Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Wii Jacket Impressions

I got my four complimentary Wii Jackets through the post today!

If you don't know, Nintendo are sending out the Wii Jackets, free of charge, to Wii owners in order to protect themselves from the DANGERS of the Wiimote. Obviously trying to avoid legal bills and court cases, Nintendo have shit themselves at all the reports of damaged children and broken televisions and have reacted with this.

First of all, props to the big N for them being free. I wouldn't have paid foir them anyway, but it's always nice to get a freebie.

There's not THAT much to be said, really. The wiimote fits snugly inside of the jacket, and doesn't seem to be hampered by it at all. All the functions are easily accessible, apart from the input socket on the bottom, which is covered by a cheeky flap. The remote IS much softer with the jacket on. It takes on the feel of a top-end sex toy. Whether that's a good or bad thing is entirely up to you. I personally WON'T be using mine, unless a child plays with my console. Which is unlikely. Still, they're free, innit?


Monday, 29 October 2007

Smash Bros Brawl Stage Builder


Nintendo have revealed the brand new Smash Bros Brawl Stage Builder, via the Smash Bros Dojo.

This will surely be fantastic. You can even upload your levels to Connect24, via Wifi. Whether you'll need bloody friend codes to get levels from friends is unsure, as of yet, but HOPEFULLY it'll be as easy as popping them in a message.

WELL DONE NINTENDO! Are they actually learning to embrace technology? I'm super glad that Smash Bros has been delayed, now. It's gonna be ace!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Katamari-san is mental

The Gamecity Festival finishes tonight in Nottingham, UK (in fact as I type this, Team UDLR should be romping home in the Official Gamecity Pub Quiz). It's been a really enjoyable experience having a video game festival on your doorstep, with some standout moments, the biggest of which was the Keynote speech by Kata Takahashi, creator of the awesome Katamari Damacy games.

After a long delay it finally started with an intro by... some... woman who liked Katamari (I didn't catch if she was part of Bandai, Namco, or just ran a fansite of some such) who showed some entertaining fan pics, including that of some mental who ran the San Francisco Marathon dressed as Prince and pushing a giant Katamari! Then Takahashi came on stage. He came over as a really nice guy, he had to speak through an interpreter which kinda slowed the flow of the talk, but he was a cool guy to listen to. He explained where a lot of his ideas came from, a lot of his pet hates about games and the world (especially the people who live in the flat underneath his who are noisy, so he's growing his plants over his balcony to cover their windows), and he finished the talk with an early-stage playable demo of his new game Nobi Nobi BOY (nobi is japanese for stretchy apparently, insert joke here---->). The game is absolutely bizarre. He gave a controller to a guy near me so I got to see the controls at work. Basically your 'BOY' is controlled with your two nipple buttons, one controls each half of his body. And you can stretch your body to round up animals and travel about, and you can eat the animals and... well that's about it really! It's not even on Namco's official launch spread yet, it's basically a premise he's created and he hasn't actually worked out what the goal of the game is, he just likes the idea of stretching a character to do stuff. Thankfully someone recorded the demo footage and put it on the web, so you can see for yourself here

Friday, 26 October 2007

Give The Gift Of Gaming On Wii, This Year

President Iwata of Nintendo has unveiled plans to offer a service on the Wii that allows gamers to send games to friends over the Wii Connect24 network. The service will automatically open up the Wii Shop, when the recipient accepts, and start downloading the game to their console.

I think this is a GREAT idea. Sure, you could buy somebody a Wii Points card, but who's to say they'll buy anything GOOD? I can now educate my family members and friends on games they might have missed without the worry that they'll spend the points on something ironic and shit, like Altered Beast.


If anyone feels generous, I'd like Sin and Punishment, Super Metroid and Breath of Fire 2, please.

Three Years On, Half Life 2 Impressions

This is an interesting one. Until the release of The Orange Box, I'd never played Half Life 2. I'd never even watched somebody else play it. I'd played the original Half Life (who hasn't?), along with Blue Shift and Counter Strike (I'm a bit of an addict). But, for various reasons, I missed Half Life 2. When the game was released, my home PC could barely run Quake 2, never mind this beast. And I didn't like the idea of the cut-down Xbox version. I decided to wait.

Coming up to the release of The Orange Box, I decided I'd post my impressions of the game as a new user. The game has been out since 2004 and is pretty much considered one of the best FPS games of all time. But things change fast in the world of games. I played Far Cry about a year ago for the first time, and it's showing it's age. The AI was painful, and the whole experience was ruined by the technical limitations. I kinda thought this might happen again, but vowed to try anyway.

I was wrong.

I haven't finished it yet. I haven't played Episode One or Two, but I've pretty much finished Portal. But Half Life 2 is INCREDIBLE. I imagine that I'm a rare breed of gamer and that everyone else who reads this HAS played through this game, probably years ago. But if you missed it, don't worry. It's not great because of nostalgia or because of it's place in history. It's brilliant because everything works and it feels as relevant today as it did on release. At no point have I yet remembered that I'm NOT playing a brand new game. It feels fresh and exciting and I'm hooked. I've even borrowed a 360 to play it while my bricked console gets repaired.

The atmosphere created in the game is absolutely incredible. It's so hard to describe games that really make you feel something, but this game does. I totally felt like I was in an Orwell novel right from the start, and the stifling presence of the police is something that's lodged itself in my mind already. I'll never forget playing this game. I just wish I'd played it three years ago.

Seriously, if you haven't had a taste of it yet, you need this game in your life. If you consider yourself a gamer, even slightly, you have to play this. I feel a twat for not getting it sooner. But, in fairness, The Orange Box is probably the best way you can experience it, even if you have finished it before. Get it.

The Orange Box is available on Xbox 360 and PC now. The Playstation 3 version has been, predictably, delayed until sometime next month.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Oh fuck.

My Xbox 360
02/12/05 - 24/10/07

I guess it had fairly good innings. *sniff*

Eternal Sonata Impressions

Before starting my impressions of Eternal Sonata, I'd just like to point out that I wish they'd stuck with the original Japanese title, Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream. That's all.

ANYWAY, Eternal Sonata is OUT NOW on the Xbox 360 so maybe you've already played it but I've only just got the chance to have a go. It's out sometime in 2008 on the PS3, too, so owners of that console will get a chance too.

Ok, Eternal Sonata is a pretty conventional JRPG. If you've played Final Fantasy or the like, you know what's going on. That's a criticism I'm getting out of the way now. If you're bored of the formula or don't get along with turn-based battles, you probably better give it a miss. JRPGs aren't know for their originality and these is DEFINITELY role playing by numbers. A bit disappointing, that.

Coming from the people who made Baten Kaitos, Eternal Sonata has an AMAZING look. Seriously, it's worth tracking this game down just to look at it. If you're HD, that is. The cell-shaded look is stunning in high definition and it's won the game awards for it's artistic direction. They're well deserved.

The battles ARE turn-based, but they also allow freedom to run about to avoid enemies and hit them with a variety of attacks. The twist is, you've got just a few seconds to do what you need to do before the next character gets their turn. It actually works really well and treads a fairly nice middle ground between turn-based and real-time fights.

But yeah, it's the same old same old. I really, really want to rave about how amazing it is, but in all honesty, I can't. It's nothing new but what it does, it does really well. I could sit and watch it all day, though. I'm gonna pick it up cheap secondhand and just watch somebody else play it. Seriously.

In conclusion? Pretty.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Pictochat Stage On Smash Bros Is Better Than ACTUAL Pictochat

I remember when I first got my Nintendo DS. I asked my Mum to bring me it back from New York while she was on holiday, thus enabling me to own the sexy handheld MONTHS before most other European folks. And I DISTINCTLY remember being hella excited about Pictochat. I don't know why. Seriously, though. Maybe I though the range would be HUGE or something, and I'd be able to chat to friends in other houses and stuff. But that's what phones and MSN are for, I guess.

