Hope you like playing last gen games on your shiny new next gen consoles!

If you bought a shiny new PS4/XBox One odds are you are starving for something to play on it. I've been playing my PS3/Wii U/Vita/3DS plenty, but my PS4 has been sitting there for weeks, pretty much not touched (though admittedly I've been holding off on Skylanders Swapforce to clear some of my other games). Well finally here's something new to play! That came out like 10 months ago on last gen consoles. Sure it looks prettier and Tomb Raider is absolutely a fantastic game, if you haven't played it I highly recommend you pick it up. But you can also get it on current gen consoles for like $10. This seems to be a disturbing trend for at least the coming year. Even a lot of the bigger next gen titles (i.e. Titanfall) are getting last gen ports, and a lot of last gen stuff is getting ported such as Diablo and Rayman (and it's heavily rumored that there will be a GTA V port & a Skyrim port as well). I suspect that if those don't hold much interest from you your next gen console isn't going to get a ton of use for the next 8 or so months. It's funny that people were more than willing to put Nintendo to task for nearly the same problem but there isn't nearly the uproar here, just some minor grumblings.

Pretty much the only other thing I have to talk about is the FFXIII: Lightning Returns demo. I should preface this with the fact that I enjoyed FFXIII (though I'll say it's one of the weaker entries) and got a lot of enjoyment out of FFXIII-2 so if you don't fall into that camp I don't think you'd have much interest in this title. All the demo really does is give you a chance to try out the battle system which is arguably the most action-based a Final Fantasy title has seen to date. You actively move around the field, have to time your blocks, and quickly switch on the fly between several classes to keep on enemy on its toes and also if you stick with just one you run out of juice quickly. It seems promising I also know the premise is that you only have 13 "days" to stop the end of the world. Even if it's extremely generous I've never been a fan of games with arbitrary time limits like this because frankly it really reduces the idea of screwing around and exploring everything fully. Plus you might actually get to a point where the is too little time left and you are unprepared in which case you need to start all over again. But to be completely fair I don't know how the time plays out, so it may not be a big deal. That being said, I also didn't bite on FFXIII-2 til it was about $20, I suspect I'll do the same here as I've got plenty of rpgs higher on my list now and in the near future.

That's all for today, I'll certainly have another post up by Friday, most likely a new Gamer Cinema.


Gamer Cinema: In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds

That's right, there's a sequel (and apparently plans for a third, that thankfully hasn't happened yet). This is almost hilariously unusual in that you usually get straight to video sequels to movies that were at least mildly successful, instead of ones that flopped horribly at the box office. Because why would anyone bother watching a sequel to such an awful failure? Well somehow Uwe Boll managed to get it made. The main difference between this movie and it's predecessor is that it's one that feels totally on the level of a shit director like Boll. I mean Dolph Lundgren is the biggest "star" in this particular stinker and he's almost exclusively been in straight to video stuff for the last 15 or so years (with the exception of the Expendables movies, which are awful anyways).

So Lundgren plays a former special forces member, who gets pulled back in time to the Kingdom of Ehb and is supposed to fulfill an ancient prophecy. What ancient prophecy? Fuck if I know, the "plot" pretty much makes no sense, though that could be because the dialogue and acting are so bad it was hurting my brain. Lundgren is clearly at his best when he plays an unemotional robot (or you know, an unemotional Russian robot on steroids) and even trying to carry a movie not even worthy of being a "Syfy original" is beyond his depth. It looks much cheaper than it's predecessor, with worse fight scenes and effects. I did genuinely laugh when the King offer to outfit Lundgren with weapons and armor but he declares that all he needs is his knife, but that was clearly not meant to be a funny line. This is just pure garbage and granted most game-related stuff is but I think I'm going to try and find something at least tolerable for my next review.

That's all for today, look for another post in the next few days.


Well apparently the Wii U does not print money...

