Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Where the world went AWOL

I understand that this may seem a strange title for a blog on a games page but stay with me on this. For anyone that regularly reads this page you will be well aware of the Faux Bots’ "sheer piss pants excitement" at Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. Now I’m not going to try to rival that excitement or reciprocate what was said, but I feel I must make a comment that contradicts nearly every review of this game. No it’s not going to be that it is an amazing game, it is flawed heavily but still enjoyable, it will be that the lack of online co-op is not a bad thing.

I realise with that comment alone I have lost a lot of people, but here is my argument; when was the last time you sat down with a friend (or friends if you’re lucky enough to have more than one) to conquer a game side by side, or alternatively beat the living crap out of them for shits and giggles. My thoughts on this started when I was forced to complete Gears of War co-op in split screen due to my live not working (more because of my pig headed nature than a fault by anyone else). This was possibly my favourite experience of a co-op game, not because of the satisfaction of beating RAAM but because of the sheer manic nature of trying to spot any enemy from my tiny section of the screen, and a much more successful development of strategy with you brother in arms.



It’s a fair point to make that this may not be everyone’s preference, and ideally if I wasn’t forced to complete it in that way I doubt I would have initially chosen to do so, but by some force of nature I believe I had a more enjoyable experience playing it in this manner.

I know what you’re all thinking; "wow this one decent experience has been enough to scramble this poor lads brain" or "boy was he drunk or something" (that is quite possible), but I say hold up, I’m far from finished, so go put the kettle on and then come back to witness the coup de grace if you will.

This does deviate from the whole Kane and Lynch experience a bit but it is as valid as any other argument. Sports games! I hear some moans from the back row but this is a true behemoth in this discussion.

Now I realise that not everybody enjoys sports games, we get the whole it’s the same every year argument, but they are bigger than huge developments, they are the true buddy game. I’ve been playing these beasts for as long as I can remember, all the way back to Italia ’90, FIFA International and EA Hockey. That’s a long time ago! I can say with great certainty that there have been huge developments in graphics and game play but they have remained constant with one aspect…Multiplayer. The whole idea of these games is not really for a one man war on the newest AI, but a determination to prove that you are the best out of your mates. I mean who cares if you can beat Brazil on hard on Pro-Evo, it’s about what real people you can beat. Flesh and bones, occasionally with a brain cell; able to make a tactical change for a reason.

I know we now have the option of playing these matches online but what satisfaction do you get when you can’t see your opponents head sink when you pull off that flashy new move you’ve been working on for the last week. Sat side by side with a beer going warm, face construed with concentration, gloating at the prospect of the destruction about to take place or the rushing through the replays of the opponents’ goal/ touchdown/ homerun etc, while they can feel that sense of satisfaction in knowing that they have truly pissed you off.

There is one game that stands out as the greatest 1-on-1 game, and I know I’ll get berated for this but it has to go to the Madden series. That sheer enjoyment of watching your fourth quarter touchdown drive, watching the horror as you intercept a pass or force a fumble, and the overwhelming sense that you made the world better when you injure your opposing quarterback. No other game comes close to this for pure unforgivable bragging rights. You may beat me at Pro-Evo but it’s the gridiron that matters most.

So I say that the co-op mode of Kane and Lynch is not a recession but progression and I for one am now off to find a friend for the day to finish this game, then possibly beat them on Madden ‘08. So leave your house and go join a friend and help battle against the most vile and destructive creature known to man, you friends ego. There are so many games out that would allow you to try this strange new futuristic idea, and I urge you to take this opportunity to rekindle that forgotten art of split screen mayhem. Relive those days of Street Fighter and Streets of Rage, FIFA and Worms. Sit down with some banter and remember that we are not alone.

Token Gestures

Barry Burton Speaks...

We here at Split-Screen, being a well-respected videogames blog, are often privy to special insights and behind-the-scenes info. For years we have formed relationships with some of the industry's key figures. Shigeru Miyamoto, for instance, decided that we should sign off our articles by putting our usernames in italics. True story. But today, I am proud to present you with the intimate thoughts of the one and only Barry Burton. Many of you will remember Barry as the guy with a beard from Resident Evil, but I ask you, forget his traitorous ways, for he was lead astray, and please accept him as he tries to break into the world of blogging. Over to you Barry.

Let me say this first and foremost, I wish to make it clear that it was all Wesker's fault, I was a mere pawn.
On with business. For years I have longed for the opportunity to speak my mind and shed light upon what it means to be a secondary character in a computer game. Even though I remain a fan favourite, those fuckers at Capcom refuse to put me in another Resident Evil game. I have wandered for years, as a confused shell of a man. I used to find myself signing autographs for kids, having girls ask to look at my Colt Python, I thought that the high would never end, I was convinced that I might even get my own spin-off game. But the years continue to pass, and the phone never rings. Why Capcom? What did I do that was so wrong? I delivered each and every line with fluidity and poise, I had a beard and a cool gun, but those were never enough for you.

You gave two games to Leon and Jill. Chris gets his second next year. I don't even get an invite.
I now spend my days thinking up new and interesting ways that I could be included in upcoming games. For example; Assassin's Creed - I could be one of the guys with a beard. I don't mind getting killed even. Mass Effect - I could be this really badass bounty hunter who you meet on your travels. I stand out because of my beard and archaic but reliable Colt Python. Obviously, I never made it into either of those games, but there are some guys with beards, and I think the game designers may be making slight nods to me. Thanks for that guys, but try not to use my likeness without paying royalties in the future, ok? I'm flattered, but business is business.

But, I digress. It is not my intention to use this post as some sort of desperate cry for help, or to even fill you in on the details of the downward turn that my life has taken since everybody completed Resident Evil. Secondary characters deserve more love and respect, and it is my passion, nay, my calling, to seek out those rewards. From here on in, I will be a guest writer for Split-Screen and in the next couple of days, I will present to you my top 5 secondary characters, in the hope that the many pig-headed, fame-obsessed developers out there (Capcom) will see that just because you spend all your time with one good looking, floppy haired heroic protagonist, doesn't mean that he is necessarily the best.

More soon.

All my love.


Barry. x x x x

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Token Gestures' Top Work Time Wasters

Top work time wasters:

Now I was trying to think of some creative title for this blog but I realised that, considering the content of the post that a witty title would seem inappropriate. You see I have the misfortune of juggling a full time job with my gaming time, also a fair amount of my time devoted to “socialising”, or more accurately drinking. So as the title has made clear I will compile a list of “games” (I use the term loosely) that can be played in work to get you through those long hours that deny you access to your beloved console of choosing (stick with the 360). I will point out that this list is in no particular order, so with that let us begin:

1) Line rider (www.linerider.com)- now this is an institution in its own right. If you haven’t tried it I urge you to do so. So simple yet so compelling, the idea of the game is to draw lines that your little sledging dude can ride along, there is no beginning or end just a blank canvass for you to be as creative as you like. Now I wish that I could claim to be artistic and patient enough to compile a work of art on there, but I am still struggling to get the stupid dude to jump without falling off. However, if you want a taste of what is possible then just check out Youtube, type in Line Rider and watch the fun that can be created. This could potentially consume hours of your life so check over your shoulder to make sure you are not caught.

