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by Ethos

Hey! Look! Listen! #68 – My Goodness, but Hasn’t it Been a While?

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The answer to that is yes, yes it has.

Speaking honestly, I’ve been questioning the relevance of Hey! Look! Listen! for the last few months, for a variety of reasons. But then I realized that it’s not just a problem with HLL; all of Riddlethos irrelevant. Also, I occasionally enjoy the opportunity to provide arbitrary commentary on the latest headlines that appear in my Google Reader. I mean, shit, why do I have a website if not for that?

So let’s do this.

The Legend of Zelda is 25 years old yesterday

It’s true! If Ethan and I had been aware of the series’ upcoming birthday, we might have tried to coincide a theme week or something; especially since we’ve never actually had a true “Legend of Zelda Week.” But, that didn’t happen, and honestly it’s likely for the best – since every videogame website and its grandmother will probably be attempting some sort of commemorative feature. For my part, I’ll take the time to say Happy Birthday, Link, and thanks for all the epic adventures.

Also, the original Legend of Zelda is a terrible game, and I refuse to play it even on its 25th birthday. I know it was the “oblivion of its day” (those are the words of  Kotaku and their ongoing celebratory feature) but it sure as hell isn’t anymore. </superfluouscontrarianism>

Have Some Old Metroid Prime Concept Art

Metroid Prime was a game-changer when it was released for Nintendo’s GameCube waaayyy back in 2002. Nine years later (god, it feels weird to write that. Nine years later?)

Anyway. Nine years later, this concept art is still awesome. Especially this one:

If you wanna see all four images, go here. It was found on the blog of concept artist Greg Luzniak.

Concerning the Dead Island Trailer

Much ado has been made of late about the Dead Island cinematic trailer. The thing’s more or less gone viral, and reactions have been remarkably prolific. If you haven’t seen it yet, please to enjoy below.

Slick, right? The unique editing technique, in which we’re guided through the events in reverse order, is quite well done. I can recognize that; but regardless, I’m not blowing my load like the rest of the internet seems to be. Why? Eh, well, I think it’s just a matter of personal taste more than anything else. The trailer tries to make the viewer emotionally invested in a zombie game. Speaking frankly, I can’t quite recall when the Zombie genre managed to bridge the gap between campy fun (at best) and emotionally relevant storytelling. I don’t think it ever did, for that matter. Know why? Because you can’t relate to characters of a Zombie apocalypse, because Zombies aren’t real. And neither are Zombie apocalypses. Despite everyone’s apparent obsession with them.

Hoighty-toightyness aside, Dead Island looks like it could be fun. For those unaware, it’s a game under development by Techland (the developers behind Call of Juarez, for what it’s worth) with a focus on four-player melee combat. So I’m getting an idea that it’s like Left 4 Dead, but with axes instead of guns. Which, like I said before, could be fun. And I’ve never played Call of Juarez, but I know it’s well-liked. And, while I know the world is currently obsessing over a non-representative cinematic trailer, actual gamers will surely appreciate this small batch of screens that recently became available. They don’t look bad themselves, I’ve gotta say.

(Kotaku)

Telltale’s Jurassic Park Game Launching in April

I know I haven’t said a word about it yet, but Telltale’s Back to the Future game is pretty damn good. This leads me to believe that their upcoming adventure game based on Jurassic Park will also be pretty good. It’s being described as “Heavy Rain-esque,” which may scare off some, but certainly not I. In fact, I think it sounds like a delicious combination.

It appears that the game will tell a parallel story to the classic original Jurassic Park film. Which is good; the other two movies didn’t do much aside from cheapen the narrative integrity of the franchise, so I’m glad the game won’t be taking them into consideration.

Oh yeah, and in other news, Telltale is working on a fuckton of new stuff, including videogame adaptations of The Walking Dead and Fables. These guys are on a roll.

Riddles Works on his Back to the Future Review

The speed and ease with which the iPhone can shoot video and upload it to the web is… intriguing, to say the least.

