas. That game loads way too much for my tastes, and it doubles its effort when its online. Anyway, the boys over at Tekken Zaibatsu said that the loading between rooms is only a few seconds and nothing like Rainbow 6.

Surprisingly, the online experience is very “arcadey”, for lack of a better word. If you have the balls, you can make your own room, which allows for 8 guests. You can make slots exclusive for your buds, that way they always get in on the action. This also means you can kick out anyone if you’re so inclined. So far nothing too new for an online game but these features are needed. If you’re the current champ, everyone within the 8 man/girl group will take you on until you loose your crown. This is akin to the “who’s got next, that’s my quarter up on the machine” that some of you may know about. When you’re not fighting, you can watch the current match and perhaps take part in trash talking, or just down right distraction for the current fighters. Fear not, there is a mute button. :D

What about lag? Well so far play tests have been Japan based and got reasonable reviews. Keep in mind that servers made for Japan will work better for players in Japan so most of the folks who got this version said that at times its perfect and at other times its not. For those players who just can’t seem to stay online, like my buddy Felman, you will be able to quickly get back online without exiting the game; something more online games should implement by default on PS3. Finally, the transition from the main title screen to the online rooms takes only a few seconds. It seems that Namco settled for a simple UI that gets the job done, so don’t expect anything like DOA’s online Cabaret of bouncy-ness. :) If I know Tekken players, they could care less about anything else other than the actual bout.

June 1, 2007

folksSoul Demo Impressions

Filed under: Previews, Demo, PS3, Games — DW @ 8:02 pm , Permalink

I got a chance to go through the folksSoul, aka, folklore, aka, Monster Kingdom, aka, Unknown Realms, Demo today and I walked away impressed. There’s nothing 100% new about this title but it delivers in droves while it pays homage to titles like “Resident Evil” and action RPGs like FF XII. Visually, folksSoul can only be described as an explosion of colours [excuse my Island boy guidance]. There is only one other game that comes to mind with the use of such a wide array of strong colours and hues, and that’s Odin’s Spear. A title I recently picked up on a whim but ended up loving.

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In the demo, there are no cut scenes. Everything has been replaced with something akin to the cut scenes found in Vagrant Story. If it stays in the final version of the game, a few of the fans whose eyes were caught by this title may end up feeling a little cheated. Still its a demo, so who knows what will happen by the time the game goes gold. Still, this feels like a major loss. Surfing around the net, a lot of folks have said that this is the adult Pokemon title. Honestly the game is far from it. It borders more on the levels of action RPG but does not limit where or what you can fight within fields. Everything takes place on the fly and the game shines in this respect making it seamless. Your main objective, other than following the story, is to survive hordes of monsters using the souls of the brethren as aids. Square, Circle, X, and Triangle will activate a monster. The reaction time for the summoning of monsters to attack, defend, or aid, is instant. The game maintained a good frame rate and this is important as the screen gets filled with several enemies at times. This was especially the case playing as Keates. Since you are able to quickly dispatch monsters at your command, you will be able to string attacks together once you come to understand the extent of the damage, shielding, helping, or enhancements provided by the souls you have taken and their associated times spent on the field. Collecting more souls from the same type of monsters will level up the attributes that they give you. Collecting multiple souls in one go will reward you with chained experience. This may sound easy but having several monster near to death is not that easy.

Not to give anything away but you will have to play the game as both characters to get the full view of the story. You will encounter different bosses, and monsters when playing as either character. A word to the wise; ladies first.

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You can also collect the souls of the bosses, which give you the ability to deal out multiple hits and screen filler attacks for those pincer like moments. The AI is not completely tame, and if one monster is left standing, it will run away to find a pack then resume attacking. No one is expecting Gears of War style AI here, that would be pointless. It would seem that Keates’ game is much tougher as you are forced to use all the monsters for attacking, blocking, and aiding during your battles. All the souls you collect will be logged in an easily accessible list found by hitting the L2 button which you can access at any time. In here, you can assign your buttons to the monster you would like to use for best results in the right situation. No one monster is assigned to one button, you can mix up locations if you want.

There is a simple tutorial that will walk you through the collection of standard souls but the souls of bosses are way more challenging to obtain, as the timing of using the six axis will be crucial. Souls are acquired by hitting R1 just before monsters die, and its at this point you are expected to move the SAC to get the soul. If you mash the buttons you will loose the chance to claim souls. Loosing this chance will prevent you from leveling up and thus make it impossible to fight off other monsters. Don’t worry, there are audible and visual ques that point out when to hit R1.

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I hate to admit it but if you had any problems playing flow, you’re f%&*ed. Just kidding; it’s really not that hard and no where as steep as learning Flow. The music fits in well with the theme of the game, and the design of the world reminds me of stories like Dark Crystal, and several fantasy novels and movies I use to go nuts over when I was younger. If you’re into the genre, you will be well at home. I just have one complaint: for some reason, you cannot run while you’re inside of homes and pubs. A minor annoyance that you get over quickly but got in the way of the pace of the game in terms of moving around. The Ibuki in me loves speed, and when I’m forced to slow down, I don’t like it. Other than that, the demo showcased everything I had expected from this title so far.

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