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by Ethos

Hey! Look! Listen! #58 – I Don’t Get No Respect

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Holy shit, mono fucking sucks.

And damn, has this website ever gone to hell. Just look at that banner up there.

Normally I’d apologize to you all, but this time I’m  not going to, because I honestly feel like the universe needs to do some serious apologizing to me. These last few weeks have sucked an unholy dick, and I really don’t feel like I deserved all the pain and suffering that I’ve been unceremoniously gifted with.

However, as you may have gathered by the fact that I’m here right now, I’m feeling better. And I felt the hankering to write something. Before we begin, I should note the fact that, upon having finally given it a try, I think Left 4 Dead is a damn fun game. And also, Netflix on the 360 is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

That’s right, I bought three months of Xbox Live Gold. On impulse. I feel slightly dirty, but… it’s the only console that lets you stream Netflix without a stupid-ass disc. And it was only $9.99 for three months.

ON TO THE TOPICS OF INTEREST

Batman: Arkham City Officially Revealed in Game Informer, First Details Rumored

I know Ethos already touched on this in his latest TTKL, and I don’t mean to upstage him; but I’m totally geeking out over this, and there have been some new rumors abroad, so I figured I’d go ahead and take a stab at the story as well.

Ah, who am I kidding, I totally mean to upstage him.

First, just take a look at this concept art/Game Informer covers. Are they not beautiful?

As you can see, DCs infamous femme fatale Catwoman is prominently featured, indicating that she’ll have a prominent role in the game. Co-op play, perhaps? Or maybe an ICO-esque team gameplay mechanic? Personally I’m hoping for the latter, seeing that co-op play tends to come at the expense of a focused narrative – and that would just be a shame, given how strong the storyline behind Arkham Asylum was.

As the title “Arkham City” implies, Batman will be taking down crime in the streets of Gotham this time around. Perhaps you recall the teaser trailer shown at the Spike VGAs, which showed a walled-off portion of the city, and an ending tagline that said “Arkham Has Moved.”

A hastily thrown-together site called Arkham.co.uk claims to have the first details on the game from Game Informer. Supposedly, Quincy Sharp, the man who was running for Mayor in the original game bought off a part of the Gotham slums and walled it off, making it the new detainment facility for Gotham’s colorful inmates. Why? Well, supposedly both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison were deemed “unfit” to hold said inmates. Why a walled-off slum could do the job when two maximum security detention facilities couldn’t is well beyond me, but hey, it provides the necessary fresh setting.

As far as actual storyline goes, it’s rumored that the infamous Two-Face has plans to execute Catwoman in order to gain respect of the Arkham City inmates. The Joker, of course, is still kicking around – but there’s something distinctly wrong with him. You might recall that the teaser showed him in pretty rough shape. One would assume that it’s due to the overdose of Venom that he took at the end of Arkham Asylum, but the GI article hints that this might not be the sole factor.

As far as gameplay changes, Batman is now able to counter two attacks at once, and he’ll be able to use his trusty smoke bombs. Arkham City will feature side missions, unlike the original game. There will also be more puzzles, criminal gangs to take down, and more riddler challenges. It’s too early to say, but it almost sounds like Rocksteady might be focusing Arkham City into a more sandbox-esque experience, which could be pretty damn cool if done right.

Anyway. Keep in mind that the above details are technically rumors; the source is hardly anything credible. Just be on the lookout for the upcoming issue of Game Informer for confirmation. What I can tell you in confidence is that we won’t be seeing Arkham City on store shelves until Fall of 2011. So. It’s time to play the waiting game. (IGN)

Nomura Provides Versus XIII/Agito XIII Updates

Woo. For those of you who are still waiting with bated breath for every Final Fantasy XIII-related piece of news, today is a happy day! Apparently both Agito and Versus XIII are currently undergoing the voice casting process. Which means they must be getting somewhere, right? If you don’t believe me, then believe Mr. Nomura. Here’s what he tweeted the other day: “Agito and Versus have different production styles and progress states, but they’re both presently undergoing voice casting. The 3rd Birthday’s recording will end shortly. Next up is Agito.”

He did go on to say a little more about Versus XIII. Apparently there’s a lot he could announce about the game, but due to Square Enix’s policies he cannot. However, he did comment on the nature of Versus XIII’s world map: “There have been many questions regarding fields. It’s not a completely open world. It’s like the 2D FF games in HD. Although, in terms of looks, it’s not a top-down view, it’s like the screenshots that have been released. You’ll move through the world from that view.”

Hm. Vague as that is, it already sounds more promising than Final Fantasy XIII’s abominable tunnels. In truth, I am still holding out for Versus XIII simply because it has the chance to be the game that Final Fantasy XIII failed to be. Obviously I have absolutely no reason to believe that it will be, but hope springs eternal. (IGN)

Please God Yes: Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia HD Collections Rumored

Oh man. I could care less about Splinter Cell, but an HD collection of the Sands of Time trilogy would be a literal dream come true. According to Joystiq, Amazon France is listing – or listed – trilogy collections for two classic Ubisoft franchises: Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia, both set for release in November. Below is visual evidence.

Obviously there’s no way of knowing if this is true or not. I’d like to say that Riddlethos has contacted Ubisoft for comment and will be back with you shortly, but we haven’t, because we don’t have any PR contacts with Ubisoft. Or anyone.

I can assure you, though, that we’ll be doing everything in our power to ensure that this is true. And by that I mean I’ll be kneeling at my bedside every night and offering up a prayer to whatever deities care to listen.

Well, that’s a wrap. Seeing that I’m still recovering from the dread mono, I have all of today off work. And tomorrow. Thursday, I believe, I make my return. In any case, I have some time to play games. Will I play anything aside from Modern Warfare 2? That’s yet to be seen, but for the record, I have been planning to re-start and finish Dragon Age: Origins. Also, I’ve been feeling an intense desire of late to re-visit an old friend, Ocarina of Time.

‘Till next time, you hateful creeps!

P.S, what the hell is a Scott Pilgrim Week?

Hey! Look! Listen! #57

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom: let it be.”

