Posted by: Matt | February 13, 2008

About Us – An Update!

Live Eye is a nifty site that will keep track of your gaming time.

See how much of a geek you are in comparison with the 360 insight team, as I have taken it upon myself to put links in the ‘About Us’ section to our respective Live Eyes.

Not all of us have them yet, but check back regularly to see what we’re doing with ourselves on Live!

That’s your lot.

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Posted by: Matt | February 13, 2008

The Devil May Cry, with those camera angles…

So for the second time, I managed to somehow get my preorder delivered early. The last time this happened was with Halo 3, I got that the day before release (much to the dismay of Dan, who had paid extra for his delivery…) and now the nice folks from shopto.com have come up trumps with my copy of Devil May Cry 4. Imagine my surprise when I opened a padded brown envelope on the 6th of February, 2 days before UK release, to find Nero’s shining face looking up at me. This review of sorts may contain nuts. I mean, *SPOILERS*.

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Posted by: Daniel O'Brien | February 6, 2008

So. My 360’s broke.

Always a painful thing to say out loud, but I knew this day was coming, it had to, I’m still on my launch 360 after all…

But why, why oh why, did it have to RROD on me now? I am of course (or not) referring to, ‘the-post-exam-gaming-extravaganza-fortnight’ which every student goes through once in a while. Now, I am somewhat a believer of a little thing called karma, so it was of no surprise to me that my 360 RROD’eed on me whilst playing that ‘quick game before I begin revision’. Now whilst some would agree it’s karma, other’s would say it’s ‘crap’. So with my last exam successfully completed today, I find myself sitting here, writing this, with a broken 360 sat unplugged and unloved (and unplayed!) beside me.

It’s an agonizing time I’m sure you’ll concur, those of you who’ve had a 360 die on you, but especially more so seeing as I’d just come to the realization of just how deep and downright fucking awesome Rez HD really is. There are an incredible amount of unlockables which go way beyond simple beating the four standard areas, which is a synaesthesic delight in it’s own right. At this rate my stack (and it is a stack) of games to play through (not ‘cheevo’ whore as some would suggest) will never dip below 5 games.

Anyway, what’s broke is broke, and I sure as hell can’t fix it, so I’ve decided to make the best of the situation by documenting the repair/replacement process as a, well I don’t know yet, possibly a tool for guiding people through the process themselves, who knows. I’ll even try to throw in a humourous sound clip of funny things the MS reps say.

Now, if you please, could we all partake in a minutes gaming in honour of my old pal, the launch 360 that could…till karma hit it with a very big stick.

 

music note While writing this, I was listening to “Red Alert” by Basement Jaxx

Posted by: Matt | February 3, 2008

Rez, DMC 4, Turnpoint, Conflict: My thoughts.

I’ll start with the outright awful, and move on to the downright joyful of my recent experiences on Live. Out recently were the Conflict: Denied Ops, and Turnpoint: Fall of Liberty demos. Both are truly terrible.

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Posted by: KoKroach (Koratte) | February 2, 2008

Apologies, for YOU.

We here at team 360insight apologise for the lack of posts recently, but it’s Uni exam season again.

So yeah, back to the news; we’ve been swamped with new arcade games and cool new Demo’s in the last week or two. Though the most notable in my opinion is the Conflict: Denied Ops (Singleplayer, and most importantly, co-op 😀 ) Demo.

Dan and myself are HUGE co-op fans, so expect a review of this in the coming weeks, a very critical one at that. We played the original Conflict game for days on end, and we both hope this fifth instalment in the series can come upto scratch, after several years as a mediocre shooter.

Other Demos that we’ve missed include Beautiful Katamari’s European release, Devil May Cry 4, and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. The team’s favourite new XBLArcade release is Rez HD, and two other notable games were released recently too, Chessmaster Live and Boogie Bunnies.

Rez HD and Boogie Bunnies have had a very warm reception by many on the marketplace, less so for Chessmaster Live, but what do you expect from a chess simulator? I’ve toyed with the trial out of interest, and it is a solid game, but it’s still chess.

Posted by: KoKroach (Koratte) | January 18, 2008

Apologies, for me? Woot.

Remember Kev?  Mr. McCullough?  Big fat liar?  Yeah, that guy.

He’s issued an apology to the gaming universe, ooh yeah. Feels good, doesn’t it. He’s been proven wrong, as the “undercover shop” survey in America shows that the number of minors successfully purchasing an M rated game has dropped from 85% to 42% between 2000 and 2005.

He’s also been offered ‘professional’ advice from hundreds of gamers next time he wants to mention a game in one of his articles. He finishes his article by saying:

“in their argument the ‘percentage’ of objectionable content is heavily outweighed by the overwhelming amount of content leading up to it. Point well made…
It is for me however the presence of the content at all that I reacted strongly too.”

