Its been a hard, painful week. On the plus side: Friday! Celebrate with this video of a monkey riding a pig:
Kaz hirai on expensive PSPGo
Thats should win over the hardcore Nintendo!
One handed SF4 trials
I just downloaded and installed and it sure looks bad. The memory capacity bar looks very strange but kind of charming with its pastel shades, but the buttons on the left all look grayed out. I thought at first that they were all deactivated.
It comes with Ping, Apples attempt to steal some of Facebook and twitters thunder. The horribly named software is a glorified attempt to send you ads for music and movies to purchase from the store. It’s greatly reduced functionality compared with competing social networking sites and its painfully corporate overtones make it deeply unappealing. Worst of all, it asks for you genre preferences in music then allows only three selections. Well fuck you Apple, I like rock, blues, folk AND alternative! I guess fewer options make it easier to sell your details for targeted advertising.
Apple customers always sell a little bit of their soul when they purchase a shiny gizmo. The gains you get from the lovely hardware is always balanced by the draconian and function-poor software. Itunes is despised by right thinking individuals throughout geekdom, the new iTunes seems unlikely to when them, or me, over.
I was going to leave this as a quick mention in the Links of the Day, but it really is more important than that. Epic Citadel is an essential download for the iPhone for two reasons: its free and it shows the future of mobile gaming on the platform.
Epic are probably more important as tech wizards with godly mastery of game engines than as straight up developers these days. They seem to have shot ahead of their old rivals id as the most important middleware company, and there software powers games in all genres, not just FPS’s.
To see them begin to focus on mobile platforms like the iPhone is great as it represents the big players taking this market seriously. Steve Jobs has made it clear how important gaming is on the iPhone and the new iPod touch is being pushed as the most successful handheld gaming system on the market. Despite that, the technical quality of iPhone games is all over the place, with releases seemingly belong to at least three different hardware generations all occupying the same virtual shelf space.
Into this arena step Epic, embarassing other developpers with a technical tour-de force. The engine they showcase runs smoothly, looks stunning and even showcases rendering and graphical techniques absent in some current gen console releases. Putting this against other releases on the app store shows how woefully under-utilised the hardware has been so far. Developers like SquareEnix have made meaningful additions to the games library on Apples devices, but Epic have raised teh stakes subtstantially.
Epic Citadel is a demo from Epic that must be seen. It looks stunning, runs well and even showcases some great art assets and a dreamy atmoshperic soundtrack . The Citadel in question exists in a gorgeous fantasy style world thats great to wander around. Theres nothing to do in the demo but explore this world and soak in the atmosphere. Its free and it shows how amazing iPhone games can be in the near future. Get to it!
A glorified demo? Pre-LC? Episodic? How you define Case Zero has a large influence on your preconceptions and hence your feelings about this hard-to-categorise game. I’ll give you my opinion here at the beginning of this review: Case Zero is not a glorified demo. Its environment is not present in the full game and it serves as a prelude and an introduction for the main story. It’s a full retail game engine, but with far less content. Personally, I like this approach and think other developers could take up Capcom’s idea for future titles. It certainly seems like a better way to market a big release than awarding bonus items and levels to customers who pre-order from specific retailers.
The two most important things to say about the Dead Rising game engine are that it hasn’t aged that well, and it doesn’t really matter. The game has none of the wow factor that the original did, but the lack of anything similar on the market means that the site of hundreds of zombies on-screen is just as compelling. The textures are poor, the detail is low but the singular feature of the game, the zombie hordes that essentially create a carpet of human corpses and shape the level, is still great. If anything, the increasing cultural popularity of zombie movies means that this installment of Dead Rising feels like it’s tickling a zombie-stomping itch that other games don’t scratch. Thats not to say the game engine hasn’t been improved; it’s better than the original, but its only been improved enough to make it feel relevant rather than impressive.
The original Dead Rising was an essential game for the 360. It was a game that pushed next generation hardware, one of the few games that you could show to your PS2 owning friends and proclaim, “Your console can’t do this!”. Although it sold itself on being a zombie playground with a twisted sense of humour, it featured a structure that was frustrating to many. Players loved the variety of weapons and costumes and the madcat gore, but some felt constrained by the time-limited nature, the escort missions and the twisted save system that necessitated multiple play throughs for full completion. I enjoyed the brutal and necessary actions of choosing who to save and the games later twists and turns, but found some of the ally AI very frustrating.
Case Zero takes place in a small town. The structure involves a great deal of backtracking as you travel back and forward from a safe house and collect a number of story related items. It acts as a good introduction to the rules and system of the world of Dead Rising and has enough weapons, toys and outfits to entertain. The story is relatively light, but it contains a number of stores to explore and a bunch of stereotypical NPC’s to interact with. Despite starting with a relatively poor introduction scene and a disappointing build up to the first zombie encounter, the game wastes little time in getting to the meat, quite literally. From swords to rakes with shotguns, the armoury is great fun to use when butchering the enemies in the game.
It’s not long, it’s not groundbreaking and it’s not an essential purchase. It is however, great fun and easily, EASILY worth the price point of 400 Microsoft points, especially if you liked the original. As a bonus, leveling your charcater will even carry forward into the main game when its released. What are you waiting for? The zombies aren’t going to rake themselves.
7 zombie heads out of 10