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


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
Clip 2 of 3
Clip 3 of 3

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


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, 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

Saturday, 22 September 2007

PS3: Where Art Thou? Part 2

Before writing this piece, I fully anticipated having to really rack my brains to find reasons for me actually being interested in the PS3. I wasn't exactly overwhelmed with ideas, but one game in particular totally sealed the deal. That game is UK Developer Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet. And so, we begin.....

LittleBigPlanet: A mere glance at its surface was all it took for me to be seduced by LBP's overwhelming sense of character. The character design, environments and soundtrack instantly drew me in, clearly sending off the signals that this was MY sort of game. Scoring the trailers with The Go! Team was an instant YES! for me, as they are undoubtedly one of my favourite bands. Aside from that, the rag doll, abandoned-toy characters have a lonely, almost pitiful quality, but this only serves to reinforce their cuteness, almost begging you to play with them. The playful aspect is one that is fully continued by the toy-box environments; giving off the sense that everything is there not for show, but for your amusement and interaction.

The gameplay details confirm everything that LBP's visuals tell me, with the developers placing a large amount of emphasis on the importance of creativity and resourcefulness. I enjoy slaying my virtual enemies as much as any other player, but thinking and writing about games as much as I do, you begin to question why it is that 99% of the games I play simply involve defeating others. By nature I am not a competitive person, so I wholeheartedly welcome any game that places emphasis on co-operation and positive teamwork - not just the kind that involves clubbing together to overcome more enemies. LBP offers players the opportunity to team up to tackle puzzles, collaboratively create their own, or simply share their home-made offerings with the community. This is brilliant and I won't hear a bad word said against this style of gameplay. Dare I say it.....this may prove to be as refreshingly positive an experience as Animal Crossing, at least I hope so.

With the Internet, and by consequence, many other media forms being so heavily reliant upon user-generated content, it is fitting that games should follow suit. We only need to look at Skate's video editor and sharing program: Skate Reel, or the replay editor and Forge Mode that both look to cement years of UGC from Halo 3, to see just how important us users are to the future development of videogames. Aside from our obvious financial input, that is. LBP, with so much importance placed upon user content heralds the coming of a wholly new type of game that can, almost in total, be played using content produced by fellow gamers.

Watch, enjoy and become seduced by an overwhelming sense of fun....

PS3 Home: OK, so its not up and running yet, and there continue to be delays, but sooner or later, PS3 users will be enjoying the Sims/second life-esque HOME; Sony's answer to XBOX Live. Whilst it is the simplicity of Live that makes it so perfect, you can't knock Sony for trying. Sure HOME is ambitious, and no doubt this ambition is the cause of its delays, but Sony are trying to deliver its users with something different, which in my opinion shows a positive change in character for the company. Did I mention that it was free? Yes, no subscription fees will always be welcome.

The idea of HOME is definitely an appealing one, especially when I start to think of the Lobbies being decorated for seasonal events, or big game launches. HOME presents Sony with a world of opportunity and again, seems to lean towards the importance of user-generated content, even if that be as simple as decorating your virtual flat. Point is, this is new, ambitious and full of potential, and I salute them for offering something different to Live. Much of my frustration with the PS3 lies with the fact that it, on numerous occasions, simply comes across as a bigger, uglier and more expensive 360, with far less decent games. It seems now, that Sony are learning their lessons and doing their best to forge a distinctive character for their console, rather than simply always trying to put down the competition.

The price of the PS3 will forever be a barrier to me and I still worry whenever I see a piece of schizophrenic Sony marketing telling me one minute that I could be buying a Blu-Ray multimedia device, and the next minute, that I could be buying the most powerful console on the market. However, these aspects aside, I am becoming genuinely interested in the PS3, and I will watch its development more closely from now on.

The Faux-Bot

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

PS3: Where Art Thou? Part 1

Anyone reading this blog will notice a massive bias towards games featured on the XBOX 360. I thought it was time to maybe reiterate the fact that none of us own a PS3, and the Wii software front is well, a little slow. Put simply, none of us can afford a PS3, but we love games with a passion, so if and when Sony get a decent software line-up, we'll be in the queue with all the other converts. Got it? Good.

