How Sony can win with the next Playstation Meeting

Sony recently announced that they’re holding a press conference on the 20th of February, and boy, has it gotten the rumor mill going. With the tagline “The future of Playstation”, the fact that they’ve put up videos detailing the history of their previous stationary consoles and that the Vita is already rumored to have it’s price dropped as well as a new bundle made pretty much cements that it’s Playstation 4 info-time. The industry is expecting for the new consoles to hit late this year or early next year, meaning that announcements has to hit soon, although most expected it to wait until E3 before we heard anything.

Since there’s already been plenty of rumors, ideas and suggestions on what’ll be in this meeting, I might as well take a stab at it. Therefore, I present to you…

The Sony Press Conference, presented by my bearded self!

1. Playstation 4 detailsplaystation-3-grill_12

“Let’s start it off with a big bang! Anything else we say other than this is just going to be glazed over, so…BOOM! Playstation 4, here is the preliminary form factor, controller and technical specifications. It can still spin those blu-rays, it’s closer designed to a computer so it’s easier for developers to develop for and the controller has the rumored touch-pad, headphone jack, speaker and rumble. Oh, and we finally delivered on that promise of making it into a grill.”

“Now, price. We realize gamers wants the most bang for buck. As such, we’re happy to offer the default bundle at 349 USD with TWO controllers (‘cuz it’s the future baby!) and 399 USD with a game bundle. Think it might still be a bit steep? Subsidized options will be available! Sign up to Playstation Plus for 1, 2 or 3 years and get a game bundle for 289 USD! The service is something that we’re planning on beefing up even more as well, but we’ll get to that in a bit. After all, a console is only as good as it’s games, right?”

“Remember The Last Guardian? The game that’s taken ages, that people was really looking forward to, that we’ve teased time and time again? BOOM! Launch title baby! Alongside that, Uncharted 4, inFamous 3 and a new Killzone. Watch Dogs and The Phantom Pa…sorry, Metal Gear Solid 5 is in launch window.”

2. Streaming (Insert clever water-based pun here)

“A while back we bought a cloud-based service called Gaikai. Time to put that to good use! We know people like backwards compatibility, so it’ll be used for streaming Playstation 3 games. And that nifty thing with the Wii U where you can choose to play some games on the gamepad alone, meaning you can take that anywhere in the house? Yeah, you can do that on your Vita now as well. Furthermore, cloud-based save games that pushes itself automatically to the cloud, and these will be shared and accessible from any system that can play those games, meaning you can play at home, save and pick up instantly where you left on your Vita. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! And now, a basket of puppies.”

puppies edit

3. Making the handheld PS Vital

“So those things sounded pretty great, right? That’s not all though. We want 2013 to be the banner-year for the Playstation handhelds, particularly the Vita, so we want to cut the pri- …oh wait, we already did! A console is only as good as it’s games though, so we’ll be working together with third-party developers in order to bring over those games that you truly want for your handheld both to the US and Europe, as well as offer you cool, new titles. Plus, don’t forget that it’s a great platform for PsOne/Two Classics, which leads us into…

4. PSN – The digital service to rule them all

“We’re determined to keep online multiplayer free, while offering even more great incentives for Playstation Plus and pushing all games (where plausible) to be digitally available Day 1. Furthermore, there’ll be more PsOne/Two Classics that you’ve all clamored for, and in Europe too! Suikoden 2, Xenogears and more says hello.”

5. Closing statements and tasty treats

“That’s all we have to present for today, I hope you enjoyed the conference! We expect to have more news and trailers come E3. And now, for everyone that’s been watching, here’s some cake and bacon. Oh, but all the people watching the stream at home now might feel sad as they’re missing the good stuff. That’s okay, we invented virtual bacon. You’re welcome.”

Hope you enjoyed the read! I realize some of this might be particularly skewered (I like my JRPG’s mkai?), but hey, maybe some of it will come true. Oh and Sony, mail me. I’ll gladly take a position in your PR department.

Make sure to check out Knublet’s blog, where he talks about Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 and something else with a 2 in it if you ask nicely. You can find a link on the right-hand side just under the follow-button (MASSIVE HINT: Clicking the follow button will cause an increase in probability of random encounters with bacon and more crazy blogposts. Bacon not guaranteed.)

