Well this is akward, I guess you want me to tell everyone something about myself, Where to begin, I'm from Norway, where I work as an Electrician, And I have a well established gaming addiction that started early on, As I've grown up it's probably the one hobby that has been constant, I started with a Windows 3,1 computer with games like Wolfenstein 3D and Prince of Persia, moved over to Sega Mega Drive (a console I still have and play to this day) and so on and so forth.
Today I own all three of the home consoles on the market, and a high end computer, I try to play just as much on all four, but as the current generation has stalled too long, I often than not find myself playing most games on the PC with a Xbox Controller.
In my blog I'll write abit about everything that I find interesting in the industry today, So I hope you enjoy.
This is Part 2 of my Superhero Spectacular, If you want to go back and read the first part, You can do so here
When I first heard about Infamous for the PS3, I really wished I owned a PS3. This also happened to be the case with most PS3 exclusives, but the high cost of buying a PS3 put this game off my radar for a while. And when I eventually got a PS3 there were so many other enticing exclusives like the Uncharted series, LittleBigPlanet and Heavenly Sword that were prioritized ahead of InFamous. But after the reveal of InFamous: Second Son at the Playstation meeting back in february. I decided that the time was right to finally try this series
In Infamous you play as Cole MacGrath. Cole is a bike messenger in Empire City, who one fateful day gets caught in the center of a massive explosive that rocks Empire City. After waking up from the explosion, it becomes clear that Cole has become imbued with superpowers, and the game revolves around his new found powers, and the conspiracy leading up to the explosion.
Cole's new found powers is at the core of the Infamous gameplay, they are used for traversing the open world city and combat, both offense and defense. In order for Cole to be able to use his powers, he needs to be charged with electrical energy, Energy he can drain from nearby electrical outlets and appliances
One thing that I really have to mention when talking about how Cole's powers evolve is the way the developers have implemented real world terminology into the mix, As an electrician I giggled every time I had to enter a substation to power up Cole's ability, it just helps the immersion, even though the machine he hooks himself up to ended up looking very "Sci-Fi".
Via it's morality system Infamous lets you choose which kind of superpowered person you want to be, Do you want to be a superhero or an antihero/supervillain?
"... doesn't want to be famous? I'll make him Infamous"
While this choices you get are implemented okay, I really didn't feel that they added anything to the mix. I do wish however that the choices weren't as black or white (or Red and Blue as they were presented). I never felt that my choice would alter the game significantly, The game could have used some more shades of grey.
The exploration elements in Infamous rivals Assassins Creed. It's fantastic, Cole can climb just about anything you can set your eye on, while Altair/Ezio can only climb ledges that are "highlighted".
But where the exploration elements fail is in the city design: Empire City is so damned bland that I never really feel that I belong in this world. The way they've sectioned off certain areas is something that's done in most open world games, But in Infamous it's never really explained other than: "you can't go there because the road is blocked" and when you get to the other areas, they look pretty much the same as where you came from (with some notable exceptions)
The presentation of the story is done via motion comics and voice overs, which I think fits the game well, and it's pulled off pretty great. But there are times in the game when they had to render some cut scenes in-engine and these are the weakest point of the presentation of the game
There are three main supporting characters in Cole's story: There's his girlfriend Trish, His best bud Zeke and the FBI Agent Moya who want's to put Cole's abilities to good use. All characters are fleshed out pretty well, and there are several other characters that are either refereed to via Audio Logs or met throughout the story that shapes the world that InFamous takes place in. Zeke and Moya are the characters that will contact Cole via voice over the most, and while I did find Zeke off putting in the beginning, he grows on you, which is cool, because that's the sort of friendship I feel he and Cole has.
Overall I really enjoyed Infamous, I felt that the game's mechanics and story blended really well together, and another thing I also have to applaud is the brilliant pacing off the game, Never did I feel to overpowered and I never felt nerfed. Sucker Punch knew exactly when to implement new stuff to the gameplay and did so masterfully
Overall I give the game a 4/5
Next up: My review of InFamous 2 and InFamous 2: Festival of Blood
It's been a while since my last post, but I can justify it with three things: I've been playing The Last of Us, I've been working, and I'm a father. So that about sums up my absence.
