Home Upcoming Reviews About
Ethos and Riddles talk about video games...
            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

Best Visual Experience 2010 – Riddles

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

God of War III

Kratos’ first outing on the PlayStation 3 could only mean one thing: fucking awesome graphics. And they were, they were.

Well, that’s to sell the game short, a bit. God of War III has more going for it than it’s divine graphical presentation, but the graphics are what we’re here to talk about now. So, let’s to it!

I realize that it’s actually a bit stupid to try and elongate an article when the sole purpose is to say, “I liked the way this game looked better than the rest.” I mean, visuals are a bit difficult to define and discuss in-depth, unless you’re a graphic artist of some type. Which I am not. Or not really, at least. I have a sharper eye than most, maybe.

That being said, perhaps the best way is to explain why I chose this over, say, BioShock 2. That’s pretty easy; BioShock 2, on a technical level, isn’t nearly as impressive – technicalities such as texture work and lighting are unbelievably polished in God of War III; you’ve never seen Kratos’ pasty white skin look so real. Also, BioShock 2’s art direction suffered from a case of “been there, done that.” Literally. We had literally been there.

What about, say, Final Fantasy XIII? For its varied and attractive art direction, that certainly deserves a nod. And perhaps the artwork is more varied than what’s seen in God of War III, but at the same time, it’s a bit more derivative. Let me put it this way: Final Fantasy XIII fulfills all of the required aesthetics for a JRPG. Sure, it occasionally does so with some real bravado and color, but eh. It feels too much like going through the motions, but in HD this time. Also, I hate that game.

God of War III also scores points for its unique sense of brutality. And yes, I attribute that, in part, to the game’s art direction. Like during the game’s final battle, when the screen got covered in blood spurts from Kratos’ repeated punching of Zeus in the face? Super awesome stuff.

Well, there’s three vague and arbitrary points to back up my decision. That’s enough, right? To sum up, and in all seriousness, God of War III is simply the most visually striking game I experienced this year. From the outset, when I was scaling Mt. Olympus on the back of a massive Titan moving in real-time, the visual thrills never stopped. If anyone knows how to drag  power out of Sony’s machines, it’s the people at Santa Monica. I mean, hell, God of War I +II looked amazing enough remastered in HD. This shit, however, is off the chain. Yeah.

Runner Up: Limbo

Holy crap. I’ve never mentioned this game on the site before. And I’d never even considered it for this award until about 15 seconds ago, when it hit me like a ton of bricks. To think that I was even going to give an honorable mention to garbage like Final Fantasy XIII, when this gem of a game sat unnoticed.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Limbo: It’s an amazing, unique little game that you should probably play. It’s a 2-D sidescroller available exclusively over Xbox Live, made by upstart indy developer Playdead. You take on the role of a boy venturing into a frightening wood to find his missing sister – but, the most unique thing about the game is its graphical presentation. Everything is presented as a silhouette – making the game, essentially, black-and-white. You’ve never, ever seen anything like it, I assure you. Sure, it may not be in 3D or have ridiculously detailed textures or whatever, but as a visual experience it has no peer.

You all should play Limbo. That is all.

Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! #006

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Holy crapsticks! Did I ever walk into a wagon full of news! This will definitely be more than 2 stories, so let’s dive in!

God of War Tease Levels Up Again

If you haven’t been paying attention, it turns out that God of War III gives players a “secret” URL after they Platinum the title. “Secret” was in quotes because the website is obviously public knowledge now. The website depicts a rainy scene with occasional lighting flashes revealing a figure (potentially a reflection) that looks suspiciously like Kratos. The interesting thing about this site is that there is an icon in the top right corner that has been filling up slowly since the website was discovered. So far there has been an update to the site each time the icon fills up another corner in the circle.

