ZOMG New Xbox 720 Rumors! Que the Sarcasm.

25 01 2012

New Xbox Next/720, whatever you want to call the next Xbox, rumors have the internet buzzing right now.  The talk around town began with trusted industry sources giving  Kotaku details on what could be heading to Microsoft’s next gen system.  There are plenty of juicy details  and I’ve listed them below for ease of viewing.  See how well I treat you?

The Xbox Next/720 will:

  • Upgrade to using Blu-Ray Discs.  This will allow Xbox to use up to 50 GB of data rather than the measly 9 GB allowed by DVD’s.
  • Plan on using some type of anti-piracy technology.  This tech would also possibly stop the Xbox from playing used games.  Further details about this plan haven’t surfaced yet, but speculation points to possibly tying the game to your personal Xbox Live account.
  • Shipped with a “red-hot” (…) Kinect hands-free sensor.  A Kinect with an on-board processor that improves the users movement detection.
  • And I like to say this one in the “Monster Jam” voice *Clears throat* “Come’s with not 6x, but 8x the power of the Xbox 360!”  If you read that sentence in the correct voice that statement should have sounded awesome!

And with all these details analysts have moved the speculated release of the next Xbox from 2014, to a late 2013.

I am pleased to see the direction that Microsoft is heading, innovation and improvement of their product.  The only disturbing detail is the anti-used game technology.  I read enough about the gaming industry to know that used games sales do hurt gaming companies, developers and producers, but I also buy a lot of used games.  I think there is a place for used games, and what if I wanted to let a friend or family member borrow a game?  What then?  I expect further details on this in months to come and I hope the news is good.



I Did CES 2012 Today

11 01 2012

I debated whether to write about my quest to CES 2012 today because of my lying and deceit I had to do to get there.  Being a Las Vegas local it wasn’t difficult getting my hands on a badge and would rather not divulge the details on how I got my grubby hands on them.  But, I thought it would be a worthy cause for the blog so I grabbed my buddy Greg and today we would be Yvonne and Jeffery.  Since I have longer hair I chose to wear around the Yvonne badge.  Next, the Hilton was charging $30 for CES attendees to use their parking garage, good thing I was there to bet on football *wink wink*.  With our badges around our neck and free parking behind us we entered into the multiple humungous warehouse size rooms of CES.  Without making eye contact with anyone checking badges we joked and laughed at made up stories as to not raise any suspicion.  CES is a tech geeks wet dream, I mean there is literally everything tech.  TV’s, robots, cell phones, vacuums, vibrating chairs, games, and accessories to go with everything.  I was there for one reason and one reason only, games.  Microsoft was easy to find and found myself playing the new Alan Wake and I Am Alive unopposed by anyone.  No one in lines and no one waiting to play after me.  It was rather strange since all I know is PAX and the lines that come with it.  Greg and myself are men, and as such were very opposed to reading anything that even resembled a map, so stubbornly we walked around the wrong two floors of the wrong building for two hours looking at cell phone accessories instead of finding the Sony booth.  We finally started to read maps and quickly learned Sony was not where we thought it was and began our long trek back through countless booths and security check points to arrive in a small corridor we had past several times before.  There it was, one of the largest booths in CES, Sony.  TV’s, PSP’s, Playstation 3’s, and even PS Vita’s were abound.  Sony had really outdone themselves, with Starhawk, Journey and Twisted Metal all available to play, I had yet again an unopposed time limit to demo these upcoming titles.  Six hours quickly passed and with the booths closing up shop, Jeffery and Yvonne decided to call it a night and head home.  CES is gigantic, I don’t know how you could possibly see everything even with all the time allowed.  I’m glad I got to experience CES, but I’m glad I only spent one day there.  And I don’t know if I could handle the anxiety of walking around with those badges for much longer.


Alan Wake and Agent Cooper

11 12 2011

Remedy’s highly underrated 2010 title Alan Wake finally has a trailer for it’s followup arcade title Alan Wake: American Nightmare.  Paying homage to many cult/campy flicks, the ever apparent similarity to Twin Peaks was uncanny.  Now in it’s second installment, not to be termed a “sequel”, Alan Wake is fighting through “nightmares” attempting to stop his murderous doppelganger.  Again with the similarity to Agent Cooper and the Black Lodge of Twin Peaks.  I have no complaints, I like Twin Peaks, I like Agent Cooper and I like Alan Wake, so I’ll probably like this XBLA title.  If you haven’t seen Twin Peaks or played Alan Wake, I highly suggest you stop reading now and go do one of those things…go…NOW!

Video compliments of GameTrailers.