None of these things got in the way of me following E3 this year, and one of the games that have been on my mind since the Playstation Meeting back in February have been inFamous: Second Son
The trailer and subsequent buzz around the PS4 got me really hyped. So hyped in fact that I went ahead and bought inFamous for my PS3 system. I've finished the game, and I'm currently working my way through inFamous 2 and will tackle the Standalone DLC: Infamous 2: Festival of Blood after that
The other day I remembered, there were another superhero game I wanted to check out way back when: Prototype. So I decided that I would play both series and compare them to each other: a AndyLonn Superhero Spectacular if you will
So hopefully this will be the first of several posts where I review and compare the inFamous series with the Prototype series
Wish me luck
My review of Infamous can be found here My review of Infamous 2 can be found here My review of Infamous 2: Festival of Blood can be found here
Disclaimer: I didn't take the time to proofread this blogpost as well as I usually do and when I wrote it I really just wanted to get my thoughts down on paper so it really isn't as structured as I normally would want it but please, bear with me
Here we are, fresh off the Xbox One reveal show, and it's time for all us video game bloggers to pour all of our feelings and opinions into a blog post.
Is it just me or does Don Mattrick constantly look like he's high??
So where do I stand after the reveal?
Well after having stayed with Microsoft for the better part of this generation, eventually gliding my way over to Sony's PS3, I'll have to say, based on what they just showed us, I'll probably be hanging my hat over at Sony's place this time around
I will just make it clear right here and now that this is not about fanboyism, I own all the current consoles (except for the Wii U) and a high end PC, I originally bought the 360 because it was cheaper than the PS3 and offered games like Mass Effect and Gears of War. Over the course of this generation I've mostly played my games on the Xbox, but gradually I went over to playing the newer releases on my PC, and leaving the consoles to the exclusive games (or the bargains I could get online).
I have occasionally voiced my opinion in the fanboy wars that has plauged this generation, but as I grew older, I realized the folly of it, and now view myself as an impartial observer
So, back to the matter at hand, What did I think of the reveal?
First off, I think that Microsoft really needs to find out who their target audience is with this thing, While there are plenty of features that would interest everyone from the casual to the core gamers, There really wasn't any focus on either.
They showed some features with LiveTV that looked interesting, but all in all those are wasted on people like me. I have Netflix, HBO Nordic, Crunchyroll and live broadcasts over the internet with my current internet provider, And since I live in Norway, these features probably won't come here anyway.
They showed off how to access TV Guide via Kinect
So thats two demographics the LiveTV stuff don't appeal to: People who live outside the US and people who are like me, Now I don't claim to speak on behalf of all core gamers out there, But I think if you are in my age group (I'm 23 so that would be in the group 20s - 30s) You get most of your TV through the internet in someway, or you are disinterested in TV all together
Sony did it right back in february, They were completly transparant about the hardware choices they had made with the PS4. Microsoft.... Not so much. While they said they'd have 8GB RAM and 8 Core CPU, They failed to state the speed of the RAM chips, or the size of the CPUs. These are numbers that I atleast would find interesting, and I feel that by not releasing that information upfront really speaks to their confidence in the system as a whole.
Microsofts description about the specifications are vauge at best
It's not always in the specs off course. The PS3 was a powerhouse when it was first released but the high price point intially turned gamers away from the system, and when the PS3 only ended up getting ports of multiplatform games (some of them terrible ports) the awesome hardware really didn't do the system any favors. But in february Sony really showed us that they had done everything in their power to help the developers make awesome games for the PS4. Microsoft didn't even adress this, maybe because they think that after the success of the 360, it's a given that the developers will return to their console next generation? Time will tell, but I think that not being totally transparant about their specs might hurt them in the long run
The current console generation saw a couple of fads come and go, but none was as persistant as motion gaming, While the Nintendo Wii was designed with motion gaming in mind, For better or worse the PS3 and Xbox 360 jumped on this train after the success of the Wii. They had some ups and downs with their concepts and execution but it opened the flood gates for something that I think, if not changed, marked gaming for the forseeable future
No, I'm not talking about Microsoft's fancy word for DLC, I'm talking about Sony and Microsoft selling us peripherals like the Kinect and Playstation Move so that we could access new features of their respective consoles. Now Nintendo is leading the charge again with their tablet controller, and wouldn't you know it, the other two are right on their tail with Smartglass and the PSVita
One of the selling points for the Wii U for me is that I can continue my games on the tablet if someone else wants to use the TV. Sony made it clear that this will also be available on the PS4. But so far Microsoft has been really quiet wether or not they will support this via Smartglass.
Will Microsoft be the only console developer that won't support remote play?
As I stated earlier, I really don't get who Microsoft is trying to reach with their advertising and who this console really is made for. I'm not totally uninterested in the TV features, but it won't be what sells me on the console, The event really didn't show anything that made me go "Wow", Which Sony actually managed to do quite a few times with their reveal of the PS4.
They seemed to be less focused on showing their strength when it comes to both multiplayer gaming (which has been a major selling point for the 360) and their continued efforts to offer us new and exciting original games (though they did say that they had 15 exclusive games, 8 of them original IPs)
Sony took the chance to reveal Jonathan Blow's new game "The Witness" at their event
PS4 event had Killzone, Infamous Second Son, Knack, and even Watch.Dogs, The Xbox really only showed us more of the same (except for Remedy's game). They showed us Fifa, Madden, NHL, NBA and COD. And while those games were great on the 360, the Xbox One needs something new to excite this guy.
I know we haven't heard about Sony's potential countermeasure when it comes to used games, but I will say that the ones that were announced for Xbox One does not help the situation for Microsoft
When it comes down to it, the Xbox One reveal event didn't do anything to make me really excited for the system, More of the same is all and well but when your main competitor shows up with an intent to woe the core gamers from your system over to their system, It is never the right strategy to change your target audience the way Microsoft seems to have done
While I'll still hold out until E3 to make my decision, It will take alot to steer me away from Sony this time, Fingers crossed Microsoft.
What did you think of the reveal? Have you made your mind up for the next generation yet?
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the troubles I were having with reviewing Heavenly Sword, The response I got was great and now, a few days after I finished it, I'm ready to write the review that I promised
Heavenly Sword was one of the early PS3 games, in fact it was one of the first games that made me look at Sony's wonder machine and go: "I want that". The game is a hack and slash action adventure game in the vein of games like Devil May Cry and Metal Gear Rising and God of War, but manages to carve its own identity with solid gameplay and impressive visuals
Heavenly Sword is set in a fantasy world where the player control Nariko, Whose father is the leader of a clan who has long protected the Heavenly Sword, which they believe were passed down from a legendary godly warrior who once defeated the evil Raven Lord. At the start of the game Nariko's village is under attack by the evil King Bohan, who seeks the sword for himself. From this day Nariko is charged with protecting the sword.
One thing that I really can't stress enough throughout this review, is how beautiful the game looks. The scenery, animation and cut-scenes are quite spectacular considering the game has been out for almost 6 years. I am sure that this feat, at the time of the games release, could only be accomplished with the PS3 and if it hadn't been for the occasional drop in frame rate, the games presentation along with the voice acting superb voice acting from both Anna Torv and Andy Serkis would get an instant 10/10
The game's combat is solid, if a bit repetitive at times, but the game really sells you on the feeling that Nariko with the Heavenly sword is a much better fighter than Nariko without the Heavenly Sword.
There are three stances that the combat makes you switch between during your encounters, but the game does have some issues of letting you know when you switch stances. For instance, sometimes a heavy combo gets blocked and you circle through your stances, only to find you had to time your heavy combo better to make it hit the enemy
The large scale battles are truly something to behold
Where the game fails though is in its use of Sixaxis controls, I really hate the segments in the game where you have to use it. Quickly explained: there are sections in the game where Nariko or the other playable character Kai is forced to use projectiles as either weapons or for puzzle solving, This can either be Kai's crossbow, Nariko using a ballista or throwing a disc. Aiming these projectiles is very inaccurate so you have to guide them via a feature called Aftertouch where time slows down and you have to steer the projectiles to their respective targets.
Using the SIXAXIS on the best of days is a nightmare and having the game force you to complete these segments before moving on is a sure way to get people to rage quit the game. The game isn't unfair at any point, but the whole task is so tedious and time consuming and I'm left wondering if the game wouldn't have been better served if these elements all together
What these segments do right however, is introducing us to the character of Kai, She is easily one of my favorite female characters of a game ever after having played this game. She isn't forced into any kind of storytelling tropes (except for maybe one very small damsel in distress scenario) and is very much left to just being: Kai.
She is a very hard character to explain but I really urge you to either play the game or look her up on Youtube, she is really something special.
Overall I'm pleased to say that I had a really positive experience with Heavenly Sword, The game does suffer a little bit from being made 6 years ago, if one is to compare it to contemporary titles like DMC and Metal Gear Rising but all in all it was a solid experience and I wouldn't mind a sequel somewhere down the line.