My games of 2013 – Part 1

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, in order to keep my pile of unfinished games somewhat manageable and my wallet semi-intact, I decided on an initiative for myself this year. I’m only going to purchase a total worth of 10 games. What I mean by this is that any game or DLC under 15 euros will “cost” me half a game, anything over a full game, which gives me some leeway to purchase DLC or games on sale without completely shooting myself in the foot. This is a bit of a tricky one as it does require me to be somewhat selective and possibly wait for reviews to spill in before committing to something, but on the other hand it kinda feels like a bit more fun to purchase a game. Sort of like hunting, carefully researching behavior and patterns in order to strike at the perfect moment by flinging my wallet in a half-arsed attempt to knock it out…or something.

So here we go! First part of the games I’ve chosen for myself, some already completed:

1. The Cave – 1/2 gameThe Cave 1

After the first announcement trailer, I was pretty stoked, and since I recently started worshiping Double Fine, this was an easy choice. The Cave just seemed to have a pretty awesome premise, coupled with a quirky dark sense of humor close to my own, a solid line-up of interesting characters and a narrator with a pretty epic voice, which is something we all can appreciate. I’ve never been a connoisseur (trying to spell that word is like skiing down a double diamond black slope on top of two feisty penguins) of adventure titles, but as the game tried to somewhat step away from collecting all the items and then rubbing them against each other or other things in favor of collecting one to three things and then rubbing them against things, this game would clearly be superior in the dynamic.

I’ve since finished the game and can echo most other reviewers out there: Cool game, 7 people is an odd choice for number of characters when you chose 3 per playthrough, backtracking get’s a bit old, requires multiple playthroughs to get the whole story, and some puzzles will generally leave you feeling pretty dumb (looking at you Time Traveler), ultimately good fun.

2. The Walking Dead – 1/2 gameTWD_Game1

This is one title I had very little interest in until a conversation with one of my friends, and by the combined forces of his recommendation and a Steamsale, I decided to give it a shot. Boy, was I glad I did.

I liked The Walking Dead. I liked it a lot, so much I was considering echoing others in naming it my Game of the Year of 2012. Except…for me, it’s not a game. It’s a tricky situation, one that can be discussed to death, but to me it felt more like an interactive story rather than a full-fledged game. Let’s face it, some parts like the shooting segments were pretty bad. While you can field the tired old argument of “Person X isn’t supposed to be a crackshot”, those parts felt by far the least enjoyable of the experience. You can say it has some really neat story development and character-interaction, but that’s kinda cheating since that’s basically the basis of the -entire game-.

All that being said, this was the first title in a long time that made me swear at the monitor with passion, to the point where I almost force-quit when my favorite character died (“SPOILERS”: Chapter 3, RV), and considering I want to see the next season, it get’s a big fat recommendation. Seriously, if you haven’t played it, stop reading and go play it now.

3. Ni No Kuni – 1 gameNiNoKuni edit

A JRPG with visuals and sound inspired/made by Studio Ghibli. First time I heard about it, I was so sold it’s not even funny, but also dreading the fact it would never be released outside of Japan. After all, the chance of a JRPG hitting our shores these days are usually pretty bleak, what with companies such as Square-Enix being more reluctant to localize for western audiences than a devout nun would be faced with having to wear nothing but a crotchless leotard in public.

Lo and behold however, the title is now resting on my table waiting for me to engross myself in it once I’ve cleared my current games. With an expected length of 35-40 hours worth of game play, side quests that I wont be able to ignore and tons of Pokemo- …sorry, familiars, to collect, this seems like a solid investment.

heart-of-the-swarm-release-date

4. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm – 1 game 

To the surprise of absolutely no one, this is on my list of games I just -have- to play this year. I’ll be creeping my way through the campaign, most likely achievement-whoring and feeling sorry for good ol’ Jimmy and Sarah once again. Those kids can’t seem to catch a break.

With some neat additions like worker-counters over buildings, rated matches against A.I. and leveling through multiplayer, I’ll most definitely give the later a bash and consequently swear a lot, considering how terrible I am at it.

That’s the first batch, and for those of you that aren’t keeping track, that’s 3 games down out of 10 in total. I’ll definitely post more about these as it goes and in general I’ll be posting more and lighter posts as well about things I haven’t spoken about, like music, food, hedgehogs, manga, pineapple growing and more.

