Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Games Weigh Up: Looking forward too and Impressions and Criticisms

Games to look forward to, why, and impressions and criticisms/Previews

[Rather a long assed post but that's what happens with lists. Next few will be shorter :)]
I like future games for the ideas that they introduce to this culture. New games try to push new features and break new ground. That's what they should do. Sometime it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's a given now that games will look good, but this is why new ideas which work are so much more important.

Here's a simple list of some games I'm looking forward too, why, and the ideas they tout and also some impressional criticisms of other games.

Looking forward too:

1) Assassins Creed
1. Free Roaming
2. Free Running style game play - analog control of speed.
3. Choose how to approach the mission.
4. Context driven left and right buttons for hands and feet.
5. Secret weapons and sword fighting - context moves for fights.
6. Involving (supposedly) story - all is not as it seems.
7. Obviously great graphics and fluid motion.
8. The producer seems to know whats she's doing.

One of those games that I think might work better with a console controller for once, but as I don't have an xbox360 or PS3 we'll have to wait see on the PC version how the controls translate.

No criticisms on this one.

2) Crysis
1. Amazing Graphics
2. Amazing detail and physics
3. Cool cyber suit with strength/speed/invisibility abilities.
4. On the spot customisable gun sniper/shotgun/machine gun etc

Apart from when first viewed, the videos for this game are becoming less exciting for me. This always happens with me, great looking videos whose excitement wanes over time. Perhaps the hype came out too soon as is often the case. Or the expectant graphic level in my mind has raised on par with current standards. I'm sure it will look amazing up close when running and the awe will be back, but until then. The other thing is it does also seem to be just an updated Far Cry - you get that impression - more beaches and trees, troops standing round in familiar patterns with similar enemy AI - hopefully it will be more than that though and I'm sure it will. I also don't have a high end PC, hopefully that will change, when it does this is one game I would get.

3) Timeshift
1. Good looking though not amazing.
2. Innovative time control gameplay in an FPS.

Rather annoyingly, time displacement grenades was an idea I came up with years ago, roughly 3yrs, I guess they just had the resources to put it in to action back then :) I've already seen some of my other ideas coming out in other games, so I'm sure they occur to people at the same time, it's a natural progression - I'd just like to be the one implementing those ideas my way into games.

I'm downloading the demo now so We'll just have to see how well they did.

4) Call of Duty 4
1. Something of a dark horse as I only heard about it relatively late, but looks amazing.
2. Good fluid motion.
3. Good combat
4. Customisable perks - abilities on the battle field.
5. Large single with multiplayer

1. From the videos: AI seemed a bit dumb in places not using cover when they should and running in the open back and forth. Didn't seem like too much of an issue though, certainly better than other games.

I've been more a fan more of Battlefield 2 and Medal of Honour:AA rather than Call of Duty in the past so we shall have to see how this compares. On it's own the gameplay looks amazing. Definitely one to get.

Impressions And Criticisms
1) Too Human VS Hellgate London
I don't get this one. Why are people supporting Hellgate over Too Human?

Too Human
is not another God of War.
1. Graphics look amazing.
2. Story looks involving.
3. Fighting looks good, may need some issues ironed out though in combos.
4. It's a character evolution game.
5. They are doing some neat trick with the camera so it focus on the in game action up close or far out for the greatest gameplay - this is something most games lack.

Camera - They've actually thought about how the players view the action. Rather than having the camera stuck stationary behind the character, only able to circle,and move in or out when objects are in the way. You wouldn't watch a film from only one camera position, so why do it in games? All games should use this intelligent camera system. Remains to be seen how well it's used, but it's the right idea.

VS Hellgate
I don't get it. While a good idea I was initially excited about. After seeing some videos of the characters moving they look terrible! They look like their walking on the spot like games of old did. The combat looks pretty rubbish as well. I also hate those on screen collectible icons.

2) Heavenly Sword

Initially very excited about, seeing the videos only gave away part of what the game was about. After seeing more videos it's now very apparent. It's obviously the new Ninja Gaiden for PS3. But can it pull it off?

1. It looks amazing.
2. Combos look great.
3. Switchable stances add to the variation.
4. Iconic flame haired main character.

1. If you take a good look at the videos, the AI looks pretty dumb all sync'd up like that. All the characters have syncd moves and breathing - looking at a group of them is like looking at a group of clones. Ninja Gaiden had the same enemy types also, but they all moved individually - each was fresh. And this doesn't have it.
2. AI speech - same as above like they're on trip wires, no intelligence about it.

Games need to create an ILLUSION of intelligence, not necessarily have it. That's why the first Half Life was so good, and later, FEAR with each room thought out and interesting realistic responses from the AI.

3) Universe at War
Looks great, nice ideas in there.

1. Large stomping robots, as an actual moving base.
2. Diversified sides, Nova look interesting with their beaming units around the battlefield and patches. The other side I'm not sure about - what happened to the Humans?

I think it’s better than most people give it credit for – I really don’t want it to be a rehashed C&C though as I didn’t like that franchise too much. The units never looked like they were really fighting, take a look at Dawn of War now to see what I mean. C&C has the same jerky moving and cornering as this as it’s made by the same people, though this seems to be slightly better.

1. While the game looks great - the blooming on weapons fire and hideously clashing colours is OTT.
2. Some unit design doesn't seem that well thought out.
3. Animation on some of the smaller units looks jerky - why?
4. They still have that sharp turning effect which looks really unrealistic.
5. We STILL don't have real melee combat - Dawn of War is the closest any ones got and it looks amazing - but we need something scripted and NOT scripted in close combat to make it look like they ARE fighting.

I’m still waiting for an RTS game to do this. I'm not sure why DOW has not had downloadable extra animations, I know some of those kill signature moves are well timed, but this should be do-able.

Still some room for some of my ideas out there then :)

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Sorry for the absence. Working for corporations where you can't say what you think kinda sucks. Back now :)

Now none of this really matters, nothing to get worked up on but:

Halo 3: it's just a game.
Bioshock: it's just a game.
P-S-3: Just a machine.

One shouldn't get so worked up over such things.

Speaking of corporations: Anyone want to work in a company were you work WITH people not FOR them.

Otherwise, who wants to work in a place where 'higher ups' are always right regardless? Where the Head can be a bully with no come back? Where it's always someone else's fault instead of taking responsibility themselves? Where only their opinion counts? Where they only think about covering their own arses, and where they always have a round of finger pointing, when in fact generally speaking people make errors and unless anything really bad happened it's just not needed. Where regardless of work, and how well it's going, things are all about politics? Not me.

Where you have to start modifying your thinking and behaviour to fit in, till you suddenly realise what you've become. A mindless robot.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

KXCD comic

I can't stop laughing at these comics, start at the beginning (though first few are just drawings). Helps if you're sarcastic and Dark. Brilliant.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sony bangs head with wall, repeatedly.

I don't know what Sony is doing now. I can't decide if they're just using adaptable tactics or if they have ANY overall strategy that they are following. I think they probably did at some point, but it rather feels like they're the old man with the map looking way lost, pointing and saying 'yes but we should be here' in confusion.

Since Kens gone I'm not sure who's running the show. They probably have an entirely different strategy (apart from making money obviously). Lets see, they've re-re-designed the PS2 to make it even lighter, and they've re-designed the PSP. That sounds like they're planning to rely on the back catalog machines for a while for cash while the PS3 takes it's time. That's good and bad, good for doing it, for us, and for saving money and injecting new life in to PSP, but possibly bad for what it means for us and the PS3 strategy.

So the "Price drop" IS really a clearance sale. It depends how you spin it, like anything with different view points, but "clearance" is probably a view based more in objectivism, I'd have to say. Lowing the price of something that's going out of stock permanently. A clearance is a clearance doesn't matter what name it goes by.

EVERYONE can't beeeleive that the $599 point will stick. I feel like Sony is simply waiting for a later announcement when the 60gig versions run out. They were quoted as saying they would evaluate the market then. Er I think it's been pretty much "evaluated" By EVERYONE, a blind Donkey could bray that, I think they know full well they'll drop the 80gig price but are delaying for impact. And if they wait they don't have to drop it twice. Still they better bundle it with something better than Motorstorm, stuff that. They need to get this console out into homes NOW, certainly this new 80gig will be their "Second launch".

Thursday, 12 July 2007

MMO idea.Dragonball Z

You know what would be a really cool idea?

A Dragonball Z MMO.

Why has no one done this?

How cool would that be? Wonder around the world as a super being character, beating the crap out of other super powerful beings. Challange others to fights with a proper fighting system involved. They could even tie the Budokai Tenkaichi series fighting style games in, although tbh I prefer the original SNES games bashing the button to make your blast beat your opponents.

The really cool thing about DBZ series is no one knows how powerful their opponent really is, they have those scanners but not all the time, the anime is full of it, super powerful evil guys, and Super Saiyans who constantly grow in strength every time they fight. They always seem to have some reserves of will or power (there is also that recharge bean they use sometimes) and largely it's all about bluffing when it comes to fighting. That would play really well into a combat game where people roam a world and challenge each other to a fight. And the DBZ world is HUGE. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Ball_Z

Playing world http://www.pojo.com/dragonball/Worldguide.shtml although the story went to other plantes as well I'm sure, as well as a kind of heaven. The story could be any of them from the series, search for the dragon balls, etc it would be cool to have the Sky dragon in there as well.

Anyway thought I'd just throw that one out there. It would be fun designing for that.

