Saturday, August 21, 2010

Playstation Move Hands-On

This past Friday, while taking my Mom to opening day of the Canadian National Exhibition here in Toronto, I got the opportunity to try out Playstation Move for the first time. My all too brief demo period involved playing a 2 player game of ping pong, which is included in Sports Champions. The game is played with only a single Move wand (two if you're playing two player).

The first thing I noticed after picking up the Move is how light and comfortable it is. The wand weighs what feels like less than half a Dual Shock 3. All of the buttons are comfortably placed, including the rear trigger (which I'd had some concerns about). It was easy to pick up and use, though ping pong doesn't require the use of any of the buttons, so I couldn't really get a feel for how they work. However, just holding the controller with my fingers in the correct locations to use the buttons was extremely simple and comfortable.

Upon actually playing the game, you quickly notice that movement IS in fact 1:1. You move your hand, the paddle moves on the screen. I found it to be extremely accurate (though I did suck at it). It really did just feel like playing ping pong. Serving was more of the same. Flick your wrist up to release the ball, swing to hit. Again, all very intuitive. If you've played ping pong before, you can pick up this game and play it with next to no instruction.

After a quick game (which I lost, I'm bad at ping pong), my demo was over. But I got enough of a feel for how Move works to feel very intrigued by it. The 1:1 motion is spot on (I actually found it to be more accurate than Wii Motion Plus) and, at least as far as ping pong goes, all of the movements are extremely intuitive. That obviously won't translate to every game, but for Sports Champions at least, you can rest assured that if you've done any of the activities on the disc in real life, you should have an easy enough time picking it up.

I'm still not 100% sold on the Move. I'll need to see how it fares with more "hardcore" games, but for now, my brief demo has left me.....intrigued. Playstation Move will be available in Europe on September 15th, North America on September 19th, and Japan on October 21st.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Playstation Plus: Why I'm subscribing

At E3, SCEA finally announced their premium PSN service called Playstation Plus. The current PSN service that we all know and love today will still be free, but Playstation Plus will be offering a variety of premium content for subscribers. Playstation Plus subscriptions will come in 2 flavors, a 3 month package for $17.99 or a 1 year package for $49.99. The 3 month package is great if you just want to try it out, but the 1 year subscription is definitely worth it considering how much free content you get right away.

Here's a quick rundown of everything that Playstation Plus comes with:

  • Free games (as long as you're a subscriber)

  • PS Store discounts

  • Access to demos, betas, and early purchases

  • Full game demos

  • Automatic downloads

  • Many of you may be saying, "Yeah, so?". For me, this service has my name written all over it. I'm going to leave out what isn't exciting to me and just focus on what makes me want to subscribe.

    First off, I'm quite fond of downloadable games. I own about 40 right now compared to a measily 6 for disc games, so discounts on the PS Store, alone, is worth it for me. I've had my PS3 for 2 and a half years, putting me at about 15 games per year. Let's say I spend an average of $8/game, that's $120/year I spend on PSN games. Discounts are to range from 20-50%, so at a minimum I'll save $24/year on PSN games from a $50 subscription. Uh... sweet? Plus, the more games cost, the more I save, and there will be higher discounts that will save money as well. This also applies to the video section of PSN, as well.

    The next big feature for me are the full game demos. This is an amazing feature. Demos in their current form are great, but sometimes the limited features and gameplay don't really give you a full sense of the game; making you regret your purchase and then getting slapped in the face when Gamestop offers to buy it back from you for $3 store credit. Being able to demo the FULL game and play it for an hour will give you the best opportunity to decide whether the game is worth buying. Another cool thing about this? Trophies and save data are retained should you decide to buy it later on. Pretty nifty.

    Lastly, there's the "free" games. As long as you're a Playstation Plus subscriber, you'll have access to a certain selection of free games every month. So that's "free" as in they come as part of your Playstation Plus subscription. Now, whether or not you'll absolutely love the offered games has yet to be determined, but it seems as though there will be multiple offerings every month so if you like the PS3 enough to pay for premium content, you'll probably fine at least one of the offered games entertaining.

    To recap why I'm going to be subscribing:

  • PSN discounts. If you spend $100+ a year on PSN, then this should be automatic for you.

  • Full game demos. Think of it like renting the game for an hour.

  • Free games. When was free anything ever a bad thing?
  • Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    7 Girls You've Dated, and Their Video Game Console Equivalents

    When I first started thinking about starting up this blog, one thing I told myself I wanted to avoid doing wherever possible was to post articles from other sites. Link to them where citing sources was required, sure, but not just flat out post someone else's article.

    But, this one is just too good to pass up. has posted a great article on, as the title above says, 7 Girls You've Dated and Their Video Game Console Equivalents.

    Check it out, see where some of your ex's fit in. And to all the ladies out there, don't feel left out. These could totally apply to guys as well.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    The End of The Red Ring of Death?

    With the new Xbox 360 S model on the way, gamers everywhere are this the end of the infamous Red Ring of Death?

    In a word, yes. But not for the reason you'd think.

