Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Leipzig Disappointment

So, Leipzig is going on right now (which is sort of the European E3 from what I understand) and there was talk that Sony was going to unveil some really interesting information. Here is what I found out...
1. My new PSP is going to be outdated already as Sony is releasing a new version less than a year after the last new version. (Along with some cool bundles)
2. Sony is going to release a new PS3 bundle which would have been awesome had I not already owned a PS3.
3. LittleBigPlanet is still awesome and coming out October 29th in PAL territories.
4. That's pretty much it for us US folks.

So that was pretty underwhelming and considering what was rumored, I thought we'd see a whole lot more. I don't need a new PSP, or PS3, and I already know I'm getting LittleBigPlanet, so other than some specific game announcements, there really wasn't that much information to give out. I was hoping to hear something about Home, or a global LBP release date, or the shocking new revelation about LBP that they have been teasing. Oh well. Maybe TGS will give some more information.

Friday, August 15, 2008

LittleBigPlanet - New Gaming Obsession

So, ever since Sony and Media Molecule announced LittleBigPlanet was coming last year, I've been dying to have a chance to play it. Everything from screenshots to videos that I've seen have only cemented it in my mind as the game that will sell PS3's, and take over my life. Then, it got delayed, and delayed and I was really bummed out and stopped following it for a while.

But then, at E3, it appeared and reminded me why I was so entranced by it again. Now, with the release date a couple months away, I'm trying to get any information I can, and also trying to decide who I'm going to pre-order it from (there are five different offers but only two have been formally announced). I found a cool site that has a ton of info: LittleBigPlanet Central and since they have their official news site: LittleBigPlanet News I'm counting days until I can get this game.

For those who don't know, it's really hard to explain what is so cool about this game, which is essentially a platformer with a level design and share element. But it's the style, charm, and general fun of the game that make it so compelling. I've never heard anyone say anything negative about the game other than it hasn't come out yet. Nintendo tried to get it before Sony snatched it up, and for good reason. My wife is even interested in this game and that says volumes right there.

So, October 21st can't get here soon enough. All I have to do now is make my final decision on Kratos costume, Mini-Guide, or Pouch. :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Uncharted Trophy Hunt - Review

So, I got Uncharted yesterday, and as soon as possible, downloaded the patch and started up the game. Now, I've received three trophies from PixelJunk Eden, but there was something different about trying to get them for Uncharted. I had a game plan, did some research, even had a treasure guide so I could make sure I found all of them. And then I dove right in. After one night (that was shortened a little), I've got 9 of the 47 trophies and I'm completely hooked. My plan is to get all of them, but going back and beating the game on Crushing will be challenging so we'll have to see. But, since I've beat the game already, I figured I'd do a little of a Retro-Review of the game.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is about Nathan Drake's quest to find a lost treasure that Sir Francis Drake (who Nathan thinks is a long lost relative) hide after a supposed death. Without giving anything away, the game is the search for this treasure and the adventures that are brought along with that.

I'll be honest and up front. I loved this game. The gameplay is typical adventure with some shooting, platforming, and puzzle solving. All of these elements really fit into my interests and with a story that is both interesting and actually well written, it makes for a really fun experience. The controls are very intuitive and the camera works very well staying where it should almost all the time. Games I like to play are the ones where I feel like if I would have designed the control scheme, this is how I would have done it. Uncharted accomplishes this goal.

The story, like I said is good, but it's the actors' delivery that make it that way. The whole game is presented like a big movie, and that is really cool. One evidence of this is the missing load time screens, and when you enter a new level, the only way you know it is by the screen showing a graphic stating that it is a new level. I love that touch to the game. Make you feel more part of the action. Visually, the game is amazing. The first time I played it, I was on a 25" Sanyo from 20 years ago. The game looks so much better on my HDTV, I can't describe the difference it makes. Little touches such as a sound track that changes much like a movie would (tense music in a tense situation, etc..) add to the experience.

So, I think it's obvious, but I'll go ahead and say it. This game is great. I give it 5 out of 5. The only complaint is that maybe the game is a little too short. Not a bad complaint to have...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

PS3 Trophies - Now I Get Achievements...

So, I had already sent a PSP game (Burnout Legends) back to Gamefly when I saw the news that Uncharted: Drakes Fortune had received it's patch for Trophy support. I immediately moved it to the top of my Queue, and just found out, that's what they are sending me next. So, now, I'll be able to go through the game again (which I commented earlier was one of my favorites this year) and get the new fun trophies... Someone has already sent out a list and they match the existing medals from the game which is cool.

I currently have three trophies from PixelJunk Eden (I'm only a 5th of the way through the game, so expect my review soon.. oops, here comes Uncharted to derail that idea..). And I finally realize why everyone wanted these and why Achievements on the 360 are so popular. There is a cool satisfaction with accomplishing something in a game and being rewarded for it. Even if it's just for you. There is also something that drives me to go back and complete games 100%. I did this with Burnout Paradise (at the moment I'm only 9 challenges away from 102%). The added fun is that you can compare your status to those on your friends lists which makes it kind of like a cool meta-game that 360 players have been playing for a while that we are beginning to enjoy. I only hope that the completion factor does not derail my enjoyment of the game.

