Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Okami finished ... and man is it good

After some 40 + hours of gameplay, I finally beat Okami and saved the world of Nippon a few nights ago. And lemme tell you, it was epic. Yes, this game is clearly long, but it rarely played that way. And if you're not borderline obsessive-compulsive while playing video games (and I am, because I want everything unlocked) you can probably knock it out in about 30-35 hours.
But no matter your approach it will be worth it. The story of this game is amazing, hitting a huge range of emotions and even getting some possible wetworks out of the player. It also has a fantastic sense of humor, showing that, yes, silent protagonists can have personalities and their in-game guide need not drive you insane. In this way the game shines above anything in the Zelda and/or Mario series and deserves the franchise treatment.
The combat gets slightly repetitive, as most enemies fall into one of about 10 categories. The boss fights, however, play very differently and pose quite a challenge ... of a sort.
While the bosses are pretty tough to eliminate with the most extreme of prejudices, and though they can smack you around a good bit, they're probably going to have a hard time really threatening your existence. There's so much health you can store/build up in Okami that, once you put in about five hours your life will probably never be threatened. I know that allowed me to basically ugly up every boss fight and go in swinging, knowing I'd outlast the rotten jerks trying to muck up Nippon.
Of course, this does sort of make sense. You're playing as a sun goddess in the body of a wolf, so you should be a paragon of destruction for the forces of good. That you do eventually reach this stage for more than five minutes is a plus.
Several reviews have criticized the game as easy, but its puzzles and boss fights are tougher than anything I've played this year. No, it doesn't have the difficulty a first-person shooter does, and the health abundence takes some thrill off, but several puzzles are diabolical, and finding all the extras is a huge, huge chore.
With the game complete, I'm giving it an actual five buttons out of five. It's the best game I've played this year and manages to knock Metroid Prime: Corruption from the top spot as my favorite Wii game ever.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Some LULZ for today - Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 character design?

A friend of mine posted this in her blog today...a sampling of the character design in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2, with added commentary by an unknown source :)

You'll have to click the image to see bigger and be able to read the notes.


Seriously, I pity the cosplayer who dares even THINKING of attempting that outfit. Ew. Final Fantasy character designers, wtf?

'When world's colide

A McCain ad features "Medal of Honor" music. A recent ad for John McCain's presidential campaign features music from Medal of Honor: European Assault, which GamePolitics believes may be the first time video game music has been used as such. The awkward thing here is that the composer of the piece, Christopher Lennertz, is a passionate Barack Obama supporter who is "dismayed" by the use of his composition in the ad.

Lennertz doesn't own the rights to the piece, but he did release a statement saying that he wishes he'd been consulted before his music was used to promote a campaign that he does not agree with.

In unrelated news, my PS3 is alive and well and will come back to me soon. Hooray!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Call of Duty Announced

Earlier this week Activision the publisher of Guitar Hero and the Call of Duty series, made an announcement that wasn't a big surprises to a lot of people. Activision announced that they were in the works of publishing a new Call of duty game entitled Call of Duty: World at War. The other information that was provided at the announcement had a lot of people starting to wonder if this new Call of Duty game will actually be a step backwards rather than a step forwards.

The game will be traveling back to its roots to World War II and not the whole modern theme that was used in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Activison has confirmed two campaigns so far; there will be an American campaign which will take place in the Battle of the Pacific and a Soviet campaign which will take place in Europe in the invasion of Germany. The game is being developed by Treyarch and not Infinity Ward who were the developers of Call of Duty 4. If you are not familiar with Treyarchs work they're the developers of Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, Call of Duty 3 and Spider-Man 3. Most of the games that Treyarch have developed in the past have just been mediocre games that offered nothing new or original and this is why a lot of people have gotten a little sceptical that this game will live up to Call of Duty 4.