    As part of the redesign, the dreaded red error lights that have plagued an estimated 30 to 55 percent of 360 consoles sold (depending on who you ask) have been removed entirely. In their place is what Kotaku has taken to calling the "Red Dot of Death." In the event of an error, the central power indicator will switch from green to red. RDoT has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

    Time will tell whether the redesign, which boasts a combined CPU/GPU, larger cooling fan, new heat spreader, and some pretty spiffy looking cooling vents on the sides will eliminate the error, which has plagued 360 owners since its release entirely.

    Personally, I hope so. I talk a lot of smack on the 360 because of its ridiculous failure rate on Twitter, Facebook, and in person, but the fact of the matter is, I want one. Really, I do. There are a ton of great exclusives on the system that I'm anxious to get my hands on. I have just chosen not to do so up until now because I don't want to shell out for a console that has a good chance of breaking on me. My fingers are crossed that the new S model 360 has put the problem to bed once and for all, so that I can finally pick one up and catch up on some of the system's amazing titles.

    UPDATE: 1Up is reporting that the new 360 S has a new feature that should prevent the RDoT from occurring. If the system isn't venting properly, it will display an error message (pictured below, image courtesy of Engadget and NeoGAF) saying as such, and will shut down your console. Granted, it will be mighty annoying to have your 360 shut down on you in the midst of an extended gaming session, but it's better than the alternative.

    Not using your PS3? Then run Folding@Home to help with protein folding and cancer research.

    After taking the dogs out this morning and being far too awake for a Saturday morning than I should've been, I decided to fire up the PS3 and browse through Life With Playstation and Playstation Home, 2 things that never get any use. I discovered a nifty application in Folding@Home.

    Folding@Home is a technology developed by Stanford University, which uses the new Cell processor of hundreds of thousands of PS3's all around the world to do calculations and simulations that used to only be possible on supercomputers. Folding@Home's area of focus is studying protein folding and protein folding diseases, which include Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's Disease, as well as some forms of cancer. Research for these diseases, especially cancer, isn't easy and anything we can do to help will go a long way, especially when all it takes is to turn on your PS3 when you're not using it.

    Basically, the way it works is you start Life With Playstation and start the Folding@Home channel. Your PS3 then starts working as a "work unit". A complete "work unit" cycle will be anywhere from 6-8 hours; my first run took 6½ hours. Apparently you can leave the PS3 on 24/7 and it will continuously go through "work unit" cycles. I just might have a good reason to turn off power saving.

    Gundemonium Recollection

    Gundemonium Recollection for the PS3 is an arcade-style 2D shooter originally released on the PC in Japan back in 2007. This is the first game in the Gundemonium trilogy. It has classic, side-scrolling gameplay that is fast paced and challenging (the kind of challenging that makes me happy I'm not going to spend $50 in quarters over the span of the next week). I'm a sucker for mindless, arcade-style games, so it's no wonder that I find this game extremely entertaining.

    The graphics in Gundemonium Recollection look like very typical animé. Colors are bright, making it easy to see everything that's happening on screen. Character animations are very reminiscent of 16-bit RPG's (think the sprite character in Secret of Mana). My only problem in this area are that the characters and enemies are quite large, so there really isn't all that much room to move around on the screen.

    Controls are extremely simple. You have shoot, which autofires as long as you hold down X, Mana Action which does a special attack using mana points, Bomb Action which does more of a “clean house” kind of special attack, and then Demonic Shift which does more of a “kill everything on screen” special attack but at the cost of a life point. That's it. If you find this difficult, go back to Pong.

    And now the FUN part, gameplay. Going through the game is pretty simple. You start an Area, blow up some enemies, kill 1 or 2 mini bosses, start another Area. Finish 3 Areas and you fight a main boss. When you beat him you finish the Chapter. After 4 chapters, you fight Elixirel, who's basically every boss you've fought so far. I haven't counted how many times you kill him before he actually dies, but he can be frustratingly hard. Fortunately, Gundemonium Recollection auto-saves your game, so that when you lose all your lives or start the game up the next day, you can start at the last chapter you were at. Makes it easy to battle Elixirel 20x. Playing through the whole game will take you about 20-25 minutes, depending on how long it takes you to beat each boss.

    My favorite part of this game is the Friction System. Basically, there's only one place that your character can get hit and take damage. Although the characters aren't vampires, their heart is the sensitive spot and it's cleverly noted by a red jewel on the character's chest. Hundreds of bullets fly across the screen and as long as you don't get hit in the heart, you'll get through the battle without a scratch. (This reminds me of 1943, where I wouldn't even pay attention to any enemies on the screen. I'd keep my eye on the plane and just move it around bullets on the screen.) The more friction you build up (e.g., the more scratch free hits you take) the more you build up your Phase Level, which increases the difficulty of the level. Throwing a bomb or gaining a life point will lower your Phase Level.

    So that's it. For $6, you'll have yourself an extremely fun bullet-hell shoot-em-up. Also available on PSN is the Gundemonium Bundle, for $15, which will get you the whole Gundemonium trilogy.

    - Donny

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    New Staff Member!

    Everyone welcome Donny Yeh, otherwise known to the world as No Left Turn, to the staff here at Gamec0re! Donny will be mostly focusing on reviewing downloadable PS3 games, as well as....well.....whatever he feels like posting.

    Welcome to the team Donny!