True English Gent Reviews: Castle Crashers!

SOMETIMES THE CASTLE DOES INDEED CRASH, BUT ITS STILL A FANTASTIC ARCADE GAME

So the eagerly anticipated new game from developers The Behemoth finally reached out XBOX 360's this week in Microsofts Summer of Arcade games. This LIVE Arcade game as been on the lips of many a gamer and its great to finally get our hands on this old school styled game. In many respects Castle Crashers does indeed go old school, for us folks who love their games its clear that The Behemoth drew from many classic games of old. Castle Crashers features a fantastic looking 2D art Style that keeps to the tradition of their first forray into game making with the superb Alien Hominid. The art style is all down to the superb work of Dan Paladin who as become reknowned for creating a number of stunning games on both console and PC in the form of flash games. Castle Crashers is no different, theres a lot of humour in this game and its everywhere. Sometimes it'll pop out of nowhere when you least expect it and the game deserves great credit for being as funny as it is. The game defiantly aims more towards groups(4) of gamers, but before I go into co-op I just wanted to state that this game doesn't require 4 players to have a blast with, infact at moments I'd even say playing the game single player is as much fun as its still the exact same gameplay that you find in co-op. Its just that you need to be more cauitious and understand that healing potion is your best friend. As you play one of the four characters you will build that knight up through levels, each level offers two experience points which can be spent on Attack, Defense, Magic and Agility. Attack and Defense are easy to understand, as is magic. Agility allows you to jump higher and also shoot your little bow a little further then before. As you also gain levels new combos appear that allow you to do some ace looking mid air Devil May Cry styled attacks. Each character is of his own, there are four all together. Red, Blue, Orange and Green. Each as a different magical power. You also level them up seperately, for instance I have mostly been leveling with the Red Knight so I now have him a much higher level with better attacks and better equipment on hand to do more damage. You can also play as extra characters from the main campaign, which is also a nice little touch and keeps you playing, though I have found no reason to stop playing yet.
The Knights who say....... Nothing at all!
The game sees you saving princesses, its a basic storyline but Castle Crashers isn't about the actual storyline, its all about the gameplay. In which it does a fantastic job for the most part. Combat feels great and the artistic animated style looks fantastic. When your surrounded by endlessly enemies fighting with everything, slashing and cutting you get that excitment feeling you use to get back in the days of the NES and thats what Castle Crashers does best. It is a great tribute to the classic games of old, and shows that these types of games still work today, they just need to have that somthing special rather then being another genetic mess. There are Numourous weapons for your knight to use, with different hit points and many will often increase or decrease specific stats of your Knight. For instance the heavier weapons will decrease your agility but may offer 2 + damage dealing. This as of course been seen in games before but its still a feature that works great in Castle Crashers and shows that the game as surprising more depth then you'd expect. Co-op is defiantly where a lot of fun is in this game, though I haven't had a great experience with it at all. For some odd reason the game seems to enjoy crashing at odd times in co-op and theres a number of bugs within the game. Some of these bugs are small, while some do destroy your enjoyment of the game overall. Which is disapointing considering what a great game it is and I can't help feel that it affects my score of the game in a big way. I have noticed some weird bugs such as totally getting stuck behind an object on the map to the game even freezing, requiring me to restart my console. Strangely when playing the campaign with a single knight I have come across very few problems and had a great experience. But considering this game is advertising itself on 4 player co-op fun, then to not have it run perfect is disappointing, also considering some fo the delays the game as had through development. It is a bit of a letdown when you consider the bugs, but there is still a lot here to make the purchase of Castle Crashers worthy of your Microsoft points with or without the bugs, but it may be a good idea to wait a few weeks till a patch as been released if your cautious about spending your 1,200 MS Points on it till its been all fixed up.

Thats one angry..... thing??

