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Dead Space and the evolution and elimination of HUDs

Dead Space

As far as the video game part of my life goes, last week was all about Dead Space. Well, I also finished up the original Metal Gear Solid (After the credits rolled, my mostly non-gaming wife aptly summed it up as "very Japanese.") but I digress. I rented the PS3 version from Blockbuster and played it steadily through the week until finally beating it on Sunday night. My wife was actually backseat for the entire duration, so props to her for sticking it out.

While I wouldn't consider Dead Space a truly great game, I do think it's a very good one. The graphics and sound are top notch, the zero gravity gameplay is quite cool, the story is decent (enhanced by watching the six downloadable video comics), and the game as a whole just does a great job of delivering the scares. Oh yeah, and I really dug the way the game handled being in a vacuum with no sound. Rather than talk about that stuff, however, I'd like to focus in on something that really stood out to me about Dead Space: the absence of a HUD.

The Horror Geek Presents: EA Announces Dead Space Upgrade Packs

 

According to Kotaku, EA has announced that its popular survival horror game Dead Space is getting some premium upgrade packs. Like all things EA, expect these new "enhancements" to cost you (to the tune of nearly $30 if you wanted them all--which is half the retail price of the entire goddamn game...) and that some of them will be useless "graphical upgrades" as opposed to things that would actually warrant shelling out cold hard cash. In their defense, there are some upgrades that change the game experience--upgrading weapon power, mostly--and no one's holding a gun to your head to force you into shelling out cash for these things. Your copy of Dead Space will still work just fine without them.

Trailers & Demos

I just finished Fallout 3 a few minutes ago, and I've got to say that it's miles ahead of the competition when it comes to picking what's going to be my game of the year. It's a pretty fantastic title, and if you haven't played it yet you should run out and get a copy immediately...

With that out of the way, the wife and I ran through a few of the demos and clips I had downloaded onto the 360. Here's a few words.

Voice of Marcus Fenix, John Dimaggio interview at TheFukerton.com

My good buddy Chad Dukes (who co-hosts the Big O & Dukes show at WJFK FM-where you can hear my movie review segment every Friday afternoon) landed an exclusive interview with John Dimaggio that's up over at his site TheFukerton.com.

Who's John Dimaggio? Only the guy with one of the coolest gigs in the world. Not only is he the voice of Futurama's wisecracking robot Bender, but he's also the voice actor responsible for Gears of War's Marcus Fenix. Check out the two part interview here.

Part 1:

Part 2:

My first experience as a playtester

Playtest Lab

Back when I was a little kid in the late 1980s, I had this idealized vision of how awesome it must be to play video games for a living. I knew that there were people out there who played games for the purpose of quality testing and so on, and for whatever reason, my little kid brain thought it must be the greatest job in the world. I probably saw it as at least on par to working at a candy factory. It all comes down to that fact that I had no understanding of the law of diminishing returns and therefore believed that being able to do a thing that I like all day every day must be nothing short of bliss.

Heidi Klum unleashes her inner Tom Cruise from Risky Business

Guitar Hero: World Tour - 1
Rock Band 2 - 0

Saints Row 2

Game Description: A worthy successor to Saints Row, the first open-world title on next-generation consoles, Saints Row 2 features all new customization options, including player's: gender, age, voice, crib and gang. In addition, the sandbox just got larger with a totally transformed and expanded city of Stilwater, offering all new locations to explore with new vehicles, including motorcycles, boats, helicopters and planes. Saints Row 2 will be playable online in 2-player co-op through the entire singleplayer campaign or in the all new open-world competitive multiplayer mode never before seen in the genre.

Saints Row 2 Review

New Playa, Same Game

Read review of Saints Row  2

HIGH Jumping out of a plane to discover that there's a minigame associated with the landing.

LOW Finishing a stressful mission only to have my 360 lock up before I had a chance to save.

WTF Not being able to adjust the bust and hip size of female characters.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Review

Playground of Tedium

Read review of Mercenaries 2: World in Flames 

HIGH Blowing up people and vehicles from inside the safety of a helicopter never gets old, does it?

LOW Actually, it does. And surprisingly quickly, at that.

WTF For some reason EA refused to include any licensed characters as a fun secondary skin. Sure, they don't have access to Lucasfilm characters the way the first game did, but aren't they making a James Bond game right now? Meanwhile, the Sean Connery skin is just lying around in a mainframe somewhere, gathering dust.

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