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            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

Quick Update

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Hey fellows and gals,

Although it may seem like it, it will NOT be a fortnight long theme week. Riddles and I are actually going to make a bit of an experiment with the rest of this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

As you all probably know, I’ve been playing Metroid: Other M all week and just recently found out that I’m allowed to review it as soon as tomorrow. That likely won’t happen. Still, I am on track to review it by when it comes out on Sunday so you can look forward to that as well. I might take advantage of the embargo lifting tomorrow, however, and write up some impressions as I’m a fair way into the game now. I’ll give you a little spoiler in that my impressions will be largely positive.

Until all this happens: HOLD YOUR HORSES!

Hey! Look! Listen! #59 – I Miss My Desk

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Aaaand I’m back.

Man, I really should stop pulling this frequent disappearance act. But (sadly) Riddlethos doesn’t pay the bills. And it was my birthday week, and the only present I received was the gift of laziness, which I gave to myself.

As for the title of this post, it’s in reference to my super-awesome desk that I received as a birthday present some years back. Right now, though, it’s collecting dust in a storage unit. Why? Because I don’t have an apartment, as you all know. Sitting on the bed with my legs wrapped around my laptop is not the most ideal position for typing. But I suppose it beats sitting in a dirty Murfreesboroan alleyway.

(Actually, I don’t think we have many dirty alleyways in Murfreesboro. If any.)

That aside, let’s see what trifles have managed to catch my fancy in the world of videogames.

THQ Feels Cheated When You Buy Their Games Used

Aw. Poor THQ.

A growing trend amongst videogame publishers of today is an outspoken disdain for the sales of used games, and for the penniless sots who purchase them. It started with EA and their “Project Ten Dollar” initiative, which charged used game buyers an extra ten bucks to access DLC and online play. THQ quickly followed suit, revealing last May that UFC Undisputed 2010 will come with a one-time use code for DLC and online play. Those who buy it used will have to buy a fresh code. Seeing that a lot of people purchased games used, there’s been more than a few disgruntled fans. I mean come on, everyone picks up a used game here and there – some of us honestly could use the five or ten bucks it saves us, y’know?

Well, THQ’s Corey Ledesma has come forward and revealed to CVG precisely how the company feels towards said purchasers of used games. Long and short, they really don’t give a flying fuck:

I don’t think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything. If used game buyers are upset they don’t get the online feature set I don’t really have much sympathy for them.

That’s a little blunt, but we hope it doesn’t disappoint people. We hope people understand that when the game’s bought used we get cheated. I don’t think anyone wants that, so in order for us to make strong, high-quality WWE games we need loyal fans that are interested in purchasing the game. We want to award those fans with additional content.

Cheated? Really? THQ thinks that Average Joe Gamer buys a used copy of UFC with the intent of “cheating” them? From where I stand, it looks like the guy just wants to save a few bucks.

I understand that THQ, along with every other publisher in the world, doesn’t see a penny from used game sales. I understand that they may find this frustrating. But to attack used game consumers in such a way, and go so far as to call them cheats (essentially) is way over the line. Sure, they may not be the one lining THQ’s pockets, but gamers who buy used are the ones doing the most spending, playing, living, and dying in this industry. Don’t piss us off.

Especially you, THQ. What the fuck have you released in the last… well, ever that gives you anything close to the right to talk down to consumers?

To conclude, words from Kotaku commenter Grahamillion:

Ironic because I feel cheated when I buy a THQ game.


Some British Politician Wants Medal of Honor Banned, EA Doesn’t Care

Given the sensitive subject matter present in EA’s upcoming Medal of Honor reboot, I’m surprised we haven’t heard more shit like this. I mean sure, games like Modern Warfare have broken the ice when it comes to games representing current military conflicts. But Modern Warfare took the concept and sensationalized it; you weren’t literally running around in the midst of Afghanistan shooting at Taliban members.

However, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing in Medal of Honor, which is pretty ballsy. I mean, sure, I’d say that the world at large is pretty over the fact that we’re still shooting at sand (our current administration has done a pretty good job of not talking about it, if nothing else) but still. To the people over there, at least, it’s still a sensitive thing.

Anyway. That being the case, you’d think that, say, an American politician might have a beef with the game. We’ve got plenty of reactionary, headline-grabbing asshats over here, after all.

