The Digi-Cult

A New Religion for a Digital Age

Posts Tagged ‘Video Games’

Go with the Flow: Mirrors Edge Preview

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 11, 2008

The player takes the role of Faith, who has just returned to being a Runner after being injured in a fall.

The player takes the role of Faith, who has just returned to being a Runner after being injured in a fall.

I sat down with my newly downloaded demo of Mirrors Edge (snag it if you haven’t already) and I’ve got to say that I’m impressed.

This game is hard as hell to get a hang of.  The controls are mindbendingly versatile.  Just a few buttons do a lot of different things in different situations, and the camera angles are all weird but don’t let the initial learning curve turn you off.  The strange controls and funny angles are actually there to assit you and once you’re done the training you’ll see that without them you’d never get through the game.

Mirrors Edge takes place in a modern police state that’s so shiny and clean it’s sick.  In this world the “Runners” are hired as clandestine messengers who scale the cities rooftops and hop from building to building.  If you’ve ever seen or participated in the sport of Parkour you’ll understand how these amazing feats are accomplished.  If not, imagine jumping from your roof onto the neighbors, running to their drain pipe, sliding down, jumping off and grabbing the window ledge of a third home.  That’s the madness you’re in for.

As I said before, the learning curve in this one is STEEP but the fast paced game play and political storyline are so worth the hassle.  I failed miserably at the tutorial, but did alright in the first mission itself.  I was able to utilize different (and sometimes easier) paths than what was obviously laid out.  It’s a thinking on your feet kind of game.  Too bad my sister got all that talent. The game has optional uses for the six axis controller that use it’s rotation sensing which is currently an underused (or poorly used in the case of Lair) feature.

The Police normally leave the Runners alone, but something has changed behind the scenes

The Police normally leave the Runners alone, but something has changed behind the scenes and Big Brother has decided its time to crack down.

Graphics wise this game is great.  Lots of detail and texture to everything, though I’ll admit seeing the same kind of building over and over no matter how pretty it is, does get boring.  The movements are smooth and te game handles well.  Sound-wise there isn’t much to say other than it’s appropriate.  You hear yourself puffing away, groaning and cringing as you hit the ground too hard.  There’s even ambient street noise.

The story is what’s really got me in to this game.  There’s something dark and sinister about a place so squeaky clean as this city.  The main character, Faith, seems bent on restoring the dirty culture to the streets, and take down the government in the process.

Look for a full review of this game as soon as I can rent or borrow it 😉

Mirrors Edge relases today in NA on X-BOX 360 and PS3.  Look for the game to realease in January for the PC.

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The Beatles + Rock Band = EPIC WIN

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on October 31, 2008

While flipping through Perez Hilton this morning I discovered the most amazing news!

The Beatles are going to put thier songs in Rock Band starting next year!

Watch this space for updates boys and girls!

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Shannon’s Latest Addiction: Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquillity

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on October 29, 2008

Yup, another videogame review.  I know it’s not my normal gig, but it’s been taking up so much of my time lately that I’ve got little else to write on!  😄  Oh well!

Harvest Moons first game on the Wii

Harvest Moon's first game on the Wii

Basics:

System: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Natsume
Rating: Everyone

Concept:

Your character has a farm or a ranch and must grow crops and raise animals to make money.  Using this money you build a bigger and better home and woo a mate to start your family.  In addition to this “life simulation” aspect of the game there is a plot/subplot that adds a more magical element to the game play.  Your goal is to restore the rainbows to your new island home and help return the Harvest Goddess to her rightful home in the island’s sacred tree.  The major theme is persevering nature and restoring economic prosperity and happiness to the island residents.

Controls:

There aren’t many games designed to be played with either the Wiimote and the Nunchuck or the Classic Controller, thus the motion sensing aspects of the game are limited.  There are a few place in the game where you can optionally use motion sensitive controls, but it’s never necessary.