Initially on March 18, when the bar was a quarter full, it was a similar scene, but it was barely raining, and there was no figure on the left. Then, on March 28, it was half full and the weather incorporated heavy thunderstorms. Finally on April 28th, it reached its current state with the figure on the left and the mysterious figure appearing in the water. The going theory is that the gauge fills a bit every time somebody obtains a platinum trophy in the game. I’m a little curious why every update has ended with an “8″. The former is a cooler idea though.
(IGN)

Activision Bungies Back

Despite analysts saying that Infinity Ward is essentially done for (big surprise), Activision has stayed in the headlines for a different reason. Legendary Halo creator, Bungie, has singed a 10-year exclusive publishing deal with the big bad Activision giant. Community manager for Bungie, Brian Jarrard confirmed that they are “looking at a multi-platform release,” although he didn’t give specifics on which platforms or what type of game. At this point we can assume that it will not be Halo and it very likely won’t involve the Wii.

Also, despite Bungie stating that this has been in the works for years, and analysts speculating that this is good for gamers in general, the announcement does seem a little timely with the mass exodus of Infinity Ward employees. I can’t imagine the timing of this announcement doesn’t have everything to do with Activision wanting to save face.
(IGN)

Linux? Seriously?
Remember when Linux support was ousted out of the PS3 Slim? And then 3 people cried? Well in March, Sony released a firmware update that included removing the “other OS” support from all consoles and 3 more people cried. Apparently one of those people cried a lot because Anthony Ventura of California has filed a class action lawsuit against Sony on “behalf of himself and all others similarly situated. The lawsuit basically says “you promised us Linux! You promised! And now you’ve left me all alone! I thought we’d be together forever! You promised!”

If you have absolutely nothing better to do with your life, you can read the whole filing here.
(IGN)

Not actually from the game, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Now Your Little Sister Can Be Your Wife!
The Japan only 360 title “My Wife: A Wife Just For You”, isn’t such a surprise in itself. Dating sims are popular in Japan, and the ability to create your wife (within the game’s choices) and go through various stages of romancing her isn’t so surprising or new. Why this game’s announcement caught my eye wasn’t the concept or even the “Sleep Together Mode” so much as some of the descriptions of your wife. Two of her personality options are “big sister type” and “little sister type”. Yup. I’m not joking.
(IGN)

Well that’s it! More than last time, ‘eh? DOUBLE to be factually accurate. Riddles may wank to Kotaku, but at least I balance that with my IGN masturbation. Anyway, the battery is low on my compy, and I have dishes and laundry and showering and washing the bathroom and playing Patapon 2 to do! Later!

Second Opinion: God of War III

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

god of war 3 box artLIKED:

-Graphical presentation. Absolutely gorgeous

-Newfound usefulness in alternate weapons

-Improved puzzles and level design

DISLIKED:

-Painful cutscenes and dialog

-Lame final boss

-Lame ending, too

God of War has always been very, very good at what it does. Frankly, it doesn’t do much – it’s a really solid combat system, accompanied by a thin but badass plotline, and a bloody, over-the-top sense of brutality. Like its predecessors, God of War III executes this concept brilliantly, and in fact, it’s easily the best of the three. Some rather odd decisions have been made in the realm of story development, and the ending is sure to disappoint many, but ultimately, God of War III brings the franchise to the PS3 with style, to say nothing of ferocity.

You don’t need prior experience with the franchise to enjoy God of War III, but know that it is the final act of an ongoing saga. The game picks up precisely where God of War II left off, with Kratos scaling Mount Olympus with the help of the monstrous Titans. And from there, things go more or less as you’d expect – Kratos kills a lot of dudes. And, this time around, most of them are Gods. He’s hell-bent on having his revenge, and if you’re a franchise veteran, there’s a good chance you’ll want it just as badly.

