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by Ethos

Hey! Look! Listen!

Friday, February 5th, 2010

HLLfinal

I can’t wake up today. I laid in bed until 1:30 p.m, and I’m still not awake. A bit of an annoyance, to be sure, but I suppose there’s nothing to do but attempt to meet the day head-on in spite of myself.

…or what little is left of today, rather. Welcome to Riddlethos.com, everyone, and welcome to my twice-weekly (sorta) column, Hey! Look! Listen! More than a few things caught my eye today as I scanned my RSS feed, so without further ado, let’s get to the meat.

Damn straight.

IGN Reviews BioShock 2

Hoo boy, it really is almost here, isn’t it? The sequel to what remains my favorite game of this generation, and possibly, of all time. For the last few months, all the many reservations and concerns I had for BioShock 2 have been slowly melting away, and with the heralding of IGN’s written and video reviews, I can safely say that they’re gone. Check out IGN’s US review here and their UK review here. They awarded the game a 9.1 and a 9.0, respectively.

If the reviews are any indication, 2K Marin knew their source material well, and delivered a sequel accordingly. If that’s the case, (and I’ll know for sure in a few short days) then I can’t ask for any more.

No More Original Xbox Games on Xbox Live

Well, it had to happen eventually. After March 15, 2010, Microsoft will not be supporting online play for original Xbox titles. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing on an original Xbox or a 360.

Apologies to the (likely absurdly large number of) people still playing Halo 2 online. I’d almost like to get some official numbers on that. Having never even owned an original Xbox, (or a Gold subscription, for that matter – see the editorial below) this really is a no-never-mind affair to me.  I imagine that it might suck for a variety of other people, but seriously… the world has to move on at some point.

To read Microsoft’s PR spin on the matter, check out the original story on Kotaku.

bayonetta-witchYes, Bayonetta Was  a Commercial Success

Lots of publishers are in the process of reporting Fiscal Year result to this point, and Sega is no exception. And guess what, a certain Bayonetta was their second most popular game in the last nine months, second only to Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. (Which really doesn’t count anyway.)

Reportedly, the game has sold 1.1 million units since its initial release in Japan. I brought up sequel talk a few weeks ago in this very column, and it’s only looking more likely now. (VG247)

Oh Shit: Disgaea Publisher’s Financial Fortunes Looking Grim

Any Disgaea fans out there? Yes? No? Possibly? I know I’m not one of them, but I bought the original game for my brothers a while back and they’ve been telling me to give the series a try since then. I also know a certain Shawn Cooper enjoys them quite a bit.

So, if you do enjoy Disgaea, or any game published by Nippon Ichi Software, you may want to be aware: in the first nine months of its current fiscal year, NIS’s operating profit is down an astronomical 97.5 percent.

Ouch. Big-time, major ouch. I’m too lazy to research in detail right now, but in the last nine months, has NIS release a single game in North America? The Kotaku article I read mentions several titles released in Japan, (Disgaea Infinite, A Witch’s Tale, another Phantom Brave) but not a single game that made it across the ocean.

Just an observation. (Kotaku)

Tease.Final Fantasy VII on PS3 Looking Less and Less Likely, Square Enix Hates Making Towns

Y’know, looking back, I’m forced to wonder why and how the gaming community became so convinced that a Final Fantasy VII remake for the PS3 was going to happen. They showed us a flashy video back in 2006 (which was probably little more than chopped Advent Children footage) called it a “tech demo” and like the hopeless fanboys we are, we latched onto the prospect of a glorious, HD remake, and haven’t let go.

Granted, Square Enix hasn’t really helped the matter; every time it’s brought up they say something to the effect of “yeah, that WOULD be totally awesome, wouldn’t it?” And yet, four years later, they’ve failed to provide such a remake, and they’ve failed to provide adequate an adequate reason as to why it wouldn’t/shouldn’t/couldn’t be made.

Until now, that is. Speaking to Ultimania Magazine, Square Enix big shots Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase finally explained why a Final Fantasy VII remake isn’t feasible: designing towns in HD is just too much of a bitch.

No, seriously:

“It is a result of considering HD graphics will be the mainstream. Considering the amount of work to make graphics that deserve HD, it is hard to make towns in the conventional style,” Toriyama said.

“It is very hard to make games on PlayStation 3 in the same style as the games in that era had. Making graphics will take enormous time,” Kitase added.

Well, there you have it. I suppose this is why Final Fantasy XIII did away with towns altogether, eh?

Weak, Square Enix. Weak. (VG247)

I Want This

Yes, it's for real.

