Sunday, December 30, 2007

Game of the Year Decided

Gamespot has announced the winners of all its various categories, you can see what I thought of the readers votes here

Most Surprisingly good game
I am pleased to say that my vote, Medal of Honour 2:Heroes, is also what Gamespot choose.

Best Graphics, Artistic
I am pleased to say that GS also went with me on this one, despite the readers voting, and went with Galaxy for the Wii!

Best Mutliplayer Game
This was always going to be a close one between Halo and CoD, personally I think that Halo has the slight edge. Gamespot said: Rock Band..?

Most Improved Sequel

This was always going to be a close one. It went to Medal of Honour, once again, I do agree, because the last one was appalling.

Best Use of a Control Scheme
This has to go to a Wii game, doesn't it? The voters went for Assassins Creed, which is absurd. Gamespot went for Zelda Phantom Hourglass, which is fair enough, the sword fighting is really quite good.

Most Disappointing Delay
This went to GTA, although personally it had to be Brawl for me.

Best 360 Game

Goes to Call of Duty. From this, I guess that this will also be Game of the Year, as 360 had a very good year.

How wrong could I be, Galaxy WINS Game of the Year. I knew it was amazing, but wow. Congrats Ninty, now you have sold hundreds of consoles and made great games.

On a side note, I got money for a 360, and so BOUGHT ONE!!! I have Halo 3, Forza 2, PES 06 and Viva Pinata (those last two I am going to sell) Loving every minute of it. Will bring you reviews of all them and more in the new year. On Veteran Gamers new site. Still on for launching this Jan 1st, albeit with slightly less features than originally planned.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gamespot Game of the Year Awards

Well, as we near the end of the year, all sites start to give out their analysis of the year, and gaming sites are no exception. I don't play enough video games to do my own awards (other than the Game of the Year) but I do like to keep a very close eye on Gamespots. Gamespot have now opened up the read choice voting for all the awards, so head over here to cast your vote. Below is my comments on some of the votes and their results.

Special Achievement
Best Graphics, Artistic - Assassins Creed
Now I am not going to argue that Assassins Creed's graphics aren't good, because they are amazing. But they aren't artistically amazing, just ultra-realistic. Both Bio-shock and Galaxy are much more artistically focus and Eternal Sonata looks to be too.

Best Multiplayer - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
I was highly surprised to find that Halo didn't win this award. Call of Duty did. I have already stated my opinion on this battle, but I was still surprised as I thought that the Halo fanboyism would be far greater than that of a recently released Call of Duty.

Best Expansion Pack - Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance
Nothing very surprising here, except Civ BtS didn't win. However, it wasn't a console game that got it, which is odd as normally the console support is far greater on Gamespot.

Most improved sequel - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

This was a very tight call for me, as Call of Duty 3 was bad, Halo 2 I wasn't a fan of, Medal of Honour 1 for the Wii was appalling and the last Mario was also not mean to be very good. On top of which I want to own all 4 of those titles before March next year! I went for Medal of Honour as the original was so bad. Unsurprisingly, Call of Duty won, as with quite a lot of these awards, it comes down to popularity over actually success in the area (aka. Assassins Creed)

Best Control Scheme - Assassins Creed
This is a terrible, but point proven, example of popularity winning the award. Assassins Creed beat Medal of Honour, Wario, Phantom Hourglass and Resi Evil 4: Wii Edition. Not that there was anything wrong with the control scheme in Assassins Creed, but it was hardly revolutionary like Medal of Honour, Phantom Hourglass or Wario. Unfortunately, as they were less rounded games, they loose the vote.

Dubious Awards

Worst Trend - Lousy Wii Ports
If there is one award that is spot on, it is this one, as the winner was Poor Wii Ports. Although, in my opinion, quick party games and waggles for buttons are just as guilty. Comes hand in hand with well selling console though...

Flat out worst game - Deal or no Deal
The fact that this game got released speaks great volume. The TV program was bad enough, Deal or no Deal, I mean, COME ON

Best of Genre

Best of Console

Xbox 360 - Halo 3
Call of Duty, got beaten by Halo! Not the best shooter, or the best multiplayer, but it is the best 360 game, that makes sense.

PS3 - Call of Duty 4
A little embarrassing is that all bar 1 of these games came out on 360 earlier, and the winner wasn't the best on 360. Unlucky PS3

Wii - Super Mario Galaxy
Galaxy, unsurprisingly, won this. But I was disappointed to see that Metroid Prime didn't get a mention, it was one of the highlights of the year for me.

Game of the Year
This was very close, but the read winner as of now is currently, just 1% above Crysis, coming in a close second.

Well that's all, make sure to cast your votes as come of them were very close. I reckon that Call of Duty will get the Game of the Year official award, but we will have to wait and see.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare First Impressions

Yesterday, I got the opportunity to play on the new Call of Duty from Infinity Ward, set in the modern world. I managed to play both the single player and the multiplayer, and I can assure you it is a first class shooter and a much needed break from World War 2!

The single player is, at first, a little strange, particularly if you are coming from Halo 3, which most 360 owners will be, as you can only jump about 1ft in the air. Also, if you want to shoot with any kind of accuracy, you need to enter aim mode. However, once you get in to it, the feeling is exhilarating. You genuinely believe you are in a SWAT team. This is largely due to the team chatter. Which, unlike basically every other game ever, doesn't just say them same 3 lines over again ("Tango down") Another thing which also goes quite a long way towards making you feel is the graphics. Except for the odd thing which randomly looks terrible, like the opening water,the graphics, lighting and rain are spot on. Oddly, the game doesn't apply physics to everything, like most ultra hi-def shooters do. The environments, despite this, feel realistic.

Remarkably, I didn't want to spend loads of time looking round, like I usually do. This is, once again, down to the fact you feel like you are a member of the SAS. The missions are compelling, and there are beautiful set pieces round every single corner. I am not exaggerating, there is literally no breaks in the action. Although this does make the game more action packed the Matrix Reloaded, you never get to spend half as long as you would like to at each battle because you need to keep going. Although I haven't played though all of the single player, I have heard that it is short. I think this density can be blamed for that and a little spreading out would also make the fighting even more intense.

Then, I tried the multiplayer, and while it still may need to stand the test of time, I think we genuinely have a rival for Halo MP. The fun class system, servers and very little voice chat makes the games seem more akin to a PC shooter than a console shooter. The game also adds dynamics such as being able to call in a Helicopter to aide you if you get 5 kills in a row. At first this feels cheap, but once you get near 5 kills and you have worked out you can take down the helicopter, it makes the combat much frenetic, as your death is worth more than just one point. Although I only got to try a couple of maps in Team Death Match, I am hooked. The class system, while may not be as crucial in this as say, Day of Defeat, does add an interesting dimension to the multiplayer, particularly with the perks system, where you can choose 3 special abilities, like drop grenades when you die! All in all the multiplayer is great and while on time will tell if it is as addictive as Halo, I believe this could be the game to topple Halo.

This game has jumped in to my "Want to get for my 360" list, a great honour indeed. I can safely recommend this to all PC shooters players as the game is as close to a PC shooter as you are ever going to get. Console shooters, be warned, this is NOT Halo. There is no bunny jumping and beat down really is a last resort. Please don't let that put you off though, providing you are prepared to play it realistically, you have a highly refined and truly polished game. Once again, I find myself taking my hat of to Infinity Ward (Call of Duty also warranted a nod of the hat)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Super Mario Galaxy Second Impressions

Well I got some more time with Galaxy, and it has blown every other game right out of the water. The amount of variation between the now 6 galaxies is out-standing. On top of which, I am still only a fraction through the game.

The second galaxy you get to play on is themed around Bees. The bee suit is one of the more simple suits in Galaxy, apparently, however, just the dynamics it adds are incredible. The boss in this galaxy is considerably harder than in the first Galaxy, but still shouldn't take you very long to complete.

I also got to play on the much famed Ray Surfing level. This is the first level to properly use the Wiimote, and it works fantastically. It doesn't feel gimmicky or even unnecessary. The controls are easy to use and have all the finesse of Super Monkey Ball and the whole point of that was game was its fidelity! This track is amazingly fun, and I still race down it to try and beat my time (1:01:78 if anyone wants to try) and on top of this it is accessible, with my own mother being able to play it.

In addition this, I played on the remainder of the observatory (of which I think there are 8) This included the big boss fight against one of Bowser Jr.s hench robot things. Looked, graphically, very impressive but it was easy to beat. It also included a small galaxy based on one planetoid of flip switches, but this was clearly a bonus galaxy if you like. However, possibly my high light for the entire game so far was on galaxy that was outside the observatory. In it, you are standing on this base that looks a little like party rings with cookie cutter shapes cut in to it. Sounds normal, but it is moving, and not the way you want to go. It starts off just going the opposite way to you. Then it starts going horizontally, and then swapping between the two horizontals as you go along, then switches to curves and ends with entire sections missing. It is tricky to explain, so either play on it yourself or watch this video:

Overall, I am loving every minute of this game and I can't wait till after Christmas where I can play it without restrictions. Also got to play on Call of Duty 4 for the 360. Will be doing some impressions for that too,but it is as amazing as everyone says it is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wii Shop and Photo Channel Updates

My Wii started glowing at some un-Godly hour this morning, so when I got up I turned it on to find out what it was. I presumed it was a new Check Mii Out/Mii Competition Channel competition, however it was a Wii Update. In this update the Wii shop would be updates, allowing you the further update the Photo Channel.

Wii Shop
Apart from the obvious change of Channel icon, the Wii shop now supports "gifting" Basically, you browse to a VC title of your choice, then when you select it, you have the choice to either download it, or send it to one of your contacts. Although I wasn't able to try this, as I have no Wii Points, this sounds like an excellent feature and I will be trying it out when one of my friends next has a birthday. I originally thought that it would be possible to send your games that you have downloaded, however it would appear that is is only possible with new games. This is unfortunate, as it would mean if you didn't like the game, you could send it to a friend, or even swap it. However, this is presumably impossible because it might make piracy possible, with people copying games on to SDs cards, gifting and then playing the SD card. When you do gift something, you are allowed to send a message and attach a Mii. Sadly no option of cheesy animated Christmas cards.

Photo Channel
The photo channel has two changes. The first is mainly technical, the channel no longer supports MP3, but now ACC. ACC, as Nintendo correctly states, is higher quality for the same file size as MP3. However, MP3 is much more wildly supported, the only thing I know to use ACC is iTunes. I am surprised they just stopped supporting MP3, I thought they would just add support. The other update allows you to choose one of your pictures and set that as the channel icon. While this is quite neat, it is a bit irrelevant, particularly as the message implied you would be able to put images in separate channel slots.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Galaxy First Impression

I got, as an early Christmas present, Mario Galaxy. I am only allowed to progress while the friend who gave it to me is here, so these impressions are based on the opening galaxy (equivalent to 3 levels)

The game starts with a very dramatic and beautifully rendered cut-scene. Warning, spoiler: Bowser steals Princess Peach...again. There is a very brief training level where you have to catch some star people. This introduces you to the basics of jumping and the idea of spherical planets. Yes, after a bit this idea works very well. However, when I first started to navigate these planets, it did make me feel little queasy and even now I sometimes find navigating on doughnut shaped planets a little confusing with only one joystick.

The two bosses I have thought have been very entertaining, if not very difficult. The graphics are amazing. Plane and simple, they are amazing. Not amazing for the Wii, simply amazing. They might not be as technically stunning as say GoW, but the fun artsy design some very impressive animations make the game easily the best graphics Wii game and wouldn't be dismissed on so called true next generation consoles.

The Co-Op experience is a little limited as the second player only controls a pointer and all he is tasked to do is collect star bits and hold enemies in place. For any real gamer, this will got old quickly. However, it is great if your non gamer friend is going to watch you play anyway, as what they are doing isn't going to ruin the other persons attempts, however, they can still help and feel a part of it. I still wish the other player could control Luigi

The music is great too with very little recycled songs so far. In fact, some of the songs are on an epic scale similar to Zelda. Overall, this game looks, sounds and plays great and I can't wait to play further in to the game. Enjoy the run up to Christmas!

Monday, December 03, 2007

2007 Christmas Guide

Christmas is fast looming, so here is my guide on what you games you should get for your relative/friend. I will be giving my top 3 recommendations for each console for the differnt age groups. First, if you are choosing a console, read the bit below. If you have already chosen/bought a console, scroll down for the games and make sure you don't have to go to Game the next day.
Which console?

I own a Wii, however, I am not going to straight out recommend it to everyone. If your relative friend, who hence forth will be known as the receiver, is under 12, then without a doubt, this is a safe choice. If it is going to be a family console, once again, full recommendations, if the receiver missed gaming when they were a kid, Wii is the answer. However, if the receiver is a "core" gamer, such as myself, you should think a little first. Providing they enjoy a bit of thinking as well as just action, then I will still recommend this console. If, however, they prefer instant and simple run'n'gun gameplay, the Wii's choice of games becomes a little restricted, with my favourite games on the Wii all requiring at least some pause. If you are sure that this won't be a problem, I once again, recommend the Wii.

Xbox 360
This is a rock steady console, I am hoping to pick one up after Christmas. The range of games covers all ages and their is no age group which I specifically wouldn't recommend it to. The younger age group's choice of games is a little limited, with many of the big blockbuster titles carrying heavy age ratings, however, there are games such as Viva Pinta and if they are in to driving games, a plethora of them exist. One thing I should point out is beware of the hidden charges. One of the main reasons for getting a 360 is the online, Xbox Live. However, this comes with a subscription charge of £40 a year, plus you will need to connect your 360 to the internet, which can also be quite expensive. If you want to use a wireless internet connection, you will be required to pay £60 to buy a wireless adaptor. The 360 comes with many of these charges to get everything out of it, but these can be added as and when needed.

I do not recommend the PS3 at this time. It has limited library of games and a low install base (meaning fewer games to come) Also, for younger audiences, there is virtually nothing. However, if you own a full 1080i HD TV, the PS3 does come with a built in Blu-ray player and is currently much cheaper than all other Blu-ray players. Unlike the 360, you pay for everything up front with the PS3, and I am not going to lie to you, if you buy a PS3, it will still be technologically impressive in 5 years time. If nothing else, it is the best media centre on the market. Despite this, if you are looking for a games console, look else where, as it does come down to the games, which there are next to none on the PS3.

Under 9s

  • Super Mario Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy (3+, £35, not available from Amazon, but in Game stores) received fantastic reviews from just about everywhere. The games difficulty is said to rise gradually, meaning it will be accessible to younger audiences and still a challenge for the elder. Also, the game features a drop in/out co-op allowing for you, if you have 5 minutes spare from the turkey, drop in, help a little, and then go back to the dinner.
  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz - SMB:BB(7+, £25, not available from Amazon, but in Game stores) is a fun game that uses the Wiimote fantastically. The single player will entertain most, providing they have a little patience, and the multiplayer contains a wide variety of games. Read my review
  • Second Wii Remote - 2nd Wii Remote(3+, £32, not available from Amazon, but in game stores) will allow you to play games in Multiplayer. For games such as Super Monkey Ball, this is almost compulsory and I highly recommend this product to anyone, as multiplayer really does enhance enjoyment. Also, I advise you to get a Nunchuck(3+, £15, not available from Amazon, but in Game store) as it is required for some multiplayer games
  • Super Mario Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy (3+, £35, not available from Amazon, but in Game stores) received fantastic reviews from just about everywhere. The games difficulty is said to rise gradually, meaning it will be accessible to younger audiences and still a challenge for the elder. Also, the game features a drop in/out co-op allowing for you, if you have 5 minutes spare from the turkey, drop in, help a little, and then go back to the dinner.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - The epic conclusion(12+, £32.98, available at Amazon) to the Metroid Prime series. I loved this game. The controls are great, use the Wiimote, but doesn't over use it. The story is great, there is, unfortunately, next to no replayability as there s no multiplayer. Despite this, I recommend this to all gamers (not non gamers, as the game can be a little complicated) You can read my first impressions.
  • Legend of Zelda: Twighlight Princess - This launch game (12+, £32.48, if bought from Amazon it will not be dispatched for Christmas)still stands strong. While the game might not utilise the Wii remote to its full potential, the puzzles are brilliantly designed and the plot is gripping. Some people will find this game quite tricky and if the reviver doesn't like puzzle solving, steer clear. Read my review
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - The epic conclusion(12+, £32.98, available at Amazon) to the Metroid Prime series. I loved this game. The controls are great, use the Wiimote, but doesn't over use it. The story is great, there is, unfortunately, next to no replayability as there s no multiplayer. Despite this, I recommend this to all gamers (not non gamers, as the game can be a little complicated) You can read my first impressions.
  • Resident Evil 4 - Resident Evil 4(15, £25, available at Amazon, but will not be delivered by Christmas) has quite a confusing control scheme, but once you get past that you have a thrilling and tense story that will take most people quite a long time to get through. Once you have done that, there is even more. Arguably the best graphics on the Wii to boot.
  • Super Mario Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy (3+, £35, not available from Amazon, but in Game stores) received fantastic reviews from just about everywhere. The games difficulty is said to rise gradually, meaning it will be accessible to younger audiences and still a challenge for the elder. Also, the game features a drop in/out co-op allowing for you, if you have 5 minutes spare from the turkey, drop in, help a little, and then go back to the dinner.
Xbox 360

