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7:19 AM on 01.11.2011

Nintendo 3DS region locked

First came the high price...

Then came the 3 hour battery...

Now apparently the 3DS is region locked as well.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=418359



Keep in mind that traditionally portable consoles are kept region free as they aren't exactly confined to one location and they have no regional hardware differences such as PAL and NSTC. The first region locked portable console was the DSi which locked the DSiware games and DSi specific software. No one really gave a shit though as DS games where still region free on the DSi and no notable DSi only software was released.

It seems kind of backwards for Nintendo to region lock the 3DS considering that Sony has made all their recent consoles completely region free and Microsoft have given the publishers the choice whether to region lock their software or not.

The primary reason behind the region lock is most likely so Nintendo can ensure a "consistent" online experience by making sure users in one region don't share an online experience with users in another region. The "official" reason why Nintendo put region locks on their consoles is to reduce piracy, this is a load of bollocks though as putting a region lock on a console surely encourages homebrew/hacking.

I have since cancelled my preorder with playasia and am awaiting a hack for the 3DS so I can go back to my importing ways.   read


11:31 PM on 09.14.2010

Valkyria Chronicles 3 confirmed on PSP... FUUUUU!!!!



Latest famitsu has an interview with the devs, confirmed its going to be on the PSP again as they don't have the time to develop it on PS3 apparentely. It is going to be set in the same period as VC1 dealing with another group of soldiers. I won't post the scans but I they are easy enough to find on the internet. Seeing as VC2 has pretty much bombed outside JP due to the platform choice (who even buys PSP games outside Japan?), it seems unlikely that VC3 will get localised for some time :(.

Another example of Sega FAIL this generation.

P.s. The new Yakuza is going to be a zombie game?? WTF SEGA   read


10:48 AM on 08.04.2010

Why StarCraft 2 has shot itself in the foot....

I enjoy playing Starcraft 2, even though I didn't play the original a whole lot (was much more of a Command and Conquer person back then) I have enjoyed playing Starcraft 2 over the last week alot.

However there are some 'issues' that make me think that Blizzard really have shot themselves in the foot with the release of Starcraft 2.

I don't care much about playing competitively online in tournaments and leagues and what not, I mostly just enjoy playing for fun with friends, playing through the campaign and playing fun custom games.

I read up beforehand on some of the issues with Starcraft 2 such as the fact that battle.net 2 does not allow LAN and thought that it doesn't really affect me as I don't really play in LAN much anyways and I can still play online. However over the last week there have been alot of niggling problems with the whole Battle.net2 experience that has left a sour taste in my mouth.

1. Cannot play campaign whilst not connected to the internet.

This is simply unforgivable, last week I had a pretty dodgy internet line due to my ISP making changes to my local exchange and the internet sometimes did not connect. I was thinking why not play some SC2 campaign whilst I wait for the internet to come back on? no luck. I couldn't connect to Battle.Net so I can't continue my SP campaign game. I could play in guest mode but my progress is lost and I don't earn acheivements.

This issue was made worst today, Battle.Net has been having trouble over the last week due to loads of people playing. Today I couldn't even connect to Bnet even though my internet was fine. It angers me that the people that pirated the game can play whenever they want and we are restricted to playing under a strict set of conditions.



2. Only 1 account per person per copy of the game

The first thing the game asks you to do is to create a profile. After that it cannot be altered and you cannot create a new account for the game. Want to change your online name? sucks to be you. Want to reset the campaign and start again? sucks to be you. You have to buy another copy to get another account.



3. B.Net region restrictions

This one really annoys me, I have a friend overseas that I want to play with. He is living in the US, however due to region restrictions I cannot play with him. I cannot even add him as a friend on Bnet due to this. Even on Xbox live I can add people overseas and play with them. Once you buy SC2 you register it with one region only and can only play with that region. These restrictions are throughout, you can't even post on the US forums with a EU account. Blizzard say that it is due to lag and 'user experience' that you can't play people in a different region but in Bnet1 you could and that was 10 years ago. Its not like its going to affect anyone else if I play a game or two with my friend overseas. To play on the US servers I have to buy another copy and register it in the US.



