Review – Stormrise

Imagine you are fighting in a war. You are within a small group of soldiers but you control all of the soldiers on the battlefield. It is time to issue commands.

“Corporal Dunnan, do you see the soldiers over there?” you ask.

“The Infiltrators, behind the-” Dunnan starts.

“No, no, no. Not those infiltrators, the ones over there,” you point. Pointing is actually the only way you can issue commands, because your army is not very sophisticated, which is surprising since you are operating within a fancy mechanical robot body-thing.

“Oh,” Dunnan says, “the ones by the refinery.”

“Not in front of the refinery-”

“Oh kinda to the side of it,” he says.… Read the rest

Review – Flower

If you haven’t noticed…and you probably haven’t, I have not written much lately. Truth be told, there hasn’t been a lot in gaming that has inspired me in the past couple of weeks. That is, until tonight. Flower has been on the Playstation Store now for roughly six or seven hours and in that time, I can safely say this game has answered the video games as art argument with a resounding, YES!

This review is not going to be very long because the game is not very long and it is hard to do justice to it without letting you just play it and experience it for yourself.… Read the rest

Review – Prince of Persia

The games and film industries are currently obsessed with the concept of reboots. While this is not a new concept, traditionally reboots are greenlit for franchises that are fairly old, and only when the IP holder feels that it will remain commercially viable after a modern facelift. Certain entities in the gaming world have bucked this trend, prescribing reboots for series that are still currently popular, and have likely had at least one new entry in the last five or so years. From a theoretical standpoint, this makes sense. If you are choosing something to to reboot from a list of modern franchises, it is much easier to determine their viability when your audience still remembers them.… Read the rest

An ode to a fallen memory card

In a spontaneous fit of impatience and retardation, I recently reformatted my GameCube memory card. Tales of Symphonia, which I picked up after not having played in two years, insisted the card was corrupt and needed to be wiped clean first by the GameCube’s internal mechanism, then by being throw into a wall. Instead of thinking it through and realizing I’d just been playing Metroid Prime and it saved fine and fearing I’d lose my 30 hours of Symphonia-ing, I hit “Sure, erase all of my saved games, it’s not like I put any time or effort into them” then practiced my pitching for 15 minutes.… Read the rest

Counting the Game Industry’s Gold

Like most industries, the gaming industry is bound by the conventional economic wisdom that you must spend money to make money. Historically, that’s meant taking a loss on every game system sold (with the notable exception being most Nintendo consoles) in order to tap into selling game after game to console owners. This measure of success is known as the “attachment rate” or “tie ratio.” A somewhat (November 2008) dated Gamasutra chart shows that the Xbox was in the lead, with 6.6 games/system sold, followed by the Wii at 5.5 and the PS3 at 5.3.

This statistic has historically been a powerful metric for measuring market penetration and overall success for a console.… Read the rest

News We Care About Update

You don’t catch someone by running slower (than they are running)
Eurogamer is one of my favorite sites but they’ve hit on one of my many pet peeves – inaccurate sales language. In Japan, the PS3 has been doing a little bit better lately while Wii sales have been slowing down. Eurogamer describes this as Sony catching up to Nintendo.

The Wii is actually pulling away from the PS3 at a less dramatic pace but every week it outsells its competition, the Wii is indeed putting more distance between it and the PS3. In order for Sony to even begin to catch up, more PS3s need to be sold than Wiis.… Read the rest

The next gen consoles then and now – Revisited

I wrote this little ditty sometime last summer, analyzing all three consoles and how they had changed since launch. Since then the market has seen more major shifts, so I want to take yet another look at the Wii, 360 and PS3, and see what we might expect from them in 2009.

Microsoft
Then: I claimed before that Microsoft looked to be getting wishy washy, constantly tweaking the policies and features behind the 360, leaving early adopters in the cold and not focusing on the important issues that need fixing.

Now: Microsoft embarrassed my predictions through and through. The Red Rings of Death have waned, and whether or not it is a good thing, the community has mostly gotten used to dealing with them when they do occasionally pop up, much like we got used to replacing old PS2s.… Read the rest

Review – Resistance 2

Resistance 2 from Insomniac Games is the highly anticipated sequel to the fairly enjoyable Resistance: Fall of Man. Insomniac is one of Sony’s prize jewels, an exclusive PS3 developer who makes big hits on a tight time schedule. This time around however, (for the very first time in fact) I wasn’t pleased with their output. This game has its moments and is sure to be enjoyed by many, but I’ve played too many shooters to accept a second-rate product from a first-rate company, especially in the saturated season we fortunately find ourselves in.

Resistance 2 continues the story of Nathan Hale and an alien invasion that takes place on an alternate earth in our World War II era.… Read the rest

News We Care About Update 12.29.08

Nintendo to offer streaming videos, just not here
Nintendo is bizarrely slow to adopt some aspects of technology. Their latest console, the Wii (pronounced “Why”), has only cursory online abilities, and lacks both a practical storage device and the ability to function as a time machine.

As a curmudgeon who spouts things like, “Game systems should do nothing but play games” I was once on board with Nintendo’s seemingly similar stance. Their real position, which they have revealed at glacial speed, is game consoles should do a lot of things poorly and much, much later than other game consoles.

Whether this half-assed approach to new technology will be their ultimate undoing as Sony and Microsoft take over your living room in 2010, your wine cellar in 2015 and your apiary in 2020 is yet to be seen.… Read the rest

Review – Call of Duty: World at War

As expected, Activision has pimped the hell out of 2008’s yearly Call of Duty release, World at War. The savvier gamers out there have not been fooled, and have spent their energies trashing it before it even got a chance to prove itself. They know that WaW was developed not by series creator Infinity Ward, but by Treyarch, whose two game Call of Duty pedigree has been viewed as less than stellar.

I assert that this judgment was unfair. Big Red One was developed for last gen platforms, and managed to be very clever given its hardware limitations. As for CoD3, the snarky blog commenters betrayed their true lack of intelligence.… Read the rest