Yes, it's for real.

We’ve reached the end. You’ll note I didn’t include any clever remarks about how this column was somehow worse than February. And that’s because this column isn’t worse than February. February sucks ass.

‘Till next time!

Worse than February: This BioShock 2 Launch Trailer

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

BioShock 2 comes out next week. I can safely say that I’m a little excited.

However, it’s no thanks to this recently released launch trailer for the game.

What’s worse than a trailer without gameplay? A trailer with fake gameplay.

When exactly did these “launch trailer” gimmicks become so common? Sometimes they’re awesome, sometimes they’re lame, but they’re always a gimmick.

Anyway. Still looking forward to BioShock 2. Almost as much as I’m looking forward to the end of February.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

HLLfinal

Just to echo the sentiments of my current Facebook status, there really aren’t enough hours in a day.  So very much to do, and so little time to do it all. But, if I accomplish nothing else today, at least I can take pleasure in this Tuesday edition of Hey! Look! Listen!

Welcome to Hey! Look! Listen! everyone! I’m your host Oliver Motok, and I think I’m developing carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. Makes typing this a bit painful, but I’m doing my best to ignore it. After all, the show must go on… am I right?

That’s enough directionless musing from me. Let’s move on to the meat of things.

vgmusicBoston Music College Training Videogame Composers

Berklee Music College in Boston is offering five different classes this semester that will teach students the many nuances of composing music specifically for videogames. By my knowledge, this is the first time an accredited university has offered something like this. From a Boston Globe report:

Berklee is offering five classes this semester in video game audio or game scoring. Sweet says his typical student is not only knowledgeable about state-of-the-art video games like Modern Warfare and BioShock but also has classroom experience in disciplines like sound production, voice acting, music technology, and film scoring.

Versatility and familiarity are important. In writing for games, composers must anticipate and create cues for the various layers and levels a player passes through. Story lines and scenes change rapidly and unpredictably. As technology improves and memory space expands, moreover, these games have grown more sophisticated, visually and sonically. Players’ expectations rise accordingly, creating a demand for such elements as a full orchestral score.

Interesting. I have absolutely no musical talent or inclinations, so I can’t offer any meaningful commentary – but, if nothing else, this is an intriguing concept. Is it useful or necessary? That I don’t know. Perhaps some of our more musically-inclined readers can comment below. (Kotaku).

Mass Effect 2BioWare Announces “Cerberus Pipeline” Service for Mass Effect 2

In a recent press release, BioWare announced that in order to access DLC for Mass Effect 2, players will use an in-game portal known as the Cerberus Pipeline. This portal is activated by a single-use code that comes packed with the game. Players who purchase the game used will be offered to purchase a new single-use code in-game.

The Cerberus Pipeline will give players access to “bonus content as well as daily messages and news on upcoming releases for Mass Effect 2 for no extra charge.” The first DLC pack will be released concurrently with the game (January 26) and will be given to players free of charge. Included in this pack is “a mission that introduces Zaeed, a rugged and deadly gun-for-hire who is recruited to join Commander Shepard’s mission to save mankind.” In short, you get a new mission and a new party member.

Well, that’s just neato! Mass Effect 2 hits stores in exactly one week. We plan on devoting an entire theme week to it here at Riddlethos, so stay tuned.

GoW3God of War III is Not the End

This hardly comes as a surprise, but I suppose it’s worth reporting.  Sony Santa Monica has stated that God of War III might be the end of the trilogy, but it’s not the end of the franchise. “This is not the end of God of War,” said John Hight, Sony Santa Monica’s director of product development ”This is definitely the end of the trilogy, but we’re going to continue to do God of War games.”

“We’re going to be very careful about what we do; we’re the keepers of the franchise and we don’t want to see it ruined or polluted.”

Well good, because neither do we. God of War III will hit Japan on March 25. A North American release is expected soon afterwards. (GamerVision via VG247).

Jordan ThomasGood Read: Kotaku Talks to BioShock 2’s Creative Director

The original BioShock remains my favorite game of this console generation, and it’s because I adore it so much that I’ve been skeptical about the relevance or necessity of a BioShock 2.

But I have to admit, in spite of my endless bitterness and negativity, I’ve been slowly warming up to BioShock 2 for a variety of reasons. This interview with Jordan Thomas, the game’s creative director, is one of those reasons. It honestly sounds like the guy is in this project for all the right reasons – and, as a fan, I can’t really ask for much more.

