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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Next Gen consoles

So I cancelled my preorders for Xbox One and PS4.

I preordered back in June, I think? Since that time, I waited months for Microsoft and Sony to show me something that would make it worth it for me to buy their consoles at launch... games, functionality, whatever. Something.

But it's now almost the eve of release, and not enough somethings came. Of course, I did just buy a PS3 last December 2012, almost one year ago. So I am only really diving into this gen of console gaming now. Maybe I will have enough to tide me over for awhile.

I think I can wait a couple years for the Xbox One and PS4 games libraries to mature. At this point there is only one killer-app must-buy game is Dice's Star Wars Battlefront. And that is only just starting to be developed, it could be a couple years before it even comes out. If/when it does, I *will* buy a system just for that game.

In the meantime, I *think* I can live without either system.... It was a 3-way tug of war of where to put my $400.00-$500.00 between the Xbox One, PS4, and Nexus 5 phone. And I tucked about $460.00 into the Nexus 5, so I guess I had to sit out on the consoles.


OK Google Now

I ordered a Nexus 5, just waiting for it to arrive, probably next week. In the meantime, I've been reading and watching many reviews of the phone and Android 4.4,which  prominently showcases Google Now voice search. 

So what is the point of Google Now, exactly? 

You can use Google Now to talk to your phone to set an alarm. OK, that's a little useful. But I never leave my phone on all night, I turn it off to charge the battery. I used to keep my Samsung Galaxy S Glide on all night while charging, and the battery became swollen and needed to be replaced. So I don't think I will be using the talk to schedule an alarm feature too often. 

You can use Google Now to ask what the weather is like [wherever]. OK... But I already  have a weather widget, and how often does one need to ask what the weather is like? Not nearly often enough to justify having a persistent search bar across the top of my phone. 

And... So what else does Google Now do that's real-world useful? 

None of the reviews have been able to show me. 


Friday, August 16, 2013

Shaw DCX3510-M PVR is pretty awful

My dad decided to buy the Shaw DCX3510-M PVR around Christmas 2012... I was a bit hesitant, to say the least... I just had a bad vibe about it from internet buzz I'd read online. But the features on paper sounded great.

Let's face it, the Shaw DCX3510-M is a broken device that should not be bought by anyone. The hardware itself is probably sound, it is made by Motorola, and users in the U.S. on other cable services don't have much problem. But the REAL PROBLEM is that Shaw is trying to program their own firmware onto it and are failing badly. Shaw is NOT a software company.

The reason they are trying to program their own firmware on it is so they can micro-manage the box from wherever their head office is... Calgary I assume. Remember the controversy over the Xbox One having to be connected to the internet? Shaw, through these boxes, is showing the worst-case-scenario that people were afraid of with the Xbox One. The Shaw DCX3510-M often messes up with "Offline Mode" where it stops being able to sense an online connection to head office and the TV guide and recording options become either not possible to severely limited. Just because the internet connection between the box and head office flutters or whatever. It happens a lot. This kind of micro-management, big-brother nightmare is pretty much what would have happened with the Xbox One had public outcry not forced them to change their mind. Unfortunately, not enough people seem to use the DCX3510-M to pressure Shaw to improve their service and dump the processes which stop their paying customers--like me-- from getting decent service.

The Shaw DCX3510-M often loses recorded programs. They will disappear from the list of recorded shows at random.

The Shaw DCX3510-M records shows but randomly messes them up, playing back only a black screen and the time stamp stuck. This often happens during the "Offline/Online Mode" messages.

The Shaw DCX3510-M randomly Locks Program due to Rating.. which means it won't play a show because it thinks there's a parental lock on it-- even though the show is rated G, and the box was NEVER programmed with a parental lock.

The Shaw DCX3510-M is a severely crippled device that provides sub-standard tv service. What's terrible is that it probably shouldn't be this bad at all, except their stubborn adherence to trying to write software/firmare for the hardware, and being so bloody awful at it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Binary Domain

I bought Binary Domain (PS3) a few weeks ago, and also just bought Borderlands 2... which is ok, I don't know how I feel about it, is it worth the $20.00 price to me? I dunno... but Binary Domain for $10.00 at Walmart-- even though it is very linear and by-the-numbers campaign, for what it is-- it's fairly fun.

