PS: you can throw bees at people. Fucking bees. how the hell could you not like this game?!?!
“Why don’t you check if there’s a switch on the cord?” my brilliant Maureen suggested.
EUREKA! OF COURSE THERE IS!
How could I forget the simple switch on the 360 A/V cable to switch between HDTV and regular TV?!? I don’t have an HDTV, so I flipped the switch and ta da! It worked!
Now I feel like a royal knuckleknob, and I paid for it by shipping out my non-broken cables, but with Dustin loaning me those cables for the foreseeable future at least I can play my 360 again. Still, you’d think that Xbox customer service would ask me about that switch when I described the problem as one of the first things to troubleshoot…
Anyway, we all played a boat load of Soul Calibur IV last night, so I’ll have some kinda impressions or thoughts up in the not too distant future. In short: it rocks.
Don’t forget that Xbox Live is offline today for Microsoft’s preparations for a “brand new Xbox experience!”
Calling the support line, it turns out while I’m still under warranty for everything until mid-2009, the warranty extension into 2012 I received for my initial breakdown is only good for the “red rings of death.” Also, since this A/V cord problem isn’t the “red rings of death,” I had to pay to ship the cord out—which I did, at about half the cost of new cables. It will be another twelve business days before I can expect new cords in the mail. I just hope everything will work at that point.
“The Xbox came today!” she exclaimed.
I was overjoyed. I finally was going to be able to hook it up to my computer with the help of an Xbox customer service rep, was going to be able to play my games again, I even borrowed Soul Calibur IV from a buddy by getting on my knees and begging him to part with it for a short time. Everything was set.
After running around hanging with my pal and doing errands, I open the box and start hooking up the system.
“We better keep the box honey, for the next time this thing breaks down,” I said, only half joking—knowing red rings of death were more likely than not to return someday.
Once I had it all hooked up, I turned it on and was greeted with the familiar boot up noise… but not the boot up display. In fact, my TV had no video of the 360 at all. Apparently it was working, as I synced up a controller and moved the cursor around audibly, but I couldn’t see anything.
At first I thought it could be my A/V connection, something I’ve had trouble with in the past. To test it, I hooked up my Wii, but there were no problems there, everything showed up fine. Frustrated, I called up the Xbox support line. After going through an annoying voice activated menu, I got to a real person.
I explained the situation.
“Could it be the cables? Can you use another set of cables?”
“I only have one set of cables, man.”
“Could you get a friend to come over and try their cables to make sure it’s not the cables before we set up another repair?”
I thought for a minute. My buddy Aaron brought his 360 over here the other night to use my internet connection (he doesn’t have one right now) and download a bunch of songs for Rock Band 2, as well as collect on the Microsoft points I owed him for getting us Castle Crashers.
“Well, someone brought their Xbox over here the other night and used my cables and it worked fine.”
“OK, let’s set up another repair order.”
ANOTHER REPAIR ORDER?!?
I grudgingly agreed, then was put on hold for a good five minutes or so. Then the guy came back and told me to hold some more. Then he came back again.
“I really must apologize, we’re doing a system upgrade right now and we can’t do any repair orders right now. Could you call us back in two or three hours?”
Absolutely. I plan to be good and intoxicated when I call so I can be as obnoxious as possible. I know it’s not these customer service schmoes’ fault, but I am furious. This is inexcusable. They sent me back my old system with repairs, but apparently didn’t bother to check if it worked before mailing it out. I don’t know what to do other than just continue going through the process, but this is really poor on Microsoft’s part. Not only did they rush the 360 out the door to be first to market, their repair service is apparently made up of monkeys. Good thing they sent me a month free of Xbox LIVE—that should just about cover the entire time I won’t have a system. Fuckers.
“Hey honey,” I cried out after getting off the phone. “Good thing we didn’t throw out that box yet!”
Still, very happy to hear it's on its way! Less than two weeks from when I shipped it out. Good deal! My only complaint is that Microsoft doesn't provide people with boxes anymore, you gotta use your own. Lucky I had one lying around!
As an XBLA title, this shouldn’t count, but it is the last game I was able to play on my 360, late night Saturday/early morning Sunday last week, and I wanted to talk about it. After the content-packed bargains I found in Bionic Commando Rearmed ($10) and Castle Crashers ($15), paying $10 for Triggerheart Exelica when it’s only 5 levels and can be beaten in about 15-20 minutes seemed a bit disappointing. However, I kept playing it over and over, and now I miss it.
It’s a basic shooter, with anime girls in robot suits (more like robot shells & less-than-modest clothing) and a tractor-beam mechanic that allows you to trap enemies and swing them around as a shield. Music is pleasing, levels are fun, though graphics aren’t the greatest. It’s an addictive game, though later levels have so many swarms of bullets coming at you, it’s as impossible as Ikaruga would be without the ability to dodge half of them by changing color (though Ikaruga was pretty hard even with the color changing).
Even with two characters, each with a different shot pattern, it’s really short, but that makes it perfect for a quick bout of gaming. Overall I don’t regret the purchase and I can’t wait to play it again.
I’ve gotten more playtime in FFIII and finally got around to figuring out if I wanted to switch jobs for my characters or keep the old ones (a dilemma from my first on deck). While new jobs were novel, they ended up being very annoying and practically worthless (especially the bard class). I wasn’t used to them, the job levels were rock bottom and I hated the limitations imposed on some classes. So I switched back to the mainstay jobs I’ve held throughout most of the game. I’m sure if I had more patience, it’d be fun to tinker with jobs, but I guess I’m pretty resistant to change. Basically between trying things out and grinding (I love to grind for some reason), I haven’t progressed much further in the game.
How can I play Rock Band without a working 360, or even a copy of the game? Simple: by having friends that have both. I’ve been to my buddy, Aaron’s, for a couple “Rock Band parties," where there’s enough people to play all instruments. I love this game, more than Guitar Hero, and it’s really fun to switch things up. I’m still not great at these “guitar games” so I play on medium. And even though I’ve spent years as a percussionist, the Rock Band drums seem counter intuitive and I can barely hang. That doesn't seem to be a problem for non-real life drummers (or maybe I'm just rusty). Even though I’m not the greatest musician, Rock Band is tons of fun and the ultimate party game.
Speaking of music games, I broke out one of the earliest here recently. Step on the gas! Now step on the brake! Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind! And all that… I’ve been wanting to show my beloved Maureen PaRappa for awhile, but never really got motivated to load it up until I saw Mega64’s brilliant re-enactment of the game. After that, I had to play it again. I played with friends, and holy crap, it’s hard! I remember struggling when I first played it, so I’m probably re-learning the mechanics all over again. Still, we made it to the bathroom rap battle (the second to last stage), before giving up. It was good to play it again; for the most part, it holds up even today.
It makes sense that after the 360 broke down when we tried to play Beautiful Katamari, we’d want to play the original. I’ve played a little and love how pure it is. Maureen’s done most of the playing, though last night we had friends over—one of who had never seen any Katamari game in action. He laughed like crazy at the intro, and became addicted almost instantly. It’s been really awesome revisiting this classic.
I’m a really easily distracted person, which may explain why I leave games unfinished only to linger in my backlog. I took a step to fix this by revisiting No More Heroes, one of the most unique (and violent) Wii games around. While some reviewers complained that the open city setting was shallow and didn’t hold up to its GTA appearance, I think they missed the point. To me, No More Heroes is a lot like Shadow of the Colossus, where boss battles take the center stage. Of course, there are also minor skirmishes, some NPC characters/shops, and tons of mini-games and missions, but the boss battles are the meat of the game. I played through a couple of them, and ran into some unexpected surprises and weirdness along the way. While it’s not for everybody, this game is one of the most unique experiences to be had.
Although I didn’t really "get" Okami the first time I saw it on PS2, I really wanted to try the Wii version when it came out. I have just started Okami, basically playing through the tutorial, and I am impressed. It’s so aesthetically pleasing and the storytelling is great. I can really see why many compare Okami to a Zelda game. Using the brush with the Wii remote isn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, though I’ve only learned basic stroke moves so far. It’s also nice to see the wolf actually running like a wolf—unlike Link’s wolf form in Zelda: Twilight Princess, which basically ran the same way as Epona the horse. I’m definitely going to be spending more time with this one.
I’ve been occupied and been having good times, but I still gotta say: come back soon 360!
