Dec 022012
 

The Wii U is out and I have to say it has exceeded all my expectations, which should have been nearly impossible with the amount of excitement I experienced while waiting to wrap my arms around it on November 18th. While this isn’t actually a review of the system, it is a bit of interesting information that I discovered this week. The Wii U appears to have a better lineup of launch games than any console. This is clearly my opinion, but one based on research and nostalgia. I won’t start too far back, I figured Fifth Generation and on would suffice for this demonstration.

Starting with the misunderstood Sega Saturn, our lineup on May 11th 1995:
• Virtua Fighter
• Panzer Dragoon
• Clockwork Knight
• Daytona USA

Out of these four games the only game I would have gotten immediately would have been the imaginative Panzer Dragoon, a fantastic on-rails shooter that really needs a reboot.

September 9th 1995 gave way for the Sony Playstation which launched with:
• Air Combat
• Battle Arena Toshinden
• ESPN Extreme Games
• Kileak – The DNA Imperative
• NBA Jam Tournament Edition
• Power Serve 3D Tennis
• Rayman
• Ridge Racer
• Street Fighter: The Movie
• The Raiden Project
• Total Eclipse Turbo

As you can see, there were many more options, but was there anything that really enticed me back then? I really don’t think I was excited about the Playstation with these titles. Battle Arena Toshinden looked neat, but it definitely didn’t sell me on the system.

Finally on September 29th 1996 Nintendo came back swinging with the N64. With the only launch titles being Pilotwings 64 and Mario 64, the choice was easy. Mario 64 was certainly a system seller. I remember being so delighted to see Mario PUNCH THINGS! Percentage wise Nintendo can literally say that half their N64 launch titles were must buys. Still, the fact remains is they only released with two of them.

The Sixth Generation is certainly an interesting one that starts off with a bang. On September 9th 1999 the Sega Dreamcast launches. The system launched:
• Sonic Adventure
• Aerowings
• AirForce Delta
• Blue Stinger
• Expendable
• Flag to Flag
• The House of the Dead 2
• Hydro Thunder
• Monaco Grand Prix
• Mortal Kombat Gold
• NFL 2K
• NFL Blitz 2000
• Pen Pen TriIcelon
• Power Stone
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
• Soulcalibur
• TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat
• Tokyo Xtreme Racer
• TrickStyle

That’s a lot to choose from, but I wasn’t excited about many of them. Of course, I HAD to have Sonic Adventure, that was a given. Power Stone looked pretty awesome, so I had to have that. SoulCalibur could also be seen as a must buy. So there were at least three decent launch title choices.

On October 26th 2000, Sony repeated greatness with the Playstation 2. No doubt, this was one amazing console, but how did it fair on launch?
• Armored Core 2
• DOA2: Hardcore
• Dynasty Warriors 2
• ESPN International Track & Field
• ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding
• Eternal Ring
• Evergrace
• FantaVision
• Gungriffon Blaze
• Kessen
• Madden NFL 2001
• Midnight Club: Street Racing
• NHL 2001
• Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
• Q-Ball: Billiards Master
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
• Ridge Racer V
• Silent Scope
• Smuggler’s Run
• SSX
• Street Fighter EX3
• Summoner
• Surfing H3O
• Swing Away Golf
• Tekken Tag Tournament
• TimeSplitters
• Unreal Tournament
• Wild Wild Racing
• X-Squad
Wow! I look at that list and I think about each game and what I was into back then. Honestly I can’t come up with many choices that would have enticed me. Dynasty Warriors 2 could have been on my list for sure. Incredible, I am drawing a blank as I stare at them. At the time I wanted Kessen, but I remember hours into the game I turned it off forever. Thinking back, that’s kind of depressing. Interesting.

Nintendo wasn’t going to go quietly and on September 14th 2001 the GameCube was released with this lineup:
• All-Star Baseball 2002
• Batman: Vengeance
• Crazy Taxi
• Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
• Disney’s Tarzan Untamed
• Luigi’s Mansion
• Madden NFL 2002
• NHL Hitz 20-02
• SSX Tricky
• Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
• Super Monkey Ball
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
• Wave Race: Blue Storm
A modest list of choices, but a couple of gems can be found. Luigi’s Mansion is definitely one because hey, who doesn’t want to fight ghosts as Luigi? Then the biggest no brainer was purchasing Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. That game was so freaking amazing. It was the number one reason I bought a Gamecube.

