Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Quick thoughts on Crysis 3
I've been rummaging through a gorgeous New York City filled with lush vegetation, rivers and swamps in Crysis 3. Here are some thoughts on the game.
This is a beautiful game, as it should be since developer Crytek is known for pushing the limits when it comes to graphics. It's one of the best-looking games on the Xbox 360, and no doubt it's even better on PC. I did run into some frame-rate issues and audio bugs during cut scenes, but they went away after installing the game.
Crysis 3 can be played a couple ways. Those who enjoy the rush of combat will find a great assortment of weapons to blast away enemies. If stealth is your thing, the Predator Bow lets you dispatch foes in one shot while staying cloaked. However, going this route kind of breaks the game and makes it easy to beat. Luckily, tougher difficulties are unlocked from the start.
Denard Robinson could be on the cover of NCAA Football 14
Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, a very polarizing athlete, could grace the cover of NCAA Football 14. EA Sports is hosting the contest, and Denard is part of the final two along with Ryan Swope from Texas A&M. Currently, Robinson is in the lead. Voting continues through March 8.
If "Shoelace" wins, he'll move into the NCAA Football Cover House with Robert Griffin III, Mark Ingram and Tim Tebow, among others. I suspect most college football fans will laugh at the idea of Denard on the cover. He was a human highlight reel against cupcake teams, but when it came time to show up for the big games he didn't do so hot. But when you rely on fan-voted contests, expect the unexpected.
I've been slashing enemies with Raiden's trusty blade in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Here are some thoughts on the game.
The Metal Gear Solid franchise is known for its stealthiness, but this
exciting spinoff is all about action thanks to Platinum Games, the
developers of Bayonetta, Vanquish and the most recent Anarchy Reigns.
This isn't really a button masher, either. In later
stages of the game, you'll have to master the art of parrying and
counter attacking to get the upper hand on your foes. It's real fun and
the controls are tight.
The campaign is short, which is typical of these types of games. It can
easily be beaten in a day's time, and I think the story could have been
expanded with more levels without the risk of being categorized as
Sony officially unveils PS4; coming this holiday but no price announced
To no one's surprise, Sony officially announced the PS4, their next home console releasing this holiday, during an event in New York City. The conference was filled with all kinds information from specs to game footage. The funny thing about it is they didn't actually show what the console looks like, but I'm sure it's going to look like a thin box of some sort.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
The powerful system will feature 8 gigabytes of GDDR5 RAM; a DualShock 4 controller with a touch pad that will also interact with a PlayStation Eye device; the ability to resume a game when turning on the system; and being able to play a game even while it's still downloading off the PlayStation Network. A share button lets a player upload video game footage to social media networks. What is most likely an effort to boost struggling PS Vita sales, Sony plans to have PS4 games be playable on the handheld. I don't see that catching on since someone would have to shell out $250-$300 for a PS Vita, unless Sony finally decides to cut the price.
Gaikai will play a big role in PS4's future by allowing all PS1, PS2 and PS3 games to be streamed via cloud technology. I assume this will take a while to implement and will not be available at launch, and will also cost some money to use. If it works out as Sony hopes it does, this could be huge incentive to purchase the system.
Game footage included "Knack," an action platformer starring a charming little robot; "Killzone: Shadow Fall," a colorful new shooter; "Drive Club," a racing game that focuses heavy on social features; "Infamous: Second Son," another game in the popular action series from Sucker Punch; "Deep Down," an impressive looking fantasy game from Capcom; "The Witness," a 3D puzzle video game by Jonathan Blow, the maker of "Braid"; "Watch Dogs," the much-hyped open-world Ubisoft title shown at E3 last year; another Final Fantasy game from Square Enix; "Diablo III" is releasing on both the PS3 and PS4 (will anyone still care by then?); and the new Bungie game titled "Destiny" will feature exclusive content.
Besides what the console looks like, one important thing we don't know is the price. I wasn't expecting it to be announced this early since Sony doesn't want Microsoft to know everything about their new competing console. We'll probably know the price at E3 later this year, but with all the tech and features Sony is delivering, I bet the PS4 will cost at least $400. I don't know if Sony can afford to take a big hit on hardware losses since the whole company has been struggling financially.
It's going to be fun times leading up to the holiday season. Now it's time to see what Microsoft has in store for their new console.
Quick thoughts on Brain Age: Concentration Training
I've been giving my brain a tough workout in Brain Age: Concentration Training for the Nintendo 3DS. Here are some thoughts on the game.
The game retails for $29.99, which is pricey for how much content is available initially. The game is made to be played in short bursts and encourages you to play every day to unlock more content. Some activities don't become available until a month's worth of attendance, which is a bit excessive.
Devilish Training is by far the most challenging part of the game. As the name implies, these activities are not for the faint of heart. Devilish Calculations requires memorizing math problems, Devilish Shapes requires memorizing weird shapes, and Devilish Pairs is a Memory-type game that punishes you when failing to match a card you already picked. The better you do, the harder they get.
I've been obliterating swarms of necromorphs in Dead Space 3. Here are some thoughts on the game.
For the first time in the Dead Space series, you can team up with a buddy online. This can be good or bad depending on how you feel. Playing co-op does take away from the scariness the series is known for. While playing with a friend is fun, I recommend going through Dead Space 3 solo first to get the full immersion of the creepy atmosphere.
Playing through the first Dead Space, I remember conserving ammo types and making every shot count. Visceral Games has implemented a universal ammo system in Dead Space 3, ruining that strategy. It's not a difficult game, since it showers you with ammo, health packs and items for crafting weapons.
The weapon crafting system is the best part of the game, giving you a ton of ways to create the perfect necromorph-destroying contraption. It's overwhelming at first when you go through the list of options, but it begins to click as you play through the game.
Sony is hosting a special PlayStation event that will be livestreamed at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 in New York City. It's expected they will officially announce the PS4, which is likely going to release some time this holiday season.
I don't think the whole event will be dedicated to just the PS4, but I suspect Sony will reveal what the console looks like and some game footage showing its potential. They'll save the juicer details like price and release date for E3 later this year. They'll probably talk about future PS3 games like The Last of Us, and whatever is coming out for the struggling PS Vita. The handheld badly needs a price cut and games if Sony wants it to stay in the handheld arena dominated by the Nintendo 3DS and smartphones. Announcing a price cut there would be a good start.
Zen Studios, the makers of the popular Marvel pinball collection on a variety of platforms, are entering the Star Wars universe and will release an initial three-pack of tables in February. "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back," "Boba Fett" and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" will enter the spotlight first, allowing players to control iconic characters including Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. The screenshots show many elements and details that should please the fan base.
Star Wars Pinball will be available as DLC for Pinball FX2 on Xbox Live Arcade and Windows 8; Zen Pinball 2 on PSN for PS3 and PS Vita as Cross-Buy entitled content; Zen Pinball 2 on the Mac App Store; and Zen Pinball on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
I've been pairing up characters and creating relationships in Fire Emblem: Awakening for the Nintendo 3DS. Here are some thoughts on the game.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is a game made to be played multiple times. There's a giant cast of characters and a relationship support system that when fully maxed for certain pairs of characters, they can get married and have children who become available for combat. It's a very detailed game in this matter, and there's so many tidbits of dialogue awaiting to be unlocked.
"Permanent death" has always been a classic staple of the Fire Emblem series, and it's back again here. Luckily for those that have always felt intimated playing one of its games with this punishing mechanic, Casual mode revives fallen characters after chapters are completed. It's a great option for newcomers, and at the same time the game doesn't alienate longtime fans of the series.
You can also create your own character that plays a role in the story, but appearance options are slim pickings.
Jeff Hoard is Assistant News Editor of the Michigan Regional Copy Desk for Digital First Media. Ever since he received the NES, he's been hooked on video games. Here he will share his thoughts on the video gaming world.