Tough Games, GTA IV saving Windows , and Rock Band 4 Ever – Welcome to the column that took Cotton Eye Joe out back and shot him…dead known as Dare to Play the Game.
I’ve been a little busy this week. That might be a good thing, I think. Debris is still being picked up around my home. It’s going a bit slowly since I don’t have access to a truck and for the most part people in my subdivision rather keep to themselves. Shocking I know in this day and age, people are selfish even when offered money. Anyhow, no matter. I will have the sucker cleaned up and looking alright by the time I leave to go to Ohio on the 17th of this month. The column for the 22nd should still run as long as I have some access to a computer at that point. We will have to see.
In the event that you read the site for more than my column, there are two reviews up this week; Lego Batman for 360 and Rocketbowl for XBLA. I am also working on Duke Nukem 3d XBLA and should have it by the end of the weekend. Sarah & I are roughly 30% done with Lego Batman after a little over a week. We have run thru the first hero episode and are taking on currently the second hero and first villain episode in conjunction. Most of the time we will play together, but sometimes she will take a stab at a level and then I’ll try it out later and try to pick up what she missed. Or vice versa. Since Lego Batman saves your progress on extra items like the mini-kits or red bricks, we don’t have to waste our time and get those every time we play. It’s been a lot of fun for us and Sarah is convinced we can make 100%. Even for a Lego game, that would be quite the achievement.
This picture is roughly 5 years old. A simpler time when Morgan and Adam were on Tech TV and we didn’t see the whole G4 thing plastered all over our screen or the silly little chat windows. Morgan doesn’t even have her trademark long hair here and actually looks less like a geek. She’s also still very very hot. *sigh*
After two underwhelming years spent trying to be just as essential to PC gaming as Xbox Live is to console, Grand Theft Auto IV might just take Games for Windows and kiss away all its tears of frustration. Or, if Microsoft drops the ball, it could be another nail in the coffin of PC gaming, writes Wired. That might piss off PC gamers who are just fine with Steam and are tired of hearing more talk about how their way of life is going extinct. But Microsoft’s exclusive control of GTA:IV for the PC does have implications for PC gaming at large.
Microsoft has exclusive control over Grand Theft Auto IV for the PC, and while some PC gamers might be indignant that it leaves out the better-performing, more accepted Steam — especially for taking advantage of its enhanced multiplayer — the lure of a powerhouse title coupled with real improvements to Games for Windows could do much more to bring new PC gamers into the fold. That’s a big if.
Already Microsoft has dropped its fee for the service, and will be adding an improved interface and a standalone client. Support for Xbox 360 controllers could also narrow the precision and performance gap among controllers in cross-platform gaming. And simplifying system requirements with this Windows Experience Rating could help, although that sounds like it’s still dependent on broad Vista adoption, a problem the writer says got in the way of Games for Windows success early on.
Games for Windows, every time I see this on a PC Game, I take one step back and wonder what the heck I am doing in the PC section of the store. Games for Windows was a bad idea from the start. Actually paying somebody for online capabilities (in the PC Arena) and forcing them to use a particular OS, in this case Vista. Vista has gotten better but most PC gamers still cling to Windows XP or possibly even 2000 to get their fix. There were games like Shadowrun & Halo 2 for the PC that mostly underwhelemed its core audience.
Grand Theft Auto IV is trying to change that around. How exactly is not very well explained. Okay, the fee is gone. Groovy. One can use Xbox 360 controllers. Wonderful, are we only trying to convert people who already have a 360? Chances are they already own a 360 and GTA IV. So what can GTA IV do to set itself apart? Offer user mods perhaps? Doubtful, even though this was a great reason to buy pc copies of the previous GTA games. Let’s face it, some of those user mods rock but Microsoft doesn’t make a penny off of them. I’m not familiar with the interface, but I’m willing to bet that there are safeguards against making your own even with third party tools. So GTA IV will be just another failure for the Games for Windows environment. It’s only a matter of time. PC gaming will still exist, just the GFW hud will probably die away.
