September 30, 2009

Zombie Apocalypse | Review

Shawn Lebert Says This past Wednesday, Konami set loose Zombie Apocalypse for both the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, which infected consoles everywhere. Heavily inspired by retro favorites like Smash TV and Robotron 2084, this roughly 300 MB post-apocalyptic world arrives nearly two decades later. Does it become a contemporary successor or a mindless clone or…could it possibly be both?

For $10 on either Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, you can dive straight into the arcade gore-fest by yourself, with up to a four-player multiplayer locally or online.

For those who need a brief pick-me-up and have no idea what Smash TV was, the game was about single or cooperative play, the latter was advised, which players would be stuck in a four-cornered room to battle onslaughts of enemies that would arrive randomly through doors upon each wall. The gamer had to survive the room until the game decided that you passed the level. The story, of course, centered around a game show, as viewers watched to see how long competitors could last. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger’s film Running Man or the very recent Death Race, where the latest global, family entertainment was nothing but quick cash over orchestrated genocide.

Zombie Apocalypse runs along that idea – aside from the societal meanings over the corrupted minds of ones who suffer post-apocalyptical traumatic experiences – and makes it a very mindless, very repetitive, yet very fun action shooter that serves a basic purpose and does it successfully.

This arcade title is an exact reiteration to what we saw decades ago, except for the addition of killer zombies and high definition. The developers don’t stray away from the omniscient, bird’s eye view camera angle, making sure everyone sees a piece of the action from every direction. Unlike the flat interiors from Smash TV, Zombie Apocalypse provides distinct areas on the exterior varying from amusements parks to junkyards. The locales aren’t boring areas to look at either: objects pop out in the foreground and back, making the environments stand out in the heat of the battle that you’re caught within.

There are a total of four survivors to choose from. Three of which are your generic looking men with generic appearing job titles, and luckily provided is a female for the minority just in case you feel left out without a similar gender. It’s reminiscent a bit from Left 4 Dead, but that’s where Valve hit the stereotypes for zombie outbreaks on the nose. As there are survivor types, there are also different zombie types. They aren’t all just shuffling undead, as there are some that love throwing daggers at you, heavy-set construction workers, or radioactive kamikaze ones with dynamite. The further you go, the more you’ll experience a diverse range of the dead and you have to put your thinking cap on to remind yourself of the differences in enemy attacks while they all attack at once.

The levels in Zombie Apocalypse range from freakin’ easy to insanely overwhelming. That’s exactly what is needed. Overall, the gamer will go through 55 levels of undead dread. Each level gets progressively harder with more zombies on screen and becomes much, much longer to survive the wave. All you have to do is survive. Simple, right? This is one big strategy of a game, believe it or not. You must think on the tip of your toes as zombies leap into the battlefield in all directions, and as well as, bursting from underneath your feet.

Don’t think of this as an articulate zombie shooter, like Left 4 Dead or Resident Evil. It’s an exaggerated form of fun, characterized with a myriad of weaponry that randomly pops up on the field for bonus pick-ups. There’s no complicated way to fire your weapon. With the right analog stick, simply aim in the direction you want to shoot and that’s it. No aiming, no accuracy needed. So it might seem much easier to take out hordes of them without the pressure of becoming exhausted from an impossible amount of zombies showing up. Each character is equipped with a teddy bear – or similar pipe bomb from the famous Left 4 Dead – when once thrown, will trigger any zombie that’s around to follow it, distracting them from the survivors, which results in them being blown away with a secret explosive inside. You’ll come to find that the package does include a few comedic moments with reactions from survivors or the exploding teddy bear screaming “Tickle me! My favorite color is red, what’s yours—“ KABOOMing at just the right moment to make you laugh.

Fifty-five levels of this is quite a lot, but there are even a few more delicious incentives after playing through the main game. Another mode in particular is entitled “7 Days of Hell” and is an exaggerated version of the main game. There’s no need to explain what’s involved, it’s just hell. The big fun and replay value in this scoring the biggest number on the leader boards. The best way to land a good number is to consistently kill zombies and spend less time dying. An extra bonus is saving innocent people who stumble on the site and need five-second assistance so the chopper comes to take them away. It’s that simple but attempting to remain that long in the game can be troublesome when you realize how much you have to deal with on screen at once.

Zombie Apocalypse does accomplish what it’s set out to be. You’ll get most of the experience playing with friends, screaming for help or to get that power up. It doesn’t really do anything wrong as it is a simple yet effective arcade title.

Bring on the ZOMBIES.


September 29, 2009

ODST Tops Most Offered List

Jimmy James 70 Says The Most Offered list was updated a couple days ago and I was surprised to see Halo 3: ODST topping the list. This turn of events made my predictions from last week appear foolish in that ODST would not be available to trade for a long, long, time.

However, if you take a closer look at the numbers, I'm holding true to the idea that the majority of Goozers do have a Long Wait ahead of them for ODST. Check out this screenshot:

Even though ODST tops the Most Offered list, the Trading Info shows there are no copies currently Actively available. There are, however, 111 copies On Hold. That's a lot of teasing going on... Meanwhile, 244 Goozers are Actively requesting the game while another 206 have it On Hold, and then there's 114 Goozers who want it but have restrictions against them (either lack of points or trade credits).

Since the game released, ODST has traded eight times. So, there are eight lucky Goozers out there who scored a copy. It does appear that copies are leaking through the system, but it's a trickle, and I still don't expect the floodgates to open for a long time.

Is there a lesson to learn with this list? What I'm asking is, should the list be updated so that only the Most Active and Offered games make the list, and the Most Offered but On Hold are excluded? That way, Goozers can see a list of games that they can readily trade for. With the list as it is, certain games are dangled in front of you, without a whole lot of hope of you playing it.

Maybe we can go ahead and make that a Goozex Feature Request: to configure the Most Offered list to exclude games that are On Hold.

With that said, I did find on a Most Available list, which excludes ODST. The problem is, I can't find the javascript to place this list here on the blog. Maybe that's the real Feature Request?


September 25, 2009

What’s next for Goozex?

Erik Kubik Says Recently, Goozex added DVD trading, including DVDs, UMDs, Blu-rays, and HD-DVDs. What can Goozers expect next? Some members of Goozex have suggested console or CD trading, or expand their game trading to include older systems.

One of the most popular ideas that comes up again and again is adding older video games to the trading system. Goozex already trades PSX and Dreamcast games! Why not roll the clock back a few more years? Goozex could add games from such systems as Sega Saturn, Sega Genesis, N64, Sega-CD, Nintendo, and Super Nintendo. Obscure consoles such as Panasonic 3-DO, Atari Jagaur,, and the Wonderswan would be left out due to the apparent lack of interest by today’s mainstream gamers.

The biggest problem I see with trading older games from older consoles is there are quite a few of us nostalgic gamers who no longer have our SNES and Sega Genesis to test the games. Most of us sold them to pay for other gaming systems or school.

What about the point value of these older games? Unless the games offered were rare RPGs or limited print titles, I am certain the point value would be no more than 100 points.

Two other issues to consider are the cartridge save system batteries dying and/or game cartridges wearing out with age.

And then there is console trading, is it a good idea or blight on the system? This is similar to the argument for 8 and 16 bit game trading. What systems would Goozex allow? What about warranties? Would Goozex cover a RROD 360?

My biggest worry is the cost, how much would Goozex charge for a Xbox 360 Core system vs. a Playstation 2? What would shipping and handling cost? What would the cost of consoles be: 1500, 2000, or maybe even 3000 points? Who has that many points from just trading games and DVDs? Would the market become flooded with systems nobody wants? There are too many questions here and not enough answers to warrant this step yet.

Of all the ideas suggested by Goozex members, CD trading is the most logical. Many of us, including myself, still buy CDs. It would be nice to have a place where I could get CD’s for cheap besides The Goozex guarantee could easily cover damaged CDs, as they would cost very little to replace. Goozex would benefit by making most CDs valued at 100-200 points, with more for the deluxe editions. Looking for a rare, out-of- print CD by your favorite artist? I am sure there is someone on Goozex who has the CD.

So Goozex, where do you go from here?


September 24, 2009

The Anomaly That is ODST

Jimmy James 70 Says What exactly is ODST? It's not a brand new, groundbreaking game. It's not a sequel. It's not DLC. It's not promoted as an expansion pack. It's billed as having a new hero, new campaign, and new multiplayer; yet besides Firefight mode, the multiplayer is simply a repackaged online experience with previously released maps and a few new ones. So, what is ODST?

This article is not for the hardcore fans. Chances are, if you are a hardcore fan you’ve already completed the campaign. This article is also not for the non-fans, if you’re a non-fan, you’ve already passed this by.

This article is geared for those of you sitting on the fence. Those of you who are wondering what the fuss is all about, and you want to try the game, but you’re hesitant on dropping $60 on an expanded, glorified expansion pack. This article is for you. The fence sitter. The waiter. Should you buy ODST now, or should you wait for the price to drop. That’s what this article is all about.

If you are on the fence about ODST, and you are wondering if you should pay full price or not, the answer lies on what type of gamer you are. If you’re a newbie to the Halo series, is ODST the best place to start? No. Newbies will miss out on the history of the Master Chief. If you’re new to the series, then start with Halo 2, which is available at 100 Goozex points and is backwards compatible on the Xbox 360. Halo 3 is also relatively cheap at 400 points.

Under normal circumstances, lukewarm fans to a game can usually wait a few months for the price point to drop. Then, they can pick up a game they might be vaguely interested in and not have to pay full price. However, Microsoft and Bungie threw a curve ball with ODST and it’s called the Halo Reach multiplayer beta invite. You need your disc in order to play the beta. This will most likely stop the majority of fans from selling or trading ODST until well after the beta, which is slated for 2010.

Because of the MP beta, demand for ODST will remain high and the value of the game will most likely not drop for a long, long time. ODST will be selling for $60 and staying at 1000 Goozex points for many, many, many months to come.

Advice to Goozers: if you havn't already purchased the game, chances are you're just not that into it. Your best plan of action is to sit tight and wait; maybe even for a year or so. As of today, there are currently zero Active Offers for the game and over 230 Active Requests. You, my fellow Goozer, have a Long Wait ahead of you. If you don’t want to wait that long for the game, then you’re gonna have to plunk down the $60.

If you don’t mind waiting, then simply go back and play Halo, Halo 2, or for that matter, Halo 3. After the beta is over, my hunch is that ODST will become available in droves, the price point will drop like a rock, and the casual Halo fan can play ODST on the cheap. Even if it is late next year.


September 23, 2009

WET | Review

Shawn Lebert Says What would happen if House of the Dead: Overkill and Stranglehold had a child? They would give birth to WET. This over-the-top video game ride is complete with a very familiar grind-house effect and doesn’t slow down a single frame without inspirational exploitative films to back it up; either that or it wishes to wear Quentin Tarantino’s socks. After you get past the grind-house effects and the exploitation, all of the excitement comes to a halt. The ideas behind this game might have sounded good on paper, but the end result drastically suffers from lack of originality.

Max Payne developed the standard for beautiful bullet time. God of War dominated with epic quick time events. Slow motion has been around for ages. WET packs all of these elements into one gaming gift and the gamer is left with a present they will eventually want to take back to Walmart and swap out for a nice, expensive looking lamp.

WET stars Rubi Malone, a dark-haired part-time beauty and full-time mercenary. She struts with an arsenal of weapons, and she isn’t afraid to give the lethal dose to anyone that happens to be in her way. She’s immediately sent in to retrieve a package containing a heart and stumbles into the meeting between two dealers, who inevitably end up in a shootout. Cue Rubi Malone, diving and crashing from above, to make her surprise appearance. One of the men gets away with the heart and now the journey begins to retrieve it.

As a hired mercenary, she’ll see a few nice locations on her trips around the world including London. The heart she is after is surgically transplanted into the not-so-nice bad guy, who inevitably wants her dead after backstabbing her. Such gratitude, huh? Of course, Rubi wants him dead as well; actually, she wants everyone dead and comes back with a vengeance on all. The problem with the story and the characters is that nothing develops, there are no plot twists, and the whole thing is entirely predictable; the characters who surround Rubi are nothing but scum that’ll eventually reside on the heel of her boot.

This third person action game controls like Max Payne but worse. The actions are limited, and one will only see three major useful tricks: sliding on the ground, running against walls, and jumping through the air that kicks in a slow motion effect, which allows the player to zone in on multiple enemies at one time. One of the positives to this, is that no matter what, Rubi automatically locks on to an enemy with the option for the gamer to manually fire at another foe. This allows Rubi to shoot at two different enemies at a single time. Of course, along the way, there are variations to these useful tricks at Rubi’s disposal but only when they are upgraded.

To upgrade, one must be clever in creatively disposing her enemies seamlessly, which adds on to the points collected throughout the level. The longer the combo – the longer Rubi can build up a constant body count – the meter raises in double, thrice, quadruple or even five times the points for every death. So kill wisely. The points are used to upgrade her abilities or guns. This way, it’ll freshen up some moves and tactics and attempt to make the game a little more fun.

Even with the thrill and excitement that was for Max Payne, the player at least had a slow-motion gauge to ponder the best suit of action and when to use it. In WET, however, the power of slow-motion is always at the player’s fingertips, making the game easy from start to finish.

The game supports locating “medication” to heal back up. They took a few tips from games like Prince of Persia and Max Payne yet again to heal the pain. Much like the Prince, who leans down to drink water to replenish him, Rubi Malone finds whiskey along the way where she drinks to ignore the pain.

WET has many quick time events that just aren’t exciting. Games like God of War and Resident Evil 4 thrived with quick time events because when played, they were intense and involving. In contrast, in WET, it’s stiff and unmotivated. There’s a freeway scene in the game heavily inspired by the looks of The Matrix Reloaded and has Rubi jumping from car to car as they topple and crash in slow-motion. By pressing the correct buttons, she can dive away from injury. However, what’s the fun in constantly pressing the same button and occasionally a different one for attack? It’s boring.

There’s a surprising twist in game-play as in given areas, Rubi becomes furious when an enemy’s blood sprays over her pretty face, leaving her disgruntled and Hulk-like. The art direction takes a step into creativity here with the limited palette of red, black, and whites throughout. It’s just a means to see how many enemies you can kill to keep your chain up. However, unfortunately, it feels as though it is tacked-on only to show the crazed side of Rubi’s deep, sensitive personality in a hyper-emotional dimension. Stay away from this woman when she’s on her period.

The graphics do not look like this year’s standards. In fact, they step back a few years. It’s mysterious because this game doesn’t pack enough punch in such an over-the-top game when it matters. It’s saddening when graphics would have perhaps propelled this game even more because it deserved a detailed beauty to all the mayhem on screen; therefore, making it more enticing to pick up. As an end result, it suffers in mediocrity and major clipping issues in cut-scenes with the actual camera position choice on character models.

As many bullets as WET delivers, it’s quite disappointing that there aren’t any destructible environments, but a few crates here and there. Oh, boy, crates.