The Pile of Shame

The most prevalent thing I’ve heard a lot lately from my friends (besides “How can I grow a beard as glorious as yours?”) is the notion of the “Pile of Shame” – a stack of games collecting dust, ones picked up during a sale or in excitement but never started or finished due to time constraints. This has become such a big thing that there’s now entire websites devoted to keeping track, yet somehow it feels like an odd luxury problem to have. Too many games? Is such a thing even possible?

If you’re a completionist, or simply want to get your moneys worth, it’s most likely hanging over your head to some extent.

Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, one of the things that can lead to this is the increased consumption of media in general. Instead of just playing video games and maybe reading about them in a magazine, we can now play them at home, on the go, read about them just about anywhere and watch a trailer. Adding to this is the media around it, the podcasts, all the reviewer sites, news and so forth which quite quickly snowball on you. Even though I might be one of the crazier people around, I follow four weekly podcasts, two webseries, eight animes, read five different websites and spend way too much time procrastinating and aaaaw’ing at pictures of cats, on top of trying to complete four different games. This has led me to making bookmark folders for videos and articles to read later. Excessive? You bet. Chance of having nothing to do? Rapidly approaching zero!

What I’m getting at is that it’s very easy to loose the excitement when you drown yourself in it’s related media. If all you’re doing is ticking of a check box before starting the next adventure, devoid of elation as we swap the disk with a sigh or stare blankly at yet another installer, waiting for that bar to finish, so we can throw ourselves into attempting to somehow progress ever so closer to that day when we wont feel so desensitized in face of the grand marvel that the games ultima…

…wait, that got kinda bleak. Give me a moment…

Cat2

Ah. Much better.

At some point, most of us tries to find some way of coping. One way of trying to beat this is to set up challenges for yourself, such as joining Four in February that has a simple premise: Complete four games by the end of February. The choice is yours, and even games you’ve started is eligible for it, which is one way to crunch down and try to clear that backlog a bit. I can already envision “More in March”…

Another way is simply to be selective when purchasing. One of the biggest criminals here is without a doubt Steam Sales, which offers you a plethora of games for a fraction of their normal price in their sales and makes it really easy to quickly amass quite a collection of games “just in case”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been able to enjoy quite a decent amount of  games due to them, but sometimes we might want to do a double-take. Do I -really- want to have every single Square-Enix title hanging over my head if I buy this publisher pack? This leads me to something I’ll be talking about later that I ended up with, inexpertly named “My 10 games of the year”, which is simple like all good things in life: This year, I’ll buy 10 games, no more. Any title under 15 bucks is half a game (including DLC), anything over is an entire game. This does require some amount of investigation and waiting since you really want to make every game count…and even though it’s February, I’m already down to 6 games. Erh…whoops. >.>

255px-Bastion_Boxart

We can also try something similar to a jedi mind-trick by breaking down our gaming lists in a logical way. 5 shorter games similar to Bastion, The Cave and so fourth may in length equate to about one of the Mass Effect titles, yet it’ll look quite a bit more intimidating in a purely numerical list.

There’s also the notion of simply taking a break, something I’ve considered myself. Going cold turkey might be difficult, and combined with all the media we gorge ourselves with surrounding it, where would we draw the line? This one largely depends on what exact goal you are trying to achieve, but if it’s excitement for video games as a whole, maybe try to ignore it for a while and consider other worldly pursuits. Creative hobbies like music, drawing or learning how to code (to make your own video games!) to pineapple growing, knitting and punching bears are some things you could try. Make sure that you only punch bears that deserve it. And wear good running shoes.

Finally, the word we never like to hear: Prioritize. Admit that we simply can’t do every single thing, read every single thing and play every single thing we want to. Even though some of those titles are on that list, you’re not -really- going to play them, are you? I mean, purchasing “My Little Pony: Adventures in Happy Fairy Magic Land” might’ve seemed like a good idea at the time, but there might be something similar in the game you’re going to play anyway. So, focus on the really good stuff, the things you truly care about…and after reading the intro, you should realize I’m still struggling with this one.

After a long hiatus and intense beard-growing sessions, I decided to revive this and keep on rambling for those willing to listen. If you like what you just read, please like, comment and subscri…wait a minute…this isn’t Youtube! Someone tricked me!

