GGF#50: Prototype / Rock Band Unplugged

[Gamer Girl Friday]

I really wanted to play and review all the new games I have, for this week, but it wasn’t possible. I ended up only being able to do two.

I still have The Sims 3, Fuel and Virtua Tennis 2009, untouched.

Arrgh. Where did all my time go??

I think it’s the gyming and running. Haha. I go to the gym twice a week and run 1-2 times a week. I have also started preparing my own meals a few times a day because that’s the only way I can get my hands on Eric-approved food. (Eric’s my personal trainer, in case you don’t read my other blogs.)

All of that eats up my gaming time!

Oh well, at least I am still able to publish GGF this week! That’s gotta be an achievement in itself.

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Table of Contents

  1. Prototype review
  2. Time Wasters by Swordplay
  3. Rock Band Unplugged (PSP) review
  4. Video Games Live
  5. Results of last week’s contest
  6. Win a Prototype mouse mat!!

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Prototype review

Playing Prototype made me feel like I should go back to playing Rock Band or something. Not that it’s a bad game. It’s just that I’m probably not cut out for action games.

Prototype

I quite enjoy the plot of the game and the promise of the gameplay. But it kind of sucks that I can’t kill the first boss even after three tries.

On easy mode.

Which means I can’t progress any further because I don’t have time to keep trying, for now.

Well, here’s a video of my first 15 minutes of gameplay. I tried to remove all the bits where I look really clueless, flailing around helplessly at nothing, but I’m sure I didn’t get all of them.

In Prototype, you’re Alex Mercer, a cute-looking bloke who wakes up to find himself charged with superpowers. Sounds familiar? inFAMOUS, for instance?

Prototype

But Alex is a lot more powerful than Cole, I think. Alex is kind of an improved Wolverine. He has fast-regen powers and deadly weapons sticking out his limbs and he can shapeshift into anyone he consumes and he can run up buildings faster than Spiderman, even one as tall as the Empire State Building.

And he’s good-looking to boot. Not that Cole and Wolverine aren’t good-looking, but having a zillion mutant powers all at once plus being good-looking is kinda tilting the balance a little.

Prototype

So, anyway, I was looking forward to playing Alex Mercer. The first 10 minutes didn’t disappoint. The game teases you by giving you a preview of the dastardly powers you can command.

After the prologue stage, though, the game goes back to the time when you’ve just awoken and bewilderedly discovering that you’ve just survived four rounds of bullets to the gut and you’re about to leap over a fence to escape.

The game then makes you slowly discover the stuff you can do while you’re at the same time unravelling the mystery of what happened to you. Much like inFAMOUS.

Prototype

The structure of the game is very similar to Grand Theft Auto 4.

Sandbox style, you can explore the city and eat innocent people on the streets (to replenish your base health), or follow the linear missions, which range from tiny ones (consume an NPC to gain his memory) to epic ones (rescue some stranger from a secure facility).

There’s military all over the place because there’s some strange conspiracy going on in the city, some kind of virus threat. And you’re highly KOS (kill-on-sight) because the virus is the reason you have superpowers.

Prototype

Like in GTA4, there’s a wanted level system. You could shapeshift into an innocent passer-by to escape detection, but if you do illegal things (like kick a military tank and cause it to explode), your wanted level goes into the red and you have to run like hell to lose it.

Mission objectives are marked on mini and city maps so you always know where to go next. Completing certain tasks gives you points which you use in exchange for skills, powers, shields, upgrades and whatnot. Alex is a veritable shopper’s paradise when it comes to customisation.

Well, so far so good. Like I said, the gameplay is really promising. But I find combat so hard. Maybe I just need to practise more and try to remember some of the combos. But it’s tough because you have to fight differenly when you shapeshift into different things. Also, fighting different things (people, helicopters, tanks) require different approaches.

Prototype

I suppose some of you will find that fun. I don’t know. I very much prefer Wolverine, when there is only one Wolverine and I know exactly what he is and how to use his claws.

Because of the complexity, I’m constantly mashing X and Y (the two attack buttons) and hoping things start dying around me. Sometimes, I inadvertently perform awesome moves and I’m impressed by myself, even though I know I did it by accident.

And then, there are irritating missions. Like the one where I have to shapeshift into a soldier to infiltrate the evil facility that is apparently responsible for what had happened to me. (To shapeshift into something, you need to “consume” it physically. The animation looks a bit like you’re sucking out someone’s life force.)

