Saturday, November 29, 2008

Call of Duty 4 - Why it is great (post-play)

For many of us, one of the main reasons why we game is to experience what most of us most likely won't or can't experience in real life. And to experience these unique situations, from the safety of one's living room couch.

There's very few games in the market that can deliver the kind of experiences that COD4 has.

In this game, I have had a taste of what it's like to be a sniper, to feel how slow time is when you are hiding prone in the grass while enemies walk by mere millimeters from landing a boot on you and finding you there; to experience a little of what it's like to take off from enemy ground in a helicopter, relieved that help came just in time before one is nearly overwhelmed, to spot the enemy and radio for fire from the sky.

I know it's nothing like the real thing, it's more like a hero fantasy of the real thing. It's still very exciting.

COD4's superb graphics, realistic environments and the excellent and exciting storyline made this game a real joy to play. The controls are really intuitive, the AI teammates are competent and the enemies are realistically careful to a certain extent and properly brutal. It's hard to put down and every new chapter and map amazes.

I hope they make another modern warfare shooter soon.

Update 04/12/2008: Looks like they will.

The Jasper Xbox360: question mark.

When I read this article, it sounds to me like they aren't sure whether or not they have fixed the problem of the "red ring of death".

VentureBeat reporter and renowned Microsoft digger Dean Takahashi has said that the new 'Jasper' version of Xbox 360 hardware could do away with the Red Ring of Death forever.

Jasper introduces a 65nm version of the graphics chip among other tweaks. "With the new design, Microsoft has a chance to rise above the problems associated with the Red Ring of Death," Takahashi wrote, then hedging: "We'll see if the systems prove reliable."

"The graphics chip will likely consume less power than previous versions, allowing it to fit snugly into its motherboard socket. That should lead to fewer system failures due to the graphics chips coming loose."

- source: Eurogamer.

Rune Factory 2 (DS)

Initial impressions:

- Lots of improvement on the controls.

- I like how you can see how much water you've got left in your watercan and in charging up the water can, you can see the effect of the charge up and how many squares you can water. The farming aspect seems easier. But starting items at stores seem more expensive.

- There's now a "quest bulletin board" in the game, where the player can take on requests and do some missions to earn items, gold and friendship points.

- Some of the characters in town are actually interesting and not the generic plastic "nice country town folk" types.

- You start out with a fully furnished house with a shelf and a fridge for storing items.

- Dungeons are no longer restricted to being caves. They are open from the start although certain paths within these adventure areas are only unlocked after some stages of the game.

- Holidays are all on "weekends" and never fall on weekdays anymore, it seems.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

DSi Features (IGN Youtube)

It looks like a beta.

- The camera is for taking face photos.

- It seems like a bad idea to remove the GBA slot when some DS games like Guitar Hero uses that slot for the peripheral.

- Manipulating music seems like fun, but really, can't play MP3s? Hm... Still an SD card slot might mean that the DSI takes homebrew? Don't know.

I wouldn't be surprised if half a year or a year from now, a second and improved version comes along.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Call of Duty World at War Collector's Edition

Seems to be only available for PC and Xbox360 versions. (Not sure about it for the PS3)


- Day 1 Edge (a machine gun FG-42 to be available for play immediately)
- Double Experience (multiplayer feature of some sort)
- canteen (not intended for drinking) (that's what is stated by the makers, not me.)
- metal tin (a storage container for games I think).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Far Cry 2 gameplay video

Impressive looking game.

The video is not mine. It's from here.

Fallout 3

Finished the main quest line at 18 hrs 19mins. Now it's time to start some new characters to play the side quests. I did take up side quests in my first playthrough, but I hadn't work at it to finish them.

My thoughts now that I've really played through the game:


1. I like the way this game dispenses experience points. EXP should be task-based and you should be able to assign points the way you want when you level up. It's so much better than Oblivion or Morrowind's system of autoleveling skills that you use.

2. The environment is really immersive and believable. It's great how objects fit into the environment so well that they don't jump out at you when you walk into a room. Secret entrances are really secret, they are not so obvious and not marked on your screen compass. (Oblivion's wonderful compass in which caves show up before you even see them is a real surprise spoiler, I'm glad they didn't implement that in this game.)

