Tag Archive | "games"

Local Coop: Twice the Fun with Your PS3

We all know how fun it is to play a video game, and thanks to the wonderful power of wireless communications and faster internet connections, we can play with many of our friends and even complete strangers online. But what about the times when friends come over? It is hardly fun to be one sitting down doing nothing aside from watching your friend play. This is where local multi-player games come in, while not that common in many games, there are some pretty outstanding titles that make use of the feature.

While it is not much used, the Playstation 3 supports multiple players (up to 7). And so far, only one game can use the feature: the PSN-only X-Men: Arcade by Capcom. This old school side scrolling beat them up will feature the iconic Marvel Mutants in their early 80’s iterations as they take on the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It is a simple game and is good for about two hours of button mashing action and laughable old-school antics. While it is easy enough to finish with a single player alone, it certainly makes for a decent activity small get-togethers.

Resident Evil 5 is a game that tells you right off the bat that you are not alone. Protagonists Chris and Sheva accompany each other as they take on the Tricell’s Majini and more of Umbrella’s BOWs. On cooperative mode, the game uses a split screen setup that allows you and a friend to strategically take down hordes of zombies (in essence, as they are technically not zombies). You can pass ammunition, heal your partner or even help out when your ally gets tackled by an enemy. Our favorite part is how the two players can link their melee attacks for some devastating damage against certain boss characters. On the highest difficulty of this game, we certainly recommend going at it with a human partner.

Sadly, as much as we loved Capcom’s RE5 system, the same cannot be said about Lost Planet 2. The game beautiful, the gameplay is excellent and the story is quite well written. As much as we would love to enjoy this game with a friend, local coop splits the screen into two very small parts. The result is a screen so small that you would have to squint just to see the details. So unless you’ve got a massive 60 inch HDMI screen, don’t bother with the local coop here. But if you do, prepare for a massively epic adventure.

Gearbox’s Borderlands is certainly ranking high on our multiplayer games list thanks to the fact that popping in and out of multiplayer mode is so easy. Also, the Diablo inspired random-drops system allows players to work together to hunt and trade for better weapons and equipment. While the game itself has a few bugs (particularly with the DLC content), it is a highly enjoyable system that is best experienced when working together with a friend. Besides, once you both get to ride in your own missile-launching desert rovers and start raining explosive death, you’ll be glad to have someone to high-five.

There are plenty of other great FPS titles that support local coop such as Kane and Lynch, Army of Two (and their respective sequels), Lord of the Rings Conquest, Resistance (just the first, the sequel has no story coop), and many others. But split screen is not the only way to play in coop games locally. There are plenty of titles such as Trine, Sacred 2, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Little Big Planet and others that use single screen multiplayer modes. All you really need a good partner who loves to game as much as your do!

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Nintendo Wii: Facing the Next Generation Wave

At the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo, Japanese video game developer and console manufacturer Nintendo has confirmed that they will be unleashing a brand new home console system that will rival the power and capabilities of the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. While it sounds impressive, it is also a signature of Nintendo: hardware is not everything. Sure, the new system will be powerful –compared to the 360 and the PS3 which were released several years ago.

The famous Nintendo motion gaming system, the Wii also faced a similar situation many years ago when it was first launched. The system came out ahead of its competitors at Microsoft and Sony and enjoyed plenty of sales. When the 360 and the PS3 came out months later, critics stated that the Wii’s lower spec graphics would be the downfall of the system. Now, many years later, the Wii is still performing strongly in the market.

There is no doubt that the hardcore market has long moved on from the Wii -with the system often playing second fiddle to owners of the PS3 or the 360. But it is this market position that makes the system so strong. Among casual gamers, the Wii is the number one system of choice. For hardcore gamers, the low price point and entertainment value of the Wii makes it an ideal secondary system to own. This meant that most PS3 owners had a Wii as a secondary console and the same applied to 360 owners. There were fewer gamers who bought an Xbox and a PS3 –let alone those who have all three systems.

Sales and distribution are not the only things important to a game console. A system’s game library is always among the most important factors to consider for any person choosing to purchase a system.

Right off the bat, it is pretty obvious that the Wii has a significantly younger target market. If you are planning to purchase a system for a preschooler or a grade-schooler, then the Wii should be the first choice on your list (and you might consider getting a DS as well). With plenty of games that focus on light tasks, bright colored visuals and simple storylines, the Wii makes for a perfect children’s console.

For slightly older audiences, the Wii has some pretty good titles that should not be passed up. Dead Space, Mad World and No More Heroes are just a few of the hardcore titles in the Wii’s library. There are also some interesting ports of old games such as Obscure, Resident Evil 4 and Okami that have been brought to new life with the motion controls. It may not be a first choice for the discerning, hardcore players, but if you are looking for a secondary system, it is hard to go wrong with the Wii.

In the end, the Wii has plenty to catch up on in terms of capabilities mostly due to its lower spec hardware as compared to later generation systems. But the Wii was never meant to take up the niche currently occupied by the PS3 (or the 360); instead, the Wii was developed to bring the joy of video games to a much broader audience –something that other systems would find difficult to achieve.

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Only 360: 5 of Our Favorite Microsoft Exclusives

Nothing makes a console stand out more than its line-up of exclusive titles. While the Xbox 360 may be best known for its highly competitive multiplayer FPS titles, it also has its own share of hardcore games from other genres. Naturally, if you want to get the full experience of all the gaming goodness that this Microsoft gaming console has to offer, you need to try out its many different games. To help you get started, we compiled a list of our top five favorite exclusive titles for the 360.

Alan Wake

Intriguing, suspenseful and highly imaginative, Alan Wake is a great game that players should not pass up on. You take control of the titular lead character, Alan Wake, as he embarks on a strange quest to save his wife from a race of bizarre beings known as the Taken. The gameplay is a combination of exploration-investigation and horror-action; players seek out various clues to find Alan’s wife while trying to get past beings that are only vulnerable when exposed to light. Combat is combination of using in-game light sources and basic firearms –forcing players to include a lot of strategy into their playing style. Combined with lushly detailed environments, the creepy and haunting atmosphere of Bright Falls, a musical score designed to keep you on the edge of your seat and very lifelike voice acting this is a game that certainly ranks high in the immersive-meter.

Gears of War 2

Despite the 360’s heavy reputation as a console for competitive players, it also has its share of great local coop games. And in this category, none stand out more than Gearbox’s Gears of War 2. This epic third person shooter game allows you and a buddy to team up and take down more of the invading alien horde known as the Locust. The combat is visually visceral, and keeps you glued on the screen. Much of the game’s atmosphere is similar to that of wartime film footage, complete with shaky-hand-cam effects, dirt splatters and of course, gore. Keeping you away from focusing entirely on these details is the action. Gears takes you (and optionally, a friend), into the heart of the Locusts new location underground, surrounded at all times and shooting your way towards the goal. A deep and well delivered story narrative provides players with a reprieve from the action-intensive gameplay.

Halo 3

Master Chief is back with the third game in the main Halo trilogy and once again, players are back in the Chief’s iconic armored boots. The game brings players back in touch not only with the big MC, but also with other returning cast such as Cortana, the Arbiter and more. Speaking of the Arbiter, he and the Covenant are taking a big role twist in this game as players get to directly interfere with the politics of the alien race. Halo 3 also reveals more about the rings, the flood and more importantly, provides the groundwork for an even more epic undertaking for the next game. Much of Halo’s classic FPS gameplay is back, along with a few new extra weapons. There is also a bit of balance with the use of special thrown weapons and melee combat –giving players that much needed diversity that most first person shooters lack.

Tales of Vesperia

Nothing says video game more than a Japanese RPG, and Namco Bandai’s semi-exclusive offering for Xbox 360 owners is the incredibly fun and intriguing Tales of Vesperia. The Japanese version of the game has been released for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 (with the PS3 getting additional content). However, only the 360 was given an English version. The game takes you to the fictional planet of Terca Lumireis, a land where people rely on magic as much as technology. This magic is basically a unique kind of planetary energy stored in blastia -when the blastia start reacting to strange viral form of magic energy, the binding forces of the planet hit a terrible imbalance. Taking on the role of ex-knight Yuri Lowell, players embark on a journey that could very well spell the fate of the planet. JRPG veterans will know what to expect: funny voice acting, well written dialogue, a deep storyline with light delivery and of course, Namco’s Tales-series real time combat.

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

Once again, another title in the list comes from Namco Bandai. This is Project Ace’s special work for the Xbox 360, AC6: Fires of Liberation. Taking on the same story universe established in previous Ace Combat titles, players take flight and burn through the skies as the ace pilot, Talisman. Fighting to defend the fictional Republic of Emmeria from invading Estovakian forces, players are slowly introduced into the harsh repercussions of war as told from the perspective of civilians. The gameplay brings back more of that fast-paced and simplified dogfight controls that have made previous AC titles famous. Speaking of which, gigantic bosses and massive, epic dogfights dot out major points in the story –providing players with a unique kind of challenge not seen in other flight simulation titles. Overall, with its great game controls, action-oriented gameplay and stylish aircraft simulation, this is one dogfight game that will keep you happily playing for hours on end.

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Sony’s PSP Bringing New Life to Cooperative Gaming

We all know the fact that the Monster Hunter series is making waves all over the world thanks to the fact that the PSP has got some pretty sweet WiFi Ad hoc gaming capabilities. But does the multiplayer adventure really stop there? After all, with the deluge of the 3D hack and slash adventure genre, it seems pretty hard to fathom that other types of games would also be available –but they are. And here are three of the most unique cooperative play experiences you can get on the PSP.

Patapon 2

Patapon has made plenty of waves with its unique beat system controls. Now, the super-cute army simulation game takes you and a friend in control of special, customized heroes that will dish out attacks that matches that of a full squad. As a team, players can link up with up to four friends as they march towards various goals in order to hatch an egg. Succeed and the egg hatches into a special item awarded to the host player –with a few side items awarded to everyone. In order to encourage more cooperative play, players will take turns changing the designated hosts.

It may sound simple, but between lugging around a giant egg and facing off massively gigantic creatures, you and your team will have your work cut out for you. This game rewards timing and cooperation: do not hesitate to call out what needs to be done (attack, dodge, charge, etc) and keep your rhythm up to reach your hero’s fever induced super mode.

Ace Combat X2: Joint Assault

While the single player for ACX2 has been a bit of a letdown for many hard core fans of the incredibly popular dogfight simulation series, the cooperative move is undoubtedly one of the most innovative ever made for a game. Up to a total of four human players can link up for this game and depending on each player’s choices and performance, many of the stage events can change.

On a regular mission, players all fly together in a single map in order to reach a certain goal (reach a location, destroy certain targets, etc). On special missions, players are divided into two teams, each with their own map and specific goal. By doing this, players can affect what happens in the adjacent missions. Something similar to stopping enemies from lifting off –effectively prevents what would have been a third wave or reinforcements for the other players.

Of course, there are also competitive missions that you and your friends can play –but with the game’s offering of a full campaign cooperative play, why pass up on such an experience?

Lego Star Wars

There is more than one to choose from and all of the Lego SW games are known for their impressive multiplayer gameplay experience. In this series, two players can link up to control various characters in the famous science fiction storyline. While most of the events follow what is considered to be Star Wars canon, the delivery has been changed to suit the Lego universe a lot better. Most noticeable is the less serious atmosphere and the many humorous scenes that have been inserted in the game. And yes, it is eternally amusing to watch Darth Vader using the force to combine a bunch of Lego bricks to form a bridge.

The gameplay follows your typical 3D action platformer –with an added twist: you are using Lego! Combining the power of the force and the fact that the entire universe is made of bricks, players can switch in and out various characters, build objects, and even break apart obstacles much like you with the actual toys. Each character is designated with one of several ‘classes’ (with a few abilities transgressing each) that helps players get past the many obstacles in the game. Fun, easy to learn and even better when it is played with a friend, Lego Star Wars has become one of our most cherished multiplayer games of all time.

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The Top Five Console Defining Exclusives for the Playstation 3

A gaming console’s most defining point is not the brand, price, maker, hardware or any other feature –no matter how impressive any of these may be. The true way to understand and experience the value of a game console is through its exclusive games.

In this day and age, exclusive titles are not as common as one would think. With literally hundreds of game developers out there, having a game exclusively made for a single system would mean having a game that is played best on that one specific console. For the Playstation 3, these are the top five exclusives that will truly show you the value of Sony’s latest generation hardware.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

This is the largest game in existence (sans downloadable content) and makes use of the Dual Layer Blu-Ray disc to its full potential. Creator Hideo Kojima is rumored to have said that he had to cut down on content in order to fit the game into the limitations of what is currently the largest read-only commercial media available. And once you see the game, it is easy to understand what he meant; MGS4 is full of amazing content, rich graphics and fluid animations. With its immersive gameplay, deep storyline and epic movie-like delivery, this game is a worthy medium for Solid Snake’s final chapter.

