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by Ethos

Scatter Storming. Issue #040

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

All right! I have a lot of ground to cover, so I’m going to dive right in.

Sony Holiday Preview Event

Infamous 2 -
This was the game that I was most excited to play. It was one of the few titles at the event to have a 2011 release date, so I felt lucky that it was even there. I only had 10 minutes with the game and I walked away sadly underwhelmed.

Firstly, the demo was the previously only cinematic moment when Cole needs to take down a helicopter. So the content was not new to me, except for the new old Cole. That was a small let-down.

Secondly the game seemed to run like crap. I haven’t played Infamous since just around when I bought my PS3, so I forget how that game performed, but I feel like even if it wasn’t amazing, it was definitely better than this demo.

Thirdly, it felt very claustrophobic. There was lots of impressive action all around me – people running and screaming, the environment collapsing around me, limos trying to drive away from me – but I felt like I could never see the things I wanted to. When I had to chase after said limo, I had no idea which direction I had to go in. Once I lost sight of it, I had to wait until it gave me a “mission fail” screen to try it again. Maybe I missed a mini-map or something, but I’m usually pretty adept at picking that sort of thing up.

Fourthly, I hated the melee combat. This complaint is probably the one that is most likely to carry over to the actual game, as my other complaints can be chalked up to my short time with the game, and the fact that I was playing unfinished code. The reason I didn’t like the melee was largely because of the focus on it. Cole is about his electrical powers, I don’t care about smacking things with a stick. I have Batman for that sort of combat. I especially don’t care for a slow-motion shot every third time I take out an enemy. It is overkill.

Finally, I disliked how powerful Cole was. This is something that The Broken Finger and I agree on. I loved the progression of powers in the original Infamous, and if Cole starts out with his hover move, electrical grenades, zap move, plus a massive thunder tornado, I fail to see how he can progress from there. Like I mentioned, this could be a result of playing a demo, and so all of these options might not be available to me off the top. Plus, maybe there’s a point soon after that when I lose all my powers and have to regain them all again (think: God of War). I’d be more than okay with that.

And that is, sadly, all of my thoughts on Infamous 2. I didn’t get an excited feeling to be playing Infamous again, and I didn’t find many redeeming qualities beyond being able to climb buildings faster and being able to grind along more things for quicker transportation. I’m aware how misleading demos can be, so let’s hope that that was the worst experience I’ll ever have with the game.

Jetpacks as cool as they look

Killzone 3(D) -
Let it be said that my only experience of Killzone is the demo of Killzone 2, which I didn’t like at all. It seems like Killzone just doesn’t jive with me, because I felt the same way with Killzone 3. Now, let it be said that in this pre-alpha code, the game looked brilliant, and the 3D was pulled off very nicely. However, I’m pretty sure I just don’t like Killzone’s gameplay because I didn’t have a good time.

I’m aware that I’m just not very good at shooters, but when I wasn’t able to look down my scopes or take cover or crouch, I failed to see the strategy involved in trying to avoid being shot by the Hellgast. But hey, if you’re into Killzone, you’ll probably love this one. You’ll definitely love the visuals. And I’m not going to lie, the jetpack was fantastic.

Gran Turismo 5 -
This is another game I tried in 3D, but with less success when compared to Killzone 3. Granted, the only GT5 units were in arcade-like car seats with gaming wheels, so the viewing angle was shit. But when I got in the non-3D unit, I loved my experience. As to be expected, the game looked brilliant, and it controlled like a dream.

That is to say that I crashed a lot.

But GT5 is the ultimate simulation racing game, so that’s to be expected. Although I really liked Forza, Gran Turismo just has its own very unique feel and I felt giddy behind the wheel again. This demo was, surprisingly, my favourite of the event.

I accept

The Rest -
Keyboard is very difficult in Rock Band 3, even for experienced pianists, Sonic 4 looks and plays great, and apparently there’s some sort of multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood? I didn’t play it, but I watched people assassinate each other. It looked frustrating. Oh, and I played 2 minutes of God of War: Ghost of Sparta. It was a carbon copy of the original God of War. I was on a boat, I was killing skeletons. I lost interest fast.