god_of_war_iii_demoUnlike the first two games, God of War III attempts to adopt a more emotional, character-driven approach to its storytelling. If that sounds completely and utterly out of left field, that’s because… it is. It’s not all bad, really; for the first half of the game, it almost works. Kratos’ interactions with supporting characters such as the deranged Hephaestus come across fairly well, and some of the Gods you encounter during your journey actually succeed in being marginally interesting characters. Unfortunately, though, God of War III goes a little too far in this approach. When playing God of War I or II, did you ever stop and think, “wow, I’d really like to see a more human side of Kratos.” No? Me neither. Unfortunately, Santa Monica seems to think that we did. As a result, all cutscenes and dialog for the last quarter of the game range from painful to excruciating. One would think, if Santa Monica really wanted to tell a more human tale, they would have hired some better writers. And voice actors. They didn’t. God of War III tries to make Kratos more than just a bloodthirsty badass. And, unfortunately, all God of War III ends up proving is that Kratos is nothing more than a bloodthirsty badass. Or, at least, that’s all he should be.

While we’re throwing stones, I have a feeling that a lot of God of War fans will be disappointed in how the trilogy concludes. I’ve only been a fan for the last three months, and it disappointed the hell out of me. Obviously I can’t spoil anything here, but let’s just say that our friend Kratos does some things that go very strongly against his character.

Outside of its confused story progression, though, God of War III gets almost everything right. Not a whole lot has changed – despite its migration to a new console generation, Santa Monica has left the original formula intact. But a noticeable layer of polish has been applied to nearly every facet of the game, and as a result, God of War III is undoubtedly the best in the series.

GoW3-2As we’ve come to expect, God of War III is unabashedly huge, epic, and violent. The oft-discussed opening sequence of the game deserves all the accolades it receives, because it really is one of the most grandiose videogame setpieces ever created. God of War III will make your jaw drop more than once, be it due to the magnitude of the events on the screen, or their sheer brutality. As if the first two weren’t gory enough, God of War III ups the ante in some occasionally shocking ways. But despite this, I never thought the game “crossed the line,” as it were – every bloody, remorseless murder you commit manages to feel in-line with the general feel of the experience, and with Kratos as a character. Call me sadistic, but the violence level was actually one of my favorite things about the game.

Combat has always been the main staple of the series, and it’s definitely at its best in God of War III. Some subtle additions have been implemented, such as the ability to use enemies as battering rams, and Heavy Attacks that are actually worth a damn. Also worth noting is the slightly altered approach to Quick-Time Events: instead of throwing button prompts in the middle of the screen, they now appear on the side of the screen that corresponds with the button. (i.e., a prompt to press Triangle will appear at the top of the screen, and a prompt to press Circle will appear on the right side.) They also seem to be a little more forgiving this time around, which cuts down on the number of times you’ll see a “YOU ARE DEAD” screen on account of missing a button. It’s nice that the prompts no longer get in the way of the actual animation, which is all anybody wants to see anyway. At the end of the day they’re still dumb, but I can honestly say that God of War III’s QTEs rarely actually bothered me.

god-of-war-iii-demo02God of War has always featured a variety of alternate weapons, but God of War III is the first time they’ve ever actually been worth a damn. I actually found myself switching weapons to adapt to specific combat situations, and in fact the game makes you use alternate weaponry from time to time. Additionally, magic attacks are now mapped to specific weapons, which makes alternates that much more useful. Throw in the ability to switch weapons mid-combo, and you’ve got the deepest, most enjoyable combat the franchise has ever seen.

Any review would be remiss for failing to mention the boss encounters. For the most part, God of War III does not disappoint in this regard, and in fact, some of the encounters are extremely memorable. But a few of them feel like missed opportunities, and the final boss is just awful. In fact, it’s a big part of what makes the ending so bad. Santa Monica couldn’t have made Kratos’ final battle more boring and unimpressive if they tried.

New to God of War III are “items,” which have their own meter beneath the Health and Magic bars. For example, the bow from God of War II, which consumed magic, is an Item in God of War III. Along with it are the Head of Helios, which lights up dark areas, and the Boots of Hermes, which let you… run fast.