My gaming Witchlist

The last couple of days I’ve gained a new interest for The Witcher, and as such started eyeing up it’s sequel as well. It also caused me huge grief as certain parts causes huge (and I mean HUGE) memory leaks that would cause my PC to crash, until I figured out a way to handle it somewhat well. And keep this in mind when I still completely recommend it for play. Now, as the sequel is coming up and I’ve kept myself somewhat ‘clean’, and also the fact it doesn’t seem to be much info available, I decided to sketch up my own ‘witchlist’ (see what I did there?) for the game. Three points I’d really see improved/added, and three things to keep.

Three things to improve/set on fire:

1. Useful extra weapons

The entire thing with a Witcher is that they’re masters of swords. They have different stances for fighting utilizing this, and a huge part of the character improvement section is making your sword combos bigger and more lethal. And you don’t only use swords, but also signs, which is the games very limited combat magic. But why then, does the game include weapons that you can’t use with above said styles and moves?

I do realise that of course not everyone can wield a witcher-worthy weapon, but I think it’s bad when the extra slots on your character becomes glorified holding spots for something sellworthy. The most useful extra weapon? A torch. Yes, that’s right, a wooden stick is your best alternative weapon. And it’s only useful because you set it on fire. And don’t fight with it.

2. More realistic character interactions

So I’m all for characters in a game looking more lively. A normal person shuffles about a bit when talking, being nervous, wanting to punch you in the face, that sort of thing. From what I know however, unless there is something really amazing happening, people don’t tend to focus much on things by their sides, or say, in the sky.

I can understand if a giant, pink hippopotamus in a ballerina skirt dropping haiku’s like raplyrics flew by, that’d definitely make you look away from a conversation. Just randomly looking away mid-conversation? Is he insinuating he wants a massage? Does he think you should take a shower? Maybe he saw a squirrel? Who knows.

3. Less strict enviroments

This is a technical limitation, and I understand that. I really do. The game is already big, it’s pushing…some kind of graphical limit, and why the hell would you render all that wheat anyway when you could spend it on oversized lady-goodies instead? I’ll tell you why.

If I have walk three times the distance just to get around a completely normal field of wheat fenced off by a wooden fence, or spend five minutes trying to navigate around a swamp bush that’s just a bit too big, I will set it on fire and burn it to the ground. Geralt, the main protagonist, has a sword. He’s got a fire spell. He’s got a damn wooden stick, so he clearly doesn’t have problem with maimed trees. Unless he wants to get it on with a dryad. In that case, he supplies the stick anyway.

Three things to keep/I’d want to see in bigger quantity:

1. Reasonable breast-sizes

I’ve talked about this before, and I will re-iterate. I love the lady humps, the mammaries, the funbags. And yes, before anyone says anything, there are plenty of the well-endowed medieval ladies we’ve all come to know and…drool over. But by all that is holy, this game has girls with reasonable breast sizes, and one of them is even a main character!

What this means is that the game is actually stepping away from the common ‘sexification’ of women (and then complete knocks that achievement out of the ballpark with the sex cards) and brings some diversity. We all do love the plump ladies, but give the slender ones some loving as well. Which appropriately enough, is something you can totally do in this game. Hayooo!

2. Gold mattering even late in the game

A classic RPG tendency is that as your power grows, so does your treasury, and at some point gold seizes to be important and more ‘that number that decreases slightly whenever you buy something’. In the Witcher however, they make it count. I was smugly making my way to Act 2 of the game with 3000 gold pieces and felt pretty damn good about myself. What then? Oh, I had to pay someone 200 involving a quest that is absolutely necessary. You started a new chapter, and due to the way the game is built, you gain knowledge of plants and monsters via books. How much are they you say? Anywhere between 100-600. And at this point there’s you need a minimum of 3 to even do any quests.

The kicker? The chest armor from the blacksmith costing a total of 5000. But it’s only chest armor you say? This is a game where there’s maybe 3 armor upgrades in the entire game, and that’s one of them. All of a sudden I found myself scrambling like a madman.

3. A non-clunky journal

A lot of games has the tendency to dump story and exposition in some kind of information center, like a journal, and if you don’t take time reading all of it, consider yourself blind.

The Witcher walks the balance between being relevant, useful and short to the point, while still having a good story focus. Putting the quest log in here together with the rest instead of keeping it separated is actually genial, as it minimizes the moving from window to window, and opens up the ability to casually read a quest to then be able to click and read up on the character the quest is about. It also does the really important thing of not having the game completely punching you in the face for not studying it for hours and hours.

I do hope they remake it a little bit, just with small touches and niches. For example, it would be nice to have a cross reference section where say, if I’m looking up an alchemy recipe, it’ll suggest me what kind of ingredients I’ll need for a specific potion, and point out what monsters I can slay or flowers to pick, without having to jump between three tabs to do so.

Let’s face it, any game where a big part of the gameplay is drudging through page after page of text just isn’t that great, and if I wanted that, I could’ve picked up a book. It does store all your sex cards though, so it could be like a book where randomly every 56th page there’s a picture of a pinup-girl that drops out. Although that’d make me tempted to just shake the whole thing to get all the pictures straight away, and that wouldn’t be very fun, now would it?

For those of you who don’t know what the sex cards I’m referring to are I’d direct you to The Witcher wikipedia sex card list. As you can see there’s quite a big list of…wow, there was a lot more of than than I thoug…I don’t have some of these. That means I’d have to do another playthrough and…be right back.

Capitalism, ho! – Recettear

I have a list. A list that is huge. Gigantic. Titanic (no, not the ship). On it is every game that I would like to be able to get around playing, and it’s topped by a lot of ‘Triple A’ titles, games that got the million dollar budgets, with production values equal to it and that’s suppose to sell and sell. Somewhere on this list is games that I’d like to play because of nostalgic value, titles I’ve played it when I was a kid, but that I’d like to go back to just to see it with a new set of ‘adult eyes’, in hopes of grasping it better. And then there’s the games that caught my eye, raised my eyebrows and had me going ‘I have no idea what this is…but I have to try it’. Let’s talk about one of those.

Two points needs to be raised straight away about this game. First of all, it’s as cute as a batch of candy-coated puppies dipped in sugar swimming in a pool of candy floss. It’s also more japanese than a samurai eating sushi and washing it down with some sake. If you can’t cope with either of these, this game is going to be a challenge for you.

The game itself is a small 15 euro deal that you can easily get off Steam, and that tends to fall victim for sales every now and then. When starting, you wake up as the young woman Recette and is forced by the fairy called Tear to work as an itemshop owner. Why? Apparently your dad left after him a huge debt when he decided to ditch the shop and become an adventurer. It’s great that the game instantly establishes that the last person that did this thought it was lame and decided to go do something else. Way to sell yourself there, game.

The entire deal of the game is therefore to make money, and every aspect of it also centers around money. It does do a good job of pacing itself and keeping new, interesting thing coming. You do start out with the very basic concept of being able to sell an item, but by the 4th or 5th hour there’s at least three different variables of the selling and buying scenario. Oh, and you can totally customize your shop with random wallpapers and such. Sounds standard? It is, until you realise how furiously devilish that is.

See, the thing is that every two weeks or so, you need to pay a set amount, and while money is easy to make, run yourself dry, and you’re more or less screwed. It makes the balance between those buying those black walls filled with skulls and incantations of doom and death and actually paying off your debt all the more trickier. That kind of wallpaper may or may not exist within the game.

‘But Viking’ you say, ‘I’ve heard of elements of dungeon crawling in order to collect loot in this game, so even if I end up spending all my money on furniture that still isn’t better than anything I could get from IKEA, I should be safe anyway no?’.

To that I answer that you’re but a young, naive and foolish girl, and before you start to think I’ve questioned your manly macho stature, I’m talking about in-game. Or well, let’s say that anyway.

While these elements does exist in this game, and are quite abundant, you aren’t a fighter and therefore have to rely on hired help. As you progress you unlock certain characters, but so far I’ve managed to get myself a warrior type, a rogue and a caster…wait, I thought I did Dragon Age 2 last week? On that note, innovation isn’t the strongest card this game has to play, but everything is functional enough, it’s light-hearted, and it works. That’s not to say some design decisions isn’t horribly flawed. For example, the dungeons are broken up into level ranges of a couple of levels for each block. Now, if you manage to select the wrong block, you’ll be instantly teleported in there. Is there a way to leave instantly? Sure. Will you be penalized for it? Hell yeah.

