Sunday, 5 December 2010

Shaun White Skateboarding = EPIC FAIL!

I've played Shaun White Snowboarding and I thought it was pretty good. It had its problems but nevertheless it was an enjoyble experience I recommend all to have. Surely they could replicate this for skateboarding and be a success. No, just no.

Firstly you need to be aware that there's 2 skateboarding genres, realistic and arcade. Tony Hawk has always dominated with the arcade style but Black Box have came and destroyed that franchise with realism, creating the most authentic skateboarding game to date. For Shaun White to have stood a chance at being successfull he'd have needed to ensure his game went on the arcadey side of things so that people such as tractakid who are unable to master Skates controls could play the game no problem.

But no, Shaun White Skateboarding has it's own retarded variation of the excellent flick it control scheme which is used in the skate franchise. I haven't played the game too much yet but if you get told to do a Kickflip to Tailslide or something then you're going to have just as much trouble in this game as you would if you are incapable of doing it consistent on a Skate game. To piss me off even more they've decided to lock the majority of the tricks from the get go meaning I've been forced to use just basics such as Kickflips and 50-50's, not fun..... But it gets worse! I finally unlocked the 360 Flip trick and to my horror they have completely ruined the animation of it. The 360 Flip is one of the most awesome looking tricks in skateboarding so it's essential it looks just as sexy in the game. What we're given is a retarded version of it, I can't quite put my finger on the reason why but it kind of looks as if the skater underflips it before hand, eurgh.

The game can't even get it's FS and BS's right. If you approach the rail and it is infront of your feet as you Ollie then the trick you are about to do is Frontside, even if you turn your body to looking backwards (which one may assume meant the trick was Backside). It's that simple yet the game seems to muddle it up or just not even register a FS or BS at times. I was messing around with a few BS Bluntslides and I get "FS Tailslide" register, what the hell! There could have been a win in the game as when you flip trick above coping on vert your skater flips the board in to your hands so you catch it and then place it under your feet. This is how Shaun White and other vert skaters do fliptricks in to grabs in real life yet the Tony Hawk and Skate franchise have failedto incorporate the ability to do that in the game, instead you catch the board with your feet and then grab it. Thing is Shaun White fails as it FORCES you to do it like that. Lets say I want to do a little Kickflip to Fakie on a 4 foot ramp, guess what happens? I can't because my skater automatically tries to grab it even though there's clearly not enough time to do so.

And I'm still not done moaning. There's no way of powersliding to reduce speed or help turn round a corner quick, you can't jump whilst off your board (makes traversing terrain a bitch at times) and I've already encountered a few glitches such as bobbing up and down on the floor. Did I forget to mention there's a marker feature? It's nice but you need to wait 5 seconds for it to re-load you, that would be fine but skate does it instantly.....

You may think I'm being harsh on the game but you need to understand these small things do matter and are important. How would you feel if you placed a racer such as Forza and your small crappy Mini started roaring like a McLaren does. You'd be shocked right? That's how I feel with Shaun White Skateboarding, where's the polish to remove all the stupidness. I can probably find myself getting some fun out of the game once I've unlocked all the tricks, time will tell. It seems like a mediocre game, there's just one big problem.... Skate is so much better. :)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Lost the Desire :(

I feel like I owe it to my Xbox friends to write an entry in this blog explaining what I have been up to and why if you've seen me on the xbox this week I was most likely on the dashboard (thought I'd give dashboard saving a go like tractakid does :P).

Truth be told my girlfriend of 3 years left me on Sunday after I discovered a few of her secrets she been hiding the past 4 months. It's the worst kind of betrayal and hurts. As a result I've needed my friends more than ever and I have once again focused my attention on skateboarding, the only love in life that will never hurt me (least not emotionally).

Right now is a prime example of my lack of motivation. It's a sunday morning and it looks pretty wet outside so chances of skateboarding properly are really slim. My usual self would say "screw skateboarding, I'm going to get some achievements" but I just don't feel like that right now. Heck I have new copies of NFS Hot Pursuit and AC Brotherhood sat right under my nose as I type this yet the desire to play them is slim. In 3 days I've gotten hold of Kinect, a HTC 7 Trophy (mobile with Windows Live on) and the 2 games I just mentioned. That should be enough to hype anybody but i's not quite working. I'm starting to regret buying Call of Duty BlackOps too as that has barely been touched at all. No regrets on purchasing Green Day Rock Band though as I know eventually I will love to play that.

This is the best time of the year to be a gamer and the worst time to be a skateboarder (due to weather) however my priorities are stopping me from enjoying my Xbox to it's fullest. Life sure is crappy for me right now. [cry]

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Spoilt for Choice

Been a couple of weeks since my last post, in that time I've managed to assassinate 7 people in Assassin's Creed, progress which was going well but has since slowed down in the last week as it hasn't been played. The reason for this is because of the sudden burst of new games coming out.

Before I get on to that reason though I should state that my Xbox time this past week was low due to the fact I have had a free house which means I've hosted numerous parties. I also hosted a big FIFA 11 tournament (making sure my profile is never signed in whilst playing as I do not wish to be associated with the achievements on that game yet) which combined a total of me and 6 friends battling it out in a league to see who was the best FIFA gamer. I wont dwell on this topic too long, I'll just say that people get agitated when they lose and the whole fun spirit of the competition is lost (well really it's all Shane's fault) so after just 2 days we called it quits. In that time we did manage to play eachother at least 3 times though so enugh games were played. For anybody interested I came 3rd out of 5th teams as I played with Liverpool, I was gunning for Golden Boot against Wayne Rooney until Shane got pissed off and let Man Utd beat him 8-0, causing the fun to end and Rooney to destroy Torres on goals scored. That's enough blabbing, click the link below to see the scores.

(We did play a few more games on Day 3 but I can't be bothered to sort out a picture and upload it).

Having to stop myself from playing FIFA 11 during the week I also had th temptation of Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock which a friend brought round for us all to play. I already have this on my tag so that's not a problem however having to complete Quest Mode twice (which equates to 93 songs x 2 = 186 songs played) would take up too much time so I've left that for now. Last Thursday saw Sims 3 and EA MMA arrive through my letter box (thankyou rover08 :)) and both of them games have been put straight on to my tag. I had my first proper go on Sims 3 last nigh for an hour and I can tell the improvement to the franchise is massive compared to when I played the games on Playstation 2 back in 2003. I think the game will be a big hit with my girlfrind too so I plan on keeping this game, no rush to play it now.

There would be a rush with EA MMA however a lack of achievement guide and road map (plus a low trade in price for the game at CEX alreadt) has meant that I plan to just keep the game now and play it at my own pace. I put it on my tag as I could see there were a lot of easy achievements to be won on it. I haven't ventured online nor have I gave Career mode a go but I've already obtained 9 achievements for 135 gamerscore. This will be on the backburner for potentially ever however it is nice to know I have a fighting game in my collection to work on at any point as I see fit.

The new games trend continued as I decided to spend £94.85 on Rock Band 3 with the Keyboard peripheral. I had been tempted on this bundle for a while but it was the factor of having house parties which led to me giving in and deciding to actually buy it. The game is absolutely fantastic and leads me to believe that there wont be a Rock Band 4 as there really is no need for it. The new pro instruments are sure to keep gamers occupied for hundreds of hours (my progress on Pro Keyboard is yet to start, got other games to play instead) an the interface on the game is excellent. A small but VERY helpful feature is being able to swap instruments via the character select screen without signing out of gamertags and all the usual nonsence we've come accustomed to in Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. All that being said I do think GH Warriors of Rock is a good game too as it has some features which are unique and would have been nice to see on Rock Band 3.

Finally I can't forget Medal of Honor which is still a new game to my collection. I finally started on campaign yesterday and have managed to do 3 levels on Hard already. The game is not Hard at all, in fact I find it a joke that I'm even playing on Hard difficulty. I don't hide behind cover as required in Call of Duty veteran, I just run around guns blazing to get the job done. I've got just one achievement left on the multiplayer aspect (for ranking up to top level) and then I will hopefully be done with the game (depending on how tricky Tier 1 mode is). HMV are offering Call of Duty Black Ops for just £7.99 when Medal of Honor is traded in. I believe Black Ops is reatailing at £45 so that's a really good deal.

I've still got plenty of other games to play too but no time. With a job hopefully in the works within the next few days my gaming timewill be cut down even more. I plan on playing Rock Band 3 endless setlist today as I may not have free time to do it in the future. It seems to be a lot less stressful than the previous games so I do believe I shall get it done.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Why Hello Assassin's Creed

With the release of Brotherhood only a month away I have finally decided to properly play Assassin's Creed and then move on to it's sequel all before Brotherhood drops. It's not too much to ask of myself however with a job interview on Tuesday which could lead to 20+ hours a week of work and new games like Medal of Honor arriving (came through the post today, big thank you to rover08 for that :D) I can see it becoming a problem due to a lack of free time. I'm also edgey on the fact that I havn't quite filmed enough tricks for my yearly skate video but that's another topic all together.

