NostalGeek

Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Player

RetroBeats Session 15 Out!

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This week I take a look at some spooky and moody tunes just in time for All Hallow’s Eve… Well not exactly just in time becaue it was a bit delayed in posting but one can still enjoy darker tunes all year long

So please head over to Retroware TV and enjoy this longer session featuring MediEvil, Alone in the Dark, Shadow of the Beast, Castlevania and more.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | retrobeats | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Minor DLC for Dead Space

deadspaceOne of the best games of the moment is EA‘s Dead Space and the developers know this since they already have a tie-in 6-issue comic book and an anime movie (Dead Space: Downfall) which is a prequel to the game. Right after game launch and upon seeing the great reception from critics and fans alike, EA wasted no time in announcing a sequel.

In the meantime they have just announced some downloadable content for the immersive FPS which consists mostly of new skins and weapons. The PS3 and 360 will have some exclusive content of their own.

Both consoles will have:

  • The Big Gun Pack, which includes the Steam Punk Force Gun for 80 MS points ($1.00)
  • The Hot Rock Pack, which adds new visual effects for the flamethrower and pulse rifle which will cost 80 MS points ($1.00)

The 360 (out November 13) will get:

  • The Pedestrian Pack, which includes new skins for the contact beam, plasma cutter, and ripper for 120 MS points ($1.50)
  • The Scorpion and Speed Killer Packs which will make the plasma cutter, line gun, and force gun shoot faster for 180 MS points ($2.25)
  • The Astronaut Pack, which includes an astronaut suit and weapon skins for 240 MS points ($3.00)
  • The Heavy Damage Pack, which gives new looks and enhanced power for various weapons for 240 MS points ($3.00)
  • Military Pack, Scorpion Pack, and Tank Pack (which offers better damage and new skins for suit and weapons) for 320 Ms points ($4.00)
  • A set similar to the Obsidian Packs for PS3 but in 360 colors for similar prices (120 and 240 Ms points)

Meanwhile the PS3 (out November 20) gets:

  • The Obsidian Weapon Skin Pack, which makes the game’s weapons black (woot!) for for $1.50
  • The Obsidian Pack similar to the Weapon Skin Pack but also for the suit for $3.00

Now don’t feel bad, if you feel like this is a retarded, studid and shameful rip-off, you are not alone.

November 11, 2008 Posted by | 360 News, PS3 News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nike Air Classic BW – Nintendo!!!

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Look at this beauty (I just bought it). Nike released a nice pair of Nike Air sneakers with the colors of the original NES and it looks smoking!
Notice the details of the digital pad in the dark grey area and also the ‘start’ and ‘select’ on the sides of the shoe at the ankle.
For those interested I bought mine on www.pickyourshoes.com

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November 11, 2008 Posted by | Video Game News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gears of War Locust Drone Bust!!

Isn’t he cute??

TriForce just announced this puppy to coincide with today’s release of Gears of War 2. This monster (pun intended) bust is on a 1:1 scale at a height of 19″ and weighs 15 pounds!
While it does look a bit scary (isn’t that the point though?) you have to recognize the amazing level of detail on the sculpt which was created by Epic Games art director Chris Perna and painted by Jordu Schell.
Of course for such a high level of details (factor in the Gears hype factor as well) the bust fetches a hefty price of $549.99 (because I’m sure $550 crosses a psychological threshold).

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November 8, 2008 Posted by | Video Game News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Atari Confirms Release of Ghostbusters

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Who you gonna call?

Apparently a French owned company. Infogrames subsidiary Atari has confirmed that they have secured the Ghostbusters video game which was given a vague release date of 2009. The rumor started after Dan Aykroyd told a radio that Atari was about to sign for publishing rights.

In the wake of the Activision-Blizzard merger several games are left homeless and it seems that Atari is picking up the best choices (Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena)…at least the ones I’m most excited about, as opposed to THQ who picked up the next 50 Cent game.

November 8, 2008 Posted by | 360 News, DS News, PC News, PS3 News, Video Game News, Wii News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halo Wars Dated and Collector’s Edition Details

A few months ago it was announced that the studio developing Halo Wars, Ensemble Studios (Ages of Empire) would be closing its gate after the release of the game. This usually doens’t bode well for a game but the team is putting all they have into this game and the RTS prequel to Halo is a game to watch for sure.

Halo Wars will be released in February with a standard and collector’s edition ($59.99 and $79.99 respectively) which will include many goodies such as the Halo Wars: Genesis graphic novel written by Eric Nylund of Halo books fame, the upcoming ‘Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack’ add-on, an extra in-game vehicle (the Honor Guard Wraith), six cards describing the game’s leaders and a “Spirit of Fire” crew member patch. On top of that anyone who preorders the game will get a code for a downloadable in-game Warthog vehicle sporting flame decals.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words…

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November 7, 2008 Posted by | 360 News, Video Game News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

4.7M Copies of Fallout 3 in One Week

thumbs-upBethesda announced proudly today that their latest post-apocalyptic venture sold about 4.7 million copies worldwide for a global price of $300M.

Considering the core base is probably a bit hardcore, even with Oblivion‘s success last year, I would expect sales to grow as word of mouth spreads. I for one can’t wait to nuke me some mutants!