I'm sort of in a conundrum. As I've said in earlier blog posts, I bought a PS3 about a year and a half ago, and I'm trying to work my way through the back catalog I have on the system. Having traversed all of the Uncharted games, finished Solid Snake's story in MGS4 and generally having a great time with LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2, I've now arrived at a game that I was very excited for when I first saw it announced alongside the PS3.
The game I'm talking about is Heavenly Sword.
Nariko is voiced by Anna Torv, best known from the TV series Fringe
For those who don't know, This was Ninja Theory's (the guys who did the new DMC and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West) first game of this generation, and the first game they developed under that name. Wikipedia says that it's and action adventure hack and slash game where the gameplay resembles a martial arts title focused on melee combat while featuring opportunities for ranged attacks. In my words: I'd say it's sort of like God of War, sort of like Onimusha, and sort of like Devil May Cry.
I'm not very far into the game, but I started writing down notes for myself so that I could review it here on my blog when I'm done, but therein lies the problem. How do I review a game that was released 6 years ago?
Do I hold it up against contemporary titles like DMC, God of War Ascension and Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, or do I try to compare it to titles that were available around the same time as Heavenly Sword?
On one hand, there have been several games I've come across from the early PS3 era that have aged far better than this game has. and on the other hand video games have come along way in 6 years, and I am really liking the game, despite its flaws.
If the game had been released today, I'm not sure that I would have liked it as much as I am. (so far that is, still got a ways to go in the game) I mean why should I give this game any special treatment? There are several games that I've just flat out stopped playing because it had one or two things that annoyed me, and this game has several things that annoy the heck out of me, but despite those things, I'm actually enjoying the game.
There have been one other game that I experienced this with: The original Bioshock. While I did play it around the time the game was released, I truly hated some of the gameplay mechanics that Irrational had implemented in that game, but still I hold it as one of my favorite games this generation.
Have I missed out on game experiences because I was too easily annoyed at some of the choices the developers had made? I think I might have..
Will I ever get around to review Heavenly Sword? I hope so, This challenge that I'm facing could really help me become a better video game reviewer.
I own a PS Vita, and as much as I love the damn thing, there's no hiding the fact that post launch support have been lacking. There aren't nearly enough games to capture a wide audience, and the handheld itself is stuck somewhere between wanting to be a dedicated gaming device or a sort of casual gaming/tablet device. In fact, the games that I've been primarily playing on the device is either ports of console games or ports of PSP games that I missed because I didn't own one.
That is not to say that there aren't good Vita games. Uncharted Golden Abyss feels and plays like a full fledged Uncharted game. Gravity Rush is lots of fun (even if the mechanics got tiresome after a while). And I'm sure that there are more Vita games that I just haven't gotten round to play yet.
But what I feel the Vita really needs, is an Indie Revolution!
Ever since Sony's PS4 reveal in February, There's been a steady trickle of news every week about the new direction that Sony wants to take with their gaming platforms. At the Playstation Meeting in february, they made it pretty clear that Sony wants the PS4 to be a place where Indie developers can practice their crafts, and over the last few weeks we've been hearing that the PS Vita will also be a part of this new directon.
A few weeks ago, a game called Guacamelee was released, and short summarized. the game plays amazingly on the Vita. The controls are tight, the gameplay is fun and the game itself looks fantastic. Another indie game that is coming to the Vita soon is the ultraviolent Hotline Miami, and after having played it on PC I can say with 100 percent certainty that the game will be perfect for the Vita.
Guacamelee! really showcases indie glory on the Vita
I think that the Vita has the perfect fan base for Indie developers to test their games on. Threads on Neogaf like the monthly Vita thread is one of the places where Playstation Vita owners encourage each other to try the different games that are being released on the handheld, and they discuss their experiences with the games in a way that could be really helpful to an up and coming Indie developer
That is not to say that I ONLY want indie games on my Vita, I want the next portable Uncharted game, and just last week the news came that there's a sidescrolling 2,5D Batman Arkham Origins game in the works and I really want that too, But indie games can really help fill the gap between the big releases so that the Vita doesn't end up gathering dust.
I believe the PS Vita could be recognized as one of the best handhelds in history, but I think it will need the help of indie games to get there. Sony also needs to realize that what we Vita owners want isn't ports of console games but original games that can only be found on the Vita, That's how Nintendo did it with their Wii and DS/3DS and it's been working for them.
The PS Vita is a technical marvel, but hardware alone doesn't sell systems, You have to have the software too.