PS3 - Just to Beat Pixelback|
For all those of you expecting another Wii post: its coming! I have yet to get a Wii since I was busy on launch day with something important and all the stores are currently sold out. However, fifteen different store clerks at various outlets have promised to call me the moment that they hear a shipment is coming in. I've already got Zelda, and its just waiting on a system to play it in right now......
The PS3 is probably the epitome of graphical gaming right now. You'd be hard pushed to find a system more capable of pushing polygons and rendering special effects than Sony's latest 400 lb linebacker of a machine. That said, I believe the system (both technologically AND economically) to be flawed.
I do not own a PS3. However, several of my acquaintences managed to lay their grubby little paws on one, and I have the privelege of their feedback to work with. First, technology. The big selling point of the PS3 is HD graphics, and the capability to play Blu-Ray movies. The trouble is, Blu-Ray is in the midst of a war with the HD-DVD format, and the victor still far from being declared. Why you would plop down $600 (before taxes, which at 7% adds up to $42 extra) is beyond me, and that's before you even get a game! But I'm not on an economic rant..... yet. Technology.
Blu-Ray is still very much in its infancy, and as such it is bound to have problems. Kutaragi's statement that the PS3 will last you ten years is the greatest load of defecation I've ever had dropped on my doorstep. So let me get this straight Ken: you've created a brand new system using mostly experimental technology and low-yield processes (ever read anything about the Cell processor?), rush it through production, and you expect this thing to last ten years??? I spy with my little green eye, Ken Kutaragi LYING. If you think Microsoft has had hardware issues, I predict FIVE TIMES THE AMOUNT OF PROBLEMS WITH SONY.
Don't believe me? Well guess what. If you happened to buy a PS3 the other day I hope you have a decent internet connection, because you have to DOWNLOAD A PATCH just to be able play with your new toy. This has to be the greatest farce in the history of mankind. Ken, you shipped a product that doesn't work, with your customers having to repair it themselves! And they have to pay YOU six hundred dollars to be able to do it! Bow your head in shame, Ken.
I could rant about the technology all day and well into the night. Impressive capabilities but 1) not utilized, and 2) BROKEN. I think Pixelback hit the nail on the head when he tried to play a PS3 demo and found it FROZEN.
Economics. Ken, your system costs $600 before taxes. Assuming the average American will pay the stated-above-rate of 7%, you're blowing $642 on the system WITH NO GAME. AND, it comes with one controller. $50 just to play with my friends, SIXTY dollars for ONE game, and not mention the possible loads of other crap you'll need! You're spending over $700 on the this thing even if don't get that extra controller! And assuming you want to be able to play more than one game for the rest of your life, your total is quickly running over $800.
Sony loses money on every system sold. Every system. This is long-time strategy of the console market: sell your consoles at a loss and make up the difference with game sales.
Let's look at the PS3 games strategy. BIGGER=BEST. Best graphics, all around. The only problem is that having the best possible graphics balloons your budget several MILLION DOLLARS. And then what? You better have MILLIONS OF CONSOLES with people still having money to spend ready to make you a profit. Not to mention the billions spent on R&D.
This has to be most incohesive post I've ever made. That's enough for now. Sometime later this week I'm going to find a Wii, and I'll doing a series of 3 Zelda articles. A beginning impressions post (couple hours in or so), a middle impressions (when I judge that I'm halfway), and of course, my final review, which I can gurantee will be the greatest Zelda blowout ever seen on the net. After that, I'll be reviewing the Wii in general. Sometime early in the week I'll have a new slant: Mac game development engines!
Posted on November 19, 2006 at 5:47 pm
Zelda Questions Answered - UPDATED!! 11/17/06!|
Ok, this post will answer the questions I have received so far. Keep posting questions if you have them, and I will update this post with new answers during the course of the week.