4. Custom games

For some reason Blizzard has made it aggravating to create and join custom games, you can't search for the custom map you want to play and the game browser simply fails in giving you any detail about the game you are joining. In Warcraft 3 it was easy to find and join the game you wanted. In Sc2 the system hinders your ability to find the game you want. Also whats up with the censorship? you can't play any old custom map anymore, you have to get it published and reviewed, in WC3 you could simply choose any map on you HDD and host it. In SC2 you can only play the ones that Blizzard deem appropriate. At the moment the EU custom games scene is simply non-existent due to these flaws.



5. Friends

I touched on this earlier with the region restrictions but there is more to it. The system is simply confusing. You have your REALID freinds and you online friends in BNet. Your REALID friends have their real names whilst your online friends have there user names. It is confusing to say the least to make sure you are adding the right friend to the right category. Why can't all my friends just show there user names. If they are my irl friends I should know who they are anyway. Saves the confusion and hassle of adding friends.



The core game within is very good but these problems are very worrying, I hope Blizzard really makes some changes to the system and allow the players to get what they want in the end, its really bad that the people that pay for the game get a worse experience than those who pirated. The restrictions that Bnet has at the moment are truly draconian and definitely hinder the gaming experience.

Also you spam filter thinks I am evil.   read


12:09 PM on 08.17.2009

The story of the custom arcade stick



If the process of making the stick is TLDR for you, you can just skip to the end for the finished product.

Over the last 5 months I have been playing quite alot of SFIV and having never played on an arcade stick before I thought it would be fun to get one to play with. At first I considered buying one from the store but after hearing about problems with the basic madcatz stick and the price of the TE stick in the UK (150!!) I was put of getting a stick altogether, about a month later whilst browsing the internet I came across a gallery of some of the custom sticks that people have made and I was inspired to create something like that myself.



The only downside to this however was the cost, most of the custom sticks that are created cost upwards of 100 and I simply didn't want to spend that much on the project, so when planning I decided to try and cut as many corners as possible to save cost. Having limited experience with woodworking/electronics e.t.c. and no knowledge whatsoever of how to make a stick and what parts to get. I didn't really know what I was getting into...


Parts

Firstly I got the most essential parts, the stick and buttons, I spent the most on this part as the overall quality of the stick is of course dependant of the joystick/buttons themselves. After a bit of research I discovered there are 3 main manufacturers of arcade parts in the world:

Happ/IL : American company that produces more durable but less repsonsive sticks and buttons, the quality of sticks from them has declined in recent years.

Siemitsu : Japanese company that makes sticks and buttons in alot of colours and variations, comes standard in alot of japanese arcade games. Generally considered superior for shumps, but versatile enough to be used in fighters as well.

Sanwa : Another Japanese company, makes the most precise buttons, evenmore so than siemitsu, SFIV comes standard with sanwa buttons and joysticks, also found on the TE madcatz stick.

In the end I decided to go for the Siemitsu ls-32 stick and see-through siemitsu buttons, I am not a hardcore fighting game player at all (infact I pretty much suck at all fighting games except for DOA4) and decided that the nice looks and versatility of the siemitsu parts would be better for me than the authentic SFIV sanwa parts.



All the parts where ordered through akihibarashop.jp which ships worldwide for a reasonable cost.


Making the controller box

So now I ordered the parts it was time for the creating of the box, firstly I needed tools. After researchin I realised I didn't have enough to spend on expensive powertools I decided to go for the harder route and use primarily handtools except for a crappy 15 quid electric handheld drill I found in a cupboard in the garage.

I took the bus to wickes (a DIY superstore chain in the UK) and picked up a wickes brand mitre box, a cheapo tenon saw, some clamps, glue and some sandpaper. I also got some mdf, perspex and some wood. Luckily on the way to wickes I spotted some wood I could use for the project in a rubbish dump so I only had to buy minimal wood in the end.

After many (many) hours working at it, I managed to create the controller box. The process was literally as ghetto as it could get with me using any means necessary to get the box right. For instance, due to the lack of a chisel/router to create a cutout hole of a square in the mdf, I resorted to drills many holes in the shape of a square then hacking at it with knives, small files and a broken replacement saw bit until I had a hole that was the right size. I am still suprised everything worked out to the millimeter with the unorthodox methods I used.

