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Hey! News!

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Hey, everyone!

I've been pretty busy lately, so sorry for the lack of posts. Things have been pretty hectic around here, so I haven't been playing as many games past my review content. I did, however, reactivate my Lord of the Rings Online account on Saturday, after that free play week we had a while back. I'm surely more into the game now, and since I bought the Moria expansion a while back, I'm going to have a free month's worth of playing time to try to get to that content with my dwarf champion, who's currently sitting on level 20. I've also been trying to pickup the remaining achievements in Mass Effect, but it's turning out to be a pain in the nether regions, so I don't think I'll hit 1050/1050, but pretty close to it hopefully. Persona 4 is slowly, slowly creeping, I beat Rise's dungeon late the week before the last, and kind of left it untouched since then - should be getting back to it eventually, to try to keep up with GiantBomb's endurance run.

Also, I had the chance to try out the new Policenauts English translation patch that was released last week! Seems pretty flawless and well made so far, I'm really happy to get to play such a talked about Kojima game. Luckily I had a Japanese copy of the game lying around that a friend of mine lent me, to try out this patch.

As for reviews, you can find the following, as my latest at GameRevolution:

Madballs in: Baboo Invasion (Xbox 360)
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (Xbox 360/PS3)
Splosion Man (Xb0x 360)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Re-Shelled (Xbox 360)
Wallace and Gromit's Grand Adventures Episode Four: The Bogey Man (PC)

Added 09/03:

Shadow Complex (Xbox 360)
Trials HD (Xbox 360)

I should be getting review code for Wiiware's Tales of Monkey Island Episode Two today, as well as Red Faction Guerrilla soon. Red Faction will be my first payed review for GameRevolution, so keep an eye out for that! I'll be also taking the new DLC, Demons of the Badlands out for a spin, both reviews should be up soon, as well as my thoughts on Shadow Complex.

Have fun, everyone, and keep safe. :)

Latest reviews up on GameRevolution.com

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Here's the latest tally, please be sure to check out my Mothership Zeta review posted today!

Battlefield 1943
- PS3/Xbox 360
Bit.Trip.Core
- Wii
Burnout Paradise: Big Surf Isle - PS3/Xbox 360/PC
Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta DLC - PC/Xbox 360
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years - Wii
Garou Mark of the Wolves - PS3/Xbox 360
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition - PC/Xbox 360
Worms 2: Armaggedon - Xbox 360
Virtua On: Oratorio TangramTangram Version 5.66 - Xbox 360

And here're a few more just added in 08/05:

Plants vs. Zombies - PC
Tales of Monkey Island Episode One: The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal - PC/Wii

Having a talk with a game artist: Diego Maia

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So yesterday I had a chance to catch up with my old teacher and friend, Diego Maia, as he stopped by Sao Paulo on a visit as he's been giving various workshops around town. For those who don't know, Diego works with various top of the line artists and for some game design studios, such as Joe Madureira, in his new game Darksiders and Aaron Simms, for the upcoming film Clash of the Titans.

Diego showed us - a modest crowd in a relatively small space - quite a few of his designs, showing his humble beginnings in drawing and sketching in Fortaleza to the latest tutorial he's been cooking up for a CG website, based on aquatic beings fusing with humans. It's refreshing to see someone so deep in the industry actually showing how he began, and criticizing earlier work, but still holding it very dear to their heart. Among the current work he's been doing, he showed his awesome Captain America piece done for last year's ComiCon challenge.

The cream of the pie was surely his contribution to Darksiders, the demon lord Vulgrim - even though the site doesn't do him justice. It's an incredible looking piece, with layers of special textures that make things pop up, with simulations of silk fabrics to boot. It's hard to believe, but that's a low polygon count model, that with dedicated shading and texturing, looks awesome. He also worked on one of the angels in the game, but the final art is still not revealed. That game is looking amazing, a buy for me, surely.

His work on Clash of the Titans is very hush-hush at the moment, so there isn't much to tell. On the other hand, just getting to see my friend after so many months was great, even if I was already kind of beat by the time his talk started - my cIass was early in the morning and the talk began at around 8:30 PM, I still had a blast.

If any of you got interest at Diego's work, check out his blog, there are examples there of how versatile he is, and how he recommends every person with interest in character design to be.

More reviews published at GameRevolution

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Hey guys and gals, I got some more reviews published these past few weeks, so check out this short post so you can find them.

Adventure Island: The Beginning (Wii)

Fable 2: See the Future (360)

Fallout 3 DLC: Point Lookout (Xbox 360/PC)

Space Invaders Extreme (360)

Swords and Soldiers (Wii)

I am currently assigned to Final Fantasy IV: After Years on the Wii and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on the 360 (whenever that's out!), so keep an eye or two peeled for those as well.

EDIT ADDITION:

Wallace and Gromit Grand Adventures Episode 3: Muzzled! (PC)

The death of bullets

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This week marks the death of the bullets, something I've been trying to do and keep regularly for the past month or two. Instead of presenting bullets in a weekly fashion as it's been, I'll do it sporadically. I'll keep my 'now playing' section updated in order to keep track of the log. So, just for old times' sake, I'll list what was played last week.

  • Resident Evil 5 (360) - completed main story, and all of the achievements that do not relate to the story, farmed points for three infinite ammo guns: the best Magnum, the Hydra and the first handgun, by using mission 6-2.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievious Racoonus (PS2) - since I really want to get a PS3 by the end of the year, thought I might as well play the Sly games before tackling inFAMOUS.
  • Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (360) - finished off all the bonus features. 1000/1000. Some horrible games, few good ones.
  • Sega Superstar Tennis (360) - two unlockable characters to go, Jet Grind Radio and Puyo Puyo court challenges suck. I hate them.
  • Halo Wars (360) - borrowed a copy from a friend, he wants it back this week, so didn't progress much past mission four.
  • Chrono Trigger (DS) - made a bit of progress in the ruined area, not much to report.
  • Swords and Soldiers (Wii) - played and reviewed: review coming soon.
  • Wallace and Gromit Grand Adventures Episode 3: Muzzled! (PC) completed and reviewed: review coming soon.
  • Two reviews up on Game Revolution - Fable 2: See the Future and Space Invaders Extreme.

An entire arsenal for E3 week!

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So last week was the infamous E3 week, so I thought bullets wouldn't do the trick. Consider these explosive rounds, 'cause I'm mixing the games played in a bit of an in-depth look at one game in particular, with some E3 comments in the form of bullets right afterwards. Hold on, it's a long one this week!

  • For most of the week, I played Resident Evil 5 single player on short spurts. I made it to chapter 6-2 last night, right before a boss fight. So far, it's been a good game, feeling a lot like Resident Evil 4, making me call it RE 4.2. This might be considered a spoiler, so read at your own risk from now. The big talk about this game has been its setting in Africa, and frankly, I couldn't care less where it was set - no one complained when we were killing Spaniards, right? - so I won't touch on that.