The reason for that is that a game day is split into 4 chunks. Doing a thing such as organising a sale takes 1 round, same with shopping and so forth, while dungeon crawling takes 2. Therefore, select the wrong dungeon and leave it, and you’ve wasted half a day, plus the money spent to hire the hero. When you’re a silly person like me, this happens a lot, which is why you also learn very quickly to save before you do anything. Anything at all.

The game itself does have some quirky and hilarious moments however. You can sell everything from cherries, apples and bread to broadswords made of iron and ancient artifacts and pocket lint, and everything has a modifier. If you’ve played any sort of RPG at some point you’ve probably encountered Mighty Ogreslaying Sword of Firey Death +1, or Helmet-that-obviously-isn’t-really-just-a-cooking-pot +3. Have you ever looted or encountered a savage beast that wielded and ultimately dropped an Apple +2 or Candy Bar +1? Just think about it! You can assume that the above mentioned sword would bring more firey death to ogres than it’s normal standard counterpart, but the apple? Is it…applier? A brighter red? It’s these kind of things that makes you ponder the very essence of what actually makes an apple and end up spending way too much time on it, just to come up with the quasi-meta-theory that you probably need to get the hell outside a bit more.

In the end of the day though, is the game worth it? After about 5 hours of gameplay the game itself was still throwing me new things to learn, and while the core concept in itself might be able to become a bit stale or repetitive, the game is a good batch of fun, especially considering the price. I don’t regret my purchase at all, if nothing else because you can’t call yourself a gamer until you’ve sold an Egg Toast +3 to someone for an insane amount of gold.

Here’s me hoping that I can do a couple more of these in the future to bring forth some more unknown games that might be worth your money and time. Oh, and my essay on the fundamentals of egg toast should be on it’s way. Watch this space. Also, Flickr.

Hills and valleys – The Dragon Age 2 Demo

Dragon Age 2, the hotly anticipated sequel to the ‘Back-to-the-roots’ RPG Dragon Age now has a demo available from your favorite download outlets. I figured I’d have a poke around with it and see what has changed, see if it’s all hills and valleys, or a bloody mess. Turns out it’s a bit of both.

Before we really get down to business, I come from the perspective of someone that hasn’t finished Dragon Age. However, I did get to see the merits of the game, as well as some of it’s flaws (and yes, I am gearing up again to make a full playthrough, so you can put away your torches and pitchforks), and kinda liked it. The story was great, the characters was cool and I got a great feeling from it. The combat on the other hand was one sided and balls hard until my party snagged a healer, after which I almost wondered if someone had screwed down the difficulty.

Combat is still, in core, the same. You can control anyone in the party, pause and so forth. However, like every other part of the game, it’s been slightly ‘Mass Effected’. It’s now a more close, personal deal. Wielding a sword and shield and bashing it straight in an ugly persons face feels very satisfying, and it’s still bloody as hell. They do seem to have turned down how long the blood effects actually stay, but you’ll still get more than your fill of cinematics where your characters looks like they had the most vicious combination of a nose bleed and a sneeze attack ever.

The dialogue mechanics is also almost a carbon copy of Mass Effect’s, now with a little nice spinwheel with all the options. It’s very blatant that the development saw how well Mass Effect 2 did, and decided to try to capture a bit of the magic. I can’t really comment on things such as inventory management and character customization as this wasn’t available, but at least the previous item system could use a polish up, so let’s hope. Also, maybe it’s just my impression, but just as you’re now a lot closer to your character than before, everything in the game including UI, text of the item and quests and such is way bigger, almost like it’s all crawled closer to you for a snuggle.

Speaking of things that has changed, Flemeth is back, once again helping you to start out. However, she’s got a makeover too. While still styling herself as the Witch of the Wilds, she now looks like a diabolical-mastermind-nemesis. Also, she together with your mom is the reason why old people in this game scare me. Just look at her! She’s an old hag (the game actually states this, I’m not being a douche here), and sure enough, she’s got grey hair and looks old. But look at that body! Look at those breasts! Trying to avoid the impending ‘your mom’ gags here, but she suffers the same fate of having a body way too firm and sexualised for her age. Bioware, you scare me at times. And not in the ways you intended.

