Monday, 30 June 2008

Diablo III

Wow! Look at this!

I never got into Diablo and never tried Diablo II so was a bit "Meh..." when this was announced, but just checked out the site and the gameplay footage and this looks totally awesome! Will be keeping an eye on this and in particular the system requirements to see if my rapidly aging PC can be given a cheap upgrade to enable it to run this...

In the mean time I might see if I can pick up a cheap copy of Diablo II!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Mega Man 9

Interesting article at Infendo about the upcoming Megan Man 9 for Wii. It's going to be a Wii Ware release and is going to be using 8-bit style (think NES) graphics.

Now I'm not totally sold on the idea, but am certainly very intrigued!

Having said that, I have to admit to not being a life-long Mega Man fan, I only own Mega Man Powered Up (PSP) and have dabbled with the Battle Network games in the past, so I will adopt a wait-and-see stance.

Only 5 more games in 2008?

While skimming through the list of upcoming games in the latest issue of 360gamer over breakfast this morning, I commented to Player Boy that there was nothing that really jumped out at me. Oh sure, plenty of titles I recognised but none that screamed "BUY ME!!". Notable exceptions were Lego Batman and Star Wars The Force Unleashed, but as I've already pre-ordered those (albeit the Wii versions) I ignored those anyway.

So later in the day I started wondering just how many more new games I will buy this year. I decided to see if I could come up with a list of just FIVE games to buy between now and 01/01/09. Here they are, in no particular order...

1) Lego Batman (Wii)
2) Star Wars The Force Unleashed (Wii)
3) LittleBigPlanet (PS3)
4) FIFA 09 (360)
5) Ghostbusters (Wii or 360)

Of course there are still plenty of titles floating around that I want to pick up, but I will have to either request those as presents or fund them through trading in other games. Off the top of my head I can think of the following five titles already on the shelves that I'd like to pick up:

1) Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
2) Mario Kart (Wii)
3) Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (Wii)
4) Grand Theft Auto IV (360)
5) Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit (360)

Hmmm... looks like I will have to start getting ruthless when selecting my titles to trade!!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Super Smash Bros BRAWL!

Picked up Super Smash Bros BRAWL for the Wii today at Toys R Us. I was originally planning to trade in a couple of other Wii games to pay for this, but TRU had it at the bargain-tastic price of £28.72, so I decided to save the trade-ins for another time.

I'm aware that the price breaks the £25 limit I talked about recently, but like Super Mario Galaxy, it's not far over the limit and it's such a bargain anyway that it had to be done!

Yesterday, Alone In The Dark arrived for my 360. I was really excited about this game, but reviews have been decidedly mixed and have knocked my enthusiasm somewhat. I got the game as a freebie with a magazine subscription, so I thought it would be a bargain, but it has arrived with a big "PROMOTIONAL COPY NOT FOR RESALE" across the front and with no manual. BAH!

I also recently received Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence for my PS2, but that is definitely on hold until after I complete MGS1 and MGS2!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Little Big Planet

If someone told me I could only buy one more game this year, I am 99% certain that one game would be Little Big Planet. Check it out:

I am SO excited about this game and it's potential. So much so that I do not own a single other game for my PS3 (I bought it to use solely as a Blu-ray player) and yet I own 4 sixaxis controllers, purely so the whole Player Family can join in with this game!

Currently slated to arrive in October 2008, I really hope it doesn't slip to any later in the year...

Sunday morning Halo!

It's become something of a tradition lately that Player Boy and I will get up before Player Girl and Player Mum and head up to the study to play. More often than not at the moment we are working our way through the original Halo on my 360 in co-op mode.

We're making fairly steady progress, but more importantly we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Wading into battle against a bunch of Flood, knowing that my son is alongside me firing away too puts a smile on my face every time!

After we're done with Halo we're going to plough through Halo 2 and then finally Halo 3. I suspect we will probably spend a fair amount of time messing around with the movie functions in Halo 3, we're both really looking forward to that!

I've also played a bit of Dead Rising but it's looking more and more likely that it will be traded or sold soon. I love the concept and everything, but the execution leaves me a bit cold at the moment. Maybe I will try and get into it a bit more...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

UEFA EURO 2008, best football game ever?

Now I've been playing video game football for as long as I can remember, all the way back to International Soccer on a cartridge on my Commodore 64. I couldn't begin to list all the footie games I've played (well, I probably could, but it's getting late) over the years, but suffice to say there have been a lot.

But I think possibly the best one ever is EA's most recent effort, UEFA EURO 2008. And the single thing that makes it so good is the Captain Your Country mode.

Player Two came over last night and we got straight back into our latest run through in this mode. We did it once as England, going all the way and winning the tournament. I was made captain after the first few games and held it all the way (barring a couple of matches missed through suspension) to the quarter final. Player Two's performance in that match eclipsed me and suddenly the arm-band was ripped away from me and handed to him. Somewhat upset I vowed to win it back and put in a storming man-of-the-match performance but unfortunately the manager (the long-departed Steve Maclaren in this title) did not agree and Player Two retained the captaincy. Not the worst decision he (Maclaren) has ever made, but I overcame my disappointment to put in a match winning performance in the final and bring home the trophy, picking up the Golden Boot en route.

The second run through we upped the skill setting and came unstuck in the group stages after qualifying fairly easily. I take the blame, I picked up a yellow card in the last qualification game and was suspended for the first group game. Player Two just wasn't good enough without me and England slumped to defeat. A draw in the second match and further defeat in the last group game (after some confusion with me believing I was again suspended) and we were on the way home.

Starting afresh we decided to go with a new team and selected the minnows from the Faroe Islands. Performances have been fairly good, considering the squad available, but the arm-band has been passed around a lot more than it was with England. Last night we clinched qualification and squeaked through the group stage by beating Turkey, drawing with France and losing to Switzerland. Next up is a quarter final against our old team, England...

What makes this mode so fantastic is the way you are co-operating AND competing at the same time. You want to be the captain, you want the man of the match award, but at the same time you want your team to win. So dilemmas abound, do you go for goal knowing that you have a 50/50 chance of scoring at best, or set up another player for an easy finish, with the knowledge that the goal will push their match rating up, possibly securing them man-of-the-match status and the coveted arm-band?

Fantastic game.

Oh, for the record, I was a Sensible Soccer man. Hated Kick Off. Hated it!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Now THAT was frustrating!

Got past Revolver Ocelot tonight in Metal Gear Solid and watched the lengthy (but interesting) cut scene that followed. Revolver was a real pain and it took me quite a few attempts to get past him. There is probably some knack to it that makes it really easy to finish him off, but damned if I know what it is!

Still, enjoying the game and the story so far...

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Father's Day!

Father's Day today so I got a few presents from the kids and my wonderful wife. These included Devil May Cry 4 for the 360. Loved the demo of this but may hold off on starting it for a little while as I am already deep into Metal Gear Solid on the Cube and have been tackling Black on the 360.

(Speaking of which, I am enjoying Metal Gear Solid so far. Not much progress to be honest though!)

I have the first Devil May Cry on PS2 but haven't played much of it. Not sure whether I will get the other 2 games or not. I like having the complete series of some games, but once I have tackled all the MGS titles I still have the Halo trilogy to play through as well as all the Resident Evil games on Cube/Wii, not to mention the Splinter Cell titles (mix of PC, Cube and 360), so I can't see when I would get to play them all, if ever!!

Another title sold on Amazon means the collection is thinning about a tiny bit more...

Thursday, 12 June 2008

I'm going to play... Metal Gear Solid

So while many PS3 owners everywhere are tearing shrink wrapping off shiny new copies of Metal Gear Solid 4, I'm going right back to the first one and intend to play it through, watching every cut scene and taking in the full story... for the first time.

You see, I've never played Metal Gear Solid.

Okay, so I will admit to dabbling in it. I seem to recall playing a demo for the Playstation, but I never bought the game. I did buy the PC version when it was released and I still have it now. I've recently installed it on my laptop, in fact! But despite having it for nearly 8 years I don't think I've ever played much past the first half hour or so.

I've got Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance (PS2) waiting next and I am going to track down a copy of Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence too. But first Metal Gear Solid.

Or rather, Metal Gear Solid - The Twin Snakes.