Castle Crashers is leveled base as you chase and rescue the Princesses, the game uses a map system similar to those of Super Mario games and theres also shops scattered around the map which allow you to purchase new weapons, healing potion, bombs and even more. The game also features some cool Arenas for you to develop your Knight and just have some mindless killing fun, and thats what Castle Crashers does best. Mindless sword swinging fun that is hard not to love. The game also features a great soundtrack, with some fantastic almost happy go lucky tunes that you can't help but kind of fall in love with and suit the games artisitic style fantastically. Castle Crashers is mindless fun, but does have some depth to it that would make some of those classic NES games proud and it clearly shows that such games are still deeply loved by gamers who don't require deep storylines or over the top graphics to have a lot of fun. The Behemoth have met the expectation that Alien Hominid set for Castle Crashers, and despite some of the simply frustrating bugs the game seems to currently have, you can't help but fall in love with whats generally on offer here. When you consider some of the great games currently avaliable on XBOX LIVE Arcade your spoiled for choice when it comes to quality, and to stand out from the crowd you need to do something or have something that very few if any games have. For the most part Castle Crashers does everything it should do, and I can't help to battle in my mind over what score this game deserves because as much as I love Castle Crashers. The bugs surrounding mainly co-op ae simply down to poor final testing of the game and I shouldn't remove that from my score just because I am really enjoying whats on offer here. Such bugs are always going to end up spoiling a gamers fun and I'll be brutally honest when I say that co-op lost much of its appeal to me after the problems I had with the game. But then again I just start playing and the music kicks in, I suddenly forget about the games bugs and throughally enjoy my time with Castle Crashers, a game that almost reaches Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 for overall addiction and fun. But as a honest English Gentleman and a honest reviewer I feel its only right that I critise Castle Crashers for the bugs currently inflcting The Behemoths newest project. As you can see my head is currently spinning on my final thoughts about this great game. I'm confident is will sell well on the Arcade if Bionic Commando: Rearmed is anything to go by and I do hope it does because its clear from playing that The Behemoth put in so much sweat and possibly ''blood'' into this game and for that it deserves at least a trial look at by my fellow gamers.

OVERALL!

The Behemoth have done it again, even despite its bugs Castle Crashers as surpassed its younger brother in Alien Hominid. Some of the best artistic stylings around, fantastic addicted gameplay that offers a surprisingly amount of depth and some trully happy tunes makes Castle Crashers one of those Arcade games that MUST be in your collection. You just may want to wait a week or so until the bugs have been removed though.

GRAPHICS (5/5)

Castle Crashers features more fantastic work from Dan Paladin, and its clear that everything in the world as been painfully drawn to perfection. Everything as a honest feel to it and its just a absolute pleasure to play in this world The Behemoth have created. Some fantastic humorous artistic touches are found throughout the game and will give you a good laugh or two. Theres simply no artistic style like it anywhere.

GAMEPLAY (4/5)

I'll be honest here, Castle Crashers would have easily have gotten a 5/5 if it weren't for some of the painful bugs currently affecting the game. Castle Crashers plays great with a nice control scheme that is easy to pick up to play, but offers depth that if your willing to search for will reward you greatly. Plus those mid air Devil May Cry Styled attacks across the screen look way to good not to consider. Its just sad the bugs in co-op affect it so badly.

SOUND (5/5)

The game features a fantastically done soundtrack with some great happy go lucky tunes that you can't help but not fall in love with. They also suit the general artistic styling of the game aswell. Sound affects are solid and there are some nice touches to be found if you hear hard enough. It does more then a solid job and will please any music loving gamer.

VALUE (4/5)

Value wise, Castle Crashers needs to be compared with the also recently released Bionic Commando: Rearmed which sold for 800 MS Points and in general gameplay modes on offer simply offered more. Castle Crashers sells for 1,200 MS Points at the moment and for the most part is value for money. Though its hard not to compare it with Bionic Commando: Rearmed, but when you consider the hard work clearly put in the artistic style alone you do forget the price a little and theres defiantly many less impressive games on offer which are selling for the exact same price. So its all up to the individual gamer I guess.

Castle Crashers (XBOX LIVE Arcade) gets 4 Stars out of 5.


Reviewed by Joseph Bayliss (SaitenMar)
Thats me! honest!!







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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Demo Impressions!

THE FORCE GETS UNLEASHED AS DEMO HITS OUR CONSOLES!

