Sunday
Oct032010

Nintendo 3DS impressions By Sean B.

We've all been eager to hear updates regarding Nintendo's newest piece of hot, sexy awesomeness - the 3DS. Yeah we know, you're still depressed about that whopping $300 price tag, an amount you might as well use on an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 if you haven't picked one up already. Let's just set this injustice aside for a minute and discuss something more juicy (and we aren't talking about a retro Starbusts commercial).

Remember Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, the exclusive mobile prequel in Japan? Though not officially announced, there's a chance we may experience it on the 3DS. According to claims on Andriasang, Square Enix Producer Hajime Tabata recently stated (via Twitter) "If I were to make something for the 3DS, I suppose it would be a remake of Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII. I'd redo the scenario structure and game design for the 3DS. I think I'd like to make an action RPG BCFF7 where a large number of Turks players play simultaneously."

Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase have also expressed interest in working on a remake, making it more of a potential reality to come. Tabata also claims that outside of his current endeavors, including The 3rd Birthday (PSP) and Final Fantasy Agito XIII (PS3), his next project will probably be a High Definition title, meaning a 3DS Before Crisis would still be pretty far off. Regardless of how many months or years we'd have to wait, it's still pretty nice to imagine a legion of ShinRa Turks charging into an epic battle on a portable Nintendo console - in 3D.

Thursday
Sep302010

PPR 29


We are a week early on this episode of Press Pause Radio and for very good reason. Episode 29 is a star-studded event that is so huge, it could barely be contained in our bi weekly schedule. We welcome special guests Drew Zimmerman of the now defunct Pixel Dreams podcast, Steve Black Jr. of The Pokémon Podcast and Ray Barnholt of 1up.com, as well as the Retronauts and Sound Test podcast.  We at Press Pause Radio are truly humbled to have such great guests, and it was truly a pleasure to record with them all.

On this week's episode we will discuss more news from the Tokyo Game show and current events, Serraxor has a review of SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu- Goddess of Destiny for the Nintendo DS and we hear from the listeners in a segment we like to call Select Feedback. The featured topic is all about the resurgence of retro or old-school games. It's safe to say that classic games from our past are not only popular once again, but have ignited a new trend in gaming. Our guests weigh in on the "neo-retro" craze and discuss why it has become such a success. As always feedback via our iTunes page or through our voicemail is greatly appreciated. Thanks once again to our guests for making this show a great success.

PPR Episode 29

Sunday
Sep262010

PPR 28

 

On this weeks episode of Press Pause Radio we welcome our newest contributing writer Sean to the microphone to discuss recent news from PAX and the Tokyo Game Show. PPR fan and Halo aficionado Corey Kidd also guest stars to talk about Halo Reach, and the entire Halo series. Discussion includes Bungie's history and future after Halo, and how Halo has impacted an entire generation of first person shooters. Feedback for the show is greatly appreciated, as well as ratings on our iTunes page. Enjoy!

PPR Episode 28

Saturday
Sep252010

New Wiimote with Motion-plus integrated coming soon by Sean B. 

Word has been spreading of a new Wii controller that will have the Motion Plus add-on built in to the bottom of the remote. I think I speak for a lot of gamers (including PPR of course) when I say we're not that surprised.


The zany folks at Kotaku were among the first to discover a game titled FlingSmash listed on Gamestop's website as part of a "Wii Remote Plus" bundle. This is apparently a move (no pun intended, honestly) Nintendo has been looking to make for some time, as they also submitted a modified remote to the FCC back in 2008 - possibly a prototype? Kind of strange that Nintendo didn't just stick with this the first time around, or was this simply another blind quest for general profit? Think about it, the only consumers who really benefit from this are procrastinators like me who only have two Wii remotes, or those who are entirely new to the console. As for the family who actually invested in four remotes and four individual add-ons for each remote, screwed again. I personally love Nintendo, but I seriously believe they need to stop finding ways to reinvent devices we're already happy with and start focusing on other competitive edges.
 
As for FlingSmash, there isn't much more we can say at this time. It's a Wii game where you'll fling the remote in order to smash objects, an unfortunate experience some younger children and elderly gamers have already taken part in. The biggest difference is not screaming or crying after realizing you'll have to replace an $800 television, followed by a (hopefully) friendly reminder for grandma to tighten the strap next time.