Fifty years later, those guys are still smarter than I’ll ever be.

Welcome to the much-belated fifty-seventh edition of Hey! Look! Listen!, good citizens of Riddlethos. I can only imagine the anticipation with which you’ve looked forward to this day.

I can only imagine it because I’m sure it doesn’t actually exist anywhere outside of my imagination. But, I’m not going to let that hurtful little fact bring me down today. As the previous post made clear, I’m back. Bitches. And now it’s time for you to HeyLookListen to whatever I want you to HeyLookListen to!

Heavy Rain Devs Working on Two New Projects

Did you enjoy Heavy Rain? I certainly hope so, it was an amazing title – as should be evidenced by the glowing review I wrote for it. (My opinion, after all, is definitive.)

Anyway, even if you didn’t like Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream is apparently gonna keep on keepin’ on. Speaking to the Examiner, the company’s main man David Cage confirmed that his studio was working on not one, but two “very different projects.”

“After Heavy Rain, we have some credibility in experimenting with new IPs and new concepts,” Cage said. “We are not going to play it safe from now, we are going to use this credibility to continue to take risks, give ourselves exciting challenges and try to invent new ways of playing.”

Sweet. I mean, obviously, that means nothing when it comes down to it, but I’m just glad to know that they’re working on something. Hopefully we’ll see the results in less than five years? (VG247)

LOLocaust: This is How Much the ESRB Cares About Online Privacy

Is LOLocaust in bad taste? I’ve been using it as a phrase for a long time now, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it in a Riddlethos post. Ah well, it’s my first day back, and I feel like doing something controversial. Like combining genocide with an internet meme. Doesn’t get much more controversial than that, right?

Well, as controversial as that might be, I guarantee you that far more people care about Blizzard’s recent (failed) attempt to introduce a new policy that required people to display their full names in online forums. The idea, I suppose, was to cultivate a greater sense of online tact and responsibility; when you don’t have a clever internet nick to hide behind, people tend to act more civil.

But people don’t get on the internet to act civil, which is why everyone proceeded to throw a goddamn stink. In fact, a thousand people went so far as to email the ESRB, crying out for a redress of online grievances. Why the ESRB? Probably because they’ve been a proponent of online privacy in the past, with initiatives such as the aptly-named Privacy Online program.

Well. In a move that positively oozes irony of the most delicious variety, the ESRB responded to said emails.

No, that’s not the ironic part. The ironic part is that when they sent said response, they CC’d all 1000 people.

What that means is that everyone who received said response also received the email addresses of 1000 people.

Kotaku seems to think that whoever sent the email simply hit “reply all,” which would make this an honest mistake. However, Kotaku commenter MechaPumpkin aptly notes that there’s something distinctly wrong with that explanation:

Okay I’m a little confused by this.

It couldn’t have been a “reply to all” unless all of these people were originally in the email NOT in the BCC to the ESRB. They all had to be in the “to” field or “CC” field, right? Like the email to the ESRB was a single email with one source? You can’t “reply to all” otherwise. Or was it an actual petition where everyone signed their email addresses? So it was exposed anyway (I mean you can’t “sign” a petition without giving a name or maybe in this case an email address).

So what this means is the ESRB took the email addresses of all the individual complaint letters and put them in the “to” field right?

Just doesn’t make sense as described in the article. Or am I missing something?

No, Mr. Pumpkin, I don’t think you are. And I’m willing to guess that whoever took the time to CC 1000 people knew exactly what they were doing. Having a laugh at the expense of a bunch of whiny overreactors, perhaps? Hell, I would. (Kotaku)

Here, Have Some Metroid: Other M Videos

I’m still maintaining a fairly palpable level anticipation for Tecmo/Nintendo’s relaunching of the Metroid franchise. I really dig the unconventional mixture of 2D and 3D gameplay styles, I’m tentatively excited for a more plot-driven approach (as long as it’s done *well*), and it seems as if they might be keeping the Metroid atmosphere intact this time around. (Something that Prime 3 did not accomplish.) Anyway, a few new videos were just released. The first one is really gimmicky and promotional, but the second one shows off some meaty chunks of awesome-looking gameplay. Check them out.

For whatever reason I can’t embed the damn things, so head over to this Kotaku page if you’re interested. Apologies, the internet is stupid sometimes.

Dragon Age 2 is Going All Mass Effect On Us

And hey, you certainly don’t hear me complaining. As strong a game as Dragon Age may have been, Mass Effect 2 was undoubtedly the stronger, more polished product on nearly every level.

So, in just what ways is Dragon Age 2 becoming more like its sci-fi brother, Mass Effect? First and foremost, you can say goodbye to the silent protagonist of the original game. Like Mass Effect, the protagonist of Dragon Age 2 will have a voice, a name (Hawke), and a personality. A decision that I’m sure will piss off more than a few, but it’s welcome news to me. Silent protagonists are dumb, especially in an experience as rich as Dragon Age.

Second, rather than keeping the traditional dialogue “tree,” where your exact dialog choices are displayed on-screen, Dragon Age 2 will be implementing Mass Effect’s (much more entertaining and intuitive) “dialog wheel.” Y’know, the one where you choose what’s going through your head, and your character then responds appropriately. I have no idea why the first Dragon Age didn’t do this, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re implementing the feature for the sequel.

Finally – and this change will prove to be the most controversial, I’m sure – the console versions of Dragon Age will feature combat “more tailored to the strengths of the PS3 and 360.” In other words, if you want the same strategic combat style of the original Dragon Age, you’ll have to go with the PC version. Once again, I’m fine with this. PC strategy action is meant for PC games.

So yeah, point being, you’ve got some major Mass Effect in your Dragon Age. This is more or less what I anticipated. Head over to GameInformer’s website for a few more odds and ends (you’ll be able to carry over save data, there’s a new graphical style, et cet).

My word count is now at 1194. No, wait. 1200. Not bad for the first day back on the job, I gotta say. Look forward to more of this in the near future, and until then, I leave you with this question: who else doesn’t really care about Dragon Quest IX?

