Raidy / Member

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Raidy Blog

REZ rulz.

The timeless trance-shooter game REZ, easily one of my top 3 PS2/DC games, finally re-released on the XBL Arcade today in a new HD version. For those not familiar, REZ is a shooter-on-rails game that can really only be described as a surreal experience of sights and sounds. It all comes together perfectly in a package that no game has really matched since.

After playing the HD version, I must say that it looks and plays phenomenally, and definitely stands the test of time. The only thing the game could really benefit from is some improved surround-sound effects, but it still sounded perfect otherwise. Graphically the HD version is a nice overhaul of the original, it still looks nearly identical in appearance (ie, no funky changes with the improved graphics, they just look much sharper in HD and include widescreen action)

It was also nice to see my REZ skills still remained intact, in fact i didnt even get hit once till the 3rd boss fight. Alas passing the 3rd level was all I had time for at lunch, but tonight I will return and finish the rezt of the game.

If you've never played REZ, grab this game immediately. If you have, then be happy to know this version is superb, and definitely worth re-visiting.

Burnout Paradise

So I finally got to hoon around a few hours in Burnout Paradise last night. My first thought was this is like the Oblivion of racing games... you can kinda just go wherever and do whatever you want off the bat, but there still is a path to progression.

I also really dig the soundtrack, it's probably one of my favorite EA trax to date. Of course music is all personal pref, so some will hate it, but it is right up my alley. One funny thing i noticed was a few songs were rehashed from the original 1994 Road Rash release on 3DO - notably "Rusty Cage" by Soundgarden, and "Duel" by Swervedriver.

One of my favorite aspects so far is the ability to instantly switch into Showtime mode, which is the replacement for an organized crash mode - its great if you get into a big wreck unintentionally too, and just want to explode into crashing action, as you can activate it mid-crash (or any time you want really).

The only thing that seems like it could be irritating later in the game is the inability to restart a race instantly - you have to drive back to the starting grid. While at first this doesn't matter too much, as there is so much to do, i can see it being annoying later on when there are like 1 or 2 races you are trying to knock out.

Anyway, the game is better than I expected from playing the demo, so I'm happy about that.

oh, shiny!

My white DS Lite was kinda jacked (left shoulder button started acting flakey), and I decided rather than pay $75 to get it fixed, I'd just buy a new one. So I figured, why not mess around with the old one a little since it wont matter if I screw it up.

Enter a chrome case from some shady canadian aftermarket DS site. Took a bit if time, but I got it all put together, and oddly enough, somehow fixed my button issue in the process.... so now I dont even need to buy a new one! (tho I may still get that Zelda edition one just for kix.)

Anywhere, here's a pic!

Chrome DS Lite case

sad pandas or why did my Portal save break :~(

So here's the sad panda situation.

I beat Portal and unlocked the advanced maps, then the following day I beat the first 4 advanced maps. Took a break, played some HL2/other games, went back to finish the last 2 maps a few days later. I noticed after I started on the 5th map that for some reason it had reset my achievements back to 0/6 completed.

I thought that was sorta weird, but I kept playing (probably a big mistake). Anyway, I beat the 5th and 6th maps, but the achievement score didnt register my total of 6 completed, and not only that, but now the achievements show 4/6 done (the first 4 I assume from before) and I cannot access advanced maps at ALL anymore.

I've tried loading my save at the end of the game and beating it again, but the advanced maps dont re-unlock! So basically i'm screwed on my Portal save forever :(

The XBL pricing dilemma

While this is nothing new, the pricing on XBL has sorta been bugging me lately. I feel like I'd be buying many more games if things cost about 50% of what they do right now. For example, Tetris Splash or Pinball FX, both fun little games, but I cant be bothered to drop 800 pts on the 15-millionth version of Tetris. If it was 400 pts, I'd be much more inclined to purchase it.

On a similar note, I was on the fence about purchasing Puzzle Quest on XBL. I enjoy the handheld versions a lot, but part of the appeal is the portability - I dont know if I'd get the same enjoyment sitting in front of the TV, and the multiplayer on that game is a joke. Even so, the hopes of a revamped multiplayer and HD graphics had me debating a purchase (assuming 800 pts). But when I found out it was 1200, that pretty much sealed the deal for me and killed any hopes of a sale.

Likewise, older, unimproved games like Streets of Rage 2 dont seem worth the standard 400 pt cost to me either. I'd play through it once; maybe twice with a pal online, then never touch it again. Those kinds of games just beg to be released in some sort of 5-pak ****c collection for like 400 pts, or maybe just 100 pts a piece. I can see charging 400 pts for improved/upgraded arcade games, but a 16bit console game with no improvements does not seem to fit that bill.

Unfortunately as it stands, if people keep paying the premium prices, then they probably wont be adjusting pricing anytime soon - so they may miss out on a few sales from me and some friends, but not enough to stop the machine. I guess I can hope for 'bargain bin' discounts on older XBL titles, but given the digital distro scheme, that seems unlikely.

Raidy's HDTV setup

Hi friends!   Here's my HDTV setup, newly revamped and ready for action.  I've created a labeled pic so you can scope out the madness and see what each device connected is.

Raidy's HDTV setup

The X360 Elite, PS3, and DVD player are all hooked up via HDMI.  Wii/PS2 are via component, the regular X360 is via VGA, and the older consoles are all chained in through S-video/composite switchboxes.  

The HDTV is the new Samsung HL-T6189S 61" 1080p LED based system, which features HDMI 1.3 with 3x HDMI ports (one of which can be used as DVI->HDMI in), 2x Component, 2x Svid/composite, 1x VGA, 2x standard coax, a USB port, bluetooth support (for headphones/printers/etc), and other doodads that I cant think of at the moment.

It is how we say... good times?  :D

360/PS3 doubleduty

I meant to post this a few weeks ago when it happened, but forgot.  So here it is now in shorter form: 

A friend and I were playing MK2 on the PS3 online, but since it has no voice support, we ended up using our Xbox 360s to host a private chat while we played our PS3s.   The whole situation just had us both chuckling.   Best part was the 360 I was using for it wasnt even in the same room.  Praise wireless.

You'd think by now Sony would have some sort of native chat support that carries beyond the dashboard...  Oh well.

MK2 Fever! - Mortal Kombat II graces the PS3, with online play intact.

The day has finally come friends, the day the world has been waiting for. An online console verison of Mortal Kombat II, one of the greatest fighting games in the history of the world.

The game is now avail for $5 from the PS3's network store, and rings in at over 200MB. Sort of surprising considering UMK3 on the Xbox 360 was only 50MB, but hey, no limits means they can go hog wild, right? Sure. Except the menus are more ghetto than UMK3 on the 360, and the network setup has something to be desired... but I guess that's just the PS3 network in general.

Anyway, onto the game! Yes, it plays fantastic. Aside from a few glitches graphically like missing shadows, the game is nearly arcade perfect. Online play is excellent as well, nearly lag free even running over a wireless connection with questionable speed. I played against Jeff for about 30 matches tonight, and we only hit a small lag spike maybe 3 times, nothing that lasted more than a second or so each time... amazing for any game, let alone a fighting game. The handful of public games I joined ran smooth for the most part, tho one game was a little laggy, overall it seems to do the game justice.

Some additional features would have been nice, and I'm not exactly sure how the whole leaderboard points system works (I've won a good 90+% of my games and yet my score is just in the middle there somewhere), the core game is fantastic and that is what really matters. All in all I'm very pleased with this version, and here's hoping we'll see MK 1 sometime in the future!

Look me up on the PS3 Network (gamertag: Raidy) and lets duke it out!

The death of a friend...

A sad event happened this Friday.   My precious friend, the Sega CDX, fell prey to Marky Mark during Aaron's latest video feature.  I warned him that putting such dirty business into such a quality item could cause nothing but trouble, but little did i know it would actually cause DEATH.

All attempts at revival failed, including trying to boot the wounded fella up with a delicious copy of Road Avenger or The Terminator.   Sadly, nothing succeeded.   Today is the day we mourn the CDX, the legend, the hero. 

Oh well, at least i still have a working LaserActive.

Mario Kart holiday bonanza!

So as per our tradition, we gathered up 8 peeps around 3:00pm for our usual daily Mario Kart DS battle. But today was a little different - since many of the staff are heading out on vacation starting next week, we figured we should wrap up the year with one huge, insane, 32 track (all tracks!) race bonanza battle!

Let me tell you, Kart battles are already pretty crazy with 8 players rollin through 10 races or so (our usual daily allotment) - but 32 races is just completely insane.

After many furious battles the race finally came to a close, though it was a pretty close race score wise near the top. We all came out winners - though maybe a little more insane than we already were going in.

Just to break it down (because i know people will ask), here are the peeps in the game:

stanman = Stanley Lin (Associate Producer)
Raidy = Dave Toister (Data Producer)
Brad (in Japanese.. dont ask) = Brad Shoemaker (Editor)
Alex = Alex Navarro (Editor)
FoOdz = Andrew "foOdz" Anderson (Live Testing Engineer)
Hex = Tom Magrino (Copy Editor)
Nubz = Lark Anderson (File Producer)
babymilo = Raheem Wright (Facilities)
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