Binary Domain is a third person shooter, where basically the enemies are all robots. But when you shoot them, they do cool things; shoot off their head and they will blind fire often hitting their team-mates, shoot off their limbs and they will switch shooting hands or crawl after you, Terminator-style. The game feels very Japanese, and while the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense, it is a very cool vibe that does ask some deep questions, like the nature of artificial life. For $10.00 it's a solid game.

What is very annoying are the quick-time elements.... *sigh*... I am seriously thinking of giving up on videogames altogether because of this awful quick-time context trendy bullshit in games. As per usual, it almost ruins the game, thankfully they are short little bits.

And the online is non-existent. There is multiplayer, 2 modes, versus and survival (which is called Invasion) and I have rarely ever found anyone online to join my match.


Monday, July 1, 2013

In the box

I've been thinking about consoles vs PC and mobile gaming, and add-on peripherals.

I recently bought a PS3/PC racing wheel for a steal ($10.00 clearance from The Source)

I borrowed Test Drive Unlimited 2 from the library... It's an Ok game, but not optimized for racing wheels. There are parts of the game which switch to on-foot first person view (!)  that can only be controlled using a Dualshock 3... Or at least it is VERY DIFFICULT to control using the wheel.

Anyway, the point is I am wondering how many console  racing games are TRULY made for racing wheels?  The answer is probably few to none. Why? Because what game company wants to make a game that needs a controller that is not included "in the box"? That the consumer needs to not only buy the game but also another controller to properly play it?

If a game does that it is automatically limiting its own market. Not every PS3 gamer will buy a PS3 game, but then if the game requires a certain kind of add-on, like Move, not only will not every PS3 gamer buy that game, but not every Move owner may buy it. It makes a smaller pool of customers.

That is definitely why stuff like the Wii Balance Board failed. But what about the Wii itself? Motion controls are" in the box" for every Wii.

But because ONLY the Wii had those controls, companies wouldn't develop for it. That's why I am a bit worried about Xbox One's kinnect "in the box". Yes, that is a smart move so every Xbox One has Kinnect, but I think because both or all consoles don't have a "Kinnect"  type of controller included, that third parties will still shy away from developing for it. Most companies want to be able to quickly port their game to both Xbox and Playstation.

"In the box" is really important, but what is more important is "in every box". Unfortunately, only the dual analogue stick controller is central to every console now, so that is the control that will be used for most games. Makes it almost impossible for anyone to innovate.

There is a notable exception to this idea: the Guitar Hero/Rockband series of games. Clearly the initial popularity of those games flies in the face of this idea, people bought the controllers in droves and for awhile these were some of the best selling games. But that fad has passed, and it is now back to normal, where companies don't want to take any chances.

It is such a shame, because we are at the point now where there are tons of gaming choices, Android/Apple phones/tablets, consoles, handhelds with both physical and touch interfaces, and of course the ever versatile PC. We can use bluetooth to wirelessly attach a controller to a phone or tablet... but there will be almost NO great games that take advantage of these options because bluetooth controllers are not "in every box" of phones/tablets.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

I bought Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon a couple weeks ago when it was on sale at Future Shop for $29.99.

It's a slow-paced puzzle adventure with incredibly poor, clunky controls. But the graphics and production values are fairly good.

What kills this game is when you need to suck up the ghosts, the controls are not good, but the worst is that when you activate the vacuum or flashlight, you can only point it in one direction. If you want to move your beam you need to turn it off and change the way you're facing and turn it on again... It's not very responsive because Luigi is way more sluggish than the ghosts he has to defeat. So it makes combat a real chore... in fact the controls are quite awful and wreck what could have been a better game.

The pacing is slow, because it's like a point and click... only you don't have a mouse control so you have to walk up to everything and suck/shine your blacklight on it, or press X. It makes for some pretty tedious gameplay when it should be fun.

