Gamers, get ready. It’s time to dust off your old ODST discs and jump into the Halo Reach Beta. Now if you’re anything like me, chances are that you haven’t touched ODST in months. Now, I really don’t know who this chick is, but she gives us a crash course on the latest in the beta.
Keep in mind that the beta could take quite some time downloading so be patient and don’t hit “B” by accident and cancel your download like I did. Also, a bunch of people over at Joystiq were complaining earlier that their downloads weren’t working. As it turned out, rebooting the Xbox was the cure to this issue so keep that in mind when you come across any issues. Happy killing.
Now I’ll admit that my passion for RPGs has dwindled with age, but Final Fantast XIII is seriously lacking almost any redeeming qualities. FFXIII is another one of those games I wish I didn’t have to force myself to play in order to justify a wasted sixty dollars. The game is riddled with an inane
fighting system, painfully stock characters, American laughable voice acting, never ending
walks through repetitive grounds and a story line I couldn’t care less for.
Plot: In nine out of ten games, I really don’t care about the plot. However, I feel as though RPG’s should maintain a certain standard of story telling that will keep the minds of its players remotely engaged. Unfortunately, FF XIII does no such thing. Everyone is off doing their own thing and rarely moving together in a group. It’s somewhat like an episode of Lost when they go off into each characters story. From what I’ve played thus far, the characters move in teams of two, the one kid’s mother dies, another character’s girlfriend gets turned into a crystal and the heroine seems to be mad at world. Very intriguing stuff indeed. Well, maybe the fighting system is good right?
Fighting: Negatory. It’s not quite turn based, and it’s not quite an open system either (a la Tales Series). You basically punch in commands and wait for a fight meter to fill up before you can attack a selected enemy. Simply put, this is irritating. If you keep pressing “A,” you’ll more than likely win the battle without even looking at your screen. Although this quite handy when reaching for a beer, it does not provide solid gameplay.
The fighting system does however incorporate a “paradigm” system that allows you to change your characters’ fighting styles mid-battle. This can be used to harness different powers (healing, offensive or defensive) depending on the battle’s current situation. If only one of your characters is getting pummeled, you can switch someone’s role to “medic” which will keep the victim afloat for the duration of the battle while others attack. In addition, you can also have all of your characters attacking all-out to overwhelm enemies quickly. The paradigm system is definitely a small beam of light in an otherwise redundant fighting system.
Characters: Token black guy? check. “Damn, that is whack!” Rebellious anti-hero chick? Check. Little punk kid that complains about everything? Check. That annoying girl with the high-pitched voice that heals everyone? Check. Blond haired guy that’s too cool for school? CHECK! How about we try some innovative new characters for the next title in the series? Maybe I wouldn’t be complaining so much if the battle sequence had been a tad better. Case in point: Tales of Vesperia. Tales executed the same tried lineup of characters and yet I played the hell out of that game until the very end glued to the very edge of my seat.
Linearity: Probably the most irritating thing about this game is that there is no open world feel to it at all. If there are any side missions, I sure as hell haven’t found them yet. The backgrounds are reminiscent of the original Halo and are also just as repetitive. Players will find themselves walking back and forth along the same paths multiple times. Good shit.
I understand that I did not organize my thoughts at all for this rant, but it does seem to reflect the subject matter quite well wouldn’t you say? I’m about halfway through disc two and ready to throw in the towel on this one. If you haven’t tried FFXIII yet, you are not missing out on much. Don’t let the major critics fool you; this game is in no way, shape or form anything above a 7. This rating system, which is supposedly unbiased, should not take into account the previous success of a given title. Would you give Apple an 8.5/10 for their iPad? Hell no. Their track record, popularity and previous successes should not hinder a critic’s rating scale in the slightest bit. The iPad is a sack of shit and so is this game.
Microsoft has announced today that they will discontinue the Xbox Live service for original Xbox consoles and games. Here’s what the Major had to say:
While I can’t comment on the specifics, this change will allow us to continue evolving the LIVE service with new features and experiences that fully harness the power of Xbox 360 and the Xbox LIVE community. We did not make this decision lightly, but after careful consideration and review we realize that this decision will allow us unprecedented flexibility for future features.
I don’t understand how ending this service on the old system will allow them “unprecedented flexibility” for the future. If you can remember a little while back, Microsoft also started pulling the plug on XBLA titles that weren’t selling well.
