Because of the time it takes to really get to know a system and being limited by only those few games at launch, it wouldn’t be fair to give a full and formal review of the Wii U console just yet. Instead, I’m just going to give my first impressions of it with a full review possibly coming later.
When getting the Wii U, the first thing I noticed and was unfortunately disappointed by is its setup time. If you plan on using the Wii U to its fullest potential, you are going to need to do an update to the system right off the bat. While this is automatic when doing your network setup, it is required to use the Wii U’s full functionality including things like the YouTube app. Nintendo has never been known for their online features and like Sony doesn’t have fast download speeds for consoles.
As a result, it took almost an hour of setup and download time before my Wii U was ready to go. Tip for parents, if you are giving your kid a Wii U for Christmas, open up the box and do this before you give it as a gift. Nothing is going to disappoint little Jimmy Xmas morning than having to wait an hour before he can actually start playing his Wii U.
Continue Reading →
When most gamers here the phrase “Free-to-play,” heads are usually shaken and faces are definitely palmed. Once in a great while, however, there comes a free-to-play game that is that actually is free to play. Blacklight: Retribution is one of the few games that not only costs you nothing to enjoy, but is also damn fun to play in the process – and now, it’s as easy as downloading it from the Steam store (for FREE).
From Andy Kipling, Executive Producer at Zombie Studios:
“We couldn’t be more excited with the upcoming release of Blacklight: Retribution on Steam. With millions of active users daily, Steam has become the premiere digital distribution service around the world. As the Free-to-Play market grows, we continue to explore new methods for our fans to play our games, and bringing Blacklight: Retribution to Steam was a no brainer. Working with Valve to bring Blacklight: Retribution to Steam was extremely easy. We added support for Steam Achievement and Stats to Blacklight: Retribution, and a number of in-game items especially for Steam users.”
Continue Reading →
Sony’s newest handheld, the Playstation Vita, doesn’t launch officially in the US until February 22nd, but if you’re one of the antsy few like myself who just needed to get your hands on just a bit earlier than its official US Launch date, the “First Edition” bundle was available for sale yesterday if you preordered. Before I write up my full review on the Vita, I wanted to share my initial reactions to the system, especially for those of you who are still on the fence about picking it up next week.
First things first- the Vita is beautiful, both asthetically and physically. I love the way this device looks, and I LOVE the way it feels in my hands. The 5 Inch OLED screen obviously makes the Vita easy on the eyes, and games look great. I’ve never found myself questioning how much better this looks than the PSP- it’s astounding how much power they’ve packed into this thing, without making it very heavy or cumbersome.
If you’re a veteran of the PSP, or any Sony system really, the Vita is easy enough to pick up and play. They’vre rearranged some buttons, which I really appreciate, as the volume and start buttons on the PSP were too low for me to reach comfortably before. The biggest change has been the addition of a second analog stick. I cannot stress how much better these analog sticks are than the PSP’s, which I had break on me multiple times on multiple PSPs.
Continue Reading →
This week, JC & WallE get into it with their thoughts on the recent trailer reveals for The Last of Us, Fortnite, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, The Amazing Spider-Man and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. JC also gives his final edition of The Long Grind focusing on The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Don’t worry though, the Long Grind will return in 2012 with new epic games to discuss.
The Topic of the Week this week is a very special one. A few weeks ago, the Bitcast crew talked about realism in games. This week, JC had the honor of sitting down and talking to a member of the United States Marine Corps who was involved in the conflict at the Battle of Fallujah in late 2004, considered to be one of the harshest battles in modern warfare history. This marine shares his perspective on gaming, movies and television and how it relates to his experiences. We thank this individual for his time, his service and for sharing his experiences with us.
For their Now Playing, JC gives some insight in the recent Voltron XBLA release as well as how Christmas shopping reminded him of his time playing Dead Rising while WallE talks Madden 12. The duo even gives some not so subtle hints on what games they wouldn’t mind getting for Christmas.