Originally this game was going to be called Luigi's Mansion 2, and it references the first Gamecube game quite a bit. As soon as you're dropped into the story it expects you've played the Gamecube game... WTF?? That might have been ok if they made the GC game available on Wii/Wii U as a download, but most people can't find it or if they only have a Wii U or Wii Mini, can't even play Gamecube games.

Unfortunately like the Mario games, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon looks good, but I don't know if it is actually much fun to play.

The sluggish controls ruin this game. Nintendo and developer Next Level Games, you should be ashamed for putting out such a sub-standard product.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Console conundrums

So I've placed pre-orders for both Xbox One and PS4... but I don't know if  I will actually purchase either of them at this point, really.

Xbox One has many issues, most notable being the need to be connected to the Internet at least once every 24 hours. But  I have other concerns that I haven't seen addressed anywhere. It ships with a 500 GB hard drive, yet all disc games must be installed to the system. Say a game averages 30-40 GB and considering that 500 GB is not *really* how much user available space there is, let's say 400 GB is around what's available... then we can only have about 10 games installed on our Xbox Ones? I heard we can add our own external hard drive to the console (presumably USB connected)  but I wonder how well an external hard drive would run the games off it? No hiccups? There are often problems with external storage with the Wii U for example.

Not to mention that Xbox One seems to be marketed as an all-around media device, so aside from games, the 500 GB hard drive will be filled up with videos and other media which will crowd out the space for games.

I can understand why it would be good to have a game stored to the hard drive, but I wish it was more a choice rather than all games must be stored on it.

Then there's the PS4. It's a box that plays games. Well, I have a bunch of boxes that do that, but the most notable example is my PS3. What does the PS4 *really* offer that the PS3 doesn't? A little better graphics, and a few differences in interface (touch pad, move light on the controller) but what *REALLY* sets it apart from the PS3? Why pay $400.00 + tax for it now?

In both cases, I have to look at the launch games, is there anything that blows me away, to the point that I Must buy one or both of these systems to play that game? Only one game was teased at E3 2013 that fits that description: Star Wars Battlefront. Yes, I have been waiting years for a new Battlefront game. But it was only a teaser, development has only just begun on it. Who knows when it will be released? A year? 2 years from now? I can say that for that game I *WOULD* buy a console just to play it.

But since it is not coming anytime soon, maybe I should just wait?


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

E3 2013 - Xbox One & PS4

So E3 2013 is now in full swing and Sony & Microsoft have revealed a lot more about the next-gen consoles. What gets buried are the "small" details that actually RUIN this generation of consoles.

Xbox One - MSRP $499.99, release date November 2013
PS4 - MSRP $399.99, release date "holiday 2013"

Of course the big Xbox One controversy is its demand to be always online and its odious used/borrowed-game policies... simply terrible. I have been borrowing games from the library for some time now, mostly Wii but now that I have a PS3, I have been borrowing some of those too... most recently Tomb Raider (which I ended up buying when I found it for $30.00) So I guess Xbox One games won't be able to be loaned out from the library.... really sucks,

But the worst part of Xbox One is the supposed TV integration, like it's supposed to hook up to our cable box. But the MAIN reason I'd want it to even do that is if it recorded TV from it, storing it on its hard drive so I can watch later, maybe while doing other things in Xbox, using that split screen interface they seem so proud of. But you KNOW there will be ***NO*** PVR component to Xbox One, right? So what's the point? Check on fantasy football stats? Oh yay. How STUPID and POINTLESS.

Now onto the PS4. Yes, it is coming in at $100.00 less than Xbox One. And they were smart enough to pounce on the DRM tactic used by Microsoft, proclaiming that the PS4 will play used games.

But then they SCREWED IT UP by quietly declaring that PS Plus membership will be REQUIRED to play multiplayer games.

WOW. That totally guts the good will that was built up by their anti-DRM announcement.

So basically, both services will charge a monthly fee for online use. Does it really matter that the PS4 costs $100.00 less? They both plan to take $60.00-$100.00 a year out of our wallets.... every bloody year.

So if I were to buy a next-gen console, I need to pay $400.00-$500.00 upfront for the console, then $200.00 for 2 years online service.. 2 years of ownership will cost me at least $600.00.

I know the internet peanut gallery will be crowing that because of the lower console MSRP, Sony wins this year's E3. But in reality, we all lose.

And it's hilarious that both these consoles look pretty much EXACTLY THE SAME. Just flip the Xbox One on its side.... sheesh. It's like Sony & Microsoft are trolling us.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tomb Raider - broken QTE

I've been curious about the recent Tomb Raider release, and lucked out when I saw a copy of the PS3 version at my local library. I thanked my lucky stars and snatched that bad boy (or bad girl?) right  up real quick, scampering on back home to my game playing cave (A.K.A. my living room)

It's very cinematic. I haven't played many Tomb Raider games,  I only have Tomb Raider Anniversary (PSP), which I never really played much of. So I'm more or less new to the franchise, and this is a good introduction.
My main gripe so far, and it's a serious, perhaps game breaking problem - - the QTEs (quick time events). Specifically, the one where you have to waggle the left analog stick left and right really, REALLY fast.

This is a huge problem in the game, as it uses this L analog waggle QTE a *LOT*. I don't know how it is for Xbox 360 but on PS3, it is NIGH IMPOSSIBLE to waggle it fast enough using my left thumb. Not even my whole left hand. No, I have to place the middle of palm of my ENTIRE RIGHT HAND onto the L stick and SHAKE it back and forth like an insane person just to do the QTE. And then switch back fast enough when there are QTE button presses. It is so ridiculous.

Did *NO ONE* at Crystal Dynamics PLAY this game on a PS3??? Seriously. This is an EGREGIOUS, game breaking problem that never should have made it to the finished game.

I've tried using the right analog stick. No good. I've tried pinching the left stick between my thumbs and fingers to be able to shake it enough, again no good. It seems to have to be literally LEFT and RIGHT stick movement. Left and right really, really fast. I'm afraid if I have to do these stupid QTEs too much I'll break my Dualshock 3.

UPDATE: I found that rotating the left analog stick in a counter-clockwise circle can sometimes work.

This left analog stick problem RUINS Tomb Raider. It almost completely destroys what is otherwise a cinematic, smooth adventure game. And shame on all the high reviews who don't mention this enormous issue.

And Quick Time Events in general-- now there's a STUPID, overused game mechanic of the last 2 years or so. It is being used so cheaply and in almost every console game today... this unimaginative game mechanic needs to die die die already. How completely lazy are game designers that they have to copy gameplay from God of War? Actually, this goes back to Dragon's Lair. And NO ONE ever uses that game as an example of fun gameplay.

Dear game developers: ENOUGH WITH THE QUICK TIME EVENTS ALREADY. It is beyond over-used. Knock it off, and actually try to think up some new, ORIGINAL gameplay ideas. Or even if they aren't necessarily new, gameplay mechanics that are FUN. No one thinks QTEs are fun. So stop overusing them.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Downloaded Resident Evil:The Mercenaries 3D

I broke down and downloaded this game from the 3DS eShop.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D eShop download is 4714 blocks.  Hehe, there is nowhere that seems to state that plainly and so obviously, any search for that info should direct here  ^_^

There's no demo for Resident Evil: Revelations as there was on the original cartridge, but it's available as a free download from the Nintendo eShop anyway. The options are New Game or Continue, so there appears to be only one save file, and it also appears to be deletable! Good news there.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Nintendo and the second screen

When the Wii U gamepad features were first laid out by Nintendo, I was very excited. Being able to use touch, having a second screen ala a tablet while gaming, and being able to transfer some entire games to the gamepad screen. Basically, this is a handheld-ification of a home console. I have to admit handhelds have become my favourite consoles, so this got me so hyped and intrigued.

Nowadays I almost always have my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 tablet with me when I watch TV. I'm surfing the net during commercial breaks, or looking up stuff.... so I thought that the second screen philosophy Nintendo is going for would fit in with my lifestyle very comfortably.

