Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aqua for Xbox 360 Review

Title: Aqua
Platform: Xbox 360 Arcade
Genre: Action
Rating: E10
Release Date: May 19, 2010
Publisher: Xbox Live Arcade
Developer: Games Distillery

Aqua is a naval action game where you pilot a single ship through contested waters as you use multiple forms of artillery to complete your missions.

For the rest of this review, click here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Green Day: Rock Band Review

Title: Green Day: Rock Band
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Music/Rhythm
Rating: T for Teen
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Publisher: MTV Games
Developer: Harmonix

Rock Band has recently become the standard for music games because of the vast number of songs on the Rock Band Network and the lack of oversaturation like the Guitar Hero games. There have only been a total of 5 Rock Band games, and I think there were at least 5 Guitar Hero games just last year.

Green Day: Rock Band focuses on the career of the genre defining punk rock band, Green Day, who is now in their third decade of rocking. The game centers around three of the group's best selling albums: Dookie, American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, with a small mixture of songs from their three most popular albums mixed in. I was upset to see there were no songs from Green Day's first two albums and no plan to release these songs or any of the absent ones from other albums in the form of downloadable content. It's unfortunate that some more popular songs were not included, but instead entire albums which include songs most people have never heard, were still available.

I can't help but compare Rock Band's Green Day edition to last year's Beatles edition. And when comparing them, there is no contest. The Beatles version had a lot more polish when it comes to background animations. In GD:RB all you get to see is three different venues with three different versions of the band members, whereas in TB:RB there were shots of in-studio rehearsals, music videos as well as popular venues such as TV shows and concerts. Graphically, GD:RB looks like it is a straight port of RB2 with the members of Green Day pasted into it.

Green Day: Rock Band is available for Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii. The Rock Band series has a stranglehold on the music genre and doesn't seem to be letting up. By locking down on bands like Green Day and The Beatles, Harmonix has proven they mean business. Green Day: Rock Band may have been a step backwards, but it's still a solid music game. From a person who grew up in the 90s, has always been a huge fan of Green Day and loves music games, I'm a little disappointed by the lack of visuals, but I still find myself playing this game occasionally on the weekends.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

March 13, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

E3 Predictions revisited

Alright, let's go over how close I was...

Things I think will be unveiled at E3 this year:
- Outside of God of War: Ghosts of Sparta, nothing else will be featured for the PSP. Wrong. Patapon 3 looks pretty cool.
- PSP 2 will NOT be unveiled. Right! Haha! Mark one for me!
- The Black Xbox 360 slim will feature WiFi, four USB ports, no internal hard drive and most importantly: no more red rings of death. It will also come with one 16 MB USB drive that fits into the back and will be mostly hidden. It was not called "Xbox 360 Slim" instead "Xbox 360 250GB". It does feature Wifi, five (not four) USB ports, a huge internal harddrive and hopefulyl no red rings of death. I'll take a half a point on this one.
- Nothing that hardcore gamers will want to play for PlayStation Move or Project Natal. This includes the new SOCOM and Fable 3. Both of them will feature Move and Natal support, but no hardcore gamers will want to play them that way. Wrong, the Star Wars lightsaber game got a pretty good reception.
- Project Natal will be renamed something that sounds stupider then “project natal”. It definitely will not be renamed just “Natal” This one is debatable. I prefer Kinect over Natal, but that's just me.
- Nintendo will continue ignore online games. I'm gonna say I hit this one right on the head even though a couple little features were mentioned.

Games Announced:
A remake of Maniac Mansion, for Steam, Wii Shop, PlayStation Store and/or Xbox Live Arcade. Wrong.
- HAWX 2 Right! Woot! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPcYhsTwbfU
- Professor Layton 3 Right! Two in a row! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pyhh_Lz4ugg There will also be one for the 3Ds.
- Pikmin 3 I was unaware there was one in production before E3, but it was not featured there.
- Bungie’s new IP with Activision. Wrong.
- Mario Party 9 Wrong.
- GTA 5 Very Wrong.

I think I did alright with predictions. 4-5 right, whether you think Nintendo is continuing to ignore online gamers.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

E3 Press Conferences

Well, the big press conferences are done and I’m surprised to say I’m most impressed by Nintendo’s. The Sony and Microsoft ones were way too centered on their motion controls, something I can’t really get excited about.

I love the prospect of a new Zelda game, especially one that takes a more cartoony look, like Wind Waker did, which happens to be my favorite iteration. The new Kirby adventure game got me initially excited, but I don’t know if I will like the lasso instead of the inhale/copy mechanism. Donkey Kong Country will be another game I’ll probably get because Andrea really liked those games on SNES, so it’s something we’ll be able to play together for a couple days.

Kinect is something I can’t see myself using for playing games. Some of the other abilities, such as the video player and the voice recognition look neat, but there’s nothing stopping one of my young children mimicking me by yelling “Xbox off” while I’m in the middle of a game. Fable 3 didn’t show me anything to get me more excited about it. I still want to eventually buy it, but I won’t go out on release weekend to get it.

As for Sony, I do not own a PS3 so I paid the least attention to their software. None of the Move stuff made me want one, but the new Twisted Metal looks stellar. I have been considering going
out and buying a PS3, and I probably would have with the bonus I got last month if it hadn’t been for medical bills. There have been a number of games in the last couple months that I really want to play, and Twisted Metal put me over the edge. I now want to be a PS3 owner. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get one for Father’s day.

To me, the biggest disappointment was the absence of a new Pikmin game. The first two on Gamecube were huge successes and I just cannot fathom why Nintendo wouldn’t want to churn out another. At least we’re getting a new Professor Layton, that’s something I can rally behind.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The 21st Perfect Game in Major League Baseball history goes to.......

There are two things that really stick out to me about tonight's game.

#1. Jim Joyce will never be able to confidently call another game in Major League Baseball.

From the interview he gave after realizing he blew the final out call, he will from this point forward be unable to successfully feel confident in those close calls. He is scheduled to be the home plate umpire in tomorrow afternoon's game and there is no way he will be rested and able to call the game at the best of his ability. He won't be able to sleep tonight and probably will not be able to eat or sleep tomorrow. It is possible he may resign as a Major League umpire. Personally, I do not wish any ill will towards him, everyone makes mistakes. But as big of a moment as this was and as distraught as Joyce sounded, it would not surprise me.

#2. Even if the commissioner's office does overturn this ruling, it still will not matter.

The thing that hurts the most from this entire event is the fact that Armando doesn't get a chance to enjoy the moment as it happened. Even if he hadn't gotten the achievement legitimately, there still would have been a multiple minute long standing ovation from every fan inside that stadium. Instead, you get all the fans booing the umpire right after it happened and then a mixture of cheers and jeers as Armando left the field after the game. I can only hope that in Galarraga's next start, the team allows him to take the field alone, to allow the fans to give him the kind of welcome he deserves.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Platform: Xbox 360 Arcade
Genre: Action/Strategy
Release Date: May 19, 2010
Developer: Games Distillery
Price: 800 MSP or $10

Aqua is a naval action game where you pilot a single ship through contested waters as you use multiple forms of artillery to complete your missions.

For the rest of this review, click here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ryan's Rants, The Project $10 Edition

Electronic Arts has recently announced a "new" feature that will be included with their sports titles, which has playfully been titled Project $10. Their plan is to charge gamers $10 in order to access online features, including online matches and updated rosters.

I call it "new" because this feature has been used in games for a while. For example Battlefield 2 comes with a VIP code which offers the game's first downloadable content for free, so the gamer basically ends up saving $10. This same reward comes with a lot of new games but most companies.

Some people are claiming that this added bonus for new game purchases is aimed to hurt used game retailers, like Gamestop, because EA gains no profit from used game sales. I disagree. Retailers will make this money back anyway they can. What they will do is offer gamers less money for their trade ins, then resell the game for just enough that shoppers will still save money by buying used games. For example (math alert!!!) Skate 3, one of EA's most recent releases, retails new at Gamestop for $59.99, they sell it used for $49.99. At this price they would make a lot more money off the used copy then the new copy. What will happen is instead of offering say $30 to someone who is trading this game in, they will now only offer $25 and will sell it for $47.99. Before they sold it for $50 and bought it for $30, making a $20 profit, now they sell for $48 and buy it for $25, making a $23 profit. On top of this, gamers trade in games and use the money they make to buy more games.

I would argue that it will affect gamers that are selling these games (AKA their customers), not the stores that buy and resell them.

At least for me, I sell just about every game I buy. I'll buy it, play it for a couple months, then list it on eBay. I generally make more money on eBay then I would if I traded it in somewhere. This $10 charge doesn't affect me very much because I rarely play EA Sports games online. I recently looked at my Xbox Live games played list and I had one game of Madden 10, that ended badly. I was leading by two touchdowns when my opponent abandoned the game. Instead of giving me a victory, it gave my opponent an abandoned game and my record stayed at 0-0. That is the exact moment I stopped playing Madden online, after one game.

Instead, I will probably be able to get a little more when I list it on eBay, because my copy will come with the online access code.