Throughout the game, and between locations within a level, there are weird transitions into old advertisements with the 1970s appeal for products dealing with snacks or investing time to visit your local church for Sunday services. It makes sense in context, but they also don’t make sense with this game’s transitions and seem pointless, and worse, boring. If it was in there for a light chuckle, it wasn’t amusing; but more to mashing the buttons in hoping the loading time is over soon.

Overall, the grind-house effect was too much. The developers even decided to add a layer of film tearing over the actual game, which is set by default. What it does is causes the screen to jump here and there, making it appear like an old projector is showing the game-play. Luckily, there was an option to turn it off. This reviewer turned it off two minutes into the game. Perhaps the developers added the film tearing to hide the graphical blemishes?

While it may sound like a good thing that this game came from elements with House of the Dead: Overkill and Stranglehold, as its lovechild, but ended up being a seriously deformed Frankenstein of a life. You’ll want to pass on this one.


September 22, 2009

Most Offered on the 360

Jimmy James 70 Says Once a week, the list of the Most Offered Games on Goozex is updated. This list of games are generally quick and easy to obtain, and most likely, are offered at a cheaper price.

You might wonder how a game makes the Most Offered list. There are several good reasons how it can happen: It might be a really bad game a lot of people got stuck with and now they want to get rid of it; it could be a really good game and the next installment in the franchise is about to be released; it could be a brand new game that offers limited replay value, little to no online play, and gamers are looking to get a full 1000 points for a game they paid $60 for.

How's a Goozer to know if a Most Offered game is worthy of requesting, or is it something that should be passed, like so much gas after eating too many beans.

Hopefully, this handy-dandy chart will help you make some important trading decisions.

Looking at this list, you will notice there are a lot of great, solid, big-time titles. Most of which you can get at a great price point. Now is a good time to be a Goozer.

This information is accurate as of September 22, 2009 and is for the Xbox 360.

You can click the table to make it bigger.


September 21, 2009

Beat the Blogger Goes Gladiator Style

Jimmy James 70 Says Beat the Blogger is going Gladiator-style. No longer are tokens up for grabs, but now if you show your worthiness and defeat your challengers in 10 different matches, you'll win a game of your choice.* Also, the current Gladiator will be showcased in the right-column of this blog; along with details of their conquests.

Here are the details:
  • We will try and schedule a new tournement once each week

  • The current Gladiator, challenger & I choose game, date & time

  • Gladiator must face off against a new challenger each week

  • If the Challenger loses, they can play again when a new Gladiator is named

  • If a Gladiator is beat, that person is eligible to challenge the new Gladiator

  • Challengers are determined by whoever leaves a comment on the appropriate post

  • If the Gladiator wins 10 matches in a row (10 different tournaments), they win a game. *You can request any game you want, but the disclaimer is that I'm going to request it through Goozex using my own points and tokens.*

  • Matches will be a combination of Free for All & Team Deathmatch

  • We will play for 30 minutes

  • Whoever has the most points (tops the leaderboards the most) at the end wins

  • I will be the judge and I will play. Think of me as the lion that gets between the Gladiator and the Challenger

To get started, we need to determine a Gladiator!

To enter the contest:

  • Simply leave a comment stating that you want to participate

  • Tell me your Goozex User Name

  • Send a friend request to Jimmy James 70 on the Xbox 360

You must be a member of Goozex in good standing to play. If you are not a member of Goozex, and you want to participate, signing up is free and you get a token when you register.

Keep in mind, I am available to host the tournaments between 1:30 and 3pm PST and anytime after 8pm PST. For those of you on the East coast, that's 4:30pm to 6pm and after 11pm.


Darkest of Days Review

Dale Culp says When I first came across Darkest of Days, I thought it looked really interesting. Even if it turned out to be a mediocre shooter, at least the story seemed promising. I had no idea I was about to step straight into the most appalling dung heap of a game imaginable.

Things go wrong for this game immediately. The start menu, alone, looks like it would be an embarrassment to even the most amateur of video game producers. A few flat buttons, a logo and a picture of an old rifle set against a black background; if that's the best 8Monkey Labs can muster for even such a tiny detail, than it's hard to hold out hope for the rest of the game. And yet, as much as I refuse to judge this game by its cover and look for something better inside, sadly, things don't pick up very much, at all.

The game begins at Little Big Horn, where a man named Alexander Morris is about to meet his fate. It's Custer's Last Stand, and Morris isn't playing on the winning team. This is the one thing 8Monkey Labs gets absolutely right – you are thrust right into the action without warning. No time is wasted as the game starts off with a huge bang. You get very little explanation of what's going on aside from your only orders from a fellow soldier: “shoot as many injuns as you can.” Your heart is already racing and the game has only just begun!

As the battle climaxes, you are mortally wounded and left sitting on the ground. Unable to move, all you can do is fire your pistol into the onslaught of... Native Americans, if you will. Suddenly, atop the hill, the stark image of a man's silhouette standing against the bright sun stumbles and falls. General Custer is dead, and you're about to join him when a flash of light draws your attention away from the battle. Standing in front of you, a man in futuristic battle armor tells you to follow him. You step through the time portal and that's when the game begins proper. If a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step, this was a great step to start on.

Essentially, what's happened is that you've been culled from the battlefield only moments from death to be recruited by the agents of KronoteK. Back in your time, your papers were lost and no one knows you were at the Battle of Little Big Horn. History lists you as M.I.A. - just another unsolved mystery. Thanks to KronoteK, you've been given a second chance at life. The price for this second chance, however, is that it's now your job to go back and fix other problems that have been cropping up in history. These problems include soldiers, generals and other people getting killed before their time, winding up in battles they should have never been fighting in the first place. For the first few missions, you escort some of the characters away from the battlefield, to safety. In other missions, you simply protect and guide leaders so that they win their particular battle. In some cases, it doesn't always go as planned; in other cases, you learn that a rogue team of time agents have been messing with the timeline on purpose. Ah! The plot thickens. The fact that Morris is completely cool with this entire situation, however, kinda skews the whole thing into absurdity. Time travel? Computers? Advanced weaponry and electronics? Oh, I'm sure this was all par for the course for your average Union soldier who, only moments ago, was about to meet his maker. Nothing more to see here; move along.

Now, one of the more tricky things about time travel is that you can't predict the outcome of your actions – kill the wrong person and you might radically change the future. How, then, do you present this as a challenge in a video game? The answer is simple: you paint the characters who must be saved in a blue “aura.” It adds an interesting twist to the gameplay because the people who must be saved are on the side of the force you're trying to stop. Meanwhile, the guy painted in blue and all of his friends are shooting at you. And not only do you have to avoid killing them, you also have to keep your comrades from killing them, as well. You can either knock them out by hitting them with the butt of your rifle or use a special, futuristic weapon that knocks them out remotely. Your reward for saving these individuals are points you can put towards upgrading your weapons. The argument is that, the less you screw up time, the more time the agents have to work on your weapons instead of fixing the problems you caused in the timeline – and believe me, you want them to improve your weapons. An inaccurate, single shot musket that takes 30 seconds or more to load gets very, very annoying. Faster rates of fire, better accuracy and larger clips are just a few of the upgrades you can buy, and you'll want every one of them.

To further change the game up a bit, Dexter – the agent who saved you and has been helping you in these missions – shows up with some fancy bit of weaponry that gives you the ultimate advantage. At one point in the Battle of Antietam, he hands you a high-powered machine gun and tells you to “turn the tide.” It actually ends up being one of the most gratifying parts of the whole game. As droves of Confederate soldiers rush at you from out of the cornfield with single-shot muskets, you simply mow them down. For a moment, the gameplay in Darkest of Days actually approaches fun, but then quickly retreats and isn't seen again for a long, long time.

Among the most egregious flaws in this game is the incredibly stupid artificial intelligence. On the missions where Dexter accompanies you, he simply stands by as enemies ignore him to shoot you in the face. Then you have the weapons, which are all just terrible, but that's kind of the whole point of this game - to see what it was like to fight with ancient weapons. The voice acting is lousy, although Dexter's is passable - except that they give him some of the worst lines in the game. Lines so bad that you'd swear they were the result of poor translation if not for the fact that this game started in English. Speaking of which, I do appreciate the use of native languages. Rather than some lousy faux-Russian or German accent, they actually did the dialogue in those languages. But then you have the awful graphical glitches, low frame-rate, texture compression, poor animation and other problems that constantly come up and ruin every good idea this game ever had. Darkest of Days feels like a rushed, half-assed attempt to create a game for as little as possible. Based on the technical faults, alone, no one should ever pay money for this game. But then, it's just no fun, either. It's an endlessly frustrating experience that only gets worse as it goes on. This game should have never come out in the condition it's in.

Darkest of Days reeks of wasted potential. The story and the concept gave me the impression that 8Monkey Labs was going for something along the lines of Quantum Leap but ended up producing The Time Tunnel instead. (Look it up... Irwin Allen was the king of low-budget, campy science-fiction television.) The irony is, I actually like old, campy sci-fi flicks. In fact, during the first few hours of this game, I found myself laughing at all the problems. Like watching an old monster movie where you can see the zippers on the costumes and the strings holding up the UFOs, it was so bad it was good. But then it turned. It started getting really bad and added plot elements that made me wonder if this was a clumsy attempt at a history lesson or a very distasteful use of actual events. Combined with the technical flaws and the completely frustrating gameplay experience, I stopped laughing. To put it another way, it felt like watching Schindler's List as directed by Lloyd Kaufman. Serious history combined with bad taste and poor skill. I was not impressed. In short, do not buy this game. In fact, don't even waste your money renting or trading for it on Goozex - it's that bad.


September 20, 2009

Another Winner | Beat the Blogger

Jimmy James 70 Says The second CoD4 Tourney took place last night. Goozex member Black Fox Zulu took top honors and went home with an extra 5 tokens in his account.

The competition is getting fierce as we doubled in size since the first tournament. Uh huh. That's right. There were two competitors this week as compared to only one.

If you want an opportunity to win some tokens, name your game and when you want to play. I'm open to all challenges. Simply leave a comment or send a friend request to Jimmy James 70 on the Xbox 360.

Sony’s PS3 Slim Drives Sales

Erik Kubik Says The release of the PS3 slim has spurred a lot of talk. Now it’s time for The Goozex Report to throw in its two cents.

Kotaku has already done several articles on the PS3 slim. On September 7, Kotaku reported that in the first three days the PS3 slim was on sale in Japan, the newly redesigned console sold 150,252 units.

On September 10, Kotaku published another article stating that with the release of the PS3 slim, Sony had seen a 300% rise in sales. That is a huge sales jump for any console. The last time Sony experienced this sort of boost in sales was in the summer of 2008, when Metal Gear Solid 4 came out. said that with the release of that game, PS3 sales had jumped 180%. Killzone 2 was supposed to boost PS3 sales, but sadly it did not generate the numbers the company had hoped for.

The price cut and the release of the PS3 slim means one thing to this PS3 owner. People who have been holding out on buying a Playstation 3 are doing it now. Are they buying the PS3 slim for the price cut? Is it for the ability to play Blu-rays? Sure--it could be those but I suspect most people are buying it for the games: and they could not be doing it at a better time.

The 2009 fall lineup for PS3 exclusives is looking good with games such as: Uncharted 2, Demon's Souls, MAG, and Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Even the multi-console games have got me pumped--Tekken 6, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, and Borderlands.

Who knows how long the PS3 Slim sales will continue to skyrocket? If I was to set a timeframe, I would say this trend will continue well into the holiday season. I have a feeling a lot of kids are going to be asking their parents for a PS3 to go with their Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360 for Christmas.


September 19, 2009

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 | First Impressions

Troy Benedict Says It seems that you can't throw a rock very far today without hitting a news story relating in some way to Marvel and its superheroes. Whether it's the hotly-anticipated movies, like Iron Man 2, or the jokes about Disney's recent acquisition of the Marvel license: like how you're going to see Mickey Mouse battling crime with Spider-Man.

Activision just released Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, and I had the opportunity to sit down with a copy of the PlayStation 3 version. The game takes place during Marvel's very popular Civil War story arc. For those who do not follow comic books and are unfamiliar with Marvel's Civil War series, I will attempt to explain it very quickly in layman's terms.

In my opinion, the Civil War is a more realistic approach to the existence of superheroes and villains, especially focusing on the consequences of the battles between good and evil. The graphic novel (and recent movie) Watchmen and Pixar's The Incredibles, touched on this more realistic portrayal of superheroes.

"Civil War" begins when over 600 civilians are killed by a massive explosion during a battle between superheroes and villains. The public is horrified and angry and no longer feels safe living under the protective wing of superhumans. In response to the outcry, the government issues the Superhuman Registration Act, requiring all superhumans to give up their secret identities, to be labeled as a weapon of mass destruction, and undergo "formal training." This registration act causes a rift between many of Marvel's popular superheroes. Some are for the act ("Pro-Registration") while others are against it ("Anti-Registration"). Those who are against it are immediately considered rogue and are labeled as threats. No longer are there good guys and bad guys, it's now a matter of ideals and beliefs.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 plays a lot like the first game, which is essentially a suped-up brawler, allowing you to control one of four superheroes. Each superhero has his own set of unique actions and superpowers, and you can quickly jump between characters with a directional press on the D-pad. New Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 are fusion moves, which allows two superheroes to combine their powers for one massive superpower attack.

As you work your way through the game, smashing boxes and defeating enemies, you'll gain points with which you can upgrade each character's superpowers and unlock new ones. You will eventually gain access to additional heroes. You swap out team members at any time from the menu screen. That is the basic explanation of the game.

I'll have to admit, that I had issues with the game from the start. For one, I had to immediately update the game--not a big deal, as games are patched all the time, even "Day One" patches--but the update was slow to download. I'm not sure if that was a PS3 network issue, as the file size was only about 35 MB. Upon completing that game patch/update, I was then presented with a countdown screen, that I had no control over. Essential parts of the game were being installed to the PS3 HDD. While the countdown gave about an 8-minute countdown, it was a fast countdown and probably only took about 5 minutes. Like I said, there was also no option to skip this installation. I'm assuming that this is exclusive only to the PS3 version, as required game installs often are. While it wasn't necessarily a bad impression, it makes me wonder why you can't "just play" the game from disc without installing these files. Chalk this up to being one of the necessary evils of game installations with certain PlayStation 3 titles.

During the first hour, I found myself not quite enjoying the gameplay as much as I had hoped. It took me awhile to adjust to the control scheme and at times the action on the screen became so cluttered and was zoomed-out too far that I lost track of the character I was controlling. Even now my biggest issue with the controls is accidentally wasting my healing abilities when I'm trying to do my superpower attacks. To enable a superpower attack, you have to hold down the R2 trigger and press one of the face buttons. To heal one of your characters, you have to hold down the R1 bumper and press the face buttons that corresponds to one of the four heroes. This may be an instance of me "just not getting it" but I feel that a better implementation of using super power attacks vs. normal attacks could have been done better.

