RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jul 5th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (singlebanana)
Posted under Playcast, Sidecast, E3, 2016, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Bethesda, Ubisoft, EA

I'm sorry (not so sorry) to say that what you are about to hear is not the Illuision of Gaia playthrough podcast that you might have been anticipating.  No worries though, that will be available for your listening pleasure in just a few more days.  In the meantime, we hope that you enjoy this special recording that the guys and I did for E3 2016.  After watching the pressers and some of the trailers surrounding this year's event, the guys and I kept going back and forth texting about games and other things that interested us about the event.  Finally, we just decided, why not just set a time, switch on the mics, and talk candidly about our experience and the releases that we are looking forward to?  We sincerely hope that you enjoy our take on the event and items presented over that week, and if feedback is positive, we may consider more sidecasts like this in the future.  Thanks for listening!

Please be sure to subscribe to our feed through one of our media outlets so that you automatically get our new episodes on release. And as always, be sure to rate and write a review of the show on iTunes to help us increase our listenership. 

Sidecast #1 (E3) discussion thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...m/index.php?topic=17153.0

Get the show on Podbean:  http://rfgenplaycast.podbean.com/
On iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/...ion-playcast/id1038953364
On YouTube: https://youtu.be/_VJhFRykChM
On Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/p...ation-playcast?refid=stpr
And follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rfgenplaythroughs
And Twitter: https://twitter.com/RFGPlayCast

Continue reading RF Generation Playcast: Sidecast #1 - E3 2016

Posted on Jul 17th 2014 at 09:52:07 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Titanfall, Origin, Game Time, 2014, EA

Many weekends have come and gone where Steam has offered me various games as part of a "free weekend" promotion. Which is not to say that the game was mine to keep of course. Rather for that weekend I could download the game at no cost, and play the game all weekend, and then come Monday it would be locked up and I'd have to make the decision if I wanted to keep it or not. Though I've never actually bothered participating in any of these trials, it's nice that they exist, sure. But I guess in some ways they just haven't really fit into my life quite right. Which is to say that never has a game that I REALLY WANTED TO PLAY RIGHT NOW THIS WEEKEND been offered to me so that I was actually compelled to spend the time and bandwidth on a Friday night getting it into my library and then tossing my weekend plans to the side so that I could find as many minutes as I could to play it until bedtime on Sunday night.

Continue reading Origin's Game Time or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Titanfall

Posted on Jul 12th 2014 at 10:27:10 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under game refuge, electronic arts, ea, sega genesis

Now its been overdue for a nice nostalgia trip. Playing Saturn games was nice for a spell. I remember seeing the games on a shelf as a wee lad, and had no idea what the system was but thinking the big cases were the coolest thing I had ever laid eyes on. I did not know anybody with a Saturn though. I did know multiple people with a Sega Genesis though, and one of them had our game today, General Chaos. General Chaos was developed by Game Refuge Inc. and published by Electronic Arts.

Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: General Chaos

Posted on Oct 31st 2008 at 02:09:44 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under OH NOOOO!, DRM, EA, Stupid, Modern Gaming

The OH NOOOO! Otter is concerned! See, the OH NOOOO! Otter has a side thing he likes to do when he isn't the OH NOOOO! Otter on this here website. It turns out that Mr. Otter is a mischief maker on EA's official forums. You might call him a troll, but hey, every forum has their troll, and well, we tend to ban them. I really don't know why Mr. Otter find it's necessary to be such a not so nice member on EA's official forum. It might be because EA has historically been an evil corporation. It could just be that he is a truly malicious person. But, EA is really getting sick of his and others antics, and they are going to raise the stakes in getting banned.

See, most forums just ban you from the site. That's what we do, and I imagine other sites do that as well. But see, EA decided to be truly malicious in banning. EA happens to use a wonderful piece of DRM known as SecuROM, which causes its games to call home periodically. Additionally, these new games all have an EA ID that spans across games. Well, EA has decided to tie your game EA ID to your forum ID. Big deal, right? Well, it is.

