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Archive for December 12th, 2008

For Star Wars fans out there, and my guess is that you probably like Star Wars, there has to be one thing more disappointing then George Lucas’s dialogue. Rewatch any scene with Hayden Christensen or Jar Jar if you need any example. But I’m not talking about bad acting or cheesy lines, I’m talking about the lack of quality games out there for Star Wars fans. There’s been a lot of Lucasarts games. Sure, Shadows of the Empire rocked. So did Rebel Assault I and II, and Tie Fighter. And I’ll definitely give you Knights of the Old Republic (I and II) and The Jedi Knight Series. But really, what have you done for me lately, Lucasarts? Other then KOTOR (which was mostly Bioware), I am struggling to think of any recent Star Wars game that truely fulfilled its potential. I’m look at you, The Force Unleashed…

The thing is, I don’t want to spend any more time talking about the ways that Lucasarts has let me down. I’d much rather remain optomistic about the future, and as you may or may not have heard, the future was announced on Oct. 21, 2008. I am referring, to of course, the Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Game based in the Star Wars Universe. Wait a minute!?!?! Didn’t they already do this? Wasn’t it called Galaxies? Well that game was somewhere in between the Matrix Online and my asshole. Seriously. It was awful. I don’t even want to talk about how bad that game was because it makes me sad, angry, and disappointed all at the same time. That’s all I have to say about that.

Instead, lets start talking about Star Wars: The Old Republic.
More on this on the other side

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Having an Xbox has  gotten a little sweeter.  If you have a Gold Account and a Netflix account (any level that allows for unlimited discs) you can watch streaming video on the xbox at no additional charge.  So if you’re paying for both already, this is just an added perk.

It works almost exactly like streaming on your computer does – you pick a movie/tv show, it buffers, you watch.  Easy enough.  The streaming looks fantastic and depending on your internet (and what’s available) you can actually watch your video in HD.  I’ve only watched episodes of 30 Rock in HD and it looks great!

It almost never hiccups and when it does, the xbox automatically degrades the quality a bit in order to allow for future interrupts.  We’ve gone through entire seasons with no problem at all, while some episodes were plagued with multiple restarts.  Fast forwarding/rewinding also forces a rebuffer, but pausing has caused no problem.

Setting it up is easy as pie.  In the interface you choose the Netflix, say you want to connect to your account, it gives you the information on screen that you put into your Netflix account on your computer.  It takes less than five minutes to do and you can start watching instantly!  It also moves television and movies from your “To Rent” queue to your “Watch Instantly” queue.  Pretty nifty.

Adding movies is simply and updated in real time.  If you add “Sgt. Bilko” on your computer, you can watch as it’s instantly added to your queue on xbox.  You cannot add movies in the xbox interface, however, all film and tv choices must be made through your computer.

All in all, I give this a major thumbs up.  My only complaint is that the selection leaves much to be desired, but as more companies become comfortable with allowing this kind of streaming, more films will become available.  The rewinding/fast forwarding feature kinda stinks, but what’s nice is that it remembers your place if you decide to stop watching the film and play a little Gears of War.

It’s really perfect for those Sunday afternoons where you just wanna throw a movie on in the background while you do other stuff around the house.  It’s really nice having that extra library at your fingertips.

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You could argue that questing in World of Warcraft is pretty run of the mill.  Kill ten of this (or one specific), find five of this, destroy six of that.  You get some cash, you might get some armor upgrade, you get experience, you move on.  After awhile, it becomes a grind.

I can safely say that Wrath of the Lich King has destroyed that conception.

For the first time ever I’m taking my time reading the quests.  And you should too!  They’re effing FUNNY.  And epic.  And exciting.  And different.

I can remember almost every quest I did in a specific area because the questing system is so different. Blizzard has created a somewhat linear experience in storytelling but still kept the world where you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.  It’s really quite impressive and it’s left my jaw dropped on more than one occasion. I just hit 74 on my Death Knight this morning, and I’d like to share some of the great changes in questing and one of my favorite moments (that I experienced only yesterday).  I warn you though, there be spoilers…

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Did you like Psychonauts?  Did you find it clever, funny, smart and overall a fantastic platforming experience.  They’re you’re probably going to like this news.

Tim Schafer’s newest game, Brutal Legend, will be published by EA to be released next fall!  Here’s a game summary:

Brütal Legend tells the tale of Eddie Riggs, played by Jack Black, who is drawn back through time to a mythical world immersed in Rock and Roll folklore; where great Metal titans once ruled and power chords rang from the countryside for all to hear. When an oppressed people request Eddie’s knowledge of modern warfare, he pulls from his own experience in the only occupation he’s ever had, a roadie for a Heavy Metal band. From this springs the most hellacious army man has ever seen, and thus brings this ancient world into the Age of Metal.

Sometime in July Activision (after their merging with Blizzard) announced that they would be publishing Sierra’s games and Brutal Legend was left off the list.  The game was called a “very significant creative risk” by EA’s own CEO John Riccitiello, but it looks like despite that, they’ve decided to go ahead and publish it!

This is very exciting.  Psychonauts, despite being on multiple top ten games lists, was under played and overlooked by the masses.  I know Bird and I took turns playing it many a Christmas Break afternoon. You can find the game at any used bargin bin, or purchase the game through Xbox Original Marketplace for 1200 points ($15).  Worth every cent as far as I’m concerned.

The Brutal Legend trailer can be found here. The complete announcement is after the jump.

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I know Red Alert 3 is old news but having just downloaded the demo for C&C3 let me start by saying wow.  Anyone who has played a Command and Conquer knows that this franchise goes a little bonkers with their cut scenes.  They do not shy away from the use of outrageous sketches with real actors (albeit random ones) and green screens.  I need to go on a minor rant on the intro video to this game and you will have a mind explosion if you follow me.  

 

 

Sweet lyphe Premier.

Sweet lyphe Premier.

Tim Curry, the actor from clue, plays the Soviet Premier who leads his other Comrade bro to a secret underground layer that holds a *GASP* time machine (OK WHAT?).  They travel back in time in hopes of altering the past, therefore changing the future (they are getting pwned by allies, they want to be the ones pwning).  They go to a Albert Einstein speech, they walk on stage, Curry zaps him with a handheld Tesla Coil (Tim Curry electrocutes him into dust with a handheld device).   Whatchya gonna do now Allies?  All your technologies are in jeopardy without your boy Einstein!  The Soviets rise from their underground layer feeling like they have World Domination on lockdown…

 

BUT WAIT!!!

 

Yes.  George Takei is in the CC3 cut scenes

Yes. George Takei is in the CC3 cut scenes

 

 

GEORGE TAKEI FROM STAR TREK/HEROES/CALIFORNIA is here!  He’s Japanese and he’s pissed.   He interrupts a Soviet video cast and introduces his unstoppable army called the Empire of the Sun crushing all in its path.  OK… so… ready…set…go!  Three way war of outrageousness with unexplainable new technologies (including transformers) but no more nukes?  Yeah I’m lost too.

Upsides are:

The video is highly entertaining and hilarious.If you don’t have the time to DL the CC3 demo on your xbox some one has got it up on youtube  here.  Pretty much a must see.

Also of note, really attractive woman in trailer and they try hard to just keep beautiful women on the screen as much as possible  to distract you (out of the old CC playbook).

 

In terms of gameplay, although I only fiddled with it for an hour I found it hard to use.  It may be because I’m used to RTS games on the PC and not the console.  I also wasn’t a phan of the graphics or the free camera view.  Basically what I’m saying is there is a learning curve and its not a game you could just pick up and know what your doing.  The ability to use advanced maneuvers would take a lot more patience than I have.  The game did get favorable reviews so if anyone has actually played this I’d be interested to hear.  However my first impression is that this game probably blows.

 

Oh and one more thing… Jenny McCarthy is Tanya.  The video in the link is from pwn or die.com

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