Sony Mehs Platform Exclusivity… Again… #randomcoincidences

Platform exclusives are becoming a thing of the past. I’ve been saying this for some time now. It’s not really a matter of debate, it’s a simple observation: platform exclusive titles aren’t nearly as prolific as they were in the PS2 days. Sony, in particular, seems well aware of this. About a year ago at this time (17 February 2010 to be precise), their Senior VP of Developer Relations had this to say on the subject:

What is going to be the driving force is either exclusive ad campaigns, like the Madden campaign, or exclusive content like we had with Batman. The PS3 version outsold the 360 version, and what we’ve said to developers is: ‘if you take advantage of what the PS3 can deliver – more content on the Blu-ray disc, better graphics, being able to get more of what the player wants onto the disc – you’re going to see those sales translate.

If anything’s certain, Sony’s made good on their word when it comes to platform-exclusive content; whether it’s bonus missions (ala Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood) or an entire game (Like the original Medal of Honor being included with the recent reboot, or Dead Space Extraction on the special edition of Dead Space 2) Sony’s been actively pursuing the exclusive content angle as an alternative to fully exclusive titles.

Earlier today, Sony’s brand manager for MLB 11: The Show had something remarkably familiar to say:

We work very closely with our third parties publishers, not necessarily to lock down games exclusively, but to lock up exclusive parts of games.

A good example is Batman: Arkham Asylum, where you could only play as the Joker on PlayStation 3.

When you make a title exclusive, you limit its promotional power; we don’t want to do that. We want games to be as big as possible — it’s great for the industry. However, we want to make sure that you play it on the best system possible, so we like to take parts of games and make them exclusive to the PlayStation system.

To me it’s just a funny coincidence that two Sony reps would say (essentially) the same thing, during the same timeframe, two years in a row. It illustrates a point, though. I think it’s safe to say that the platform-exclusive is a thing of the past – for now.

I can’t believe I actually watched this thing

I mean, I appreciate the point the dude is trying to make – specifically, that Treyarch’s online support for the PS3 versions of their games, such as Black Ops, is rather lacking – but did it really need to be almost eight minutes long? And more importantly, did I have to watch it all the way through? The answer to the first could be somewhat nebulous, but the answer to the second is a definitive “no.” So… why did I watch it? And… why am I posting it here?

Alright, I think it’s about time to wrap this one up. I could ramble on for a bit, but I’ve hit 1300 words, which is quite substantial.

Hey! Look! Listen! #60 – High Hopes

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Hooah. Welcome to the 60th edition of Hey! Look! Listen! Can you believe it? 60. I mean, there isn’t much significance in the number, but it’s a pretty impressive run, eh?

EH?

That’s what I thought. Anyway. While the review and banner doubtless gave it away, allow me to offer you a formal welcome to Metroid: Other M Week. Being the impoverished fuck that I am, I will likely be unable to purchase and play the game, so my thoughts will not be offered. As for Ethos, he’s already written a detailed review for the game, but he’ll likely write something else about the game before the week’s end.

Alright, well, now that pleasantries are out of the way, let’s dive into the topics of interest for today.

First Batch of Arkham City Screens Released, Look Way Too Good

Holy God. I mean, Arkham Asylum was a damn good looking game – aside from Uncharted 2, it was probably the prettiest game that came out in 2009. So clearly the people at Rocksteady know how to pump out some graphics. But this – this – is just insane:

Click on the image for the full size. Some mighty fine texture work there, eh? Almost looks touched up. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that these are from the PC version. In any case, I think it’s safe to say that Arkham City will be a hell of a good-looking game when it’s released in late 2011. Hit up IGN for the full batch of screens. (They’re all amazing.)

Great Scott: Back to the Future Episodic Game Series Coming

That’s right. Telltale games, the people behind episodic titles such as Sam & Max and Tales of Monkey Island are adapting everyone’s favorite time-travelling trilogy into a series of episodic games, due out later this year on multiple platforms. It will be timed to coincide with the Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray, which releases on October 26.

I didn’t even know the trilogy was coming to Blu Ray. And we’re getting a game, too? Can this get any better?

Yes, yes it can: Christopher Lloyd will be returning to voice Doc Brown, and original screenwriter Bob Gale will be onboard the project.