See, if you get banned on the forum now you're going to get locked out of your games, and well, that would truly suck. You paid for the games, so shouldn't you be able to play the games even if you get banned from some measly official forum? Well, EA doesn't think so. So yeah, play nice kids, and Mr. Otter, do be careful now. You never know when EA might lock you out of your games.

UPDATE: A Red Alert 3 Mod was lying. Way to represent the corporate behemoth! Turns out this was false.

Backtalk in EA's Forums, Get Banned From Your Games? [Kotaku]

Posted on Oct 24th 2008 at 03:57:31 AM by (Wolfman Walt)
Posted under Week Old Reviews, Dead Space, Reviews, Wolfman Walt, EA, Week Old, Survival Horror

In space no one can hear you scream, unless MJ and Janet are responsible, in which case no one wanted to hear "Scream". Of course that doesn't really help most of us that are stuck in our living rooms on a regular basis playing horror games. I'm pretty sure everyone in my family knows I scream like a little girl thanks to Silent Hill 2. Dead Space isn't really improving things.

Dead Space, designed by EA Redwood Shores, is a new intellectual property from EA, a company that used to be considered the most vile and unoriginal collection of individuals since John Romero's ego took over his soul. With their buying up every single development house known to mankind and pumping out Maddens like it was going out of style they easily qualify as atleast a stereotypical Captain Planet villian. Then they release a string of good new properties that I enjoyed such as Army of Two, no matter how criminally short it was, Crysis, and most importantly Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Then Activision came along and proved to be worse than Julian Sands as the Warlock and anything EA has mustered for upsetting me. Then EA released Dead Space a week ago.

Continue reading Week Old Reviews: Dead Space

Posted on Sep 14th 2008 at 12:28:14 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under OH NOOOO!, Modern Gaming, Spore, EA, SecuROM, God Hates Righteous People

Oh dear, it appears as though EA doesn't realize that people really, really hate intrusive Digital Rights Management, which you might begrudgingly know as DRM. Some places do DRM right, like Valve. Sure only one user can have a game, but at least that user can install the game as many times as he wishes. Apparently, EA just wants to piss you off if you buy Spore. Never mind enjoying the game, let's find a way to punish you for being on of the righteous buyers of Spore. How does EA do that? By using SecuROM, of course. As stated on everyone's favorite encyclopedia, Wikipedia, "SecuROM is a CD/DVD copy protection product, most often used for computer games running under Microsoft Windows, developed by Sony DADC. SecuROM aims to resist home media duplication devices, professional duplicators, and reverse engineering attempts. The newest versions (v4 and up) prevent 1:1 CD-R copies from being made. Certain programs can circumvent its protection. The use of SecuROM is controversial because certain aspects of the protection are similar to functions of malware, and users are not always informed when SecuROM is included with a product."

So, what aspects of SecuROM make it hated? Well, SecuROM phones home. You want to install that game on your PC? Well, go ahead, you have three installs on three PCs. But here is the thing. Let's say you install on your desktop, and then it goes into an incessant Blue Screen of Death and you have to reformat? Well, you reformatted, so that PC is no longer authorized to play the game. So, there goes a second authorization. After three installs on "different" PCs, you're done with playing the game. Gone are the days where you could reinstall as many times as you want, and here are the days where you're stuck with what the publisher gives you.

Spore, happens to have SecuROM, the lovely piece of software that phones home whenever an update is done or whenever the game is installed. A lot of people don't like that, so much so that on Amazon the customer rating sits at 1 out of 5 stars with 2216 reviews and growing. Turns out people really, really, really hate the DRM known as SecuROM, and they've shown their ire through the Amazon rating system. As one such reviewer says, "First of all, the game incorporates a draconian DRM system that requires you to activate over the internet, and limits you to a grand total of 3 activations. If you reach that limit, then you'll have to call EA in order to add one extra activation. That's not as simple as it sounds, since when you reach that point EA will assume that you, the paying customer, are a filthy pirating thief." Doesn't that sound wonderful?

It gets interesting though. A few days ago, Amazon pulled the Spore reviews. A few hours later, they were back, and their absence was attributed to "a site glitch". You know, I can claim that monkey's fly out of my ass, but that does not make it true. I bet their statement on it being a site glitch is a dirty, malicious lie.

It's really a shame that EA had to sully Will Wright's game with DRM. It's even more sad that EA doesn't trust you as a paying customer, and thinks you are obviously a dirty, filthy pirate. Perhaps people would have not had this backlash if only EA trusted them to be righteous consumers. But no, look where we are today. Spore has a 1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, and people are pissed. Here's to you, EA.

Ed Note: I just noticed that over the last month that "Oh Noooo Otter" was the number 3 referral for our site, just behind the keyword RF Generation. Isn't that fun?

Posted on Mar 24th 2008 at 09:51:50 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Rock Band, EA, Harmonix, Wii

Let's not kid ourselves. I really like music / rhythm games. As such, I really like games like Guitar Hero. So, when the next Harmonix game was announced and it was Rock Band, it was pretty damn exciting. Then, there was the revelation that the game was only coming out for the 360 and PS3, which made baby Jesus cry. I myself, was one sad panda. The pain was lessened a bit when I saw the associated price tag, but the game still was amazing, and deep down, I still wanted it.

Fortunately, Harmonix announced that eventually Rock Band would be coming to the Wii, and that was about it. No price, no release date... nothing other than that the game was coming to the Wii. Well, that's nice, but I want more concrete information. The Wii owners want more information. Would it be expensive like its brethren, or would it be slightly more affordable? Would it be a quick cash in like Guitar Hero / PS2 Rock Band, or would the content be more like the 360 / PS3 versions? Most importantly, when would it be coming out?

Well, there is a release data and price for the Wii version. June 22, 2008. $170. Price, not too surprising, but hey! We now have a date. Additionally, it  will be a "Special Edition", with 63 songs, including 5 bonus songs. Oh boy, I can barely contain myself. Yay. Seriously.

So, the burning question of will this game be a gimped version like the PS2 version, or will the game be like the 360 / PS3 version has yet to be answered. Certainly, my excitement will either fall or rise with that announcement, and I can't wait to hear more about this version of the game.

Rock Band Wii 'Special Edition' on June 22, $170 [Joystiq]

UPDATE: Kotaku asked for comment about DLC... No DLC... yet. No DLC ==No Buy.

Posted on Mar 9th 2008 at 06:00:00 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, EA, Bioware

Maxis was a great company. Who didn't love SimCity 2000? Certainly, it's no Stunt Driver, but boy was the game fun. Could you get the Launch Arcos to actually launch? I couldn't. I suck. But hey, at least I could start major floods like the best SimCity players. Floods are something that all the new SimCity games surely miss. Bring them back Maxis. I beg you. Maxis was certainly a great company. Today, however, it is part of the behemoth known as EA. Sure, they still have reign to make potentially amazing games such as Spore, but let's look at the other, unfortunate studios. Take for example Westwood Studios, the original developer of the hugely successful Command and Conquer Series. Red Alert"¦ quality game. Red Alert 2"¦ also a quality game. So you'd think a studio with a series as successful as Command and Conquer would have been allowed to survive, right? Well, you'd be wrong. Instead EA ate them. No more. Completely assimilated. That's apparently what you get for screwing up on an offshoot of your major franchise. Thanks C&C Renegade. So, there went Westwood, and other studios have seen similar fates, becoming less autonomous and on occasion just not existing anymore. Bullfrog? What's that? They've been gone for a while.

EA likes to buy companies. In the past, they would assimilate the companies, but recently their CEO mentioned that this model just was not a good idea. Of course, this statement was made right around the acquisition of a high profile developer. You may know them as Bioware. They make good games. Most recently they released Mass Effect, and before that they had hits such as Jade Empire and Neverwinter Nights. Hugely successful. Congrats to them. But you got to wonder, will their success keep them from becoming a footnote in EA's corporate history? Sure, EA says that assimilation is a bad thing, but was that just said to placate the masses of people who find Bioware to be the be all end all of developers? (I'm looking at you, Tan) History shows they have no problem making developers part of the bigger EA. So, is that fate subject to Bioware? What could it take? A bad game? A whim of the CEO? Nothing? Who knows? But what I do know is that I'd take Mr. Riccitiello's comments with a grain of salt. It might make a future assimilation even more stinging than it should be.

