Oni, Bungies Black sheep.

Took a couple days off from work this work to soak in all the E3 coverage. I hadn’t taken any vacation time in well over a year so I figured I was due anyways. I started off the morning watching some Giantbomb coverage. When I ran out of videos I wanted to watch I moved over to cinemassacre.com to see what James Rolfe has been up to which brought me to a video about a hacked version of Castlevania. All very interesting I know!

My journey ended on youtube. I started watching the History of Sony/Playstation, then Dreamcast etc etc.

Eventually I came to the G4 show Icons about Bungie. I started watching and I continued to do so until they hit upon Oni. Oni is infamous like…really infamous and if you haven’t heard about it shame on you.

I had just started to work at EBGames during the run up to release of Oni. The company was pushing this game like it was the second (…third?) coming of Jesus. I didn’t even know what the game was but I knew for some reason I had to sell the shit out of it and this company Bungie who I had never heard of was a massive deal.

Launch day comes, the store floods with PS2 gamers and to a lesser extent PC gamers all looking for Oni and we are more than happy to sell them copies. We probably had around 100 total preorders which for that time period was quite a bit for a single game.

Fast forward a day…people start coming back to the store incredibly pissed off. They talk about how unplayable the game is, its broken, its impossible it just doesn’t work! Keep in mind this is at a point where stores didn’t lie about copyright issues and they let you return new games and get your money back. Oni is one of those titles that changed that.

We had so many returns the company sent out a memo extolling the virtues about Bungie’s Oni. Try to convince these people to keep the game! Do whatever you can to keep it from coming back into inventory! Sell Sell SELL!!!

Well it didn’t work. We probably got about 60% of copies back within a couple days of purchase. I still had no idea what the hell was really wrong with this game so I signed it out. A lot of reviews said the issue was the graphics and how all the textures were the same and every room looked the same but that wasn’t it we all let that slide when we played Bungie’s Halo. It was something deeper. Fact of the matter is gamers just were not ready for Oni. It used dual analog controls, something that was incredibly new at the time. Oni was not compelling enough to force us to learn how to play so gamers got pissed off and returned it. Its that simple.

Go ahead, play Oni now. Especially if you played it back then. Amazing isn’t it? The game isn’t that bad! Sure its not great but its passable. Hey at least it didn’t delete all your save files!

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Editing the wiki!

I came on here to make a quick blog post and I find myself editing wiki articles lol. So far i've added, tweaked or edited at least SOMETHING on the following pages.. Forza Horizon, Beyond two souls, Need for Speed Most Wanted, South Park Stick of Truth, Assassins Creed 3 Liberation, and I proposed the addition of Microsofts Smart Glass to the giantbomb wiki under concepts/platforms.

I gotta go finish watching the Sony Press Conference cause Nintendo's is coming up in 35 min. I figure by the time im done with Sony someone should have Nintendo's replay up to watch.

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Beyond.. I hear a Far Cry...3 times?

About a year ago I sold my Backwards Compatible PS3. When I bought it my primary interests were nothing more than God of War 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4. I had both of those and about 20 other various PS3 games. After I beat GOW3 I really didnt see anything on the horizon that I wanted to play. I bought into some of the Killzone hype and was greatly disappointed by the gameplay, I had some adventures with Little Big Planet but im not the creative type so making my own levels never worked out. I had a great time with Infamous but that was short lived.

So now here I sit watching the replay of the Sony press conference. David Cage walks onto the stage, a man who fills me with contempt. I really just dislike him and his attitude but thats not important! He showed off Beyond. Not generally my type of game, not by a long shot. I played Heavy Rain and it was alright but I could never see myself finishing it. Beyond on the other hand...watching the brief gameplay video I found myself wanting to know whats next. Thats the magic not alot of games have. Sometimes a game asks a question, not a literal question but a question none the less. It doesnt matter how good or bad the game is, it doesnt matter if it pisses you off constantly, all that matters is the drive forward, to see where the story takes you. Beyond asks that question and I must play it. SO! Im going to need to buy myself a new PS3 here soon. Im considering buying a used Backwards Compatible model from ebay.

Now I havent finished watching the replay of the Sony conference yet. In fact im just up to the part where they show off Far Cry 3. It was that demo that made me come here. That game needs some serious serious polish and I hope they get it fixed before its released. You dont normally see E3 demo's in such a sad state. The game has some major lighting and texture filtering issues. The draw distance on the effects is way too close and when they pop in its blatant and ugly. The game also seems to have some serious frame rate issues and ALOT of screen tear. If your game cant look decent and run at a decent frame rate with vsync turned on then its time to dial back some of the effects so that it can. If the game releases like that there is no chance ill buy it. No graphics arent everything but when they are that broken it becomes a distraction.

**UPDATE**

Oddly during the UBI press conference FarCry 3 didnt have any of the issues it had during the Sony one. Its possible it could be an issue thats only present during coop even though that doesnt make much sense.

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Forza Forza Forza!

Im so addicted to Forza right now I've barely gone on the internet. The game is just so good. I think ill end up writing a review for it in the next week or so. I also just picked up Batman so I gotta play that as well.

