Archive for the 'General Gaming' Category

14
Sep
09

Rockband drum kits! (I know I’m banging on again but hear me out…)

rblogo

I have finally taken the plunge and ‘upgraded’ to a traditional stand alone Rockband drum kit today. It may seem odd to be telling you guys this but it has made me think, which is better, the stand alone or portable drum kit? Seeing as I am now part of the probably very exclusive (and slightly sad) group of people who now have both, I thought I would rate them to find out once and for all which one is truly worth investing in and which is soon to be retired to the cupboard under the stairs.

I must at this point confess that I am not going to be including the Guitar hero drum set in this review. Why!?! You ask? Well the answer is simple. I don’t own a Gh Kit! So thats the end of that.

Rockband Stand alone kit

Pros

  • It is the much loved original drum set and will always have a place in our hearts/bedrooms
  • The layout is easy to play and has a nice angle
  • It is height adjustable
  • It comes with wooden sticks
  • The pedal is durable
  • The buttons are easy to reach
  • It has a stick holder

Cons

  • Its costs a bit more
  • It takes up A LOT of space
  • You cant move the drum pads around
  • It takes longer to assemble
  • The sticks although wooden are still flimsy (I think they will last about 3 days)

rbdrum1

Rockband portable Kit madcatz

Pros

  • Its portable baby!!!
  • It costs less
  • It packs away into a very small space
  • The drum pads can be spaced out any way you like
  • It has a nice design on the drum pads (prettier)
  • It is durable
  • It is quick to assemble

Cons

  • The drum pads have a habit of moving when you play, I have to tape mine to the table
  • The Buttons are quite hard to reach at times
  • The pedal is smaller than the one supplied with the original edition and tends to move A LOT while you play
  • When it is placed on a high table the angle makes it hard to play
  • It comes with plastic sticks (mine broke about a week into using it) 😦

rbdrum2

So there you have it. They rank equally (though only on paper). If you ask me they both have their good and bad points. The portable kit has been my loyal companion for a year now and though I don’t think the makers really researched how many people keep waist high tables smack bang in front of their TV’s (here’s a hint, it’s not many!) it has always been reliable and great fun at parties. The new kit I consider a little treat to myself for serious high score building, it’s bulky, but without the annoying distraction of a constantly moving foot pedal. It’s really just about finding the right kit for you, or if you’re like me throwing sanity out of the window and buying both!

Sorry this has all just been a load of noise…. Hopefully it will be GH5 next time!

– GuitarGirl24

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07
Sep
09

AdHoc Party – Online gaming for PSP (Dissidia and others!)

Over the last couple of days I have been playing Dissidia: Final Fantasy– something I have been quite looking forward to. I have really enjoyed playing the title, and recently discovered that it could be played online. However, doing so is fairly confusing – mainly due to the fact that the game comes with Ad Hoc multiplayer only. So wait, I say the game is only local Ad Hoc, yet it can be played online?

Thats right – on the Japanese Playstation Store, they have released an application called “Ad Hoc Party”. This isn’t just for Dissidia, but can be used for all games with Ad Hoc multiplayer functionality, such as Monster Hunter.

Although the application is free, the hard part is getting it, and using it – seeing as its only officially been released on the JP store, you’ll have to traverse through confusing Japanese pages and the like to find what you’re looking for – but fear not – Plus XP is here to guide you.

You will need:

One PSP with up-to-date firmware and copy of Dissidia: Final Fantasy (or other Ad-Hoc game)
One PS3 with a working wired (Ethernet) internet connection
One friend/contact who also has everything – forums often have social areas for meeting other players if need be
A little patience – it’ll be worth it!

So assuming you have all of those, we’re ready to go!

First off, you’ll need to create a Japanese account on your PS3.

Creating a Japanese PSN Account

1) Create a new user profile on your system, name it something like “PSP Ad Hoc” or whatever you want, and sign into that account
2) Hook up your PS3 to the Internet, and select “Sign up to Playstation Network”
3) Select “Create a New Account” on the first page
4) Click “Continue” on the next page

5) On the next page, make sure to select “Japan” under Country of Residence. The text will now all turn into Japanese, so make sure to pay attention now – ignore the second option; the last of the three options on the same window are asking for your date of birth. Fill this in with anything, just make sure you select a year earlier than 1990 so that your age is over 18 (otherwise you may be locked out of certain age-restricted content in future). Now press down on the d-pad, and press X on the third option in the bottom row, which is the “Next” button (this is where the button will always be, usually greyed out if the page is not yet completed).