    • The progression in enemy types is just like RE4: first you deal with normal, average people, with a maniac (or two) thrown in as a boss type, then we move on to fanatics (tribesmen this time) to actual soldiers, just like 4, going to a bit of monstery surprises like the Licker. I personally liked how the Licker was treated in this game. Instead of it being just a single or to the max two of them at the same time, like in past Raccoon City-era Resident Evils, we get to fight hordes of these things. As far as the other mutated enemies are concerned, I did like The Reaper quite a bit, even though its one-hit kill gets annoying, but nothing my Dirty Harry Magnum couldn't handle...
    • Now, as far as story is concerned, I'm not as negative about it as most people (especially press) are. It's a much better story than most CAPCOM 360 games out there - *sigh* Lost Planet *sigh* - and it's cool to get a big of a tie-in between all the games in the main series for Resident Evil. Although the whole Jill part was kind of obvious.
    • So far the game's been fun, with the one main problem being the dumbness of my computer controlled partner, which I limited to just a stun prod and ammo carrying duties. Sheva Alomar, however, is a pretty darn cool character that fits in Resident Evil and was all around well designed - she doesn't go over the top in features - like a lot of CAPCOM designs, even for this games' other females - and ends up being a cool sidekick to super hardcore buff man Chris. Chris takes the buffness from Army of Two and multiplies it by three. So exaggerated, almighty.
    • I'm pretty sure I'll just back to this eventually in order to tackle Veteran and possibly Professional difficulties with a real life partner in co-op. Just to close it off, yes, I am doing the rotten egg glitch so I can get money to update and buy everything. The reason for that is simple: I'm kinda tired of grinding in games, and coming from Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and just want to get through unlocking stuff here without many more playthroughs than I'll need for the BSAA emblems and treasures I'm missing. As a side note, most of the playing for this game was done before and after E3.
  • Broke open Portable Ops on the PSP and played a bit, through the tutorial sections in between E3 segments on the live coverage. Seems interesting for the bit I played. Save system might prove to be a pain though, since I like playing these types of games in short spurts and the save point is kinda far, but that might just be my wrong first impression.
  • Went back to Marvel Ultimate Alliance, for five minutes, in order to unlock some more 4 player co op achievements, thanks to help from a friend of mine from school. All I need to 100% the game now are the hard mode, 500 throws and all gold medals achievements. I'll leave those to later, gonna take a break from the game and lend it to another friend so I can play Halo Wars later this week.
  • Pokémon Platinum report: two badges in around 15 caught so far. My first Pokémon, the monkey thing, went through an evolution, now I'm trying to get a Machop to evolve, but according to guides it needs to get to level 29 for that, and I'm on level 23, I think. It's a fun game, but hell, like I said last week, it's just like the thing I played ten years ago. If people complain about Nintendo rehashing series, boy, they need to look at Pokémon.

On to E3 comments, then!

CONFERENCES:

  • Overall for the conferences: Kinda disappointed all companies are gonna go the motion sensing route - I really wanted to see some things to set them apart from each other, but it seems they're all gonna fall in the same niche. If I had any choice, we'd all still be playing "kid's games" in the future.
  • Got kinda happy to see how close a lot of what was shown is to release, most being in the final months of the year. 2009 is moving so fast that it'll be November before we know it.

    MICROSOFT:
  • Microsoft put a very good show. Forza 3 looks incredible and will be a sure buy for me. I'll try the Cliffy B. game eventually too, looks to be pretty retro-in-an-updated-sort, if you know what I mean.
  • If I had any ability whatsoever in music games, I'd be excited for Beatles Rock Band, it looks awesome, but alas, I'm very, very bad at coordination based music games, so... it'll be fun to watch people play that.
  • Have no real comments on the Metal Gear announcement - haven't played MGS4 yet in order to measure how Raiden turned out to be. If it's an action game, well, it should be good, Kojima wouldn't tie his series to something awful, I'd hope. It'll be good to wait and see.
  • Natal is going to make that Tony Hawk Ride board seem pointless. And how I think that thing will generate lots of lawsuits... oh boy. Games are getting to a point where people should just go do what they're trying to emulate. I doubt any older folks will be playing RIDE because it's already too close to the real thing.

    ELECTRONIC ARTS:
  • EA conference started weirdly, but I am looking forward to a lot of games they showed. Star Wars Old Republic had an epic trailer, and yes, I know that is not game play, but at least they were honest about it, unlike some other people some years ago. The fact that the game will scale down to run on a lot of configurations has me anxious to see how it'll play out.
  • Dragon Age Origins seemed to be taking a turn to somewhere I wouldn't be interested, but frankly, I didn't see nearly enough to close a decision on it, and to be honest, I trust Bioware, and will wait 'til that's out to decide. If I get around to playing it, it'll probably be on a PS3.
  • Mass Effect 2 looked incredible, can't wait to put my saved game into effect on that game, seemed like they fixed all the stutters and texture pop ins from the first game, which has me happy. It's sure coming out soon too, which is awesome.
  • SHIFT has me interested for sure, against all odds and the rest of others' opinions on it. Even though it'll come out in a crowded racing season, there's nothing against trying it out a bit after it's released, at a lower price, right?
  • Didn't really care about the sports stuff to be honest, though I might try out the EA Active stuff if there's a demo at a store here, or something. I have no interest whatsoever in mixed martial arts, either.
  • Left4Dead 2 feels a bit like it's coming out way too soon after the original game, but taking the point it's a whole new cast and a whole new setting, it makes sense. There's so much you can do with the same four people in whole different environments. I loved the original L4D, and I'm sure I will enjoy the sequel as well.
  • Sad to not see any mention of Half-Life 2: Episode Three, but my money is on that they'll show it at their own event sometime this year, or in one of the other trade game shows later on. Hope it comes out this year, even though I doubt it. I know I sound ambiguous!

    UBISOFT:
  • Ubisoft started slow as a snail. Their presenter was bored to death, made it obvious with his jokes. The untrained presenters were also horrible to watch. This hit could be given to all conferences, but Ubi's was the most obvious with this sort of thing. All conferences had a few - if not all - of their presenters giving a stiff read-off-the-teleprompter presentation.
  • The James Cameron monologue started off well, but by the end it just seemed the guy was trying to buy time for something. I'd think one of the demos wasn't rendered yet or some other person was late. Missed the beard and short hair. Haven't seen the man in ages, and seeing his new way-past-mid-age-crisis look was just shocking!
  • When they started talking about soccer and the world's best player, I knew Pelé would be stopping by. Pehleh, as it's pronounced, gave a quick talk, which was interesting to see how it'd be translated. He called the game a "little game" or how we'd call a child's toy, but the translator was sure to skip over it. I have no interest whatsoever in the game.
  • Splinter Cell Conviction looked awesome, I loved the presentation and how the objectives and HUD are all seamlessly applied to the environments. Makes me want to jump back to Double Agent in order to finish it. Must buy for me for sure.
  • Assassin's Creed 2, incredible looking, very interesting premise, had a lot of fun watching the game being played. The nods to Da Vince were pretty cool as well, very curious to see what else made it into the game in terms of his inventions and theories. Double kills also rule the earth. I 1000/1000 the first game, and if the trailer and game play are any indication, I'll probably do the same for this sequel.
  • Rabbids seemed to be funny, at least in the menu part of the game where the rabbid seats inside the controller. The rest of the game... meh.

    NINTENDO:
  • Liked seeing new Mario and Metroid games at Nintendo, both Mario titles are tie-ins and sequels to games I loved to play on the Wii and the DS. Galaxy 2 looks amazing, just like first still looks to this day. The Metroid one looks like it'll be cool since Team NINJA is working on it, I just hope they don't ruin Samus' design somehow.
  • The Nintendo cardio thing didn't do much for me, but I'm willing to wait til Nintendo shows any use for it before I get all witty on it, like everyone seems to be.
  • Even with some interesting DSi announcements, I still won't get one!
  • Yay, new Zelda. Hope it doesn't take five years for it to come out. Haven't seen anything to get amped for it other than the simple notion that there will be a new Zelda game coming out on the Wii.
  • Resort was presented very well, and I'm kind of wanting to try the bow and arrow bits. I'm curious to see how they'll sell the games that need Motion Plus, if there's going to be standalone versions without the dongle, for people buying more than one game that packs it in. Otherwise a lot of users will have stacks of the thing at home. N64 Expansion Pack, anyone?