Notice! Gamespy has given Twilight Princess 5 stars, their highest rating. 1UP.com has also given the game 10/10 (their editors, at least). I'm expecting IGN's review either today or tomorrow. Also, I'm picking up my preorder of TP tomorrow afternoon, and my brother and I are going to go find a Wii somewhere on Sunday. I'm getting plenty of gas.
Some websites are saying that Zelda came out today (the 17th). Does that mean I can go pick up my preorder today?
No, because I thought the same thing. I saw that and went to see if I could fenagle my preordered copy of Zelda out of the EBGames people. Turns out that they're FORBIDDEN under pain of termination to let that happen.
What would you guess the draw distance for the game to be?
Bleh. I'm not a 3D game designer (my work was all done in 2D) so I can't really make an accurate guess. Let me put it this way: you can see a LONG way. I'm not suggesting there will be Wind Waker draw distances for reasons stated in a previous article I wrote but Zelda games have always made use of fantastic draw distances. And when they couldn't, they made clever use of hills, mountains, cliffs, and rivers to create the illusion of an expansive world. Tricks like those had to be employed on the N64, but the Gamecube is roughly 5x more powerful than the N64, and the Wii probably twice that. So as I keep telling everybody that asks, expect 5 times the game for TP.
Speaking of blood, how much was there in the game? Was there blood when enemies were hit or died?
None that I saw. Its the traditional Zelda death for monsters. However, there was a fair amount of blood in Ocarina of Time, and I think that we can expect to see a good pint or so flowing somewhere in Twilight Princess. Its a much darker game, with a more realistic setting, after all. While blood doesn't gush out from sword wounds like an artery blowing, the violence seems more akin to Ocarina of Time than the Wind Waker. In the Wind Waker, the whole impresssion I received was that I was simply smacking enemies around with a plastic sword until the popped. In fact, the only enemy I ever saw displaying open agony or discomfort from my sharp steel point was Ganondorf in the last battle.
I didn't see any blood, which is probably a good thing. Blood makes for a better game when its used subtly, like in especially dramatic situations or in critical boss fights. I have no desire to see a Moblin lose an arm and writhe in agony while blood fountains from the stump like a garden hose.
How did the riding control? Was it more like Shadow of the Colossus, or was it more arcadey?
I still haven't gotten around to Shadow of the Collosus, so I can't say for certain. Think Ocarina of TIme riding, or Majora's Mask.
can you describe the riding stuff?
I'll assume that you're referring to the horse-back riding bits. Ha, bits. Let me put it this way, Epona (or whatever you choose to call her) is your only means of getting about in this world. Supposedly there's a sophisticated warp system that shows up later in the game, but I didn't get to see it in my limited time with the game. Hyrule is massive. Nintendo isn't kidding when they say that Hyrule Field is five times larger than Ocarina of Time's field, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. In Ocarina of Time you were really limited on where you could take Epona. Not so with Twilight Princess. Sure there are some areas where you just won't be able to get a horse but for the most part Link's bottom will be taking on the shape of a saddle.
As for the gameplay side of horse-back riding, its just as smooth as riding Epona in Ocarina of Time was. The best bits are where you get to fight atop your mighty steed. Yes, Link's hand has moved away from smacking Epona's rump to holding a sword. Apparently he realized spurs actually work when used properly. I didn't get much time with riding (my time ran out while trying it out) but rest assured that it works just as well as Ocarina of Time's if not better.
How much did it feel like Ocarina of Time? Or was the gameplay more reminiscent of the Wind Waker?
Twilight Princess is definitely an homage to the Ocarina of Time. I think I was experiencing a blend of the three latest Zelda games, OoT, Majora's Mask, and the Wind Waker all rolled into one. The game is really pushing a darker theme here, which aligns more with Ocarina of Time's Hyrule after Ganondorf takes over. And then there are the gameplay elements like dungeons and puzzles that remind me of Majora's Mask. But if you really like the Wind Waker (which I did) you'll be pleased, because you'll notice a lot of gameplay that Nintendo perfected in WW coming back. The combat and camera systems in the Wind Waker are the smoothest I've ever played, and I can say that Nintendo has done a great job blending the three greatest 3D adventure titles ever made into one.