Well not like anybody really believed Nintendo's ridiculous claim that they could move 9 million consoles in a year when they only released a handful of games and made no serious investment in marketing., but obviously dropping their forecasts by more than two thirds is one hell of a troubling sign for the once mighty Nintendo. Even the 3DS, the best-selling system of 2013, didn't meet the sales expectations, though that may be more on Nintendo's out of touch expectations in the first place and not looking at the reality of the market place. Sadly Mario 3D World has not sold all that well even though it ended up on most best of the year lists, so even the mighty Mario couldn't move consoles.

So where do they go from here? Well the reality is they could chug along for quite awhile, doing whatever the hell they want because they are beyond flush with cash. They could basically circle the wagons, cut losses with the Wii U, focus on their portable business which probably could grow exponentially if they focused all their energy on one portable system. That's nearly always been their strong suit. They haven't actually been a contender in the home console market since the 16-bit days. That makes some sense but I doubt Nintendo would be that complacent.

Many are calling for them to release on other consoles, mostly on phones. I really think putting Nintendo games on phones would be bad for their image. Sure, it would make them some money in the short run because it's Nintendo on phones! But can you imagine playing any Nintendo games on a tablet? It'd be fucking awful, missing that quality gameplay that goes into nearly every Nintendo title. Other consoles? Maybe but at some point that is Nintendo making games at least on some level not entirely under their control and that would limit them.

I actually think the best financial solution might be something more radical-Stay low tech and cheap. Third parties don't publish on Nintendo, gamers don't buy third party games on Nintendo systems. But make the console affordable and they'll gladly pick one up along with families looking for a low cost entertainment box. I'm thinking like no more than $200. Load it with virtual console titles for purchase. Make sure it has the basic streaming apps, and of course the first party magic Nintendo is known for. I think that would make them not directly compete with Sony and Microsoft because clearly they either can't or don't want to, but it makes them an extremely viable second console as few households only own one anymore. The risk would be minimal and it would at least get them back to the Gamecube days where even if they weren't dominant they would be operating at a profit.

Of course that's arguably the safest move. Nintendo is the company that really dares to be different. You get past a few base differences and there isn't a whole lot separating Sony's and Microsoft's consoles. Same games, same services. Hell even the Vita is an attempt to be just like the big consoles (which is probably why it's dead in the water). The DS wasn't like anything else. The Wii wasn't like anything else at the time. The 3DS is unique in what it offers and so is the Wii U. This is key in what makes Nintendo the magic factory they've been for decades and I really don't want to see that vanish because they had a few bad years. So let's all hope whatever Nintendo does to right its' ship, it doesn't change the core of this company that defined gaming so just about anybody who has been gaming for at least a couple decades.

That's it for today, look for a Gamer Cinema in the next couple of days...


5 reasons not to be too excited about Playstation Now just yet...

Playstation Now,  announced at CES and it might very well be the future of Sony and possibly video games in general. After all why pay for new TV and a console when you can buy an all in one and just stream it! Yeah in 5-10 that will probably be awesome (especially when google fiber is everywhere). But that's in the future. Right now and forseeably for the next couple years, Playstation Now will probably be a mess and here's why:

Barely playable anymore...

5. The games don't hold up: I'm not saying there aren't timeless games, but that's really a small sliver of a percentage of older titles. We look at a lot of older titles with rose-colored glasses and then when we actually play them years, sometimes decades later, they don't hold up as well. Most likely because for the most part games have evolved and we don't like dealing with ancient controls and issues and the fact that older games don't have save states or check points or only take an hour to beat or are ridiculously hard and on and on. Of course key to that is selection, which leads to my net point:

There's a reason this failed...

4.  The library will be very limited at first: I'm sure over time Playstation Now will have plenty of titles, but I'm more than willing to be for the forseeable future it will be mostly first party titles that no one gives a shit about. Don't get me wrong, Sony has some incredible developers and they've made some awesome games, but the first games on there will likely be crap like the Killzone games and Medievil. And it will probably take a long time to get third-parties on board if at all (odds are when gaming goes full streaming, they'll have their own services). So for awhile it'll suck. But of course that won't matter because...

Pretty much every awesome Sega game for probably what 2 months of now would cost...

