Archive for August, 2007

Tekken 6 New Fighter…

Posted in Fighting Games, Gaming, PS3 on August 31, 2007 by thelonegamer

… is a guy named BOB.

Okay, that isn’t all. I’m pretty sure once you see ‘Bob’, you’ll be just as perplexed as I was.

Oh well. At least the developers are thinking out of the box…
Check ‘Bob’ out at SD Tekken’s Tekken 6 Page.

On other Tekken news, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online is now available in the US PSN store. The full game will cost you about 30 bucks, but if you already downloaded Tekken 5 DR before, the additional online component will cost just about 10 dollars. I’m not really into online, so I probably won’t be getting this. I’ll just wait for my Tekken 6, thank you very much.

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Bioshock Faves and Peeves

Posted in Gaming, Shooters, Xbox360 on August 28, 2007 by thelonegamer

Best game ever?

Okay, every big gaming site has pretty much said what needs to be said- Bioshock rocks, and it rocks big time. But I still have to give my own word on this game, but I didn’t want to just gush on it the way I usually do. So I’ll just write this review like so…

TOP TEN FAVES IN BIOSHOCK

The City of Rapture– perhaps the singular most impressive and memorable thing in this massive game is the setting. An opulent mess of sunken art deco buildings mixed with retro pulp-action sci-fi, it’s certainly unique and refreshing in the crowded genre of shooters where often the stage or battleground is a generic warehouse, nameless desert town or generic sci-fi deathmaze. In Bioshock, Rapture is as much a character as the beings that populate it, at once horrifying and enthralling you. The details in almost every room, every hallway, every building and zone is mind-boggling. In my first hour or so, all I would do was break every lampshade, pan, garbage can, bottle and book in my path. Walls even chip, metal dents. Perhaps the most lovingly crafted sandbox you’ve ever yet seen in a game of this sort, or any genre for that matter.

The Story– when Ken Levine, creative director of Bioshock, said that you should refrain from going to any forums since it is incredibly easy to spoil the enjoyment of the game’s narrative for you, he was telling the truth (really, THREE words can spoil it). While not truly unique- it’s been done- certainly the complex plot of Bioshock is a compelling watch, and it is something that is masterfully presented through both sight and sound- through audio diaries you find throughout the levels and by continual radio communications to you by the various power players in Rapture who try to help or hinder your progress.
The few pivotal (and pretty awesome) cut scenes are all in-game, often interactive, and always from your point of view, immersing you in the experience rather than just sitting you down and laying it on you from spoon to mouth. And of course, this film would make a KICK-ASS movie.

The WATER– FREAKY amazing. In a setting like Rapture, believability all rests on how realistic the water looks… and it looks freakin’ real. Give those water programmers a raise, 2K.

Accessible, DIY Gameplay– I have to say… I am not good at FPS games. In fact, I suck. I find most of these shooters inaccessible since you need to learn things like strafing, or that jumping like a kangaroo is a viable tactic in combat. Bioshock’s challenge level is perfect, allowing me to shoot and use my Plasmid powers naturally and easily. There’s frenetic gameplay but you can approach threats from various directions; there truly is a hard way, an easy way a stupid way and a smart way to do things in Bioshock, as well as a CRAZY way. It’s all up to you, and that ROCKS.

The Splicers– your enemies for most of the game. These crazed, genetically-mutated citizens of Rapture are both pitiful and fearsome. The thought that these people once had lives makes you feel bad when you smoke ’em… but still, that shouldn’t stop you from putting two in the head before you get gutted with a longshoreman’s hook. Their devious A.I. makes them formidable enemies for the most part, and no better targets to use your weapons and Plasmids on.

Sounds and Music– Bioshock’s sounds are perfection. From the voice acting of every character- from cannon fodder splicers to the main cast of interesting characters you encounter, ally or cross swords with, it’s all excellent. The music is a mix of wondrous scores and chilling suspense music to perfectly-chosen period songs or specific musical pieces that perfectly highlight a memorable scene. This game just BEGS for a great surround-sound system.

The Big Daddies– walking, optional (but arguably necessary) boss battles, these mysterious brutes are both menacing and gentle, sympathetic but bad-ass. The first time you see one, the Daddy makes an impression. The first time you fight one, you’ll have conniptions. Yeah, once you kill several it’s not as hard anymore but there’s a special satisfaction to setting up a staged ambush for these walking tanks, and seeing it all come together like clockwork.