Now that we've had some time to try out the features, I have mixed feelings about the gamepad.

It was such a bold and frankly, weird direction Nintendo chose to go with this generation of console. On paper it sounds great. But in real life gameplay..... I find it unwieldy.

Playing games like Lego City Undercover, which relies on the Gamepad for the map... I know it sounds lazy but it's kind of a drag to have to look down to see the map, then look back at the tv again. It's not as easy as it sounds, especially if you're involved in a fast chase or being pursued and have to look down at the map to plan your destination route while you're driving. And even in slower paced situations, having to regularly trade focus between the screen that is 12 feet away (TV) and the one that is 1.5 feet away (Gamepad) just kinda messes with your eye focus. It would almost be easier to just have the traditional onscreen map in the corner. Playing Infamous on my PS3, having to use the SELECT button to bring up the map screen, as clunky as that is, is still easier than using the gamepad for the map because all my focus stays on the TV screen.

When I first unboxed my Wii U, I was carefully going through all the peripherals and cables... and was rather shocked to find *ONLY* an HDMI cable for TV hookup. My thought was something like, "What the F--???"  At the time, I only had a 27" CRT TV, so I cannibalized my Wii AV cables to hook up the Wii U to my TV. It works ok, but I felt like the Wii U was never meant to be used on a CRT TV, just like PS3/Xbox 360 weren't... which is why I never bought those systems.

But this past Xmas, I got a nice 55" LG smart 3D TV. So nice... sigh..... *ahem*, yeah, and I was *so* psyched to hook up my Wii U to it. Of course it looks great and it's awesome to play games on the big screen. But that great TV screen also makes it harder to go back down to the smaller, crappier resolution/screen quality of the gamepad screen. I have tried playing Darksiders II (Wii U) on the gamepad, and it looks good. But unless I *have to* play it on the screen, as in the TV is being used by others, it's not preferable to play games fully on the gamepad. If only it was *MORE* handheld-ified and games could be fully loaded onto the gamepad for truly portable play anywhere... that would be awesome.

So I have some trepidation as to Nintendo's second screen direction for this generation. I am going to stick with it, and maybe it will grow on me more. But unless the console gets a lot more quality titles and unique uses for the gamepad that set it apart from the other systems, my doubts may continue to grow about this second screen philosophy.... and I still have to really devote a lot more time to Darksiders II, hopefully it will click more with me...


Lego City Undercover

A couple weeks ago, I gathered up a big stack of mostly Wii games, a few DS and a PSP game, about 12 games in total... to trade in at EB Games. I ended up getting about $40.00 in credit which I put towards the purchase of one game: Lego City Undercover.

Lego City Undercover is basically Grand Theft Lego. Both this game and another game I'm playing right now, Infamous (PS3) are clearly heavily influenced by  the Grand Theft Auto games, but Lego City Undercover wears its influence on its sleeve. Instead of playing a car thief, you play a cop. But you do many of the same things as in GTA games: jack cars from their drivers at will, only you do it on "Police business!".... and many missions also ape the GTA ones, like having to evade police (even though you are one? Hanh?)

First off, the game gets off to a bad start: there's a loading screen just to get to the intro screen where you pick your profile (or create a new one) THEN after you pick your profile IT LOADS AGAIN.... so there are 2 loading screens in a row, each about 20-40 seconds. WHY did there need to be a loading screen just to get to the TITLE?? That was a colossal mistake by developer TT Games... they should have just made the title screen a static one if it saved having to do a  loading time. Most complaints about the game are the long, numerous loading screens. But most GTA open-world style games have long load times because the maps are so large. Still, they should be planned out so as to minimize them as much as possible.

The home base for the player in this game is the Police Station, this is where you buy/unlock characters and vehicles. It is a 3 floor building each floor accessible by elevator, and they ALL have loading screens when you go from one to the other. You HAVE to endure at least one loading screen because you always enter the building on the middle floor and all the unlock areas are in the basement. And of course there are loading screens every time you enter and exit the Police Station.