Hit the link below to read the full article; I’ll just spoil the ending for you here: “We genuinely believe Bioshock is more about asking questions than sending a message,” Thomas says. “We want to know your answers.” (Kotaku).

evil_bobbyBecause it Made Me Laugh: Bobby Kotick Admits that Activision’s Spider-Man Games Have “Sucked”

Bobby Kotick may be a greedy fat asshead, but at least he’s an honest greedy fat asshead. In the most recent Game Informer, this is what he had to say about his company’s Spider-Man games:

“Our Spider-Man games have sucked for the last five years. They are bad games. They were poorly rated because they were bad games.

“We went away from what is Spider-Man. It’s about web-slinging. If you don’t do web-slinging, what is the fantasy of Spider-Man?”

So. Does this mean we can now look forward to Spider-Man games that, y’know… don’t suck? Or does Mr. Kotick just have a penchant for stating the obvious? (Destructoid via Game Informer).

And that’s a wrap for today, folks. There is much else that requires my attention. Look for my first post concerning JRPG Relapse Week soon, in which I’ll announce what four games I’ll be playing.

‘Till then!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

HLLfinal

I”ve returned, faithful readers, to return my rightful position at the head of HLL.

I suppose I must once again begrudgingly thank Ethos for filling in for me. And also for penning that monster of a Spirit Tracks review directly below…

Let us move on to the news!

isaacDead Space 2 Confirmed

Well, this certainly doesn’t come as a surprise, but it’s officially official now. From the game’s official announcement:

“We’re thrilled to jump back into the series, making the next chapter in Isaac’s journey,” added Steve Papoutsis, Executive Producer of Dead Space 2. “The infection continues to spread throughout space and our hero Isaac Clarke is the only person able to contain it. There are still loads of Necromorphs that need killing. In Dead Space 2, not everything is exactly as it seems. Expect plot twists that will surprise you and a huge cast of twisted, disgusting monsters that are sure to scare the daylights out of you.”

This comes soon after the release of a teaser image, shown below. The text was soon decoded, and translated as “The nightmare is over but it will not end.”

deadspaceteaser

Makes no sense, but it sounds awesome. Needless to say, I’m quite excited, seeing that the original Dead Space is one of my favorite current-generation games. I’m also glad to hear that Isaac is back as the main character; maybe he’ll actually have something to say this time around…?

OH, and this just in: the next issue of Game Informer will feature the first details on the game. What a fantastic time for my subscription to run out. Here’s the full-cover spread below, revealing some notable upgrades in Isaac’s outfight:

gameinformer

Anticipation rises… (Kotaku, GameInformer).

yakuza3Yakuza 3 North American Release Officially Confirmed

Well this one isn’t much of a surprise either, frankly. Sega finally decided to stop playing coy and confirm a rumor that’s been going on for some time now. Writing on the European PlayStation Blog, SEGA Europe’s Online Community Manager had this to say:

One of my responsibilities as it were is dealing with our classic franchises, so I’m especially delighted to be able to at last confirm something that we’ve been working on for what seems like forever.
YAKUZA 3 IS COMING TO THE WEST!

The game will be released in March of 2010.

I’ve never played a Yakuza game before, and I’ve never really cared to. But for some strange reason, I find myself becoming more and more interested in playing Yakuza 3. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been following the tumultous story of its North American release for months now. I think I might be a little preoccupied with a certain Final Fantasy XIII in the month of March, but I find myself with some extra cash and time, I might have to give Yakuza 3 a try. (European PlayStation Blog).

Check Out BioShock 2’s Big Daddy Wreaking Havoc

While this video doesn’t do much to ease my fear that BioShock 2 will be overly action-oriented, it is, admittedly, quite awesome.

As skeptical as I am about the game, I’m excited at the same time. A bit of an odd feeling, really.

And unfortunately, I think that’s all for today. Slow news week thus far. But while HLL may have been short today, Ethos’ review of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is most certainly not. Scroll down a bit, and give it a read.

‘Till next time!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

HLLfinal

Hello again, and welcome to the Tuesday edition of Hey! Look! Listen!

I know it’s technically Wednesday, but oh well. I’m your host Oliver Motok, and I’ve already pumped ten hours into Assassin’s Creed II. It is just that good. Impressions forthcoming.

For now, you’ll have to settle for a small dose of news.

mw2bannedModern Warfare 2 Banned in Russia… Or Not

A few days ago, reports that Modern Warfare 2 had been banned in Russia surfaced. Apparently, and unsurprisingly, they got pissed over the now-infamous terrorist airport scene, (seeing that it takes place in Russia, and is perpetrated by Russian terrorists) and called for a full-on national ban. All copies of the game were yanked from shelves, and Activision reportedly was told that they had to remove the level from the game before sales could resume.

