All About kejigoto
My thoughts on the gaming world.
So it has been nearly a month since I've updated my blog and I apologize to those who read it. My schedule was suddenly changed and I was moved off nights in dispatch to driving a truck so my time online has been seriously hindered. However I'll be returning home in about two weeks so my online activity should increase dramatically at that time.
I've also been keeping rather busy with things though my writing on BitMob has gone down since I was moved. However in six months I've written 11 articles, 5 of which were published on the main page, 1 was part of a feature piece, and the other 5 saw a decent amount of activity. So far I'm managed to build up over 18,000 hits so I'm pretty happy with that.
Right now I'm talking with the developers behind Faster Than Light, which for some reason Gamespot won't let me link to their site so here's the address: http://www.ftlgame.com/, and setting up an interview with them which I'll run over on BitMob and of course post here.
Beyond that I've been knocking out games from my backlog and thus far have managed to beat the following:
- The Witcher
- Mass Effect
- Mass Effect 2
- Mass Effect 3
- Duke Nukem Forever
- Crysis 2
- Sonic Generations
- Sonic Generations 3D
- Super Mario 3D Land
- Mario Kart 7
- Uncharted: Golden Abyss
- Rayman Origins
- Batman: Arkham City
Right now I'm working my way through Mirror's Edge which I'm highly enjoying and should have that knocked out in the next few days. Also I'm planning on doing reviews for most of the above that I haven't hit already. In fact I'm intending to do a review for the entire Mass Effect trilogy instead of breaking them up into seperate games.
Also I'm working on launching a seperate blog from this which will be where I'll be doing my updates once that gets up and running. I'm wanting to do more than Gamespot allows plus I'm finding myself using the site less and less. It'll be an area for me to post my articles from BitMob, reviews, a web comic I'm working on with a friend, and also I'm intending to start doing video reviews as well. I just want something that looks nice, I have full control over, and I don't have to wrestle with an unruly system like Gamespot has.
Anyways that's all from me for now.
I got incredibly lucky and thanks to Twitter was able to work out having some of my questions answered by Mark Long the CEO of Meteor Entertainment, the company publishing Hawken. I've already posted the story over on BitMob but I figured I'd share it with you guys as well.
If you want to see the pretty version with pictures and check out some of my other work click here otherwise read on:
Hawken is Adhesive Games' upcoming mech combat PC title which is looking incredible. The free to play game is running on Unreal Engine 3 bringing visuals to the table that is already starting to turn some heads and will hopefully raise the bar for what everyone should expect from free to play releases.
Having recently appeared at the Game Developers Conference last week details are beginning to emerge for Hawken. Mark Long, CEO of Meteor Entertainment, recently answered some questions for me about what gamers can expect from the upcoming title.
Jarrod Bell - Do you have any potential platforms you're looking at for release such as Steam or Origin?
Mark Long - We are currently researching all the platform options for Hawken's release. At this time, we haven't decided. Stay tuned to PlayHawken.com for updates!
JB - Since players won't be able to change their call sign will their be optional clan tags?
ML - We plan to support Clans in a big way. At its heart Hawken is a fast-paced mech-based shooter; it's a highly competitive game. For players who love to compete with their friends in clan on clan battles, we will support them.We haven't totally decided on how this will function. More info will be released as it's comes about on PlayHawken.com.
JB - Are multiplayer matches going to be focused on team play or more of a free for all setup?
ML - Both. Like many MMO FPSs, Hawken offers fun battles for people that want to jump in and slaughter as well as for those of us who "play well with others".
JB - Can players expect any form of user generated content such as maps?
ML - This has yet to be determined.
JB - Speaking of maps what sort of designs will players find? Will these be more of a city like layoutwith strategic points to control or more of an arena typ build with an even playing field?
ML - We have completed a number of maps. We're planning to launch beta testing with only a handful of maps so we don't overwhelm players in the beginning.You've likely seen the desert and city maps from our YouTube videos. We'll announce other map type on PlayHawken.com as they become available.
JB - How many different mech types will be available at release?
ML - Wehave a number of mechs finished. Again, for beta testing we are creating a strategy for releasing a handful of mechs and adding to the selection options gradually over time.
JB - Has any thought been put into a console release at this time or perhaps after the initial release on PC? ML - We're focusing on launching beta, which will be PC-only. We'll see if console versions will be in our future, but for now nothing has been decided yet.
So at long last I've got my hands on my Vita and I've spent the last few days messing around with it albeit with some minor restrictions due to being deployed and not being online with it. What I've found is a mixture of both good and bad, however the good far out weighs the bad.
Game wise I only have Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Rayman Origins though Marvel vs Capcom 3 is on the way in the next few days I'll probably take a trip over to one of the areas with WiFi to try and download a game or two. I've also purchased a 32GB memory card just to make sure data storage is never a problem.
To start off I'll get the obvious out of the way. Sony has designed a great portable. Having skipped the PSP entirely though owning all of Nintendo's portables I'm rather impressed here. Compared to the 3DS the Vita is comfortable to hold and game with during long session. It's a sleek handheld that looks top notch and the only real complaint I have about it is the rear touch pad and the area it takes up. This is only a minor problem as I'm used to having my middle fingers stretched out towards the center of the device and from time to time Uncharted will think I'm wanting to do something via the rear touchpad when in reality I'm just wanting to hold the device comfortably. I would have liked to have seen Sony have a bigger area for me to rest my fingers but I'm sure I'll become adjusted to it in no time.