New PSP!

There you go I said as much! I really should get a predictions job, how does one get that really..

E3: Sony Announces Upgraded PSP, Limited Edition Packs
"Sony has revealed that a new model of PSP will be available this September in two separate $200 packs, promising faster loading, lighter and slimmer design, and a new display feature to stream video to a standard television."
"The new model is 33 percent lighter, 19 percent slimmer, has a more efficient battery and faster loading times, said Hirai, but, more importantly, has a new display feature.

By attaching a video-out cable and pressing a new "display" button, any PSP display can be broadcast to a standard television, allowing gamers to watch UMD or downloaded video, display photos, or play games on TV."
Wicked, that display feature is what everyone was asking for and couldn't understand why it wasn't there in the first place (I wonder how they will scale movies up, since the resolution is lower I believe on the smaller screen, perhaps films will play scaled down now instead). Go round your mates house plug your lightweight PSP into the tv and if they ever produce two controllers to plug into the PSP (maybe an adapter for PS3 controllers via usb??) you could have a great two player game anytime, everywhere. Well worth getting now then, especially as it's lighter, slimmer, and lasts longer - I've tested those things before and holding one for hours is a pain.

Would be nice if they added a right side analog stick as well but oh well.

Notice they said the loading times are faster, they still have UMD in there, which I thought they would take out (that still fits with in the 2year time line though), I guess they're not ready to do that yet and it makes sense to keep it for the old games people already have. However I really think everything will move over to memory sticks - that's the only thing people use the PSP for. I thought this before but it's also supported by the recent news on the latest firmware having an application to load/play ISO files from memory stick. It's all coming together.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Current thoughts on PS3 price drop and 360 Falcon

Well two things, the PS3 dropped $100 in the states to $500 and is starting to sell, though what the translates to in £ I don't know, as it was $600 there but £400 here, £400 would have been $800 so we were getting ripped off here anyway. Lets assume $500 will be £250 here (which would be a bargain) but I know it will be £300+ don't we all.

Second Microsoft is bringing out the new Xbox360 "Falcon" chipset which is made on a 65-nanometer production process instead of 90. I have to say that actually makes the 360 tempting and I never considered it before. Why? Well we all knew, and you may have heard Mircosoft [semi-] admitted by admission of raising the warranty to 3 years and their open letter of apology, that there is a serious hardware fault with 360s overheating. So the 65-nano is actually the solution, at the same time redesign and cut production costs. I don't think they'll ever release a solution for the original. I wouldn't be surprised if they replace broken 90nanos with 65nano "Falcons". Falcons coming this "Fall".

So without these 360 problems, a growing number of cheaper games via second hand, and online LIVE it's looking a lot better. Still doesn't have the HD-Drive included though lets remember in that price (so add $100?) Then again the Falcon WILL drop price too so maybe drop $100/£50 here, they could even incorporate the HD drive -but- Blu ray is "winning". It may even be a mistake to include an HD-Drive in the Falcon at this point. Worth thinking about.

I got a little bit worried about the PS3 a few days ago before the price drop- it will be a strong beast as I've said in predictions a while back, but it could have been killed in it's infancy. Sony brought out a second SKU, the $600 (I'm going to have to talk in $) with Motorstorm game and an 80gig hardrive, over the 60gig standard. I actually think this is a ploy to get people to buy the 60gig version. Because the new SKU doesn't seem worth it*, and people hearing of the price drop will check out the SKUs and go for the "cheaper" model, as they feel it will be a "Bargain".

*also a foot note: the new $600 80gig model does not have the PS2 emotion chip, but uses software emulation - we already have this in the UK PAL versions, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think hardware solutions run better for the customer, but I imagine it's far cheaper for Sony with Emulation which can probably run everything equally well - if only all the games were supported. With Hardware at least PS2 games would work out of the box.

The high price SKU is not really a great deal because the PS3 hardrive can be slotted out and replaced with ease for a much larger and cheaper drive - it was designed like that, and the game, well you could get it cheaper else where- and maybe you don't want that game. This is what suddenly made me realise the 20gig version was actually really good APART FROM not having HDMI support which was really stupid - or really smart depending if you're Sony and want people to fork out more money (this could also have been a ploy to get people to consider the 60gig version over the 20gig at the time). See if the 20gig version had all the ports and wifi stuff it was supposed to have people could have swapped out the 20gig and put in a 120gig drive. We wouldn't need any other SKUs.

If the 20gig version with HDMI had been around and sold for an initial $500 from the start it would have flown. Now if Heavenly Sword or Killzone 2 (the game that was originally shown off before PS3 was even made) had been bundled that would have been it. As it is I think those two games will be the system selling games for PS3 THIS time round. £250 60gig PS3 bundled with Heavenly sword would be a dream.