So, why am I writing this article? Is it because there is a Blizzard Warning out right now and I am cooped up in the house, or is it because EA is trying to become ultra-mega EA upon the purchase of either Take Two or perhaps Ubisoft. Maybe it's both. But yeah, doesn't EA's Grand Theft Auto sound delightfully evil? The Evil Publisher, with what is considered by some to be the devil's game. How delightfully maniacal. Damn you EA for owning Maxis. You'll get my money for that. But, will you or will you not keep your future and new acquisitions autonomous? I certainly hope that you do, but at the same time I certainly will not keep my hopes up.

Posted on Feb 13th 2008 at 04:58:43 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Modern Gaming, EA, Red Alert, PC

It's possible that you may enjoy the Command and Conquer series. If you do, it's even more possible that you think that Red Alert is the best game in the series, like myself. Seriously, who didn't have fun playing as the Red Army, killing people with massive amounts of Tesla Coils and MiGs? Certainly, I did, it was a blast to play that game. Oh how better times have passed. Since that game was released EA has become an evil empire, and killed Westwood Studios. But fear not! I have good news! Red Alert 3 has been officially announced.

Unfortunately, not much is known at this time about the game, other than it has been announced via PC Gamer, but hopefully by the time March 4 hits, we'll know a bit more. Between this and a official release date for Spore, this has been a good day provided by the Evil Empire.

Red Alert 3 Announced in April 2008 issue of PC Gamer [PC Gamer, via Kotaku]

Posted on Feb 7th 2008 at 04:57:13 AM by (Tondog)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Opinion, Microsoft, Xbox 360, EA, Burnout Paradise, Xbox Live, Nickel and Dimes, Should have bought a PS3

Do you have an Xbox 360 Core or Arcade model? Did you expect it to be able to do what the higher end Xbox 360s can? You did? Well, guess what? You're wrong. Dead wrong.

If you buy Burnout Paradise, the latest installment in Criterion's critically acclaimed series, you'll be forced to play it offline, unless you pay $100 to Microsoft to buy a hard drive.

"Wait a minute? Are you saying what I think you're saying?! Burnout Paradise on the Xbox 360 REQUIRES a hard drive in order to play online?!" Yes. That is exactly what I said. No typos. You MUST have a hard drive in order to play this game online. "But I thought Microsoft said 'every game will work with every Xbox 360 system'?" Yeah they did, but did you see the part that said, "But just like some games will require you to have a Memory Unit to save games, some games will require you to have a Hard Drive to experience them." OH MY GOD! NO WAY!

What does this mean? It means that if you bought a 360 Core or Arcade, you just got ripped-off big time, but not by Criterion/EA, but by Microsoft.

I know, I'm a Sony fan and tend to gravitate to them, but hear me out. Games these days need a lot of space to run, especially big open-world games like Burnout Paradise. Microsoft should have had the foresight to see that this would become a problem and launched the Core model with a 20GB hard drive and the Premium one with a 40GB or so. By not doing that, they basically limited what the developers can do with the system and make them figure out other ways of caching and quick access.

This isn't the first time that the hard drive has been required on the 360 (think of all the DLC for various games, video downloads, Final Fantasy XI, and Oblivion GOTY), but it is perhaps the most notable since Burnout has huge mainstream and casual gamer popularity, and the people who buy this game might not be the ones that have the Elite Super Deluxe model with all the bells and whistles.

The 360's lack of a standard hard drive is also holding back the game industry because now it's getting to the point where the PS3 versions of games are being effected by Microsoft's boneheaded decision. Rockstar and Capcom have already expressed problems with the lack of a hard drive, and I'm sure more are to follow.

But remember, this is one (admittedly biased) guy's viewpoint. So, readers, I ask you this: what's the solution to this problem? Should devs just leave behind Core and Arcade owners? Or what should happen here?


Posted on Jan 21st 2008 at 06:24:07 PM by (Tondog)
Posted under Modern Gaming, PC, EA, Free Games, EA SAPPIN MAH STYLE

Brace yourself, EA did something great here...