The analog sticks feel great, the button placement is excellent, the screen is by far the best feature displaying everything crisply. I have an actual PSP here, though not mine, and it is amazing to me how cheap the PSP feels when I pick it up after holding the Vita.
I started running into some minor complaints when I booted the device up and started browsing around on the OS. I really dislike how it asks me if I'm sure I want to start everything that I select. This was something I didn't expect to be an issue but as time goes on I'm getting a little tired of it. Yes my beloved Vita I want to start Uncharted, if I didn't I would have touched something else. This brings me to another point, everything is touch controlled. I get it Sony, you've got a touch screen now and it is fantastic however there are times where I don't feel like using the touch screen. Oh yes, every game you put in your Vita gets its own little bubble icon on the dashboard which makes me wonder why? If Sony keeps to this method my dashboard will be overcrowded in no time.
I'm also having trouble charging through my USB cable and I'm not sure why. I have it set to charge via USB in the settings menu yet whenever I connect it to my laptop it just says it can't connect. I think I may need to install the content manager but I haven't got around to that yet working with a limited internet connection. How on Earth Sony messed this simple aspect up is beyond my ability to comprehend and I'm finding it to be extremely annoying as US plugs are a little short handed here in the Middle East. So 9 times out of 10 it is either my laptop that is plugged in and charging or my Vita. Awesome.
Now onto the games! Uncharted is where I'll start as I've spent most of my time here and I'm currently on chapter 18. So far I'm enjoying my experience though not quite as much as I have on the PS3. This is mainly due to it feeling the need to push all the new control **** on me despite saying "Play how you want!" Well I don't want to play with the damn touch screen, I want to use the fancy analog sticks you've included.
Yet whenever I want to reload I have to tap my weapon icon on screen taking my thumb off the left analog stick meaning Drake stops running. Meanwhile Mr. Square Button sits there all lonely with nothing to do. Most things offer two or more ways to interact such as climbing where I can use the analog stick or the touch screen yet reloading I've got only one way to do it. Not only that but often it won't register my reload attempt so I've taken to tapping the screen until I hear the magazine release.
Another annoyance with the touch screen comes from the fact that all the menus are touch control only. Again Sony I get it, it's a touch screen, but do I constantly have to keep changing how I hold the device? The touch screen also forces its way into melee combat making me swipe my finger across the screen replicating whatever action it just showcased. Not only this but Quick Time Events make an appearance as well via the touch screen. A number of times I've found Drake falling to his doom because of this and my inability to get the screen to register that I indeed did swipe upwards.
Other areas I find forced motion controls is when Drake loses his balance while walking across planks and other such things. An explosion will rock the screen, something will break, or whatever and Drake is unsteady so I have to tilt the Vita back and forth to keep him level. At first this wasn't too bad but as time as gone on these sections last longer and longer. Sometimes a full ten seconds. How does he regain his balance? Leaning forward slightly and touching his thigh...
Not all is bad with the touch controls here as climbing is a breeze with the touch screen and something I enjoy plus I absolutely love using the gyroscope to aim. Lining up a shot is a breeze by moving the Vita to tweak your shots and I'm amazed at how well this works. Hit detection could be better but that is only a minor problem.
The graphics are of course top notch for a handheld though not close to the PS3 big brother. That is part of Golden Abyss' problem is standing in the shadow of the amazing work Naughty Dog has done. It lacks that feel, that sense of awe that Naughty Dog's previous work as invoked in me. It is still a great game but not on the same level as the PS3 counterparts.
Voice work is well done, environments are detailed, characters look great, the frame rate never dips, this is a Nathan Drake adventure through and through though I haven't hit a major set piece yet like I've found in the console versions. A little disappointing but I've still got a ways to go so we'll see. Thus far as been fairly standard, some shooting, some exploring, some character development. If I had to describe Golden Abyss I'd say it plays it safe not straying too far from the basic formula.
Rayman Origins looks amazing. I'll just put that out there. I was blown away when I first booted this up and though I'm only a few levels deep I'm in love. Pure 2D platforming action at its finest this game is a feast for the eyes and thus far hasn't given me anything to complain about.
The framerate is silky smooth, the characters, environments, music, control, everything is finely crafted and looks like something I would expect to see running on my big screen or PC at home. Playing this makes me wish more developers would try this approach to a game because you can just feel the love and attention that went into this game. The world oozes with charm as Rayman moves about the screen interacting with objects.
Even the finest details like Rayman's bright smile or the scowl on the face of an enemy can be seen in this beautifully hand drawn platformer and I can't help but smile as I play. The music is another fine asset for Rayman as it changes based on the action on screen and often syncs up to what is going on much like in the opening cutscene with Rayman and his friends napping. A few times I've got myself bobbing my head to the music as I play and I can already tell this will be a favorite of mine.
If you don't own Rayman Origins then do yourself a favor and go buy it. Regardless of the platform it is on this is great platformer and I'm in love with it.
Well that's it from me for now. I'm really enjoying my time with the Vita and despite a few minor issues this is a solid platform that I'm positive will see success in the coming years. Sony has crafted a great handheld to compete with Nintendo's 3DS and having both in my hands making me a little giddy thinking about what the future will bring for both handhelds.
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