Under 9

  • Viva Pinata - I am not entirely sure what this game (3+, £39.98, available from Amazon) is about. All I know is it is kid friendly, fun and was received very well by the press. The limited time I did have with it, it seemed to be about nurturing a garden and filling it with fun creatures.
  • Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga - This Lego game (3+, 29.99, available from Amazon but will not be dispatched by Christmas) is great fun. While I haven't personally been on this game, I have played on the previous instalment and it has kept my 8 year old brother for over 85 hours and this game includes that game and another 1, so this will occupy them for quite a long time...
  • PGR 4 - This is a fun, arcadeish racing game(3+, £37,.98, available from Amazon) is fantastic racing game. It even features motorbikes! However, some less able reciverers may find this game too trick (my 8 year old brother handles it fine)
  • Forza Motor Sport - This ultra-realistic racer (3+, £17.98, available from Amazon, but will not be dispatched by Christmas) is not for the feint of heart. This game is great if you are prepared to put the dedication in. The driving is hard to master and you are going to have to spend some time customising your car to get the best possible ride for the lowest cost. However, if Forza 1 is anything to go by, it is well worth it.
  • Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock - This game (12+, 64.98, available from Amazon, but will not be dispatched by Christmas) is expensive, that is largely due to the fact it comes with a wireless guitar to play the game. I played on this game for a bit and I loved it. It is amazing fun and if you are prepared to, I would recommend getting two guitars, as the MP is said to be very good.
  • PGR 4 - This is a fun, arcadeish racing game(3+, £37,.98, available from Amazon) is fantastic racing game. It even features motorbikes! However, some less able reciverers may find this game too trick (my 8 year old brother handles it fine)
  • Halo 3 - This is the blockbuster movie of games (15+, £37.96, available from Amazon) is amazing. I was never a huge fan of Halo 2, so take my word, this game is great. I would only have some slight reservations if you do not intend to get live as that is where the mean of the game lies. Read my first impressions here
  • Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - This is possibly my favourite game (15+, £40, not available from Amazon) Now I could go in to great lengths about why I think this game is amazing, but this customer review on Amazon sums it up:
"Anyways, Once you've past the first mission, you exit through this tunnel and all you see in front of you is a open world. You can go anywhere,do anything, go north, south, east or west, over rocks, swim in the waters, fight people camping out, nick their stuff, hunt for deer, lions, bears, fish, go to towns, talk to the people, get missions, do or do not do the missions, follow the main quest, don't follow it, do side quests, join guilds, large guilds, secret guilds or smaller clans, fight in the arena, become a champion, or don't, hunt out monsters, hunt out vampires, become a vampire, collect different herbs for recipies, make potions, sell potions, find weapons, use weapons, sell weapons, enchant/enchance weapons, cast spells on yourself, cast spells on others, fight with fists, swords, bows or magic.... IT'S ENDLESS!"

Read my quick review of Oblivion here
  • Gears of War - This game (18+, £37.98, available from Amazon) This game is great, it won GotY (Game of the Year) last year, which speaks a great volume considering that is the same year as Oblivion. The single player is fun, the co-op is fun, the multiplayer is intense. There isn't much wrong with this game, unless you don't like the site of blood. Read my review.
Unfortunately, there insufficient games for me to break down in the 3 categories, so I will just do my top 5 PS3 games with ratings and leave it up to you to decide which suits your reciver, *sorry*

  • Resistance: Fall of Man - This looks to be a fantastic shooter (15+, £29.99, available from Amazon) I have heard nothing but praise for it. The single player is meant to be great, as is the multiplayer and the game's visuals look amazing to boot. PS3 exclusive and a PS3 must have
  • Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - This is possibly my favourite game (15+, £40, not available from Amazon) Now I could go in to great lengths about why I think this game is amazing, but this customer review on Amazon sums it up:
"Anyways, Once you've past the first mission, you exit through this tunnel and all you see in front of you is a open world. You can go anywhere,do anything, go north, south, east or west, over rocks, swim in the waters, fight people camping out, nick their stuff, hunt for deer, lions, bears, fish, go to towns, talk to the people, get missions, do or do not do the missions, follow the main quest, don't follow it, do side quests, join guilds, large guilds, secret guilds or smaller clans, fight in the arena, become a champion, or don't, hunt out monsters, hunt out vampires, become a vampire, collect different herbs for recipies, make potions, sell potions, find weapons, use weapons, sell weapons, enchant/enchance weapons, cast spells on yourself, cast spells on others, fight with fists, swords, bows or magic.... IT'S ENDLESS!"

Read my quick review of Oblivion here
  • Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction - Although this game (7+, £2.98, available from Amazon) hasn't been as well received as previous PS2 entries, it still stands to be a great game and might have had the potential to move consoles if the consoles price was just a little lower and the range of games a little higher
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern - This game (15+, £39.99, available from Amazon) got amazing reviews. The single player looks, from what I have seen, amazing. However, it is supposed to be short and so I would recommend making sure you have online before choosing this game.
  • Assassin's Creed - This free roaming (16+, £39.48, available at Amazon) game features heavy amounts of Parkour. The game does feature some annoying issues (such as un-skipable, dull speeches) which detract from the polished graphics and fun free-running system, but a fun game none the less.
I hope this was helpful. For most games I have provided links to Amazon, but you may have also noticed that a lot of the time Amazon will not deliver by Christmas. I recommend using and local Game and HMV stores may have the products in stock. Also, remember that most shops offer gift cards, so if you can't get what you or the receiver wants, get them this and allow them to choose it themselves. Have a very happy Christmas and spread the good word (of this site!)

Crazy, Crazy World

Two random things that just make no sense (like the law against suicide- what is the point?)

Went in to Game after school today and saw they had changed the 360 bundle I was planning to purchase (the games included) The games it now includes were 2 games that I didn't want. So I asked if it was possible to swap the games, and this is their policy:

"No we are not able to do that, however, if you don't open them, after a week you can swap them for any game in our stock"
So I asked, isn't that just the same as just giving me the games when I buy it? Yes, but there isn't anything we can do. What is the point?! I am going to go home, set up my 360, add some friends, try to set up silver live and then wait a week, playing on my Wii. Seriously...that literally makes no sense.

Second thing, today the Brawl update is about friend codes. They are different from your Wii codes. So you have to add the same person twice to get them both on your Wii and Brawl. Why? Why would you do that, it is obviously possible to do MP games (Endless Ocean) so what do these separate codes add? You can read the update here

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gerstmann Story

Many of you will be aware of a editor called Jeff Gertmann. I am sure many of you are also aware of his recent termination at Gamespot, where he has been working for over 10 years, presenting all the live events and reviewing most big titles (including Halo) Visitors of GS will also know of the extensive advertisement campaign for Kane and Lynch. Jeff reviewed said game, but not very positively. I will briefly sum up the rumoured story and then add my opinion. It is rumoured that Edios, the publisher of K&L, following the review, withdrew thousands of dollars worth of advertising. The new head of CNET is apparently taking the company in a new, much more commercial direction and allowing advertising partners to have a much more editorial control on reviews. This would completely undermine every GS review as you would not know if they mean what they say, or just are being forced to.

So, what do I think of this? Well at first, I was furious. However, unlike many people, I am not going to delete my profile, as the GS community is still great and many members of staff and it is, after all, "where gamers go to know" Naturally, if there have been loads of ads on GS for a game, I will look at IGNs review and player reviews. What does everyone else think about this?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nintendos new green policy: recycling content

Just a small jive at Nintendo, then back to normal anti-PS3 stuff. Some of you may be aware that a recent survey conducted by Greenpeace, to rate all companies on how environmentally friendly companies are, gave Nintendo a 0/10, the first company ever to do this. But don't worry everyone, they are now recycling content!