 

Thursday
Sep232010

PPR's Bioshock Infinite impressions

 

So with Project Icarus being revealed to be Bioshock infinite, the trailer was enticing & consice all at once but it had left several questions that came to our minds as we watched the trailers over & over again. Before we anaylize what we have seen & go over the two trailers we were treated to by 2K & Irrational, I want to touch on something that really struck me when Ken Levine was first approached for interview by different facets of Game media after the initial trailer reveal. The main issue that most found & even I also found a  bit myself was that the name Bioshock was there to brandish itself again in the title, was there a significance as to why this Game is involved with the Bioshock namesake or Rapture? Andrew Ryan? Is this Irrational's way of holding on to a successful IP without any risk of commercial failure?
According to Ken Levine various interviews, he just came off very coy on whether or not the game was a precursor or link or if it would even exist in the same universe at all as Bioshock & Bioshock II did. His intention was to leave it all up to initial interpretation by all gamers interested but dissecting what I have seen I feel that the name Bioshock is simply there as a template for an intended formula of what to expect with the experience that you'll have the same way that Final Fantasy does with no real link to it's previous games. where the I notice these patterns that suggest a formula that would suggest the theory I have concocted with the use of the Bioshock name can be seen immediately, Infinite takes place in a completely surreal setting with evidence pointing to Rapture being an underwater city at the bottom of the ocean & Bioshock Infinite taking place within the city of Columbia floating above the clouds in the sky that would never be imagined to have ever be able to exist & it does in this isolated & seclusive state that almost suggests this private & elitist requirement of passage into this society that upholds to a philosophy laced within a governed yet not governed dystopian mindset the way Bioshock used Objectivism, & Bioshock Infinite dabbles in the ideas of exceptionalism. The last significant similarity was the rather  large hulking & nearly unstoppable creature that you encounter more then once in the game as it you confront for the sake of saving a hostage-like character. In prior Bioshock titles it was the focus of saving the little sisters & having a Moral system behind it with how you progress, in Infinite there's a reoccurring main character by the name of Elizabeth who plays the role of the "damsel in distress" however she is not as helpless as I just made her sound which I will discuss in the trailer I will post below which incited this same feeling that I encountered in the ventures that I had with Gordon Freeman & 
Alyx in Half Life 2.

So leaving the debut trailer & now venturing more into the newest Gameplay trailer that was just released around the Internet yesterday, the aesthetic is clearly ever so present in the pacing & animation of the trailer displaying the anticipated gameplay reveal which never felt stale at all, the attention to detail & accuracy of it's display of exceptionalism with the slow zoom out of this mural portraying the philosophy instilled to the denizens of Columbia reading "It is our holy duty to 
protect against the foreign hordes" & then you're character exclaims that he needs to find Elizabeth & as he travels in what baffled me in this weird display of self-abnegation as these citizens attempt to continue their everyday daily lives while this brewing pot of growing chaos & signs of disaster slowly starts growing through out the trailer, seeing people remorselessly clinging to routine while shit gets fucked all around from the old man riding a horse & buggy missing a wheel as it loudly scrapes against the ground & this then once floating city island crash against your floating city island & it slowly descends below to it's doom & again, a woman then sweeping her front porch in front of the building that completely set fucking ablaze & she continually keeps sweeping as if all is well in the street of Columbia. so onward you go in your trek to locate Elizabeth. As you travel further here's where you get this sense of combat being displayed in front of you, picking a gun from the barrel in the Gazebo in the free thinking & free speak radical who spouts on & on about the basic ideals of exceptionalism 
which is much more stressed in the game that I have noticed just from all of the images & messages through the trailers in the tour of Columbia you're given & the talk that Irrational has given through various interviews about how Columbia embraced these ideals beyond gospel & are slowing their descent into chaos. while the combat ensues you're then attacked by the first 
mystical & magical attack being the closest thing to plasmids that you witness with a flock of attacking crows swarming at you as you witness the main character try to steady off the shots he fires in hope of thwarting Charles as the antagonist so brashingly called him & as the moment was seized, you see the main character sprint forward & melee him of the railing of the island as he fell to his death against the one of the mainly dangling monorail cars within Columbia & that presented to me one of the most needed improvements of the Bioshock franchise was melee options then more then one weapon, countless times I saved from the trouble of going into a needless fire fight when I could have easily dealt with my foes via blunt force trauma to their doomed fucking heads with my giant monkey wrench so seeing this happen with the butt-end of my gun & then watch as he was a distant smear. I then picked up the concoction that was dropped & I did with the first use of Telekinesis which it then gave me another Plasmid-like power that I was once combating earlier against Charles with the murderous swarm of crow & then the antagonist escapes in a most perplexing way that probably took me back the most.

