Archive for May, 2009
Time for the backlog!
It’s been a spastic two weeks for my gaming appetite. I finished a “hard” playthrough of Battlefield: Bad Company, and I was reminded just how great of a job DICE did in their first real singleplayer console game. Hell, the multiplayer’s a lot better than I remember, too. Team Fortress 2 has been my true online obsession however, thanks to the recent Spy/Sniper update. Itemization issues aside, it’s one of those titles that remains constant fun, plain and simple.
Hoo boy. Medicine sure is a fun thing, isn’t it? After recovering from liberal applications of medication and sleep to combat a particularly nasty sinus infection, things have returned to normal – including posting the news. And news there is to be posted!
Microsoft announced today that it has hit a pair of milestones with the Xbox 360 console: 30 million systems sold worldwide, and 20 million individual users on its Xbox Live service. In the release, Microsoft attributed some of the growth to the New Xbox Experience dashboard overhaul that was launched last fall, saying that new membership numbers have gone up 136 percent since its debut in November. That led Microsoft to earn more than $14 billion on console sales, in addition to almost a billion pieces of content (both paid and free) downloaded via Xbox Live.
The long Memorial Day weekend is now behind us (I know I have a bit more color on my skin to show for being in the beautiful Northwest weather!) and E3 is just over the horizon, with press conferences starting in just under a week. Whew. Time certainly flies, and the news mill has definitely been churning.
The big pieces of news have come from Kojima Productions and Rockstar, respectively. Starting with the Japanese developer, its teaser site – which has seen multiple countdown clocks on top of ever-changing imagery, all the while focused on a field during a thunderstorm – has now left little question as to what Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima will be working on next. Today, the image of a young Big Boss – replete with eye patch – joined the flashing numbers and letters that have been on the site for well over a week, seeming to imply that a new Metal Gear game of some sort is due to be announced soon.
The other piece of news related to the teaser site and Kojima’s next project comes from scans of a leaked copy of the newest issue of Japan’s Famitsu Magazine, the TIME of Japanese gaming. There’s a feature story with lots of self-editing by Kojima, and accompanied by another image from the countdown that hasn’t been seen yet: Raiden, circa MGS4. It’s good news for Metal Gear fans and, with a bit of elementary math, it looks like the timer will run to zero early next week.
Editor’s note: We here at Silicon Sasquatch don’t think new games deserve all the attention. To illustrate that point we’re introducing our new Retrospective features: articles that focus an analytical eye on older releases in a non-review format. Our inaugural Retrospective takes a fresh look at Ubisoft Entertainment’s 2007 action-adventure game, Assassin’s Creed. This particular title made games press headlines at release — for reasons both good and bad. Scant details about Assassin’s Creed II have trickled out over the last month, and considering the goodly amount of time since the original was released, it seems like a perfect opportunity to look over Altaïr’s adventures with 20/20 hindsight. Enjoy.
There’s some videogame-related news in here somewhere, I promise. But this is just too good of a story to pass up.
Hey gang! Hope you’re still reading the blog since we transitioned to our own turf.
It’s been a crazy couple of days for me, what with migrating the site and, uh, celebrating yet another trip around the sun. I’m hoping to celebrate the anniversary of my birth by going back to my roots with Punch-Out!!
But that’s a story for another time. How about some news?
We’ve only got a couple games for you this week. But trust me — if you’ve been playing either of them, you’ll understand why there wasn’t time for anything else.
The all-glorious Friday is upon us once again, so being the casual day it is let’s just get down to the news. No introductory hyperbole from me this time–a shame, I know.
Guitar Hero 5 is coming and it has songs (surprise!), free-to-play MMO Free Realms has racked up quite the player base in its first few weeks of existence, Valve’s sneaky with its surprises as usual, and Mass Effect 2 footage is available for your viewing pleasure.
Though the game has been known about for a while now, Activision today tossed out a few official scraps of details on the upcoming Guitar Hero 5. Players will be able to tackle the game’s tracks with any instrument combination they see fit. Want to sing through a song with three other friends all using microphones? Go ahead.
It’s an interesting mechanic to put into a rhythm game–certainly one that isn’t “authentic” as far real bands go (though, yes, these games aren’t meant to be taken literally). And while we’ve been somewhat biased in favor of Harmonix’s Rock Band titles (or, at least Nick and Doug have), I personally find the gameplay freedom Neversoft’s offering to be great. Add-in the beginnings of a solid-looking track list and the new instant difficulty/instrument swapping, and the next Guitar Hero game might turn out to be one actually worthy of the franchise’s name.
Today Nick posted his review of Fable II’s second downloadable expansion, See the Future. He wasn’t exactly impressed.
The criticisms largely echo mine in reviewing the first add-on, Knothole Island, and it’s an overall shame to again see Lionhead botch its DLC. Costumes and potions will only get your game so far, you know.
It’s also unfortunate that my predictions of See the Future being more worthwhile turned out wrong–that’s what I get for speculation, I suppose.
News for Thursday: Sony loses cash, a lack of funding shutters another development studio and Telltale Games sells a lot of Strong Bad. It’s all very money-oriented today. (more…)
After our last journey to Albion’s Knothole Island left us feeling cold, dampened our spirits and hung us out to dry, Lionhead brings us another content pack with See the Future. It promises new dungeons, new items, plenty of new achievements and an enticing glimpse into Albion’s (and the franchise’s) future.
But just like any of Murgo’s wares, this new purchase will probably leave you feeling swindled.