Well we finally got our sweaty Star Wars eager hands on one of the most interesting Star Wars games for a long time when Star Wars: The Force Unleashed hit our Playstation 3's and XBOX 360's this morning. After playing through the demo a numbe of times I wanted to tell folk of the impression I got of the game through what the demo offered. It was in honesty a small demo but there was more then enough in there to enjoy and to keep eager fans happy as we get closer and closer to its release date. LucasArt's newest Star Wars games puts you in control of Darth Vader's secret apprentice, also codenamed 'Starkiller' and as Starkiller you do the evil Sith Lords bidding. You probably already know the story so I won't go into any deep detail, but it does honestly sound like one of the most interesting Star Wars related stories since the Knights of the Old Republic games a few years ago. Of course being Darth Vader's 'Secret Apprentice' means that the character isn't seen as such an openly out there character and works in the shadow if you will. Not like a Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader himself, so in interest the story works in that form and there is a lot of possibilities that LucasArts will work around when it comes to working with the original Star Wars Trilogy. Of course what I truly want to talk about here is the demo, as I said the demo is pretty short but its nice to finally get our hands on the much anticipated game which was first truly shown as Tech Demo mainly concentrating on the material physics and of course the now famous Eurphoria engine that was seen in Grand Theft Auto 4.
Now that looks like fun!

The Demo level takes place on a Tie-Fighter Manufacturing facility under attack by a Jedi, that Jedi is the target for Starkiller after Darth Vader gave him instructions to kill everyone on board and leave no evidence. The level sees you fighting both Stormtroopers and soldiers of the Republic who are themselves fighting between themselves. You can use many of the powers avaliable to Starkiller such as his forcegrip and Force Electricity. The demo also features a quick force grip control tutorial which I reconmend if you are about to play the demo for the first time and even shows off some of that material physics in actions with th breaking of glass that looks very realisitic. Anyway, the demo for the most part is perfectly fine, its a little unspectacular in places but being a demo thats to be expected and I'm still looking forward to its release in September with a little more eagerness which as to be a good sign of a good demo. The force powers are fun and you do feel like a very powerful member of the Sith Order, of course its to be expected that some powers will be unlocked as you play the full game but the ones on offer in the demo are fun to play with and will do the job to please the fans who have been waiting patiently to play the game. The game in many respects does feel very much like the original trilogy of films as the whole atmosphere is darker and industry based. This is the first game to really offer such a thing for a good long while, the Tie Fighter Facility looks fantastic and really suits the Star Wars universe. Speaking of force powers, the force grip controls are first feel a little unconfortable and untidy, but after a few playthroughs you'll soon learn to master it. At least master the force grip powers avaliable in the demo. You control objects or enemies under your force grip using your two analog sticks on your XBOX 360 Controller, Though I have yet to play it I would be guessing the controls system is the same for the PS3 with it also using the two analog sticks. Lightsaber fighting is solid and yes, enemies take multiple hits. To be fair it was asking a lot to have one hit kills and probably would have affected the enjoying of the game a great deal. As I said, graphically The Force Unleashed is looking great. There is a real original styled feel to everything, even Starkiller himself as an almost Altiere (Assassins Creed) look to him that suits the character well. The physics system runs very well in the demo and though the new material physics that the tech demo showed are seen on only one or two occasions it does look like it will play a part in the full game once released. The level was mainly metal based so its to be expected. Anyway, the Europhia engine continues to look great. You can see enemies grab onto pieces of the environment in an attempt to survive and it defiantly adds some extra A.I to the enemies you face. Sound wise the game as a very Star Wars feel with some Star Wars orientated music in the background and the enemies sound perfect to the original source. Voice acting is sounding superb, Starkiller comes off as a soft spoken almost kind individual in the main cutscene yet you can't help but feel that is darkness, anger and pain in his words. Though he shows great loyalty to Dath Vader. Vader is also superbly voiced by Matt Sloan in the cutscene, for those wondering Matt Sloan does the voice of Vader's brother Chad in the brilliant Chad Vader videos and his voice sounds fantastic in the short cutscene. Lightsabers sound like lightsabers and blaster fire sounds like blaster fire. Everything as you' expect. I won't go into any real deep impressions just yet until I have of course played the full game through and experience the potentially fantastic story. But the demo was very enjoyable and though I'll admit it takes about three times playthrough to truly get the game, its worth it because its that The Force Unleashed shows great promise. I have today preordered my copy, though to be honest I was going to preorder it anyway. But the demo did a fine job at edging up my excitment for the game once it hits release next month. Theres potentially a lot to lookforward to and in my own opinion Starkiller is already looking like a great Star Wars character. But the demo is enjoyable and I reconmend you check it out if you haven't already. Of course there are one or two moans I had at first but after playing through three times they were almost forgotten as I finally got into the flow on offer with The Force Unleashed. I look forward to it and will have a review up once completed. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is released the 19th of September (European Release Date) so check it out.

From the Impessions of a True English Gent!
SaitenMar.

Thats Me!







