Tag Archive | "gaming"

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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Party Host and More: the Nintendo Wii

The Wii is taking the concept of friendly get-togethers into a whole new realm with its motion gaming controls and multiplayer functionalities. Of course, figuring out which titles to go for is not exactly the easiest thing to do –especially when there are hundreds to choose from. Here are four of our most recommended titles to help you figure out which games would best your party needs.

Super Smash Brothers Brawl

Sometimes, there is nothing that can hold down the hyperactive needs of a preteen boy –let alone four of them. Fortunately, Nintendo’s four-way beat-em-up 2D fighter promises plenty of fast paced action to keep even the most hardcore player of the bunch focused on the game. Smash Brothers brings back a great lineup of Iconic Nintendo characters such as Mario, Samus, Fox, Zelda and more into a free spirited battle tournament. Parents watching on will appreciate many of the old and new Nintendo franchise cameos ranging from the Game and Watch era to the more recent Animal Crossing and Nintendogs title. Metal Gear Solid fans will also be happy to see Snake pop up as a playable character.

Boom Blox

When EA announced that Steven Spielberg was working on a game, we were wondering what kind of fantastic stories he would be bringing to interactive life. Nobody expected that the man would spearhead the creation of a game that would later take spotlight of any party: Boom Blox. It sounds silly and even the concept is hard to take seriously: you throw balls at blocks. But give the game a quick whirl and after five minutes, you and your friends will be addicted.

The game pits you against your friends in turn based ball-throwing battles where you each pit your accuracy and skill at strategic block knocking. There are various gameplay objectives such as blowing up a specific number of blocks or knocking off blocks in a certain order to win. Highly replayable, intuitive controls and an overall fun gameplay experience makes this title a must have for parties.

Wario Ware Smooth Moves

Of course, when it comes to motion gaming, you have to bring out Wario Ware Smooth Moves. Players take turns as they each try to do various motions in order to achieve the various stage objectives. Each stage only lasts a few seconds or so you players have to think fast about what to do. On a multiplayer game, you and your friends have to communicate fast in order to pass the WiiMote (you only use one) around to the next player. Fun, frantic and certain to tire payers out within an hour or two; this is the best way to whip up an appetite before serving the hors d’oeuvres.

Wii Sports

It is old and comes free with your Nintendo Wii, yet Wii Sports is still a much recommended title for those who want to have various activities without having to change discs a lot. Players get to participate in various sports such as tennis, boxing, billiards, air hockey and more. The best part here is that you can get your friends to make custom Miis to use prior to the game –as each player can select their own Mii avatar to play.

The next time you become the designated host of a party and are stumped on what to do; do not hesitate to fire up the Wii and buy some new batteries for the controllers. This little home console will solve all your entertaining needs.

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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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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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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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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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