6) The next page is the general agreement information, press Down to highlight the text, then press Right to get the cursor down to the bottom of the page where you can select the Next button to continue to the next page.

7) Next is your e-mail and sign in information. You’ll need to enter an unused e-mail address in the top box (you cannot have multiple PSN accounts on the same e-mail address) so you may need to create a free email account online if you don’t already have a secondary one. Once this is entered, the next two fields are password and password re-entry, so fill them both in with the same password – you must have at least one capital letter and one number, with at least six characters. Check the following tick-box so that the PS3 will store your password for the future.

8 ) The drop down list next is to choose a ‘Secret Question’, so skip this box and enter anything into the following field – either remember this answer, or just make sure to remember your password (although hopefully you shouldn’t ever need it if you checked the box to save your password). Go down to the bottom and press the Next button once more.

9) Press OK, and the console will now ask your to create a unique PSN ID. Enter anything you like (this cannot be changed later) and press X. If you have entered an unused name, press X and the Next button should be available to press to continue. If you get a message and the Next button is still greyed out, you need to try a different name until you find something unique. The online ID must be 3 to 16 characters and can consist of letters, numbers, hyphens (-) and underscores (_).

10) Once you have successfully created an ID, you must fill in a couple more fields. The next page asks for your Forename, Surname and has a drop down menu to choose your gender. Fill in the name fields with anything, and then skip the drop-down menu, since it is optional. Click Next.

11) On the next page, the first field must contain a 5-digit number, so enter something like ‘12345’ or similar. You MUST select the second option in the next drop-down menu, and then enter any random characters in the remaining four fields. Click Next.

12) On the next page, leave the check-box blank and click Next.

13) Scroll down to the bottom of the next page, and click Next once again. After a couple of seconds a confirmation screen will appear, with a button for the Playstation Store. Press X, then a sign in screen will appear. Press Sign In. You should now see the Japanese Playstation Store boot up, which is where you’ll want to be for the next step.

This account can be used for all of the general Japanese Playstation Store content, including some free themes and demos that are exclusive to the JP store – although its up to you if you want to work your way around the foreign options.
Downloading Ad-Hoc Party

The hard bit’s over now. All you need to do is this:

1) Open the Playstation Store by selecting the Bag icon under the Playstation Network section of the XMB of your Japanese username.

2) Scroll down to the bottom option of the Playstation Store list, and press X

3) Press X on the first option, then on the first option once again.

4) You will see a load of different icons, you’ll need to let them load for a second – scroll down and you should find two that are green squares with white stick figures on them, one of which says “video”. You want the one that does NOT say Video. Accept the download.

5) Once it is downloaded, you will find the application listed under the GAME section of the XMB.


Setting up and Using Ad Hoc Party

1) Before booting the application, you must register your PSP to your Japanese account. To do so, select the Register Device option under the PS3’s Settings category, and select PSP, you will need to attach your PSP to the USB port of the PS3, and select USB connection to complete the registration.

2) Once this is complete, boot Ad Hoc Party. You will be greeted with a green menu. When navigating these menus, use the O button for pressing buttons, and the X button to go back – this is the standard layout for Japanese playstation software.

3) The first time you use AHP, select the top option, and press O on the various agreements.

4) Once that’s done, you can then press X to return to the top menu, and navigate down to the third option on the menu. Press O.

5) The console will now search for your PSP. Make sure the WLAN switch is set to ON, and boot up your game.

6) Enter the wireless play mode of your game, in the case of Dissidia, you must select the Online Lobby under the Communications Mode menu, and select any one of the lobbies. This will then connect you to the PS3,and you will see the name of your PSP appear on the PS3 display. You can then press O on the PS3 controller to accept the connection.

7) Return to the main menu by pressing the X button. Once you have done so, scroll to the top option, and press O to open the world viewer.

8 ) The world viewer consists of 10 worlds labelled A-J. You can use the L1 and R1 buttons to scroll between worlds – currently, J is a popular one for English speaking players. Once you have chosen a world, you need to choose a room. Each world consists of 64 rooms in the form of white segments that form a ring. A red stick figure on a white block depicts a room at full capacity, a blue stick figure represents a room with players, and grey stick figures are empty rooms. Use the analogue stick to select a room, each one is numbered from 1-64. Press O and it will zoom into that segment. Press O again to enter the room. Any room is fine, as long as you and your friend are both in the same room – such as F-16 which can be found on the far right section of world F’s ring.

9) Once in a room, you will then see stick figures representing players, and houses representing peoples games. You can press START to type and chat, and using the analogue move the cursor. Pressing O with the cursor will allow you to either move to that location (the top option), or create a new game (the bottom option).

10) When creating a game, you will be given a menu with five options. Pressing the top one will allow you to edit the room name,and the second will allow you to edit it’s description. Press O on the left of the two buttons at the bottom to accept your game.

11) You will now be taken to a ‘lobby’ screen which shows your game. Your friend can then join your room, and you can play as if you were playing locally. Next to their stick figure on the Ad Hoc Party lobby is a PSP icon, if it’s lit up you’re good to go, if not you’ll need to reconnect to the in-game lobby of what you are playing, and it should light up. Once all of the competing players’ PSP symbols are lit up. you’re ready. In the case of Dissidia, you will need to both select the same Dissidia Lobby as well (Baron, Midgar etc). You should then see them in the game’s lobby, and be able to challenge them to a fight!

It’s a lot of work, but once Ad Hoc Party is set up its fairly simple to use. Sadly, due to the language we don’t really have perfect control over some of it’s more detailed features, but this should help you do what you need. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing an English version in the future – but until then, this is the way to go.

-Leon

10
Aug
09

More news from the world of gaming!

Even if you know it or not I like to write about it! So whats bee happening tease last few days?

Guitar Hero Van Halen!

I am a sucker for GH games! But don’t rely know much about Van Halen. Only like 2 songs. I know its a bit fail but the teaser trailer for the up and coming game has bee released ad it  looks like its going to be using the GH5 engine. So it look pretty shiny. here is the trailer.

Guitar Hero 5

While we are still on the subject of GH We all know that Carlos Santana and Shirley Manson have been confirmed. But recently another legend has been put on to the GH5 guest list. So I would just like to say Hello… His name is Johnny Cash!

But that’s not all, another piece of news which made me physically /Facepalm myself when I saw the trailer has been announced for GH 5. The use of the 360 avatars as band members. I mean why? You got top names like Mr Cash and Santana and you put the avatars with them? *shakes head* Here’s the trailer

THQ saves Midway San Diego

That pretty much says it really. THQ have just saved 40 jobs of the 100 employee staff of Midway San Diego. Even though Warner Bros tried to save the Newcastle leg of Midway. The Newcastle sector was taken down last month. But it would appear that THQ have saved this one.

Halo film lives on!

There has been talks with film legend Stephen Spielberg to produce the Halo Movie. He was apparently Blown Away by Stuart Beattie’s screenplay.

Sounds pretty cool. He did good work on the Transformers movie so this should be good.

Well that my mini news update. See ya round!

Garv!

31
Jul
09

Its Funny How Things Develope

The last week has been quite eventful for me, my girlfriend maybe getting a work placement in London, Me getting a new kitten. You know normal goals in life that give you a smile when either you achieve the or the come to you.

Putting aside the thing I have mentioned, for me this week has given me a chance to go a little step further when it comes to my game writing. The gaming site ‘One Last Continue’ have been looking closely at ‘Plus XP’ and my writing. After a few trail posts on news and stuff I have been excepted into their ranks as a staff writer. At the moment I am starting off small and will be teamed up with one of the other staff writers who I am good friends with. He will hen train me up to a standard that is acceptable then I will be set free on the site to do posts by myself.

To be honest this to me has not quite sunk in yet, sure I am passionate about gaming and I love writing about it. But the day I thought I would be writing for an up and coming site like ‘One Last Continue’ would be the day either ‘Namco’ and ‘Capcom’ would decide to make a game comprising of ‘Beautiful Katimari’ and ‘Devil May Cry’ or ‘Id‘ Decide to call the whole FPS game genre off and start going into ‘Harvest Moon’ type simulation game play.

But fret not ‘Plus XP’ will still be alive and well. There is no way this blog and eventually site will go down. If anything this will benefit the site and will make my writing better.

That’s enough blabber from me. Expect a ‘Fuel’ demo verdict tomorrow morning.

Garvaos!

27
May
09

You can't have everything

Games games games! Now that uni has now finished that is one of the main things on my mind. One of the very few things i am passionate about in life at the moment. Maybe someday i will grow out of it? Seeing as i am my fathers son and he still plays halo with his work colleges on his lunch breaks i don’t see myself growing out of it.

For me they are my escapism from the world. But i know not all games are going to be perfect. I learnt this a while ago when i first played GTA 3. pure perfection i thought. But then there were the bugs that come with it as with any other game really, but i learnt to look past the bugs and what the game lacked and enjoyed the game for what it was.

When i review games i try to look past the bugs which other people get hung up on, look past the elements of the game which could have been and actually review the game for what it is. Time over time i see critics saying the game should have this that and the other and not actually seeing what they have in front of them. This is why to this day i still think GTA san andrease took what the fans and the critics said and took it too far. They said ok we will cram everything in. and to be honest for me at least, the game just seemed to cluttered.

Where am i going with this? Well for a couple of weeks/months now i have been following updates on prototype pretty much religiously, scanning IGN and gametrailers for the latest game play movies and stuff and to me this game look the dogs danglers. Over the top combat with wall running and insane bosses coupled with a three way war makes me go all giddy. I’ll let the videos show you what i mean:

How awesome does that look? I’ve showed these videos to a couple of people and they have picked holes….already! I’m like what the hell? how can you pick holes in that hasn’t you mind been blown away?

With things like this i just have to ask myself. Are people expecting the perfect game when it comes to games like this? Or am i just too easily excited by shiny things?

04
May
09

Spanning The Genres

As you can probably tell from my Last Post I have been thinking a lot about what genres i like in gaming. We all pretty much know now that i am all about the FPS and Hack ad slash games. But recently i have taken a shin to a game that isn’t any of the above.

What game am i talking about? Well if you have been seeing me on Box live recently you will probably been seeing me play Burnout Paradise constantly or hours on end.  My thoughts on the game can be viewed here But why does this particular driving game have me hooked when others don’t?

Earlier in the year i had a go at playing project Gotham 4. My house mate has a copy so i decided to give it a whirl. When i first played it, I pretty much played two or three races then turned the thing off. I could not get on with the controls, they seemed to simulated for my liking, and looking at my game collection now i can safely say i like my games to be less real as possible.

PGR4 Looks great but handels too realistically for my liking

PGR4 Looks great but handels too realistically for my liking

And before i hear people start questioning my last statement i just want to say one thing. Even though people think GTA IV is pretty realistic let me point out a couple of things. A) have you ever seen a guy pull out a full scale racket launcher out of his jacket pocket? B) have you seen someone survive a bike crash by flying half a mile down the road and hitting a lamp post? and C) do you really think the police are really that stupid? :p

Anyway back to the subject in hand. What burnout paradise has that other drivers these days don’t have is Lack of realism. This is probably the only game i can think of hat has no people in it at all, You can speed round the city and 300 miles an hour for no real reason. And unlike all these car games such as stunt man, you can pull of stunt whenever and wherever the heck you want.

Now speeding around the city in an over the top car. Thats more my thing!

Now speeding around the city in an over the top car. Thats more my thing!

The mixture of challenges is brilliant. (Road rage has to be the best invention ever) and the online with friends is even better with online challenges around the city, as well as races and all sorts. This game is massive.

So a word of advice to people lik me who do not like driving games and steer clear of them. Try burout Paradise, its extreme, brutal and a great laugh with friends. especially when you go an xbox live vision camera 🙂

Grv!

28
Apr
09

A few great PSP titles

First off, let me apologise for not posting in a while – sadly the final year of university is a tough one, and final assessments and dissertations have to be done. Thankfully, I have a free afternoon for once, so here goes.

The PSP was a console with a lot of potential – after the PS2’s domination of the last generation, Sony had some spectacular series’ on their home console, and portable versions would always be welcome. Sadly, although the PSP has a lot of power, the library just isnt all it could be – plenty of half baked titles, and many of the larger series’ seeming to tiptoe around the console due to its high cost and lacking fanbase (compared to the DS, which has sold around double the amount of units). However, with Nintendo being geared more and more towards families and children, the PSP seems like the obvious choice – only the great games seem to be far and inbetween. It seems to me that if the bigger series’ would create decent titles for the PSP, which it is certainly capable of, it could show its true potential. For now though, I’d like to write a little about a few games the PSP has that are definitely worth playing.