Prototype

So I do that and, once inside the facility, I’m told to shapeshift into a higher rank guy to prevent detection. I do that, too, but consuming the guy in broad daylight blows my cover, so I have to run off to let my wanted level cool off, then sneak back into the facility.

That was annoying because I had to run back and forth several times just to complete the darn mission.

Oh, but I didn’t complete the mission in the end because that’s where the first boss appears.

The novelty of being able to run up tall buildings gets old after a while. But it’s no less useful, of course. I would love to be able to do that in GTA4. Getting away from the police would be so much easier.

Prototype

I’m kind of conflicted about this game at the moment. I want to complete the missions and unravel the mystery. I’m intrigued. There’s a huge conspiracy going on and I want to uncover it. But I find the complexity of the game discouraging.

Again, I repeat, it’s probably just me.

The game is so fast-paced there’s often no time to react. After a cutscene (and there are many in the game), you might find yourself trapped in the middle of an army which has orders to empty its entire arsenal at you.

There’s no time to figure things out. You have to keep moving, keep fighting, or be dead.

Prototype

I don’t know. I might give it another try. Or I might ask the Goonfather to play so I can watch. Reading the synopsis on the official website, the game seems to get more exciting as you progress, with an option to choose sides somewhere along the way.

Sounds really cool!

Anyway, Prototype is available for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

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Time Wasters by Swordplay

Swordplay is my pesky li’l bro who spends all his time playing time-wasting games. To make him a little bit more useful, I’m sitting on him and making him recommend one fun and simple web-based game each week.

This week’s game: The Pretender

The Pretender

Fancy being a ghost saviour? This is basically the aim of the game. *lol*

The Pretender

The Pretender is a simple puzzle platformer with pretty watercolour graphics. You have to get through obstacles using special environmental powers (earth and air) and bring the ghosties you find to a portal where they can be saved.

The levels get progressively harder.

Quite fun!

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Rock Band Unplugged (PSP) review

When Guitar Hero came to the DS, I was really tempted to get it. It’s no secret that I’m a music game fan.

But I was a little iffy. How fun can a music game be on a tiny machine after you’re used to handling life-size controllers?

Guitar Hero, DS

So, when Rock Band came to the PSP (three days ago), I was similarly doubtful.

Then, the Goonfather got a copy to play. And I will still doubtful.

Until he told me that you are a one-man band. You have to play four instruments simultaneously.

Rock Band PSP

I was immediately intrigued and I tried it last night.

OMG it’s fun. You can’t imagine how fun it is until you try it.

The way it works is, you play each instrument in turn, using two button on the left and two buttons on the right of the PSP.

Say you start off with bass guitar. You must complete a set phrase without making a mistake. The guitar is then safe for the time being, so you quickly tab over to the drums and play a set phrase.

Rock Band PSP

And so on.

If you make a mistake at any point, the phrase “starts over”, in the sense that you have to fulfill a certain phrase requirement, for instance, 10 seconds without making a mistake.

Make too many mistakes and the instrument goes into the red and eventually die out.

If you take too long to nail a phrase on one instrument, other instruments will start going into danger zone from neglect.

That concept is kinda like The Sims, where you have to juggle between all your Sim’s needs, making sure they all stay above a certain level at all times.

Rock Band PSP

If an instrument goes into the red, its sound will fade out so your song will start sounding lopsided. Imagine a pop song without drum beats. So, to hear the entire song in its full glory, you have to keep all the instruments happy, constantly.

There’s the overdrive feature to save red or dead instruments, like in the regular Rock Band. But overdrive in Unplugged is so much harder to get.

The game is hysterically challenging! (I’m playing hard mode.) But sooo fun.

Also, like the regular Rock Band, there’s a career mode you can follow, unlocking cities and song while you earn fans and money.

Rock Band PSP

The one-man-band gameplay is apparently not new, borrowing from Harmonix’ previous games, Frequency and Amplitude. But I’ve never played those so I can’t compare.

I’m quite impressed, overall. While it doesn’t give the same satisfaction as physically beating out notes on a drums or guitar controller, it certainly provides enough challenge to give a music gamer an adequate quick fix.

Rock Band PSP

Rock Band Unplugged comes with a base set of 41 songs (selected songs from Rock Band and Rock Band 2), with the option to download more and brand new songs.

I’m hooked! Unfortunately, the PSP belongs to the Goonfather and he’s playing it, so I can’t Rock Band on the go.

I’ll give him a few more days, then I’ll swap my DS for his PSP.

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Video Games Live

Last reminder for Video Games Live!

Video Games Live

The biggest video game concert in the world is probably gonna be in Singapore only once, so don’t miss your chance to catch it!

It’s happening next Friday (June 19, 2009) so there’s still time to get your tickets at SISTIC.

Click here to find out more about the concert as well as the supporting pre-show festival.

I’m going with the Goonfather (and Minou and Wang Wang). Hope to see you there, too! =)

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Results of last week’s contest

OMGGG.

I think Mr Randomiser is in love with ahtiong. This dude has won quite a bit of stuff from GGF over the past year.

He wins again this week!

OMGGG.

ahtiong wins the brinjal mouse!

Silly looking mouse

Heheh. Congratulations, lucky you!

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Win a Prototype mouse mat!!

I have this really cool paper-thin Prototype mouse mat. Best for Prototype fans!

Prototype mouse mat

I would use it myself but it doesn’t quite go with Fluffy.

Fluffy

In fact, it’s even slightly bigger than Fluffy, lol.

Anyhoo, the usual deal.

Ask and ye shall receive. (If Mr Randomiser loves you.)

For your info, I use this. So go cast your voodoo or whatever.

Good luck! =)

Closing date is June 18, 2009, 11:59 pm.

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Okay, till next week! =)

[Gamer Girl Friday]

GGF#44: Exclusive gaming festivals coming to Singapore

[Gamer Girl Friday]

I was up until 5 am last night playing a new browser MMOG.

The Goonfather had recommended it to me early in the week but I didn’t have time to check it out until late last night. And then it wasn’t because I wanted to check it out. It was because I had no choice but to try the game in order to be able to talk about it in GGF.

Taking the alternative, that is, to make the Goonfather write a review for me, would have been disastrous. His review would have read like this: “Come play Civony and let me kick your ass. The end.”

Anyway, not too surprisingly, I got addicted to the game and was only able to forcefully drag myself to bed at 5 am by virtue of my game running out of lumber and rendering me without any moves left to make.

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Table of Contents

  1. Civony — Another one of those time sinks
  2. Time Wasters by Swordplay
  3. Video Games Live comes to Singapore
  4. Darkmoon Faire comes to Singapore, too!
  5. Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic
  6. Take part in XXZ League and win prizes
  7. Results of last week’s contest
  8. Win a Fifa Online 2 Kickoff Pack!!

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Civony — Another one of those time sinks

Civony

Even while writing about Civony, I’m playing it. It’s one of those irritating games like Travian, where you have to log in every so often to build stuff because your resources are produced in real time and they overflow and go to waste if you don’t use them.

Civony

Plus, if you’re not building and growing constantly, your enemies will surpass you and conquer your city easily.

When I was playing Travian, I had a browser tab open with it on my computer 24/7. Yes, literally.

Civony looks set to be the next permanent squatter on my browser.

The game is free to play, although rich perps have the option to buy perks in the game using real-life cash, a business model that web gamers have come to accept as the norm.

Civony

Players of Age of Empires and Civilization will be familiar with Civony. The game concept is similar, with the differences being that Civony is web-based, is massively multiplayer and doesn’t have timelines. You can form alliances and real-time text chat with alliance members to plot destruction against your neighbours.

And because the game continues while you sleep, you’ll form the habit of setting your alarm clock at three in the morning so you can wake up to build a farm.

Civony

For those unfamiliar with this genre of games, you’re basically building cities from the ground up, managing resources, villagers, buildings and armies, and then expanding your empire by building more cities or conquering other cities.

For a web game, Civony has a rather steep learning curve. There is some semblance of a tutorial system in place, but the “tutorial” throws you into the deep end within the first few minutes of gameplay.

Civony

In fact, I messed up my first city and couldn’t bear to look at it after a while, so I abandoned it and made another account to start from scratch.

It seems to be a popular game. There are already three live servers up, barely two weeks after official release. And there’s an active forum where you can ask for help or share information.