3. You already own the games: Odds are if you someone who cares about older games you own the ones you give a shit about (especially with many being digitally released on current platforms this past generation). And with few exceptions many can be picked up on the cheap so depending on how much this service costs, it won't be worth your money anyways. And that's just talking about the subscription cost.

Gotta love limited bandwith!

2.  Eating up bandwith: Let's not forget this is a streaming service, so using it alot (especially if you already watch streaming services and play online games) will probably eat up your bandwith cap really quick, which depending on your service will either throttle your speed or jack up your bill. Hopefully down the line data caps will get bigger but the reality is that not happening soon. And that if the service even works:

Even the king of streaming still has issues...
1. It will be filled with issues: Because it's a new thing and new things always are. It's that simple. Much like anyone buying a console at launch, I'm pretty positive anyone signing up in the first year or two will essentially be guinea pigs while they figure everything out. There might be connection issues, emulation errors, service downtime etc. It's going to be really rough in the initial going, and for this to be worth anything, it pretty much needs to work flawlessly and at least at first it won't.

That all being said, I'm very interested in the future of Playstation Now. If it's successful it might set a great precedent for the future of gaming with affordable renting and streaming (at least I hope so) but the present is most likely going to just be a giant mess so I'll wait it out for now.


Gamer Cinema: Reboot :The Series

This is a bit later than I expected due to me being varying levels of sick the last week or so, but I should be back to regular update for awhile at least now.

Anyways, Reboot seemed like good material given not only was it one of the first CG series, was very centrally themed around not only games, but the internet as well, and it's been recently announced that their would be a new Reboot series. The concept is pretty simple-The "Net" is  living place with cities and people representing various files and commands and even viruses. The "Users" (that's people like us) are harsh gods who seemingly randomly send games to various sectors, if we when, a sector gets decimated (that's right, when you win you are a murderer!). Luckily there are "Guardians" like the main hero Bob, whose mission it is to protect sectors, not only from incoming games but other various threats like the villainous viruses.

Now granted, someone coming into this show having never watched it will probably not get a good experience out of it. Though cutting edge for TV back in the mid-90s, Reboot's look is more akin to today's extremely low-budget cg kiddy fare. And all the internet-based lingo comes off as kind of lame. On top of that, the initial mission statement is that Bob intends to find out the motives of the user and that is NEVER addressed. The "games" are easily recognizable but somewhat clever riffs on either genres or specific series and some even spoof movies such as Evil Dead. The first two seasons are most filler (oh no, Megabyte is causing trouble again!) But then surprisingly in the last two seasons it goes into sort of a dark serial, with the younger characters suddenly aging and taking on more mature themes while trying to find Bob who was trapped in "The Web". It gets interesting enough to follow, but also leaves you with a cliffhanger that was apparently resolved in comic book form.

Ultimately Reboot is probably best looked back as a time capsule show. It's very 90s and will probably be at least somewhat fondly remembered by those who either watched the show back then or grew up in that decade. I think anyone else will just wonder what the big deal is.

That's all for today, I hopefully will have another post up sometime tomorrow or Friday as there has been plenty of news in the past couple of weeks that I haven't really touched on.


Weirdest game name ever?

Well ok, in the entire history of gaming I'm sure there are games with weirder titles, but Bravely Default, especially under it's full title, Bravely Default, Flying Fairy is one of the more odd titles I've ever seen. Nevertheless, Nintendo has actually been pushing this game pretty heavily as the first big 3DS release of 2014, probably trying to appeal to the same crowd that ate up Fire Emblem and are looking for a good traditional Jrpg experience. They even released a demo a few days ago to try out a full month before the official release. So being a big rpg nut I jumped on the opportunity to give the demo a try.

And in a lot of ways, Bravely Default is pretty much  as old school as you can get featuring traditional turn-based battles and a job system very reminiscent of games such as FFV. The main hook of the battles is pretty novel though-it features a risk/reward system where you can use several turns in one round, but not be able to use that character for several rounds after, or you can "default" and store up for a bigger stronger salvo. It definitely adds a good twist to what would otherwise be a fairly blah battle system.

