Oh it's now or never / we shall stand together / one by one...
Every time I play Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, I find it to be more and more enjoyable. It’s such a cool game, because it potentially appeals to all different kinds of gamers. I think it’s because it really defies preconceived notions—basically, Sacred 2 takes everything that’s been done in RPGs lately and does them in its own unique way.
It plays kind of like an action RPG similar to Diablo or Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance (although it’s just a little less hack-and-slash), but it goes way deeper that that. There are six classes in the game, each with three trees containing five spells. That gives each character 15 unique moves to play around with, and this is where things get really cool. Each move can be augmented up to three times via its own individual upgrade tiers.
For example, on my Dryad, the closest thing you’ll find to a “ranger” class in Sacred 2, I have a spell that allows me to teleport anywhere on the screen. When combined with the root spell I have, I can make a quick escape from almost anything that attacks me. As I was leveling though, I put some points into developing the tree that contained the teleport spell, and I earned three upgrade points. I used them to give that teleport spell a chance of auto-casting an AoE root spell from where I’m standing when I use it, and to allow me to break out of enemy root and snare spells. As if that wasn’t enough, I also reduced the cooldown on the spell. That sounds pretty ridiculous, right?
It totally is, and the best part is that you can do this for a bunch of moves, making them super powerful. Speaking of which, the game really gives you a great sense of power by allowing you to take on massive hordes of enemies. My highest character is only level 22 (out of 200), and already I feel like a legendary hero, taking down entire clans of kobolds and undead legions simultaneously. Oh, and those kobolds and undead were actually fighting each other when I showed up, something else that I thought was cool—some enemies seem to hate each other more than they hate you.
The gameplay is definitely awesome, but it’s not the only thing Sacred 2 has going for itself. The environments are pretty beautiful, even in standard definition—the graphics are really vivid and warm, something I really appreciate nowadays with lots of games’ main color palettes being brown, grey, brown-grey, grey-brown-grey, etc. You might have some trouble reading the text on a standard tv though, because I think it’s optimized for HD.
The writing is also really funny! There have been quite a few times when I’ve been walking through a town, and the banter between two peasants has made me stop and go, “Wait, what did he just say?” The best part is that the random conversations between townspeople last for like a whole minute each, so when you hear something goofy, if you stop to eavesdrop you could catch a pretty hilarious exchange. It’s always good when a game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
One of the most appealing parts of Sacred 2 is the overwhelmingly large map. I have like fifteen hours played on my Seraphim, and I think I’ve uncovered 5% of the map at most. Already I’ve found three separate sprawling cities that are filled to the brim with merchants, blacksmiths, and people in need of help, and I’m not even close to being done with any of them yet. From the looks of it, I’m thinking there’s enough content here to keep me busy for over one hundred hours.
Couple all this with some four-player online co-op or two-player local multiplayer that allows for questing and trading together, and you’ve got a really good game. If you haven’t played Sacred 2 yet and you’re a fan of RPGs, action RPGs, dungeon crawlers, random loot, or pretty much anything fantasy-related, I think this is definitely worth getting.
Ha, and if you do go out and try to find it but stores seem to be out of it, try looking under “f” for “fallen angel.” I got my copy at Best Buy, and apparently they thought the game was called “Fallen Angel: Sacred 2.”
Oh yeah, and if you’re into this kind of thing, Blind Guardian wrote a song for Sacred 2. It’s awesome, in a ridiculous kind of way. Check out this siqQ slow motion and facemelting solo:
You probably already guessed from that last post, but I’ve started playing Left 4 Dead again. I got the game the day it came out back in November, but since then it’s just been collecting dust on my shelf. I’m not entirely sure why I stopped playing it initially, but I think it’s because it released amidst a whole bunch of sequels that I had been reallydying to play and I just sort of never got all the way into it.
Nevertheless, VeganDoughnutz and I decided to get back into Left 4 Dead over the weekend. We played through all four campaigns in 24 hours, and then went online to try some versus mode. Since then, I’ve been playing off and on with matty pancakes (my little brother) and it’s really got me thinking: why haven’t I been playing this more?
Normally, I can deal with a lack of levels in videogames—I loved Phantasy Star Online and Too Human—but I remember thinking that Left 4 Dead really needed more than just four to show off that awesome Director AI stuff that had zombies flying at you from all kinds of directions. I like the fact that wherever you are, you’re never safe, no matter how fortified you think your location may be.
I think I’d be willing to get Left 4 Dead 2 if it turns out that they’ve added a whole bunch of new ideas and content—you know, something to make it feel like an actual sequel and not just like an expansion update or something. I’m glad to see new characters in the trailer but I’m hoping for even more (in a game like this, I think the larger the roster gets, the better), and the return of our zombie-killing veterans. I’d like to see multiple variations of the weapons, and maybe even some new weapon altogether. Melee combat looks like it could be pretty fun, too. I’m also really excited to see the new special zombies, because they’re all awesome!
As far as new campaigns go, I’m hoping for something a little less linear. At first glance, Left 4 Dead seems to give you tons of freedom, but I think that if you pay attention to where you’re going, you’ll find that you’re always taking the same one or two routes through each level. Randomly generated maps would really benefit this game, but I’m not sure if that would be possible. I can dream though, rite??
Man, and I really hope they don’t fucking put witches right in front of the only way to get to the safe house anymore >:I
Whenever I hear or see people talking about videogames, there is always praise for this game, and I think I’m finally relizing why: it’s really fun! So I’m not writing Left 4 Dead 2 off yet, but Valve is going to have to convince me to buy it.
Castle Crashers is one of my favorite games, and I’m pretty sure it’s because the game is just so happy! The art style is super cute, the colors are really vivid, and the music is so catchy that I always end up singing it to myself hours after I’ve finished playing. This song, called “Jumper,” is on one of the earlier levels of the game, right before you enter the Thieves’ forest. I remember the first time I heard it, I actually stopped playing and just sat there bobbing my head with a ridiculously goofy grin on my face.
The coolest part about the Castle Crashers soundtrack is that it’s actually been released under a creative commons license, which means you can download the songs for free :) Enjoy!
Is this seriously a post about You're in the Movies?
I’ve wanted the Xbox Live vision camera for a while now—I have absolutely no idea why, but I’m guessing it has something to do with some sort of overwhleming subconscious compulsion that makes me buy everyaccessoryforeveryplatformIown. There’s actually some pretty neat stuff you can do with these cameras—you can take your own personal gamer pictures that people on your friends list will see, you can have video chats with other gamers, and you can even experience some in-game features that utilizethecameras that add some really cool quirks to the games.
The only thing is, these features have never quite been appealing enough to entice me to drop the $40 to get one. I’ve held off on buying one for a while now, but after I saw this on Amazon, I simply had to get it—not just because it seems like an awesome deal, but because of the fact that they’re letting this bundle go for half the price of the standalone camera. How ridiculously sweet is this?!
When I got my camera—oh, and You’re in the Movies—in the mail yesterday, I tore it out of that super-annoying alloy-reinforced bulletproof plastic stuff that Microsoft accessories come in. Three hours later when it was out of the package, I was ready to set it up. The camera is connected via USB, which is awesome because it means you can actually use it with a PC if you so choose. I plugged it into the relatively hidden USB port that’s right above the ethernet cable connection on the back of the Xbox, and positioned the camera on top of my TV. I was really pleasantly surprised by how simple it was; I honestly wasn’t expecting to be able to just plug and play.
Once I was ready to go, I started messing around with the camera and taking pictures of myself. You can adjust lighting filters to best suit your gaming environment, and turn the little grey circle on the camera to focus it, something I didn’t even realize right off the bat. This camera is pretty awesome!
After I was done taking faux-glamour shots (which all made me look way too creepy because I haven’t shaved in a week), I decided to actually give You’re in the Movies a try—after all, I did pay fifteen whole dollars for it. When I popped it in, the first thing I saw was a really entertaining how-to-play/intro video starring a grizzled army action figure, a flamboyant godzilla-esque monster, a well-educated European…fuzzy pink thing, and a film student action figure. Yep.
I followed along with the setup in the video, and in about five minutes, I was ready to play. I had a little bit of trouble with the “cutout” setup—it turns out I’m halfchameleon, becuase I can blend in rather effectively against the wood paneling in my basement—but after I hung a blanket up against the wall, the "greenscreen" worked pretty well.