Of course, you have to be prepared to contend with the juvenile imbeciles who hog the real-time world chat. I normally just ignore them, but they can be quite entertaining sometimes.

Choice overheards:

“Press Ctrl-F4 to get instant 1500 lumber.”

“How do I save this game?”

“HOW CAN I GET A BOYFRIEND?!!”

“Is this all automated or are you all real people?”

And, just this morning, some retard spread the word that you can get free resources by typing in this particular cheat code. The entire chat got spammed.

Civony

Fives hours later, the chat was still full of people trying out the “cheat”.

Oh, and there’s one office-friendly feature some of you may be interested in. You can rename your browser header to anything you like!

Type in whatever you want…

Civony

Then, tadah!

Civony

LOL!

If you’re going to play the game, go to Server 3 since it’s the newest and players in there won’t have progressed too far yet.

The creation process is quick and painless. Just make sure to choose Server 3 and create your city in the state of Bohemia. That’s where the Goonfather and I are.

Civony

Send me an ingame mail once you’re in and I’ll invite you to our alliance!

Name: Sheyla (I had to ditch Sheylara to create a new account)
State: Bohemia
Server: 3
Alliance: Sheylara

Anyway we only started last night, so we won’t be too far ahead of you!

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Time Wasters by Swordplay

Swordplay is my pesky li’l bro who spends all his time playing time-wasting games. To make him a little bit more useful, I’m sitting on him and making him recommend one fun and simple web-based game each week.

Today’s Recommendation: Monsters’ Den: Book of Dread

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread

What a great recommendation this is! But awful timing, considering that I’m currently hooked on Civony.

Monsters’ Den is a flash-based old-school RPG. I love these!

It’s one of those games in which you make a party of adventurers and crawl a dungeon. The battles are turn-based, which requires a bit of planning and strategy.

I love the way this game has been laid out because it feels like an interactive storybook.

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread

You can name your characters. There’s even a way to customise your avatar so you can feel a bigger sense of ownership.

And then it’s lots and lots of exploration, killing mobs and finding treasure.

The map opens up as you click on rooms to walk to, which helps you keep track of where you’ve been and where you haven’t.

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread

I like turn-based combat because it allows you to plan an entire battle ahead, kinda like playing chess, except that I hate chess because I hate planning ahead.

Okay, that doesn’t sound right.

Okay, well, chess is just boring.

Unlike RPGs, where you can make fireballs and such.

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread

Anyway, in my first attempt of the game, my party wiped within 10 minutes because I think I took on the boss party prematurely.

Monsters' Den: Book of Dread

Well, it was fun, anyway.

The game saves automatically, so you can go back to the page any time and it will pick up where you left off.

You can also have up to three saved games on each computer.

Great game, if you like old-school RPG.

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Video Games Live comes to Singapore

Who woulda thought?!

For the first time ever in Singapore, we’ll be able to catch Video Games Live, the largest and most successful video game concert in the world, with over 100 shows staged since 2005.

Video Games Live

Together with the two-hour concert, there will be a festival of events, providing a total of five hours of spectacular gaming goodness.

Highlights of Concert

  • Music from Mario, Halo, Final Fantasy, EverQuest II, Warcraft, Sonic, Metal Gear Solid, Space Invaders, Diablo III, Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts and a lot more!
  • Metal Gear Solid composer Norihiko Hibino.
  • Award-winning, globally-acclaimed Video Game Pianist Martin Leung, who gained worldwide recognition by playing popular video game music blindfolded.
  • Tommy Tallarico, video game composer who has worked on more than 275 video game titles and bagged over 48 industry awards.
  • Jack Wall, who composed music for Myst III & IV, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, Jade Empire, Mass Effect and Rise of the Kasai.
  • Audience interaction.

Check out this video of a VGL concert featuring classic 8-bit game tunes:

It makes me emotional to think about how far video games have come!

Makes me feel old, also.

Highlights of Festival

  • Meet all the concert celebrities in person!
  • Play old arcade classics such as Pac Man, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong.
  • Game tournaments.
  • Cosplay contest.

Tickets can be purchased at SISTIC with prices ranging from $55 to $115.

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Darkmoon Faire comes to Singapore, too!

If you’re a World of Warcraft player, you’d be well familiar with Darkmoon Faire, the monthly carnival held in Elwynn Forest, Mulgore and Terokkar Forest.

If you’re a World of Warcraft player, you’d be extremely excited to learn that the faire is coming to Suntec Convention Centre in May!

Darkmoon Faire

The Darkmoon Faire, apart from being an ingame festival, is also a real-live gaming event with tournaments and games for fans around the world.

It will be happening in Singapore from May 22 to 24 this year.

Expect to witness the first 3v3 WoW tournament in Asia, participate in WoW trading card and miniature games, mingle with cosplayers, buy WoW merchandise and play all kinds of fun carnival games.

Sounds like a great event to take the family!

Darkmoon Faire is part of Licence 2 Play, a massive gaming and electronics fair.

Licence2Play

Some of the other highlights of L2P, besides Darkmoon Faire, are:

  • The New Paper Cyber Challenge
  • Asiasoft Game Festival
  • Game’In School Competitions
  • Cosplay Competitions
  • Family Gaming
  • Workshops for gamers and parents

Check the website for more details!

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Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic

How I wish I could play games all day. I’d spend more time mastering the moves in Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic because it is really fun and satisfying.

It’s a party fighting game which you can download on the PS3.

Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic

It’s also a very comical game. You’re a kung fu hero with wobbly joints, and you kinda look like a muppet baby as you jump around and whoop asses.

I love it!

But I must say that the tutorial is very overwhelming.

The different moves and combos use all of the buttons and triggers of the PS3 controller, including the sixth-axis.

For example, to execute a deadly blow that will reward you with cheesy canned applause, you need to press a button at the right moment, then shake the controller up and down very violently.

Here’s me playing the tutorial:

By the end of the tutorial, which has about 9,473 lessons, if I may exaggerate a slight bit, I could only remember the basic moves: punch, kick, block, heal, pick up something and throw it at someone.

And then I went right into the game proper.

The gameplay is fast-paced and humorous. If you’re a casual, non-fighter gamer, you would totally enjoy watching your boyfriend play it, because you can’t be bothered to memorise all the combos while at the same time manoeuvre yourself into positions to execute said combos.

But I actually played this myself, in the following clip. If I seem gimped, it’s because I am.

I think it’d be nice to have someone do all the hard work and I just enjoy watching the gameplay, but the Goonfather doesn’t want to play it. He’s into playing the Xbox 360 to unlock achievements recently.

Although I can’t speak for fighter gamers, I expect they would like RDKF: FUP. I would if I were one. I mean, I’m not one and I already love the game. Then again, that doesn’t quite follow.

Oh, well. Who cares.

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Take part in XXZ League and win prizes

Want to win Xbox premiums and gift vouchers?

Taking place every Sunday from April 26 till May 17, 2009, the XXZ League will feature “Pro” and “Fun” categories to suit your level of playing.

Held at both XXZs in Singapore (Challenger Funan and Best Denki VivoCity) concurrently, the games and timings will be roughly as follows (different dates will have slightly different times):

Halo Wars (1pm – 3pm)
Castle Crashers (3pm – 4:30pm)
Lips (5pm – 6:30pm)
Gears of War 2 (8pm – 9pm)

For more details or to register for the League, please e-mail xbox@in2.com.sg with the following details:

Name
NRIC number
Mobile number
Game: HW/CC/Lips/GOW2
Location: Funan/VivoCity

Good luck and have fun!

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Results of last week’s contest

Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition

The winners of four copies of the awesome Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition are:

Dennis
CT
Aileen
Githias

Thank you for your participation! Please e-mail me to claim your prize!

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Win a FIFA Online 2 Kickoff Pack!!

This week, I’m waving around a box of FIFA Online 2 Kickoff Pack, full of goodies inside!

Fifa Online 2

FIFA Online 2 is an online multiplayer football game serving the Asian region (Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia). Build your own dream team and experience authentic thrills of this favourite sport!

The Kickoff Pack includes:

  • FIFA Online 2 installation DVD
  • FIFA Online 2 Game Value Card ($10)
  • 5 bonus stat-boosting items: Knee Tape, Wrist Tape, Bracelet, Goggles and Headband
  • Entry form for Costa Sands “Share Your Passion” contest

Just post a comment here, indicating your wish to be included in the randomiser draw for the prize!

One winner only!!

Sorry, cos I only got one box.

May the luckiest reader win!

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I am not late! It is still Friday!!

[Gamer Girl Friday]