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MageHatAndHeart Blog

Anyone playing Diablo 3 on the PS3?

Is anyone playing Diablo 3 on the PS3? I'm looking to roll a new toon and play with someone on a regular basis (public groups feel too cluttered). I'm usually on from 7 PM to 10:30 PM (CET) on the European servers. I don't have a problem playing on any other region's servers (although the time probably won't work for most). If you're up for it let me know, so we can decide beforehand which classes to go with. Peace out!

Anyone know a couple of good co-op games?

So I'm getting a house-mate very soon and I thought it would be fun if I could get a few co-op games for the PS3. A good shooter and a good racing game split-screen would be great. Anyone have personal experience with a couple of good ones? Was thinking of getting a Call of Duty game but wasn't sure if it offered split-screen multiplayer. Would appreciate any advice!

Review: Mario and Luigi Dream Team (3DS)

------------------------------------------------------- I'm posting my Mario and Luigi: Dream Team review on my blog since the game can't be reviewed on Gamespot before its US release. Will through this review up on the official review board when it opens up. Let me know what you guys think. ------------------------------------------------------- Score: 7/10 Difficulty: Easy Time played: Between 20 to 40 Hours Mario and Luigi: Dream Team is a charming adventure that achieves a light-heartedness usually alien to Japanese role-playing games. Although no innovator as far as story or characterization goes, its quirkiness and oddball-world keeps you engaged. The game makes good use of the 3D graphics of the 3DS system and the soundtrack is great. It is not, however, without flaw, as its combat is lacking and the game feels like one long tutorial after another. The adventure starts with Princess Peach getting an invitation from Piillo Island. Along with Mario, Luigi and a bunch of Toads, she sets off in a hot-air balloon to the isle. The game does a good job of introducing you to the main cast, and the initial charm of the island is pleasant. The game is not strictly linear, and you have some freedom to roam around other zones not immediately relevant to the main quest. Like other Mario games, bright colours make the environment aesthetically pleasing, and the oddball inhabitants of the isle fit in well with their surroundings. Shortly after arriving on Piillo Island you encounter Luigis first dream-world stage. Throughout the course of your adventure you will have to travel to Luigis dreams to free the spirits of Piillo folk trapped as stone in the real world. Although this idea may sound attractive, it is actually one of the games least inspiring aspects. In the dream-world the game reverts to a 2D platformer, and the liberal use of the second 3DS screen makes the gameplay feel forced. The game would definitely have benefited from Luigis dreams being cut from it entirely. There is a puzzle-solving element to Mario and Luigis adventures in the real world, and finding buttons to press and tiles to swap are both common. Although engaging enough at first, the constant search for things does dull the game down a bit. Mario and Luigis adventures are, however, accompanied by a terrific musical score. Perhaps the most uninspiring aspect of the game is its combat. Battles take place between Mario and Luigi and a bunch of mobs at a time. Combat consists of turn- based timed-presses that manage to be easy and annoying at the same time. With the abundance of health-potions (in the form of mushrooms) and the option to set a certain battle to easy mode if you lose, you rarely ever find the game challenging but the mobs and their mechanics are so varied that you often find yourself miss-timing attacks and counter-attacks, leading to a frustrating experience. The need to level up, however, makes grinding mobs important, and so youll find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Like any RPG gear and levelling-up both play an important part in Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. You purchase pieces of gear from shops using coins you gather during you adventures on Piillo Island. Although its always nice to buy a new pair of trousers or hammer, one cant help but feel there are too few item slots. The levelling system is conventional in that you gain experience points by defeating enemies. A nifty addition is a random roll option every level, which allows you to roll a random number on a stat (power, defence, HP etc.) which then gets added to it. Another factor which detracts from an otherwise good game is the amount of tutorials you are exposed to. Youll still be listening to new game mechanics being explained well over ten hours in. This serves as a distraction and you find yourself just wishing the game would get on with it and stop explaining new quirks and additions every half-hour. The plot, like any Mario game, centres around adversary Bowser. This time, however, the pantomime villain has made a new friend in the bat-king Antasma a spirit that has been trapped in the dream-world upon Mario and Luigis arrival. Although the plot on the surface is nothing to write home to about, it does enough to tie the charming world together and make Marios adventure endearing. In conclusion, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team is a shiny new entry into an already established RPG series. Although it has its fair share of flaws from annoying combat to tiresome tutorials it has enough charm to still make it enjoyable. Hardcore RPGers will definitely not be sated by this game, but its quirky world and oddball characters are endearing enough to still make it a worthwhile buy. Although far from perfect, with an average play-through of about 30 hours there is much worse you can do with your dollar.

Need help with new 3DS XL colour

So I'm going to buy a 3DS as a gift for someone, and -- since I've got a very boring black/grey one myself -- thought I'd re-box and seal my 3DS as the gift and keep the new one for myself. I'm still not sure about which colour though. My options are: 1.) Red/black 2.) White 3.) Pickachu Yellow I'm leaning towards the Pickachu Yellow. What do you guys think? (Btw, how do I paste pictures into my Gamespot blogs?)

First Impressions: Mario and Luigi Dream Team

So I'm about five hours into Mario and Luigi: Dream Team and thought I'd drop a quick blog on the adventure thus far. It has to be said that after the initial charm of the world and its characters it's dulled down a bit. Up to now I've fought a ghost-mist-thing, a bunch of ball-like mobs and an out-of-control robot. I've also explored a dungeon and an underground sewage system and done some trail hopping on the games main island. Exploration is still fun the game does a good job at fleshing out its quirky world but the battle-system is a bit of a let-down. This is my first Mario RPG, so I'm not sure how much it differs from others, but it feels like Nintendo got caught between turn-based and real-time combat with the resultant hybrid not really working. I'm also not super keen on Luigi's dream world (which you have to visit often) it just doesn't feel solid. On the plus side, the soundtrack and 3D graphics are awesome. Story-wise its not really innovative (Princess Peach gets kidnapped surprise surprise) but then again, I don't think the story is what makes Mario games endearing. It probably sounds like I'm not keen on the game at all, but I am still having loads of fun with it. Hopefully it'll pick soon and become more exciting. Review to follow...

Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in Gaming

------------------------------ This is a re-post from my old Gamespot profile I used a couple of years ago - YodaOfTheEmpire. ------------------------------ First off, let me state that by no stretch of the imagination am I a professor of philosophy. I have, however, studied and written enough exams on the subject to be able to get the gist of what a treatise is arguing. For any philosophy buffs, please forgive any dodgy phrasing, I've taken some liberty so as to keep it as simple as possible. I'd like to draw on Aristotle's philosophies on constructing an argument against the current state of multiplayer gaming. In particular, I'd like to make use of his conclusions on the concept of friendship. The short and long of it is that there are three types of friendship. These are: 1.) Friendship for Utility: Being friends with someone just to get something out of them. 2.) Friendship for Pleasure: Being friends with someone because of some pleasure they accord you. For example, enjoying someone's wit. 3.) Friendship for the Pursuit of Good: On a technical level this means to enjoy each other's virtue, but this may also be extended by spreading virtue (goodness) beyond the friendship and thus contributing to the greater good. Aristotle argues that friendship for Utility and Pleasure are both inferior to friendship for the Pursuit of Good, as they only rely on getting stuff out of the friendship whilst friendship for the Pursuit of Good is, well, good, since it gives not to get but just to give. Getting for this kind of friendship is just a bonus he or she doesn't consciously aim for. Now although gaming is not real life, and you're not jamming away at your console to make friends, I do believe there's a practical element to Aristotle's concept that can be applied to gaming. The current multiplayer model is, for the most part, based around the arena concept of randomly joining a battle/race/match and pitting your skills against a random bunch of players that you may never have played against before and don't even interact with through text chat. The vast majority of games follow this model, and a great many players who play these games take part in concerted multiplayer efforts such as Team Death match, Team Capture-the-flag, teaming up on the same EA sports title, making two or more separate RTS factions, or teaming up to down a dungeon boss both (or more) happen to be at. This form of gaming obviously falls into our first Aristotelian characterization of friendship Friendship for Utility and does absolutely nothing but help gain trophies/loot for its participants. Although shooting random players in the face with your trusty sidekick you just met four and a half minutes ago by the name of Anon_39 can be fun, it is, I believe, an inferior mode of multiplayer. But what of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games? If it is friendship you want, you say, why not subscribed to World of Warcraft and join some guild? First, let me stress that what I'm after isn't friendship in the purest sense I do not believe you should be looking to make friends in a virtual world. Yes, friendships can definitely be initiated from there, but for the most part you'll only be acquainted to a person's avatar, no matter how much you agree with their blogs. That is what I am aiming for, a friendship, nay, a fellowship of avatars held together by an epic quest. Before you jump to any conclusions I'm not talking about roleplaying a character. What I am proposing is a relationship of familiarity between players, whom are playing first and foremost because they want to play with someone they get along with. I am not talking about playing an MMORPG, either with a real life friend or someone you've met on the internet for this would be a Friendship of Utility and, most importantly, cannot under any game out there be claimed to be held together by an epic quest (more on this term in a bit). The next counterargument would be that if you want a virtual "fellowship" why not just join a MMORPG guild so as to enjoy the social aspect of it all whilst doing your own thing ingame? But this would be a Friendship of Pleasure, because you'd just be joining for the banter of guild chat. I'm sure every single MMORPG player has joined and dropped guilds at random at least a few times in his gaming career. This is not what we're looking for. What then is a Friendship of the Pursuit of Good in multiplayer gaming? It is not the completion of two thousand random quests with a friend to get to a grand total of 85 levels. It is not downing a raid boss with 50 guild members who have only banded together for the loot. And it is definitely not winning a FPS team death match. It is, quite simply, a co-op single player campaign consisting of (plus minus) two to five players spanning a single story, an epic quest (not a heap of unrelated quests) and dozens of hours. It is, in short, a quest that you and a few of your friends (whether they be real life or established PSN buddies) embark on not to see who gets the best loot or rating, but just to experience the enjoyment of completing the main storyline together. It is not a Diablo or something similar, because (apart from having way more story to begin with) the ideal format for this would be a RPG hence you and your friends would make decisions and it would change the course of your adventure. It also isn't SWTOR, since the story-arc won't be cut up for different types of characters and you'll only be able to progress as a group. It would be one story for a group of five or so friends that changes as they make collective decisions in their bid to rid the world of an evil necromancer/dragon/hoard of goblins. I've played a lot of multiplayer games and formats over the years, but to this day one of the best multiplayer experiences I've had was the co-op Lord of the Rings PS2 movie tie-ins. More than anything else, it was the idea of you and a friend being part of a quest an epic quest embodied by some great cause that made it fun. The ideal multiplayer for me would thus be a kind of Final Fantasy co-op of a handful of friends with RPG elements spanning 30 or more hours. The difficulty would scale and have a cap of say six players, so you don't have to fill the numbers with randoms. There would be an allowance of hours or parts that every character can miss, so the group doesn't get slowed down by someone being busy. Other tweaks would of course be needed, but I think on the whole that this would be good formula for multiplayer, and one that should at least be tried out. I doubt there would be anything cooler at least for RPGers than struggling through an engrossing storyline with a band of adventurers who also happen to be your friends. It would be a friendship whereby the virtue of familiar friends, and not the drive for loot or rank, would defeat the great threat to the goodness of its characters and the ingame world. I thus maintain that such a format of multiplayer one based on the concept of Friendship in the Pursuit of Good (for the ingame world) would be superior to those that we have available at present.