2) Stick Baseball (www.stickbaseball.com)- what can possibly be said to justify this to you, well it’s a baseball game played by stick men, a simple concept, but it is worth noting it is not a comprehensive game with only batting available. I will point out it’s not as crude as you may think, some animations have now been added, from pointing to where the batter is planning on hitting the ball (although it never seems to go there) in that traditional Babe Ruth fashion, to that lovely sporting scene of the athletes coughing their guts up all over home plate. With a variety of addictive game modes to choose from this has all the potential to eat up an entire day. Happy slugging.

3) Bike mania (www.flashgames247.com/play/675.html) –this is not the only game in this genre there is also Bike Mania 2 and 3 as well as Dirt Bike 1 and 3 (don’t bother with 2). Just search Google and you should have access to them all. These could possibly the most frustrating yet spellbinding flash games around. Just guide your rider over terrain in the fastest possible time using the arrow keys; sounds simple is simple, except for the occasional/ frequent falls. Another great way to waste an hour or two.

4) Online Poker- well I know its not really a game as such but if things get really desperate and those hours won’t pass by themselves there is always gambling, nothing says “I’m free to do what I want” like gambling, although take it easy, I know people that have lost a lot when venturing into this shady territory and if you do find yourself down, give up (believe me it’s for the best). Potentially damaging but worth a tipple.

5) Fantasy sports games- from dream teams to fantasy football to hockey pools (my own favourite and most successful) no other stats based activity is more fun, with the possible exception of Football Manager. How easy it is to toil away hours looking for that perfect cheap and easy filler that can prove the bargain buy. We all know the big names but how well do we know the little guys. Everybody claims to be experts and the next big thing; the, “you’ll know him in a few years” player from the bottom of the league club. So I say to you “Put your money and your faith where your mouth is” have a go and see where it gets you. I could spend days and thousands of words describing the joy and anguish that this simple concept can bring but you really need to venture into it yourself to find the true elation of seeing your star player haul you up the rankings, or the utter despair when somebody’s next big thing screws you over. Give it a go before you mock and before you know it the day will be over and you’re on your way home still thinking how things could be improved.

6) When all seems to be said and done you can always go back to the default games on you computer. Who hasn’t spent hours searching for mines or trying to get rid of all your cards: These simple games can prove to be the best time fillers of all. There is little else that can be added that you don’t already know so I’ll keep this one brief and say that this is for the true perfectionist in the time waster art.

Now I know this is not a comprehensive list and there are a lot of flash games out there but this truly gives a view to the possibilities. I also appreciate that some of you don’t work meaning this is completely pointless but I assure you these can be pretty fun to play in the house too, it just won’t have that element of danger that goes with the thought that your boss could catch you. We all love a little danger and this is about as much danger you can get in an office that isn’t on the 20th floor.

One final point, I have realised that me writing this while in work is also a good way to waste a lot of time and I’m sure by my final edit I could possibly have taken up the best part of a day or two. This leads me to add that this too is a great way to fill some time. Communicate, in today’s world of predictive text and abbreviation, the art of good communication is dwindling and the only way back is to fight against this free and easy method. It’s a lot more satisfying writing this article than sending or receiving texts that are written in such a way that you need to know how to break the Enigma code to understand them. (That’s my little rant over)

Gd 2 rite dis. Hope U Njoy. Peace Out.

Token Gestures



Tuesday, 11 December 2007

PS3 gets harder to hate.

I want to hate Sony, I really do. For the shitty way they treat their customers, the stupid mistakes they make, constantly slagging off the superior competition and their focus upon power over fun. If there is one thing saving this console from a shit-filled quagmire of mediocrity and sequels, then it is Media Molecule's upcoming Littlebigplanet. Yes, it's all one word.





Everything about this game oozes character and individuality. From the delightful little pop-up menus, to the comedy theatre set dressings. If Sony pushed this a little harder, along with a substantial portion of their users getting off their high horses and quitting on simply defending their, frankly retarded at this stage, £350 investment, then we may actually see some genuine progression for Sony's big chunk of ugly. Get Home sorted out, get Littlebigplanet released, re include backwards compatibility, and start trying to forge a personality for this machine. GAWD!

The Faux-Bot

Monday, 10 December 2007

Killzone 2: The gaming equivalent of some broad in a magazine, who is like, well ugly, but when you put her through photoshop, you actually would

The developers of Killzone 2 have admitted to 'touching up' the most recent screenshots released for the release date-pending FPS. Ever since that bullshit pre-rendered video that sparked multiple flamewars all across the internets, Guerilla have a had a duty to produce the goods when it comes to their potential PS3-saviour. Sadly, it seems they were blowing smoke up our collective arse yet again, when these latest shots turned out to be doctored too.

As if we weren't going to notice when it came out! Come on, if you want to pull the wool over our eyes, try at least a little harder. More here: http://kotaku.com/gaming/killzone-2/guerilla-confirms-killzone-2-screens-were-touched-up-331733.php

The Faux-Bot

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Lonely writer looking for witty headline; must have GSOH


Look! A wireless nunchuk!

I have to admit, I've never been one to be seduced by peripherals, let alone third party ones. They always felt just a little...cheap. Also, I had the coolest pad for my SNES back in the day. It was clear plastic with neon buttons. Back then it was totally 'rad'. Sadly, some intrepid 2nd hand store shopper somewhere in Newport now owns it. I curse being so money-hungry as a child and the fact that my parents let me sell it as some sort of harsh introduction to the 'real world'. The fuckers. Anyway......

I can get one board with this third part accessory. It doesn't top the SNES pad, but after a week of getting slapped in the face by the nunchuk cable, after climbing to the highest levels of Wii Sports boxing, I for one welcome this. I nicked the picture off IGN. Other, more credible blogs didn't bother to remove their logo, so neither will I. God, sometimes I'm so nihilistic and dangerous that I turn myself on.......


The Faux-Bot

Friday, 7 December 2007

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Mind Bullets.

Inspired by Bojack's return to the fray, I have decided to once again add my two penneth. After playing COD4 now for almost two weeks I have become increasingly disturbed to discover the appearance of the grenade warning icon on the inside of my eyelids when I close my eyes... Not content with the idea that its simply my brain rebelling I have decided my eyes have developed something akin to screen burn. Worrying, yes?
Figuring I would find respite in one of my other games, something a little easier on the reflexes perhaps, I discover that PES6 aside I have nothing in my small collection of games but shooters. The further thought occurs that the best games I have been lent this year- Bioshock & Crackdown to name but two, have also all been shooters. Inadvertently it would appear I have become 'therightbullets - warmonger' through no intention of my own.

With Kane & Lynch on my Christmas horizon it seems I am doomed to forever fight my one man war, but woah there Silver! I have the power to choose another path. I'm off to seek my very own second hand copy of Viva Pinata and sign up for an amazon notification regarding Beautiful Katamari- in case it ever reaches these shores, and I hope it does.

Goodbye mind bullets, hello kaleidoscopic seizures.


-therightbullets

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

But...XBOX LIVE users....you're usually so intelligent....

I fucking hate this bitter, cruel world. The kind of fucking stinking shithole of a planet where the hatred of other fuels my own. Like most leisure pursuits, gaming is dominated by entry-level fucktards who have little else to contribute to society. Seeing as I consider Halo 3 to be the sort of ITV/The Sun/Fox Network of gaming, a large concentration of said fucktards can be found in the piss-filled depths of rumble pit and the like. This video pretty much confirms why anybody would consider gaming to be a bad influence. I mean, I would execute my children if they turned out like this....




The Faux Bot

Sunday, 18 November 2007

The easiest 1000 Achievement points ever?