After the first hour, I started getting a better feel for the game, and actually found myself really enjoying it. I'll probably get hateful comments about the comparison I'm about to make, but Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 reminded me of Too Human, especially it's cooperative mode. That is meant as a compliment. Too Human had this Diablo way of pitting you against a large group of enemies and letting you go to town on them. While there aren't any loot drops, you do gain experience to level up your characters, and there are some pretty impressive superpower attacks that can be used to subdue large groups of enemies.

While I haven't experienced the game's online mode, I can only imagine that it is pretty fun, especially if you're playing with a friend. A lot of people claim to favor the Xbox 360 version of a multiplatform game over the PlayStation 3 version simply for the achievement points, and while not all PS3 games don't have trophies, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 does have them. I'm also really becoming a fan of the trend, in more recent games, where your achievement/trophy progress is displayed occasionally via pop-ups to give you an idea of how close you are to getting the much sought after "nerd points."

At this time, I'm having a pretty good time with this game. The action seems well-paced, the objectives are pretty straight-forward, and the puzzle-solving aspects don't detract from the action. Look for my official review of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 in the near future, after I've completed the game.


September 18, 2009

Madden NFL 10 | Final Review

Jimmy James 70 Says Blood and sweat. Pain and broken bones. The men who play football aren’t playing around. I’ll leave it to the 300-lb linebackers and the 7-foot tall quarterbacks to risk it all on the grid iron. For me, I prefer my overstuffed chair, a cold drink, and a bowl of chips. I give new meaning to the term ‘armchair quarterback,’ and I’m proud to say I took the Raiders to the Super Bowl and won, even though I had to restart the game three times. Who knew Barber could run the ball so well? That’s right, only in Madden NFL 10 would you see a headline such as, “Raiders Defeat Cowboys in Super Bowl XLIV.” The Raiders and Cowboys haven’t been Super Bowl contenders in years, or maybe even decades, and yet in Madden it’s all possible.

I took a lowly team like the Raiders and a QB like Russell, and turned them into champions. The ratings for my star players shot up like a rocket after that first season. Asomugha is now rated at a 99, Russell is into the 70’s, and McFadden broke into the 80’s. They still have a ways to go to be considered a Manning or a Tomlinson, but that’s the beauty of video game football: I can take them to the highest highs.

Franchise mode, at least for me, is really the way to go. Yes, I did play several matches on Xbox Live, and I also lost several matches on Xbox Live. It was a little disheartening to know I suck so incredibly bad. But after a few games at My Skill level and pummeling the Steelers with no problem, my confidence levels went right back up. I do have to say though, EA is doing an excellent job with the online games. I experienced no lag, no dropped games, and thankfully, my opponents kept their mouths shut and I never ran across the typical homophobic racist who’s become all too common in online matches.

Then there’s the age-old question of, “Do we really need another Madden?” And the answer my friend, is Yes, we do need another Madden. Every year. Every August. Another Madden. Why? Because the game keeps getting better and better. The graphics are getting better and better. The controls are getting better and better. The announcers are getting…well, they’re the same, but Collinsworth has grown on me and I actually like him on Sunday Night Football. No one will replace Madden, but Collinsworth is worthy (and he puts to shame those MNF guys).

The chances are very likely that I’ll be here in August and September of 2010, discussing Madden NFL 11. And once again I’ll be saying, this game rocks. It’s adrenaline pumping, it’s ego-boosting, and it’s addictive like all good games are; so now I ask you, “Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?”


September 17, 2009

WET | First Impressions

Shawn Lebert says … Fasten your seatbelts, or perhaps unfasten them, you daredevil you, as you partake on an over-the-top, no holds barred, thrill ride with Rubi Malone, who loves bullets and a body count. With its pure grindhouse-ish fa├žade, Ms. Malone’s best friends are an arsenal of whatever kills you, plus a katana. The exaggeration of blood and death is mighty vibrant as you play through the game, and there’s a strong faded film appearance overtop the game play – which points to nothing less than the exploitive media from decades ago.

WET is a stylish, acrobatic shooter that puts you in control of Rubi, who also happens to be the master of acrobatics: jumping through the air, running across walls and sliding against any flooring with guns a-blazing. If anything, it’ll quickly remind of you past, inspired “gunfu” games, like Stranglehold from this game generation. Although without a plethora of gunning options like Stranglehold, there seems to be only a limited number of possible stylish movements in WET, which might sound as a disappointment; however, there might be more fleshed-out acrobatic movements as you progress further into the game.
The game provides some eye-catching voice talent, from actors like Eliza Dushku and Alan Cumming, which has been solid so far and may bring in more of an audience due to some familiar faces on the big screen.

Rubi can be controlled in various ways, in third person, when assaulting the ones who get in her way. The game stresses to use more acrobatics than just a standard of running and gunning. Mostly prominent is the combo meter, which is chaining kill attacks through snazzy, seamless ways without looking boring. And in doing so, gives you the forever slick slow-mo gun down in all moments of the game to escape dangerous gunfire or events. For button mashing enthusiasts, WET shows off some button prompts here and there in events that need much more detail in cut-scenes than actual game play. An event on a freeway is reminiscent of big epic battle scenes like Matrix Reloaded, as Rubi stands atop vehicles, firing at her foes at 70MPH, but also hopping and diving on to the hoods of other vehicles.

A different feature, is the Rage mode. When Rubi is pissed off, the areas are colored in red, white, and black, which gives off a cool appearance in a three-dimensional environment. You don’t want to get her panties in a bunch, or she’ll go Rage on you and leave you in the dust. This mode is heavy on chain-kills; it seems like a means to see just how far you can build up the chain kill effect for your own personal gain to brag about it. Hopefully, there is much more involvement with the Rage effect and that it’s not just a tacked-on feature.

The graphics are a bit mediocre for this third-person shooter. In fact, they might have taken a step back into the past, as it doesn’t seem to impress and is perhaps the game’s weakest point. It might remind you of a Western called GUN from a few years back, and the fact that it compares to a game that far back, makes it disappointing.

A few hours into the game and WET seems like a game guilty of endless violence for the sweet tooth and obliterating the opponents in numerous ways makes it amusing.
Stay tuned for the full review to see just how entertaining this game is.

Special Editor's Note: This is your opportunity to win 5 Goozex tokens. Simply be the first person to leave a comment and let us know why you are or are not looking forward to playing WET. Also, leave your Goozex User Name so I know who to give the tokens to. If you're not a member of Goozex, and you want to join for free (and get one token in the process), then click here.


September 16, 2009

Interview with Richard Ham, Creative Director at Splash Damage (Brink)

Dale Culp says: Last week, I wrote up a preview of Brink based on a demo seen at PAX. Immediately following the demo, I caught up with the Creative Director at Splash Damage Studios, Richard Ham, for a deeper look into the world of Brink.

Dale: So, how long has this game been in development?

RH: Um, they started it about a year, year and a half ago. I came on, actually, about a year ago, started basically at the beginning of 2008.

Dale: So, this is pretty close to done?

RH: Oh, actually, I'd say we've got a ways to go. We're about to go Alpha within the next month or so. Actually, this version you saw is several months old. This our E3 demo we put together and we have just been using it here because so many people didn't see it.

Dale: I noticed some of the animations seemed a bit rough. A few of the guys didn't even react to being shot, they just sort of fell to the ground after they died.

RH: Ah! The joys of ragdoll.

Dale: I did see a couple of guys who reacted to a grenade, though. I actually saw his knees bend forward as his body wrenched backward – that's the kind of stuff I like to see. I love the context, when the enemies react to being shot.

