What I’m Gaming: Red Dead Redemption
In another instance I was strolling through town when a man and a prostitute struggled through the doorway of the saloon in an argument. Before I knew it he had started violently stabbing her with his knife. I shot him dead, but I was too late. When it happened again with another two people I was ready and saved the prostitute, who thanked me and rewarded me with money. I also grabbed some cash off of the dead man by looting his body.
I saved a man who was getting horse carriage-jacked by gangsters. I won a duel after some jackass called after me saying, “You, the one with the chicken head.” Won a hand of Texas Hold ‘Em. I helped a man purchase a spot of land in order to drill for water.
You gain or lose honor depending on your actions, which affects the people who speak to you, whether the law looks the other way in some situations, and how much money you make or how much you pay in shops. You gain fame for everything you do, making you more and more reknown throughout the world.
The gameplay is very similar to GTA IV’s, though it has been so well-adapted to the wild west scenario that it feels different enough to be fresh. You can still place waypoints on your map, take cover, aim in third person, and drive — but you’re making your way to towns, taking cover behind rocks, slowing down time with your Dead Eye ability, and driving horse carriages.
The Dead Eye ability is a great inclusion in the game, as it allows you to slow time to a crawl while you aim in a shootout or set up shots in a duel. The result is a sort of quick draw where you get all your shots in before your enemy.
I’m thoroughly addicted, though I’m only 3.5 hours in. Between the gameplay, stunning graphics, and realistic body movements, I’m pining to play whenever my PS3 isn’t on. I’ll try some online matches soon, maybe join a posse. I’m due to get my lasso in the next mission. Then I’ll start collecting bounties alive instead of killing them all.
Microsoft Releases 1/5 of Fable 2 For Free on Xbox Live Marketplace!
In what I suppose is part of a scheme to distract gamers from today’s PSPGo launch and its limited amount of downloadable PSP games that were previously UMD only, Microsoft has released “Episode 1” of 5 Fable 2 episodes for free. The 2gb download will let you play through the beginning childhood portion of the game as well as part of adolescence, however achievements cannot be unlocked until you purchase Episode 2 for 800 MS Points (which is not even available yet). Coupled with the fact that the two DLC areas are also free right now, it almost feels as if Microsoft is bragging that it’s giving away parts of games for free while the PSPGo costs almost as much as a PS3. But that’s just my own speculation.
What I question, however, is whether each episode will cost 800 MS Points and when they will be released. That’s $40 for the game and the add-on areas when the retail disc itself is going for $30 or less (then you could just download the DLC for free anyway).
Though I really enjoyed the portion of Episode 1 I’ve played (this is my first time playing), I’m not even sure I have enough space for the whole game on my 20gb hard drive — especially because I don’t know how big the full game will be. I like to keep space to install disc games I’m currently playing, and this would most likely interfere with that process.
Unfortunately, with Uncharted 2 coming out in less than two weeks I’m not sure I should spend the money on Fable 2 right now. Perhaps in that case downloading one episode at a time for $10 each makes sense because I can pace myself around Uncharted 2, though I hate interrupting a game I’m playing. But if all five episodes are not released soon it might not even matter.
The free episode can be found on the XBOX Live Marketplace.
EDIT: Episode 2 can be purchased through an in-game pop-up menu box, unfortunately it’s 4.5gb large. That means Episodes 1 & 2 total approx. 6gb, and there are still three more episodes to add to that. I’ll probably just pick up the disc.
Metal Gear PSP demo Available Early
IGN has linked the Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker PSP demo that was available at the Tokyo Game Show. This demo is not yet available on the PlayStation Store.
Installation instructions are available in the linked article. Enjoy.
IGN: TGS 2009: Get The MGS Peace Walker Demo Right Here
The Last Guardian interview
This interview with Team ICO’s Director & Game Designer Fumito Ueda explains the finer details of The Last Guardian, the third game by the company following ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. I absolutely can’t wait for this game, and the only reason I’d left it off of My Most Anticipated list in the previous post was because I knew very little about it.
Upcoming Games I’m Most Looking Forward To
I do a lot of financial game budgeting in advance to make sure I can afford the games I’m most excited about, and though my wallet’s not very fat this year here are some upcoming games I’m most excited to play:
Assassin’s Creed 2 (PS3, XBOX 360, Nov 17)
Say what you will about the first Assassin’s Creed being disappointing, but I loved it. It remains as the most fun I’ve had on a next-gen system. There was just something freeing about leaping rooftops collecting flags and taking out guards left and right that no other current-gen game has matched for me. I’m interested to see how the story turns out, but I’m more interested to see how the new fighting moves and tools will work. The trailer looks amazing. Plus, I heard they got rid of the repetitive mission structure of the first game. As far as I’m concerned the repetition was the only thing holding it back. Plus, you can swim now! And pull guards into the water!
Uncharted 2 (PS3, Oct 13)
I only played Uncharted a month ago but I truly loved it. It was what Tomb Raider should have been, and stayed true to its Indiana Jones roots. The environments were amazing to look at, the script was well-written and clever, and the gameplay was very fun. Uncharted 2 looks to be an even grander version of the first game, with multiplayer included.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (PS2, PSP, Wii, Oct 13)
I was a die-hard fan of Silent Hill 1-3. “The Room” didn’t do it for me, “Origins” took the scares away by making you good with weapons, and I heard SH5 ran along the same lines. “Shattered Memories” is a re-imagining of Silent Hill 1, which was pretty frakking scary. The changes look and sound very interesting, and coupled with the Wii Remote the game looks to be a very promising return to form, even if only an altered version of the original.
Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines (PSP, Nov)
Supposedly will bridge the first and second games and will have inter-connectivity with the PS3 version of Assassin’s Creed 2. I guess XBOX 360 fans lose out on this one, which is a curious move on Ubisoft’s part. I can’t wait to have a portable Altair.
God of War Collection (PS3, Nov 17)
I’ve never played God of War 2 and the fact that this adds trophies on top of it has me sold. It’ll prepare me for God of War III.
God of War III (PS3, Spring 2010)
I can’t say much on it since I haven’t played the second GOW and refuse to look at this until I play it. From what I heard it’ll be crazy, though.
Dead Space: Extraction (Wii, Sept 29)
I mostly enjoyed Dead Space, so I’m willing to give this a try, even if it IS on rails.
Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles (Wii, Nov 17)
Another on-rails Wii shooter, but it takes place during Resident Evil 2 - my favorite of the series - and I believe incorporates some of Code Veronica, though I could be wrong on that. Either way, I’m into it for the RE2 factor alone.
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (DS, Sept 29)
I was a big fan of the first KH game, but the second one wasn’t as enjoyable. It pretty much had a built-in “win button” (battles were too easy to button mash through) and the story was much more complex and convoluted than the premiere game. Hopefully this installment will clarify some of the story in KH2 that got a bit murky. I’m unsure about the touch controls, though.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth of Sleep (PSP)
This installment is said to be a prequel to the first Kingdom Hearts series. Hopefully the characters can match the interestingness Sora, Donald and Goofy brought to the table and not be as bland as Roxas. The game has you choose between three adventures - one for each Keyblade wielder, though to my understanding you don’t get to play in a party like in the PS2 games.
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3, XBOX 360, 2010)
I’m a die-hard fan of the 3D Final Fantasy games, though FF11 was too complicated and difficult for me and FF12 was lacking something in its characters, plus I felt the story didn’t TRULY kick off until too late in the game. If FF13 is a return to FF7 through FFX form then it can’t lose with me. I’m especially intrigued by the characters, setting, and battle system. This is my most anticipated game.
