Review – Lunar Knights

Because Lunar Knights is such a solid little game, I had hoped the gameworld would be fleshed out; I hoped that I’d have enough new levels to allow me to upgrade all my weapons without returning to the same stages over and over. I wanted the many mechanics to continue to build on each other and each to be fully realized. Hell, while playing it I designed my own game (usually I charge to see my ace designs, but for the sake of this review I am willing to go hungry):

Multiple high quality CG movies in a DS game? Yes, please.

Imagine Zelda in one expertly designed dungeon that has many facets closed off at any given point. As you progress you gain control over the weather but cannot change it at will, you must decide on the climate before descending into the dungeon, so choose well. →  Read the rest

GT5: Prologue adds car damage, finally becomes a real driving simulator

Reported by Kotaku, Gran Turismo’s father, Kazunori Yamauchi, has stated that a few key features are being implemented into the teaser version of Gran Turismo 5, dubbed Prologue. Things like realistic car damage and a “Professional” physics option are getting added as per fan request, and all I can say is: holy shit, took you long enough!

The Gran Turismo series has always been labeled as the most realistic driving simulator ever created, but that doesn’t say much when you can ram your Sprinter Trueno into a wall head-on at 120 mph and see no damage.

Apparently Polyphony Digital has realized that cars, in fact, do not bounce off of walls, and has added damage to their physics model, much like what Forza Motorsport did on Msoft’s Xbox 360. Also included is the integration of this truly innovative feature in your opponent’s AI, which proves how un-simulator-like all GT’s have been up to this point. →  Read the rest

Late to the Table: Gran Turismo 4

I originally got this game when it had reached Greatest Hits status, but only just got into it now. And I have to say that this game is extremely robust. This game would easily be lumped into my “way too long” category in my “How Long Should Games Be?” article.

But one interesting feature that I came across was the Photo Mode. Polyphony gives you the ability to take pictures of your in-game garage and save them onto a USB Memory Stick. You can then take these virtual “snapshots” and print them out at your local camera shop.

Based on the settings you use when taking the photos, the pictures can look amazingly realistic. It then turns into somewhat of an RPG, where you try to take pictures of all the cars in the game. →  Read the rest

Review – Excite Truck

Excite Truck has a lot to live up to. First, it’s one of only three first-party titles to launch with the Wii, and you know that consumers were looking at Nintendo for a reason to give their crazy new gaming interface a chance. Second, with Monster 4×4 World Circuit and GT Pro failing to meet expectations, Excite Truck may be gamers’ only source for a good racing experience. Thankfully, Excite Truck is running on all cylinders, delivering an awesome, and somewhat complex, arcade racer.

Developed by Monster Games (which developed Infogrames’ NASCAR games), Excite Truck is an arcade racer that brings to the table a totally new way to drive your virtual vehicle, with help from the innovative Wii-mote.

Just how rugged is that rack?

Most of you are probably wondering about how the game handles, so I’ll get right to it. →  Read the rest

To Rumble or Not To Rumble?

After getting into a small discussion over at 10-hit Combo on the lack of a rumble in the PS3 controller, I started to wonder if rumble is really all that useful. Does having your controller vibrate at certain points in a game make the game better, or are we lying to ourselves, making it seem more interesting than it really is?

After much mental and spiritual discovery, I came to the realization that it probably depends on the game. For FPS’s, I really need a rumble. If I don’t feel the controller shake when I pull that trigger, I cannot connect emotionally with a game. The rumble for me is the closest thing I can get to actually “feeling” a game. I can attain a higher level of immersion in a game with a rumble feature than I could if it didn’t include it. →  Read the rest

The pros and cons of unlockable content

Congratualtions! You unlocked a new article. This one is on, you guessed it, unlockables and extras in games. They’ve been around for a while, but nowadays it seems that very few genres do not include some sort of rewards for the player to earn. Many gamers have respond kindly to this, so much so that a lack of bonus content may actually hurt a game in a review.

However, not everyone considers them rewards. There is a strong group of gamers who seem to greatly dislike unlockables, citing that a person who has spent hard earned money on a brand new game should have access to all its content without jumping through hoops. I’ve seen the debate rage on many times, but I’ve never been able to determine which side is right. →  Read the rest

The Propaganda Project: Phil Harrison

Phil Harrison — Executive Vice President, Sony Computer Entertainment

A Brit who comes off worse in writing than person.

(For an explanation of what this article is, please read this.)
Bitchy comments
“Nintendo knows its target audience, because it has really narrowed that down; and it’s pretty much defined by a boy or girl’s ability to admire Pokemon.”

“The idea of a handheld rivalry with Nintendo is an irrelevance, those formats don’t appear in our planning. It’s not a fair comparison; not fair on them, I should stress. That sounds arrogant, maybe, but it’s the truth.”

Something the PS2 was widely criticized for – and which Microsoft in particular has played up very much – is being extremely hard to develop for. How does PS3 compare in that respect? →  Read the rest

Review – ChoroQ

Developed by Atlus
Published by Takara
Released 11.14.04

Choro Race
Win this race to unlock secret driver Lindsey Lohan.

ChoroQ caught my attention because it claimed to be a racing RPG, a genre I didn’t know existed, much less one I had any experience with. I figured, even if all I got out of the ten bucks it cost was another obscure game for the collection and a few minutes of distraction, it would be a worthwhile purchase. Disclosure: my experience with pure racing games is limited to a ton of time spent with Gran Turismo 3 and a de minimus amount of time spent on a few other, minor titles (not counting the Mario Karts of course). Gran Turismo 3 was a great game, and this was apparent to a novice in the genre such as myself, because of the depth of the gameplay, and the level of customization.

 →  Read the rest