Monday, June 27, 2011

Chiming in . . .

My love affair with L.A. Noire has gone sour.  A few days after my positive impressions post, the "newness" veil was lifted and the game began to feel far more linear and formulaic.  The gameplay elements that were fun and unique, such as examining crime scenes and chasing down the occasional fleeing suspect, became redundant when it turns out poor detective skills don't really affect the outcome of a case (aside from a poor star rating) and every other "suspect" thinks it is a good idea to run from the law for seemingly no reason.
Since then I have taken plenty of time between play sessions (sometimes more than a week) and in small doses that game can still be enjoyable.  But it is not as impressive as I once thought it was.  The tech and atmosphere is still absolutely fantastic though, so the game has that going for it.
As part of Sony's "Welcome Back" program I picked up Dead Nation and Wipeout HD for the PS3 and Killzone and ModNation Racers for the PSP.  I've only dabbled slightly with Killzone (first time I have powered on my PSP in over a year) and the game is interesting, but I am sure it was far more impressive with it was released like four years ago. I'm only about three missions in, so I'll reserve judgment.
I haven't touched ModNation Racers or Wipeout yet, but I have spent a good amount of time with Dead Nation.  What can I say, I am a sucker for zombies.  The game is a lot of fun and it can be incredibly tense sometimes.  In fact, I find it is also good in small doses (one level at a time), but not because it begins to get old (like L.A. Noire) but because you are on edge so much while playing it that you need the break to relieve the tension.  I'm hoping for a sequel and I'm only halfway through this first one.
But the bulk of my time over the last week or so has been spent watching Arrested Development.  I've had this series on my Netflix queue for years it seems but I never got around to watching it.  Word of mouth (from the small minority that obviously watched this show) has always been fantastic, so I kept saying I would get to it.  Well I finally did (thank you instant watch) and I gotta say, the show is even better than I expected.  What a shame that this series could not find an audience, because it is absolutely hilarious and original.  The cast is fantastic and the writing is spectacular.  I find myself not being able to watch less than 3 episodes everytime I sit down to watch it.
Do yourself a favor.  Watch this show.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quick E3 thoughts

- PS Vita.  Won't comment on the name because I do not think there has been a single videogame device released where I have liked the name initially.  They all become second nature by the time they are released.  Anyway, its $249.99 price point is pretty amazing.  I am sure Sony is taking a loss at this price, but it is all win for the consumer.  $299.99 for the 3G version is also not a bad deal.
- While we're on the subject of names, I give you the "Wii U".  Just like with the Wii, the console itself is not the star, the controller is.  The Wii U controller is big.  Like, very big.  Looks like a tablet with analog sticks.  It promises to do many things, I just don't know if I want to do those things when I play my games.  I'll reserve final judgement until I try it myself.  I recall everyone thinking Nintendo was crazy when they showed off the Wiimote for the first time, but 5 years later they clearly got the last laugh.  Nintendo IS crazy.  But sometimes they are crazy smart.  We'll see.
- The new Tomb Raider reboot looks promising.  They may want to consider cutting back on Lara's grunts and groans during gameplay though.
- Halo: Anniversary.  I was actually hoping for a full-blown remake of Halo: Combat Evolved using the Reach engine and including many of the gameplay improvements the series has seen over the years.  Looks like this remake is running off the exact gameplay engine of the original, but is using two of the original's graphics engines simultaneously for the upgraded visuals.  One cool thing is that you can switch between the original and enhanced visuals on the fly with the press of a button, like with the Moneky Island remakes.  I'll probably pick this one up as long as it is not full-price.
- Halo 4 was announced.  I knew this series would continue, but since Halo 3 ended that "trilogy" and storyline, I assumed any new games would sport a new title.  I guess that was silly of me, considering the clout and recognition the name "Halo" has.  I wonder if Halo 4 will even have halos in it!
- The Resistance 3 demo they showed at the Sony press conference looked pretty weak to me.  The game seemed totally uninspired and uninteresting to me.  I've never been a fan of this series though, so your results may vary.
- Uncharted 3, on the other hand, looked phenominal.  Granted, gameplay-wise I am not expecting anything different, but I'll be damned if Naughty Dog does not know its way around the PS3 hardware.  Looks like they are trying to take back the "best graphics on a console" crown from Killzone 3.  The visuals were amazing and the processing power at play to generate the movement of the ship (which from what I understand is all real-time with actual physics at play, not some canned animation) is extremely impressive.
- Rayman Origins looks absolutely gorgeous.  One of the most vibrant games I have seen in recent memory.  I really hope this game is sucessful and brings forth a slew of 2D games using these powerful consoles to display truly breathtaking 2D visuals.  And good God can someone PLEASE release a remake of Out of this World and Flashback with enhanced visuals like this?  PLEASE!!!!
That's all for now.  I still have plenty of more media to see.