Achievement whores (Bojack) get your asses down to BlockBuster, or any other respected rental outlet for that matter......

The Faux-Bot

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Assassin's Creed hoo-haa bight time fight ding-ding round 3. Knockout OMG

http://www.destructoid.com/ign-modifies-assassin-s-creed-review-after-destructoid-s-report-update--54072.phtml

Check the link if you missed this in the week. Thank God for Destructoid. After slamming the PS3 version of A.C. for texture pop-up and screen tear that got so bad that it affected gameplay, IGN kindly changed the review the next day. WTF!? Indeed. Apparently due to a 'copy and paste' error. Maybe Sony asked for those gold-plated PS3's back? Who knows. But at least we know that IGN are definitely frauds and corporate suck-ups. No wonder they bummed Halo 3 so heavily.

The best thing to come out of this though, is that I've discovered Metacritic. If you can't be bothered to trawl around looking for the general opinion on a game, check http://www.metacritic.com/games/ to see what everybody thinks.

The Faux-Bot

New GhostBusters game in the works




Some of you may remember, a few months back, that a European developer was slapped for developing a next-gen Ghost Busters title without the licence. Whilst I can't confirm that this is the same developers, you can clearly see that next-gen ghost bustin' is a go. Being raised on a staple diet of this and Turtles, I can barely contain my excitement at the announcement of what seems like a very good use of the property. The only way they could possibly get me more frothed is if there were to be some sort of special edition that came bundled with a tub of old-fashioned Ghost Buster slime. That was the best, with the little monster inside, and the grate on top of the HQ that you could ooze it through. I wish I had a time machine.

Anyway.....

It looks awesome and the released details only serve to make it seem all the more appealing.
"Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson are all set to lend their likeness and voices to the game. Dan and Harold are also working on the storyline for the game which takes place shortly after the events of the second movie. The biggest surprise out of the press release is that you are going to be playing as a new recruit and not as one of the famous four Ghostbusters
." nicked from Destructoid.

This can't come out soon enough. I want to wrestle Slimer now!

The Faux-Bot

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Nintendo and the Videogames renaissance

For all of its mainstream success, the Nintendo Wii has also seen more than it's fair share of backlash. Whilst it isn't exactly the kind of backlash that will realistically damage sales, Nintendo's fanboy stock continues to fall each time they pander to the casual market. With the casual market currently tearing their hair out in order to get their hands on Wii's, its no wonder that Nintendo are going to stay firmly where the money is.

At either Leipzig or E3 this year, I remember hearing several reports of just how Nintendo seems to have 'shunned' it's core audience. With Nintendo fans doing so much to keep the company afloat throughout the mediocre 'successes' of the N64 and the Gamecube, you can understand why so many of them would feel bitter after having to endure maximum promotion of Wii Fit and a comparatively meagre showing of Super Mario Galaxy.

Whichever side of the fence you fall on, it is undeniable that Nintendo's Wii has the potential to forever change the Videogames market. Microsoft's attempt to steal a slice of the 'family' pie by offering up Scene It and Party Animals this Christmas, clearly shows us how seriously this 'casual sector' is taken. No doubt Sony sees their new iterations of Singstar as their opportunity to at least pick up some crumbs from Nintendo's well-stocked banquet table.

This increased focus upon appealing to casual gamers is one that will divide opinion across the board. As games like Bioshock, Mass Effect, The Orange Box and the promises of Grand Theft Auto IV continue to push boundaries and expand possibilities in this current generation, much of the success and fame is awarded to Wii Sports, for example. Interface aside, Wii Sports and indeed many of the Wii's more successful titles, are incredibly backwards-thinking and primitive games. It would seem that as far as the maturity of the genre goes, expanding audiences requires sacrifices and thinking retrospectively, something which more passionate or 'hardcore' gamers may frown upon.

However, I see great potential for the medium as a whole. I am fascinated by the idea that the Wii will provide videogames with some sort of renaissance. Effectively, I view the current situation, post-Wii as 'wiping the slate clean'. Despite its primitive nature, much of the more successful Wii software appeals because of its simplicity and ease of use, these are not daunting or involving games. But with an expanded market, there is great potential. There is the possibility that this new wave of gamers will have tastes that will develop and needs that will change over time. The Wii could merely be their introduction and as they begin to seek new and more rewarding experiences, the may begin to discover other consoles and more mature titles, those with intriguing and well thought out storylines, characters and aesthetics.

Whilst constant comparisons with cinema continue to hinder the development of Videogames as a 'true medium', in this case, cinema provides a strong example to illustrate my point. A child begins by watching quite basic cinema, say Disney movies for example. As their interest grows, they may take a particular liking towards animation as a medium. They may then go on to explore and come across Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. As they grow, they may go on to seek out more of Tim Burton's films. Becoming fully engrossed in his aesthetic they may begin to trace the roots of his style, arriving at German Expressionist cinema of the 1920's. Although Disney movies did not have the responsibility of expanding a medium's audience, they would have still opened the door to many a fan of cinema. Whilst there is a greater responsibility upon Nintendo's shoulders, they are unwittingly, opening the door for masses of potential gamers whose tastes will mature and grow.

Combine an expanding market with increasingly sophisticated tastes and you may see a very fruitful future for Videogames as a whole.



The Faux-Bot

The best Kane & Lynch advert ever.


Coming soon: Real posts.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

More of this, please.


Its times like these that I curse Kane & Lynch, for you see, I can only afford the one game. This looks cool. As if this game needed any more going for it. If I was a rich man.....*sigh*

The Faux-Bot

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Thoughtful gamers; hear my call

I have never made any attempt to ever hide my sheer piss-pants excitement regarding the release of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, and I don't plan to start now. If this instantly turns you off, please, I beg of you, try and repress your knee-jerk reaction this one time and read on.

I have followed the development of this game from the second that I heard of its announcement, which as many of you will know, makes for a long wait on my part. Its not as if K&L has had a particularly 'troubled' development, more that it has just taken its sweet time. The problem with this is that there are a few glaring issues with the game that just seem to put people off and quite rightly so. Due to its development time, it now looks quite dated in terms of its visuals. This, coupled with a lack of online co-op makes for alot of sore heads and "rental only" responses. Whilst I get frustrated at this attitude, I fully understand it.

If you are one of the aforementioned sore-heads, please consider this post as a gently persuasive argument. Despite its problems, Kane & Lynch has enough originality and style to compensate. I just want to look at the positives, so that you, the possibly undecided reader, can see the good in this game. I'm not going to list the features that make this such a potentially fantastic experience; they have been written about time and time again, and if your aren't aware of the amazingly original online multiplayer mode, Michael Mann aesthetic, fantastic characters and ingenious storytelling, then I probably already lost you in the first paragraph.

What I want to put across is that as gamers, we have the power to support and shape the future of the industry. IO have a fantastic back catalogue of games behind them and I for one, would hate to see their stock diminish because of a few minor errors. I want to see this game supported because of its glaring originality and sense of character. I want to see games like this succeed amongst the likes of bigger blockbusters, if only to convince publishers that there is a market for games such as Kane & Lynch. The game has a fucking colour palette for God's sake! An intended set of colours that set the mood and tone of each scene. Admittedly it won't be of Bioshock standards, but its nonetheless inspiring to see a game that pays such attention to detail. Also, don't forget that you get to play as complete bastards. No Hollywood-style redemption, no overcoming adversity, just two bad people in a bad situation.