On with the story.....

This, as you may have already guessed, is a multi-parter, with the second to hopefully follow tomorrow. Today, I want to focus on just what it is that puts me off Sony's Big Black Behemoth.

Sequels: Is it just me, or do Sony seem to place an incredible amount of stock in their sequels to existing successful games? It seems that the entire backbone of Sony's software line-up consists solely of follow-up titles as opposed to new and original IP's. Devil May Cry 4, Resident Evil 5, a new Ratchet and Clank, a new Gran Turismo, MGS4 and Final Fantasy ummm, 13 are they on now? Whilst these all look like strong, interesting and immensely playable games, it worries me to think that eventually, these series' will run out of steam. Also, what if other developers follow suit with Kojima and make these the final iterations? What will Sony's customers be left with? Don't get me wrong, I love to follow a continuous story and I have no doubt that MGS4 in particular will be outstanding, but I can't help feeling that these aren't exactly 'new-generation' games, but they are just simply re-vamps with new graphics and a few extra tricks. I guess the same could essentially be said of all sequels, and after all, sequels would be redundant if they rewrote the formula to such an extent that they alienated the audience from the previous game. It just makes me slightly nervy to think that you could build a console's whole A-Team line-up on such a volatile type of game.

The other stuff that doesn't really need to be said: I'm going to say it anyway though, if only briefly. It's too damn expensive and there are no good games yet. The Sixaxis is a poorly-implemented attempt to topple the Wii and it's too expensive. Did I mention how expensive I think it is? Just in case: too expensive. I keep telling myself that by this point in the 360's life-span, we were being treated to Gears of War. What are PS3 owners being treated to? Lair? Oh dear. There just seems like there is so little new content to be excited about and it strikes me that most PS3 owners simply went for the sleeker, sexier and more technologically advanced console. Sure, it looks good in your minimalist studio flat, but have you got any games to enjoy on it?

Drake's Fortune seems to be one game in particular that Sony want you to pay attention to. The wild abandon with which they throw around the quote "Gears of War meets Tomb Raider" suggest that for them, this is going to be a big deal. Now, as always, the proof is in the pudding, and for all I know, it may be one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences of my life. But, this is perhaps the most bland and uninteresting game I have ever seen. It looks like the gaming equivalent of Tesco's Value range, or good old No Frills. Well, I like my Frills, thanks all the same. I managed to complete the entire collection of Star Wars Tazos, collected solely from Walkers crisps. The point I am (shambolically) trying to illustrate is that the kids are never clambering for the Value section. They may taste the same, but they look like crap and correct me if I'm wrong, Videogames are an highly visual medium.


Now, that may have seemed a little harsh, but please bare with me. I pride myself on not being any particular brand of fanboy, so please check back tomorrow, or soonish, for part 2: the reasons why I am craving a PS3.

The Faux-Bot

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

PRE ORDER HALO 3!!!!!!!!........just not from virgin....

This is a rant, so all ye who do not wish to be subject to negativity may want to pass?

So i finally get off my arse and realise that i need Halo 3 in my life, after weeks of specualting that Halo was mega but not without issues an Halo 2 just fecked me off outright, i actually go an pre order this (no-doubt) mammoth game. I visted my usual game website to give me the cheapest possible price it can, and low and behold......its only Virgin Megastores!? Now i say this with sarcasm because Virgin (much like HMV) are not known for there cheapness, although there prices have gone down considerably thanks to websites like So i figure hell yea, if Virgins the cheapest then lets go with it?! So i go through the motions, i register with them, email/address/name all that guff, i find the game, pre order, you have successfully completed an order, fuckin gear!.......but conformation email? Hmmm? Ah well, it'll probably be there tomorrow? Still no email huh........hmmmmm..........shit.............