After making sure it was all correct I painted the box, sanding between coats (7 coats of paints in total with 2 days drying time between them) and finally sanding alot with finer sandpaper for the final coat.




Wiring

Probably the most infuriating part of the project as my soldering iron was probably the worst soldering iron ever (it cost less than 1) and I was using unsuitable wiring (from a broken pair of airplane headphones). I used a joytech neo se controller that I bought of a freind for cheap. The controller was a godsend as it was common ground meaning that I had to solder half the amount I would have if I was using basically any other controller on the UK market. This is one part I don't want to repeat again.


Putting it all together

Voila! it all fitted together nicely in the end, I used screws to hold he perspex and artwork in place so the artwork can be changed, the bottom is also clear perspex so I you can see the wiring underneath. The parts, wiring is also easily accesible with a screwdriver incase anything goes wrong in the future (hopefully not!).





siemitsu bubble ball top



custom artwork







shiny :)

Artwork was put together in Photoshop CS4.

In conclusion it was a fun and rewarding project done on the cheap (well as cheap as you can get creating a quality arcade stick). The stick works great on all fighting/shooting games on the 360 and also on mame on the PC, however it hasn't really increased my skill in fighting games, I still suck horribly :P

  read


8:24 PM on 05.26.2009

2 new MGS games incoming! RAIDEN!!!



It's big boss if you couldn't tell, looking a bit older than in MGS3, on his hat it says military without borders which would suggest that the next game is set in the same time period as MG1 and 2. So its most likely a remake of one of those games for PS3.

NEW NEWS!!

It appears that Raiden will be in the game too! This probably means that there are infact TWO new MGS games. Platforms at the moment are PSP and PS3. Also Raiden looks even more badass now. He has an eyepatch too and spikes coming out of his shoulder. I would post the scans but it's probably not legal/allowed so go look for yourselves.   read


3:14 PM on 12.16.2008

If you have a PS3, [GET THIS GAME!]

If there is one game that is criminally overlooked this year it would have to be the PS3 exclusive:

Valkyria Chronicles


because crouchin on a tank is awesome

It managed to pull off 33k sales in America since it launched according to the NPD sales charts, which if it hasn't clicked, means it totally bombed. You may say that its a very niche game for the unpopular console and it launched at a very bad time in the year, but 33k is still very bad even considering those factors for instance games like:



Sold more copies in a single week than VC did for 3 and 1/2 weeks.

Even other RPG games such as Lost Remnant pulled off over 3x the number of sales in the same period.

Why it is AWESOME:

The game is a Strategy role playing game (SRPG) set in an alternate Europe during the outbreak of the Second European war and chronicles the battles of a militia military unit led by the son of a war veteran of the first European war, who incidently has a kickass tank lying around at his house. You fight to defend your country against the invading Imperial forces (read: Nazis) who wish to take over all of Europe.

The gameplay is simply unlike anything I have ever played before, it is apparentely very different from any other SRPG (apparentely because the only other SRPG I have ever played is Advanced wars). You are given control points which you may use to move units in real time across the map utilising a 3rd person view and movement scheme, emeies that can see you will open fire in real-time as you move around the battlefield.


Alicia about to get pasted by a tank

You may choose to aim and shoot at any time during your movement and aiming is done manually with the analog stick. Proper line of sight, unit positiong, aiming and cover is implemented into the game making it feel more involved than your traditional RPG. All in all the gameplay is VERY addictive and is the main reason why I would recommend you buy this game. If I had to describe it I would say it is sort of like a mix between a RPG, a RTS, WW2 and Gears of war.

Watch the trailer!

Its EPIC!
[embed]114919:16452[/embed]

The only gripe I have the game is the sometimes pretentious story, some darker themes are introduced throughout the game but they are usually underdeveloped and the character developement for the enemies are also underdeveloped. However the characters in your squad are largely likable and they are well developed by the end of the game as well which is a plus. Also there are some pretty interesting twists throughout the story which helps keep it interesting. Overall I thought the story was more than servicable and I enjoyed most of it.