On to Assassin's Creed, man I love it! I am not too in to sandbox games like GTA, I tend to get bored running around killing random people but Assassin's Creed hasn't bored me yet. Yesterday before I went to bed I had a quick play with getting some of the combat achievements such as stealth killing 50 guards and 100 enemies defeated without dying. I thoroughly enjoyed getting those achievements as there isn't much else that's as satisfying as sneaking up behind an enemey and BAM, knife to the gut to a calm but cool walk away before anybody notices. I'll tell you this, if I was female I would want altair's babies.

But then again I am only on to my third assassination target and I've seen the weaknesses of the game shine through. It's so god damn repetitive..... It's shameful really that the bureau's in the game all look the same, the dialogue of citizens you save quickly repeats itself and the whole process towards getting ready to assassinate your target is the same. Now I'm sure everybody is going to tell me that the sequel isn't so stupid and fixes these problems, I really hope so as I can imagine I will have so much fun with it.

The achievements on Assassin's Creed have always been extremely off putting to me as friends such as adiash73 will know, I get extremely paranoid about the fact I'm going to miss something or do something wrong which will result in me messing up an achievement. Well now after playing it for a good few hours I can safely say I have a good enough understanding of the game to know what it takes to get all the achievements and I don't foresee any serious problems causing me hassle in the future. I think I should give an apology to tractakid for all the paranoid banter I gave him in chat the other day. I don't feel guilty though as I've had to read countless lines of him moaning and groaning as he plays the music rhythem games.

That's enough for now, I always manage to make my blog entries rather lengthy and I can imagine people can't be bothered to read it all haha. Now I've got to force myself to not get engrossed in Medal of Honor whilst I continue to grind out Assassin's Creed, until next time!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Eurogamer Expo 2010 in London Thoughts

First off this post will be long as I plan to write as much detail about my day as possible. Last time I went to an Expo I managed to blab about a lot, I'm sure I'll be able to do the same today. I'm going to lay the post out the same way I did for the Gadget Show back in April as that worked quite well. Here we go!

Sunday 3rd October 2010 - Eurogamer Expo at Earl's Court in London

The Journey There

Waking up at 8:30am when you've been getting used to waking up at midday (Halo Reach IS the reason to blame for this) is a bit of a shock to the system but when you're excited for the day ahead you're able to get out of bed with a spring in your step! My dad drove me him and my brother to London in a little under an hour and a half I think which was good timing. Upon arrival the queue seemed to be really long but after waiting 15 minutes it was 11am and the gates opened. Thankfully the gates moved quick as we was in.

PS3 Move

Don't Know Game Name (I tried researching!)

At the entrance is where the Playstation 3's Move technology is located, therefore making it our first stop. We stumbled accross one of the most bizarre games of our current generation. I remember watching developer videos of it at e3 and thinking how it will be fun to play despite the strangeness of it. I'm not quite sure of the purpose to the game but basically you have to try get to the bottom of a hill as fast as possible whilst collecting coins. That doesn't sound too bad however then I tell you that your character is riding a shopping trolley that can spin attack people and allow you to duck under objects.

Unfortunately me, my dad and my brother were unable to get to grips with the game in the few minutes we all spent with it. I am happy to report that the controls do work and the game responded with everything I did well. I crashed a lot and did kind of crappy but I can say this is due to lack of practise and not doing the tutorials (which my dad did). I was quite impressed with the amount of different types of ways you could interact with the character, especially how to jump. To do that you have to point the wand upwards and then raise your arm quickly. Failure to point the wand before hand means there will be no jump and instead you will power up your guy for a speed attack. The only disappointment I discovered with the Sony Move was that if you twist the remote it there's no way the Eyetoy can pick up on the movement. I always thought it was call that the Wiimotes on the Wii could.

The Shoot

The Shoot is a Time Crysis type of game but with robots, not humans. I had a quick go and found that although the controller was responsive and I was able to aim at enemies I ended up just pointing anywhere and shooting without tactically thinking about it. Everynow and then a rocket would come at us and we needed to try and dodge them by moving to the side. Everytime I tried and everytime I failed. I asked a rep to explain to me and he didn't seem to know how either which kind of bummed me out so I left.

Heroes on the Move

Didn't get any pictures of this (maybe some videos but will look later) but from what I saw the game appeared to be quite amusing. My brother had to throw a razorblade as a frisbe with Daxter (from the Jak & Daxter series) and then aim where the frisbe was going with the Move controller. Simple concept but it seemed to be effective. The enriovnment had lots of objects to interact with meaning getting high scores on the game could become quite a fun challenge. Afterwards I saw my Dad play as Clank (from the Ratchet and Clank series) shooting at lots of enemies. I wish I got to see a bit more of the game and took some photos as it seemed rather decent. I do wonder sometimes why games can't be released sooner, it has a date of Spring 2011 but it seems complete already.

Other Mentions & Move Round Up

There were a few more games on show which made use of the Move controller but I never had a chance on them. I watched people play The Fight: Lights Out a few times and it seemed to always get a good reception and a crowd wanting to play. I noticed a trend though which happens in all fighting type games, people start swinging like crazy and forgetting to block. It leaves me wondering whether they enjoyed swinging there arms like a maniac to look good even though in reality they probably did pretty badly. I walked past Socom a few times I think but I kept forgetting to go and properly check it out, bummer.

Overall I think the Move is a good product which is worth a buy. It's not groundbreakingly amazing since the Wii has been there and done that really however it's nice to know that in the future there will be core games made that make use of this technology. Since it's around the £50 price mark I reckon my dad will end up buying it soon. I look forward to this as I reckon I would quite enjoy it.

PS3 Games

Motorstorm Apocalypse 3D

There's a few franchises I wish were on the Xbox 360, Motorstorm is definitely one of them. We have the original in my household however a lack of achievements stopped me from proper playing it (although I really did enjoy the few hours I spent on it). I was curious to see how a racing game could handle 3D so we got hold of a console as soon as possible to give it a go (which was a good thing as I never managed to give it another go later on).

3D is an aquired taste with most people being negative at first but then enjoying it once they're truely experienced it. There will always be a few naysayers though and when it comes to video games I can see why. I put the glasses on and it just felt so weird. I had a dab at 3D gaming with Avatar back in April but things are hectic in Motorstorm and I had rubbish and rubble flying around everywhere. It's a lot to take in at first and I found it slightly infuriating. I've got to say that they've done the 3D well for the game but I have to question whether it really needs 3D. It's cool and all but I think I'd just rather see sexy high definition graphics.

But the gameplay was fantastic as I expected and I loved the level design for the track I was on. It's a bit like Split Second where the environment crumbles around you. I was hinted to press the square button and as I did it zoomed in on some skyscrapers about to collapse so I had to use my boost to get past them before I was squashed. I didn't notice too much as unfortunately I decided to get off really quickly. Good stuff.

Other PS3 Games

I didn't actually play any of the other Playstation 3 exclusive games that were on show. I did watch people play most of them though so I'll quickly say my two cents

Gran Turismo 5: - I kid you not when I say I thought I was looking at Forza Motorsport for a bit. Both have ace graphics with the same cars and tracks, do you blame me? They had an area set up so you could play this in a dome shaped seat thing and a steering wheel. It looked pretty sweet and I can't believe we didn't take a photo. It was also in 3D at booths.

inFAMOUS 2: - I havn't played the original but have been interested in it. I watched the sequel today for a minute (only 2 consoles set up and they were hidden kind of) and what I saw looked really good. We were in a chase and needed to catch up to the limo so with our powers we were able to slide accross a telephone wire and then jump off in to a glide. We saw the limo down below and landed on it for a cutscene. Some unique type of gameplay there if I do say so myself.

LittleBigPlanet 2: - What I saw was the same brilliant formulae and therefore I didn't feel the need to play. I was hoping to see some mini games (new to the sequel I believe) but everytime I looked people were just creating their own levels or completing pre-existing ones.

Xbox 360 - Kinect

The most anticipated thing about this event for me was Kinect, whether or not the technology really works to make it a success. I loved the concept of it at e3 2009 when it was announced however since then my views have differed due to it's negative response by consumers and it's high price point. None of that would matter though if I liked it, I left the show feeling slightly bitter...

Dance Central

It's the big Kinect game for launch as it aims to get the whole family off the couch and learning some dance moves to popular dancey songs. It was the first time I saw Kinect and I felt my stomach doing backflips due to excitement haha. Throughout the day two woman were demoing it and at the end of every song they tried to rally people together to take over so they could get a breather. Eventually I decided to give the game a go with my dad to see what it was like. I was surprised that it's not as hard as it looks to copy the moves shown on the screen. I mean yes I made sure we were on Easy difficulty so the moves probably changed at a slower pace but to me that was still a good adequate difficulty to be on. On the right side of the screen there is a silouhette of your body which shows you how you look. There's also the characters dancing on screen as well as images coming up showing the move which is coming next as well as the scoring system, I didn't know where to look! I was able to see that Kinect picked up my body extremely well, if I move my knee up in the air in a certain way then I'm mirrored just like that.