Arguments like this will always be fraught with personal preferences and opinion and I understand how off putting this can be. But, if you are toying with the idea of buying this game, you have a relatively disposable income and you consider yourself to be a 'thinking gamer' then please, I urge you, as someone who already craves sequels or at least more games in a similar vain, please buy Kane & Lynch. If you're the kind of person to buy multiple iterations of the same movie, or who would buy another re-issue of Spaced on DVD, then consider smart and distinctive game design as another cause worth supporting, you wonderful Fanboy, you.



The Faux-Bot

P.S. Also worth noting is that K&L's release has been pushed forward a week due to it going Gold! Which is inspiring. Also, also, check out the very cool viral campaign in the form of this blog: http://www.peterstack7.com/page/4/ which concerns the investigation of the fictional, in-game criminal organisation - The 7 - for whom Kane and Lynch are forced to work.

Friday, 2 November 2007

A scientific analysis of Gaming News

I'm struggling to find any decent news lately. There really is very little that catches my eye. Some kid punches his mother over Halo 3, some conservative dicks prattle on about the evils of Manhunt 2 and the PS3 and 360 bicker over sales figures. *yawn*

So whilst this may not be a particularly fruitful time for gaming news, it certainly is a fruitful time for games themselves. Call of Duty 4, Mass Effect, Kane & Lynch, Assassin's Creed, Rock Band, Guitar Hero 3, Super Mario Galaxy and Haze are but a few reasons to get frothing this Christmas. Maybe, there is a correlation here; as actual game releases rise in number, the discussion of and news relating to games releases falls. See graph below.


With geeks such as myself so full to the brim with gaming goodness, we don't have time to dig around looking for little nuggets of information to whet our appetites. Our appetites are being satisfied to such an extent that news almost ceases to exist. This can be further understood when taking into account that gaming news can be broken down into a small number of distinct categories:


As you can see, the most substantial part of the News Pie is occupied by 'Hype', with only Flamewars, or more specifically, the fuel for Flamewars, making up the second largest slice.

Cross-analysis of these two sets of figures reveals that 'Hype' as a portion of gaming news becomes substantially reduced at certain times throughout each year. With this in mind, we can also then come to the conclusion that without Hype, there is very little news left.

It is my firm belief that there is a direct link between game releases and gaming news. Both are in a constant state of flux, with one consistently affecting the other. This study also reveals that this constant cycle is not necessarily within our control, it is in the hands of higher powers. Higher powers who laugh heartily at our eternal struggle. "What is this struggle?" you may ask. Simply put, we as gamers, whether we are aware of it or not, strive for a constant, almost straight line of regular games releases, coupled with a steady flow of news and information.

Our struggle is indeed, naive by its very nature, but is that not an essential part of the Human condition? As a scientist, I say yes and as a human being, I blindly ignore everything I have just said.

Good Day.

The Faux-Bot

Sunday, 28 October 2007

No DLC for Skate.


Yeah, you read that right. Perhaps the one game that EA has released that may benefit from some decent DLC, is getting none. Now, I'm not saying the game needs it, in my eyes it was just about perfect and still continues to be, but playing it so much, I would have been the kind of sucker to pay for new stuff. Producer Scott Blackwood does make a good point though:

"[We're] not planning any new content for Skate 1 ... We didn't want to go back and ask [people] for more money to get more shoes and shirts" from 1UP. As much as I want new content, I won't be paying for new clothes etc.
I guess all the ideas that I have about what could be added to the game are too ambitious for DLC. Female skaters, a free-roaming skate reel camera are amongst a handful of additions that in my eyes would easily justify a sequel. Bare in mind, that this is EA that we are talking about, so sequels seem imminent. I for one welcome it, just so long as they keep their heads and just polish the first game. As a potential series, Skate has one of the strongest frameworks already in place, I just hope they don't screw with that.


While I'm a bit disappointed to hear that I will have to wait for a proper sequel, the fact that they aren't devoting time to what may very well be pointless DLC makes me all the more optimistic for Skate 2 being a genuine prospect. Go BlackBox!
The Faux-Bot

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Finally....

Here they are. After weeks of posting off-screen pics, artwork mock-ups and shaky mobile phone vids, we finally have some REAL screens of Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix. They look lovely, except maybe for the generic rounded biceps. It's like they've really managed to westernize the game. Should play well though and it does look rather nice. I just really, really need to get a decent d-pad to be able to play this. Any suggestions for good 360 pads? Thought not....Anyway, enjoy and follow the links to MAKE BIG! Woop.


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2220/1716786365_2bfe7a1255_o.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2025/1716786655_c635503dd1_o.jpg

And yes, Ken's level does guest-star Matt Dillon (2nd from the right) Got paid mad dollaz for that cameo!

Read more at: http://blogs.capcomusa.com/blogs/digital.php/2007/10/23/sfhd_w_i_p_screenshots

The Faux-Bot

Me to my love-life: "Bye!"

Now, put aside your sexist assumptions for a second, you may be in for a shock. You see, usually, such a headline would be followed by a story about how I would become so obsessed with a game, that I would begin to neglect my girlfriend. However, what I am about to tell you is surely to produce the opposite situation, whereby it is my girlfriend who is neglecting me. Shocking, I know....
It would seem that Nintendo have an MMO version of Animal Crossing in the works, set to come out on the Wii, obviously. As if offline domination wasn't enough for the big N, it seems that this new iteration of Animal Crossing could be the one to help them capture a big slice of that online market pie.

Anyone lucky enough to play Animal Crossing will either tell you that it is the biggest pile of directionless crap they've ever played, or the best thing since sticking a spoonful of Nutella in your hot chocolate. My girlfriend falls into the latter category and I fear that she will become totally absorbed in a fully online Animal Crossing, much like the movie, the Lawnmower Man, except without all the weird sex stuff, or lawnmowers for that matter.

Still, apart from the prospect of home-wrecking, it sounds like a cool idea.


The Faux-Bot

What could have been....


A rare video, courtesy of the Playstation Museum, shows us the first proper look at what was meant to be Resident Evil 2. This build has since become known as Resident Evil 1.5 and basically, has some different settings and a different lady. If your a Resi fan, you'll no doubt enjoy this, if not, more posts about other stuff coming up right now! I spoil you...

The Faux-Bot

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Gimmie more!!...You mean i gotta pay, ok, how much?......yeah right!.......oh your serious.......WHAT!?!

For all the great things about Xbox Live there's always one thing that has to go and spoil things. I am refering to the price of game extras. If your like me and you really get into a game then the possiblity of said game becoming bigger/gaining new things is a very exciting prospect....however, somtimes companies can get a little too greedy with the asking price of said extra, and thats when i get miffed. Ive found that generally the asking price for items on Xbox Live is resonable, other times its a little over the mark, and other times its taking the piss. One game which i happen to love a little too much is Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. I feel proud to proclaim that i have clocked up over 120 hours of gamplay and could quite happliy clock up another 120 more, but when the asking price for expansion packs works out to more than what i paid for the game..........it's a fucking crime!

I paid £17 for Oblivion, and they recently released the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition which includes the two big expansions (Knights of the Nine/Shivering Isles) at no extra cost. Sure the game has gone back up to its origional price of £35 now, but Xbox Live still has the Shivering Isles expansion at 2400 points....thats around £20!!! I feel that the price should now be reduced to around 1400 because of the new version of the game. Now i know the Shivering Isles is a big expansion, adding around 30-40 hours of gameplay, but when you look at the pricing.....i cant help but feel like im getting big Oblivion dong stuffed right up my batty?!

