Final Fantasy XIII now available to the masses, but should you rush to get it?

The day has finally come, we have counted the days. Final Fantasy XIII is now out! Quick, run to your nearest video game retailer and pick up a copy. Wait! Have you really heard what this game brings to the table? Let me share my first few hours of FFXIII experience with you.

Let me start with some basic information. For starters, I am playing the Xbox 360 version of the game, however I don't believe the actual game content differs between the two consoles. Also, I have only clocked a few hours of actual gameplay, so this is kind of a first impressions rant... if you will call it that.

My version of the game came on multiple discs, and some of the content is compressed so I expected some longer load times while playing. I haven't played the PS3 version, but I can say that I was fairly pleased with the game in this aspect. The load screens were brief and mostly just when changing maps or scenes. Battles flows smoothly and the videos present themselves with shine. That's another plus point: the game definitely struts its stuff. The opening video was great and it dives you right into the heat of battle.

But what is this? Instead of gaining experience and money for fighting, I get an arcade-style score and a rating out of 5 stars. This rating seems to be solely based on how fast I complete the battle like its a race, and the rating has some influence on item drops after the fight. Oh, and I forgot to mention I only control the leader of the party. You can have other party members in the fight with you, but they are computer controlled and you really don't have any say in what they do. Oh, and there are some rules you need to be aware of as well: the main character can't fall in battle. Your allies can die and you can revive them, but if you are down its game over, even if the rest of the team is still kickin'.

Continue reading »

Posted in Gaming by Locke Member on March 09th 2010 at 12:58am 9 Comments

Valve games coming to Mac, officially

I'll keep this one short.

Like I posted just a few days ago, based on the GameInformer article, Portal 2 is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and Mac. Some days before that I posted about the beta testing of the Steam client, which has a new gui, but also dumps the Internet Explorer backend it has been hooked on since the beginning. Valve guys were also teasing us with various pictures that put well known Valve properties in Mac-like situations. And now, since Steam is no longer tied to Windows and IE, Valve has finally officially announced that it's bringing the Steam platform and the Source game engine to Mac. Full news article at the link, but I'll sum it up here for your convenience.

So, all these older Source games, and the Steam platform will be available for Mac in April. That's pretty soon. I don't know anyone who has a Mac, and quite frankly I don't know anything about them. Can you even play games on them? I guess you can. If Valve says so, I must believe it. If Gabe Newell says so, who am I to disagree. Valve considers Mac to be "Tier-1" platform for them, along with PC and Xbox 360. Total zinger at the PS3 camp right there! BOOM!

Additionally, they are introducing a feature called Steam Play. Basically it's a fancy term for your digital copy of a game carrying over from PC to Mac, or vice verca. You buy just one copy, but can play it on both platforms, and with the help of keeping your save games in the Steam Cloud, you can continue the same game from where you left it on the other platform. Apparently this also extends to multiplayer things, so both Mac and PC guys will be able to play against each other in Team Fortress. None of this Steam Play stuff works in Xbox 360, so the console guys will have to continue to play with themselves, err, I mean amongst themselves?

So look forward to it, if you own a Mac.

Posted in Gaming by Kilu Member on March 08th 2010 at 11:01pm 1 Comment

Portal 2 officially announced for Holiday Season 2010

You may have heard during the last week that Valve was teasing us with some Portal related mysteries, and the community and fans of Portal went completely bonkers trying to solve all the things Valve threw at them. First they updated the game a few times, added a new Steam Achievement to the game, extended ending, all kinds of crazy things. You can read more about it elsewhere on the internets, there is too much to recap for the purposes of this little news posting.

Well guess what it all was leading to? Yeah, you guessed it (or read the title of this post), Portal 2 is coming, officially. GameInformer magazine has the scoop in the latest print, but you can already find scans of the mag on the internets if you are too cheap (or too foreigner) and can't get your hands on the print. They also have this hub set up to reveal more things about it during the month. So, if you are interested, I'm pretty sure you won't have trouble finding more info about this game.

So, what have they revealed so far? It appears that it's going to be a full priced game this time, co-op multiplayer of sorts at least, starring two robots. Yep, robots. Chell is still the protagonist of the single player experience, don't worry. And that's about all I know right now. I haven't read the GameInformer story myself yet, but based on the images on it that don't seem to be concept art, it seems to be running on a new Valve engine, and looks extremely sharp. Source Engine 2.0 or something? Who can say.

