Saturday, May 24, 2008

Alone in The Dark... Looks and sounds GREAT!!

After watching 1Up's interview with Atari's Phil Harrison on the upcoming the upcoming Alone in The Dark... I have to say I'm impressed.

So this interview with new Supreme Overlord of Atari, Phil Harrison, has really gotten me excited on the future of the Alone in The Dark game... with also a possible rebirth of Atari (which is also a great thing :)).

Right off the bat, I love the comparison with Indigo Prophecy. I could not think of a better made game in the Supernatural Thriller/horror genre (if that even exists). That game had some of the best atmosphere of uncertainty and overwhelming tension in the air for the game's characters. The game had a feeling of real life elements in it: character's home, the city, the park, the season's, the characters themselves... and later on mixing it with supernatural elements and making a very credible and creepy Supernatural/Horror based game where you at some point could identify with some characters and feel like its was a possible situation (to some degree of course).

Indigo Prophecy, some of the best atmosphere presented in videogames... Imersiveness, action, creepyness and mystery applied when needed.

So I was very excited to see how close to that feeling Alone in The Dark is reaching. Just the shot of Central Park and part of the surrounding N.Y. gives it that super hero flying (or maybe more like swinging) you would see in a Spider Man movie of that land mark and/or the rest of the city, so the camera angle already gives the game a Supernatural/Superhuman feel where you can achieve that shot only as a consequence of some huge and hard to conceive event.

Always a cool camera angle for big terrain views, specially when done in huge overflowing with various elements type of settings.

The gameplay is looking sharp in the vid and it seems like puzzles will take a good part in the game, while in an overwhelming situation for the character... while keeping the action - gameplay in the same setting's atmosphere and alot of interactions with the environment (to what degree or size is yet to be seen).

Maybe killing zombies with a gun and flamable objects is so done... but danggling up high within an inch of your life, in between a helicopter and a train will always do the trick.

Lastly what I really, really, really like from the vids on Alone in The Dark is that Atari (and whoever else is onboard with the game's production) finally sat down and talked about what should the game have to set it apart from the other popular Horror game franchises... suddenly someone must have said: "You know what this game needs? Young people singing in Latin" PERFECT!! I can't stop saying how refreshing it is to see children singing in a weird language as part of the BGM of a Horror game, film, etc.. This is a 20 year old, more or less, concept that is just that right type of crazy and creepy that in the hands of talented people, can make a Horror game extremly creepy/scary/disturbing/weird. Heck! It worked for one of those Nightmare on Elm Street films (aka Freddy Kruger movies) so why not a video game which can make the user's experience more imersive then a film.

Oh man I got really creeped out when I saw that Freddy Kruger movie... I hope Alone in The Dark makes me want to play it under the covers and during daytime. As far of what I've seen of the game's producition, via what Atari is letting out, I'm begining to have high hopes for this game; even more then any other Horror game out their for the reason that Lurch (Addams' Family butler) himself is talking about it. Its like hearing a creeped out zombie talking about how scary something else is.

This game has got to be great... Atari reeeeeally depends on it, so I'm sure they will role out thier biggest, prettiest and most filled with talent "dog and pony show" for this title. Which means a great game for those of us wanting to get it in the near future.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

MG Ohh!

*Not the Alpha nor the Omega, its the Beta!

Not Too long ago, it was announced that people who preorder MGS4 would get MGO Beta Keys.I've been waiting to get the "MGS4" experience for so long and now I finally had a chance! I'm definitely going to buy the game, so preordering wouldn't hurt. But sadly, this offer was not available in India. Well, there is no surety of the game's Indian release even.All this was making me more anxious to get my hands on it.I decided that I would play the Beta someway or the other.

One fine day I came across a Kotaku article linking to a GT Profile,telling people how to get into the "free" Japanese open beta. On seeing this, I registered with no second thought. I soon got my Beta Key by e-mail, and was ready to download! My happiness knew no bounds after knowing that I would get my hands on it soon AND help in trying to make the game better.

I was waiting for Apr 17th now, which was the day when the gates to Beta downloads would open, and just a day before that I saw this news! Upon seeing this I was worried about my Beta key, I had a tab for Gmail always open and refreshing inbox whenever I looked at it (even though I know it refreshes automatically :P ).