Yes, my weapon of choice is the GameCube version, developed by Silicon Knights as a sort of joint project between Konami and Nintendo. Some purists would probably insist that I should go back to the original Playstation version, but unfortunately I don't have a copy. I can't be doing with configuring controllers and all sorts for the PC version and besides, why bother when the GameCube version features superior graphics and a few new features?

So far I have only played up to the death of the DARPA chief, I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The £25 game challenge

This was something that was posted over at rllmukforum in November last year. The basic premise is that you should not pay over £25 for any game you buy. It's something I agreed heartily with then and have done my very best to stick by since.

Now I buy a lot of my games pre-owned so you could argue that I am bending the rules there, but I don't agree. There really is NO reason to spend more than £25 on a game.

Take GTA4 as an example. It was released 29th April this year, so barely six weeks ago as I type this. Already I've seen several copies of this on offer at various forums for the sub £25 mark. On release I think the cheapest price on the shelf for this was £37, with many people happy to pay more just to have it on the day. Madness, I say!

I do make the odd exception. Just days after pledging to stick to the £25 limit I caved and bought Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) but that was on offer at Toys R Us for a shade over £26. As it was only just over the limit and a brand new game (not to mention one of the highest rated titles released so far for the Wii) I felt justified.

More recently I paid £28.49 for Lego Indiana Jones (Wii) to get it on launch day, mainly because the kids were desperate to play it! But a quick scan through my 360 games reveals that the only one I've paid more than £25 for is Halo 3 (£30) and I bought that in November last year. (Although this is also an excellent example of the point I am trying to make - Halo 3 is still sealed over six months later as I've not played through Halo and Halo 2 yet. I could now pick it up pre-owned at half that price and probably could have sourced a brand new copy for around £20 at some point in the last six months!)

Since then I've added Virtua Fighter 5 (£18 - 2 months after release), The Club (£20 - on release day) and Devil May Cry 4 (£25 - around six weeks after release) all of which were brand new 360 titles.

On the Wii I've recently picked up brand new copies of Geometry Wars Galaxies for £10, Speed Racer for £18 and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for £24.

Pay £40 or £50 for a new game on release day? I don't think so...

In other news, another game has sold on Amazon. Two down, two to go!

Let the cull begin!

After yesterday's reflections on my current list of unplayed/barely played games I have instituted a bit of a cull. Four games went up for sale at Amazon last night, with one already being sold. I managed to convince the kids that we should trade in Sonic and the Secret Rings and Mario & Sonic at the Olympics to get Super Smash Bros Brawl later this month.

More games will likely be sold in the coming months (or going into the trade-in pile) but the problem is that some of them are worth so little I might as well keep them. For instance, The Club (360) seems to be fetching prices of under £10 on ebay and amazon. Virtua Fighter 5 (360) doesn't fare much better, likewise Project Sylpheed (360).

I suppose that will teach me for buying too many games!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

More cool stuff at Gaming Verdict!

Okay, I'll admit it, I've never (to the best of my knowledge) visited Gaming Verdict before today. A link to the RTS article over that someone posted at rllmukforum caught my eye enough for me to put it in here, but after having a little poke around the site I've found there's a lot more worth looking at than just that one article.

For example, yesterday I traded in a bunch of pap at CEX and among the new things I picked up was a copy of Black for XBox. It is, of course, compatible with the XBox360 and had been on my wanted list for a while. I tried it for the first time tonight and thought it was fantastic! So what do I find over at Gaming Verdict? An article singing the praises of Black!

I'm off to see what else I can find there...

History of the RTS

An interesting article over at Gaming Verdict.

Favourite games, by Player Boy and Player Girl

I asked Player Boy (aged 6) and Player Girl (aged 5) what their top 5 games are, the results are:

Player Boy
Lego Indiana Jones (Wii)
Lego Star Wars (Cube/360 - we have 1 & 2 on the Cube and The Complete Saga on 360)
Wii Sports (Wii)
Pokemon Colosseum (Cube)
Speed Racer (Wii)

Player Girl
Super Smash Bros Melee (Cube)
Wii Sports (Wii)
Pokemon Colosseum (Cube)
Mario Power Tennis (Cube)
Lego Indiana Jones (Wii)

Hmmm... Not a lot of love for the aging PS2 on those lists. I'm surprised Player Boy didn't opt for more 360 titles, we've had a lot of fun playing Eragon, Earth Defence Force 2017 and Halo.