EA has just announced a new installment of DICE's Battlefield series. It's called Battlefield Heroes, and it's yet another World War 2 first person shooter...but wait a minute, it's a cartoony game. Hmm, I wonder where EA got that brilliant idea from. Regardless of whether or not they totally ripped off Valve's style, it's pretty cool to see that they are trying something new in the WW2 FPS genre.

However, the biggest news about this game is that EA is doing something that could change the game industry as we know it. They are going to be giving the game away for free! THAT'S RIGHT! EA IS PUBLISHING A GAME FOR FREE! How will it be funded though? Well, it will make use of every gamer's favorite new gaming trends: in-game advertising and microtransactions. The exact nature of the in-game ads and the microtransactions are unknown at this time, but I wouldn't be shocked if EA charged you for bullets. Hopefully it will be at least pretty well featured without having to download or pay for any add-on content. The other huge concern I have about the game is that they are saying "Battlefield Heroes™, an all-new Play 4 Free cartoon-style shooter that will bring classic Battlefield gameplay to an all new mass audience." I just hope that advanced gamers will be able to enjoy it too.

And apparently, this is only the beginning of EA's venture into free games. In the press release announcing the game, they kept referring to this new business model they have called "Play 4 Free". No other games are known to be part of this plan, but I am very interested to see where EA takes this in the future.

Nothing else is known at this time, but more about the game will be revealed in the March issue of Games for Windows magazine.

Who says EA isn't innovative?

[Battlefield Heroes website]

Posted on Dec 28th 2007 at 04:57:12 PM by (Tondog)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Year End Lists, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Gamespot, Activision, Harmonix, EA

It's the end of the year, so that means that every self respecting video game site (or any site in general) must put out top 10 lists. Next-Gen.biz has done one that I thought was a pretty good read for the top 10 blunders of the year, and get this: I actually agree with the list completely! Read on for the list and my comments:

10. The Non-Elite Elite (Microsoft's release of the Xbox 360 Elite):

Makes sense that it's a blunder because Microsoft only painted the 360 black, put an HDMI port on it, and threw a larger hard drive in there for the Elite. The did nothing else with it really. No HD DVD playback or built in wireless. Far from "Elite" in my book.

9. This Heading Guaranteed 100% Free of Wii Puns (Nintendo not producing enough Wii systems to meet consumer demand)

This is definitely a bad move on Nintendo's part. It's been one year and I've only seen a Wii in stock at a store only a few times since the launch. Come on Nintendo, step your game up.

8. We've Got A SKU Just For You! (Sony's new models)

I don't know that it was exactly a blunder, but it was a boneheaded move on Sony's part. All those PS3 models confuse the consumer. Especially considering they criticiczed Microsoft for the same thing when the 360 came out two years ago (dang, has it really been that long). I also had to laugh at this quote in the article: "Given the current rate of hardware revisions and Sony's stated goal of a 10-year console cycle, there will be no fewer than 40 PlayStation 3 models by the time the platform retires. As each model cuts features, analysts expect the final version to be just a stylish, shiny black box that does nothing more than take tens and twenties in through the disc slot." Now you all know I'm a Sony fan, but that is undeniably hilarious. I also laughed at the comparison chart's bottom row.

7. Surprise! Zombies! (The VP of Microsoft Game Studios' big secret is not so secret.)

As with the article I linked to, I just need to reprint the whole exchange between Microsoft's Shane Kim and Game Informer magazine. There's really no other way to explain it:

Kim: I think one of the most important, subtle announcements at the Xbox 360 briefing is that Resident Evil is coming to Xbox 360. Yes, it's from Capcom, who's been a great supporter of us.

GI: But we knew that two years ago.

Kim: What?

GI: Resident Evil. It was shown at TGS two years ago.

Kim: No, but coming to Xbox 360.

GI: Yeah. It was at the press event.

Kim: I don't think so.

GI: I'm positive. I was there.

Kim: Really?

GI: It was shown at both press conferences.

Kim: That RE5 was coming to…?

GI: Yep.

