Posts tagged ‘Xbox live’

12/23/2011

News flash: Xbox live avatars with guns can’t actually hurt you

by wfgodbold

In his response to the thread about the news that a couple of avatar items will no longer be available for sale on Xbox Live, poster jim-jam bongs says:

Just to explain this for Americans who are so accustomed to a culture which celebrates violence and condemns sexuality that they can’t see the issue here; outside the US people in the first-world generally don’t carry weapons around with them, so we don’t really feel comfortable with things which glorify violence. When it’s in the context of a narrative (i.e. in a game) it’s justifiable, but equipping your avatar with a firearm is a tacit approval of the idea that it’s cool to bear arms (hint: it’s not really).

Look.

It’s an avatar. It’s not real. The gun your avatar is holding is no more real than the gun your character in the game uses to kill aliens/Nazis/terrorists/hookers.

Pictures/computer models/models/whatever of guns don’t glorify violence any more than knives or baseball bats or golf clubs “glorify” stabbing or beating, or baseball or golf. They just are.

Carrying firearms is normal in forty-nine states. Just because you get the vapors when you see a CG person holding a CG fake gun is no reason to assume that you are correct. Acting all high and mighty from outside the US, sneering down your nose at the people you think “glorify” violence, is just ridiculous.

I, for one, am happy to live in a society where the strong and young don’t have free reign over the weak and old.

That said, it’s apparently against Microsoft’s policy to allow avatars to have guns in the first place. That’s their prerogative, since it’s their service, and they set the rules.

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08/09/2011

The Mancer’s Dilemma

by wfgodbold

Microsoft has been promoting their Xbox Live Arcade games this summer with what they call the Summer of Arcade; five games released over five weeks.

I’ve only played one of those games: Bastion. You control a silent protagonist referred to by the narrator as “the Kid” after he wakes up following a horrible cataclysm.

What follows is the Kid’s journey to meet everyone, discover what happened, and rebuild the world. Along the way, the narrator comments on what the Kid is doing and what you see on the screen; sometimes he’ll talk about the area, sometimes about NPCs, and depending on how you play, sometimes he’ll comment on the Kid’s actions.

The gameplay is pretty solid, the graphics are nice, the narrator is entertaining, and the music is pretty good; it’s worth the 1200 MS points it costs (especially if you plan on playing it to death; after beating the game, you can start a new game+ to continue).

05/26/2011

Eight months later and still no concrete release date

by wfgodbold

Though at least now we know that Radiant Silvergun is going to cost 1200 Microsoft Points.

After announcing the port at last year’s TGS, they’ve finally claimed that it will be out in 2011. That narrows the window down to a mere seven months.

And for those of you who can’t be bothered to remember MS point conversion rates, 1200 is ~$15.

Not bad for a game that goes for ~$200+ on ebay.

Now, I don’t expect it to be as refined as Ikaruga (after all, at this point Radiant Silvergun is 13 years old), but it still looks like it will be good.

05/09/2011

World 1 – The Forest

by wfgodbold

Super Meat Boy, the heartwarming (?) tale of a skinless cuboid on a mission to save his kidnapped girlfriend, brings platforming back!

Once again, I’ve only played the demo (I’ve been in search of a good, short game, and demos are free!), but if you grew up playing Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, or any of the other many platforming games that were on every system for most of the 80s and early 90s, you’re sure to be familiar with the controls and gameplay.

That said, I did think that the jumping was a bit too floatly, and the analog stick made for an imprecise input method. On the other hand, I was never the best at platformers, so a goodly bit of the blame is probably mine, as well.

My ineptness didn’t change the quality of the music; it’s got a distinct retro feel, hearkening back to the halcyon days of 8- and 16-bit music, but updated for the modern era’s discerning…

Oh, who am I kidding. You’re a sack of meat, chasing down Dr. Fetus to save your girlfriend, who is made out of bandages. No haute commentary on society, this.

05/08/2011

Vampire Killer

by wfgodbold

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair is an Xbox Live Arcade game created to cash in on the franchise give players the opportunity to play cooperatively or go head to head.

What I played of the demo was pretty straightforward, but while it might be 2D (like the always classic SotN, and unlike the latest installment in the series), I was unimpressed.

You can see the entire map all at once; since the game is in HD, that means that on my 32″ TV, Alucard was about half an inch tall. Clicking the right stick changed the zoom level, and then I was actually able to see what was going on.

Alucard was the demo’s only playable character; the full version boasts a much larger cast. Not only is the cast drawn from classic 2D Castlevania games, but the music is, as well (My youtube-fu leads me to believe that the following track first appeared in Circle of the Moon (which, IIRC, was the first game in the series I beat. I think.))!

04/26/2011

For those of you who’ve been under a rock since the PSN went down last week

by wfgodbold

Your personal and credit card information could be at risk.

The official PlayStation Blog has the whole press release.

It’s because of incidences like this that I’ve not chosen to entrust Xbox Live and the PSN with my own credit card information; when I’ve bought DLC (or downloadable games), I’ve used PSN cards and Xbox Live point cards (if you’d rather buy content from the Japanese stores, NCSX and Play Asia can set you up (since inputting credit card information for each region requires a billing address in said region, cards are the only effective way to purchase out-of-region content)).

Of course, that’s kind of useless right now; with the PSN down, you can’t change your password, or personal info, or delete whatever credit cards you had linked with your account. So in the meantime, just watch your card history, and be prepared to cancel if some Russian guy buys a bunch of stuff.

04/04/2011

Shadow Complex: No, It’s not Metroid or Castlevania, really… You can tell, cause Ripley and Dracula don’t appear.

by wfgodbold

Except it pretty much is.

Set in the world of Empire and Hidden Empire (by Orson Scott Card; I haven’t read them, but now I’m curious) .Some time in the future, a secret organization has risen up to try to topple the US government. The game opens with the player being given control of an army officer equipped in a nifty suit of powered armor; after a brief intro, the control then switches to the real main character, Jason. Jason is on a date with a girl he picked up in a bar; while exploring a cave, she gets kidnapped and taken into a hidden facility built into the cave. A complex, if you will. A Shadow Complex. Har har.

The game plays exactly like a Metroidvania style 2D action game; you explore the complex, and as you explore you find new weapons, new tools, and new armor; the more powered up you get, the more of the complex you can explore, until you finally save the day in a rather abrupt ending. I assume the story is better explained in the novels, but I’m kind of annoyed that you would have to read a couple books to find out the whole plot; the gameplay is awesome, but the story ought to be able to stand on its own as well.

Shadow Complex breaks from the traditional Metroidvania style in that everything is rendered with 3D models instead of sprites; the levels themselves are also done in a 2.5D style, instead of regular 2D. Enemies can be in the foreground or the background, but Jason himself is limited to the 2D plane, except for aiming.

It works pretty well; I’ve nearly completed the item collection (4 items left to find out of a little more than a hundred), and the map is at 98% complete. For 1200 Microsoft points ($15 in real money, unless you get them from Amazon at a slight discount), it was worth it; I put ~7 hours into the game over the weekend, so that’s better a better return on investment than seeing a movie.

If you like Metroid games, or Castlevania (in the Metroid style, not the 3D games they’ve been turning out lately, or the pre-Symphony of the Night straight-up action variety), then you’ll be right at home with Shadow Complex. If you’ve never played games in that genre before, give it a try; it might surprise you.

12/21/2010

Namco doesn’t need the US market

by wfgodbold

Not when Japanese fans will fork over ¥400 per Tales of Graces F downloadable character costume.

They probably have some underpaid flunky code those up in an afternoon, and then sell the full set for half the price of the actual game; when they finally finished making costumes (I think they’ve finished, anyway) for the PS3 port of Tales of Vesperia, I think the cost of the costumes was more than the cost of the game.

Namco has done this before; the DLC for the PSP iDOLM@STER releases totaled more than the cost of the actual game.  I think the cost discrepancy was even more glaring with the 360 edition.

It makes sense that they would focus their efforts on nickel and diming their Japanese fan base with DLC instead of localizing the Tales games for foreign release; I don’t think the series has ever done as well outside Japan.  Their focus on DLC gets them a good return on a minimal investment, whereas localizing the games for release abroad could prove chancy should they not be well-received.

Of course, that’s not what non-Japanese fans want to hear.  Unfortunately, the poor reception of Tales in the US (relative to Japan) has made it less likely for future games to be released here; those that do get released will probably continue to under preform versus the Japanese releases, making it even less likely that the next game will be localized, and so on.

There really isn’t any way I can see to improve the situation; I bought the US release of Tales of Vesperia when it was released, and the Japanese PS3 rerelease.  I had hoped that the PS3 edition would make the jump across the Pacific, but it was not in the cards (a shame, since many people only have one major console, and I imagine many JRPG fans gambled on the PS3 over the 360, given its track record in the previous two console generations).

Tales of Graces hasn’t even been mentioned for prospective release in the US (in either the PS3 update or the original buggy Wii edition); since Tales of Xillia is initially being released on the PS3 (instead of first on one of the other two consoles, with a “complete” edition on the PS3 to follow), it’s marginally more likely that it will be localized for sale in other regions than Japan.  If it does, I’ll probably pick up a copy (not that any foreign release will be any time soon; the Japanese release doesn’t have a date beyond 2011 at this point, so I’d imagine the soonest any English version could be released is 2012) if only pour encourager les autres (I did the same with the Japanese and English releases of Valkyria Chronicles).

In the mean time, though, I’ll try to maintain my Japanese skills; after all, it’s one thing to be optimistic regarding an English release, but we would do well to prepare for the worst.

09/15/2010

Hell yes!

by wfgodbold

Radiant Silvergun is coming to Xbox Live!  I’ve wanted to play it for years, but I’m far too cheap to shell out $200+ for a copy on ebay (it was a very limited print run, as I understand it).

Now if they would only announce Shikigami no Shiro III for the 360 in the US, I could really have something to be happy about!

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