Originally the plan was going to be to come home from the office a little earlier than usual, hop on GTA Online and then when I finally had enough, watch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. while passing out for the night. Luckily, work got in the way and I wasn’t able to leave early as I saw Twitter exploding with #GTAOnline and #GTAProblems along with not very positive feedback. There was no way it could be that bad, right?
I hop on, choose four random grandparents that result in a character that actually look somewhat like me (and according to this equation, I am 1/4 black which is unexpected) and sign into the game server. Well, I attempted to sign on to the game server. It ended up taking three tries before I finally got in. Once finally in the game, I got the intro cut scene with tutorial messages as a familiar face drove me to the first mission. As I stepped into the first mission, the game got stuck on a “Searching for player” screen that I couldn’t exit. Start, Back, B. All of the go to buttons did nothing. So I hit the home button and went back out to the dashboard and restarted the whole game.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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