In the Army, Fable II DLC & The Size of 360 Games – Welcome to the column that tried to copy itself to the Xbox 360 drive and realized it was 20 gigs (19.99 of which was pictures of Morgan Webb) known as Dare to Play the Game.
Last week, I mentioned the fun subject of storage. My dvd spinner arrived and was assembled on Monday. On Tuesday, we took the liberty of splitting up my current spinner so they would be even. It looks much better and as promised I have put a for trade list on the forum. Here is the link. Maybe we’ll get some pictures up if you folks are interested in that type of thing. Now, I’ve gotten in the habit of seriously looking at my game room and can see myself consolidating with maybe a couple more spinners. They are so easy to build and are usual better built than those media shelves you can buy from Target, Walmart, etc. Perhaps a project for down the road.
Gaming, well this week I finished my review of Fallout 3. It is a very good game. However, all of the magazines or sites that are running around proclaiming it is perfect (5 out of 5, 10 out of 10) might be a bit over the top. I dunno, I have a hard time giving any game or movie a perfect score. To me, that means that nothing is wrong with it. There are things wrong with Fallout 3. I go over it in my review and they are important things too not trivial ones. A perfect game also should transcend the category, meaning even if you don’t like RPG games, you’ll like this one. Fable II which got a 4 ½ is a good example. I think anybody can enjoy that game, even if they stick to other types of games. Fallout 3, Hardcore RPG fans and that’s honestly it. I’m sure others will disagree.
Kristin Holt is our gamer chick of the week. She’s also a G4 girl, born in Plano Texas on August 17th, 1981 (2 days away from my own, yowza!). She was a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader (double yowza!), and hosts the G4 show: Cheat! where she goes over various strategies and video game cheats. Here she is part of a very hot and steamy Stuff shoot (triple yowza!). She was married on October 24th of this year to somebody named Daniel Adams. Secretly, she is seeing Kedrix on the side. Okay, I made that last one up. We have to put in happy endings somewhere.
The U.S. Army has created a video game training unit that will begin operation in 2010, and has funding for it set aside to the tune of $50 million, reports Stars and Stripes. This isn’t for recruiting or marketing, but the training of its soldiers in virtual environments.
“The Army takes this seriously,” said Lt. Col. Gary Stephens, of the Project Executive Office — Simulation Training and Instrumentation, which will supervise this unit. “We own gaming for the Army — from requirements through procurement.”
While the Army will not compete with video game development per se, nor is it producing commercially available products, it will still be interacting with the civilian games industry. The Army will be closely monitoring trends that may be able to help its video game training unit. It also has an undisclosed budget to purchase or have developed a state-of-the-art successor to its “DARWARS Ambush” trainer (pictured), basically an FPS with 20th-century technology limitations.
The new trainer, “Game After Ambush” will require much stronger technology, including support for more trainees participating at the same time, full-featured terrain and scenario modification, and playback/review capability so that instructors can assess trainees’ tactics and choices. It sounds like they want to get this up pretty soon.
Leslie Duvow, project director for gaming at PEO-STRI, said the Army will have 70 gaming systems in 53 locations in the United States, Germany, Italy and South Korea between February and September 2009.
“Each system will consist of 52 computers with ancillary equipment including steering wheels, headsets and mice,” she said.
Soldiers will be able to drive virtual vehicles, fire virtual weapons, pilot virtual unmanned aerial vehicles and do “most anything a soldier does” in a virtual battle space as large as 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers, she said.
[Col. Mark] McManigal [of Training and Doctrine Command] said the game will replicate what soldiers encounter on today’s battlefield — from fighting in urban terrain and convoy operations to reacting to contact and ambush operations.
“Your imagination will be your only limiting factor,” he said.
Go Army. I often thought that with technology pushing the barriers it has, simulators will increase dramatically for those who protect our country. Furthermore, they will be following current gaming trends which means their games will be similar in look and feel to the commercial games we hold dear. Fifty million is quite the budget and is sure to guarantee that some work will be put into the process. A system which contains fifty-two computers, steering wheels, headsets and mice sounds like one heck of a death-match environment. Probably not the thing they could sell to civilians anyway. Furthermore, if they did all you would hear would be whiney ass-reviewers complaining about the price, the lack of compatibility with other games and where the heck are the aliens? I wish I was kidding.
Making good on last week’s promise of big news, Lionhead has announced the first premium downloadable content for their hit sequel Fable II. Launching in mid-December, the Knothole Island downloadable content pack features will see the player journeying to the titular landmass, where they will have to undergo the trials of the three shrines to bring the dying island back to life. There are new quests to undertake, bizarre new characters to interact with, and new items to dress up your saint or sinner with. Along with the Knothole Island pack, which will run 800 MS points, they’ll also be releasing a free pack that will allow owners of the premium content to play co-op with those without.
