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2:55 PM on 05.25.2011

Spoilers - Why I'm frustrated with LA Noire

I'm going to try to be as unspoilery as much as I can, but sadly in order to explain my frustrations with the game I have to reveal a pretty big secret. If you haven't played the game yet this could spoil the Homocide missions for you. If you have played the homocide missions then you probably know what I'm about to talk about.

I am currently on the fourth (3rd?) homicide mission "The White Shoe Slaying". I know who murdered the victim, more to the point I know who murdered the victim before she became a victim.

The game will have you believe that each case in homicide is solved and then the player can progress onto the next "episode". The problem is the game keeps subtly (and not so subtly) hinting that all is not as it seems in LA. With your chump of a partner telling you to take everything at face value, the player is given a few too many reasons to doubt the final conviction.

One of the first hints of who the killer is was after your partner mentions that a lot of the women have gone missing after partaking in a particular activity, and almost moments later a man who facilitates these activities is mentioned for a second time (see, trying to keep it spoiler free). There is no reason for any character to be mentioned over 2 "episodes" and to my memory this is the only time a non-police character has been mentioned in more than one story.

I question every single conviction because of the nature of me capturing the suspect. So far I haven't put any one away based on evidence I have collected. My last murder was "solved" when a guy who was selling booze illegally ran away after I found both his alcohol and the murder weapon (not to mention jewellery from the vic) in the back of his store. You might say he ran because he was guilty. Sure, he was guilty of selling the hooch, not of murder. Did he really expect to get away with killing a woman and leaving the evidence scattered around.

The point I am aiming for is that I know the killer, but rather than be rewarded for my brilliant detective skills (outside of bragging to the other half that I solved it first) I am punished. Knowing the man I am questioning is not guilty really affects my line of questioning. I have less reason to doubt people because I know they didn't murder anyone, although invariably they have done something else they are feeling guilty about (hence the need to cover up/run)

I hope this doesn't continue on to the next desk because it turns what was advertised as a detective thriller into a wild goose chase.

Did anyone else encounter this problem?   read

2:52 PM on 01.19.2010

PSP Games should have an FAQ

A while back I took a 6 hour train journey and I thought I'd take a few games with me to play on my PSP anticipating that I would be able to charge my PSP on the train so play for almost the whole 6 hours.

Well, I took 3 games on that journey and if it wasn't for one of them I would have been throwing my PSP at the nearest screaming 4 year old (there were enough of them, and they were begging for it)

First up was GOW: Chains of Olympus

I'd heard great stuff about this game and so I picked it up on the cheap. Around 1 hour in, after all of the enforced cutscenes (WTF this is a portable game not a bloody cinematic experience) and the mindless bashing of buttons I got stuck. Not stuck because I'm bad at the game, stuck because I couldn't figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing. This has happened to me with the previous GoW games (maybe it's just me) and I usually look up an FAQ or google because there is some uber cryptic clue I wasn't paying attention to 20 minutes ago.

My biggest issue with this game are that its rules are not consistent, in some levels I can jump of ledges and smash through walls or barriers (not Zelda style off colour stuff, just stuff that I'm supposed to know breaks) but then in the next room, when face with a puzzle I assume I can use my previously acquired vocation of wall smashing to break through this rather measly 3 foot barrier, but no, its a puzzle involving that statue over there which I've already tried pushing.

Sadly I was on a train and the intermittent internet access on my phone wasn't doing anything to help. I turned the game off and I can tell you even now I've found the solution I will never turn that game on again, because I just can't be arsed to have that happen again.

Second up: Daxter

OK Ready at Dawn, round 2 you bastards. I start the game, watch the cutscenes (seriously?!) I play a level and there's another cutscene, during this cutscene I can only assume I was told something to do because I wasn't paying attention (this is a portable game after all), and now I'm lost. What the hell am I supposed to be doing now, I wander round for a bit, get fed up and quit.

I didn't decide to play my PSP on the train so I could watch cutscenes and get stuck, I WANT TO PLAY

Last and by no means least: Megaman Powered Up.

OK so I'm around 2 hour in and I'm not holding out much hope, I pop in megaman and I emerge 5 hours later wondering where the hell the time went. This is what I wanted, this is possibly the best megaman game I've played so far, maybe it was just because I was forced to play it, but when I died I didn't want to quit because it was my fault I died. Nothing in this game was unfair, and if I did get stuck I can just play as another character, play some challenges, or just try a different boss.

In my mind Daxter is a platform game, so why not just make it a platform game with a Marion style world interface, I wanna play this level, guess what I just select it, no wandering to place A with item B.

God of War boils down to waves of enemies and boss battles and perhaps a few puzzles, but since I'm playing this on a portable console most likely away from home, why not tell me what I need to do if I'm standing in the same room for longer that 10 minutes. I don't care how ingenious the puzzle is, if I dont get it no amount of running about the room hitting walls is going to help.   read

1:06 PM on 04.05.2009

Do Videogames Encourage Murder & Suicide?

I realise from the title of the blog a lot of people might roll their eyes and set their flame guns to 'On', but the intention of this post is to entertain a thought which has been on my mind for a while now.

I will downplay the murder aspect, and concentrate more on the suicide. The only reason I mention murder is because of the, often tenuous, links between videogaming and mass murder/suicides in the media. Many of you will probably be anticipating a long post explaining how the violence in videogames has an effect on children, which can cause them to act violently, but that is not why I am writing this post, and I will aim to keep it short.

A large amount of games we play today have some variation on the above screen, you have been killed, the game has ended, would you like to play the game again? This is the most basic of solutions to death in a videogame, and yet we see it almost everywhere. There is no punishment to death, other than the chance to replay the level (although in some instances, this is a punishment). So what do you do when you play again? You fix your errors, you find the solution and you continue on your way.

In an age where religion is being disproved and ridiculed in the media, and with children playing more and more videogames, whose to say that their basic understanding of life and death has not changed. Religious folk believe in heaven and hell because that is what they are taught, but what if they were being taught, repeatedly, that all their actions can be undone, replayed and changed. Any action they take is not definitive, it can be altered and you have a second shot at everything.

And since everyone can be replaced and regenerated. there is no value in life, and someone that does not value life is a very dangerous person.

Before the flames start, and everyone gets arsey, this is just a thought, I don't neccessarily believe it's true.   read

4:20 PM on 11.18.2008

Is Mirror's Edge a 'Next Gen' Sonic game

OK, I've been thinking this since the Mirror's Edge 2D Flash game was released. Whilst playing the side-scroller I began to feel a sense of familiarity, an old friend perhaps.

Let's have a look at the facts shall we, in Mirrors Edge you can:

+ Move at High Speeds across various different buildings by running and jumping
+ Use hand rails to slide across rooftops
+ Confront enemies using hand to hand combat
+ Run past enemies, which have guns, if you feel like avoiding them
+ Take multiple routes through a level
+ Visit different buildings which involve similar game play with slight twists

And Sonic:

+ Move at High Speeds across various different land masses by running and jumping
+ Use rails to slide between platforms
+ Confront enemies by jumping on them
+ Run past enemies, which have bullets coming out their asses, if you feel like avoiding them
+ Take multiple routes through a level
+ Visit different worlds which involve similar game play with slight twists

Basically, I think runners vision makes ME the best Sonic game ever, the reason Sonic was so good in 2D was because you can move through the level by reacting to your surroundings quickly. In the 3D Sonic games there are 2 scenarios, either the game requires you to stop and evaluate a situation which loses this sense of speed, or it creates a fast moving sprint 'level' but allows you to get to the end by just holding the joystick to the right.

Runners Vision stops all this and helps the player maintain the speed without dumbing down the game play. Quick reactions are still required as the RV does not kick in until you are quite close to an object.

Also the way in which the game handles enemies is quite similar. In Sonic the enemies use linear paths, but usually have more sophisticated weaponry. These enemies can be avoided or killed, usually when the player is on a roll they will avoid the enemies and just get to the finish. In ME you have bad guys that have guns, but are pretty stupid, if you're going a little slow you can take them out, but if you are legging it you can avoid them and try not to get shot. In ME it has evolved further because if the player stops they lose momentum, so there is an added incentive to avoid conflict.

Anyway, those were my musing,

A side note, I am from the UK and have been searching for a decent place to swap games online (think Goozex) but cannot find one. Since there is no shortage of games I, and no doubt everyone else, can afford. Perhaps there could be some sort of arrangement made where the big hitters (GOW 2, COD, ME, FABLE 2, LBP, and the rest) could be swapped on a like for like basis, with each person eventually ending up back with their original purchase so no one loses, or gains, any value. Just an idea   read

6:10 PM on 10.30.2008

How Publishers could loose less money

Many publishers have been claiming to be losing out on sales to Pre-Owned versions of their own games.

To me this draws parallels with the music industry whinging about piracy, all the while offering no reasonable solution to the problem. The music industry finally embraced the online distribution channel and have managed to make quite a bit of money of it (7 for selling a product with no variable overhead).

The gaming industry does have its own online distribution channels , but I think there may be a better way of preventing these preowned sales that has been overlooked. As it stands Console publishers encourage rereleases of old games under a Platinum/Greatest Hits/Dog Bollocks labels. But what they failed to have seen is that they are rereleasing a game at a price that is double that of an existing pre-owned product.

So my magnificent idea is incremental devaluation of the product by the publisher, not the game store. An example is in order.

Gears of War 2 is comiong out in a few weeks, at a price point of 40, I simply cannot afford this sum so I will wait for a pre-owned game.

But then, in around 2 months time whem the Pre-Owned copy of the game is knocking about for 25 - 30, Epic rerelease the game at a price point of 25 new. They will not be losing much money because the costs involved in producing and distributing a DVD are not directly reflected in the price.