Unfortunately I was unable to see any of the other modes that the game had as they only wanted to show off the mode I was on. I have heard there is a jam mode which could be very interesting. What I played the characters on screen perform perfectly no matter what I want to do, I'm hoping the jam move will let your avatar move exactly like you do so you can really see how you look (instead of looking at a small silhouette). There's most definitely going to be a training mode to help you learn each move too (and there's going to be a lot of them). It's being developed by Harmonix who I have a lot of faith in thanks to the excellent Rock Band franchise they have created (more on that later). Therefore there is no cheating in this game like you can do in games such as Just Dance on the Wii, oh no. As I watched other people play I noticed how they were able to get yellow or green ratings on easier simple moves which repeat for a few seconds however on quick complex moves lots of red was coming up (which I presume means no points). I LOVE this as it proves that Kinect technology can really tell if you're doing the dance move correctly or not, something I was worried about.

What is key to note about Dance Central is that you can take away the scoring system and even Kinect and people will still love it. There's a reason why Just Dance has sold so well on the Wii despite it being terrible and it's because people just love an excuse to sing and dance. I saw plenty of people having fun on the stage (including woman) and I'm sure plenty of them didn't care for the score or how good they looked, just laughing at the pictures that are taken in the freestyle section is funny enough for them. Problem is it's not going to be cheap and I can't see people forking out the money for it despite it being an excellent product. We shall see.

Joy Ride

This game angered many of gamers such as myself when Microsoft announced it would no longer be a free aracade game, instead it had become a full retail title for Kinect. I had one quick race on Joy Ride against my brother and I was very disappointed with what I saw. Firstly there is no way of accelerating or braking, that's pretty stupid in my eyes but I can forgive it (to make it easier for non gamers). All you really need to know is if you move your hands like a steering wheel you move left and right, at least you're supposed to. I had a horrible time trying to move as I went left to right to left to right repeatedly and as a result crashed plenty.

Throughout the couple of minutes the race took I tried all I could think of to steer better by moving my hands quick to slow or stiff or relaxed, nothing helped me. I came in 8th place (which was last) and felt pretty damn disappointed with what I had just experienced. My brother seemed to do okay on it as did other people I watched play so maybe I just didn't quite get it or got unlucky. I'm hoping it's the latter as I was watching people have fun with the game and I was jealous. I managed to make the boosting work quite well (pull to body then push out quick) and I did a drift once (by leaning my body to the side) so I can say that Kinect did work in that respect however it's useless if the steering fails like it did for me.

Kinect Sports

Probably the worst game of the show this was, it's just Wii Sports but probably worse. There were 4 games to choose from which was volleyball, 100m sprint, table tennis and bowling. I watched all of them in action (volleyball and table tennis were popular due to 2 players) and they all seemed to make little use of Kinect. I saw two kids infront of me in the queue do the race together and the on screen avatar did not mirror how the kids looked whatsoever. It left me wondering how the technology was being used as I was expecting to see a representation of how you sprint show on the game. Instead what I presume happens if Kinect looks at how fast your less are moving and adjusts the speed as a result. I'd need more time to confirm that it's rubbish but it more than likely is.

Next one to discuss is table tennis, the fan favourite (it always seemed to be on everytime I walked past). There's only one compliment I can give to this and that's that Kinect is able to recognise whether you hit the ball with the palm of your hand or the back. The avatars were able to mirror your body movement pretty well like that however the ping pong ball could not react with how you swung your arm very well. I saw this one guy keep trying to aim to the left and everytime the ball just went in a straight line, not diagonal like his arm was clearly doing. Maybe he was doing it wrong but if he was then I have to question the whole mentallity of Kinect, I thought it was meant to be easy for the whole family to play, controller free and all. I've played table tennis on Wii Resort and I have to say I think it's much better.

Volleyball suffered from the same problem the table tennis did in that the game doesn't react to how you hit the ball, instead it justs acknowledges you made contact with the ball and hits it back to the same position over the net everytime. Now I didn't play it and only saw one game between too guys but I got the sense that they were just jumping and frailing their arms, not tactically trying to place the ball. As I just said I believe this is because the game wont change the path of the ball even if you hit it to the left or the right but maybe the guys I were watching were simply doing a bad job. The frustrating thing about this game though is that people will still have fun with it, despite it being pretty bad just like Just Dance is on the Wii.

So when I got my chance to play I picked the other game I hadn't seen in action yet, that was bowling. It was time to see whether or not Kinect would change the path the ball took depending on where I aimed. I wasn't too hopeful it would due to what I saw in the previous games but I remained optimistic. I grab the ball by either moving my left or right hand to the lane I want to pick a ball up from, that worked well everytime but nothing too impressive there. There's about 6 to 8 arrows on the lane with one being selected at a time, this selected arrow shows what position you are bowling from. If I took a step left or right the game would recognise this and change the selected arrow, I found that quite impressive however it didn't always seem to work and I had problems doing it at times which was a big shame. When it came to the bowling it was shambles. I've done bowling in real life and I'm half decent plus I'm pretty good on the Wii so I know how my arm needs to behave in order to direct the ball to where I want it to go. More often than not the ball did not go where I asked it to which was very dissatisfying.

In conclusion I have to say to everyone avoid this Kinect game! It's a clone of Wii Sports and not a very good one. There's no point buying this for a few awes at one Kinect does when the Wii already made a fairly decent attempt to recreate the sports for the living room. If Kinect Sports had innovated and allowed gamers to use real skill then I would be sitting here telling you it's a pretty decent title, but it's not. The least they could have done is added in different modes or challenges but I don't think they have. This may be a bit of fun for the kids and elders but please, stay away.

Kinect Adventures

I can safely say that Kinect Adventures is not a big disappointment like Kinect Sports was, instead Kinect Adventures does what Kinect Sports fails to do, actually let skill determine the gameplay. The demo that was being played was of a career type mode I believe which kept repeating which meant that we were unable to pick the type of event we wanted to do.

I had my eye set on one where you are in a cart on a track and you need to move around and duck to avoid obstacles and collect coins. I was very impressed when I saw a video for this at e3 this year and yet again I was impressed when I witnessed it being played live. People seemed to have great fun making their body in to Y shapes and spreading their arms diagonal to collect coins whilst preparing to move left or right to avoid hitting blocks coming your way. I do wonder though if there's any way of ranking the difficulty up on it though as otherwise after playing it 5 times you're going to remember the course well and probably get a perfect score. Nevertheless I am sure anybody who plays that will get a good sense of satisfaction from the game as Kinect really is able to mirror your movements on to the avatar brilliantly.

An effective but potentially boring game on show was one where you are in the sea and your tank gets hit by fish, causing leaks. Your job is to rub your hand on all the holes to heal them. I think kids are going to like it but one go will be enough for us adults unless there's a way to change the difficulty. The 2 people I saw on it weren't having to move much however if there starts to become lots of leaks really quickly then it could become a knackering game to play.

Problem with this one is that I've seen it all before years ago with the Eyetoy. Hopefully you can use other parts of your body such as your feet to do the job too, if so it could be pretty funny.

I got to play on the game where you and a friend are in a raft and you need to collect coins as you head down river. Unfortunately for my dad I wasn't too interested in actually trying to play the game properly as I had seen before me fail. As you are now working co-operatively together it's important that both people move the same way at the same time and jump in unison. I did this briefly with my dad and it seemed to work quite well despite us not doing too good. Before long though I was just dancing around checking to see whether Kinect's 1 to 1 ratio is plausible, and it is. I was able to get in to a crouching position on the floor and my avatar mimicked it plus I was doing karate kicks and Kinect recognised it and displayed on screen accordingly. It's not perfect though as it's unable the movement in your fingers which is a shame plus I was unable to get my hand on my avatars head despite a few tries. I'll try upload a video of me and my dad playing it sometime, it's quite amusing.

My Thoughts on Kinect

I am left slightly bemused with the game selection choice for Kinect that was shown at the show. The technology does work (although it's not perfect) yet game developers don't seem to be making most of the potential, instead opting to bring out generic games which we've already seen on the Wii. Dance Central is probably going to be a brilliant game yet wont reach sales it deserves because people don't need to spend £125 on a camera when they already have a Wii which works perfectly fine. I can imagine the average mum leaving the game show yesterday thinking Kinect was good fun but not much better than the Wii. The reality is that it's got a lot better technology, it's just not being used quite right yet.

As for me I shall keep my fingers crossed that my dad goes and buys it as I'm not prepared to fork out the money because I don't believe it's worth it yet. With Sony Move being really good though I can imagine him opting for that as a purchase instead and to be honest I can't blame him.

Xbox 360 Games

To be honest there wasn't really many games that I played properly, most of them I had a minute or 2 on near the end when the queues died down. I didn't really feel the need to play most of them as I know what to expect. Sure there's new features in Fable but it's nothing I've never seen before. I spent the majority of my time on Rock Band 3 (I shall discuss that at the end of this blog though) as that has new peripherals to try out. Nevertheless I'll give my thoughts on what I saw as I watched others playing.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Two people I know online both played this a lot they've told me and I can see why, the new multiplayer is a good bit of innovation for the franchise. Now I havn't played much of Assassin's Creed 1 as I borrowed it from a friend however I played enough to understand the concept of the game. Online is the same in the sense that you need to hund a target and assassinate them however it's made different as you need to watch your own back to (as you're also a target).

I was in an 8 player game and excited to see how this was going to work. You get to choose a character to be with all of them having strengths and weaknesses plus a selection of different weapons could be picked. There's a arrow that works like a compass which allows you to know where your target is so I tended to walk slowly in the crowds with all the other civilians, trying to blend in so I'm not seen. What tended to happen is I could tell that there's a human player around as they are sprinting which makes them obvious. I was able to get my target a few times and had a great sense of accomplishment everytime I did. I'm not sure but I think I'm the target of the target I'm trying to get, meaning we're both on to eachother. However there are 6 other people in the game and anyone of them can be assassinated by me and I will get points from them as a result of it, just not much plus there's no arrow pointing to their direction (making them harder to spot). When you or your target dies you both get given a new target, and you continue from there.

I only got to play one 5 minute round which was not very much time so I was unable to really get to see what the online offers. There's ways to set up traps and fool your targets by numerous different ways so I'm quite excited to play the game now when it comes out in November. It's very fresh and I think will become a big hit.


Had the longest queue of the event Brink did despite having 20 consoles set up for it. I never had a go on it (although I would have done if I had friends with me) but I did spent a few minutes watching somebody have a go on it. Seemed like a decent online shooter. I know there's lots of unique features for the game but I wasn't able to notice any from just watching, I'll need to look in to it more sometime.

Fable 3

As this was one of the games I knew my brother was most looking forward to playing on we went and queued for what felt like forever for him to be able to get a go on the game. I wasn't interested because I didn't want to spoil any of the story or check out any new features as I am happy to wait to play the full product. Lionhead definitely made the best demo out of all the games on show as they had picked around 8 different demos and put them in to one, giving you the choice to choose what part of the game you wish to play.

I watched people play through a few of the modes and as I expected it just Fable 2 with a new storyline. Sure there's going to be small little improvements but there's nothing that I felt the need to go and check out there and then. Not too sure what else to say on this really so I'll just post some pictures up.

Def Jam Rapstar: - Really enjoyed watching the guys on stage perform on this game. They probably rap in real life so they got quite enthusiastic and got the crowd going. I didn't bother having a go because I can't rap but I quite enjoyed hearing So Solid Crew - 21 Seconds being played throughout the day. Classic!

Just Dance 2 (on Wii): - Looked like the same crap the original had so I didn't want to play. I was hoping to talk to a representative so I could question them on the scoring system but nobody was around.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit: - I did want to play this but I whenever I went past it always had one of the longest queues going. I ended up forgetting about it though and left sad that I didn't get a chance to play. I think what was playable was a hot pursuit in a LAN game with half people as cops and other half as robbers. That would have been fun to try, hopefully it will be released as a demo on the marketplace in the coming weeks.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011: - It's out soon so I didn't feel the need to play it plus there's already a demo on the marketplace. I prefer FIFA anyway so I don't care too much for the PES franchise. The last one I played was 2008 though and I not played much of that. Thing is I reckon I could play the new one and it'll still feel similar, sports games don't seem to change much each year.

Vanquish: - Didn't play it but from what I saw there was a LOT of fighting and shooting. It seems like it's going to be a game where you have the trigger held down for shooting non stop.

18+ Section

Proof of identification was needed to get entrance to this area which was closed off by curtains stopping any underagers seeing what was going on. This sucked as it meant by brother couldn't come in and play with me so I only popped in to here 3 times. The final time I went in most of the games didn't have a queue so I had a quick blast on the majority of the games.

Bulletstorm: - Only 4 consoles were set up for this and it wasn't easy to find which is disappointing as I have big expectations for this game. I was unable to play it was always crowded so I didn't even watch for very long. Therefore I can't give any opinions on it.

Crysis 2: - I have been anticipating this game so when I saw a console free I walked there swiftly to nab the spot before anybody else took it. I got thrown in to a 12 person LAN game on a level which seemed like a crumbling hotel. I thought the environment on the game was amazing, I've never played a level in multiplayer that had so much going on in the scenery. Rooms has collapsed to floors below and there were flames from explosions going on. I managed to get 12 kills compared to 10 deaths which I was happy with (however would have been better if I didn't start sucking at the end). I had a problem with aiming as my accuracy seemed to be terrible although I wont fault the game for that, maybe I'm just too use to Halo Reach at the moment. I didn't bother experimenting with the guns or classes, instead I just stayed assault the whole time and got my kills that way. I did press the LB button a few times though which I believe made me invisible (which also means that must have been my type of special power I had selected or something). I wasn't able to use it for any benefit though which was a shame but it was only a 10 minute game which I spent most of the time just running around admiring the level. I did notice that all of us looked exactly the same, hopefully there will be some customization in the final version of the game. In conclusion I can state that I'm sure the game will have decent online that I may get sucked in to. We shall see.

Dead Space 2: - I wanted to check this out as I havn't played the original and have always heard good things about it. There always seemed to be somebody at a console though so I never got my hands on it. I watched for a minute though and thought it would be a creepy game to play in the dark. Some of the monsters you have to fight on that game are so deformed, the art team deserve credit for their inspirational creatures.

Dragon Age II: - Not played the original and have never really wanted to, I can love RPG's but I can tell Dragon Age is not one that I would. The combat on it seems terrible, I found it really slow paced and boring. I would go up to an enemy and press A and they will get sliced up but there didn't seem to be any types of combos that can be used so I would then turn around and press A on the next enemey. Everynow and then my powers recharged and I hit X or B to do a special power. Still, it was repetitive.... Maybe RPG games are meant to be like that, I just havn't played one properly in ages. Dragon Age looks like the type of game where I could go crazy and hack n slash. The cutscenes looked really lame and cheesy plus I thought there was way too much blood, not appealing if you ask me.

Fallout New Vegas: - After just a minute of running around a wasteland I was bored wondering what to do. I did manage to find an enemy and got prompted to go in to the menu which lets me choose which part of an enemy I would like to aim at. I decided to hit his arm which was a great success as it meant the dynamite he had in his hand blew up and killed him. I then proceeded to more wandering around until I got bored again (in about 20 seconds). I didn't like Oblivion either, I guess I just don't like Bethesda's style.

Gears of War 3: - Everytime I looked at a TV which had Gears of War 3 on I always was impressed by the graphics. I don't think they're anything special, they were just unusually bright and I quite liked it. There was only one game mode on offer and it was one of the new ones I think. You get to spawn as a locust and have to kill the COG. I think it's the reverse of Horde mode and it seems to be a good idea. For a split second I got excited that I may see some achievements for the game as I hit the guide button and realised I was signed in to a profile (all the other games I had been on were not, I always checked :P). I looked at game history and unfortunately no Gears of War 3 achievements were to be found, instead somebody had been playing the new Spiderman Dimensions and had unlocked a few achievements.

Killzone 3: - Another really crowded area which meant I didn't get a chance to play. I really wanted too as well so I could check out the 3D in it. I've never played Killzone too so it would have been nice to get a taster of the franchise but I'm not too fussed, I'm sure it's just a tranditional shooter type game.

Mafia II: - As the game has now been out for a month or so I was shocked to see they had as many consoles set up for it as they did. There was probably 16 set up in total and towards the end of the day over half of them were free to play. I bounced on one and killed a few policeman who got out of their car with my shotgun. I proceeded by getting in the car and crashing really quickly. That was the end of my playtime as I decided to move on after just 30 seconds lol.

Medal of Honor: - One of the most queued for games second to only Brink. The whole back wall was filled of Medal of Honor but I didn't get a chance to play it. I'm sure it'll be good though and I shall hopefully find out in a couple of weeks time.

Saw II: - Didn't feel the need to play as I'm sure it will be the same as the original with a few new puzzle additions. I didn't want to spoil anything either as I know I'll eventually play the game as I really enjoyed the original.

Rock Band 3

The best part of the whole day for me was experiencing the new pro mode on Rock Band 3 which has a bunch of new peripherals that come alongside of it. I have decided to give Rock Band 3 a lot of attention as there is a lot I have to say on the game. I've saved the best until last.

Pro Guitar

Critics I have since Guitar Hero came out years ago that the plastic guitar doen't replicate playing an actual guitar whatsoever. The guys at Harmonix have now gone one step further and have created gameplay which can cope with a total of 102 different button presses for every note a real guitar can play. There are a total of 6 strings and 17 different frets (I think that's the word) that go down the neck of the guitar so multiply them together and you have your total amount of buttons.

I've played a little bit of guitar before and my friend was able to teach me some simple songs such as Seven Nations Army by White Stripes therefore I know how it feels to hold down a string in different places. I believe this peripheral replicates that same feeling brilliantly, I can't tell the difference between holding the button down and an actual string. Where you strum though with your other hand the peripheral actually does have strings there instead of buttons, this only heightens the authenticity of the product even more.

But how does it all work? Well you still have the same runway with colour rectangles (as we've become accustomed to from previous Rock Band games) but there's now a 6th purple lane for the 6th string. The notes come down from the top of the screen still but there's now a number on the rectangle, this number represents how far down the neck you have to go to find the fret. I was playing on Easy so I didn't see any numbers above 10 however if you do rank up the difficulty I'm sure you'll be needing to hit 14 to 17 where the frets get so tiny it seems to me impossible to find/judge without looking. So when you see the number you need to find the fret on the neck, once that's done you'll need to work out which of the 6 buttons on that fret you need to hold down. That is done by looking at the colour of the rectangle and the position it is in. For example if it was a blue rectangle it will be the 4th button I'll need to have held down.

As I was playing on Easy difficulty I was only really dealing with the first 7 frets on the neck and the first string (red on runway). It's strange that it's red as I'm used to green being there, they seemed to have changed it around for some reason. I did at times have to hit the second string and that proved to be pretty damn difficult. I was getting used to going from 3 to 6 to 3 to 7 to 4 (for example) on the frets pretty well and I was happy with that however tell me to then start pushing down the 2nd wire instead and we have difficulties for a newcomer to guitar such as myself. You also need to ensure you strum the 2nd string if a green has come up, that then equates to me having to work out placement for 3 separate things all in a second or so it gives me before the note needs to be strummed. I believe that with time and practise I shall be able to play Easy mode without much problems but that's only because you're given ample time to prepare for the next note. The speed Expert goes would make me go crazy.

I didn't even bother attempting any other harder difficulty as the 3 goes I managed to get on the guitar I spent doing the easiest songs on Easy. I did try Beast and the Harlot by Avenged Sevenfold at one point but quickly came to regret it and change song as it was too hard. It's strange knowing a song I can 4 star on usual Guitar on Expert can be put to Pro Guitar on Easy and become a nightmare for me. As the difficulty ranks up chords will start to come in to play, that's just far beyond the capabilities of my brain right now so I wont even consider trying until I have the basics done well.

At the price of £120+ this new guitar is not cheap and may scare you off wanting to get it. But I can ensure you that this is the future of the music rhythem genre if you have gotten bored of the same generic easy songs that come out on normal guitar. Now I've seen pro mode there's no going back for me, I want that guitar so bad. I know it will offer me hundreds of hours of gameplay and by the end of it I will be an established guitarist. I may decide to wait a while for the price to drop but I know for sure I will eventually get that guitar. Harmonix have stated that in 2011 they're going to make it possible for you to play the game with your own real guitar, that may be something you want to look in to if you already own a guitar.


Sure so I was already buzzing with excitement from the new guitar however that didn't mean I had forgotten about the other new peripheral for this years iteration of the franchise. The keyboard is a brand new feature that hasn't been seen before in the music rhythem genre and it is a pleasant entry I must say. I started off on standard mode and was able to do it practically straight away. There's 5 keys in a row which are colour coded the standed colours from green to orange, all you need to do is tap them down at the right time. As I am an Expert player on most instruments I wasn't afraid to try Keyboard on Expert straight away and I was right to think I could do it, as it's not that hard. I did the Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson and after a minute in to the song I had figured out where I wanted my fingers positioned and could probably FC the song if I had another try. I played Du Hast by Rammstein as a band with some strangers though and that was a bit more trickier as it was a higher rated song on difficulty. I've got a video of me doing it which I plan to upload at some point.

But you don't want to buy the Keyboard so you can play it on standard mode. Sure it is fun but you're only hitting 5 keys when there's a total of 25 on the Keyboard. I started off Pro Keyboard on Easy mode as I had just realised how bad I was on Pro Guitar and was expecting the same treatment from the Keyboard. This wasn't the case however as after 30 seconds I realised it was relatively easy so I restarted and put it on Medium. I knew that Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was going to be a challenging song but with No Fail mode on I was quite happy to give it a go. Me or my brother unfortunately didn't take any pictures of the gameplay for the keyboard so I have just searched googles images to find the image below. I believe they are playing on Easy mode as I can't remember if there was red available to me but there was definitely one orange note at the end that I had to hit a few times.

I presume that each time you knock it up a difficulty more keys become available to you as there was at least 6 keys on the left of the Keyboard which did nothing when I pressed them down. Anyway I managed to get 3 stars on the song and I was pretty damn chuffed with myself. Without looking I was able to magically find the right key at times (although there was a lot of mistakes) and with training I expect I will be able to know where my fingers are positioned without looking (slightly similar to having my hand down a slot on guitar).

I was told that the Keyboard would be bundled with the Rock Band 3 software for £70, if that's the case then where can I pre-order. However when I checked Amazon they had it listed at £110, meaning they are charging £70 alone for the Keyboard! Sure it's cheaper than their new realistic guitar peripheral but it's still rather expensive. I'm not made of money, I can't see why they can't bundle it at £70 like Activision always do with a guitar on the Guitar Hero games.

Other Bits

The guys that were working there as representatives on hand to help people out were such friendly people, I really did enjoy speaking to them throughout the day and asking lots of questions. One key question I wanted to know about though they were unable to help on, and that was questioning them on how gamer profiles will be tied to each console. On Rock Band 3 it is possible to have 2 people on Vocals, 1 on Guitar, 1 on Bass, 1 on Drums and 1 on Keyboard which makes a combined total of 6 people all playing at once. The guys were able to confirm this works but then when I started asking them how everybody will be signed in to their gamer profiles they started getting confused and unable to answer me. We all know that the Xbox 360 only allows 4 people to be signed in on a console, so how is everybody going to be signed in? It sucks that I didn't find out but I'll experiment myself when I end up getting the game eventually.

I wanted to have a go at the Pro Drums but there wasn't a console set up entirely for it, instead the only way to have a go was to play as a band which had a large queue the whole time. I did see it get shredded by some very good players quite a few times throughout the day though and really it's just a slight advancement of what was already a realistic experience. Guitar and Keyboard have big changes in Pro mode but Drums does not, the inclusion of 3 cymbols only changes the gameplay slightly. If you don't see a rectangle and instead see a circle then you need to make sure you hit the cymbol up high. I didn't see anybody having any problems with it but nevertheless it is a welcomed addition to the franchise. I hope I can buy the extra pads for £10-£20, if so I will be interested.

Final Words

I had a great time at Earl's Court and I'm super glad I went. It was fantastic getting to experience new games before they have been released and I look forward to going again next year with hopefully some friends to keep me company. I may update this in the coming days to add in bits I have forgotten plus I could always mention a few more games which I've left out due to being exhuasted from all the other pieces I've been writing. It's taken me a good 5 hours to write all this so I appreciate anybody who has bothered to read it all. I wont be in a rush to write another blog entry anytime soon! I leave you with a funny picture my brother took of my dad at lunch.

If you have any questions or queries about games which I didn't cover then let me know and I'll make adjustments. For now I'm out!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Eurogamer Expo in London This Sunday

This weekend at Earl's Court in London the Eurogamer Expo will be kicking off and I am going! I'm incredibly excited as I will be able to see and play new triple AAA titles which have not been released yet. A list of these games can be seen here - - but I know I wont be having a chance to try all of them games, there wont be enough time. So here is a smaller list below showing the games I'm interested in seeing and then the ones I am definitely going to check out (they're in bold).

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
Brink (Bethesda)
Bulletstorm (EA)
Crysis 2 (EA)
Dance Central (Microsoft)

Dead Space 2 (EA)
Def Jam Rapstar (Konami)
Fable 3 (Microsoft)
Fallout: New Vegas (Bethesda)
FIFA 11 (EA)
Gears of War 3 (Microsoft)
Goldeneye (Nintendo)
Gran Turismo 5 (Sony)
inFAMOUS 2 (Sony)
Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
Killzone 3 (Sony)
Kinect Adventures (Microsoft)
Kinect Joy Ride (Microsoft)
Kinect Sports (Microsoft)
LittleBigPlanet 2 (Sony)
Medal of Honor (EA)

MotorStorm Apocalypse (Sony)
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (EA)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (Konami)
Rock Band 3 (MTV)
Saw II: Flesh & Blood (Konami)
SOCOM: Special Forces (Sony)
Sports Champions (Sony)
Vanquish (SEGA)

I am a big fan of technology therefore checking out the Kinect and Sony Move games is essential plus being able to play some more games in 3D will be great (I found Avatar in 3D on Xbox pretty decent). Rock Band 3 is also very exciting for me as I can't wait to check out the pro instruments as well as the new keyboard. I found LittleBigPlanet on the PS3 fantastic and therefore I'm interested in how the sequel is (although it's a big shame it's an exclusive, it barely gets played by me because of that). The other bolded games I have on pre-order so I'll be interested to see if they are going to be worth playing or not.

I will be writing in-depth reviews on the products and the event itself the day after I get back (so Monday) with the intention on answering questions which have not been asked. I have lots of queries involving Kinect and hopefully I can clear them up by getting down and gritty with the hardware myself. If there is anything anybody wants me to check out for them just let me know (like any questions you'd want me to ask). I will be taking photos and video footage so look out for that soon too.

Finally if anybody reading this on my friends list is also going to the event on Sunday then feel free to get in contact with me and we could meed up.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Gamer League!

Not quite sure how I've managed to let the days fly by since my last update (it's been about 3 weeks!) but I'm here now to mention the Gamer League which started last Friday.

There is me, tractakid, Dalimbak, Mr F5 TORNADO, BemusedBox and adiash73 all competing to be the first gamer to get the full 1000 gamerscore in 7 games. It's important to state that none of us had played any of the games prior to Friday (apart from BemusedBox and Mr F5 TORNADO being 2 slight exceptions) therefore this competition is as fair as possible. The seven games are as follows.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
MX vs ATV Untamed
Orange Box
Rise of the Argonauts
World Championship Snooker 2009

Quite a variety there in game type as each player picked one game to add to the list and we all suggested we boosted Orange Box together. A couple of games on there will be hard and take a long time therefore I don't expect anybody to be hitting the finishing line for months yet. I've gone ahead and finished Cloudy already (although that is easy and quick) and adiash73 is closing in on finishing Stoked. This is good and all but everyone is aware that this is just the beginning of what will surely be a long gruelling task.

So far I have managed to have daily totals being displayed on a website for everybody to see. tractakid told me about WetPaint as a Wiki site and it's great. I haven't put too much content on but it's enough to make it worth a little look at. If you're interested then here's the link - (be sure to navigate via the links on the navigation bar to the left of the page).

In other news I have lots of new games to my collection. My girlfriend got me Avatar (2009 movie) and Batman Arkum Asylum for my birthday (both of which I haven't touched yet :() and I've gone and got Spongebob for an easy 1000. Skate 3 and Alan Wake arrived on Saturday as well as Lips which I am borrowing from my friend rover08. As always there's too many games on my mind and not enough time to play them all, especially not now considering I've started this Gamer League!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

My Incomplete Games List

I've seen people do post like this a few times (especially you jackanape :P) and I've decided I shall bother to do one for myself. This post is probably going to take me a while to write up as there's a lot of games I have not completed but I am curious to see how high the number is. Here I go then, in alphabetical order!

A-Train - 610/1000
Aegis Wing - 170/200
Afro Samurai - 965/1000
Age of Booty - 160/200
Alone in the Dark - 950/1000
Assassin's Creed - 125/1000
Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts - 130/1250
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat - 115/1000
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - 675/1060
Beautiful Katamari - 495/1250
Bee Movie Game - 670/1000
Bejeweled 2 - 10/2000
Beijing 2008 - 430/1000
Beowulf - 460/1000
Bionical Heroes - 940/1000
Boom Boom Rocket - 85/200
Bomberman Live - 10/200
Brain Challenge - 160/200
Bully - 180/1000
Bulletwitch - 250/1000
Burnout Paradise - 5/1250
Burnout Revenge - 490/1000
Call of Duty 3 - 425/1000
Call of Juarez - 440/1000
Cars - 900/1000
Cars Race-O-Rama - 900/1000 (glitched, not my fault)
Chromehounds - 20/1000
Condemned - 440/975
Condemned 2: Bloodshot - 240/1000
Crash of the Titans - 313/1000
Crystal Quest - 160/200
Dark Sector - 30/1000
Dead or Alive 4 - 210/1000
Dead Rising - 40/1000
Def Jam Icon - 30/1000
DJ Hero - 600/1000
Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires - 730/1000
Duke Nukem 3D - 10/200
Enchanted Arms - 125/1000
Fable II - 1000/1350
Family Game Nights - 200/1400
Facebreaker - 625/1000
Far Cry Instincts Predator - 470/1000
Fatal Inertia - 340/1000
FIFA 08 - 295/1000
FIFA 10 - 210/1250
FlatOut Ultimate Carnage - 435/1000
Football Manager 2006 - 325/1000
Forza Motorsport 2 - 970/1000
Forza Motorsport 3 - 460/1000
Frogger - 140/200
Full Auto 915/1000
Gears of War - 60/1250
Gears of War 2 - 65/1750
Geometry Wars Evolved - 20/200
GRAW - 125/1000
Guitar Hero Aerosmith - 930/1000
Guitar Hero II - 910/1000
Guitar Hero III - 435/1000
Guitar Hero Hits - 450/1000
Guitar Hero Metallica - 875/1000
Guitar Hero World Tour - 850/1000
Guitar Hero 5 - 950/1000
Gun - 730/1000
Halo 3 - 815/1750
Hexic HD - 40/200
HSM3 Senior Year Dance - 350/1000
Import Tuner Challenge - 30/1000
Infernal - 800/1000
Kameo - 600/1000
Lego Rock Band - 960/1000
Lego Star Wars II - 350/1000
Looney Toons: AA - 820/1000
LOTR BFME II - 555/705
Luxor 2 - 92/200
Madden 07 - 645/1000
Madden 08 - 805/1000
Marble Blast Ultra - 165/250
Marvel Ultimate Alliance - 80/1250
Meet The Robinsons - 400/1000
Metro 2033 - 930/1000
Mirror's Edge - 730/1250
Monkey Island - 180/200
Monopoly - 600/1000
Moto GP 06 - 20/1000
NBA 2K7 - 955/1000
NBA Ballers: Chosen One - 900/1000
NBA Live 08 - 800/1000
NFS Carbon - 85/1000
NFS ProStreet - 20/1000
NHL 2K8 - 370/1000
NHL 08 - 300/1000
Nintey Nine Nights - 400/1000
Oblivon - 100/1250
Outpost Kaloxi X - 175/200
Over G Fighters - 50/1000
Overlord - 880/1250
PDC World Champ Darts - 650/1000
PES 2008 - 280/1000
Perfect Dark Zero - 390/1000
PGR 3 - 650/1000
PGR 4 - 1010/1250
Phantasy Star Universe - 1000/1250
Prey - 935/1000
Prince of Persia - 170/1250
Prizefighter - 140/1000
Quake 4 - 100/1000
Rainbow 6 Vegas - 215/1000
Rayman Raving Rabbids - 600/1000
Ridge Racer 6 - 70/1000
Robotron: 2084 - 50/200
Rock Band - 475/1000
Rock Band 2 - 650/1000
Rock Band AC/DC - 225/250
Rock Band Beatles - 615/1000
Rock Band Song Pack 2 - 200/250
Rock Revolution - 930/1000
Rumble Roses Double X - 30/1000
Saints Row - 50/1000
Samurai Warriors 2 XL - 150/1000
Scene It? LCA - 915/1000
Schizoid - 160/200
Sega Superstars Tennis - 940/1000
Sega Rally - 730/1000
Shadowrun - 250/1000
Shrek The Third - 640/1000
Small Arms - 175/235
Sonic The Hedgehog - 25/200
Soul Calibur IV - 700/1000
South Park - 160/200
Spiderwick Chronicles - 750/1000
Splinter Cell Conviction - 250/1000
Splinter Cell Double Agent - 50/1000
Splosion Man - 50/200
Spyglass Board Games - 105/200
Stuntman: Ignition - 555/1000
Superman Returns - 680/1000
Superstars V8 Racing - 960/1000
Table Tennis - 340/1000
Tetris Evolution - 180/1000
Texas Hold Em - 155/200
Tiger Woods 06 - 50/960
Tiger Woods 07 - 85/1000
The Force Unleashed - 700/1345
The Golden Compass - 660/1000
The Outfit - 420/1000
The Simpsons Game - 20/1000
Thrillville - 925/1000
Top Spin 3 - 50/1000
Totemball - 10/200
Transformers: The Game - 90/1000
Trivial Pursuit - 710/1000
Turning Point - 895/1000
Two Worlds - 60/1000
TNA Impact! - 365/1000
UEFA Champions League 2006/2007 - 390/1000
UEFA Euro 2008 - 895/1000
Vampire Rain - 650/1000
Viva Pinata - 140/1000
Wik: Fable of Souls - 120/200
Worms - 185/200
Worms 2: Armageddon - 110/200

And there we have it. According to Microsoft Word there's 162 games in that list there, that's a hell of a lot! You may have noticed plenty of games in there with low score, games you may not have even heard of (such as Rumble Roses and Over G Fighters). I pre-ordered my Xbox 360 but got it a couple of months later, this has meant that I've seen the Xbox 360 evolve throughout the years like others haven't. Originally once a game had been put on your card there was no going back. Didn't matter if you had 0G on it, you couldn't remove it. For this reason I had nothing to lose once I started playing a game and I remember putting a bit of time and effort in to getting my one and only achievement in Bejeweled 2 (which I now regret).

The point I'm trying to get at is that in the past I didn't give a damn about my completion percentage. It was only a year and a bit ago when I decided I wanted to change this as the arrival of TrueAchievements has inspired me and many others to up our percentage. I've gone from 50% to 68% in over a year which I am quite impressed with. I've got a way to go until 75% but if I could just remove these games from my profile.....

Bejeweled 2 - 10/2000
Boom Boom Rocket - 85/200
Bomberman Live - 10/200
Burnout Paradise - 5/1250
Chromehounds - 20/1000
Dark Sector - 30/1000
Dead Rising - 40/1000
Def Jam Icon - 30/1000
Duke Nukem 3D - 10/200
Gears of War - 60/1250
Gears of War 2 - 65/1750
Geometry Wars Evolved - 20/200
Hexic HD - 40/200
Import Tuner Challenge - 30/1000
Luxor 2 - 92/200
Moto GP 06 - 20/1000
NFS Carbon - 85/1000
NFS ProStreet - 20/1000
Over G Fighters - 50/1000
Ridge Racer 6 - 70/1000
Robotron: 2084 - 50/200
Rumble Roses Double X - 30/1000
Saints Row - 50/1000
Sonic The Hedgehog - 25/200
Splosion Man - 50/200
Tiger Woods 06 - 50/960
Tiger Woods 07 - 85/1000
The Simpsons Game - 20/1000
Top Spin 3 - 50/1000
Totemball - 10/200
Transformers: The Game - 90/1000
Two Worlds - 60/1000

That's a list of the games on my profile which have less than hundred gamerscore on them. Take out the arcades if you want and you've got 21 retail games each with 1000+ gamerscore on them. If it was possible for me to remove them from my card and plunk them on to someone else's who has a nice percentage (such as jackanape) if they would go below me and I would rise above them. I can't be bothered to work out the maths but I'm sure we'd see a dramatic change.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Poor Cars Franchise

What has happened to the one children franchise on the Xbox 360 that I always defended if it came under scrutiny? It was the Cars franchise. I got 900 on the original (back then I didn't care for completion and couldn't be bothered with finding the post cards) and I had the 1000 on Mater National (the 2nd in the franchise) but I had not played the third game. Race-O-Rama came out towards the end of last year but I ordered it for £10 a week a go as I fancied another easy 900 gamerscore from a game I hoped would be enjoyable, I was wrong.

Race-O-Rama is unfortunately broken and the worst in the series. First off the controls are the same from the previous instalments with A being accelerate and RT being your turbo. The control setup for the controls is fine, how they have been executed is not. How could a formula that worked fine in the previous two games be taken and ruined for Race-O-Rama? Steering has become more dodgey in your standard races (when you're the red car Lightning McQueen) but what on earth were the developers thinking when they programmed the mini cars and monster truck races. It's insane to think that I am playing a children's game on the easiest difficulty and was finding it hard to get just a bronze medal in some of these races, meaning I would do up to 10 retries which was very frustrating. What happens is your vehicle will just spin out with no good reason for doing so. At first when this started happening I thought it was my controller being weird, it didn't make sense to me that I could just be steering round a corner and then bam, a 360 donut occurs and I've lost all speed and probably been knocked over by my opponents.

I've since completed this game and thought I want to share my experiences with you as well as doing a bit of reseach of my own. Wikipedia is always my friend just like it's proven this morning when I went on it to see who Developed the 3 Cars games on the 360. Now a studio called Rainbow Studios has its name in the Developer(s) section on both the original and Mater National however it is missing in Race-O-Rama. I am lead to believe that a company called Tantalus Interactive were the ones to develop Race-O-Rama, a company that previously did Mater National on the DS and GBA. It's a shame they ruined the controls so badly on the game otherwise it still would have been an all right game to play for gamerscore. Still, stay away from this if your prone to throwing controllers out of anger, I've read a few people admit to do so from playing this game just by reading the posts in X360A's forum for the game.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Gadget Show Live

Firstly I should make one thing clear to readers, this is going to be a long post that will probably take you 5 minutes to read and much longer for me to type up. After thinking about how I should write this post I came to the conclusion that I want to make it as detailed and descriptive as possible. This is mainly for personal reasons, I like to think I have a good memory but I'm sure I will forget things unless I document it now.

I do advise you to skip parts of the story if they bore you, I completely can understand why however it will be worth hearing me rant about the gadgets that I got to see and test out. :)

Thursday 8th April 2010 - The Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham

The Journey There

Months ago my college arranged a trip for classes to go to the Gadget Show Live. I had seen the Gadget Show on channel 5 before and was aware of who the presenters were and what they got up to with gadgets. With this in mind I saw the opportunity for me to go to my first e3 type event which I had been dying to do for years. I paid the £30 for my ticket straight up, no questions asked I wanted to go.

The morning came and I woke up at 5:45 in order to get ready in time to arrive at Bedford for 8AM. I planned on getting the 6:28 bus but as it happened there isn't one scheduled for that time therefore I got the 6:58 instead (they come every half an hour) and was able to get to Bedford quickly thanks to minor traffic and met my two friends in McDonald's for some breakfast before our long journey to Birmingham. Upon arriving at the college we spoke to a few of the teachers and met one of their son's (she's so proud of him, it's funny) before departing on a 20+ seat orange minibus type vehicle which I wish I have a photo of as it looked hilarious.

Considering I only had 5 hours sleep the night before I was quite proud of myself for being able to stay awake on the 1 and a half hour journey to Birmingham, usually when I get up early for college I nap on the 45 minutes journey to Bedford. Today was different though as I was excited. I enjoyed speaking to my teacher (Karen) son (Bradley) as well as waving at all the men (and a couple of woman!) who were driving trucks in this early hour of the morning. We even got one guy to toot his horn for us, we were stoked on that.


We got off in the car parking area which still happened to be half a mile or so away from where we needed to be. Thankfully the NEC has shuttle buses running constantly so we hopped on one (free of charge) and got to the entrance in just a few minutes. After splitting up with the group Karen's son wanted to come with us as we were the closest people he knew, therefore the four of us entered and made our way through what reminds me of a terminal before arriving at the entrance.

First Impressions

It was roughly 10:15AM when we first got in which left us with 45 minutes to explore before the Live show took place in the theatre. The place was so big we just didn't know where to go first. If my memory serves me right the first place we went to was to check out some of the 3D TV's on display near the entrance. 3D TV's were a big thing at the event but it was only at this "stall" (I say stall but it's not, just the easiest way to describe it) that I really checked out what 3D was like. After a couple of minutes of watching others I was able to pick up the 360 Pad, put on some glasses and play Avatar in 3D. I've seen the film in 3D and that was great, playing the game in 3D is also great. Everytime I jumped in water it would splash up at my face, the recoiling bullets from my shotgun also did the same. I really did enjoy my few minutes on this (as well as actually playing the game) but I left wondering if 3D TV's are superior to high definition. I conclude that neither is superior to the other as they both are great in what they do, they're just different and both deserve a place in your household (if money permits). Sky 3D was being shown to the left of me which I took a few glances at whilst playing Avatar but didn't really see much as the angle I was sitting wasn't too great. There was a mini cinema near by which was showing off some kiddy pirate film in 3D which looked cool but nothing new that I hadn't seen before (although it would have been if I hadn't seen Avatar months ago).

Next we found a small gaming section where Band Hero, Tony Hawk Ride and Super Mario Brothers were being played. Me and two of my friends were able to get ourselves a grasp on the peripherals for Band Hero as I immediately changed the difficulty setting to Expert in an attempt to pump up the crowd (haha). I wasn't too keen on the guitar (it's the latest in the franchise I believe) as the strum bar was pretty stiff like the Rock Band guitar (which I dislike). This meant I was making mistakes and not keeping up a x4 combo like I really should have been. Unfortunately I forgot to try out the slide bar which is a shame but I'm sure it's nothing special. After my friend Conor was done on drums I nagged him to get off as I had not tried out the Guitar Hero drums peripheral yet and was excited to try it out. We played Dirty Little Secret by All American Rejects (my friend Olly's favourite band who he's seen numerous times and even been in pubs to have a drink with the lead singer Tyson!) and I was quite proud with how I did on Hard difficulty on the drums. It was a bit weird at first getting used to hitting the top cymbals but towards the end of the song I was rocking a x4 combo pretty consistently.

My memory is hazy as to what we did next but I'm sure we just walked around with excited grins on our face like little school children being given sweets. We ended up finding where some cars were and I just had to get my photo taken in this Volkswagen that we stumbled across. I don't know much about my cars but I know when I see a sexy one that I'd love to own. There wasn't too many gadgets on it so I'm not quite sure why it was there but a car nearby could be transformed in to a mini living room and kitchen. The front seats could swivel around and the back seats be pushed back in to the boot so that a family could all sit around and talk to each other. With a microwave and cooker on the side there were no limits to what a family could do in this car. I did however think having what appeared to me as a shower head in the boot at the back was one step too far..... We didn't take a photo of this car, I wish my friend did :(

Time was ticking at this point so we knew we needed to start heading in the direction of the theatre and try not to get distracted. This was hard to do when we came across one of those people that perform by staying still and not speaking at all. We were able to make this guy move and played around with him for a minute as he begged for money to be placed in to his hat, it was rather amusing. We didn't really see much else afterwards except from my friend getting sidetracked by one stall which had real drum kit and guitars set up for anyone to go on and play when they feel like. Another attraction next to this was a big silver camper van type thing which had a recording studio inside for recording songs. A TV on the outside was on a continuous loop showing a band actually recording a song in there before. Finally there were real DJ decks set up to allow anyone to go and do a mix (or whatever it is you do). Prior to DJ Hero's release I'd have had little to no idea as to what to do however I now understand how it works. I don't think the general public do though as numerous people would ruin what was already being played and then go off on to something else, leaving the guy in charge having to re-do a good beat every time. We finally got to the theatre and queue jumped really badly in order to get in. I feel bad but it's a dog eat dog world so I led the way whilst my friends followed.

Live Performance

Upon sitting down inside the 4000 seated theatre my attention was quickly diverted towards the dolphin type things floating above us in the crowd. I naturally at first presumed they were attached by a wire from above but after a few minutes I realised why people were getting so impressed, it's because there was no wire. I still find it hard to fathom how these "creatures" were able to stay up in the air defying the laws of gravity. We were told later on that there were propellers on each wing to keep it up in the air but still, I'd have thought the weight would outweigh the up-force. Check out the picture below to see what they looked like. It's unbelievable to think they could be controlled via a remote controller too.

The show began with the best robot I have ever seen walk on to the stage and welcome us to the show. He made numerous appearances throughout the show (coming in to the audience by walking down the aisles once, spraying water at people which was funny) and continued to amaze me at how life like it was. There was no AI there (everything he said was pre-recorded and he didn't seem to be able to react to any human activity) but the precision of his movement has left me in awe. I'm not sure if this robot was being controlled via a remote but I am going to have to assume he was as he did at times get just inches away from some of the audience and was able to look at them face to face.

I was personally slightly let down by the performance but that is because I was believing it to be something that it isn't supposed to be. I was hoping to see breathtaking new technology being shown (nothing new being revealed but the appearance of Project Natal would have been AMAZING) but instead it was a very cliché performance from the Gadget Show presenters. There were numerous competitions going on throughout the hour (which did begin to frustrate me) and instead of being shown cool tech I was presented with staged entertainment where the outcome would have surely been pre-determined prior to show time. The first game we got to do was to play an app for Apple products but with a little twist. The way to get your teams motorbike to go faster and therefore jump a further distance was to shout as loud as you can and then raise your arms in to the air to make the bike jump. Now the presenters assured us the technology had been created to make this possible however I do have to doubt it. Sure I can believe that microphones may be able to detect a larger sound from one team over another but how could a camcorder recognise 2000 hands going up in to the air? There were 3 attempts for each team and it was only on each teams last attempt that the motorbike effectively jumped. I can't believe for one minute that 2000 people all changed the way they moved their arms up in the air on the last attempt in order to make the motorbike jump properly. I do think that it was a scam and really it was somebody playing the game behind the scenes (especially at it was a clichéd climax type ending to the game).

Other games were played throughout the show such as participants having to fold away a tent the fastest whilst being put off by the presenters. Another one was guests getting their heart beats monitored to see how they went up when put in to a simulation of a roller coaster (which was a fail as both the guys heart beat decreased instead of increased!). I have to admit I found these boring to watch and instead was more amused by watching races that went on between the presenters. Suzi and Jason strapped in to jetpacks as they launched in to the air over the crowd's heads and then turned around to get back to the stage as quickly as possible. Again this was staged as a wire was used to support them (so there wasn't really any jetpack being used :() and Jason's just so happened to break and go all smokey half way through which was predictable from the description on how he made it (coca cola with a mint put inside). The last race of the show was when three of them got on to different type of transport vehicles and had a race to see who could go down all the aisles first. I did enjoy seeing Jason on a skateboard type advice but yet again I got frustrated at the outcome of the standings (Jason was by far the quickest yet didn't win as he waited for Ortis to return to the stage first). Finally it's worth mentioning that a team of performers with a ridiculous name (something with the word Fish in) did some juggling with electronic changing lights which although wasn't amazing it was good enough to entertain me for the few minutes.

3 Hours of Checking Out the "Stalls"

After the live performance was finished we had 3 hours until we had to meet up with the rest of the group and then go back to the college, then home. I thought that 3 hours would be no way near long enough to see everything there was to see here and I was right. However it did get very tiring walking around with a bag on my back the whole day so I eventually was happy to go after 3 hours.

First thing we planned on doing was going to check out the glasses that were like mini TV's, I think it's called virtual reality? We had seen the stall previously and had a rough idea of how to get back to there so after 5 to 10 minutes of traversing through slow moving traffic we finally got there. They had a few machines set up to show off the technology (I saw a 360, PS3 and Wii) so I went over to play on the Wii as it had the least amount of people wanting a go on it (plus I fancied playing Mario Kart). After a few minutes I got my turn and was very impressed. They were nothing special but they did just what they were supposed to do as I was able to play the game with no problem and enjoyed my time wearing them. I don't think these should replace our traditional televisions however I would definitely love to have a pair myself that could wireless connect to my Xbox 360. I can get back ache at times in my desk chair, how cool would it be for me to lie down in my nice comfy bed and play my Xbox. If this technology is already available to be bought for the Xbox 360 then please let me know, I don't think it is but there's a chance.

Now to be honest there wasn't much else there that was too amazing and that you need to hear about. I'm getting typed of typing so much so I do plan on getting the few thoughts I still have in my head typed up as quickly as possible and posting this up for you to read. One stall were letting customers try a new type of cigarettes that are electronic and claim to be 99% healthier than traditional ones. My friend had a toke and found them effective however I personally believe that it was a scam and will never get mainstream to the point where that everyone knows about it. Around the same time we found a replica of a vehicle which has (or is attempting to) break the fastest speed done on ground. I viewed a stand which had a list of statistics on it which claimed it could do 0 to 1000MPH in 42 seconds, very impressive.

There was a long section dedicated to the history of computer games which seemed to attract a lot of attention from all ages. I went over to the Playstation 1 and played a racing game as well as seeing an original Gameboy in working condition. There were much older consoles in working display too however because I am in a younger generation I wasn't aware of what they were and therefore didn't give any of them a try. It was cool to see kids playing Pac-Man like it was originally intended for. There was a small booth where you could put your head in view of the camera and it would detect your face and turn you in to a Transformer. This isn't new technology I believe but still it was amusing for a couple of minutes to see it in action. There was a stall set up for Papershow, a program designed to enable you to draw on a piece of paper and have it input on to a computer. Stuff like this I believe has been done before however Papershow was different. It's possible to change colour and make corrections to errors all done with incredible ease (as my friend Conor discovered by drawing a dog). I personally don't have a need to get my art in to digital form (I do art?) however if you do go over to to see a demonstration of how the product works, it's quite fascinating.

I have to mention the Game Zone, a section which was purely dedicated to letting you try out some of the hot games right now. EA seemed to be representing as they had Battlefield Bad Company 2 set up on dozens of computers letting anyone join in at any time. I believe there were even competitions going down, that could explain why I saw kids sat there continuously playing the game seriously. 2010 FIFA World Cup was on display however I didn't bother to go check it out. I'm not sure if the full game was being shown however I can imagine it was instead the demo which happened to come out the same day on the Live Marketplace. Ultimately I found this section pretty boring as it was full of games I had either played or seen before. It was no e3 that's for sure and I ended up spending more time shopping in the PC World and GAME stalls than I did gaming. Finally the Test Track section gave everyone a chance to try out different type of transport devices around a test track. The queue for this was gigantic though so I never got a go however to be honest it would have got boring for me after 30 seconds.

And that's about all I can be bothered to include for now. There was so much more there which I haven't even mentioned (let alone everything I missed myself) and I had a fantastic time there and would love to go back again. I do recommend everyone to go (even your wife and kids) as it's a difference experience and you'll be sure to have fun. It does get very tiring however the nice field outside did enable us to relax for 45 minutes or so in the sun as we recuperated. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my day at The Gadget Show, there's a few more pictures below of me and my friends experiencing the army stall and me outside in the sun. Goodbye for now.