September 30, 2008

Rock Band Wish List

A couple of months back, I started making a list of all the under-represented bands or just plain awesome songs that should be in Rock Band or Guitar Hero (a full band game). Here's my top 10 in no particular order:
  1. Incubus - Pardon Me: They've had a couple other tracks in some previous Guitar Hero games, but this is the classic Incubus anthem.
  2. Breaking Benjamin - So Cold: One of those songs everyone's heard, but not everyone is familiar with the band. It would be a great song to play along and truly rock out with 3 other band mates.
  3. Collective Soul - Shine: Just like most of these songs, it's the epitome of Collective Soul rock.
  4. Evanescence - Bring Me to Life: Surprisingly enough, this song hasn't been whored out to any games. With how much exposure it got, everywhere, I'm surprised it hasn't been optioned yet.
  5. Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower: A song so good, the original songwriter, Bob Dylan himself, said Jimi's version was better. An unforgettable song for all times.
  6. Led Zeppelin - Black Dog: Much to my friend Ryan's chagrin, I would flip out if this song made it into Rock Band. And I think Black Dog would lend itself to a better game experience than Stairway to Heaven, before you ask. It's all silly talk though as Led Zeppelin will never end up (yes, "sell out" Ryan) in a game.
  7. My Chemical Romance - Ghost of You: Remember this Saving Private Ryan-esque video? Not just a great video, but a great song.
  8. The Used - The Taste of Ink: The Used in their best form. A song with high saturation that helped put them out in the spotlight. My eyes still light up when the lyrics kick in every time.
  9. Queen - Bicycle Race (NSFW): A song by another band that will probably never happen thanks to their "musical f***ing integrity." The other more notable songs by Queen are great, but I don't think they'd be that good in a Rock Band setting unless they added a keyboard peripheral and possibly a Freddie Mercury moustache.
  10. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army: It might not be as fun for the drummer, but some songs are just like that. The White Stripes just need some representation; I demand it!
A couple of notable songs to go along with this:
  • Sublime - Santeria: I wrote this one down back at the beginning of July, and now it's in Guitar Hero: World Tour along with a lot of other great songs by Tool and even some Hendrix.
  • Coheed and Cambria - The Reaping/No World for Tomorrow: Like I could have a wish list without some Coheed. This set of songs is over six minutes of rock bliss. It kicks you in the gut the minute that first No World riff strums in.
I had some more stuff that may be more personal/obscure tastes, and I'm sure I don't have some obvious tracks. Comment below if there are any you think would be a great fit for these games. You can also check to see if music was already used in any of these games by checking at this database: MTV Rhythm Game Track Finder.

-- "Evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb."

Turns out the next day, I find out Singstar is accommodating Queen fans for the vocal (best) parts: Kotaku.

September 29, 2008

WAR is On

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, very affectionately known as WAR, is like every great MMO thus far: fun when you start, continually surprising, and full of kinks & quirks.

This past weekend I meant to write a post. And I kept meaning to Saturday and then Sunday. But every time I sat down to write, I plopped down and played. As of right now, Kiryn the Dark Elf Sorcerer of Ungrim is rank 15.

Like WoW before it, WAR takes the MMO formula and makes it more airtight than before. I heard a good quote from and their podcast saying this game redefines PvP just like WoW did for PvE; it's very accessible. The seamless blend of all the different ways to "contribute to the war effort" is a refreshing twist too. Someone I grouped with put it simply, "I'm confused," when I asked what they were up to; there are many ways to spend your time.

The now well-defined quest system was continued from WoW. Add to this the happenstance Public Quests you can wander into, open-world Realm vs. Realm combat in progressively larger sections of zones, RvR scenarios, and the overall war progression that all of the above lend themselves to and the game can seem overwhelming.

I feel like I need an agenda for each night I play, but I decide to wing it just soaking in as much as I can.

-- "Ha ha HA! Mine is an evil die!"

September 25, 2008

Thoughts from PAX (part Final)

Surprise! Ubisoft had an amazing demonstration I didn't think I'd care much about. They walked through the upcoming Prince of Persia and Far Cry 2.

I played PoP: Sands of Time...and loved it. Never got around to the other two, but I heard they aren't near as good anyway. This new one seems to get back to what made Sands of Time so great: puzzle-platforming-acrobatic-goodness! The style of the game is very rough edge, cel-shading and a great use of contrast. Can't say much more on it. But it wasn't the big surprise.