But no. The first political figure to make a stink is the fucking British defense secretary. Yeah. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox doesn’t like the fact that, in the game’s multiplayer mode (which allows you to play as the Taliban) one of the maps is set in the Helmland province, where U.K. forces are stationed.

I am disgusted and angry. It’s hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.

Funny thing, though: There aren’t any British troops to be killed in Medal of Honor. So, Liam’s argument is totally, entirely, and completely baseless. Sounds like a good time for a retraction, right? Wrong. In the face of these facts, Liam stood by his call to ban the game:

The point remains that part of this game allows you to play the part of the Taliban attacking ISAF troops in the area of central Helmand where British troops are operating.

Christ.

A final hilarious irony is that the British government has swiftly and decisively distanced themselves from Fox’s insane comments. In a statement released to GamesIndustry, the The Department for Culture, Media and Sport had this to say:

Dr Fox was expressing a personal view and we understand why some people might find the subject matter of the game offensive.

There is a ratings system in place which exists to categorise games appropriately, in this case the game in question is rated 18 so should only be sold to, and played by, adults.

There is a clear choice for consumers which they can exercise when making decisions about purchasing videogames.

Right so, right so. Way to save face, U.K.

EA Games president Frank Gibeu also released a statement in retort to Mr. Fox’s assertions, which I was happy to see.  ”At EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and I don’t know why films and books set in Afghanistan don’t get flack, yet [games] do,” Gibeu told Develop.

“Whether it’s Red Badge Of Courage or The Hurt Locker, the media of its time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. Games are becoming that platform.”

Or at least they’re trying to be. Given the subject matter, Medal of Honor should be scrutinized. But it should be scrutinized by those who play it, and by those who are interested in critiquing its artistic merit, and how well it handles its subject matter. Pointless controversies like this one tend to distract people from this, and to me, that’s an incredible injustice. (Kotaku)

Catherine Looks Like Some Fucked-Up Shit

Seriously, it does. If you haven’t heard, Catherine is an action-adventure game being developed by the minds behind Persona 3 and 4. The story focuses around a man named Vincent (first seen in the PSP port of Persona 3) and a seductive, myserious woman named Catherine. (D’oh!) It also happens to be the first HD title developed in-house by Atlus. (We won’t speak of Operation Darkness, which, while published by Atlus, was developed by Japanese studio Success.) It also happens to be… really weird-looking. This trailer’s a few days old, so you may have seen it. If not, please to enjoy below. It’s worth watching for weirdness alone.

Color me intrigued. I can’t deny that I’m a little disappointed they didn’t announce Persona 5 instead, but Catherine looks like it could be a unique, atmospheric experience. Looks like Atlus is manning up and putting actual sex scenes in their games, which is long overdue.  That, and I’m hoping they’re using the game as a test-run for a Persona 5 engine. Makes sense, right? The game hits Japan in Winter 2010.

QUICKIE: Toshiba to Roll Out Glass-less 3DTVs by Year’s End

This interests me. I’m not going to try to paraphrase the article here, head to Gizmodo for the full story. (Lots of big words and phrases like Integral Imaging System, Motion Parallax, and low-temperature poly-silicon.) Point being, it looks like we may be seeing glass-less 3DTV technology a lot sooner than we might have hoped.

And that’s it. Sorry it’s so late. Today has been… really dumb, to put it lightly. There’s still no new banner, and I apologize for that. I have tomorrow off, so I’ll deal with that shit then. At this point, I really have no idea what it will be. Suggestions, perhaps? A Murfreesboro Week (as suggested by SiliconNoob) is actually pretty tempting, but it might require a little more preparation than I’m able to handle at this point. Still, if the people call for it, I could find a way…?

But seriously. Suggestions. Make them. And comment on the news stories too, or I’ll cry. This is the longest HLL I’ve written in a while.

Love you all,

~Riddles

AMAZING!

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

More DeathSpank! Win!

DEATHSPANK SEQUEL!

Yup. Already. Fantastic. It’s called DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue. I couldn’t ask for more.

I know the game was originally designed to be episodic, so I guess a lot more was developed than it seemed. This is great news to me because I loved that game and have actually been craving more. To have a sequel in a month is beautiful music to my ears.

Oh, and as for a new theme week? Riddles can decide, I’ve had his back recently, now it’s his turn to have mine.

Especially because I just got a review copy of Metroid: Other M so that I can provide you all with a review in time for release. Long live Riddlethos! And Deathspank!