RH: Exactly, yeah. Ragdolls are really, really hard. We actually have a guy who's working full-time on it. It's odd; our expectations of what somebody looks like when they die are completely wrong. Based on movies where an actor tries to pretend he's dead, he doesn't truly go dead. You know? He still has tension in his muscles and whatnot because he's really alive. When you see somebody really die it looks really weird and wrong because they do just completely drop dead. But we do have to actually take this physical simulation and limit it such that it looks more like an actor dying, which is an odd thing.

Dale: Right, right. We've all seen that episode of MythBusters where they shot the dummy and it barely moved.

RH: Exactly! Yeah.

Dale: People don't just go flying off into the air after they've been shot.

RH: [laughs]

Dale: So, let's talk about the story of Brink; what is Ark?

RH: Basically, Ark was built right around now – between 2005 and 2010 – as kind of a prototype for what mankind's perfect, dream future could be. You know, with zero carbon emissions, renewable energy, renewable food supply – all the stuff that has been kind of a pipe dream of what we need to do for humanity, they actually proved it. We've done a lot of our research for the background of our game and based it off stuff that's really existing today. We had one bit of science-fiction in our game which was they created this new building material which was basically a replacement for concrete, because concrete, when it sets, gives off lots of CO2 gasses which is a huge problem. So, we created a science-fiction version of concrete. Turns out, I read on Slashdot about a month ago, they've actually really created it now. So, it's really grounded in the now.

Anyway, so, they've built this city that houses about 5,000 people. It was like the 8th Wonder of the World. I mean, the technology was fantastic and was going to really change mankind's future. Everything was gonna be great, but then, the inconvenient truth happens.

Dale: Where is Ark supposed to be?

RH: It's out at sea, kind of in the doldrums, near the Equator. They actually towed it out there from San Francisco Bay because that's where they'd have the least impact from wave distortions and whatnot. So, they got it out there, it had a working airport so they could bring people out there. They were pursuing the technologies and trying to get out there, but then the worldwide flooding did happen and it displaced hundreds of millions of people. A lot of them, as refugees, came to the Ark because, of course, the Ark was fine -- it floats -- and the Ark didn't turn anybody away. It was like their biggest mistake because they were all about helping mankind, so they brought in as many people as they could.

Now, the game begins about 30 years after that. There's been enough time for a whole generation to grow up in the Ark, and while it was originally supposed to house around 5,000 people, it now houses around 50,000. They've lost contact with the outside world – they know it's out there, but they just really haven't heard form them for like 15 years or so. They know it's rough so they kinda keep to themselves, but things are really bad on the Ark as well. The resources are running out, all this technology that was so great is breaking down and they don't have the means to fix it, and tensions are on the edge as the resources are getting, you know, scarcer and scarcer. So, at the beginning of the game, the whole place is on the... BRINK [Richard pauses and smiles while pointing to a large display showing off the game] of a civil war – and that's where you come in, as the civil war starts. The storyline in the game actually covers the first week of that civil war.

Dale: So, I'm hearing this story about a city at sea, broken off and independent from the rest of the world with high ideals and hopes for the future until something really bad happens, and I can't help but start thinking Rapture and Bioshock, but as I learn more I start seeing how this is actually very different.

RH: Well, I mean, I can't speak for those guys, Ken Levine and all that... I don't know where they took their inspiration from, but in a lot of ways I think it is kind of a big, cosmic coincidence. This is a storyline that Paul has wanted to do for almost 10 years now. You know, when he founded the company, this was a really big thing, he wanted this notion of a floating city. You know, this is finally our chance to do it because Bethesda are actually allowing us to do original IP as opposed to another Quake or Wolfenstein game. So, I think there's a lot of overlap, but we are really unique and I think probably the biggest thing about us is that we're not that much of a flight of fancy. There are things like the Ark being built in the world today.

Dale: I remember a news story about a guy building an island out of recycled bottles.

RH: [laughs] Exactly! Yeah, I mean, there's this place called the Seasteading Institute - - and if you go to their website, they actually have instructions for how to create the Ark. So, we did take a lot of inspiration from the real world. Now, I hope... Obviously, we're creating a kick-ass shooter, first of all, that's going to be a lot of fun to play, but there are actually a lot of things that really do harken to what's going on in the real world, and for the players who are interested and want to delve into the backstory of the game, I think there's a lot for them to discover.

Dale: I want to ask about the multiplayer aspect. Will your friends really be able to jump in and out as you're playing the game?

RH: Yeah. I'll be honest, we took a lot of inspiration from Left 4 Dead. I think Left 4 Dead is a fantastic game that really pushed a lot of boundaries and made things that were previously unacceptable acceptable, like the notion that, it's ok that if you and I are playing the game and you have to go to the bathroom, you can go idle and a bot will take over for you and you can come back in a few minutes.

Dale: That leads into my next question where I noticed that, during the demo, when he [the guy giving the demo] when into a menu, the action was still happening. Are you then vulnerable, at that point?

RH: YES! You are vulnerable, which is actually why we've gone with the radial menu motif, because it can be as fast as you can move your thumb. It's not like going through a bunch of nested lists... Every time you go to one of the command posts, you kind of have an idea, already, of what you want to do. You know you want to switch to an engineer. Engineer is always the choice that's on the left. So, you go up there, hit LEFT... Boom – you're done. You know, so, the radial menu can be fantastic because you can develop a muscle memory where you just know where the things are and you can just do them.

Dale: Does switching classes cost you anything?

RH: No. In fact, you gain experience points. Let's say your team needs an engineer, so your prize is a certain number of experience points to get you become what your team needs you to be.

Dale: What do you get for experience points?

RH: Well, basically, we have a leveling system that is more akin to what you get in an MMO. There are 4 classes in the game – soldier, medic, operative and engineer – and each one of those classes has a big number of individual abilities. You start with just a couple of them but there's a ton to unlock. There's also a ton of abilities which you can have at any time – no matter what class you are. As you level up, there's lots of things to buy and it's really up to you to decide to build a character that makes you unique and really reflects how you want to play. Another thing is, if you buy a particular ability and you decide you don't like it, you can sell it back. So, you aren't ever trapped in any particular kind of ability.

Dale: At first blush, Brink looks really complicated. I mean, I was like, “Wow, there's a lot going on...”

RH: Yeah.

Dale: And then it started clicking that everything you do is a quest... and it actually almost looked like you were playing an MMO but single-player.

RH: Oh, yeah, in action. Yeah.

Dale: So, then the AI constantly generates things for you to do, based on what you've been doing?

RH: Yeah, there's this concept of an AI that's basically watching over your entire team, paying attention to strength and weaknesses and what's going on...

Dale: Kind of like the director in Left 4 Dead?

RH: Yeah, very much like the cinematic director from Left 4 Dead. The important thing is that, even though there's a ton of stuff going on, if you're fresh and new to the game, one of the first things we'll teach you when you first start playing is, hey, when you look at the wheel, the thing at the top is the one we recommend. All the other ones you can look at if you want so you still make the decisions, but if you do the one at the top, you'll be helping everyone out. So, if you don't want to think about it, just choose that. In fact, if you really don't want to think about it, if you want to be quick, instead of holding the button to bring up the wheel, you can just tap that button and it will automatically assign that goal to you. The arrow will come up and tell you where to go so you'll never get lost.

Dale: And you can give your AI teammates different orders, and they'll follow them?

RH: Exactly. That's a really interesting thing... We're a multiplayer game, but by default, we turn off voice chat.