Australia’s Team Bondi’s president, Tom Crago has recently spoke about its collaboration with Rockstar, L.A. Noire at GC Asia ’08. Crago said that the game “still has a year or so to go,” and speculated that it "could be the biggest budget video game in development anywhere in the world." The really interesting news is that he said it was in development for both PS3 and Xbox 360.
While some were thinking L.A. Noire to be the exclusive PS3 Rockstar game, EGM’s rumor-monger Quartermann quashes that possibility, stating that “whatever it is…it’s currently being made by Rockstar North, the fine Scotland-based lads behind Grand Theft Auto IV.”
Sounds like Sony may be getting their money’s worth for this exclusive!
Mega Man 9 Finally Gets U.S. Release Date
For those of you chomping on the bit to play Mega Man’s retro-cized DLC adventure, it’s time to get ready! Wii will get the game first on Monday (the 22nd), PSN lands it next, on Thursday (the 25th) while XBLA won’t get it until Oct. 1st. Whenever it hits your system, fans of the Blue Bomber shouldn’t miss it…provided they’re prepared for a challenge.
There was a rumor floating around during the week that Rare and Bungie would be announcing new games next week at a Microsoft event. The rumor seemed sketchy, though now Bungie’s website seems to be teasing an announcement, bringing back the mysterious Superintendent—last seen just before E3—with the message “KEEP IT CLEAN.” As everyone probably painfully remembers, Bungie was set to announce its next project at E3, only to have it yanked from Microsoft’s Press Conference to talk about “more important” things. Like Mii rip offs I guess? Or maybe real important stuff like FFXIII coming to 360…? Whatever it was, it finally seems we’ll soon be learning what Bungie’s up to. Anything Halo related seems a little doubtful to me, as they broke from MS to get away from the franchise. You never know though…
As for Rare, there’s not been any similar indication if they’ll be announcing stuff too. But if they do, it’s very unlikely it will be another classic franchise. Direct from Senior animator, Elissa Miller’s mouth comes word that there are no plans to revisit old material: ”We’ve always got to have a reason to revive a franchise, we don’t just do games for the sake of them,”
So there go the on-again, off-again rumors of a new Killer Instinct, and hopes for a new Blast Corps, Jet Force Gemini, Sabre Wulf, or any other Rare property you were hoping to see revisited in the near future.
Geoff Johns Going Digital
In a bit of new that excited me, it was revealed earlier this week that comics scribe extraordinaire, Geoff Johns, will be providing the story to DC Universe Online. Johns, who has written JSA, Flash, Green Lantern, Teen Titans, Booster Gold, Action Comics and Infinite Crisis for DC Comics had this to say:
"Taking comic books into the online space presents an exciting and unique opportunity for me as a writer." He added, "I'm looking forward to creating a thrilling story that explains why the DC Universe has suddenly been populated with millions of new heroes and villains in a way that will engage players."
Jim Lee is handling the game’s character designs, and Lee is very excited to work with Johns, as the two have only brainstormed before and never actually collaborated. DC Universe is due on PC and PS3 sometime in 2009 (and is probably going to be the reason I purchase a PS3. I’m a hardcore comic geek!)
A Little Big Planet of PAIN!
I had to post this next bit for J. It looks like Little Big Planet’s mascot, Sackboy, will be ready to be jettisoned, battered and bruised as a new additional character in the simple-but-awesome PAIN. Good news indeed, but there’s no word of when this will happen.
That’s all I have for now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post about some other stuff this weekend, like what I’ve been playing since my 360 went kaput and games I’d like to see remade.
It’s been a windy all day here in Yellow Springs, the town that J & I live in. I’m sure it’s bad in all the surrounding areas too. The wind has blown so fiercely that tree branches (and even whole trees!) are coming down, littering streets, blocking roads and crashing into houses. The power has been going out all over town & our electricity just went out about fifteen minutes ago (I’m writing this in a notebook now since I can’t post or use my computer). The wind is so bad it even ripped the metal roof off of a beloved family restaurant nearby.
Awhile ago, the wife & I were able to go into town, survey the damage and get some food. Almost everything in town is closed, save for Subway and the pizza joint that J works at and, at least at Subway, the line was out the door. I wonder if lots of people are ordering pizzas too (if so, sorry about your luck, J).