Hey! Look! Listen! Audio Edition #002

Friday, July 9th, 2010

HLLAudioEdition
The podcast you wished had disappeared forever is back! With no Riddles nor Pogo, Constipated Cow steps up, and the results are disastrous! If you’re in a particularly masochistic mood, listen to these two idiots struggle for things to say and finally settle on creating demeaning situations for Cow’s girlfriend. To make things worse, Ethos wrote a terrible theme song that doesn’t suit the podcast one bit!

Please to enjoy.

Download directly here.

Subscribe to the RSS feed here.

Subscribe to it on iTunes here.

Hey! Look! Longview! #56

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Well, subtle is definitely not my middle name. But, truth be told, we’ve never been much for subtlety here at Riddlethos.com. We generally prefer blunt and obvious stupidity. Just part of our unique charm, I suppose.

Or… whatever you’d call it. Maybe “charm” isn’t the right word.

But already, I digress. Welcome to the fifty-sixth edition of Hey! Look! Listen! As per usual, I am your host Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and I wish I had the money to buy Green Day Rock Band. I also wish I had the money to go to the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival this weekend. But alas, I have neither of  those things, which constitutes an epic musical fail. Oh well. Maybe I’ll start a cover band.

But, for now, I suppose I’ll settle for sharing some goings-on in the world of videogames. It’s a distinctly pre-E3 climate right now (obviously) which always produces a sort of energized lull that’s difficult to define. So instead of trying to define it, I think I’ll just write some stories.

Know Your Enemy: Proof that Final Fantasy XIII is Composed of Pure Evil

Apparently it wasn’t enough for Final Fantasy XIII to merely suck; now it destroys PS3s.

Or, at least, that’s what a group of people in San Fransisco are claiming. When they attempted to save their game for the first time, their consoles supposedly froze and died forever. They went to Sony first, who told them it was Square Enix’s fault. They went to Square Enix, who told them it was Sony’s fault. Point being, neither company was kind enough to fix the bricked consoles, so now they’re being sued in a class-action lawsuit. For $5 million.

Well. Thank god Final Fantasy XIII didn’t do that to me, at least. Talk about insult to injury. If you’re interested, the full PDF of the suit is available here. (IGN)

Welcome to Paradise: Red Dead Revolver Ships 5 Million, GTA IV Sells 17

Take-Two discussed their second quarter financials today, and happened to let slip the fact that Rockstar’s latest blockbuster, Red Dead Revolver, had already shipped 5 million copies. Now, granted, that’s shipped, not sold – but still, it’s big. It’s a big number.

Y’know what’s even bigger? 17 million. And, according to Take-Two, that’s how many copies that Grand Theft Auto IV has sold since its release back in April 2008. That is a lot. A lot lot. Holy freaking hell.

And… that’s about it. I just felt like throwing some numbers around. Moving on!  (IGN)

Jackass: Tomonobu Itagaki to Announce New Game at E3

You probably know who Tomonobu Itagaki is. If not, he’s the Ninja Gaiden guy. Not the old side-scrollers, but the bloody 3D re-imaginings. And I know you’ve heard of Ninja Gaiden before, because the first game was released no less than three times. Hell, even Ninja Gaiden 2 was released twice.

Oh, yeah, and he’s also responsible for the Dead or Alive games. The fighers and the slutty volleyball spinoffs.

Anyway. The thing about Mr. Itagaki is that he’s sort of a douche. He’s very much full of himself, which is made painfully obvious in pretty much every interview that he’s ever done. And, while being full of yourself is bad enough, what makes it even more obnoxious in my eyes is the fact that the guy really hasn’t done anything that amazing. Ninja Gaiden is, more or less, a hack-’n-slash actioner that uses gratuitous sex and violence as its primary selling point. Revolutionary, eh? Now, to be fair, it’s a very solidly built hack-’n-slash actioner, but it’s still nothing to write home about, and never has been. Admittedly, I haven’t played Dead or Alive – but from the looks of it, and given the general opinions on it, I’d wager you could say the same thing.

Itagaki happily made games for Tecmo for a long time. But, a few years back  - late 2008, if I recall – Tecmo and Mr. Itagaki ran afoul of eachother. My memory’s a bit hazy, and I’m too lazy to look up the specifics; but if I recall, Mr. Itagaki and quite a few other employees filed suit against Tecmo demanding unpaid wages and bonuses. They won. Itagaki left Tecmo, and he’s been relatively quiet since then – although, he’s always assured us that he was at work on a new game.

And now that I’ve written a 300-word mini-bio on this jackass, I might as well tell you the actual news part: he’ll be showing off his new game at E3 2010. Yep. He announced it in a blog post over at the website for his studio, Valhalla Games. Read it here, and be amazed at how douchy he makes himself sound in just a few short, matter-of-factual paragraphs. (Gaming Today)

Nice Guys Finish Last: Yakuza 4 Coming to North America

Well. Much less torturous waiting this time around. Apparently Yakuza 3 sold pretty well in the west when Sega finally brought it over. Well enough, at least, for them to give Yakuza 4 the same treatment.

Yakuza 4 was released in Japan back on March 18, 2010; it’ll be on American shores in the springtime of 2011. Good news, eh? Eh?

Frankly, I don’t really care that much. The only experience I have with the Yakuza series is when I played the demo for Yakuza 3 at Ethos’ place. But, be that as it may, he and I share one fantastic memory of the franchise, and it can be described in a single word: Karaoke. (Kotaku)

Waiting: New Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Trailer is Incredibly Awesome

I really, really want this game. I never even played Heavenly Sword, and I fucking can’t wait for Enslaved. This new E3 trailer seals the deal. Watch it, and be impressed.

Now, c’mon. Tell me you weren’t impressed. At least a little.

Well golly, it looks like I’m drawing close to that non-existent 1000-word limit!

Seriously, there’s no limit, I just have to stop at some point. So. Might as well be now?

And just so everyone knows, I’ve totally had my Green Day music library on shuffle the entire time while writing this. So, ideally, you’ll be listening to Green Day whilst reading. But I’m going to guess that none of you are, and frankly, that’s a shame. Because they’re awesome.

Hey! Look! Listen! #55

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

There’s a lot of stuff in my RSS reader today. Way too much for me to process right now, in fact; though I’ll do my best to touch on the more relevant news items.

Anyway, ah. Welcome to another edition of Hey! Look! Listen! I’m your host Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and there WILL be a happy ending this time!

Ahem. So. Let’s get to it.

RUMOR: Sony to Reveal “PSN+” at E3?

Okay, I like the sound of this. If it’s true, Sony has the right idea about premium online services, unlike Microsoft.

According to one of Joystiq’s sources, Sony is prepping to reveal a service called “PSN+” at their 2010 E3 Media Briefing. The rumored benefits of a PSN+ subscriber are as follows:

-Free access to a “rotating list” of PSP Minis and PSone classics. That’s pretty damn sweet.

-”Exclusive in-game DLC. Eh, that’s something I suppose.

-”First Hour” demo access to full retail titles. Unfortunately, to access the hour demo, you have to download the full game file. Still, you don’t pay unless you choose to purchase full access.

-Free “PlayStation Protection Plan” access. Yeah, that’s pretty nice.

-Cross-game voice chat. Ehh… well, I suppose that’ll excite other people.

-Cloud-based game saves. Meaning… you could access them anywhere, I suppose? Sweet.

-Some kinda auto-patching system.

All that extra goodness for PSN+ subscribers. However, online play will remain available to everyone. That’s the big difference between PSN+ and Xbox Live.

It’s rumored that the price would be in the range of $9.99 per month. Seems a bit high, though – Sony must know that it’s a bit pretentious price their service the same as Netflix. In any case, this is currently just a rumor. Frankly, though, I hope it’s true. It might encourage Microsoft to follow suit.

(Joystiq via Gizmodo)

Speaking of PSN: Modern Warfare 2 Doling Double XP This Weekend

That’s right! See, there’s this American holiday called Memorial Day that takes place this Monday the 31st. It’s a day that honors those who died in service of our military, and it’s most often celebrated with wings and beer. But me? Well, I’ll be MW2ing it up the entiiiire weekend. And I’ll have beer. And hell, maybe I’ll pick up some wings. Sounds like a damn fine weekend to me. Except for the part where I’ll suck at Modern Warfare 2 because I haven’t played it in two months. (VG247)

Insomniac Games Signs Deal with EA Partners

While I have no real experience with Insomniac Games’ work (never played Resistance, never played Ratchet and Clank) this is still an interesting bit of news; Insomniac Games has only ever made games for Sony platforms. But now, in wake of a deal with EA Partners, they’re working on a game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

The days of platform loyalty really are dead. And no, I don’t necessarily view that as a bad thing. I’m just stating an increasingly apparent fact.

Anyway. Insomniac Games will continue to work with Sony, so don’t fret, Resistance 3 is still in the works. Absolutely no details were offered on what kind of game they’re developing for EA, or when it will be released. If you want the full story, check out VG247’s interview with Insomniac’s Ted Price.

Mass Effect is Being Made Into a Movie

Yeah… I suppose it was just a matter of time.

Legendary Pictures, the studio behind films such as The Dark Knight and 300, have reportedly snapped up the film rights to Mass Effect. BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk will serve as executive producers, along with series producer Casey Hudson. I Am Legend screenwriter Mark Protosevich is supposedly interest in working on the film, and it will be produced by Avi and Ari Arad, as well as Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.

Sound great, right? Meh. Not to me. The Mass Effect franchise represents a narrative experience that can only be achieved through an interactive media like a videogame. To make it into a film would be to cheapen it. It just wouldn’t be Mass Effect as Mass Effect was meant to be experienced. (VG247)

QUICKIES:

Ubisoft Toronto Working on New Splinter Cell Game - Yay, Toronto! That’s where Ethos lives!

RUMOR: Killzone 3 Coming May 2011, Features 4-Player Co-op - Okay. I mean, again, I really don’t care much about Killzone. But for those of you who do, have some rumor stew!

Alright. Well, that’s it. We’re done. Goodbye now!

Hey! Look! Listen! #54

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Oh, hey! It’s this column!

I know I only missed a week, but it feels… longer. But, then again, last week felt like it lasted for 327 years, so that might be why. In any case, I’m back, and sincerely happy to be here. I have seen the world outside, and it’s a far less pleasant place than Riddlethos.

Generally speaking.

I actually *don’t* have Alan Wake at this exact moment, but that’s only because I rushed home to begin work on this very article. Still grabbing it tonight, and I’ll have impressions up by tomorrow evening at the latest. Or, if I’m feeling crazy enough, tonight. (Don’t count on that one, though. Just throwing it out there. To torture you.)

Final Fantasy XIII Sells 5.5 Million, Square Enix Has Record Year

I didn’t realize until now, but during its 2009-2010 fiscal year, Square Enix released a numbered Dragon Quest, a numbered Final Fantasy, and two Kingdom Hearts games. The result? Money, and lots of it.

In an earnings report today, Square Enix announced that their games division had seen a 128.4 % increase in sales over the previous year, to 109,949 million yen. Operating income went up 254% over the previous year to 23,814 million yen. All considered, it’s the best fiscal year they’ve had since the Square and Enix merger in 2003.

Impressive, eh? You can thank Final Fantasy XIII, sad as that is to say. It’s sold a combined 5.55 million units since its release in Japan last year. Perhaps even more absurd, though, is the four million strong that Dragon Quest IX pushed – seeing that it was only released in Japan.

So, despite the apparent loss of their ability to make good RPGs, Square Enix isn’t going anywhere. And that’s all I’m really taking away from this. (IGN)

Square Enix “Looking Into” Releasing Vs. XIII on 360

Totally called this. Not that it’s much of a “call” these days. Publishers tend to release games on multiple platforms. It makes sense, and it’s not as difficult to do as it (apparently) once was.

During an investor meeting, in which financial matters (such as those in the story above) were being discussed, Square Enix’s president Yoichi Wada had this to say concerning Final Fantasy Vs. XIII’s multiplatform-ness:

“We’ll be looking into it internally until right before the formal announcement.”

Looking into it. Alrighty then. You know what I’d like to see, now that I think about it? A breakdown of how many copies that Final Fantasy XIII sold on the 360. I have a feeling that, if I could see one, I might be able to predict their decision. (VG247)

Aggregate Ranking Roundup: Alan Wake, Prince of Persia, Red Dead Redemption

As you’ve likely gathered, it’s Alan Wake Week here at Riddlethos. But, Alan wasn’t the only contender for the “honor” – a certain Prince and an assortment of outlaws from the Old West made fine arguments in their favor. Now that the week is here, how exactly are the three games faring in the critical realm?

Sitting comfortably on the first place position is Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. It’s currently holding down a 95.79% aggregate score on GameRankings. (It’s worth noting, I suppose, that the PS3 version only has a 93.36%). Impressive. Most impressive. Only based on twelve reviews at this point, but still. Maybe we should have made this Red Dead Week. Oh well.

Coming in at number two is our very own Alan Wake, with an aggregate score of 84.40% And that’s based on 40 reviews. Solid. Quite solid. I’m excited to judge for myself.

And, at number three, everyone’s favorite Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands with a 76.00%. That’s only based on five reviews, yes, but… disappointing? The reviews are actually largely positive. But, frankly, when I play Prince of Persia, I’m expecting a masterpiece. Then again, after 2008’s rather underwhelming reboot, maybe I… shouldn’t. Ah well. I’ll buy it and play for myself eventually; frankly, I’m hoping it drops in price as quickly as the last game did.

Aw, C’mon: Mass Effect 2’s Mining Streamlined

I didn’t do a whole lot of mining in Mass Effect 2, which I know did me no favors. (You gotta do it if you want to get higher-level weapon upgrades.) However, the reason I didn’t do much mining in Mass Effect 2 is because it was slow. Very. Very. Slow. It was actually kinda fun in an odd way, but god damn… was it ever slow.

Anyway. I think you catch my drift. The reason I’m writing this story is because BioWare released a patch for the 360 version of Mass Effect 2 (PC patch coming soon, supposedly) that addresses this exact issue. And according to Gaming Today’s Phil Owen, “The scanner now moves very quickly, and the scanner itself is much larger… talk about streamlining.”

Well fuck. That would have been nice four months ago, BioWare. Then, maybe then, I could have acquired that awesome [insert high level something or other here] that I always fucking wanted. (Gaming Today)

Oh, For Fuck’s Sake: Nintendo Attempting to Make New Zelda “Easier to Play”

I haven’t been reminded of this fact terribly often lately, but it remains: I hate, hate, hate, hate Nintendo. So much. So much. So. Much. It started with childish gimmicks like motion controls. Then it was instructional DVDs teaching us how to play games. And now? Well, now they’re taking my once-favorite franchise of all time and… doing god-knows-what. Whatever it is, it can’t be good.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Zelda, was recently speaking with a German gaming site Gaming Media about the illustrious, unreleased Zelda title for the Wii. (1UP transcribes). During said interview, he claimed that Nintendo was “creating a new way to play the game.” Excitement? No. Definitely not excitement. Why? Here’s why:

“We are trying to make Zelda, which has become very complicated, easier to play.”

Complicated? Complicated?! Complicated?!

Pardon me while my mind explodes.

Ahh, that’s better.

Okay, maybe I’m thinking of the wrong Zelda here. You know, the fucking bread-and-butter of action-adventure games? Crawl dungeons, fight baddies solve puzzles? Again: bread-and-butter. BREAD AND FUCKING BUTTER.

BREAD AND BUTTER IS NOT COMPLICATED.

Oh man. I just… have no words. Link… what are they doing to you over there?

It’s just… I have these awful mental images of everyone’s favorite Hero of Time being chronically sodomized by grinning, aging Japanese businessmen. For a while, I imagined Miyamoto merely sitting on the sidelines and watching; perhaps with a sort of subdued distaste. But now? Well, now’s he’s part of the action. And I just can’t handle that.

…and now that I have concluded the most disgusting tangent ever written on Riddlethos.com, I will take my leave. Goodnight, everyone. Enjoy the mental imagery.

Hey! Look! Listen! #53 – Quickie Edition

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Contrary to what people such as my own roomate may be saying, I am not dead. And, hopefully, this article will prove that. We all had a good laugh, yes, but we will return to some form of normalcy now.

Except for that banner. It’s staying. That’s what you get for complaining about the original one. Enjoy being flipped off all week, fuckers!

Ahem. Unfortunately, there’s really very little news to report on today; but we’ll do our best to dig something up.

Kratos Returning to the PSP

Yep, it seems Kratos has another story to tell after all. A prequel story, but a story nonetheless. God of War: Ghost of Olympus will take place right after the original God of War, and will show Kratos’ ascension to the God of War’s throne.

Sounds a bit like a milking, but then again, people did love the previous God of War game on the PSP. (I never played it.) If you want a full description of the press release, Kotaku has it right here. I don’t feel like trying to paraphrase it; it’s rather lengthy.

Cryptic Facebook Message Hints at Assassin’s Creed 3?

Well, uh, again… the story is the headline here. On the official Assassin’s Creed facebook page, Dr. Warren Vidic leaves the message: “It is the time of our rising. A new age enters and a great battle looms. Templar destiny is at hand and waiting for you. – Dr. Vidic”

This could be a hint at an E3 reveal. Seeing that Ubisoft has already confirmed Assassin’s Creed III for this holiday season, it wouldn’t come as a surprise.

The Force Unleashed II Given a Release Date

I didn’t play too much of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, but I liked what I did play. It was a solid action game, and as a Star Wars fan I enjoyed it. Now, in another announcement via Facebook, The Force Unleashed II has been given an October 26 release date.

Star Wars fanatics, rejoice! Let’s hope they address a few of the original’s weaknesses. The game was good, but it certainly was not perfect. (Kotaku)

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Being Optioned for PS3 Release?

