Monday, November 21, 2011

The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword Unboxing

A gold Wii remote, a soundtrack CD and the biggest Wii release of the year. Too bad the shiny stuff screws with my camera.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dead Island-First Impressions

Well, I've had a couple of days to play Dead Island on the PS3. I'm not quite at the point where I can write a full review of the game, but here are a few notes from the first few hours I spent with the game. I should note that with my wireless router on the blink, I haven't had a chance to download any of the patches or try out the co-op yet.

So here we go:

-The opening party cinema is kinda odd. "Who do you voodoo, bitch"? Really?

-Each of the four characters have very elaborate backstories they narrate to us, but in game this never comes up. Hell, they don't even talk outside of a few canned phrases. File these backstories under "P" for "Pointless", I guess.

-For some reason I can loot some suitcases but not others... Weird.

-The people falling off the balcony could be a really effective moment... If my character reacted to it at all.

-First encounter with zombies. I try to run past them but hit an invisible wall and die. On my second attempt I notice the goal marker on the HUD changes to a completely different place once the zombies appear. I suddenly channel Kurt Russell in "The Thing" and mutter "Cheating bitch..." at the game.

-I chose to play as the half Aborigine Australian lady, yet characters refer to her as "he". I wonder if this is something that'll be patched.

-Apparently I'm immune to the T-Virus or whatever it is because of my... um... main character powers? Seriously, the NPCs tell me I'm immune and they have no idea why.

-First couple of quests are "Meh", but things start to pick up once you secure the lifeguard station. Likewise, you only start getting decent weapons at this point.

-I find a guy in a swimming pool full of blood babbling about how he had to kill his family members who turned into zombies. Very effective moment.

-Much like the suitcases, only certain doors can be opened or broken down.

-A radio message is playing from a plane that's going down. Oceanic Flight... Wait. Hey! Keep your damn "Lost" references to yourself, game!

-For a game this focused on melee combat, the melee weapons don't seem to have the kind of impact and flow you'd expect.

-Driving controls are odd. Acceleration and reverse are set to the R2 and L2 buttons. Still, moving down zombies in a truck is every bit as fun as it sounds.

-Noticed a few graphical hitches. Pop-up is frequent in grassy areas and dead enemies sometimes fall partway into walls and get stuck.

-I was tempted to laugh at the lady who asked me to go find her teddy bear ("If you tell him I sent you, he should come with you. He's such a brave teddy bear."), but then if I were barricaded in a house with crazed flesheaters banging on the door looking to chew on my pancreas, I'd be whimpering and looking for my teddy bear too. Another surprisingly effective moment.

-I find the teddy bear in a room with a woman muttering about blood and some guy who just sits there. When I get close, he suddenly goes nuts and stabs me to death. Hey! What did I ever do to you, asshole? I respawn and then kick the stupid bastard in the face until he stops moving. No one gets between me and my teddy bear!

-I hate to be nitpicky, but does time pass at all on this island? I've been playing for hours and it still bright daylight.

-Kicking is strangely the easiest way to kill enemies. I've lost count of how many zombies I've killed just by curbstomping them into mush.

-Another nitpicky thought: Why does it cost money to repair and upgrade weapons? I'm the one fixing them at a workbench. Where is the money going?

-I may have stumbled onto a serious glitch. I need to talk to a guy named James (I think) at the top of the lighthouse to finish a quest. I've talked to him, finished a couple of quests for him and now I can't talk to him anymore. Yet I still haven't "talked to him" to complete the quest I was on. I hope I don't have to restart the whole damn game.

So far, Dead Island is a good, but not great game. It still feels stuck in the shadows of games like Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead. It's worth a look, but it's not quite what we were promised.

Until next time, keep your machetes in good repair and may all your teddy bears be brave!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts on Operation Rainfall, Plus Unboxing Catherine

From the Desk of the

There's something I've been meaning to blog about for a while now, and I've been putting it off. Largely, this is because I've been trying to work out reviews for games, particularly Alice: Madness Returns, but another major factor is that it involves something I really didn't want to face up to and it involves Operation Rainfall.

If you haven't heard about it, Operation Rainfall (aka Project Rainfall) is a petition to Nintendo of America by fans who want three major Wii releases, namely Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower, released here in North America. Nintendo of America responded to the petition by thanking everyone for their enthusiasm and told them "No". Already this sounds familiar to me. I was reminded of when Fatal Frame 4 was promised to us only to be yanked away. (Since then, we've been told about a port of Fatal Frame 2 for them Wii which will be released in North America, but I'll believe that when I see it.)

However, in the case of Operation Rainfall, this makes even less sense then Fatal Frame 4 betting buried. 2011 hasn't exactly been a great year for Nintendo. The 3DS hasn't exactly set the world on fire and the WiiU hasn't exactly gotten the kind of hype they would have wanted, but the real kicker is that the Wii's software lineup has been almost non-existant. I've been a pretty staunch defender of the Wii, but I have to admit I've spent more time with my PS3 and, hell, even the PS2 then I have with the Wii this year. What was the last big release...? Mario Sports Mix? I can't even remember. The only thing Nintendo fans have to look forward to between now and the WiiU's launch is Zelda: Skyward Sword, assuming Nintendo doesn't push that game back in order to release a WiiU version at the same time like they did with Twilight Princess.

I guess the strangest thing about all this is the fact that Nintendo of America seems to be acting deliberately dense on this one. One claim they had was that sales were unlikely to be high enough to justify a North American release. Yeah, except that games like No More Heroes and Muramasa: The Demon Blade sold way better here then in Japan or Europe and for the record, Nintendo of Europe has picked up Xenoblade.

Yes, that's right. Europe, usually the smallest seller, is getting Xenoblade. So at least one of the three Rainfall releases is getting an English localization and it's not coming to North America... why?

I dunno. I sit here looking at the big box my copy of Catherine came in and I'm reminded of the fact that it's already sold more then what Atlus projected. Does Nintendo really hink there's such a small market for import games? Well, truthfully, I'm not surprised by this, not after Fatal Frame 4, anyway. The end result is that I feel more apathy and bitterness then rage or disappointment over this development and in a way that's actually worse. Sure, I signed the petition, but I'm not exactly getting my hopes up. I've basically resigned myself to the fact that the Wii is just going to coast along on the same good will that Nintendo is hoping will convince me to buy a WiiU at launch.

And I've never wanted to think that about any console.

Oh, and speaking of Catherine, if you were wondering about all those wacky extras in the Love Is Over edition, check out my unboxing video below: