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Showing posts from June, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson....the King of Pop! The man is truly a legend and he'll never be forgotten.

While I think at some point late in his career, his life took a turn for the strange, there's no denying his contributions to the music world. Since the day of his passing I've been reading up about this man, and it really seems he was a good person at heart. Unfortunately the media focused a lot on his court battles over allegations of child molestation. The thing is, and I didn't know about this beforehand----nothing was ever proven by the ones who were accusing him. They did not have any real, solid evidence. I will admit that I'm one of the people who thought Michael Jackson was guilty, initially. But then, I only thought that because that's what the newsmen on TV were making me think.

Well, now, we've got access to the Internet, and more information is out there about what really happened. It's just unfortunate that information about this is onl…

Dead Space - First Impressions

Just got Dead Space...yes, it's not really a new game, but I've heard a lot of good things about it, so I thought it was worth a try. Impressions:

- Excellent production values - I like the way the GUI is set up as these floating graphics/screens. It's the most unique GUI I've ever encountered for a third-person shooter in a long time, and it makes the game feel very futuristic.

- The graphics are also very consistent, no frame drops and a lot of well-used special effects that add to the atmosphere of the game.

- The audio is also very well-done; it really establishes a sense of fear and dread.

- Playing this, you can't help but compare it with Resident Evil 5. Having played RE5 before this, it's even more apparent to me. This game is much scarier than RE5, definitely. (RE5's focus was more on action) I think Capcom can learn a lot by playing this. Come to think of it, they probably already have; I remember reading somewhere that RE6 isn't due for a couple …

Prototype - Halfway Through Game...Just EPIC!

Just went through a boss fight that lasted over an hour and thirty minutes. I took so long because I used hit-and-run tactics to take down that boss. Eventually I found a 'way' to do it and it was extremely satisfying once it ended.

It was Capcom-esque in that you need to really work your way to winning that fight and it really isn't easy, unless there's something I completely missed and there's a technique to beating that boss quicker. (I'm sure there is; I'm just proud of beating that boss my way....hehe) I have no complaints!

The other day I read the review of Destructoid for Prototype. While they were relatively more positive for the game than they were for Infamous, I have to say that I did end up questioning the skill level of the reviewers there. They were complaining about mundane things, like figuring out how to beat certain classes of enemies, whining about the targeting system and the controls, etc. I just found it strange considering that I didn&#…

Prototype - Sandbox Carnage

A few weeks ago I played Infamous on the PS3. The game's premise was that there's this character who wants to figure out why he has certain superhuman abilities. At the same time, supposedly his actions in the world determine how his powers develop, and also steer the course of the storyline.

Within nearly the same release period as Infamous, Activision's Prototype gets released for multiple platforms. This sparked a lot of debate on the Internet because both Infamous and Prototype have practically the same premise. Much like Infamous, Prototype has you starting out as a superhuman character who is hell-bent on finding out how exactly he became the way he is. In both games, both characters start out losing their memory [a staple theme in most video games to give the storyline something to talk about....], and completing missions in the game lets you find out more about your past and how you obtained your powers.

I suppose one major difference between Infamous and Prototype i…

Halo Wars - Final Thoughts

Finally finished the campaign for Halo Wars tonight. My opinion still stands on the soundtrack. The last few missions are very well structured and are enjoyable for what they are; though if you've played a lot of RTSes you already know what to expect.

There is one thing which blew me away towards the end of the game:

That last bit of the game contains the very best Halo-universe-inspired-CG-rendered-cutscene I've ever, EVER seen. I don't remember a cutscene in Halo 3 which quite matches this one:

*SPOILER WARNING*

The absolute BEST cutscene ever conceived for a Halo game! Note that this is not the ending of the game.


When the game ends and the credits roll, you get a sense that Ensemble Studios already knew well in advance that Halo Wars would be their last game. It's just something about the quotes at the very end, and the way the ending itself is structured. It just feels metaphorical, as if hinting at something, and essentially saying goodbye, for good...

It's really …

Save your old laptops! Try Windows 7!

It’s back to school here in the Philippines and I was helping my brother prep up his laptop for college. It’s a relatively old laptop, a Compaq Presario V2000 (V2602TN), that we got around 2006. I say old because of the original specifications below.



PROCESSOR: Intel Duo Core T2300 1.66GHZ
MEMORY: 1.5 GB DDR 2
HARD DRIVE: 60 GB 5400 rpm
Graphics: Mobile Intel 945GM Express Chipset

At the rate technology is evolving, PCs get outdated so quickly. Sometimes it seems like you need to upgrade your PC every year just to keep it running fast. In the line of work my husband and I do, our laptops have to have RAM upgrades practically every year. And once our laptops reach the maximum allowed RAM, we end up looking for newer alternatives.

Today, the netbooks are the current rave. More and more people are picking up these netbooks because its technically cheaper but it can run the applications that most people use (i.e. Word Processing, Internet surfing). Not to mention, these netbooks are sm…

Halo Wars: Some Things Right, Some Things Wrong

Alright, I think I'm a bit more through Halo Wars, enough to give a solid opinion about it. The game gets a lot of things right, and a lot of things wrong. It isn't a bad game, but it could be a better one.

Case in point: the game's soundtrack needs some serious help. I know that Ensemble Studios must have went through so many lengths to capture that 'Bungie' magic and put it in their game. And they've done a lot of other aspects right, which I'll get to in a moment. But I just have to bring this up....

They just overuse the whole 'slow, epic' orchestral soundtrack commonly associated with Halo. I've got nothing against the slower musical scores in the Halo universe. It's just that it seems they listened to that one track in the opening menu for Halo 1, and based the entire soundtrack of the game on that one track.

That, coupled with the droning 'ALL UNITS' voiceover from Cutter (the Commander of the Spirit of Fire, one of the ships in …

Can Your PC Run Street Fighter IV? Find Out Tomorrow

According to this post from http://www.andriasang.com/ , the benchmark program for Street Fighter IV PC will be out tomorrow:

Excerpt:

In last week's update at the Street Fighter IV blog, writer Natsuki Shiozawa announced that the Street Fighter IV benchmark would be offered at the official SFIV site on June 22, but would be accessible one week before that through an undisclosed means.

Today's update filled in the blanks. On June 15, the benchmark program will be downloadable from the following sites:

•Famitsu.com
•4Gamer.net
•GAMEWatch
•OEX
•GameSpot

The benchmark will display the logo of the site of its origin, so you'll want to select the site with the least offensive logo (I'll help you out -- it's 4gamer).

They found out by translating this blog post on the Street Fighter IV Blog, here:
http://www.capcom-fc.com/sf4/2009/06/post_110.html

In other news, the same blog post at the Street Fighter blog had Yoshinori Ono posing with some trophies their game just won, just behind…

Street Fighter IV: Finally Hit 2,000 Games Played on Xbox Live

Hey, you never know if or when my Street Fighter IV save file might get corrupted! There are rumors on forums online that it just happens at random. So I took these pics here to preserve how much time I've put in on Street Fighter IV for the Xbox 360.

Most of the games I play online are Player Matches, the reason being that I enjoy being able to relax a bit when playing and not worry about losing Battle Points or think about the skill level of the opponents that I might end up playing against. Going on Player Matches causes me to play against more 'new' players, though; but I don't really mind. It's good to play the game just for fun :)

All the best players are in Championship mode or Ranked mode, occasionally I go there and I don't fare too well. But for the most part, many of my games online have just a slight bit of lag. I do have the occasional unplayable game, but I haven't had enough of those to make me hate the whole online experience with Street Fight…

In-Depth Kikizo Article On Project Natal

http://games.kikizo.com/features/microsoft-natal-xbox-360-why-its-a-big-deal-p1.aspExcerpt:

Natal is a new peripheral for Xbox 360 that currently exists in a very early work-in-progress form. This new, 'full body motion sensing' technology may be revolutionary for interactive entertainment, and quite frankly, leaves things like EyeToy, Wii MotionPlus, and Sony's new motion sensing controllers for PS3 - also revealed last week - in the dust. Anyone who doesn't yet understand why, this article is for you.

There's a lot of positive buzz about Natal, but I was surprised to see how much doubt and even indifference there is about it after talking to everyone about it over the last week. Critics and fence-sitters of Natal seem to consistently be saying one of only a few things against it. I'm going to explain why they're missing the point, and why this thing is the real deal, based on my first-hand experience with it behind closed doors, as well as chats with projec…

Final Fantasy XIII Category Available On Singapore Xbox Live Marketplace - Confirms Asian Version?

Thanks to a tip from Pinoyxbox I found out that there is already a category for Final Fantasy XIII in the Singapore Xbox Live marketplace. Does this mean that Final Fantasy XIII will be released in Asia/Singapore? I sure hope so.



Unfortunately, for some odd reason, the video for FFXIII on the Singapore marketplace is region locked, so I can't download it from my location (Philippines). Why is this locked? I doubt there's anything really violent or obscene about this video. I've seen it via the available downloads for E3 on other websites like Gametrailers, so what's the point of region-locking this?

Anyway, despite the fact that I can't download it from my location (along with the Crackdown 2 trailer....sigh) at the very least this is somewhat of a confirmation that maybe FFXIII is exclusive to PS3 in Japan only, but elsewhere around the world, the game will see a global release. Good news for Asian Xbox 360 owners!

Is Final Fantasy XIII Still Exclusive To PS3 in Japan?

According to this post from Kotaku, it may not be...

http://kotaku.com/5286896/xbox-japan-accidentally-uploaded-final-fantasy-xiii-page



Currently I'm not sure if this game will be out for Asian/Japanese Xbox 360s, considering that the FFXIII trailers and themes on the marketplace are only available for US accounts. It would be a real shame if it were only out in the USA; there's a lot of JRPG fans in Asia, and of course in Japan....that said, the 'accidental' posting of that page gives some hope for Final Fantasy fans who prefer the Xbox platform.

Yes, Project Natal Works with African Americans

The Youtube channel for Project Natal was just recently updated with more videos.

http://www.youtube.com/xboxprojectnatal

Here are just some of the videos there:










Some time this week some misinformation was being spread on NEOGAF about how the system couldn't 'see' African Americans, citing how N'Gai Croal was having trouble with using it. There was a video on the Youtube channel with other personalities like Sugar Ray Leonard trying out the system, but many were saying that the video was 'edited' to look like they were enjoying themselves. Natal's detractors were also saying that if you watch the videos, you'll see the players crashing into walls in Burnout, hinting at serious problems with Natal.

My take on this is: I didn't see any problems with the video where Sugar Ray Leonard and the others were trying out the technology. Maybe it was edited, maybe it wasn't; but it seemed to me that they were being fairly honest with their opinions about the t…

Gamingvice.net Claims Tekken 6 on PS3 Has Aliasing Issues

http://gamingvice.net/2009/06/07/tekken-6-on-360-analysis-the-rematch/

"Now here’s the real kicker, if you like the staff of GamingVice.net were at E3 last week you’ll notice something very interesting about the Xbox 360 version of Tekken 6. It is graphically better than its Playstation 3 counterpart. Am I happy about this? Not at all but I find it very ironic that after all this arguing over Tekken 6’s ability to even be on the 360, it looks better as the Playstation 3 version has jagged edges."

My opinion: I have both versions of Street Fighter IV for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Now, guess which version has the most visible jaggies/aliasing issues? There you have it. I wasn't really surprised that the above blogger/writer gave the same observation when comparing the Xbox 360 version with the PS3 version.

Interestingly enough, if you have both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 (and YES, I do have both systems), and you download Namco-Bandai's Tekken 6 Trailer for both system…

NXE Minority Report Designer and Project Natal

I managed to dig up this old news from Kotaku dated July 2008. They were talking about the redesign of the XBOX 360 User Interface which we now all know as the NXE. Back then it was interesting that they got the design company 'Schematic' who has people that worked on the impressive UI Tom Cruise was using in the 'Minority Report'. Read all about that here.

With the announcement of Natal coupled with this piece of news, it makes you wonder just how long has Microsoft been planning the 'reinvention' of the XBOX 360.

Nonetheless, Natal comes as a welcome change to many XBOX 360 owners who would like to have a shot a the 'future'.



For those who wish to remember how the UI in 'Minority Report' functioned, check out the video above. While I am very excited to see Project Natal's implementation with the XBOX 360, I am equally excited to learn about the possibilities of future integration with Windows 7 or other Microsoft Operating Systems. As …

Forza 3 vs Gran Turismo 5 Continues: CNET Poll

Forza Motorsport 3 Vs. Gran Turismo 5 poll is underway over on CNET:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10256571-48.html

Poll: Forza 3 vs. Gran Turismo 5
by Antuan Goodwin

E3 2009 has come and gone, leaving delicious trailers and tons of information for Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 5 and Turn 10's Forza Motorsport 3 racing sims in its wake. It looks like it's time for the digital drag race to begin anew.

Will the winner be GT5, with its new WRC and NASCAR modes, or scrappy Forza 3, with its in-depth customization options and more flexible difficulty levels? Sure, you could just get both and have double the fun, but only one can be the best. Check out the trailers below in HD, cast your votes, and get your fanboy on with your comments.

Current Poll Results as of June 9, 2009:


Looks like Gran Turismo is no longer relevant to today's gamers.

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon To Feature Project Natal Wednesday Next Week

E3 was featured on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show, with this segment:

http://kotaku.com/5280535/jimmy-fallons-late-night-at-e3
According to Kotaku, the people from Late Night were so impressed with Natal that they've invited Kudo Tsunoda from Microsoft for a segment this coming Wednesday. If it pushes through, it's a huge opportunity for Microsoft to continue building awareness on their upcoming gaming platform.

And, here's hoping for a youtube video of it online soon :D Late Night with Jimmy Fallon actually airs on local cable TV here (Jack TV), so maybe I can catch it.

Gran Turismo Developers Polyphony Digital Visit Forza Motorsport 3 E3 Booth, Then Start Taking Notes!

Now this is an interesting turn of events. Blog post from Che Chou of Turn 10, the studio working on Forza Motorsport 3:

http://forums.forzamotorsport.net/blogs/turn_10s_forza_motorsport_blog/archive/2009/06/05/the-road-to-october-looking-beyond-e3-2009.aspx

************
Besides the consistent line of showgoers wanting to try their hand at this rare spectacle, we also had quite a few celebrities come through to play the Forza 3 ride-of-show cockpit. The list is as surreal to me now as it was when I saw (some of) them with my own eyes: Steven Spielberg, Victoria Beckham (with her little boy), Incubus drummer Jose Pasillas, DJ and Turntablist Chris Killmore, folks from LA Galaxy, Aisha Tyler, some dude who came by to shoot a segment for the Jimmy Fallon Late Night Show, and more.

Perhaps the most surprising to me was when a couple developers from Gran Turismo makers Polyphony Digital came by to personally get hands-on with Forza 3, all the while taking careful notes, examining our UI system…

New Interview with Tomonobu Itagaki

Here's a new interview with Tomonobu Itagaki, courtesy of 1UP from E3 2009:

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?pager.offset=0&cId=3174656



It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess where he's headed....

Microsoft's Project Natal Has The World Talking

Kotaku recently posted an article about how Project Natal has all the buzz coming out of E3:

http://kotaku.com/5280739/so-which-e3-announcements-generated-the-most-buzz



Surprising to see it beat out big hitters like Super Mario and Final Fantasy XIII.

Also, in Gamespot's latest poll on which press conference did gamers liked best, Microsoft's poll clearly leads the rest, with a dominating 41% of the votes:

http://www.gamespot.com/pages/modules/poll_results.php?poll_id=347336&tag=poll;results&popup=1

More Incredible Stories on Project Natal

Click here for the full article:

http://gizmodo.com/5277954/testing-project-natal-we-touched-the-intangible?skyline=true&s=i

Here's a very interesting excerpt from the article:

Burnout showcases a few important points for Microsoft. First, it's a real game that's been on the 360. So Natal doesn't weigh down on the processors so hard that you can't play games. Second, it requires fine motor control.

I raised my hands in the air, mining a steering wheel. I hadn't given the system any time to scan my body after kicking Matt out, but I stepped by foot forward, signaling the gas all the same. The car accelerated. I twisted my arms. The car turned just the right amount.

Microsoft had clearly tweaked the Burnout code a bit, forcing the car to feel a bit more like a powerful sedan than a street illegal beast out of some Fast and Furious sequel. And I'm guessing that Natal's ever so slight control delay was masked by the feeling of a looser-driving steering wheel…

Infamous (Playstation 3) - Review

I got around to finishing Infamous this afternoon. I only completed it once, focused as a 'good' character. I suppose there's a lot of replay value to be had in this game considering it can be played as an 'evil' character, too.

When I first fired up the game, honestly I was not very impressed by the graphics. On my setup which is running at 1080p with HDMI, I could see a whole lot of jaggies, and the framerate is incredibly inconsistent. Many times throughout the game, far-away objects are obscured by this horrible layer of grey smog, perhaps to hide a layer of pop-in with the textures and polygons. On my first five minutes in, I almost gave up on even trying to like this game.

