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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 9

Do you like to shoot things? We do! This week the crew engages in vigorous debate over two new run-and-gun games: Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ and Weapon of Choice. Find out if 2D shooters still have a place in a 3D world.

Plus, the premiere of our new segment "What Do You Think?" (complete with swanky echo effect) where YOU tell US what you think of Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage, and that...unique...control scheme in the Resident Evil 5 demo.

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Please send mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

The Horror Geek Presents: New Splatterhouse trailer at New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con is in full swing, and I’m still bummed that I’m not there (a golden opportunity to meet Takashi Miike has now passed me by…)

Despite that, I’m still scouring the interweb for any interesting news that happens at the show. The first really cool thing I’ve found is this trailer for the new Splatterhouse game courtesy of GameTrailers.

The game looks pretty impressive—sort of like a horrific God of War. You can see some Prince of Persia-esque platforming sequences in the trailer, as well as a ton of gruesomely imagined brawler-styled melee combat.

I’m optimistic that this game might actually be, you know, good. We’ll know for sure come April 28th, when the game debuts on the PS3 and Xbox 360 and  hits retailers nationwide.

The Horror Geek presents: Saw videogame rises from the grave

billy-saw

Variety is reporting that the video game version of the Saw films isn’t as dead as we thought it was.

Brash Entertainment had been originally handling Jigsaw’s first foray into the digital universe when the company abruptly closed up shop a few months back. The game appeared all but dead at that point, with the rights winding up in Lionsgate’s hands. Things have now changed though, with Lionsgate teaming up with Konami to resurrect the title. The game is still slated for a fall release (keeping it in line to appear around the same time as the sixth film in the franchise).

I wasn’t particularly interested in a Saw game prior to this point (it seems like its ripe with the potential to suck balls), but Konami stepping in gives me a slightly more positive outlook. Konami has a decent track record with horror games (they’re the guys behind Silent Hill and Castlevania) and maybe they can bring some interesting elements to the project. My area of concern, though, remains the fact that the release date is still this fall–meaning they’re probably taking what Brash had already created and just finishing the project as opposed to building a game from the ground up.

I guess we’ll all find out if the game is worth playing before the end of 2009.

Killzone 2 demo impressions

Killzone 2

I was going to write this week's blog entry about the general topic of "gameplay" and how it's defined (exciting, I know), but instead I've decided to shelve that idea in favor of something much more topical: namely, the new Killzone 2 demo, which I just had the unexpected pleasure of downloading and playing, thanks to some PSN trickery. Here are my initial thoughts.

Yes, the graphics are very good. In fact, these might be the best graphics I've seen in a game. (Before people start bringing up Crysis or whatever other graphics-heavy PC game they like to jerk off to, just bear in mind that I don't play PC games, so that's not what I'm talking about here.) The gritty atmosphere, the wind and dust, the explosions, the sunlight breaking through the hazy sky, all of it looks fantastic. The visuals aren't so much a giant leap above competitors like Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty 4 as they are a small step. But it's definitely a noticeable step.

Video: Final Fantasy XIII delayed until next year, new game trailer released in its place

When will Final Fantasy XIII ever be released?

It's not a good sign when a 2008 release date, slips to 2009 and now 2010. Making things worse is the exclusivity deal Square-Enix struck with Microsoft—FFXIII would be released simultaneously on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 outside of Japan—Square-Enix has announced that development wouldn't even begin on the 360 version until the PS3 version was finished. How much does that add to development time?

2010 sounds optimistic.

Video: Mirror's Edge modded to play in third-person perspective

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Someone or someones decided he or she or they didn't like playing Mirror's Edge in the first-person and hacked the game (PC version) so that it could be played from an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. That's all well and good as long additional steps were taken to fix any side-effects of the switch. But none were. Instead, we see a character model that was never made to be seen during normal gameplay instances and as a result looks pretty laughable.

Finishing The Force Unleashed

Polished off Star Wars: The Force Unleashed this afternoon, and it was a pretty fun thrill ride from start to finish.

I have to admit that I had heard the gameplay had some problems before I started it, so I set the thing to Easy and I'm glad I did. The developers have a real over-reliance on snipers and people firing from a distance which wouldn't be so bad except that it's far too easy to get knocked down and fall into a gang rape as you bounce back and forth between enemies. There's nothing more frustrating than getting ping-ponged without the chance to really do anything, and even on Easy it happened to me more than I like.

The Force Unleashed and getting an early look at Halo Wars

I'm still catching up with games from 2008 that I never got a chance to get around to… this week, I'm trying Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the 360. I'm definitely a Star Wars fan (although less so since the new trilogy ruined everything) but I've got to say that so far, this one fits into the canon pretty well and I really like the tone. Playing as Darth Vader's secret apprentice is a neat concept, and LucasArts nailed his character design—his costumes all exude a sort of low-level wraith-like quality, and although I'm sure that there are only a finite number of ways to carry a lightsaber, this new "behind the back" style is pretty hot.

Are nonlinear, open world games a dead end?

Far Cry 2

I've been noticing lately that I've developed a fairly strong preference for short, linear games over the more open world "sandbox" style ones. Taking a look at some of the games I've played recently (e.g., Call of Duty 4, Gears of War 2, Portal, Mirror's Edge, Grand Theft Auto IV, Far Cry 2, and Fallout 3), I can see a clear pattern emerging in terms of what games I'm more likely to go back to, or in some cases which games I'm simply more likely to continue playing through to completion.

I'm also starting to believe that the whole idea of the nonlinear, free roaming game as some sort of holy grail for the medium is a bit bogus. We've already seen some pretty damn amazing open world games, but what I'm discovering is that there doesn't seem to be anything particularly earth shattering about these games that, for me, makes them feel that much more profound than the more scripted stuff.

Prince of Persia Second Opinion

"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courageto move in the opposite direction." —Albert Einstein

Prince of Persia Screenshot

HIGH Effortlessly running, jumping, and climbing across the entire game world.

LOW Lightseed collection gets extremely monotonous.

WTF The final "battle" where your opponent is apparently a drunk Pokémon on steroids.

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