So, now, I'm really wishing I had a few days off to play games cause I'm really wanting more trophies. I've even almost convinced myself to get Super Stardust HD just to get the trophies. (I almost bought Warhawk again for the same reason). So thanks Sony for the trophies... You've now added to my list of games to play again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Future of the PSP

So, I have a White PSP Slim (The Darth Vader one), and I really like the design and capabilities of it, but lately I've found myself playing it less and less. I've got a few games that I'm still playing and a small list of games I want to get from Gamefly. But, there just aren't a lot of titles that I'm dying to play on it. Games I've really enjoyed include the Syphon Filter games, the Lego games, Daxter, Ratchet and Clank. So there has been cool content that was unique to the platform, but it seems that many studios are shying away from releasing content solely for the system.

I'm looking forward to Resistance Retribution, but other than that and Star Wars The Force Unleashed, there aren't a ton of must-play games coming out. It's not a new suggestion, but I think piracy is slowly killing the platform. Studios don't want to spend the development money when they know that a greater percentage of people are going to download the game illegally. The hardware sales have been climbing steadily, but eventually, there won't be any new games coming out for it other than ports of other games. I'm really concerned because I would hate to see my PSP just gathering dust. I've even toyed with selling it, but three things keep me from doing that:

1. Remote Play. This has been a really cool feature that I don't think has been properly utilized. There are a few games out there that should create a patch for playing via remote play. The Lego games would be awesome over remote play (although this would cannibalize the sales of that platform). I played PixelJunk Monsters via Remote Play, and other than a little lag here and there, it worked very well.
2. Exclusive games or content. The Resistance game, and the new content in Star Wars The Force Unleashed will hold my interest for now, but unless something else is coming out...
3. Online play with friends. So, really this is meant for me and one friend to play golf. That has been fun even though he killed me. But, the online experience with the PS3 is so much better, I wonder how long this will be of interest.

I hope that Sony pushes some good first party titles for the PSP, and I would love it if other studios followed suit. Maybe they need to focus on downloadable since that seems to be more secure, and would have the cost savings of digital distribution. I'm grasping because I'm concerned with the future of the PSP, and it's too cool a platform to just disappear.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pixel Junk Eden Demo Impression

So, I bought PixelJunk Monsters when it came out on the PSN, and I really enjoyed the game play, although, I didn't finish it (Burnout Paradise took over and Gaming ADD). I'm planning on getting into it again soon, but it may have to wait. I downloaded the PJ-Eden demo on Thursday, and so far, I've played through it twice. It was on my list of games I'm curious about from E3 and I was glad to see a demo.

The game is essentially a platformer that gives you control of a character and lets you loose in a garden (level) with the objective of collection "Spectra". These Spectra help to build your Eden and progress to other gardens. You collect pollen to grow new plants to attach to and climb, etc. The demo only lets you collect 5 (of the 50) spectra, but if you play it right, you can play all the way through Garden 1, or play 3-4 spectra of Garden 2 or 3 spectra of Garden 3. This is a game that is very different than other games I play (shooters, racing, sports, action) as it is very mellow, but it is also a platformer which puts it right in my wheelhouse so that is a cool contrast. The mix of the visual style and the music is really cool as I can't see how the game would have any other music. The only problem with the demo is that you can only play through it once without deleting your save game.

Some cool features of the game include: up to three player co-op locally (too bad I only have two controllers), Remote Play support (haven't tried this yet, but I will...), Trophy support (I can finally get trophies), and the ability to upload captured video to YouTube. With all of these features for a cost of "less than 10 dollars", I'll definitely be buying this game when it comes out on Thursday. So obviously my impression was you should play this demo if you have a PS3 and I think you'll want to download the game too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gaming ADD

So, I've come up with a new term for how I play games now. It's called Gaming ADD. Back in the day, I would research a game for a long time before I would buy it, then I would play it non-stop for weeks. Then I'd trade it in for the next game that I had researched, etc...

Now, I just rent games I have any interest at all, and as soon as they arrive, i play for a few hours. If I'm not sold on the game within that short time frame, they go back in the envelope, and back to Gamefly to get my next fix. I really try to play all the way through games, cause I like the sense of accomplishment, but since I have limited game time, I am just not as inclined to spend time on a game that I'm not totally sold on, or is frustratingly difficult. The latest casualty - Devil May Cry 4. The game was fun, but after a while, I just wasn't into it. It wasn't the difficulty (I hadn't got that far), I just would rather play something else (Burnout Paradise). So, I sent it back and we'll see what I get next.

Also, this may prove difficult because with the PS3 implementing trophies, I'm going to need to start playing older games I've already finished so I can get the trophies. I know I'll have to get Uncharted again, but that's ok, because it was one of my favorite games that I've played this year.