Will they ever lower the price.....maybe.....but there's more too it than that, people who are dedicated to games should be given a fair deal, after all, without people like me and you, the games industry would be fucked.





Prof Membrain

Friday, 19 October 2007

Guitar Hero 3 Demo 4 3 (free)

...they just keep on comin'

Want to play a demo of Guitar Hero 3?

Yeh

Well, get a copy of Tony Hawk's Proving Ground! It comes bundled with it!

WTF, dat game iz gay

Ok, then go here cheapskate: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=5OX44D2U , or here if you have torrent software: http://www.mininova.org/tor/944718

Y? It beta not b like gay porn cos dat iz gay

No fool, it's a ripped demo that will work on a burned DVD/CD with no chips or mods or anything. Just download, burn and pop it in your 360. You get 5 songs to play through: Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar, Lay Down - Priestess, Even Flow - Pearl Jam, Rock You Like A Hurricane - Scorpions and The Metal - Tenacious D

Dat iz awsum, I is got it for free, LOLZ!! PWNED NEVASOFT!



More obscure imaginary conversation posts coming soon. Not really. Cuz it wuz whack.

Seriously though, this works, probably, so get on it and read here for more info. http://www.xboxlivetheguide.co.uk/News/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1653&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

If this turns out to be some sort of virus, you read it on Joystiq, ok?


The Faux-Bot

Super Shaky Cam SD REMIX Championship Edition II: First Strike

Wow, sometimes, when I just bust out witty headlines like that, I manage to astound myself. Anyway......

Talking with Prof. Membrain last night, we couldn't quite figure out why we hadn't seen any footage of the upcoming Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. After all, I had read that the game was playable at the Capcom Gamers Day, so surely, someone must have taken a cheeky recording. It didn't seem so, and what with all the fuss about them announcing Street Fighter IV, it seemed as if HD Remix had possibly been sidelined.

Well, thank the lord for this resourceful little bugger:






Now, I know that this footage may be so crappy that you could be forgiven for thinking that this is just regular SFII, but I have to admit, that I get a little excited just seeing people play this. This proves to me that it is definitely on its way, and right now that's all I need.

We should see this around the beginning of next year, so get saving those MS Points, 360 owners, because this, along with REZ and Castle Crashers is looking to be part of the strongest Live Arcade line-up to date.


*************************************UPDATE***********************************


So, umm, I should read all the better blogs BEFORE I post on here. Anyway, this little gem just revealed itself.
Looks awesome, no?
Doing rhymes, solving crimes. Worrrrd.

The Faux-Bot

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

OooOOOooh, why you wanna break my heart?

I was beginning to think that maybe I had made this story up, how I wish that was the case. It seems that the details of the amazing online multiplayer for Kane & Lynch were released as if to soften a certain kick in the nuts. That kick is that we get no online co-op. There will of course, still be offline co-op, but if like me, you have a crappy 21-inch SD, not even widescreen, TV, then the prospect of playing it split-screen (heh) isn't too appealing. What makes this worse is that the co-op sounds incredible. Details are scarce at the moment, but the term "Lynch's Psycho Mode" hopefully confirms some rumours I heard earlier in the year. Apparently, this will be you seeing the game through Lynch's eyes, with his schizophrenia warping his perception of events. Take that how you will, I like to imagine that we will see innocent civilians coming across as threatening and aggressive, for example. Jens Peter Kurup of IO had this to say on the matter:

"It's a matter of focus, choosing what you want to deliver at what time. We looked at it and decided it was too much of a risk to change our code to be very very good at that, and we're not going to be very very good at other elements. I'll miss the online co-op, but not terribly."


Looking at the Kotaku user comments, it seems like he may be taking the wrong attitude to all this. In my opinion though, I think they quite simply ran out of time. This game has been in development for quite a while now and I'm sure the pressure was mounting to actually get it finished. It's a shame that it won't be included, but if you were buying K&L for online co-op, then you were buying it for the wrong reasons. I feel compelled to defend this decision, simply because of the kind of idiotic comments people pull out their ass in response to it. Things like "Well, I won't be buying it now!" Good, you sound like a fucking idiot anyway, just dismiss all the game's other merits because of one flaw, how intelligent. I'd rather the game come out on time and give me an excuse to spend time in the same room as my friends more often. For all the bitter fanboys that don't have real friends, tough break, buy Army of Two instead.


Check Kotaku for confirmation that I didn't make this up after all, some more details and some truly retarded user comments. http://kotaku.com/gaming/brats/kane--lynch-no-online-co+op-good-times-308528.php



The Faux-Bot

Friday, 12 October 2007

HYPE-PIPE: The Club

'The Club' by Bizarre Creations/XBOX360, PS3/Expected: January 2008

There's no denying that only a decade ago, we lived in a much simpler era for games. You could be forgiven for thinking that those days of getting your initials in the number 1 spot of you local chippy's Street Fighter 2 cabinet are long gone. Whilst it may not manifest itself in the style that we remember, the old-school thirst for such one-upmanship still exists. Online leaderboards and XBOX 360's achievements system are more that testament to this fact. So, why is it that Bizarre Creation's upcoming shooter, The Club, seems so refreshingly nostalgic?
Our new-generation leaderboards come simply as by-products of otherwise entertaining games, but it seems that The Club has this breed of high-scoring, 'be the best' gameplay at its very core.
On the surface it looks like simply another 3rd-Person shooter, but the gameplay details reveal what Bizarre hopes will define it amongst the likes of Gears of War, Kane & Lynch and Army of Two. Perhaps the best way to understand what this game entails is to look at what came before it. Imagine, the old-school stock of SEGA, head-to-head with the minds behind Project Gotham and Metropolis Street Racer. Much like with their racing past, Bizarre are keen to point out that The Club is very much about style. Style in PGR and MSR was directly awarded with 'Kudos'. Drafting, drifting and overtaking, amongst other manoeuvres, helped you build your high score, forcing you not just to simply win, but win with the most style and panache. In the case of The Club, drifts are replaced with headshots and barrel-explosion kills take the place of crafty overtaking.


The highest scores can be attained by linking together your stylish kills in chain combos. You have a combo counter similar to the one present in Skate, where you have to quite simply, keep the combo alive by piling on the stylish attacks one after the other. Expect to memorise the position of each and every enemy, much like you would memorise each and every corner in PGR. This is old-school gaming with a modern twist, you might even say, that it is a distinctly post-modern game.

It seems inevitable that The Club will have a niche audience, but we can hope that solid battle mechanics and a distinct character will set it apart from the competition. As it stands, the Fight Club-esque, killing-for-sport storyline seems very interesting, but the combat looks slightly repetitive and underwhelming. On the surface, it seems the guns lack that satisfying chugging that makes Gears of War so pleasing to play. However, a distinct aesthetic, some nice-looking character design and a refreshing concept should see The Club become, at the very least, a firm fan favourite.


The Faux-Bot

My Apologies

I'm guessing, and hoping, that we've got one or two regular readers by now and its to you that I owe an apology. For various reasons, I've not managed to write anything this week, for now, lets just chalk it up to a busy schedule and 'sleep difficulties'. Anyway, I'm back today, thanks for your continued support, whoever you are.

Now, on with the mind-food.


The Faux-Bot

Friday, 5 October 2007

Round-Up

I seem to have had a lot to say for myself today. I don't know why, a touch of verbal diarrhea, or whatever the typing equivalent of that is. There were a few more things I wanted to say, so I thought I'd just condense them here.

1. Sony announces 40gb PS3 at €399. What's the catch? Well...two less USB ports, no multi-card reader and, wait for it.......NO backwards compatibility. Make of that what you will, everyone and their mother is going to have an opinion on this one, so I'll keep it short. Sony really seems to like reaming the collective ass of its customers, doesn't it? Less money, less product, doesn't really seem like the deal that so many reluctant buyers were looking for.

2. Bungie and Microsoft part ways. Not as dramatic as it first seemed, but it is indeed true. "the studio will retain a long-term publishing agreement with Microsoft Game Studios for Halo titles. Other titles? All they're saying is that they 'will continue to develop with [their] primary focus on Microsoft's platforms.' With Microsoft holding a minority equity interest in the company" (http://www.joystiq.com/) Future seems bright for both parties then, right? Time will tell on this one.

3. Halo 3, or at least its users redeem themselves to me. This is genius use of H-triple's Forge mode, and the kind of thing that may persuade me to give the game another shot. Enjoy!




The Faux-Bot

This Just In: Pot calls Kettle 'Black'!

It would seem that the kings of gaming controversy can dish it out but can't take it back. Rockstar have kicked up a fuss in response to one of the many parodies featured in the upcoming EA-Published Simpsons game. The game-in-game parodies have been heavily publicised to date and include 'Medal of Homer' and 'Neverquest'. Whilst these seem to remain untouched, changes had to be made to 'Grand Theft Scratchy: Blood Island' in order to keep the Rockstar wolves (lawyers) at the door.



The Grand Theft Auto games are heavily laden with parodies and intertextual references to all manner of other media and they are well known for it, making the hypocrisy of their behaviour all the clearer to see. Rockstar, a company fuelled by its image of infallible cool, seems to not be so cool after all. Thankfully, the game section will remain intact, with only certain changes having to be made, but there are no specific details as to what they are exactly. Whether Rockstar were afraid of EA muscling in on their patch, or they really can't handle a simple and affectionate homage, it still remains that this behaviour is nothing but childish.

Still.......GTAIV..... 'nuff said.

The Faux-Bot

CRAZY (DISTURBING) FOREIGN GAMES

BATTLE RAPER (Illusion, Japan, 2002)

I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in an environment with no irrational fears concerning my media intake. I was always allowed to gauge for myself, what was appropriate and what was not, and games were no exception. I still remember every joke that I didn't understand from Rock Star Ate My Hamster and Leisure Suit Larry. I've never had to defend the medium that I care so much for, at least not in the sense that it is an inherently bad and morally depraved one. However, certain idiots cannot be avoided, especially with the media voicing them, Jack Thompson to name just one. So, it is with some relief that I can say that Battle Raper was never released outside of Japan, because if the opposition ever got hold of this one, they would have a field day.



Battle Raper is a 3D Fighter which sees you battling through scores of females who are 'willing to put up a fight'. Your melee attacks allow you to strip, grope and sexually attack your opponents. The game is punctuated by pre-rendered rape cutscenes and the ability to simply have virtual sex with them- a la hot coffee, I presume - once the game is complete. I understand Hentai and its place within Japanese popular culture. I have no problem with it at all, and really I have no objection to this game, living under the notion of 'different strokes for different folks' - if I don't want to play it, I don't have to.


I consider myself to be very open-minded and accepting of different tastes, and usually I would just bypass something like Battle Raper. However, something about this game identified just how different games tastes are between the East and the West, or at least how different tastes are considered to be more acceptable in the East. As well as being the starting point for this hopefully ongoing feature, Battle Raper struck a chord with me for another reason. One particularly disturbing feature of the game made it worth sharing and puts Manhunt and co. firmly in the 'tame' category. Fighting against the game's final Boss, and only male character, Zenon, you will be subjected to a particularly off-putting special move. Zenon grabs the female character by the head and rams her straight into his crotch, forcing her to give him oral sex. The worst part is the tears, which are added for effect, coupled with a zoomed camera, firmly upon the distressed look on your character's face. Its important for me to point out, that the 'wang' is most definitely blurred out, but it still has the same effect.

I want to make it clear, that the intention for this is not some sort of expose' on the worst of what video games has to offer, but is simply to provide a window into a very different world from our own. I hope that we can bring you some more 'crazy' and less 'distubring' games in the future.

The Faux-Bot

Thursday, 4 October 2007

I'm not alone....

It'd be fair to describe my experience with Halo 3 as being nothing short of a debacle. It is without doubt one of the dullest, most average games I have ever played and one that was completely damaged by its own hype. Now as millions upon millions of you play whatever randomly assigned match Bungie sees fit to give you into the wee hours of the morning, and sycophantic reviewers continue to dole out 9/10's left right and centre, remember that there are some people who think its just a bit of a crap game. The problem is that so few people seem to be aware of just how average Halo 3 is. As a 'hater' I feel isolated to the point of questioning my own sanity. GamesTM and Destructoid, two of my most respected sources, both lauded over the game's brilliance, is it possible that I am just somehow missing the point? Maybe I'm mental, or so painfully cynical that I instantly dislike anything considered brilliant by the masses.

Now I can begin the road to recovery as I have stumbled across the first publicised view that I actually agree with. Thank God - assuming that he hasn't been replaced by Master Chief as the West's favourite deity- for Zero Punctuation:




The Faux-Bot

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Sony gets a shafting....again

Its seems that the mega giant Sony just cant seem to cut a break, the PS3 is delayed by a year, then delayed some more due to BlueRay lasers. The PS3 doesn't sell well due to a high asking price and a totally shite advertising campaign. Their launch games arn't as amazing as they want you to believe. Their 2 supposedly BIG games titles have fallen flat on there arses (Heavenly Sword/Lair), and now comes another kick up the old batty. Epic Games has seen fit to delay Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3 to next year, but still release it on time on the PC in Nov, the reasons.....unknown? I was starting to feel gutted that i would have to wait longer for the 360 release but i bet my low dole income that PS3 owners are fucking hating Sony/Epic right now. Unreal 3 has been a looming tower of a game waiting to come out for what seems like forever, and PS3 owners finally got 1 up on 360 owners by getting it first........not any more. Epic released Gears of War on the 360 over Xmas last year using the Unreal Graphics Engine and blew away all other games by looks alone, leaving Sony up a certain creek without a certain paddle. Now ill be the first to tell you that im a 100% 360 boy and im happy that Sony have lost out, but i like competition and this seemed like the start of some real jealousy coming from the Microsoft camp, but alas no more. Whether Sony will get its shit together and give the gaming industry a trouncing is yet to be seen, but it aint happening with this baby.




Prof Membrain

Continuing on a Co-Op tip

New Army of Two trailer explains 'Aggro' mechanic.

Its pleasing to see EA's recent commitment to more interesting and diverse games, this along with Skate and the upcoming Spore, seems to represent a change in direction for the company, one that most will welcome, unless you fear change, like a crusty old conservative. No disrespect guys. Basically, shooting guns makes noise and causes enemies to shoot back at you. The more attention you draw to yourself, results in your aggrometer filling up, allowing your partner to move about relatively unnoticed. As great as this sounds, I am far more excited about the fact that this game is so unashamedly about guns, money and kicking bad guys in the teeth. Now if only they were to add some 'bitchez' to the mix. Oh yeah, and I instantly love any game that has a generic shouty army commander as a mentor.