Huh. How weird is that? According to GamePro, a Konami rep at a recent Peace Walker press event was gauging interest in a PSN release for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Would you rather have Peace Walker on your PSP, or downloadable via PSN?

Me, I’ve never even played Metal Gear so I don’t care too much either way. This summer, though…

Alright, well, that’s all I’ve got, fellas. If you take nothing else away from this, at least remember that I’m not dead. Really, I’m not. And I repeat: that banner’s going nowhere. Get used to being flipped off! Ba-haha!

Was that redundant? It probably was… ah well. Later!


Hey! Look! Listen! #52

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

It’s TUESDAY, everyone! And you know what that means; or, you should.

That’s right, it’s time for a big, beautiful new edition of Hey! Look! Listen! I’m your host Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and just two days ago, I managed to delete my ENTIRE music collection off my computer. And off my external. Case in point: it was all completely, 100 percent gone.

Well, I actually managed to recover some of it with recovery software. And Charlie, being a music man, has quite a collection for me to sample from. So, it wasn’t as awful as it could have been. Even as we speak, I’m enjoying psychedelic tones of The Flaming Lips. (Soft Bulletin, to be specific.)

But nobody cares about that. It’s time to talk about VIDJA GAMEZ

Courtesy of Kotaku's latest Shop Contest.

26 Employees Have Left Infinity Ward

Ahhh. Karma’s a bitch, eh Mr. Kotick?

Last Friday, five more people packed their bags and left Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward. During the subsequent weekend, three more people left. And, just yesterday, five more parted ways with the sinking development studio.

The total number of IW employees who have jumped ship is now at 26. Of those 26, 12 have been confirmed to now be employed by upstart development studio Respawn, which is headed up by ex-Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella.

There’s nothing quite like a good quitting story. And this is one of the best I’ve heard in a while. I really hope Activision recognizes the fact that they’re reaping what they’ve sown here. As far as I’m concerned, Modern Warfare is dead – I’m ready to see what Respawn Entertainment as in store for us. (Kotaku, VG247)

California’s Violent Game Bill Being Re-Heated

Mmmm, microwaved Violent Game Legislation leftovers.  So gewd, so gewd.

Well, not really. But it makes for some good Game Journalism fodder, I guess. Remember California Senator Leland Yee? He actually used to be in gaming headlines fairly often, mostly because of the bill he wrote stipulating the restriction of violent game sales to minors. The bill was actually signed into law by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but then subsequently blocked by the state courts.

And now, for god-knows-what-reason, the damn thing is going to the supreme court.

As you can imagine, certain people are happy about this, and certain other people are not. Mike Gallagher, head of the Entertainment Software Association, is not. Speaking to Kotaku, he said the bill “…could have a distinct chilling effect on the types of games that are made, the types of games that are marketed, and certainly the types of games that are sold, and how widely available they are.”

Yes, well, any law that essentially defines the demographic of certain products could have that effect.

Leland Yee, on the other hand, is more optimistic on the matter. Makes sense, I suppose, seeing that he wrote the bill and whatnot. Here’s what he had to say to Kotaku:

This is not about Leland Yee trying to destroy the industry. This is not about Leland Yee trying to prevent any of you game [developers] from developing any more atrocious kinds of games. This is a free society. If you have the imagination to do something even more horrible with the technology, then god bless you. That’s part of our freedom of expression here in America, but you just have to figure out when it’s appropriate and when it’s not appropriate. For me, as a child psychologist you ought not be doing it for kids.

He just couldn’t resist those smug, holier-than-thou comments that tend to characterize game-hating politicians, could he? Perhaps you’re wondering what Mr. Yee considers an “atrocious” kind of game. This excerpt from his bill shines a little light on the matter:

(A) Comes within all of the following descriptions:
(i) A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors.
(ii) It is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors.
(iii) It causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
(B) Enables the player to virtually inflict serious injury upon images of human beings or characters with substantially human characteristics in a manner which is especially heinous, cruel, or depraved in that it involves torture or serious physical abuse to the victim.

Lots of vague language in there, like “reasonable person,” and “prevailing standards in the community.” Also, (and I know I’m just being difficult here, but still) by my eyes, Link from The Wind Waker inflicts some pretty “serious injury” on “characters with substantially human characteristics.” Maybe not in a “heinous or cruel” fashion, per se, but being bludgeoned with a Master’s Sword certainly involves “serious physical abuse to the victim,” wouldn’t you say?

The silver lining in this scenario is that once the Supreme Court rules on this, it’ll likely put a pretty decisive end to any and all similar litigation. Or… so we can hope, I suppose. (Kotaku)

Dunno who did this, but thanks.

WTF: Square Enix Announces New “Extreme Edges” Label

God. Square Enix continues to display their ignorance of what appeals to Western gamers. Whether it’s releasing a watered-down mockery of Final Fantasy or making an announcement like this, the result is the same: a collective “WTF” from the audience they’re trying so hard to garner.

In the latest Famitsu, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada announced that Western-developed games bearing the CERO D and CERO Z ratings will be published under the new Square Enix Extreme Edges” label. (CERO D is equivalent to an M rating, while CERO Z is similar to the dreaded AO rating.)

Supposedly, the intent of this is to inform consumers of what to expect from the games they buy. My translation: Japanese Square Enix fanbots who buy anything with their logo on it will be spared the pain of purchasing a game like Kane and Lynch: Dog Days.

Yeah… I kinda hope we don’t see that label make its way to the states. It’d be slightly embarassing. (Siliconera)

Kotaku Pisses Off Famitsu

Kotaku recently gave Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu the beatdown it’s deserved for years. Hit the link for the full article, it’s a good read. In a nutshell: Famitsu, and its publisher Enterbrain, are being used to advertise Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP. Hell, one ad campaign prominently features the mug of Enterbrain’s president Hirokazu Hamamura. The entire campaign is a pun on his last name.

What a happy-looking man.