These minor re-toolings go a long way, and as a result, God of War III’s combat is some of the best you’ll find in a hack ‘n slash game. It’s intense, challenging, relentlessly violent, and like always, it’s an incredible amount of fun. Scoring a 188-hit chain on a towering boss monster is still one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

Combat isn’t the only facet of gameplay that’s been improved, though. Granted, combat is still the obvious focus of the gameplay, but God of War III features some really well-designed puzzles to boot. So often, the puzzles and platforming in God of War I or II felt more like exercises in frustration than anything else. Santa Monica has officially rid the franchise of that stigma; in God of War III, the puzzles actually feel like puzzles, and the platforming will never make you want to rip your hair out.

GoW3-1Graphically, God of War III is one of the best-looking games ever released. While it can’t quite match the artistic vision and direction of games such as Uncharted 2, it’s easily on the same technical level. Textures and lighting effects are mind-blowing. Character and enemy design is nearly unparalleled; Kratos in particular looks amazing. Environments are huge, gorgeous, and always a joy to explore. All graphics are in-engine, too, which makes it that much more impressive when viewing the game’s fantastic movie scenes. Kudos also must be given to the camera work, which is often gorgeous – key sequences, be they bloody boss battles or simple platforming scenarios, are complimented by a dynamic camera that captures the action in a suitably epic fashion.

With God of War III, Santa Monica finally figured out how to match music to scenarios. Not sure why it took them so long, but it’s a welcome change to the franchise. At no point in God of War III will you be forced to listen to an obnoxiously bombastic orchestral piece whilst scaling a cave wall. Like the previous two games, the music is really good – and it’s even better now that it’s properly placed.

God of War III is an epic, beautiful action game that is a worthy purchase for any fan of the series, or of hack ‘n slash games in general. While it’s disappointing to see the game occasionally fall on its face in ways that I would never have thought possible, overall, it delivers the current-generation God of War experience that gamers have been thirsting for since the second game was released. I had a great time with it.

Note: This article is a second opinion. For our official review, go here.

GoW3SE

Okay… Time for my Own Revenge

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

god of war 3 box artToday, on Riddlethos.com, I make this vow:

On this day, I will finish God of War III, AND THEN, I will review it.

And my review will be better than Ethos’.

Right now my total play time is 9 hours, 16 minutes. I’m at “The Three Judges.” It’s currently 1:49 p.m. CST.

MARK MY WORDS.

Well, Shyit…

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Hello, Riddlethosians. Your prodigal Riddles has returned.

As for why I haven’t shown my face around here for a few days, there are a few reasons: a) Muse came to Nashville last Monday, and b) I’ve been furiously playing God of War II.

Yes, God of War II. Not III, as the theme week might suggest. My personal gamer’s creed wouldn’t let me dive into the third without finishing its predecessor.

And, as of about thirty minutes ago – at 4:30 in the morning – I finally beat the damn thing.

Holy crap, that last part of the last boss was annoying. I know Ethos is the one who does most of the bitching about QTEs, but seriously… fuck QTEs. I died more times on that stupid final minigame than I did on the actual boss battle.

Oh, and the game is about five hours too long. As much fun as the gameplay is, it really does not hold up for fifteen goddamned hours.

But I’m complaining too much. It was a fun time, and certainly an improvement over the first – though hardly drastic. I enjoyed the greater variation in environments, and the art direction really is fantastic. Also, I’m forced to concede that the story actually caught my attention a few times – particularly the ending, which actually gave me chills due to its unparalleled badassery.

So, yeah, I guess I’ll be picking up the third one tomorrow, and subsequently getting with the program. The program, of course, being the theme week.

Remember, though, we already have a review of the game, courtesy of Ethos – just take a look below.