Note that both packs will come with special gifts for downloaders, including Knight’s Boots, Assassin’s gloves, a collectible silver book, and a weight loss potions, perfect for those sick of hunting down celery every time they eat a damn pie.
Geez, and I haven’t even finished the game yet. However, it is nice to see to some more content for this fantastic game. A new island with new quests is a good idea even if it sounds like Shivering Isles for Oblivion. Eight hundred points is perhaps a bit steep but understandable in this day and age. They could have easily come in at the 1200 or 1600 mark and they would have still had people bite. Weight Loss Potions are also very welcome, celery really is one of the most annoying ways to lose weight. But I’m still looking for two things with DLC, a real road map and a new job. The new job? A pimp. Keep the customers happy and rake in the gold. Just make sure the law doesn’t catch you or you might end up doing community service. (It’s a good idea, steal it Lionhead!)
Xbox 360 Installs
The New Xbox Experience lets you install 360 games onto your HDD. Great news for anyone – like myself – who gets DISC READ ERRORS as often as the sun both rises and sets. But chances are, unless you splurged and bought yourself an Elite, or are new to the 360 world and own a 60GB unit, you have a 20GB HDD. And for you, space is at a premium. So you need to know how much room the installs actually take up, so you can get prioritizing.
Know before you start, however, that if you own a 20GB unit, Blue Dragon – at 19.9 GB – isn’t going to fit. Nor is Lost Odyssey, at a whopping 23.2 GB. And if you own Crackdown or DoA Beach Volleyball 2, you won’t be able to install them at all. The feature is “not supported” for those titles. Same goes for the Burger King titles Big Bumpin’, Sneak King, and Pocketbike Racer, as well as the version of Quake II that came with Quake IV.
Everything else, though? You can install it. And here’s how much they take up, courtesy of Sean & the kids @ NeoGAF
There is a full list in a few places now, but I thought I would go through some of the more interesting ones and offer comments. My major gripe is why the heck can’t we copy Xbox 1 games that are backwards compatible? Ohhhhh, right so they can make money off Xbox Originals. Sure, download a $15 title or buy the disc used for $10. What a deal! Anyway, without further adieu:
– Burnout Revenge (4.4 GB) load/restart of Eastern Bay (a long forward race): DVD 26 seconds HDD 11 seconds
– Burnout Paradise (3.4 GB)
The improvement in Revenge is very nice to see, though can anybody actually explain why Paradise is a gig less in space? Surely it doesn’t suck that bad *caugh*
– Fable 2 (6.8 GB) the brief stutter when accessing inventory menus or expressions is gone
– Fallout 3 (5.9 GB)
Two recent ones and ones if I had at least a 60gb to play with I would really consider installing. I was honestly wondering if I was the only one that noticed the pause when you had to go to inventory or your expression wheel. Apparently not. Fallout 3 is actually a pretty trim size of 5.9 gb which begs the question, is the dark & bleak rock scenery merely repeated over and over again?
– Gears of War 2 (6.7 GB) initial load 8 seconds shorter, causes stuttering at “saving game” checkpoints
– Halo 3 (6.3 GB) load times are apparently worse (10 seconds longer) when installed
Two of the newer games and you would think they would iron out the problems with HD installs. The games actually have problems when copied to your HDD, what sense is that? My guess is that the code was written weirdly. Perhaps it loops to a certain point on the disc or looks for directories in a certain fashion. Copy it to HDD and poof it has to work harder to keep the game going. It needs to be fixed.
– Namco Museum Virtual Arcade (3.4 GB)
Has anybody noticed that the smallest game size is 3.4gb, no matter what? Cause there is no way in heck that Namco Museum which is just a bunch of roms can even come close to 3.4 gb. Or Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged which is another good example. Chances are they are quite a bit below that but for some reason the 360 copying process adds space to it to make it up to the “minimum”. Heck, some games probably barely make the gig mark but unless they get rid of the whole certain size parameter that seems to exist, we’ll never know what it actually is.
– Rumble Roses XX (4.5GB) seems like 1/3 taken off loading times
Quicker porn, I like it! But this game was seriously slow loading at all times.
– Tales of Vesperia (5.9 GB) “loads like it runs off of a cartridge at times”
What exactly does run like a cartridge mean? Does that mean if it doesn’t load, you take it out and blow on it?
– The Darkness (6.8 GB) “loads noticeably faster. I didn’t do any comparisons but it feels a lot quicker travelling between areas.”
I found this game for only $10 at Fry’s this past weekend. Hopefully, it is as good of a tiny gem as people say it is.
– The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (6.7 GB) Great Forest loadtime 44.5 seconds (DVD) vs 31 seconds (HDD)
Better, but that game still suffers from way too many items syndrome (like Fallout). Seriously, why exactly do you need a full service for 4 in your backpack?
– The Orange Box (4.7 GB); HL2 load time cut in half (44.5 vs 25.5 seconds), loading saved game ‘We don’t go there any more’ shaved off 32 seconds
Excellent, now where is the option to remove Portal from the copying process? Ooooo, and a hush falls over the crowd.
