Thursday, March 26, 2009

Zero Punctuation review: Resident Evil 5

It's either a "Lazy Wednesday" or "Lazy Thursday" every week, so I suppose this is for the latter.

It's nice to know that not everyone is clouded by the excitement generated by a triple-A title like Resident Evil 5, and Yahtzee makes his voice perfectly clear in his slightly-lengthy review of the game.

Oh, and stay tuned in the end for some shameless plugging.

Did I mention it's NSFW? Yeah, it's NSFW.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The right and wrong ways to do DLC.

Whether you like it or not, DLC (downloadable content) is gradually gaining momentum, and I'm knee deep in it. Sure, most people can call it nickel-and-diming the customers at a micro level, but there ARE people out there that don't mind it. But the problem is not with the DLC model, but how companies execute it.

Games like Rock Band really take the model to the fans, bringing in new songs while they're still fresh on the radio, or bringing in old classics that cater to the few that remember them. I mean, I can literally listen to a song I like on the radio and wait for them with baited anticipation, knowing that someone in Harmonix is probably making the song compatible with the game somehow. I was just listening to Papa Roach's "Lifeline," and now it's a playable song that I own. How cool is that?

Then there are other companies like Capcom and their DLC of alternate costumes. Supposedly, they're "downloaded" after purchase, but after noticing the relatively small size of the downloads, you know you're not getting a true download. Anything that is relatively measured in kilobytes (105 kilobytes, to be exact) is just unlocking something already existing on the disc. Sorry Capcom (and to any other company doing this)...this don't fly with the consumers. You're telling people to shell out more money for something that could easily be unlocked if you implemented it? That's worse than stealing candy from a baby.

At least there are some companies that know how to distribute on-disc DLC. Take the game Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm - their DLC comes in on a monthly basis as FREE DLC for their customers. Sure, the stuff is already on the disc, but at least the content is released on a timely basis as opposed to the customer's own playthrough...all without the monetary expense.

And while it's easy to place the blame on the company, the consumer is still the "final straw" in this equation. It's really up to you whether or not you want to replace that extra 7-11 snack, Burger King meal, or crappy $10 GameStop used game for digital content. I'm willing to bet that the same people that bitch about purchasing DLC are the same people that drop money in the bucket for food and other minor purchases for other things. If that doesn't work for you, you could compare it to the money wasted in Vegas. Or in the arcade. In that case, a new Rock Band song would cost you roughly 4 plays in your typical arcade, but you get to play this song all you want.

And you know that there are people out there that just don't want to spend the full $50-$60 for one game, when they can easily get 4 or 5 smaller, digitially downloaded games for the same price. I can justify my $10 Mega Man 9 purchase for my Wii over a TON of games released on retail out there. Instead of unleashing another sequel to the Prince of Persia game, the Epilogue was released with more game to play at an extra $10 expense. Burnout Paradise released new multiplayer modes and more car reskins at varying price ranges, all at reasonable prices.

What does this mean? People don't want to pay full price for sequels that only deliver the same gameplay in different environments - they want the new environments with same play mechanic at smaller, more easily attainable formats. Add to the fact that it's more gameplay without bulking up your game collection, and you also find a business model that can potentially be environment friendly.

However you look at it, the DLC model is something that's becoming more and more popular, so you either embrace it or make suggestions to improve it. Hating it will only put you in a minority group that's getting smaller and smaller.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Zero Punctuation Review: Overkilling on the Bloody Sand

Because I took an extra-long "Lazy Wednesday" last week, for today's "Lazy Thursday" here are two video reviews from Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation - House of the Dead: Overkill, and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand.

Between the two, it's hard to believe that the House of the Dead game has more F-Bombs than 50 Cent's.

Clearly NSFW below. Enjoy!

House of the Dead: Overkill

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

Monday, March 16, 2009

Street Fighter 4...finished! As far as I'm concerned.

It's not the most glamorous victory, but I'm stamping "finished" on Street Fighter IV simply because I was able to beat the game with one character on the easiest setting with only one round matches and the credits rolled soon after. I've even played a few random online matches and won my first one (after I lost, like, the first 10).

I think, up until the game's release, I was rather tepid about the game overall. It wasn't until I got my hands on the controls that I realized it played almost exactly like Street Fighter II Turbo Championship Edition, back in the SNES days. Soon after a few rounds of fighting, I knew I had to get the game again.

Oh, I'm far from being a threat to other players...but at least I can make a dent before going down.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Burnout Paradise...finished!

