The first good console MMO?

Why MMOs are almost exclusively a PC genre is sort of a mystery these days. Sure, console gamers that are used to paying just for the initial box and maybe some future dlc would balk at paying a monthly subscription fee and keyboards are far more versatile for the genre in general, but the sheer lack of attempts is staggering. I mean there have been a few canceled projects and that's about it. DC Universe Online is hopefully set to change this mindset when it comes out in about a week and a half. I've been able to play a few sessions here and there in the beta, and the game actually works incredibly well with the PS3 controller, giving you a much more action-packed grind than you get out of WOW. Of course, it's easy to forget that this is a new MMO, just about to come out of beta, and there are still plenty of maintenance issues (the reason I'm not playing right now is because the servers are down, which has been an issue the last few days really). But frankly the ability to be a superhero running around with the likes of Supes & Batman and even minor leaguers like Steel while fighting the likes of Grodd and Braniac. I unfortunately think I won't really have the time to devote to make a monthly subscription worth it, but it seems like once the maintenance issues are under control it will hopefully be the first of many quality MMOs for consoles. We'll see when it hits on the 11th.

One other service I've been giving a shot is Hulu Plus, and while it does show a lot of promise, it has a long way to go if it wants to be on the same level as services like Netflix. Sure, Netflix doesn't have current shows most of the time for streaming, but it has an absolutely tremendous back catalog, far less issues streaming and no ads. Aside from being able to play it on my PS3, I'm not compltely sure what benefit I get in paying for this since some content that is on Hulu for free isn't available on the Plus service. Admittedly the sheer fact that I can watch at least some episodesof current TV or catch up on seasons I've been missing out on for a mere $8 a month seems like it might be worthwhile.

That's pretty much it for today, have a happy New Year, and I'll see you in 2011, leaving you with the TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Casino Jack


10 Reasons to still play your Wii in 2011

Yeah, the future isn't looking entirely bright for the little underpowered console at the moment. Nintendo is most likely focused on launching its new baby, the 3DS, which is just a few months from launch, and they pretty much seemed to have blown their load on catalog releases this past year, coming out with an entry for pretty much all their established franchises. And both Sony and Microsoft have gotten into the motion gaming arena, offering similar options in high def. Might as well dump the Wii now while it's still worth something right? Not so fast. Like every year, there are actually a fairly decent amount of reasons to not only keep your Wii, but possibly play it just as much if not more so than the "hardcore" consoles, and here's 10 to look forward to right now :

10. Retro City Rampage

Unfortunately no longer a Fall 2010 release or aWiiware exclusive, because otherwise it'd probably be higher on the list. But that doesn't changed the fact that this is a real GTA "de-make" that promises to brilliantly spoof both classic 80s games and the sandbox crime saga genre that GTA itself defined is one of the most anticipated downloadable titles in ages.

9. de Blob 2

The original de Blob is one of many excellent third-party Wii efforts that sadly went mostly unnoticed by the Wii audience,so it's no surprise that much like RCR above, it's expanding to all 3 consoles for the sequel. But the original was a great example of awesome gaming using the waggle, so the sequel should be no different in quality, and hey if you already have a Wii, why pay extra to get something that will pretty much be the same on any other console?

8. Mario Sports Mix

Hey not every game is going to be for us hardcore people, and putting three sports into one box Nintendo would usually sell as 3 separate titles is an unusually good value assuming they play well. Mario sports titles have a pretty good record overall, and this is the kind of game you could enjoy with more casual gamers in your family/circle of friends without being ashamed to even own it unlike say Carnival Games. The real icing on the cake would be competent online play(it does have online play, but only one-on-one and still needs friend codes, which should be dropped altogether), but since this is Nintendo, that's probably not going to happen.

7. Conduit 2

The Wii is better built for shooters than most would lead you to believe. It's why games like the Metroid Prime Trilogy are considered a must buy and the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 is considered essentially the best version. Because when done right, the shooters stand right up there with the likes of COD and Gears of War. So, aside from lack of a coherent online system, it's sort of puzzling why more high-profile shooters don't end up here. But the Conduit series was intentioned from the get go to be a hardcore FPS that Wii owners could claim as their own. Now while the first didn't completely live up the ridiculously high bar it set for itself, it was still an incredibly solid game, and the sequel really promises to improve on that experience.

6. Dragonquest X

This would probably be significantly higher if a damn thing was known about this latest entry in the biggest RPG series in the world. But this is actually shaping up to be a rather strong year for Wii rpgs, with several to be known in development, this arguably being the biggest one. All we really know is that this is confirmed for the Wii and it's supposed to be out sometime in 2011. But since it's a DQ title, that may be all fans need to know anyways.

5. Xenoblade

Admittedly all I really know about this title is that it is a critically acclaimed rpg in Japan that seems ripe for a release over here. Though no official announcement has been made, both fanboys and websites  alike have been been drooling over it, so it would make a 2011 release at least seem a likely possibility. It looks gorgeous and seriously long, so any rpg fan should snap it up right away if it does come out here.

4. Lost in Shadow

Just a few days away from release, Lost in Shadow is already one of the more intriguing titles this year. It's a 2d side-scrolling platformer, which is becoming increasingly rare and it uses a really unique hook being that you literally are a shadow and have to pretty much use the background as your guide. Hopefully it lives up to its lofty promise as reviews have been a tad mixed, but those who love it truly think its brilliant.

3. Last Story

It's another rpg (I told you it looks like a good year for Wii rpgs), but this one is from famed Final Fantasy director, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Offering what seems to be a solid single and online component along with an epic quest. Last Story has been looking more awesome with each preview, so this should be an rpg hopefully on par with any other epic out there this year.

2. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

It's ZELDA. Do I really need to explain much more than that? The showing at E3 was awesome, Zelda is always incredible. This will probably be the premier 2011 title for Wii, and that's not because of a lack of other stellar titles. Zelda games stand out pretty much any year, and this one should be no exception.

1. Games You Missed

See that game right there? It's a highly praised Wii title that no one bought. And it's one of many. Other excellent action games like No More Heroes 2 & Sin & Punishment also pretty much died at retail while crap like Just Dance 2 sold like hotcakes. Wii owners who enjoy real games cry time and time again about the lack of non-shovelware but when someone tries to come out with something for that crowd, they hardly show up. If your Wii isn't getting much playtime, odds are there is more than a few noteworthy games released not only this past year, but in the last several that you can pick up on the cheap now and discover. Titles like the original Conduit, the first de Blob, Zak & Wiki, Madworld and many many others. If you seriously wanna bolster your library, the bargain/used section at most stores have plenty of awesome titles for under $20 if you're willing to dig just a little.

So yeah, hardly time to turn in that little underpowered waggle-machine just yet. And 2011 hasn't even started, so I'm sure Nintendo has a few surprises up its sleeve like it usually does. That's pretty much all for today, but I should be back with another post tomorrow. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Line Runner 2


The obligatory Christmas post

Sorry about only one post this week, but my schedule has been kind of screwy lately, so until I get that sorted out, this'll be m last post (but shouldn't be more than a week or two). So in the meantime, here's some Christmas cheer for you all:

The Tron Holiday Xmas Special

The Robot Chicken Christmas Special

10 Must-see Xmas Horror Movies

The 12 most Unintentionally Disturbing Xmas ads

4 Bad Lessons from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer



Lonestar vs. Captain Jack?

Yup, former space hero and alien ass-kicking president Bill Pullman is all set to join the upcoming season of Torchwood, along with Mekhi Phifer (who had a pretty good run on Lie to Me). It does seem like they are cast under a mandate of having somewhat familiar American actors in the show because as awesome as Torchwood is, much like Doctor Who it's following in America is small at best; however these seem like 2 very awesome additions to the cast (though to be fair Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke would've made a lot more sense to long-time fans). I can't wait for the series to finally start sometime next year.

Maybe I've just been spoiled by the pure awesomeness that is Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (even if it is missing a couple obvious classics like Toejam & Earl and General Chaos), but it's far and away the best compilation out there and should be an example to others for sheer content alone. Now, most aren't going to be that massive, and I accept that, but the Super Mario All-Stars compilation seems like such a major jip. 4 Games? All of which you can simply get on the Wii Virtual Console for a cheaper price. The graphics are only moderately updated (to 16-bit). This just seems like a really pathetic cash grab to me. If they had made them all multi-player like the New Super Mario Bros game or included a few more classics such as Super Mario World or Yoshi's Island, it might be worth it, but it really seems like this was a big throwaway idea. Let's hope the newly confirmed Dreamcast collection isn't also a let down (and as long as they include Skies of Arcadia, it probably won't be).

Another "classic" out this week on both PSN & XBLA is the old X-Men arcade game. It's arguably a re-skinned Ninja Turtles game with very similar mechanics, so whether it's worth picking up or not may be dependent on your love of simplistic old-school brawlers. I considered it worth the $10, though value beyond that is arguable.

Ok that's pretty much it for today so until next time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Take me Home Tonight


Well looks like my 2011 calendar is pretty much taken up...

At least as long as there are no massive delays. The completely pointless Spike Videogame Awards aired last night, but they did show off a ton of awesome games for 2011, including Arkham City, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3 and the OH MY GOD IT ACTUALLY EXISTS Elder Scrolls V. As pumped as I am for new chapters in the Mass Effect & Uncharted series as well as the sequel to the best superhero game ever, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion ate up my game time like few other games have, easily spending a couple hundred hours on it and never even finishing the main quest. Seriously, I hope Nintendo has nothing awesome planned for next year (besides the 3DS, which likely won't have much worthwhile software he first year anyways, like virtually all consoles), because I don't know if I'll have time. Well, maybe for Skyward Sword, but that's probably pushing it.