Kim: I'm going to have to confirm that. That was supposed to be the big announcement.

Comedic GOLD! What an announcement there Shane!

6. Sony Exec Offers to Buy PS3s (Jack Tretton offers $1200 for unbought PS3s)

Basically, the story goes that current president of SCEA, Jack Tretton, said in a January interview with EGM that he would offer $1200 to anyone who can find a PS3 that has been on store shelves for more than 5 minutes. Well, the guys behind the popular webcomic Penny Arcade (in b4 WHY AM I SO BALD?!) did a little investigating and found that Sony now owes them $13,200 since they found 11 units unsold. Great move Jack, great move. The article also mentions some of his other quotes this year, in specific comparing the Wii to a lollipop, the 360 to a bad chef who you might get sick from, and the PS3 to a steak dinner. But my favorite Tretton quote has to be: "I would like my car to fly and make me breakfast, but that's an unrealistic expectation." which was referring to the backwards compatibility of the PS3. I think that Jack Tretton has become the new Ken Kutaragi as far as ridiculous comparisons go.

5. Alone Against The Empire (Sony blackballs Kotaku)

Right before the Game Developer's Conference Kotaku, a gaming blog, posted an article on a rumor that Sony had a new online service (the then unannounced Home) that they would reveal at GDC. When asking Sony for comments on the rumor, they offered no comment and demanded Kotaku take down the story. When Kotaku refused to do so, Sony gave them the middle finger and blackballed them via email (which Kotaku published as well). This was definitely a blunder on Sony's part and perhaps one of the most moronic PR decisions I've seen in my life, but at least Sony made nice with Kotaku later on that day and invited them back to all their GDC events.

4. Game Over Gerstmann (Gamespot fires Jeff Gerstmann)

I think this one could be higher, because it is perhaps the most significant blunder of the year since it exposes what is wrong with the mainstream gaming media. As we reported a few weeks ago, Gamespot fired Jeff Gerstmann over alleged pressure from Eidos over the review of their game, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. Since the firing, Gamespot Complete subscriptions have been cancelled in mass and more importantly, their credibility has suffered .

3. It's Just a Toy Guitar and Some Music (Guitar Hero and Rock Band's many problems)

Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band launched with issues. Mono sound on the Wii and failing Rock Band guitars in specific. The first one is really odd because I can't believe QA didn't pick that up! How in the heck does one not notice that unless they're playing on a tv with one speaker? I'd be disappointed to get GH3 home and see it just showing up as a mono signal on my receiver. Heck, I'm disappointed Orange Box on PS3 is just in stereo. And as far as the failing Rock Band controllers go, remember that you can get a free game from EA (aka: GET SKATE DAMMIT!) if your controller breaks...

2. We Already Bought All the Good Ones, Right? (EA buys Bioware and Pandemic, gets cocky)

I don't know about this one being on the list but it's pretty funny. So, John Riccitiello, the CEO of EA said that the industry has largely been picked for mergers after they bought Bioware and Pandemic, but then two days after he says that Activision and Vivendi Universal (publisher of World of Warcraft and owner of Blizzard) form to make Activision Blizzard. Funny ain't it? Not really.

And the number one blunder of the year?!

1. Red Ink of Death

"Y'know things break" -Peter Moore on the 360's Failure Rate

This is definitely the blunder of the year. Why? It's made many people uncomfortable getting a 360 due to the enormous failure rate and made the 360's reputation into an unreliable piece of hardware. For Peter Moore to ignore it and brush it off when it was really a huge problem that would eventually cost the company a ton of money, not a good idea...

So, what do you think? Good list? Bad list? Let your thoughts be heard in the comments!


Posted on Dec 24th 2007 at 05:23:51 AM by (Tondog)
Posted under Modern Gaming, EA, Skate, Sony, Game Republic, Folklore, Underrated and Overlooked Games Of The Year

2007 was the year of hype in gaming. Between Halo 3, Mass Effect, Super Mario Galaxy, Crysis, and Assassin's Creed, this year has seen the release of some of the most talked up games of all-time. While some of them fell far short of the hype, there were plenty of other far superior games that came out, but received little to no attention from mainstream gamers. So, continuing now and on every Wednesday (or Thursday) (or sometime) until the end of the year, I will be giving you a look at two games released this year that deserve your hard-earned cash and attention. At the end of this five-part series (ending the day after Christmas), I will list them in order of the most overlooked/underrated.