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Blog 2: So-Called Soul Calibur Perversion & Geometry Madness.

Hello My Fellow GiantBombers!

How nice it is to speak with you again, I hope that everything as been well. Over here in the UK the weather as been hot and unconfortable for most though some folk seem to be enjoying the weather. I have no problem with that, its just that when I see a shirtless fat man walk into Asda Supermarket with Sunglasses on, I remember why I hate the hot weather so much. Despite being born in the Summer (August 2nd) I have grown to hate this time of year, I hate being hot, sweaty and unconfortable, and would much rather be in the freezing cold anyday compared to a summers burning hot day with no breeze to chill you out. Even my trusty fan as had a hard time of it these past few days. Thankfully this heat hasn't affected me from visting GiantBomb.com and have started getting into the Editing Mood that as filled all GiantBombers. I hope to do some more editing when I get the time and its a great method of involving the sites fans in everyway. Anyway, lets get onto what I want to discuss in Blog 2.

SO-CALLED SOUL CALIBUR PERVERSION!

With the excitment of Soul Calibur 4's release this Friday, its no surprise the game is being heavily talked about by both fighter fans and gamers in general. But strangly enough, most of the talk doesn't suround the fact that Star Wars Characters are playable in the game (though it as caused some unrest for even the most hardcore fans) but the fact that many feel the Developers have taken the female form to new levels of Perversion. I have read many different comments concerning this matter and have been somewhat surprised at the fact that most of the anger is coming from Male gamers. It's perfectly fine to have a view on the female form, and its kind of nice to hear that fans feel there is a limit you can go with these types of things and hopefully some developers will understand this. Yet I can't help but feel its a little bit of a pathetic arguement to put forward. I bring before the court 'Ninja Gaiden 2' which could be as criminal finger pointed at for the same matter as much as Soul Calibur 4 as been of late. For those that have experiene Ninja Gaiden 2, you'll know what I am refering to when I speak of the huge assets some of featured ladies have. Yet I don't recall a great outcry when that game was released a few months back, it's an odd thing yet maybe its because folk have come to expect that from Team Ninja who of course also do the famous Dead or Alive games, which includes those somewhat desturbing beach volleyball games. So thats one of the reasons why I find this arguement a little on the pathetic side. I have never recalled female gamers I have played with getting upset about seeing a huge breasted women jumping around, be it a tomb or an arena. Lara Croft is a fine example of this, in the 90's she became a Icon for both men and women. 'Women wanted to be her, Men wanted to be with her' was a common line when refering to Ms Croft in the 90's and it probably still holds true today and she is still seen as one of the most strong iconic women in gaming. You can't doubt that Lara had some very nice assets and it became one of her charms, at least it did for me as a growing teenager (but we won't get into that) But we aren't here to talk about the Tomb Raider games, we are here to discuss the fact that quite a large amount of the Soul Calibur fanbase got a little upset about how big Ivy's assets had become when the game was first announced back in 2007.

Perversion or Beauty?
I'll happily admit that a change as been made to the breast sizes of some of the lovely Soul Calibur ladies, yet I still found it strange that such a responce came when Ivy was first seen when the game was announced. Being a 19 year old myself, I wouldn't say I would be on the frontlines picketing for the game to be changed as it doesn't make a huge difference if big breasted women are in a game or not. But as a happy male I see no wrong in seeing a little bounce here and there, the Dead or Alive series as been doing it for a good while now and as often been an interesting topic of discussion with fighter fans. It's also worth mentioning that the women in Soul Calibur have always been strong representations of the female form. Characters such as Taki, Sophitia and Ivy are all powerful figures throughout the series and are great rolemodels for female gamers. Yes you could argue that large breasts are simply not needed in a fighting game, or any game to think of it. Yet there will always be a crowd to please and this small change is definantly aimed towards that audience, the kind of audience that leave comments like 'wow, look at her big boobies'. The respect for women is important, but when it comes to virtual women things change a little. This is why I don't agree with many fans calling it perversion because it simply isn't, if your to bring that arguement forward then why not bring forward female abuse because the game allows you to use a male character to beat down on a female character. The argument as no grounds and I find it hard to agree with the majority who have left hate comments towards it, are the male gamers speaking out just to sound sensitive and impress a lady friend or two? Why Soul Calibur 4 when Dead or Alive and the Ninja Gaiden games have had it for sometime now. There will be those that may find it a little unconfortable, and I don't doubt some females will be a little angry about seeing such figures and bouncy physics in action when the game gets release. But for the most part I find it hard to bring a worthy argument to agree with those that say it is perverted, it simply isn't and your a little to late to bring that arguement forward when you look at a number of other games that have featured large breasted women. I find it odd that a game which presents such strong, tough and hard fighting forms of women gets so much stick yet the Dead or Alive Beach VolleyBall games are seen more as a joke. I also find it hard to believe that many of the men who bring up this point truly feel this way, because I don't know many men who hate the idea of large breasted women in a game or two. So is this all a little silly, well in my personal opinion the female form is a beautiful thing, and for instance ivy's figure in the new Soul Calibur game is art. Thats exactly what it is, Art and Art should be admired. So admire these beautiful figures of art and stop acting like you care about how women feel about it. I'm sure some female gamers will play Soul Calibur 4, but I'm also sure most if not all will just ignore the fact that some of the female characters in the game have had their breasts expanded a bit. The female form should be admire not argued about.