*Konami Servers = BOMBED!

In all this hiatus I went to the new Konami id creating portal(now in English) and started creating another Id with fake UK information with the hope that I could atleast get into the UK Beta, but the site was so full of traffic that the pages wouldn't load and would often return errors after submitting information.But, such errors couldn't stop me! I kept trying and was able to finally create a UK Id for the game. Now all I had to do was wait and see if I could really get into the beta one way or the other.

Konami site never saw traffic like this before, and it caused huge problems from Id creation troubles to the Beta being delayed by a week

*Japanese Key, European downloads?

Now came the question of downloading the Beta.Due to the delay I had more time to download the thing and luckily, I didn't get any e-mail about my ID being banned, so maybe, Konami was only doing that to people from areas where the beta is officially available.(lucky! ) Now I had two functional Konami IDs and all ready for downloads!

I was unable to find the beta download link in Japanese PSN Store,I was planning on using the valid key with newly announced UK beta download.But after following a few links and looking at pictures in the japanese MGO site I realised that we had to access a special option from 'account management' page to download the Beta.

Now I had to choose between a sure-to-enter japanese version of the beta(have the key,But all text in game would be japanese :S ), or the not-so-sure UK beta (where I could be kicked out for not being in the Uk ). After thinking of all possible consequences I finally decided and started the risky UK BETA download.The download was 7xx MB and it takes 1hr to download 100 mb in my connection! So I started watching movies etc on my PS3 just so that current for keeping the PS3 on all the time would not go to waste.(yeah I think a lot about the electricity wastage :P ) All the games I own for the PS3, I've already beat so there was nothing left to do than watch movies on it.

*Patch the size of the Beta? Whaaa?

3 days and 3 movies later the download was complete, then I got a Shocking PM from my Friend on PS3 saying "You have to download a 700 MB patch after starting the Beta, lol" :| After 7 hours of download I will now have to endure another 7+ hrs, now with NO background downloading, so no movies or whatever.

I was still wondering if taking all the risk was worth it, because turning on the PS3 (and having the PC also turned on at the same time , ISP problems) would charge a lot for the electricity! but being so near to finally being able to play the game I just didn't want to quit it, so i started the downloaded BETA file.

The Menu screen was pretty MGS-ey which was a good thing, and as usual I first saw the "other" things before pressing "start game' :P The only other thing in this case was a HD trailer for MGO (which itself was around 150 MB of the download me thinks :| ) and It was the same trailer I saw when it was first announced. so I was kinda sad whole through the video (they could have removed the video and saved us all a lot of time! )

Well, Then I started the beta, and the sound of pressing start itself was something worth noting, it was like a gun shot, but very impressive! it was one of the best gun sound effects I heard in recent times I can say.(Yeah,I keep track of these things too :P ) and was just what one needed to hear before starting a MGO type battle.

*P2P Uploading...

Soon the User agreement showed up and after accepting it it showed that there was a patch and I had to download it, I started the download and the HTML download option didn't work properly. I restarted the Beta and now started the download in the peer to peer mode and this time it was downloading but there was this HUGE PROBLEM!

The thing is that my ISP is really strange it provides a total bandwidth of 256kbps where its Up+down= 256k (where as in DSL connections I tested, its Up/down =256k each). The peer to peer download thing had a speed limiter, but it was one of the strangest ones I saw till now. instead of giving higher priority for downloading, the upload speed limited to "2x download speed" Now I was stuck with 1/3 the bandwidth for downloading the thing.

Most of the bandwidth was wasted for uploading :(

The download speeds were very slow (~10K) and because of that, the download would take very long. Here in India electricity is cut off randomly, its something everyone has learnt to accept as if it were a natural disaster.No one can stop it, and one has to suffer the consequences.

Therefore, I was really worried if the thing has resume or not (because downloading 50% and then having the current go off would be a VERY bad thing to happen ).I stopped the download after 1% completion, and upon restarting, it luckily resumed :D so with a sigh of relief I continued downloading.

