Comic Movie and Gaming Console news plus more Dead Space update

A few intereting tidbits is movie news:

  • Looks like director Robert Rodriguez (“Machete”) may not be the director afterall for the Ryan Reynolds ‘Deadpool’ movie spinning off of Wolverine.  Rodriguez cites a tight schedule with Spy Kids 4 and other commitments puts his timeline in jeapordy.
  • Speaking of Wolverine, it looks like the sequel has found a new director in Darren Aronofsky.  The sequel will be ‘somewhat’ based on Wolvie’s lore of finding love in Japan (sans Jean Grey).  Maybe we’ll see the Silver Samurai?
  • In more sequel news, it’s noted that Honathan Liebsen has signed on to direct the ‘Clash of the Titans’ follow up.  It appears that the sequel will be filmed in native 3D as opposed to the post conversion process of the first and filming will kick off in January.
  • Now that Pirahhna 3D is out, someone is making a Sharks 3D movie…*sigh*
  • Rumor has it that sunglass make Oakley will have a tie-in with Disney’s new TRON movie, meaning cool new glasses ala the game grid?
  • Major Nelson over at XBOX has revealed that a new XBOX 360 controller will be released in North America shortly with an enhanced D-pad.  This will make the pad more accurate for hard-core gamers that love their fighting games such as Street Fighter, but unless you’re one of those types of gamers, no real need for it.  Said to also launch in Europe most likely in Feb. 2011.  One draw back?  The cost.  It’s reported to have a U.S. street price of $64.99
  • Also, expect Xbox Live to raise the price on their Gold membership by $10 come November.  That sucks, but they site the cost and demand of delivering and maintenance on more streaming and enhanced content. Boo!
  • In funny news, a compnay going by the name of Mojowijo has developed and will be marketing/selling ‘sex toy’ attachments for the Wii controllers, taking advanatge of the vibration technology.  Somewhere, somehow, bluetooth will be involved, but really?  Is there really a need to turn your Wii remote into a sex toy? Why not use the billion other products or your electric toothbrush for that matter.

Now onto my Dead Space updates:

The book, ‘Dead Space: Martyr’ – As of this writing, I’ve had the novel for about 9 days now and am close to being 3/4’s done.  It is not what I expected at all, but intriguing none-the-less.  Overall the book is a bit slow, but the good news is the chapters are relatively small and makes for a swift and easy read.  It’s definently geared towards mature adults with the language and descriptions inside and weaves an origin story about ‘The Marker’ and the church of Unitology as depicted in the game.  As far as I can tell, The Marker, very similar to 2001’s Monolith is a device of alien origin that has the ability to drive people slowly insane, mad, and violent when exposed for lengths of time or in close proximity to it. 

Of course, enter the cliched scientist who is discovering teh real meaning behind it, and the cliched military man who has his own ideas for The Marker and you cover a good a portion of some sci-fi rehash.  That being said, it’s not a bad book.  I actually find the authors writings very clever and it appears he’s taken great thought and care into developing a story that will have a good payoff for Dead Space fans.  I’m having a hard time deciding how predictable the events within actually are.  I can see some of the elements a mile away, but how the author gets there still holds my interest, and even this far in, The Marker, and its symbols are just as mysterious to me the reader.

Now that game: Beginning with Chapter 4 & 5, I have noticed the game is indeed getting harder.  I still love audio, text, and video logs I’m picking up and really help to set the tone.  I’ve also picked up the ripper and contact rifle as weapons.  I find the ripper is good in tight quarters when low laying necromorphs are surrounding you from various angles at once, but it’s damn slow on the reload.  The contact gun on the other hand…..I’m having a hard tiem figuring out exactly what it does.  It has a low ammo capacity, and shots are either hard to come by in the wild or expensive at the store and I just haven’t figured out how to best use it.

I’ve found a few more schematics, but the best upgrade so far is to Suit #3 and extra oxygen capacity.  There were a few moments in both 4 & 5 where oxygen is key, so make sure you have at least one extra air canister on hand.  I’ve also been using teh med packs a bit more as well.  There is one baddy in general that shoots off a ‘spore’ to the ground, which in turn sprouts a tentacle, which in turns spits out a deadly projectile at you.  Those projectiles pack some punch, so make sure you are in run-n-gun mode, have extra health packs, and are willing to use stasis.  You need to take these out quickly, because if you don’t they tend to multiply and once that happens, you’re as good as dead.  The key here is to sever all the vital points of the creature generally stuck to the wall that spits them out.  I think there are 6 vital points that must be dealt with and through trial and error, I found the good old Plasma Cutter and Stasis combination do the trick.  There’s one sequence here that the creature is at the end of a long hall….you need to run up to it (not to close though as it can one-shot you and rip your head off in one strike), but close enough to use Stasis and then ‘aim’ for the six points.  This may take a few attempts.

