A Bloody Wolf, A Piggy Bank smashed for GTA content, and a Band of Bugs – Welcome to the column that is animal friendly as long as there is no snuggling afterwards known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. Do you realize that this past weekend was father’s day? I did, got my father the dvd boxset to Indiana Jones. Yeah I know, they released that many moons ago but my dad still had the VHS tapes. I’ve…also gotten rid of all their tapes worth having and they have the dvd equivalent. About 20 titles in all I believe, not bad and I thought was a nice gesture I provided. Outside of that, I kinda stayed indoors. It was raining, so there wasn’t much else for me to do. I did buy myself some new clothes though since I was tired of wearing XL on a M body. Now if I could just get a female gamer aged 23-29 to appreciate this body, we be okay! Just a comment on today’s society but people seem more scared of “people on the internet” these days. Maybe it is just me, but heck I shower every day and I’m not ugly or anything. Oh well, maybe some chicky will take a chance (and perhaps if I stopped calling them chicky). Anywho, off to the weekly grind.
Ode To Morgan Webb
Wow, Morgan has a Morgan shirt; what a great and pretty concept. I would love to have a Morgan shirt, actually I would just like Morgan. To be with, to run in the fields, to play Super Mario Bros and shout the phrase “Darn that Bowser!” I need help, maybe I just need to get out. *tap tap tap*
News of All Types
MS Smashes Piggy Bank to Secure GTA IV Episodic Content(from Kotaku.com)
The decision to keep GTA IV episodic content off the PS3 is a mean one. It may also have a big impact on both sales of the game and of the 360 and PS3 consoles themselves, so what could possibly lure Take-Two into going steady with Microsoft?
Oh, about $50,000,000.
This was revealed in Take-Two’s second quarter fiscal 2007 results conference call. When asked for details on the move by analyst Evan Wilson, of Pacific Crest Securities, Take Two’s CFO Lainie Goldstein disclosed both the sums involved and prospective release dates:
The first 25 is for the first episodic content package that’s supposed to go out and that is in March of ’08. That’s why it moved into current because it’s in the next 12 months. The second 25 will be for the second episodic, the episode, and that will be later in fiscal ’08.
Wow, Fifty million dollars. For Downloadable content that will appear on only one system. As we know by now, GTA is a system mover. The fact that there will be possibly whole sub-games that PS3 will never see is indeed very interesting. I would imagine that each $25million episode will be something close to a whole new game. Like on the PS2 with GTA III and LCS or Vice City and VCS. Basically the same game and the same map but a different story and a couple of new features. Especially when these maps are so huge, you could have another story in a remote part of the map that was never really used in the main story. Sandbox games are funny like that since there is so much to do. It brings up cost to the consumer…I’m really hoping it will be 800 points a piece ($10). More than likely it will be in the 1200 to 1600 point range ($15-$20). I just hope they don’t do anything Oblivion type stupidity wise and release it for 2400 points or something. Regardless the paying for good exclusive content can lead to countless fringe benefits in the long run. Let us just hope that MS keeps it reasonable to the consumer.
PC, Xbox 360
Shadowrun gets a bargain price in AU (from ign.com)
From today onwards, gamers in Australia and New Zealand can battle it out against each other on their gaming platform of choice – Xbox 360 or PC. The first game to take advantage of Microsoft’s cross-platform play is Shadowrun, and the good news is, it’s coming at a bargain price, too.
While our unfortunate US counterparts might have to pay full price, Shadowrun is hitting Australian shelves for the sugary price of AU$69.95 for either the 360 or PC version. This comes off the back of Halo 2 for Windows Vista, which is also available now for AU$69.95.
Of course, only part of the new service is free. Like Xbox Live’s pricing system, Silver Membership is free, but for full access, you’ll need to sign up for Gold Membership.
According to Microsoft, current members of Xbox Live automatically receive the functionality of Games for Windows – Live, using the same gamertag and friends list, at no additional cost. In addition, Games for Windows Live introduces the best of the Xbox online service functionality to please PC gamers, such as integrated in-game multiplayer voice chat, Achievements and dedicated server support, as part of the complimentary Silver membership.
I don’t follow pricing in Australia usually unless it serves some purpose. It is two fold here, in the US we are charged $10 higher for the 360 version of the game versus the PC one. Actually if you look back at history, PC copies of games have always been cheaper than their console counterpart. They usually blame it on more expensive media or proprietary console programming that makes it more expensive or difficult to produce for. This is sometimes true but not when it comes to the XBOX 360. The 360 is essentially a modified Windows PC in a box that overheats too much :-P. So for them to charge $10 more seems to be a slap in the face. The second thing here is the idea of Shadowrun or Halo 2 on the PC is laughable at best. Shadowrun is an awesome old paper and pencil rpg that got a good Sega Genesis RPG game and now it’s a Multiplayer only shooter? Did I miss something here…who was the marketing genius on that one? They bastardized the concept and they made it online only. Of course it isn’t going to sell jack for copies. Who would buy it? A Shadowrun game should have an awesome single player game first with actual story, depth and variety. Then you can add a multiplayer aspect. Halo 2 on the PC is way past its prime. If you wanted to play Halo 2, you would have bought an XBOX or XBOX 360 eons ago and took care of that need. It is no surprise that this week at Circuit City they are offering Halo 2 for the PC @ 49 and you get Shadowrun for the PC for free. Multiplayer should never be your primary focus unless your game is WoW or Guild Wars but then again I’m a retro gamer and I was an only child too.
Tomb Raider Anniversary for 360(from ign.com)
Eidos has announced that Tomb Raider: Anniversary is being released this September on Xbox Live Marketplace as four downloadable episodes for Lara fans who own the Xbox 360 version of Tomb Raider: Legend, with a full retail version of the content planned for later this year.
Initially, Anniversary is only available if you’ve got Legend. But even with your copy excitedly grasped in a tight grip, you’re still going to have to fork out 2,400 Microsoft Points (roughly £20 or 27 EUR) for all four episodes. Meanwhile, if you’re too tight to pay for the privilege of playing with retro Lara, the Croft Manor training level will be available for free.
Anniversary is a remake of the original Tomb Raider but with an improved engine, better graphics and new puzzles and is already available on PlayStation 2 and PC. The 360 version is going to be available in four episodes – with one and two hitting Xbox Live Marketplace in September and the third and fourth episodes following “shortly afterwards”. Eidos has yet to nail down when the standalone retail version of Anniversary edition is going to be available and it’s currently loosely tagged with “later in the year”.
Jane Cavanagh, chief executive of Eidos, said: “We have created this version of Anniversary specifically for digital distribution as episodic content. Lara has always been at the forefront of technology and this world first initiative with Microsoft really highlights that fact. Ultimately we also intend to make the title available at retail so that it reaches the maximum possible audience.”
So there is a reason to own Tomb Raider Legend, will wonders never cease. I kid, I kid; it is a fine game, just not my cup to tea. From reports on the PS2 version, they really did a fine job of sprucing it up. It will interesting to see how the extra content compares with Legend itself. I would imagine it would be the exact same, but one can never tell. As far as the pricing goes, 2400 points is a bit high ($30 which is the retail price for the PS2 version) since it is downloadable content but it does make TRL new again. That is if you haven’t already played TR1 to death on the old PS1. I’m kinda frustrated with the fact that 2400 is the new magic point value for extra content. $30 is a lot for downloadable work. We saw it with Oblivion and now TRL (which makes me worry about GTA IV episodic content). The only saving grace here is that there will be a Tomb Raider Legend Gold of sorts hitting the retail shelf which will eventually decrease in price as time goes on. Something that digital download content never seems to do (mainly cause there is no such thing as resale value; the publishers’ dream and the consumers’ nightmare).