Oh, and I played LittleBigPlanet2, but I honestly played so little, and there is so much in that game, that I truly feel like I could not define a proper difference at this point. I played a mini-game, so that was different. I’ll have to wait for a proper demo or hands-on to talk about this one.

Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs

I love this underrated series. However, the jump from 2 to 3 doesn’t seem as big as the original to the sequel was. They made so many things better with Shadows of Almia, it appears as though Guardian Signs is more of the same with the added Pichu and mini-games gimmicks. Both I could do without. Still, the games are fun, and it’s interesting strategy to decide which Pokémon to keep, and to note where you’ll be able to come back later. I also like that “S” ranking is far more difficult to obtain in “battle”, but the rewards are much bigger. I’ll discuss more in the Sunday Soapbox and potential review if I beat the game quick enough. As is, this Scatter Storming is going on long enough and I’m not even done yet!

Housekeeping

Hey! You! Guys! Yeah! You! Click the “Upcoming” tab. Notice the change? Yeah, it’s not much, but now we give little explanations and teases for the future Theme Weeks. This is to help alleviate confusion and because who doesn’t love a good pitch? We hope to add more to that page soon, including some sort of content schedule. But I’d like a higher level of consistency before going ahead with that. Also look forward to a proper TV review format in the coming days. I’d like to talk about The Office and how after 3 pretty bad seasons, it’s looking pretty excellent again. But more about that later, I’m already over a thousand words. Peace!

_e

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

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

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

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

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

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

No longer just a mock-up

The Normandy Lands on a New Space (Play)Station

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

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

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

Microsoft’s Copout Handheld System

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

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

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

Everything Cole is New Again

I truly outdo myself. What a great headline.

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

Old New Cole:

New Old Cole:

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

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

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

HD soon!

No More Wii Exclusive

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

Portal 2 in February 2011

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

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

QUICKIES/PREVIEWS:

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Lazy Saturdays #05 – Not So Lazy

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Well, for a change, this particular Saturday has been anything but lazy. Why? Because I worked from 7 a.m. till noon. It was all overtime, too, which is very nice. Waking up at 6 a.m.? Not so nice. But, I’ve been doing it for the last two weeks. Last night I passed out at seven fucking p.m. No, I’m not kidding. I was exhausted. Why was I exhausted? Because I can’t adjust to this early morning bullshit, that’s why. I’m a NIGHT person, goddammit.

But, while I might prefer the hours of my previous job, my current job doesn’t make me hate my life on a regular basis. So. I suppose it’s a good tradeoff.

Anyway, um, yeah. It’s still Alan Wake week. I actually haven’t managed to play much more of the game. (Working 47 hours in a week tends to limit one’s playtime.) But, I’m hoping to get some more time in today, and I have tomorrow completely off, so you’ll hear some more about it for sure. And who knows, maybe Ethan will find the time to write more about it than an obligatory paragraph at the end of Scatter Storming.

Well, while I have your attention, can I interest you in some links?

Freakin’ Sweet: original BioShock pitch posted online for the reading pleasure of allnow this is just really fucking cool. If you have any interest in BioShock, and even if you don’t, you should hit the link above. Eight years after Irrational Games pitched the idea of BioShock, the nine-page document has been made available to the public. Instead of explaining to you how cool that is, I suggest you hit the link and see for yourself.

Well, actually, I will explain how cool it is. I’ve never actually seen or read a videogame pitch before, so it was definitely an interesting look into what it takes to get a publisher to back your project. Also, given the ambitious nature of BioShock both as a game and a concept, it’s obviously quite interesting to see how all the many ideas behind the game originated. Some of them remained intact, many of them changed, and some of them actually ended up in BioShock 2, as it were.

Anyway. Seriously. Click the link. It’s the most interesting thing you’ll read this weekend.