Even though a lot of people are disappointed with the information that was given at the announcement a lot of information was also given that might make this game actually good. The game has been in development for two years and it will feature Single player co-op, two player split screen and four player online co-op. The developers are also taking a look at the darker corners of WWII with torture scenes and a much more mature subject matter. Tyeyarch have also taken some ideas from Infinity Ward in this latest installment in the Call of Duty series; like the ability to have perks like in Call of Duty 4.
Well really only time will tell if this game lives up to Call of Duty 4 or if it will just be another average shooter.

Today's column

A Word About My PS3

My PlayStation 3 died this weekend. I was playing "Call of Duty 4" when the sound suddenly cut out. Attempts to play subsequent games resulted in frozen screens and lengthy, laggy pauses.

"Oh crap," I thought.

Could this be Sony's "Red Ring of Death," which felled many an Xbox 360?

So many gaming consoles cut down in their prime.

Of course, the solution to all this would be whipping out my warranty and saying to Sony, "Fix this, fools." That is, if I had my receipt backing up my warranty, which I didn't — long story.

I faced paying upward of $150 to ship the PS3 to Sony for something they screwed up in the first place. I really need that to buy a new pair of pants or perhaps a tank of gas, crust of bread, a chunk of cheese, etc. Thanks to our wonderful new economy, I feel like a character in a Dickens novel. I think I heard some of the skater kids speaking cockney the other day.

After checking around, I learned I could contact the store that sold my specific console and they could look up my receipt from my PS3 serial number. I don't have much love for Gamestop after its sister company, EB Games, royally screwed me over by selling me "free" magazine subscriptions with my game purchase. But they shined in this situation. They found my receipt and helped me convince the Sony PS3 people to send me a coffin for my dead console.

Sony PS3 customer service employs the most useless, argumentative bunch of dimwits I've ever spoken to in my entire life. I'm getting an error code and reading it back to the woman on the other end and she says, "I don't know what that means." YOU WORK AT SONY'S PS3 HOTLINE.

"I don't have a crystal ball," she added.

Well, I do have a crystal ball, and it's called Google. And I'll just be damned if I didn't get a dozen pages explaining that my Sony BluRay disc-reader basically decided to give me the middle finger.

Why couldn't someone at Sony explain that to me? Even a fourth-grader knows how to restore the PS3's default-settings at this point. One day we will all have cars that fly, and the person at Sony's PS3 hotline still won't know what my error code means.

Why do I put up with Sony's shenanigans? It's because one day, in spite of its suicidal business strategy and this god-awful economy, we will all own high-definition TV sets, and Sony's PS3 will be the best deal going. And because the animated film Batman: Gotham Knight will come out on BluRay soon.

So I think we all learned something here today. Capitalism works, but only when you make it work for you. Don't let bad customer service, biblical hold times and fine print keep you from making Sony or any company pay what they owe. And enjoy that next tank of regular unleaded while you're standing at the pump in your brand new Levi's.

Ok, maybe not the Levi's. Yet.

Coming next week

While my PS3 is kaput, I've found a new game for the Wii. "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As a King" is a tactical role-playing game where players rebuild a kingdom using magic. King Leo, a mere boy, is not allowed to leave his castle but controls everything within it.

It's available as a $15 Wii ware download. There's also a lot of additional content you can download as well. I haven't played it enough for a full-fledged review yet, but so far, so good.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Gadrock goodness

I'm putting Sony on blast Thursday for their poor handling of the PS3 situation. Pittman also has some Wii and Xbox 360 related columns in the works as well....

Here's the latest news from our friends at Gadrock Gamers....

That's correct sirs! HUGE NEWS!!

Gadrock Gamers and Replays Gameware are proud to announce we'll be setting up a FREE Wii Sports: Tennis Tournament at Gadsden's Riverfest 2008!

Radio station Z93.1, Absolute Fitness of Gadsden and Replays will be sponsoring a Wii Sports: Tennis Tournament, Saturday afternoon at Riverfest at the Z93.1 Tent.

So here are the details:

You will have to purchase a pass for Riverfest (or win them somehow etc.) to enter the tournament, which works out great if you're already going to be there! Other than that, there is no entry fee, totally free!

The format will be classic arcade style, ala, you keep playing until you lose and we tally up how many people you beat, and whoever has the most consecutive wins, wins!

The matches will be 1 player vs. 1 player, one game per match.

There will probably be prizes for runner ups...but for sure, the grand prize winner will walk away with the Nintendo Wii that we'll be using that day.

The Wii has been sponsored by Z93.1 and Absolute Fitness, and was purchased from Replays Gameware.

Keep you eyes peeled for the exact contest times and more info.

But this will take place before bands perform on Saturday afternoon!

Monday, June 9, 2008

New 3G iPhone

So Apple has announced it's new 3G iPhone. They go on sale July 11th.

I've been waiting for this! Finally we'll be able to use faster internet Japan!

And the 8GB model is being priced at $199, a bit kinder to the pocketbook than the first model.

Dan's contract is up in January, so I can't get one of these babies yet, but maybe they will add more goodies to it by then. :)

I have a plan

Following up on my PS3 woes...thanks for all the help and advice. Unfortunately, I don't think its a lens cleanliness issue. I wish it were, but it probably is not.

The reason I think this is because the disk does not make much of an audible spinning noise when its inserted. This leads me to believe that its probably a bad reader, something to do with the hardware itself, rather than a clean lens. I blew duster on it, no luck- I'm afraid to try the disc cleaner because I'm afraid if I do it will scratch the lens and void my warranty.

About that warranty- I've managed to get more info from my friend about where and when his brother bought it. My hope is they will either have a receipt or opt to print me one....that's the idea, at any rate. I hope they are more helpful than the useless bunch of human drones at the PS3 service line. Good God almighty! If you have any trouble shooting to do with the PS3 go to their Web site- and if you absolutely must call PS3 service, ask for a manager right of the gate. Their floor employees are rude, argumentative and have no useful wisdom to impart.

Ok, calling the game store at 11 a.m. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Played the Battlefield: Bad Company Demo

Well I downloaded the Battlefield: Bad Company Demo and I have to say it was pretty fun. I started out by playing the Single-player portion of the game and didn't expect much but after a couple of minutes of cinematics the game starts and you jump into a vehicle right away. The single player covers a lot in such a shot amount of time; every second of the game you are either shooting,driving or being shot at. The single player was actually great with amazing sound effects,graphics and destructible environments this game looks like the single player should be fairly solid.

After the single player I jumped into multiplayer which from what I have played is definably where this game stands out.
The game can host 24 players in one online match and there was one map and one game type in the demo. The map is called Oasis and it's a desert map with a river, mountains and a small village. The gametype was called Gold Rush and what Gold Rush is that there are two teams one team are Attackers and the other team are Defenders. The Attackers job is to destroy 2 crates filled with Gold to capture that base and expand the map. The Defenders job are to stop the Attackers from doing this and killing off all the Attackers which will drop down the Attackers reinforcements.EA has confirmed that conquest mode will be available as a free update after the game ships out on June 23. The Online play has Tanks,Jeeps,Boats,Helicopters and Turrets which turns the battle into complete mayhem and a struggle for victory.

So far this game looks promising and will definitely offer a great online play that will have a amazing replay value. In the demo there were some problems with the game which consisted of lag at times, texture taring, sound, mic/headset,squad/partying problems and freezing but this is only a demo and lets hope they fix these problems before the full game ships out. Hope to see all of you on the Battlefield.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


My PlayStation 3 is apparently broke. I was playing COD4 with Creg earlier when the sound went out. Pretty soon after, the game locked up.

I am trying to figure out if there's any way this is covered under my warranty. I'd need a receipt, which is bad because I bought it from a friend who had a brother buy it for him. The service charge is around $150.