The compass points you in the general direction, the world map suggests a route but not always the best one. I find myself having to make choices on how to get through a landscape. Sometimes you think you might be taking a short cut but you might stumble into a camp of supermutants or a dead end. That just adds to the sense of exploration.

3. No scaling up of creature levels as you level. It doesn't feel like they have levels. But there are different levels of threat for each encounter type. The more remote and the further you explore, the more likely you will encounter the more dangerous types of raiders or mutants, or creatures. That's the way it should be, imho.

Not so great

1. Once or twice, the game does try to force you to do things a certain way by restricting where you can go. It really doesn't make sense that you can't get through a certain door, or lock pick or access a terminal just because your stats aren't high enough. Or because you don't have a key. If I have a gun and the lock looks like it can be shot through, I should be able to do it. But oh well, you don't have key, so you can't get through this rundown shed door. o_0

2. Graphical glitches and weirdness. It's funny when some characters don't walk but glide around like they are wearing roller blades. Textures sometimes vanish when one enters a certain area.

3. Characters and NPCs say lines that are clearly from the other game. "You honor us with your presence." Not a big deal, but I just don't expect Fallout world people to say things like that.

Things to do next:

- Create an evil character to play a slaver or a raider-type scoundrel.
- Thoroughly explore every inch of the Fallout 3 map.
- I've gotta find that dog.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is the PSP game release list that pathetic?

Compare this PSP list with DS list, for US and Europe releases.

I'm just wondering what is going on here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mechanic Master DS

Mechanic Master is a gem of a puzzle title.

Basically, you are being shown something like a technical machine diagram of sorts. There are "aliens" placed around that you have to destroy or remove from the given puzzle layout. You given some objects that you can place, or the ability to draw lines and portals. After you're done placing your objects or drawing in your solution, you can press the play button and see if you did it right.

There's quite a wide array of objects to play with. There's no fixed solution to a problem. Sometimes, just by experimenting, you can come up with a solution without using all the objects given to you. There's no time limit and it's really interesting. One can get so into it trying to find solutions to each puzzle.

I'm not crazy about the "drawing" puzzles though, but I really love the puzzles like the one shown in the pic above.

It doesn't win on graphics or sound, or even story, but it's one of those games that can make you miss your bus-stop.

By the way, it also comes with an editor so you can design your own mechanical teasers to share with your friends.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Call of Duty: World at War DS

The handheld version is rated "T" for teens.

Call of Duty: World at War

Another hit. And gamers are broke from the sheer amount of great games this past couple of weeks as it is...

Watch this trailer of COD: World at War which demonstrates the destructive action you can experience.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fallout 3 first impressions after a few hours of play

The world of fallout 3 is huge. The environment is well designed and makes you believe that you are playing in a post-nuclear landscape. It is really dreary and full of ruin.

There are lots of locations to discover and explore. The character models however, appearance and animation-wise, leaves much to be desired. (Luckily, you never have to look at your own 'face', unless you play him or her in 3rd and you probably won't.) As with Bethesda Soft's Elder Scrolls series, character customization decisions are important to your game and you have lots of options - stats, weapons and skills specializations and perks.

It is a harsh world with very dangerous enemies. It is a challenging game right from the start. It takes a while to get use to the gun combat, and it is pretty good. The VATS system (which is basically for more precise aiming) is pretty good, however it is limited by your action points.

There's lot of things to do. Expect to be swamped in many optional quests within a few hours (like I am right now). I love how one of my first optional quests seem mundane at first and then develops into a really interesting side story.

Update: There aren't that many side quests as compared to the Elder Scroll games, but the side quests are now designed in such a way that accomplishing one goal leads to another. A side quest is not just a simple do-it-and-done thing in this game but an actually well-crafted adventure made of several related quests, one leading to another.

It's going to take a while before one can come to a real conclusion on whether the game is as good as the hype. I have to admit, I was so looking forward to playing this game and now that it is here, I'm really happy and excited about exploring this new Fallout.

Brothers-In-Arms: Hell's Highway

Here's the clip on the realism of BIA: Hell's Highway.

I have to say, impressive looking environments.

(Warning: video contains animated violence and gore from the game.)