Do I actually need any more games?

I try my best to keep up with upcoming games. I subscribe to the Official Nintendo Magazine and always pick up 360Gamer magazine from a newsagent. I am often on forums where games are discussed (e.g. rllmukforum) or reading articles on GameSpot.

So with all that information coming in I am always looking ahead to what games are due out. My current list of games I want that are yet to be released looks something like this:

Lego Batman (Wii)
Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii)
Star Wars The Force Unleashed (Wii or 360, not decided yet!)
Ghostbusters (again, Wii or 360)
Tom Clancy's End War (360)
Halo Wars (360)
Aliens - Colonial Marines (360)
Tom Clancy's HAWX (360)
Tiberium (360)
Gears Of War 2 (360)
Little Big Planet (PS3)
FIFA 09 (360)
Left 4 Dead (360)

Now it's by no means certain that I will buy all these games. Some may end up being quite poor or I may end up purchasing another title that means I don't need the one on this list (I'm thinking specifically of Ace Combat 6 rather than HAWX here). But the point is that there are over 10 games on this list without even thinking about DS or PSP or PC titles.

However, when I look at my shelves, I can see a number of games I have barely played and some are still sealed! For instance:

Blue Dragon (360)
The Club (360 - sealed!)
Dead Rising (360)
Gears Of War (360)
Halo 3 (360 - sealed!)
The Outfit (360)
Perfect Dark Zero (360)
Project Sylpheed (360)
Splinter Cell Double Agent (360)
Tiger Woods 2007 (360)
Virtua Fighter 5 (360 - sealed!)
Geometry Wars (Wii - sealed!)
Metal Slug Anthology (Wii)
Red Steel (Wii)
Resident Evil 4 (Wii)
Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)

Now there is a good reason I haven't played some of these much, for example I haven't started Halo 3 yet as me and Player Boy are still working our way through Halo 1. I know we'll get to it in due course.

However others, especially some of those still sealed, are nagging at my mind. Should I sell these on? Am I ever going to get around to playing them? Especially with the prospect of another 10+ titles being purchased in the next six months?!

And the scary thing is, these are only the 360/Wii games. I have a whole bunch of Cube, PS2 and XBox titles that have received just as little attention...

Monday, 9 June 2008

It's going back to the shop!!

Picture the scene... Player Dad is checking e-mail and looking up a couple of items on eBay (Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance and Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence... yeah, the MGS4 previews have given me the bug!) whilst the kids sit alongside Player Dad playing Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii.

Player Boy is six and loves video games and Yu-Gi-Oh. Player Girl is five and loves princesses and dresses. Consequently, due to their age differences and different interests they don't always see eye to eye. They are also not at a comparable level when it comes to playing video games, with Player Boy streets ahead in terms of ability.

They are tackling a tricky puzzle in one of the early Temple of Doom levels and Player Boy is giving directions to Player Girl. He's becoming increasingly frustrated and his voice is getting higher and louder as he does so. Player Girl isn't helping matters, I am fairly sure she could do better than she was, but she seems to treat the whole thing as... well, a game I suppose! It all reaches a climax with Player Boy announcing that he's not going to play if she won't do it properly, he promptly pulls up the menu and drops out of the game, leaving Player Girl wailing for help.

"RIGHT!!" I'd had enough of the bickering. I cancelled a cheap pre-order (Amazon) for Lego Indy for my 360 and ordered the more expensive Wii version (Play) specifically so Player Girl and Player Boy could play it together and enjoy it, seeing as the 360 is off limits to them both. "I stabbed the eject button and pulled out the disc, stuffing it into the case.

"It's going back to the shop tomorrow, I've had enough of you two, if you can't play it together without fighting there is no point in having it!"

This lead to 15 minutes of non-stop wailing by Player Girl (she has an impressive set of lungs!) and a walk out by Player Boy. After those 15 minutes had elapsed I got the two of them together and said I wouldn't take the game back if they could show me that they could play nicely together.

They went back to the Wii and opted not to continue with Lego Indy but instead to play a little Wii Sports and then some Super Smash Bros Melee on the Cube. They did it very nicely and all was right with the world.

Oh, and I won an auction for Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance. Yay!