Dale: Wait, you turn OFF voice chat?

RH: Right, because in multiplayer, as often as it can be a really big boon to teamplay and all that, 9 times out of 10 it's really all about somebody calling you... well, I won't repeat it because you're recording me.

Dale: Ah, ok. Yeah, lots of dirty mouths on Xbox Live.

RH: [laughing] Right. So, in taking that off, you can turn it on, and you know, listen to your friends speak, but I just don't want to take the chance of you having some 12-year-old, homophobic racist...

Dale: You don't want them ruining your game experience while you're trying to get everyone to do their job.

RH: Exactly! But, we don't want to give up on that notion of communication that voice gives you, so when you choose an objective off that wheel, the game automatically – in your character's voice, because you can define what your character's voice is – messages the rest of the team, “I'm on my way to become an engineer!” Everybody else hears that and thinks, “Oh, good! Somebody's going to be an engineer. I don't have to worry about that, anymore.” And, in fact, because you've just gone off and made yourself an engineer, you've basically become the MVP of your team. You are the most important guy because you're the only one who can fix that crane, so the other guys will get new objectives, very high-priority objectives to keep that engineer alive. So, the fact that you've done something is creating new missions for other players – and that's happening all the time, live and dynamically. And, if you want, you can pay attention to everything that's going on and make all the high-level decisions, or, if you're like, “I don't know what to do!” just tap UP and it's like a buddy on your couch who knows the game really well, saying, “You should go change into an engineer.” That's what the wheel represents, it's the game helping you out.

Dale: Very cool. I noticed, also, that the AI seems really smart. I noticed during the demo, he went around the back and a guy was just standing there until the player reloaded, or cocked his gun, and the AI heard that and turned right around to investigate the noise. Obviously, the AI is smart enough to keep track of everything else, but it seems like it can give you quite a challenge one-on-one.

RH: Oh, yeah, definitely. The big advantage we have is this is being done with iD Tech 4 – not 5 – which is the same engine we used for Quake Wars. Now, Quake Wars had fantastic bots. Really, really smart, they were able to do some complicated things. Really smart about driving, providing backup for each other... They really went above and beyond; we've got that as our base. We can build on that and keep on putting more and more stuff in, so that's actually been a really big boon. So, because our goal is to ensure that, you know, it doesn't matter if you're playing online or offline, you get that same experience. So, our bots, pretty much, have to be capable of doing everything a human can do. Their AI tree is actually based off that same wheel. At any given time, they've got the same wheel that a player would have and they're making choices the same way a player would.

Dale: I like that this looks very unique, it's not just another bunch of space marines, or like, helmet-guy with a gun. I also noticed that, and I want to be very careful about saying this, but the characters look... French.

RH: [laughs] Ok, you do know that our art director is Olivier Leonardi? He is French...

Dale: Oh, actually, I didn't know that. I mean, they even have kind of an accent, and to be honest, I'm not trying to play on stereotypes, but they kind of look like Jean Reno. You know? He has a very distinctive look.

RH: [laughs more] Yeah, it was actually a choice that was made very early on to not go photorealistic. In fact, that's something that Olivier, the art director, he pushed back, because we were all a little bit nervous about it... we thought, well, are players going to actually accept this? The safe thing is to do photreal and look like everything else out there, but in the end, he was right, because ever since E3, there have been some people who are saying, “What's with the tiny heads?” But by and large, the vast majority of people are, you know, they recognize it's something new and are excited about it. I don't think we gave players enough credit at first. We kind of pigeon-holed them into, “Yeah, they'll just want the same old, same old,” but people are really excited about seeing something different, which is great.

Dale: I definitely agree; I mean, even the colors are very unique.

RH: Oh, yeah. Yes. That's actually a real important thing. Like that level you just saw [which featured a waterfront dock setting with plenty of metal crates and junk piles] would be very, very easy to do it all in just various shades of rust, but we decided to have big splashes of blue and red.

Dale: It definitely stands out, I'm very impressed. So, the game is due out Spring 2010?

RH: Yeah, knock on wood.

Dale: Very cool, thank you very much!

Special thanks to Richard Ham and the rest of the folks at Splash Damage/Bethesda for allowing me access to do this interview.
Brink will be available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.


September 14, 2009

Future Releases Worth Your Purchase

Cole Burton Says As all of us gamers know, there are very many great and popular games coming out this year and the next. That is why I am going to give my opinions on some of the games that I am most hyped for.

Call of Duty: Modern
Warfare 2
I used to be a huge Halo fan, but after 5 minutes of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, all that changed. There are 3 editions of Modern Warfare 2: Normal, Hardened, and Prestige edition. I currently have the prestige edition pre-ordered for $150.00, that’s how much I like Call of Duty.

This game will have a great campaign and multiplayer by the looks of it. Not only that, it will also have the new, two-player special ops missions.

In addition, there are many improvements, such as in-game host finding and the ability to throw your knife.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Uncharted 2 is a game that I plan on getting from The New Goozex Exchange day 1. I loved Uncharted: Drakes Fortune and I was lucky enough to get a beta code from GameTrailers to play the first level cooperatively and play the multiplayer, I was blown away.

There is so much suspense for this game just from the trailers alone. This is my second-most hyped game for the year, right behind Modern Warfare 2. For those of you looking to push your luck, there will be a limited, and I do mean limited, edition of the game. The only way to get it, will be to win it. Check the Playstation blog for more info.

Saw: The Video Game
In my opinion, Saw the video game hasn’t been getting enough attention. If you have seen the movies, this is a must get, if you haven’t seen the movies, watch the first two and you will be hooked. The game places you in the position of Detective Tapp from Saw 1 and it fills the gap between the first and second movies. Another cool thing about this Saw entry is that it will be produced by the original creators of Saw.

M.A.G. might be one of the best PS3 exclusives of the year. It looks like it will have a great multiplayer with 256 players per match. Some people are worried about lag issues, but this game wouldn’t be made if that were a fact. No one would play a 256-man lag match. There are three teams you can choose from, at least one should fit your fps personality.

Although I do not play Halo that much anymore, I still plan on getting ODST for old-time sake and to complete my collection.

Assassin’s Creed 2
I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed a lot until I finished the game, then it had right next to zero replay value. However, I am sure the sequel will not have this problem, but, if it does, at least the first play through will be great.
This time, you don’t play as Altair, you play as Ezio. There will also be more weapons and vehicles. In addition, you will have friends that have their own abilities to help you out.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
I played the demo of BF:BC and did not like it. I eventually got it on goozex with some spare points and was amazed. Apparently, the demo sucked but the real game was great!
In addition, the multiplayer was great. I cannot wait to add this game to my collection March 2010. The destructible environments were what separated bad company from other mindless fps games and it look like it will do the same again.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading about some of the games I am most hyped for this year and next. Remember to keep that wallet fat for these, or do the smart thing and get them from!


360 vs PS3 - Which Offers the Better Games?

Troy Benedict Says Welcome to part 3 of the pound-per-pound comparison of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. In the first part of the series, I compared each system's online experience. In the second part, the home theater aspects of each machine were discussed. For this article, I will compare both console's game library, and determine which system offers the best games. What constitutes a good game or a bad game is very subjective, so for this comparison I went to Metacritic's web site and took a snapshot on September 4, 2009 of the entire list of review scores for each system's available games. The results were broken down into three categories:

  1. Multiplatform Titles - games that have been released for both consoles.
  2. Exclusive Titles - games that are available only on one console. They are exclusive, whether it a current timed-exclusive or an indefinite exclusivity. These can include disc-based releases or downloadable games (PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade titles, for example).
  3. Total Games Library - this is a combination of exclusive and multiplatform games released for both consoles.

Within each category, you will see two tables of information:

  1. The first table breaks down the totals and averages for that category based on the titles' review score ranges. For example, you can see the average review score for games that scored between an 80 and 89 rating, the number of games that were rated within that 80-90 point range, and the percentage of titles that averaged between an 80-89 score compared to the other score ranges of that particular category (multiplatform, exclusive, or total library).

  2. The second table breaks down the review scores, for each category, based on the year that game was released, and the average review score.

Each category will also have the overall averages for each system, as well as the list of top-rated games per console. For the multiplatform and exclusive releases I have included each console's lowest-rated game -- just for fun!

Multiplatform Titles:
Multiplatform games are available on both the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3.

Of the 263 games available on both systems, the Xbox 360 average score is .7 points higher than the PlayStation 3's.

Average Review Score (Out of 100) For Multiplatform Titles

  • Xbox 360: 71.1
  • PlayStation 3: 70.4

Highest-Rated Multiplatform Games:

Xbox 360:

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) - Average Score:98


  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) - Average Score:98

Best Xbox 360 Multiplatform Games (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • BioShock (2008) Average Score: 96
  • Orange Box, The (2007) Average Score: 96
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 93
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 92
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 92

Best PlayStation 3 Multiplatform Games (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • BioShock (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2007) Average Score: 93
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 91
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Guitar Hero 5 (2009) Average Score: 90

Lowest-Rated Multiplatform Games

Xbox 360:

  • Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009) - Average Score: 25


  • Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009) - Average Score: 18

There has been a long-standing debate about whether or not the Xbox 360 offers a better version releases.

The stats do not lie. The averages of all multiplatform releases do favor the Xbox 360. However, the differences are so insignificant with less than a 1 point difference.

Both systems have the same highest and lowest scoring games, GTA4 and Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, respectively.

The review scores were very similar. 90% of the games varied by a 4-point, or less, difference in review scores.Of the 263 compared multiplatform games:

  • 45 games received the same average review score.
  • 89 games received a 1-point difference average review scores.
  • 48 games received a 2-point difference average review scores.
  • 31 games received a 3-point difference average review scores.
  • 23 games received a 4-point difference average review scores.
  • 27 games received a 5-point or greater difference in the average review scores.
  • F.E.A.R. was the game with the biggest discrepancy, a 13-point difference. The game was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360 and received an average score of 85. It was released on the PlayStation 3 in 2007 and received an average score of 72.
  • 133 games were reviewed higher on the Xbox 360 by an average of 2.7 points.
  • 85 games were reviewed higher on the PlayStation 3 by an average of 2.1 points.

Xbox 360 enthusiasts may be pleased to know that their system edges out the competition with a VERY slight edge, and they have more higher-reviewed games, but here is an interesting fact. The 360 had the better multiplatform games in 2006, 2007, and 2008, but the PlayStation 3 is offering is dominating this year's multiplatform releases.Verdict
The numbers don't lie. Even if it's a slight advantage, the Xbox 360 offers the better multiplatform experience over the PlayStation 3. However, if the trend continues in the table above, the PlayStation 3 may very well offer the better experience for 2009's releases.

Exclusive Titles

Average Review Score (Out of 100) For System Exclusive Title:

  • Xbox 360: 66.4 (433 games)
  • PlayStation 3: 72.0 (127 games)

Highest-Rated Exclusive Game(s)
Xbox 360:

  • Gears of War (2006) - Average Score: 94
  • Halo 3 (2007) - Average Score: 94


  • LittleBigPlanet (2008) - Average Score:95

Best Xbox 360 Exclusive Games (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Gears of War (2006) Average Score: 94
  • Halo 3 (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Braid (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Gears of War 2 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Guitar Hero II (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Mass Effect (2007) Average Score: 91
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (2006) Average Score: 90
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Portal: Still Alive (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Forza Motorsport 2 (2007) Average Score: 90

Best PlayStation 3 Exclusive Games (Average Score of 90 or greater):

  • LittleBigPlanet (2008) Average Score: 95
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Killzone 2 (2009) Average Score: 91
  • MLB 09: The Show (2009) Average Score: 90

Lowest-Rated Exclusive Game(s)
Xbox 360:

  • Yaris (2007) - Average Score: 17
PlayStation 3:
  • Vampire Rain: Altered Species (2008) - Average Score: 30
    Note: Vampire Rain is also available on Xbox 360, but this version features content not included in the 360 release, hence making it an exclusive title.
It might be shocking to see such a stark difference between the exclusive 360 releases and those on the PlayStation 3. The PlayStation is leading the march with a 72 point average versus the Xbox's 66.4. That quite a significant lead!

There is a reason for the 360's lower averages: the Xbox Live Arcade releases. The Xbox 360 offers a significantly larger number exclusive titles, more than 3 times what can only be purchased for a PlayStation, but a majority of those releases are less-than-stellar Xbox Live Arcade games. As you can see from the details above, Xbox 360's lowest-rated exclusive was, in fact, the free Xbox Live Arcade title Yaris.

Year to year, the Xbox 360 has offered more exclusives, almost 4 times as many in 2007, than the PlayStation 3. The Xbox 360 also has a significantly larger number of top-rated exclusive games, with 11 titles compared to PlayStation 3's 4 games.

To be truly honest, the real answer to who wins the exclusive games category can't be made by dissecting review scores. The idea behind exclusivity is to offer something that the other guy doesn't have, in order to generate interest in your product over the competition's. Exclusives all come down to preference, and each system offers experiences that can't be made on the other system.

Based on numbers alone, the PlayStation 3 has a much higher average review score for it's exclusive titles. That being said, the PS3 also offers less than one-third of the exclusive games found on the 360.

Is it better to have a larger number of games to choose from -- with a guaranteed Xbox 360 Arcade release (or two, or three) each week? Or do you go with less variety and a slightly higher quality?

In situations like these, it makes me glad to own both systems.

Total Games Library (All Releases)

Average Review Score (Out of 100) For All Releases:
  • Xbox 360: 68.2 (696 games)
  • PlayStation 3: 70.9 (390 games)
Best of the Xbox 360 (Average Score 90 or greater):
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • BioShock (2007) Average Score: 96
  • Orange Box, The (2007) Average Score: 96
  • Gears of War (2006) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2006) Average Score: 94
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Halo 3 (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Braid (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 93
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Gears of War 2 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Guitar Hero II (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 92
  • Mass Effect (2007) Average Score: 91
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (2006) Average Score: 90
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Portal: Still Alive (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Forza Motorsport 2 (2007) Average Score: 90

Best of the PlayStation 3 (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • LittleBigPlanet (2008) Average Score: 95
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • BioShock (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 94
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2007) Average Score: 93
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 91
  • Killzone 2 (2009) Average Score: 91
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • MLB 09: The Show (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Guitar Hero 5 (2009) Average Score: 90
The Total Games Library is a combination of both the exclusives and multiplatform games.

Numbers don't lie, but they don't always tell the whole truth, either. The numbers say that the PlayStation 3 offers the better overall experience. The trend in multiplatform games in 2009 seems to favor the PlayStation 3 as of early September. Does the fact that the 360 has 21 games with an average score of 90 or greater, compared to PS3's 14, make any difference? Or that the 360 offers the larger number of exclusives games by more than 300 titles? Or that the 360 had a year's head-start?

I'm going to leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide the final answer on this one. I, like the lawyer, present to you, the judge and jury, the facts.

Next up, the final comparison: each system's unique hardware offerings.