In Praise of Hard Games

Posted by Damian | Posted in | Posted on 6:29 AM

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Back before the days of the Nintendo Wii and the term "casual" was actually a marketable buzzword, games used to be hard. Really hard. They were hard for a lot of reasons, but mainly because the harder the game the more people played. Games used to be hard because there really was no end, no denouement, no big cut-scene movie to tie up the loose ends of the story. Because there was no story. When I was a kid, the greatest joy in playing a game was in getting the high score a concept almost entirely gone from our current generation of gaming. 

Just beating a level, getting to a certain boss, was noteworthy and deserved praise and accolades from your peers. Where'd all that go? Is there no place for hard games anymore?
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Enter Demon's Souls, a new PS3 exclusive title that's become a sleeper hit amidst a Fall gaming line-up of blockbuster hits and sequels. Demon's Souls is hard. Really hard. And that's just the way we like it. Kotaku's Leigh Alexander wrote up an article praising difficult games, and why he feels Demon's Souls might be one of the hardest, and greatest, games of this generation.


I've been roasted by a dragon, used as a pincushion for ghoul spears, and hacked to death by an axe knight, repeatedly. I keep trying, and I die and die again. Are we having fun yet?
No, actually, I'm not. I've been playing Demon's Souls — a game even its developer admits isn't "a fun game." The action-adventure game casts you as a hero confronting where progress is hard-won, recovery supplies are limited and equipment can wear out. The twist is that when players die, they return as phantoms to navigate the same environments in a weakened state in the hopes of earning their bodies back — that's right, the game actually gets more challenging the more you fail.
And yet I love it...



[Demon's Souls producer Takeshi Kajii] explained that in creating Demon's Souls the team sought to return to the core of what's fun about games, and relied on three tenets: challenge, discovery and accomplishment. "People commonly say Demon's Souls is hard because of this, but we never made the difficulty needlessly high for the sake of being hard, nor did we intend for it to be a selling point," he said.



"This act of trial and error in a tense atmosphere is the heart of challenge and discovery, leading to the strong satisfaction of accomplishment," says Kajii. "I'd say Demon's Souls is not a ‘fun game,' but a ‘game to have fun with,'" says Kajii. "The goal is not to find a pre-defined answer — instead the answer is something created by the player on their own through their own play-styles."

Survey: Kids Don't Want An Xbox For Christmas

Posted by Damian | Posted in | Posted on 9:00 AM

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It's official, the PlayStation 3 has hit its stride. Sony's marketing is starting to get very aggressive, and they finally have the software to back up their claims. And when one looks at the sales for the new $299 PS3 Slim, it looks like the rest of America is catching on to the value of Sony's little console-that-could.

But a recent survey from GameCrazy.com, an independent video game news site, shows that kids aged 8-17 would rather have a PS3 than an Xbox 360.
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1000 kids were polled, and of those 1000, 66% claimed they wanted a new console for the holidays. Although most kids wanted a Nintendo DSi for Christmas, when it came to the home consoles the PS3 was tied at 21% with the ridiculously popular Nintendo Wii. That makes the first time the PlayStation 3 has been equally requested by consumers as the ever popular Nnitendo Wii. Great news indeed.

And the Xbox 360? Wasn't even on the list. 24% wanted a Nintendo DSi, 21% wanted a PlayStation 3, 21% wanted a Nintendo Wii, and 34% didn't want a new console at all.

Better luck next year Microsoft.

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Top 3 Scariest Playstation Games

Posted by Damian | Posted in | Posted on 9:22 AM

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Halloween is right around the corner, and the avid video gamer should not be left out of the fun. The horror genre in gaming goes back quite a few years, but with recent advances in technology, the genre is finally reaching  a level of fright to be truly noteworthy. And PlayStation consoles have been home to some of the absolute best horror films of all time, and if you're looking for a scare this week, be sure to check them out.
(3)
Fatal Frame

These days, when people think of the horror genre, they think more specifically of its subgenre survival horror. While there may be quite a few differences in what this actually means, the emphasis in these games aren't usually to shoot your way to victory, but to utilize whatever you have around you to keep alive. Fatal Frame is one of my all time favorite horror games because of its simple but terrifying premise: the only weapon you have in the game is a camera. Just a camera. Therefore you have to take pictures of the ghosts that inhabit this decrepit Japanese mansion to subdue them and capture them. The atmosphere is creepier than you would imagine, and the amount of "Oh my God!" moments always keep you on edge.

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(2)
Killer 7

Killer 7 is one of those rare games that makes you seem interesting just because you've played it. Because most people probably haven't. But that would be a real shame because it's easily one of the most unique, entertaining, and terrifying games I've ever played. I won't even try to tell you the plot because it's hard enough to follow. Even the premise is difficult to explain. The best thing I can tell you is that you play as a group of assassins, the Killer 7, who all have the task of eliminating "creatures" known as the Heaven Smiles. Sound weird enough for you? It gets weirder. The gameplay is a mixture of first person shooter and "on-rails" movement. Killer 7 probably isn't classified as a horror game in most circles, but it really can be terrifying at times. The cel-shaded art style has a dark and graphic look to it. What's more, the monsters you fight are invisible! The only way to see them is to go into first-person mode and "scan" for them, making the smiling, laughing, diabolical creatures visible and vulnerable. It's hard to describe, so why don't I just show you?

