Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Disgaea: Woo, Woo Indeed!

Well my copy of Disgaea: Hour of Darknes just arrived, after I get some time to play it I'll post some impressions.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Disgaea Discontinued in Australia

After receiving a newsletter from GamesMarket saying that Disgaea: The House of Darkness had been discontinued, I began to panic.

After emailing then and asking what was going on, I've found out that in their wisdom EA Games the distributor, decided to only bring in 1 shipment, and no more.

Now maybe it's just me, but I would have thought that a title like Disgea, even though it would have only a small sell through, you would import more than 1 shipment, because there is going to be a demand for it.

Either way, I just ordered mine, I wasn't going to get it right now but considering the circumstances I had to. If you really want it, try some stores, I know many of the online Australian game stores are already listing it as "Discontinued"

I'll post my thought on it when it arrives next week.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Spys will have their trinkets...

After playing Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for an hour or so, it seems very similar to what many people have said about it in numerous reviews.

Since I've just been playing the original Splinter Cell I guess it makes it easier for me to compare the two. First of all, Pandora Tomorrow is much harder than the original right off the bat. The second level alone requires you to use many of your skills just to do a few simple things. There seems to be more lights to shoot out this time round which can make it easier to go undetected. However, the AI has been greatly improved and now guards are alerted to gunshots and lights being shot out much easier, especially if a guard is already on alert and another light is taken out. This alone adds to the difficulty, or can work as an advantage as it provokes guards to move over to a certain area.

With regards to the graphics, they have been improved over the original, there not as ground breaking as the original SC but the lighting is now much smoother as well the environments having more character and detail. One this though, I can't get over this weird effect that you get when Fisher is in a dark area, the light on the back of his suit creates this weird distortion. It kind of looks like low quality video, when MPEG-2 video breaks up. It's really the only thing that ruins the great looking graphics. Though the guys at Gamespot also noticed it, so it's not just me.

The audio is a delight in Pandora Tomorrow and Dolby 5.1 shines as always. One thing you notice now is that everything seems to make so much more noise. Wooden stairs creek as you walk down them and broken windows are something to avoid.

A few other smaller additions to the game that a nice are the inclusion of a meter showing you when a body is well hidden. The alarm meter, this shows you how many more alarms can be set off before mission failure, and a little notice at the bottom of the screen telling you when you can use lethal and non-lethal forces.

After just playing a little of Pandora Tomorrow you really get a feel for what's improvements have been made to it.

I'll play through some more and write up anything else I find that's interesting.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Gaming on a Budget 2

Well on the weekend I buckled under the pressure of the giant EB sale. I picked up Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and MechAssault, and for a song at that.

Now you're probably thinking, "What you never played MechAssault !!!" Any you would be right too. I just never got around to picking it up, plus I wasn't sure if it was my kind of game. Though since I have always wanted to see what all the commotion was about I grabbed it. Blowing stuff up is fun!

I've always enjoyed mech games, Armoured Core being a personal favourite of mine. I've only played a few levels but it seems great. Now I really want to see what MechAssault 2 is going to offer, since the articles and interview about it make it seem like it has a lot to offer.

As for Splinter Cell: PD, I'll check it out and write up some impressions soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Gaming on a budget

Well with all the talk about Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow around the traps I decided to go back to the original that I never finished. I remember playing to about the 3rd mission within the CIA, but I got frustrated and gave up.

Well as luck would have it our good friends over at The Games Wizards were having a sale and I picked it up for a measly $14 on the Xbox. Yes a bargain indeed. But, and this is the best part, being a re-released "Xbox Classic" title it came with a second disc, including the 3 new maps available over Live and some behind the scenes movies. Considering I don't yet have Live, this was a great bonus. So I'm still currently involved with the classic Splinter Cell, and even though it's a few years old now it still looks great.

And yes, it has re-ignited my interest in SP:PT, which I will defiantly have to pick up in the future. (Not necessarily when its $14)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Prologue

Paying for a demo of a game isn't something I would normally do, or even condone. I simply think it's a waste of money that could be put to better use, e.g. buying more games. Plus I never understood why people bought a game just to get a demo of say a new Final Fantasy title that was coming out in X amount of months, maybe it's just clever marketing. But alas I have fallen on my own sword an done the unimaginable. Gran Turismo 4: Prologue was far too much gaming goodness than I could resist. While the wait for this game has grown and grown, peoples interest in a title will start to feign. GT4:P is a great way to say "Hey, It's still coming, just a little longer". Plus it came with a bonus DVD, how can you go wrong.

For the record I'm talking about the Australian version if anyone is wondering.

First of all if you are a fan of the GT series and don't get excited at the opening of GT4:P, you are dead inside! I'm not kidding, the goddamn intro is worth the price of admission alone!

As you would have read, as I did, the game is comprised of a "School Mode" and "Arcade Mode". The School Mode is 46 lessons, and are similar to the Licence Tests undertaken in the GT series. Though they have now changed, and for the better. First of all there is a lovely voice over from an English lady, who takes you through the test and give you tips about what you must do. This is similar to previous GT games where you could watch how to do a certain test, but now it's just a lot nicer. The tests vary in difficulty, and while passing them isn't really hard at all, getting a gold on certain tests can be quite a challenge. After each test is passed, the car used in the test is awarded for use in Arcade mode. Nice!

Arcade mode is really just 5 tracks and all your cars, that's it. 1 track is a rally track and 2 are city/street and one circuit. Though it's nice to be able to test out the cars you have unlocked on a full track, though with limited in laps.

The DVD included with the game is great. A little short but great. It's got a main feature called "The making of a driver" which is 30mins long and very interesting, with a great deal of excellent footage. Then there is another section called "Behind the scenes", this however is only 2mins long?! I have no idea why it's so short, there must be so much footage from the making of GT4 its not funny, yet that's all there is.

Prologue is what it is, and nothing more. It's a glimpse at GT4, and to keep fans entertained until November. It dose it, and dose it well.