The Weapons– from the awesome Tommy Gun (I just love working the gangster typewriter) to the makeshift grenade launcher made from coffee cans, the design work that went into these armaments is awesome. Once you augment the guns with various upgrades, they look even cooler. There’s a nice weight to the guns, something that works well in making the gameplay so accessible.

The Moral Dilemma– not only do you have to contend with surviving against crazed splicers and manipulative power brokers in Rapture, you have to make that big choice when encountering the creepy Little Sisters. Do you sacrifice this child’s life in order to save your own, or do you do the right thing and soldier on as long as you know you’re saving an innocent? What kind of man are you? Yeah, it’s just a game, and we all probably will do the one or the other eventually to see the alternate ending(s). But it’s still food for thought and it’s quite maturely done in this game for such a touchy subject.

Telekinesis– The most fun Plasmid power in the game. There’s nothing cooler than holding up an enemy corpse as a shield against enemy attack. Or killing an enemy with a flying hat.

TOP TEN PEEVES IN BIOSHOCK
Lack of enemy variety– Except for the Big Daddies, I think there are like, six or seven character models of male Splicers and about five or so female Splicers. These are divided into five different Splicer classes, from the acrobatic Spider Splicers to the gun-toting Leadheads. Even the few bosses of the game are just enhanced Splicers. They’re interesting foes and full of character, and the programmers do all they can swapping palettes, weapons and powers… but it’s inevitable some may wish there were other enemies to face.

I wish you can do a melee attack with every weapon and not just the wrench…
Researching– it’s kinda fun to have the camera sub-game in Bioshock, where snapping cool pics of your enemies gives you bonuses against them; kinda like Fatal Frame. But it often boils down to you standing and taking hits while you snap away like a crazed paparazzi. Kinda weird.

I wish the menu consisted of more than just Pep Bars and Potato Chips.
It’s a little thing but… Why don’t I have any LEGS?!?
Immortality– you can’t really die in Bioshock; you just re-spawn in one of the many Vita-thingies scattered all around the city. It may be a way of keeping the game from becoming frustrating or too hard, but to me, it’s too much. The ability to save anywhere, anytime should be enough of a back-up. The respawning kinda kills a bit of the thrill.

Harvesting the Little Sisters will without a doubt make me feel bad…

Hacking– at first it’s cool, even fun. Later, when it gets hard… it’s more frustrating than facing an army of Splicers or a Big Daddy armed with just your wrench. Autohacks are your friend…

Having to kill someone named ‘Mr. Bubbles’…
And last but not least… It has to frickin’ END. Bring on Bioshock 2!!!

EnRaptured

Posted in Gaming, Shooters, Xbox360 on August 25, 2007 by thelonegamer

Splicer Attack!

My copy of Bioshock arrived on the dot yesterday, and after a hurried lunch I was off to playing 2K’s critically-acclaimed genetically-modified shooter. It was a bit of coincidence that while I was playing, it was raining hard outside, which is probably the best surround-sound effect you can get for an undersea setting.

Anyway, I zipped past the parts that were covered in the demo without trouble, and every hour after was simply BLISS. Hours passed with me just going at a vacation’s pace- enjoying every sight, searching every nook and cranny for stuff. The Splicers, while not the most varied foes around, are certainly the most interesting to encounter. I honestly found myself pitying the Splicer in some of the encounters I had, particularly the lone Baby Jane Splicer crying at the funeral home- in hindsight I think this was mainly due to the voice acting, which is uniformly excellent throughout the game so far. I mean, the sound, music, voice… perfect.

But graphics and sound aside, the gameplay is rock solid, fun and addictive. It’s a bit difficult at the start- the guys in the demo vids make it look so easy- ‘specially since finding weapons and money is quite challenging. I’m also torn at how to spend my hard-earned Adam… every little bit counts.

I was able to go all the way to the third area of the game, but I decided to backpedal and re-play the game from the second area, as well as revisit the previous parts to grab myself some Little Sisters. The game gets harder as it goes on, with Splicers getting tougher and more resistant to your earlier strategies. The only way is to upgrade, learn, research and get better than them. Thankfully, I am having a ball in any case.