As you’ve likely heard, Peace Walker received a perfect score from Famitsu. 40/40. Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft rightfully called this out as a conflict of interest. Famitsu Magazine appears in Peace Walker. Famitsu magazine and Enterbrain are actively promoting the game, and thus, have a vested interest in its success. Any review would be a conflict of interest. And a perfect score? Well, that just looks downright dirty.

Kotaku Japan – which is an entirely different entity from the Kotaku we know – translated and published the article. Ballsy of them, eh? Well, they paid for it. Famitsu quickly contacted them with complaints. Metal Gear publisher Konami contacted them on the same day, and uninvited them to a Peace Walker launch event.

Fishy, fishy, fishy. Remember when receiving a 40/40 from Famitsu was a big deal? Those days are long gone. It’s bad enough how Famitsu is acting, but frankly, the fact that Konami took issue and snubbed Kotaku Japan in such a way is the most damning evidence.

Who knows what really happened. Maybe Konami didn’t buy that 40/40. Maybe it’s a coincidence that they both decided to bitchslap Kotaku on the same day. But no matter what the actual facts are, it’s an entirely inappropriate thing. It is, at the end of the day, a blatant conflict of interest – and that’s a fact. (Kotaku)

Comcast Named Worst Company of 2010 by Consumerist.com

This one will only interest our American readers, probably – but, speaking of, how many of you guys have Comcast? Most of you? Maybe all of you? Yeah, they kinda have a stranglehold on the cable internet market. As a result, they’ve never really had to care about those things called “customers” Oh, and that 250 GB per-month limit? What’s up with that? And that FCC ruling they pushed through? Come on, now.

Anyway. Through the very internets they supply, they’ve finally gotten theirs. Kinda. People over at Consumerist.com voted them 2010’s Worst Company in America, beating out titans such as Ticketmaster, Cash4Gold, and Apple. Mikel Fahey of Kotaku had this to say:

Congratulations, Comcast! I’d send you an e-card or something, but I need to watch my bandwidth, jerks.

I really should stop wanking off Kotaku. Maybe it’ll happen one day. (Kotaku)

When I’m working for them. HA!

Erm, well anyway, that’s all she wrote for today, folks. Look for my decision as to what backlog game I’ll be tackling later tonight!

Hey! Look! Listen! #51

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Well! Things may have began somewhat awkwardly this week, but we’re certainly on track now. Or, at least I am. No idea where that bumbling fool Ethos is hiding out. Hopefully you’ll see something from him today.

As you’ve already been informed, Hey! Look! Listen! is now a once-weekly affair. Ethos will be providing Friday news in the form of his deranged Tingle-themed column. I think the arrangement is mutually beneficial, and should keep things varied around here. And, maybe in the future, Ethos will find the time to include more than one news story.

Heh heh. Anyway. On to the topics of interest!

Apple’s iPhone 4.0 Lost, Recovered by Gizmodo


That’s right. An Apple employee managed to lose an iPhone 4.0 in a bar, and Gizmodo ended up swiping it for $500.

Gary Powell is a software engineer for Apple. About a month ago he was celebrating his 27th birthday at a bar in Redwood City, California. He had with  him a next-generation iPhone, cleverly disguised as a normal 3GS. Unfortunately for him, when he left the bar, he left the phone behind. The phone ended up in the hands of some unnamed guy who eventually sold it to Gizmodo for $500.

Gizmodo, of course, proceeded to blow the lid off of Apple’s next-generation iPhone. They were unable to turn on the device, but they managed to glean plenty of information nonetheless. Check it out at Gizmodo.com.

I personally think it looks pretty damn sweet. The flatter, sharp-edged new design is a huge draw to me, I think it looks far better than the curved models. The increased screen resolution is a huge plus, and even the new frontal camera could be neat. (Video chat calls, anyone?)

Ugh. My internal smartphone conflict remains unresolved. Apparently, Apple was pretty eager to get their prototype back, and it’s been returned to them. Hopefully they won’t go too hard on the poor schmuck who lost it in the first place. (Gizmodo)

Ubisoft Getting Rid of Paper Game Manuals

Yep, that’s right! In the interest of being eco-friendly, Ubisoft is doing away with paper manuals for their games. Instead, you’ll access an in-game digital menu. From their official statement on the matter:

Ubisoft internal data shows that producing one ton of paper used in Ubisoft’s game manuals consumes an average of two tons of wood from 13 trees, with a net energy of 28 million BTU’s (equivalent to average heating and energy for one home/year), greenhouse gases equivalent of over 6,000 lbs of CO2, and wastewater of almost 15,000 gallons.

Shrug. Hard to find fault with this, I suppose. But, at the same time, I kinda hope this doesn’t catch on. It reminds me of when DVDs stopped coming with paper inserts. Sure, they were fairly useless, but they made it feel like you were getting more for your money. DVD’s felt much… chintzier when they stopped coming with them. (VG247)

Three New Villains Revealed for Arkham Asylum 2

Hell yes. I can’t wait for Arkham Asylum 2, and it’s great to finally get some new info on it.

First, actress Stana Katic, who stars on ABC’s Castle tweeted that she was voicing Talia al Ghul, the daughter to classic Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul.

“I’m voicing Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in ‘Batman Begins’)”

She took the tweets down quickly, but plenty of people saw them thanks to Google’s cache.

Second, we have Maurice LaMarche who’s probably best known for voicing Kif Kroker in Futurama. He spilled the beans while speaking on the Geekcastradio podcast:

I’m about to go in and do Mr. Freeze for Arkham Asylum 2 … He’s out for blood right now because, err… I can’t tell you the situation, but he’s actually somewhat a sympathetic character within the framework of the game.

And finally, we have the voice of Batman himself, Kevin Conroy, speaking during a panel at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo. According to Mr. Conroy, Arkham Asylum 2 will be “really, really dark.” He went on to compare Arkham Asylum 2’s “tone” to Batman: Return of the Joker. A bit strange, seeing that it’s Sega Genesis title from 1991.

In addition to all that, however, Mr. Conroy managed to reveal that Two-Face will be a villain in Arkham Asylum 2. So, there you have it. Three new baddies that will grace our presence in Batman’s next adventure. Let’s hope to see more at E3 2010. (VG247, Kotaku)

Rumor: Nintendo 3Ds Coming This October?