What’s amusing however, is your sister. The intro of the demo is basically a silver-tongued dwarf telling a story of your heroic beginnings, and then having to tell them again after he’s caught up on, shall we say, glossing up the story a bit? Your sister in this first version of the story gains…okay, let’s be straight here. The females in this game has boobs. Okay? And not just boobs, but BOOBS. The standard size overall seems to be at least a D. And yes, that goes for your mom too. Interpret that however you want.

Now where was I…oh yes, in the more glossed up version, your sister has bigger breasts. In the re-told story, she’s then graced with smaller (but still large, do not mistake me) set on her. The game is still beating you over the head with it however. The fact that they’re big. Not the boobs. You perv.

Now really, I don’t mind. I’m the first to raise my hand and say I love me some bodacious knockers. I like the hills and valleys of the female form, the funbags, the…right, let’s get away from the topic. Hills and valleys. Right. The terrain around you in the beginning of the demo also leaves a lot to be desired, most being such a mix of grey and brown at times to be point where I thought Steam had pulled the rug under my feet and swapped it out with a military shooter. It’s still however very pleasant and frantic to play, the story and voiceacting feels fairly spot on as we’ve come to expect from Bioware. Towards the end of the demo we get to board a ship and meet a new compan…

…you gotta be…gotta stay focused…Isabela. That’s her name. Yes! In the advertisement for some reason they turned her white. Apparently that makes her look better or something (not really). At this point you’ll end up getting to play around a bit with the revamped and cleaned up talent trees and try out some more of the fancy moves.  I chose to have my sister specialize in a firestorm move (if you manage to even make that sexual somehow, I salute you), and fire and flares started popping up everywhere. It felt very hectic, chaotic and also fluid, at times to the point where  it almost was too uncontrolled. However, I never found myself wanting to pause because I really, really liked it.

This can however be combated by setting up strategies just as before. However, I preferred to plow through it with all the planning of a fridge full of lemons and a chaos worthy of a group of 100 middleschoolers all trying to access the one swimming pool in a 50 km radius on a hot summer day. I think I made a collective of tactical-minded RPG fanatics cry somewhere.

In the end of the day, the demo convinced me. My main complaint with Dragon Age was always the combat, and they made it seem more accessible, frantic and fluid while still keeping the great story, characters and boobage. I mean lineage. I do think that, despite it being blatant that they’ve stolen ideas from Mass Effect, it’s all for the breast…best of the game, and will end up in a more enjoyable experience. I sure am looking forward to trying out this experience, and see more of what this game has to offer in terms of boobs…story. Goddamnit Bioware!

As you might see I’ve decided to set up a Flickr instead of bothering trying to create my own gallery. There’s a couple of more pictures available from the demo there, and there’ll be more going up. Since they’re actually taken by myself, should you want to use or repost them, I’d be happy if you just poked me about it beforehand. That way, I know someone actually appreciates them. Or ran short of personal-time material.

The future is touchy stuff

During the last couple of months I haven’t really posted much. It mainly boils down to me being a ‘lazy perfectionist’, and I ended up being caught into a loop of that, every time I wanted to write, I got stuck on doing totally unnecessary things. I wanted to create a gallery for one post, but ended up getting caught in layouts, got frustrated and left it at that.

So, what managed to finally break this circle? What madness has be unleashed for me to take up writing again? I’ll tell you. It’s…the future. Of touchy stuff.

I’m the first one to admit that I’m a major Sony fanboy. Growing up I was a Nintendo gamer, but every since I managed to score myself the original Playstation (a console which I still got at home), they’ve been a housegod of mine. As such, when I heard about the latest Playstation Meeting, and the fact that they’d put it up in parts on youtube I just had to check it out.

The meeting itself was an odd mix of complete awesome stuff and very corporate things. Having ‘visions’ and a few core things they wanted to improve on or attain is very ‘adult’, but I really like it. It’s always cool to see what a company as a whole strive for or want to achieve, especially if they put it in some corporate funformat. Watching this made wonder if I racked up adult points for watching a corporate event, nerdpoints for the awesome gaming stuff, or both. Somehow I’m fine with being a corporate nerd. But, what did they introduce? What’s their new ‘killer app’?

Meet the NGP, or the PSP 2 if you want. What’s great right off the bat with this one is that it shows Sony has been listening to customer feedback in regards to the previous model, with the console now carrying dual analog sticks. The monitor is reported to be a 5 inch touchscreen, but the main kicker is that there’s another equally big touchscreen attached to the back.