Anyway, while gathering nourishment in town, I started to think about Disaster: Day of Crisis, a Wii game by Monolith Soft (of Xenogears and Baten Kaitos fame) which was announced when the Wii was shown in action for the first time back at E3 2006. Since then, nothing has been heard about the game and many believed it to be canceled…until just recently that is. A European release date was recently announced (Oct. 24th) confirming the game was alive and well. It’s also coming out in Japan but there’s no North American release date—yet. That’s a shame because the game looks quite interesting and insane.
Disaster has the main character, Raymond Bryce, fighting his way through a day of crisis indeed. Some of the things Raymond must deal with include: dealing with armed enemies, defusing a bomb, jumping out of a plane, avoiding falling into lava, outrunning a tidal wave, driving through what looks to be a meteor shower, rescuing people and last, but not least, encountering a very angry bear. What the hell is happening to cause all this craziness?
While “survival/disaster” games of the past I’ve played are dull, playing like Resident Evil sans the action, Disaster: Day of Crisis apparently plays a couple different ways. First, as expected with a Wii game, there’s motion controls (good ol’ waggling) used in dangerous situations. Whether motions will be specific to each scenario is unclear. Then there’s Time Crisis-like gameplay where you must shoot, then take cover. Hearing that raised my interest quite a bit.
Again, unfortunately, there’s no word on a North American release, while it hits other territories next month. With Nintendo having a weak E3 showing (at least for hardcore gamers, which is Nintendo’s core audience no matter how many grandmas are playing Wii Sports…) and later saying they don’t have any other games to announce for 2008, there’s once again a huge gap in Wii game releases that Nintendo is publishing releases. What’s the deal? Does this “Day of Crisis” involve things like terrorists or Armageddon? (Certainly touchy subjects but by no means too taboo for video games; they’re actually somewhat common themes in many games released stateside—just not Nintendo really). Or is this a similar situation to Endless Ocean, the scuba diving sim, which released in late summer 2007 in Japan but didn’t make its way over here until the tail end of January 2008. Nintendo of America not acknowledging Captain Rainbow is one thing, even understandable, but Disaster doesn’t look too ridiculous (even though a million bad things are happening on the same day to one guy) or terrible not to be given a chance in North America. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out the compilation of Japanese commercials to get an idea of what it looks like, and just how jam-packed full of DISASTER it is.
My mom just called me to tell me the local police are issuing a request to preserve water because the water plant has no electricity. Power lines are down all over town, the weather’s supposed to get worse as the night goes on and a family friend informed my folks that Cincinnati (about an hour from here) is also blacked out and that the electricity could be out for days. Looks like it might be awhile before this gets posted…
I bought the 360 from Dustin around this time last year. He was selling it because he wanted to buy the Halo edition Xbox 360, Halo freak that he is (you should see his pad, half of it is a shrine to Master Chief, the other half a shrine to Trasformers. Not to say that I don’t have nerdly obsessions adorning my place either, but I digress…). Dustin gave me a good price and a great deal, as not only did he throw an extra controller and some headsets in, he also had received an extension of his warranty to three years due to the fact he had just gotten it back from Microsoft. It was sent off to them because of the legendary “red rings of death.” So I dig out the warranty, and it’s still good and it looks like it still might cover any potential repair I might have needed for the lockup issue, even though the warranty was registered to Dustin and he sold the console to me.
Then I called Microsoft about the lockups. First off, they transferred the console registration to my name, and then did a troubleshooting technique with some button presses to combat the lockups. After that, I kept the customer service representative on the line to help me connect my XBox to my PC, something I've wanted to do since I've had it and have been unable to (and have had two different tech-geek friends, one of them Dustin, come over and try and both failed).
OK, get this... I go back to my living room from my office to start setting up the network connection on the console side of things. And then I see it... What I have dreaded and feared ever since I brought a 360 into my home. Not only has it locked up again on the XBox Dashboard, there are the dreaded "Red Rings of Death," which, if you’ve been living under a rock, basically means your 360 is fucked. My heart sunk. Fortunately, since I was still on the phone with the customer service rep, she started to fill out a repair order.