This inclusion might be a little controversial since it is a fairly well known game and will be getting a sequel, but nonetheless, I think it's been overlooked by many gamers. This game would be Skate by EA Black Box and published by EA. The game has only sold less than half a million copies across both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, most likely because the 360 version came out a week before Halo 3 and the PS3 version came out on the same day as Halo 3. Damn you Halo 3 for sabotaging the sales of a great game! Halo bashing aside, Skate may look like a typical skateboarding game like the Tony Hawk series on the surface, but the game takes a completely opposite approach to the sport than the Tony Hawk games. With Skate, EA strived to make the most realistic skateboarding game ever, a goal that was met. In Skate, you can not land a 540 going off a little kicker like you can in Tony Hawk, nor can you easily land a 900 going off a half pipe. It's much more realistic compared to the crazy combos and tricks seen in the Tony Hawk games.

The best part about the game is its extremely innovative control scheme. You can kick with your right foot by pressing the A/X button, kick with your left foot by pressing X/Square (this is a first in any game, at least to my knowledge), and move around with the left analog stick. However, where Skate truly shines is in its trick controls, dubbed by EA as Flickit. With Flickit controls, all of the ollie-based (for you non skaters, an ollie is jumping into the air with your board) tricks to get you into the air are controlled by flicking the right analog sticks in various directions. For example, to do a regular ollie, pull down on the stick then flick it up. A kickflip is done by moving the right stick down then flicking it to the upper left corner. Some of them get very complicated, such as a 360 inward heelflip, which you do by moving the stick slightly below the right position, moving to the downward position, then flicking to the upper right corner. This control scheme is preferable to the typical Tony Hawk press X then press Square and a direction to do the flip because it takes a whole lot more time to master and learn and replicates how the tricks are done in real life. You can apply the same Flickit concept to tweak and setup grabs and setup grinds and transition from one grind into another without leaving the rail. This is the real beauty of Skate, its enormous attention to detail and respect for the art of skateboarding. However, like other skateboarding sims (see Thrasher Skate and Destroy on Playstation), the vert aspect of the game is flawed. The vert skating just feels very clunky at times, however you are able to get used to it with time. I just hope EA improves vert skating in Skate 2. Moving on, the music in the game is actually a pretty damn good cross section of music from artists ranging from Slayer to Sex Pistols to Nirvana to Eric B and Rakim to David Bowie to Rick Ross (EVERYDAY I'M HUSTLIN!). Still doesn't beat the classic rap soundtrack from Thrasher Skate and Destroy, but it's close. 

One thing you should be aware of is that the PS3 version of the game is nowhere near as good as the Xbox 360 version. The 360 version runs much more smoothly than the PS3 version, which stutters very often. So, do yourself a favor and buy Skate because it is by far the most realistic skateboarding game ever made.

Next up on the list is Folklore (known as Folksoul in Japan), developed by Game Republic and published by Sony. Folklore is the second Japanese RPG to see release on the Playstation 3 here in the United States, and it's one of the finest RPGs I have ever played. What I like the most about the game is that it foregoes the typical turn-based menu simulation of Final Fantasy and other games of its ilk for more action-based combat. That and the story isn't about some brooding emo kid who gets pissed off and threatens to destroy the world and you're some androgynous emo kid who has to stop him. Instead the game is a mystery story revolving around two people, one named Keats, the other named Ellen (both of which are playable). Keats writes for an occult magazine named Unknown Realms, and Ellen is looking for her mother. They end up in the middle of figuring out a murder mystery and who, or what, did it. In order to solve this mystery, they must travel to the Netherworld, a place where the dead roam. In the Netherworld, they must destroy monsters and capture their souls. I won't say too much else because the story is easily one of the best I've seen in an RPG, especially a Japanese one.