Quite frankly I would have been more excited if they had announced a new Half-Life game in the Portal game. How awesome would that have been? I mean, I'm totally pumped that a new Portal game is coming, but HL2:Ep3 would have been even more awesome. Though Gabe Newell is set to receive the Pioneer Award at GDC next week, so who knows, maybe they'll have more announcements to coincide with that. Maybe? Hopefully.

Posted in Gaming by Kilu Member on March 07th 2010 at 10:33am 7 Comments

New Steam UI approaching

Hey! Steam interface bogging you down since 2003? Does it depress you that it hasn't really changed at all in the following 7 years?? I guess you (and I) are in luck, because Valve is finally redesigning the UI, and doing some other pretty significant back-end work for their Steam digital delivery/community/multiplayer/store thingamajig. As I implied on the post title, this new UI is not out yet as is, but you can opt-in for the beta right from your Steam app. Just head to settings, and choose the UI update from the beta participation drop-down menu, right in the account tab. This will prompt you to restart Steam, at which point it will update to the beta. Couldn't be easier.

The first thing from the list of changes that really stands out to me, aside from the shiny new look, is that they have finally gotten rid of the Trident rendering engine dependency. For those who are not in the loop, that means Steam will no longer use Internet Explorer to display their shit in. Before, for example, if you would browse a gallery of screenshots through Steam, it would open in a window that would say Internet Explorer on it. This is no more. Their new rendering engine is based on WebKit, which also powers Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari browsers, so that side of things is in good hands now.

Anyone who knows me probably also knows how I feel about web standards, Internet Explorer, etc etc, so I'm all for this change. The major UI changes that come with it is a bonus, but not why I'm excited about this. If you feel like there is something that you don't like about it, you can click the neat button on the upper right corner that says beta on it, which redirects you to the support forums. I'm not entirely sure, but you probably need a separate account for the forums (NOT your Steam account) to actually post in there, but if you really want to get yours heard, that's the way to do it. But keep in mind that this is beta, so if you are uncomfortable with such things, maybe it's not for you, yet.

Here's a little shrunken down image of one of the possible ways that you can use to view your (or mine, in the case of the image) game library now. Click on the image to check out the full list of changes and a scrolling slideshow of other screenies of the interface.

Posted in Gaming by Kilu Member on February 24th 2010 at 1:19pm 1 Comment

Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx has arrived

Borderlands continues to grow larger as the third downloadable content arrives this week. If you are willing to cough up another $10 (or 800 MS points) you can grab yourself Gearbox's third addon, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx. It has been announced that this should be released today for the Xbox Live Arcade and will come on Thursday for PlayStation Network and PC. Here is a brief list of what this new content brings with it, as well as a few new screens after the break. If you want to see a full list of fixes, check out the official release notes.

* Almost twice the size of The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
* A brand new class of ultra-rare / kick-ass weapons
* Three new vehicles: the Monster, the Racer, and the Lancer
* the Racer allows for four players to ride at once!
* 40+ new missions
* An exciting story line that picks-up where the original game left off
* Close to 30 new villain types
* A level cap increase from 50 to 61
* More difficult villains and smarter AI

Continue reading »

Posted in Gaming by Locke Member on February 23rd 2010 at 6:43am 1 Comment

TrackMania Wii debut trailer is out

Hey, ever played this fun game called TrackMania on the PC? Well I have! Quite a while back I played the free (yes, free) TrackMania Nations, with crazy custom loops, jumps and weird weird tracks. Well, as you may know (because we posted about it), TrackMania is coming to Wii, and now they have released a debut trailer for it.

Looks like everything that made TrackMania what it was on the PC is also in the Wii version. Yes, that means track editor as well. I wonder what kind of plans they have for custom tracks though. On the PC you could just run dedicated servers with your own custom tracks and let people join in, but with the way Wii handles the whole internet gaming (friendcodes, gah), it's interesting to see what kind of set up Nadeo is cooking up for this.

The game is going to support Wiimote + Nunchuck combo, Wii Wheel and a "gamepad". Presumably this means only Classic Controller, and not GameCube controller, but the jury is still out on that one. I'd personally instantly opt for the classic pad option, steering a car with a floating wheel just isn't my thing, Wiimote + Nunchuck sounds even less appealing.

Click the image below to watch the debut trailer.