A challenger approaches on November 15th 2001, as Microsoft launches the Xbox with these games:
• Halo: Combat Evolved
• Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
• Dead or Alive 3
• Project Gotham Racing
• NFL Fever 2002
• AirForce Delta Storm
• Mad Dash Racing
• Cel Damage
• Arctic Thunder
• Fuzion Frenzy
• Jet Set Radio Future (Japan launch)
• Double S.T.E.A.L. (Japan launch)
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2#Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2XTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X
• 4×4 EVO 2
• Shrek
Top of the list is really all that matters. Halo was a system seller for sure.

The Seventh Generation starts off on November 22nd 2005 with the release of one the most popular consoles, the Xbox 360. It launched with the following titles:
• Amped 3
• Call of Duty 2
• Condemned: Criminal Origins
• FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup
• GUN
• Kameo: Elements of Power
• Madden NFL 06
• NBA 2K6
• NBA Live 06
• Need for Speed: Most Wanted
• NHL 2K6
• Perfect Dark Zero
• Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
• Project Gotham Racing 3
• Quake 4
• Ridge Racer 6
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
• Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
Here’s a fun fact, my roommate at the time and I were discussing whether or not to go halfsies on one. The biggest drawback each time we talked about it was the lack of games we were interested in. Looking at that list, nothing captures my imagination.

November 17th, 2006, the launch of the Sony Playstation 3 gave way to these titles:
• Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
• Call of Duty 3
• Genji: Days of the Blade
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
• NBA 2K7
• NHL 2K7
• Resistance: Fall of Man
• Ridge Racer 7
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
• Tony Hawk’s Project 8
• Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Another underwhelming list, except for maybe Resistance: Fall of Man. That was a pretty great game. That list is just as unimpressive as the Xbox 360’s.

Nintendo let us play with our Wii on November 19th 2006, and had these games as launch titles:

• Avatar: The Last Airbender
• Call of Duty 3
• Cars
• Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
• Excite Truck
• The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
• GT Pro Series
• Happy Feet
• The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Monster 4×4: World Circuit
• Need for Speed: Carbon
• Rampage: Total Destruction
• Rayman Raving Rabbids
• Red Steel
• SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
• Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
• Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
• Trauma Center: Second Opinion
• Wii Sports (bundled with the Wii console)
This selection seemed a little more promising, and comparatively it was. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was for sure a must buy. I was also pretty pumped to get Red Steel which was a small display of what the Wii could do.

I find it interesting that in the seventh generation, the three consoles had unimpressive launch titles as a whole. Perhaps they were going for “Look what our system can do!” Perhaps these are tastes of things to come.

Bringing us back to the present, on November 18th 2012, Nintendo made history with the Wii U.
• Assassin’s Creed III
• Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
• Ben 10: Omniverse
• Call of Duty: Black Ops II
• Chasing Aurora
• Darksiders II
• Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
• ESPN Sports Connection
• FIFA Soccer 13
• Funky Barn
• Game Party Champions
• Just Dance 4
• Little Inferno
• Madden NFL 13
• Mass Effect 3: Special Edition
• Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition
• Nano Assault Neo
• NBA 2K13
• New Super Mario Bros. U
• Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
• Nintendo Land
• Rabbids Land
• Scribblenauts Unlimited
• Sing Party
• Skylanders: Giants
• Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
• Tank! Tank! Tank!
• Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
• Transformers: Prime – The Game
• Trine 2: Director’s Cut
• Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
• Wipeout 3
• Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
• ZombiU
That’s a big list, but is it any good? Currently I have five of these titles. Nintendo Land came with the system, but you had to buy the deluxe version so I think it still counts partially. The other ones include New Super Mario Bros U, Scribblenauts unlimited, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. These are all fantastic games. So much so that when I want to play my Wii U its difficult for me to decide what to play. The other thing is, I don’t have a whole lot of money so there are still launch titles I absolutely need like ZombiU, TANK! TANK! TANK!, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, and Assassin’s Creed III. That’s four more titles. All together that’s NINE Launch titles that I consider must haves. That is more than half of the other systems’ launch titles all together. Granted, this is just about launch titles. What really matters is how they hold up in the long run and that’s still a way off, but at this point, from this perspective, the Wii U is kicking some serious butt.