Sarcasm aside though, this game continues to impress me. The combat looks solid and satisfying and the team mechanics simple and effective enough to be very workable and diverse, opening up lots of opportunities for emergent gameplay. Ahhhh, its like the 'summer lul' never existed.

The Faux-Bot

Best of Friends/Worst of Enemies

New Kane & Lynch multiplayer details emerge.

Story nicked from IGN.

I wasn't even expecting this game to have a multiplayer, I was creaming over the single player and co-op modes alone, and then they go a drop this- BAM! Right in the kisser! Good times. The multiplayer mode they have announced is called "Fragile Alliance" and is essentially a team deathmatch,with a cheeky twist. "The basic theory behind Fragile Alliance is that you begin working as a team against the cops, but as your members are taken out one-by-one, they'll turn to the other side and work against you" Now, I can happily say, with no amount of journalistic refrain, that THIS....SOUNDS....AWESOME!! It's like Cops and Robbers, Fox and Hounds. Childhood memories!


Its so refreshing to see such an original idea injected into a multiplayer mode, not to mention that it seems to compliment the single player campaign so well. "We wanted the multi-player to compliment the single-player game which is essentially a R-rated crime drama. The two lead characters, Kane and Lynch, are professional criminals who hate each other. The action is brutal. And no one trusts anyone." We are told that this mode will require you to use deception and skill reaching far beyond simply just holding ground. This mode will encourage you to not only outgun, but also outwit and double cross your teammates/enemies.


As if I needed more reasons to be excited about this game.


you judith!



The Faux-Bot

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

HEY STUPID! MAKE LEARN GOOD NOW.

It seems that just about all violent crime and moral panic can be blamed upon videogames these days, especially with lunatics like Jack Thompson spouting their 'cop killer training program' bullshit. So, thank god for the BBFC, for at least trying to take a step in the right direction. Its a shame that we live in a society where parents can't be bothered to monitor their children's entertainment intake anymore, to the extent that the BBFC has to step in. For parents wishing to take a more active role, the BBFC are trying to help by providing extended game information and guidelines on their new website - http://www.pbbfc.co.uk/.

Parents can search for specific games or films in order to assess whether or not they are suitable for their child, provided that the big red 18 on the front isn't quite clear enough. I'm slightly torn over this one, because on the one hand, its a positive thing that a service is being provided outside of the industry, rather than simply demonizing games. On the other hand, I find it a little upsetting that people genuinely seem to not understand the ratings system. I guess we're all just retarded...or lazy. Essentially, what the BBFC seem to be saying is either A) You dumb, read our site, we smart. Or B) If you plan on disregarding our classification system, at least you can know to what specific content is unsuitable for your child. But then, isn't that what this is for? http://www.pegi.info/en/index/id/176


Now I feel dumb.....

The Faux-Bot

Monday, 1 October 2007

SPLIT-SCREEN REVIEW: Skate.

I could talk for days of the impact this game will have and already has had on the Tony Hawk’s series, but I’ve already gotten on that bandwagon once, so I’ll spare you this time. Skate is a game of such unquestionable quality, that it deserves to be viewed upon its own merits and not just those which separate from the genre’s leading man.

Skate, as a name, is by far the most effective and representative for this game. In it, you quite simply, skate. Whilst this may not come as a shock to you, bare this in mind, it is skateboarding and nothing but; no free-running, no graffiti, no BMX, no grinding Ferris wheels, just pure uncut skateboarding.
For someone such as myself, with a lifelong interest in skateboarding, this game is about the most vicarious thrill you will ever have the pleasure of spending time with. This is achieved masterfully through the game’s unique ‘Flickit’ control system, which is slightly reminiscent of EA’s Fight Night Round 3. There are three base tricks; the ollie, kickflips/heelflips and pop shuv-its, all performed through specific movements of the right analogue stick. Once you master these tricks, you can begin to branch out with variations of the stick movements to produce more complex tricks such as Hardflips and 360 Inward heelflips. All of these can then be reversed for extra tech points by performing them in Nollie (popping off the front of the board rather than the back). Each trigger represents the adjacent hand and the left stick controls the movement of your body. Throw in a multitude of grabs, spins, manuals and grinds and you have an incredibly comprehensive trick system, with only a few absentees. Darkslides in Skate 2 Black Box? Please?

Anyway, enough of the boring stuff, there are a million websites that will recite the entire game to you, lets continue with the massively biased opinion shall we?

As a gamer, Skate suits me perfectly, there is so much going on, that I cannot ever imagine myself getting board of it (hahaha, geddit?………….*loads shotgun*). Perfecting the trick roster is one thing, but there is also exploring the huge city of San Vanelona to find the best spots (10 hours in and I’ve barely scratched the surface) and not forgetting the skate reel video editor that will complement both. Whilst there is a career mode in the game, much of my time is spent finding those perfect spots, maybe now and again skating with friends or doing a film task. In terms of options afforded to the gamer, Skate has them in abundance. In my opinion, the free skate mode would be worth the money alone, well, so long as they threw in the video editor too. Finding lines, spots, customising your character and sharpening your skills will eat up such a massive amount of your time that the career mode will seem huge. To be fair, there are quite an impressive number of tasks, ranging from the challenges set by pros, and the specific film tasks or races that require completion to boost your coverage in the two featured magazines; Thrasher and The Skateboard Mag.

As you may have already gathered, from my pretty erratic writing style, I have quite a lot of trouble reviewing Skate. This is simply because I have so much to say about it, that I find it nearly impossible to refine into a readable and coherent article. For that I am sorry, and I also apologise for this bout of impromptu self-reflexivity, if that isn’t your cup of tea. Just know that my uncontrollable enthusiasm is a good thing and believe me when I say that Skate is one of the best games I have ever played.

Skate is a game that has such incredible potential. The community that is built around it seems to be growing and redefining itself every day. The user-generated content in the form of Skate. Reel ranges from the hilarious glitch exposés, to some of the cleanest and complex lines I have ever seen. This individuality and ability to develop personal style is what will separate Skate from any competition. People will continue to play it for years to come, because the only thing they can get bored with is themselves. If you feel like you have cleaned this game out, or indeed feel that you ever could, then you just aren’t looking hard enough.

My two favourite games since becoming a 360 owner have undoubtedly been Viva Piñata and Crackdown, I can now safely add Skate to this list. All three games reward the gamer for their curiosity, devotion and enthusiasm. If you enjoy freedom, expression and individuality in gaming, then Skate will more than satisfy you. That said, it also helps if you have at least a passing interest in Skateboarding. And if any of you were wondering: yes, I do skate in real life, and I suck.
The Faux-Bot

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Halo 3, I hardly knew yee.

Being an unemployed graduate makes you a lot of things; bitter, resentful and cynical to name but a few. However, the lack of money that my status brings me also makes me quite discerning when it comes to my game purchases. With this in mind, from the beginning, I had relegated Halo 3 to the 'maybe pile' with my eyes firmly set on picking up EA's exceptional Skate, and that alone. Due to much pestering from a certain Bojack and the unavoidable hype-juggernaut that surrounded it, I eventually decided that I would pick it up, if only for the multiplayer alone. Whilst there were a lot of outside influences that may have worked towards me eventually deciding to get it, the responsibility for my purchase lies solely with yours truly. I could have said no, thought it out a little more and spent my Tesco clubcard vouchers in a more productive way. But I didn't, and now I'm living with my own mistakes.