Doing Away With World of Warcraft

So after nearly eight years of playing Blizzards World of Warcraft (WoW) on and off Ive decided to once again unsubscribe, and this time I dont think Ill be going back. Its a great game and it has had a great run, but I do think its time for another MMORPG to have its time in the sun. WoW has become a glorified facebook-game consisting of an endless litany of dailies focused on getting players to log at least once a day, even if its only for twenty minutes. Raid content has become too easily accessible (you can clear raids by queuing randomly now) and PvP, although the most exciting aspect of the game, also becomes a grind after a few weeks into a new PvP season. Ive capped four characters at level 90, cleared all of the raids and dungeons and PvPed enough for it to become boring (you can do all of this in less time than you think), and never being one to grind dailies Ive found myself not logging for days on end. Apart from the lack of content I have to say that the games graphics are starting to look very aged. Like facebook browser games, in a way, WoW is made to cater to ALL, hence why the visuals wont ever be super. I played with the graphics set on ultra, but still the visuals arent what youd expect from a game in 2013. In the end it was a straightforward decision to stop spending my coin on the games subscription. Not playing WoW will definitely leave a void, but Ill settle for a next-generation console MMORPG next or nothing at all. To be honest, Im jaded with PC gaming and want to move my gaming exclusively to the 3DS and the PS4 (when it drops). Like many others, Ive earmarked Elder Scrolls Online as my next attempt at MMOing. Im also keen to see how well Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be received. If its a vast improvement on Squares last Final Fantasy MMO, I might get it for the PS4. My only concern with console MMORPGs is communication. How to communicate without a keyboard? Perhaps there will be an option to use voice (I would appreciate any insight on this point). Its time to do away with WoW and to embrace high-end graphics MMORPGs. Its been a great ride, but it cant still be the premier MMO in 2013 if it originally dropped eight years ago.

Why you don't need a Wii U if you have a 3DS

So last week, after much introspection, I finally decided between the Wii U and the 3DS XL. I went for the latter, and I have to say I think it's the best gaming decision I've made for a while. Before I sing the praises of Nintendo's handheld, let me say that I am by no means a fanboy of portable gaming. I had a Gameboy when I was a kid, and a PSP when I was in high school, but I didn't really gravitate to either of them (I traded my PSP to a kid in exchange for having him do all of my homework for a year). I swore myself off handhelds and vowed to stick to consoles and my PC. But that all changed when I purchased a 3DS last week. Let me start by saying that 3D gaming is awe-inspiring. If you haven't seen the Nintendo 3DS from up close (with its 3D slider set to max) you can't understand what you're missing pictures don't do it justice. Bland graphics go from being flat to mind-boggling leaping off the screen and sparkling with character. It's a different kind of gorgeous to what you see in high-end games on the Xbox 360 and PS3. There's just a kind of magic to it. Add to this the quirkyness of 3DS titles, as well as first-party games such as Mario Bros and Donkey Kong, and you get a game system well worth it's salt for less than half of what you'd pay for a Wii U. Sure, the Wii U has the advantage of being made for the TV screen, and Mario and Luigi never looked better in HD, but seriously it's not worth what it's retailing for. You may be persuaded to buy it because of the first-party games, but really, you can get almost all of the first-party franchises on the 3DS (along with super cool 3D graphics) for half the game-system price. True, I don't have a Wii U, so you'll find better judges of the two systems out there, but from my layman's eye it's quite clear that the Wii U isn't worth its retail price. To illustrate my point I searched All Time top Wii U and 3DS games, selected five of each randomly, and looked up their average playtime on HowLongToBeat. The result points to the firm conclusion that the 3DS is better value for money: Wii U: 1.) New Super Luigi U: 6½ Hours 2.) New Super Mario Bros: 9 Hours 3.) Lego City Undercover: 15 Hours 4.) Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate: 65 Hours 5.) Scribblenauts Unlimited: 7½ Hours -------------- Average: 20.6 Hours -------------- 3DS: 1.) Fire Emblem: Awakening: 30 Hours 2.) Shin Megami Tensei IV: 35½ Hours 3.) Animal Crossing: New Leaf: 89½ Hours 4.) Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D: 10½ Hours 5.) New Super Mario Bros 2: 5½ Hours -------------- Average: 34.2 Hours -------------- Although I'm sure the Wii U is great, I just don't think it's worth it compared to what you get from a 3DS. Add to that the PS4 and Xbox One dropping soon, and I just don't think there should be space on a gamer's living room mantel for Nintendo's premier console. But hey, who knows? I might end up buying a Wii U down the line some time but for now I'm loving my 3DS.