Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by Wrestlevania

  1. What are you playing today?

    Well, that's a relief. The idea that Human Head had given away so much of the game seemed, well... I've only played a little bit further, and so far, so-so. Hoping the gameplay ramps up from what was in the demo before too long, otherwise I shan't be impressed.
  2. What are you playing today?

    ...which I can now confirm it does.
  3. Grim Fandango Movie Rumors

    Seems like now would be a good time to announce that Castle Mania's expecting its third-born early next year...
  4. What are you playing today?

    You are most welcome--hope you enjoy them. DAN! DA! DAN! is suffering a mini-revival on my machine since I posted that message; nifty little shooter that one. Another to add to the list: Invisible Vision, which is a unique sub shooter that's been getting a some press recently. Likewise. Still fun though, isn't it? Seeing as I finished Condemned at the weekend, I'm now settling down to continue Prey where the demo left off. Apparently - according to a friend who bought, and completed, the X360 version at the weekend - you can start the game from where you last (auto) saved during the demo. Which is nice (assuming the PC version supports this too), but might only serve to make an already-short game even shorter; the same friend also reckoned the demo accounts for about 15-20% of the finished game(!!!).
  5. I managed to find the time to finish Condemned: Criminal Origins over the weekend, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleasantly surprised, nevermind thoroughly impressed. The game's premise is simple; murders are happening throughout a near-future city. You are a divisional agent trying to piece together what's going on, as the urban landscape - and populance - sinks further into maddening decay around you. The game's narrative is driven via your forays into this world, and, upon discovering a fresh crime scene, through the use of a forensics system straight out of an arcade game. Yes, SEGA's production accredited influence is all over this game like a rash, seeping from every broken pipe and cracked plasterboard wall. But believe me when I say that's a very good thing. Combat too is firmly rooted in arcade mechanics, although weapon selection is deceptively linear. Unlike virtually any other first-person game you care to mention, Condemned only ever lets you carry one weapon at a time. Furthermore, you never have any more ammunition, other than what's left in the gun you just picked up. This forces you to make tactical considerations where you'd not normally expect to in a game of this kind. Do you drop the electrical conduit - with its high speed, decent damage and reasonable blocking ability - for the sawn-off shotgun, discarded on the table in this grimy backroom, with its damaging two-shot capacity but rubbish melee attributes once both cartridges--if indeed both chambers are even loaded--have been quickly spent? Arguably, it's best to resort to physical contact over munitions, as melee weapons always pack a mean punch. As already alluded to, the procurement of weaponry is often a case of ripping the nearest pipe or "2 by 4" off the wall as your assailant barrels towards you. Fighting (it could never be termed anything as considered as "combat") in Condemned is as brutal as is it is brief; encounters usually requiring no more than a couple of well-timed swings to smash the life out of your opponent. When a swing of your sledgehammer connects with an attacker's face, it's reassuringly pronounced through brilliant motion capture and liberal sound effects. Whilst production values are extremely high in Condemned, they never interfere with the gritty realism it strives for throughout. The story, too, is very well done. Pure pulp it may be, but voice acting - mercifully - is typically convincing and well delivered; this definitely ain't no Prey. The plot twists and writhes nicely as you crawl through sewers, an abandoned subway trainyard, and later derelict farmsteads. The over-arching themes of murder and human dereliction also permeate every corner of the environment too. Texturing is beautifully rich throughout, with levels nicely paced and believably constructed. Ultimately, Condemned leaves you with a few loose strands of unfinished sub-plots after the grand finale. But the game draws to a satisfying close and does not leave you hanging in wait for a sequel. There are a couple things which prevent Condemned from being a 'must-have' title though. Firstly, it's relatively short. Playing at a leisurely pace I finished the game in approximately 12 hours. For some people - me included - this isn't a problem, but I know many people would expect more game for their money. As it stands, what you do get is a tightly-focussed and succinct game, with none of its levels feeling tacked-on or spurious. It just might be a little shorter than you were hoping. Secondly, the PC version comes littered with a huge number of achievements--several per level in fact. These commonly take the form of collecting a certain number of dead or dying brids scattered throughout the level. The mass death of these birds happening in key areas of the early game is one of the sub-plots which weaves its way throughout, and discovering the skeletons - or writhing corpses - of crows as you pick your way through the debris adds a layer of sombreness and pity to the experience. Additionally, there are several fragments of metal to collect during each stage, but, unlike the dead birds, it's not entirely clear what purpose these have in the game's narrative. Bronze, silver and gold ratings are available for each repective level's achievements, which in turn unlock more content (usually nothing more than concept art which is, admittedly, stunning). The sheer number of achievments spread throughout the game is quite daunting, but the biggest stop-gap to actually collecting them all is the game's settings and story; after one complete play-through, I can't see many people feeling the urge to retread this game's rotting floorboards--at least, not in the short-term. Taking everything into account, this game is full to bursting with menace and forboding atmosphere. What it might lack in length is more than made up for with the shear visceral nature of the experience you do get. Condemned is a triumph of tightly implemented design, considered mechanics, and a mature theme successfully - not to mention convincingly - executed in a video game. If you liked the film Se7en, you'll be completely engrossed in Condemned: Criminal Origins. Throroughly recommended. Overall: 4/5
  6. "Pepsimaaaaan!"

    Whilst digging through the posts over on The Dreamcast Junkyard, I found a new hero. He's also appeared in his own game* no less, but it was a Japanese release only it seems (no doubt because the Pepsiman ad campaign was specifically intended for the Japanese market alone). :buyme: :buyme: :buyme: :buyme: :buyme: :buyme: :buyme: Apologies if this is (extremely) old hat, but I thought it was great nonetheless. * Game footage taken from Pepsiman for PlayStation running via bleemcast!, hence; it's a bit shonky in places.
  7. The Amazing Screw-On Head

    Absolutely fan-tastic! Brilliant writing, superb timing, and a gorgeous 'rough' look to the artwork. "It's all kinds of awesome," as I'm sure the youth of today might quip. On the survey, my 'character' question was regarding Screw-On Head. I chose 'Excellent' and wrote the following reasons why: Unfortunately, I don't watch the Sci-Fi Channel here in the UK either, so pinning my hopes on a DVD release also.
  8. Team Fortress 2 and Portal

    Superb! Great find. The art style does look really intriguing--can't wait to see how the weapons and levels stack up.
  9. Team Fortress 2 and Portal

    I don't think Valve are stupid. They published the disturbingly-low completion rates for Episode 1 mere weeks after it was launched, which - for me at least - shows that Valve are aware of just how important it is to get episodic gaming right. I'd hazard a guess that bundling TF2 in with Episode 2 is one possible way of "sweetening the pill". Meaning I don't think we'll pay for it, but, coversely, we may have more reason to pay for Episode 2--especially those who maybe didn't value the first part much. For what it's worth, I've still not played Episode 1. But, from reading several absolutely glowing reviews, I'm finding it difficult to see what isn't to like; you appear to get a very tightly focussed, very well produced shiny new piece of gaming, for what equates to less-than-budget money...
  10. Team Fortress 2 and Portal

    What ^ said (about player input).
  11. Team Fortress 2 and Portal

    Interesting, agreed. But I seriously doubt that neither Microsoft nor Sony won't be collecting player metrics from (at least some) key titles; they'd be idiots not to in all honesty. Spyware be damned--it's essential to get a better idea of what people do and don't like when playing games today, especially with so many critics braying for more original/different experiences. I reckon Valve should be applauded for being proactive in finding out whether their customers are getting value for money, or not (more importantly). Anyway: if Valve themselves are handling the HL2 conversions to 360 and PS3 personally, then I'm certain there's no way this will happen if they can't continue to grow their 'gameplay' statistics. Certainly not if they [Valve] intend to continue developing for consoles themselves from this point on. What's more likely, however, is that Valve are simply farming out the console conversions as previously, treating them as separate entities from their own products.
  12. Team Fortress 2 and Portal

    He's not wrong you know... must've been getting me dates muddled again.
  13. Team Fortress 2 and Portal

    Oh well. I'll miss the originally-penned look 'n' feel of TF2. But, what with all the Battlefield's and Ghost Recon's in this world nowadays, Valve will have to do something a bit different if they want TF2 to stand out from the crowd. I guess that explains why it's not going to be out until near the end of 2007. The question is, though, if Half-Life 2, Episode 1 and Episode 2 are all going to be bundled into the respective console releases, where does that leave 360 and PS3 players with regards to Episode 3? Are Valve banking on Sony having implemented a similar content delivery system to Live! Marketplace to enable purchase of the final part of the Episode trilogy? Oh, and cue 1,000,000 fanboy muppets raving about which console "IT LOOKS TEH BEST ON!!!11!". Not seen that before--thanks for the head's up.
  14. Darwinia - WTH?!

    Yes: it's quality. Great atmosphere, very absorbing and nicely polished.
  15. Darwinia - WTH?!

    Hmm. Kinda swaying me to give Darwinia a second chance with that, as I really didn't get much out of playing the demo either. Personally, I'd agree that the hype surrounding the game was more than a little gratuitous; a case of many 30-something hacks strapping rose-tinted goggles to their faces and stubbornly refusing to take them off until they'd gorged themselves on gaming memories from their then-mis-spent childhood. [burp!] Still - not to take anything away from the huge amount of effort apparent in making the game - it's polished and individual, and certainly deserved the attention more than most. Trouble is it ended up with perhaps a bit too much attention for its own good. I know thousands of people love it though...
  16. What are you playing today?

    PCB is OK--found it pretty easy to beat to be honest, so it might not be the manic bullet-fest you're after. It's certainly no Ikaruga, put it that way. DAN! DA! DAN! [direct download] is somewhat similar in setup to Noiz2sa but it's about blasting your way through a puzzle maze (think Columns crossed with Space Invaders) rather than boss fights--good fun and the best combo, highest score and fastest 'run' angles make it addictive. There's also Warning Forever of course - which is pure class - but I suspect you've maybe played that one already. Grid Wars is still about the best freeware shooter I've played over the last few months, the only drawback being that you really need a twin analogue controller to fully appreciate its subtleties.
  17. What are you playing today?

    On a lightweight RPG catch-up at the moment having finally picked up a copy of Knights of the Old Republic 2 this week, along with The Minish Cap. KotOR2 must be the buggiest "professional" release I've ever played, even tripping over left-in developer debugging at one point early on, simply because I hadn't spoken to one character before a particular scripted scene kicked in--dreadful. But it's engrossing and much less of a slog than the original game so far; I think I'm more likely to finish this one. Obsidian definitely copied BioWare's homework though, with so many aspects of the early game echoing the first adventure. Legend of Zelda - The Minish Cap is a stark contrast, as it's obviously been polished with the freshly-squeezed essence of many cute fluffy things before leaving Nintendo Towers. Oh, and Mario Kart DS is all-but-glued into my DS Phat at the moment, too...
  18. Sweet Mother of Mothra!

    "Aaa'ight!!!" Just...
  19. Daily show segment on violent games

    "Politician's are just beating a dead hooker here." Top notch IMHO.