Archive for January, 2009

31
Jan
09

New “Batman: Arkham Asylum” Trailer hits

One of this years games that seems to have slipped off many radars has been “Batman: Arkham Ayslum”. It’s been a while since there was a good Batman game (that didn’t involve lego) and this looks like it could have the potential to break the trend. See the new trailer below:

While the quality of the trailer isn’t that great, blame youtube, you can find a better one over at Giantbomb.  The atmosphere seems to be darker than in previous games and almost gives off an almost  Bioshock or Condemned vibe.  Lets just hope that the gameplay mechanics hold up, as that seems to be the failings of many a superhero game outing.

Either way it features Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, which instantly means it will be awesome.

Mark

30
Jan
09

Banjo-Kazooie (XBLA) Review

Back in the days of the N64 there were many games that garnered a certain amount of praise.  Banjo-Kazooie was one of these.  Released in 1998 the game was built upon the same 3D premise that Mario 64 gained infamy for and in some cases was scrutinised for doing so.

Banjo-Kazooie follows Banjo, a bear, and his breagull Kazooie that lives in his back-pack (this fact is still to be explained) on their search to save Banjos sister from evil witch Gruntilda.  The game follows the standard action/platform formula of off-shot worlds inter-connected via a hub from here the player must collect various items to proceed; Jigsaw pieces, musical notes and honeycomb pieces being among them.  Normally too many items would be a point of criticism, however, this was one of the games that was at the fore-front of this genre and there is always an incentive to give into OCD and collect everything.

So, there are a few changes made to the N64 version for the release in XBLA; Character models have been upgraded (although I couldn’t tell the difference), the game is now in Widescreen as opposed to the old 4:3 ratio as well as now being HD, the “Stop and Swap” feature is now fully implemented in the game and of course there’s the usual leaderboards and achievements added.

Gameplay in B-K is still pretty much the same as it has always been.  The controls remain relatively tight throughout, with only a few cases of collision detection causing irritation later in the game (which is negligible given the overall picture).  Moves have been mapped to the controller well too; meaning that abilities can be done instinctively rather than having to look to see what you’re inputting on the pad.  One other change to the controls are that camera control is now controlled on an analogue stick, as opposed to button press on the N64, meaning that rotation can be performed much easier than in the 1998 counterpart but still suffers from getting occasionally stuck on walls or behind objects.

Given how few games Rare have put out over the course of the 360’s lifespan it does beg the question as to whether this should have been a full remake using the “nuts and bolts” engine.  Indeed, the fact that the game seems to have graduated from the Nintendo school of game development where a set of eyes is on every object in the game (or a vision to a horrible future of gene manipulation), it does seem to grate on the eyes.  But then again that might just be purely the age of the reviewer.

Banjo-Kazooie, even casting the rose-tinted glasses aside, remains a great game and at 1,200 MS points is well worth the money spent on it.  Whether you are a veteran to the series or if you missed it the first time around this is definitely one for the download list.

Mark

26
Jan
09

Cali-Otaku: SS 23/01/09

Cali-Otaku: SS 23/01/09

We’re back! In the first show of 2009 we discuss everything we loved last year and what we’re looking forward in this one. As well as the usual segments of anime and games; we also find out why you should never accept reccommendations from Dave and we have a ‘whale’ of a time with Mark.

Download Link (right click and ‘Save Target as’)
Length: 1:22:49 (37.5MB)

23
Jan
09

A Call to Arms

As of 12:30 this afternoon my exams are over.  Thank God!  No matter how much experience I’ve had with exams I’m always incredibly nervous walking into them, today’s was no exception.  Infact, today was probably most apprehensive I’ve ever been before an exam, if I had bothered eating beforehand chances are I would have likely seen it again.  Ugh!  But never-the-less through lack of sleep for fear of having not studied enough, it’s over now.

With exams out of the way, the real fun can begin.  The first podcasting recording of the year went by without, at least to my knowledge, a hitch.  I’m currently in the process of editing and sorting out where it’s going to be hosted, so if it’s not up tonight, it will definitely be up after I get back from working in Silverburn tomorrow.

I should have my Xbox back on Monday, at least that’s what the “failed delivery” UPS slip is telling me, so I should be able to start working through the vast pile of shame I have sitting next to me including the likes of; Call of Duty 4, Condemned 2, Burnout Paradise, Rock Band 2, Dead Space, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Mirrors Edge, Fable 2, Eternal Sonata and *whew* Soul Calibur IV.  Man, that’s quite the list!

I’ve also got a bunch of books that I need to work through and I’m currently trying to get hold of a specific book that I was given a recommendation of “Zoe’s Tale” by John Scalzi.

 

So yeah, if you happen to be in the Glasgow area and see this book, please hit me up.  I’ve been searching for this for a little while now and it seems to be out of print. The next batch due in the UK is expected to arrive in June and I really don’t want to have to wait another 5 months just to read it.

Mark

12
Jan
09

Pensive

Seeing as I’m in a pensive mood, I may as well do some updating.

Personal updates have been fairly few and far between recently mainly due to the fact that I’m still in the same confused position I was before. Yet, there’s an odd determination in me to try and sort things out, although that can only really be done face to face. I’m not giving up though, never. In the meantime I’ve been trying to take my mind off things, which is easy enough (figuratively speaking) as I’ve been busy as hell.

My web design coursework hell has now been submitted (here’s the link incase you wanna have a look: Clicky), so now I just need to sit back and wait on the marks to come back. Well, I say “sit back”, study like a madman might be more accurate seeing as I’ve got 2 exams coming up soon. ARGH!

Other than that I’ve got a bunch of stuff to update on too.

On the tv/anime/random stuff front; I’ve finished watching Avatar (I should have a review of the last 2 books written up after the 23rd, probably along with some discussion on the podcast). I’ve re-watched the entirety of season 4 of Lost on Blu-ray just in time for the new season kicking off in a couple of weeks.

The new season of Cali-Otaku: SS will kick off on the 23rd, I’m currently hammering out the podcast shedule as we speak, expect the first one to be as random as ever seeing as my brain will be shot to hell. We’re doing it straight after an exam.

My 360 is dead, so I’ll be out of the gaming scene for the next couple of weeks.  Convenient

Other than that, my 2009 resolution is to get fit, so (crazily) I’ve decided to start Tai Kwon Do.  So, the first few months of the year look like they’re gonna be the most painful.  hey, I’m sure they’ll allow podcast recording from the (*shudder*) hospital.

Mark

10
Jan
09

RIP 1up and EGM

I’m a little late with this one due to deadlines and whatnot but tardiness should not be percieved as not caring.

Earlier this week prominant game site 1up.com (formally owned by Ziff Davis) announced that they were to be taken over by UGO.  While I have never heard of them, think it’s an american thing, they seem to be pretty big.  This was to be great news, especially seeing that Ziff Davis had filed for a chapter 11 last year (the equivalent to administration in the UK), and would hopefully “save” 1up.com.  This was not to be.

While the official press statements have said that UGO wanted to salvage as much of the site/podcasts and EGM Magazine (1ups only print publication after the closing of GFW Magazine) as they could, most of it had to go due to “what was profitable”.

As a result over 30 seriously talented people have lost their jobs over at 1up.  And while this may not concern many of you, this kinda hits home alot for me personally.  Without 1up I doubt I would ever have gotten the motivation to do a podcast, ever.  These guys had the talent and personalities not just for me to listen to one but hundreds over the years that I visited the site. 1upyours, The 1upshow, GFW Radio, Retronauts, Legendary Thread, EGM Live, 1upFM, LAN Party. These were all awesome!

Long live GFW

Long live GFW!

 

I was genuinely upset at the news and was following the updates on twitter and GAF until 3am the day it broke; the fact that so many people were given one days warning that they had no job to go back to this early into the new year is heartbreaking especially as these people were willing to open up their lives for us on the Internet.  Something that takes some serious balls to do.

So what can I say other than I hope everyone who worked at Ziff Davis speedily finds a new job, god knows they have enough creative abilty to make even me want to hire them!

But also I hope those that are left assert themselves and try to get 1up back to where it was.   While the site and content will never be the same again, with the backing of UGO it now has the power to become something different and hopefully they will keep the integrity that 1up and EGM were infamous for.

No doubt I’ll be bringing this up on the podcast soon but I wanted to write something down.  Keep on trucking guys, I’ll be following you on twitter!

Mark




Welcome

I'm Mark Gibson & this is another one of my blogs where you're likely to find musings of daily life, gaming & just plain rambling.

Currently Playing:
Modern Warefare 2
Borderlands
Forza 3


Currently Watching:
South Park


Currently Listening to:
Cage - Depart From Me
Flobots - Fight With Tools


Currently Reading:
The Wheel of Time (again)


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