But anyway, Pictochat is shit. Completely useless. I've NEVER used it properly, because if someone is close enough to Pictochat, they're more than likely close enough to chat to at a reasonable volume.

BUT ANYWAY, the point of this is that Nintendo have revealed the Pictochat stage in Smash Bros Brawl. HOW COOL? Very. Although it'll probably be a bit rubbish (like the Game & Watch stage in Smash Bros Melee) it's a novel idea, and one I can't wait to try! Hooray!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Okami IS Coming To The Wii

Following on from my previous post about the RUMOURS of Okami for the Wii, it's now been pretty much confirmed by everyone.

This is FANTASTIC. Okami was criminally ignored by most, probably due to it's late release on the Playstation 2. It'll supposedly have full motion controls and the like. It better be widescreen and 480p, too, or it can fuck right off.

On the flipside, it seems like my Wii is only good for ports of old games until Mario Galaxy comes out. That's a bit depressing, no?

Brutal Legend

While still unconfirmed by himself (due to an exclusive deal with game informer magazine), Tim Schafer and double fine's new game "brutal legend" seems to be in full promo force.

A couple of weeks ago, select gaming websites and magazines received an unmarked red 7" along with a turntable for those without one. It was discovered that the song on the vinyl was a pretty cheesy metal song but if you listened carefully you'd identify the fact that it was in fact Jack Black singing (confirmed as the voice of the main character) and that there was more than meets the ears.

In true metal fashion there was a backwards message containing something along the lines of "brutal legend:coming soon", which confirmed that it was a promo device for the new double fine game. If anyone wants to listen to the song, it can be found here via kotaku.

A week or so the above trailer leaked onto the net coupled with these scans from the issue of game informer which details the game quite thoroughly.

To be honest just the teaser stuff has me wetting my pants whilst waiting for the game.
If it's anything like Schafer's past line up (day of the tentacle, grim fandango, psychonauts et al) then it will be nothing short of genius.

*Edit* It's all confirmed now official sites here and here.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Gamecity In Nottingham!

At the end of October, Gamecity will be coming to Nottingham. It's basically a load of game related demos, talks, films, etc going on all over the city, and if you've got ANY interest in the medium of THE GAME, you should try and make it down for some of it.

Hop over to the official site to check out the programme! Here's some which look particularly ace...

A talk about the upcoming game with Jonathan Smith, who worked on the game. Maybe some Wiimote lightsabre action, too? I'LL BE THERE.
  • FREEPLAY LOUNGE, 25th Oct. 7pm
"Merging the classic draw of free beer and pizza with state-of-the-art Xbox 360 gaming on HD projection screens, contests for prizes including Halo 3, appearances by girl gamers the Frag Dolls and face-offs against top Rare developers, it's set to be a memorable social gaming experience for all present."


A talk about the groundbreaking new Euphoria engine, that's powering the physics in upcoming games Star Wars The Force Unleashed and the latest Indiana Jones title.

  • TAKAHASHI NEXT, 27th Oct. 1pm
A chat with the BRILLIANT creator of Katamari Damacy. NOT TO BE MISSED.

There's loads more, including THE MAN WHO CREATED TETRIS, but you can see them all on the official site. GO.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Assassins Creed Vid

Some of you may have seen this elsewhere but if not then here's a massive 8 minute video of gameplay footage from Assassins Creed. I have to say, this has excited me. I remember how much I loved Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time, and now I am really looking forward to that kind of gameplay in a much more open environment. The movements look fluid and it seems like it offers lots of possibilities for really cinematic kills and the ensuing chases and escapes.

I feel a pre-order coming on.

Timesplitters 4 Coming To The Wii?

Alongside the confirmation of the existence of a new Timesplitters game, comes a quote from famous Goldeneye boy, David Doak, stating that Free Radical would like to do a Wii version of the game.

"I think it's a good thing to do, and I think we want to put it on the Wii. And I'm sure it's possible to do a control scheme that works. Also, if you want to start a petition for remaking Second Sight on the Wii, I'd like to see that as well, because I think that game worked really well, [laughs] because of the manipulation stuff."

It's not written in concrete or anything, but it WOULD be lovely. The Wii certainly needs stronger third-party support for 'real' games (ie, not quizzes, mind games and PS2 ports) and Timesplitters 4 would be a fantastic move.

And with Timesplitters well-known parodies (see the Gears of War monkey logo...) maybe they could squeeze out a decent Wiimote lightsabre minigame before LucasArts do...?


Wednesday, 10 October 2007

I'm Really Suprised No One Has Beaten Me To This Yet....

But Sonic is confirmed for Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii!

I guess it was kind of inevitable after the whole Mario vs Sonic at the Olympics stuff.

Official confirmation along with a pretty video can be found here.

In other news the Japanese release has been pushed back to January, most likely meaning we'll see it around summer time if it's anything like the Nintendo of late.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

And If You Really Must Still Play Tetris...

Do it here where it's free for gods sake!

Free Tetris

Just re-enforcing Matt's point here.

Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday, 3-10-07

If you buy Tetris, you're a twat. That's about it really. Tetris came free with Gameboys in 1989 and EVERYONE had it. So if you choose to pay for it EIGHTEEN YEARS after that, you need shooting. I don't care if this one has a fucking screensaver aquarium or is in HD. They also tried to make you buy Tetris on the 360 as a full game, a while back. DID YOU BUY IT? I hope not.

To make this sound slightly like a real review, here's some constructive criticism. Everyone's played Tetris to death, so knows exactly how it FEELS. Tetris Splash feels wrong. When the blocks land, they take too long to 'stick'. That may sound fucking stupid if you've never played Tetris, but if you've never played Tetris, you're a cunt.


Tetris Splash is available now on the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace priced 800 Microsoft points (about £6.00).

Do You Like Shitting Your Pants?

Master Chief shitting himself after playing Bioshock

Ok, I'm not going to review Halo 3. Everyone already has, who cares? Needless to say, it's amazing.

Last night my good chum Jamie came over and we played Xbox 360 all night. Jamie is in the world of PS2 still and so has missed out on some of the amazing new stuff that's been coming out over the last few months. Also, myself, Jamie and Steve (from my band) have spent plenty of studio hours on Pro Evo 6 and I wanted him to play the PES2008 demo.

So, we played nuff demos (Stranglehold, PES2008, Lost Planet, Skate, etc, etc) and then got stuck into a couple of full games. Namely, two of this years biggest releases - Bioshock and Halo3. We played for a few hours on both and I have to say they are two of the best, most involving games I think I've ever played (along with Gears Of War).

My conundrum for the day comes from playing these two games.

Playing Bioshock I was scared. I was scared, on edge and to be honest, uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, it's an experience that I 'enjoyed' but in the same way I enjoy watching a really dark film.
A friend of mine has been complaining lately that most of the new games coming out are really too grim for him and I can kind of see his point. Playing Halo3 afterwards was such an antidote! It's lighthearted, it's fun and it doesn't feel like hard work (although we aren't playing on legendary yet).
I'm torn. Should gaming be an entirely lighthearted experience like it used to be (back when the graphics limited the fear)? Or should we be pushing the experience like we do with films depicting graphic, stomach turning violence?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Anyone else had the same thing with any other games (Condemned anyone?)?

One thing I do know, I'm asking myself these questions and I'm damned if I want games to be censored. My point is that I'm thinking about these choices for myself, if I don't want to play a game, I won't. Give me back my damned Manhunt 2!