Huh, an area that Rock Band is beaten out by SingStar? Amazing. Yet also true. When SingStar came out on PS3 – superseding the last version(s), on PS2 – the game’s online store let players buy songs from the earlier games individually. Was a great way for people to catch up on old tracks piece-by-piece, instead of making them buy an entire disc’s worth of content. But Rock Band, well, Rock Band won’t let you do that. With Rock Band 2 now out – superseding the first game – MTV say the songs available on the Rock Band 1 disc won’t be made available as DLC for sequel-buyers to pick up individually. Ever. Because MTV plan on publishing the first game “indefinitely”. You want one or two songs from the disc, you gotta buy the whole thing (or, you know…borrow/rent it, and do the whole $5 transfer thing). Certainly seems an odd strategy to pursue, particularly since they’re trying to sell the game as a “platform” rather than a game. Why should I have to buy/borrow the whole game just for one or two songs?
This is purely business. I believe why MTV is not biting on the whole make your first disc into DLC would be because of licensing cost. They can get away with a small cost on the $5 transfer thing but re-releasing these tracks as everyday DLC would incur a much larger cost and more paperwork to deal with every time one would download a song. Chances are this is why they did the $5 transfer in the first place. If they did put it in as DLC, then this nice option would be gone. I know there are people out there who would abuse this privilege by borrowing the game from a friend or going to their local video store but that happens. Besides, most people who buy Rockband 2 already have the first one, so most of this discussion about MTV selling Rockband until we are old and grey isn’t really worth that much. To me, it’s not that big of a deal to pop in RB 1 or pony up the $5 to have it as DLC. At least we have that option.
In a brief look at Mega Man 9, the Wall Street Journal’s Jamin Brophy-Warren notes that the game’s deliberate flicker and slowdown were added in for reasons other than the retro-feel. They make the game more demanding.
“Why make a game so hard that only the most skilled and determined players can complete it?” asks Brophy-Warren, who then proves the appeal of just such a game. “What makes games such as Bangai-O [Spirits] appealing is that glimmer of joy a player gets from even the smallest achievements. (I only squeaked through the tutorial for Bangai-O, so even mastering the accuracy aspect of the game was an accomplishment for me.)”
The writer talks to Treasure, which developed Bangai-O Spirits, and Capcom’s Hironobu Takeshita, and also Jesper Juul, a video game researcher at MIT. “”It’s about the feeling of inadequacy,” he says. “You get stuck somewhere and feel stupid.” That can lead to a sense of triumph if one does eventually succeed.”
I have no problem with hard games, either I try to play through them or I simply go play something else if the challenge proves to be too hard. However one of the major hang-ups I have is when the challenge is due to controls or in this case slowdown. Basically system or design issues, not complex puzzles or events that take time to figure out. I can’t stand them, that is the kind of game I don’t play through. That is the kind of game that involves throwing the controller across the room in frustration. I can figure out puzzles, I can fight cheap bosses until I am blue in the face. That doesn’t bother me so much. But when the controller fails to respond or slowdown makes me miss that critical jump, it is a minus in my book. I love the retro look and feel of Mega Man 9, the level design, the 2d feel, the which weapon do I beat the boss with thought process. If I want slowdown and glitches, I’d go plug in my NES. This type of BS is not appreciated and is lazy on many fronts.
Since Mega Man 9 got released on PSN & WiiWare last week, the 360 gets an extra week, mostly due to the release of Duke Nukem which was hard set for the month of September. By reading my column last week, you know what Mega Man 9 is all about. (not just flicker and slowdown) The little blue bomber will win over many this week as long as they can pull their face off Duke as he offers yet another stripper some money to see their tatas. (“Wanna dance?”) Level design is key and hopefully it is more like Mega Man 2 & 3 and less like 5 & 6. Those who have played Mega Man as much as I have know what I’m talking about.