The game plays like a third person action game crossed with an RPG. The combat system is really unique. At any time, you may equip up to four folks, which are souls that you have captured and can use to attack enemies. You are then able to carry out each attack by simply pressing one of the face buttons on the controller. You are able to gain more Folks by defeating enemies and capturing their soul. One of the unique things about this game are the online features. You are able to create your own custom dungeons and share them with people online. In addition to that, there are also two add-on packs up on the Playstation Store as of this writing that add 3-4 hours of gameplay with 4 quests and a new Folk in each pack. Downloadable content is not something I'm a big fan of, but it's nice to get a little bit more out of the game for $4 (or $6 for both packs on the store right now). I hope this explanation made sense because I don't know that it did. Regardless, be sure to check out Folklore if you ever get a Playstation 3.

[Skate PS3 Cover Art from PSU.com/Xbox 360 Cover Art from Wikipedia]
[Folklore Cover Art from PSU.com]

Posted on Dec 22nd 2007 at 03:02:46 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Rock Band, EA, EA Hates Canada, Stop Trying to Emulate Nintendo

So, how's it going EA? Find any new developers to buy up? You broke my heart when you bought Maxis. It further disintegrated when you guys dissolved Maxis into EA Games. You bastard. I hate you. Luckily for you, I am still a die hard Will Wright Fan, and for that reason I'll have a reason periodically to buy a game developed and published by you.

Recently, you released Harmonix's Rock Band to the masses in "North America". It was shortly around launch that you clarified "North America" to mean United States. Now, I am American, but when I think North America, I think three countries:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • United States

In addition, Latin America is part of North America, even if we tend to ignore those countries. I feel honored to bring you that geography lesson for today, brought to you by NAFTA. Someone should have given Harmonix / EA this lesson when they decided to announce a release date for Rock Band. If I was Canadian, I'd feel pretty slighted by the fact that EA does not find you part of North America. I'd be even more ticked that Rock Band was delayed all the way to yesterday. But, perhaps EA would make amends by giving you guys a decent launch. Eh? Eh?! Nah, that's not EA's style. Turns out most retailers in Canada did not get a shipment yesterday, much to the disappointment of fans camping out for the game. Furthermore, those retailers that did get a shipment got a horribly reduced release. This slighting would infuriate me if I was Canadian, and I've come up with some conclusions about EA:

EA, you have an identity crisis. I believe that you think that you are Nintendo. Furthermore, I think you have confused Canada with the continent of Europe. What's the deal? Did you guys get hit on your head? Snap out of hit! Stop shafting our friends to the North, where some people call themselves Tan and some people like to say 'Eh?'. It's a lovely country. Stop screwing the pooch. Give them the game. Don't be jerks. It only hurts your sales. Ask Activision, I bet they could give you some pointers on alienating fans.

Sorry Canada, I couldn't snap EA out of their trance. Before you know it, you'll start seeing EA published minigames out the wahzoo and more casually focused games! My God, help us all.

Posted on Nov 6th 2007 at 07:09:53 PM by (Tondog)
Posted under Modern Gaming, EA, Def Jam, Fight Night, SHUT DOWN

In a surprising move, EA has shut down their Chicago studio and is moving its 150+ employees to other studios owned by them. In a company memo, Frank Gibeau (President of EA Games) mentioned that the reason the studio will be shut down is that it has not been profitable and is not expected to be profitable. What's really strange about the whole situation is that they only started in 2004 and have done just two games, Fight Night Round 3 and Def Jam Icon. I don't understand why EA would close down a studio after only two games.

The future of their in-development games (a Def Jam Icon sequel and a Marvel comics fighting game using the Def Jam Icon/Fight Night Round 3 engine) is unknown. However, I do hope the those two games get made because I LOVED Def Jam Icon (the demo at least) and I would love to see a game using Marvel characters made with that same engine. It could be especially fun with all the environmental damage and weapons found in Icon, like throwing people into the car wash or into a gas pump.

If you have a Playstation 3 or an Xbox 360, consider checking out Fight Night Round 3 and Def Jam Icon as both games are quite fun.

So, best of luck EA Chicago employees. Hope the closure doesn't hit you too hard.

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