    SONY:
  • Sony had the most interesting presentation for me, seeing I do not own a Playstation 3, but plan to in the future. While they did not show the slim model at a lower price, like I was hoping, a lot of games shown had me very interested and definitely made me even more keen with the idea of possibly investing in a system.
  • Uncharted 2 seemed amazing, if that action is balanced with adventure and platforming bits, that will be one of my must buys with the PS3, along with the original. That Central American town looked insanely detailed and well worked upon.
  • Gran Turismo 5 looks pretty good, even though some of the additions make it feel like it's taking forever to come out because the director can't make up his mind about when to say "ENOUGH!", adding in other racing leagues like LeMans, NASCAR and WRC. Either way, all the cars look amazing, and if the depth in past GTs is anything to say in its behalf, it'll be a very good racer on the PS3, for sure.
  • GT on PSP? Ok, I guess. The new PSP? Horrible, horrible, horrible. And expensive to boot. If interested could be measure in numbers, mine would be in the negative zone.
  • God of War III. Even though I don't really like gore that much, it seems I'll have to look past it and enjoy God of War III for what it is: fun.
  • TrICO, a.k.a Last Guardian was a sure buy for me even before the trailer, now it's just another painful reason pushing me towards getting a PS3. That gryphon creature looks adorable, and everything in that trailer hits all the right buttons for me.
  • All the multiple people playing online games had no impact on me. I personally hate playing shooters online, and now having to depend on dozens of people in order to have a good online experience? Doubt it.
  • To close it off, I think that showing FF XIV before XIII is even out was more of a pre-alpha-beta-gama hype seed... I do not like the direction SquareEnix takes with Final Fantasy going online as a numbered chapter in the series. I'd make the MMO segment a whole different sub-series, leaving the numbered chapters as single player RPGs. Can't say in enough words how I am looking forward to XIII, and for the first time, I'm on time with finishing previous games, so I'll play it as soon as possible after it's out.

    E3 IN GENERAL:

    Overall for the show: An incredible expo, for sure, one of the better in the last few years. It definitely makes me want to get a Playstation 3, now with more than two or three games worth playing on it. Like I said in the beginning, it feels like all companies are going in the same way, but it'll be something to witness as they move forward and experiment with their own motion sensing technologies. Never know, they might break out with their own approaches to the concept. Like some journalists mentioned, a lot of smaller company games got crushed by the giants, and it would be a dream if they had their own spot in order to show the smaller games. Peripheral dependant games seem to be hitting their limit in terms of playing/pretending to be doing and actually doing it, RIDE being the most evident, but others, like DJ Hero, hitting close. Feels like the music section, especially, will hit a decline soon, with too many games coming too soon. It feels like it'll soon become - if it's not already - the new World War II type of game, in a surprisingly small period of time. Looking forward to playing the new Monkey Island games next month, that sure came out of nowhere and kicked some heads.

    In terms of coverage, I really enjoyed the major site's reporting on the show - GameSpot's E3 live show was enjoyable, especially with chat, for sure. GiantBomb's podcasts were awesome, both in video and audio formats. 1UP had some quick jab articles dealing with top lists, as well as hit-and-miss podcasts, with some annoying guests which quickly made their welcome void, returning or new ones alike. AREA 5 also had a lot of video content I still have to catch up, but considering how well they've been doing it with CO-OP, it's something to look forward to in the coming weeks. ScrewAttack, incredibly enough, had a lot of fun videos at the show, with fan favorite James Rolfe, the Nerd, giving his opinions on the games, along with the rest of their cast, good stuff, pleasantly surprised - just got a bit crass in the end, though, I must say!

    I was sad that my plans for going to E3 got shot down as the show approached, but if effort and will are enough to make things happen, I will be there next year, some way, somehow.

Is it just me or...

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... did today feel like a Monday at first? After so much procrastinating many responsibilities and just watching all the E3 coverage, it sure does! Oh noes, WoW maintenance tomorrow... NOT! :P

You Know You're NOT at E3 When...

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... you wake up Monday morning and go type up your bullets for last week. Oh well, maybe next year, right? This past week was pretty experimental for me, with lots of trying out 'new' games. So without further ado.