That said, the game is a lot of fun. The city map seems to be about 3 large sections, and there are so many cars you can drive. And boats, and helicopters... it's so fun to just travel around. I haven't really played a Lego game since Lego Star Wars & Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Saga (original Xbox) and Lego City Undercover is basically the same overall formula but showing refinements learned from each Lego game they've released. It skews on the easy side, make no mistake-- this game is (rightfully) aimed at kids but I am just having fun exploring such an open place and digging the corny yet endearing humour.

There are still some rough edges to the game, glitchy areas... like when they want you to go to a mission point, they give you a trail of green glowing Lego studs to follow, on one mission I was following it ad it took me right off a incomplete bridge. I fell from a high cliff into water, which didn't kill me, but I couldn't get back up because the cliffs around me were so high. The game eventually gave me an option to hold a button to return to land-- but when I do, it takes me to the point where my car is already in mid-air jumping off the bridge. I tried to jump out, anything to try to stay on land but it always just sends me back into the water. I had to just quit and resart the mission. And another mission I was on horseback following the studs to a castle, and inexplicably, instead of having the stud trail go *over* the bridge to the castle, it seemed to want me to somehow jump across  the gap *beside* it-- which I couldn't. I think as I get through the last third of the story mode, things get less polished like they didn't have the time to playtest everything.

The humour in Lego City Undercover is genteel and mostly plays to a younger audience, but there is an odd off-note in the Museum mission where there's an almost racist depiction of native indians.... it's a bit of a sour note, especially for a kid's game.

 I have mixed feelings about the Wii U gamepad integration. There are some times when I really enjoy it, like when using it to track footprints to find a hidden treasure. But using it to display the city map, it takes my eyes away from the screen where my attention wants to be.... and the touch interface is unwieldy, maybe because of the (crappy) resistive touch screen. If it was a capacitive touch screen I would likely enjoy it more. But I will talk about Nintendo's second screen philosophy in another post...

Lego City Undercover is the first and only Wii U game that I'm really sinking my teeth into, making me think the Wii U might have been a worthwhile purchase. Unfortunately, I see little else on the horizon for the system, and considering I've had the console for about 6 (long) months without any real games to hook me on it... I honestly don't know if I should have bought the Wii U. If I knew it wouldn't sell out like the Wii frenzy of 2006-2007, I wouldn't have bought it at launch. At this point I'm waiting for Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition to price drop in Canada. Other than that game, not much else I can think of to pick up for Wii U.

Annoyingly, the 3DS also is looking tragically barren of games over the long run. But I am getting  psyched for Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins, the prequel to the Wii U game. It's coming out April 21, 2013.... very soon. Even though the early reviews are a bit tepid, I am aware of the limitations of the handheld and I still think I will buy it day 1.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

dreamGEAR Phenom PS3 controller

Ever since I hurt my hands using the PS3 Dualshock 3 controller for extended periods, I've been on a (desperate) quest for a DECENT third party PS3 controller that is COMFORTABLE. When I saw the dreamGEAR Phenom PS3 controller on sale at the Futureshop website, I took a bite. There's not that much choice for third party PS3 controllers out there.

The package includes the controller, 2.4GHz USB dongle (the controller is not bluetooth), and a USB charging cable that is slightly longer than the one included with the PS3 console.The controller can be used while connected to the cable during charging.

The dongle sticks out of the PS3 USB port, and obviously while using it, it occupies one of the only 2 available ports. There is a red light on the end of the dongle that flashes if there's no controller connection or stays solid red when connected. Having a dongle jutting out of the front of PS3 is a little bit ugly, but it may not be a huge deal. What is more of a big deal is that because it's not bluetooth, the controller can't turn on the PS3 like the Dualshock 3 can. But it can turn off the PS3. And when the dongle is plugged in, the controller ALWAYS takes controller 1 slot, even if it's not used. Sometimes a bit annoying.

The dreamGEAR (yes that's how they spell their company name) Phenom PS3 controller uses Immersion technology (aren't they the company that sued Sony?) for rumble, but the controller is missing "six-axis" motion sensors. I don't know of many PS3 games that use six-axis, but it's definitely worth noting.

