I’ll be trying to keep GGF as short as possible, partly because it takes forever to load if it’s too long and has too many pictures, and partly because I have less time these days to play games and attend gaming events, resulting in having fewer things to blog about.
That kinda works out well, really. I’m sure you guys don’t really like reading blog entries that goes on forever, anyway.
So, I paid $129 for a Collector’s Edition Warhammer Online to enjoy the game way earlier than most of the world (about two weeks earlier).
Servers have been up for CE owners for one week already, but I’ve been so busy that all I’ve managed to learn about the game is that Witch Elves are damn sexy.
I was very disappointed with the game when I first logged in (although keeping in mind that the game is still in beta and it could very well still undergo a huge face lift just before retail.
The graphics and animation are so yesterday, the character faces are ugly, the costumes are horrible (except for the witch elves’) and the gameplay is messy.
The moment I logged in, I didn’t feel like playing anymore.
There is no friendly tutorial to introduce you to the world, with an introduction sequence and an NPC to tell you what’s up. Instead, you’re dumped right into the middle of chaos to figure it out yourself.
But I don’t want to be too judgemental at this point of time. The retail launch could surprise me yet.
And I did manage to take this rather nice screenshot.
And I had fun flying halfway around the world to meet up with some guildies so we could try creating a guild.
We’re playing on the Darklands server, in the Destruction realm. Send me a “hi” if you bump into me, although that will be quite rare.
It’s more of a demo, though, that gives you exactly five minutes of fun. And the gameplay is a very simplified version of the PSP’s game. But it has the same hysterical eyeballs oozing cuteness with every chant.
Go check it out if you want to get addicted and annoy your family.
The Force Unleashed was supposed to be this week’s main story. I was going to do a comparison between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. But then, a series of annoying things happened:
The PS3 demo refused to be downloaded. After 72 hours of downloading, it was still at 60%.
My camera broke a few days ago so I couldn’t film the gameplay like I normally do. I had to use my TV capture device, instead, which is very troublesome because I have to tweak my TV to run at a gimpy 480p before the card would acknowledge it).
After spending hours editing the footage and rendering it, the AVI playback was wonky. Then I found out that the raw footage itself was wonky. The audio and video tracks do not sync and each time you play it, it’s different.
I tried rendering the video a few times, but they all end up with parts that skip back to replay a random segment, making the video very schizophrenic.
I spent two more fruitless hours trying to get it right but it refused to cooperate, so I gave up.
I had to give it up or GGF#16 would never see the light of day.
One reason for the faulty video could be that the raw footage is too big (1.2GB for a 28-min video) for my PC to manage, but I think my PC is quite decent with 2GB ram and a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU running SATA Raid HDDs of 320GB each.
But I’m not a video editing professional and I don’t know how to fix the problem, so no TFU videos today!
That’s alright, though. Today’s big bumper issue should be able to sufficiently distract you.
The Halo series, one of the most popular series on the Xbox 360, will come newly-incarnated next year as Halo Wars.
Ensemble Studios, which brought us the well-loved Age of Mythology and Age of Empires series, have spent the last four years developing an RTS game worthy of the Halo universe.
It’s no easy task. No game developer has yet been able to revolutionise the console industry by making the D-pad work on RTS as well as on keyboard and mice. But from what I’ve seen on Halo Wars, it appears that Emsemble Studios is on the right track.
Harter Ryan, the executive producer for Halo Wars, was in Singapore recently to demo the game in an exclusive preview session.
Actually, it was just yesterday.
We were shown the game and given a chance to play it.
One of the journalists asked why the UNSC seemed overpowered against the Covenant and Harter admitted with a laugh that the preview build was purposely made to give journalists an easy time playing the game, because the main purpose is to show off all the cool features of the game.
He assured us that the final build will be very balanced.
But I like it easy. It’s funny watching the Covenant base blow up into smithereens while its helpless infantry fire at my army with ineffectual artillery.
Here are some screenshots of the game:
Looks pretty cool, huh?
In the final product, you’ll be able to play co-op or versus modes in sessions hosting up to six players.
Although not as handy as playing RTS on the PC, the controls are pretty intuitive and suitably comfortable.
You can make Spartans (up to three) and get your Spartan to hijack an enemy tank. That was pretty cool to watch. After the Spartan hops onto the tank, he will start monkeying about, wrestling the enemy tank commander and then throwing him out of the vehicle. Haha! And then the vehicle will change colour to reflect your army’s colour!
We tried the co-op mode. It was fun! I like having a partner to play with so he can make all the tough decisions. I’m quite peace-loving, you know. I just like to build things and will tend to forget to attack my enemy unless the threat comes to my doorstep.
Keep your eyes on my face.
I was wearing shorts okay. They just happened to be very, um, short.
Oh, check out my cap! It’s a Halo Wars UNSC cap.
The Goonfather confiscated it when I brought it back, so I can’t give it away, lol. You can ask him if he wants to give it away. Haha.
Halo Wars will be released for the Xbox 360 in the first half of 2009. For now, here’s a trailer you can dig into:
I wanted to show you the video of the gameplay, but I can’t, so I’ll just talk about it.
It’s really awesome. There’s something very satisfying about destroying enemies without having to use a weapon. Without having to even touch them physically, in fact.
That, I think, is the largest appeal of The Force Unleashed. You play Darth Vader’s apprentice, ordered to cause havoc to the universe with your force powers.
I found it a little hard to hover enemies with precision before smashing them at chosen spots because you have to use both thumbsticks to move your target around. But I guess it’s something that will come naturally after some practice.
There are infinite possibilities for using the force! Pick up a droid and smash it at a stormtrooper. Pick up the stormtrooper and hurl him over the railings to fall to his death. Pick up a stormtrooper and make him airsick by turning him round and round in the air. Pick up a very large random object and smash it into an army of stormtroopers.
It’s like being a kid at a candy store. There’s so much damage you can do and so many ways to do it that you’ll go nuts.
While waiting for TFU to come out on all the major consoles and handhelds in mid September, you can get into the mood first with TFU on your mobile phone.
If you have an N-Gage enabled Nokia phone, you can start playing it next week!
It’s a very different gameplay from the console versions but it’s the same storyline and music and everything.
Because of the limitations of a mobile phone, the game has been simplified into making patterns with your keypad. So, like, each enemy will have a certain pattern next to him. You’ll have to “draw” the pattern to kill him before he kills you.
There are also patterns you have to memorise to perform ad hoc actions such as healing yourself or force pushing an object out of the way.
The action can get quite frantic, especially when you have a zillion patterns on the screen and you have to decide which enemy to destroy first.
Okay, you won’t exactly be the last guy, but you’d be the last sane guy on earth. Your mission is to save endless hordes of rabid, screaming people from zombies. If you don’t, they’ll all get eaten by the zombies and then you’d really be the last guy on earth.
The Last Guy is an arcade-style game available for download on the PlayStation 3. It’s a Snake-meets-Pac-Man sort of game.
So, you’re this guy running about in the city. Your job is to collect people. They’ll follow you once you pick them up so you’ve got a line of screaming people running behind you, getting longer and longer.
You have to avoid zombies. The zombies don’t exactly eat your people when they collide, but they will scatter them up. Your people will shriek their heads off, break the line and run off in a zillion directions so you’ll have to collect them all over again. Annoying!
You have a time limit to collect a minimum number of people and bring them to a safe zone.
This game will make you schizophrenic with the speedy action and the screaming people. The zombies move slower than you do, but they’re everywhere and it’s really hard to avoid them when you’ve got a long train of panicky peeps trailing behind you.
For the record, I haven’t played any of the earlier Viva Piñata games but I was given a copy of Trouble in Paradise yesterday, so I tried it out.
What a cute game! I felt like I was playing SimGarden. The premise is that Piñata Central’s computer records have been wiped by evil ruffians, which threaten the happiness of parties all over the world. So your job is to make a beautiful garden to attract cute piñatas, and then nurture them into full candiosity to send out to parties.
The thing I like most about the game is the cute piñatas. They’re really very cute, whether they’re roaming about your garden, sleeping, or making babies. Yeah! You can manipulate a pair of same-species piñatas into falling in love and making babies. Haha.
This is a photo I took right off my TV using a phone camera. Trying to take a good photo of them is like trying to take a good photo of toddlers. They just refuse to stay still! You spend a lot of time zooming in and out and twirling perspectives to get a nice framing, and then the piñatas either look away or walk away. Damn things!!
But they’re so cute I forgive them.
I don’t have much patience decorating a garden (I’m not really a plants and garden sort of person) so my garden turned out looking really ugly because I was planting stuff all over the place without much thought.
Trouble in Paradise has a multiplayer option but I haven’t had a chance to try it out since the game hasn’t been officially released yet and there’s no one to play with. (It will be out on Sep 2 in Singapore.)
Special piñatas cards will be made available which give you exclusive piñatas when you scan the cards with your Xbox LIVE vision camera.
Each game comes with one card!
I’m looking forward to exploring the multiplayer elements after the game’s release.
Thanks to her, I lost a few nights of sleep playing this game way beyond socially-accepted waking hours.
I love this game, which is why I need to talk about it despite probably half of you already having played it. The other half haven’t and they need to know about it!
It’s a game of puzzles. In the game, you’re a professor who got invited to a curious village to solve a curious mystery. While you go about looking for clues, more mysteries pop up and you have to solve those, too.
While solving those greater mysterious, you’re constantly put to the test with quick puzzles, most of which test your IQ and maths as well as your ability to look at things from different perspectives.
There are 135 puzzles in this first installment, not counting the bonus ones you can download.
Here are some sample puzzles:
And here’s the answer to the puzzle I set out yesterday.
You can get the answer by looking at your keyboard. The bite marks tell you where to look! So, like, G has a bite mark above it, so look at the key above G… which it T! Get it? :)
Just thought I should let you guys know that I’ve bought a Collector’s Edition copy of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. It’s like the biggest MMORPG since WoW, so I bought it even though I knew I wouldn’t have time to play it.
The game launches officially on Sep 17, but CE owners can start playing the Open Beta on Sep 7, and then get a few-day headstart in the live game. Woot!
Then again, even if you give me one year headstart, I’ll still be lousier than you considering the amount of time I have to play MMORPGs, which is none. A case in point is Age of Conan. Three months after activating my AoC account, my character is still at level 10. LOL. (The account is still active as we speak. I’ll have to remember to cancel it soon.)
Anyway, here’s a funny quiz WAR fans can do while waiting for the game to release.
It tells you what realm and race you’re most affiliated with!
I got Empire, which is the human goody-two-shoes type. Haha.
I will be playing in the realm of Destruction (a guild decision) on the server Darklands (tentative).
I will be announcing a contest on Monday which will interest both gamers and non-gamers and involve several winners (not just one). Because of that, the contest will be slightly harder than just posting a comment, but it’ll be worth it.