Far Cry 2 features an open-world of 50 sq. km. to roam, hunt, kill, and cause other such mischief. I wasn't a big fan of the first, though I only tried the demo (seemed overly difficult from the beginning). The spreading fire effects and various ways to combat each situation are very intriguing; they probably won't be intriguing enough for me to buy it though. However after gameplay, the demo went into the map editor? Why oh why would you demonstrate a map editor in front of 3,000 people? Because it's frakking awesome. The capabilities for forming/deforming the terrain are insane and rather easy to manipulate. Just like Little Big Planet makes me wanna get a PS3, Far Cry 2 makes me wanna play with a map editor.

Lastly from PAX (maybe more will be squeezed amongst other crap later) is Jumpgate: Evolution. It's a sequel? Hadn't heard of Jumpgate before. Well it's an action-MMO type game that looks a lot like Descent: Freespace. Only watched my friend play Freespace and didn't make any time to sit down with Jumpgate. Although, it looked like a competent 3D space flyer with real-time combat and maneuverability. Basically, I don't know why I'm excited for it, but I am.

Coming soon: Rock Band 2 & WAR.

-- "Old age. It's the only disease, Mr. Thompson, that you don't look forward to being cured of."

September 24, 2008

Thoughts from PAX (part 2)

The next game on my list: Mirror's Edge. I played it. Just so glad I got to play it before coming out because I was a bit iffy.

For those who don't know, it's a first-person game with free-running. Like a lot of others, I thought I'd like it more in 3rd-person and was rather dismissive. I played their demo level on a PS3 and felt comfortable instantaneously; it was rather odd as I'm not a big proponent of Playstation controllers. The up-action/down-action felt natural and wonderfully simple. And no, I didn't feel sick once from the first-person rolling. Surprisingly I think I'll get it for my PC. Much like Left 4 Dead, I'm interested in the mod community for this game (though I'll hook up my 360 controller for this parcours goodness).

Since I want to get through this PAX stuff, I'll go through some quick impressions of other games I saw & played:
  • Afro Samurai (360) - Looks good & stylish like the show but was a lackluster action game with no punch.
  • Demigod (PC) - Felt like a strategy game for people that dislike RTS's (like myself) but with no real longevity or variability. Would be worth another look though.
  • Legendary (360) - Only passed by watching a couple other people play it, but it just looked very generic.
  • Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe (360) - Played this a couple times though I've never been a fan of the MK series. It essentially makes me want to play a DC Universe fighting game...
  • Resistance 2 (PS3) - Why am I playing PS3 games? Dunno, but this was an okay shooter though I only got to see an 8 player deathmatch (no single-player or 60 player multi).
  • Shaun White Snowboarding (360) - More realistic and hence less fun than the SSX games.
Only a couple more games left, and they surprised me.

-- "But I'll tell you what. If you want to use my likeness for a Hamburglar-type character, I'll sign off on that. "Mr. Banana Grabber" or something."

September 22, 2008

Thoughts from PAX (part 1)

I played quite a few games at PAX and just saw some others without wanting to wait in line. Would be too long to put down into one post, so I'll separate em and see how many it takes to get through my list.

To start, I'd like to say that I didn't play Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Fallout 3, or Left 4 Dead. I doubt I'll be getting Fable or Gears right away; they just don't interest me enough in comparison to everything else coming out...specifically Fallout 3 & Left 4 Dead. Fallout 3 looked great, but I didn't want to spend a couple minutes playing a game that would take longer to get a good feel for. Plus, I'm already going to get it. And Left 4 Dead looked phenomenal, even on the 360. I say that like it wouldn't be a good purchase on the 360, but it will. It almost has me considering getting it on console and PC. It'll be a great birthday present ;)

As for games I did play, I'll start off with one of my favorites: Little Big Planet. I made a point to get in line for it early enough Sunday, and it was worth it. I played about 4 different types of games/levels. The simple controls speak nothing of the complexity of the game. Sackboy is a great icon with a malleable palette of possibilities. And it seems you can make just about any 2-D game you can think of and more.

It makes me want a PS3 for the first time.

-- "I'm afraid I just blue myself."

September 21, 2008


Finally I am writing again, and finally I'm blogging again for the first time since a class required me to five years ago when they were still known as "weblogs."

I felt the need to write for a couple of weeks now but motivation seems rather fickle. It started at PAX (the Penny Arcade Expo) in Seattle. Though compelled, my stalwart malaise kept me from writing. But I'm here now to put down my thoughts and hopefully get into a nice rhythm of writing.

The focus, you may learned from my title, will be games but will include entertainment in general and associated stories in general. Thanks for indulging.

-- "Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega."