Moving Pictures

While the details are scarce, apparently Insomniac Games did some sort of “study” that came to an interesting conclusion about graphics fidelity.  Apparently, if gamers had to choose between great visuals with a choppy framerate, or smooth framerate and simpler visuals, they would choose the former.  Not only that, but they concluded that games that adopt the  former can even gain better review scores.  They go so far as to say that some study respondents claimed that better visuals made the game more fun to play. As a result, Insomniac will no longer strive for 60 frames per second in future releases, which used to be one of their top priorities.

Three thoughts come to mind.  First, I would love to see how they conducted this study (likely with focus groups).  →  Arc the Post: Twilight of the Spirits

Houston, Wii Have a Problem

When the Wii was first heralded as the “next big thing” in video games, I was watching from the sidelines (or possibly the frontlines) in Japan. I admit that like everyone else, I got caught up in the hype and wanted…nay…needed a Wii. That was a couple of years ago. Since then, I have decided a didn’t need a Wii and then ended up getting one for practically free off of Craigslist about five months ago. I haven’t played the damned thing in almost three months, confirming my suspicions that the Wii was not a console for me. However, this is not a blurb of why I dislike the Wii; it is an article explaining why I think the Wii was a bad idea for Nintendo.

At first glance, the Wii was a nifty concept. →  Oreshika: Tainted Postlines

Review – Wheelman

Wheelman is a straightforward looking Grand Theft Auto clone, made by a dying publisher and featuring the voice and likeness of Vin “I End Lives” Diesel. A recipe for failure if there ever was one, save for the fact that Diesel’s track record with the game industry has been stellar. After the two Chronicles of Riddick games, Wheelman becomes the third release blessed by his Tigon Studios label, and like the others, is better than you might expect.

The key thing to remember about Wheelman is that it isn’t aping the Grand Theft Auto series as a whole. Specifically, it bases itself on GTA 3. All the extra cruft that Rockstar would later add to their series is nowhere to be found here. You have driving, on foot action, and a couple of secrets to find. →  Readalations: Persona

Third party publishers as RPG archetypes

Imagine if you will some kind of strange alternate meta-world, where major third party games publishers form a rag-tag party and embark upon a quest to… make an awful lot of money? I suppose they’re going to steal some Dragon’s gold, that can be the story. Although in reality, in our universe, they’re just corporate entities raking in the cash for their shareholders and higher echelon types. But in this otherworld, they’re taking on a Dragon, and I think we can all get behind that.

Valve – The hero

Emerging from obscurity, our hero plots an unlikely meteoric rise to widespread acclaim and influence. It also emerges that he is the only one who can wield the arcane STEAM, a mystical source of great power which makes him all but unstoppable. →  [do not click]

Figuring out Brutal Legend

Brutal Legend is out this week, and already the praise and reviews are rolling in. That’s great, considering Tim Schafer’s Doublefine Studios has been around for ages with no apparent source of significant revenue, but I am not going to lie – I have no intention of playing it in 2009, and no idea when I might get to it in 2010. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what I am supposed to be getting excited for.

Is it because it is such an awesome parody of Metal? Between the works of Tenacious D, the show Metalocalypse, and even some of the jokes and jabs from Guitar Hero/Rock Band, I feel like this ground has been covered extensively in recent years. Hell, even Homestar Runner has taken a stab at it.  →  18 Wheeler American Pro Reader

Review – Another Code: R A Journey Into Lost Memories

Another Code:R A Journey Into Lost Memories (herein abbreviated to AC:RAJILM) is from the same developer behind the rather excellent Hotel Dusk. So I was somewhat excited when AC:RAJILM was announced for the Wii.

After an extensive playthrough, it seems that this excitement was altogether misplaced. This is not necessarily to say that the game is bad, or that this review will be negative, but just don’t expect to ever get excited in AC:RAJILM.

It seems that CING, when mixing up AC:RAJILM in the laboratory, accidentally got some of the quantities of the point ‘n’ click ingredients wrong. They have definitely made an adventure with pointing and clicking but some of the elements aren’t optimally balanced.

So, for example, a staple technique used in these kinds of games is to give players lots of things to investigate, the payoff for throroughness being hidden items, secret bonuses, hints or extra flavour. →  You had me at read more.

Quick Take – Persona

The PSP remake of Persona 1 is out and about, and as expected both Chris and I are playing it. Since Chris will most likely review it before I even finish (I have yet to finish an SMT game), I wanted to share some quick observations.

I knew that P1 would be different in many ways to its PS2 sequels, which were my first experiences with anything Megaten related. This didn’t really bother me; while I have few hardcore, 1st person dungeon based RPGs under my belt, I am at the point in my gaming life where I can cope with most foreign genre conventions without feeling confused or overwhelmed.

Sure enough, P1 is a bit confusing at first. There are many parameters involved in any given battle, and the game does little to hold your hand along the way. →  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Read

IGN Hits A New Low

IGN recently launched a new site called Music Hub. Great idea, music games are popular so why not make a site dedicated to them? Let’s see what games they cover: Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero World Tour, Guitar Hero 3, Guitar Hero 2, Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero Aerosmith, Guitar Hero Metallica, Guitar Hero Van Halen, GH Encore: Rocks the 80s, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, Guitar Hero On Tour, GH On Tour: Decades, GH On Tour: Modern Hits, Guitar Hero Mobile Games, DJ Hero, Band Hero, and… and… that seems to be it. That sure is a lot of games, the guys at IGN were very diligent in ensuring that every relevant game is included. Nothing seems to be missing that I can see, nope.

Yes, I’m joking. The “Music Hub” is a joke. →  Nobody puts article in a corner.

Review – Digital Devil Saga 2

I have heard it said that the second Digital Devil Saga was rushed. The four hour long final dungeon might be evidence of this, given that the whole game is still only about 25 hours long total. This makes DDS2 only a bit longer than the first one. While DDS2 maintains the solid Press combat system of the first game, in terms of scope and story, it is leaps and bounds more engrossing.

In Digital Devil Saga 1, the player would often find himself wondering what in the blazes could be going on. Each new answer brought with it two or three new questions, making for a veritable hydra of a storyline. While DDS was interesting enough on its own, DDS2 actually does answer all of these questions. It adds a few more at the end, but they are the usual questions one might expect of the genre – “What is the nature of mankind?”, →  Can you read me now?

Review – Muramasa: The Demon Blade

“An ancient pond. A frog jumps in. The splash of water. Hmm… Not a bad haiku.” -Old Man living in Sagami

Muramasa is like a haiku. It’s simple and concise. It comes from an ancient era where a direction pad and a button or two were all anyone needed to escape into virtual reality. Its three metric phrases are its combat, its art and music, and its role playing. Games like this are rare these days in the retail world, having been mostly contained into digital distribution and indie divisions. I don’t know how this one managed to make it onto store shelves, but I commend whoever was responsible.

Muramasa is set in mythological Japan, where mortal life rides upon the outcome of conflicts between the gods and demons, and human civilization sprawls across the countryside. →  The Read Star