– Xbox Live Arcade Compilation Disc (5.9 GB)
5.9?!! Its’ 5 XBLA games and some demos, there is no way you can rationalize that much space. Here is an idea, let me copy Pac-Man Championship Edition off the disk and call it a day. That would be a much better use of my time.
The wait is finally over. For months and months we got these pretty pictures of Ryu, Ken and others in pristine 1080p quality and watched as the game was filled with simply stunning graphics. 16 warriors at your disposal and nothing obvious to complain about here. I’m sure a few might think that 1200 points is a bit much. Understandable, however I downloaded the trial this morning and it was a staggering 367 megs. $15 or 1200 points doesn’t sound so bad anymore. If you have been craving pure bliss in the form of some Street Fighter goodness, then this is a pretty easy choice for the week. Also showing up this week might be Banjo Kazooie, but I can’t confirm that with a big yes or big no. It wasn’t on the download sheet this morning but several places are reporting it was to be out this week. A heads-up if you will.
Odd games seem to be the overall theme of the WiiWare/Virtual Console lineup. You and your friends are cute, colorful and stretchable and you are lost in an alien world. Supposedly there are some magical gates which will take you home. In 30 levels of puzzle platforming fun, the little critters can be pulled, stretched & flicked from place to place like a rubber band. The puzzles will require that everybody work will need to work together to not only get out of the alien world but find many friends along the way. Not a bad premise, give it a shot.
Ever wanted 100,000,000 sudoku puzzles? Here you go, at a measly 500 points you can play Sudoku until your eyes bleed and you grow callouses on your fingers. There are different modes including classic nine by nine & grand sudoku which challenges you to complete five intersection sudoku boards at the same time. Personally not my thing, but if you waste sometime doing these, it should be an automatic pickup for the price.
A Pick and Flick adventure! This classic game allowed you play the role of Boogerman who had a nose for adventure. He has stumbled upon a strange machine that allows him to portal into another dimension. He must use boogers and farts to complete the objectives and defeat the evil Boogermeister. When you use boogers, farts, burps & a butt-stomp in several disgusting worlds, it is a recipe for a good time.
Winter Sports 2: The Ultimate Challenge
Winter Sports 2: The Ultimate Challenge
Winter Sports 2: The Ultimate Challenge
Cake Mania: In the Mix
Skate City Heroes
King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga
Disney Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force
Personal Trainer: Cooking
All Star-Cheer Squad
Age of Empires: Mythologies
NeoPets: Puzzle Adventure
Garfield Gets Real
Emma Goes to the Mountains
Thanksgiving Week and everything goes to heck. Safe to say, the rush was on and now we have a dead stop for a week. Chrono Trigger for DS and Sonic Unleashed for 360 are the only titles I would really call decent in this true mess of a week. Actually Mytran Wars for PSP might also be decent but not many people own a PSP anymore that actually use it for retail games. BTW, the #1 in pre-orders this week according to Amazon was Disney Club Penguin. Who was actually ordering this shlock? Do yourself a favor this week, buy a Wii Points card or a Xbox Live Points card. Then use that to get the title of your choice. I recommend Super Street Fighter II for XBLA. Next week should be better.
WoW time. 58/55/39/30/18. There will be an interview/review for Lich King probably this weekend conducted and compiled by me and my girlfriend. I got the Death Knight (58) out of the starting area and left him in Orgimaar. I actually went back to playing my Rogue (55) quite a bit and then found a group for Sunken Temple. Absolutely horrible experience. I honestly had to quit which is something I’ve never done with a group because it was so frustrating. At least I finished 1 of the 7 quests I had and got an okay trinket out of it. He is also within a 1000 of being exalted with Undercity. A skeletal horse is very close to my grasp. The dwarf priest (39) is almost exalted with Stormwind which means a new mount: a horse, of course of course. But that’s honestly all the news I can really report on my World of Warcraft playing.
I’m at a crossroads kinda in my character development. There are only few things I want to do. Hit 60 and Outlands with my Rogue, getting his epic mount (Skeletal Horse oh yeah!). Hit 40 with my Dwarf and get as many of his alliance counterparts to exalted including the most important one: Exodar which is also the hardest. I’m roughly about 10000 away from that one and every one of the five is at least a good part revered. Part of me would also like to get my hunter(30) to around 40 as well. But I don’t have the drive to get to 70 or certainly 80 and do all of these insane things just to have a well-rounded character. It’s not really all that hard, it’s time-consuming. The game should be fun, especially at $15 a month (or $30 for our two accounts), not a job. But perhaps, I need to step back and examine why I play the game and either change direction to make it a little less stressful or stop playing for a while. I know my girlfriend and her characters feel similar pressures. The good thing is we are united on it and will make the decision together. Take care kiddoes and have a great Thanksgiving!
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)