The controller is bigger than the Dualshock 3, but it feels more comfortable in the hands. I don't have large hands, but it fits very well even in my small little mitts. However, it could be a bit big for little kids, as I've had that problem with my Xbox controllers. Speaking of Xbox controllers, yeah, it looks a lot like one, doesn't it? But make no mistake, this is no clone. It's not as ergonomic as my Xbox controller S.

 But it does feel good to hold. The controller (and oddly enough, dongle) is coated with an almost rubbery surface, it feels really good; grippy without being too sticky. The analogue sticks are stiffer and more clicky when you press them in, again, boils down to personal preference but I find the Dualshock 3 analogue clicks (L3+R3) a bit too easily.

 The shoulder buttons have a really good placement, the L2 +R2 stick out more and are more responsive than the Dualshock's triggers.

I've read accounts of people complaining about dead zones in the analogue sticks. I personally like the sensitivity of them myself. I find the Dualshock 3 analogues to be jittery sensitive. So that might boil down to personal preference. The D-pad is ok. I don't think it's quite as good as the Dualshock 3? But very close, maybe.

Even though it might look like it, the buttons don't light up or anything. Just the controller number at the bottom.

But there are some major flaws in this controller. The buttons are all clicky and not as smooth as the Dualshock 3, but the face buttons are the worst-- the X and O buttons on my controller stick; sometimes they stay down, pressed in after pressing them. Very bad. I don't know if it's just my controller or a general build quality issue. Futureshop only sells this controller online, so it's not as easy to get an exchange.

Unfortunately, I will be returning it to the store. The stuck face buttons are too much of an impediment, I've been trying to play it some more but the stuck buttons issue is not going to go away.

A real shame as it feels much better than the Dualshock 3, especially when using four fingers for the shoulder buttons.

My quest for a better PS3 controller goes on.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guacamelee! tastes like crap to me

Ugh... I am really trying to like Guacamelee!... after all the glowing reviews and the cross-play feature-- not to mention cross-buy, where you buy the PS3 version and get the Vita version also-- I downloaded it from the Playstation Store-- there is no free demo, but when you buy it, it says free demo and full game unlock as part of the package. Basically, they were going to release a free demo but decided not to. Very shady, Sony or developer Drinkbox Studios--whoever decided that... way to be slimy right off the bat.

Had I been able to play a free demo, maybe I would have realized how cruddy the gameplay actually is. The game looks really good, and is smoothly animated. but the actual GAMEPLAY sucks. Bad.

This is from a tutorial early in the game. If the combo button pressing above looks like fun to you, then this may be the game for you. But trying to press this combo in 2 seconds is anything but fun for me.

The analogue stick and button pressing is just ridiculous. It is laggy and not consistent at all. This isn't fun, Drinkbox Studios, it's just PEDANTIC. Imagine having to do run-into-the-ground-by-every-game-now God of War style quick-time moves-- ALL THE TIME. That's about my personal vision of video game hell.

Truly such a shame. The animation style is really nice, and there is smoothness in the movement, but it all seems wasted. I will keep playing, hoping it will get better, but so far Guacamelee! is a waste of 15 bucks.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dualshock 3 controller hurts

Seriously... is it just me or is the Dualshock 3 controller downright *painful* to play with? I've been trying to rack up some major gaming time with Resident Evil 6, most notably the Mercenaries minigame mode... but man, holding the DS3 for any extended length of time seems to lead to hand pain, even-- bizarrely enough-- pain in my forearms!

My middle, ring and pinky fingers on my right hand get particularly sore after holding the controller. The two "wings" aren't very ergonomic at all. The problem is, the Dualshock as not changed since the Playstation 1. In over 15 years, the same basic design of the controller persists. Have you ever seen controllers from old game systems like Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Dreamcast, etc.? Can you imagine Nintendo trying to use those same controllers now?

