Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Holy Three (Microsoft Press Confrence)

Well E3 has finished, so far I have watched both the Microsoft and Nintendo conferences. I will write about Nintendo's tomorrow, but today I will be writing about Microsoft's press conference. Microsoft's focus of its conference was centred firmly on up and coming games. They in fact only featured one game that wasn't coming out this year.

They opened the event up saying that the sales figures were greater than the Wii and PS3 combined since last November. This is a fairly impressive statistic, as the 360 has been out longer, however, it has had time to get some good games, something the Wii and PS3 haven't done yet. None the less, the 360 is doing very well.

However, the facts made up a very small portion of the show, with most of the show being devoted to the games. One game was Rock Band. This is shaping up to look like a lot of fun. The addition of both singing a drums will surly make a positive difference. However, the game only looks like fun if you have a sound proof living room, because you are going to want to properly sing, and 4 friends who enjoy music to play with. This should be minimalised with the ability to form online bands. Hopefully they will include a Composer so that people can make and share their own tunes.

A predictable sequel is Piñata Party Animals. Piñata was the surprise success of the 360 for last year and I must admit I never got to play it. This title looks similar but not very interesting. The advert was done in the style of a mildly amusing but very family friendly Disney film that you take your younger brother to because the film you wanted to see had a too high rating.

One title that I wasn't aware of is a title called Mass Effect. It looked surprisingly like Halo, and as it comes from a Microsoft studio, they are probably trying to make some more intellectual property for when Halo dies. Apparently, it is an RPG which should be interesting. Also interesting is it is coming out around the same time as Halo. Won't they just eat in to each others sales. Sorry, won't Halo eat in to its sales.

Now this thought has come to me before, but when I saw the new controller and the game, I knew I was right. The 360 is the new PS2. I had been thinking this for some time, as the console is focused more and more on 3rd party games, is releasing anything, sold a lot, and is a well rounded console. However this clinched me. You know the rubbish DVD games you get, well they are coming to the 360 with this controller:

Look at it, it is the most stupid thing I have ever seen, and also almost identical to the PS2 controller for Buzz:

Microsoft went in to great lengths on how Live for Windows will revolutionise PC gaming and how it will bring standards to the online world. It will also allow further integration between PC and 360. On the topic of PC, Gears of War is coming to PC with 6 new chapters in which one you get to fight this evil creature that in the 360 version you just ran away from. It will feature a map editor too. Looks just as good as the 360 version.

They also showcased the new Call of Duty, called Modern Warfare. Now I have always been a fan of the Call series, thinking it the best WW2 shooter. Modern Warfare looks to carry on this domination, and it looks amazing. They showed us the first level. I was on the edge of my seat. The game has you creeping around this terrorist base at night. The game looks like it will be focused on avoiding combat, but still providing intense fight scenes. Coming on nicely.

Among the highlights was of course Halo 3. Shapping up to look really good, but the singe player does look very simmilar to Halo 2. However, even I noticed it looked a lot more intense. The video had you driving in the back of a warhog with a rocket launcher and running around with an uprooted turret. I think this will be the final fight as the trailer they showed had many Spartans equipping. I think the final level is going to be a really big battle with hundereds of people shooting. Maybe even on the scale of D-Day.

I could not talk about the show with out mentioning the band who played at the start. They played an amazing arrangement of the Halo theme tune which really got every excited. Well done.

Nintendo and Sony PC Analysis to come
Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony game summaries to come
E3 Conclusion to come
Sorry for the lack of posts, had a lot of coursework, but school is now finished so expect more posts again.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

BBC iPlayer launch Date Announced

See the full story here
The BBC iPlayer is to be launched the 27th of July this year. You will be able to download it from from that day. I have been looking forward to it ever since Microsofts Mix conference last year. They will be expanding it as well, soon to be allowing live TV, the ability to stream programs so you can watch them straight away and they will bring it to TV. Guess what TV platform they are going to bring it to first? Virgin Media! I actually can't wait, other things they are planning on including are radio player and series stacking (the ability to download entire series's as I understand it.

BBC iPlayer: Making the unmissable, unmissable

Friday, July 06, 2007

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Will Not Feature Online Multiplayer

Well here is a bit of news that I wasn't expecting to hear before E3, well at all even. There will be no online multi-player for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the highly anticipated Wii shooter/action game. This not only cripples the game, but I now even question as to wether I am even going to get it. The excuse they gave was

"to making a better single-player experience"
They have delayed this game from the launch of the Wii to August next year, surly that is time to do both. This is truly appalling, and if they think I am not going to mention the absence in my review, they have another thing coming. I at one point suggested that this game could be a serious contender to Halo 3 for the Game of the year, I think they may have just lost this opportunity, leaving it to Brawl, which incidentally hasn't released anything too important and has let down their promise of daily updates, to challenge Halo.

On top of this, I now think I am looking forward to BWii more now. Well done Retro Studios.
Read the full story...

E3 Approaching

E3 is fast approaching and, although down sized, is still going to contain a lot of new news about a lot of new games in particular Metroid Prime 3, Super Smash Bros Brawl, Halo 3 and Metal Gear Solid. I am also looking forward to finding out what future channels Nintendo intend to release for the Wii and where they intend to go with the Wii Shop. I will of course be watching all 3 press conferences and will post about each one. Hopefully, the year after next (or perhaps the one after) I will be there. If you want to hear about a particular game, please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Console Wars Summary

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I don't even have an excuse, how rubbish is that. However, I do have an article on the console wars for you. And the person who left the comment "ok" cheers!

Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 was the first to be launched and has successfully established itself as a house hold name. The range of games is stunning, challenged only by the number of must have games. Titles such as Forza 2, Gears of War and Oblivion truly stand out, but are just a few of the games. Now, although these games might not all be unique to the 360, they are all done well, without any issues to the 360. One of the criticism leveled at the Xbox was the range of games, Microsoft has clearly learnt and improved. What continues to amaze me is more must have titles just keep coming. Haze, Halo 3 and Bio-Shock to name just a few. As the 360 was priced much cheaper than the PS3, most people expected the graphics to not be as good, however, a recent test done by GameSpot, shows this not to be the case. Another service worth noting is the Xbox Live Arcade, which has set the way for small developers to create more innovative games without needing funding from publishers (post coming soon)The system has only two very minor drawbacks, firstly, it is the only system where you pay for online play. However, the service that Microsoft offer is above and beyond what Nintendo and Sony are even pretending to offer. The other draw back is its film capabilities. It will cost you quite a bit to kit your 360 to play HD films, setting the price at about PS3 levels. On top of the fact that you will be using HD-DVD, the format that is losing at the moment. However, Microsoft did file the 360 under a games console rather than a advanced movie player. All in all, I will make the conclusion time in and time out, the 360 is a very rock solid console. It will provide you with games what ever your tastes and it won't let you down online. The 360 has well earned its price tag with its extensive range of games out now and promised for the near future.

Nintendo Wii

The Wii is the cheapest console. Its main selling point is the revolutionary controller. At first, many thought it would be gimmicky, but it really isn't. I will be the first to admit that with some games it is a little tacky and there are a lot of rubbishy party game on it for the moment. But they really don't do the controller or the system justice. The good games on the Wii at the moment are quite limited, but they are good. Zelda is an epic adventure game where the story will keep you entertained. Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz uses the Wiimote fantastically in single player and there are quite a few good multiplayer games. Failure to mention the hugely fun Wii Sports that is bundled with You must bare in mind that with something as wacky as the Wii, there has to be some experimentation, and with experimentation comes failure, but I hope developers learn from the failures. It is also worth noting the Wii Shop. This used to offer a wide range of NES, SNES N64 and other retro console games available for download. This service was good, but did not rival Xbox Live Arcade. However, Nintendo have now opened it up for smaller developers like the arcade. This is very good as the Wiimote lends itself excellently to mini games that fail when forced to elborate to a full £40 game.

Sony PS3

The PS3 is the most expensive console and the only console not to sell out. The PS2 had a massive following so this came some what as a surprise. However, it can probably be blamed on a bumpy road leading up to launch. Over the time between E3 2006 and the launch of the PS3 Sony has suffered a huge amount of media attack for downgrading their console, for loosing exclusives and angering customers. By the time of launch, combined with the effect of the 360 excellent games and the hype surrounding the Wii, no one had enough money left to buy a PS3. The reason why the PS3 is so expensive is because it features a blu-ray disk player. It is in fact the cheapest Blu-Ray player. However, I believe that the PS3 is just too expensive. The range of games, which is what people buy video game consoles for, is limited to say the least. The fact that the graphics weren't better than the 360 also had an effect on the sales as that is why people would have bought it. All was not lost for the PS3, they still had some exclusives, yes people were annoyed about the delayed launch in the UK , but they could have forgiven Sony. Then they downgraded the console to not support PS2 and 1 titles, but just for Europe. For most, this was the final straw, they went out and bought a 360. Things have started to look up for the PS3 with exciting things like the exciting idea of Home amongst many other things, but for many it is too little too late.

In conclusion, the 360 is a very sturdy console that has a great deal of great games with some interesting ideas. The Wii is the most volatile console, but has pulled it off. There is promise of many new games coming to it and gives people more and more reasons to buy it. The PS3 is far too expensive at the moment, if the price was lowered by about £100 a lot more people would get it, then they could get more games and the whole circle would start turning again.

"All your base are belong to us"