New character design is cute, but gives a new maturity to the game

New character design is cute, but gives a new maturity to the game

Graphics:

Graphically this game is a tough one to describe.  From a technical standpoint this game suffers from low end graphics.  The Wii just isn’t a graphics friendly machine.  However, the designers have once again made the best of things.

This installment of the Harvest Moon franchise brings in a new character designer who keeps the very cute look of the past game but gives the characters distinct ages (you’re not a 12 year old running a farm anymore), races and personalities.  That’s an amazing feat when your working with low end detail and Mii inspired character models, but it works.  This is mostly due to distinct and colorful costume and hair design.  Realism is out the window on this one (lime green hair on a 40 year old grocer anyone?) but who cares!  It’s CUTE!

Background trees and shrubs blend with cartoony characters in beautiful harmony

Background trees and shrubs blend with cartoony characters in beautiful harmony

The biggest improvement in the graphics has come from more natural looking environments.  Items you can interact with remain somewhat cartoony but the texture foliage is far more realistic.  It’s quiet nice.  The background blends in but at the same time, is a distinct entity all it’s own.

Sound:

Sound isn’t a big element in any of the Harvest Moon games, and this is no exception.  Fluffy, wispy music plays in the background and changes based on both the season and the location you’re in.  The music and most of the sound effects are unobtrusive.  I swear that Harvest Moon designers want their game to be the kind you can play with the sound off.  And you can.  No gameplay elements are cued by sound.  However, the sound is nice filler.  I don’t like it, and I don’t hate it.  It works well and that’s cool by me.

Gameplay:

Time is the main reference point in this game and everything you do changes bases on the day of the week and the season.  All characters in the game keep a weekly schedule that the player must be aware of to effectivly interact with story characters as well as with the townies they may wish to someday marry.  By the same token shops in the game have days that they close and festival days require the player to keep a mental

Yes, that IS an Ostrtrich and yes, you can have one!

Yes, that IS an Ostrtrich and yes, you can have one!

tally similar to the one they keep for their real life activities. Thus, organizational skills are a must to get full enjoyment of this game.

With everything you do in this game you can do the bare minimum to survive or you can go out and try to raise every crop, every kind of animal, catch each type of fish and cook every possible dish.  Neither way will change the story but changes the game play based on player tastes.

This version of Harvest Moon brings in new animals, and new crops, as well as a new cooking implements and a few other things miscellaneous things.  All in all this game is great and super addictive.

There are many roads to saving the Harvest Goddess

There are many roads to saving the Harvest Goddess

Replayability:

That’s really where this game makes it’s money.  There are so many small day to day interactions that can change how the game is played that there are infinite outcomes and experiences.  Obviously, you can play as either gender, and then marry several different spouses to get different endings, but there are so many more ways the game can change that there is no end to the fun in this game.

Overall:

A+ Wicked game and I love it.  This is the most in depth Harvest Moon game yet.  If you played one of the previous games and felt it was silly to spend so many hours farming this game will rekindle your interest with more acitivities to do in your character’s free time as well as optional ways of earning money.  More characters to meet in this game provides a ton of virety and incremental additions of characters and items keeps the game interesting for hours.

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Unthrilled

Posted by 1forfun on October 27, 2008

So, once again, my post is late, but in my defense, I’ve already spent upwards of 24 hours at work this weekend, not exceptionally good for getting other work done. The game I was playing this week is Thrillville on the PS2. Though saying that I played it this week is a bit of an exaggeration, because I lost interest after about an hour.

Now I won’t say that I know much about this game from an hour of play, but it really doesn’t seem like the game would change much over time. The game involves designing and operating an amusement park. You are in charge of talking to guests, doing research and development, maintenance, building rides and attractions, and the other various business aspects of amusement parks. This to me seems like an educational  video game in disguise, and is far too much like work. Granted the minigames seem pretty cool, and there is a multiplayer mode from which you can access them (though I haven’t tried-my second controler is toast) it really doesn’t make up for the fact that the only reward for being good at managing is getting more to manage.

Thats not to say that this type of video game doesn’t have a fan base, I played an almost identical (though simpler) version of this game years ago, and enjoyed it immensely, and games like Diner dash and Parking dash have a certain appeal to them, so perhaps it’s just a bad time for this game, but I just can’t see myself returning to play it again any time soon.

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Samba de Amigo: A Positive review

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on October 16, 2008

Normally this is where I start talking about the social implication of some new piece of technology or internet craze, but not today!

Samba de Amigo is bright and colorfull even in the box!

May I present to you:  Shannon’s First Game Review (on this site)!

So what game am I reviewing?  Well if you happened to read the title you know that I’m reviewing Samba de Amigo and if you didn’t read the title, you should know now.  If you failed to read all of this, get out.  Seriously.

Ok now that we’re rid of any hangers on I’d like to start by saying that Samba de Amigo is not a good game.  It’s a great game!  😄  Now on to the rest!

Basics:

System: Nintendo Wii

Publisher: Gearbox Software/Sega
Rating: Everyone

It's like a children's cereal mated with a box of crayons...

It's like children's cereal mated with a box of crayons...

Graphics:

Standard Wii graphics here.  Failry last gen, but polished and cool looking.  Character and enviornmental design suit the game perfectly with lots of bright colors and cute (sometimes gender ambigious) characters.  Backgrounds range from stages, to street parades to “floating in space” psychedelic moments.  It’s a great mix that doesn’t take away from the one screen instructions.

Sound effects:

Annoying!  Turn down your Wiimote volume on this one or you won’t be able to hear the music from the TV over the stupid noises coming out of the controls!

Music:

Gender is totally subjective with the Rio character (until you read the manual, then he's male).

Nice arrangement of music, lots of choice.  Some tracks are covers, but some are licenced.  There are a lot of remixes in this game, but they’re generally not bad and all serve the purpose of taking the original song and giving it a Samaba flair.

Gameplay:

There are a handful of different modes to choose from but all of them use the same “flail to the beat” interface that makes you love and hate the game at the same time.  The “Dance” commands give you a heck of a work out as you wave your arms around in longer fluid motions rather than the short maraca shaking moves, and the “Pose” commands give you a break… where you can stand and look silly.

But it’s soooo much fun!

Multiplayer co-op and vs modes make it fun to play with friends.  There are two single player modes that offer a lot of pick up and play action that gets you shaking it to the beat far more than you’d care to admit to your friends.

You place the Wiimote in one and the nunchuck in the other

Controls:

Yes, there are 3 ways to play this game!

1) Nunchuck and Wiimote:  This is pretty standard and aside from occasionally batting yourself with the cable between the two controllers it works very well.  If you really love this game it could be worth getting a wireless nunchuck, or you can opt for option 2.

2) Wiimote X2:  You can use two wiimotes to shake your booty without any cords in the way.  This game maxes out at two players because of this (the system can only support up to 4 wiimotes) but it really is the best way to play.

3) Maraca add ons:  Jam you nunchuck and your Wiimote in to the giant red plastic maracas and break your arms with the added weight!  These things are huge and heavy!  But they make the game a great work out and you feel like a real musician…. kinda.  I’m not sold on these things yet, but they’re cute.  I like that you can remove the beads in them if you don’t like the shaker noise, though to be honest, it’s not that loud.

Creepy Monkey...

Creepy Monkey...

Complaints:

I want character selection!  I do not want to play as the small creepy monkey, I want to play as the butterfly girl!

Please make more Downloadable Content!  😄

Compliments:

Hurray for reviving an under appreciated Dreamcast came!

Great job including Mii’s from the player’s Wii in the game backgrounds.  Super cute!

Overall:

Buy it if you love rhythm games and don’t mind looking a little silly with friends.  It really is fun, despite what you think.  Put this in the closet next to you DDR mat and indulge in your secret shame!  (Or in my case, not so secret!)

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