November 7, 2008 Posted by | 360 News, PC News, PS3 News, Video Game News | , , | Leave a comment

Professor Layton and the Curious Village Review (Nintendo DS)

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Level-5 is mostly known for their highly successful RPGs (Dark Cloud, Rogue Galaxy and Dragon Quest VIII) but with the Professor Layton series they stray into the IQ puzzle genre with great efficiency.
The project was born through President and CEO Akihiro Hino who always loved Tago’s Head Gymnastics series of puzzle books, which have sold more than 12 million copies to date in Japan. As a result Akira Tago developed the game while Hino san served as producer.
If you like puzzle game you are going to be enjoying one of the most charming games on the DS with great graphics and soundtrack and a deceivingly nice storyline.

Graphics

The game starts right off with a lovely CG sequence that is both beautiful and original in design, you feel like you are watching a mix between a Studio Ghibli movie and a classic European cartoon albeit of great quality. There aren’t that many sequences in the game but they are all a joy to watch.
the in-game graphics are divided into two categories, the overall look and the puzzles themselves. Let’s get this out of the way the puzzles look nice and simple, nothing fancy but that is not the point of puzzles. On the other hand the backgrounds are simply gorgeous made of beautifully drawn illustrations that pack a lot of charm. The characters are equally well drawn and each look very different with a lot of visual personality. Layton himself is a hero with an old fashioned style that will no doubt be portrayed in several conventions by fans of cosplay.

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Sound

The soundtrack, composed by Level-5 composer Tomohito Nishiura, is filled with accordions that would be found in a cheesy American movie set in Paris BUT Nishiura never falls into that trap and keeps the score enjoyable and very original for a video game soundtrack. It must be said that the tunes tend to repeat a lot so your enjoyment will vary depending on your tolerance for the style. Personally i loved it.
The voice work on the other hand is top notch and can’t be denied. It consist of great British actors (Layton is voiced by Christopher Miller and Luke by Lani Minella) which you mostly only hear during the CG sequences but these voices will stay with you for a long while, especially the announcements before the success or failure of a puzzle, “I think I’ve got it!” (thick British accent), “Luke, here’s my answer…”, “Well..Here’s my guess…” and so on.
The great voices and atypical soundtrack really help give the game even more personality and charm.

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Gameplay

Very straightforward in this case. You click on people like in any RPGs and they talk to you usually giving you a puzzle to solve, then you just rack your brain until you find an answer.
the puzzles run the gamut of everything from “John is 3 times the age of Astrid but next year Astrid will be half as old as John. How are they?” to liquid games and cube sliding… It’s a bit hard to explain but if you check the images you’ll get the drift.
Each puzzle is worth a certain number of Picarats (basically points) which when accumulated give you bonuses and extras. If you answer a puzzle incorrectly the number of picarats you receive decreases but it only does so twice. As a result once you fail a puzzle twice you can fail it as many times as you want without any consequence. While this helps on some puzzle where the answer is fairly simple on others it doesn’t help at all because you have no clue what to input. But either way puzzles are usually just a matter of thinking, there was only one or two puzzles I had to go look up online because they where too far fetched.
In addition to this you can collect hint coins throughout the village by clicking…well…basically everywhere. You will get the itch to find them and end up putting your stylus anywhere just to see if you can find some. These coins allow you to buy hints for puzzles (3 for each) which give you the opportunity to answer puzzles without losing any picarats potential.
Here’s a hint: use your coins! You will get more picarats in the end. I saved mine for fear of tougher puzzles towards the end and even if they were tougher i ended up with 60 hint coins. So use them and rack up the points.

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Story

For a puzzle game Professor Layton and the Curious Village has a surprisingly good story. You are called to the village after receiving a strange will which picks your curiosity, the will mentions something about a “Golden Apple” treasure. As an infamous puzzle solver you cannot resist and head there with your trusty assistant Luke.
Of course upon arrival several things happen and the plot thickens! Murder, kidnapping… it all makes for a very exciting story that you’ll want to keep discovering. You may figure out the main mystery about halfway through the game, especially after a specific cutscene but the plot still holds a few surprises and I found the ending to be very charming and emotional. Quite a reward for a simple puzzle game.

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Overall Level-5 delivers yet another quality porduct and this new franchise is really a breath of fresh air. The game is part of a trilogy that is almost complete in Japan (the second game was released November 29, 2007 and the third one is coming out November 27 of this year) and Level-5 is hard at work on translating the second opus. I can’t wait for the next games and if you aren’t a complete puzzle-phobic I strongly suggest you pick this game up and thank me later.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | DS News, Video Game Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THQ Closes Studios and Reconsiders Methods

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This week THQ started out strong when they closed five of their studios following the stock tumble that the company faced. These studios were namely: Paradigm Entertainment, Mass Media, Helixe, Locomotive Games, and Sandblast Games. Added to that they cut the workforce at at Rainbow Studios and Juice Games (250 people which represents 17% of their developers).

Brian Farrell, CEO of the firm wants to refocus on more targeted and quality titles as opposed to releasing too many unpolished titles.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction THQ wants to increase its fighting games which include WWE wrestling and UFC combat.

Apparently investors didn’t like this news because they traded the stock down nearly 22 percent, down $1.44 to $5.11. Sometimes I really wonder why we still indulge Wall Street.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Industry News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nintendo DSi Instantly Sold Out

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The DS has already been through two versions and one would think the last version holds few incentive to buy, especially considering the loss of Game Boy Advance cartridge slot and the amount of devices that can already do what the DSi is offering.

In any case two things are for certain, The Japanese people know how to stand in line on launch dates and Nintendo knows how to sell handhelds (the DS is now the biggest selling portable sytem ever). As a result the DSi launched on November 1st in Japan and sold 170,779 units within 48 hours.

Nintendo is of course already shipping 100,000 more units to store while we wait for a date for North American and European releases.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | DS News, Video Game News | , , , , | Leave a comment