God of War III Review – Vengeance

Monday, March 15th, 2010

god of war 3 box artLIKED:
-When it looked absolutely incredible including the new stylized cutscenes
-Better weapons and Quick-Time Events
-Thorough and HD bonus content
-Some amazing boss battles

DISLIKED:
-The rest of the boss battles
-No matter how streamlined, Quick-Time Events still suck
-Weakest story of the trilogy
-Surprising lack of cool locales
-Some bizarre hand-holding

I’m a newbie to the God of War series. I got the Collection late last year, slowly beat the first one and then blasted through the second game in a few days in late February. And while I didn’t fall in love with the games like so many have, it was perfect timing to lead into the final instalment of the Kratos trilogy. And after completing all three games in under half a year, I found that God of War III managed to be the best in the series despite falling a little flat in a number of occasionally surprising areas.

First off, it’s important to note that when God of War III is at the top of its game, it is unstoppable. The opening sequence is beautifully choreographed, unbelievably epic, incredible looking, and perfectly paced. The game manages this feat in a few cases, but less often than the opening might have you believe.

But more on the downfalls later, because there are a few great choices made for Kratos’ finale. First, the control scheme was thankfully tinkered with a bit. A single magic attack is now tied to a specific weapon and mapped to the R2 button now. This leaves L2 free for the new addition of “items”. Items are tied to a third bar under health and magic, but instead of collecting item power through orbs, it automatically regenerates. This system allows for the introduction of a new abilities without necessarily ditching some of the classics, and all the abilities, items, and weapons are surprisingly easy and quick to access which is necessary for the pace of battle in God of War. And while this is largely a great system, and some new items are great and include providing a satisfying new way to treasure hunt, others are surprisingly gimmicky. I’m reminded of the new Prince of Persia in which Elika’s new “abilities” aren’t so much abilities, but are different animations triggered by finding a coloured platform. On a more positive note, it seems like Santa Monica Studio realized that the chains were always the best weapon in the first two installments, and made a few worthy imitations among Kratos’ weapon arsenal. For the first time in the series, I used an alternate weapon as my primary means of tearing enemies to shreds.

god_of_war_iii_profilelargeSpeaking of tearing enemies to shreds, God of War III is the most brutal game I’ve played. Granted, I never played Manhunt, but I like to think I have a fairly strong stomach and I turned my head in a few instances. But beyond occasionally going a bit too far, it does mean that the series retains its badass status. There are new ways to rip apart the bad guys, and even use them as battering rams, which is very satisfying. It was also nice to see fewer doors requiring button mashing and Quick Time Events streamlined to be noticeably less stupid; although still stupid.

Staying in the vein of good decisions for just a moment longer, God of War III sports the best puzzles of the series. Never getting too annoying or too easy, they feel more polished than the original’s frustrations or the sequel’s reliance on happenstance. The music also learns a lesson and finds the balance between epic and ambiance.

Finally, because the game is void of CG cutscenes and looks great doing it, God of War III tries to switch up some of the story-telling by using a new art style that makes me hard pressed to describe as anything but “really cool”. It’s a stylized cel-shaded look that is a welcome addition.

God of War-703932Well…most of the time. There is a section in the end that uses it in gameplay, and while it looks fantastic, it’s during a low point for the series. God of War III tries to place emphasis on perspective, occasionally letting you look through Kratos’ eyes or the eyes of his victims. The gimmick looks fine, but the focus was a bad idea. Kratos is a badass, but that’s where his strength of character stops. God of War III tries to introduce more story and themes than ever before, and while the personal approach works for a time, it is ultimately a definitive dud. Kratos is not a sympathetic character, and his arc in this game makes absolutely no sense and it makes for a very anti-climatic finish including a disappointing boss fight. In fact, excluding two incredible examples, the boss battles are disappointing in general. To compound the disappointment, none of the environments are really that interesting. After the sequel upped the ante, God of War III fails to introduce the same level of beautiful and intriguing environments, it just feels like a step backward.

And that’s the thing, although there were some good decisions made, they were still made within the God of War universe, and there was only so far the series could go before it started to feel stale. While the better puzzles, combat configuration, and occasional moments of spectacular visuals and scale are enough for me to call this the best game in the series, I’m glad it’s over for now, because the formula is aging when it wasn’t spectacular to start.

