Jul 12, 2008

Shying away from our original concept of weighing the pros and cons of multiplatform releases, Big Versus has transformed into a opinionated comparison piece regarding our overall experiences with the multiple versions of a game. Which version will we keep playing in the end? Find out in Big Versus.

Since the early 1990s, Sid Meier's Civilization franchise has challenged strategy enthusiasts to shape an empire and make your mark in virtual history. While PC gamers enjoy the latest expansion for Civilization IV, Beyond the Sword, they may not realize Firaxis Games has been hard at work redefining the conventions that has made the original series so popular with the recently released console exclusive Civilization Revolution.

Promising a more streamlined and accessible entry in the franchise the Big Download team has spent time roaming around the simplified title to give you the skinny on the new Civilization.

Are PC gamers missing out? Find out today, on Big Versus.

Civilization IV
Publisher: 2K | Release Date: October 25, 2005 | PC Exclusive

View all downloads for this title now!

Civilization Revolution
Publisher: 2K | Release Date: July 9, 2008 | Console Exclusive

Comparing Civilization Revolution to Civ4 feels like going to the groceries. There's a set list of what you expect to get but sometimes you notice something you didn't originally imagine you'd want. Specifically, a simple Civilization was never on our minds.

Conceptually, a console focused Civilization seems plausible considering the push consoles have recently had with real-time strategy games. Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth, Command and Conquer 3 and, most recently, Supreme Commander have all made the jump to the console platform. Traditionally known as a slower game, due to its turn-based gameplay, Civ4 makes sense as a console experience. The major difference between all of the RTS ports mentioned and Civilization Revolution is its vision. CivRev is a complete reworking of the series in a way no other strategy game has attempted before. But is it an experience PC players want?

One of the most enticing qualities of Civilization has always been the size and scope of the world around you. The world can be as large as you wish while hundreds of abilities help shape your experience differently each time you play. Civilization Revolution unfortunately doesn't feel the same way. The game is limited to one singular map, which randomizes landmass at the start of each new game. Randomized or not, the world is small. It isn't uncommon to scroll in any direction for a few seconds before looping around the planet back to your starting point.

Another substantial change has been the popular Tech Tree. Where Civilization IV increased the tree to 86 research-able items, CivRev is limited to 45. The missing pieces are usually stepping stones to greater technology in an effort to make research faster for console gamers but it sometimes renders technology obsolete quickly. For example, within thirty minutes of being able to build Pikemen units the ability to research gunpowder was made available and rendered the new unit useless. It may look extremely short, but fully researching the tech tree can still take a few hours worth of work. A notable omission of important in CivRev is the focus on religion and in-depth civics from Civilization IV. Instead of a focus on both concepts, they are simply relegated to research-able technology.

The research itself is fine but it eventually, just ends. Future Technology is the research ceiling and affords you the option of creating a space-station which you can send off in search of Alpha Centauri to win the match via technology. There are four ways to win in Civilization Revolution. Military conquest (capturing all other civilization's home city or Palace), cultural victory (by amassing 20 great people, wonders or culturally-flipped cities and then creating a United Nations wonder), economic victory (by amassing 20,000 gold and constructing a World Band) and the aforementioned tech victory.
While the game omits some of the best qualities from Civilization IV, the entire thing feels right. It's a title that could only be released on console as its streamlined presentation would only frustrate PC gamers. For example, there are no controllable workers in CivRev to build farms or roads. Instead the surrounding you control consists of squares indicating how much food, production, or trade is available. Food grows your population, production builds units and buildings, and trade furthers scientific research or discovers more gold. Instead of a worker being delegated specific tasks you select a general worker order for a city and command them to pay attention to a specific resource in the area or balance them, with road build orders when you have a city to connect.

The end result changes the feel of the game dramatically. While Civilization always felt like a extremely controllable game where you played king, CivRev is very streamlined and feels like a god-game. Want a road between two cities? Pay for it and *poof!* there it is. It's quick and painless.

Developers who bring strategy games to consoles are known to bullet-point control schemes as so important they sound as though they've solved the Da Vinci Code. Mapping simple mouse and keyboard functionality to a controller with a series of button presses and trigger pulls that quickly fall apart during the action. CivRev is the opposite of this controller circus. As a low intensity but challenging experience, CivRev works well on a gamepad.

There are three basic controls in CivRev. Left-analog is unit movement, right-analog is a free-look magnify glass and the 'A' or 'X' button (on the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively) is selection. There are other buttons to use, but those are the three that will get the move attention.

One new addition is the onscreen presence of attack and defense statistics during the revamped battle. Information regarding both hostile units display and outline a suggested outcome based on the information of the two units. Combine three of the same unit can create a fleet or army, which increases the attack stat accordingly. In some instances an advisor will tell you that a battle you are about to initiate will not bring favorable results, which can be helpful to run-and-gun style players.

The only thing that didn't get programed into the game was a free option to end a turn at any time. Instead, you must wait until all units and cities have been given orders. So, once you capture cities and build your empire you can expect dozens of menus to pop up and annoy when all you'd like to do is skip a turn so new research can be completed. Civ4 was known to melt away the hours and while you can spend just as much time with CivRev, nothing will snap you back to reality quicker than having to lug through menu, after menu.

Civilization Revolution is a beautiful game. The art style selected for the game, which is a more playful and cartooned take on Civ4, works extremely well. Units are all represented well and easy to differentiate and each civilization has its own unique visual presence. The returning advisors from Civilization II, which help walk you through the game, look fantastic and are a treat to watch evolve as the ages are upgraded from Barbarian to Modern.

Hearing them. That's another issue. All in game characters are fluent in 'Sim-ish,' meaning they mumble made up words to convey the fact that they are speaking to you. This wouldn't be such an issue if you rarely were treated with characters on screen but the game is designed always guide you. So, you'll be hearing a lot of 'The Sims' style character speak. Eventually it will drive your ears to such a deep madness that you'll forget it's happening. It's honestly pretty brutal.

Civilization Revolution is a great game. What it does, it does very well. Its purpose was to convert the Civilization experience into a new style that is better suited to console gamers. There are certain gripes we have about the game overall but it offers one of the best strategy experiences console gamers have ever had. Are PC gamers missing out on a new Civ experience by the lack of a PC port of Civilization? Not at all. This is an entirely different beast, created to streamline and simplify the game we've been enjoying for nearly two decades.

Civilization was an evolution of the strategy experience and its recent console counterpart has shifted its focus to a more accessible experience. In that way, the console version truly is a revolution. While PC gamers should be happy to keep their more in-depth experience we recommend you check out Civilization Revolution if you ever get the opportunity.


Both the PSP and PS3 have incredibly generous region settings, which allow you to play games from all around the world -- no mod chips required. Importing games for both of Sony's platforms is easy, and Play-Asia's sale makes it even easier. Right now, they're providing 25% off all of their in-stock items. Here's our recommendations:


Battle Fantasia - $42

DualShock 3 (white) - $45

Bleach: Heat the Soul 5 - $33
DJ Max Portable 2 - $38
Every Extend Extra - $8
Pump It Up Exceed Portable - $10


So earlier we posted an image found in a KMart Entertainment Guide which gave us a hint at a US greatest hits line. Now, an anonymous tipster sends word of another print ad; this time it comes from Circuit City. Our tipster points out that while the games in the image do not have the red plastic covers, the games listed are exactly the same as the ones found in the KMart ad.

What's most interesting about this is that the same three games found in the KMart ad are getting a budget price at Circuit City starting July 27. You can tell the ad is for the week of July 27 as the full page reveals that Soulcalibur IV is "in store Tuesday."

The games are all priced at $30. If this is related to a greatest hits list, then this seems to fit in line with Japan's "the best" pricing which also averages around that price point as well. It would also mean that these greatest hits boxes have been in print for awhile, if they are indeed to hit stores later this month. Again, nothing is for certain yet, but we're sure we'll hear something about this at E3.


Jul 11, 2008

We are unsure what message this COPS-style video is trying to convey, but it sounds like Sega is pleading with gamers to give the blue hedgehog yet another chance. Unlike the previous trailer, this Sonic Unleashed teaser features no gameplay footage and a more serious tone. The voice-over tells us a creature with blue hair and seemingly the shape of Sonic has been attacking (or at least waking up) unsuspecting citizens from all over the world, complete with an exact time and date. Is this Sonic gone evil? Is it Scourge? Is it Shadow? We'll find out more at E3 next week.


We really don't know what to say about this first promotional video for the newly revealed The Last Guy game. All we can tell is that The Last Guy is going to be SO weird. Guaranteed. Supposedly shot from the Himalayas, this video reveals nothing about the game. Well, we're going to have another update next week. Hopefully, it'll be a bit more helpful.


Another seven songs have been revealed from Rock Band 2's tracklist of 80 songs in the latest issue of Game Informer magazine. This makes a total of 17 songs officially known so far. The 7 songs are:

Bon Jovi - "Livin' on a Prayer"
Steve Miller Band - "Rock 'n Me"
Joan Jett - "Bad Reputation"
Social Distortion - "I Was Wrong"
Rage Against the Machine - "Testify"
Avenged Sevenfold - "Almost Easy"
Billy Idol - "White Wedding Pt. 1"

Notice that every single one of these songs are on the earlier leaked list from 8bitfix, so that increases the possibility the rest of the songs on the list are correct. Other improvements disclosed in the extensive article include a more user-friendly lag calibration, quieter buttons on the guitar and quieter pads on the drums, simulated tuning during loading screens and more.

Ion, a maker of real drum kits, will release a premium Rock Band drum kit which will have "amazing" cymbals and pads, and the option to plug it into a real drum brain and for usage as a real electronic drum kit. Harmonix will also be producing limited edition guitars by taking a couple of real Fender Strats, ripping out the insides, and replacing each one of them with Rock Band parts. Sounds fancy, and very expensive. Who's first in line to sell their organs for one?


According to online retailer amazon.com (data collected by PunchJump), Namco Bandai's upcoming fighter, Soulcalibur IV has been far more popular on PS3 than on the Xbox 360. Pre-orders for the fighter have been impressive on Sony's console. The PS3 versions of the game have amassed 72% of sales (52% premium, 20% regular edition) compared to the 360 versions' combined 28%.

Such impressive numbers show that a third-party title can perform just as well, if not better, on PS3 than on Xbox 360. What can account for such an impressive showing by PlayStation fans? Could it be the series regulars from the PS2, the superior D-Pad, or the dark allure of Darth Vader over Yoda?


The Blue Bomber's retro-styled return to gaming was originally announced for release on WiiWare. Rumors of a potential PSN version spread through the internet ... and now IGN has confirmed that the brand new 2D shooter will be gracing the PS3. The Wii version is priced at 1000 Points ($10), and we're expecting it will be the same on PSN. Now, all we have to do is wait for a release date.


Jul 10, 2008


Loyal Reader, Playstation Access is moving, don't worry you will still receive the same quality of blogging as you were getting. Due to some restrictions the new domain would be PSAccess.blogspot.com a minor change. The new domain would be in effect hopefully by Saturday, July 12th 12:00am. Thank You, and I hope that you continue reading this immaculate blog. Just as a reminder Playstationaccess (PSAccess) is still recruiting writers! For more details check the Feature Post!

Thank You,
Mr. Mahdi Hussein

Most of you should know that two days ago Activision merged with Vivendi's games division Blizzard to form the new publisher Activision Blizzard. The chief executive of the new company, Bobby Kotick, told the Financial Times today the company plans to create an iTunes alternative based off the Guitar Hero franchise. Kotick feels this is "the natural evolution" and Guitar hero has the "potential" to be a "credible alternative to iTunes."

These plans, of course, emerged at least partly due to Activision now having access to Universal Music, which is owned by Vivendi. Vivendi is also known to have payment processing capabilities in "virtually every country." The newly formed company ain't kidding around -- with $3.5 billion dollars lying around that was originally going to be used for a tender offer, there are rumors of them after everything from the Beatles catalogue (which iTunes failed to gain access to), to entering the bidding for Take-Two. Will Activision finally get its act together with the new sources it has at hand? Rock Band has obviously become a major threat by taking market share for rhythm games away from the profitable Guitar Hero franchise. Thoughts?


Some unfortunate readers had their systems bricked by firmware 2.40. A PR representative from SCEA has informed us that they will fix your PS3 system for free if you were one of the few unlucky enough to have a bricked system. How's that for customer service?

"Our Consumer Services department is working directly with any impacted PS3 users, and, if it's determined that they were affected solely by the 2.40 issue, then their units will be repaired or exchanged at no cost. SCEA stands behind its products and always works to ensure the best possible consumer experience."

To contact SCEA support, visit this web page. If you go through SCEA support, let us know how your experience is.


Final Fantasy XIII - What We Know So Far from Kyle on Vimeo.
The fansite FinalFantasyXIII.net has posted a pretty good summary of all the known details regarding Final Fantasy XIII in a ten-minute video. It is commonly believed there's almost nothing known about the game since its first showing two years ago. This is mostly true, but the video makes a few connections you may have missed out on. Still, if you need a refresher course, this video does the job and gives you another look at some of the cinematics you may have missed out on. Perhaps a new video will appear in the coming months, but for now, this is all that is known about Final Fantasy XIII. Enjoy!

Phil Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of SCEA, announced a partnership today with Double Fusion, an advertising firm specializing in in-game advertising. Market research firm DFC Intelligence forecasts that worldwide in-game advertising industry will grow 1,150% by 2011 to $973.3 million, and "PlayStation is taking a major role in enabling this fast-developing sector that is both positive and inevitable for the games medium."

"We have already received tremendous support from publishers who want to incorporate ads into their PS3 games, across all of the regions of the world." Jonathan Epstein, president and CEO of Double Fusion stated. However, who these publishers are exactly is unknown at this time.

Last month, Sony announced a similar deal with another advertising firm, IGA Worldwide. How/if this affects the previous deal is unknown at this time. What are your thoughts? Are you okay with the product placement that is already in some games? What about actual advertising, however seamless it is? We feel this is an inevitable step in the evolution of the industry, but let's hope we never see an annoying pop-up ad during a gaming session.


Jul 9, 2008

Looking for some hard info about Rock Band 2's tracklist? Well, look no further. Gamespot got a little bit of hands-on time with the much anticipated game, and it looks like the earlier leaked tracklist was correct. The 10 official songs released so far out of 80:

"Ace of Spades" -- Motörhead
"Everlong" -- Foo Fighters
"Pinball Wizard" -- The Who
"Panic Attack" -- Dream Theater
"Any Way You Want It" -- Journey
"Chop Suey" -- System of a Down
"Kids in America" -- The Muffs
"Give It Away" -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Hello There" -- Cheap Trick
"Pump It Up" -- Elvis Costello

Looks like the only song that wasn't in the old list is Elvis Costello's Pump It Up. Backwards compatibility with the first game's DLC is once again confirmed. Another big feature discussed is online World Tour mode -- band leaders have been eliminated and you can change your lineup whenever you wish and any character will be able to play any instrument. Other new game modes include Tour Challenge which will replace the Solo Tour from the original game -- you are able to unlock new challenges as you progress. It can also be played with up to three other players, whether they are local or online.


Another great PS3 game is available for a bargain price in the UK today. Argos, the high street catalog shop, has Ratchet and Clank up on its website for the excellent price of £14.99 -- a saving of £25. Our tipster assures us that this is less than you'd expect to pay on ebay, so definitely make sure you grab this one. Unfortunately, R&C won't be supporting trophies until at least after Resistance 2 gets released. Even then, it's not a certainty, but don't let that put you off. Ratchet & Clank is easily our second favorite PS3 exclusive from 2007 and at this price, it's well worth a punt.


Despite earlier reports of a mandatory hard drive install of more gargantuan proportions, a scan of the back cover of the Japanese version of Soulcalibur IV shows much more reasonable requirements. The mandatory install itself will be 2,850MB or 2.85GB while a save file will start at 2048KB or 2MB. Obviously, the more characters you create, the more space it is going to take up on your hard drive. Does this seem more reasonable to you guys? Do you still mind sacrificing some HD space for faster load times? Or still hoping developers eliminate them altogether?


That teaser site didn't have us speculating for long. Only a short while after it was unveiled, some sketchy details on what we can expect from The Last Guy have surfaced. From the sounds of it, The Last Guy will be another quirky, unique PSN title with an interesting art style. Sounds great to us -- that's exactly what we love about the PSN. There are conflicting reports with regards to the exact details, but the general consensus is that it will be a "rescue game" where the player is expected to guide people through a city to a safe zone.

Kotaku is reporting that there are zombies involved and that the game's environment will utilize Google Earth. PS3 Attitude says that the images are far higher resolution than Google Earth and makes no mention of zombies. It does mention that there will be VIPs to save, along with the normal plebs, which will obviously be worth more points. It's all still very vague but also very intriguing. We're expecting to find out more this Friday the 11th -- the date found on the Teaser site.


Jul 8, 2008

Blitz is back according to a Midway press release announcing Blitz: The League II for the PS3 and also the Xbox 360. The football series is set come back to PlayStation consoles after sitting sidelined since 2005. The new game is said to have an "all-new story mode penned by former ESPN "Playmakers" writer, Peter Egan" and will also feature the return of football legend, Lawrence Taylor. Pretty interesting stuff for all you "Foosball" fans. A release date has yet to be set, but if you're looking for on Blitz: The League II, then scout out the official site.


In an official statement issued to ThreeSpeech, SCEE explains the problem with firmware 2.40. It seems that there was a problem which "prevented a limited number of PS3s from activating properly after updating to version 2.40, when certain system administrative data were contained on the HDD." This has now been fixed with 2.41, though those who suffer from the problem (which prevents the PS3 from loading up the XMB) will not be able to access the new firmware update.

Instead, those who had problems with 2.40 will need to contact Customer Services and will receive a replacement PS3. 2.41 will prevent this problem happening to anyone else. The statement also reiterates that those who installed 2.40 successfully will not suffer from any issues. Good news all round, really. We're happy those people who were too slow to grab 2.40 will now be able to start earning trophies and enjoying in-game XMB with the rest of us.


Ignore the already disheartening news that Buzz! Quiz TV will need a patch in order to activate trophies within the game, despite press releases announcing firmware 2.40 failing to mention it. Buzz! fans are now also up in arms about the evolution (or rather devolution) of one of their favorite franchises. Despite the official trailer showing off "Sofa-vs-Sofa" gameplay, allowing two people on one PS3 to play against another two people online, this feature is not actually available within the game. Playing online is restricted to one-person per console.

Not only that, but online play is considered very short and many game modes and customization features are now missing, having been removed since earlier Buzz! titles on the PS3. Also, despite MyBuzzQuiz.com being a potentially awesome method of creating and playing free user-generated DLC, questions from the service are not playable in the main-game and must be used separately. The forums are abuzz (pardon the pun) with criticisms and people are very much looking forward to a response from Relentless.


Looks like the software engineers at Sony have finished tweaking firmware 2.40. The much-anticipated firmware update included crucial features, like in-game XMB and trophies, but was pulled shortly after its release due to reports of bricked systems. Now, a few days after the controversial removal of firmware 2.40 from Sony's servers, firmware 2.41 is now available to download worldwide.

Hopefully, all goes smoothly with this update. Those lucky enough to have 2.40 working on their systems know that in-game XMB works incredibly well, and trophy support is absolutely addictive. Now, PS3 owners en masse will be able to enjoy these features.


Jul 7, 2008

Sure, the PS3 version of The Orange Box has some issues. But when you realize that you're getting five excellent games for only $32, a few framerate hiccups seem like nothing. The Orange Box dropped down to $40 recently, but amazon.com is currently selling the game for only $32. If you haven't tried Portal yet, there really is no excuse!


One thing has been made abundantly clear in all the media we've seen of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm -- it is insanely pretty. Playing the recent demo (available now in Qore, public release in a few weeks) only reaffirmed this point. Ultimate Ninja Storm, more than any anime game before it, looks just as good, if not better, than its source material. Not only is the level of detail stunning, the fluidity of the animations and the strong use of motion blur give it a truly cinematic look.

The Ultimate Ninja games on PS2 and PSP were all rather solid, but fans will be shocked to see the series make the transition into full 3D battles. Expanding the battlefield adds a great deal of depth to the aging series, and makes fighting even more enjoyable.


Metal Gear Solid: Cold Blooded from TheDuoGroup on Vimeo.
This fan made animated short was created by a group of creative and really bored minds called the Duo Group. Titled Metal Gear Solid: Cold Blooded, we're taken through quite an impressively produced piece that pays tribute to the Metal Gear Solid series -- specifically the era of games in which you play as Big Boss. We liked it very much and thought all of you would like to watch it as well. Enjoy!


The official Japanese portal for the Tales series of games was recently updated with the newly announced DS and PSP Tales games. The site allows navigation by platform, and for a brief moment, PS3 was an available option. Since then, the site has been updated and PS3 can no longer be seen.

This isn't the first time Namco Bandai has teased (accidentally, or not) a PS3 Tales game. Recently, Famitsu has reported that PS3 will receive some kind of Tales game. But will it be a port of the currently 360-exclusive Tales of Vesperia game ... or will it be something different altogether?


Rumors about a Wii-like PS3 controller surfaced in early June when details about a supposed secret focus group testing were leaked. Heading back into the rumor mill, we found a startling discovery over on JustPlay -- a videogame peripheral manufacturer and supplier. On the website, a listing for a "PS3 2.4 GHz Wireless Handgun" quite possibly shows us what this rumored PSThrii-mote will look like and its intended use.

While the picture does suggest that peripheral is being made for such a device, there isn't a guarantee that such a device does indeed exist. It could very well be a mock-up for ideas being played around with. We'll continue to chalk this one up as rumor for now. In the meantime, we'll keep our eyes out for more. Most likely, if there is anything out there regarding a PSThrii-mote, we will be seeing it at this month's E3.


Seth Schiesel of the New York Times declared twice in his review of Metal Gear Solid 4 that it "isn't really my kind of game." He started off by stating his prejudices early; blatantly telling the reader that his "favorite games provide a sort of social framework within which the players set their own storylines" and that he favors one-player games like SimCity that deliver open-ended gameplay. Surprisingly though, he still claimed MGS4 is very much enjoyable.

Schiesel saw MGS4's production values and attention to detail as quasi-negatives, which lead him to "pretty much stopped caring about playing the game." He then gave a backhanded compliment to the game by saying the "combat scenes ... are just as good, if not better in their intensity, than anything I have ever seen in a film. No lie." Because ultimately, Schiesel thought it is too much like watching an interactive film. According to him, the player lacked control over the storyline. He though it's "Mr. Kojima's world, and you are just passing through for the moment." He ended the review on fully negative note, with an implication that MGS4 isn't even game: "By the time those credits did roll, I was ready for the MGS4 experience to be over ... I was ready to play a game."

Schiesel also thought MGS4 as-it-is would not be possible on the Xbox 360 and that "the PS3 has more pure silicon horsepower under the hood" which will eventually result in "Microsoft ... playing catch-up." Perhaps by lavishing praise on the hardware, Schiesel thinks he will sound neutral. We can't help but think his view on MGS4 is from a guy who walked into a restaurant ordering Omakase from a world-renowned chef whose specialty is an ingredient he is mildly allergic to.


David Hayter spoke rather candidly about playing the role of Snake in the Metal Gear series this weekend at Anime Expo. Hayter has made it clear that he'd want to write the Metal Gear movie script, and he's expressed some of his criticisms of the series' storyline. Thankfully, Zac from Kotaku has captured a majority of the panel through shaky-cam. The first series of videos can be seen above -- the rest at Kotaku. For any Metal Gear fan, hearing the famed voice actor speak so bluntly and freely will come as a refreshing treat.


A press release sent out by KOEI states that WipEout clone, Fatal Intertia, will be available to download from the PlayStation Store in Europe next week. Their exact release date is July 15th, which falls on a Tuesday. So either KOEI is wrong and their game will be released on Thursday the 17th, or Sony plans on pulling a PlayStation Day on us and having two PSN Store updates. This seems likely considering the E3 trade show will be taking place next week. As for what else we can expect to see during that week, we'll hopefully find out soon and will keep you posted.


CVG has contacted Sony Customer Support to find out exactly what is going on with 2.40. It's all been very quiet since the firmware got pulled off the servers, but apparently a fixed version will be available "midweek." Sony has yet to officially confirm that this is the case but, if true, they should do so within the next day or two. Hopefully 2.41 will fix any of the issues that were present in 2.40.


The name Hideo Kojima has long been associated with greatness, and any self respecting gamer could pick Solid Snake out of a lineup. So with great anticipation, the multitudes have received Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the supposed final chapter in Solid Snake’s 10 year career.

However, as much as I would love to hand over a perfect score to Hideo’s epic masterpiece, there is quite a bit of nitpicking I had to do.

Now don’t get me wrong, I played the game from start to finish to give it a fair shot. I even took the time to set up Metal Gear Online for some additional feedback. And I feel that I am justified in my feelings concerning Metal Gear.
As a dedicated fan for most of my life, this finale was a critical point in my life as a gamer. It brought to a close a series of storyline arcs that had long been speculated and argued over. It put to rest all the theories and ideas that I had spent hours arguing with my peers about. And it put them all to rest in about 10 hours of cutscene.

10 hours. Of a 15 hour game. You do the math. Of course, this formula rings true in every Metal Gear Solid title, with the main emphasis being on the storyline instead of the gameplay. But I can’t help feeling that Hideo went a bit off track here even with the minimal amount of gameplay involved here. It’s no secret that I am a failure as a ninja, so the concept of myself playing a stealth title does seem far fetched. However, my love for Metal Gear’s artful storytelling combined with stealth aspects has helped me overcome the slower pace of things.

Metal Gear Solid 4 completely forgets what it means to be a stealth game. There are more explosions and blood splatters in this game to rival the highest end Hollywood summer spectacular. And did I mention 5 hours? That’s all you get. And almost 4 of that is comprised of boss battles. Oh, and while we’re on the number 5, that’s how many times you’re going to have to install the game while playing. Blu-Ray may be the future, but you still need to install this baby like some old school PC game every time you get to a new Act. For a title with this much hype, I’m a bit disappointed in having to watch Snake stop and smoke in the middle of my gripping narrative adventure, or deal with harrowing old school load screens that seem a tiny bit long for this generation.
Now that I’m done griping about the major flaws that upset me after spending $60…let’s cover what makes Metal Gear worth having.

First off, the story is second to none. Only Hideo could wrap things up as well as he did, connect the dots and leave minimal loose ends. However, there are a few elements that feel forced, which I will not spoil for you readers, but I’m sure any diehard MGS fan could spot the points where even a master seemed to be running out of ideas. In the older titles, I feel like the audience could associate with the characters more, even the villains. We came to appreciate them on a human level, almost relating to what led them to corruption. I feel that Metal Gear has stepped so far back in a cinematic scene that it forgets about one important aspect –the audience. However, despite some bizarre twists and long shots, the story is masterfully assembled.
Gameplay, albeit complex, as the instruction manual will prove, it follows the same old MGS formula that allows Snake a wide array of options to handle any situation. Sure, you could run like a maniac and hope for the best, but it’s probably better to use your Octo-camo and rely on your surroundings a tad. Your tools are nearly infinite, as your weapons arsenal is severely bloated compared to past installments. In my mind, anything that fires bullets is good enough for me, but I’m sure gun enthusiasts will be excited. While we’re talking about bullets, I do have another minor argument. The weapons system and the fact that I can buy whatever I want whenever I want. And I literally mean whenever. When faced by a foe bent on ripping me limb from limb and only one clip in my M4, it’s a bit frightening to think that I can open up my menu and buy another 24 clips if I want. Something about this concept seems to destroy the challenge. Maybe it’s just me.
Motions are fluid, animations realistic, and motion capture that truly destroys that sense of “it’s only a game”. I can safely say that the line between “game” and “film” shatters with MGS, as I repeatedly found myself marveling at skin textures and slight facial gestures. It truly is gorgeous, there’s no lying about that, and I am pleased to see Snake’s final chapter end in such style.

Metal Gear Online. Gripe number 1? The 2 usernames, 2 passwords, and all sorts of other security checks necessary to sign in. The necessary update as soon as I signed on that prompted me to manually quit and reboot game, and the lengthy time to get into a match. With all the steps involved, I felt like I was attempting to hijack a nuclear weapon. However, once online, fun ensued in true MSG style which any fan could appreciate. Is it the shooting game to end all others? Not entirely. Will it survive after Socom: Confrontation comes out? I doubt it. But for now, with a severe lack of quality online titles for the PS3, it seems like a solid bet for the moment, especially after finishing the MGS storyline and having nothing else to do with your $60 investment.

I hate to be a pessimist here, but now that Sony’s ace is finally on the table, I dare to wonder “Now what?”. Metal Gear Solid 4 was one of the most anticipated titles of all time, and one of the very few exclusive titles Sony had left; now that the final stone has fallen, I dare to wonder what’s next for Playstation 3 as well as Kojima. I suppose we’ll have MGO to tide us over while we wait, by the time a new announcement is made, I should have finally found a match. See you on MGO until a new threat and a new Metal Gear rises yet again.

Genre:Stealth Action

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Pros: Metal Gear at its finest, gorgeous graphics, intuitive gameplay with endless options as to how to handle each situation

Cons: Constant Install makes Blu-Ray technology look like a failure, 3/4 of the entire game is cutscene, learning curve is pretty sharp for a MGS rookie

PS3 Informer Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Jul 6, 2008

Here’s something to cast your eyes on, the Metal Gear Solid 4 Art Book that you get with the Limited Edition. This is for the people that don’t have the MGS4 art book.

Now, for most of you, this week's Batman releases are what you are more accustomed to. You can bet Warner Bros. will churn out as much Batman as possible before Dark Knight. Really, we just saw a Dark Knight tie-in with Comcast cable service. That's right, cable service. Here are the rest of this week's Blu-ray releases:

Batman Begins
Batman Begins (Limited Edition Gift Set)
Batman: Gotham Knight
Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire: Live at the Greek Theatre
The Moody Blues: Lovely to See You - Live at the Greek
Roy Orbison: A Black & White Night
The Ruins
10.5 Apocalypse/Category 7: The End of the World

First up, we've got Batman Begins on Blu-ray. Unfortunately there aren't any new extras except for a Dark Knight prologue in HD. The limited edition includes Hollywood Movie Money which takes $7.50 off your movie ticket for Dark Knight and some art/comic books. Batman: Gotham Knight is the Animatrix-esque prelude for the current Batman franchise. Featuring five directors, five stories and voicework by Kevin Conroy, this is a must-have if you are a Batman fan. The Blu-ray release even includes 4 episodes from Batman: The Animated Series. The Ruins is actually not a terrible movie, as it follows in the footsteps of recent horror flicks like Cabin Fever, but we would wait till the price goes down a bit.


Firmware 2.40 brings the PS3 closer to a fully-fledged system, but there are still problems with the system software and features that are missing. In this article, we detail some of the problems faced by the existing system software and what additional features can make it better. While not everyone will agree with the problems and improvements features in this article, it just goes to show how many flaws the system has and how far off it is from perfect.

Don't get me wrong here. I love my PS3 but there is always the need for criticism.

Current Problems (and possible solutions):

The friends list takes long to load - if you have over 50 friends, your friends list can take a while to load, in addition, it takes some time for their online status to refresh. One way to solve this problem is to cache the list and reload it as needed. Currently, it seems that the list is loaded fresh every time the console is started.
Lack of supported video and audio formats - only a limited number of video and music files are supported by the PS3. While the recently introduced DivX compatibility makes it easier for some people, there are still many formats that are missing. Currently, the PS3 cannot be classified as a "media center" without better compatibility.
In-game XMB is slow - while the in-game XMB is a nice feature to have, it can be slow and clunky. With a whole SPU dedicated to the XMB, it's the memory that is causing the problem, which is only 256MB for the entire system (thought there is also another 256MB in the GPU). One way to speed up the in-game XMB is to only show the features that can be accessed in-game, and hide the rest.
In-game music playback - Firmware 2.40 introduces in-game music playback, but is only compatible with titles that support the feature. It's up to the developers to make the feature available. Sony should allow the feature by default, and simply allow players to mute in the game's music by changing the game settings. This will allow gamers to play their own music while also leaving the sound effects in place.
Downloading while on power-save mode - you can only download content while the system is switched on. It would be great if there is a power-save mode (a mode between stand-by and full power) that allows you to download things while saving power.
Screensavers - if you leave your PS3 idle, the screen simply dims down or runs folding@home if it's configured to do so. It would be great if there were some actual screensavers or even an auto-off feature, something similar to that of the PSP.
Better flash player - the PS3 web browser is decent, but the flash player cannot support all flash content. It would be great if the flash player was in the same league as a PC or Mac.
Limited friends list - Firmware 2.40 upped the friends list limit from 50 to 100, but this is still very restrictive. My friend list is closely reaching this new limit and it could be months before they decide to increase it again. Why not just allow an infinite number of friends?
Online version of Player Profile - Player's profile has changed in Firmware 2.40, showing something similar to a "gamers card". Why not introduce an online version of this or at least offer an API for developers to create their own? People want to share their achievements and "now playing" statuses, so why not let them.
Better Remote Play - the PSP/PS3 cross-compatibility features are great, but there is still room for improvement. Why not let users edit their account (via Account Manager) from their PSP. Mirror the screen on both the PSP and PS3 rather than showing the "Remote Play in Progress" screen on the PS3.
Better messaging - the messaging system is good for sending messages to offline friends, but when you want to chat to someone online, IM would be so much easier if you don't have a mic. Adding IM to the chat room would allow gamers with no mic to still join in.
Allowing users to change PSN Name - currently, you cannot change your PSN name. Sony should allow users to change their name if they no longer like they current name, but limit it to once every six months to stop abuse.
Message list - prior to Firmware 2.40, clicking on a friends name would show you the message list between the two of you. It now displays the player's profile. It should be the way it was. Now you have to press TRIANGLE and then select [Message List] to see your messages.
New features to improve the PS3:

Cross game chat/in-game chat - for games that don't support chat, the XMB should provide an alternative, allowing gamers to communicate. Cross-game chat would allow gamers to keep in touch with friends playing different games.
Email to PSN (and vice versa) - allow users to send a message to your PSN account using a email address and vice versa could help keeping it touch with friends who don't own a PS3. A personalized email address like [psn_id]@psn.playstation.com would be great.
Message Notification - get an email sent to your registered email address when you receive a new PSN message.
Better online Profiles - allow gamers to add more information to their profile page rather than just "About Me". This would avoid duplicate questions like "how old are you?" and "where are you from?", as it can all be on the profile page.
RSS Reader - like the PSP, a RSS reader feature would allow gamers to subscribe to podcasts and photo feeds. Hell, why not also let gamers subscribe to their favorite news websites too.
Skype - again like the PSP, a Skype client would be great. Not only can you have voice conversations with friends, if you have the PlayStation Eye or Eye Toy, you can also have a video call with friends and from around the world.
Upscale PS3 titles - if you are playing a 720p game on a TV that supports 1080p, why not upscale games like you can upscale DVDs? Of course, this might make developers lazy.
Friend Finder - you may not always know your friend's PSN ID, so why not allow gamers to search for their friends using their email address. Even better is allowing gamers' to import their address books from Hotmail, GMail and Yahoo and auto-search for people they may know.
Login to multiple PSN accounts - you can currently only login to one PSN account at a time. Why not let gamers login to two or more accounts when playing multiplayer games. That way, both users can get points for playing games like Warhawk on split-screen.
Password Protection - anyone can login to your Local User account when they turn on your PS3. Adding password protection would make it much more secure. For example, it would stop jealous friends from deleting your gamesaves.
Admin User(s) - if you have younger siblings using your console, they can sometimes change settings or delete things without your knowledge. Having an "admin" account can prevent "non-admin" users from tampering with settings and deleting files. This is especially important with the System Update feature.
"Appear Offline" - signing into the PSN means everyone can see you online. But this is necessary to access the PlayStation Store and playing games. There should be a "appear offline" feature allowing you to appear offline to friends, but giving access to all the PSN features.
Keyboard Shortcuts - The XMB supports a keyboard, but there are no shortcut keys. Pressing "S" on the friends list should scroll down to the first name beginning with "S". Pressing "Del" on a video/photo etc. should give you the option to delete it.
Screenshots and Videos - gamers should be able to take in-game or even XMB screenshots and videos with the press of some key-combination. While video recording might affect system resources, image capture should be a lot easier to implement. This would allow gamers to show off their skills or easter-egg finds more easily. (Don't you just hate shaky-cam videos and blurry screenshots.)
Auto-download - if you subscribe to Qore, whenever a new episode is out it should automatically be added to your download list (in addition to appearing on your PlayStation Store download list). Similarly, you should be able to set "download all new demos" and let the PS3 download all new demos automatically.
Better multi-taking - currently, you cannot do anything else while installing a game. You should at least be allowed to view photos or surf the net while you wait, or do something else that doesn't use of system resources.
Better "now playing" status - the PS3 only displays the names of games you are currently playing. Why not expand this to display "Playing Video" when watching a video or display the name of the Blu-Ray title you are watching (and display the appropriate icon). It may stop friends from pestering you.
Message Attachments - you can only attach photos to PSN message. Why not let gamers attach bookmarks and gamesaves too?
Force developers to use the PSN ID system - Metal Gear Solid 4 is the one game that doesn't use the PSN ID system. Sony should force developers to use this system as it makes locating friends easier. The MGS4 Game ID just complicates things. Any add-ons should also be forced to appear on the PlayStation Store. Konami just screwed things up with the Konami ID and Game ID systems.
Better Back-up/Restore system - backing up your console means all your content is backed up. Allowing user to customize their backup would make it easier for gamers. For example, gamers can select "Games" and "Savedata" to back on those two, and ignoring everything else. This should also work when restoring a system, allowing users to only restore a subset if items.
Let's leave it there shall we? We could probably go on forever but whether any of the above feature see the light of day is Sony's decision. It's taken almost two years to get the PS3 this far and implementing even a few of the above features could take Sony another year. If you have any comments or suggestions, make yourself heard below.


Ubisoft led slip three images and some artworks of Prince of Persia: Prodigy - the name is not confirmed at all, but it's the last thing we heard. Hopefully we'll be able to give the game a try at E3.


It's another catch-up week this week, as the US finally gets its hands on Civilization Revolution and Asia is given Dark Sector and Kane & Lynch (though probably wishes it wasn't.) Europe is barren this week and the only new release of the bunch probably won't appeal to many people, unless you really love your Olympics. Here's the full release list:

US Games

Civilization Revolution
Beijing Olympics 2008

EU Games
No new releases

Asian Games
Dark Sector
Kane & Lynch

Release dates are constantly subject to change, so be sure to check with your local store for the official dates.


Nestled deep in the comments section of the official PAIN Blog, Producer Travis Williams has been busy responding to the community. There's plenty of back-and-forth banter, but there are also some hidden gems of info which we thought you might be interested in. PAIN's expansion pack, the Amusement Park, will be available this Summer for "less than $6.99" and a video of it in action will be shown on the official PlayStation Blog at some point tomorrow. A European release will happen simultaneously.

With regards to trophies, this will be included in the expansion pack and won't end there. Travis says that "new trophies for PAIN will come out as long as we continue to add content." Hopefully this is a common occurrence, with future game expansions for existing titles bringing more trophies. Could this mean more Super Stardust HD trophies are coming at some point in the future? Considering there's no Platinum trophy, we're guessing so.


Playstation Access Diseñado por Wpdesigner y adaptado por Zona Cerebral