The only reason I’ve seen to own a Move so far is the Killzone 3 Move control mode. It might take a lot more than that to sell people on the technology.
From IGN’s Review of LBP2:
I’ve seen a lot of people asking how PlayStation Move works in LittleBigPlanet 2, and the short answer is “It doesn’t.” It isn’t broken; it just isn’t in the game. Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves (a Move game available right now on the PlayStation Store) is on the disc, but that’s it. At the moment, LBP2 doesn’t use the motion controller at all but it supports it for future additions.
Shame on you if you aren’t already click-clacking your way to plastic musical instrument heaven today. Harmonix’s Rock Band 3 releases today on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS and many reviews are already calling it the “best rhythm game ever.”
If you’re the poor soul that hosts your circle of friends’ Rock Band get togethers, there’s at least a $129.99 investment you have to make today to buy the game and new keyboard peripheral. On the bright side, it’s an actual MIDI keyboard so you can justify it by saying you got a “real” musical instrument, but we all know you’re just going to use it to hit five colored notes while getting drunk with your friends.
It’s alright. No one’s judging you. Except maybe your mom.
To celebrate a return to the best home karaoke platform ever, I’ve put together a Grooveshark playlist of 82 of the 83 songs in Rock Band 3. (The only song not on here is John Lennon’s Imagine, which i “imagine” is not on Grooveshark because of licensing reasons.) Enjoy getting to know these songs! It’ll be especially fun if you don’t know Spanish and get roped to sing the Juanes song. My heart goes out to you.
While combing the E3 showfloor, I had a chance to play a decent amount of upcoming games. Here are some quick impressions from some of the Playstation 3 games I tried out:
Killzone 3 at E3 2010 was all about the 3D. I was surprised at how unintrusive the 3D glasses actually were. Combining a first person shooter with stereoscopic 3D glasses seems like a recipe for extreme motion sickness, but this didn’t end up being the case.
The demo was about 20 minutes long and started with an on rails helicopter turret sequence in the snow. Amusing, but nothing terribly original. The 3D was really impressive in the blizzard as I really got the sense of immersion of being pelted by snow.
Once I landed, the game became very familiar. If you’ve played Killzone 2, you’ll know exactly what I experienced. In fact, if it weren’t for the 3D and the fact that there was a “3″ in the booth, I could have mistaken the game for Killzone 2. The graphics are incredible on a console, but underneath the glossy veneer is a typical, albeit very polished, cinematic shooter. I didn’t see any new weapons or gameplay mechanics during my time with the game.
Little Big Planet 2:
Most of the short Little Big Planet 2 demonstration was focused on the new game creation tools. Emphasis was placed on mini-game creation. Little Big Planet is no longer a platform to create platformer game levels, but one that can do many different game types.
Three mini-games were shown to show off some of the new possibilities. The first was a sort of fast-paced Simon Says button pressing game, kind of like competitive Quick Time Event pressing. We then played a bumper-boats game, evoking memories of the hilarious Mario Party minigame. The goal is to knock the other players off of the ring, with the use of a single button to boost. The final minigame was a competitive 2D shooter using rocket launchers. Think Smash Bros. level with little Sackmen toting rocket launchers.
The Sony rep also talked about making it easier to find and filter user-generated content. An improved search feature is planned, along with the ability to “follow” specific designers. There would also be Playstation Move integration, the details of which were not shown at the booth.
Overall, it sounds like if you’re an active LBP designer, you’ll want to pick this one up as it gives a lot more tools in the toolbox, so to speak. I’m on the fence, since I never really played the game much beyond the included campaign. There’ll be another Media Molecule designed campaign in this sequel, but I can’t help shake the feeling that LBP is a title that just didn’t work, despite its noble mission of empowering end users to be game designers.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
I absolutely despise the Xbox 360 controller for fighting games so I made sure to try out Marvel vs Capcom 3 on the Playstation 3. There’s not much to say about this title other than it controls tightly and looks amazing. The character select screen for each player creates a comic book cover from the selected characters using the actual template for a Marvel comic. I found this a very nice nod to detail on Capcom’s part.