Final Thoughts
God of War III is a worthy conclusion to a, frankly, overrated action series. It’s still a lot of fun and will absolutely satisfy every fan of the series, but it’s a little annoying to see every good decision countered, while not fully delivering the boss battles and environments we all expected. Still, despite a story gone sour, it was nice to finally see Kratos’ insane antics have an impact on the world around him, and to also experience the game’s strong moments which were, admittedly, incredibly strong. A must for all God of War fans, and worth looking into if you own a PS3.

GoW3

Review Outline

God of War III: The First 30 Minutes

Friday, March 5th, 2010

This is from the demo... not the opening. But still...

This is from the demo... not the opening. But still...

I got the opportunity to go to a God of War III launch event today and play the first 30 minutes of the game. Not a demo, not a controlled environment, but a PS3 hooked up to a TV with the final copy of the disc inside the console. So let’s not waste any time, but get right to it while trying to stay relatively spoiler-free, but read on at your own risk.

First off, I need to say that the game is stunning visually. I mentioned this to a member of the Santa Monica studio who happened to be there. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch his name, but he worked on God of War II and III, and when I mentioned how good the game looked, he instantly told me how much more that they could do on the PS3. He almost seemed to apologize for the graphics. Let me re-iterate that, at least from these 30 minutes, this ranks in the top 3 best looking games I’ve seen on the PS3. This includes the Uncharted games. What’s even more impressive is that everything is in-engine. All cutscenes, everything. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s all real time, but nothing is CG and believe me when I tell you that that fact will surprise you during some moments.

Also from the demo. Shut up.

Also from the demo. Shut up.

The opening is, as expected, extremely epic. The first boss battle blows the Hydra and Colossus out of the water. Pun intended (you’ll see). Otherwise, this is still God of War. Magic powers seemed to be mapped to specific weapons this time which opens up interesting possibilities as way to trigger magic is also mapped to a different button, so things seem to be a bit more mixed up from a gameplay standpoint. But that’s mostly speculation at this point as I had no way to upgrade or collect new abilities or weapons from the section I played.

Still, there were a few improvements I could immediately pick up on. The Quick-Time Events that I just spent a Sunday Soapbox tearing to pieces aren’t as excruciatingly bad. The cues take place on the four corners of the screen representing the placement of the Playstation’s signature shape buttons. This makes it easier to actually watch the animation and use the peripheral to cue your fingers. It’s still a dumb mechanic, but it’s admittedly more bearable than before. The leap to the PS3 is noticeable. New animations, grander scope, more going on, and absolutely beautiful boss fights.

It was just a little taste, but while it really just is more God of War, the pretty new packaging has got me excited.

Scatter Storming. Issue #022

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

ss022Silly Paranoid Riddles. We all know Scatter Storming is better.

Although I do have to thank him for giving me his camera as a parting gift. Let’s get to it.

Hey, guess what? I played Heavy Rain! -
It’s true! Thanks Andogo for the loner copy. I’d even consider buying it myself, but you know I’m broke when I trade in two games (one of them Darksiders which I know I’ll re-buy) just to afford Final Fantasy XIII next week. Anyway, I think I have to slightly disagree with Riddles and say that Heavy Rain really is Quick-Time Event the game. But they are more forgiveable in this case. They branch out, and there is a degree of decision and influence in Heavy Rain that doesn’t exist in the QTE disasters of God of War. Still, after a time, although I’m thoroughly enjoying the story, I get sick of just tapping on-screen cues. But I’m sure I’ll trek my way through it if I still have a copy after I’m done with Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III, and Pokémon Soul Silver. So…hrm…that doesn’t look so optimistic anymore, but there is the added bonus of Heavy Rain looking to be relatively easy to Platinum, so we’ll see. But all that brings me to my next point…

Theme Week War -
There’s no debate that Final Fantasy XIII gets next week. Despite all the mixed buzz about it, I’m just as hyped as ever. Final Fantasy IX isn’t a fan favourite and its obviously my favourite, so I’m reserving final judgement on this one until I play it. And honesty, the big complaints about this one (linear for a long time, no towns), don’t scare me in the least. But, that leaves the following week. Riddles the Moronicus wants it to be God of War III Week. Boo-urns, who the fuck cares? I’ll play it, yeah, but he and I both agree that it’s a fun, yet vastly overrated series. Maybe not vastly, but notably. Anyway, my vote is for Pokémon Gold & Silver Week. Riddles argues that God of War is the bigger release, but I call bullshit on that! Pokémon is fucking huge and he just wants God of War because he’s never cared about handhelds or the PURE AWESOMENESS that is Pokémon. Whatta douche, what do you guys think?

Oh dear -
I have no idea why any woman has ever had any interest in me after writing a paragraph like that.

Etrian Odyssey! -
For long-time fans of Ethos (I’m sure there are many), I used to write reviews for RPGamer.com. The first one I wrote for a new release was Etrian Odyssey II. This was a game I never would have played otherwise, and a game that literally everybody I talked to on staff warned me about. I ended up loving the game and almost bought a used copy the other week. In fact, I only didn’t because of the previously mentioned broke situation. But after going for my occasional browse of RPG-related news, I stumbled upon art for Etrian Odyssey III. Huzzah! I didn’t even know it was coming. This is now officially on my radar. If they can keep up all the awesome without making it dissolve at the end like last time, then it could even be on the top of my lists for the year.

That’s all. Go home.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Friday, February 12th, 2010

HLLfinal

BioShock 2 and the makings of a flu virus may have kept Hey! Look! Listen! at bay earlier in the week, but the Friday edition is now present and accounted for.

For what it’s worth, anyway. Unless you’re a Microsoft fanboy, this week hasn’t seen many interesting announcements or news items. If you are a Microsoft fanboy, it might be worth it to check out coverage of the recent X10 event, which includes first looks at both Hal0: Reach and Fable III.

Unfortunately, I don’t really care about either of those franchises. Nonetheless, let us press onward and see what we have.

Halo: Reach Impressions Hit the Interwebs

It’s weird, but I actually read 1UP and IGN’s impressions for the recently-displayed Halo: Reach, and I was intrigued. I’ve never really enjoyed a Halo game before, but with Reach it sounds like Bungie is pulling out all the stops. Good on them, since it will (supposedly) be the final Bungie-developed Halo title. Read IGN’s impressions here and 1UP’s here.

New God of War III Trailer Brutalizes the Interwebs

And it’s everything you’d expect from a God of War trailer, I’ll say that much. Badass dialog, badass fight scenes, badass music, all made more badass by the graphical power of the PlayStation 3. I really should get around to finishing God of War II sometime.

By the way, God of War III has been reviewed by the UK’s Official PlayStation Magazine. They gave it a 9/10, and apparently it only missed a 10/10 due to the “familiarity of the core gameplay.”

“But it’s definitely the biggest,” says reviewer Nathan Ditum,  ”and if this is the finale (and the corpses littering the stage by the end of the game suggest it might be), then God of War III gives PlayStation’s toughest hero the send-off he deserves.”

Sweet. (VG247)

Alan Wake Boxart Amuses the Interwebs

Alan Wake is the only 360 exclusive to pique my interest in some time. But then, how could it not? It’s a Psychological Action Thriller!alanwakeboxart

Alan Wake Trailer Mystifies the Interwebs

Seriously, though, Alan Wake looks pretty damn good. This new trailer from the aforemention X10 event proves it.

And… we’re done! Man, what a boring news week. I guess everyone’s been too busy playing BioShock 2 to make any big announcements, or do anything newsworthy. But hey, who can blame them? Not I, not I.

’till next time, readers. Look for something from me tomorrow.

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!