Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Dead Redemption Co-Op Missions available today!

While I might not have reached a 100% statistic, or even level 50 in Red Dead Redemption's online multiplayer, I'm sure the co-op mission pack will help me reach that second goal. I'm aiming to reach a completed achievement listing on RDR, but haven't had the time I'd like to do so. Hopefully, the co-op missions will aid in that while also adding a handful of extra achievements. Did I mention the DLC was free?

I'm Sold.

Honestly, I've been skeptical of the 3DS and the way it'll surely hurt my eyes to no end. 3D without glasses? I guess people are saying that it works, but we all know it'll have to be seen to be believed. Even in a dark theater, with massive IMAX goggles on my face, 3D can make my eyes cross and I get a little fatigued after two hours (maybe that'll keep my time on the portable limited!)

Still, it's hard not to say that I won't be in love after hearing some choice details. The 3DS will be able to turn on and off the effect of its top screen, effectively allowing vision-affected gamers, like me, some relief. Presumably, turning off the 3D will also allow for an extended battery life. Seems like the 3D is certainly a "back-of-the-box" selling point, but it won't exactly be a mandatory effect.

The 3DS will also retain its touch screen and backwards compatibility with DS titles. Nice! Its not that I have a ton of DS games that I'm looking forward to playing on a 3DS, but I'm guessing that a lot of people will find that a neat feature.

Furthermore, I can really appreciate the inclusion of an actual joystick. Honestly, the PSP joy-nub is a little too small for my adult sized hands, and this joystick seems like it'll fit my thumb nicely.

Let's be frank though. I'm not playing my DS all that much. Not a lot has come out that has me digging it out in my spare time instead of the controller to my Xbox 360. Even my commute time is spent on my iPhone doing productive things. Productive endeavors are not GAMING! Why am I not playing my DS? Its the lack of desirable software. 3DS seems to completely lay waste to that factor, with titles like...

STARFOX 64 3D (and others).

What? Yes! StarFox 64, arguably my favorite game EVER, is coming to the 3DS? About a week ago, I was listening to the Joystiq podcast, and Griffin McElroy brought up his yearly play through of Ocarina of Time. At first I balked at this idea. StarFox 64 is that game to me. It is as close to video game perfection as I can remember. Of course, the nostalgia glass if always full, but when I think about it, it's still my favorite game.

What did the 3DS really represent at this year's E3? A massive refocus on software for Nintendo. Did we hear anything about the Vitality Sensor peripheral? Nope. Nobody cares about that stuff. Gamers around the world know Nintendo, not for their motion sensing peripherals, their balance boards. Yes, hardware has always had a special place in the pantheon of Nintendo's successes, but the software is what people carry with them. I'm happy to see the 3DS leading this charge.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 looks awesome!

I was a little disconnected and busy during E3 last week. Thus, I missed out on this Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 gameplay footage.

While I was entirely sure about what the game would look like without the use of 2D sprites, I think my fears have been pretty well pushed aside. Little comic book flashes, background changes, and attack splashes sure do keep the feel around. Honestly, what I like most about this footage is the background design. I love the NYC Spider-man parade and how the level changes as the fight progresses.

Now I'll I have to worry about is the remainder of the character list and whether or not I'll have an arcade stick to play on when this game finally drops... NEXT YEAR?! Jeez, this is going to be a long wait.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Writing for Game Revolution

Today, I'm heading into the Game Revolution office. I hate to say it, but the work I've been doing for them (not too mention the amount of time I've been spending reviewing games), has really monopolized what I do. When I have time to enjoy games, I just want to play Red Dead Redemption, or any number of the amazing games that have been released in the past month or so. My inbox is stuffed to the brim with E3 press releases and trailers, so I'm actually kind of surprised I've managed to snake this amount of time and update PLAY READ WRITE!