Creepy isn't it?

(1)
Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill is terrifying. It's as simple as that. Do you see that screenshot? That's a screenshot of a mouth, a giant mouth, coming out of a wall. The franchise has spun off a movie and plenty of sequels, but something about Silent Hill 2 is, without a doubt, terrifying. The atmosphere is so thick, so heavy with trepidation and fear, the sounds alone can make the squeamish put down the controller forever. But if you do happen to go through all of Silent Hill 2, do all the puzzles, fight all the creatures that defy characterization, and confront the dreaded "Pyramid Head", know that when you're finished you have just had one of the single most horrifying gaming experiences in existence. It's just that good.

PS3 Won't Be Maxed Out For Years

Posted by Damian | Posted in | Posted on 9:16 AM

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Consider this:

The Xbox 360 came out in late 2005. The PS3 came out in late 2006, a year later. However, the developers behind Xbox 360 exclusive Gears of War 2 said back in 2008 that they were hitting the ceiling as far as what the 360 can do. That means that in three years, developers were already frustrated with the graphical limitations of the Xbox 360.
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One of biggest games coming out for the PS3 is Rachet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Already getting rave reviews from critics, this futuristic platformer blends frenetic gameplay with a clean and truly impressive graphical flair. Insomniac Games, the developer behind the Rachet & Clank series said today that they feel it will take another two to three years before developers start reaching the maximum potential of the Playstation 3.



 "There's always ways we can become more efficient. The PlayStation platforms are built with a very high ceiling and I think that's part of the success Sony has had in creating these platforms with really long life spans," said James Stevenson, senior community manager at Insomniac. 
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"The first couple of years are all about developers getting games up and working. You see what Naughty Dog has had the chance to do in the past two years. You've seen what we've been able to do in that time. This is where it gets exciting.

"The PS3 still feels like a young system and I feel like it's finally hitting its prime. You've got the Slim, it's at a good price point now and sales are really picking up. 





"I still think you're not going to see the PS3 really maxed out for another two to three years. We're using all of the PS3 right now, but you can always be more efficient in the way you use it." (Source)



That means that PS3 owners can look forward to quite a few more years of quality entertainment at the very cusp of today's technology.


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Netflix Comes to PS3!

Posted by Damian | Posted in | Posted on 9:04 AM

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There’s some fantastic news from Sony today for movie lovers across the nation. Sony and Netflix have partnered together to offer instant streaming of movies and TV shows through your PlayStation 3. That means as long as you have a Netflix account, you don’t need any extra equipment or even to check the mail every day wishing for your desired movie. Just boot up your PlayStation 3, log onto the PlayStation Network, and instantly stream the movies in your Netflix queue.


Up until now, the Xbox 360 was the only console that offered this service, but there are a few reasons it will be best on the PS3.

1) With the Xbox 360, you could only get the Netflix service if you were an Xbox LIVE Gold member, which costs $50 a year. The PlayStation Network is FREE, meaning as long as you have a Netflix account, you don't need to pay any additional charges to stream your movies.

2) The PS3 is the only console that offers BD-Live, a Blu-Ray only extras service that gives you far more content than can be included in regular DVDs. Everything from behind-the-scenes, extra endings, interviews, and even ways to interact with the movie you're watching - all without any extra equipment or fees.

3) The PlayStation 3 is MUCH quieter than an Xbox 360, meaning that when you watch movies on your PS3, you can do so in comfort, without raising the volume high enough to bother your neighbors.

The service will be available to PS3 owners later this year for no extra charge. (Source)



PS3 vs. Real Life

Posted by Damian | Posted in | Posted on 10:56 AM

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Hey guys, you might know me from Gaming Goodies but now I’m on this PS3 exclusive blog, so be sure to come here from now on! As my first post I wanted to showcase something everyone should already know about the Playstation 3, but don’t often see. It’s the graphics! The PS3 has the most hardware power of all its competitors, more than the Xbox 360 and more than the Nintendo Wii. Because of that the PS3 can pull off mind-blowing graphics the likes of which its competitors can’t. Want proof?
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One of the biggest titles of the holiday season is going to be Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 2. The first Assassin’s Creed came out to a great deal of critical acclaim back in 2007. It also had some complaints—like glitches that often made the game unplayable, and monotonous quests that turned off a lot of critics. So two years later Ubisoft decided they would address every single complaint about the first title to make sure Assassin’s Creed 2 would be the masterpiece the first should’ve been. And although it will come out for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3, let me show you exactly why the PS3 version will be the definitive one.

Assassin's Creed vs. Real Life
(Source)

Real Life


In-Game


Real Life


In-Game

You can check out the rest of the amazing comparisons here.

As you can see, the graphics alone are worth the purchase. The Xbox 360 might be close, but nothing is going to get as good as these PS3 graphics.