Archive for August 2010

GameBabble – Ep.14 Tournament of Legends

August 27, 2010

[blip.tv ?posts_id=4071957&dest=63762]

High Voltage Software’s new original fighter for Wii launches at a budget price! Is it any good or is the $30 price point a bad sign?
Formats available: Windows Media (.wmv)
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Castlevania DLC Sensationalism?

August 12, 2010

Honestly, this blog should focus more on the numerous failures of the gaming press; and it would if reading their ramblings didn’t cause me to continually slam my head into the nearest hard surface! Today though, let’s take a look at something a little different than the usual bad reviews and instead poke at some sensationalist reporting!

As you’re probably well aware, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair is a multiplayer online cross-over Castlevania released as a $15 XBox Live Arcade title. With it’s nearly complete lack of plot and stage-centric nature, Castlevania HD seems like it would be perfect for DLC, and it is. Heck, they even have a “Downloadable Content” option on the main menu! So we knew some DLC would eventually be on the way.

Within hours of the game’s release, some information leaked about upcoming DLC on GameFAQs. Apparently two characters, Maria Renard and Julius Belmont, and a pyramid stage were on the way! Well of course every gaming news site worth it’s salt (and quite a few that aren’t) ran this story. So what’s the problem? Well each one put their own irritating ending spin on it! Let’s take a look at 1up.com’s post to see what I mean:

http://www.1up.com/news/harmony-despair-dlc-bring-pyramid-castle

“If you look close, the size of the new stage is a scant 4MB. How could that be? As Wired postulates, perhaps because most of the content was already nestled in the game’s original release, and all this DLC will do is unlock it.”

It’s a well known fact that everyone hates unlock keys. However, it’s also a well known fact that 4 MB, while a small file size, is way too big to be an unlock key (which are usually under 200KB)! Considering we’re talking about 16-bit sprites, 4MB sounds pretty reasonable. While I’d like to chalk this up to sensationalism, 1UP blames Wired for this information. So, let’s see what Wired has to say:

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2010/08/castlevania-leaks/

“One last interesting image suggests that all of these additions will be separate downloads and that the new chapter will only be 4 megabytes of data. A file size that small could mean that much of the new content is already sitting on users’ hard drives waiting to be unlocked. That’s likely to irk more than a few potential customers, especially given the $15 price tag of the original game.”

Pay close attention to the wording here. What they say is correct, the reason the file size is so small is because numerous assets, like enemies and certain stage elements, are recycled. The issue here is with the wording about much of the new content waiting to be “unlocked”. There’s no unlocking going on here, it’s just recycling. We can already see that the bat winged dogs that spit bubbles are in the stage and we’ve seen them before in stages 2 and 3. That’s not content “waiting to be unlocked”, that’s “recycling”. There is a difference.

Then again, that could just be poor wording rather than trying to be intentionally inflammatory. Ripten, on the other hand, doesn’t mess around:

http://www.ripten.com/2010/08/07/castlevania-harmony-of-despair-dlc-already-on-the-waygetsome/

“With this content seemingly being made available so soon, it makes you wonder if Konami was simply holding them back to procure more money from us gamers in a timely fashion. These new levels and characters wont be free of course . . .What do YOU think?”

Was that a rhetorical question? I understand you’re merely suggesting that content was withheld from consumers for the sake of DLC, but you can’t deny that you’re almost intentionally trying to start something with that statement.

I think an equally likely answer is that while beta testing, Konami immediately got to work on a first set of DLC both to test the DLC functionality of Harmony of Despair and to gague the marketability of said DLC while the new Castlevania is still fresh in people’s minds.

Do I have proof that this is what happened? No, but neither do you.

New Releases – August 2010

August 11, 2010

Slightly late as usual. This is what happens when I wait to have enough time to actually get pictures! Time I still don’t quite have! So if I do add pictures they will appear later. Until then, we’re already 10 days into August without the August game list!

Not that it matters though. This month is about as slow as last month with only afew standout releases here and there. Mostly the month belongs to Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade promotion. We’ve got some good stuff at the end though! Let’s take a look:

Week 1

Monster Rancher DS (DS)

Finally! After two and a half years of waiting, Monster Rancher DS finally arrives in America! It’s essentially like a portable Monster Rancher 2 with Monster Rancher 4 monsters. Personally I still prefer Monster Rancher 4 due to it’s Free Time system, but MRDS is still a good Monster Rancher and I never turn one of those down. If you’ve never played one before, you might wanna start now!
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (XBLA)

A quickly slapped together online multiplayer cross-over Castlevania. Think Castlevania meets Diablo/PSO/Monster Hunter meets MUGEN/MvC2. Well worth $10! Shame it costs $15. Still good fun.

Week 2

Monday Night Combat (XBLA)

Some kind of XBox Live Arcade third person shooter. Could be fun, could be crap. Looks interesting enough.

Week 3

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (XBLA)

A Diablo looking top-down view 2-Player co-op Tomb Raider on XBox Live Arcade. Huh.

Gunblade NY and LA Machineguns (Wii)

Two arcade classics finally get a home release on Wii…about two generations after their release. Hey, I ain’t complaining! Especially since it’s budget priced. Too bad every time I’ve played these games, bad things have happened to me. I swear they’re cursed. I hope they don’t destroy my Wii somehow.

Ys SEVEN (PSP)

You know what I hate about Monster Hunter? The fact that it is the most piss-poor representation of it’s genre ever. You know what I love about Monster Hunter? The fact that it has caused an influx of Monster Hunter “clones”, all of which are better than it! Ys SEVEN is the ancient Ys series’s attempt at joining the multiplayer action RPG fun! Unfortunately it’s on PSP.

Week 4

Scott Pilgrim vs The World (XBLA/PSN) (Earlier (10th) on PSN)

I don’t know anything about Scott Pilgrim nor do I care. This game, however, looks like retro beat ’em up awesomeness! Unfortunately the multiplayer is said to be offline only, a damn shame as this looks like it could have been a Castle Crashers Killer. Oh well, it still looks awesome.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero (XBLA)

So…Dead Rising is getting a downloadable prequel? Huh. I think it’s developed by a different team though and it looks way too serious but…still interesting. Also multiplayer here is online only. Man, it’s either offline only or online only these days! Getting both is a rarity!
Disney’s Guilty Party (Wii)

Yes, there’s a Disney title on the list. This is the kind of game my show was made for. Guilty Party is a multiplayer mystery game said to be like a combination of Carmen Sandiego and Clue. What’s more, it’s made by the people who made Stubbs the Zombie. As much as I hate the Wii for it’s non-functional Motion Control ruining controller; games like this remind me of why I review so much stuff on it. Seriously, how many other multiplayer mystery games have you played this year? It’s these sorts of unique titles that make me happy that we have the Wii and casual gamers. Fingers crossed it’s awesome enough to justify that praise.
Metroid: Other M (Wii)

Metroid: Other M is here already?! Wow, that’s madness! I admit I haven’t been keeping up on this one but I don’t need to because chances are you have. If you haven’t, it’s a new Metroid that blends 2.5D side scrolling and first person shooting. Interesting to say the least!

Valkyria Chronicles 2 (PSP)

One of the best games on PS3 gets a sequel! Unfortunately it’s on PSP. Whose bright idea was that?