Well, the repair is covered under warranty. I'm going to get a UPS shipping label from Microsoft for free, I just need to provide a box to ship it in, and the console will return to me 2-3 weeks after I send it. On top of that, I get a free month of Xbox Live and they're extending the warranty again, this time to halfway through 2012. Not a bad way to make up for the problem. So I'm bummed about it breaking, but thank god it did under warranty!
I also have to mention that the customer service representative was very nice and helpful. Clearly these people are used to dealing with this problem, and they handle it, and every issue I brought up during the call, kindly and professionally. My only complaint is that I found out the lockups were a pre-symptom to the red rings of death after the red rings showed up. If I hadn’t had been on the phone troubleshooting the network issue, I would have had to call them again and wait on hold again, something I wouldn’t have appreciated on a day I have oodles of homework to work on.
Naturally, I’m sure many of you have had a similar situation. It’s the nature of the beast, really. J has told me before that everyone he knew that had a 360 has had it happen to them. That’s somewhat true for me too, with (until now) the exception of me. But now it’s my turn to experience the red lights and, to those of you have experienced this problem, I feel your pain. All of this reminds me of the early PS2 days, when everyone I knew with one had their system crap out on them. That’s the #1 reason I never bought one of my own. This 360 red ring problem seems way worse than that, and I knew that going in, but just figured that it was a console that had already been repaired, so there should be no problems, right? Wrong.
But what can you do? I’m going to the UPS Store sometime tomorrow and hey, our Wii’s been pretty neglected lately, and I just got Okami for it. So at least I won’t be game starved. And there is that homework... Still, all of this pretty much sucks.
Whistle Blower Zero posted the series in its entirety on YouTube, but the first installment was yanked for reasons unknown. Therefore, it can be found on Mega Upload right here while the other eight parts are on YouTube here.
Check it out and tell your friends about it. Every game consumer should see this.
We don’t have a review format here at Driver ID and I don’t know if we ever will, but I can’t help talking about the game a bit. I initially planned to do these as initial impressions, but the game is so addictive that we’ve played through levels several times, played through many of the modes and actually finished the game too. It’s great.
J, Dustin and I are currently thinking about games we’d like to see remade to post about; I was talking about playing Capcom Classics Collection in one of my first posts and Magic Sword is a game I’ve dreamed of seeing a remake for. More on that later, but Castle Crashers is just about the next best thing. It really takes the formula of a lot of the old beat ‘em ups similar to Magic Sword, similar games on that Capcom compilation and other arcade gems, notably games the TMNT or Simpsons arcade games—but has a lot more going for it. CC takes it up a notch by adding RPG elements through customizable stats, pets that accompany you and assist in different ways, occasional creatures you can ride and also some neat surprises that I won’t spoil here. There are numerous weapons to collect, from a wide array of swords, axes and maces as well as offbeat bludgeoning devices such as lobsters, umbrellas and sausages.
There are four main characters, each with their own magic: red (electricity), blue (ice), yellow (fire) and green (poison). Beating the game with each character unlocks a new character, and characters that have already been built up can replay the game for even more grinding and weapon & pet discovering. I’ve only played the demo alone as this is really a game that demands multiplayer. If you don’t have friends who come over, you can always play on Live. On top of the main game, there are several arena modes where you fight each other (or can fight foes in single player) in different ways: treasure hunting, archery fights or matches as beefed up muscleheads. There’s also a bonus eating game which is done through rapid alternating button pressing. All this adds up to loads of replay.
The game oozes style. I have yet to play Alien Hominid, though I’ve heard the acclaim for it and if it’s anything like Castle Crashers, it’s deserved. Castle Crashers is wacky, colorful, humorous, clever and wildly creative. The music ranges from epic to downright silly but it’s all appropriate and well composed. The character design is fantastic and definitely creates the hope that CC won’t be the last game we see these angry little knights in.
There are glitches though and I have yet to play it on Live, which I also hear has its share of problems. I’m sure patches are being worked on now though, so these problems shouldn’t be a big deal in the long run. I’ll say again, I was a little skeptical of this game at first but it comes through in a big way and is easily worth its asking price. Games like this and Bionic Commando Rearmed are really upping the ante of what gamers should expect from downloadable games on their respective consoles.