Even though War World is in the shadow of Mega Man 9 this week, it does deserve a good look at. Made by UBI Soft, War World is a third person action shooter featuring 16 mechs with a variety of special abilities. Yes mechs, big giant robots. At a meager 800 points, you get 100 levels in the single player and up to 8 player Live multiplayer matches. If you like huge robots and have found yourself almost buying Armored Core at many points, I think this would be another true temptation. Ubisoft & Third Wave Games hope you take the plunge.
It was only a matter of time before WiiWare would get a Bomberman title of their very own. From playing Bomberman Online for the 360 religiously, this can only be an awesome title for those who own the Wii. Additions to the franchise include some Wii specific items like shaking the Wii mote and triggering new items. Also, Mii caricatures can be added to the mix to create a unique game between your friends. Sadly, I don’t see any mention of a true single player story which was something that was also missing from the XBLA format. But for those who were looking for their Bomberman fix can pick this one up for a decent price.
Raise your hand if you know what this game is about. *waits*, yeah I don’t either. Taking this 100% from the press release but you are a star and you are using the laws of gravity & anti-gravity to go through 50 stages and multiple galaxies. You can collide with other stars and absorb them to expand the star or capture them as part of your orbit to become satellites. However, there are obstacles and you can get pulled into a black hole if you don’t watch your footing. Simple game, simple price, maybe something to kill off some time while waiting on your loved one. Who took 4 hours to do their makeup and hair! No, this is no reflection on my loved one, her hair is always spiffy and she only does makeup for those “special times”. Perhaps I should stop while I still have a loved one. *whistle*
Super Turrican 2 was a sequel to a dying franchise. The Turrican series had many exciting moments and Turrican 2 was trying to create one more game to appeal to the masses. Turrican 2 used a lot of Mode 7 effects and tried to include the action of previous titles with upgrades to graphics and sound. The problem is that the large level design of those previous games were gone here where we introduced to tiny levels & more pick up and play. Most were turned off by this change in format and it didn’t do too well. This release is probably for completists only.
Valhalla Knights 2
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
Margot’s Word Brain
Pop Cutie! Street Fashion Simulation
A much shorter list for releases this week. The only two titles worthy of mention are Silent Hill: Homecoming (PS3/360) & Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS). Silent Hill HC is the first Silent Hill game to be made on the current systems and if I leave the light on while I play I might actually consider picking it up. The last one I played was 2 (I did buy 4 but it is sealed) and I will wait for some reviews. The atmosphere always got me. Sonic Chronicles is supposed to be the Mario RPG for the Sonic franchise. Here is hope that it gets a little bit of recognition and spreads to other formats like WiiWare or XBLA. I think the idea is fantastic, I just don’t see myself buying a DS to play it.
WoW time. 53/29/20/17. I only did the PVP thing with my hunter this week and leveled some with my mage. My hunter (level 29 blood elf) did get both 30 marks from Arathi Basin and 30 marks from Warsong Gulch. He also made the journey to Hammerfall (and didn’t die) despite walking through the mid 30’s area. From the AB side, he purchased the blue trinket, from the WSG side, he purchased the blue ring with stats for Agility, Stamina and Strength. I am done with AB for this level range but will play more WSG to get my hunter the WSG blue trinket. Then off to 30 and my mount. (thank goodness) A note to all WoW heads. When Lich King ships or what not, all of your marks and honor will be reset. This is to promote fairness and not have people grind a bunch of marks and honor and get all epic pvp gear on day 1. So if you have stray marks, I would suggest either get in some pvp battles quick or use it for something like bandages or potions. Lich King is a coming and he’s coming to get you! Or…errr…just don’t be caught with your pants down. Wait, that doesn’t sound right either. Don’t drop the soap cause….*sigh*, you think I spent time in prison or something. Until next week kiddoes, have fun!
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)