Suckitude, is the appropriate word here, I believe.

Apparently other people's PS3s have done this to them?

New Wii ware game is pretty cool

"Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King" is what "My Sims" for the Wii could've been with a little more thought and effort. Not an RPG per se, the game revolves around the boy King Leo who is restoring a mighty kingdom using magic. Utilizing the finest adventurers and your good ol' noggin, Leo can keep his citizens happy. But its no simple game; it develops in complexity quickly.

The game is a real sweet deal at $15 and has lots of other add-on downloadable content. I hope the rest of the Wii ware stuff is this good.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A perfect 'Fit' for Wii

In the past, Nintendo has had you raise virtual puppies, stomp on evil Goombas and save the world from Mother Brain.

Now they want to get you in shape.

Wii Fit is the newest off-the-wall title in Nintendo's repertoire. The game features more than 40 exercises to help you burn fat, build muscle and gain perfect posture.

The Wii Balance Board is the real star of the show. The innovative peripheral is included with every copy of Wii Fit and is used with nearly every activity in the game. You simply sync the Balance Board to the Wii console before you play for the first time, and you'll be ready to work out in no time.

The game provides a nice introductory tutorial that explains how to use the device. You are also asked to pick a Mii — a user created avatar — to help represent the virtual journey that lies ahead.

The first thing on the docket is finding out your BMI (body mass index), which is determined by stepping on the Wii Balance Board after submitting your height and date of birth. Next is a series of exams that judge how well you can shift body weight under a strict time limit. The results determine a "Wii Fit Age," a number that most people will strive to lower by playing the game. You are able to set a limit on how much weight to lose over a certain amount of time. A calendar is provided to see the progress that you will need to make in order to reach the goal.

There are only a few exercises to choose from initially, but many more games unlock as playing time increases. A metallic piggy bank dubbed the "Fit Bank" keeps track of how much time you spend and rewards you accordingly.

Yoga provides stretches that are combined with deep breathing exercises to clear the mind and the soul. The gamer mimics the actions of an onscreen yoga instructor, holding each pose for several seconds while trying to maintain balance. One of the tougher poses is the shoulder stand, which hurts about as much as it sounds.

Strength training helps to build muscles all over the body. You can choose to do push-ups, side planks and even the dreaded jackknife (lying flat on the floor and bringing your legs and arms to meet above your body). One big problem with exercises in this category is the amount of space that they can require. Gamers trying to bulk-up in a cramped space will quickly become frustrated.

The aerobic exercises are the most innovative experience of Wii Fit. You can work those hips while spinning hula-hoops around your waist or step in the ring for some rhythm boxing. You can also head outdoors to jog around a beautiful island. This is one activity that doesn't use the Wii Balance Board, and instead makes use of jogging in place with a Wii Remote in your pocket.

Balance games include hitting the slopes for some ski jumping and tightrope walking. One of the more popular games in the category involves heading soccer balls into a goal while avoiding the occasional shoe and panda bear head.

Nintendo's latest creation will not trump going to a gym, but it does provide an innovative way to get on the path to fitness. The Wii Balance Board is worth the price of admission alone due to the amount of games that will be compatible in the future. Wii Fit gets 4 buttons out of 5.

- Chris Pittman

Monday, June 2, 2008

What I'm doing right now

I'm reading every possible article I can find about The Dark Knight. The suspense is killing me.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Playstation 3 deal

Wal*Mart has a pretty good deal going on right now for the Playstation 3. The chain is including a free $100 gift card with every 40GB Playstation 3 purchase.

The ad above states that the included card is a "Blu-Ray" gift card, which will only work in purchasing movies of that format. However, there have been plenty reports of people using the card for non-movie related purchases, so chances are the card will work for anything you want to buy. Best Buy is matching the deal as well, and I would recommend going there over Wal*Mart. Anyways, this is a great way to get onboard the PS3 bandwagon. I'm seriously considering it myself.