But for ME, the presence of objectionable content is not a problem, as 99% of the time it’s stuff you couldn’t miss before you bought the game, like blood and gore in a shooter. The other 1% is stuff like the sex in Mass Effect, which you have to put a fair bit of work into getting to see, and you’re going to know something a bit dirty is on it’s way if you’re flirting like a mad thing with a blue, unisex, and strangely hawt, alien.

Posted by: Daniel O'Brien | January 17, 2008

Fifa Street 3 and it’s animated caricatures

fifa-street-3-20071022100354204The Fifa Street series has always been, in my eyes, an attempt by EA to make just that little bit more money by changing the normal Fifa a little. Making the pitch smaller, reducing the amount of players, and throwing in some outlandish moves and animation. And what was the result, a typical sub-par game I have expected to come from EA. So with the third game in the series, as you can see, they’ve gone for this bizarre caricature-esque style to differentiate Street a little more from the standard Fifa. Which is a good decision really, as it enables them to put in even more crazy and off the wall (often literally) animations which provide a treat for the eyes (when the camera manages stays still long enough without zipping after the ball which now travels at a bazillion miles an hour). The basic gist of the game is still whoever scores the most goals wins, however the more tricks you pull off – which is in my experience running around wiggling the right thumbstick – the more your power bar builds up, and once it reaches max, click the right bumper and your whole teams instantly becomes stronger, faster and has the ability to score from pretty much anywhere. With my time with it I found the best fun was running up the walls and tapping shoot at the top to unless some crazy hybrid of a cartwheel and a volley whilst mid-air to often spectacular success. If all this is sounding very appealing to you, or even if you’re just curious, the big ’emsoft’ and EA have made it easy for you by releasing a very small demo. One game, Brazil vs England, 5 minutes, play as many times as you like, in a tiny little 293mb package. Go give it a ‘shot’. Ugh.

fifa-street-3-20071204042002275

music note While writing this, I was listening to “Chasing Pavements” by Adele

Posted by: KoKroach (Koratte) | January 17, 2008

Turok Demo – First Look

Turok - Dinomauling

The first thing I thought when I started this demo up was: “Oh lord, more Turok, how lame”. The second thing I thought was: “holy hell, ever heard of a menu screen?”. You’re dropped right into the game, with just a few lines of back story, and a controller map to look over while it loads.

Upon taking control or Mr. Turok, you’ll soon begin to despise your ally, Slade. In the first area, a small section of bone-littered caves where the game teaches you that you can crouch, he has 6 lines of dialogue, all of which make me think he is a bit of a girl. Worse still, once you’ve played the demo once and can breeze through this small starting section, he says all 6 in succession, in about 30 seconds, so he’s talking almost non-stop. Here are the last 2 lines of his dialogue:

“It’s dark in here, I don’t like it”
“This place is starting to get me spooked, the only thing I hate more than being underground is when I’m underground and it’s dark”

Well, he may be a pansy, but at least he’s not bad with a shotgun.

As you wander through the first caves, you catch a glimpse of a raptor through a gap in the wall, obscured by what looks like tree roots hanging down across the opening. You then have to crouch through another small tunnel and hit a checkpoint, and you can’t miss the sound of something squishy being torn and some very manly screams. That’s probably the worst thing that can happen in a game, hitting a checkpoint and hearing a guy screaming. Made even worse by the fact that when you round the next corner you see a body flung to the ground, and a scaly tail flick round and disappear. As you approach the body your view moves to the ground a few meters up ahead and you’re treated to a cutscene. Slade spots a shotgun and promptly picks it up. You know what’s coming don’t you.

At that moment a raptor attacks you from behind, knocking you down the small ledge, preventing you from going back. Then you have two of the buggers to take out. Cue dual-wielded SMG’s. Sorry, did you miss that? Turok now has dual wielding, woo! And after you pump both of them full of lead, you notice something else pretty sweet.. they twitch after they die. Occasionally a raptor will even stumble after taking damage, another pretty cool feature. Turok has had quite the overhaul from the totally naff game it was only a few years ago.

While gunning through the next few areas you’re likely to run out of ammo, and that moment is the turning point that moves Turok away from being yet another mediocre shooter. Switching to the bow, you take aim and fire an arrow into an oncoming raptor. The arrow sticks and he falls to the ground. It’s at that point you should probably try the grenades. The slight delay and strange trajectory take a little while to get used to, but mastering it means you can turn a group of dinosaurs into little chunks. The only weapon left to try then, is the knife. Though melee weapons are almost always crap, so don’t even bother, I didn’t. That is, until I experienced the next cool mechanic – a raptor knocked me down and pinned me to the floor, trying to eat my face. Depending on the exact situation, you can stab your way free by either wiggling the left stick, or tapping the left and right triggers. The torn bits of skin on the attacking dino made me want to try the knife, just for a little. And oh happy days, context-sensitive actions! Two of my favourite actions are grabbing a raptor in a headlock and slitting its throat, and stabbing it in the top of head then kicking it to the ground.