Releases for the week of June 19th, 2007
XBOX Live Arcade
Band of Bugs (800 MS Points)
From the team who brought you Outpost Kaloki X (found on Arcade Unplugged Vol 1 in addition to digital download) and Cloning Clyde comes Ninja Bee’s third outing: Band of Bugs. This game is a turn based tactical strategy game, which you just don’t see much anymore. (I guess you could call Catan a turn based tactical strategy game also, but that is just the board game come to 360 virtual life). It will have a story campaign, stand alone missions and skirmishes. Skirmishes? *reads down* Test your skills on a variety of individual maps; including custom maps designed by the player. *PERK* The game actually has a level editor. Supposedly you can also play your custom levels online with others. I assume it’s the scenario where you download the map temporarily to your hard drive before the match and then it disappears afterwards. Still that’s really cool and really encourages people to be creative. 4 Player multiplayer over XBOX Live or locally includes an Elimination mode, a Capture the Flag type game, an Escape type game, and even the ability to do missions with others. In the most odd detail, there is a mystery leaderboard where players earn points for items they are not told about. Okay, that one is just weird. However, for 800 points it looks like you are getting a heck of a deal. Oh Live Vision Camera support too…great another game where they will kick me out because I don’t have a camera. Trust me, my face isn’t worth seeing in the middle of a video game experience. (though I like to watch…)
Wii Virtual Console
NES Open Tournament Golf (NES – 500 Wii Points), World Sports Competition (TG-16 – 600 Wii Points),& Bloody Wolf (TG-16 – 600 Wii Points)
An interesting mix this week. We start out with a title that I always wanted to try in the NES Open Tournament Golf or the Mario Golf game. This came out near the tailend of the NES 8-bit run and was actually a decent golf game for the time. More than likely it will just make you yearn for Hot Shots Golf. World Sports Competition is up next and was one of the more forgettable titles for the Turbo system. Its lure will most likely be the 5 player option. Who actually has 5 classic controllers? Outside of that, it does provide a great variety of Olympic events to mess around with like rowing and swimming. Still never held a real candle to the old Track n Fields for the NES though. Button mashing, its lovely. The final and best title for the week is Bloody Wolf off the Turbo machine. (two TG-16 titles in one week, woohoo). It played out like an Ikari Warriors or Guerilla War clone but with a lot better storytelling and game mechanics. It was no Last Alert but it was a very finely executed runner n gunner. Speaking of which, but if VC ever ended up supporting Turbo CD/Super CD (and even Arcade CD)games from the Turbo era, I would be on a Wii so quick it make your head spin. Right now they are only releasing Hu cards but they need to look into making software available so we can insert our old Turbo cds and play them on our Wii. Not that the Wii needs any further help in selling consoles department :).
The Adventures of Darwin
Hot Brain: Fire Up Your Mind
Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground
Resident Evil 4
Brothers in Arms: War Stories
Sim City DS
No real movement this week for releases. We get some marginal titles and the usual assortment of mishy mashy. The Hitman trio on PS2 is a nice value, especially for those who always wanted to try out all three in a nice box set. I’ve been pondering getting the Devil May Cry boxset for a while despite owning 1 and 3 (I’m such the box set completist whore). I’m mainly waiting to see what the 360 is going to do (there were rumors about the trilogy being a 360 title in addition to a 4th DMC). The Wii gets RE4 (it was the only system without RE4 left I think); so you get to kill zombies with authentic Wiimote movements. DiRT; another racing game for the 360, another title that will hit a bargain bin in six months. Don’t make me bet money on that one. Finally the DS gets a couple of Transformer releases early. Other consoles get the option to play as Autobots or Decepticons in the same package. On the DS, well you have to really decide good or evil I suppose. Looks like they are adopting the Pokemon philosophy of marketing. The real Transformers games come next week *wink*.
Some Final Thoughts and Mutterings
I opened up a new game this weekend. Phantasy Star Universe for the 360. Before you start groaning, it’s not that bad. Seriously. I was able to snag my copy for $15 shipped from Ebay..brand new and sealed. There is a single player story and supposedly it runs 20 to 30 hours. I always use the $1 to 1 hour theory anyway (preferably $1 to 2 hour if I can find them). I am currently in the middle of chapter 3 and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Sure it’s not along the lines of the Sega Master/Genesis 1-4 masterpieces but it’s pretty cool. It definitely feels like Phantasy Star which is always a good thing. From what I’ve read after chapter 4, the game really starts opening up. Right now it does feel very repetitive but that is its only drawback. There is a good variety of weapons (wish the same could be said for the monsters though) and there seems to be a lot of things to collect. I might grab the strategy guide out there too if I get too much more into it. With the repetitive areas I often felt I was missing something. (and I like pictures!). If nothing else, just to keep up with the items. I don’t think it reaches Final Fantasy VII overkill item status, but there is a lot to go through. It is a fairly easy game, and the 1000 achievement points are not difficult. Eight achievements in all, most of which are in the last few chapters of the game. I’ll keep you updated. Have fun kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)