9 June 2011
1 November 2009
So some of the UKVGB writers were lucky enough to attend the mighty Eurogamer Expo in London over the last few days; one of us even had a press pass! I thought I'd do an initial writeup of what we managed to do on the day; Danilo attended the developer sessions and is better placed to write about them but I had some more extended playtime with the games on the show-floor. I'll write up on what I played and then I'll go through what I did on the Saturday, when the rest of the guys weren't there (basically, I'll do a writeup of the developer session by Valve's Chet Faliszek).
22 May 2009
For a while now I have been debating the value and validity of critic review scores. It seems as if the subject has come under more & more scrutiny from the community in direct proportion to the popularity of sites such as Metacritic. This is a fairly banal subject now, however review scores are still one of the main factors which gamers base their purchases on.
In my opinion, review scores are not meant to be the foundations...
In my opinion, review scores are not meant to be the foundations...
2 April 2009
The long awaited Nintendo DSi has fallen upon us and will be available in stores within the next few days! The new DSi was announced at the Media Summit press conference in Tokyo Japan on 2nd October 2008 and was released in Japan November 1st 2008. The DSi has been released in Australia today, will be released tomorrow in Europe and the 5th for North America.
As of March 20th 2009 it sold over 2 million units. The DS light took 3 months to sell 4.15 million units. Given that some see the new DSi as more of a upgrade or a augmentation of the DS Lite, I don’t feel the DSi will reach the 75.74 million some units which the DS Lite has already sold.
From the outside the DSi may just look like an augmentation, but when you dig deep into its specifications you will notice a significant improvement over the DS Lite. Let us take a look at the processing power of the DS Lite. The DS Lite uses two ARM processors, one 67 MHz and another 33 MHz; this has the equivalent processing power of three Playstations. On the flip side, we have the DSi, one 133 MHz ARM processor, this gives us the equivalence of four Playstations (33 MHz ARM).
Next let’s look at the storage capacity of the two systems. The DS Lite has a cartridge save of 4 MBs RAM, however, the DSi has the new MicroSD card slot which gives it the ability to save 256 MBs of information and also has 16MB of RAM.
Some of you may be thinking, why have they added greater processing power and storage capacity? The reason for more power and memory is because Nintendo have added two cameras to the DSi and also two larger screens, an extra 0.25inchs of screen. The additional storage space is to allow you to store your photographs which your shiny new camera.
I have known a few people to think that the DSi is some sort of “all in one” device. They believe most people will carry the DSi instead of their cameras and other technologies. Although the DSi does have two cameras, they are no where near as powerful as that of your current day mobile phone camera. The DSi cameras are, I believe, 0.3 mega-pixels; this means they can take pictures which are of the same quality as that of a camera phone which is underwater and having one of your fingers over the lens. My personal mobile phone has 3.2 megapixels, a huge difference in quality. Saying this, DSi camera will serve its purpose. I can’t imagine what they could do with the DSi camera with games, hopefully it is put to more use than that of the EyeToy.
To make the DSi more appealing to new customers, Nintendo decided to scrap the GBA slot, this is located on the bottom of a DS Lite. It means the new DSi is 137mm by 75mm by 18mm when closed, compared to the DS Lite which is 133mm by 74mm by 22mm (WxDxH, when closed), nevertheless you lose ability to play Guitar Hero On tour and use rumble packs.
There are some other improvements with the DSi, these include; the moving of the power button. It is now located below the D-Pad. Unlike the previous DS models which had to be completely shut off in order to access the main menu, tapping this will put gamers back to the boot menu without restarting – to power down you need to hold the button down. Another minor tweak that Nintendo has devoted some time to is improving the feedback offered by the shoulder buttons, which now protrude a little more from the shell and give a very definite click when pressed. The volume control has also been updated, replaced on the left-hand exterior of the shell and turned into an elevator switch rather than a slider. Unlike the DS Lite, the new DSi has a matt finish which means no more finger prints on your DSi; this means it now accumulates dirt and scratches more easily.
As a case for homebrew, existing hardware won’t work with the DSi. Although, the days are early and it is a known fact that new homebrew gear is in the works. The lifetime of future homebrew may be curtailed heavily however by the addition of new online functionality that brings with it the option for Nintendo to update the firmware and quickly patch holes and exploits in the code, rapidly rendering future versions of the R4 redundant.
The new DSi offers online store which brings a number of advantages. For starters, the actual WiFi integration has been completely retooled, so although the DS Lite didn’t support WPA, the DSi supports both WPA and WPA2 effortlessly. This lets you get online a lot easier and more quickly, which is important if you want to access the new DS Online Store. According to Nintendo and if the Japanese store is anything to go by then the store will be used to sell all manner of small software bits, from Internet browsers to small DSi games from approved developers – don’t expect the DSi store to become an instant millionaire-maker, like the iPhone App Store. I believe that the online store is not actually “online” at this moment in time. Maybe Nintendo is waiting for the release in Europe before opening the doors to their new store.
Apart form the face lift and the minor adjustments. I feel the DSi doesn’t have much to offer over the DS Lite. The difference between the original DS and the DS Lite was massive in terms of design and usability and overnight it made the DS Lite a must-have gaming gadget for many. The main failure of the DSi is that it can’t claim the same thing, mainly thanks to the fact that it’s so similar to the DS Lite. Even with the extra processing power and storage space, the game play and graphics will pretty much stay the same as they are on the DS Lite, except on a slightly larger screen. I remember when I had a magnifying glass, especially made for the GameBoy. I think it offered more of an improvement in size than that of the addition of the extra 0.25inches.
I don’t think I will be buying one straight away. At least not until some homebrew hardware is released. >_<
So, who is going to buy one? Who likes the idea of cameras on a hand held console? Leave your views in the comments.
10 March 2009
And so it's all over, and boy what a night it was. Two hours of constant, rapid (re)tweeting, copy & pasting, and general discussions of winners. A full list of the nominations can be found here, but for now I'll list the winners in chronological order:
- GAMEPLAY - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- CASUAL - Boom Blox
- SPORTS - Race Driver: GRID
- STRATEGY - Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution
- USE OF AUDIO - Dead Space
- STORY & CHARACTER - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- BAFTA ONES TO WATCH - Boro-Toro
- MULTIPLAYER - Left4Dead
- TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT - Spore
- ORIGINAL SCORE - Dead Space
- 'GAME' AWARD OF 2008 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- HANDHELD - Professor Layton and the Curious Villiage
- ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT - LittleBigPlanet
- ACTION & ADVENTURE - Fable 2
- BEST GAME - Super Mario Galaxy
Well, quite a collection brilliant games there. Personally, I'm glad that Dead Space picked up the two audio awards, very well deserved. The atmosphere created throughout the game due to the audio cues is astounding, extremely tense.
No surprised Call of Duty 4 won three awards, it is the BAFTAs we're talking about here. Although perhaps it didn't deserve the award for story and character. It kept me playing which is more than some games do, however I was nowhere near as enthralled with the plot as I was with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for example. Considering one of the main characters dies abruptly around two thirds of the way through, kind of made it hard to get attached to the "story and characters".
I think Left4Dead was an obvious choice for the multiplayer award, and I'm happy it won it over Call of Duty 4. It was a bold move by Valve which paid dividends no end, proof being a BAFTA.
The biggest surprise to me was Super Mario Galaxy, regardless of the rave reviews. To be brutally honest, I didn't think any Wii games would win awards, let alone GotY! It didn't innovate to any great extent, and pretty much just plopped Mario into a different setting.
Wow, that turned into a number of incredibly brief reviews on award winning games. Leave you're own nano-reviews and opinions of the list below.