There is a Legend, and it is of Zelda.

25 11 2009

by Wayne Shayler

There are many sounds which make me smile, and a few that make me laugh out loud.  However, there is one noise that generates a response in me, like no other, and I have just heard it coming from my TV in the living room.

The sound is my old friend Link, a boy garbed in green, opening another treasure chest – the very sound that warms my heart and cradles my soul and there is a new adventure coming, just in time for Christmas.  The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and that is all the information I need to make my purchase.

I don’t know why I love Zelda so much.  I’m quite  sure that I’ve only ever finished one of the many games available, but it still resonates with me as one of the greatest games series ever created.  Sure, it could be argued that they’re all predominantly the same game, re-hashed and re-skinned.  In fact, I would argue for that very point.  Like an old friend you’ve not seen for a while, with whom you strike up a conversation, and it’s like you’ve never been apart.  That is one of the reasons why for me, Zelda is  the king of the action RPG, but how would I cut it going up against the original title released in Japan in 1986?

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PSP to PS3 Connectivity – So much more than just Remote Play

21 06 2009

by Wayne Shayler

ps3-pspI must be one of the only people never to have played Final Fantasy VII, so when Sony announced that it would be coming to the Playstation Store, I knew I would be an early adopter.

My initial response was to download it to my PS3, then play remotely on my PSP whenever the TV was in use.  A ‘Win Win’ situation if you will.  The fact is, I hadn’t entirely thought it through.  I had no idea how great a game Final Fantasy VII really is, even after twelve years, and how much I would become absorbed in the world and the characters.  I’m sure anyone who has played it will lay testament to that.

My ‘Win Win’ situation suddenly turned into a big fat ‘LOSE’.

What if I want to play FFVII when I’m not tethered to a wireless internet connection?

There was only one thing for it.  I would have to pay another £7.99 and download the game directly onto the PSP.

Luckily, the good men and women at Sony are already one step ahead of me, and boy, have they got this one right…

 

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Street Fighter 4 – To stick or not to stick!

1 05 2009

by Wayne Shayler

all-sticksWith Street Fighter 4 becoming a huge success on every format it’s released on, and with the latest ‘Championship’ DLC just becoming available, it’s no wonder that I have managed to sink 45 hours of my life into it since its launch.  This is an unprecedented amount of time for me to sink into a game, unless of course it is Advanced Wars!

I shall not go into detail about the flaws of the Xbox ‘D-Pad’, suffice to say I’d rather play Street Fighter with an ‘Arcade’ style joystick.  The buttons are laid out in front of you and the stick is easier to perfect special moves on.  Anyway, it’s how they play it in the arcades, so that’s how I want to play it at home.

Do you think I can get my hands on an Xbox 360 Arcade Stick at the moment?

Not a chance.  Not only is there a shortage of Arcade Sticks, but there is also a shortage of components to make them with!!!

There was only one thing to do…

 

 

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Resident Evil 5 – In Control

19 02 2009

by Wayne Shayler

resi5There has been a fair amount written about the high expectations for Resident Evil 5, and of course, the way the game controls.  I remember looking forward to Resident Evil 4 so much, even though I hadn’t played any of the earlier games in the series.  I had tried the first Resident Evil, but couldn’t get passed the first hour of gameplay.  To thumbs that were raised on pure Nintendo goodness, the borked controls were just too much like hard work.  Then came Resident Evil 4.

In my opinion, Resident Evil 4 was the best game on the Gamecube.  With the shift of the camera perspective and the move/shoot movement contained to one or the other, as the controller only had one analogue stick,  it was one of the few games of the generation, where playing it through twice had its own rewards and benefits.

A truly great game.

How could Resident Evil 5 fail?

 

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Goodbye 1UP Show – You Will Be Missed

7 01 2009

by Wayne Shayler

upAfter the announcement of Ziff Davis selling the 1UP network to competitors Hearst, I find myself languishing in a state of shock over the news that one of my favourite video podcasts will be no more, or at least not as I have known it over the years.

They have put an end to the print magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly, which began its life in 1989, and let approximately 30 of their staff go.  With the decrease in sales over time, and the rising popularity of the internet, magazines have found it hard to maintain readerships, but at least the website will continue.

I have loved an awful lot of the work that the guys at 1UP have generated over the past three or four years, all of the wonderful podcasts and especially the video podcast going by the name of ‘The 1UP Show’.

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The Death of the PSP.

30 12 2008
psp_slim_003A games platform will always live or die by the software that is available to it, so what is to become of my beloved Playstation Portable.  I recently read a statistic that claimed that Sony’s portable multi-media device only had 100 games developed for it this year, whereas it’s closest rival, the Nintendo DS, gets 100 games every few months. The PS3 sold fewer units this holiday season than they did last year and a standalone Blu-Ray player is now only £150.  These are worrying times for Sony, as well as for me.

I was not an early adopter of the PSP.  Its weak battery life, large size and ridiculous disc based media (the Universal Media Disc or UMD), made it a laughable entry into the portable gaming market.  I could never deny that it was an amazing piece of technology, but just not suited to my needs.  Watch films, listen to music, access to the internet and play games.  It sounds like a dream come true, but when I have other devices that do the same things, only better, why would I need a PSP?

So when, and why, did I have the change of heart?

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Turning Japanese, I Think I’m Turning Japanese (or why I can’t play Call of Duty)

16 12 2008

by Wayne Shayler

japan

I like to think that I have a varied games collection, but as my hair gets greyer, my gaming tastes seem to be changing.

When the technical leap was made, from 2 dimensions to 3 dimensions, there was no longer any need to be able to see the character that I was playing.  We had arrived at the stage known as ‘First Person’ gaming where you saw through your character’s eyes. 

I had become the hero and I loved it.

It gave me a sense of immersion that I’d never had before.  Doom, Quake, Half-Life and of course, Goldeneye.  All classic ‘First Person Shooters’ that redefined what video games could be and are all quite rightly, highly revered forms of the genre.

The Japanese have always had a problem with shooters, especially the first person style, which is why Halo hasn’t taken off as a franchise in the Far East. They’ve always preferred third person games where you can see, and identify with your character.  I’ve never quite understood that philosophy, until now.

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