But then Turok has always had fun gimmicks when it comes to weapons, but this time around they seem to have real potential in building a fairly solid game. Another thing that should strike you while playing through the demo is the sideways dodge ability. It’s a little useless in the demo, as even facing down a huge dino later you can survive without too much hassle. The real magic comes when you dodge a raptor, dive round the back, jump on his back and get all slash-happy with those context knife actions.

Through the next few cave areas, you acquire a shotgun and with it the unlimited supply of flares on the secondary-fire button. Yet another chance to play with some cool weapons. As you may recall from when Slade got the shotgun earlier, the raptors are attracted to flares. The idea of this is to use dinos to your advantage later in the game, by luring them near other enemies so they fight each other. Sounds like a neat little idea, just how it will work remains to be seen, but as long as it works better than trying to orchestrate a fight between the covenant and the flood I’ll be relatively happy with it. I prefer other ways of using it however. First, the simple one, firing a flare straight at an enemy causes dinos to panic and run around chasing their tails, then get extremely vicious when it goes out. Firing the flare at a more human enemy is a bit less effective, as whatever boot camp they came from teaches the old stop drop and roll malarkey. The other big use for the flare is grouping raptors together, before lobbing a grenade into their midst, very satisfying.

The next much more open area, reintroduces you to the little dinos you may remember from the past Turok games. They wander around, and attack you occasionally, but not always. Still, just to be safe, walk around with the knife, pick the buggers up, and slit their throats. A much larger reptile then decides it doesn’t like you, and you meet up with Slade just in time to double-team this big mutha trucker. After watching the trailer for the game, and stabbing everything else I’d came across so far, I ran up to him with the knife and hoped for some context-sensitive goodness, but alas. Maybe I just couldn’t get a good angle, or maybe you need a good vantage point to jump down on top of the bigger enemies.

After the big dino battle, you meet up with another ally, Reece, the obligatory sniper guy. Walking behind those two while they have a chat, you see a biggish dino that they’re both ignoring and walk right past. Must be a herbivore. So yeah, try stabbing it anyway, it’s always good for moral to kill something much bigger than you, no matter if it was happily eating leaves when you snuck up on it. Moving into the next area some dialogue triggers a relapse of Turok’s training about quiet knife kills. The next area contains plenty of guys to try out the stealthy, and not so stealthy, knife kills. As a general rule, attacking from behind is silent, but attacking from the front treats you to a much more entertaining, and aggressive, action. Switching back to the bow to get some stealthy ranged kills, you might be lucky enough to pin a body to a wall, now that’s cool. It does crop up in the genre from time to time, but sticking a fresh corpse to the wall with an arrow just seems to fit perfectly into a Turok game.

The last weapon you’ll get to try before the end of the demo is the pulse rifle. I do recommend playing with it for as long as possible, although the primary fire is a tad boring for such a weapon-orientated shooter, the secondary grenade launcher is the business. It’s not quite powerful enough to kill a soldier in one blast, but that’s not the beauty of this weapon. It creates a shockwave in a large blast radius, propelling the enemy, powerful enough to send him several meters in the air, and quite a fair distance horizontally. Imagine the fun you could have with this on any level with a large drop, sending groups of soldiers to their doom with a single blast.

I’ve never been much of a Turok man myself, but this demo sure has whet my appetite for some dinosaur-blasting fun. And given the new dynamic for stealth Vs ‘huge firepower’, this game could turn out nothing short of amazing, if they can pull all this off smoothly. Here’s hoping that the release version turns out half as good as the demo.

Posted by: Matt | January 16, 2008

And now for something completely different…

Okay, I lied, I shall in fact talk some more about The Club.

Ant has already given you the rundown, so I won’t be boring you with game details, but I will present MY viewpoint on the game, which consists of me being absolutely smitten.

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Posted by: KoKroach (Koratte) | January 16, 2008

The Club Demo – More Impressions

Dan seemed to warm to The Club, so I thought I’d give it a second chance, knowing that we’re an almost identical skill level when it comes to shooters. After competing the demo level once on casual (first time, booyeah), I first decided this game was too lame to deserve a place on my constantly brimming Xbox hardrive, and cast it aside, deleting it. But I downloaded it again, to give you lovely readers an insight into the ups and downs, from a viewpoint more inclined to enjoy the slower-paced side of shooting people in the face.

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