Happy Birthday Riddles

Friday, August 20th, 2010

No picture is more appropriate for this post than this beauty. Thank you, SiliconNooB for its creation.

I miss my friend Oliver Motok.

Reading over old RPGamer QnAs, I can only imagine that our impending epic friendship was more apparent to our readers than it was to myself. It’s difficult to have such good friends that live so far away. My girlfriend has been in a different province for months from when we started dating, Lusipurr and Nate Liles live in Michigan and I haven’t seen them in far too long, and Oliver Motok lives in Murfreesboro: Lost City of Dreams.

It oddly struck me as I was washing dishes just minutes ago. Sure, Riddles and I talk all the time and we run a website together, but I can’t ignore the fact that one of my greatest friends lives in another country. Sometimes I just want to hang out with the guy, and it’s impossible without a lot of planning and cash. Because for all the shit we all give him, Oliver is a loyal friend. He doesn’t judge (much), he is smart and creative, he enjoys good company and is easy and fun to hang out with.

So on his birthday (sorta), I want to sincerely and fruitily honour Oliver Motok and his embittered friendship to me and his invaluable personality on this site. And until we are finally in the same city one glorious day in the future, I will continue to simultaneously miss him and be thankful for his friendship. Happy birthday, Riddles.

How’s THAT for sap, mother fuckers?!

Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! #013 – It’s My Birthday, Bitches!

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Well folks, it is now officially my birthday. And so far, my wonderful and beautiful girlfriend has wished me happy birthday, and so has Nate Liles.

THAT’S IT! Nope, Riddles texted about something completely different then made a silly claim about “time zones”, and Constipated Cow called to say “oh fuck, did I miss your birthday? It was the other day, right? I’m a bad friend”. Damn straight you’re a bad friend! I know your birthday is May 15, and that’s without consulting Facebook. Idiot.

I’m actually horrible with birthdays, so I shouldn’t talk. I’ve forgotten my mother’s birthday on 3 of the past 4 years. Still, on this joyous occasion I will still bring you all belated news. I went to Microsoft’s X10 event today, and although a bunch of great games were playable, I spent 2 hours in 8 different interviews instead. Oh well, at least it was an open bar. The point is that I’m tired, so let’s talk about semi-new Gamescom news!

There’s a lot, so just find the headlines or pictures you like, and pick and choose your stories if you’re in a tl;dr mood, I won’t get offended.

No longer just a mock-up

The Normandy Lands on a New Space (Play)Station

This is the oldest news, but still some of the biggest. Ray Muzyka, the CEO of Bioware, made the announcement on Tuesday that Mass Effect 2 would be coming to PS3 with “hours of bonus content”. The port is planned to be released in January 2011 with “no plans” to bring the original over as well. In fact, Microsoft made sure to pee all over this announcement to mark their territory on the franchise. Here is a statement they gave to IGN.

With both Mass Effect titles launching first on Xbox 360 combined with the wealth of available paid downloadable content on Xbox Live today, Xbox 360 remains the best place to experience the Mass Effect franchise…and the original Mass Effect is absolutely an Xbox 360 exclusive, making Xbox 360 the only place to get the full Mass Effect experience

You can feel the panic in their text. Still, I have no interest in replaying the series on another console unless I get to play through all of my choices, so they have a point. And seeing how Microsoft published the original game, it will be a while – if ever – before it sees the light of day on another console. (IGN)

Microsoft’s Copout Handheld System

Microsoft is trying really hard to fight off Apple. Windows 7 is their obvious attempt to combat (see: emulate) Mac OS, and their Windows Phone 7 is their newest attempt at an iPhone killer. Not just as a powerful smartphone, but apparently as a gaming platform like the iPhone has become. In fact, Kevin Unangst – some exec at Microsoft – even went as far to say the following,

We’re looking at this like: Call it like a console launch. It’s really like our portable console launch in that there’s a constant hardware set, we’re specifically choosing the content we want, and it’s about bringing all of those service features over.

Sure, the hardware is made by a third party, but why not try to throw it into the portable console race as well? To their credit, the phone is shaping up to pretty slick and pretty powerful with a lot of thought going into the gaming side of things. I won’t have any real interest, however, until I hear about things more interesting than Peggle. Because I can get Peggle on PSN, thank you. Not that Peggle has been announced, it was just an example. (IGN)

Everything Cole is New Again

I truly outdo myself. What a great headline.