My first reaction to this wasn’t overly great. I could see how it might be really uncomfortable, if you have the tendency to have a sweaty grip you’ll probably easily end up sweating up the screen (which just isn’t fresh amirite?) and so forth. However, seeing this in demonstration, and thinking further on what sort of gameplay this could bring, my frown turned into a grin.

Now, the problems? Looking over the form factor, there’s no apparent slot for UMD’s, neither did they mention anything in relation to this. They did say that it’d be able to handle the previously downloaded titles for PSP, which surely makes the two people out there that actually bought a PSP Go really happy. However, looking at Sony’s previous history (my PS1 games library wonder why you never return their calls, PS3) in regards to backwards compatibility, I’d surely plan on keeping my PSP around. Time will tell.

The second is prizing. Since Sony is the prime techno juggernaught the issue about prize quickly comes. At the moment there is no set price, but many are ballparking that with all the fancyness going on, you can expect prices in the range of 300-400 euros. As they’ve also stated that the NGP will use mobile technology and networking, it sounds almost damn sure that you’d need access to a mobile network, that is, a contract and a monthly fee on top of the price of the unit. Think current Iphones. Ouch.

Now, when looking over this a realisation hit me. If you’ve looked at this traditionally, you’d generally expect that a handheld device is of lower cost, because it’s smaller, and handheld, and…stuff? Right? Now, I know the consoles has been up for pricecuts, but both of the upcoming handhelds suffer this prizing compared to their stationary options. The current prices on a Wii is around 150-200 euros depending on what package you pick, and the baseprize for a Nintendo 3DS is hoovering around 250 at the moment. On the Sony side, you can easily pick up a 320g Ps3 bundle for around 280 euros, with the NGP most likely being 50-100 euros more than that.

Funnily enough, I’m getting this feeling that both the 3DS and the NGP is the next ‘hardware step’. Instead of a Wii 2 or a PS4, we get this, which together with Move (and in Microsofts Kinect) will hold off the inevitable arms-race and release of new consoles for a while more. The impression they gave in the meeting was that it would co-exist together, the stationary PS3 and portable NGP, and bring you a full gaming experience. One of the things they said was ‘You’re playing a game at home, having a good time. Then you need to leave? Imagine being able to bring the game with you, and continue playing? That’s what we want to do’. That sounds awesomely cool, very weird and slightly implausible. However, the NGP is supposed to be close to the PS3 in terms of graphics and such. Not necessarily raw power however, but still. It’ll be interesting to see.

What else? They mentioned that PSN and the PS Store in one way or another will be available to the Android market sometime during this calendar year, and this is where the penny drops. It’s made very clear that small, bitesized indie-games will be made available at a tiny price to the public through these kind of devices as well. Sounds familiar? That’s right, Sony is taking the war to Apple’s turf as well.

It’s very blatant they avoided doing what Nokia tried with engage, to pack everything into one with the N-Gage, but instead crafting a ‘Sony Experience’. When you’re at home? Play your PS3 and watch your Sony TV. Need to leave? Sure, you have your trusty NGP for your gaming needs. Want to make a phone call? Get your android device out, and should you want to play a fast, small game, you don’t need to swap. Did your NGP go out of battery during your trip? There’s still the android.

So, can they pull it off? It’s hard to say at this point, as it all depends on the delivery, prices and the service. This is also where I think Apple and Sony are polar opposites. While the Itunes Store is very nice and easily manageable, Itunes have always felt kinda…clunky to me. In that, the PS3 itself is nice and easy to navigate and sort, but the PS Store is…okay. I for one will be playing the ‘hybrid mode’, wielding an Ipod and Iphone for my music and phone-based needs, and the PS3 and NGP purely for gaming.

Am I getting an NGP? Hell yes. If not for the fact that it looks sleek, awesome and just all around like an upgrade to the PSP, I really want to see where they take dual touch screens. So far, out of Microsoft and Sony’s initiatives to incorporate motion controls into mainstream games, Sony has just done better, which is why I’m also at least somewhat hopeful it wont just be limited to ‘gimicky-as-fuck’ games. Crossing sweaty nerdfingers.

Despite being a fanboy, I also want to say that I still do love Nintendo and has seriously been pondering picking up a Wii at some point. If nothing else, I can do like everyone else and let it be a great dustcollector…right?