I understand that much of what I say in this post places me squarely in a vast minority of people who simply don't like Halo 3, and believe me, I want to be like you, I wish I could enjoy this game, but lines have been crossed and trust has been lost. We aren't fans of negativity here at Split-Screen, or at least, we try to avoid it as much as possible, so, just to get it out of the way in the most clinical and professional manor, I present to you a small list of my Halo 3 gripes:

1. I get lost in the menus.
2. I can't play custom matches with strangers.
3. The environments are dull and bland.
4. Retracing my steps makes me want to rip out my eyes.
5. If I ever, ever have to confront The Flood again, I will kill. In reality.
6. Pushing the d-pad every time I want to talk for 10 seconds becomes an unnecessary chore.



Compounding my issues was the fact that after level 2, my health meter simply stopped recharging, making the game totally impossible. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I promptly returned the game for a full refund.



My brief time with Halo 3 taught me a lot about gaming in general, especially when I make a direct comparison between it and Cooking Mama on the DS. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend a good few hours with this game, and I quickly fell in love. For those of you not familiar with the game, it is a simple cooking simulator in which you chop, peel, cook, stir and fry your way through hundreds of Mama's delightful recipes. I had an incredible amount of fun playing it and it reminded me of the importance of grabbing your audience, making them feel comfortable and rewarded and challenging them enough to come back for more. It is gaming in its simplest and best form, pure fun. I'm all for deep and involving, believe me, but its when I tried to place Halo 3 into either of these categories that I realised that it just wasn't for me. It is too dull and repetitive to be any fun and far too shallow to be considered involving. I kept telling myself that if I persevered, I would start enjoying it, but should I really have to do that? Just to make myself agree with the hundreds of sycophantic reviewers out there? Hell no.



In a lot of way, I envy people who enjoy Halo 3, because I so badly wanted to feel part of that community and to enjoy with my friends. I guess I'm just destined to be a Skate loner.........


The Faux-Bot

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

OMG! LOLZ!! 2GUD2BTRU!!!@_@

But seriously,

Heads-up Halo Fans, there's a free limited-time Halo 3 Gamerpic and theme ready for download from Live Marketplace starting midnight tonight. So, umm, don't miss it. Cos its like unmissable or whatever. Free stuff. Word.

The Faux-Bot

Is it good? Isn't it good?...

Ive been a fan of the Hitman series since Hitman 2, and consider the latest installment Hitman: Blood Money to be the best yet, along with 2003's Freedom Fighters IO Interactive have prooven to be a formidable games developer. When i heard that there would be no sequel to Freedon Fighters i was shocked, how could you not!? So its with great joy that Kane and Lynch came into the fold, a kind of Hitman/Freedom Fighters combo with a little sprinkling of the movie Heat laced on top. Ive been following it for some time now and everything seems to get better and better, the control system is the same as FF, the graphics look like a modified Hitman, the level and character design look like a number of recent movies. So i checked out some trailers, still looking good, especially the psychological elements of the characters. So why then the title is it good, isn't it good. Well, all was fine until i came across some actual gameplay footage, and to say it looks rough is an understatement. See for yourself.

Clip 1 of 3 http://www.gametrailers.com/player/25225.html
Clip 2 of 3 http://www.gametrailers.com/player/25229.html
Clip 3 of 3 http://www.gametrailers.com/player/25230.html

Now, im not saying this game looks so bad it should be condemned, it doesn't, i still like it, but the game is so close to its release date and footage like this can only scare me. Every element needs an overhaul or polish. The AI seems pretty bad and the explosions are the worst ive seen in a game for a long time, its like they started to make everything look and feel great and then kind of.....stopped?! I hope this is just some early test code or beta, because a game like this deserves to be better. Maybe im reading to deep into this, maybe i need to just be patient and wait until more footage comes out? If this were any other game i wouldn't care, but i love what IO Interactive have done in the past and always look forward to there future releases, and i really want want K & L to be great, im sure it will be....or will it?



Prof Membrain

Monday, 24 September 2007

Overkill

We here at Split-Screen consider it our duty to inform you of all the latest gaming news and release dates. So, in light of this, you may want to know that a company by the name of Bungie have a game called Halo 3 coming out tomorrow in America, and Wednesday over here in the UK. From what I gather, Its going to be quite good. It is an Xbox 360 exclusive first-person shooter.

God, all that sarcasm makes me feel dirty.... but really, how can you possibly avoid HALO 3!? Much has been said about the danger of hyping a game so much, and Halo 3 is easily the most hyped game so far. Now usually, I appreciate the sort of enthusiasm associated with Halo fans, I mean, its good to have a passion and to have something entertaining to look forward to. But I can't be alone when I say *meh*. Of course I'm looking forward to it, but is it really going to be as earth-shatteringly good as the reviews and hype-machine suggest? It's doubtful, especially since Bioshock set the bar so high.

My problem is not necessarily with the game, but the furore that surrounds it, in particular, the fact that it dominates over all other games news at this time. Today on Gametrailers.com, I was treated to 15 Halo 3 videos, including the high definition versions, that makes a total of 30 Halo 3 videos! A tad excessive, I think. What I'm saying is that this sort of ram-it-down-your-throat marketing hype overkill isn't good for anyone except Microsoft. When I think about how sophisticated Bioshock is, Halo just seems primitive, with its archetypal characters and predictable storyline. It worries me that something so simplistic will garner so much outside attention and essentially, represent videogames to the wider audience.

In all honesty, I do genuinely enjoy the Halo games and I am particularly looking forward to Halo 3, but I can't help being sceptical of anything that holds such a mass belief of greatness before its even been released. Now I know this all makes me sound like a grumpy dick-hole, so I want to finish by making it clear that I hope I am eating some of my more negative words come Wednesday. See you on Higher Ground.

The Faux-Bot

Sunday, 23 September 2007

No Dead Rising 2? - F**k You

Sorry, I couldn't resist that headline......

I remember pre-TGS, I had got myself all excited for the possibility that Capcom would be announcing a sequel to the massively flawed, but also amazingly good Dead Rising. On their website, they had at least 3 question-marked boxes representing their coming announcements and I was convinced that Dead Rising 2 would be one of them. Sadly, it seems that this is not going to be the case as a interview snippet with Keiji Inafune reveals:



Inafune: I do really want to do Dead Rising 2. It's just still hard to get games for the Western market approved.


Ashcraft: But Dead Rising was a big hit abroad.


Inafune: It wasn't a big hit here in Japan.


Ashcraft: Why is it hard to still get Western geared games approved in Japan?


Inafune: You live here. You know how it is. That's why getting games for the Western market is still a challenge.


(nicked from Destructoid)


So there you have it. I'm more than disappointed about this, I'm angry too. I've often thought that many Japanese game companies seemed to have a really shitty attitude towards Western gamers, and this story cements it. As it was put on Destructoid, would Capcom lose money on it? I doubt it. I know very few 360 owners who don't have a copy of Dead Rising and it is just the kind of game that screams out for a sequel, not because of the multiple endings or the possibility of a continued story, but because there were just so many faults in the first one. The painful saving system, the frustrating malfunctioning events and character appearances and the ridiculously small on-screen text could all be rectified with a sequel. I can't believe it looks as if Capcom are going to pass up such an opportunity. Dicks.

The Faux-Bot

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