I got my greedy paws on a key for the Little Big Planet (LBP) beta, which I had the opportunity to play over the last weekend. All in all, I'd have to say... not bad. (Bonus points if you know the movie in which Lisa Luder said those words.)
"Not bad." Which is not the praise that Sony and Playstation 3 owners everywhere would like too see bestowed upon this key video game, a unique entry and selling point as we go into the fourth quarter of 2008.
Although I had mixed feelings during my time with the beta, it was after discussing them with (our very own) Brad that they solidified into something I could concretely describe. Is LBP a game I want to spend $60 and countless hours of my limited free time exploring? I'm a generally creative guy. I like to sing, write music, draw or write in my free time. (Depending on my artistic mode and inertia at any given moment.) This game initially spoke to me as a good outlet to make things that I can share with the PS3-owning world. Yet after playing the beta for a while, I have some doubts.
Game Description: This latest Mega Man title brings the series back to its old-school roots with retro action platforming gameplay and classic 8-bit graphics and sound. Relive the Mega Man experience with classically inspired bosses, each with their own unique weapons and weaknesses.
If you build it they will come... and they will build something you would never have imagined. Kudos to Sony and Media Molecule for creating one of the biggest sensations in recent memory. And double kudos for avoiding an Internet meltdown and allowing levels created in the LittleBigPlanet Beta to be ported over to the final retail version. These are just a few of the no doubt hundreds of creations floating around the web. Once it ships next week, LittleBigPlanet could be that PlayStation 3 killer app that Sony has been looking for.
Last year when Crysis came out, I think all of us who played it were a little disappointed in the abrupt, cliffhanger ending. It felt like the ending of Halo 2, where you think you're about to get the biggest, baddest level of the game, and then the credits roll. Crytek's reason for such a lame ending? "It's a trilogy". What? Why didn't anybody say anything before? Are they sure they didn't just run out of time to put in all the levels they wanted?
Today, EA announced that Mirror's Edge will be the first part of a trilogy. What? The first one isn't even out yet. We don't know if it will be any good or if it will sell worth a spit. Need I remind everyone what happened with Too Human?
Essentially, SCMRPG! is a psychological examination of Harris and Klebold. It attempts to put the player into their mindset, exploring how and why they came to do what they did. The subject matter itself questions what a game is meant to be. Though people normally play video games for sheer enjoyment, there is none to be found in SCMRPG! Instead, I found myself actively dreading entering the game world, unwilling to perform the actions necessary to progress.
On Metal Gear Solid 4:
In the world of MGS4, war has become a business, and PMCs are in the center of it. The new war economy means that the world is in a constant state of battle, locked in perpetual proxy wars fought for business purposes. But while this is an interesting concept to contemplate, unfortunately it is not covered with real depth.
As a Kojima game, MGS4 spends much more time tackling strange philosophical debates than it does real world issues like PMCs. And given the fact that the existence of these corporations only came to light recently, it's a topic that is at the forefront of many people's minds. The game is wonderful, but the opportunity for a serious look at the subject was squandered.
The tale eternally retold... with more muscles, mammaries and licensed characters
HIGH I'm not what you'd call a Star Wars fanboy, although I grew up with the series. However, whoom-ing a lightsaber while playing as a menacing Darth Vader was a strangely satisfying experience. Did I mention that Darth Vader is cool (PlayStation 3 only)?
LOW Realizing that I'd rather be playing Soul Calibur I or II, where the characters flowed slightly faster (in my memory) and there were more interesting learning/adventure modes.
WTF I miss the days of non-hulking characters. Kilik and Ivy are seriously bulked, in their respective fashions. And Ivy is beginning to remind me of a drag queen.
Game Description: Return to witness the epic struggle between the spirit sword, Soul Calibur, and the cursed sword, Soul Edge, in Soul Calibur IV. Warriors from far reaches of the galaxy battle to control the powerful swords and use them for their own goals. Should these fighters succeed, they will face the ultimate judgment. The ongoing story continues with new revelations, exciting new gameplay features and stunning visuals. And perhaps most exciting of all, a character from the Star Wars universe will also make an appearance.
Life as a Disabled Gamer is a guest editorial at Game|Life by Andrew Monkelban, a gamer with cerebral palsy who plays one-handed. His piece covers a lot of important issues, but what most interested me was the kinds of games he likes and doesn't like to play, and why:
Up until recently, I've played predominately roleplaying games, with some focus on fighters. However, with the inclusion of online multi-player and other networking features in games and consoles, I've been able to try different titles and genres (i.e. Devil May Cry 4,Grand Theft Auto 4, and Mass Effect).
One example of a genre I can't play is shooters. Mass Effect is in this genre, and I had trouble playing it, due to the controls being too complicated for one-handed gaming. When you need to hold the controller a certain way, it causes problems when needing to reach some buttons.
Gamers are an incredibly diverse group of people, and I don't think most game developers or publishers (or indeed, most gamers, myself included) fully realize just how diverse we are. Can controllers with sensitive analog sticks and lots of little buttons be adapted for someone who needs a larger, simpler setup? Are there certain games and genres that gamers with certain impairments can't play because of the barriers involved? If so, are these barriers truly "just the way things are" or can we fix them? For instance, can we make audio cue-intensive survival horror games and first-person-shooters accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing gamers? (See the Doom 3closed-captioning/transcription mod).
By blogging about gaming and disability, I hope to examine these and other questions. And, of course, alert readers to some really cool technology and people.
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