This could work because at this point no-one is going to buy the game at full price, so they will go pre-owned. Then after 6 months the game could be rereleased again. This time as a DVD only pack. Bundle the game in a jewel case with just the DVD and sell it for 10. This will completely devalue the pre-owned market and help publishers retain more of their sales.

I don't buy preowned games because I want a disc that a 14 year old has used to pleasure himself, I do it because I cannot afford the full priced alternative, which is full priced for no reason.

I understand that game stores will be less than accepting of this method, but perhaps they could be offered a larger share in the rereleased versions. It frustrates me that publishers complain about an issue but make no attempts to rectify it. Just smacks of a spoilt child whose thrown all their toys out the pram

Also does anyone remember a news story from about 5 years ago talking about game stores being able to burn discs in store to save on distribution costs.   read

9:25 AM on 05.01.2008

New Prince of Persia

wasn't expecting this, although its been a long time coming

new POP is apparantly a whole new story, whther or not its the same prince in an alternate dimension or timeline hasn't been mentioned (unless someones good at french). The prince looks similar but that could just be because of the style.

perhaps it might focus on what happens to the prince if the sands were not recovered

The art style seems a little odd, reminds me a little off the tony hawks DS games, not sure if this is concept or final, but its very abstract. Whether or not this is an art decision or low power (wii perhaps) is yet to be known

anyway, attached images courtesy of

story on Kotaku   read

8:23 AM on 04.28.2008

Why this man is evil! (OOOO Mystery)

The man in question, no one else but

I believe this man is a plague to the human race, but not for the same reason many do.

He campaigns against violence in videogames, using bible quotes and southern state logic in order to craft something resembling an arguement. He is mocked by the general media, especially the gaming press, with whom Mr Thompson has become synonomous.

I believe Mr. Thompson has a point, after I witnessed a kid no older than 12 pre-order a copy of GTA IV. Sadly I believe that violent video games such as Manhunt and GTA can cause children of an influencial age to become more violent. I'm not saying it does for everyone, but even if it affects drives even one child to violence then it is not woth it. This level of influence can also be found in films and music, but these forms of media do not have a laughing stock with which to divert attention.

In the film industry it is generally understood that violent movies are bad for children, they are encouraged to steer clear of violent movies by their (hopefully responsible) parents. The point I am trying to make here is that as long as Jack Thompson represents one wild end of the spectrum debating without any proof or substance to his arguement, then much of the influential gaming world will stand opposed to him.

Mr Thompson is, in my opinion, responsible for the existence of manhunt 2, by provoking rockstar he encouraged them to make what is an uneccessary game and pointless violence.

I am not opposed to violence in videogames, I just think that Jacky Boy is turning a legitimate point of view into incredulous bible bashing

these are my thoughts

also soon I will be posting a review of silent hill the arcade game, possibly the scariest game made from 5 polygons   read

6:42 AM on 03.20.2008

Whatever happend to split screen

Before I get started I am fully aware that split screen EXISTS in games, i just question its implementation.

Recently there seems to be a shift towards online play, I appreciate that, but it seems everyone has forgotten how much fun they had playing split screen multiplayer on the older consoles. Although it is still implemented it never gets talked about on the same level as online play, and it seems that many developers are missing what, in my opinion, makes multiplayer games fun.

I live in a house with 4 other guys, we share a TV and get a pretty shitty reception on it, so gaming is pretty much the only fun we can have in the living room. The ONLY game we play anymore is Halo 3, not because its the best FPS, not because its even that good of a game, but because it has split screen multiplayer ONLINE.

The most fun I have had playing a game is playing 4v4 against strangers in Halo and having the whole of my team sitting in the room with me. You can laugh, shout, have a beer and enjoy yourself. Sure playing local games is fun, but there is something about competing as a team that is really enjoyable.

I bought COD 4 not too long ago and played through the single player, only to realise there wasn't much value left in it for me. I can't play single player games very easily because of the shared TV. This isn't just happening now, I have had this problem since the SNES, I always had to play with my brother, I could never play on my own.

Judging from the amount of people I see as guests playing Halo 3 this happens all over the world, yet developers seem to ignore it. People ask questions on the internet as to whether a game supports split screen online, and in most cases they don't.

I understand that in cases like Call of duty the game is graphically intensive so 4 players online would be a struggle for the 360, but why not do what halo does, gimp up the graphics a little for split screen. You could reduce smoke animation, texture quality, and polygon count and no-one would really be bothered because there would be added value.

Anyway, that was my first rant, expect more!   read

11:39 AM on 03.11.2008

Not my Turning Point gaming rig

Thought this competition would serve as adequate excuse to set up C-blogs

so here it is

Sitting under the fans and heatsinks is

Intel Quad Core 3 ghz
2 x 512MB 8800GT Sli
500GB hardrive
22" Samsung monitor

So thats the rig

I will probably be posting more, being a poor PAL gamer I have lots to vent about, especially now the 360 RROD'd, the guy who had a PS3 got kicked out of uni and therfore the flat, and I have a fully operable wii with absolutely no games to play on it (thanks reggie)   read

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