If you are still playing Halo, I suppose your best bet would be to run through Xbox Connect. Ahh, the good old days…
The fine people at Redmond’s video game console division think it’s a great idea to “reach” the country’s youth by marketing Rock The Vote via Xbox. While I do feel that getting America’s youth to vote is a great idea, the simple act of voting does not hold merit if the voters are ignorant on the topic.
“Xbox is a natural partner to help us reach out to youth voters,” Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote, said in a statement Thursday. “To realize our goal of registering 2 million young Americans by this fall, we need to go where young Americans are, and there’s no doubt in our minds that many are on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.”
According to some Uber Mole deep within the confines of Microsoft, there are going to be price cuts on all three Xbox models this September. The Arcade, Pro (60 GB) and Elite will be marked down to $199, $299 and $399 respectively.
The New Xbox Experience can’t be the only reason for the added memory could it? This isn’t Sony people! I mean honestly, who’s planning on ripping games to their HDD eight gigs at a time? (Especially for those of us still sporting 20GB HDD’s).
The way I see the FPS market is that there are only three franchises worth that $60 kick in the nuts: Halo, COD and Gears. What sets these titles apart from the rest (ehmmm R6V), is that the controls are totally crisp. If you don’t have this, your game is bound to suck regardless of its genre (i.e. every Marvel and Disney title ever produced). I am however glad to see that Epic is adding a variety of new features that will keep Gears fans rocking this game all throughout the holidays. Although I’m still a tad bit skeptic about the chainsaw battles, the proximity mine-esque grenades, body coverage and wide assortment of new weapons are surely to make Gears 2 a keeper.
Emergence holes that can take out a whole city? I wonder what types of grenades you’ll need to close them up. What I am “digging” Senior Cliffy, are these new single shot weapons that seem to be more accurate than the chainsaw; I could never aim with that piece of crap.
Now the only thing left to wonder is how Epic is going to gel the chainsaw battles into the multiplayer. It seems as though the winner is determined by how fast one can tap the B button. Cool, but any n3wb sporting a third party controller with an auto function will pwn every time. Here’s hoping that they won’t make it into another humdrum Halo-esque sword battle.
The verdict: Star Wars just makes everything that much sweeter. I’m in quite a dilemma having both 360 and the PS3. The problem starts when I’m forced to decide between the notorious gamerscore perk versus an enticing tandem of playing as Darth Vader, all the while being able to control my character with a fully responsive D-Pad. Decisions, decisions…
Yes, I KNOW HD DVD is “dead.” Microsoft is stopping manufacturing this drive, and there wont be many more releases. But come on, it’s $50! That comes with King Kong on HD DVD, the full 360 Media Remote, and 5 more HD DVDs after rebate. There are still hundreds of titles you can rent on Blockbuster Online (and Netflix until they get phased out over the next year). And probably the biggest value here is for people that use their 360 as their primary DVD player. Save the life (and sound) of your internal DVD drive and play your movies in this. Look at it this way: it’s a cheap external DVD drive you can use with your 360 to extend your consoles lifespan. It isn’t as loud as the internal 360 drive, and it plays HD DVDs (6 free). You know you’re tempted.
You may have heard the GDC buzz about some XNA Community Games trials available RIGHT NOW for all Xbox Live users. But where are they!?! You need to download the “XNA Creators Club Game Launcher” to get access. This will only be available until February 24th! After that, the launcher will no longer be available for download, but the trials will continue to function until some time next month (17 days from the time of this posting).
To get the Game Launcher, head to the Marketplace. Here is where it’s nested: Game Store | All Games | XNA Creators Club | XNA Creators Club Game Launcher. The naming is particular, since the similarly titled downloads require a Creators Club membership.
Once installed, you will have a new tab titled “XNA Creators Club” in your Games Library under My Games. Navigate to this new category, and hit Y to download games. This should take you to the XNA Creators Club Content download page. There are seven trial games available for download.
This is a very nice taste of whats to come, where independently developed games using XNA will be available for free and pay. From what I gather, publication will be contingent on some type of peer review, rather than the stringent Live Arcade requirements/verification process.
And I urge all college students to cash in on the free XNA Creators Club subscription offering I recently posted about. The free 12-month subscription has a $100 value, and will let you get games RIGHT NOW for free. You will be able to legally install any XNA software freely available on the web onto your 360. What kind of games? How about an NES emulator? No modding, and no getting banned from Xbox Live.