I haven't been paying much (really any attention) to the Doritos-sponsored xbox live development series that resulted in what should be 2 horribly cheap games. I haven't actually tried Harm's Way, just doesn't seem like my cup of tea, but I might try it at some point. Crash Course, on the other hand, is unexpectedly awesome. It's basically Ninja Warrior with avatars, pulled off incredibly well. Pretty much the only thing missing is a level editor so you can make your own stages, it would nearly infinite replay value.

That's really all I've got for today, so I'll just leave you with your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: THOR


Shaking things up...

Expansions rarely change the core of the game. They are by definition, pretty much an extension of what you already have, sometimes only a little, sometimes a vast amount, but the core game itself remains virtually unchanged. This week's biggest release, the latest expansion to the hugely popular World of Warcraft game, Catyclysm, actually drastically alters the Azeroth landscape and some of the biggest changes in game history, even bringing major changes to familiar classes.

Now anyone who has actually followed this blog since the start knows that I had somewhat brief (at least in MMO terms) addiction to it back in its infancy before any expansions were released, then pretty much quit cold turkey near the endgame and really hadn't looked back. My wife however, discovered it a few months ago and is completely  hooked, and has even gotten me back into just a little, so of course we picked it up. I haven't really tested out the new races myself, but many of the changes already have taken place with the last major patch and it's pretty awesome not to mention refreshing to see them make really big changes like this rather than the mostly minor tweaking they've been doing even with the previous expansions. If you have been lax in your WoW lately or have been away awhile, this probably provides the best reason to come back in a long time.

XBLA & PSN are prime opportunities to re-live arcade classics, and someone has finally gotten around to releasing a long overdue one as X-Men arcade hits XBLA next week (PS3 owners unfortunately have to wait til February). Now if someone can get their heads out of their asses and release the far superior Simpsons arcade game we'd pretty much be set.

And out this week is this almost obligatory tie-in the the latest nerd-gasm worthy-looking movie, Tron: Evolution. I really have very little interest and the game though, and I'm sort of wondering why Tron is even popular in this day and age. Ok, it has a cult following, lots of crappy movies do. It was a giant flop when it was released, and if you watch it today, it doesn't really hold up in any shape or form. Fantastic idea? Absolutely, but the execution was pretty ho-hum. Whether or not the sequel actually delivers on the promising idea of the original is yet to be seen. I do plan on seeing it if not next week in the near future so I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I do.

Ok thats really all I have for today, but I should be back later in the week with something. Til then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Endeavor


Epic Fail?

There's a lot of positive things to say about what Warren Spector has done here with Epic Mickey. The art style is fantastic, making it one of the best-looking games on the Wii and proving once again that processing power isn't everything. The fan-service is immense with nods not just to Mickey himself but to a vast majority of Disney's contribution to animation in general. But while the overall style and fanservice is top notch, the game fails in a couple of key areas that seem like really obvious issues. Firstly, the voicework, or overall lack thereof. With the excpetion of the Narrator, no one really has a voice in Epic Mickey. Now, that is pretty standard for most Wii titles, but given the famous voices that should be involved here, it's pretty inexcusable that they don't talk.

Secondly, many times you are given at best a vague idea of where you are supposed to go or what you are supposed to do, and the system to help you out (little lights called guardians that can point to your next objective) works poorly at best.

But really the biggest issue is the camera. Now a bad camera is almost expected as even with all the advances in technology getting a really solid consistent camera in a 3D game is a near impossibility even in the best of the genre. But this has to be one of the worst cameras I have ever had to deal with, making many battles a guessing game and platforming sections a huge leap of faith for the most part. A camera this bad is pretty inexcusable on what is supposed to be a AAA title right up there with Nintendo's finest efforts.

So is it a bad game not worth your time? It depends. If you are a huge Mickey/Disney fan, it's probably worth it for the presentation and fanservice alone. It presents a ton of value through multiple playthroughs, and there are certainly enough times where everything clicks to show the game's full potential. However, I don't think there is enough here to make it worthwhile for people who are not Disney fans or animation buffs.

Moving on, if anything seemed like a giant cash grab at this point, it would be a Back to the Future title. There hasn't been a new movie in a long time and no attempt to re-make it yet (thank god), but the guys at Telltale games are not ones for quick cash grabs, making the highly amusing Sam & Max titles as well as the latest entries in the Monkey Island series and the Wallace & Gromit games. So when they are the ones making a Back to the Future title, you should know its worth checking out, which they have definitely confirmed with this awesome trailer for the game, due out in the next several weeks:


Supposedly they are also working on a Jurassic Park title, but I don't see nearly as much potential there.

That's pretty much it for today, but I should be back Tuesday with thoughts on Catyclysm, Inception and probably a few other things. In the meantime, here is your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Your Highness