Wednesday, July 16, 2008

E3 impressions thus far on the 360 front...

Well E3 2008 started Monday in Los Angeles. G4TV has been showing oodles of coverage, and websites have a flurry of activity especially with all the big press conferences out of the way. I didn't get to watch any this year, but have picked up bits and pieces here and there, scouring the web, listening to daily update podcast, etc...

Microsoft was up first thing Monday morning with their conference, probably the biggest shock was when they announced Final Fantasy XIII would be coming day & date with the PS3 version. We're getting a new dashboard 'overhaul' that immediately struck me as Windows Flip 3D from Vista (you know where all the open task cycle through in a 3D isometric view?), and it also supports the new personal avatars (think Mii's). put up a developer walkthrough video showing off the features of the new dash thats worth a view.

Microsoft is 'bringing it home' again, just turn on your 360 and check out the incoming flood of E3 videos, and demos. I highly recommend checking out the Fallout 3 video it looks amazing, and Fable 2 looks good too, I wasn't a big fan of the first one, but will give this one a try. There were some other announcements that caught my attention, Scene-It: Box Office Smash (this time with online multiplayer!), and limited edition red and green controllers.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wall-y! Alone in the Dark, Achieve this, and more...

I meant to post last time as I had just seen Wall-E but was on my way out the door and forgot about it. I caught the opening show last weekend with my daughter and must say it was pretty good. I've heard that there's no way they (read:Pixar) can keep a kids attention when there isn't any conversation dialog in the the first 30-45 minutes of the movie, but my daughter never seemed to get restless. I wasn't a big fan a Cars, although I really enjoyed Ratatouille when I finally got around to seeing it on DVD. Wall-E doesn't stack up quite that high but it was fun anyway. *** out of ****.

I picked up Alone in the Dark last week when it came out as I was really hyped after watching the 'tech' videos, and other pre-release footage of the game. Then the reviews started coming in (Metacritic is currently sitting @ 65), and most all were not favorable. The biggest gripe seems to be the controls, and on certain sequences this is really true, mostly on the driving portions of the game.

The game is divided into chapters, then each chapter has 4-8 sequences. You have the ability to 'pause' the game and fast forward (skip) or rewind sequences within the chapter (although any skipping will nullify the 'achievements' for that chapter). I was progressing pretty well through the opening chapter, until the first driving sequence came along. When you fail at a sequence you start over at the very beginning of that sequence (no matter how long it is) and that one I restarted a lot. There was a specific route through the environment, but one little mess up, and boom it was back to the start. I finally threw the controller down in frustration with a few choice 'words'.

I picked it back up the next evening and made it through after two tries, everything went pretty smooth until the next driving sequence. :( Overall I think I made it about 1/2 way through the game, there is some cool stuff (atmosphere, combining items, fire elements, etc.) but there are also some drawbacks. In the end I'm glad I couldn't justify $50 (it was on sale) on it, but I'll pick it up down the line around $20 or under to finish it.

All of that new game playing earned me some much needed new achievement points, and I seen my gamerscore rising again, I overtook my closest adversary (sorry, Sydious) and am well on my way to the 10,000 point plateau. I went back and started playing single player CoD 4 after ditching Alone, to keep the achievement points coming in.

I had been seeing a lot (I mean a lot) of previews for Wipeout, and I Survived a Japanese Game Show on ABC the month of June. Wipeout looked like a rip off of those Japanese obstacle courses that Spike shows dubbed over in 'engrish', and the spots for Survived didn't do anything for me. I flipped over to ABC last Tuesday anyway (mainly because my daughter thought Wipeout looked funny), but as it turns out it's not. It looks like they picked up 24 random people on the street, and said "Hey want to play a game"? The two host basically make fun of the contestants as they go bouncing/slipping/sliding/falling through the water/muddy obstacle course. It's just bad.

I was about to cut my loses, and give up when the beginning of I Survived started, imagine my surprise when it was broadcast in HD. I've never seen a reality show in Hi-Def (although supposedly the next Survivor will be shot that way). It turns out the people here auditioned for 'reality' show but had no idea what they would be doing. They were all flown to LAX, then got shuttled to the international departures gate (about 2 blocks down) and found they were flying to Japan. They get to Japan get a quick little tour, and then the host takes them to Toho studios (Godzilla's creator) lot where they are sent to a sound stage only to find that they are the stars of a Japanese game show. The teams compete in a contest where the winner gets a 'prize' (so far a helicopter tour of Tokyo, and spa day) and the losers have to complete a task (work as rickshaw drivers, and work at a pachinko parlor). Then the losers have to pick 2 people from their team to compete in an elimination challenge. I'm really liking this one so far, and the locale shots of Japan are gorgeous in HD.