This time, I HAD to leave it unattended,I left it turned on for many hours every day, there fore in 2 days with around 12-15 hrs of download time the thing was complete!

*2x uploading done! The Beta calls!

Now I was ready with all my Konami Ids, Game IDs, and Beta Keys, ready to enter the Beta, and finally get my hands on the game! So How was the game?Did in anyway help in making the game better? Lets leave it for the next post :D

MGO has great keyboard support.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

MGS4... Bringing it HARD!!

Really not much to say but rather show, in the midst of all the GTA IV love (it's "supadupa" great... we get it) MGS4 is also wanting to say: "Hey! We're here too." They begun what I'm l thinking is gonna be a huge P.R. (Public Relations) month or in other words: "Try to sell the hell out of this game"... eergh.. month.

GTA IV and MGS4 are bothe great titles, one is proven and the other one has a legacy and duty to fufill that expectation. Only this time their are two key difference between the releases of both titles.

  1. The GTA (Grand Theft Auto) series isn't going anywhere, and will continue to pump the series with new locations and installments in the future. The MGS series on the contrary is ending its tenure with MGS4 and is basically obligated by history to put out one of the best god damn games released by humanity and set its place up with Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64 and now GTA IV. (I bet their are also others, but hey! those are the ones of the top of my head.)

  2. MGS4 has a huge burden that Sony (or rather Konami/Kojima Productions) has placed on it's shoulders. This game IS a system seller. This type of job would have fallen on GTA IV's shoulders also, if it had not been because of Ken Kutaragi's arrogance to secure the exlucivity of the series or at least this installment on what would be at the time Sony's "Next Gen" console (Playstation 3). So, if you calculate on still that huge group of people that were not early adopters, the people with PS3's that have been waiting for another friggin game to be worth the investment on the PS3 since Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and those who are waiting to buy the PS3 for this game alone (Me included)... this game will sell over a million copies and might (it just might) sell Sony over a million PS3s on its own.

Of course, that last bold statement (zing!) will not just depend on what Konami does for the game's P.R. but without a doubt Sony will set a HUGE SPOTLIGHT on the game, using its own resources and P.R. manpower to let as much as the industry, gaming and (to some extent) the public mainstream-media know the game exists, its playiable, its got action, its sexy, looks beautiful and realistic and most importantly CAN ONLY BE POWERED/PLAYED /MADE A REALITY on ONLY the PS3. :S

Now, that I think of it... although it's sad to say as a fan, MGS series or MGS4 in specific will never reach GTA series sells numbers since its not as mainstreams nor as controversial as GTA is and you've never seen it talked about in in public-popular media outlets... weather: late night talk shows (Letterman [after minute 5:40 in the vid], Jimmy Kimmel... [after minute 8:36 in the vid], Conan O'brien, Craig Ferguson) news channels (CNN's Glenn Beck) and even current date leading U.S.A. Democratic party presidential candidate Barak Obama...

Geez! The most mainstream MGS4 has gotten up to know was that morphing PS3 commercial from some time ago. Hmm, Sony hasn't done to well on publicizing the PS3, huh? Then again, this is the first exclusive game that actually matters to millions of of possible customers at any given time, with even a movie in production, which would indicate a mainstream portal for the MGS series but a little too late.

Oh man, I said I wouldn't write anything more, but I just ramble too much about this series' future at times.

To finish, during what's gonna be the month of May up to June 12th, don't be surprise if you see 2 or more stories weekly, some game show paid P.R. or even a new mainstream (cable or non cable TV channels, radio, etc) commercial during May... highlighting the game as some huge larger then life "THING"............................ but even more important on how you can only experience it with a PS3.

Anywho whats important:

Japan Gets *Another* Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 Bundle

Metal Gear Solid 4, You've Changed, Man

MGS4 Revived Trailer

With a follow up story on Kotaku titled: More Info About Metal Gear Solid 4 Flashbacks

G4 TV, X-Play Exclusive New Gameplay Video

Thank to Kotaku for the heads up on it.

Thats it I guess, for now. Most probably this is just a sample of stuff to come regarding the game for this whole month up until it's launch date. Prognostic: A great month for MGS fans!

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