Tag Archive | "gaming"

Wii for Two: Two Cooperative Games for the Win

Everybody loves to talk about the many multiplayer aspects of the Wii, how impressive the system is for entertaining plenty of people and how well it functions for the family in general. But for standard two player games – that is an issue that is often unanswered yet much valued by hardcore players. So today, we are giving you our favorite cooperative games for the Nintendo Wii. Of course, with plenty of great two player campaigns available on the Wii, we’ve decided to serve up a pair of titles that will really want to make you work with a friend: a couple of the best horror games.

Obscure: the Aftermath

Survival horror games tend to lose their fright factor when there’s more than one player –take Resident Evil 5 for example. But there are times when even having more company doesn’t take the fright away. Enter “Obscure: the Aftermath”. This scary little masterpiece is a sequel to the original Obscure and introduces players to the two survivors of the first game and a whole new bunch of college coeds.

The game is scary, disturbing and frantic. When a bizarre sexually transmitted demonic plague starts creeping about the school, players must controls various pairs of characters through obstacles and puzzles as they try to escape chainsaw wielding psychopaths, mutated flying monsters and a whole host of other malicious beings. The cooperative aspect really shines through as players must support and protect each other. Gone are the days when you are safely picking a lock on a door (which often opens up a user interfaces that temporarily halts any enemies). In Obscure, you will have to count on your partner to shoot down any nasty things that might be coming up your back. For the ultimate in a two player scare fest, we definitely recommend playing this game.

House of the Dead: Overkill

Normally, when people talk about on-rails shooters for the Wii, the Resident Evil Chronicle titles (Umbrella and Darkside) are among the first to be mentioned. But when you want to have a little more fun shooting down zombies and just enjoying with your buddy, then you will certainly want to pop in House of the Dead: Overkill instead.

This game features plenty of 70’s inspired fashion; grind house movie visuals and enough swearing to make a B-movie starring Samuel Jackson blush. It is funny, witty and still surprisingly dark. The game is considered to be a prequel of all the HotD games –showing players the early beginnings of lead character Agent G –the heavy language in the game comes from the second main character, Isaac Washington. The cooperative aspect of the game mainly involves shooting everything onscreen as fast as possible –which is certainly easier with two players. For bosses however, a little more communication and planning are required in order to get the best ranks.

Alone, players will still be able to enjoy, play and finish these two games. But in two-player mode, players get to experience a rich and fulfilling cooperative gameplay aspect that the titles have been truly designed for. If you have not had the chance to try either Obscure: the Aftermath or HotD: Overkill, then now is the best time to bring your best friend over for some real gaming action.

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Ad Hoc Party: Multiplayer Adventures With Your PSP!

There are plenty of reasons to love the Playstation Portable, and one of these is the fact that the device has its own built in WLAN feature. Just flip up the WiFi switch and you are ready to go online or connect with other players. While Sony has opted to not allow games to have multiplayer options via the PSN, the PSP does support ad-hoc connectivity –giving players all the more reason to meet up with their friends and play together. If you have been itching for some solid cooperative multiplayer gaming fun, here’s a quick list of our most recommended games to try out.

Phantasy Star Portable

Without a doubt, Sega’s Phantasy Star series is one of the most famous multiplayer games of all time. Even with its initial incarnations on the Dreamcast, the game has already been placing its multi-player feature on the forefront. On the PSP, players get to continue the story of the Phantasy Star universe after the events of the first couple of games, bringing a completely new cast of characters and locations.

The game’s menu driven navigation lets you get around the usual array of shops and mission lists in a flash, with the system waiting only for the host player to confirm the commencement of a mission. Once started, players get to explore the mission maps in a full third person action mode. The ingame combat is easy to grasp and the lock on system feels very intuitive. Overall, this game makes for a perfect starter’s run on multiplayer. For those looking for a deeper gameplay, you might want to check out the next entry.

Monster Hunter Portable

Originating from the PS2, this strange dinosaur-monster hunting game has taken the world by surprise. Capcom has come up with a really good formula: a main town where the player has plenty to do such as cooking, mining, fishing and crafting items. Then top it off with specialized missions that place the player out in search of massive creatures through deserts, forests, ice capped mountains and more.

The hunting theme is quite evident in game, from the concept of having to track down a target monster in a large map to the visual details of the town and character models. In multiplayer, the large variety of weapons and items allows players to join and compliment each other’s fighting styles. Currently considered as one of the most famous multiplayer games on the PSP, this is one game you cannot afford to pass up.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Unlike our previous two series entries, Peace Walker is a standalone game. This epic prequel story to Metal Gear (and sequel to Snake Eater) brings back more of the stealth based action and cinematic storytelling that MGS is known for. But new to Peace Walker is the ability to link and team up with your friends to accomplish missions.