You’ve seen the games launched on each system over the years, which games did you buy at launch and how did you feel about them? Let us know in the comments below.

Sep 062011
 

After launching the NEOGEO® Station for the Playstation® 3 and PSP® consoles last December, SNK Playmore has added seven more titles to the mix.  The five latest titles released between today and last Tuesday.

Continue reading »

Sep 022011
 

Update: Ubisoft® has announced that after a successful few days of exclusive access for Playstation®Plus and Uplay members the mutliplayer beta for Assassin’s Creed® Revelations will be available to all PSN members starting tomorrow, though Sept. 11 will still be the last day for beta play.

Continue reading »

Aug 102011
 

Ubisoft® has announced a Fall welcoming present for Playstation® 3 users today.  A month before the release of Ezio’s latest journey, Assassin’s Creed® Revelations, an exclusive multiplayer demo will be available on Sony’s black box.

The multiplayer demo will be exclusively for Playstation Plus and Uplay members. Photo courtesy of Ubisoft

Available to Playstation®Plus and Uplay users for the first week of September, running from Sept. 3 to 11; the demo will grant players a size-able sneak-peek into Brotherhood’s sister title.

The mutliplayer demo will allot players access to nine characters, three maps, and four play modes; hardly a dent worth of features expected for the latest Assassin’s Creed®.

Assassin’s Creed® Revelations is set to release across the Xbox® 360, Playstation® 3, and PC platforms on Nov. 15.

For those who take advantage of this special offer, enjoy the following come early September.

Playable Characters

The Sentinel

The Vanguard

The Guardian

The Vizier

The Thespain

The Deacon

The Bombadier

The Trickster

The Champion

Playable Maps

Knights Hosptial

Antioch

Constantinople

Play Modes

Wanted

Manhunt

Deathmatch

Artifact Assault

Jul 122011
 

The FPSFreek Prestige. Photo courtesy of Miller PR

If you read our reviews of Penguin United’s Eagle Eye or Splitfish’s FragFX™ Shark, you probably know that politely I am not fond of console controller thumbsticks.  In the harsh reality of things, I simply loath them…but times are changing and the effervescent winds of innovation have finally brought about a product which culls the disdain I hold towards thumbsticks.

Continue reading »

Jun 132011
 

After the E3 event and leading into the weekend I decided it was time to try something new. Something I had never experienced before. Now my arm hurts and I want to tell you why. No – it’s not what you’re thinking. You see that would be all in the wrist and forearm depending on the intensity at which you… never mind. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.

My arm hurts because I was playing Killzone 3 with the Playstation Move and Navigation controllers rigged into the Sony Playstation Sharpshooter attachment. The Sharpshooter is a digital rifle like component complete with telescoping stock and foregrip. It’s a nice little piece of equipment with well designed placement of the controls and ergonomics. Of course it’s a natural accessory to shooter games like Killzone 3, SOCOM: US Navy Seals 4, and Time Crisis: Razing Storm and since it’s a first party Sony accessory you know it works well.

Fortunately Killzone 3 features a bot only multiplayer mode where you can hone your skills with the Sharpshooter and I spent a considerable amount of time tweaking the settings for motion control. Much like High Voltage Software’s The Conduit title the options for adjusting the sensitivity, dead zone, etc. are in abundance here so you can get that perfect feel for the motion controls.

After about two hours of play time on Killzone 3 with the Move/Sharpshooter setup I can honestly say this is quite the engaging experience.  I felt a lot more connected to the game and the aiming capabilities of motion control definitely trump that of dual analogs typical of console shooters. Combined with the vibration feedback of the rifle when pulling the trigger you feel like you’re really shooting Helghast. 

Since the forward, backward, and strafing movement is all handed in the joystick on the Navigation control (also mounted in the Sharpshooter) it takes some readjusting to coordinate your onscreen aiming with your strafing. But inside of 30 minutes I was a pro at it and although I still need some practice I can see that this will be my preferred method of playing Killzone 3.

The only downside I can cite against this unique setup is the weight of the rifle in my hands. Particularly holding it up with the stock against my shoulder and  in the standing position. While the setup in itself doesn’t weight a whole lot holding it up in that firing-from-the-shoulder position will reveal its tiresome nature. I’m certain after a few sessions of using the Sharpshooter my body will adapt to this and it won’t be a problem however.

The good news is that feedback in the PS Move community has been positive towards the Sharpshooter (here’s another positive log to throw on the fire…). We’ll be getting added compatibility with Resistance 3 when that launches and the brilliant Killzone 3 multiplayer will keep move shooting players busy for quite a while until then.

May 232011
 

Each generation of gaming, specifically console gaming, has tried to give us something new. Whether its new graphics or new technology, it really comes down to the games. The games we remember and get all nostalgia-y about and have fond memories of are really what make us look back at these generations with varying opinions. Let’s take a look at them.

NES Years

Really the NES was pretty much all on its own in this generation. Unfortunately, being the only real console choice for its time, there was a lot of crap. Everyone was making games for the NES, often games that shouldn’t have been made. Despite the overabundant amount of crap, there were solid gaming experiences out there. While it would be easy to give the NES an A for being the first step of gaming for many people in my age bracket, I am really just trying to focus on the games and the consoles themselves. History aside, The Nintendo was a solid system, yet you still found yourself having to blow on that cartridge to get it to work. There are a lot of classic games that still hold up to this day and are often much more difficult than current generation games. Nintendo marketed the heck out of the system too. Magazines, TV shows, and even an entire movie about the games were all over the place. Granted, The Wizard was pretty bad-ass, though it was still slightly embarrassing. Many failed peripherals were also made for the system that really served no functional purpose other than piss off the player. Nintendo was young and trying new things so you can’t really fault them too much. Overall, I have to give them a Solid B+.

SNES VS GENESIS

Console Wars began to creep up around this time. We then had Nintendo and Sega competing for your gaming buck, which obviously made the games better. Gamers didn’t want to shell out the cash for bad games anymore. Sure, they still got made, but with the competition, the two companies didn’t want to lose out on your money. This era saw some great plat-formers and RPGs, especially on the SNES. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III(US), and Secret of Mana all showed great success. Super Mario World was a platforming favorite. Sega gave birth to a fast running smooth talking Hedgehog. All was right in the world. Nintendo seemed to hold off on the wacky peripherals too. Sega decided to take a different route entirely by adding extra cartridge slots, CD players, and games that stacked on top of each other. The graphics were improving, the sounds were getting better, and the gameplay was still fun. This was a great time to be a gamer.

B+

Rise of the Playstation

Nintendo had quite the run and they were looking to push the envelope once again with the Nintendo 64. The N64 had some great titles that made the system worth having without any real consequences. This time, however, a new opponent surfaced. Sony showed up to the gaming arena with their fabled Playstation. Sony laughed at the thought of using those wacky grey cartridges and instead looked to the stars for the future of gaming in the form of compact discs. This time around Sony was doing the innovating while Nintendo just gussied up the graphics. Still, the two companies battled long and hard and we as gamers were rewarded with great games like Mario 64, Starfox 64, Shadows of the Empire, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask for Nintendo. Sony did us proud with three solid Final Fantasies, Metal Gear Solid, and a plethora of wonderful RPGs and action games. These two systems gave many gamers great memories and may very well be the highlight of gaming history. The gaming world was discovering a new dimension, and the reactions to this were all-important.

A+

Console Wars

Sega wanted back in so badly. I really miss those guys, and they sure made one hell of an effort back then. The Dreamcast stepped up to the plate almost a year before Sony. They had the ball in their court and somehow fumbled. Sure, outstanding hits like the Sonic Adventures and Shenmue series can take you so far, but Sony sat in the bushes waiting. The Playstation 2 was born and tore the little white box to shreds with its might. Featuring full backwards compatibility, the system came fully locked and loaded with thousands of gaming options right off the bat. A year later Nintendo would jump on the disc bandwagon with the Gamecube. And let’s not forget the elephant in the room, Microsoft, who stepped into the ring with the Xbox gaming system. All three of these consoles were pumping out great games. Truthfully though, The Playstation 2 had it in the bag. Despite disc read errors and a next to useless hard drive, the PS2 simply had more games. They still had Microsoft and Nintendo on their back, though, so they couldn’t back off on the quality, thus producing some amazing games. Even still, a cloud was forming.

