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Heavy Rain demo and my reviews

Quantic Dream presnted us with a free browser-based teaser to their highly anticipated game, Heavy Rain. It's the Four Day Online Experience, where you're given instructions every Tuesday to solve some mystery and sumbit your answers. The reward for signing up was a plain black PlayStation Home t-shirt, pretty worthless as it comes if you ask me.

The first day, nothing to do but observe and you qualify to the second round. Second round, very difficult investigation to conduct using a given set of clues that you have to use to look for tiny details. The reward, the Heavy Rain demo a number of days in advance. Pretty much, the challenge was very difficult, I didn't bother. Am not stupid, just lazy.

So Kotaku posted how to answer it and no sooner had the Heavy Rain website been overloaded and it became really hard to use it. Took me a good long hour to get it working before actually submitting my answers and getting my personal code to the Heavy Rain demo.

With that aside, let's talk about the demo. As I mentioned before numerous times the first thing you notice upon playing a game are undoubtedly the visuals, here being unprecendented. Utilizing Nvidia PhysX to render things such as hair and using a very advanced engine, the game is easily the best looking console game and arguably the best looking game of all time. Judging by how hideous Indigo Prophecy was, I give thumbs up to Quantic Dream for perfecting this area.

Now for the main part, the gameplay. Heavy Rain is all about becoming your characters. It has this strange way of getting you to live your character, you feel what he/she feels, you think the same way, you basically become the character playable at given time. Furthermore, there is one action sequence in the game where you're being attacked (do not worry, no spoilers follow) and you have to play it using the buttons shown. It was absloutely suspenseful and very dramatic that it actually got me off my couch going at the screen.

With that being said, there's not much to "play" in the game but rather watch. It feels as if they grabbed a movie, and gave you a set of options that you have to choose from to realise the outcome. There will be consequences. But nevertheless, I found myself enjoying it. This somewhat awkward game actually manages to pull off something completely new. But speaking or myself, I doubt I'll ever get it. The story is all too gloomy, and by gloomy I don't mean bloody. I LOVE the Dead Space gloomy sort of game where you tear your enemies limb from limb and watch them crawl after you with their intestines blown out everywhere. But no, Heavy Rain is emotionally gloomy, one thing I do not like...

Now with that done, I was sitting there looking at my game collection and I just realised something, most of that stuff I never reviewed. How could I? I have to review them soon and I will most likely start off with BioShock, something that impressed me with mixed reactions.

So did any of you try the Heavy Rain demo?


I like to be honest and right now am no position to claim myself a Batman fanboy. Before Batman: Arkham Asylum's release I wasn't nearly even interested in Batman one bit. I watched the Dark Knight, enjoyed it, but that was just about it. Maybe because the Dark Knight wasn't able to convey Batman in his true essence.

Then I played Arkham Asylum merely as a gamer, not a fanboy either. The reviews were nothing short of stellar, scoring 90%+ with nearly ever critic. And every gamer I knew that played it has highly praised it. So why not? I gave it a shot and not only did it have me love the game alone, I loved the Batman world.

With all its psychologically challenged villains, terrific atmosphere and great story, I couldn't resist but go forth with this seemingly awesome world. So, after a while, I finally got my hands on the Animated Series, all four volumes. Watched a few episodes so far, and they were absloutely TERRIFIC.

Right now, I'd normally get the comics but am not a comic book fan. I don't enjoy reading them very much. So I will make do with the 100+ episodes that I got.

All this had my regret the many years I missed without any involvement in the Batman world. Completely ignorant of it, I always had a negative stereotypic notion of it. As for any of you who still hasn't gotten the privilege of experiencing Batman, I strongly recommend you do.

A note on the PS3

First and foremost I'd like to bring to your attention the new blog header I now have. Sexy, right? Really brings out my user page. I didn't make it, nor was it someone any of you know. A friend of mine made it for me, and did a pretty good job expressing my love for PS3.

But that's not what am here to talk about. I am here to talk about a rather interesting topic, Nvidia's RSX Reality Synthesizer. I assume most of you know what that is, or even have a basic idea of it. For those who may not, it's the unique graphics processing unit (fancy for video card) located in the PS3. It has a dedicated memory of 256 MB. May not seem like much but it certainly seems extremely capable of churning out realistic, gorgeous, and simply hypnotising high defintion gaming.

256 MB of memory... What has that shown us? Let's start with what we first saw. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Resistance: Fall of Man, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, MotorStorm, and others. All of these had excellent graphics, each unique in its own way. But at the time of their release, the 360 had by far much superior visual capabilities with the likes of Gears of War and Condemned keeping gamers busy.

That is a phase that lasted all the way till June 2008. "Why does that ring a bell?" you ask? Because in that month, we witnessed what might be the game of the decade. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. This was the best game visually at the time of release. Not only that, but easily the best game at the time of release but that's another the story. The matter I am focusing on right now is the visual aspect.

Old Snake

Could you have ever believed that such a highly-detailed face could be rendered on your own PlayStation 3 system? I suppose not. I can recall that EVERY time I played it, I would just stop playing and stare at the marvel that is MGS4. But it didn't reign supreme for long as the PS3 hasn't yet proven its mettle.

More often than not, we still got the unusual feeling that something wasn't enough. And were we right? Or were we just being greedy? No. We were merely demanding our rights.

Soon, that was answered by Naughty Dog who announced Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. But it had only been announced, and barely any details were given. Just a few not-so-clear screenshots here and there. Then we got to see gameplay videos, conferences, it all began to breathe. And to further show-off, they handed us our share of the game with the beta which was opened to the public only months afterwards.

And how many of you were not absloutely wowed? Most of us were left speechless (one of which was myself). We just played it in shock. The question that was going through my head was, "Is this some kind of illusion or is my PS3 actually running this?"

And time flew and soon I had my own copy of this terrific game. And yet again, I was wowed even further.

Uncharted 2

Just look at the above-postedimage very carefully. Look at all the details. First look at his shirt, the way it bends. And the shadows just around his body. And the shadows everywhere in the world. Textures, focal blur, lighting, it's all too good. And it stays true to its quality all the way down to the last minute that you'll squeeze in impatience out of it. Impressive, am I right?

And today as I went through some video game websites, there was a source that called Uncharted 2 "the benchmark of console games." And that was soon followed by a statement ushered that Heavy Rain will "blow" it away. I can only imagine. Having looked at all the gameplay videos that statement is not far from the truth. But how far will it blow it away may I ask? With only under a month left, I can't wait to further test the RSX's capabilities.

From where I see it, the PS3's visual capabilites just keep on expanding without knowing boundaries. So here I am to ask, following the release of Heavy Rain, will we be "blown" away by any other unexpected title? I certainly hope so. And as I leave, I leave you with one more image to enjoy.

Heavy Rain: The Origami Killer

OMG! Am I still alive?

You tell me! I feel as if I have completely died. I forgot one of the biggest responsibilites I GameSpot blog. I miss writing out my gaming thoughts and sharing it with fellow gamers. I bet that you've all forgotten my existence. Two people even told me that I haven't been on in a long time. I told one of them quite a while back that I'll come back, but I didn't... I don't know. But here I am!

So let's enjoy it while we're at it.

Where should I start? PS3 or PC? Let's go for PS3. I have been blown away during the recent period. I managed to get my hands on two of the biggest titles this decade, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Both are equally as exhilirating and breath-taking. But I have to point out though, Call of Duty has by far much more memorable moments. Simply unforgettable. Especially the highly-controversial 'No Russian' level.

Uncharted 2 has better production values with superior visuals. But the multi-player gets boring no sooner than you can enjoy it and soon it'll be collecting dust. Modern Warfare won't be left behind. You'll keep enjoying it's deep and extremely enjoyable campaign for a long long time.

Anyways, I highly recommend both games to anyone who still didn't have the honor of enjoying them.

Now for PC. Christmas came (Merry delayed Xmas), and Steam has crushed their prices as usual giving us lots of stuff to savor at low prices. Topping the sales were the likes of Torchlight, Eidos Collector's Pack, Unreal Deal Pack, Braid, Left 4 Dead 2, the Orange Box, The Witcher, Dragon Age and surprisingly Modern Warfare 2 (which in fact was NOT on discount).

Why should I be left out? I bought the Witcher, Torchlight and Braid. I'll start with Braid. This highly innovative, colorful and simply wonderful indie experience. Or is it? Hard to judge. It starts all terrific, involving brain-bending puzzles that really give you a sense of accomplishment. But soon as you progress through it, it becomes a test of reflex and timing. And becomes a game of trial and error. But only $2, so who cares?

Torchlight...A LOT of fun, but quickly bores you. It's highly repetitive and you won't be able to churn out any more game from it after your first six or so hours. You can return to it should you miss it, but don't count on it. It's OK though.

Now for the highlight of my Steam Holiday Sale. The Witcher. $13.5 for 15 GB of awesome RPG-ing. I-M-M-ERSSIVE. Beautiful game. Very well thought out and realised. Has a lot of depth to it and playability. I have been thoroughly enjoying this since I bought it...or in a sense, since it finished downloading. It certainly doesn't demand much of your hardware and can present you with loads to enjoy. It's also pretty lengthy, packing content like no other. It's back to $39.99. Do you think you should still buy it? I certainly think you should...

I think I have so much more to say. But let's just leave it to that for latest additions to my collections.

One more thing that's really disappointing me. There are around 10 games I bought since August that I didn't review or even rate. I'll do my best to get back. But at least it's good to be back to GameSpot once again.

On another note, what have you guys been up to? Any new games??

Thoughts on Uncharted 2 Beta

The Uncharted 2 beta was closed to a few select individuals during June. But yesterday, it went live for the entire world to play. I started downloading it at around midnight so I woke up and found it. It's a little under 1.3 GB.

The beta/demo provides a few maps for team deathmatch, objective mode (which I still didn't try), and one map from the singe-player to be used as co-op for you and a friend. Packs quite some content. And since then, I practically didn't leave it.