The antagonist then hops away with a strange contraption that he slides through out his sleeve & then start zipping & sliding away on the same monorail system in this rapid form of transport like some sort of make-shit steampunk spiderman maneuver & from afar, you then see him reappear through the zoomed in view of your rifle scope firing a cannon at you & destroying the 
same gazebo he was preaching in moments before the conflict. As the main character starts picking grunts off one by one, the player then goes into a cut scene where brandishes the same monorail contraption & you hop on & zip in the same fashion through the monorail & as you are careening through the railed path you then jump to the next rail in another spiderman-Esq maneuver to continue forward to the next venture & enemies also start zipping at you as you repel one with a melee weapon & the camera crawls into a slow motion to for you feel the impact his body makes against the building to where he then makes to where the cannon was but then stumbles into a nearby building for safe cover & realizes that he just stumbled into a pub where again you see all of these men drinking away in this state of denial hidden away in the phoniness of their good cheer until the main character is then again incline to use his Telekinesis power which he used to take the shotgun away from his foe which again is a new addition to the gameplay that I was not expecting as the most you would be able to do is just manipulate singular inanimate objects or propelled projectiles but never has the ability to take a weapon been done before. As the main character then fights off the enemies within the bar, he then encounters the same cannon again in which he escaped before, the cannon then fires directly at the main character in which he catches the missile in mid-air through his telekinesis & fires it back at the cannon overall showing off a much more fine tuned physics engine in which I feel Irrational has really outdone themselves this time. 
The amount of enemies that then appear on the screen is insane & the last thing about the trailer I want to touch on is when you finally encounter Elizabeth while you're fending off the angry citizens of Columbia & around this time you witness the main character display another familiar plasmid like power which would be the lightning  as you shock the enemies before 
shooting them down, Elizabeth then conjures up a Thunder cloud & as you shoot it with your electricity the cloud showers lethal lightening upon all of your foes reducing them to static corpses along the roads. The main character then continue to fight on through the streets where you witness another bout of teamwork to where Elizabeth takes all of the metal objects around her & creates this miniature meteor that the main character then takes with Telekinesis & shoots forward which brought up several different questions to mind as again, something has been done like this before with Freeman & Alyx, what does Irrational plan on doing to innovate this amazing mechanic littered with potential, would there be any CO-OP suggested through 
this? I can only imagine what kind of relationship gameplay could be involved especially when the escort isn't helpless but becomes a valuable asset to your very survival. The character then come across the last familiar theme displayed in Infinite. This Big Daddy-Esq character comes at you much harder & stronger then any of Rapture's Bouncers or Rosies ever did & again through team work involving the environment, the bridge was collapsed with Elizabeth using a power similar to the 
mutant Gambit from the Marvel X-Men series & makes the top beam support of the bridge in which your foe is waiting on highly explosive & with the main character's telekinesis controlling an actual cannon head he throws towards the glowing area & 
explodes the support along with desperate shots to knock the Goliath down only to witness another Goliath that ends the insanity of the trailer that we all just finished watching.
So that being said, I have laid my impressions & thoughts towards Irrational games latest & we will be discussing it in the newest upcoming episode, so go ahead & let us know what you thought?! write us messages or comments through the usual contacts or just give us a voicemail at 209-566-0190 & stay tuned for the newest episode because it's going to be epic!
-GeorgieBoysAXE
Sunday
Sep192010

Celebrating the Italian Plumber's 25th by Sean B.

If you're a fan of Nintendo's iconic Italian plumber, there's a good chance you've wanted to see a remake of Super Mario All-Stars on the Wii's Virtual Console. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing like the satisfaction of using cartridges on an archaic system, but this doesn't change the fact that most folks don't have access to these units anymore, and that fishing around for "abandonware" can be highly annoying if you're not naturally into retro game hunting. And yes, there's obviously more money in releasing individual titles for five bucks a pop, but time has passed, we've downloaded our favorites out of the bunch - we're still hungry for more nostalgia. Who else can remember the excitement of hearing Nintendo was releasing an enhanced 16-bit version of every classic Mario game on a single SNES cartridge?


It's felt like an eternity, but it looks like Nintendo will be answering the prayers of many hungry gamers. We were excited to learn that a 25th Anniversary Collection of Super Mario Bros. was announced to hit stores in Japan as soon as the 21st of October. That's right, all four classic Mario games enhanced with 16-bit graphics - this is the classic Mario compendium we've all been screaming for. The best part is that Instead of a download on the Virtual Console, we'll have ourselves a nifty collection on a physical disc, in a limited edition box with a history guide devoted to the life and development of the franchise. Fans who get a hold of this set will also be treated to a musical soundtrack including songs from Super Mario Galaxy 2. 



One can only wonder what else they could have done with a little bit of time. For example, imagine a remake of the original Mario games with the graphics of New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. Another possible idea would be to make multiple volumes containing different Mario games aside from the obvious classics. It's Nintendo we're talking about here, so we could probably pull ideas out of our 8-bit asses all night. Most people might see this as another opportunity for Miyamoto and Iwata to "print money", but as a long time Mario fan myself, I see it as the perfect addition to any classic gamers library. Even the history book and soundtrack CD are enough to make this package an appealing piece of pixel infested bliss in a box. For now we'll just have to cross our fingers and hope this anniversary collection quickly makes its way to other regions including North America, Europe and Australia.

Thursday
Sep162010

PPR's E3 2010 Impressions: Sony

 

Ok so I know this all seems very stupid & I possibly not even worth posting because of all the time that was spent with it  not being posted & it being months after E3 but after the death of my PC & the fact that I thought that I both  needed to post up those impressions & it gave me another chance to rewrite the impression I said "what the hell" & decided to  write it all up yet again & recap on what good ol' Sony had in store us when E3 was high-lighting the future of the  Playstation brand's ventures so let us begin with Jack Tretton glorifying his image on the stage introducing the Keynote.


So as Jack Tretton walks out on stage, the first thing that Sony presents was not a presentation on a new game but Touting  how it plans to be the number one platform in everything it can do, that it can the console that can be enjoyed for any  member in the family where it can be both the Casual & hardcore gamer's console for video games & beyond as it wishes to  become a leader in "interactive entertainment" which kind of introduced me back into the familiar ground where Sony need to  indulge within transparent gloating but then Kazi Hirai came on to the stage & spoke of Sony planning to be the leader in 3D  gaming...& well you all know how I exactly feel about that being as again there's next to little no market in 3D games as I  have again & again mentioned low accessibility that it has to offer as well the ridiculous investment that comes along with  admission of "3D" visuals of future home entertainment.The first game that they debuted with the gimmick of 3D was Killzone 3  which the producers came to explain that the game is considered a live demo version of what is still considered to be  unfinished & they they were instructed to place their glasses upon their face & "immerse" themselves within the experience  which to be fair, it's not something that you can accurately get an impression of from webvideo coverage off a PC monitor  that doesn't support 3D imagery the way sony wanted me to experience it or the fact tht I didn't own a stupid fucking pair of  glasses. From what I was able to witness in the demo in the fight against the Helghast. the action & Gameplay all seemed very  tight & smooth which I would expect from the franchise but I again did not see the appeal of the possibility of the 3D.  Granted again I was not there to truly experience it but I can damn sure point out that there was absolutely no real change  or enhancement to the gameplay whatsoever, I mean I'm not one to downplay the importance of immersive visuals but the entire  affair of 3D feeling like an extra gloss of paint with the possible investment of finances driving you to open up a second  mortgage...I just don't personally see the appeal & even as non-biased gamer looking in, I will give it a chance if Sony  looks to make this accessible but they're not known for that which is what again adds on to the trouble of this entire  ordeal. As Killzone 3 demo then finished we were treated to a trailer of games that will be the lauch lineup for the  Playstation 3 3D game line up with big titles being Kilzone 3, Gran Turismo 5, The Sly Collection, & Crysis 2 along with a  slew of other with move support as well, got to hand it to Marketing on the flashy trailer for showing a montage of scenery &  action that pimps out the 3D visuals only showcasing the flash over substance verdict I gave it during Killzone 3, though I  have mention that "Brooklyn is Burning" By Head Automatica was an awesome decision by Sony PR but I'm a sucker for Daryl  Palumbo so not much else to say there. Tretton then came back out on the stage & touted the history of Playstation being as  it's upcoming 15th birthday (which recently took place now because again this is how late these fucking impressions are) &  then Tretton finally spoke of Move, here's where Sony then shows off it's intention to innovate & deliver in Motion control  for video games.


Peter Dille approached the stage & demonstrated the components & path of The Playstation Move in action since it's reveal  earlier in 2010 along with final chosen name. as I began watch video, the big hook that Sony was promoting with Move is it's  one to one precision, which in their subtle trash talk to the wii & it's games being able to just use waggle, I love how they  didn't address how the Wii has already have games using the Motionplus enhancement which does the same thing, & then the huge  emphasis on the Move wand sporting buttons...I went to go hold my Wiimote just to make absolute sure that I wasn't stupid &  indeed confirmed that...the Wiimote also has buttons...four major ones & the then the - & + so I guess I'm missing something?  The first game debuting Move came to be known as Sorcery, a very Harry Potter-esque game which seemed derivative in  appearance, however the control display was quite immaculate & soon I was realizing the "one to one" ratio that Sony kept  sublimably dropping & that there seemed to be no issues with the demonstration unlike the Motionplus display for Skyward  Sword which was met some abysmal technical difficulties which I again complete acknowledge because of the wireless interference  with the tech involved with the Wii but I soon began to witness what I wanted from motion control, an evolution beyond  "waggle". Kinect may be innovative in theory but the terrible execution of both visible lag of response motion input & lack of  response to me sitting down really ruins any interest I have in it.The sorcery game seemed interesting enough as well,  I enjoyed the different movement they implemented within the power switching & the balance that was kept in mind to keep it  fresh & innovative but not too complex enough to where it prevent any accessibility. Tiger Woods 11 was then demonstrated &  then again I was impressed with the accuracy with Move, with the promise of Move being patched for certain games that you  wouldn't expect it to come to like Heavy Rain, Socom 4, & Little Big Planet 2. The Braveheart speech from Kevin Butler was  amusing but just more of the bloated advertisements that I have come to grow tired of. Bashing on the competition worked for  Sega & no one else...it's the truth.


The PSP coverage came into play from this point with more of the pretentious advertisements I spoke of but with "Marcus  Rivers" leading on about PSP will be the revolutionary platform to strive to come out on top & honestly, I do have faith in  the PSP, but simply just to stick around & provide me games I can enjoy fitted for it over the DS which believe it or not but  there has been such games. Like the success of the PSP however, so came the weak presentation of games seen available in the  coming months from Sony & it's respective second parties & third party high-lights. So before I move on may all of the  obscure & niche JRPG developers & publishers keep the PSP alive as they have given it one of it's few edges against the  competition. Invisimals was the only thing that peaked my interest for what was offered in PSP software future, but this is  2010...cumbersome perpihal attachments for what is supposed to be my sleek all inclusive handheld just irks me off of this  path as I feel we have come a long way since the Gameboy Camera. after some showcasing of numbers & feature of existing games  that have been released already (Sony apparently missed the point of what exactly you should be showcasing at an E3 event?).  Little Big Planet 2 then came into play & it really looked more of the same which isn't necessarily a bad thing as I enjoyed  the experience I had with Little Big Planet but it's seriously so much more of the same, I would warrant what was showcased  as a full blown sequel as nothing more then inflated DLC, the only thing I saw that was different enough to turn my head was  mini-games, the game mechanic I have literally grown so tired of as it has been done beyond the point of saturation & is now  blatantly annoying mind you unless it presents some thing so innovative that it justifies it's placement into the game in the  first place. The long rumored Playstation premium online service was debuted as Playstation Plus. which after reviewing the  benefits of service it sounds promising as it sounds with access to downloads of Minis & PSOne classics, none of it is yours  to keep...it's just a glorified streaming service where you essentially rent with an monthly or annually content that will  leave when you discontinue the service, as well as the fact that the playstation Plus doesn't enhance or otherwise improve  existing online multiplayer lobbies like Uncharted 2 or Little Big Planet with extra moves or discounted DLC so, until I  again get to try this service out (which is out & I have yet to try so) I'm not completely sold on this service & I'll have  to play the wait game. I also enjoyed the Dead Space 2 surprise expose with inclusion of Dead Space extraction having Move  Support was really refreshing, I hope that inclusions or similar tactics used in the future with PS3 releases being as Move &  traditional control to where it's not forced down my throat like Kinect or Wii.