 

#3. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

The Castlevania series has been going for as long as I can remember (in fact it began the year before I was born, in 1986). Most diehard fans will tell you that Rondo of Blood (or Chi No Rondo in Japan) was one of the most coveted titles – seeing as in the 90’s it was only released in Japan. Being the prequel to Symphony of the Night (argued to be the best Vania of all), its not a surprise that the fans wanted to play it. However, outside of Japan, that was not possible until the release of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles on the PSP. The game was completely redone in 3D graphics, with voice acting, while maintaining its old gameplay mechanics. The original version is also unlockable, so it is a must have for any big vania fan. However, by todays standards, Chi No Rondo is quite unforgiving and clunky, so not really geared for the casual gamer.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

However, The Dracula X Chronicles has done something perhaps unheard of – within the disc, it actually contains an unlockable game much bigger than itself – the much loved Symphony of the Night. Originally released on the Sega Saturn and Playstation, Symphony of the Night (SOTN) stars Alucard, son of Dracula, in an RPG-esque platformer, in the same vein as the GBA and DS vania titles. I would suggest Castlevania: DXC for this reason alone – although be warned, you need to get far enough in Rondo of Blood to unlock it, first! However, once unlocked, SOTN is a more friendly title for the more casual gamer, and a great title to start with if you are new to the series.

A great tribute to the series, and hosting perhaps the best game in the series, The Dracula X Chronicles is a worthy PSP title.

 

#2. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

03-crisis-core

Now, most gamers are aware of Final Fantasy VII and its huge fanbase, and are also aware of the huge amount of praise it gets – so I feel it is unnecessary for me to go on about the original. Personally, I have no huge place for VII in particular of the series, but I do see it as a solid title as much as the others. Suffice to say it was one of the better PSX titles, and Square-Enix sure as hell know it.

 The gameplay itself is alright – its a real time battle system which involves equipping different abilities and spells to use in various battles as you progress through the story. Its not very deep but it does the job – just dont expect a real Final Fantasy battle system, like the main numbered titles. Graphically, it looks pretty impressive, too.

The story is definitely where it shines, though. A prequel to VII, it stars Zack Fair, a Shinra operative who gets caught up in the rise of Sephiroth. The story is told with amazing voice acting and animation, with videoscenes on par with the CG Movie Advent Children. It ties in majorly with the plot of FFVII, but works alone as it is set before the rest of the FFVII compilation.

It’s obviously aimed at FFVII fans, who will love seeing all the characters and locations in PSP glory – since the original was a PSX title the graphics are far nicer. I can’t really say too much without spoiling things, but its a great title and a good prequel.

Although the battles are somewhat shallow at times, its a must have for FF fans, and arguably one of the best told stories on the system – flowing with all emotions and doing it incredibly well.

 

#1. God of War: Chains of Olympus

For some reason, when translating from console to handheld, many titles seem to lose something – perhaps it is simply because they are too much for us to handle on a small screen, or the remapped controls don’t work so well. But the PSP is very capable of hosting titles as good as their home counterparts, and God of War: Chains of Olympus proves this.

If you’ve played either of the PS2 games, Chains of Olympus plays in pretty much the exact same way. Apart from a few minor changes to the controls (very well handled changes, at that), the gameplay plays exactly the same. Rolling is now mapped to the analogue stick when holding L+R together, which at first feels awkward, but quickly becomes natural as you realise it actually means you simply have to tap R+the direction you want to roll, while blocking. This is actually fairly natural as generally you would be keeping your guard up while evading. The only other major change is that instead of using the D-Pad to select spells, and tapping L2 to activate them, you simply hold R, and press a corresponding face button (Triangle for one, Square for another etc) to activate that spell. Again, although strange to adapt from the PS2 ones, as soon as you get used to it, you realise it actually means you can access all of your magic more easily. 

 Although reduced a little graphically, it maintains its beautiful scenery and gory combat, and flows incredibly well. I’ve heard it’s short, but what there is of it, is pure visceral greatness.

If you’re new to the series – fear not, Chains of Olympus is a prequel. Seeing as its set before God of War’s main plot it has more of a ‘side story’ type feel, yet it’s done very well. Based on Greek Mythology – Kratos, servant of the Gods of Olympus, witnesses the world plunge into darkness. Under orders from the Gods, he sets off on a quest to find Helios, the sun god who has mysteriously disappeared, leaving his flaming Sun chariot to crash to the Earth.

With a mixture of great gameplay, beautiful graphics and excellent storytelling, God of War: Chains of Olympus lives up to its home console counterparts, and sets a high benchmark on handheld gameplay. Hopefully we’ll be seeing another handheld title in the future.

Thats my thoughts for the day. And we still have Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Little Big Planet PSP, and a few other titles that could show what the PSP was made for. Let’s hope they do.