One other part I found very difficult was the manual gunnery station against the asteroids using the rail gun.  There’s a sequence where you sit in a chair and take aim at asteroids headed to the Ishimura and you need to pulverize them into dust before they hit the ship and take out the armor and bulkheads.  Sufefr enough damage and you’re dead in a fireball sequence.  Suffice to say, your aim, even with an analog stick must be true on and fast.  If too many slip by, you’re toast and you can’t recover.  Thus far this was my most frustrating moment in the game.  The whole sequence takes about 1.5 minutes, but after the first 60 seconds, it seems like it takes forever.  I must have died at least 10x in a row before I made it, and I made it by the skin of my teeth.  It’s a fun part and a nice departure from the rest of the game but it’s a little agressive and I felt it out of balance (meaning more difficult than I think it should have been). 

Too put it in perspective the ‘boss’ sequence at the end of Chapter 5, I got on the first try (cryo freeze 2x) and run, where this mid-level challenge seems very unforgiving.

These last two chapters, 4 & 5, I was able to complete each in about 1.5 hours instead of 2.  So I’m starting chapter 6 with about 9 hours under my belt thus far.

More RB3 news + Natal

I’ll get to the Natal news first.   As you can imagine, it most likely will not be called Natal and I suppose we’ll here the official name announced at E3 next month.  The disapointing news, however, is that the price point may indeed be higher than expected….much higher.

Early rumors had hinted Natal maybe as low as $60, although I for one never believed that.  I thought a street price of $79-89 was more realistic (as a stand alone without and AAA titles), but recent speculation coming out of a mole at MS indicates that Natal may be at a price point of $149!  Hopefully this does include a title with games ala Wii Sports.  This may put a damper on my early adoption, definetly having me sit back and see the games announced and actual performance after initial release. 

Since it may drop in October/Novemeber, here’s to hoping that MS has some real hands on demo’s at E3.

Now Rock Band 3.

My earlier post this week indicated that we’d be seeing the inclusion of a keyboard of some type.  Well, it appears my guessing was a bit closer to the truth afterall.  It sounds like a ‘keytar’ will be the instrument debuting meaning a concentration on 80’s pop, funk, and new wave music.  I think many acts back in the 80’s including Devo, Thomas Dolby, Thompson Twins, Morris Day and the Time, and many more used the Keytar (think keyboard on a strap much like a guitar) in their songs.

Peripheral manufacturer MadCatz is teaming up with Activision to concentrate on the various intrument offerings where as the game developer itself says it will focus on the actual software.

The game will also offer a new ‘Pro’ mode, and while the actual facts are somewhat vague it seems there will be an emphasis on technique more than button mashing.  And three microphones for harmony are pretty much a lock at this time.

Keyboards for Rock Band 3?

Harmonix released a teaser picture for it’s upcoming Rock Band 3.  Notice the new icon including a keyboard?  Hmmm….sounds interesting and makes perfect sense.  I figured it was only a matter of time before this happened, but I wonder how many instruments can actually be plugged in at any given time?  With my current RB 1 & 2 on my 360 the USB peripheral allows for upto 4 devices, but then again, the 360 has anotehr USB port on ther front as well, so maybe 5 devices isn’t a stretch afterall.

But also notice the microphone icon….it has multiple mics….Is it possible we’ll be singing harmony ala Beatles?  I guess we’ll find out more details come mid June when E3 2010 drops.

I’m looking forward to RB3, although my friends and I have’t finished RB1 or 2 yet.  Not sure why as we always have a blast playing.  It’s just been getting harder and harder to round us all up.

In other music gaming news, I’ve almost completed DJ Hero on medium.  I have no fricken idea how people are scoring 5 stars on Hard or Expert modes.  Now that I’m ending my tour on medium, I just think how hard my hand/eye cooridination was on a few beats/sonsg in the Vinyl Cuts section, especially with the cross fader.   Here’s hoping that Activision throws a few more songs our way before DJ Hero 2 drops as well.  I understand the game didn’t deliver the sales numbers they were hoping for this past holiday season, but come on…the game did retail for over $120 on debut during a recession and just after The Beatles and sucky Tony Hawk’s Ride dropped.  Tough market to compete in, and thus they didn’t follow up with DLC support for months.  It was months before a second set of DLC was released after the initial offerings.  That’s just not cool when RB & Harmonix are pumping out tracks on a weekly basis.