Posted in Gaming by Kilu Member on February 18th 2010 at 7:45am 1 Comment

Splinter Cell Conviction lands April 13

Couple weeks ago Ubisoft announced that it would push the release date of Splinter Cell Conviction back a few months, but didn't give any specific date to when exactly. The reason for the slight delay was, and I quote "The game looks brilliant, but we want it to be awesome". There is just no way I could argue with that, the quote alone speaks straight to my own heart, which is filled with awesomeness. So basically they though it could benefit from more polish, which never has hurt anyone. The new release date has now been revealed to be April 13, a little over two months from now.

If you haven't been following, Conviction is the 5th game in the tales of Sam Fisher, and without spoiling any of the things that happened in earlier games, some things went badly for Sam, and now he is very angry. From all the footage I have seen, this game takes a significant direction change from the earlier games, with much more action oriented gameplay. And in truth, the changes are welcome. The earlier games didn't really evolve from the first game all that much, with only refinements from the concepts to make them work better. In that sense it reminds me of the Hitman series, which had great ideas and concept right from the first game, but the gameplay execution took some time to catch up.

I'm excited about this game, it looks like it will be super awesome and tons of fun. And Michael Ironside is still the voice of Sam Fisher, and he still delivers.

Posted in Gaming by Kilu Member on February 04th 2010 at 8:36am 0 Comments

Great RPG's coming out for the Wii Console

Well, looks like Nintendo is coming out with a great RPG line-up for the Wii this year, with The Last Story and Xenoblade both announced. Both games don't really have a lot of information on them right now other then names and producers to back them up.

The first game I will talk about is The Last Story by Mistwalker. When visiting the site you get a teaser page, telling us that the game is a role playing game and not a lot else. The Founder of Mistwalker being Hironobu Sakaguchi the creator of the legendary Final Fantasy Series, is co-producing this game with Nintendo and will be exclusive for the Nintendo Wii console. So that being said, this game will hopefully be great. The background music on the teaser site is also quite nice. Hopefully there will be some videos on Youtube soon to show this game off.

Continue reading »

Posted in Gaming by Mystro Member on February 03rd 2010 at 9:07pm 0 Comments

Star Trek Online goes public

For fans of the forty-year-old Star Trek franchise, yesterday was a red-letter day... or perhaps that should be a red-shirt day. Star Trek Online went public yesterday, and offers fans the chance to step into the Federation-issue shoes of a starship captain, or the pointy metallic boots of a Klingon warlord -- in the latest virtual world to hit stores.

If you were one of the lucky beta testers of this game then you have seen and felt all the headaches that beta games have to offer: more lag then waiting for Q to give you a direct answer, random server crashes, and a lot of 2 hour emergency maintenance periods (they should really put in a warning message system). The game play and graphics are great and will still improve. I know that it's no Final Fantasy, and it's only a MMO game, but you do get to play some storylines from the old shows (ST:TOS, ST:TNG, DS9, Voyager and even Enterprise). I really do like the game as I myself am a Trekkie, and from my experience so far it's a great game (more advanced then Eve Online). In the coming weeks there will be improvements and upgrades to the game and the lag as Asian and European servers are being brought online. (Hopefully they fix those lag and crash issues)

Continue reading »

Posted in Gaming by Mystro Member on February 03rd 2010 at 6:21pm 1 Comment

Gottacon 2010 - February 5-7, 2010

Gottacon 2010 is coming up fast in Victoria, BC, Canada. Hosted in the Garden City, This is the second annual Gottacon, where gamers from all walks of life come to play various types of games, including board, video, card, RPG, etc. More variety then you can shake a +5 bastard sword (which are sold) at.

The convention is divided into slots, and if you participate in every event you can, that means you can hit a total of 10 different events, with breaks between to check out the vendors, grab some food, and maybe even catch a cat nap.

There are a variety of 'learn how to play' events, beginner's tournaments, draft and sealed events - all of which do not require you to bring your own deck or army to the table, and many if not all of the events include prizes.

Advance purchase ticket sales are now closed, but don't fret! There are plenty of tickets available for sale at the door. I attended the last Gottacon and was quite happy with my experience there. Click here for a recap of my experience there. I will be attending again this year as a volunteer, if you make it out, just look for me at the tournament reporting table. I will again be taking pictures and perhaps video if there are some willing people at this years event. I personally am looking forward to this years events and hope to see you there.

If you would like to take a look at the program, you can view it in pdf format here.

PS: If you drop by to see me, say you are from so I know you where you came from, as I am a member of other sites.

Posted in Gaming by Baron Member on January 31st 2010 at 2:39pm 1 Comment