This goes on for a few days, so i try logging on to the site to check its ok? The username or password is invalid. Shit. Ok, lets ask for a password conformation. A day goes by. Still nothing, ok, lets send em a customer enquiry letter. A day goes by. Still nothing.........siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. OK........FUCK IT..........lets ring the customer phone number, an 0845 number.........15 mins go credit runs out.............i phone again............and after 15 mins of waiting i finally get through, it turns out this whole thing was my fault, i hadn't put th l in hotmail when i wrote my email address, all is sorted in the space of 1 min. Im happy again. For about 30 sec. I suddenly get an email from Virgin, a conformation email. Halo 3 i thought, but no, this is........for the Sharpe Collectors Edition DVD Box Set........WTF..............not only do i have a conformation email for this box set (orderd my a Mr Stephen Wise) but i also have his address an order conformation in my Virgin im fuckin pissed......

After a further 15 fuckin mins of waiting again i get through to Virgin, funnily enough to the same guy (who i must point out was very helpful and at no point did i/do i wish tear his eyes out with a spoon). I tell him whats happend, he's confused. He says he'll phone me back. After shitting my pants for a further 15 mins (thinking someone had gotten my details and was ordering historical action dramas) he phones me back, turns out this Mr Wise phoned up too, asking why he hadn't got a conformation email about the box set? All in all for some reason i had gotten Mr Wise's conformation email his address and conformation put into my account.......for no.........fucking..........reason............

Now, im a resonable guy, i didnt shout at anyone, i paid a small fortune to find out i had fucked up only to find out they had fucked up and in the process made me totally shit my fuckin cegs!! I came incredably close to canceling my credit card too! So, its with great sadness that i canceled my order with Virgin and am now going to pay a little more from a more secure website ( anyone). Im not saying this happens all the time, but it happend to me, and royally shit me up, so if you havent guessed so far.........i wouldnt recommed buying from Virgin.

Prof Membrain

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Faux Bot's top 3 sound effects.

Slow news day, innit.

With the aid of Bojack, last night I discovered just how funny I have found particular sound effects through the ages. I won't spoil it by telling you which sound effect set me off, but I quickly realised that I could easily compile a top 3 of sounds that made me piss my pants. So, here we go, with not necessarily the best, but definitely the funniest in-game sound effects.


This one is hilarious. Whenever someone places down a 'pick up 4' card, you are given the option to challenge it. If they had another card they could play and were purely being malicious, then they have to take the cards. However, if you challenge it and they genuinely could only play that card, you have to pick up even more cards! This would normally be very painful, but thankfully, the blow is softened by its accompanying sound effect. Here goes:


2. Call Of Duty 4 MP Beta (XBOX 360)

This shouldn't be as funny as it is, but it took me completely by surprise when playing the other day. Included in the Beta are a number of challenges, which when completed, will give you new upgrades for your created character. Whilst these new add-ons are indeed very cool, the most exciting part for me is the sound effect you get when a challenge is successfully completed. It sounds alot like a diesel powered Fender playing it's first chord with loads of reverb. Here goes:


1. Enemy Zero (Saturn)

This is easily the one that started me off. Never before had I found an individual sound to be so funny. Alot of its hilarity can be attributed to the situation in which I heard it. Bojack was the only kid I knew who had a Saturn and as a child, I spent many a Saturday afternoon sat in front of his TV whilst we played the likes of Guardian Heroes and Fighters MegaMix. One day, Bojack began talking of this "amazing weapon" that he had found in Enemy Zero, and naturally, I wanted to see it. Initially, I was very impressed- the gun was of Doom's BFG proportions and seemed to take half an hour to charge up. Being young and foolish, I was expecting big things for so much charging.......I was cruelly let down. The impressive charging was followed by the most pitiful shot I have ever heard, I mean it sounded like an airgun. So, I present to you, this 2-stage sound effect, that whilst being very disappointing to me, has made me wet myself on a regular basis. Here goes:





The Faux-Bot

Friday, 14 September 2007

My Multiplayer Turn-Around, Call of Duty 4 Shows Me the Light

Ive never been one to care much about online multiplayer games. For me, they've always been an after thought, something extra that came with the game. I guess you could say im a loner, the 1 player experience is always my first concern. This all changed when i got my first look at the Call of Duty 4 MP. Ive been a fan of the series since the begining, playing through COD 1 and 2 on the PC, its been my favorite FP war shooter ever since (excluding COD 3 since Treyarch developed it instead of Infinity Ward and nearly royally fucked up the franchise). Im not saying ive never played OMP before, i have, i just never really cared about it enough to stick with it. But somthing got me really hyped about Infinity Wards latest installment, the perks, the weapon upgrading, ranking, creating a clan, the solid MP level design. Everything for me started to click, this was the OMP i had been waiting for, and christ did i know it. In pretty much every convosation i had with fellow gamers i would add the sentence, "did you check out the COD 4 MP videos yet?". I never talk about MP, not even the incredibly fun (if a little self contained) Gears of War MP. But i was hooked, every day i would try and find out more, and with announcement of the MP Beta i started to cream myself with excitment.