Trust me, this will feel like Ocarina of Time...... In more ways than one.
P.S. -> I'm rather pleased that Nintendo gave in to pressure and allowed this game to receive a Teen rating. I'm not an advocate of designers pumping as much blood as they can into a game (anybody gotten to play Gears of War yet? Its almost disturbing; sorry, it is distrubing) but neither do I prefer them to skimp on the realism and immersion just to achieve a kid-friendly rating. The majority of gamers nowadays are above 13, Nintendo. Remember that.
Was there a lot of clipping? When I play I don't want Link's hair going through his clothes.
To be honest I wasn't looking for this problem, and now that I think back to Ocarina of Time I remember what you're talking about. I certainly did not notice anything grievous going on that detracts from the realism and immersion, though. I wouldn't worry too much about this cropping up. Nintendo has paid a lot of attention to the graphics here, and even the physics are very well implemented. If you've watched the trailers and gameplay vidoes then you'll see things like Link's hair blowing the breeze, his clothes moving with his arms and legs, etc. Yeah, that all actually happens.
How responsive was the game to the controller? I mean did you have to do certain movements twice to do what you wanted?
On occasion I had to do the sword motion twice, but this was more a matter of my own ineptitude with the controls and my lack of timing with Link's swings. This gets better the more you play. The game also differentiates pretty well from what I call "unintended" and "intended" motion. Nobody's hands are rock steady, and the game does a great job at ignoring all your little twitches and even small gestures.
how did the controler feel in your hands? was the placement of the buttons awkward in any way? and how heavy was it.
also how long is the wire connecting the numchuck to the controller?
The controller has a bit of weight to it, but it is by no means heavy. Its about the same as a regular TV remote, maybe a little heavier. The buttons are all perfectly placed, and the controller's curves conform beautifully to the human hand. Nothing will feel out of place.
As for the wire, I didn't actually measure it but its probably somewhere in the four-five foot range. So there's no worries about you accidentally ripping the nunchuck out of the Wii-mote while you're using it.
was the framerate stable?
Beautiful. Its not running at my preferred silky-smooth 60 fps, but Ocarina of Time only ran at about 30 fps (with occasional hitches) and Twilight Princess is definitely doing better than 30 fps.
Do you know if they are going to still release a GC version? I keep hearing rumors that it was canceled.
This was answered with another post but for the benefit of others I'll answer it again. The Gamecube version is still very much alive, and is due to be released in the U.S. on December 12. Here's an interesting little tidbit though. The Wii version is actually a glorified port of the Gamecube version, and for the Wii version they mirrored everything. The world is flipped. They did this to make using the Wii-mote easier to use for some reason (majority of the world being right-handed maybe?). So in the Wii version Link is right-handed and in the GC edition he is still a southpaw.
Keep the questions coming! Updates all week!
Posted on November 12, 2006 at 12:24 pm
My Time With Zelda - HANDS ON|
Today I finally got my hands on The Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess. Yes, that's right. The Wii version, not the Gamecube, and I can finally say that I've held the Wii-mote in my hands.
I don't have a lot of time tonight, and you'll all be having the game in your hands soon enough. My job is to confirm or disconfirm those nagging doubts you've been having about the game. So here's how its going to go: I'll explain the control scheme, how it works, how well it does or does not work, and then I'll explain some bits about the game.
Zelda uses the Wii-mote and the nunchuck attachment that ships with the Wii. I'm right-handed so I hold the Wii-mote in my right hand and the nunchuck in my left. The nunchuck has a control stick for navigating Link about. The nunchuck also has motion sensing technology, so whenever you do a quick jerk to the side you'll unleash Link's famous spin attack. Downside: you can only do it every few seconds. Use it sparingly and only at great need.
Alright alright, I know you're all gnashing your teeth at me by now. Here it is. The new control scheme is a dream come true. All those dire predictions and idiotic rants about having to flail about like an insane orangutang are false. The Wii-mote/nunchuck require very little movement to use. In truth, the more exaggerated your movements are the less precise they become, but don't worry: there are adjustable settings for how sensitive your Wii-mote is to your actions. Subtle little flicks of your wrist are all that is needed to fight. True, Link's sword isn't synced with your Wii-mote's moves but the game does really well with it. At first you'll have a little difficulty because you're trying to slash while Link is still in the middle of a move, but you quickly pick up the timing of it. Before long you'll be able to hack, slash, and stab in perfect precision because the timing for each attack is imbedded in your brain.
I was a master using the Ocarina of TIme style of fighting. A master. And now? When I came back home I hooked up the N64 and played a little, and I can't believe how inhibiting the old style actually was. I can't imagine going back to playing the old way without weeping, and I only had my hands on the game for about 20 minutes.
But while fighting is easier, Nintendo has really ramped up the difficulty. Foes don't come at you one or even two at a time. In Ocarina of Time Stalfos would attack one at a time while the other one or two circled you. Not in TP. ALL of those suckers move in for the beat-down. And some of them are in the air so you need to watch out for that too.
I won't comment on the storyline here much because I, unlike SOME GAMING WEBSITES (*cough* 1UP *cough* GameSpy) don't want to spoil the fun of you playing it for yourselves. Let's just say its deeper and more immersive than any Zelda game in history.
Twilight Princess = (Ocarina of TIme)³
We're roughly one week away from launch, dear readers. Make sure that you have plenty of food and soda in the fridge to last you for two weeks because Zelda is going to have you in a state of SIEGE for the next two weeks of your lives.
(P.S. -> As far as game length goes, its impossible to say for certain, but from what I was told, shoot for around 75-80 hours to complete. If you're good. And you don't spend a day at the fishing pond.)
Questions? Email me! Or post a comment! All this week I'll be taking questions and posting up answers for everybody to read. I'll be happy to answer them, but I will not give away any spoilers. No, not even in an email.
Posted on November 11, 2006 at 7:40 pm
This Saturday afternoon I'll be out of town attending a Nintendo Fusion Tour event. I'll have plenty of details and Wii impressions when I get back. Never fear readers, I'll not leave you Wii-less for long.
Also, be sure to check out the new IMG podcast when it comes out. I hear its pretty good.
Posted on November 9, 2006 at 7:49 pm
The guys and I have finally finished a decent pilot for our podcast. If you don't know, Tuncer asked us to put together a pilot for the possibility that it could become the official IMG podcast. He also told us to garner some public opinion and criticisms, and so for the past two days its been available to a select group of people (IMG Pro people, specifically).
At the moment, we're not releasing it for the general public to download. However, if you would like to listen to it and offer feedback on it, send me an email saying so and I'll give a link to download the file. Its not even 30 mb.
If I do let you listen to it though, I want to hear some feedback from you. That means constructive criticism. Don't just say, "it was good" or "it sucked". I want to know what you did or did not like about it, because in the end the purpose of this pilot is to know what we need to fix, whether it be technical details, topics we cover, poor speaking, offensive material, etc. We try to catch as much of this as we can ourselves but there's the problem that we know everything that we said beforehand. People listening to it for the first time often catch things that we don't.
Couple of things to know: for all three of us on the show, its our first time trying to do anything of the sort. We've had a few practice sessions together but that's about it. Also, each of us is suffering from sort of head cold or scratchy throat, so don't say, "Blackshawk" clears his throat too much. That will be gone by next episode. Also, please don't leave your feedback as a comment to this blog. Email it.
The pilot is now available for the general public to download. Pilot. PILOT. This is not official! Go here to find the link!
Posted on November 6, 2006 at 10:51 am