Also, some of you will follow the Brawl updates (RSS feed on right>>) Today, they announced that they would be including some melee maps in Brawl. Now you could argue that these are in addition to the ones in Brawl so it is good. However, they, presumably, require some transformation to run with the new engine. I would prefer it if they could work on a new maps or even better some more online functionality. To be honest, I am not too bothered, but I thought the title was too good to not use.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Guitaur Hero and Medal of Honor Heroes

OK, so I got the chance to play on the new Guitar Hero last Monday. I have never been a fan of GH, despite never having played on it, I thought the concept lame and that people who played on it should just learn real guitar. Since Monday, I have made a U-Turn. The game is very different from playing a guitar, and in some ways much harder. It started off with me just watching the Shop Assistant playing it, then he asked me if I wanted a go. Now, I don't want to be arrogant, but when it comes to new games, I am usually quite quick at picking it up and not being rubbish. I may never master a game, but I usually reach an acceptable level. To say it was embarrassing would be the understatement of the year. I was playing on the easiest difficulty and I barley hit any notes. After 3 songs, I couldn't bear the embarrassment and thanked the assistant and walked away, to a easy section. However, as I walked home, I wanted to play GH. I wanted to beat it. That feeling hasn't stopped growing. I am eagerly awaiting my next opportunity to play this. However, despite wanting it loads, its price is just too big for me to take the leap just yet. On a side note, I don't like making excuses, but I may have been rubbish because there was no sound, which is quite important in a rhythm game I think. Another side note is the graphics were deeply uninspiring. While the game might not need any graphical flare, I was playing the 360 version and there were some serious aliasing issues (jagged edges)

The bad news is quite unexpected. The UK release date of Medal of Honor 2: Heroes for the Wii has been pushed back to the end of January. This literally doesn't make any sense as the game is out in the US. Still there isn't much I can do. I do intend to email them, so they can at least explain, in the mean time, it may mean I can get Galaxy.

You can see the banner at the top in full size here...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blog Update

Had my final science core exam today. It was fine, but very strange. Full of satire and politics. Like there was one question that asked about a spy who had been poisoned by radioactive stuff. That Russian-spy-whose-name-I-can't-spell anyone? Another was "What do you think the real reason super market chains support green" and the answer was "To draw in more customers" What was also weird was some of the questions, which were multiple choice on a science paper, were a matter of opinion and had more than one technically correct answer. Well, its all sent of now, so it doesn't matter. I am coming up to my mocks, so posts may remain a bit sparse.

I managed to get a game on Assassins Creed at my great friends house. The tutorial is so long that I don't feel I have had enough time with the game to post a proper first impressions post, but here are my really initial impressions. The game, isn't the new Oblivion. Lets just get that out of the way. Once you clear that, the game is actually very good. It feels like a much improved version of Crackdown in that its technically stunning and you can jump miles. There are little bits of Oblivion, Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia too. The controls feel a little complicated and take some time getting used to, or at least I found that they did. However, the parkour feels great once you can do it. The animations are particularly fluid, which adds to the effect. Finally, the first time you turn up at Damascus, it literally takes your breath away. It is huge. More coming soon...

Read a surprisingly positive review for Links Crossbow Training, the game bundled with the Wii Zapper. Unfortunately, it will not be joining my list of things to get. This is mainly due to the fact I am hoping to get a 360 some time early next year! The bundle is £269 and comes with Halo 3 and Assassins Creed (although I am going to try and change it for Oblivion) To afford this, I am applying for a number of Christmas jobs, but fingers crossed, I should be able to get it. Also, you may be interested to know that the VG website (in progress) has gone under a complete make over. This time, the colour is white. . I have started the header, which you can see here (it looks better on my computer as I haven't properly optimized it yet) :

In the final banner, it will have Super Egg (in current header) holding a Wii Remote and 360 controller. On either side, it will have a number of well known video game characters, including Link, Samus, Mario, Master Chief and Solid Snake (Ed: Will this be delayed, bud um TISH) Also, at the start of all Media content (yes that's right, media content) there will be a small indent in which Super Egg takes out one of those video game characters in their style. For example, Master Chief will be standing there, a grenade will be chucked and the Egg will slice him with a power sword. Mario will be jumped on and will turn in to a shell. Obviously, they will look better in my head than they ever will in real life, but I intend to make them the best I can possibly do.

Christmas Shopping Guide Coming Soon...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Corruption Complete

I have finished Metroid Prime 3 for the Wii. It took about the same time as Metroid Prime 1, but no where near as challenging. Although I will be posting a full review some time before the end of the month, here are my thoughts upon completing the game. The game, overall, is very good. The controls are fantastic, the graphics are great, the worlds are varied and there are some interesting dynamics. However, there is a lot of unharnessed potential in this game. I will go in to more details in the review, but things like the space ship, the different planets and the controls feel like they could have been used a lot more before they would start to feel "used"

I am yet to find everything, however I am already on 85% (much higher than in MP1) and apparently there is this thing that shows where all the power ups are. So, I think this game is coming to an end. The new difficulty is said to be much harder, but a multiplayer mode feels strongly missing. Like I said, full review coming soon.

A few Wii games that I have been following have come out and the reviews released. Although I haven't had the opportunity to play on them yet, the reviews are very positive. The most notable of them is Super Mario Galaxy. I was always slightly sceptical about a 3D Mario game, having never played on M64 or Sunshine, however, with a GS score of 9.5, there has to be something good in it. Plus, there are 2D galaxies too! Am I going to get this? My brain says yes, however, I am currently planning to get a 360 soon after Christmas, so I am only going to be able to get one game.

So what is the other game that is in the contest. Medal of Honour 2: Heroes. What, a Medal of Honour game is competing with Mario?! Let me explain, I thought the controls in MP3 where amazing. Both IGN and GS say they are better in Heroes, due to the fact one can customise them indefinitely. On top of this, it has a, apparently, rock steady 32 player online mode. Something which is rare enough on the Wii.

Other games that sound amazing are Assassins Creed and Call of Duty 4. I admit I wasn't really sure what to expect from Assassins creed, but from what I have read, it sounds amazing. Parkour galore and apparently on a similar scale to Oblivion. Yet another game I need to get for my 360...

Call of Duty 4 I noticed at E3 and it literally blew my mind. I was on the edge of my seat, and I was watching a poorly streamed video of it, not even playing it. The campaign is said to be short, which is a shame as everything I have heard about it is a "woah" a minute. Still, the multiplayer is also meant to hold up to just a high quality.

I should be able to play on both of those games hopefully. I finally got the chance to play on a PS3 yesterday. Well, I say play, it hung, twice. I hope it was just the way the console was set up in the store, but it didn't exactly reflect great on the PS3. On the plus side, the controller does feel amazing. Either because it was wired or because it didn't have rumble it was very light. I love the new R2/L2 buttons and I still stand by my statement that the dual shock will always beat the Xbox controller. Shame the console isn't quite as good. Or the range of games. Or the price. You get the picture.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Check Mii Out

Check Mii out finally came out today, waking me up with the blue glow. Unfortunately, I was too tired and so waited for this morning before trying it out. I downloaded it and started it up. First, you have to choose a Mii to be your "Mii Artasian" Basically, people can see your nickname and Mii when ever the click on a Mii you have created. No Wii Codes required for that!

Next you are presented with two options. The main submission plaza and the competition area.

In the main plaza, you will find 50 Miis parading about. By default, it presents the top 50, however, you can change it to present, top 50 of that day, all time, 50 random ones and your favourites. Also, you can choose if you just want national Miis or worldwide. Finally, you can choose to have the Miis standing in line, A La Mii Channel, or get them to walk by, 3 at a time, cat walk style, doing little poses (very amusing) Once you have done this, you can click on any Mii you see. From here you can choose to import the Mii to your Wii Console, favourite the Mii (this increases their score and adds them to your favourites) or see friends. This last option I am not entirely sure about, it definitely shows Miis that have similar characteristics and also definitely shows Miis made by the same person. It doesn't show who has favourited it though. You can see who made this Mii and his other creations and see its ratings. Overall, I think this to be surprisingly good as there are many people with either loads of talent or loads of time (or probably both) and you can get yourself some really cool looking Miis. You can search either by giving an entry number of by choosing gender and speciality. If you want to see my submissions, they have the entry codes: "7582-1768-0682" and "8672-0969-5924"

The other element is more competitive. Every week, Nintendo will put up a new person and we, the people, must make a Mii to look as similar as possible. The opening one was "Mario without his cap" After a week, it opens up for voting. I am not aware of any prize other than fame, which is pretty useless on the Wii thanks to friend codes... None the less, should be a bit of fun, and once again you will be able to take the Mii, so if you want a capless Mario but can't make one yourself, this is your opportunity.

Overall, recommend downloading this, is a bit of fun and should get you some very cool Miis. If you are artistic, this looks like a very good portal. This channel does call for two things though. Firstly, the only way this community can take off is if Nintendo needs to relax about sharing Wii Codes. Also, because there are so many people who own a Wii, the amount of different Mii combinations is going to seem very small soon. I think Nintendo needs to bring out more options if they want to keep this channel alive. You can download this channel from the Wii Shop in the Wiiware section, please bare in mind, if you have not performed a Wii Systems Update since the 10th of October, you will need to do so to install this channel.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Wii Remote Jackets have Arrived

At long last my Wii remote Jackets have turned up. I ordered them some time ago, however, it was only yesterday that Nintendo said they had got to my order, presumably meaning the got quite a few. None the less both my Wii Jackets did turn up today.
The Jacket is light and rubbery and fits the Wii remote excellently. The holds for the buttons are just big enough to be perfectly comfortable without being so big the jacket feels pointless. Also, the top area, the element of the 'Mote with the most fragile elements, has the thickets part of the Jacket and really feels like it would do some good at protecting both the 'Mote and the item it hit.
So how does it actually effect gameplay. Well I am pleased to say virtually not at all. Apart from turning the Wii on, you will barley notice you are wearing this extra layer of protection. At first I thought the B button may be little tricky but considering I use that as shoot in MP3 and I am currently playing with Jacket in said game, the fact that I haven't noticed is quite conclusive. I was hoping this may have slightly better grip, the grip is marginally better, but not really noticeable.
In conclusion, these are worth picking up seeming as they are free. Judging by the extensive rubber used on the head, these seem much more safe. I did a brief test on my brother and he said that the unprotected Wiimote hurt more. They don't exactly help for any proper gamer and do diminish from the looks, however, if you have some less experienced Wii players coming round for the day, it may just be the clincher in saving some one or worse an HDTV.
You can order your free jackets from Nintendo (have your Wii serial number and an email address as the ready) here

Monday, October 29, 2007

Brawl has a Map Editor

As much as I am enjoying Metroid Prime, there is one game that I am looking forward to, a lot more. That is Brawl. Every day I check the website for new updates. Today, a Map Editor was announced. Not a little on the fly thing a la Halo, a full blown(ish) map editor. You can choose from all the backgrounds and then there are what looks to be a large selection of shapes, all of which can be coloured and skinned. Furthermore there are all the normal items you would find in a game of SSB. It really does look amazing.

What's more, you can send your maps to friends and save them to SD cards (so no need to worry about size) But if this wasn't enough, you can submit a map (once per day) to Nintendo. Then every day, a new map will be sent to your Wii, created by someone else. You are then able to play on it for that day. Then the day after, the map will have changed. Apart from that being simply amazingly cool, that will be quite a technical feet also. As the Dojo says, "With a feature like that, won’t I be able to play this game forever?!" You can read all about it here...

Brawl is currently set to release in the UK at the end of February. And yes, I will have a counter.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Live Updates

[07:57] It is the 26th of October! Metroid Prime 3 finally comes out in the UK today! I have just watched the last video on the Metroid Prime Preview channel, and if I wasn't looking forward to this game enough, I am now. One of the weirdest parts actually featured Samus's face (no helmet) in her suit, and then in her mask, what looked like Dark Samus. Creepy stuff. This is, incidentally, the earliest I have ever got up in half term, so I am tired but the adrenaline should keep me going. Having breakfast now, will be setting of about 8:30 be back by 9:15 (shop opens at 9) My brother will be posting the live updates as I dictate so thank him as well.

[9:17]Just got back from game probably the quickest run ever. What`s more the game was £35.00. Bargain!

[9:22]For some reason my wii had to download a wii update.

[9:24]You even get to choose your own mii for your save.

[9:30]Wow the graphics have a blurred effect.

[9:41]The gestures feel very realistic, you feel like you are inside the game.

[9:48]Voice acting fine but some of the lines are a little weak and clichéd.

[10.00]Nearing the end of the training mission, I have really enjoyed it. Some of the puzzles are a not as well crafted as those in Metroid Prime 1. But the graphics are definitely a mark up.

[10.05]I Just got a missile launcher in training mission, it`s much faster flowing than mp1.

[10:10]Fighting boss in training.

[10:13]Beaten boss finished training.

[10:16]Got grapple lasso.

[10:16]Tried out grapple lasso it`s a bit difficult at first.

[10.42] Dark Samus and Metal Ridley have made an appearance. Game is much more more fast flowing than the original and definitely feels like the conclusion of a trilogy.

[11:01] Just dies falling down a hole whilst fighting Ridely. It is an intense experience a boss fight with a time pressure (of when you are going to hit the ground) Going to have a brief pause now. Impressions are very good, hope the live updates have been ok.

[14:16] I have beaten Meta Ridley. Because of the falling the boss is really quite challenging, although my cousin managed to beat it first time. The games continued usage of soft lighting really do make the difference between this and MP1. The variety of enemies has been good, the environments less so but I have been in the same place basically. The controls work very well and make the game feel very responsive, especially when compared with MP1. Finally, the unlockables look really cool, but to get them you have to collect these little hexagons which you get by accomplishing various things such as beating bosses, scanning and killing a certain number of enemies. You can then choose what to purchase with your credits. More details soon...

[15:05]Just arrived at a other planet very Magmoor Cavern-esque very cool.

[17:19]After a brief game of tennis, as I got stuck, I returned to the game, and loe and behold there was a simple solution. Once I had done this I got the "Graple Swing" which, as the name suggests, allows you to swing on grapple hooks. The best bit is, you can shoot at the same time! This may sound insignificant but this was one thing I really wished I could do in the original.

[17:25] I also forgot to mention that I got the PED(Phazon Enhancement Device) Without going in to detail, it makes you really powerful but drains your health. Some units require you to go in to it, which feels a little set up, however, I imagine it will be much better when you use it optionally.

[20:40] Well the games pace has slowed down a little from the intense action that was the first level and you are not exploring on your own just like good old fashioned Metroid. The game is focused more around combat this time round, mainly due to the controls, but also you don't loose all your power ups at the start of the game. As a result, most of the enemies are much more aggressive. This works well as the combat is much more rewarding.

[20:56]Just got my "Corrupt" death. Not quite sure why it happened as I thought I had plenty of time left. Clearly I wasn't checking my Bio-health in my space ship often enough. It happened in the next boss fight. Either this game is too easy and I am blowing through it or there are a lot more bosses than in MP1

[21:40]I literally cannot believe the time, no exaggeration. I am coming off now, as I want to have energy to play it tomorrow and make it last. Conclusions, graphically, the soft lighting, despite being basically the only difference between this and MP1, really makes all the difference. The sounds are as good as they ever where, game play is a little more combat focused, but over all this works well. You space ship is a very nice addition with the options to view your stats and your health and even use it to blow up stuff that your guns are too weak to do. I won't be doing Live Updates tomorrow, but I hope this has given you an insight in to the game. I recommend this game simply because it is another masterpiece. It is still quite similar to MP1 though, so if you didn't enjoy that, you will enjoy this more, but still not enough. Will be playing more tomorrow and at some point compiling some real first impressions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Metroid Prime

System: Gamecube
Type: Shooter/Adventure/Platformer
Graphics: 9.5/10
Sound: 8.5/10
Gameplay: 9.5/10
Story: 9/10
Multiplayer: n/a

Overall: 9.5/10

This is one of the first console games I have actually completed, why? Not because it is too short, it took me 17 hours, but because it is amazing. Metroid Prime is not just a first person shooter, it features environmental puzzles, some light platforming and huge amounts of exploring. I believe it is this careful mix of genres is what makes this game so good.

The game put you in the shoes of Samus Aran, a female bounty hunter, on her way to a distress call.The distress call comes from a planet called Talon IV, inhabited by the Chozo. However, they all appear to be dead. That is the basic introductory story, I won't spoil the story line, but it is suffice to say that what killed them you will kill. The story in this game isn't well crafter like a Harry Potter novel or as gripping as Zelda, the beauty is the back story. In the game you have a visor called the scan visor. You can use this to scan certain objects in the game. Some of these scannings are compulsory, such as lifts that need activating, but there are many which are unnecessary and have varying significance. You have a log book where you store the back story as it were, in the game there are 17 Chozo Lore, 27 Space Pirate Data and hundreds of items about all the creatures. Each Chozo Lore/Space Pirate Data contains a snippet of information (about 3/4 A4 page) This already adds a huge amount of interesting but in some senses unnecessary information to pad out the story. Furthermore, almost everything interesting can be scanned for more information. For example, early on in the game you will come across half dead Space Pirates, you can scan them and find out how they got injured and where their weaknesses lie. Overall the story is normal sci-fi, but the back story is on the scale of Oblivion, which makes the game feel that bit more real.

Graphically this game is amazing. Considering it came out 7 years ago, and today I regard the graphics as excellent is a credit to the work. It isn't just the great looking graphics, although the various areas of Talon IV are recreated beautifully, but the little touches that are through out the game. When you come out of water, water drips off your visor, when in X-Ray visor, you can see the bones in your hand and when there is a bright flash of light, you can see Samus's reflection. On top of this, there is a fantastic physics engine on the same line as Halos'. Admittedly, there aren't hundreds of boxes flying about, however, each enemy moves realistically and impressively when you blow them up. All this adds up to an excellently presented games with only a few, and almost unnoticeable, frame dips.

Not only this, but the game sounds great too. You various guns make excellent noises, generators make strange pulsing sounds, each enemy makes individual screeches. Even your footsteps are impressive as they vary depending on what you're standing on and how hard you hit it. The games music, although not as catchy or as well orchestrated as say Zelda or Mario, certainly sets the atmosphere and the boss fight music also sounds good. Once again, I conclude that the sounds are fantastic and frame the game excellently.

The game play combines may different genres, and mixes them excellently. Exploring the vast world of Talon IV is great fun. There are so many nooks and crannies through out that chances are you will never find everything, in fact, I have completed the game and put a couple of hours just looking for stuff and I have still found under 75% of everything. Furthermore, you will find new creatures, environments and weapons which will spur you on to continue you exploring. When you find these creatures, you will have to kill them, the difficulty of this task varies considerably. Fighting the enemies is handled through locking on and shooting them. At first this seems a little simple and un-rewarding, but as your enemies get harder, you will be forced to dodge incoming attacks, find and face their weak spots and do all this in a narrow corridor. Space Pirates excluded, the animals fight with animal instincts. This feels really realistic as you will find each creature will have its own methods at defending itself and the colony. Fighting Space Pirates also feels great as they will roll and dodge your shots whilst maintaining a constant barrage of fire on your position.

Another genre that is mixed in with the game is platforming. In most instances this breaks up the combat and fits the adventuring well. However, because the game is in the first person perspective, this can some times be frustrating. As you can not see your feet, you can easily make a jump, but because you believe you may have over jumped you adjust your jump and thus miss the platform that you were aiming for. This problem is exalted by the fact that when you miss, you will invariably be sent right back to the first jump, which as likely as not will be just as hard. Some platform-centric rooms can take you over half an hour to clear, despite knowing that each jump is easy and perfectly possible.

One final genre included in the mix is some basic puzzle solving. Although the puzzles aren't as well thought out as something like Zelda, they do, once again, break up the action nicely and are fairly rewarding when you crack them. Quite a few of them are environment based, forcing you to study, and scan, your environments to find out how to reach an especially high ledge, for example.

Overall the gameplay is fantastic. Some times the controls feel a little dated after spending some time with Halo, but you will soon come to realize that the game isn't focused around the combat, and when it is, the challenge isn't hitting the enemies, but making sure they don't hit you. The only gripes I have are that looking up and down are unnecessarily tricky process and sometimes the platforming feels out of place in the first person perspective.

As for replayabilty, when you complete the single player you unlock the harder mode, which while I have not got very far in, my friend assures me that the difficulty is certainly a mark up from the normal difficulty. On top of this, many players, me included, will be tempted to go back and find all the things that they didn't find on their first time through, and believe me you won't have found everything. The game lets you carry on from your last save before the final boss, making it perfectly possible to do this. The game does not have multiplayer, but because of the lock-on control system, it doesn't feel missing. The main single player will take you slightly less than 20 hours excluding all the time you will spend finding everything.

In conclusion, this game is simply fantastic. This game is so well polished, you can see your reflection in it, literally. The graphics and sound add together to make one smooth game. The gameplay is a beautiful blend of different genres which culminate in great boss fights. While the game may not have multiplayer, the game has plently of single player and replayability to make up for it. Any slight quips about controls can easily be ignored, because this isn't just a great platformer/shooter/adventure it is simply one of the greatest games ever made.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Metal Gear Solid and Civilization Revolutions

Metal Gear Solid is Two Games

I was reading a post about the Wiis success in the gaming market when I came upon an interesting piece of news about MGS that I was unaware of. They are splitting the game in to two. The single player portion and the multiplayer portion. That would be absolutely outrageous anyway but it is the only AAA PS3 title left. Everything else is on the 360. The big PS exclusive was GTA, which will be coming out at the same time on the 360 with bonus content. This leaves the PS3 exclusive looking very weak, with BigPlanetLittlePlannet and Home being the only titles worth owning. A very good quote from the post is:

Imagine if you bought Halo 3, completed the story/single player mode, and then when attempting to go online, you get prompted to purchase an additional online pack for another 40 bucks.

Civilization Revolutions

For those who don't know, Civilization Revolutions is the ever popular Civ franchise ported, no sorry, built for consoles. It is currently confirmed for PS3, 360, Wii and DS. Obviously the Wii and DS seem to be the most suited to the game as they both have mouse like abilities. However, GS recently got to try a version for the 360. You use the joystick as the mouse and the face buttons to issue orders. To me, using the joystick as a mouse has always been a fiddly affair best avoided (as in the case of Red Alert for the PS2) however GS says it works well. Civ has the added benefit of being turn based, so there is no rush, however fiddly controls could put off console gamers as they will, in general, not have played many turn based strategy games, preferring action. None the less, I eagerly await this title as I may be able to use it to get more people playing full Civ on the PC

Now playing: Radiohead - In Rainbows (Their new album which YOU choose the price (even £0)
Get it here
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 15, 2007

Halo 3 First Impressions

I have now played with all the main elements of Halo 3. Readers of this blog will be aware of my disapproval of Halo 2. I believed that it was massively over covered, yes the online was perfect, but the single player was weak, repetitive and short. Overall, I believed there was simply not enough content in the multiplayer to make up for the single player. However, does Halo 3 suffer the same problem? In short, no. Despite my prejudice against this game, I still left after playing this with a desire for more, much more...

The single player, of which I played in co-op mode, seems drastically improved upon. They took the good parts of Halo 2 and blew them out of proportion. The vehicle scenes are back in force, and thanks to the 360s increased power, the battles aren't restricted to corridors and small areas but now take place in massive planes with hundreds of units all fighting. The combat still follows a similar pattern and the game is still short, however repetitiveness is no longer an issue as it is fun all the time. As for the length, there are correctable skulls and Legendary difficulty, but ultimately the single player won't keep you for long.

The multiplayer is fantastic as you would expect. You will be fighting in teams and on your own for flags, skulls and kills online on Xbox Live. Building on the success of Halo 2, match making is easy and there are a wide variety of playlists for BTB (Big team battles) where you have 8v8 and Rumble Pit where it is all against all. One very interesting addition is 4 way matches. You play in teams of two against 3 other teams. As normal as that sounds, the chaos multiplies ten fold and playing in teams of two is loads of fun. My friend and I would go covering each others backs and making sure to avenge all deaths. It works particularly well in games such as Oddball as with all 4 teams going for the same space you get massive fights and one can be very lucky with two teams killing off each other and then you just run away with the Oddball! Overall, the multiplayer is, as to be expected, fantastic and fun.

One of the key elements added to Halo is Forge. Forge allows for on the fly editing. Basically, you can be fighting with a couple of people and then, press the D-Pad, spawn a Scorpion (preferably on someones head) and drive off. It isn't just vehicles you can spawn, you can spawn weapons,grav lifts, teleporters, explosive barrels even respawn points. The more you think about it, the more possibilities you will come up with. Forever exploding barrels (as all items respawn if they get destroyed), a fight on an arena of Grav-lifts etc etc. This feature adds a lot of replayabiltity to the game.

Overall, the game is a significant improvement on Halo 2 in all areas. The single player is much more fun and expansive, the multiplayer just keeps doing what is does so well and features such as Forge, the extended game mode customisation and the replays add up to make this a superb game for the 360 and if you have Live, there really is no reason not to own this game. Even if you don't have Live, providing you have two controllers you can have buckets of fun with offline MP and Forge.

Metroid Prime Preview Channel is out [Blog Update]

It has finally been released in the UK, the Metroid Prime Preview Channel, previously only released in America, has just been released in the UK. It is so cool and I now can't wait for this game, now only 11 days and 17 hours away! Another video will be released on the 17th. Graphically, the game looks quite similar to Metroid Prime 1, however, it is worth bearing in mind that this video is streamed over the internet and also, even if they are only mildly better than MP1, they are still very good.

Talking of Metroid Prime 1, I am nearly finished. I am on the second to last boss fight at the moment. I must admit that I did cheat slightly as I looked up the locations of the Artifacts, but I was pretty much right before, I was just not doing the right thing. However, I will have the game and the review finished by the 25th October.

On the release day of Metroid Prime 3, I will being posting a post that I will update with "Live Impressions". Every so often (5 minutes or so) I will post a sentence or a picture from the game. So, if you are interested, make sure you are here at 9:30ish GMT

My Halo 3 first impressions are nearly finished and I will release that some time today or tomorrow. I am currently doing work experience at my old school, so that is why I haven't posted it before.

I have received many updates for my Wii recently, each time getting my hopes up that it will be the Metroid Preview channel. One of them allowed the Wii to support USB keyboards. I do not have a USB keyboard so was unable to test this, however it has much further reaching implications. Namely, that through the updates, support for other USB items can be released, for example a USB headset or external hard drive.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Secret Nintendo Confrence

Stop the press every one. Nintendo have just held a "secret" press conference and there have been some big announcements. I will do them in least important order. Skip to the bottom for the most exciting

New Wii Game Announced - Super Mario Stadium Baseball

No real information has been released just a short video, which I haven't seen. Besides, baseball isn't a sport I am particularly interested in and Wii Sports Baseball dosen't need any more depth. Even online multiplayer or a proper single player wouldn't add much.

Everyone votes to get up sized

The service is set to expand to allow people to vote on games, and then using this data will suggest games that you like. Sounds good and very web 2.0, but I normally know what games I am going to like, as I do research before buying them. Will be good if you can connect to people with similar tastes to you. Like that will ever happen with Nintendo's policy on Wii Codes.

Some WiiWare titles announced

Main title mentioned is Pokemon Farm, which allows you to take your Pokemon of Diamond (and other versions) and treat them in a farm like environment. Sadly no mention of Gravitronix.

WiiFit Gets Release Date (In Japan)

WiiFit, the game that will feature the board demonstrated at E3, will be released on the first of December for Japan. No release data as of yet for the UK or America. Demonstration given and possibility for WiiWare titles using it announced.

Mario Kart with Bikes

Mario Karts release date is still Spring 2008, however, the game will come with the steering wheel and motor bikes. How this will fit in to the whole "Kart" theme, I am not sure, still I am not complaining.

Monster Hunter 3 Coming to the Wii

Previously a PS3 exclusive and a massive hit in Japan, this 3rd person action role-player is coming to the Wii. Yet another dent in the PS3. No release date has been announced yet

Sonic is joining the Brawl

Well we all knew it was going to happen, but it finally has. Sonic has been confirmed for Super Smash Bros Brawl. Incidentally, this title has been pushed back for Japan till January. No mention of the US release date, but I am sure that if the American release date doesn't get pushed back, there are going to be some raised eye-brows.

Online Co-op on Brawl

Just what I asked for, the game will support on-line co-op. They did not specify whether it would be the Sub Space Emissary but that was what was implied.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sony dosen't like the UK

Long term readers of this blog will be aware of my dislike of the PS3. Recently, my opinion had started to become less serve. The graphics were improving, I was starting to see the benefit of having a Media centre that wasn't owned by Microsoft (leading to propitiatory formats only) and LittleBig planet looks really good. Then Sony announced the price drop in the UK. The price will be reduce to £349. Still over priced, but it should be worth it now, as HD is about to become the standard for TV, and once that happens you're going to notice the difference when watching non-HD DVDs. This price includes two games.

However, Sony have just announced that the 60GB model will be discontinued, and when it runs out, it runs out. It will be superseded by a 40GB model, no free games and no support of PS games. This will be priced at £299. This is outrageous. Sony takes everything away from the UK. By next year, assuming that these PS3 sell, it will be impossible to get a backwards compatible PS3. Sony should just cut their losses, release the 60GB in Europe for £299, take the losses like a man and reap the benefits of a far more loving community. Sony has lost a lot of money from the PS3, a bit more isn't going to make any difference, but if they shift a million units in the UK, they are laughing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wii Remote "Jackets"

When I arrived home from school today, I noticed that my Wii was glowing. I nearly died of happiness, thinking that it would be the Metroid Prime Preview Channel. Alas, it was not, however, it was a message from Nintendo. The message main point was:

"We at Nintendo are continuously researching new ways to improve our products. On this occasion we would like to introduce, our latest development, a protective cover for the Wii Remote called the "Wii Remote Jacket"
The message then details on how you can get your hands on this free piece of equipment. It directs you to this page. I intend to order one, partly because I want to be more safe, partly because it is free but mostly so I can see what it looks like and whether it improves grip, as I will be playing Metroid Prime for very long sessions (in just 23 days!) so I want to improve my Wiimote as much as I can. If and when they turn up, I will take pictures of them and detail how good they are. Personally, I would recommend getting them, so that if anything, heaven forbid, does happen, Nintendo can't say "well you should have been wearing jackets." Besides, its free and could save your expensive TV

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels

I am going to do this review from the perspective as if you have already read my original review or played on the original game as I don't want to rexplain the same concept

I recently downloaded "The Lost Levels" to my Wii of the shop. These levels were orginally only released in Japan as they were deemed to hard for the Western market. However, for a limited time only, they have been released on the Wii Store. So are they really much harder, and are they worth paying 600pts for?

Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels
Platform: Wii Virtual Console
Type: Platformer
Graphics: 7/10
Story: 4/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Multiplayer: N/A
Sound: 10/10
Overall: 8/10

The graphics, although still running in 8bit, have a little bit more detail, most notably in the ground. However, as I have said, the graphics are basically the same. It is nice to see Nintendo put a little bit more attention to their home market thought.

The gameplay has been marked up from the original when it comes to difficulty. Right from the offset you are presented with paratroopa koopas (the bouncing turtles for all you non-nintendo fan boys), chomping plants and a item that was never included in the original; poisoned mushrooms, which do the same as a normal enemy. You will quickly realise that the game is much harder than the original. Once in world 1-2, the jumps start to become a lot more challenging. There is one jump where you have to take a running jump and jump at the absolute last pixel. A few moments later, their is a jump which once again requires this same precision, then you must then instantly jump on to the next platform, where you must sprint and jump on to the next platform and do that one last time before you can even breathe. This because all these platforms start falling the second you land on them. This kind of difficulty continues throughout out where I have got up to and I presume continues through the rest of the game, with jumps that require you to raise a platform to the exact right amount to make the jump possible and others involving jumping not to high or else hitting other structures that will send you to the ground. I consider my self quite good at Mario, having got to world 4-3 on 6 lives and I found this very difficult and still haven't completed it. Occasionally, the game can become quite repetitive because you will keep restarting the game and because of the way the game operates, you have to clear four (very tricky) stages to get to a point where you can restart after you have lost all your lives. This however, is unimportant when compared to the sense of success when you beat a really hard section.

The game, fortunately, does not continue with the charade that was multiplayer. Instead it introduces a different character. Luigi, although can jump much further and higher, slows down much quicker, meaning if you are running fast, you will find your self falling of cliffs etc. He allows you to reach parts of the map which were previously impossible and the harder control makes him more for pros.

The sound has been changed from the original, with a slightly more techno feel. The sound isn't quite as classic as the original, however it stands up and you won't want to mute it. Other than that, the sound track is the same.

In conclusion, if you enjoyed Mario, but have just about finished it, this game is fantastic. If you found Mario too hard, you will find this just annoying. Due to the raised difficultly level, if you found Mario frustrating, this game is still going to be frustrating. Ultimately, if you enjoyed Mario, you will enjoy this, but nothing has changed enough to change peoples minds. I recommend downloading this, even though it is more expensive, because the game is still good value for money and will keep you playing for ages.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Halo 3

The Sun are calling it the game of the decade, Gamespot gave it a 9.5 will very few negative points, and even I, the sole Xbox owner without Halo 2, want to play this game. Yes, that's right, I am talking about the legendary Halo 3. I went in to Game on the way this morning, and it was surreal picking up the box, so surreal, it sent a shiver down my spine. A game I never thought would come out, and I was holding it in my own hands. How can any game be that big? Thanks to Halo, gaming is now a bigger market than film.

What am I most looking forward to in Halo 3? More Xbox Live multiplayer. That is the obvious one. Slugging is best on Halo, so Halo 3 should just capitalize on that. There are some new vehicles, which judging by Bungies track record, will be amazingly fun to use. New weapons will add a new strategies to the game and items such as bubble shields will turn even some of the repetitive maps in to varying and insane. But, that is not all I am looking forward to. I am also massively looking forward to Forge, this map editor allows you to add stuff to the map on the fly. This sounds immensely cool and will open the world right open. I don't know how to describe the excitement every time I think of Forge. I mean, an idea I thought of off the top of my head in about 30 seconds was, how about a normal team game, where you nominate 1 person to be the thing that can add stuff, everyone else must play normally. You could radio in for a Warthog or maybe have a bombing run on the enemy by spawning hundreds of explosive crates. The possibilities are endless. Also, I am looking forward to the type of co-op that keeps score, you get points for killing enemies, more for headshots and even more for multi kills with grenades etc. Also, you can loose points if you kill one of the people. This will make the single player much more fun.