Anyways. Need sleep. Gotta rest up for more Bioshocking tomorrow…

Puppet Master

Posted in Action Adventure, Gaming, PS3 on August 24, 2007 by thelonegamer

Now that higher-resolution screens of the Beauty and the Beast MGS4 bosses have been released, I’ve gotten a better look at these cyborg femme fatales. One of the neater things that I noticed right away was that the two little marionettes hanging beside Screaming Mantis are Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow.

WHY? What is their connection? Or is it just Kojima screwing with us poor geeky fans? We’ll just have to wait till 2008 to find out.

New Hitman Trailer

Posted in Game to Movies, Gaming on August 24, 2007 by thelonegamer

IGN has just posted a longer, second trailer for the Hitman movie. It gives us a much better look at Tim Olyphant as Agent 47. I’m kinda mixed at this point. Looking at 47 in the flesh, I’m kinda iffy at the idea of how such a distinct and noticeable person can be an effective assassin. I mean, he sticks out like a sore thumb! I’m still up in the air about Olyphant’s casting… I like him, but he’s not exactly my first choice to play 47. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong. I’ll have to wait till I actually see the film before I give an exact verdict. Still, the movie looks slick, and the trailer, set to ‘Ave Maria’ is kinda cool if a bit vague on any plot or story. When I see the girl, I begin to think of XXX, maybe because she kinda looks like Asia Argento. And don’t those stormtroopers look like they stepped out of the anime Jin-Roh?

Anyways, the trailer can be found here. Check it out.

Delivery

Posted in Gaming, My Stuff, Shooters, Xbox360 on August 24, 2007 by thelonegamer

Today is the day Play-Asia was to ship out the first wave of US/NTSC copies of Bioshock. I put in my order back on August 19 since I waited a bit to confirm that the disc was region-free. Play-Asia posted that they would only have a limited supply of the game initially, but will be getting additional copies to fill out the rest of the pending orders by Monday. Thankfully, it turns out I was one of the early purchasers since my order just shipped out this late afternoon. I actually called FedEx to confirm delivery by tomorrow, Saturday… I simply have to get this game by tomorrow to make the most of our long holiday weekend. Everything looks fine though- if all goes right, I’ll have my Bioshock by noon tomorrow.

Crossing fingers. Crossing fingers.

Beauty and the Beast

Posted in Action Adventure, Gaming, PS3 on August 23, 2007 by thelonegamer

Here they are… the scary, freaky new Metal Gear bosses of MGS4. As reported earlier, they are members of Beauty and the Beast, a special forces unit composed of ‘victims of war’. Each member was afflicted by a severe physical or mental condition prior to becoming… what they are now.
I wonder if you will actually see what’s under the armor- perhaps like Raiden, there’s still something human underneath the cold shells. Given Kojima’s love for melodrama though, I fully expect drawn-out expositions of tragic childhoods from each and every one of these gals prior to and after Snake’s throwdowns with them… in which case, I wonder if Crying Wolf is a Kurd..?

Crying Wolf lets out a howl!
Crying Wolf. I guess this is the ‘Beast’ of the squad…

Evangelion-esque, to be sure...
Look, Mr. Bubbles… it’s an Angel! Raging Raven is lethal.

FREAKY!!!!
Cyborg torso connected to huge tentacles that giggles maniacally as they kill you… Laughing Octopus is FREAKY!!!

The Puppet Master.
Screaming Mantis seems to be the boss of these bosses.

Anyways, I really like their designs- kinda like the power suits from the anime Bubblegum Crisis, only twisted and menacing. My favorite simply for being the freaky-scariest is Laughing Octopus. I really, really, really hope we actually get to tussle with these heavies. These fights should be epic.

UPDATE!

1Up just posted a cool article about the new bosses, as Hideo Kojima himself revealed the nature behind these deadly femme fatales. MGS4’s theme is in fact about Beauty and the Beast, and how these frightening ‘beasts’ of war are actually underneath lovely women, the ultimate victims of armed conflict. Each of the four bosses are based on a real-life model (who probably voices the character); Lyndell Jarvis, Mieko Rye, Scarlett Chorvat and Yumi Kikuchi. Each woman supposedly represents a part of the world. There is apparently a chance that Snake will be able to return these innocent beauties back to their true forms- players will just have to see if there’s a happy ending in store.

You can read the whole cool article (along with lovely art and screens) here.

A direct-feed version of the GC’07 trailer is now available at Gamevideos.  Check it out!