This game is the most impressive game I've EVER played, and that's not an exaggeration of any kind. I mean it. Best ever. Most stable shadows and lighting to date (even more stable than ALL PC games). Gunplay is solid and packs quite a punch. And you always get your chance in the sunlight.

This game is a revolution. One that will change gaming as we know it. And am proud to be a PS3 owner and to be able to witness this withmy own eyes.

And to top it all off, I owned every multiplayer deathmatch game I've played. And I mean it. I did.I even played aco-op level with a friend, my score was triple his.I can even upload videos of my gameplay to show you all? Anyone wanna see? ;)

I can't wait for the actual game to come out! As Gamer_4_Fun said, thank you Naughty Dog.

Say NO to motion control

Seriously, Sony and Microsoft have both disgraced me. Starting with "Project Natal" and the nameless wand Sony cooked up. That is the noobs' stuff. Casual gamers go after that stuff. Leave it to Nintendo, they're good at casual gaming.

And before you tell me, "Hey, but that stuff is optional. No one told you use it." I know that. But keep in mind what will pop up as the offspring of that move. Nintendo's Wii made way for developers to make some of the most casual games ever and some of the crappiest things I've ever seen.

I mean, they have a friggin' fishing game. They even have an excercise machine (Wii Fit).I mean, you want some excerise? Get out there, take a jog, go to yoga sessionsor attend a gym. But video game consoles aren't meant for that. It's stupid.

Now imagine what Microsoft and Sony will give way to. What's next? 360 Yoga? Swimming Mania? PS Jog? Or maybe, a modified version of that cheap fishing game on the Wii.

So join me hardcore gamers! Say NO to motion control!

Thoughts on new stuff

First of all, I was not impressed by the Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 demo at all. The graphics make the characters look like hard plastic and all buildings look ugly. And there aren't any physicsthat were well rendered. On top of that, the animations felt loosely tied and the gameplay was not well polished. I give this demo 4 / 10.

Moving onto the Lost Planet 2 demo. The single-player was not that much fun, but certainly the multi-player(Co-op only)was good stuff. I enjoyed it very much. The gunplay is good and moving around is easy. But in general, Lost Planet is not my type of game. And the first one is better than this. I give this demo 7 / 10.

Now for the really good stuff. The Arkham Asylum DLC. The last DLC was OK, but nothing impressive or out of the ordinary. But this week adds two bad*** challenge maps for the hardcore types. The first one isdeadly killing of rows and rows of henchmen. Very nice and a lot of fun. The second one is an invisibile predator stealth map featuring three new challenges. Not as good as the freeflow combo map, but certainly good. Am suprised they're giving us these great maps for absloutely no charge whatsoever. I am very happy. I give this content 9 / 10. I wonder if they'll give us anything else.

So for the few people who have actually been following my blog ( Colmillios in particular because she'salwayscommenting on my blog), how was your PSN/XBL update? Got anything interesting?

Good PSN update

I just logged onto my PSN a few minutes ago and found a good wealth of new content. Ranging from Broken Steel now available for the PS3, trailers for upcoming Fallout DLC, new Arkham Asylum maps, Lost Planet 2 Co-op demo, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 demo, the update this week was very good.

I already started downloading the Arkham map pack. And on top of that, I also got the Lost Planet 2 demo and the Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 demo. In total they do not add up to one whole GB so it shouldn't take long.

So anything you guys interested in this week?

"I've set a trap, and you sprang it gloriously!"

I have become one of the many people to fall into that clever trap over the course of the past 3 weeks.

August 25th marked the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum for both the PS3 and X360 systems in North America. Europe got it three days later. Since then an approxiamate 2 million copies were sold. As of now, I contribute to those 2 million!

I just got the game today and I have to say the critical reception was very fair. The game is terrific. And is the first non-comic book media to capture the true essence of the Dark Knight. The movies and games for the Caped Crusader that have come out in the course of these many years always failed to get the essence of the comic books just right.

But Arkham Asylum is a true exception. It brings about the true Batman, with all the things we love about him. And it hits the difficulty just right. Nothing too easy...nothing too frustrating.I am very happy with the game and I hope that I enjoy it thoroughly.

On another bit of news...I have been a bit slow on reviews. There are around four games or so that I beat and I still didn't review them. Not in the mood to be honest. But I'll do my best to get back.

Catcha around!

LittleBigPlanet demo

So I got the demo last Thursday and took my time going through it. It provides around four levels from the actual game, two community levels and basic creation tools. And after going through all the levels, I have to say I am simply impressed. The community levels on top of that show you the sheer possibilities of what you can create and how far you can stretch your imagination.

I am seriously thinking of getting this game. It's worth every penny that will be paid for it.

On another topic... Has anyone noticed a change with Sony? Theirnew marketing campaign is really good. Ever since the PS3 Slim was announced, and they have been really put in the driving seat of this competition. And the new advertisements are really awesome.

"PS3, it only does everything."

It's a great move and one I assume will be very fruitful indeed. But it came a bit too late. The PS3 Slim came out nearly three years after the release of the first. But it's never too late to improve.

So what you guys been upto?