Heavy Rain

Drama, intrigue, and suspense –these are a great mix of flavors for a movie, and for the first time, executed so well in a video game. Heavy Rain takes storytelling in the game genre to a whole new level, placing you in control of four completely different characters as their lives all converge in a single storyline. Chase after the Origami Killer to save a child in a gameplay that is a combination of mild exploration with heavy focus on quick time events. Heavy Rain features cinematic camerawork, emotionally moving voice-acting and a story pace that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Little Big Planet (Series)

UK game developer Media Molecule has made a great formula: an ever lovable mascot, a cute platforming system and granting players the ability to create anything they want. Little Big Planet’s main game lets you take control of Sackboy as you jump and grab your way through several pre-programmed levels. But the core of the game is with the ability to create your own stages and share them with others. The sequel, LBP2, brings back everything from the original game and further extends the amount of things you can create and expands the level of interactivity that players can have.

Infamous (Series)

If there is one thing that the seventh generation of consoles should be known for, it is in completely redefining the concept of an open world. In Infamous, the level of freedom in gameplay and exploration is taken apart and rebuilt into something completely unreal. Players take control of Cole, who is granted with unique electricity based powers that augments his physical abilities, aside from allowing players the ever-cool power of shooting lightning bolts from their hands. You can run, climb and glide to almost anywhere in the game and getting players moving along is a powerful storyline that makes you feel like you are reading a comic (and the panel style delivery certainly helps).

Uncharted (Series)

3-D platformers are a dime a dozen on the video game world, but only a few truly manage to stand out. For the Playstation 3, Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” series is a trilogy you would not want to miss. So far, two of the games have already been released and there is plenty of excitement for the third. And that is not a surprise. Protagonist Nathan Drake certainly knows how to play a crowd and the gameplay will keep players constantly on the move and in action. Be it jumping around cliffs or engaging in gunfights, Uncharted is a game series that knows how to keep a great pace -not to mention the fact that the graphics look amazingly good.

Of course, to say that these five titles alone define the PS3 would be misleading. They are simply the cream of the crop. There are plenty of other great titles that can bump this list into a top ten or even a top twenty, including, but not limited to: Gran Turismo 5, Demon Souls, Valkyria Chronicles, Yakuza, Killzone, Resistance and so much more. The Playstation 3 is truly an impressive console with an even more impressive game library, and all you need to do is to start exploring these amazing games.

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3 Common Wii Issues Solved

It is easy to love the Nintendo Wii, it has plenty of great games, has a fun control system and it is a gaming experience that you can easily share with friends and family. This is why when something starts bugging up on the system, people will get worried. To help ease things out, here are a few useful tips to try out before hurriedly bringing your system to the nearest repair center.

Non-Responding WiiMotes

Now here is a common issue. After all, a WiiMote is how you control the console. Without it, playing a game is practically impossible. So what do when things start going south?

First, check the batteries. These controllers use two AA batteries to run, so click on the home button to see if how many of the four lights on the controller light up (more lights mean higher charge). If the controller is not responding, you might want to replace the batteries.

So let us say you have all four lights indicating a full charge but the game is still not responding to your commands. This may be a synchronization issue. Remember that your controller is wireless and that the Wii has to detect it before the two can work together. Simply press the red sync button near the SD card slot on your console to help your system find the controller.

Inaccurate Aiming

More often than not, games will require you to make use of the infrared sensor to aim at the screen and navigate menus, shoot guns and simply move things around. There are occasions when this starts acting abnormally.

One of the first things you should do is to confirm the set up of the sensor bar. From you Wii’s system menu, you can set the configuration of the sensor to assume that it is located on top or the bottom of your TV screen.

Another factor to consider is if there are lights in front of the TV and lights behind you. The sensor bar may accidentally pick up IR feedback from lights and other devices behind you. Be sure to look around your playing area to see if there might be items that are interfering with your system’s performance.

Lastly, check the overall lighting. In some cases, the light in the room may be too strong and is interrupting the feed between the controller and the sensor. You may choose to turn off the lights or diffuse it a little to allow for a better level of communication between the WiiMote and the sensor bar.

Unable to Back Up Save Files

This is not really a hardware issue, but more of an incompatibility problem. According to Nintendo, the Wii supports only certain SD cards. This can be a little annoying if the SD card you currently have is incompatible with the console, but sadly, the only way to remedy this issue is to purchase a brand new card. Nintendo lists SanDisk and BD&A as officially compatible, but users are also recommended to update to version 4.00 or higher of the system firmware to further improve compatibility.

So there you have it, three of the simplest quick-fixes for three of the main issues that Wii owners tend to run into. However, if your Wii console is still suffering from issues, it is advisable that you take it to the nearest authorized Nintendo service center for a quick check.

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