  • Finished Marvel Ultimate Alliance, yet again, this time on easy, in order to get the few simulator discs that I missed in my normal difficulty run, including the one-time-only Deadpool disc. The bulk of my playing this week was dedicated to beating all these missions, and this was finally achieved on Saturday, unlocking Silver Surfer. SS is just awesome in the game. I went ahead and got some other achievements in this game. Yes, I want to try to go as close to 1250 on this one as possible - sue me.
  • Cracked open Pokémon Platinum. It was like jumping back to ten or so years ago, to the time I played my first and last Pokémon Blue game. Seriously, in all those years, the game's the same - same music, same sounds, with very few changes. This isn't to say it's fun and mildly distracting, but this will probably be the last Pokémon game I play, period. I gave it the chance of being a cut above the first game, but so far it's just a prettier version of the same game, with more pokémon thrown in. I chose the monkey one at the beginning, by the way.
  • Opened the other double pack game I got, Sega Superstar Tennis. It feels like the poor man's Super Mario Tennis at spots, but it's still fun. The controls are kinda slide-all-over-the-place, but hey, how can I complain, got this for free, right?
  • Played just a bit of Kung Fu Panda, one of the other free games I got in bundle boxes - good first impression, should be a quick one to burn through. Never watched the movie, shame.
  • Got Wiiware's Adventure Island: The Beginning for review. It's one of those games I can safely admit is good, but does nothing new. It's just okay... and it's Adventure Island. Eh.
  • Tried to get back to Resident Evil 5 yesterday, and it's starting to 'click' with me, after going through the first two chapters. Don't know if I'll press on in single player, but I was able to play WAY more than before yesterday, which was surprinsingly enjoyable. I only died once when I accidentaly jumped in an activated furnace. Heh.
  • Watched Iron Man a second time since theatres, now on DVD - have to say the film's still awesome. The extras are incredible for such a low price disc. Now I REALLY want to model an Iron Man from the golden age of the Avengers...

This isn't really part of bullets, but I'd really like to mention it. E3 starts today, and I'm fairly interested in all of the conferences. I didn't follow the pre show coverage cause I'll admit right now I'm really sick of people trying to break news about releases just hours before the actual announcement. On the other hand, there's a lot to look forward to. I am really hoping Sony will drop that new line PS3 at a cheaper price, so I can finally buy one and play Metal Gear Solid 4 before it's completely spoiled for me *I'm looking at you and your articles, Shumi!*.

Anyway, see you guys in a few hours, if not personally, at least virtually in the billion seat capacity virtual audience for E3. Should be fun!

Games during the week and weekend

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Not a long list this week, either. Haven't played much during the week, sad fact!

  • Played a bit more Chinatown Wars, as documented in my blog, got a few more rewards. I'm taking a break from the game for now, don't want to get burned out on it.
  • Put Chrono Trigger back in the DS, started the ruined "future" (?) area of the game. Don't remember the details from my first playthrough, so it should be interesting.
  • Helped a friend get some Fable 2 achievements on Sunday, like the DLC arena ones and the doll achievement. Sadly, the dyes and statuette achievements cannot be unlocked via the old sell-one-of-them-then-buy-it-back trick.
  • Played a bit of Turtles 1989 and Virtual On with buddy Al (the_antipode) on Sunday as well. Virtual On is MUCH more fun in multiplayer, and I just stink at Turtles, really.
  • Tried playing Burnout Paradise on the return of Sunday Driving with Don and friends, but the darn thing wanted yet another HUGE update download. I'll have to download that during the week.
  • I played a whole lot of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and managed to finish it on normal difficulty. What a dumb fun game. I only missed one of the one-try simulation discs, but the game is so darn fun I'm going to replay it in order to get all of the discs so I can unlock the bonus costumes.
  • Since I played MUA, I got the DLC that was on sale on Xbox Live, for the bonus characters. To sum it up: Sabretooth is the best of the bunch, cheap as hell, but fun, I also liked Hawkeye and Cyclops.
  • My review of Wallace and Gromit: Episode Two went live, check it out here. There's a bit of a problem in the score summary section, and I'm contacting my friend who's the editor in order to sort it.
  • Watched a couple of movies during the course of the week: Sweeney Todd and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. One was bloody, but fun, the other was yet another great film by one of my favorite animators of all time. You figure which one is which.