Anyway. It WAS a juicy story, until Activision stepped forward and claimed that the decision to recall and modify their game was an internal decision. Bah, how anti-climactic. (MTV Multiplayer).

Check Out BioShock 2’s Boxart

That last story was pretty lame, and in my opinion, so is the boxart for BioShock 2:

That is so... not badass.

That is so... not badass.

Seriously? Seriously? Does anyone disagree with me here? It looks like a cartoon. I am not impressed. (Kotaku).

deadspaceDead Space 2 To Have Multiplayer?

Seems that way, if this job listing is to be believed. Here’s the description:

Seeking a highly motivated Senior Online Level Designer for the Dead Space franchise on Xbox360 and PS3. This is a major opportunity to contribute creatively to an exciting new franchise.

Responsibilities:

• Conceptualize, script, direct, and build online levels for the game.
• Own the level design for the online game, be able to work collaboratively with Creative Director and Online Producer to create extremely fun, satisfying and polished multiplayer levels.
• Drive online design by taking the initiative to bring all parties together to execute on the overall vision for the levels.
• Be a collaborative member of the design team, and contribute to reviews, feedback, and playtest sessions.
• Hands on contributor

That makes it clear enough to me, and it certainly comes as no surprise. BioShock did it, Uncharted did it, and now Visceral has decided that Dead Space has to follow the trend and take on a completely superfluous multiplayer mode.

Uncharted didn’t suffer for it. BioShock 2 is yet to be seen. If Dead Space 2 suffers for it, I will seek revenge. (Kotaku).

ps33.10PS3 Firmware 3.10 Coming This Week

That’s right! Soon after its existence was leaked to the internet, Sony has officially confirmed that PS3 firmware 3.10 will be released this WEEK. Why should you care? Because this one integrates Facebook. How AWESOME is that? Well, for all you facebook stalkers at least.

But it’s actually more than just a Facebook app on your PS3. According to network operation director Eric Lempel, players will be able to share trophy updates on Facebook, for all their friends to see and laugh at. Also, future games will feature the ability to update your facebook.

Again, just so everyone who isn’t as nerdy as you are can have a hearty chuckle.

As you can tell, I’m not super-excited for this. Who knows, it could be neat; I just really have no need to use Facebook on anything other than my computer. And I have no desire to broadcast my trophy acquisitions to the world. (1UP).

square_enix_logoSquare Enix Collaborating with Eidos Montreal on New Game

The headline is essentially the news story, but this is interesting enough to bring up. This marks the first time Square Enix has worked together with someone in their own holding group to produce a game. (Remember, Square Enix acquired Eidos some time ago.)

Speaking at the Montreal Games Summit, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada said that the project would be the company’s first “truly global game.” Absolutely no other information was released. I’ll be on the lookout for it, though. Interest = piqued. (1UP).

Man, I would really love to play some more Assassin’s Creed II. Sleep? Who needs sleep? Seriously though, it really is a fantastic game. I’d love to say more, but it would ruin my forthcoming impressions!

‘Till then, readers!

Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

tingleheader
Despite Riddles’ (truly) great Hey! Look! Listen! yesterday/this morning, I found a few supplementary news items and previews that I think are worth mentioning. And what other title could be more perfect for the role of a Navi-themed column follow up? I know everyone hates Tingle, but the dude is fucking hilarious. He’s a 40 something year old dude in a creepy costume tied to a balloon selling maps! That is fucked up! It’s why I love Majora’s Mask, the games were still about personality, no matter how terrifying. Anyhoo, onto to the (previ)(n)ews.

New Super Mario Bros Wii Preview -
This will likely be the only other game I buy for the Wii this entire year (the first being Excite Bots). Although I thought it would be good anyway, it looks better than I anticipated. I have no idea how I’ll feel about the multiplayer, which I know is a focus, but the single player looks just as addicting and well-constructed as the 2D Mario games have ever been. Modern Warfare 2 on the same week, I think, but still. Should be a more than worthy purchase.

The Big Sisters were always Badass.

The Big Sisters were always Badass.

Bioshock 2 Preview -
Yes, I’m aware of the irony, but this preview actually made me excited for Bioshock 2 for the first time ever since it was announced. I never thought I’d say this, but I think it has potential. I liked the first one quite a bit. Great mood, tight gameplay and all that. I just never thought it was the total masterpiece that Riddles would claim while drooling profusely and speaking in tongues. Either way, for the first time, it looks like this sequel might live up to the first one in my eyes. Another game worthy of purchase.