Dragon Age: Origins (PC, PS3, XBOX 360, Nov 3)
Hopefully the game will be as interesting as the cinematics in the trailers make it look. I’m worried I’ll be bored by the gameplay, though, having never really played a Boulder’s Gate-like game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PC, PS3, XBOX 360, Nov 10)
I’ve always had an interest in the COD games but never had the drive to play through them since I was always so terrible at them, getting killed over and over again. Though I’ve never played the first Modern Warfare game, seeing clips of MW2’s multiplayer matches has really intrigued me. I especially like the points/leveling system.
The Legend of Zelda: The Spirit Tracks (DS, Dec 7)
I enjoyed everything about the Phantom Hourglass except the stupid dungeon you had to revisit and retrace over and over throughout the whole game. As long as the game doesn’t pull something like that again, I’m sure I’ll like it. I’m a big Zelda fan. I just hope you can move Link with the D-pad if you want to.
Half-Minute Hero (PSP)
An RPG where you have to solve each quest in roughly 30 seconds. All pixel graphics. All self-aware self-mockery. The demo had me thoroughly amused.
Heavy Rain (PS3, 2010)
This says it all. And if it doesn’t, just know the game follows multiple characters, any of whom can die permanently and change the game. Also based on emotion and real facial movements.
Lost Planet 2 (PS3, XBOX 360)
The first game was a great arcade-style third person shooter and I loved the fear of running out of thermal energy as my girlfriend yelled, “Get the heat!” behind me everytime I killed an akrid. The story was laughable, but the second game looks much more epic, and that’s always a good thing.
GTA: Episodes from Liberty City (XBOX 360, OCt 29)
GTAIV was a great game so I’m excited to finally play “The Lost and the Damned” and “The Ballad of Gay Tony” expansions. They both look great.
Half-Minute Hero Demo (PSP)
The 8-Bit Revival movement has had a great sense of humor about gaming’s history which is epitomized in the PSP’s upcoming Half-Minute Hero.
The goal of this RPG is to travel the world map, level up, collect money, purchase armor and weapons, and destroy the area’s evil lord under a 30 second timer. Of course there are tricks to this, which can be discovered in the latest demo.
The demo allows you to choose between two missions. The first is straight-forward. An evil lord has, to his own delight, learned a destruction spell, so he decides to cast it and destroy the world, however, the spell will take 30 second to cast. Getting wind of this, the Time Goddess seemingly at random chooses the Hero, who happens to already have a sword, to hurry up and defeat the evil lord. This map consists of a small island with you, a town, and an evil castle.
The goal is to raise your level to be higher than the boss’s, and the game truly shines in battle. Random battles are automatic and consist of the Hero and the enemy running at each other and ramming until one of the characters yields to defeat. Leveling up moves very quickly, and time is paused while visiting a town to purchase goods or replenish health.
The second map is larger and your goal is more complicated. To succeed you’ll have to do the same thing as in the first level, however you must first gain the trust of the neighboring town’s knights to help repair the bridge leading to the evil castle. As an added benefit, they will aid you in battle, boosting the damage done to enemies. This map also has a northern cave containing a treasure, though you will have to use your precious time to reach it. This is worked out by being able to pay the town’s statue of the Time Goddess to reset your clock, though each time you do this it becomes more expensive.
The game seems like it could easily become very hard. I’ll admit, after three tries I still have not completed the second demo map.
Half-Minute Hero looks like it will be great for nostalgia, ridiculous gameplay, and an interesting challenge. The demo is currently available at the Playstation Store and the full game should be out in the U.S. before the end of the year.
IGN: EVE Online Bank Scandal
Wow. Absolutely crazy. I didn’t know EVE Online’s bank system was so complex.
"The bank is structured with six directors, as well as a staff of about seven to eight people. The board members get a single vote on major decisions, but the staff members can participate in the discussion. Customers deposit ISKs into the bank’s corporate wallet, where two staff members (serving as tellers) distribute the ISKs between the directors for holding. That’s how Ricdic could walk away with 200 billion ISKs; that was his share of the banks holdings in his possession."