Previously, Nintendo’s only given a window of “before March 2011″ for the release of their 3DS. But now, CVG is very confidently reporting that the handheld will be released a full two months before Christmas – October of 2010, to be specific.

According to “a very senior publishing source:

It’s a surprise – we were expecting it much closer to Christmas. But I suppose it gives Nintendo the opportunity to get it front and centre in people’s minds nice and early.

In my experience, you don’t launch a product that early to Christmas unless you’re confident in it – and going to spend a lot of money on it. We’re reassured that Nintendo is going to give it some decent backing in Q4.

Nintendo’s dismissed the story as “rumor and speculation,” but CVG seems resolute. I suppose I wouldn’t be too surprised, frankly; I mean, why wouldn’t they attempt to take advantage of the Christmas season? At any rate, we’ll probably know for sure when Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference rolls around. Until then, this is technically just a rumor. (CVG via Gizmodo)

QUICKIE: Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Announced – That’s right. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Spring 2011. Full title is Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.

Well, that was enjoyable. Hope you’re all having a delightful evening! Look for the kick-off of our stupid theme week-inspired lists soon.

Hey! Look! Listen! #50

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Damn, we’re so broke, we couldn’t even afford a pretty banner. Sad.

Seriously, though, I am so fucking broke. I guess that comes along with the whole “unemployment” thing, though. Ethos still has a job, from what I understand, but somehow he’s broke too. I told him not to buy that damned piano.

Oh well. SOMEbody out there wants to hire me, right? I just have to find whoever that is. For now, though, let’s set all of my financial woes aside, and talk about videogames.

By the way, as the title implies, this happens to be the fiftieth edition of Hey! Look! Listen! Thank you, thank you; yes, this is a great day for me as well. Anyway. From now on, I’ll be including an issue number in each title.

Check Out this Gears of War 3 Trailer

I’m not terribly experienced with Gears of War. I played through a little over half of the first game, and never got around to the second one. I did enjoy it, though, and I’ll probably finish them both up before Gears 3 descends. This trailer is a bit on the overdramatic side (especially for a game like Gears) but it’s definitely well-done. And there’s a chick in it.

Gears of War 3 is slated for release on April 8, 2011. And, reportedly, it will feature four-player co-op, a step up from the previous games. A ways off, yes, but it’s never too early to launch a hype train. (Kotaku)

Heavenly Sword Developers to Make Devil May Cry 5?

According to some blog entitled “The Silent Chief,” Game Informer’s May issue spills the beans on the future of Capcom’s Devil May Cry franchise. Supposedly, they’re turning to Heavenly Sword developer Ninja Theory to work on the series’ fifth installment. The Game Informer quote is as follows:

Loose Talk has learned that Enslaved isn’t the only game Ninja Theory is working on-we’ve heard that the Cambridge, England developer is being tapped for the next Devil May Cry.

It is not totally unexpected, however; Capcom has said that although it is shying away from Western developer for new IP, it would continue to utilize them for known franchises, which DMC certainly is.

Interesting. I have very little experience with Heavenly Sword, but given the type of gameplay it contains, Ninja Theory isn’t an odd choice by Capcom. Frankly, Devil May Cry is a franchise that needs a major shot in the arm if it’s going to continue on in any respectable form, especially after games such as Bayonetta have so thoroughly defeated it at it’s own game. (Pun intended…?) So, maybe this new creative leadership is exactly what it needs. (Kotaku via The Silent Chief)

Google Looking to Tap the Gaming Business?

Google has their hands in plenty these days, from cutting-edge smartphones to Google Chrome OS Laptops. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they plan to do something in the realm of videogames.

Google recently hired an ex-SCEA employee named Mark DeLoura, who formerly acted as Sony’s manager of developer relations. His official job title at Google is “Developer Advocate.” No details were offered as to what, exactly, he’ll be doing for Google, but it’s safe to assume that it has something to do with games. Speaking to GamaSutra, DeLoura said “I personally feel that Google hiring someone specifically to focus on games is a signal from the company that they recognize the growing importance of games as a medium.”

With the iPhone becoming a more and more legitimate gaming platform, I’m sure Google is looking to follow suit with their line of Android OS smartphones. Then again, it is Google. Why stop there? They could do practically anything. (Gizmodo)

Reggie Calls 3DS Nintendo’s “Next Handheld Platform”

We already knew this, really, but if there was any doubt before, Nintendo’s 3DS is without question a true successor to the Nintendo DS. Not another re-tooling, but a full-fledged successor. In an interview with BusinessWeek, Fils-Aime said that “We have ideas of what we want to bring to the consumer that we can’t do with the current DS model.”

He also says some stuff about how the business is all about software and blah blah blah. Of course, I agree with him, but Nintendo’s kinda lost their right to talk about quality software if you ask me. (VG247)

I Can’t Buy a 3D Television

Well, yes, my lack of money is a factor as well. But, there’s more to it. Samsung is prepping to roll out their line of 3D-enabled TV sets this year, and they all come with a set of “do nots” that will probably make your head spin. Below is their safety warning, in its entirety:

“Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised when viewing these images. Children under the age of six should not view 3D TV.”

“Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilising the unit’s 3D functionality.”

“Viewing 3D television may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability. It is recommended that users take frequent breaks to lessen the potential of these effects. If your eyes show signs of fatigue or dryness or if you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume using it for at least thirty minutes after the symptoms have subsided.”

“Watching TV while wearing 3D glasses for an extended period of time may cause a headache or fatigue. If you experience a headache, fatigue or dizziness, stop viewing TV and rest.”

More often than not, I have a beer at my side while I’m watching TV, or playing a game. In fact, I usually have several beers at my side. Most of them empty. So, Samsung can either find a way to accommodate me in this regard, or I can take my business elsewhere. (TechRadar)

And that’s that! Hope you enjoyed it. This will probably be a fairly relaxed week at Riddlethos.com, but we could all use a breather now and then, eh?