hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum


8:50 AM on 02.06.2011  

Yeah, that's why PC's don't dominate gaming anymore...

Admittedly, I'm coming pretty late to the party when it comes to finally having a desktop PC capable of running modern games. The entry cost seemed exorbitant, the specs always shifted and it appeared that support for PC-only gaming was waning.

Well, two out of three.

Building a PC from scratch lets you manage the cost quite well. I have a decent processor and a medium level GPU. I think the single biggest cost was my monitor at $120, so it's not bad on the wallet.

However, it seems like you need to have faith that everything will work together well. On paper, I seem to have a respectable rig, but Crysis- while looking nice and going along at a 30+ framerate- just seems to make it run like crap.
This single game alone has caused more error messages than anything else I've thrown at my PC, including a wonderfully heart-attack inducing system reset. I get the impression it's always been pretty buggy, patched or unpatched, but this is taking the piss.

Metro 2033? Runs fine- better than I expected. My old laptop had a GTX 260M and it felt like it was going to die from heat exhaustion. Comparably, my HD 4670 is running pretty cool- it hasn't even broke the 40c mark yet.

New games seem to be harder to find. The release schedule for PC gaming is as anemic as the PSP's.

I love my new PC. I'm just not sure that I'm ready to rely on it completely for gaming yet though.   read


5:41 AM on 02.05.2011  

Random stuff masquerading as a new blog

Haven't written anything in a while, so here's thoughts off the top of my head.

I brought a Nook. My wife poured scorn on the idea of it not being a "real" book but then she started to use it and I've never seen it since. She even has a protective case for it now. Good thing I can read my stuff on my iPod app...

Built a PC from scratch- just an idea that came out of not knowing what to do with a Best Buy giftcard and my wife encouraging me to give it a shot. The theory was that I'd buy a piece or two every month and slowly work towards the complete thing, but then I just kept buying stuff from New Egg and I'd finished it in a month. I'd put all the specs, as many are want to do in lieu of putting their penis size as a quote, but I don't care. It's in a nice but cheap Cooler Master case, it's a quad core AMD and it runs under 29C most of the time and only really gets up to 36C under pressure- so good job done.

Having a new PC has lead me to completely ignore my 360 and PS3, but luckily we're still in a game drought- until Killzone 3 this month- so I don't feel like I'm betraying them. They sit there, idling and occasionally playing Blu Ray films or Netflix but they cannot charm me from Dawn of War 2 or Starcraft 2.

On that subject: Starcraft 2. Blizzard may be one of the finest developers of all time. Just the polish alone- I wish all developers could have the ability to say "When it's done" and really just wait until it feels right to let their child loose on the world, ravaging casual gamer and Korean PC-slaves alike.

Another thing I want to use Optimus- my PC- for, is to start writing again. I'm starting to get more ideas and I've been told that just writing for the sake of it is necessary to sharpen your skills. But, I procrastinate on EPIC levels so we'll see how this goes. I just decided not to call it a resolution- that doesn't at New Years or for the United Nations.

Later.

PS: Steam friends wanted, apply within.   read


9:03 AM on 05.20.2010  

When getting $60 isn't enough...

http://www.destructoid.com/ufc-undisputed-2010-requires-code-to-play-online-update--174080.phtml

This shit annoys me. So much so, that it brought me out of retirement. That's right, 24 hours to crack the case or the sarge is going to tie me up with so much red tape that my badge will just be a butt ornament, because he'll shove it up my ass.

Vulgarity aside, when did publishers start find it acceptable to actively show their contempt for consumers? I know, Kotick is in some tall building looking down at humans like ants, rubbing his hands and whispering to himself "Buy all the DLC you can, peasants- I AM YOUR MASTER!"

Some will say that this is just an attempt to stop Piracy- which is, really futile. The gaming industries war on drugs. There's also the potential to get more people to buy brand new copies of games, removing the cost incentive from buying used by making you pay the difference to have a fully working game. I can see the benefits for publishers in either scenario.

Here's the thing- why does it always have to hurt the consumer? I have no problem with wanting to prevent piracy, but breaking a game and then handing it to us as and demanding money to fix the issue seems far more criminal and sinister. Free market economy aside, this is almost a protection racket.
Imagine if the same thing happened when you brought a car- the breaks are deliberately broken and the manufacturer just shrugs and says "The car will move, but you'll need to hand over more cash to get the complete driving experience". Who the fuck would buy that car?

Of course, this isn't going to stop people from buying the game. Also, it's not going to stop used game sales and the publishers know it. It's just going to be a way to milk more money from people when they don't realise they paid less money for a crippled game.

Feel free to whine at me for being a commie in the comments or that you buy new anyway and this won't effect you.   read


1:43 PM on 11.10.2008  

An Open Letter... (Possible Gears2 Spoilers)

To the moron who thought an ice lake was a great feature for Gears 2,

Fuck You.

Sincerely,
Jim Yates



What an atrocious idea! Something to add a tad more longevity was it? I know, crazy thought ahead... make a longer game?
I know, that's just nuttier than squirrel shit.
All in all, an excellent game. A bit shorter than I expected and suffering from a case of overexposure from the previous game- as in, it's not as fresh as it once was- but still good, Locust-chopping fun.
Played it on my HDTV first- which is awkward, since my 360 is usually set up in my bedroom on an SDTV- and it looked fantastic. Not so sure about some of those much-vaunted upgrades to the U3 engine- the 'hordes' of Locust are only usually seen in the bigger vehicle sections and seem to have been crippled in the AI. Just pause a moment before blowing them up with the cannon on the mountain section and you'll notice that they just seem to be walking towards you- not too smart, eh?
Speaking of the mountain level, it felt very reminiscent of the similarly themed 'snowy-mountain ascent' level in Mass Effect- another U3 based game. However, this time Epic seem to be showing that your outdoor levels in U3 don't need to look nearly as bad as Mass Effect did. I'm starting to think that Silicon Knights and D.D might have a point- Epic make all other U3-based games look like ass. Still, I'm glad that the game doesn't suffer too much on a plain TV picture- kudos to them for that.

Not really a review, just a collection of thoughts unedited. And I mean it- Fuck You, nameless but possibly Cliffy B designer. That part of the level was just plain needless.   read


2:42 PM on 10.14.2008  

Beta Frenzy!

WTF? I seem to be in demand all of a sudden. I, the socially-retarded by choice gamer, who doesn't really play online (well, maybe for Gears 2- the co-op).
I've had 3 beta invites within the week- Little Big Planet: Which actually put me off purchasing the completed game. It highlighted my ineptitude in designing levels, which I already knew about- so it's not really a good idea for me to buy something that revolves around that premise.
Call of Duty: World at War- A beta invite, out of the blue! Perhaps they're trying to win me over, due to my lack of enthusiasm for CoD3? Irrespective, this is for the 360 and that console remains in my bedroom, gathering dust until my wife decides to play Indigo Prophecy on BC. That one's probably going out to someone on my Friends List.
End War: I have to admit, this one's a pleasant surprise. I'm quite interested in playing a game operated by voice only (I think), just to see how it mashes up my English accent in relation to commands. I already have enough crap about it from customers at my job- phone support for tech companies. I can't wait to see the havoc it will wreak when it comes to defending the free world, digital-style. Again though, it's a 360 beta and I'm solely rocking out on my PS3. I don't currently have a headset for the 360, so that makes it doubly useless.

Still, I applied for the Resistance 2 beta so let's hope I haven't used up all my invitation luck on these three?

I have to add one more thing- the LBP beta could really have just done with being a limited time demo, available from the PSN store. It really didn't seem like a stress test environment- nor do any betas I've participated in within the last year or so. There's no ability to add feedback, even though I'm sure such things are tracked automatically. If the beta has become just a demo or another advertisement tool, then let's remove any kind of pretense of having some kind of effect. Sure, some companies have increased server capacities based on the stats they received- but that just seems to be an oversight that could have been corrected after the game went on sale.

The Beta- The modern demo/sales tool for online games.

P.S- I don't want to hand the codes out for these betas. It seems tacky and I'm not sure about the T's and C's, both here and on XBL, so please don't ask. Thanks!   read


1:57 PM on 09.26.2008  

There's blood in your eye...

Or coming out of them. Whatever kind of symptom Wipeout HD might inflict on you.