I am not particularly looking forward to the single player. I haven't followed the story, I am not dying to find out what happens and I find that Halo SP is dull, linear and repetitive. Halo 3 will hopefully improve on this, making more set piece battles and vehicle chases (the highlights of 1+2) and less going down a corridor and shooting grunts. However, I struggle to get to excited over Halo SP. I hope I am wrong. I am also not looking forward to the voices of annoying American 12 year olds on Live, we all have out foibles don't we?

In other news, I downloaded the hidden levels for Mario for a hefty 600 points. They are alot harder, but really rewarding when you beat them. Should be properly trying Mario Kart MP this Friday, the review to follow shortly after. Prime is coming up soon!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Brawl Online

Well, we all knew it was going to happen, but it has finally been confirmed. Super Smash Bros Brawl will support online multiplayer modes. It will not support voice chat, you can, however, pre-set messages (taunts) and then use the D-Pad to send them. However, these can only be sent when playing friends. When playing unknown opponents, you don't get to see there name and you cannot send taunts. Although this hasen't been specified, all things point to it not being easy to swap Wii numbers if you enjoyed playing with someone, as there is no way of finding out their name. Considering you have no way of contacting them, there is no way that you will ever get to play again, except by extreme chance. Although I am exceedingly pleased that it will be supporting online, this is a major disappointment. Hal Labortory, the people developing Brawl, said that there were to be further online modes to be announced (please co-op) so we will have to see. Read the whole thing here...

Also, if you haven't been keeping up with the updates, which you really should be, a single player mode has been announced called the SubSpace Emissary, it is a side scrolling game. You can read all the updates on the dojo, but it is shaping up to look really good. The character design is outstanding, and considering they aren't even playable characters just makes you realise how much attention has gone in to this game. This, along with other cool things such as my music, is making me eat my foot in anticipation for this game. I simply cannot wait.

Finally, there are many people who can't wait for a different title; Halo 3. For a lucky few the wait is now over, for once, in the UK first! Argos, a retail store, has broken the release date set by Microsoft and released Halo 3. Microsoft are said the be in the process of punishing Argos, I just wish I was one of the lucky few. If just so I could rub it in to every Halo fanboy and then play it at my friends house while he watches in envy. Well done if you got a copy, enjoy it! Read the full story here...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mario Kart Double Dash First Impressions

I got my second GameCube game yesterday: Mario Kart Double Dash. The game is a lot of fun, and despite feeling like an expanded version of Monkey Race, it is very addictive. The graphics, whilst not being Metroid Prime, are still really good. The sound is really good, hearing your characters voices echo when in tunnels is a really nice touch and some of the music is as good as the original Mario tunes.

At first the game feels a little easy, I completed the first cup in a matter of hours, and there are only 3 cups. However, the second cup, kept me going for some time, and I still haven't completed the last cup. Plus, I discovered that you can alter the car power (I think) to make it even harder. Completing certain things unlocks characters and cars, further extending the game. Furthermore, the time trials are far more addictive than they are in normal racing games because it isn't just about taking corners well, it is about going up golden gate bridge esque sides to shave off a few milliseconds off time.

The tracks, although some what limited in number, are very diverse in style. You will go from city centre to a high speed trek down a mountain, and everything in between. Plus, being a Mario game, the tracks are much more interesting than normal racing games, you will be dodging boulders and cars, avoiding sudden pits and being blasted huge distances at 195mph.

For those who are unaware, MarioKart features weapons to shoot your opponents with. These weapons add a nice twist to the game, allowing for a much more balanced game if you get stuck in last place. The weapons are varied and amusing. Featuring a huge ball and chain to being able to shoot fireballs or drop bananas for opponents to slip on.

The game lets you mix and match two characters and a car to your liking. Each character has its own special weapon and cars each have their own strengths and weaknesses. This choosing forces players to think about how they drive and offers additional challenges to veteran players.

Overall, the game looks good, I hope to complete this in time for the new Mario Kart, coming to the Wii next year. I will post a full review when I have had more time to play with it, but current impressions are good.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Gravitroix Interview

Well, Medaverse has very kindly answered some questions about their upcoming WiiWare title Gravitronix. Without any further ado, here is the interview:

1. Could you give us a brief outline of what Gravitronix is about?

I've found it's difficult to describe how the game will play without going into paragraphs of description which ultimately wind up confusing people instead of enlightening them. To this end, we plan to release a very succinct but thorough video detailing the entire game and how it's played before its release. Yeah, I know it sucks that I'm not spilling the beans right now, but trust me, once we release the preview video, you'll understand why this is an idea that needs to be delivered all at once and not in small portions. If we tried now, we'd fail and more people would come away saying, "I hate the way it sounds." than understanding how the game will actually play.

2. Could you elaborate on the term Action/Battle game?

"Action/Battle" means pitting players against each other directly in a situation where those with quick reflexes and strategic planning will prevail, and while I can't go into the utmost specifics, I can say that randomness will also play a factor in success.

3. How are you using the Wii Remote unique motion sensing ability and will the game use the Nunchuk?

For both the Wii Remote and nunchuk, players will be twisting (like turning a key) and using only the A/B or C/Z buttons to play the game. The controls themselves are immensely simple to learn, but mastering them to achieve the highest effectiveness is another story altogether.

4. What kind of graphics style are you using?

The graphics will have a sharp, rendered look to them, but beyond that, while it's not set in stone yet due to time constraints, we hope to allow the players to select characters to represent them on screen.

5. When is the game set, i.e.. in the future, and will the game feature a story?

It doesn't have a storyline or a setting. If we're going to give a game a storyline, we're going to do it properly and Gravitronix didn't present itself as the type of game where it would be plausible. You're fighting for the sake of fighting and that's where we're going to leave it. If you want a setting, consider it a dimension of its own. Don't get me wrong, we have a laundry list of ideas which involve compelling storylines, but if we're going to do it, we're either going do it right or not at all.

6. You say the game features 1-4 players, will the game support online and offline multiplayer?

The game will easily support four player offline, and while we're looking into Wifi support, I wouldn't count on it. We're only even going to look into online play after all of the core game is honed to the point where we're extremely happy with it, and while I'm pushing hard to get eight player into the game, I'm not going to promise it until we're certain it's doable.

7. Will there be any single player to speak of?

Yes, there will be a single player mode, but as for the complexity, we're not yet certain how far we want to go with it. Gravitronix is an unabashedly multiplayer-focused title. The campaign mode will at least consist of a series of successively difficult battles, but we also hope to have multiplayer co-op support for these as well.

8. How many Wii points are you expecting to sell this for?

We'd opt to charge 500 points for Gravitronix even though I think it'll provide far more than that in a dollar to hour entertainment ratio. This is our first game, after all, and we understand that players will be a bit leery on the subject of trusting a developer they've never heard of before. When many people have tight entertainment budgets, we consider having a $5 price tag meeting our potential customers half way. I don't want people to feel burned on the purchase of a Medaverse game, be it for $5 or $50.

9. What design challenges have you had to overcome when developing for the Wii?

The biggest challenge was coming up with an idea worthy of developing but at the same time simple enough that a small dev team like us can pull it off. We went through two other games before deciding on Gravitronix because the first two ideas were far too complex for a team our size. We want to start small and work our way up and finding the idea that could be our start was probably the biggest challenge.

10. What has been your favourite game on the Wii and have you taken any inspiration from it?

I hate to be cliché and say Wii Sports, but I'm going to choose it anyway. Not only is the game the best viral marker I've ever seen (anyone who tries it at a friend/family member's home will want a Wii shortly thereafter), but it demonstrates how a game can have the simplicity to appeal to anyone while at the same time the depth hardcore players crave. There are some insanely good WIi Sports players out there and I'm quite certain that anyone who wants to pass Wii Sports off as a simple tech demo with no depth will have their asses repeatedly handed to them by the veteran players. Wii Sports struck a perfect balance between accessibility and depth. It is my fondest wish that Gravitronix can achieve even a fraction of that same appeal.

11. What stage of development is the game currently in?

We're still in the early stages: the engine is being finalized, the sprites are being made, the character concept art is being drawn up, the music is being mixed, etc. I realize we have only a few short months between now and the launch of WiiWare, but the project is moving at the best pace capable with the team it has. Everyone on "staff" currently works another job and is doing this on the side in the hopes of living out their dream of game development, but the allure of doing this full time is more than enough to keep us chugging away at it late into the night. I'm even answering these interview questions at 10 PM.

12. When do you hope to have this game finished?

We hope to have Gravitronix ready to launch alongside WiiWare in 2008.

Thanks again Medaverse, I look forward to hearing more about this title in the upcoming months.

"All your base are belong to us"