Friday, 5 October 2007

40GB Playstation 3 For Europe But Can Fuck Off

Sony are bringing another Playstation 3 model to our little PAL shores and gamers with little money will be a bit happier.

The 40GB version of the PS3 will launch on October 10th, priced at £299. That's EXACTLY the same price point as the Xbox 360 Elite, fact fans.

HOWEVER, the new model features no backwards compatibility at all. WHAT?! Seeing as the BC on the 80GB model is software emulation, this is hugely confusing. When I read the price, I decided to buy one. When I read THAT I changed my mind again.
After Christmas comes the 20GB model that doesn't feature a console.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

The Princess Bride Videogame... Inconceivable!

Worldwide Biggies (who!?) will be developing a game based on possibly the best film ever, The Princess Bride.

True Love and High Adventure -- The Official Princess Bride Game will be arriving next spring. However, no plans are being made for a physical release, opting instead for a digital download. While I'd normally celebrate modern technology and downloadable games, this just stinks of shit. It IS going to be crap, mark my words.

Still, I can't bloody wait.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Why The Orange Box Will Not Be Coming To Mac OS X

With The Orange Box launching very, very soon on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has revealed why we will NOT be seeing any of the Half-Life iterations on lovely Mac OS X anytime soon.

"...we have this pattern with Apple, where we meet with them, people there go "wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming". And then we'll say, "OK, here are three things you could do to make that better", and then they say OK, and then we never see them again."

Despite EA's current support for the Apple operating system, it seems that Valve are running into some problems when it comes to porting their games across. It' a shame really.

IGN Prooves That Halo DS WAS Real

IGN has sensationally proven the reality of Halo DS with a realtime gameplay footage video from their Nintendo expert, Matt Casamassina. Halo DS has been famously rumoured for a long time and this proof finally lays rest to the speculation. It looks AWESOME, but will unfortunately never see release as it was apparently scrapped.

The Beta copy shows a multiplayer game on the Zanzibar level (named Last Resort in Halo 3) and shows the games similarity with it's Xbox counterpart, even with the inclusion of the Warthog.

The video does not say who was developing the game, possibly suggesting that Bungie weren't behind the Beta copy seen in the demonstration.

Damn shame, that.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Gaming Podcasts with Edgar, Chuck and Guy

I bloody like gaming podcasts, these are the three I listen to but I'm sure I'm missing some good'uns

1. Nerd Blurb - Best. Presented by Edgar Furse and Steve Dupuy, brilliant.
2. Game On - with Shawn Sines and Chuck Nelson. Chuck's an ex Marine (he sure likes to tell you he's an ex Marine...cun...)
3. GamesSpot UK - with Guy and some girl co-presenting...I bet she's got a disgusting face...
Wouldn't mind a decent UK one other than GamesSpot any suggestions?

Grand Theft Anime: San Andreas

Forget Manhunt 2 and Postal, THIS is possibly the most disturbing thing I've ever seen in videogames. A PC mod for GTA San Andreas unlocks anime characters from Lucky Star, Pokemon and Doraemon in cell-shaded style to run over, shoot and... whatever else you can do in GTA. It doesn't sound too bad in writing, but watch the video and cringe at the happy anime music and overly cheerful Japanese dialogue.


Chintendo Vii Sets Its Sights On China

Sure, China is well known for it's ludicrous games piracy, but this just takes the biscuit. The Chintendo Vii looks BRILLIANT. I can't read Chinese, but I can see a game called MOTO SEA that apparently has an inflatable jet ski for promotion. I guess it's all NES roms, but I can't be sure.

Oh, here's another picture, because it's so amazing.

Far Cry Movie Screenshots

IGN has lots of new screenshots from the upcoming Far Cry movie. STOP MAKING RUBBISH MOVIES OF GAMES. It'll undoubtedly be shit.

Here are my top five games I want films of...