Talk about a great value download! It's worth every shekel. Impressive graphics, smooth frame-rates, classic Wipeout controls and a typically great soundtrack- all for $19.99.
The strange thing is, is that I would have balked at that cost for pretty much any other downloadable game. Sure, I've brought a few XBLA games and MK2 from the PSN Store, but they were usually cheap impulse purchases. If only I used my 360, then $15 for Braid would be a cinch.

Value for money. Whip E Out has it.   read


11:59 AM on 09.25.2008  

First impressions- BIA: Heck's Road of Fun Times!

Guts and glory! Screw you Patton!

I picked up the latest chapter of Bakers Company adventure, which I get the impression isn't supposed to be fun- in the sense that I see atrocities all around me, the main character and some of his friends aren't completely stable and I blew up a sheep with a grenade, yet...
The game wants me to ponder the harshness of war, the senseless slaughter and the waste of the greatest generation on a failed military operation.

It's really jarring. One minute, flashback to the first game- the men Baker thinks he failed are dying all around him. The next moment... look how awesome this close-up, slow-mo explosion is! That's his arm, flying away from him! His guts are very well rendered.

Still, it's a tactical game and I love those- so I cut it some slack for being very good at making me think my way around the battlefield. Also, it makes me realize that I would have sucked in any military career possible.

Maybe a review, when I'm done with it. Back to teh slaughtering.   read


2:52 PM on 09.23.2008  

Brief Reviews- Star Wars: TFU



Okay, maybe this will become a regular thing for me- small reviews with just my bare unvarnished opinions of a game. Well, maybe not that regular since I rarely write as much as I used to...

Anyhoo, Star Wars : The Force Unleashed.

Sure, at this point most people interject with some wistful filler about how much the Star Wars trilogy affected them in their formative years and how gorram horrible most of the recent Lucas-lite sputum is. Well, I'm just a fan- not a fanboy.
Also, you'd normally expect some kind of backstory for the game at this point- read Wikipedia, I don't have the time to recap it for you.
On we go...

Pro's-

1: Very nice to look at. There's a definite art-style at work here and it's pleasing to the eye, with lots happening in the background and pretty much every character/creature well rendered. However, there's a downside to it too- but I'll get to that.

2: Sounds fantastic. I expected a THX logo, but it was nowhere in the beginning credits- so I made do with the glowing DTS symbol on my amplifier. It's a good mix of booming bass, swooping screeches around you and none of it crowds out the voice-over work.

3: The Force. It rocks.

4: It all controls well. You aren't overwhelmed with powers at first, which might disappoint the eager gamer but the average player will be thankful that there's a learning curve. I played the demo, with pretty much everything turned on for you from the beginning and I swear I didn't know I could electrocute someone until the 2nd playthrough. No such issues in the finished product.

Which takes me to the cons... Oh, dear Cthulhu... all the cons.

1: Finishing the game. It's what we aspire to do when we sit in front of the holy trinity of HDTV, PS3 and Surround-Sound System. It's also something I'd like developers to do, y'know, before you start to act like it's gone gold. Bugs aplenty here- and not just the ones you force blast into the stratosphere. I can only imagine that the recent Lucasarts problems made them cut costs- in QA testing.

2: Those graphics I mentioned earlier? Great. Wonderful to look at. But they tend to overwhelm the screen too much- look to the Junkyard levels for an example. With so much moving about onscreen and a color pallet that tends to make everything look the same, you might find it hard to pick your targets out on these backdrops.

3: Cheap, cheap death. I'm not saying I'm the greatest gamer in the world- I'm more like a knowledgeable enthusiast with a lot of experience. But this game just loves to screw with you. Sure, stack the odds against me but don't get me trapped in endless slams and shots that juggle me around like a game of Tekken. Also, falling into a pit shouldn't be the same kind of death knell for a freakin' Jedi, okay?

4: Repetition. Sure, in almost all games we're doing at least one thing again and again. At least most decent games will be interspersed with monotony-breaking sections- obligatory stealth sections of the early 2000's, I'm looking at you. In SW:STFU, repetition isn't just in the gameplay- it's in the level design. Literally. They artificially expand the game by taking the levels and rejigging them to make new ones. Same background, same enemies- different layout. It's breeding boredom.

Okay, this is a little longer than I wanted- I could go on, but I won't.

Fin.   read







Back to Top