A+

Current Generation

In this era of gaming, we have witnessed many things. Nintendo came out swinging nun-chucks as they planned on innovating the way games were played. They also gave us backwards compatibility and a virtual console to buy classic games. They got labeled a machine for casual gamers, kids, and grandparents. They’ve done little to try and change this, but let’s face it, they really don’t have to. The bad press was a little unfair and they did have a good library of games, unfortunately they opted out on high definition. Microsoft pushed out the Xbox 360, and while it was a quality system, it has been plagued with red rings of death as well as several other issues that can potentially brick your system. Great games don’t do much when your system is always breaking. They’ve claimed to have remedies for these issues, but many still pop up. Sony kicked the door down with the Playstation 3, but the starting price was ridiculous. They boasted backwards compatibility as well, but after many issues were found in the system, future systems were not given this function. The games in Sony’s lineup were not very impressive at first. A few key titles gave it hope, but it took them a little while to start cranking out goodies. Unfortunately, as of late, Sony’s network was the target of a serious hack attack, crippling many PS3 gamers’ ability to game for almost a month, as well as stealing valuable personal information. This problem has since been rectified, but you would have thought this kind of attack could have been prevented. This generation has seems to be all about the graphics and not about the gameplay, though there have been good games, no doubt. I’ve enjoyed gaming on these systems, but nothing really holds me by the balls. Technical issues that hinder the gamer’s enjoyment are also a huge downside.

D+

With E3 bearing down on us, Nintendo is already in the batting cages with information about “Project Cafe”. I hope they start the trend to fix what went wrong with the last generation and bring gaming back to what made it so enjoyable. We want our memories back. I might sound like an angry bitter old gamer shaking his walker at the flashy new thing, but I just want what’s best for gamers. I just want to have fun, and not have shit break every week.

May 192011
 

It’s been over a month since PlayStation Network went offline, and restoring the network’s features has been an ongoing process, but there’s a glimmer of hope that PSN will be back to normal within the next week.

According to a report on Gamasutra, Sony sent a memo to developers and publishers claiming the PlayStation Store will be up and running on May 24, assuming there aren’t unforeseen problems. Due to the the large amount of content that was scheduled during the period the network was down, Sony plans to update the store twice a week in an attempt to catch up. In addition to the usual Tuesday updates, Friday updates are planned until June 3, when Sony is expected to have the entire backlog of games and DLC available. Games that had a release date of April 26 will be available as soon as the store is back online, and it is assumed Sony will stick to the established queue, although they certain release dates may be changed depending on the circumstances.

The restoration of the PlayStation Store will be the last step in returning PSN to complete functionality, following the outage last month. Assuming the doomsday prophesiers are wrong about the End of Days scheduled for May 21, this means PlayStation owners are closer to receiving some free games as compensation for the PSN debacle.

May 182011
 

In the wake of the PSN outage Sony has posted on the official Playstation Blog that they will be offering up an olive branch to make up for the nearly 1 month of sufferage that their Playstation Network users had to cope with.

According to Sony’s blog they’re going to be making available for free to all users 2 games from the following list:

- Dead Nation
- inFAMOUS
- LittleBigPlanet
- Super Stardust HD
- Wipeout HD + Fury

Or if you’re a PSP owner and want to hook up some free portable action you can choose 2 games from:

- LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
- ModNation Racers
- Pursuit Force
- Killzone Liberation

The fun doesn’t stop there. Also the following benefits will be bestowed upon Playstation 3 owners:

- A selection of “On Us” rental movie titles will be available to PlayStation Network customers over one weekend, where Video Service is available. Those titles will be announced soon.
- 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership for non PlayStation Plus subscribers.
- Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive an additional 60 days of free subscription.
- Existing Music Unlimited Premium Trial subscription members will receive an additional 30 days of free premium subscription.
- Additional 30 days + time lost for existing members of Music Unlimited Premium/Basic subscription free of charge for existing Premium/Basic members.
- To welcome users Home, PlayStation Home will be offering 100 free virtual items. Additional free content will be released soon, including the next addition to the Home Mansion personal space, and Ooblag’s Alien Casino, an exclusive game.

While the “Customer Appreciation Program” as they’ve deemed it has not been put into effect yet as far as we know it’s expected to go live once they really smooth out all the online services which just recently came back online.

Make sure to check PSN daily until the freebies go live as they will only be offered up on a limited time basis.