Imperial soldiers

The presentation is also top-notch, the graphics like really nice as you can see from the screenshots, it looks like a watercolour painting come to life. The musical score is also excellent being composed by the composer who did FFXII, it really pulls you into the epic war mood.

Listen to the main theme: (it's also epic!)

click the play button:
[embed]114919:16454[/embed]

So why should you buy it instead of other big PS3 titles like LPB, Call of Duty WaW and Resistance 2?

Firstly it is a damned good game (incidently it is probably my favourite game this year), secondly you don't have to enjoy JRPG games or even RPG games to enjoy this (I normally don't play JRPGs because I don't really enjoy them).

Thirdly and most importantly because it is sad to see a game of this caliber be totally ignored at retail, if you are waiting for the price to go down before buying or are interested but would rather buy it after playing the other Christmas games let me tell you it is already getting difficult to find at retail and the prices on ebay have started to go up, buy it now if you are remotely interested as SEGA will most likely not do a 2nd print of it since it failed so bad at retail. Trust me, you will not regret getting it.

DO YOUR PART!

nb.This game is still 19.99 at Gamestation in the UK if anyone is interested.

Get your freinds to buy it as well! they will thank you!   read


8:07 PM on 12.07.2008

Valkyria Chronicles 19.99 @ Gamestation.

I heard about this deal on friday and due to recommendation from others, decided to go out to get it yesterday, the deal is in-store only as the game isn't even listed on the website. Phoned up Gamestation and managed to reserve the last copy of it in that store, travelled for 50 minutes across London to pick it up. It seems the stores are not stocking alot of copies of it (it's unlikely there was only 1 copy left due to high demand).



Lugged my PS3 to Uni just to play it (also to replace my RROD 360 :(). This is actually the first SRPG I have ever played and also the 3rd game I have ever bought without playing it beforehand or playing its predecessor, so I wasn't sure I would like it that much (especially as I am not that big on JRPGs). Luckily enough I am enjoying it so far although it seems to have a bit of a Metal gear Solid syndrome (way too much exposition), I have just selected my squad and am about to play the first proper mission.

p.s. Do not go to Gamestation Camden town London, it's sold out there as I got the last copy :).   read


12:15 PM on 11.11.2008

Left 4 Dead demo out to public!

For all those who haven't pre-ordered off Steam (i.e. those in places like the UK where the steam version cost a shitload more than a retail copy due to shit exchange rate.)



Servers are getting pummeled at steam at the moment though.   read


11:36 AM on 10.25.2008

Video games live = AWESOME

Last night I went to an epic video game event, I went to see VGL in London. The atmosphere was intense and it was unlike any music concert I have ever gone to before, loads of gamers inside jokes throughout, funny pictochats during the intermission and all out awesome music. The crowd really added to the whole experience, despite the fact it was a full ensemble ochestra and choir playing, the whole thing felt like a rock concert with fans screaming out, cheering and saying funny things (more on that later).



These were my favourite bits from the show:

1) MGS - I am a sucker for music from MGS so this one was a no-brainer for me. Very epic and funny stage show as well.

2) Zelda + Mario - Classic tunes from classic games.

3) Diablo III - I <3 Blizzard, truly EPIC music from Diablo III.

4) One winged angel - I don't particularly like this song at all, I thought it was overated when I played through FF7 2 years ago but VGL proved me wrong, they played a rock version of it and it ROCKED, truly epic.

5) Funny banter throughout the show.

At the end of the show they were about to play an encore and they started giving hints what it was going to be, Squaresoft game, Nobuo Uematsu as composer, really popular game. Then someone shouts out from the crowd "LOST VIKINGS!!! YEEAAAAHHH!!!!".

At the beginning of the show John Ricotello was going on about the cultural importance of videogames, this is an excerpt from part of that speech:

(John) Some people think Video games are the cause of violence!
(crowd) Booo!!!
(John) I mean how ridiculous is that!
(some random dude) YEAH LETS KILL THOSE FUCKERS!!!



There were only 3 (minor) disapointments from the show:

1) The Halo suite was a bit meh, I was really looking foward to it because I love the music from Halo but they drowned out the strings (the most important part) by making the electric guitar way too loud.