The problem is, Sony seems to think the look of the Dualshock is more important than the function. It's supposed to be held in the hands and allow for pressing the face buttons, D-pad, trigger buttons and analogue sticks comfortably. But Sony thinks the look of the Dualshock adds to the branding of the Playstation system. And to be fair, it does. You see a Dualshock and you KNOW it's Sony Playstation. I know that Sony tried to float a ridiculous radical "batarang" controller design for the PS3 early on. Compared to that, it is better that they stuck with the Dualshock design. But really what they SHOULD have done was to refine the design to be much more ergonomic and comfortable in the hands.

The first times I held an Xbox controller S, I was impressed by how molded it felt to my hands. It's not perfect, but it feels like someone went to a lot of trouble to make it ergonomic and sculpted.

So I am trying to find a PS3 controller that mimics the Xbox feel and shape, or at least is more COMFORTABLE than the Dualshock. I ordered this controller from Futureshop, the Dreamgear Phenom Wireless PS3 Controller. But I am always wary of 3rd party gaming  accessories, especially controllers. They are almost always worse than the original ones. So I don't know if this one is any good.... I just hope it plays as good as it looks....


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Resident Evil Revelations

I've been trying to play through Resident Evil: Revelations again... I bought the game awhile ago and finished the campaign once. This game is truly heartbreaking in how souless it is.

I have to say, on my first playthrough, Resident Evil: Revelations was... ok. It started off really good for about the first half of the campaign, but not much action. Unfortunately, when it does get to the action in the latter half, the game just falls apart. The water levels where you're either wading through or swimming are just TEDIOUS and terrible, despite the actual swimming mechanic being based on the Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow PSP game... which works well for the most part. It's the aggravating little-girl-sounding dolphin monsters that break the gameplay during this section-- which goes on way longer than anyone would ever want it to. I had a wretched time slogging through this crap.

Then they throw in a timer section that is nigh-impossible to do without running out of time on the first run, and turret missions, and Resident Evil: Revelations just runs out of any real sense of fun that it was building to in the first half.

What pisses me off is that they are porting it to the consoles, and all the crap gaming sites are acting like it will be the second coming or something; they are pounding out article after article about Resident Evil: Revelations, as if it is a really good game. Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations does look and sound very good. But compared to Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations unfortunately doesn't hold a candle to it,  because of the stale pacing of the gameplay and the broken campaign, there is even LESS replay value than there is in the notoriously-light-on-content Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. That's just sad.

I hope people who haven't played the 3DS version of Resident Evil: Revelations aren't fooled into thinking that it's a really good game, based on all the inexplicably good press the console port is getting-- that, by the way, as of this writing hasn't even come out yet.

I'm currently playing Resident Evil 6 on PS3, and it is a better game than Revelations. Unfortunately, RE6 has a unnecessarily convoluted control scheme that damages the gameplay considerably.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Sound Shapes broken

I recently bought Sound Shapes from the PSN, it was on sale for $10.00 or so... and wow. While it looks pretty, there are some fundamental gameplay issues.

I got stuck a few times during a Jim Guthrie/Superbrothers level called Purgatory. My little round guy got stuck at the beginning of the level, where I couldn't move. Right on the intro screen! Bad sign if the a player gets glitched before the level actually begins. Later, my guy got stuck again on something that it NEEDED to press as part of the level. This isn't even going off on wild tangents, or pushing into every corner of a level. This is just following the direct path of the gameplay it gets stuck & glitched.

And the PS3 version... I downloaded it, as soon as I try to play it it demands ANOTHER download update. Ok, par for the course for PS3 games. So I download that and try to start. It gets to the title screen, then goes blank. I have to turn off the PS3. So I try it again, and again it just goes blank. After looking up the issue online I find a message board posting saying that I need to delete the save file it created when I first tried to start it. Holy cow, is there NO actual testing of these games by Sony or the developer? How can a player know this without chancing upon a message board posting, and why hasn't it been fixed?

I don't know if this is Sony being too lazy with quality control with their PSN titles. Or that the  "Superbrothers" are seen as rock stars of the indy games scene and are actually not good game creators, as in, a game first and foremost NEEDS to be NOT BROKEN.

Did I waste $10.00 for this?


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