I spent the next ten or fifteen minutes playing silly little mini-games and striking some exaggerated poses as the director called them out; I was unknowingly shooting footage that was to be used in the movie I chose to act in. When I had completed the four rounds, the game took a minute to prepare my movie, and then the lights dimmed. I saw that archaic 3…2…1… grey circle thing that appears when film reels start rolling, and then I appeared on the screen as a scientist who accidentallycreated a monster.
The movie was about three minutes long, like a vignette. It was actually really funny, but I decided I’d need three friends to replace three stock supporting actors who act as “computers” in You’re in the Movies. It was getting late and I didn’t feel like making any calls, so I grabbed my family.
We decided to make a horror movie; my mom played the “flower girl,” my dad played the “evil scientist,” my little brother played the “monster,” and I played the “evil assistant.” I told everyone to exaggerate their actions and act as goofy as possible when they were playing the mini-games, because that definitely makes the end product even more silly. As we were playing, everyone was laughing hysterically and having a great time—I haven’t been able to convince my mom to play a video game sinceTetris, so to see her smiling as she pretended to level a building with a jackhammer was so heartwarming.
I remember thinking as my parents played a co-op mini-game together that Microsoft might have actually succeeded in making a family-oriented game with You’re in the Movies, and after seeing my parents’ reaction as they watched our family’s debut film, I felt really warm and happy. It was so amazing to see my family drawn together by video games, especially because of their recent stigmatization and all the negative media attention. The best part was that afterwards, my folks told me they’d love to try it again sometime. I could have cried when they said that, but I was still laughing at the part of the movie where my brother chased my dad and I around our castle, waving his arms like an idiot.
So yeah, I guess the moral of this story is that buying the You’re in the Movies bundle is half the cost of buying an Xbox Live vision camera, which is awesome. I’d definitely reccomend it if you’ve got some friends who love to act goofy, or a family who wouldn’t mind giving it a shot—I had such an awesome time last night, and I think it’s something that lots of people could have fun with if they have twenty bucks and are willing to take a chance.
Way back in 1989, Nintendo released Super Mario Land for Gameboy—that’s right, just regular old Gameboy. It was basically a handheld version of Super Mario Bros., one of the most highly praised NES games of its time. I guess Super Mario Land was also pretty successful (it sold like 18 million copies), becuase Nintendo released Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins a few years later in 1992. It gave players more awesome platforming they had come to love, and it also introduced them to one of the most nortorious and iconic characters on the Nintendo roster: Wario.
Wario was the final boss of Super Mario Land 2, and Nintendo liked him so much that they actually made him a spin-off game in lieu of a true sequel to the series.
This was one of the coolest Gameboy games I remember playing. In Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, you play as a super-greedy Wario who is jealous of Mario’s heroics and Bowser’s castle(s), so you set out to buy the most awesome castle of all to show them what’s up. Your goal is to collect as many coins and treasures as you could get your comically gloved hands on.
I think treasure hunting was the most fun aspect of this game. A lot of the levels contained a giant skull-shaped door that you could enter if you managed to find the giant key to unlock it. Inside, there was a robust treasure chest that contained some bizarre, gleaming treasure for Wario to collect and add to his personal treasure hoard. The more treasures you collected, the bigger the house you acquired at the end of the game.
Wario Land was definitely a platformer like all the Mario games before it, but Warioplayed just how he looked: like a much beefier, clinically insane version of his mustachioed cousin. He wasn’t quite as noble as Mario, humbling enemies with a simple jump on the head—Wario could use a shoulder barge attack that would launch enemies clear off the screen. He also had a ground-pound ability (that Nintendo seemed to have added to every single game they made after that) that would stun enemies, making them easy targets.
Wario also got powerups like Mario, but he wasn’t impressed by wimpy mushrooms and flowers and feathers and twinkling stars. Wario powerups were a jet pot, a bull pot, and a dragon pot. The jet pot would allow Wario to jump higher, run faster, and even fly. The bull pot increased his shoulder barge and ground pound powers, and it also allowed him to hang from the ceiling via the spikes on his viking helmet. The dragon pot gave wario a short-ranged flame attack that lasted a couple of seconds and took out anything unfortunate enough to get in its way. I think Wario could also eat garlic to power himself up too—I guess that was supposed to be his “mushroom.”
The levels were awesome, the bad guys were awesome, the powerups were awesome, the treasure hunting was awesome, and even the music was awesome. The was one awesome Gameboy game. Over the years, Wario has evolved into Nintendo’s antihero, and I’m really glad they created him, because he’s gone on to star in some of the craziest and most fun games Nintendo has ever made. If you have this game, you should go play it and reminesce on how much fun you had with it in elementary school.
The folks at Pokemon Company are saying you’ll be able to beam one of your party pokemon from your DS to the PokeWalker via infrared (what is it with them and remakes with infrared?). Once there, the pokemon will gain experience points and even some attraction levels proportionate to the steps counted by the pedometer. Steps are also going to build up “watts” (hmm, why do I feel like I’ve heard this before…) which can be used to find items that can be sent back to your DS along with your pokemon.
The article also mentions something about watts helping you catch wild pokemon, but I’m not sure if that means in the PokeWalker, or in Heart Gold and Soul Silver. To me, it reads like you’re going to be able to encounter wild pokemon with the PokeWalker, but that almost sounds too cool to be true.
I guess we’ll see when Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver release stateside sometime in late ‘09 / early ‘10. Hahaha, ‘10 looks really stupid!
So the April 2009 issue of Play Magazine has a really good cover story on Kingdom Under Fire II, a medieval tactical action game that promises huge wars and tons of excitement, both offline and online. The article spans eight full pages, and has a whole bunch of absolutely gorgeous screenshots of epic battles between the game’s two factions, and some of the stuff the developer Blue Side has planned looks so awesome.
Looking at the first two pages alone, I see guys riding a huge war elephant through a battlefield clearing out anything in their path, an elven woman wearing golden armor cutting down soldiers in groups of four and five at a time, a giant war scorpion that’s at least 15x the size of the soldiers surronding it (I kid you not—even giant Radscorpions would be scurrying away in fear at the sight of this monstrosity), and perhaps the best of all, one brave soldier on an iron-clad horse charging straight through waves of battling humans and orcs to combat said giant scorpion.
You can see some of the pictures for yourself by clicking here and then visiting the screenshots link—I would link you there myself, but alas, I think the website is flash-based and I have no idea how to link through flash menus. A poor excuse for my ineptitude, I know, but seriously, just think about giant war scorpions and you’ll forgive me.
In the article, there are mentions of a graphics engine called FameTech 2, technology they created specifically for the KUF series that can potentially allow all kinds of different soldiers and creatures onscreen by the thousands to immerse you in one huge battle. The game is also boasting 18 single-player campaigns—I’m guessing that means each hero (or villan) you can control gets his or her own story. It looks like you’ll also be able to move, direct, and even control any of the troops fighting by your side simply with the push of a few buttons. It could be pretty neat to play as a normal foot soldier and fight against one of the game’s heroes!
Blue Side has been calling the online portion of KUFII “MOARTS,” something I’ve never heard before. It stands for multiplayer online action real-time strategy, and it means that players will be declaring alliegence and war with each other as they battle online in an action RTS style. You’ll be able to form guilds with your friends, and from there you can trade equipment to help each other out and even travel in parties to fight as a team. As a guild, you’ll have territory you control, but other guilds will be out to take it—it sounds like the world map will be changing after nearly every online battle.
I think one of the coolest features mentioned is this “electronic game card” idea they have. As you win multiplayer battles and play through the single-player campaigns in KUFII, you’ll be earning “game cards” which will let you adorn your weapons, armor, accessories, and the like with personal crests and other decorum to make your hero stand out even more amongst the hordes of battling soldiers.
Thousands of onscreen soldiers and creatures, controllable squads, 18 different single-player campaigns, and MOARTS online play—Kingdom Under Fire II is looking really, really awesome right now. The best part is that KUFII is expected to release sometime this year for Xbox 360, PS3, AND PC, which means you’ll have no excuse not to give it a try :)
So Coldsnap helped convince me to buy Final Fantasy XI for my 360. I stayed up til 3:30am last night installing the game and downloading the patches, and this morning I got my first taste of Vana’diel. I haven’t played a MMO in almost two years now, and after what I saw this morning, I’m really excited. The whole world just seems so warm and inviting, and since the game is like seven years old now, I’m thinking the remaining playerbase is going to be awesome.
I think this is going to be really enjoyable :) After all, gotta get ready for that sequel!
Joy Ride: Seriously, it’s about time someone made an avatar kart-racing game! Going off of the trailer and what’s been said so far, it seems like it’s going to be a really casual game, which is exactly what I would want in a game like this. Oh, and for the awesome price of free, you definitely can’t go wrong :)
Assassin’s Creed 2: The first game was really fun for the first couple of hours, but I found myself getting just a little bit bored with the amount of repetition required to move the story along. Ubisoft is saying they’ve managed to break up the monotony with all kinds of new features (like flying, courtesy of your main character’s friend)—if it’s true, this could be a really great game. Now I’m just hoping there won’t be 1,000,000 flagshidden everywhere again!
Mass Effect 2: Oh man, Mass Effect 2! Mass Effect was one of the most well-written games I’ve ever played. The whole time, I felt like I was playing out the main role of an epic sci-fi movie through Shepard, and I loved every second of it. I remember the cutscenes sending chills down my spine, and even making me cry on a few occasions. Between the character development, the plot twists, the atmosphere, and the ambience, I was completely captivated by this game—I really, really hope Mass Effect 2 can deliver this same kind of experience, because I don’t think there are many other games out there like this anymore.
Brink: So outside of what’s posted on the official website, I know nothing about this game. I really love this art style though, and the fact that it’s being published by Bethesda means I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this.
Heavy Rain: I knew this was going to happen…this game might actually make me break down and buy a PS3. If you have one, you’ll need this game when it’s out later this year. The concept is just too awesome.
Super Mario Galaxy 2: Having never actually played the first one (I sold my Wii only a couple of months after buying it and defected to Xbox 360), the only thing I know about Super Mario Galaxy is what I’ve witnessed while watching other people play it. It always looked pretty fun, and from the looks of this trailer, lots more fun can definitely be expected. At least Nintendo has been able to maintain the high quality of their main franchises. If there’s ever a day when a truly bad Mario, Zelda, or Metroid game is released, I think I’m going to cry.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii: I’m really excited to see Nintendo has decided to take this DS game to the Wii! I’m not entirely sure if it’s a remake with added features or if it’s a true sequel, but I do know two things: the gameplay style looks like that same great combo of old-school with new innovations, and the inclusion of co-op sounds really promising. Who wouldn’t want to stomp goombas and jump on koopa troopa shells with a friend?
Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story: My little brother actually bought Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga for the GBA a long time ago, and being the awesome sibling he is, he let me play it along with him as if we were playing some sort of single-GBA co-op or something. From what I remembered, it was a really neat RPG that reminded me somewhat of Paper Mario, which is always a good thing. I skipped the first DS sequel for some reason, but this one looks like it could be just as great as the other two.
Metroid: Other M: Wait, Team Ninja is making a Metroid game? I’m confused, doesn’t that mean that it’s going to be impossible? That’s like exactly the opposite of what Nintendo is usually aiming for with the Wii :P Haha, I’m sure this game is going to rule, no matter how difficult it may be.
Golden Sun DS: What anamazing surprise! Golden Sun was one of the coolest RPGs on the Gameboy Advance (which is really saying something, considering how many awesome RPGs the system had), and to see that it’s finally getting a sequel after all these years is so great. It’s on the DS too, which means I can play it :) I hope they bring back the Djinni system that allows all kinds of unique character-class combinations and all the elemental spells. Everything about this game was so awesome!
Man, E3 was pretty awesome this year. I don’t think I’ve ever followed it this closely before, and I have to admit that I had a blast watching these goofy press conferences and stuff. I would definitely do this again, but now I need to know—how did you feel about all the announcements, unveilings, and demos this year?
Beatles Rock Band: I’m going to get flamed for this, but I’m really just not interested. I don’t really like the Beatles too much. The amount of effort going into making this a really enjoyable game for people who do—both rock band veterans and people who will be enticed into playing a music game for the first time—is really cool. The mere fact that they had Paul and Ringo there shows that they’re at least on board with the game, and that has to mean something, given the Beatles resilience towards music games thus far. /Flameshield_up
Tony Hawk’s RIDE: This looks pretty cool. The peripheral is a big leap for them, but if it works as well as they’re hoping, it seems like it could breathe new life into a series that’s been recently overshadowed.