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Full of Happy Rage

This is the review I just posted to Giantbomb...

First off 90% of the graphical issues are due to drivers. They will be fixed so don't worry about that. I'm playing on a laptop which I hook up to my TV via HDMI. I run the game at 1080p with vsync on and 16x anti aliasing. It runs so smooth and overall looks really good. Towns and zones look a lot better than the wasteland overworld. Character models are incredible and so is the animation. They have some of the best skin textures I have ever seen in a game and their clothing is impressive as well. You also wont see very many (if any at all) models that share the same face as you would in other games. id went to great lengths to make sure characters were unique and look really good.

There have been lots of complaints about low res textures in the game. It must be understood what megatexture is and how it works. The Game world is created as one giant texture. Details are in effects stamped into the world. This means everything is unique. You wont see a repeated texture anywhere. Most games use repeating high res textures. Rage does not. The trade off here is alot of the textures are a lower resolution that we are used to in this day and age. The reason id had to use lower resolution stamped textures was installation size. Had they used the original high resolution assets the game would be over 1 terabyte in size. As I said before most games repeat the same high resolution textures over and over and doing that saves a lot of space but gives less variety. Rage has infinite variety at the cost of finite detail. Its possible that in the future id could release a game modification or upgrade that could replace a lot of the lower resolution textures with higher resolution assets. The main issue will be file size. As I said uncompressed the game would be 1 terabyte in size. Even at a high level of compression Rage is over 25 gigs. A middle ground could be reached and they could double the texture resolution the game currently uses and put it up for download. Even then the game would probably need another 40 to 60 gigs of hard drive space. The only way to distribute a file that large would be bittorrent.

The gameplay is really good. The shooting feels so smooth and perfect. id knows gunplay and rage does shooting better than just about any other game. The enemy AI is really good and can present a good challenge without being cheap. They will take cover, attempt to flank and sometimes run an hide. They feel very dynamic and no scenario feels like the one before. The path finding is excellent. I have never seen an AI get stuck on geometry or have a hard time navigating the area. All different types of enemies have different combat styles as well so it never gets old.

The crafting system is easy to use and pretty cool. You can make some good stuff. I focus on making different types of ammo for a variety of weapons. The driving parts of the game are solid. It controls pretty well and vehicles can be upgraded quite a bit with weapons, armor, engines, suspension, skins etc. Racing is pretty good too

The sound and voice acting is top notch as well. Rage has more story than most id games and its delivered via some quirky and interesting characters. The main issue is you just barely scratch the surface of who these people are which is a shame. Your character never speaks either and some details are left untold leaving you wondering why things are the way they are. id could have done a better job explaining the world these people live in and it was definitely a missed opportunity. The hope for the future lies in Bethesda. Bethesda bought out id not too long ago and hopefully their expertise in writing quality game stories will benefit future id games. I think the partnership happening too late into the development of Rage for it to have any effect on this game but Rage 2 is a whole new ballgame that I hope we get to see.

Honestly when you get right down to it Rage is alot of fun. There are alot of people complaining (mostly about technical details) but I think its being blown waaaay out of proportion. Get the game you really won't regret it. Its a solid shooter thats more throwback than future but as long as you know what to expect you wont be let down.

Assuming you are playing on PC do yourself a favor and configure the game via your graphics card control panel. Set Anisotropic Filtering to "Application Controlled" as Rage does not like Forced AF, it creates seams in the geometry. Also be sure to set your other filtering options to High Quality not High Performance. Oddly Rage not only looks better when set this way but it also runs better. Enjoy!

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(Contra) Hard Corps: Uprising

I havent had much time with the game yet, in fact I started the trial downloading when I was at work and then had to do some stuff when I got home so I only spent 10 min with it just now.  That was more than enough time for me to buy the points required to purchase this gem.  Name or not this is Contra.  The spread gun still dominates.  The music is remixes of Contra music (so far) and the sound effects are simple yet satisfying.  The gameplay is of course Contra with some new tweaks like strafing and a button to lock you in place so let you aim.  You can also dash which I dont know if id ever use unless required cause running really fast in Contra is a surefire way to get killed.  Speaking of death it you have a health bar now and can take more than one hit (sacrilege!) but getting his once will take away your gun so its not all bad. 
 
All in all I think im going to quite enjoy it.  Its got the difficulty, its got the basic gameplay, its got the music and even though it has a visual style all its own its still got some Contra flair.  Why didnt they just call it Contra?  Who the hell knows...and really as long as its fun who cares?!

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Must resist glitch and my love of all things Dead Space!

Ive put about 7 hours into Dead Space 2 so far and I've loved every second of it.  Im glad they moved the game to a setting that allows a larger variety in level design.  The first game was really good but everything looked the same which is the reason I never beat it.  I never felt like I was going anywhere.  Like I said that isnt an issue in Dead Space 2.  There are plenty of areas to the game and all of them have their own unique look.  Some of the missions or chapters require you to traverse the same areas multiple times to complete multiple objectives but every time you go back through someplace there is something different whether its a change in lighting or bodies everywhere its at least slightly changed. 
 