Don’t forget to tune in next week for the Best Games of 2011 show and make sure to follow everyone on Twitter including @theflickcast, @thebitcast, @thejohncarle & @JWWallE. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to The Bitcast on The Flickcast iTunes feed.
The Bitcast returns this week with their record setting 8th Episode featuring the Flickcast’s own version of Mario & Luigi, though JC and WallE will both always lay claim to being the star of the episode.
In the News of the Week, JC and WallE discuss the upcoming Spike Video Game Awards show and speculate on the upcoming announcement from Epic Games, the makers of Gears of War and the Infinity Blade franchises. They also discuss the 10th Anniversary of Grand Theft Auto III coming to iOS before getting into detail with South Park: The Game coming from Obsidian. They even talk Beta numbers for Star Wars: The Old Republic and announce the current and upcoming DLC for Goldeneye 007: Reloaded, sadly with the absence of Sean Bean.
In the Long Grind in Skyrim this week, JC gets in detail on both the dragons and music of the Elder Scrolls V.
For the Topic of the Week, WallE shows that he can handle both movies and gaming as he discusses the scores composed for some of the most influential titles in gaming history.
Continue Reading →
JC and WallE are back again with a new episode of The Bitcast. This week in the news, the duo talks about some exciting news for the Max Payne and Bully franchises from Rockstar, the upcoming movie news for Rampage and address analyst Michael Pachter’s thoughts on the next XBox launch.
This week, The Bitcast introduces The Long Grind, a new segment featuring a longform review of a huge upcoming or classic title. This first edition of The Long Grind will feature The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for this episode and the next three weeks.
In the Topic of the Week, The Bitcast crew examines the classic Mario and Sonic franchises, as well as others, that have gone drastic reboots and remakes and continue to evolve both in gameplay and graphics.
In their Now Playing, WallE talks all things Sonic Generations while JC tackles the thug life of Saints Row: The Third. Make sure to subscribe to The Flickcast iTunes feed to get your weekly episode of The Bitcast automatically downloaded. Also, be sure to follow us on @thebitcast and JC at @thejohncarle and WallE at @JWWallE on Twitter.
Join WallE and me, JC, once again for another episode of The Bitcast. This week has been loaded with news with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Assassin’s Creed‘s Ezio making his way into the Soul Caliber ranks and the gigantic spike in the population of DC Universe Online going free to play.
In the Topic of the Week, WallE and JC debate whether the video game industry will ever be as big as the movie industry. They discuss the merits and weaknesses of both with JC saying games will surpass movies while WallE leans more on the side of cinema and end up coming to a surprising conclusion.
In their Now Playing section, WallE leads off with the PlayStation 3 release, the Simpsons Game from 2007. JC talks about his latest review title for The Flickcast with Goldeneye 007: Reloaded, much to WallE’s disapproval of the lack of Sean Bean in the game.
Check out the full show below and make sure to subscribe to The Flickcast feed in the iTunes podcast section to get The Bitcast automatically downloaded each week.
Check out the latest episode of the Bitcast with JC and WallE as they explore the world of gaming. In the news, the two reflect on the Grand Theft Auto V launch trailer and recap their predictions from the last episode and see who did better. Also discussed are the November 8th PSN releases of Crono Cross, Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI.
In the Topic of the Week section, the Bitcast takes a look at the Free to Play gaming model which is becoming more and more prevelent in gaming today. The two discuss both the merits and concerns of the concept, look at how it has been implemented in existing titles and talk about what it can have in store for the future.
In their Now Playing, WallE has a throwback moment as he looks back at the original Uncharted for the PS3. JC expands further on his time with his review for Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.
NYCC this year saw the debut of one of the most nostalgia filled MMO gameplay trailers since Star Wars: The Old Republic. Though we can’t show you the trailer we can tell you about what we saw and what information we were able to get about the game. Transformers Universe is being developed by Jagex, the makers of the free to play fantasy MMO Runescape. Jagex promises an experience meant to appeal both to the masses as well as the Transformers hardcore fan.
Transformers Universe will be a browser based MMO for both the PC and Mac which means no downloads are necessary. It will take place using real world looking cars on a diverse landscape and will be a planet-based experience. So what does that mean? Don’t expect boats or planes just yet for this game. PR people were very careful to only mention driving and not piloting. It may be possible that they may exist in the future but the character creator screen we saw only gave options for cars, trucks and motorcycles thus far.
We have also been promised that Transformers Universe will be a constantly evolving world with huge character customization options. This means that when players pick their side as either Autobot or Decepticon, they will have a massive level of creative control over their character and that the world around them won’t be static. Areas, characters and missions will change and allow for new gameplay experiences instead of repetitive gameplay. Additionally, players will be granted the ability to play alongside iconic characters like Optimus Prime. Similar to the vein of DC Universe Online, players will fight with or against some of the recognizable faces from the Transformers Universe, helping make that individual’s story feel bigger and more important.
Continue Reading →
At New York Comic Con, we got a special media only peek at live gameplay of Max Payne 3. For those who may be too young, the original Max Payne came out in July of 2001 for the PC with XBox and PlayStation 2 releases to follow in what Rockstar claims as “the birth of the cinematic action shooter”. Max Payne introduced the concept of bullet time into games, which has been copied innumerable times since, especially in titles like John Woo’s Stranglehold, where players were able to slow down time and carefully aim and place each bullet they fired as opposed to the mad run and gun fury in most first or third person shooters. Precision was key.
Max Payne also took a Noir approach to its storytelling which helped set it apart from the games at the time which focused more on being more like big summer blockbusters than gritty crime dramas. Max Payne would eventually spawn both a sequel and a motion picture release starring Mark Walberg.
When we got to see Max Payne 3 in action, the first noticeable improvement is the full facial animations of the characters. Max no longer has the eternal look of pain frozen into his face. Instead, he has a fully animated set of emotions ranging from angst to utter despair. Just because it’s a new game, don’t expect a new demeanor for Max.
Also changed is the graphic novel style storytelling. In the first two games, cut scenes played out like reading panels from a comic book with static images with caption boxes over them while Max’s voice over told the story. Now, everything plays out in engine in full animated glory for the players as they traverse through levels. There will be Hollywood style camera cuts as well as on screen captions of what Max is saying but the game plays much more like a high quality motion comic during these cut scenes rather than flipping through a book.
Continue Reading →
New York Comic Con was a huge showcase for the folks at Activision. In addition to the Spider-Man photo booth where people could green screen themselves webslinging through the city, the other side of the Activision booth had part of a full size helicopter people could pose next to. Why a helicopter you ask? Well, remember that question asked about “What is cooler than drop kicking a helicopter?” that was posed for a little game called Prototype? One of the showcase pieces given its first hands on to the public was Prototype 2 on the XBox 360.
During our playthrough we played both a story mission and a challenge mission of the game. Much like the original Prototype, Prototype 2 has impressive visuals and fantastic animation. One thing that quickly stood out though is the change in the field of view.
The player model for James Heller is smaller on the screen which allows players to see furher into the distance, more of what is in front of him and more importantly, more of what is on the side and behind him. This quickly changes up the gameplay as a player can relax a little more without the constant fear from the original of a rocket launcher off screen delivering a killing blow from out of nowhere.
The combat of Prototype 2 seems fairly consistent to the first meaning it is both brutal and fun. This game gives new meaning to collateral damage as players may be aiming at the Blackwatch soldiers but end up tearing through hordes of innocent New Yorkers in the process. Some of the classic powers return as well as updates on the tendrils which in effect turns a target into a magnet for every destructible item close by to come flying at it as seen in the game’s most recent trailer.