Wii HD with Blu-Ray Next Year? -
This is the second story after that stupid DSi LL story if you watch the video. I agree with Chobot’s tone on the story: skeptical. We all know Nintendo in the past 3-4 years. High technology hasn’t exactly been their philosophy. Still, with Miyamoto’s recent comments, and with the high-def format war being won, I don’t think it’s entirely out of the question that Nintendo would plan to be part of the future mass-market. HD screens are far more common than they were when the Wii was announced, and as oblivious as Nintendo can be, they do know where the money is, and high-def is no longer just for the elite. I’m obviously being optimistic because a HD system would theoretically attract more developers who would make more games that I would care about, but a boy can dream. Plus, Nintendo won’t be in SD forever, but I’ll be as surprised as everyone else if the switch is as soon as next year.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

HeyLookListenLogo

Sigh.

I mean, hello and welcome to the -

Wait, how many of these things have I done?

*does a quick count*

This is only my eighteenth? Shyoot, I thought there were more. And that one Ethan wrote doesn’t count. So… this is the SEVENTEENTH edition of Hey! Look! Listen! brought to you by Riddlethos, and more specifically, by Riddles. Me. Oliver Motok.

Okay… I suppose we’ll have to head into the news at some point.

Now there's some photo-shoppage for ya.

Now there's some photo-shoppage for ya.

“I just couldn’t wait” – Oliver Motok to Host BioShock 2 Week at Riddlethos

You heard it here first, ladies and gents. Because he just can’t wait any longer to spew his fanboyish praises for BioShock and its upcoming sequel, Riddlethos will be featuring a BioShock 2 theme week months before the game’s February 11 release.

Sound like a dumb idea? That’s only because YOU’RE a dumb person. BioShock 2 Week is scheduled to hit Riddlethos on October 26. Be there.

What the – There’s no NEWS. At all. Anywhere. Oh bother.

Yeah, you heard what I said. There’s NOTHING. This sucks. I want news. I want material. I want to write a long, meaty Hey! Look! Listen! for the reading pleasure of my… ah, my readers.

Sigh. Well, uh… Borderlands came out. It’s been rather well-received too, from what I understand. I had a passing interest, but once I discovered it was more of a “lootfarming” game than anything else, I got kinda turned off. Still, looks like something I might pick up for cheap one day.

How about you guys? Anyone out there playing Borderlands?

Yeah, There’s Definitely No News

So you know what?

SCREW YOU GUYS, I’M GOIN’ HOME!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Friday, September 18th, 2009

“Better late than never” is fast becoming our slogan here at Riddlethos.com, but we know you still love us. I mean, what’s NOT to love about a brand-new Hey! Look! Listen!? That’s right, nothing. Now let’s get to it, because I have to leave for work soon.

Scary scary...

Scary scary...

The Witcher 2 “Internal Video” Leaked
“Leaked.” Right. Seriously, the big, bold “INTERNAL USE ONLY” is just a BIT much, wouldn’t you say? In any case, this is proof that another Witcher game is, in fact, in the works. I was denied the pleasure of playing the original Witcher because my PC doesn’t have the juice, and CD Projekt wasn’t nice enough to finish the PS3/360 port of the game. But I suppose life is just tough like that. Check out the trailer on YouTube

Valkyria Chronicles 2 Coming to North America
Now THIS makes me happy. As you all know, I adored the original Valkyria Chronicles. And while I was slightly disappointed at the fact that the sequel was being made into a PSP game, I recognize that I should just be happy to see the series continue at all. Valkyria Chronicles 2 is set two years after the original game, and focuses on a civil war currently tearing through Gallia. Check out the short announcement trailer here. (1UP).

Do want... or do I...?

Do want... or do I...?

BioShock 2 Street Dated
Well folks, sounds like we might have an honest-to-God release date for BioShock 2 on our hands here. Take-Two announced this morning that the game will hit stores on February 9, 2010. The game was originally pushed back in order to “perform better in the marketplace” – meaning, presumably, that Take-Two didn’t feel confident enough to allow BioShock 2 to compete with other big-name releases such as Modern Warfare 2. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t take that as a positive sign. I’m still excited for BioShock 2, but I’ve got a whole bucket of reservations to accompany that excitement. I can only hope to be proven wrong.

That’s all I’ve got for today, folks! Look for more in this weekend’s News Roundup, which I promise will be more substantive that last week’s trainwreck!

Oh, wait… actually… I don’t promise anything. So. We’ll just see what happens.