One issue I have in the game is weapons.  I almost dont want to buy new ones because im not sure what works best and how much ammo ill find.  I stick with the starting cutter and I use the javelin gun along with the pulse rifle and not much else.  It hasnt caused an issue so far.  I dont know if its me not wanting to spend the money on anything but power nodes or if its a flaw in game design but it was exactly the same way in the first game.  I think they need to seperate the power nodes from the store or make it so you find guns instead of having to buy them.  Otherwise I dont see myself changing weapons up any time soon. 
 
Speaking of power nodes I found a glitch thats related to the rooms locked by nodes.  I dont know if this works on all these rooms but its happened twice so far and if abused it can greatly unbalance the game.  All you do is make a save, open the door with a node and then take all the stuff.  Make a second save after going in the room, quit and reload the second save.  The room should be full of stuff again.  In one room I managed to gather over 40,000 credits plus items in about 10 min of time.  All I would do is go in the room take all the stuff go out, save/quit and load up again and go back into the room. 
 
I decided to revert to the save before I went into the room the first time because I dont want to ruin my first play through.  I could easily do this glitch and completely upgrade all my gear and buy everything because right down the hall from the node room is a store and bench.  I probably will abuse the crap out of this little flaw on my second play through and maybe once ive got more power nodes than I know what to do with ill be able to convince myself to buy some new guns. 
 
EA has a good thing going with this series.  Its got the creep factor nailed.  No game before or since Silent Hill 2 ever gave me the creeps or made me scared to walk through a door but Dead Space succeeds in this regard brilliantly.  Not only does it have the graphical atmosphere down it has some incredible sound design to go along with it.  Hearing clanging metal and things being knocked around in the distance is always disturbing.  Just when you think you know what to expect or you think you have the pace of scares down they change it up.  Rooms you know for a fact are safe arent, and places you are convinced you will be violently ripped to pieces end up being calm and safe.  This kind of tension is what makes this genre so good and the execution here is damn near perfect.  Not only that but gunplay is spot on.  If this wasnt a horror game it would make a really good action shooter.  Its just very satisfying to play and its the kind of game you dont want to stop playing until you beat it and then chances are you're going to want to play again. 

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Lists!

i think its time to start making some new lists here on Giantbomb.  I started 2 new ones, each only has 1 item so far because im tired but ill add more.  If anyone has any suggestions for new types of lists or items to add to a list feel free to message me.  This is being tagged with Call of Duty cause both new lists have and item that has to do with it in some way.  Now thats impact!

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Some kind of Lord in the shadows.

Despite being a child of the 80s and a massive nes nerd as a kid I never got into the Castlevania series.  Even more modern games never held my interest despite being quality games.  This is why I found it odd that I bought the new game instead of Enslaved which I had been anticipating.  I wasnt really sure what to expect.  I knew the combat was God of Warish which isnt a bad thing and I knew Kojima had his hand in this somehow.  While I knew a basic overview of the story from all the games I didnt know what I was in for here and honestly despite being a couple hours into Lord of Shadow I still dont know how it fits in with the series as a whole. 
 
Being that im am only a couple hours in I also dont know how much I like the game yet.  I have no complaints about the combat, although I was hoping for more depth and I might find it as I continue to level up and unlock new things.  My only real issue so far is how linear the game feels.  Now God of War is also very linear but the levels have that massive open feel to them.  Lord of Shadow seems to be full of incredibly narrow paths that feel cramped and while it does sometimes branch they always end up at the same place.  Despite the game being so linear I also get the feeling that im somehow lost.  I know that doesnt make any sense but the feeling is there and I can never seem to shake it. 
 
Based on what I've played some far I would recommend anyone who likes action games to go ahead and pick it up.  The game is fun, its pretty and it has some really good sound design.  I just dont know where the game is going or how its going to end up.  Thats not a bad thing I guess but in this day and age thats a rarity and I suppose the fact that im in this situation might be a good thing and it might change the way i buy games.  Aside from a few min playing the demo a couple weeks ago I havent watched or read anything about this game so everything feels mysterious and fresh. 
 
Im done rambling for now, my thoughts are a bit disjointed and unlcear and ill blame that on the fact that im horribly sick and need sleep.

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Just a little Reach and a bunch of kids

I havent been able to play Reach near as much as I've wanted to.  I've been letting my son and a group of Halo minded boys play it.  So far they have beaten the single player (and coop) 2 times, they have done plenty of firefight matches, some offline slayer, and even some forge.  The funny thing is my Son who is 10 is so interested in the story and making sure he plays it correctly he's started playing in order!  He beat Reach, then he played Halo 1.  After Halo 1 he started playing Halo 2.  Right when New Mombasa gets destroyed he saves and puts in Halo 3:ODST. Once he finished ODST he's going to finish Halo 2 and then beat Halo 3.  He gave Halo Wars a shot but it just wasnt for him.
 
After that he's going to read the books.  Now I know this sounds like I just let him run rampant and play a crazy amount of games but i dont lol!  The weather has been crap so he's been stuck inside with his friends and its actually quite alot of fun listening to all of them play.  Its also gotten him in the mood to read the books which is good.  He's already about 1/4 of the way through The Fall of Reach. 
 
Make me proud boy!

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