A Special Epic Gears of War 3 Review

5 10 2011

  Gears of War 3 Review

Everyone knew Epic’s last installment into the Gears of War series was going to be, well, epic.  You know you were going to get a polished third person shooter on rails.  You knew you were going to get plenty of blood, guts, and explosions.  And you knew you were going to get more Marcus Fenix. So what did Epic do differently this time?  They made you care about the story.  The previous Gears predecessors were always action packed, leading the COG into Locust filled environments and blowing up everything in sight, but I never asked the question “Why?”.  The answer was easy, the Locust were trying to take over the planet, plain and simple.  Thus, my mission was simple, defend and destroy.  I never cared for the characters, hell I rarely even remembered any of their names.  Epic did something special this time around, they made me care about what I was doing, they made me care about the brothers and sisters I was battling with, and actually maybe even a touch of feelings for the Locusts.  Every character you play, hear, interact with has a story.  Cole relives his glory days playing football for the Cougars, you see what war has done to survivors, and you see what Imulsion has done to every living organism.

The War has been raging for years, the Locusts have been forced from the underground by the Imulsion infected Lambent.  Everyone, including the COG are in desperate need for supplies, and Marcus Fenix is desperate for answers.  It’s almost post apocalyptic, everything is just trying to survive, and the game does a great job at making it feel that way.  Having played the first two Gears, I would have never thought the game would mature to this level of story telling.  Epic has hit it’s mark with this one.

The other aspects of GOW 3 aren’t lacking either.  The third person game on rails does feel familiar, but the levels are open, with expansive environments surrounding them.  The dark caves are no more, instead traded for destroyed cities and shanty towns.  During all the action that Gears constantly shoves down your throat I often found myself disregarding the violence and looking at the environments that surrounded the battle like a child chasing a butterfly during his soccer game.  Thoughts bounced around my mind and made up stories how the surrounding environment came to look the way it does.  I really hate when people discussing movies start talking about how “the city was also a character” bullshit, but Epic did just that, the environments tell their own story.  Yeah I know, you get it, the game has a story, let’s move on…how’s the gameplay and multiplayer?  Glad you asked.

GOW 3 plays phenomenal.  Every weapon you use feels different and has an actual purpose.  I loved the variety of scopes and firing capabilities.  From the Oneshot to the Torque Bow, the Retro Lancer to the Lancer, using and changing weapons was simple and actually amusing.  I didn’t find much purpose for switching between the three grenades, I would liked to have seen an actual advantage between the three.  Your partner AI for the most part is intelligent, sometimes a little too tactically sound taking the cover you were planning on using, and getting in your way as they kill all of the enemies before you.  I didn’t mind of course, since I was spending my time picking flowers from the ground anyways.  I feel you could actually make it through most of the game without even firing a shot, that’s how affective your AI partners are.  Enemy AI is improved also, the days of the kamikaze Locust are over, they take cover, throw grenades and flank, just like an intelligent enemy would.  The variety of enemies and constant waves you face makes the game flow flawlessly chapter after chapter begging you not to stop.

The multiplayer has had a few tweaks and the drop in/drop out co-op has had huge improvements also.  As long as your friend was running a game, three other friends could drop in at any time and start slaying Lambent Locusts like a team.  This was one of the most impressive features in GOW 3.   Co-op, Horde and Beast mode, and six different Versus modes make this title a variable replay value machine.  Horde mode is impressive, you get money for kills and spend that hard earned currency on laser fences, decoys, and turrets.  Every 10 waves brings on a boss wave that’s never easy and demands teamwork.  If you get a competent team, the skies the limit.  Beast mode is by far the hardest mode.  You get to play as the Locusts, buying the type of Locust you want to play as after each death, and try to kill as many humans as you can in one minute.  The community isn’t that large, so finding games is next to impossible, but when you do get a group of five people, it becomes one of the funnest modes in the game.  Nothing is more satisfying than using the Mauler, hiding behind your shield, and killing two humans at once with one swing.  The Versus mode got a huge facelift for this installment giving you six different game types to choose from.  Casual is  your regular Team Deathmatch and is not ranked.  Standard is ranked and has the regular TDM with Warzone where you’re only allotted one death per round.  Execution gives you only one life per round and requires you to execute the enemy for the kill to count.  Capture the Leader is similar to CTF, except the flag is traded for a captive leader.  King of the Hill is similar to Domination requiring you to hold down “objective rings” for a certain amount of time.  And lastly Wingman has teams of two eliminating three other teams in a TDM type setting.  I’m terrible at the Gears versus modes, I played them just enough to write this review.  The community is small and I get my ass handed to me.  The lack of split screen in Horde and Beast mode was a huge kick to my nuts.  I remember playing the other Gears  titles at my house with my friends for hours, now that option is just dropped?  For what?  It was a slap in my face and I won’t be spending a lot of time playing these modes because of it.  But if that’s the only real issue with Gears of War 3 than Epic has done something really special here.  They did something I didn’t think they would ever be capable of, building a familiar game and making it feel fresh again.  And for that, I commend them.  Well played sirs.

Gears of War 3 scores an A.