2) Everquest II music was a bit meh

3) It ended.

I would recommend EVERYONE to go to VGL if they can, it is truly an awesome experience you shouldn't miss.   read


6:22 AM on 09.17.2008

Google to buy Valve

The inquirer is reporting that Google is set to buy Valve very soon.

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/09/17/google-valve

The aquisition is likely because they want to capatilize on the excellent Steam platform and use its technology to develop its own stable content distribution platform. They certainly have enough money to make the aquisition happen but I fear for Valve as they have never been tied to any large company before and it could be messy regarding retail distribution of their games.

Also who knows what google might do to Valve? If they owned them they could enforce certain things like deadlines for games e.t.c. which is not the valve way of working.   read


10:31 AM on 08.20.2008

Operation flashpoint 2 - gameplay + interview

The first real gameplay footage of OFP2 has been shown at the Liepzig GC2008.

[embed]100458:13947[/embed]

[embed]100458:13948[/embed]

Impressions:

Good:
The graphics are nice, much better than Arma and what I have seen of Arma2 as well. It looks like they were playing the console version as well so the PC version will probably be even better.

AI sounds very advanced which is promising, the AI in OFP1 was already very good so this bodes well.

Bad:
No freelook, one of the best features of OFP1 was the freeaim which made you feel like you were properly holding the gun. I am disapointed they decided to get rid of it.

No action shown in the video. Only some dudes milling around.

4 player co-op. This is bullshit, OFP1 handled 64 player co-op out of the box and this number went to over 100 with mods and addons. Arma supports even more. 4 people is not even a complete squad of men. I would have liked to see at least 64 player co-op and 100 player multiplayer for some epic PVP battles. Instead we are limited to 4 player co-op with 32 player multiplayer (2 and 16 for consoles), this isn't COD4, OFP deserves more players :(.   read


12:14 PM on 08.04.2008

Memory card: AFTER MONTIGNAC

The year is 2001, FFX had just come out,everyone was excited by the imminent release of MGS2 and console hype was at an all-time high due to the imminent release of the gamecube and xbox. A little known, low budget developer has just released a new PC game (in Europe only) with underwhelming graphics, an unintuitive UI and a multitude of potentially game-ending bugs. The game was called Operation Flashpoint: Cold war crisis and was universally lauded as being one of the most innovative and unique gaming experiences around and would carry on to win a multitude of awards.



So what made the game so good that reviews could simply gloss over the mutiple problems that plauged the game at launch? Firstly the scope of the game was simply unheard of at the time, the player could drive tanks, planes, helicopters, shoot tens of weapons, command armies of soldiers and vehicles all across 3 huge islands based on islands found in real life. The game was also shockingly realistic down to the fact it (usually) took 1 single bullet to die and death could come from hundreds of metres away (or even kilometers away if we are talking artillery and the likes).

Tanks were to be feared as infantrymen, you couldn't run without getting tired affecting accuracy and you were expected to be able to hit targets 100s of metres away taking into account factors as bullet drop and time to target. The island may have been your sandbox but you were as vunerable as anyone else in the game. There is one mission in the single player campaign that truelly bought the strengths of the game together to create one of the greatest missions in any game I have ever played.


The setup

Your soldier is resting at base when a command from Hq comes over the radio. Your mission is to take part in a huge offensive to take the town of Montignac from Soviet hands, your squad will be supported by some light armour and air support in the form of some UH-60 blackhawk helicopters.



As you reach a hill overlooking the town your squad disembarks and opens fire on the Russians below taking out a fair number of them, they pose little threat to the combined might of the small army sent to capture the town. The squad leader orders the men to advance and eventually you reach the town wiping out the remaining Russians as they attempt to flee. The mission was easy, too easy.




Suddenly a command comes over the radio, everyone is to retreat immediately and without hesitation. At this point no-one knows what is going on, your squad leader orders everyone to leg it back to the transports.

The US forces are ordered back to base but as your transport is driving away from the town it is ambushed by Russians using the forest as cover. Everyone disembarks and it is total chaos as one by one the US soldiers are taken out by the elite Russian forces all around them. Everyone starts legging it to the forest where hopefully you can escape the massacre. A command comes over the radio: a Blackhawk helicopter is en-route to pick up survivors and transport them to safety!