Last couple of big announcements that came about was Gabe Newell appearing on the stage to et all the crow he deserves to eat  for all the animosity he shared with the Playstation 3 as a viable platform & then not only did he then come out announce  Portal 2 being available on PS3 but he also announced that it will be considered the superior port amongst the other platform  releases & then as he continue to explain that there will be a Steam service available exclusive on PSN that would steam  cloud with Steam & PSN, very vague details but quite possibly the best thing going for Sony as they can provide the Steam  experience through a console & helps those who have their PC's with the potency of prize found in a cereal box (me) & they  can get in on an entirely different community from the same console & still participate in the same community of friends  they've built on PSN which is awesome beyond imagination because again it really does add some weight to the goal of having  the PS3 cater to everyone which I can honestly say I'm looking forward to. The last event was David Jaffe coming out to  display more crow eating with all of the denials of the new Twisted Metal, with a very theatric display of Sweet Tooth  driving out on stage in his Ice Cream truck, it made me smile to think that E3 was capturing back that old feeling it evoked.


So that's it, those all of my impressions, I apologize for how late this one came to be but again as you've heard on the show my computer died & went to Dinosaur hell, I had to perform several voodoo dances & animal sacrifices to pump my PC back into the land of the living & I have brought to you this last article, also I have the TGS impression write up real soon, thanks guys. again any comments or feedback? call the voicemail at 209-566-0190 or register on our forums & post on the TGS thread I posted. Thanks again guys, stay tuned for PPR#28 this weekend!

 

Saturday
Sep112010

Games club end: A retrospective on Limbo by Sean B.

 

This year's Summer of Arcade from Xbox LIVE has been packed full of satisfying titles, including a heavy dose of nostalgia from games like Castlevania: Harmony of Despair and Hydro Thunder Hurricane. Regardless of their success and popularity, one has stood out in front of the others, both as an innovative platformer and as a first submission from a new studio in town. The title is LIMBO from Playdead, a game of searching, puzzle solving and survival.


As you take your first steps through the dark and obviously gloomy setting LIMBO has to offer, one of the first things you'll probably ask yourself is "what in God's name am I doing in this place, and how in the hell did I get here?" All you really know is that you're looking for your sister, and she's lost somewhere in this horrible purgatory of darkness. As you set out on your adventure, there's no limit to what you'll find. That's one of the greatest things about this game, toying with your curiosity within the first few minutes of playing, also discovering that anything and everything could be your undoing. Traps, elements, potential savages from who knows where, there's really no telling what you'll encounter or how you'll handle it the first time around. In some instances, I even found myself being scared shitless - or at least freaked out to the point of checking my own darkened room or giant spiders before bed.

As the first hit from a studio comprised of two obviously talented individuals, I think I speak for a great deal of gamers when I say that LIMBO is pure genius. Each and every puzzle has you guessing what's going to be around the next shadowy corner, especially since the only way to solve most of them is by dying first. And to add insult to a great deal of injury, each death is more gruesome than the last, forcing you to either drop your jaw or chuckle out loud (depending on who you are) every time you see the poor kid get maimed on the screen. One tip I'll even give to newbies, don't go thinking he actually knows how to swim.


There's almost no limit to who or what can kill you in the world of LIMBO. If it weren't for the title of the game, I'd go as far as thinking this were hell as opposed to the shadowy cracks and crevices in between. No, this is an imaginative portrayal of a lost world of those who may have once had souls, a world of absolute chaos and darkness, a world of utter nothingness that can only be described as LIMBO itself.