Any concerns over the title losing any speed over the move to the 3d Street Fighter 4 engine were quickly laid to rest after one round with the game. The same ridiculous 32 hit laser super combos and tag team air combo action is back and as fun as ever.
I even held court for awhile, winning four consecutive matches before people started getting afraid to challenge me. Unfortunately, the demo didn’t have a single player arcade mode, so rather than twiddle my thumbs and wait for a new challenger, I left.
At the Sega booth I was surprised to see Yakuza 4 on display. See, although I have always heard great things about the Yakuza franchise, it’s never quite taken off in the US. It’s a 3rd person fighter/adventure game hybrid with RPG elements set in modern day Japan. I’ve been told the writing in the game is exquisite, with comparisons to The Sopranos being made.
The very nature of the game doesn’t scream “MAINSTREAM APPEAL”, so I was surprised to see the fourth installment green lit fora US release. After speaking with the community manager in charge of evangelizing Yakuza 4, it became quite clear that this title is a labor of love from the localization team dedicated to the fans. One of the key features mentioned was the fact that you can now go into Japanese hostess clubs in the game and, well, interact with girls. Apparently the more vocal fanbase had cried foul over the hostess clubs’ omission from the US version of Yakuza 3, so they were re-added to the sequel. That’s listening to your customers, folks.
While I’m not sure if I can devote 30-40 hours to a single game anymore, I’d like to see Yakuza 4 succeed if only for the fact that it’s supposedly an authentic look into certain aspects of modern day Japanese culture. The game releases on the Playstation 3 in spring of 2011.
Invizimals is an interesting take on the Monster Hunter/Pokemon genre of RPG collection games. Using the PSP camera attachment, you can find creatures “hidden” amongst everyday items lying around the house. Basically, anything with a distinct color is liable to be hiding a creature to capture. Once you find a monster, you can then train with it in RPG-style turn based battles to upgrade them ala Pokemon.
(please excuse the sudden cut off in the video, there was an unfortunate battery mishandling)
I’m a big fan of Augmented Reality and this seems like a really novel way for tweens and adults to play the genre. Battles take place on screen using a combination of game animations and live footage of whatever the camera is pointing at. You can even wager the creatures you’ve earned in multiplayer battles, kind of like the ultimate form of virtual cockfighting. YES!
Twisted Metal was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of Sony’s E3 press conference in that it was probably the biggest first-party Sony title announced without being leaked in advance. However, it was only a matter of time as there have been Twisted Metal titles released for every Sony console generation prior to the Playstation 3.
David Jaffe’s (God of War) new Eat Sleep Play studio develops the latest installment in the franchise and I had a chance to play a quick deathmatch at the Sony booth.
The quickest way to describe Twisted Metal if you’ve never played a game in the series is that it’s a cross between Mario Kart battle mode and Unreal Tournament. You pilot a twisted character/car combination such as a homicidal clown’s ice cream truck and you’re pitted against equally colorful cast of characters’ cars in a deathmatch. Each car has its own special weapon that recharges over time and you can pick up assorted missiles and ordinance powerups on the map. Oh, and your battle arena is generally an expansive real-life setting like suburban housing tracts.
The original Twisted Metal on the Playstation was one of the launch highlights of the system and Jaffe’s PS3 version definitely captures the look and feel of that seminal title. It’s not for the controller-challenged, though, as it pretty much uses every button on the Dualshock 3 controller to some degree. I took one look at the loading screen picture of the controls and blanked out like I was watching C-Span.
Fortunately I pick up games fairly quickly and within a minute I had figured out how to drive and shoot. The demo included two new vehicles (a helicopter and a motorcycle) that haven’t been seen in the franchise before. I found the helicopter difficult to maneuver, but it does have the satisfying ability to pull enemy vehicles up with its magnet attachment and drop them in less than optimal places. The motorcycle dude’s special attack is to throw a boomerang chainsaw at enemies. It works as ridiculous as it sounds and does MASSIVE DAMAGE to enemies.
Twisted Metal was created to be played among a large number of players and it’s exciting to see the franchise arrive in a console generation where online play isn’t an afterthought. It’s not a franchise overhaul, but it doesn’t have to be. We’re in an era where car arena deathmatch titles number in the single digits. It’s an entertaining title that should be a blast to play with friends.
As long as Jaffe delivers a polished game, Sony should have a hit on its hands.
Twisted Metal is scheduled to be released in Spring 2011 exclusively on the Playstation 3
The most common question I heard at Konami’s booth while playing Castlevania: Lord of Shadows was “Hey, is that a new Castlevania? I used to love that game back in the day.”
Clearly Konami was prepared for this question because the friendly representative demonstrating the game for me wasted no time in responding to these inquiries with a confirmation and sales pitch that Lord of Shadows is a return to the golden days of Castlevania games. I hope the full game ends up fulfilling those promises, because the demo levels I played barely reminded me of the 2D adventures of Simon Belmont.
Castlevania: LoS looks plays very similarly to God of War. In fact, if it weren’t for the signs above the station, I might have thought Konami scored itself the God of War franchise. Gameplay in the demo was very combat oriented, including the obligatory action combo and grab system. The grab system was actually kind of novel. It plays similarly to a rhythm game (Bemani influence anyone?) where you have to tap the grab button right as 2 concentric circles overlapped each other.
You play as Gabriel Belmont with a weapon called the “Combat Cross” which reminded me of Kratos’ “Blades of Chaos” in that they acted as both short and long range weapons depending on the situation. Gabriel’s Combat Cross will morph between Castlevania’s signature whip and other weapons such as a sword. Other than the aesthetics, the weaponry system works out very similarly to God of War‘s, complete with psuedo-RPG elements such as the ability to upgrade weapons several levels and assorted magic attacks.
Long time series fans will remember the secondary weapons and a couple of these remain unchanged, such as the silver dagger or holy water. Konami wouldn’t disclose the other items Gabriel could pick up though.
The demo ended with a very brief horseback riding combat scene. Again, this played out very similarly to mounted combat in God of War.
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved God of War, but I think I was expecting a little something more distinguishing from a new Castlevania game. The Konami rep assured me that there would be familiar “metroidvania” gameplay elements such as level backtracking in the complete game. With Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid) acting as an advisor for this game, I still hold out hope that the final product could end up being something special.
As it is though, the E3 demo left me with the sense I was playing a well executed God of War clone. This could be a good or bad portent depending on what you were expecting from a new Castlevania game.
Castlevania: Lord of Shadows releases this fall on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
This morning, Hulu announced plans for a paid version of their popular video streaming service entitled, “Hulu Plus.” Among the added features is the ability to access Hulu through different mobile and home theater devices.
Now, the first thing I noticed on the devices page was this large discrepancy in time between the service’s availability on the Xbox 360 and other set-top devices:
If I were a betting man, I’d certainly put some money down that Sony ponied up something fierce to have Hulu available on their game console first. It’s a big deal. Consumers have been pining for Hulu on consoles for a long time now. Sony should be coming out the huge winner in this. If I was in a monogamous relationship with the Xbox 360, I’d be pissed and wanting a PS3.
Not so if I had only read this statement from Microsoft community evangelist Major Nelson:
I’d be thinking, “HOLY SHIT!! Hulu coming on my Xbox 360?! And they’re making it special just for me!”
This isn’t an AAA exclusive game, folks. Since when have 3rd party services on a game console been anything but a port? It certainly won’t take over a year of additional development time to get Hulu streaming on an Xbox 360. All signs point to a timed exclusivity deal between Sony and Hulu here.
It’s amazing how effective marketing spin can be in coloring how we react to news.
This news pretty much blindsided me this morning. I (like many others) assumed that Insomniac (Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, inFamous) was wholly owned by Sony. The deal is only for one game, but I’m pretty sure when it succeeds, they’ll continue making more of them for everyone.
Could the platform exclusive title be an endangered species? Bungie’s (Halo) liberation to Activision and the land of multi-platform releases last month certainly raises some eyebrows. Developers want to own their IPs now and who blames them? Wouldn’t you want to get in on movie-licensing and branded Mountain Dew flavor money? Like in the music industry, once you establish yourself as a bonafied rock star, your dependence on the record labels shrinks to just product manufacturing/distribution.
Personally, I’ve never had a problem with not being able to play a title due to the consoles I’ve owned since I own them all. However, I imagine most people have picked only one of the 360 or PS3. There’s a lot of quality titles that you’re missing out on if this is the case. Having our rockstar titles available on both platforms serves to only benefit the end user. After all, nothing kills a recent video game conversation more than “Have you played God of War 3 yet?” “No, I only have a 360. ” =(
Millions of Playstation 3 owners can rejoice finally as the Holy Grail of firmware updates hits this Wednesday, July 2nd. Firmware 2.40 brings in-game XrossMediaBar (XMB) access along with infrastructure for the achievement trophy system. If you have eight minutes to kill, watch the video above for a walkthrough of the XMB features, otherwise here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what you can actually do with the new XMB access in game:
View your friends list and send/receive text messages
Play your own music stored on the hard drive while playing a game that supports it (The list of games supported is unconfirmed right now)
Connect/fiddle with your bluetooth device settings – this is most likely going to mean hooking up your bluetooth headset for voice communication in game
Check the progress of your queued downloads from the Playstation Store
While this goes a long way in bringing the online feature set of the PS3 to parity with the Xbox 360, it’s still missing a few key features. Namely:
Private voice chat
Voice message capability
Invite friends to a game
Arguably, these features are the most important for an easy online gaming experience. I always use private voice chat whenever I’m playing with a buddy because you can talk with them through game loading screens and such – something that you can’t do if you simply use the in game voice communications. Text messaging on a console is just a pain and being able to send invites directly from a friends list is a no-brainer. Still, one shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I guess, as being able to see and communicate with your online friends in any form is better than the status quo.
(This review is written to avoid any sort of spoiler reveals)
Metal Gear Solid 4 presents an inner dilemma for me. Part of me wants to tell each and every person in the world who has a modicum of interest in video games that they need to go out and buy it immediately. The other, more reasonable part of me says to be more reserved in my recommendation.
I’ll do both.
Let me start by saying that MGS4 is without a doubt one of the best experiences I have had with a single player video game. If I had to rank it, it would probably be in my top 5 single player games of all time. Like many other people, I bought a $599 USD Playstation 3 for this game (and Final Fantasy XIII). If this was all the PS3 was good for, I’d say it was worth it. You heard me, MGS4 was worth $685 to me.
The problem is that it’s not going to have as a great of an impact on you if you’re new to the series. An analogous comparison might be that of Lost. The season 4 finale of lost was amazing and even if you don’t follow the show, you could see why. But you won’t get some of the references, and you won’t fully appreciate the events that take place simply because you don’t have the historical reference points that you would have if you followed the show from the beginning.
If you’ve played through any of the previous games in the series and enjoyed them, what are you waiting for? Go finish off the previous 3 games in the series and buy this one – you’ll have an unforgettable experience.
EA’s looking to get into the fantasy sports market with the upcoming NFL season. The company’s advantage in the crowded fantasy sports marketplace is their ability to integrate functionality with game consoles.
And integrate they shall!
Although pricing has been unannounced, EA will be selling software on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network for users to follow their fantasy football teams. (the web-based game will be free)
The main three advantages for the game console applications are:
Life drafting on the big screen if you have a local draft party – the game will upload the results to the web
Easy import of your fantasy team into Madden 09
Live scoring/team tracking
None of these features are revolutionary, but if the price is right it could be worth it if you have everyone over for a draft party. Importing your team into Madden should be possible to do manually and the live scoring is nice, but having to constantly flip from your console input to the TV input is going to be slightly annoying – I’d rather just have a laptop or iPhone nearby.
EA’s biggest hurdle is going to be convincing existing players/leagues to relocate from ESPN/Yahoo/Sportsline/etc. to the EA servers. With the main draw of the product essentially being a TV-output of the draft, I’m not so sure people make the leap.