A day later, I decided to give it ago and try to finish the game, despite my dislike for the graphics. Upon finishing it today, I realized I made a good decision there. While Infamous's graphics leave a whole lot to be desired, particularly lacking in good anti-aliasing and draw distance,…

Project Natal Makes Headlines

Front page of Science and Technology Section, today's issue of the Philippine Star:



Meanwhile, Sony's PSP Go, and their prototype motion sensor device, and Nintendo's Wii Motion Plus were nowhere to be found. They're newsworthy for gamers, but for the mainstream, they're not so interesting.

Bloomberg:



If you haven't heard of Project Natal yet, here's some videos from E3:










The key now for Microsoft is to ride the momentum they've gained by showing Project Natal and having it released by the holidays of this year. No release date was mentioned during E3 itself, so this is a highly unlikely possibility; however, it really is the best time to reinvigorate the Xbox brand by having the new device bundled with every console as standard equipment by Christmas 2009.

I also wonder if this technology will eventually be part of later versions of Windows...? It seems to have a lot of potential applications outside of gaming.

How To Draw Mainstream Attention: Invite the Beatles

This was in today's The Philippine Star newspaper here in Manila:



Having the Beatles at Microsoft's E3 Press Conference was a pretty smart move by Microsoft to gain worldwide attention for their event.

More on Project Natal

Project Natal was the most interesting thing I saw in Microsoft's conference and perhaps the best in E3. Sure I like the games, and MS E3 conference pretty much sold me on practically every game they showed. But games are games but Natal is something completely different which can essentially change the way motion systems work for games. My interest in Natal is not based purely on gaming. I can see real world applications for this kind of technology.

My husband and I stumbled across some articles that may explain what Natal really is:

Below is a link for Johnny Lee's blog
http://procrastineering.blogspot.com/2009/06/project-natal.html

And no he is not a fanboy but an academe with 10 years of experience in his said field. Johnny Lee first came under the gaming radar with this amazing video that you definitely have to watch! And check out his other WiiMote projects as well with this link: http://johnnylee.net/projects/wii/



Imagine that interesting application for the Wii Mote.…

Metal Gear Solid: Rising Announcement for Xbox 360 Sparks Fanboy Anger/Rage

Here's a tip: if you fall under the same category as the angry people who just posted in Hideo Kojima's blog here, please, consider some mental / psychiatric help / treatment.

http://www.kjp.konami.jp/gs/hideoblog_e/2009/06/000177.html

Preserved one angry comment for posterity; I have a feeling Konami / Hideo Kojima will clean out his comments section after today or after E3.

32 / Disappointed Fan / June 2, 2009 5:15 AM

Thank you guys for selling out to Microsoft! Thanks so much for now making the once great hardware pushing game, into a title limited by inferior hardware. Blu-Ray wasn't big enough? So you guys go to DVD9. Kojima's presentation on Raising the bar on stealth gaming? The bar was dropped. Thanks so much for going for money, and forgetting about innovation and super high quality. MGS4 was a masterpiece in terms of technical achievement, storytelling, and the swan song for Solid Snake. And now, MGS on the 360, is a complete 180 on that concept. Thanks so much K…

Famitsu.com - "We Support Xbox 360"

Marketing? Or a real show of support? I wish my Japanese skills were better than kindergarten level so perhaps I can make a better conclusion.

Interesting nonetheless.



Famitsu proclaims "WE SUPPORT XBOX 360!"

More on MS E3 09

As I write this post with bleary eyes, I look back on the past 4 or 5 years where my husband and I watched Microsoft’s E3 Press conferences.It all started with J Allard returning to the stage to announce the XBOX 360.Back then, I knew this was the console that, for me, will bring about the technological enhancement that I have been looking for.I have always felt that technology is not solely about hardware leaps but also that of software.When Allard stepped in and narrated all these wonderful software driven features that will be built in the 360, I knew we had to get an XBOX 360 on day one.5 years ago, Microsoft was laughed at and scrutinized for its concepts.Today, all its competitors are trying to catch up to it. But as the years progressed, you end up feeling like you’ve seen it all.After 5 years, my husband and I have all the ‘next-generation’ consoles as well as the defining handheld systems.We’ve played on all platforms and enjoyed the unique games that they offer.And then the t…