Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sims 3 to Grace Consoles in Fall 2010

The Sims 3 on ConsolesThe Sims 3 will be breaking free of its "PC only" chains and will be landing in the homes of console and handheld gamers during the fall of this year. Publisher Electronic Arts has revealed that The Sims 3, an extremely popular life simulation title, will be ported to the Xbox 360 from Microsoft, the PlayStation 3 from Sony, and of course the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS. Conspicuously absent from this list is the Sony Playstation Portable, considering how well the PSP version of The Sims 2 sold. If you're worried that the transition from keyboard-and-mouse to thumbsticks-and-buttons won't go well, consider that EA assures us that it has "tailored each platform of The Sims 3 with exclusive features to allow for even more control, creativity, and connectivity."

From the initial announcement, it seems that the console and handheld version of The Sims 3 will be keeping many of the features seen in the initial PC launch of 2009. However, new to the consoles will be the addition of "Karma Powers". New instant and powerful mutations which will let you toy directly with your Sims well being. They include things like “epic fail” which allows you to bestow misfortune on your sims, “instant beauty” for a quick makeover, or “get lucky” to give them a boost to their status. But beware, EA advises that the use of the karma system may give unexpected results and even come back to haunt you. Presumably so players will not abuse the system.

Despite new content coming to the Xbox360 and PS3, it's the Wii and DS that by far have with the neatest sounding new content. The Wii gets a brand new beach town with its own unique residents, traits, careers and lifetime goals. In addition you'll be able to challenge your friends in a new "Life Moments" mini game mode to earn rewards. It also sounds like EA has added some exclusive "adventure quests" which are designed to give the player a more personal experience in each area as well as break up stretches of monotony that has plagued some of the earlier Sims titles.

The DS version will be getting a "never before seen" feature where the players will use the Nintendo DS's stylus to utilize their creativity and "build their Sims' homes with tools, draw walls and floors, and customize virtually everything from décor objects, textures, and much more." This aspect full plays to the DS's strengths allowing you to fully take control your Sims looks, attributes, wardrobe, and the aesthetics of their house. Also revealed about the Sims 3 is a slew of social features which will allow players to earn trophies and achievements which can then be shared via Facebook. The game will also include features to design, build, and share the objects and neighborhoods they create.

Scott Evans, the general manager of The Sims Studio, had this to say about newly announced console port. "We’re building on this foundation and applying new features that will make for a robust, deep and rewarding gameplay experience. I’m extremely proud of the game that the team is making and can’t wait to bring these exciting new features like ‘Karma Powers’ to life and get them into players’ hands.”

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The 5 Most Disappointing Games of this Generation

5. Red Steel
Red Steel is Disappointing
Back when the Wii was first coming out, Red Steel was being hyped up to be a unique first person action game which would utilize revolutionary gameplay to offer a unique experience of both swordplay and gunplay. That is until people actually played the game. The controls are unresponsive and the game is rife with bad dialogue and generic shoot-outs. Not to mention the majority of the game will be played gunning down thugs rather than epic sword duels with Japanese Samuraii. Oh, and the game looks absolutely horrible graphically, even for Wii standards. Looking back, Red Steel could have had so much potential as a successful Wii launch title that it makes you wonder if the creators even tried the first time around. All in all, the controls feel novel enough to make a mediocre shooter feel somewhat special.

4. Killzone 2

Killzone 2 has a rare distinction of being a disappointment even before being released. The announcement trailer rocked the gaming world and had every jaw on the ground in complete awe at the power and potential of the PS3. That was until gamers found out the trailer was really a pre-rendered video instead of actual gameplay footage. By the time Killzone 2 got around to hitting the shelves, gamers were already knee-deep in post apocalyptic shooters with pretty graphics like Resistance: Fall of Man and Gears of War which were well above just being "OK". For those that actually played the game, the graphics where bland, the gameplay forgettable, and the multiplayer made you want to smash a brick into your TV.

3. Prince of Persia

Now, lets get this straight before i'm torn apart by the dogs. I'm not talking about the original Prince of Persia, but rather the 2006 "reboot" which can hardly be called a game. Why the creators gave it the same name as the original is beyond me, but what I am sure of is how big of a letdown the game actually was. It basically plays itself and leaves you on the sidelines tapping "A" every other jump. The game doesn’t even let you die for crying out loud. The developers argued that they were simply skipping the “Game Over” screen that you would have to look at before trying again. Put simply, they missed the point of giving any consequences for mistakes made. Oh, and let’s not forget the great ending that's in store for you after having purchased all the Epilogue DLC. Wait. There is no ending? Lets just hope that Ubisoft will pretend this game was never made and go back to making another Sands of Time entry.

2. Final Fantasy XIII

For a game that was supposed to be the best RPG of all time, it sure is hard to even give FF13 the credit of being a good game. Sure, the game is beautiful with lush scenery and the cinematography is spot on. The game is simply amazingly gorgeous to look at. But looks can be deceiving, and Final Fantasy 13 is a master of deception. The first glaring problem you might encounter when playing FF13 is the grueling 20 hour linear point A to point B tutorial that you will have to trudge through. You will literally walk in a straight line for 10 hours fighting monsters and watching cutscenes and you might be halfway through the beginning of the game. RPGs should be expansive and rich in interactions with the in-game world and npcs alike. In my opinion there should also be some form of puzzles and secret areas to explore to break the up monotony of grinding through monsters. However, with FF13 you won't find any of this. You will notice a lack of towns and find yourself wishing the game had implemented an auto-walk system. The games battle mechanics leave much to be desired and some of the characters aren't as engaging as previous series. For a game thats supposed to keep you glued to your seat for 60+ hours, its pretty damn disappointing.
1. Spore

No video game has promised more to this generation of gamers than Spore. We were promised the most advanced simulation experience ever to be programmed and a groundbreaking evolutionary system. Instead, the evolutionary system we received would make most scientists gouge their eyes out. Again, we were promised the deepest, most fine-tuned video game involving evolution of all time. Instead of a comprehensive and immersive platform we got five completely different games from five completely different genres mishmashed so horribly together that even my 12 year old sister found the game shallow. We were promised a perfect blend of different gaming elements that would creatively replicate the evolutionary process of life. Instead Spore became a schizophrenic mess with out of out of placed puzzles, some sort of primitive RTS, and a horribly designed "open-ended" gameplay. The replay value was supposed to be unlimited but most gamers were so frustrated after creating their first creature that it was destined to never be played again. Nearly every aspect of Spore's release did not live up to the expectations that had been thrust upon it.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Modern Warfare Battle: Infinity Ward is "Dead"

Infinity Wards DeathThe ongoing legal battle between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward and their publishing giant Activision has been full of accusations and lawsuits from both sides. Following the news that Jason West and Vince Zampella, former chief developers who were fired by Activision in March, were starting a new company called Respawn Entertainment, this legal tussle has culminated into an exodus of several key players from Infinity Ward to this brand new startup. At stake from this movement is the future of Infinity Ward, the studio behind one of the video game industry's most successful properties, a chance for EA, one of Activision's biggest rivals, to build a franchise utilizing two of Activision's best creators, and the future of the now legally-entwined Modern Warfare brand.

The morale of Infinity Ward continues to crumble as more key members continue to jump ship. Top Infinity Ward developers started leaving the studio last week and the under-100-man operation has lost more than a dozen employees with more surely to follow. "They're scared shitless," an anonymous source said of Activision management. "They never saw this coming. They can't believe what's going on. At first they gave us some bullshit about moving up payments of all the money they owe us to sooner increments. But with the announcement of Respawn and all the people leaving, they just got their heads in their hands."

Although Activision has counterclaimed against the previously fired West and Zampella accusing them of trying to undermine both Activision and the financial well-being of Infinity Ward, a former developer who has worked under these men has shined a positive light on his former bosses amidst the slander from Activision. "They fired the two most amazing leaders we've ever seen, and then shafted us all out of a lot of money that was promised to us...there is nothing they can do to gain our trust or respect. And I'm pretty sure they know it now."

Amidst Respawn Entertainment cozying up to Electronic Arts and the still broiling developer-publisher drama, there seems to have been little effect on Activision Blizzard's stock price, which has actually moved upward since Infinity Ward's and Activisions legal problems began. The departures from Infinity Ward also seems to have little impact on fans' eagerness to buy map packs for Modern Warfare 2, which continue to sell like hotcakes.

See more posts on Modern Warfare: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Video

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cooking and Fun with Your Nintendo DS

Cooking and Fun with Your Nintendo DS

Lots of people open up a cookbook when they're getting ready to cook, and some people even lug their laptops into the kitchen to work from a recipe they found online. But now, Nintendo is making it possible for the entire family to gather in heart of your home and cook together...using your Nintendo DS. The new game, America's Test Kitchen: Let's Get Cooking will be released on March 28th.

America's Test Kitchen: Let's Get Cooking isn't just a digital cookbook. It puts fun into cooking - something the whole family can enjoy.

“America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking proves that you can never have too many cooks in the kitchen. The experts at America’s Test Kitchen have taken the guesswork out of cooking, allowing you and your fellow cooks to relax and enjoy the moment. The results are as fun as they are delicious," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, in a press release.

America's Test Kitchen is already a recognizable, trusted brand that features easy-to-create recipes. The cooking experts at the Kitchen take all of the guess-work and trial-and-error out of the process for you. The new game features 300 tested recipes for appetizers, desserts, and everything in between. The game features interactive, step-by-step instructions to help you prepare each recipe. You can also search recipes in a variety of ways, such as by ingredients, cooking time, or difficulty. It even provides you with a variety of age-appropriate tasks so everyone in the family can get involved.

Throughout the cooking process, prompts appear to offer advice, information, and clarify potentially unfamiliar terms, and audible instructions along with how-to videos guide you along the way. It even has a handwriting-recognition feature that allows you to record your own personal notes on recipes. If you don't want to get your DS messy, the game allows you to use the built-in microphone to give voice commands, if you need to navigate away from where you are at a certain point. Also, multiple DS users can wirelessly transmit recipes between systems.

As we mentioned, the game goes on sale on the same day as the Nintendo DSi XL, March 28, and is supposed to retail for $19.99. For more information, visit

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

From Literary Masterpiece to Stunning Video Game

dante's infernoSo I don’t know if you have seen the commercials promoting Dante’s Inferno that seem to be on every single channel, but I can only think of one word to thoroughly describe the game…intense. When you’re thinking about upcoming video games, you most likely wouldn’t expect a piece of classical literature to make the list, but Visceral Games and Electronic Arts decided to take on the task of turning Dante Alighieri’s work into a fast paced, visually stunning video game. For centuries, people have been drawn to Dante’s The Divine Comedy for its captivating yet terrifying account of Dante’s journey through the land of the dead. If you have read the masterpiece, you might wonder how a video game can be created from a story that contains a lot of talking to suffering people and very little action, but the creators of the Dante’s Inferno went ahead and took some poetic license and added in some premises for action.

The basis of the story revolves around Dante, who is a young crusader returning to his beloved fiancée, Beatrice, who is waiting for him in Florence. When he arrives there, he finds his home destroyed and Beatrice dead, and to cause him even more agony, as he runs towards his love’s lifeless body, Lucifer appears and snatches away her soul, taking her to the deepest depths of Hell. The game then obviously focuses on Dante’s quest to recover Beatrice’s soul before she is lost to him forever. Before he can get to her though, he must face his very own mistakes and sins and a final battle with Lucifer himself.

As I mentioned before, the game is very different than The Divine Comedy. The pursuit of Beatrice is the main focus, but there are plenty of battles in between. There is no stopping Dante from getting to his precious fiancée.

The levels of the game focus on the sins that can be found in The Divine Comedy so as you can guess this is a “Mature” rated game. There is blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, and sexual content. The game honestly pushes even a mature rating. There are scenes where souls are being brutally tortured, where there is intense violence, and where there is full male and female nudity. This is a game that is completely inappropriate for children. This game explores the deepest pits of Hell with all of its punishments and horrors. A lot of the time, you can’t help but feel really bad for all of the people that you meet along the way.

dante's infernoWhile playing the game, you will quickly discover the holy and unholy meter. Once you have attacked an enemy, you are given the opportunity to perform a finishing move that will allow you to judge your adversaries. If you decide to punish your enemy by destroying them with your scythe, you will earn unholy points, but if you choose to absolve their spirit with your cross, you will instead earn holy points. By collecting these different points, you will be able to buy new attacks and gain new levels. Holy and unholy relics will also provide you with different bonuses like evasion enhancement, regenerative magic, or increased damage.

Throughout the game, you will be given the opportunity to punish or absolve a variety of different historical figures who have been damned for the sins that they committed in their lives. You will continue to earn holy and unholy points based on what you choose to do. By choosing to absolve these historical figures you will have many more benefits than you would get from punishing them.

The game play can get repetitive throughout the game. It’s a lot of slashing and hacking that can mostly be performed with one button, but even if the game play can be a little monotonous, the game is still incredibly interesting.

Dante’s Inferno is a visual masterpiece. Even though it’s Hell that you’re viewing, it is depicted in a bold and impressive manner. Yes, the game play can get repetitive, but it still is a very captivating game with an intriguing storyline. I wouldn’t pay full price for it, but whenever you can get a good deal, it would be a game worth picking up. Dante’s Inferno is definitely a game worth checking out.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Heavy Rain: The “Interactive Drama”

heavy rainHeavy Rain is one of the most peculiar yet intriguing games that I have ever played. It really honestly doesn’t even seem like a game at all. The developer, Quantic Dream, has described it as an “interactive drama.” It really seems like a movie in which you make all the decisions as to what happens over about twelve hours worth of time. There aren’t bosses and hordes of enemies to fight off, instead you have a storyline that progresses according to the actions of the player. The gameplay of Heavy Rain is extremely slow and meticulous, but every step of the way is worth the time that you put into it. Many say that to play Heavy Rain you need some patience, which could be true, but if you have the persistence you should be completely satisfied with the game.

In Heavy Rain, the plot is the main focus of the entire game. The storyline is completely immersive and will captivate your entire attention. When you start the game, you discover that a serial killer, dubbed the Origami Killer, has been kidnapping little boys and holding them prisoner for a few days before murdering them. Their drowned corpses have been appearing in abandoned fields with orchids on their chests and origami in their hands. Your goal is to solve the mystery behind these kidnapping and deaths. You do this from four different perspectives: a father whose son has been kidnapped, an FBI agent, a journalist, and a private detective. Depending on what you decide to do with these characters depends on how exactly the game unfolds. There are a variety of different outcomes for every single scene, and there are several different endings to the game.

heavy rainThe game starts out with you controlling the everyday actions of a father with two sons. You perform a variety of different task including: getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and setting the table for lunch. Some made think of this start as slow, but it is meant for you to have a chance to emotionally bond with the character. You go on to play with your character’s son in the backyard and prepare for his birthday party. When he then disappears in the crowded mall, you can’t help but feel at least a little bit concerned. Small emotional moments like this are scattered all throughout Heavy Rain and help develop the core of the storyline.

Now many people will be very happy to hear that the whole game is not made up of performing everyday actions. There are many instances that feature intense fighting sequences. There are also times when you find your character must go to an “uncomfortable” place and perform actions that are difficult to carry out. This pulls at the emotional ties that Heavy Rain is built upon. A lot of the decisions that your character will be forced to make will have you questioning how far you would go for someone that you truly love?

The controls found in Heavy Rain are interesting. Every bit of the interaction found within the game involves you pressing specific buttons at a certain time. Examples of this would be when you have to deflect a kick when fighting, you must hit a sequence of different buttons in time, or to open a door, the player must tilt the PS3 controller’s right stick upward. The time that you have to perform these actions depends on what level of easiness you are playing.

heavy rainThe graphic of Heavy Rain are absolutely incredible. It literally almost looks like the characters are real actors in a movie. The emotions of the characters can be seen perfectly and all look completely life-like. And the characters aren’t the only thing that they paid close attention to detail for, the backgrounds and environments are just as detail-oriented and stunning as the characters themselves. I can’t really describe how incredible the graphic quality of this games is. All I can say is that you have to see it to believe it!

The only criticism that I could really have of this game would have to do with the voice acting. Pretty much all of the characters in the game are supposed to be Americans, but several members of the cast doing the voices for the game were not American. This led to some odd American accents and very French-sounding children’s voices, but does is this factor really enough to ruin the game? I would definitely say it is not!

If you’re looking for a very different and intriguing game, Heavy Rain is the game for you! It’s a complete cinematic experience. With the captivating storyline and stunning graphics, what more could you ask for? Heavy Rain is definitely a game that everyone should spend some time exploring.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

God of War III

god of war IIIAt first I thought that I might just be partial to God of War due to the fact that I am fascinated by Greek mythology, but I was wrong. I honestly don’t know how anyone that enjoys gaming couldn’t fall in love with this game. It’s incredible! The game is bigger and better than ever before. The graphics are stunning, and the storyline is intriguing. God of War III is a game unlike any other.

The game picks back up where God of War II left you hanging. Kratos is extremely determined in his quest to kill his father. The only slight difficulty with this is that Kratos’s father isn’t just anybody…his father is the god Zeus. Kratos was killed, momentarily, by Zeus in God of War II, and since then Kratos will stop at nothing to destroy him and whoever gets in his way. This is the main goal of the game, so as you can imagine, it is quite a lot of fighting. If you are looking for a super deep storyline, God of War III is not the game for you. Now I’m not saying that there isn’t a good storyline, I’m just saying that the game mainly focuses on the fighting.

The controls of the game are extremely easy. Combat is conducted mostly by two buttons that issue a light and heavy attack. The combat in God of War III is also extremely intense. Kratos always is fighting alone against a multitude of enemies. He is armed with two swords that swing from chains linked to his wrists, giant stone gloves, various other weapons, and special attacks.

Kratos fights a variety of different adversaries, anything from a horde of various demented looking creatures to bigger enemies like gorgons, centaurs, and cyclopses. All of these rivals are dispatched in extremely gory and gruesome ways, but its these types of battles that are always the best.

God of War III is rated “Mature” or “M,” and it is definitely deserving of this rating. The violence in the game is incredible. As I have already stated, Kratos murders everything in sight, including various Olympians and Greek heroes. When you fight the well known Greek hero Hercules, you must pound buttons for each skull-crushing blow to diminish his head into an unrecognizable mass of tissue. This game is not for the faint of heart. Another aspect that earns the game it’s “M” rating is the nudity. Bare breasts can be found in the game, but they are definitely not presented in a sexy way at all. Most of these bare breasted creatures include gorgons, harpies, and sirens, and they are far from sensual, beautiful, or seductive creatures.

Overall, God of War III is an incredible gaming experience. It has an intriguing storyline, stunning graphics, and non-stop action. Although with all of the violence and nudity, this game is not for kids, teen and adult gamers will most definitely enjoy this game. This third installment of God of War is extremely well done, and should please any gamer.

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