While it is possible to complete story mode alone, the game is best played with a friend or three. As a team, players can utilize varying squad formations, make joint attacks and accomplish missions faster and more efficiently. As a bonus, creator Hideo Kojima has teamed up with Capcom to put in a few special Monster Hunter stages as well –placing Big Boss (and friends) up against some of the meanest enemies on the MH bestiary.

Godz Eater Burst

It may seem like an odd title, but this Namco Bandai game is currently the best cooperative game out there yet. The controls and combat are often cited to be very simplified and we certainly agree –but remember this is not necessarily a bad thing. With multiplayer games, it is quite often that you have to mind a lot of things in the intermission areas. While there is also some inventory management and crafting to be done in GE Burst, these functions are made simple to accomplish and understand.

The result is a game that lets you focus on the fun part: hunting giant monsters. These monsters, or Aragami, are some of the most epic creature we have yet seen in a cooperative game (and we have seen the whole lot that MH has to offer). You, with a team of three will have to work together and take down these nasty beasts. Did we say beasts? Because we meant to, after all, there are plenty of missions in the game where you and your team will also have to face a squad of these titanic monsters. More often than not, players will have to split up and strategize properly to succeed.

There is no doubt that there are plenty more amazing multiplayer genres available on the PSP, some allow for competitive gaming, and others are also cooperative. But there is a certain charm to the third person action hunting genre that makes it hard to resist. Be it the in depth character customization, or the many things you can do in game, or the fact that you can take on some of the most epic monster battles ever made in a game. Either way, you can expect to see of these types of games to appear in the future, and more reasons to stay connected with your friends.

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Gearing Up Your Playstation 3

Sony and many third party developers are offering a full lineup of excellent gadgets and add-ons for the Playstation 3 home console and we are here to give you a quick view on the must-haves for any hardcore gamer.

First up is the updated Six Axis controller, the Dualshock 3. Now, for those who have bought the later releases of the PS3, this controller would already have been packed into the unit. For those who bought the early launches however, this force feedback controller will provide you with that extra level of immersive fun. A vast majority of the PS3’s games support the rumble feature. Most provide the usual fare of light to heavy shaking synched with onscreen explosions and vibrations, but some game provide an even deeper level of interactivity –providing tactile cues for players that is not provided visually. Metal Gear Solid 4 makes use of this feature by vibrating the controller lightly as a quick alert to players that there are enemies nearby.

The Playstation Move is Sony’s foray into the motion control industry and for their first device to use the technology, the Move is very promising. The main Move controller is a wireless, camera and motion tracked device; its accompaniment, the navigation controller, is an optional tool that proves to be quite useful in many Move-compatible games. There are plenty of games that make use of the new technology: Resident Evil 5 Gold gives the game a more action-oriented feel, puzzle-platformer Echochrome 2 makes use of the Move as a flashlight to alter the shadows in-game and in Little Big Planet, Move allows players to have better control over content creation.

Namco’s GunCon 3 is a top notch addition to the existing gun-controller lineup from the Japanese game developer. The GunCon itself feels pretty well balanced and weight just right when supported with two hands. While the Move does provide players with excellent gun-play controls, nothing makes a shooter game more immersive than actually holding a device that feels like the real thing. Some players may be put off by the need to set up the infra-red nodes, but once you are done, you can hook up a second GunCon without any problems. The only real problem with the controller is the fact that aside from Time Crisis 3, only a few other games support it.

Music fans will certainly not want to pass up on the impressive Rock Band 3 controller set. While this may seem to be quite a massive investment, any gamer would agree that the new wireless music controllers are well worth it. The guitar now supports a wide variety of features, and it looks quite grand –and the fact that Fender designed some of these Guitars certainly factors in. The drum pads are responsive and easy to use. While we could have used a little more flexibility in terms of pad arrangement, the current setup (which players can add cymbals to) is not that hard to get used to.

While there are plenty more peripherals and add-ons for the PS3 that we would have liked to add to this list, few are as surprisingly useful as this last entry: the PS3 remote control. Aside from being an amazing video game system, the Sony HDMI powerhouse also acts as a Blu-Ray player (Playstation 3 games are hosted on Blu-Ray discs after all). While you can use the standard controller with the system, nothing completes the home theater experience by having a device that has all the playback functions you would ever need.

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Getting More Out of Your Wii

Nintendo’s motion controlled gaming console is considered to be one of the top systems in terms of overall entertainment. While its value to hardcore gamers may not be on the same level as the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360, the Wii has more to offer to a broader market of casual gamers and of course, families.

If the Wii is currently on the center of your home entertainment system, with the console playing host to friends and family, you might want to consider investing a little bit of money and time to grab these very useful accessories.

First off, the Wii Balance Board –normally, we would not recommend getting a console peripheral that is only useful for one game (Wii Fit), but in this case, the Balance Board is a must have. Not only do you get to do really amusing things on it (you can test which among your friends can balance best on one foot), but there are plenty of useful applications that use the board. These applications mainly improve exercises that help you keep track of your weight –something that many gamers would appreciate.

When it comes to pointless accessories that offer loads of fun, nothing beats the various add-ons to the WiiMote controller. They range from simple items such as a sword, shield, tennis racket and the like. While they do not add any functional value (some even make playing a little harder), it is always fun to see your friends waving a plastic sword at virtual enemies onscreen.

Speaking of playing in front of a screen, get better WiiMote straps. Nintendo’s WiiMote comes with straps that are used to tie the controller to the player’s wrist (which will help prevent people from accidentally throwing the controller). There are already countless tales of various plasma and HD television screen that have been smashed by an over-eager player’s WiiMote. Better straps would help fasten the controller to the wrist better –just be sure to tell all your users to put on the straps when they play!

Aside from the usual array of swords and hammers, there are a few WiiMote add-ons that actually help, such as the steering wheel, the gun-grips and yes, even the Link crossbow (from Link’s Crossbow Training). These do not necessarily help you aim better –as most of us are far more lethal with a remote control style grip. But they do actually enhance the gameplay experience. There is also an additional extra motion sensing device that goes on the bottom of the WiiMote as well –which helps tracking your movements a lot more accurate.

To get more out of your gaming on the Wii, it is a good idea to buy rechargeable batteries. There are two variants. One is the typical AA battery size that replaces the standard batteries. The other is a Lithium Ion based battery that replaces the standard battery and the battery cover. The good thing about the L-ion battery is that is often comes with a charging dock so that you can be sure that every time you play, your controller is all charged up and ready to go.

So the next time you find yourself with a little extra gaming budget. You might want to pass out on grabbing the latest game releases and instead, look for some worthwhile purchases that would enhance your gaming experience with your current library.

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Nintendo DS: Gaming Device or Office Desk Novelty?

The obvious answer is, of course, gaming device. But putting aside that logic and just looking at the interesting other features that the DS (and the DSi) actually deliver, one might actually think that they are tinkering around with some random gadget that is right at home at your office desk. So, have tried checking out what you can do with the DS aside from playing games?

First off is the clock mode. Okay, for those wondering: it is a dedicated function or mode of the NDS and is readily available from the touch screen menu after you turn on the device (it is on the screen right after the initial warning advisory page). In this mode, the only thing that the device does is show you the time. Not really all that useful since you will be wasting batteries and there are plenty of other time-telling device that use energy in a much more eco-friendly manner. But yes, you can if you want to, and there is even an alarm function for users who simply feel like leaving the device plugged into the charger the whole night.

Pictochat is a much more useful function –though its practicality still borders on sheer novelty and entertainment. This is basically a scribbling program that you can use to interact with other DS devices. The picture chat content makes full use of the touch screen for users to share their creations with each other. Sadly, there is no way to save the images you create so enjoy them while they are still there on your screen. Both Pictochat and the clock mode will require you to switch the DS off and back on in order to access another function (or the game cartridge).

In late 2008, Nintendo launched the DSi, an upgraded version of the dual screen handheld. This new model sported several new side features that provided users with further functionality.

Among the most noticeable is the addition of two VGA cameras, one inside and another on the outside. This allowed users to take photos of the people and things around them or if they wanted to, their own selves. The images could then be stored on the new SD card slot or uploaded to a Wii console. Speaking of the SD card slot, the DSi also allowed for the playback of several media file formats, such as MP4 and 3GP recordings (but it still lacks MP3 playback capabilities)

And making full use of the DSi’s internal WiFi capabilities, support for access of the official Nintendo WiFi service has been added to the device. This allows players to link up online for multiplayer games or for downloading DSiWare software. These can either be small games or useful applications for the device.

Overall, we are pretty happy with how the DS functions even without the game. While a little bit more of functionality in terms of file format compatibility or the option to store game saves on the SD card would have been nice, there’s already a lot being offered by the DS system on its own. All you need to do is tinker around and see for yourself.

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Portable Gaming Redefined: The Top 5 Signature PSP Games

The Playstation Portable is a truly impressive system, with hardware that easily matches that of the PS2 (which was one of the top ranking systems during the time of the PSP’s launch), many hardcore gamers feel that its extensive library of games are a must have for any real gaming collector. Of course, the PSP has had its share of critics and one of the most often raised points against the system is that it relies on ports of major console titles. We beg to differ. In fact, here are several exclusive made for PSP-only titles that games should look out for.

Patapon

Visually deceptive, this cutesy looking title is actually one of the most original games ever to be developed. By combining music-beats with adventure and RPG elements, Sony’s army drumming game has introduced an all original way to play.

In Patapon, players take on the role of the Mighty One, a powerful deity that commands the Patapon army across forests, marshes and deserts. To do this, players must use four drum beats to command their armies to charge, attack, block and retreat. Special drum beats will also allow one to access special deity powers such as manipulating the weather. In between stages, players are able to micro manage their armies by defining the job specialties of the various “-Pon” units and what equipments they will use.

The story is simple, yet intriguing, placing players on top of a bizarre mythos worshipped by oddly amusing eyeball creatures. As players advance through the game, they learn more of the history of the Patapons, their journey to the ‘Promised Land’ and the many obstacles they face.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Gaming legend Hideo Kojima brings the epic saga of Metal Gear Solid to the Playstation Portable in this amazing prequel story to the first Metal Gear game. Following Big Boss’ trail after the events of Snake Eater and Portable Ops, the legendary soldier finally finds a place to call his own and provides a home to soldiers from all backgrounds.

However, earning a base comes with its own strings. In exchange for the high tech facilities, Snake takes on the needs of small war-torn country and their plight from what seems to be an invasion. As the story unfolds, players learn that the invasion is merely a front and that a new Metal Gear project is underway. With nuclear threat on the horizon, the Boss gears up once again to bring down his foes. And this time, it will no longer be a solo mission.

Players now get a chance to link up with friends (thanks to the PSP’s built in WiFi ad-hoc capabilities) and in-game allies to take on this new chapter in MGS. Also, managing the home base will require players to set aside soldiers to manage research, medicine and even prepare some hearty dishes in the mess hall.

Echochrome

Puzzle games are a dime a dozen and very few games in this genre could ever stand out –let alone be defining for a gaming system. But such is the legacy of Echochrome. Story wise, there really isn’t anything here. You control a doll like figure (similar to the ones by artists for posing references) through a series of platforms, stairs and holes as you move from point of origin to the goal.

This is made challenging by the fact that many holes lead to bottomless drops, and the stairs and passageways lead to either open air or dead ends. To get by these players must manipulate the game’s camera to change the way they view the stage. By altering the angle of view, the scene changes; stairs are given an illusion of being connected to an open ended path. And this illusion is more than enough to the game to consider as reality, players are able to walk safely across. The puzzles are original and the solutions are applaud-able, Echochrome and its many challenges certainly deserve all the praise it gets.

The game’s simple black and white 3D graphics allows players to concentrate on the game’s puzzle aspects and the soundtrack is often quiet and thought provoking. With its impressive gameplay, excellent delivery and hundreds of stages, expect to this game pick at your brain for many enjoyable hours on end.

Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core

Square Enix is taking a new approach to the FF7 franchise by re-introducing the real EX-SOLDIER, Zack. This legendary side character played a bit part in the original series by serving as lead character Cloud’s ideal (he was delusional to the point of claiming Zack’s actions as his own) and through the in-game narrative, we learned that it was Zack who rescued Cloud from the Shinra Mansion at Nibelheim.

But what really happened? Crisis Core answers this question and so much more. Other major FF7 characters are given notice and appear in game as well such as Sephiroth, Yuffie, Aeris and Tifa. Side characters such as Tseng, Rufus, Reno and Rude also make varying appearance and Cid Highwind also gets mentioned in game. For fans of the original game, this is massively nostalgia-inducing game to play.

There is more to Crisis Core than relying on the fandom of the first game however. The game makes use of a unique active combat system that blurs the lines between a hack-and-slash and menu driven RPGs. Players get full, real time control of Zack in combat, and is able to access his entire array of physical attacks and materia skills. As one would expect, SE has provided this game with some of the most amazing graphics seen on the PSP, smoothly combining real-time models with pre-rendered content.

Loco Roco

As much as we love hardcore titles, there are some truly innovative casual games that manage to charm our hearts to unimaginable degrees. Such is Loco Roco. The game is simple, use the L and R shoulder buttons to shake, shift, and tilt the world as your Loco Rocos roll, slide and bounce their way to the goal. As much as we would like to expand more, that is really all there is to this game, and yet it manages to be so good to play.

Aside from its impressive simple yet addictive gameplay, the game features some of the best music to be featured in a game with styles varying from lounge to rock to pop. The stylized graphics provides players with a visual delight as the oohs and aahs of the Loco Roco further endear them to players.

As we said, this is a casual game, but it is still something that hardcore players should not pass up. After all, it is in the innovative titles such as these that the groundwork for even greater games is based.

Wrapping Up

Of course, there are plenty more games for the PSP that are truly amazing to play: Radiant Mythology, GTA: Liberty City Stories, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Jeanne d Arc and so much more. The three games above are merely a sampling of the many great choices players have with Sony’s powerful handheld gaming system and the only real way you can know how great these games are is by trying them on your own.

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