Modern Warfare 2: Oh my goodness, yes. I’m SO excited to see this drop the Call of Duty name—not because I don’t like Treyarch or CoD, but because it allows them to do absolutely whatever they want. It seems like they’re enjoying the freedom, too; in the debut theatrics trailer, there were all kinds of colorful characters and settings gamers haven’t seen in a recent shooting game (execpt for this one, which was surprisingly fun), and some really original action sequences…dudes jumping from helicopters, controllable snowmobile fights, scuba diving…it all looks wonderful. And, Soap is back…yes. I can’t wait!
Final Fantasy XIII: I’ve been waiting for this to happen for so long now. I’ll finally be able to experience a Final Fantasy game in my own home, and not have to rush through it at a friend’s house :) Seriously though, FFXIII looks breathtakingly beautiful, and all the art and giantads they’re circulating is incredible. The gameplay footage looks really solid and engaging as well. Can’t wait for this, either.
Shadow Complex: I couldn’t get any trailers to re-play without skipping, but from what I saw, it looked pretty cool. It’s Cliff Bleszinski and Epic’s first XBLA game, and they’re comparing it to the likes of Metroid and Castlevania. Those are some pretty serious names, Cliffy B…I hope this new game lives up to your word. Regardless, it’s Epic, so I’ll be buying it. What I’m more stoked on is that this game will be part of Xbox’s second “Summer of Arcade" event, along with the Turtles in Time remake, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Monkey Island, and more…good thing I can potentially win some MSpoints through 1 vs 100!
Crackdown 2: Finally, a sequel to the game that everyone bought and tossed aside so they could play the Halo 3 beta, haha :) I actually thoroughly enjoyed Crackdown, and I’m definitely liking the idea of having new enemies to engage. I hope the world stays really open and arcade-y, and that they bring back the Co-op!
Left 4 Dead 2: I’m can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve been disappointed with Valve over the past year or so. I thought Left 4 Dead was a little lackluster out of the box, but they promised lots of support for the new IP. Here we are over six months later, and we’ve only got two new versus maps (if you could even call them “new”) and survival mode…where’s the content, guys? Same thing with Team Fortress 2—PCs are getting so much new free content, and Xbox has gotten nothing. I know Valve started off on PCs, but if you’re going to release a game on multiple, you need to support those platforms. I’m not ruling this out yet, but I’m not sure I’ll be buying this one come November 17th.
Forza 3: I’m happy for all you Forza dudes and dudettes out there, you finally got your official confirmation! I thought Forza: Watersports sounded awesome though :P
Halo 3: ODST: The more I think about it, the cooler this looks. I actually like how Bungie has launched their main character into outer space, and then made up new ones—telling new stories set during the same time period in the same worlds gives this universe a much-needed sense of credibility. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of the Halo novels, but I never felt quite as enveloped in the Halo universe as I wanted to, and this game might be able to really draw me in. I hope the ODSTs seem more human than Master Chief, because I think that might be a big part of it. The potential for heavy emphasis on Co-op is really awesome, too.
Alan Wake: I haven’t been following this game too closely, mainly because of the lack of stuff to follow. Now that I’m seeing it though, the plot looks really neat! I was a little turned off by the gunplay—I would have loved to see this game have zero firearms and just be a psychological adventure or something. Coldsnap pointed out that this looks so much like Alone in the Dark…is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Metal Gear Solid Rising: Just like with FFXIII, I’m so glad this is finally happening. So is this what all those awesome countdowns were leading up to on Kojima’s website? It was definitely worth the wait :)
Project NATAL: Dude, if this operates as smoothly as it did in their commercial and their tech demo, Microsoft might have actually just out-Wii’d the Wii. Seriously, this thing looks awesome. However, with all these cameras and things, gamers might not be as able to retain that sense of anonymousness we so desire when playing online. Imagine playing a game and then all of the sudden that guy on your friends list you only added because you know him in real life and didn’t want to be rude pops up on his Webcam. I can imagine people sending Gears of War 3 chainsawers dick pix. Oh dear :| Let’s hope people use this potentially powerful peripheral for good and not evil!