After all the crashes, races, and road rages, I've finally acquired my Burnout License, triggering the rolling credits, and officially marking my "finished" stamp on Burnout Paradise.

Like Rock Band 2, this is not a game where I can truly put the controller down feeling satisfied. There are still more things to unlock, a few more trophies to acquire. Plus, there will still be days where I'll feel like shit, where I'll feel so angry that the only thing that will feel good is a bit of road rage on the virtual asphalt.

And leave it to me to just figure out how to customize my soundtrack right before I got the credits to roll. Whatever music is playing becomes your end-game music. So I got to enjoy my end credits listening to Katy Perry. Swell.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Space Invaders music video

Got this from my friend Dave in Facebook - a kick-ass music video from artist Royksopp for their upcoming album "Junior."

This screams "epic win" in my book. Enjoy!

Happy Up Here from Röyksopp on Vimeo.

Prince of Persia Epilogue...finished! (Already??)

And within that 2-3 hours of guaranteed gameplay (which I was quite surprised they were so accurate on), the Prince of Persia Epilogue was done surprisingly quick. And I was done with the original game not too long ago, too.

I guess that brought some closure...emphasis on "some." Some of the added gameplay features, like the ability to be on the offensive from far away distances was a nice touch and changed up my battle tactics. Overall, it's a new section of an elaborate playground for me to run around in, while getting some trophies during the process.

But the $10 price tag seemed a bit much for the extra stuff. Despite the added skins for both the prince and princess, it should've went for less than $10. Even $8 would've been more reasonable. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed the original game, the Epilogue should quench some of that end-game thirst. Besides, as long as you didn't pay full-price for it, it's not such a bad purchase.

A Street Fighter IV birthday

As a belated birthday gift, my wife gets me a copy of Street Fighter IV, and the collector's edition, no less! I was interesting in just the game, so I was pleasantly surprised by the extra goodies!

As to whether or not my skill level has improved since I got the game? I still get my ass whooped by the CPU on the easiest setting. And I got a sore thumb to prove it. I've still yet to try my hand at battling other people online, but best to practice up and at least give some strangers a run for their money.

A rare find - Megaman 9 Press Kit!!

During a visit to this year's Wonder Con, I found Capcom holding a booth displaying their games and wares to the public, as well as selling their products with no sales tax. Amongst all the Phoenix Wright and Street Fighter games, I found a few stray copies of their Megaman 9 Press Kits lying around! Sure enough, they were on sale during the convention, so I couldn't help but snag myself a copy!

If you're not familiar with these press kits, these faux game boxes contain a hollowed-out NES cartridge with a mini cd inside filled with Megaman 9 art assets and screenshots. Originally given to the press for free as promotional items, Capcom made about 200 of them available to the public for $50 a piece - which sold out fast. So, paying for one without any sales tax or shipping is a real steal!

The nostalgia value of this is through the roof. Even showing it to a friend, he felt like a little kid holding it. The jury is still out on whether or not I break the seal to view its contents, but in the meantime, I'm just happy to have it in my hands.

Now excuse me while I hold it again....aaaaaaaaaah.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? arrives

Categorize this in the "late arrivals" section simply because I forgot to report it, but the latest NIS title to arrive at my doorstop came to me probably sometime early last week - Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?

Don't let the fact that it's not an RPG fool you - this game is just as challenging as any other NIS RPG out there. With maniacally-created levels, strategically-placed enemies, and only 1000 lives at your disposal from start to finish, this game will wear you down in a heartbeat.

Want to read what I thought of the game? Check it out at Akiba-Station!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Zero Punctuation review: Spiderman: Web of Shadows

Seeing that Yahtzee doesn't want to review anything with a number appended to the end of its title, it went back a year and reviewed Spiderman: Web of Shadows.

Yeah...that came out of left field for me, too.

NSFW below, enjoy!

Prince of Persia...finished!

Given a game like Prince of Persia where you cannot die has its benefits and disadvantages. The key benefit is that you're not entirely discouraged when you perform a misstep, and can immediately try again from where you left off. One of the major disadvantages is that gameplay is shortened since there is no fear for failure.

Despite that, the pure benefit, at least to me, of not dying is to be able to play the game as how the original plot designer intended - with no breaks to the story due to "lives" or "continues." For me, this is about as true to an interactive movie as a game can get, all while still giving the player full interactivity of the game.

This game is definitely one of those where I wouldn't mind playing again, simply because of the game's flow and beautiful 1080p graphics. And with another Epilogue expansion coming very soon with at least 3 more hours of playable content, I'm good as ready to jump right back into the desert.