Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Doing the endless setlist tonight.


So I'm doing the Endless Setlist 2 again. After the debacle that was dubbed "ExpertPenguin's Repaired 360 Save File Delete 2009" (plus Alpha), none of my lost saved games hit me as hard as my Rock Band 2 file. Aside from the numerous 5 star performances via drums, singing, guitaring under my belt, challenges conquered, my Platinum medal was gone.

A Platinum medal, if you're wondering, is your reward for completing the Endless Setlist 2 on Expert. The ES2 is an 84 track endurance run through every song in the game, back to back, no breaks. Well, the first time I'd done it, I admittedly paused a few times, restarted a few songs, and even took a break to go to sleep.

Fast forward about 7 months, past a save file delete, a new guitar, having gotten much better since then and you'll find a guy with a newfound resolve to actually do the ES2 the way it was intended. The internet gauges its average length to be about 6 hours 15 minutes.

I'm doing it tonight. I want my Platinum back and then some.

Updates can be found in that convenient little LivePenguin bar to the right, or at my Twitter. Keep up, eh?

Here goes..

[Update - 3:33 a.m.. I did it!...and was screwed out of the Iron Bladder Achievement. Inexplicably so. Awesome. I did get my platinum back though...glass is half full?..]

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Funk of Forty Thousand Years

No, he's not back from the dead. Har har har.

Own an Xbox 360? Living in the US?

Microsoft has decided to pay tribute to Michael in their own way, by making Thriller a free download in the US Xbox Live Marketplace.

Go download it. It's in the video section.

Continue Reading..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

GH: Smash Hits disappoints my already low expectations.


So after months of anticipation and hyping (admittedly from my end), I have a few people asking me:

"Hey Lucien, why don't you have Guitar Hero: Smash Hits yet? Weren't you waiting for that one?

Honestly, I was..

Then I saw this.

Forget the solo, that's standard Guitar Hero fare by now. It's that tomfoolery at the end that deserves special mention. A 5 button chord.

For a thunderstrike noise. Not a guitar sound, the sound of thunder crashing. Great.

I'd blame it on Neversoft not even trying anymore in a fit of anger, but after doing a bit of internet matlocking, I found out it wasn't even Neversoft who did the charting for the songs this time around, it was outsourced to another dev called "Beenox".

News Flash: You're truly milking your franchise when you have to assign it to other developers. Perhaps the other three GH games being developed this year are a bit unnecessary, hm?

Actually playing the game for a bit didn't do them any more favors as well. Songs I knew and loved were changed, some for the worst rather than best. Easy songs were fitted with awkward parts, harder songs were made easier, and even the songs themselves sounded worse in spots. How did this happen? The objective was simple, to take songs that were ALREADY on another three discs, transplant them here, add vocals and drums (bass for a few of them) and you have a finished product. I won't go into Guitar Hero's presentation issues, the game hasn't really advanced graphically in about 3 years anyway.

I already knew it was a cash-in from the get go, as the title required such a modicum of effort to become a reality in the first place. No matter how much fun the title was, it was still just a copy/paste job that would've been better served as DLC. Suddenly, the concessions I'd made to accept it ended up being the reason I hate it. The game DOES need to be downloadable content, as they're charging $59.99 for a GH title with 48 songs and NO downloadable compatibility with previous games. Worse even, the game won't have DLC of it's own, so after the nostalgia trip is over, you're left with little else to toy around with. I'll admit there's a fair amount of replay in the vocals/drums parts, as many of these songs haven't been realized in a full band capacity, but from what I've seen, many of the drum charts outside of Expert+ (drumming with two bass pedals) are just plain monotonous, and the vocals are still unsatisfying, due to the way GH handles the entire endeavor.

I thought it'd be impossible for Guitar Hero: Smash Hits to disappoint, and I couldn't have been more wrong. It's almost as if Activision read my Guitar Zeroes post and wanted to try their best to keep me from spending my final $59.99 on the franchise. "We don't need your $60", they said. "We can make this into the biggest piece of shit ever and people will STILL buy it!" If the ravings of friends on Facebook and the avalanche of YouTube videos showcasing kids playing it are any indication, they're right. There's no accounting for taste, or quality as long as it says Guitar Hero on the box. The series went from quality over quantity with annual excellent releases, to the exact opposite with titles like this every few months.

There's also a 5 button chord in this game. I really can't get over it. What the hell were they thinking?

Activision: 1, Me: 0. You win guys.

As for me, I'm very much done. Back to Rock Band I go. DJ Hero admittedly looks like such an interesting experiment in my mind, but I have very little faith at this point.

We'll see.

Continue Reading..

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bayonetta blowout.


It's no secret to anyone close to me that I'm excited for Bayonetta, lovechild of Sega and Platinum Games (formerly Clover Studio and of Okami fame). From her unique design to the fast paced stylish action gameplay, I can't see where this title could go wrong. Further cementing my rabid anticipation would be the fact that Hideki Kamiya (Devil May Cry) is at the helm. I mean, we're talking about the guy who redefined action gaming back in 2001, you know, WAY before David Jaffe waltzed in and stole his thunder by sticking QTEs in the middle of our grab combos with God of War.

Personally, I'm getting a little tired of every action game being compared to GoW post-2005, and it's nice to see ANOTHER game get the limelight, free of those comparisons. Of course, to know what I'm talking about, you'd have to see it in action, right? The jump awaits.

I think the worst part of any action game is staring at the loading screens. Bayonetta is no stranger to them, however instead of a black screen, in this game you get a chance to tool around and learn all her moves, and if this video is any indication...there's a TON of them. Loading screen montage go!

If you stopped to ask, "Why do her clothes keep disappearing?" it's because well...those aren't clothes she's wearing. That's her hair.


Oh, and are those bazookas on her ankles? My word. I think I'm in love.

Just in case that wasn't enough (I know it wasn't for me), here's the 10 minute demo from E3, being played by someone who obviously knows their stuff. I swear, her moves look even better in practice, and if the entire game can keep up the pace and look of this short demo, I think fans of action games everywhere are in for a treat.

If you're still as interested as I am after watching these, be sure to check out the Developer's Blog, as they're taking time aside from making this awesome game to detail the process that goes into creating everything from character design, to the weapons and even how the music was scored. Interesting reads, especially if you're curious about just how much work goes into making a game from concept to reality.

Continue Reading..

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Black, White, and Grey - inFamous Review

I think I'm qualified to say a few words on inFamous now...


What say you? Let's get on it.

Reading one of my earlier posts, I can see how it'd be difficult to even get mildly excited about inFamous. Given the general "meh" reaction to an open world game that isn't Grand Theft Auto, without any of the buzz of such a title, it's very easy to write inFamous off as another clone, or worse off, as just "another open world hero game". It's even easier considering every other game releasing in June boasting nearly the same thing. It couldn't be further from the truth however, as inFamous is not only one of the best superhero games I've played, but one of the better open world games I've played as well.

The story of inFamous is centered around one Cole McGrath, a very average delivery man in the fictional Empire City delivering just another package on another average day...or so he thought. Turns out Cole delivered a bomb that explodes moments after he reaches his destination and not only levels nearly the entire city, killing thousands in it's wake, but also imbues him with electricity based powers. Unfortunately, the rest of the city wasn't as lucky as Cole. The fallout of the explosion started a plague that forced the government to quarantine (abandon) the city and the gangs who were previously low key have risen up and taken full advantage of the newly anarchic society. Cole himself has many questions, including the nature of the blast and why he seems to be the only one with powers, but with the entire city in disarray and steadily getting worse as time passes, will Cole use his newly acquired abilities to be Empire City's savior, or its ruler?


It's a setup that works very well, due particularly to inFamous' presentation. From the very second you press start, the game seamlessly throws you headfirst into the explosion that rocks Empire City, and into Cole's battered confusion at the event. It's sewn up in such a way that you begin the story on the same note he does, and does a great job of putting you in the character's shoes that few games bother to do. Many of the game's cinematics are either handled real time in this fashion, or through stylized comic book cutscenes like the picture above. Visually, the game does a above average job of rendering the city with an almost meticulous attention to detail (nearly every building is unique and every district has a personality of its own), though it does suffer from an uneven framerate at times and noticeable pop in of objects.

Controlling Cole is a blast as well, using what I'm going to pretentiously call "magnetic parkour", he has the uncanny ability to scale anything that looks like a handhold, or stand on any surface he can plant his feet on, provided it isn't TOO narrow for his feet. Occasionally, the system hiccups and he'll grab the wrong ledge, and descending can be annoying due to his tendency to grab EVERYTHING automatically. However the undeniable rush that you'll feel leaping from ledge to ledge, rooftop to rooftop with ease outweighs this, especially during the game's missions that test your platforming skills. It also plays fantastically into battles, having the ability to leap from a building, throwing out a ball of lightning before grabbing a streetlight mid descent, hanging and firing out a few shocks to disperse the crowd and leaping into the lot of them with a carefully timed thunder drop is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your prowess.

Controlling his various powers is also a fairly intuitive experience. While you start out with a very basic electric attack (activated by pressing R1), you eventually gain access to abilities that involve you throwing shockwaves, firing balls of energy from your fists, and even calling thunder down from the sky (steered by the sixaxis!). While the majority of your powers are admittedly 3rd person shooter archtypes (pistol, sniper, rocket launcher), seeing them cleverly disguised as lightning powers with their own unique properties adds to their appeal. It's also very well laid out across the pad, and you'll rarely find yourself executing a move you didn't want to.


Speaking of his powers, depending on the path you decide to go down, his powers change, and it actually affects the experience. While the basics of each ability don't change, their effects do, lending a more noble player with defensive abilities, and the more malevolent of us with destructively offensive ones. It's a system that actually plays into the role you're fufilling; as a hero, you'll balance the fallout of your attacks between effectively subduing the criminials and not harming the populace in the crossfire, as a villain, you won't care and will relish watching everything explode in a shower of electric sparks and debris.

To put it simply, being good turns the game into Crackdown, being evil is akin to playing Grand Theft Auto as a teenager, invoking mass destruction and terror for the thrill and fun of it.


There's a karma system in place governing all this, that through your actions towards the citizens and enemies (Kill or restrain? Heal or harm?) decides which direction you take. While most of the choices are very black and white, some a little too obvious, there are later ones that really test your mettle and truly place you at the reins of Cole's character. He may be somewhat of an antihero, but he's only as good a person as you are willing to be, and the entire feel of the game changes in kind. As you progress through the wealth of story and side missions the game offers, your reputation changes, and people will either fear you, revere you, throw rocks when they see you or try their best to do their part in saving the city alongside you. It's almost worth seeing the game through twice, just to see the dynamics of the city shift due to your actions.


But of course, with all the praise, there has to be a major complaint here and there, so I'll fire off a few before we close. The presentation is solid, as I mentioned before, with Empire City having more high resolution textures than any open world deserves to have, but the engine is clearly choking on this fact, and while it does a bangup job of keeping things solid even in the most explosive of battles, simply traversing the city drives the engine insane with processing and the framerate drops. Take into account almost insulting pop in at times (I've literally seen an entire quadrant of a building disappear and reappear with a single step back and forth)and it's a problem that's frequently distracting.

Also, I understand the balance a superhero game needs to strike between power and vulnerability, but the enemies presented, down to the lowliest grunt, are very effective with their weapons, almost to a fault. They're highly perceptive, able to spot you from blocks away, and deadly accurate. While I didn't expect them all to be unorganized bumbling idiots, I certainly didn't expect them to be Navy SEALs and expert marksmen either. It really feels like a knock to my heroism when I fear being picked off from a mile away by stray gunfire while scaling a building. Finally, the game has an excellent soundtrack, but you'd never know it because you rarely get a chance to hear it. Most of your time exploring the city will be done to the sounds of street ambiance, and it's a bit of a waste for such great tracks to gain minimal exposure during boss battles and the occasional story event.

None of this though, keeps inFamous from being a game I highly recommend to anyone owning a PS3. The story is interesting and well paced, the main character is a blast to use, and the city you're given to explore is an extremely well designed playground with a ton of things to discover and collect.

P.S.: Kudos to Sucker Punch for nailing the open world character swimming problem right on the head. Why can't he swim? He's a walking generator. Done. Bravo.

Continue Reading..

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Filler - One-offs.

-Condemned 2 is an atmospheric mindfuck. Between this and the F.E.A.R. series, I can see that Monolith truly loves tugging at people's nerves through first person.

-LittleBigPlanet is a fantastical, wonderful place and I can't maintain anger while it's running in my PS3. I am under the impression that it's impossible.


-My inFamous review has been in draft for the past 6 days, and is 80% complete. I'm still wondering if I should put it up.

-X-Blades reminds me of that token generic game you see playing on televisions during a low budget movie. I REALLY wish I had a screenshot of the loading screen that popped up when I started the demo, telling me "The best way to avoid fireballs is to jump over them."

-Rock Band 2 is still the best looking rhythm action game I've ever seen. The fact that the animations remain dynamic and accurate even for the downloadable music blows me away.

-Everyone in a tiff about some random from EA talking about how he feels the 360 is "maxed out" needs to remember WHERE the quote is coming from. He's from EA. EA. When did they become the de facto source for hardware analysis?

-Also, Poor Kojima. I've already spoken to a few people about this...funny to see it in a mainstream blog post.

I'll be back in a day or two..


Continue Reading..

Thursday, June 11, 2009

PSP Gone.

I wonder who's in charge of Sony's portable division. Hell, who's been in charge for the past few years?


Honestly, the more I hear about the PSP Go, the more I shake my head.

The latest news surrounding Sony's new iteration is a bit of a doozy, but not unexpected. While the console's lack of a UMD drive more than speaks for itself as far as future releases go, Sony's expectation that nearly all upcoming PSP games will be downloadable following October 1st makes me shift my decision from simply ignoring the Go's existence to raising red flags in my head.

I've already run my mouth endlessly about how I feel a 4th redesign of the system is needless, but I used the console's momentary failings as a gaming platform as the primary reason. Truth be told, I think the Go is a fine idea, and a worthwhile redesign of the system consumers should've gotten in the first place.


The problem I have with it is the fact that it's coming after two previous redesigns, nearly indistinguishable from each other.

(In descending order, PSP-1000,2000,3000 models)

While the new PSP can boast a wealth of new things to the table, the previous two cannot. Other than worthless incremental, largely unnoticeable upgrades like a sharper screen or more RAM, they're functionally identical (I've been using my 1000 model for the past 4 years), and unfortunately previous consumers who purchased this model not knowing what Sony had in store are unfortunately hung out to dry.

With Sony trying to move away from their failed UMD format, it means the current 50 million plus owners are going to be in a bit of a bind. Not only will they have useless drive attached to their units, but they'll have to re-invest in Memory Sticks as well. The average PSP game takes anywhere from 100MB to 1.60 GB, and the average owner possesses a 1 or 2 gigabyte stick. The math isn't difficult.

Moreover, not everyone has internet access, and even those that do don't possess wi-fi. If Sony is going to go the downloadable route, this alienates even more customers from their future releases. Thankfully, they're leaving the decision up to third parties as to whether or not they want to continue using UMD, and hopefully more are like Capcom, who still has a head on its shoulders regarding their fanbase.

Another problem worth considering is the existing PSP owner who may want to upgrade. What are they to do with their existing, now unplayable collection? Will Sony collect and redeem UMDs for download vouchers? Give software that allows the ripping and compression of UMDs (not likely) so they remain playable?

The PSP Go in my opinion has a number of problems, with very few solutions. Sony wants to offer this thing alongside the PSP, says the go won't replace the current model, but I have a hunch it's just PR speak. Nintendo said the same thing about the DS Lite, and it was such a functional upgrade that became a mainstay. With Sony going UMD less in the foreseeable future, what reason will there be to continue using the old models? This is another huge gamble that'll divide the PSP community, and further confuse consumers.

I suppose time will tell moving forward, but I really have to ask again:

WHERE is Sony getting all this money from?

Continue Reading..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You've got to be kidding me.


I knew Namco was tapping some kind of juju out of the PSP in order to make Tekken 5 as excellent as it was on the PSP, but seriously. Porting talent and attention to detail aside, I didn't care one lick about the upcoming PSP version of Soulcalibur IV, aptly subtitled Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, until now.


Take a look at that picture. Yeah.

Not gonna lie. Kind of want now. Kind of.

Continue Reading..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nintendo - Getting Better..But...

Nintendo had quite a falling out after last year's E3. It seemed that the runaway mainstream success of the Wii made them lose touch with their core audience, the gamers who supported them through thick and INCREDIBLY thin. The console as a whole has been very divisive for quite some time, causing a rift between all the new adopters, and the hardcore fans who want actual games. It's almost as if Nintendo was trying to deliver at first, but once they realized people were content to screw around with Wii Sports for hours on end, they stopped trying.


Now, the system is caught in a pattern of streaming garbage, with very few actual gems worth sticking your hands in the muck for. Sega's been trying hard since this year began to bring gamers back to the fold with excellent gems like MadWorld and it seems as if Nintendo's taken notice. Sure the new people are great, but what about those of us who've been around since '86?

This must be the first wave of appealing to us. Not half bad, guys..

If there's anything Nintendo can do that no other company can, it's extend a franchise...to death. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other company whose strategy revolves around reinventing the SAME dozen characters ad nauseam, but somehow...it's usually fresh. And as much as I complain, I want to play a new Mario. A 4-player reimagining of the DS hit New Super Mario Bros. doesn't sound bad to me..

Nor does a sequel to The Best Looking Wii Game(tm); Mario Galaxy 2. Is that YOSHI?!

If anyone'd ever told me Team Ninja was making a Wii game, I would've laughed harder than the judge at Vanilla Ice's infringement trial. I mean, it's a Wii! TN is renowned for being graphical snobs. The house that Itagaki built is set on proving everyone wrong though with this new title, and even more unbelievable, it's...a Metroid game?

(I wonder if there'll be boob physics...you know you're wondering too. C'mon. It's Team Ninja we're talking about here.)

Third parties are getting in on things too, and I'll be damned if EA Redwood (now named Visceral Games) isn't trying to one-up Nintendo for Best Looking Wii game with their new game Dead Space: Extraction, a rail shooter/exploration game in the vein of RE: Umbrella Chronicles..

An excellent looking 2D brawler/platformer in the form of Muramasa: The Demon Blade

...and a reinvention of the first Silent Hill in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I'm honestly on the fence about this one, what with there being news about the removal of combat, and tinkering with some story elements, but it looks like it's coming along nicely.

Interested in the DS titles incoming? Links:

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Golden Sun DS

Other than these great announcements (which admittedly, took some time to get rolling), the majority of the show had me scratching my head. Yes, Wii Fit was a hit, but do we really need another one? Yes Nintendo, I'm glad you want to bring the family together, but Mario alone is enough. With all the accessories, add-ons, minigame compilations on the way in the form of another Wii Sports, exercise games, and THIS inexplicable thing:

(Are you serious?)

I'm really beginning to wonder whether or not Nintendo's tired of making real games, and just wants to settle into the low-risk, low-effort route of fad programming. I rarely touch my Wii as it is, and can barely look at it as a gaming platform the way I do my 360 and PS3. I wonder if this is what Nintendo really wants for us, or if they've simply become blind with success. It's no wonder the President of the company came out and said high definition wasn't a priority unless deemed necessary. If the system is going to do little other than calculate your health and distract you with fluff, why does it need to be in a higher resolution?

Also, with Microsoft and Sony busting out with their own takes on motion-based gameplay, how will they continue to compete? They're no longer the lowest price point, and their number one gimmick is about to broaden it's horizons. Nintendo's complacency is going to need a boot in the ass by 2010, and they'll have to push things in the right direction.

This year was a bit hopeful, but still reeks of the same kind of negligence. I have a feeling after this little spark, we'll be in for another drought on this console.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Continue Reading..

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sony = Rubberband?..

I stared at the keynote from Microsoft intently and walked away impressed, with a ton of positive things to say in retrospect.

I walked away from this keynote with a bit of dry taste in my mouth, albeit somewhat impressed in spots, but not really blown away.


Highlights next.

We'll start out with the exciting.

Despite the fact that they've lost exclusivity, Final Fantasy XIII still began life as a PS3 title...be careful though, this is a long one.

God of War III was already a given, eh? Do I need to write an introduction? Kratos has never looked better, honestly. One thing I love, is that the developers WON'T stop prattling on about how THESE visuals are early, and the game is going to look better before release. Heh. We'll see guys. Judging from some gameplay I've seen, it should be a great time, though I'm skeptical because neither David Jaffe (Creator, director of 1) or Cory Barlog (Art designer, Director of 2) are involved on any level. At least there's a date now. March 2010.

Did you play ICO? How about Shadow of the Colossus? Team ICO's newest, The Last Guardian is finally in viewable form, and it looks AMAZING:

Okay Naughty Dog. We get it. You have an INCREDIBLE hold on every Sony console you've ever touched. I'm speechless. This just might be the best looking game I've seen on the system to date. Uncharted 2? I'm sold.

And then it became a bit stale..

We have a Wii, Project Natal is using your entire body and then some, and now there's this.....thing. I don't know. While it admittedly looks a bit cool, isn't the Wii already doing this? As if we didn't underutilize the Sixaxis' gyro enough, here's something that just screams "me too" in the face of what the competition's already offering.

Gran Turismo 5 is STILL coming. Microsoft unleashes Forza 3 on us, with stunning visuals, 400+ licensed customizable, destructible cars, 100+ tracks,a prospective release window, and the Sony response is to CONTINUE teasing us with GT5? No feature list? No release date? Do they realize that in the time it's taken to make this one game, Forza is now on it's third installment, making it a literal franchise? At least we're getting a portable one...right?


MAG is a great idea in concept, massive scale 256 player battles, but it's decidedly last-gen look and somewhat underwhelming looking gameplay have me on the fence. What happens when the novelty of so many simultaneous players wears off?

While Final Fantasy XIII was already a given in many of our eyes, I know losing exclusivity was a massive blow to Sony and their plans to edge out Microsoft in the long run. So how do they counter this decisive blow?

....an MMO in the form of Final Fantasy XVI Online for a same-day release. Huh?

Way to take the thunder away from the former with the latter, guys. This screams like a great idea with dubious timing. FFXIII already has a lot to contend with, given the long wait and the fact that it's a next gen installment. by tossing us that AND the sequel to Final Fantasy XI at the same time, it means both releases will suffer to some extent as far as consumer perception is concerned. Ever try to care about two RPGs at once? I usually end up indifferent to both.

Other parts of the Keynote left me a bit puzzled. Why does the PSPgo exist? Your portable sales halve those of Nintendo's, and this ailing console is undergoing ANOTHER redesign? This would make the fourth in the console's 4 year running time. Perhaps Sony, instead of sinking countless thousands into R&D, you could produce some worthwhile GAMES for it, or at least bribe publishers to, in a span shorter than every 6 months. This isn't to say that the new Metal Gear or Resident Evil titles don't look excellent, but they're a ways off, case in point. Just a thought.


Also, why am I being thrown sales numbers yet again?..Why is Playstation Home being reinforced as something I will be unable to ignore? The rest of the conference struck me as superfluous. Sony seems to live in their own world, one where their past successes overshadow all and their needless additions to the Playstation platform help them elevate past what made them successful in the first place--strong third party support. I walked away from their announcements not with a renewed sense of faith in the PS brand, but with faith in the few exclusives coming to the PS3 in the near future.

Very often, between the PSP redesigns and "me too" esque motion wand, it seems like Sony is simply playing catch up with everyone else. I remember when the brand could stand on its own two feet, and the company had so much pull, it was enough to outright KILL off a rival system, when they had so much clout that the threat of not releasing on a Playstation platform meant a loss for the publisher, and not Sony themselves. It seems they still have a hard time humbling and accepting the reality now, but at least in a sense, the games are actually coming.

Dubious decisions aside, it was a solid show, and nowhere near the trainwreck it could've been. Thank heavens.

Continue Reading..

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Filler - What the hell, Sucker Punch?...


Thanks guys. Someone REALLY dropped the ball on this one.

Reign of evil starts now with conviction. Review before weekend's over.

Next up? Sony and Nintendo's keynotes.

Continue Reading..

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Microsoft is dropping bombs...

Nuclear Bombs.

Atom fucking bombs.

Wasn't this supposed to be the year of the PS3?


Doesn't look like it much. Xbox 360 E3 Keynote. Jump. Now.

These were the highlights in my eyes.

Microsoft OBVIOUSLY has their sights on the Wii with this one, having already stabbed at cute, easy accessibility with their own take on Miis and a user friendly interface, taking it to the next level was clearly in their Previews, Rhythm Action, Stealsights. Admittedly...it looks cool as all hell:

Zombie Apocalypse, anyone? It returns, and I HATE to get all racial on you, but is that MORE THAN ONE BLACK PERSON IN THE LEAD ROLE? Uncanny!

While we're currently (or not) drooling over inFamous, there was a superhero game before it that embodied the same addictive spirit, the immensely satisfying feeling of acquiring and using powers for the greater good, and because it was a hell of a lot of fun to see things explode. You might remember, it came with a certain multiplayer beta that in my opinion, fell by the wayside by comparison..

It's getting a sequel.

I almost lost faith in you, Sam. After the terribly disappointing Double Agent, developed by the continuously unimpressive Ubisoft Shanghai, I didn't think we'd cross paths again. Luckily for me, Ubi Montreal is on the case...and wow. Let me just say all these delays were worth it. Impressive visual style, revamped gameplay...I didn't care about Splinter Cell: Conviction before tonight, and after you see this gameplay (NOT a trailer!) video, you'll see why:

Wait....this game is still coming out? Color me impressed..

Finally, summer wouldn't be complete without a plethora of Xbox Live offerings..though to be honest, I'm more excited for Epic's side scroller Shadow Complex and the FUCKING TURTLES IN TIME 3D UPDATE...

I do feel as if I've oversaturated you with videos, so honorable mentions go to Forza Motorsport 3, The Beatles Rock Band (triple vocal harmonies?!), and of course, the inimitable Modern Warfare 2...

Oh fuck it. This has to be seen.

Great job guys. I'm really looking forward to the end of this year. Smaller announcements?

Final Fantasy 13 is looking as nice as its PS3 counterpart, Last.fm partners up with Live for free, Pandora-esque music streaming, Netflix improves, Microsoft starts streaming 1080p movies and TV shows, Twitter and Facebook are coming to live this fall, and Metal Gear Solid: Rising, a new title starring Raiden is coming with the 360 being the lead development platform..

Sony...Nintendo..My posts about your keynotes better be NEARLY as epic as this.

Continue Reading..