Summer of Arcade on XBLA: This is probably the bestthing of E3 ‘09 for me thus far. With a lineup of ‘Splosion Man, Shadow Complex, TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-shelled, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Monkey Island Special Edition, and Trials HD, this summer looks like it’s going to be absolutely wonderful for XBLA. Like I said before, it looks like all those MSpoints we’ll be winning through 1 vs 100 will be put to very good use :)
Other notable stuff: The idea of being able to enjoy Windows Media Player and Netflix with anyone in your party seems pretty awesome, and the arrival of Facebook and Twitter on Xbox could potentially help the video game industry lose that awful stigma and make gaming a more socially acceptable hobby. But do we really want that? I haven’t had a chance to think too much about it yet…there’s still so much more going on at E3!
If you actually read all of this, thank you. That’s amazing <33333
Yesterday amidst all the crazy E3 excitement (which I’ll get to later, I promise!), the first beta episode of 1 vs 100 “aired” from 10:30pm - 12:30pm EST. After playing it, I can’t wait for the first “season” to debut—it was too much fun!
Around 9:15pm, I was able to schedule myself a reminder via the Xbox Live Spotlight (have you always been able to set reminders? I’ve never noticed that before!) and when it popped up around 10:20pm, I got really excited and dropped out of my freeburn to get ready.
I was playing along with two of my bestfriends, who both happened to get into the beta with no problems. It took me about ten minutes of accepting game invites and clicking “play” from the spotlight screen before I finally got in. It looks like it allows you to invite anyone in your Xbox live party from the main screeen of the game to ensure they’re in the same round as you, and then places you right next to them in the mob or the audience, depending on where you end up—awesome.
And man, it was totally worth the wait!
Once I got in, I saw my avatar walking around backstage waiting for the current round to end. There were other avatars mingling behind me who actually later appeared on the game show with me, which I thought was really neat—they weren’t just randomly generated or something.
I had never seen the show on tv before, but I caught on pretty quickly. I was placed in the “mob,” the group of 100 that answers questions and raises the prize value with each incorrect answer and subsequent elimination. When the game debuts, the prizes are going to be free arcade games AND Microsoft points. I was really surprised at the amount of points being offered—the average round netted people over $20 worth of points. At one point during the beta, it got to be 1 vs 1, and the two remaining contestants were playing for 10,000 Microsoft points…that’s like $125 worth of points!
During the game, there were “commercials" which allowed people to take quick breaks. My friends and I were much more interested in using the Y button to dance and go crazy so we could get our avatars up on the jumbotron screen though, which was a really cool feature. There were even some real commercials during the break, which I also thought was pretty cool. I think I can stomach a few axe body spray ads if it means I could potentially walk away with $120 in MSpoints!
One of the coolest parts of all was the live hosting. Before, during, and after each round, Chris Cashman provided some really awesome commentary while JenTaylor acted as the official hostess of the game, showing the questions on the screen and announcing the answers. The fact that everything was up to date was so cool—hearing Cashman talking about the “one” and calling them by their gamertag was a really nice touch.
Aside from the trouble I had getting into the game (which it turns out was based on a player cap that will be removed from the rest of the betas), everything here seemed really well done. The level of polish was really astounding, and honestly, it looked like the game could have been ready to go. I don’t think they’ve announced an official first season debut yet, but there’s another beta this Saturday, June 6th, at 8:00pm. Directly after that at 10pm and 10:30pm, there are two special betas with questions all concerning E3—how cool is that?
If you’re somehow not already sold by the premise, here’s a list of controls to show you just how extreme SlugFest was:
+ Button to automatically hit batters
+ Button to charge mound
+ Button to slide with spikes up, effectively sending the fielder flying backwards
+ Button to “High clear out / Stiff arm / Door kick” whilst base-running
+ Button to punch said base runners
The game actually played fairly well and was pretty fun. The action was frenetic and kept you on your feet, but the novelty wore off if you played more than a couple of innings in one sitting, something that never seemed to happen with Blitz and Hitz (most likely because football and hockey don’t have innings). I seem to distinctly remember the computer being a little too strategic for me—beaning players with fastballs would cause their “stats” to decrease, so the AI would just destroy your all-stars with flaming fastballs to the head (yes, flaming fastballs to the head) and pitch to your normal players. I also definitely remember getting in countless fights with my little brother after we would use the computer’s tactics against each other, which actually made the game even more fun.
Even with all these rediculous features, I’m pretty sure the worst best part of SlugFest wasn’t even the gameplay—it was the opening video: