Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Duke Nukem Forever, Afterthoughts

June 19, 2011

After a terribly long wait, I finally have it…

My thoughts after the break…



E3: Microsoft conference – Please Dis-Kinect me

June 6, 2011

Okay, Microsoft. Enough is enough. We know you want us to buy the Kinect; we know you want us to buy several of them so that we may throw them on the floor and roll around on them so that we may gain their scent. But please stop cramming the Kinect down our throats. It’s nice and all, and it has its place, but that place isn’t everywhere. Regardless of this, I am going to give my honest opinions about the games I saw today at the Microsoft conference.

– Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

I’ve never been big on Call of Duty games to begin with, so this didn’t really do anything for me at all. I will, though, give it credit where I feel credit is due. The graphics were, as usual, quite stellar for live-action gameplay. However, like everyone who doesn’t care about COD:MW3, the most entertaining moment was when the controller disconnected during the live display.

– Tomb Raider

Okay, I haven’t every really delved into the Tomb Raider franchise, but this definitely makes me want to reconsider that. The gameplay demo showed at the conference started off by showing Lara Croft bound and suspended upside down (also causing me to give her the temporary nickname “Larvae Croft”). Normally, I would’ve found this to be a bit too adult for 11:30 in the morning, but then I remembered I was watching the coverage on Spike TV. The detail in the graphics was phenomenal and very reminiscent of the Uncharted series; rolling hills, tropical rainforests with lush greens… Y’know, outside. I’ll definitely be giving this a play once it comes out.

– Some EA Sports bullshit

Why are they making sports games for the Kinect? The reason so many people play sports video games is because they can’t play real sports. Moving on…

– Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Again, I don’t care much for First Person Shooters, but this one really grabbed my attention from the get-go. Usually, when I see a trailer for an FPS, I consider it a bathroom break, but this one really knew how to get me. The whole “make your own gun” thing instantly hooked me. If I’m able to make a semi-automatic sniper rifle rocket launcher, I will preorder tonight! When Skyping with Chad during the live coverage, I’m pretty sure I compared it to an armory and a Build-a-Bear workshop making sweet, sweet love.

– Mass Effect 3

I’m going to sound like a broken record here, and it may cause you to question my gamer credibility, but this is yet another franchise I just couldn’t get into. Don’t get me wrong, the mechanics are really great and it has definitely set itself apart from other games (what with the potential for steamy, lesbian alien sex in Mass Effect 2), but it’s just something that’s never been able to hold my attention. Maybe I was playing the game wrong. However, if someone handed me a controller and I started playing, I’d happily give it the ol’ college try. That is, of course, if any games coming out for the Xbox 360 decide to use controllers anymore. Which brings me to my next griping point…

– All this Kinect crap

I’ve had enough with the Kinect, and I don’t even own one! I will, though, eventually, at the behest of my fiance and her need to play Kinectimals. But in the meantime, I am perfectly capable of using a controller to scroll through menus. I have hands, and I am able to use them. In fact, I’m using them right now to type this! What are the odds?! Sometimes, after a long day of doing whatever the hell it is I do during the day, I just want to relax and play a game without having to flail around like a jackass. In addition to that, I live on the second floor of an apartment building, and I’m fairly certain my downstairs neighbor would pay my heavy-footed ass to not play Kinect.

– Coming to Xbox Live

I don’t play games online, mainly because other people play games online and follow the win-win philosophy of “If I win, you’re a n00b who needs to L2play! But if you win, then you’re a nerd who needs to get a life!” However, some very cool things are coming to Xbox Live. First and foremost, live television! The only reason I currently even have TV is because the tenant who lived here before me refuses to pay a cancellation fee, so the idea of not having to get a cable provider is a big plus for me. I will definitely be wanting more details about this as they are made available. Almost as exciting is the incorporation of YouTube! Combine these two with the already present Netflix capabilities and you’ve got a machine that can conquer just about any form of video media.

Bing is coming to the Xbox, which I’m sure came to all of you as such a shock. Who would’ve thought that the Microsoft-engineered search engine would be implemented into the Microsoft-engineered gaming console? Sure, it’s cool that all you have to say is “Xbox Bing: House of Pain” in order to quickly jump up, jump up, and get down, but I have a sneaking suspicion that people will easily slide into a habit of saying “Xbox Bing: Google.” I know I will! Anyway, back to the games…

– Gears of War 3

For a brief moment, they had to refill the cannon that shoots the word Kinect at our faces, so they used that time to talk about Gears of War 3, yet another game I am not the least bit interested in. I’m really not trying to sound jaded or cynical with all this negativity, I’m really not, but with a parade of what I consider to be overhyped games that all seem to follow the same formula, it’s difficult to get excited over everything. And because of this, the Gears of War 3 demo did not hold my interest. Ice T was there. Whatever.

– Ryse

By this time, the Kinect launcher was reloaded and firing ad nauseum once more. In fact, they were going on and on about it so much that I can’t even decipher my notes from the conference because all I wrote was “Really? More Kinect stuff? Why can’t we just use the controllers we pay so much for?” If I can’t remember anything about a game because you’re too busy yapping about how to play it without a controller, maybe you should reevaluate your priorities. Or I should take better notes. Moving on.

– Halo 4

Just let it die. We’ve had enough of the Halo franchise. It’s a boring, repetitive, “My-First-FPS”-style shooter for frat boys and angry middle schoolers.

– Forza Motorsport 4

Forza 4, Forza 4, Forza 4! I’m not excited about it, I just like the number 4. I don’t care about driving games. At all. I already own a car. Driving is not exciting to me; it’s just a necessity that gets me to Arby’s.

– Fable: The Journey

Just like Kinect, here’s another thing I simultaneously feel like we don’t need more of, but am willing to try. I don’t want to use the Kinect to hold imaginary horse reins, as this will just make me feel like a crazy person piloting an imaginary horse. Anyone who does business with an imaginary horse is a crazy person. I am not a crazy person.

– Kinect Disneyland

A cool concept and probably the first place where the Kinect seems more appropriate than the traditional controller. You explore a virtual equivalent of Disneyland. Simple concept, simple execution. Very good.

– Kinect Star Wars

Okay, maybe it’s me being a total Star Wars geek, but hell to the yes on this game! Using the Kinect to kick ass with a light saber is something I can definitely get behind.

– Kinect Sesame Street

Poor Tim Schafer. You slaved over Psychonauts and Brutal Legend only to have them be cult hits at best and now you’re making a Sesame Street game? It was very easy to hear you slowly dying inside during your presentation. Oh well, every system needs its fair share of games for kids.

– Kinect Finger Tracking

This sounds dirty, but it’s pretty neat, albeit completely useless. It’s hard to describe, so just watch this video.

– Kinect Sports Season 2

If you own a copy of Wii Sports, then you’ve seen this game.

– Kinect Dance Central 2

Sure, it’s more of the same and we all know that gamers as a whole aren’t the most coordinated bunch, but hey, at least Microsoft knows how to put on a demo that shows the game’s fullest potential.

So there you have it. Overall, Microsoft’s press conference was so-so. I think they need to rely less on how well they think the Kinect will do and just focus on the games themselves. When you focus too much of your energy on a $130 peripheral, you exclude a group of people who can’t shell out $130 just to get the full experience of games they’re already paying $60+ to enjoy. What are your thoughts on this? Let me know and I’ll get back to you tomorrow as I cover the Nintendo press conference!

Deadliest Warrior: The Game (XBL Arcade) Review

July 19, 2010

“Deadliest Warrior: The Game” is based off of the TV show “Deadliest Warrior” on Spike TV. (more…)

Leliana’s Song Review (Dragon Age: Origins DLC)

July 7, 2010

Here is our very first DLC review. I just want to say up front I don’t think something you can download for under $10 is worth giving a numbered score, it’s simply a buy or don’t buy kind of situation because you can’t borrow or rent DLC. It’s just a small add-on that was made to give fans off the game something more to tide them over as they make the sequel, and try new ideas that may not have made it into the full game. Anyway here we go with…


Deathsmiles Review (360)

July 7, 2010

They're so cute, you'll forget they can level your house in a matter of seconds!

It’s probably no surprise that, as a hardcore anime fan who is also an avid gamer, a game involving gothic lolitas shooting everything in sight with magic spells would be right up my alley. I spied Deathsmiles in GameStop over the long weekend, packaged in an oblong box and for a mere $50 for a limited edition.  I expected it to be a run-of-the-mill side-scrolling shooter that got away with being a mediocre Japanese arcade port by having beautiful lolita art, but what I got was the most insane side-scroller I’ve ever played. Plus, it has adorable lolitas!  The limited edition is a pretty sweet deal; for fifty bucks, you get the game, the soundtrack, and a faceplate for your Xbox 360. Considering the prices for other games’ limited and/or special edition counterparts, fifty dollars is rather affordable.


An open letter to Yahoo! Games.

June 20, 2010

Dear Yahoo! Games:

How are you? I hope you are well. Me? Well, I can’t complain.  Actually, that’s a lie. I can complain. In fact, I can complain about you. I read your recent article entitled “E3 2010: Top showstoppers and disappointments.” (As seen here.) It was poorly written and riddled with bias and outright contradictions. Now, when I say it was poorly written, I’m not talking grammatically; the grammar was spot-on, to be honest. The content itself was, well, not good, and I’d like to have a little sit-down with you and explain why I feel this way.

Chad and I watched the entirety of the E3 coverage. We laughed, we raged, we tweeted mercilessly (usually to the chagrin of our followers), but overall, we didn’t miss a minute. I mention this because I’m not entirely sure you and I saw the same E3. Chad and I are die-hard gamers, which is why we felt we were qualified to formulate the opinions we did on our respective twitter accounts, as well as here on Otakuz with a Z. Something tells me that the journalists you employed to cover the event, Ben Silverman and Mike Smith, are less than well-versed when it comes to hardcore gaming. Allow me to expound…

“Nintendo does 3D”

Okay, as unsatisfied as I was with your article, I will still give credit where credit is due. The first section elaborating on Nintendo’s newest handheld, the 3DS, was right on the money. Your information was accurate and well-written, albeit a little fanboy-ish. However, after the initial good part, the rest of the article seems incredibly sub-par, like a woman with a beautiful smile who turns out to have halitosis.

“Rock Band gets real”

Rock Band 3 keyboard. Hell yes.

In this area, you briefly mention that the music game genre has been lagging as of late. This is only true if you look at the sales figures. I’d like to bring up two points to you: Downloadable Content (henceforth referred to as “DLC”) and over-saturation. People love DLC because it makes a good game into a great game. I’ve, at the very least, doubled the song library in my copy of Rock Band 2. And with the varying tastes between my friends and myself, it allows for unique gameplay when playing someone else’s copy of the game; I may own songs they do not, and vice versa. As for over-saturation, well, all you need to do is look in your local GameStop and you’ll see it. Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Karaoke Revolution, and even Dance Dance Revolution produce relentless amounts of spinoffs, variations, and the like. It’s the same reason people don’t have seven-course meals three times a day; it’s just too damn much! Too much of a good thing naturally causes people to shy away from it, so to call the music game genre “once mighty” is a bit of a misguided statement.

However, Rock Band 3 does up the ante with it’s new controller designs. What bothers me is that you only elaborated on the guitar controller. Sure, it’s great and can be used as a real guitar, but you completely neglected the new fully-functional MIDI keyboard peripheral, a piece of hardware for which gamers have been clamoring for years. In addition to that, Rock Band 3’s tracklist includes songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. Hell, for many gamers, just having “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a selling point. If someone were to have missed Rock Band 3’s E3 coverage and based their opinion of the game solely on your article, they’d chalk it up as more of the same.

“Talk to your Xbox”

I was pretty flabbergasted by your statements about the Kinect. You stated that its most interesting feature was the voice recognition system for movie playback. This got an audible “What?!” out of me, to be brutally honest. The Kinect is able to play some of the best motion-controlled games seen at E3 this year (despite many of them looking like carbon copies of Wii Sports and Wii Fit), further erasing the boundaries between gamer and game, and you were blown away by the voice command system? That’s like being allowed to test-drive an ultra-futuristic sports car and then saying that the clincher was the volume knob on the dashboard. And then you go on to say that THAT was “exactly the kind of ‘Jetsons’ feature [you] were hoping to see at E3.” Seriously? We’ve got 3D cinematics out the wazoo, motion controlled games left and right, and hardware that improves on a constant and exponential basis. Yahoo, look around. We ARE in a ‘Jetsons’-style future! To quote one of my favorite webcomics, Three Panel Soul, “It is unquestionably the future, and you would’ve crashed your stupid flying car anyway.” (Comic can be seen here.)

“Nintendo’s burly brands”

Nintendo blew everyone away with new games featuring Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Goldeneye, and the one you forgot, Metroid . You portrayed this as a good thing, and I concur.  This is another well-written section, but later in the very same article, you treat this like a bad thing, despite labeling it as a “showstopper” here.  More on that later.

This is the reason I'm no longer a fatass.

“Gaming on two feet”

You claim that Nintendo’s Wii Fit started the active game craze. I’m not sure if you know this, but I recently traveled back in time to 1998, and they have this game called Dance Dance Revolution. Your body is the controller and you step on arrows that correspond to those seen on the screen to the beat of catchy dance music. And since 1998 (also known as one of the greatest years in gaming history, perhaps to be discussed in a later article), the list of DDR games has become quite extensive. With DDR having close to a decade long lead on Wii Fit, basic addition will show you that DDR (just barely) got here first and started the “get off your ass and play” game craze, one that has caused this blogger to drop some serious extra weight. As for the E3 coverage of the motion commotion, it was a pretty even three-way tie. Each of the big competitors brought something new and unique to the table. The Kinect, while appearing to be riding the coattails of the Wii in just about every way, brought a lot of titles to the table, all of which look promising. Nintendo barely even had to rely on its motion-inducing titles to get people active. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword alone eliminated the cohesion of mainstream gaming and a sedentary experience. Sony’s incredibly imaginatively titled Playstation Move made further advancements in motion-fueled gaming by adding depth to motion controls. Sure, the Wii can tell where the controller is on X and Y axes, but the Playstation Move adds a Z axis with its oddly familiar-looking controller (perhaps known as the PS Three-mote?)

When writing a paper for school, and a teachers wanted me to explain a topic with more depth, they’d write the exact same word I’m about to write for you: EXPAND!!!

Okay, Yahoo, I feel like I’ve been a little harsh, and I have, but in all fairness, you’ve done it to yourself. Let’s take a look at the things that left a bad taste in your mouths…

“No Wii Vitality Sensor”

Really? This was one of your top disappointments? Sure, it was a bummer that it was a no-show, but it wasn’t much of a hit in the first place. Its use is limited from the get-go. One thing I’ve learned when making a presentation of any kind is to always bring your A-game. If something isn’t perfected, people will focus more on the fact that it’s incomplete and less on the wow factor. This is just common sense. Whether the Wii Vitality Sensor comes out at all is still up in the air, but if it doesn’t, I don’t foresee many people to be too heartbroken. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill, Yahoo.

“No price for Kinect”

Kinect: Probably $149.99

I find it funny how you seem to be completely in the dark about Kinect’s price, yet say it’s rumored by GameStop and Amazon to be $149.99. You’ve got your price right there! Even if the price does vary by the time November 4th rolls around, so what? The price difference wouldn’t be too astronomical. Again, this isn’t any sort of deal breaker, so quit whining.

“No new PSP”

Yahoo, do you follow the news at all? Why in the hell would there be a new PSP happening any time soon? The PSP Go was released less than nine months ago! Another new PSP would oversaturate the market and be too much of a financial risk on Sony’s part. As for the already lagging sales of the PSP, Sony employed a hip youth by the name of Marcus to do for the PSP what Kevin Butler did for the PS3’s “It Only Does Everything” campaign, known as the PSP’s “Step Your Game Up” campaign. Sure, leaked photos of a new PSP motherboard have been leaked, but that doesn’t mean you need a new PSP in your hands just yet; the PSP Go is still the new kid on the block. Finish the candy bar you have before clamoring for the next one.

“No Last Guardian”

Sure, it didn’t show up at their booth, but it was mentioned at Sony’s press conference; it’s the whole reason there was a unanimous “Oh yeah, when’s that coming out again?” feeling in the crowd. Again, keep in mind what I said earlier about bringing only your A game. A game that’s better late than never is substantially better than a game that’s here now, but incomplete. This is exactly why I wasn’t too disappointed last year when Bioshock 2 was delayed. However, I’ll give credit where credit is due and admit that this is a legitimate disappointment, as Last Guardian looks like another amazing hit from Team ICO.

“Too many sequels”

Okay, this is where you guys really made asses of yourselves. Earlier, you said you were pumped for new Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, Kirby, and Goldeneye, yet here, you call these “endless rehashes from Nintendo.” Are you excited for these games or not? Make up your mind! You then go on to say that you’re going to “play the heck out of Portal 2, Infamous 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” and then you call sequels “new versions of old stuff.” That’s not what a sequel is, Yahoo. A sequel is a continuation, not a retelling. Sure, some sequels give the player more of the same, but a lot of them don’t. Learn the difference.

Overall, Yahoo, your article seems rushed and a bit amateurish. If you’re going to report on something people care about so deeply, especially when you’re permitted to get your hands on it before anyone else, I suggest you treat the subject with more dignity and research more thoroughly.

But hey, it’s just a suggestion.

Love and kisses,