[MORE] IGN: EVE Online Bank Scandal
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New PS3 Greatest Hits
According to the PlayStation Blog, the following games are now Greatest Hits, dropping their price to $29.99:
Check out the list of Greatest Hits:
* Army of Two, Electronic Arts
* Battlefield: Bad Company, Electronic Arts
* Devil May Cry 4, Capcom
* Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Sony Computer Entertainment America
* Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Konami
* Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Sony Computer Entertainment America
Other Greatest Hits titles include:
* Warhawk, SCEA
* Motorstorm, SCEA
* Resistance: Fall of Man, SCEA
* Call of Duty 3, Activision
* EA Sports Fight Night Round 3, Need for Speed: Carbon, Electronic Arts
* Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas and Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft
* The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Bethesda Softworks
* Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Tecmo
Assassin’s Creed 2 Dated for Dec., Plus DLC
Assassin’s Creed 2 has been dated for December, along with Avatar and Splinter Cell: Conviction, as reported by Kotaku, and will all have some sort of DLC. Whether this content will be new areas, weapons/items, or something else has not been stated.
I personally cannot wait to swim through the canals of Italy while armored guards chase me and, if the game is realistic, drown under the weight of their own protective garb. They’d probably just use ranged weapons instead of jumping into the water, though. But maybe you can push them in?
Plants Vs. Zombies Review
Rest easy, folks. Peggle veteran Pop Cap Games has finally answered that nagging worry in the back of your mind: can your garden protect you during the coming zombie apocalypse?
The answer is yes, and it’s spectacular.
The tower defense-style game puts players in the shoes of a suburban homeowner (pre-economic crisis, I’d assume) who must plant various flowers and plants in an effort to destroy an amalgam of zombies before they cross the lawn and reach his/her house. The game is another instant classic from the creators most noted for Peggle and Bejeweled, with gameplay that will both hopelessly addict and frustrate.
Strategy plays a big role in defending the lawn. Players choose several plants before each level, selecting a small group out of the total number of available plants. Players can decide which to use based on which zombies are on their way. Your strategy will also change depending on the time of day and whether your front lawn or backyard is being attacked, as some plants will not bloom during the day, some sleep at night, and your backyard has a pool.
Planting is bast on the accumulation of sun points. These points can be collected by clicking on sun icons that periodically fall from the sky or are created by your own sunflowers. More formidable plants need more sun to bloom, however while you are busy saving sun points the zombies are slowly approaching your lawn. This takes a bit of resource management as each level has two “giant waves of zombies” on top of the individual zombies coming at you.
While there is an arsenal of plants at your disposal shooting peas, firing frozen shots to slow down enemies, carnivorously eating enemies, halting zombies in their tracks, and blowing them up, the zombies have various abilities as well. The standard zombie simply walks toward the house nibbling on any plants in its way, however later zombies have stronger defenses which make them tougher to take down. One type wears a traffic cone on its head, though tougher than that is the metal bucket-wearing zombie. There are also pole vaulting zombies, football player zombies and many more types that will make you chuckle while fearing for your life. Pop Cap is never short on humor in Plants Vs. Zombies and the game never takes itself seriously.
Eventually you’ll gain the ability to pick up money from corpses and purchase more slots to hold more plants per level. This is a great help for some of the crazier levels where a bombardment of zombies will not let up. Mini-games can be unlocked, as well. These are similar to Peggle’s challenges in that the rules deviate from adventure mode. Some mini-games include walnut bowling, “Zombotany” (in which zombies have pea shooter or walnut heads), and a slots level that grants plants and sun based on your luck with a slot machine. The goal of this mode is to gather 2,000 sun points while fighting off a zombie onslaught. Each sun icon is worth 25, but 25 is lost when planting flowers and plants.
If you’re not sold already, download the demo. Plants Vs. Zombies is available for PC and Mac for $20 but was recently on sale for PC on Steam for $10.
While you install the game, watch their viral music video. It’s absolutely fantastic, and the song is available for free from Pop Cap’s website.