Continue Reading →
At New York Comic Con, we were able to get a booth tour from Capcom which got us some hands on time with three of their much anticipated titles. The first of which was the upcoming rerelease of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Back at Comic Con in San Diego, after announcing the first set of new characters being added to the game, there was a massive leak which revealed the full roster. Now, Capcom has gone official with all but a few of these characters and had them available for us to play as at the Con.
We demoed the game on a traditional controller for the XBox 360. As there was an all day tournament going on, the wait for even press to play using the fight sticks was outrageous and considering most households would use a regular controller anyway, we felt like this would give us a good idea of what to expect from the game. Focusing our teams on the newer characters, we had to learn on the fly just what kind of play styles to use with them.
Vergil was the most reminiscent of Dante from the original Marvel vs. Capcom 3 focusing on using his sword for a majority of his attacks. Firebrand from Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins ended up being surprisingly fun to play with as we didn’t really have any idea what to expect from him. Nova and Ghost Rider felt like the badasses we expected them to be but sadly Rocket Raccoon was not an option for us yet.
The most surprisingly fun character was Phoenix Wright. The best character comparison we could make was him being like Dan from Street Fighter. His attacks may look horribly wimpy as he throws paperwork at opponents but he is perfect for luring opponents into a false sense of security.
Continue Reading →
Even though SDCC is already a month removed, we still have some games news still to cover. One of those stories is that of Payday: The Heist. Coming from Sony Online Entertainment, Payday: The Heist is a four player cooperative shooter inspired by the combination of the movie Heat, the most famous heist movie of all time, and the game Left 4 Dead, a stunning example of cooperative shooter gameplay.
This isn’t the first time Heat has played inspiration to the video game world. Anyone who got into Grand Theft Auto 4 will remember one of the best missions of the game comes from the bank robbery based off of Heat. Now, instead of a third person single player experience, gamers can team up with up to three friends to take down a bank and try to escape with their winnings a la Left 4 Dead, minus the zombies.
Players need to be conscious of everything from hostages which can be used as currency to revive killed teammates to security cameras which can be disabled in order to reduce the amount of intel available to SWAT and hostage extraction squads.
Continue Reading →
Recently, we got the chance to get hands on with X-Men: Destiny for the first time. In our demo we got to check out the first level of the game where we had the opportunity to choose between the game’s three possible protagonists Aimi, Grant and Adrian. When a massive Purifier attack hits downtown San Francisco, the player must also decide on the spot which of the three power sets they would like to equip their character with.
The early level surprisingly has a lot of conversation within it as players meet members of both the X-Men and Brotherhood who are both fighting against the Purifiers. Because of the noise in the Activision event, we couldn’t really hear the dialogue at the time but the gist we got was that both sides were already actively beginning to recruit this new mutant to their side.
X-Men: Destiny plays much like a standard 3D street brawler with the added bonus of mutant powers. There are your basic light, heavy, special and grab attacks along with blocking and dodging mechanics as expected. The gameplay itself was fun but the story possibilities are definitely the most intriguing part for us.
Continue Reading →
One of the very first booths I hit on the show floor this year was Bioware’s SWTOR – or Star Wars: The Old Republic – the company’s massively multi-player game set in the Star Wars universe. In development for the last five years, I was excited to learn there would finally be hands-on demos of the game both at the Con as well as off-site at the Hilton Gaslamp across the street.
To coincide with Comic-Con this year, Bioware announced pre-orders for the game on Thursday, which would allow players early access to the game as well as spiffy in-game bonuses. Given that the game’s release window is set for Holidays 2011, it made sense for the SWTOR team to leverage Comic-Con to start showing off their shiny new MMORPG.
After a roughly 45-minute wait, myself and a dozen other eager players were ushered into the booth and each seated at one of the high-end Alienware gaming rigs running SWTOR. We slipped on our headphones and were given 15-minutes on the clock to put the game through its paces. I decided to play a Sith Warrior, went through a brief intro and my character was jumped into a desert-like world ripe for the exploring.
Continue Reading →