As the Blackhawk approaches the soldiers the soldiers are all relieved but suddenly a Hind d attack helicopter comes out of nowhere and takes out the blackhawk (whats a Hind D doing in the forest?). Your last hope of rescue is gone and the remaining soldiers flee further into the forest. The Hind D cuts them all down with its gatling gun as they run for their lives. Night is approaching, you are saved by the darkness but you are the only one left. Your mission begins now.

The moment:

You start in the forest as the sun is just coming up, it is early in the morning and you are all alone in enemy territory surrounded by the bodies of your former teamates with only a map, a compass and your trusty M16 to back you up. After exploring a bit around your starting area you will hear a long range radio message telling all survivors to regroup at a co-ordinate on the map quite along way (it would take a couple of hours walking probably).



From there it is up to you how to get there using any means neccesary. I started by moving up to the edge of the forest where I spotted a 4 man patrol about a hundred metres ahead of me. I proceeded to do battle with them taking cover inbetween the trees in the forest. Unfortunately the gunfire drew the attention of a BMP tank which was nearby which moved towards my location to investigate. I hid amongst the bodies of the soldiers I had killed and fortunately the BMP ignored me and went its way.




Taking a look at my map I noticed a small town in the vicinity. When I arrived the town was largely unguarded, I managed to sneak around without being spotted and I noticed a small civilian car on one of the roads. I promptly jacked the car and started going my way when a Russian guard noticed the noise i was making and opened fire. luckily The car shielded me from most of the bullets and he only managed to wound me in the arm as I drove away. Unluckily the noise drew the attention of the BMP from before which had just returned to the town after checking out the forest.



It proceeded to chase me for a while down the road to no avail as I managed to lose it with my expert driving skills. I left the town behind thinking I was in the clear with the BMP staring at me from the outskirts of the town (the driver of it was probably waving his fist in the air shouting obscenities in Russian). I wasn't however as the Russians had called in backup in the form of an attack helicopter. I noticed this all too late and I was stuck in the open facing off against a Hind with only my puny Eastern European car to protect my soft flesh.

It opened fire with the machinegun as I futiley attempted to outrun it. The hind managed to completed total the driving mechanism of the car and I decided that being in the car was probably not in my best interest at the time. Luckily there was a forest very close by which I could probably lose the helicopter in. I proceeded to sprint with all my speed away from the bad helicopter and once again found myself in a forest by myself. Or so I thought. The missions ends and I find myself surrounded by Russians, around me are the bodies of many Americans presumably they were gunned down as they tried to get to the extraction point by the Russians waiting in the forest. Luckily THE RESISTANCE will come and save the day but that is another mission for another day....



A video of someone completing the mission, appears to be on 2x speed or maybe even more:
[embed]98078:13650[/embed]

The impact:

This mission was truly something else. In all the missions before hand you were held by the hand on what to do by your leader and you had the other US forces backing you up. Infact in alot of the missions you didn't even have to fire a single shot to win them, just stay alive. This mission turns the game on its head and gives you a taster of what is to come in terms of difficulty and gameplay.

Another thing that struck me was the number of ways that the mission could be completed. Some people managed to retrieve a LAW missle from one of the dead US soldiers in the forest and take out the BMP. Others managed to avoid detection altogether by using the cover effectively. Some people even avoided the mission altogether by failing the inital assault on Montignac in the previous mission and retreating much earlier therefore reaching the base before the Russians had time to prepare their ambush.

The mission is packed full of pure adrenaline as you attempt to take on overwhelming odds and escape from impossible odds and pure terror as you attempt to sneak past the Russians patrolling the map. it doesn't help that you are only allowed 1 save for the entire mission. It truly pins home the truth that you are just another soldier in the huge war. No heroics, no bullet soaking super soldier, just you trying to survive in the brutal one shot one kill world that is Operation Flashpoint.


note. The pictures are not from the mission, I don't have the game installed at the moment.
note2. If you are thinking of getting Operation Flashpoint don't get the Xbox version, it sucks.
note3. Arma was a disapointment :(   read





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