I nearly didnt get a code to play it, was my saving grace. And with a Microsoft update the very day that COD MP became avaliable in Europe stopped me from playing for a further day i was ripping my hair out. So thank christ the day after it worked. An boy was it worth it! I max ranked my character in a few hours and never looked back. This is without doubt the most fun, cool and addictive MP i have ever played! Im 99.99% sure that the single player will be freakin ace, but right now i would buy it based soley on the MP. My eyes are now focused on the MP aspect of games, with Halo 3 just around the corner im brimming with excitment as i never got to play the MP Beta. All i can say is if you've been in the unlucky % who couldnt get a code for the Beta, fear not because when Nov hits we're all gonna be in the same boat, and im looking forward to shooting the shit out of every last one of you! ^_^

Prof Membrain

p.s. check out the MP videos on and start wetting yoursleves.......if you haven't already?

Please welcome Prof. Membrain

Yes, that's right, we have a new member, which means more content, so keep reading! Prof Membrain was beckoned down from his mountain where he had gone feral for some time. After a few months of solid shaving and mental reconditioning, he was exposed to popular culture. He quickly became obsessed and is in danger of exploding if not given an outlet. I have taken it upon myself to allow him into our flock and give him the vent-pipe he craves so much. So welcome and thank you. Please check the new profiles section in the linked blog. It can be found by viewing the splitscreen profile (to your left). Enjoy!


The Faux-Bot

The Green-Eyed Monster rears his ugly head.

I should really know better than to give publicity to jerks like this, but the following story represents something that has frustrated me for a while now. David Jaffe, the guy behind God Of War, has taken it upon himself to post some "Halo Flaming" on his blog. Let me just remind you that Sony likes to make a habit of using blogs for propaganda and sneaky advertising:

Anyway, seems Jaffe and his Medal of Honour Developer (hahaha) mate think Halo is overrated and think that it should go fuck itself. Now, Halo being overrated, may indeed be true, surely it should be granted more respect? I mean, it is an era-defining game, not to mention one with perhaps the largest fanbase of all time. Everyones entitled to their opinion and I wholeheartedly agree that Halo is massively overrated, but to rag on a game for having an interesting advertising campaign, to criticise it for potentially upsetting veterans when your games pillage world wars for source material time and time again. That just seems hypocritical doesn't it?

But the real issue here is that Jaffe seems to think he's cool, to outline himself as some sort of 'Industry Rebel'. Wow, big man, taking down this decade's biggest games franchise. It's alot easier to throw shit at something when the target is this big. I guess being number 2 hurts Jaffe more than he likes to let on. What a bunch of dicks. Hope your games sell well guys and that this publicity helps. xoxoxo

The Faux-Bot

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


Usually I would not admit to this, but I found this whilst searching for a Street Fighter image for my crude attempt at humour below. It appears to be a proper screenshot for the upcoming XBLA Street Fighter 2 HD Remix. It looks jizzworthy I'm sure you'll agree. More soon.

The Faux Bot

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! - THPG goes head-to-head with Skate.

Talk about being blatant. Today, the new demo for Tony Hawk's Proving Ground hit the XBOX Live marketplace. It seems that not entirely by coincidence, that today is also the day that EA's Skate sees its U.S. release. Seems that Activision is keen to remind its fans of just what lies in store if they are still around. Imagine it; the two most popular kids in town decide to have their Birthday parties on the same day. Skate kid, none-the-wiser to the other planned party goes about his business with confidence, knowing that all his new friends will be at the party. THPG kid is furious and at the last minute, BAM! he adds a stripper to his party. He's just shot it up by 10 points, but will anyone come at such short notice? Well, maybe....

In a perfect world we would be able to separate the two games and look at them subjectively, placed at opposite ends of the spectrum. We should be able to view THPG as the arcade funfest that it is; a game brimming with character and colour and one that from the very beginning seeks to offer its players another world; a skateboarding theme park where your wildest skate fantasies can come true. From playing the demo, I genuinely believe that Tony delivers on those promises. Whilst the series' aesthetics have become increasingly gritty since American Wasteland, there is still the undeniably fun and outlandish character that has come to typify the Tony Hawk games. Should Skate never have existed, then Proving Ground would have had the potential to be the best Tony Hawk game to date. However, from playing the Skate demo, many can now see just what can be achieved with a skateboarding game. Skate, quite simply, shows Tony up, gives him a huge wedgie and kicks his arse to the curb.

We can't ignore the importance of the Tony Hawk series, after all without it, we would not have skateboarding games at all. Sure, someone else may have done it sooner or later, but would they have such impeccable architecture from which to build? Skate could not be what it is without looking at the competition and identifying everything that they though was wrong with it. Skate innovates the format and has in turn, created a completely different skating experience, one that i believe to be incredibly close to the real thing, whilst maintaining a fair and rewarding learning curve and the ability to out-perform your real-world self- just as you should be able to in a game. With its down-to-earth realism and sense of reward, Skate makes the Tony Hawk series look redundant and stale. Neversoft can bolt on as many new features as they want, but it will always be shown up by Skate's simplicity. Skate achieves something that very few games ever manage - subtlety. San Vanelona, on the surface, seems as if it was designed with any game in mind. Its sprawling streets, multiple districts and realistic architecture are misleading and refuse to betray the game's identity. But when you are given free roam on a skateboard, you can see potential begin to emerge. Every surface offers new opportunities to those who are willing to look beyond and experiment. When every single building wall doubles-up as a quarter-pipe in THPG, you can see how Skate may be considered as the thinking-man's skateboarding game.

As I said before, I wish that these two games could exist side-by-side, but for me at least, this will never be. I refuse to un-learn my tricks from Skate, or to fall back into the lazy ease of a new Tony Hawk game. I have had years of fun from the Tony Hawk series and I will be sad to see it go under, should Skate prove to truly make it redundant.If you hadn't guessed already, my money is going on EA's offering. What the future holds for the Hawks series, seems uncertain right now, I guess alot of it depends on how much of their fanbase hasn't been converted. If the forums on IGN and Gametrailers are anything to go by though, the Hawkman may have to consider hanging up his board for good.

crude, but effective, right?

The Faux-Bot

Saturday, 8 September 2007

No Crackdown 2: Sad Face

A statement on IGN says that Microsoft missed the boat, not telling them that they wanted a sequel in time, leaving Realtime Worlds to go ahead with other projects. As shitty as this sounds, let us not forget what one of those projects is - the "cops and robbers MMO" better known as APB.

I'll happily say that Crackdown is one of the best games that I have played in years. It always felt like a true playground, one that I could explore at ease with my superhuman agility and strength. I never once wondered what lay beyond the horizon of that game, I was, and still am on occasion, more than satisfied with the amount of freedom offered to me. Whilst the open-ended nature may have left a few scratching their heads, those who embraced it were rewarded with a surprisingly engrossing experience. On the surface, it is an incredibly shallow game, but the hours that I invested in it speak volumes. From experience I know that this is the kind of game that your friends borrow for 3 months at a time.

APB will take the form of a Massively Mutliplayer Online action game. You choose between the directly opposed Criminal Gangs and Police Enforcers, undertaking specific missions and defending your idea of what is 'right'. As a criminal, you will be seeking to gain territory, make money and gain power. As the long arm of the law, you will be charged with the task of maintaining stability and control in the city. Details are still thin on the ground, however the potential is glaringly obvious. As a player, it seems that you can potentially control part of an online city, make it your own and defend it from the rival faction. How difficult will it be to actually maintain control of a specific part of an online community? Is this too ambitious? Surely the more hardcore gamers would simply dominate, leaving casual gamers out in the cold. I doubt very much that this is the case, but I look forward to hearing about the actual structural details of the game and seeing them in practice. We just have to hope that Realtime Worlds get the balance right.

To say that APB sounds ambitious is a massive understatement. If they manage to pull off what the blurbs suggest, then we could be looking at one of the most engrossing games of all time. I've been put off by MMO's before, as I'm not a huge fan of wizards and warlocks and Knights Of The Realm. It's just not my cup of tea. But stylish criminals? Busty sniper cops? Count me in. Right now, all we really have to go on is some character artwork, all of which look superb. As to whether these designs will be reflected in the finished game is yet to be seen and in my experience, its usually a let-down. Nevertheless, the prospect of controlling turf and the potential within that idea is what should carry this game. Imagine holding a section of an online city, controlling its commerce and maintaining its prosperity. Or better still, abandoning the more traditional goals and set out to be nothing more than a vandal. Personally, I would take great satisfaction in purposely causing shit for the more prosperous areas and their gangs. I'm accepting applications for my "faux-terrorist" group now, so get on it.

I have every faith in Realtime Worlds and I believe that APB will be a truly important game. Watch this space for more APB updates as we fully intend to follow its development. Until more details emerge, tide yourself over with this:

Sorry about the small pic. I'm beyond caring now......

More info here:

The Faux-Bot

Thursday, 6 September 2007


So, I heard this rumour the other day, and I guess this goes further to confirming it. Thanks to some investigative work into the PC versions files, it has been revealed that some new downloadable Plasmids are a very real prospect.

Found in the "manual.ini" file, the "Downloadable content announcement" of something called "Plasmid Pack 1" reveals the following message:

Having concluded clinical trials on four new Genetic improvements, Ryan Industries is proud to announce the general release of their newest products:

Machine Buster
Vending Expert
Sonic Boom
EVE Saver

Look for them at a Gatherer's Garden near you!

nicked from Destructoid.

But, I have to ask, is this really necessary? I guess its pretty cool. But after completing the game twice already, its going to be a very, very long time before I go back, because there's not that much to go back for. I'm struggling to see what the new Plasmids would actually add to the game anyway, seeing as only a selection of the originals were useful. It's alot like Winter Blast; sure it's fun, but its not worth using because you get no loot.

At this stage, these new Plasmids seem to be little more than pure novelty. If they decide to charge for these, I think 2K can expect a huge backlash.

I feel quite torn over this matter. Whilst I welcome anything new and Bioshock related, I still feel that this is a pretty poor attempt, and I am anticipating the worst, with them potentially charging for the content, only adding insult to injury. I hope that it works out better than it seems right now. Maybe, just maybe they could find a good reason to get people to go back and play with the new Plasmids. I guess the easy way out would be some new tie-in 360 achievements, but then that leaves the PC owners out in the cold. Bioshock, is without doubt, an incredible game, but also one that has very little replay value. It is an intense and perfectly encapsulated one-player experience, which is why the inclusion of any sort of multiplayer would have been a waste of disk-space. But I can't help thinking, that for a game so full of new and genuinely interesting ideas, the mere bolting on of some new powers just seems, well, a bit of a cop-out.

The Faux-Bot

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Dr. Chez appears in EA's Skate.

I promise to stop going on about this game soon, but today I noticed the infamous Dr. Chez (what?!?! Who's he??! Only an XBOX LIVE LEGEND, YO!) has gotten himself involved. Anyway, it seems his fame has reached such dizzying heights, that his face snuck into a screenshot of the create-a-skater mode. When will it end? Also, hats off to him, what a star.

I bet he got payed mad fat dollaz for dis yo.
The Faux-Bot


The Hype-Pipe is a sort of mind pipe which is filled with hype, as in our excitement for upcoming games. That's pretty straightforward then................


Those of you who have already experienced the ultraviolent head-chomping, vulture slaying extra-terrestrial romp-a-thon that is Alien Hominid will no doubt be aware of The Behemoth's next offering. If you aren't, then spread open your fact-pipe, chum. the best (or worst, depending on how literate you are) way I can think to describe Castle Crashers is as a combination of Alien Hominid meets Golden Axe. It retains the same flash aesthetic of Hominid but the action takes place in a medieval fantasy world. The Behemoth promises four-player co-operative gameplay and from the looks of the screenshots some all out hack and slash comedy slaying fun and spell casting. I think its a safe bet that The Behemoth will retain the same simplicity and rewarding gameplay that made Alien Hominid so addictive. In my mind, this is set to be a sure-fire winner and I eagerly await its release on XBOX Live Arcade. That in mind, let's hope that they deliver some glitch-free Achievements this time (those of you who never opened Missile Mastar know what I mean).

Looking back over what I just wrote, and there's not much there....but this, dear readers (all two of you) perfectly encapsulates what Castle Crashers is all about. Sure, it appears to be incredibly simple, and so, there's not much to write about it. However, the fact that I was so motivated to write this piece perfectly represents the excitement and potential fun -overload that Castle Crashers promises.

The multiplayer aspect will certainly give Castle Crashers much more sustainability than Hominid had, all I have to do now is persuade 3 of my friends to invest in it when it's released. You have the option to play through each level cooperatively, then duke it out between yourselves at the end to decide who gets the princess ^_^ Check it, yo:

I couldn't finish this without mentioning the visuals. I loved Dan Paladin's work on Hominid and they certainly seem to have retained a similar sense of style for Crashers. Look at it! It looks fucking great!!

I'm spent...........
The Faux-Bot

All images copyright of The Behemoth

Castle Crashers Official:

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Say It Ain't So: Skate UK Delay (EA can kiss my balls)

What the fuck is wrong with living in the UK? I mean, why are we always getting shafted by the games industry. Sony barely acknowledges our existence and we are always at the bottom of the chain for releases. See, I can understand delays from Japanese games, because of the translation, but why do so many American games take so long to get released over here? I'm talking to you, EA. I've been hyped about Skate for ages now and I had just got over the fact that the Americans get it on the 12th of September and we Brits had to wait until the 21st. It made no sense, but I dealt with it. And then, today I find that it has been pushed back to the 28th! WHAT THE FUCK?! Just for the hell of it? Just bolt on another week for shits and giggles? Is that how EA marketing execs get their kicks? I guess so, because they must be fucking retarded to release the week after Halo 3. What douche made that decision? "Oh, hopefully people will be finished with the 360's BIGGEST GAME TO DATE in a single week!" Hmmmmm. EA seemingly couldn't give a flying fuck how the game does out here. And that's their problem I guess. It would take so little effort to get a little interest for it in the UK, but they probably have to devote their entire manpower to providing enough smoke and mirrors to make the next FIFA not seem like a half-finished piece of shit.

The UK Skate website hasn't been updated for 3 months! Can companies really get away with being THAT lazy? Apparently so. Maybe they know that the suckers who are going to buy the game are the kind that have been waiting for it so long that no matter how much they get fucked over, they'll still be there, desperate to hand over that 40 quid. Call me a sucker.

Hey! EA! Gimme a job! I could turn around your UK marketing in a day! I know I'm not exactly a prolific Blogger, but I reckon I can manage more than once every 3 months.

Rant over.

More EA HATE coming soon negativity fans!
The Faux-Bot

Monday, 3 September 2007

Bioshock Blowout?!? Don't make me laugh.

Alright, so I'm sorry. It went totally tits up. I didn't really think it out. Then the game came slightly earlier than I expected and I stopped caring about other stuff. I'd love to write an essay about how amazing Bioshock is, but I can't be bothered. What could I say that hasn't already been said. It is a mindfuckingly amazing game. If you've played it, you'll already know this, and if you haven't, stop wasting your time on here and buy it! 10 out of 10, no doubt about it.

As for the week, basically, the only other thing than fan art that I had lined up was some puns, and here they are:



Again, I'm sorry.......

Also, this is fucking awesome and makes anything I would have done, no matter how hilarious I thought it was, look like utter shit. Enjoy.

Pic by Bill Mudron:

The Faux Bot

Halo 3 in Korea. Rub my eyes in disbelief. Then Piss my pants.

Apparently, this is for real........WTF?!?!

The Faux-Bot