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Hasney's blog

5:43 AM on 04.14.2011

I love my 3DS, but man, has it got some competition

No, not the NGP that has only shown off one game. I'm talking about the handheld that has a library of thousands, a comparatively monster battery life of 5.5 hours, TV-Out AND 2 controller support. At this point, you're thinking about this wondrous device and thinking "Hasney, nothing can have all this. Once again you are bullshitting me to the highest degree" and to that I will say "Oh yeah? Czech the SupaBoy, BITCH" followed by a delayed reaction of "Hey, when did I bullshit you before?".

This elegant little beast was unveiled at the Midwest Gaming Classic last month and should be hitting the US this summer. Dependent on price, I may be all over this like Cheech on Chong.   read

2:03 AM on 09.09.2010

Why I Still Have 'Faith' in iPhone Gaming: Mirror's Edge

iPhone gaming has been much maligned in recent times and even as someone who is on their second iPhone and second year of iPhone gaming, I can see why.

Traditional games have been shoe horned into the app store with a little on screen joystick and a couple of buttons. Just what you need, even if you have the most feminine of hands, is to cover up half the screen. Some genres have been well suited to a straight port, just look at Phoenix Wright or Monkey Island, but sometimes the extra effort is needed to make a console game, a touchscreen phone game.

How not to do it. Sorry Sonic

Enter Mirror's Edge. Gone is the first person parkour and it's been replaced with a side-scrolling, er, parkour. As a huge fan of the original PS3/X360 version, what struck me is how well the atmosphere has transferred over, from the music all the way to the art style. It's a beautiful game, not as beautiful as the Epic Citadel demo or the Rage engine demo, but more than competent as a 2.5D side-scroller.

Gameplay-wise, it's fast, hectic and adrenaline filled, so a game with those type of credentials live and die on their controls and trust me, controlling Faith is a breeze and fun.

Running is simple. Swipe left or right and Faith will begin running in that direction, gaining speed automatically.

A quick swipe up makes Faith jump, which can be modified. If you've just climbed a box, swiping up immediately after makes for a large jump. Swiping up near a billboard starts a wall run and you can still swing off rails too. It sounds annoying, but due to the level design, it works excellently in practice.

A swipe in the direction you're running in mid-air also provides a nice, swift kick to the face. Handy for those douchebags who just want to bring you down.

A quick swipe down lets you slide under obstacles or into enemies. Swiping up again while sliding brings Faith to her feet to continue running.Swiping down in mid-air also allows you to roll when you land, stopping big falls from damaging yourself.

The only real use of the accelerometer comes from sliding down platforms or zipwires and in the balance beams. If you fail, it's no big deal as it will only slow you down slightly. It won't be death, it will just kill you speed run time.

It is a professional package, which is what you'd expect from EA, with Facebook challenge functionality and leaderboards as well as speed runs and hidden bags to pick up throughout the levels. It's a good few hour blast in the main game and has a different story to the console versions (Although calling it a "story" would be harsh to any game that has a story. All I know is, there's a gang leader.). If you don't find this game worth 3 English pounds then you are a communist, plain and simple.

The controls are the star of the show and that's not something I thought I would ever say about an iPhone game. But I'm really hoping that we're not "hanging on" for long for another well-controlled slick action game.

I'll kill myself now for that.   read

9:42 AM on 08.19.2010

The PS3 Has Finally Been Hacked

No I'm not going to give out links, but at 90, it's a beast of a price to play copied games. Hoping that Sony can get on top of this and ban people from PSN as soon as they detect it and not in waves. This is a lot bigger than the XBox 360 modding because it allows you to run your own code and in my eyes, that's why it's exciting and dangerous at the same time.

The current Modern Warfare hacks, for instance, are done by modifying save files. What if someone could modify the actual game code and take it online? Well, it will be like those ridiculous (but fun) COD4 Wii hacks where everyone gets a rocket launching machine gun. That's the dnagerous bit. But free to run my own code? Or code of others that utilises all the parts of the PS3's awesome power? Not in some closed off Linux enviroment, but do whatever I like with the hardware that Sony would never let you do

Wait a while for the USB dongle to be cloned and cheap, get a cheap, banned from PSN PS3 from EBay and play with the stupid amounts of power the machine has fully. If the original XBox has taught us anything, it's that the development community can shine. XBox Media Player beats the pants off of anything that Sony and MS have put out on their machines and has become one of the most fully-featured media players you can get on a PC.

Maybe it's just me, but the homebrew scenes in consoles have been amazing, so I'm fully looking forward to what small devs working for free can achieve yet again.   read

4:10 PM on 07.14.2010

The greatest Sonic 2 mod of all time - Sonic 2 XL

This is a bit of a quickie as I'm posting this from the comfort of my bed, but it is too awesome not to share.

Download it and play it. NOW.

Essentially, the rings have been turned into onion rings and each one makes Sonic fatter, making his speed go down and can barely jump until he is too obese to move. There's been mods in the past where the rings cause death, but this is special.

It adds a whole new challenge, as you can lose weight by running back and forth and also with some item boxes. Plus, you still need one ring to survive (and to rule them all, maybe?).

I can't get past CPZ without cheating, but the amount of love that has gone into this with new sprites is incredible.


[embed]178983:31489[/embed]   read

11:12 AM on 11.11.2009

5 Ways To Make 'No Russian' Actually Effective in Modern Warfare 2

The 'most anticipated game of the decade' is now out and everyone has probably played the mission where you kill a bunch of innocents in a Russian airport though. Harrowing and disturbing are just a couple of the words thrown around but I couldn't disagree more. I wasn't there, I was disconnected from the game experience because they did not integrate my character at all into this situation. I was just a wobbly gun floating in front of a screen, but it could have been so much more.

Make no bones about it, No Russian was included to get some controversial press. There is no reason for it to be there so early in the game with no real set-up apart from one of the little stupid briefings before the 'mission'. There are several ways that the scene could be more effective in dragging you into the moment, to make you care about all these innocent people and even the evil Russians plight.

But no, IW/Activision decided to blow their load over your face within an hour of the game, 1/5th of the way through. Having finished the campaign, the game itself is fun, but the pacing and writing of the whole game is pretty poor and as such, Talking Russian makes it seem more like shock tactic B-Movie rather than a Hollywood blockbuster. Below are a few ways it could be improved, either in gameplay or with storytelling

1. Allow you to shoot the terrorists.

This is probably, along with number 2, the main thing that took me out of the game experience. First time my aim was wobbly trying to kill some civilians and I hit one of the terrorists, so I get the blurry screen saying I shouldn't shoot them because they'll be onto me. By the end of the mission, it was clear they already were onto me, so why not let me shoot the bad guys? Just make sure Makarov gets away and everyone else is slaughtered and they'll know it was Americans spilling the blood. But that's nothing compared to number 2.

2. Play some backstory missions with the terrorists.

Sure, we know why they are doing this by the end of the mission, but why not have some missions where you are doing other things, like bank raids or ambushing American soldiers, and he can explain the motives to your character over his collection of fine brandies he has possibly liberated over the years.

You're just dropped in a mission, told not to speak Russian and kill anything that moves. It's pretty lame. You could go either way, make you feel some sympathy for these terrorists before their heinous act or just build him up as an even bigger monster.

I've been playing a lot of Dragon Age and without spoiling too much, a lot of my decisions have been based on my characters relationships with their friends and how it would affect them. Good writing in video games can be powerful in helping you make moral choices, but only if you understand the background and link you have to the characters around you. This is totally missing not just from this mission, but the game entirely and one of the things that made COD4 so engaging.

3. Rocky IV re-released special edition

In a display of George Lucas style arrogance, Sly Stallone decides to change the ending of Rocky IV and this time, Rocky kills Ivan. There's uproar in Russia so war begins.

Sure, it has about the same effect as the current mission, but it has the added bonus of making the 4th level a playable 80's montage

4. P. Diddy attaches himself to Ciroc vodka

It was bad enough when the French brought out Grey Goose, but now P. Diddy has attached himself to an admittedly good vodka and he is everything that's wrong with capitalist America. The red heart starts beating again and war has begun.

5. Stalin 'wises fwom his gwave'

Yeah, it's a rip-off from Altered Beast, but if you're gonna rip something off, you might as well rip-off the Citizen Cane of gaming. Hell, with Stalin transforming into various animals, you might even have a credible threat instead of a squidgy human terrorist.

OK, the last few points were out there a little, but I have to say, I feel even the stupid ideas would have been better. Modern Warfare 2 is really good fun to play and the atmosphere is there when you're doing normal shoot everything that has a gun gameplay, but if you're going to use such a device to set-up the story, wouldn't it be a good idea to make sure that the story you have is actually good? Then you might not have this knee-jerk reaction from some gamers (yes, not counting the mainstream press) because even to us who have no problems playing through a level like that, it still just seems like it was contraversy grabbing.

To me, the storytelling aspect of the game is a step down from COD4 and as someone who really enjoyed that single-player campaign, it is a massive disappointment.   read

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