Rockstar: If you buy our games for your kids, you’re a “terrible parent”I’m not sure why this strikes me as odd, but… it just does. While speaking to the BBC about the recently-released Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar’s Lazlow Jones had this to say about the violent and/or questionable content that’s become a trademark of Rockstar’s software:

Our games are not designed for young people. If you’re a parent and buy one of our games for your child you’re a terrible parent. We design games for adults because we’re adults. There’s a lot of kids games out there that we’re not interested in playing. Just like you enjoy watching movies and TV shows with adult themes and language and violence that’s the kind of thing we seek to produce.

Well, the dude hits the nail on the head, I can’t deny that. But to me, there’s just something distinctly suck-up-ish about a Rockstar rep blasting parents who purchase violent games for their children; especially given the rather colorful, controversial past the company has had. (Hot Coffee, anyone?) Still, though, he’s totally right. Parents who buy that stuff for their 6-year-olds are the reason we have the controversy in the first place.

I stole this from Gizmodo because I thought it was funny.

AT&T jacks up early termination fees, offers stupid explanation – I’m positive that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Don’t know what I’m implying? Well, give me a moment.

AT&T, the sole provider (currently) of the iPhone in North America, is raising the early service termination fee for smartphones from $175 to a whopping $325. Nope, that’s not a typo; they really are giving their customers 150 more reasons to stay with them. (At least for the initial two years.)

So, if you were hoping to get out of that expensive iPhone contract sometime soon, you might wanna think again. However, if you’re the owner of an AT&T feature phone or messaging phone, your ETF just got lowered by $25. What could the reason be for all this? Here’s AT&T’s explanation:

The idea is, and we think that it’s fair approach, that if you spend less on a device, your early termination fee should be less. If you spend more, your early termination fee should be more.

Okay, while I agree that entirely arbitrary termination fees should be done away with, this does not explain why AT&T decided that it should cost an extra hundred-and-fifty-fucking dollars.

So. Since they won’t explain it, I will.

It’s quite simple. For some time now, it’s been rumored that Verizon, AT&T’s biggest competitor, is working on an iPhone deal with Apple. It’s a rumor that hasn’t been squashed (which is a de facto confirmation in my eyes) and if it’s true, it means that AT&T’s about to lose the lucrative exclusivity they’ve enjoyed for three years now.

On top of that, it’s common knowledge that Verizon’s 3G coverage is a hell of a lot more reliable than AT&T’s. Also, people just like Verizon more, generally speaking. (I’m too lazy to go dig up info on actual market shares.) So, if and when Verizon lands this deal, I guarantee you that there will be a) a lot of new iPhone users, and b) a lot of people jumping ship.

Starting to see where I’m going with this?

If not, here it is: I think AT&T is raising the ETF on their smartphones because Verizon is very close to landing the aforementioned deal with Apple, and they’re afraid of people terminating contracts and jumping ship. So, they’re very aggressively discouraging it.

Good things do come to those who wait, I suppose. And ridiculous termination fees come to those who don’t. Remember that.

Killzone 3 is coming… in 3D, no lesswe knew Killzone 3 was coming, just not when. And…well, I guess we still don’t know when. But, we know for sure that it’s coming, because the latest issue of GamePro says so. Subscribers already have the issue in their grubby little hands, and it’s packed with details on the game. Now, I don’t know or care much about Killzone, but the juiciest details seem to be:

-The game will be playable in 3D

-The game will have jetpacks. Awesome jetpacks, too, not the lame jetpacks you see in “other games.”

-The game will… be like Inglourious Basterds? What?

Anyway. Hit the link above for a long, easy-to-read list concerning the game’s new features, courtesy of VG247. And while you’re at it, maybe check out this other VG247 for an additional fun fact: apparently Guerilla Games has been working with Naughty Dog, the creators of Uncharted, to build Killzone 3’s graphics engine. Given the fact that Uncharted 2 is far and away the best-looking console game ever made, that can only be a good thing.

Well, I’m dangerously close to my 1000 word limit, so I guess we’d better wrap this up.

Actually, I don’t have a 1000 word limit. I just wanna wrap this up.

-Riddles