Games I’m currently working on: Dragon Age Origins, Assassins Creed II, Modern Warfare 2, and beleive it or not, I still have an un-opened copy of Mass Effect 2.  Haven’t even had time to play Tiger Woods 2010, let alone think about Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Borderlands.  By the time I get to those, hopefully the price will drop on all of these to $29.99-$39.99

And Natal?  I can’t even think about that right now.  Though I am curious to any news of upcoming games for it.  I think it has a ton of potential, but I’m just really scared that there may be a lot of shovelware crap like the Wii.

Ghostbusting on the Wii never looked so awesome

Everyone likes mods.  From consoles, PC gaming rigs, specialized chairs, and even reconfiguring button placment on controllers. 

However the Proton-pack mod shown here for the Nintendo Wii version of teh recent Ghostbuster game is just pure fanboy bliss.  I came across this picture on the web, and I couldn’t find the name of the creator to give him/her the proper kudos, but a lot of time, creativity, and thought went into this.  Truly a one-of-a-kind.

The Blue Power Cell actually reflects how much power you have left, and the Thrower integrated both the Wiimote and Nunchuk almost seemlessly.  Also, the Wiimote’s internal speaker enables the pack to make true-to-film sound effects.

Fricken AWESOME.

E3 2009: Ubisoft Impressions

I’m a little late in making any E3 posts as I have to tape the live shows and watch them later in evening when I get home from my regular day, so while today is Wednesday, the Ubisoft press conference took place on Monday this week.

Instead of tackling games per platform, I’ll just offer up some highlights and general notes on games and developments (in no particular order) showed during Ubisoft’s presentation:

  • Commented that ‘tween’ demographic is one of the largest growing segments in gaming right now, mostly appealing to young girls and that many companies follow their lead.  They place a heavy emphasis on their ‘imagine’ line of games for DSi, Wii, and PC.  Of course you can expect to see more ‘Petz’ titles this year as well as some new fashion orientated games that allow players to mock up pictures they may take with their DSi camera’s.  Players can also trade pets and/or data using the DSi’s built in WiFi.  Ubisoft calls this ‘inter-connectivity’, and finally metioned the ability to create items such as jewelry, and then pruchase your creation online, and then have an actual physcial item shipped to your.  The example they used was a necklace in which a young girl designed it via her stylus and DSi, and then finished product was shipped to her home.
  • U-Play: Ubisoft seems to want to make a more interactive web/forum experience for those that purcahse their products.  U-Play looks somewhat similar to the new X-Box experience, by having 4 ‘blades’, each having a specific purpose such as  walkthrough/hints, store, etc.
  • Assassins Creed 2: I never played the first one, but I understand it was one of the best new and fasted selling IP’s of 2007.  Expect them to expand on all the previous features including swimming, new stealth based kills, larger areas, and new characters.  They seem to be taking this one pretty seriously, and the trailer they showed was stunning.  Now that the original has dropped in price as a platimun hit at $19.99, I may go back and pick it up in preparation for the sequel.  Ubisoft claimed thay have over 400 people working on this title!
  • Raving Rabbid’s Go Home (Wii): Looks like this franchise is departing from it ‘party-game’ format into something a bit more structured and customizable.  There is now a plot in which the rabbid’s want to get off the earth and make their new home on the moon….but how do they get there?  Well, they feel the need to take ‘stuff’ and build a tower of random junk that will lead to the moon.  There are some open sand-box play fields and some mini-games as well.  You can also customize the individual looks of your rabbids and unlock additional items as you progress.  Of course a lot of silly humor goes into this over the top cartoon stylized game and it appear there may even be some co-op gameplay.  This is worth a closer look as more details will come and looks like a cute, smash, fun time-sink game.  Probably good for kids and non hard-core gamers.  Because of the open play field, story-mode, and campaign, this may breathe new life into this IP.
  • RUSE: They showed a pretty intense trailer that led one to believe it would be a real time and epic military strategy game that looks akin to something in the Tom Clancy universe, but instead of controlling individual people, it looked more like broad units, platoons, brigades, etc.  Kind of like a very detailed game of Risk they uses ground, air, & sea elements.  Not much was said, just the trailer.
  • No More Heroes 2Desperate Struggle (Wii): Long awaited sequel in the works from the surprise adult-orientated wacky Wii title.  Will help fill the serious gaping gap that hardcore Wii users are so frustrated about.
  • RedSteel2_BoxartRed Steel 2 (Wii): Utilizes Nintendo’s new Motion Plus controller and another adult themed title that again addresses Wii’s lack of hardcore software for the more serious player.  The showed what looked liek a very nice opening cinematic trailer and then about 10 minutes or so of actual gameplay.  Looks very nice, both in graphic style and art direction.  I was amazed how well the sword handled with the Motion Plus and nun-chuck controller tethered on.  While the first Red Steel never lived up to its once-hyped potential, I have a feeling this one will deliver.  RS2 and NMH 2 may give me a compelling reason to but a Motion Plus accessory.  Will be out in December of this year and no multiplayer mode.
  • Splinter Cell – Conviction:  Oh my!  Looks just as awesome as some of the others AAA titles coming out and a welcome return for Sam Fisher.  Ubisoft looks to be on a roll this year at E3 and Conviction should be out Q4.  The gameplay demo’d look fantastic.  The art direction and lighting has come so far in this franchise.  The devs emphasized that while stealth is still very important to Sam Fisher, this will be slightly faster paced, and Sam will be relying much more on both the actual environment and low-tech objects he finds.  The devs also are introducing some great story-telling methods in the game with the use of real-time flashbacks….hard to explain, but you have to see it in action and it will maek sense.  Objectives also are displayed during game within the game in a new twist, ala, Fringe (FOX TV series).  Lastly, Sam uses a new combat mechanic that allows him to ‘mark’ shots in a queuing sequence before he takes action.  Again, you have to see it to undertsand, but it’s really slick, looks easy to use, and really pumps up the adrenaline factor in this stealth based game.  Most likely a ‘must-buy’ for me.

Electronic Arts update.

ea_logo1Seems like a lot of news was dropped yesterday from developer Electronic Arts:

  •  – Sims 3 is delayed until early June, 2009
  •  – Mass Effect 2 has been announced for an early 2010 date across multiple platforms (guessing that means XBox 360, PS3, and PC)
  • – Some 1000+ jobs will be cut including the closure of 12 facilities due to recent economic slow down and under performance.
  • Dead Space will be coming to the Wii.
  • Left 4 Dead has sold over 1M units world wide so far.
  • Boom Blox sequel has been announced and scheduled for a spring, 2009 release.

Personal gaming journal #2

Well, overall it was a pretty ‘okay’ weekend in my gaming life.

Friday night I was able to play Battallion Wars 2 on my Wii for a mission which was pretty darn fun.  I actually played it twice.  The first time I got a rank of ‘C’, and then I immediately replayed it again concentrating more on speed and improved my rank to a ‘B’.  Looks like I’m about 33% done of the campaign right now.  My eyes were seriously bugging out afterwards as so much seemed to be going on over my 42″ plasma that I was afraid to blink.  Wore out my batteries too with teh nunchcuk attahcement, so for $9.99 at Target, I bought a rechargeable battery pack for a single remote that charges via a USB cable and port on the back of the Wii.

Saturday morning I was able to play Wow for almost two hours.  I played my lvl 46 undead warlock and got him up to lvl 47 in the Hinterlands.  It’s been so long since I played that toon, it took the first 45 minutes just to re-acclimate myself to the spells and skills he has.  Thank goodness for my Void Walker as my personal tank.  I also am having a hard time gearing up right now as I am either cash starved, or there’s nothing good at the ‘ole AH.  Also working on my engineering as well.  I discovered I need a lot of raw materials from other players as ingredients to make my own engineering stuff that the products I end up making are just too expensive for what they are worth by the time I’m done.  I need to do a dungeon crawl and really get some money or good drops.

Finally, I really started to dive into GTA IV over the weekend playing a few hours both on Staurday and Sunday and had a blast.  I have a few complaints with GTA though….One, I hate if you fail a mission, you need to start all the way back at the beginning forcing the player to drive the same sequence leading up to the mission over and over again.  I’m doing a mission for Faustin right now that I have to kill some guy Lenny on a subway platform on another island.  Well, you need to drive to that island from where you pick the mission up from Faustin/Dimitri and actually do the mission.  If you fail (which I have), then you need to drive that whole sequence again and again.  Boo.  Second, even though it has an autosave feature, I hate that I have to go to my safe house and park my car in a special spot in order for an ‘actual’ save.  Lastly, the driving controls overall are wonky in the early part of your career and the traffic AI is bad.  NPC cars often don’t know how to make turns, or really get confused at merging intersections.   Putting that aside, the game really is beautiful the more I play it and truly feels epic and huge and living and breathing.  I’m gonna learn to love this game soon.  However, some of the achievents are ridiculous…like killing 200 ‘Flying Rats’ (aka pigeons) strategically placed throughout the city and this counts toward the 100% game completion achievment as well.  Seems a bit steep, and even more so for a casual gamer.

I had a coupon for 25% of off any one items at Borders, so I bought the Brady strategy guide for GTA and it ended up being $16 and some change.  Kinda pissed that Amazon has it for 32% off ($13.59).  Borders really isn’t a bargain despite all their coupons and promotions.  I can almost always find it cheaper elsewhere if I spend all of five minutes looking elsewhere.