But onto the story, I haven’t seen a backtrack this quick since Sony’s doomed boomerang controller. Anybody remember that thing? Was I the only fan? Anyhoo, while people were hyped for all the new Infamous 2 stuff, the new design and voice of Cole made it a bittersweet unveiling. While the voice appears to be unchanged, Cole’s newest design – while still different – is far more akin to the original. Which do you prefer?

Old New Cole:

New Old Cole:

I have to say that the New Old Cole does seem less douchey, what with the lack of necklaces. Although as much as I loved Infamous, it wasn’t for the story and characters, sorry. (IGN)

Resistance 3?!?! What a Surprise!!!

That’s the whole story, really. It’s finally been officially confirmed beyond that movie set still grabbed in October 2009. I liked the original a lot more than the sequel, but I’m willing to give this third installment a chance. That is, of course, after we get some more details. We currently have none. Maybe this should belong in the “quickie” section, but that’s swiftly becoming the “impressions and not actually news” section. (IGN)

HD soon!

No More Wii Exclusive

I never played either No More Heroes games for the Wii although they seem to have a cult following. But it looks like now I’ll have a chance to try it the series on a real system. A HD remake of the original title that will be released as “No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise”, was announced today during a Konami press conference at Gamescom. No release date was mentioned beyond 2011, but more importantly it was confirmed that the game can be played with traditional controls despite supporting Playstation Move. (IGN)

Portal 2 in February 2011

Hey, not all my headlines have to be clever. Valve confirmed that Portal 2 – the full follow-up to the unexpected and superb mini-title – will be released on February 9th for PS3, 360, and PC. No timed exclusives. Simple and beautiful news.

As a little piece of supplementary news, Game Informer tells us that Stephen Merchant will voice the character of Wheatley, who is apparently a British robot. I haven’t been following the game as to not spoil too much. Anyhoo, you might know Stephen Merchant from the British version of The Office, or – as I know him – The Ricky Gervais show. (IGN)

QUICKIES/PREVIEWS:

Mortal Kombat First Look- Damn it! This is a game I could have played today, but didn’t have time to. It sounds like it’ll be the first good Mortal Kombat game in a very long time.

Killzone 3 Multiplayer- If you care. He also goes into the Move controls a little bit at the bottom. He’s diplomatic, but he you can tell he didn’t really care for them.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One- Enh, I just got into this franchise! I don’t want something this drastically new, more of the same please! The editor is optimistic, but I’m apathetic.

More Zelda Impressions- I’m sorry, but talk of the game occasionally misreading movements and a 95% accuracy rate being presented as a positive thing doesn’t get me excited for the game. But I expected this.

WHAT A BEAST!!! I’m done. It’s my birthday.

Lots o’ News!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Yes, Gamescom is underway and there’s a ton on news. I was going to fill in for Riddles’ Hey! Look! Listen! as he is at a concert tonight. However, I worked late, then food happened, then bathroom, then really interesting parts of FFIX that I had forgotten about. Anyway, A special edition of TTKL will come your way tomorrow because I actually really want to write about the new-old Cole from Infamous, a bunch of Nintendo release dates, Mass Effect 2 for the PS3 and Microsoft’s response, Dragon Age 2, Resistance 3, Ys 7, and more.

For now, however, sleep.

And I can do what I want, it’s my birthday week!

The face Ethos was making while saying that last sentence.

Welcome to Big Birthday Boys Week

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Yeah, that’s right. We’re having a week to celebrate our birthdays. Because they’re both in the same week. In fact, they’re back-to-back – Ethan turns 24 on the 19, and I turn 21 on the 20th. Isn’t that cute? Like a sign of a beautiful friendship to come, or something like that.

Anyway, yeah, I really don’t know what we’ll be doing with this week other than wishing ourselves happy birthdays, but I’m perfectly fine with that.

I just remembered that today is Tuesday. I’m supposed to write one of those gimmicky news/opinion columns of mine. Hmm. Well, perhaps I’ll do that. Until then, enjoy this debut trailer for Dragon Age II.

Pretty cinematics, if nothing else. Apparently the game has been given the official release date of March 8th, so mark your calendars! That should give me enough time to finish the first game, right?

Speaking of which, I’m about to go play it. Be back later.

~Riddles