The other aspect, the streetpass aspect is what gives it a certain addictive flavor though. You have to rebuild a town and at first you only have one little guy to do all the work, and clearing paths and building shops takes awhile, but every person you streetpass with adds another villager to make the work go faster. It's a pretty cool management resource thing. I've played the demo for several hours and haven't even scratched the surface yet with playing around with the various jobs. So if you are a fan of old school turn-based rpgs downloading the demo should be a no-brainer alos along with picking up the game when it hits in February.

That's all for today, hopefully have another post up in a couple of days, most likely a gamer cinema if nothing breaking happens.


Good thing there are no games for awhile...

Seriously, January is a bunch of nothing, and February isn't looking so hot either. That's good though, as I'm sure many of us have a pile of games to get through either due to gifts from family over the holidays or gifts to ourselves thanks to many of the awesome sales over the past couple of months. I tend to focus on only one or two games at a time, but I manged to play enough to give impressions on everything:

Basically played about two hour of this so far and it's a fine return to form for a series that really lost it's way from the last couple entries with misguided attempts at multi-player & tower defense. I know it's short so it'll probably be the next game I finish. A lot of said it also feels like a swan song for the series and while I certainly think a break is in order with no less than 6 games in 8 years, I'm hoping this won't be the last time we see the Lombax and his little robot buddy and anybody who is an R&C fan should pick this up immediately.

I specifically posted an image of the PS4 version because I think it's important to note that it's the version I have and while not a tremendous improvement everything has a nice extra sheen to it and moves at a fantastic frame rate. To be completely honest, I thought I was pretty much done with this series after I thoroughly played through Giants, but I also hadn't played Giants in quite awhile so maybe that break was long enough to let me have fun again because this Diablo-light game with figures is still incredibly entertaining. I have bought one extra figure since getting it but I've never been one to go insane collecting, my entire Skylander collection consists of about 16 characters when there are about 70 and I don't really have a huge urge to collect more, just play the game with what I've got and have fun with it. And the Swapforce gimmick works pretty well with characters that easily separate but click together well so you don't have to worry much about losing half of a figure or something. I think the most surprising thing is how this continues to not be a heartless cash in and has an actual game in there and I'll probably continue to be a fan as long as they keep that up.

I know that the PS4 and the Xbox One have the flashier graphics, but they don't have Mario (or Wonderful 101 or several other great Wii U exclusives) and once again with this title Nintendo reminds us that great games don't have to be gloomy or dark or have a bunch of systems so complex it's hard to even say what genre the game falls into. Mario is pure joy distilled into an excellent platformer. It's also fantastic at playing with your expectations as it puts new twists on very familiar elements for us Mario veterans who have played and beaten nearly every game in the series. I think Nintendo made a pretty big mistake releasing this in the midst of two competing console launches as a couple months head start and a big advertising blitz could've done wonders for the struggling Wii U.

And speaking of struggling systems,  I finally got a Vita. And you know what? It's a pretty great little piece of hardware. Sure the memory is still overpriced (I bought a 16 gb card on sale for $20, you can can get normal SD cards for half that normally) but it looks gorgeous and feels great. As much as I love my 3DS, it does feel like a kind of cheap toy and the Vita feels fairly sophisticated. And I think it has plenty of games on it, especially if you have PS+ you get a ton free right off the bat. Admittedly nothing I've played so far quite reaches the level of the 3DS' AAA hits but you've got most of the PSP library, PS One games, Indy titles and frankly games like Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Guacamelee and Persona 4 (admittedly the only one I bought with the system), I already had Guacamelee on PS3 but actually like it a bit more on Vita) all are great on it. And the cross play with PS4 works pretty flawlessly, though the implementation of the shoulder buttons takes some getting used to. Frankly, if all it's ever good for is Indy/classic titles and the rare Vita exclusive along with cross play I'll be pretty happy with my purchase over the long run.

That's it for today but I did download the Bravely Default Demo, which is the next big 3DS title on the horizon in February. It's pretty good so far, but I'll give full impressions in my next post, hopefully tomorrow or Sunday.