While I've done little writing for PLAY READ WRITE in the past month (and a half), I've written several things for Game Revolution. Here's a quick recap of all the work I've done for them:

  • Green Day: Rock Band: This standalone Rock Band title further proves that Guitar Hero has failed where Rock Band excels. Unfortunately, it didn't score any points for the band contained on the disc.
  • Backbreaker: This football game did some interesting things in its attempt at dethroning (or at least making a decent sale's pitch towards) Madden. I was inclined to find some entertainment in Backbreaker, but ultimately, the things it did differently were just kind of wrong.
  • Split/Second: I happily traded a reviewing assignment of Skate 3 for Split/Second. The title received high marks, and I felt that it did new things in racing and a sequel would do those innovations justice. It has found a place in my collection.
  • Samurai Shodown Sen: At first I was excited about Samurai Shodown Sen, but I was unfortunately mistaken when I thought that it would be a 2D rebirth title. While I'm sure the game will find its place among fighting aficionados, there was no room for regular Joes like me.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: I played the hell out of this title, and eventually got 1000/1000 Achievement points. This might have actually been the game's downfall. The threadbare mechanics and plot served to undermine what was actually an interesting turn on the franchise's video game entry. Needless to say, it received low marks.
  • Resonance of Fate: I really wanted to like Resonance of Fate, maybe even love. I was looking for an RPG, but Resonance of Fate was too steeped in the old ways of JRPGs to really hold my attention. Even after finishing my review, I was fairly motivated to play the game and get more achievements, but I never got around to it and quickly sold the title to pay for Red Dead Redemption. I don't really regret that decision these days.
  • Backlog Summers No More: With the release of Red Dead Redemption, Split/Second, and Alan Wake all in the same week in May, I realized I'd have little time for some older games I've still been trying to play through (again).
  • Steam For Mac Off To A Buggy Start: The launch of Steam for the Mac was a little buggy, and the long unabated waiting period certainly made me all the more frustrated for it.
  • That New Game Smell!: My excitement for playing Split/Second and Red Dead Redemption knew no bounds. I pondered about what I would do when I first cracked the cellophane on those titles.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finishing Red Dead Redemption

First, let me explain that I will not be reviewing Red Dead Redemption for PLAY READ WRITE. I've experienced a ton of the game and I don't need to go over it all again. Let me be frank and say that you should buy and play Red Dead Redemption. I don't need to tell you that it's a terrific game in all aspects and should be experienced first hand. Secondly,


in this post. I don't know how I could avoid SPOILERS in a post titled "Finishing Red Dead Redemption," but I figured someone might come along and still find an excuse to get upset with me for ruining a great ending.

Truthfully, I think RDR's ending works so well because you don't really know when it's going to end. You've been chasing these outlaws for the entire game and them you're left to tend to the farm, drive cattle (ugh!), and ultimately teach Jack how to be a man.

Jack is RDR's legacy, and while Rockstar is plenty sure of connecting you with Marston throughout the campaign, connecting the player with Jack is a little shakier. If spending time with your son, rescuing him, and ultimately sending him to survive a coming storm doesn't prove the "daddening of video games" to be a successful trend, I don't know what will. Whether a player would like to defeat the mob and keep Marston alive is besides the point. How the player feels about taking on the role of Jack is a much more debateable prospect. In its ability to polarize, forcing the player to step into Jack proves its power.

In this way, RDR succeeds in ways a Grand Theft Auto never could. Giving Niko a family outside of Roman would have seemed forced and silly. Part of what made his family so believable was Marston's reluctance to reveal information about them. Perhaps Roman seemed so annoying and forced because the player immediately learns a little too much about him too soon. In a way, Roman works in his vaudevillian antics. While that tactic might work sometimes, a real connection, like that of an immediately family, has to be introduced and built more subtly. The player would reject a constant barrage of "I'm your son!" or "I'm your wife!" and so they would reject caring for these two digital players as well.

Congratulations Rockstar. I've never held your games in higher regard than I have with Red Dead Redemption. The title has trancended any of the immature trappings GTA's history tows along with it in favor of a mature story, marvelous combat, excelled pacing and a breathtaking connection between the player and the world you're involving them in.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where have I been?

While there may not be too many readers to apologize to, I should at least apologize to PLAY READ WRITE itself. I obviously haven't been around for quite some time. My gamerscore is (a lot) bigger, I've written several reviews for Game Revolution (some high profile, some not), I've effectively ended my involvement with theiphoneappreview.com, and I've been playing a ton of games, some of which I'd really like to write a PLAY READ WRITE review of.

Can you blame me for being so busy? I'll admit a slight penchant for excuses, but some, like finishing the semester are completely valid. For a while, I was so focused on posting long diatribes that lasted for half an hour. I think I might have killed it for myself.

Over the next few months, I'd like to build a slight rhythm and post frequently in shorter lengths. Let's see how successful I can be. If only I got achievements for blogging....