If this sounds completely out of the blue (it was to me) it actually isn’t. Some months ago, Game Informer spilled the beans on a Jurassic Park game being developed by Telltale as part of a deal they struck with Universal Studios. A Back to the Future game is yet another product of that deal.

“Our partnership with Universal is an exciting next step in our continued growth as a mass-market games publisher and developer,” says Telltale Games CEO Dan Connors. “We are all huge fans of both of these franchises. For Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, we will leverage Telltale’s expertise in story-telling and game design to deliver on the unique elements of each series, with our goal being to create compelling cinematic adventures paying homage to each franchise.”

I’ll admit to being excited. Back to the Future has long been one of my most loved film trilogies, and I’d love to see it given proper treatment within the world of videogames. Same with Jurassic Park, really. I haven’t played any of Telltale’s other stuff, but given the reception of stuff like Sam & Max, it sounds like if anyone can do it, they can. I can’t wait. (Kotaku)

Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer Details Revealed

Treyarch appears to be stepping up their game with the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops. And they need to, because when set next to the two Modern Warfares, World At War, their previous effort, pales rather dramatically. (In my opinion, at least.)

At an event in Los Angeles, journalists were allowed their first hands-on time with Black Ops’ multiplayer modes. The event is actually taking place as I write this, so I doubt every piece of information has found its way to the internets at this time. But, this being the modern age and whatnot, there’s already more than enough to whet the appetite.

-COD Points: A New In-Game Currency

Black Ops will introduce an in-game currency known simply as COD points. They’re earned by playing the game (naturally) and they can be… spent on things. I’m not sure what, exactly, but we’ll probably know soon. As of right now, all we know for sure is that COD points can be used as gambling currency in…

-Wager Modes: Black Ops’ Four New Multiplayer Modes

Now, this is the big one. So far, at least. With your COD points, you’ll be able to gamble in the four new “Wager Modes.” You’ll be wagering that you’ll end up ranked in the top 3 at the end of the match. Those in the top 3 get all the money; the rest go broke. Descriptions of the four modes are as follows:

“One in the chamber” – each player spawns with one pistol, one bullet, and three lives. If you kill someone, you get to take their bullet. If you miss, you have only your melee attacks.

“Sticks and Stones” – you play with crossbows, tomahawks, and a ballistic knife. Obviously, the mode is meant to place an emphasis on visceral, up-close combat. As a twist, if you manage to hit someone with a tomahawk, you instantly bankrupt them. So. Watch your back.

“Gun Game”  - With every kill, you’re gifted with a more powerful weapon. The first player to cycle through them all wins. If you get knifed, though, you’re sent back a tier.

“Sharpshooter” – Everyone starts with the same randomly selected weapon. After a fixed amount of time, another random weapon is selected for everyone. Each kill earns you a perk, and if you rack up enough you’ll be gifted with a scoring multiplier.

Or, instead of reading all that, you could just watch this video:

I tend to play Team Deathmatch and only Team Deathmatch, but I like the sound of these. They sound unique, highly competitive, and potentially highly rewarding.

-Offline Multiplayer

Oh, and there will also be an offline multiplayer component that enables bots. This will be called “Combat Training,” and will be a separate entity from online multiplayer, with its own progression system. I just hope the mode enables split-screen play, so that my flesh-and-blood couch buddies can join in. If so, then the mode will be awesome. If not, I don’t have much interest in fighting an army of bots.

Exciting stuff, to be sure. November 9 can’t come soon enough. I’m just hoping to have prestiged in Modern Warfare 2 by that time. (No, I still haven’t prestiged.) (VG247)

QUICKIE: iTunes 10 Introduces Ping, the Social Network for Music

The headline is the story, essentially. If you want details on it all, head over to Gizmodo. What do I think? Eh, well, it looks slick as hell (I mean, it is Apple) but it also seems gimmicky and superfluous. I’d rather post YouTube music videos to my Facebook account. Or at least, that’s my first impression. I might think differently when/if I take a look at it, which I’m sure will happen sometime, if only out of sheer curiosity.

And that, as they say, is that. Man, I’m tired, and I don’t know why. I’m going to bed.

p.s, remember when Ethos used to write that thing called Scatter Storming? I miss those days.