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Shock Journalism

It is bizarre that nearly every videogame publication has heralded Skyward Sword's tight controls. However, GameSpot's purportedly pioneering 7.5 review seems to focus on how poorly the controls are implemented. Are the 20 some-odd other published opinions claiming that the game has tight motion controls wrong?

My princess is in another castle

Anyone that reads this and owns an Xbox 360 owes to themselves to download and buy Braid for XBL arcade. This game is simultaneously hilarious, melancholy, charming, and fun, and the music is awesome. The artistic direction in this game is brilliant -- sort of like playing mario brothers as if it were transformed into an animated portrait in the National Gallery. It's a thinking man's (or woman's) 2D platformer, and any dude who's experienced heartbreak can relate to the surprisingly captivating story. Play this.

Finally...a story about deadly box art

I decided to cave-up for a weekend and edit the Game COPS episode 3 footage. The boys and I filmed this nearly two years ago, so it's about time. I hope someone out there enjoys it.

[EDIT] Syncing issues fixed.


On a personal note, I have one more year left in law school, and I need to seriously begin the job hunt. I haven't had a lot of time for video games lately, but I did manage to pick up Metal Gear Solid 4. I was so impressed by this game, that it inspired me to go back and complete all of the other MGS games leading up to it -- a feat that I have not previously ventured to accomplish. While the gameplay in MGS 4 is far superior to the others, at least the story in the old games is timelessly stellar.

Shouldn't Have to Hack

Nvidia released a bunch of updated beta drivers for its chipsets in the wake of the Bioshock release. Boy, does Bioshock run much more smoothly (and look much better) on my PC as a result. Unfortunately, I have a laptop with a GeForce Go 7900 GS and none of the official Nvidia Vista drivers support mobile hardware. Fortunately, some website that I googled hacked the new driver .inf files such that they would work with the mobile chipsets. What sucks is that figuring that out resulted in one less hour of free time to play it.

Finally, a Madden Game Worth Playing

There was actually a midnight release spectacular for Madden 08 at the Hoover Best Buy location in Birmingham, Alabama (we don't usually get a lot of VIP gaming treatment in sweet home Alabama). Not having to work today or anything better to do circa midnight, I drove on over after reading some Madden reviews and picked it up for the PS3 (see previously blog entry for reason why I didn't buy it for the 360).

I'm not much of a football fan, but the thing that I like most about watching and playing football is the tackling and the breaking of tackles. This year, EA finally decided to add a much more realistic tackling system (something that Visual Concepts has been doing well for almost a decade with the 2K series) and it really makes the video game of football fun. In fact, I would say that the tackling in Madden 08 is better executed than in All Pro Football.

I will bet that you can bet your bottom dollar that with all the praise that this entry of Madden is receiving, the incremental update next year will be a little short of short. I'm going to go ahead and predict for next year's entry that EA will add a few small features here and there, update the rosters, and maybe -- if they have time after revelling in the Madden 08 revenues -- get the PS3 version to run at 60fps.

However, I am quite impressed with this year's Madden, and because I will not be playing the 360 for another 5-7 weeks (if that, because who knows once school starts) I will probably trade my copy of All Pro Football 2K8 for Shin Megami Tensai: Persona 3 (provided that it's not delayed every week that it's supposed to be released as it has been since mid-July).

Let's Vent About Defective Products

Two 360s down and X to go... So as of this weekend I have a week between my law clerk job and going back to school; a seemingly perfect time to enjoy, among other things, some worry-free late night gaming. But as an opportunity of the same magnitude was rendered naught by my first 360 going the way of a bloatware laden e-machines PC after the humidity level reaches anything above a normal reading, so has this opportunity been spoiled as a result of my replacement xbox 360 (that was manufactured in NOVEMBER 2006 and sent to me less than 2 months ago) going "all blue screen" on me -- despite having the 360 enshrined between two fans in a well-air-conditioned room beyond the reach of anything that might remotely be considered a heat source. If the 360 was under the curse of the PS3 right now (i.e., by having a dearth of quality games available), then I probably wouldn't be this angry. Thus, my opinion of Microsoft's "next-gen" console can be summarized in three words: piece of crap...a piece of crap that happens to provide a fun gaming experience when the stars align every 13th fortnight so as to color the moon azure blue when a grain of sand in the middle east is ionized by the force of a thousand suns; that is to say, whenever I get the opportunity to game on the 360 for any decent length of time.

Contrast this product with my Powerbook G4 laptop which still works like a dream after nearly 4 years despite: (1) having coffee spilled on it (twice); (2) having orange juice spilled on it (once); (3) being toted around in a backpack (everyday); (4) being dropped (on several occasions)...or with any other console I have ever owned for many years ... you get the picture.

5 Minutes of Awesome

Although LiK might disagree with with this statement, I'm going to throw it out there anyway; the Heavenly Sword demo is wicked awesome. Despite the unspectacular framerate and v-sync issues, the scale and detail of the demo are amazing. You start out on some cliffs with the main character's (Nariko's) sister (if it were possible for Smeagol and the Copper Kid from Silverhawks to have a child, you would have the main character's sister) looking down upon vast waterfalls and an imminent user-controlled beat-down.

Besides the coolness of sending enemies flying all over the place in a semi-bullet-time fashion, there are three different manifestations of the main weapon, and consequently three different fighting techniques to use. By default, the main weapon is used as two short swords, and the fighting unfolds as you would imagine it would when an able-bodied red-haired ninja chick from the UK would wield such weapons. The second fighting technique is activited by holding down the L1 button while performing combos and is decidedly similar to Kratos' blades-attached-to-chains from God of War. The third fighting technique involves holding down the R1 button while performing combos and is much akin to controlling Siegfried from Soul Blade -- Basically a two-handed claymore that Nariko drags around until the unleashing of crazy momentum driven blows of fury.

The right analog stick functions as a dodge move almost identical to Ninja Gaiden's roll away/dodge maneuver, which is certainly derivative, but still very cool. There are various wooden tables and barrels lying around the bottom level of the demo that can be smashed up in a manner that Sir Isaac Newton would certainly smile upon were he still alive.

Needless to say, I am really excited about this game. It seems to be the perfect blend of God of War and Ninja Gaiden dashed with the scale and imaginitive landscapes of Shadow of the Colossus.

To Kill a Darkness

Talk about random; if you want to watch a great movie based on an even better book, watch the TV in Jenny's apartment in The Darkness. There appears to be a full version of To Kill a Mockingbird playing on it. Although I've seen this movie many times, I watched it for about 15 minutes until I realized I needed to keep playing the game (because the game is awesome). Also, if you're a Sonny Chiba fan, The Streetfighter is also playing on a few of the TVs in the game. Craziness!

If All Racing Games Had...

rad cockpit views and hardcore damage modeling, I don't know if I'd play any other genre. However, if some dude sitting next to me in a car ever said, "Smooth and steady. I'm mister smooth, you're mister steady," I probably wouldn't be his friend.

Game COPS: Episode 3 Trailer

Follow the Game COPS on one of their earlier adventures in Episode 3: "Death Takes a Holiday."  Adept now at keeping the streets clean from bad video games, the Game COPS were not always so well equipped.  Thanks to their predecessors, the Game COPS are what they are today.....a force to be reckoned with.