GGF#20: Sheylara and Xbox weekend

[Gamer Girl Friday]

I wanted to review Brother in Arms: Hell’s Highway in this issue, but I absolutely have no time for that. At least I’m on schedule this week, even if I’m posting this really late in the night.

The lead story this week is of the Xbox activities happening this weekend at Funan Challenger because I have to promote my own events, right? If not, who will?

Other than it, it’s just my usual half-baked review on this and that. I’m sure that makes you quite delighted. So, let’s move on.


Table of Contents

  1. Catch me at the Xbox Xperience Zone
  2. Infinite Undiscovery – 1st hour impressions
  3. Feeling at home in PlayStation Home
  4. Intel gives amateur gamers a chance
  5. Results of last week’s contest
  6. Ask Sheylara
  7. Win a Microsoft LifeCam NX-3000 for Notebooks!!


Catch me at the Xbox Xperience Zone

I suppose this is sort of late notice, but if you’ve been following my Xbox blog, you’d have known already!

This is a weekend for Xbox fans! Xbox Singapore has just launched a new concept retail space called the Xbox Xperience Zone. Trailers of upcoming games will be shown on screens around and you’ll also be able to play the latest games on big screens.

Xbox Xperience Zone
Photo by Nizam. Check out his blog for more photos.

The first Xbox Xperience Zone was launched yesterday at Challenger Funan (5th floor). With the launch comes a host of exciting promotions to tease you into parting with your money willingly. (Only for this weekend!)

And I’ll be making an appearance tomorrow to mingle with Xbox fans, play games, take photos, sign autographs, whatever.

Xbox Xperience Zone with Sheylara
In case you can’t tell, this is a hasty cut-and-paste job of me looking delighted, using one of Nizam’s photos. Cute, huh?

Some of the cool stuff you can expect this weekend:

  • Rock Band Asia release! About freaking time is what I want to say. There will be a set on demo so come rock with me!!

    Rock Band for Xbox 360

  • Launch of Infinite Undiscovery, the much-awaited RPG title from Square Enix. It will be available for you to try out this weekend and there are also limited edition CD soundtracks available.

    Infinite Undiscovery

  • New low price for Xbox 360 Arcade at $399. This set comes with a 256MB memory console, a wireless controller and five Xbox LIVE arcade games. Good for people who are mostly interested in playing Xbox arcade games.
  • Get exclusive Xbox premiums when you buy stuff!

    Xbox premiums

I’ll be there from 2pm to 5pm tomorrow (Saturday), but the promotions last all weekend. See you there!

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Infinite Undiscovery – 1st hour impressions

Well, as the title says, this is only a first-hour impression, so you might not want to put too much stock into what I’m going to say.

Infinite Undiscovery Xbox 360

First of all, the game has two discs, which is immediately intimidating or immediately attractive, depending on what kind of person you are.

Infinite Undiscovery Xbox 360

I’m the first kind because I’m getting more games than I have time to play, so I need my games to be short.

I quite enjoyed the introduction sequence (although the first few minutes were pretty draggy). The style of drawing and the characters reminds me of Soul Calibur.

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

I waited to be wowed after the intro but the wow didn’t come. It was, instead, kind of peculiar.

You play Capell, a cowardly minstrel, and you start off in a jail, begging for food.

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

After the guard makes snide comments at you, a pretty lolita drops in from the ceiling. She bops the guard over the head, addresses you as Lord Sigmund and tries to rescue you.

And you’re, like, “No, no, I’m not a lord whatever. You have the wrong person, lady, so I’ll just crawl back into my cell now, thanks.”

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

Then, more guards come in and take out the lolita and you’re left on your own, defenceless.

Just as you’re about to become minced meat, you suddenly pick up the sword that Lolita dropped and you’re suddenly an accomplished fighter, despatching guards without effort (that is, simply by mashing buttons A and B).

The game starts off being action-packed and not making a lot of sense but then, I guess the title already warns us of that.

As you and Lolita (whose name is actually Aya) explore the prison grounds looking for a way out, the game tosses you pages off a game manual to teach you how to perform various actions.

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

I feel that this could have been done better. As it is now, the help interface looks quite retarded and pulls you out of the game world.

I had to read a total of 11 pages before my first battle, which was a bit of an information overload. I could only remember pages 1 and 2 by the time I was done, which was why I ended up mashing A and B to kill the guards.

Well, the good thing is that fight animations are fast and beautiful and make you look rather glamorous, especially when you do combos.

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

I think the game is determined to leave you gasping for breath at every turn. My heart never stopped pumping during the hour I was playing, as I frantically killed guards and tried to run away from a boss-that-cannot-be-killed.

Then, there was this trek through a pitch-black forest, illuminated by lamps at specific points. The mini map shows the way, but it gets blurred out when you step into a dark area unlit by a lamp, so that’s really challenging, not being able to see where you’re going (unless you cheat by turning up the brightness of your screen, which I didn’t try.)

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

After 25 minutes of bumbling through the forest and killing more guards along the way, with no save point in sight, the boss-that-cannot-be-killed suddenly made an appearance!!

I spent the next five minutes trying not to have a heart attack while I ran away from him, from countless guards shooting arrows at me, from bloodhounds, from irritating giant bees.

A few times, I thought I was going to die and have to make the 25-minute trek all over again because it was so dark and I kept running into walls and I couldn’t stop and fight because Aya said that the boss-that-cannot-be-killed cannot be killed, and I was actually knocked unconscious a few times.

Fortunately for the game, I survived the encounter and the game disc narrowly escaped a violent episode involving me and my hands.

Save points in games are very much like oases in deserts, wouldn’t you say?

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot
The save point in Infinite Undiscovery is a blue glowy.

Well, what I would say is that Infinite Undiscovery is not for beginners (although there is an Easy mode for noobs, but I didn’t try that because some features are not available in Easy mode).

According to Wikipedia, the game throws you into many situations where you have to experiment with creative ways to pass a stage or defeat a mob.

You will eventually have up 18 characters to manage in your party, although you only control yourself. The rest are AI, but you can manually use any of their skills by using the Connect function.

For example, Aya has a bow and sometimes I need to take out something at range. It’s a useful feature to have but the interface is irritating. A lot of time is wasted going into the interface, selecting the character, selecting the weapon, waiting for the crosshair to appear, and then aiming.

Trying to use Aya’s bow skill killed me twice in the game. The action in the game is so fast that I just get creamed even before the crosshair appears.

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

Oh, there’s also the fact that the game makes you draw and sheath weapons manually. That means you press a button to draw and press it again to sheath. When it’s drawn, you can’t do certain actions like open chests or save game. When it’s sheathed, you can’t fight, obviously.

Some might find that realistic and challenging, but I find it downright annoying.

This game is not for the faint-hearted, really. But I think it would appeal to strategists. Gamers who like to apply smarts to outwit situations. IU promises that.

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

I picked up some apple things in the forest which I think I was supposed to use somehow to lure the hounds away, but in my frenzy to get out of the forest alive, I totally forgot all about them. I might have had an easier time if I had used them.

Last thing to say. The storyline is interesting. At the end of my deadly forest excursion, my party gets rescued by the gallant Lord Sigmund, who looks exactly like me (Capell), so there’s this mystery waiting to be solved.

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

Infinite Undiscovery screenshot

Who are these two people and why do they look so alike? You start to think maybe they’re long-lost twin brothers that got separated at birth by some dastardly world-domination plot.

I guess I would have to continue playing the game if I want to find out. (Or I could read spoilers but i don’t think that’s fun.)

The game just needs to give me more save points if it doesn’t want me to die of heart attack.

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Feeling at home in PlayStation Home

PlayStation Home is really quite impressive at first glance. It’s now in beta, but it will soon be available to all PS3 owners at no cost other than some bandwidth spent downloading the software.

If you’re into customised avatars and such, you will spend a gadzillion years creating your avatar. The permutations are literally endless.

Here’s the primary list of things you can tweak on your avatar:

PlayStation Home Beta

If you choose “Face”, for instance, you go into a sub-menu that allows you to tweak every part of your face.

PlayStation Home Beta

And then, more sub-menus:

PlayStation Home Beta

And more!

PlayStation Home Beta

Like, it’s totally crazy, okay? I decided I didn’t have a gadzillion years to spare, so I just chose a preset face and spent two minutes changing my hair colour (I like pink hair!) and putting on a better-looking t-shirt. Then I went out into the world.

Here’s what greeted me first. My home!

PlayStation Home Beta

Very nice! I always wanted to have a big, empty home!

The view out the balcony:

PlayStation Home Beta

Sony sure knows how to pamper a gamer!

In your career as a PS3 gamer, you will no doubt pick up items to decorate your home with, through playing games or taking part in activities in the PS Home community, I don’t know.

Decorating your home is like playing The Sims, quite intuitive stuff.

PlayStation Home Beta

The items I have access to now are really limited, so I got this rug and bubble blower for a start.

PlayStation Home Beta

Here’s a hilarious bit of AI. I was trying to place an ornament, right? The program makes you move the ornament around in mid-air before dropping it down to be placed permanently. So, when I dropped this particular ornament, it would keep landing on its side and roll around the room.

PlayStation Home Beta

PlayStation Home Beta

It took me a few tries before I realised that I could move it nearer to the ground before dropping it so that it wouldn’t fall on the side.

My apartment from the outside:

PlayStation Home Beta

The world outside is pretty. It’s like Second Life but prettier. The only annoyance is that I have to download each section of the world before being able to walk into it, but I guess that’s just an initial pain.

PlayStation Home Beta

The loading takes forever, too.

You can talk using preset speeches or typing with the digital keyboard.

PlayStation Home Beta

You can sit down in the square and watch a video.

PlayStation Home Beta

There are adverts and posters all around, the sneaky joes.

PlayStation Home Beta

You can interact with other real people. I’m not sure why some people appear to me as ghosts.

PlayStation Home Beta

Maybe because it’s still in beta, loading stuff in PS Home really takes some time. It takes half a minute to load a single furniture item before I can see it and place it. I hope it will become more normal at release.

Overall, I think it will be quite a great place for the PS3 community to interact.

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Intel gives amateur gamers a chance

I sent the Goonfather to cover a gaming event on my behalf last night because I couldn’t make it.

And he came back to me with THREE photos of the four-hour event.

Intel Asia PC Gaming Showdown

Someone needs to strangle him real bad.

So, anyway, the event was a gaming competition for game journalists and amateur gamers to compete in three games: FIFA 2008, Need for Speed Pro Street and Crysis, and to promote Intel’s latest Core™2 Extreme chipset.

The winner will be travelling to Hong Kong next month to compete against champions of six other Asian countries. How cool is that?

The Goonfather and Unker Kell took part in the competition but they didn’t win. They did, however, enjoy the samosas, mini pies and fried dumplings served at the event.

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Results of last week’s contest

I have five winners for the PlayStation Home Beta Test Account contest!!

PlayStation Home Beta

Okay, not making much fanfare this week because I have already contacted the winners to set up their accounts asap. So, the winners are, in no order of importance or wealth or looks:


Congratulations, guys! See you in PS Home soon! :)

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Ask Sheylara

I’m back on Q&A duty this week because the Goonfather decided to go on strike after I made him a bus driver. But you can still e-mail him questions if only just to piss him off. :P He can be reached at .

Anish asks a Wii question:

I have got a Japanese Wii. However, at times I get some errors which obviously I can’t read. This time I was dumbfounded with this error. Can you please translate this for me in English? What does this mean?

Sheylara Says:

Obviously, I’m not Japanese and I know very little Japanese, so I got my good friend Alvin (who is spiritually half a Japanese) to translate this for me. Your error message says:

“An error has occurred. Push the eject button. Take out the disk. Press the power button of your console. After the power is off, follow the instructions specified in the instruction manual.”

Well, you can’t say that error messages are often helpful. By the way, just because I have a spiritually half-Japanese friend doesn’t mean you all should start sending me more translation requests because I’m going to feel obliged to buy Alvin ice-cream if I continue misusing his friendship this way and it’s going to be all your fault!

zzz asks a music game question:

Would you happen to know if the drumset from Guitar Hero: World Tour would be compatible with Rock Band 2? The idea of splurging of two sets kinda kills me =x

Sheylara Says:

All Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2 instruments will be cross compatible on Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. Not for the Wii, though.

cheesepumpkins asks a Fable II question:

Is Fable 2 only on Xbox 360 or on normal Xbox too?

Sheylara Says:

It will only be on the Xbox 360 and no other console! Yes, that means everyone must buy an Xbox 360 because Fable II is so going to be the game of the year!

Spite666 asks a Fable II question:

When is Fable 2 comin out?

Sheylara Says:

Depends on which part of the world you live in. It will first be released in North America on October 21, 2008. Other regions will get it a few days later.

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Win a Microsoft LifeCam NX-3000!!

Microsoft LifeCam NX-3000 for Notebooks

What a beauty. This Microsoft LifeCam NX-3000 for Notebooks could be yours for simply answering a few questions!!

The Contest

Answer the following questions and post them in the comments:

  1. Why do you want this prize?
  2. Do you actually read Gamer Girl Friday or do you usually just skip to the contest section?
  3. What’s your favourite game? (Can be console or PC.)
  4. What’s your gender?
  5. What’s the first thing you’ll take a photo of if you win this lifecam?

The Rules

  1. One entry per person.
  2. Closing date is Oct 2, 2008, 2359 hours
  3. Entries that answer all five questions satisfactorily will go into a pool for Mr Randomiser to pick from.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not collecting data or statistics for any purpose. I just wanted to make it slightly harder for people to win this because good things go to people who put in effort, right? :) At least, that’s how I like the world to be.

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I think the weeks are going by too fast. Don’t you think?

Week after week, the hours and the days just go by in a flash as I rush from project to meeting to event to writing to camwhoring. I hardly have time to form any memory of the whole week before the weekend creeps up again.

If you were to ask me now what happened from Monday to Thursday this week, I would draw a blank. I would have to consult my Filofax or read my own blog to remember what I went through in the week.

Do you think I’m going crazy or something?

[Gamer Girl Friday]