THE GEOMETRY WARS CONTINUE!

When the XBOX 360 Launched theres no denying that the so called 'XBOX LIVE Arcade' was pretty average at best. I only recall Uno being of great worthy mention when that game was released and its fair to say that it was one specific game that made everyone stand up and take notice, both gamers and developers. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved was a updated HD Version of the popular MiniGame found in Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Original XBOX. Retro Evolved was a deserving name for it evolved the classic 2D Shooter style that was once famous in the arcades and evolved it in graphical ways. The game kind of came out of nowhere and was a huge hit on the Marketplace, and is still to this day one of the most played LIVE Arcade games to date. The gameplay is both simple and dynamically challenging, though I have personally never been peticulary great at Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. I have always loved it as a game, its addictive and can easily suck you into the experience, not to mention the fact that with a nice piece of your favoured music can become a quite relaxing experience. That is great credit to the game considering there is only two modes in Retro Evolved. Retro Evolved is one (the HD Updated Version of the PGR3 Minigame) and Retro Mode (the classic Minigame which was found on the PGR3 Disc). Its gameplay saw you using your little ship to travel around the square arena and destroy coloured pixel icons that travelled around and often came straight at your little mini ship, you controlled movement with your left analog stick and you controlled firing your weapon in different directions using your right analog stick. It works perfectly and is a blast to experience, and in my own opinion made the game oh so much more fun. Retro Evolved was also popular for its outlandish art style, on a full HD TV it can look spectacular as you go around destroying ship to ship. Often the action can become intense, the game will often throw large amounts of enemies your way and the skill to getting high scores in Retro Evolved is to understand how the game works.
Geometry Wars 2 in Action.

If you have played the original LIVE Arcade game to death then I have great news for you, although you probably already know this. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is coming this Wednesday the 30th of July. Quick I know, its a rarity for a game to  have its release date bought forward but its welcomed none the less. Geometry Wars 2 was actually announced at Microsoft's E3 Press Conference and is looking great. For 800 MS Points the game will offer quite a few extra modes including some co-op modes. Sadly tho, Bizzare Creations (developers of the game) have confirmed that there is no online co-op. That seems insane to me, not to have any co-op in a Geometry Wars 2 game is a downer but we have faired well enough so far with the original and to be fair the argument that it would be to much for LIVE to handle is understandable with everything blowing up so beautifully, it would cause hell for the LIVE servers.  Speaking of Beautiful, its fair to say that the newest Geometry Wars is looking even better then the original. What can only be called as a  'special extra effect' as been added which gives the game more of a colour glow feel and looks great especially in action.  Its hard to see this game being nothing but a huge success on the market, will it be as successful as the original LIVE Classic who knows? but I suspect it will become a much loved game. The Arcade currently as some real gems that I have only started to experience of late, and with games such as Mega Man 9 on the way we have every right be excited about what LIVE Arcade will have on offer in the coming year or so. I'll try and get a review up of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 up once I have spent a good amount of time with the game. I am also getting a Pyromat Sound Rocker S2000 Chair this week hopefully if delivery goes well so I'm looking forward trying that out properly after only experience a short time with it at my local PC Hardware store. Should be great and I might discuss that a little in a future blog. As for Geometry Wars 2, well look forward to that on Wednesday the 30th of July (aka, This Wednesday) and I already predict you must download it.

EXTRA NOTE OR TWO!

This Saturday seems me turn 20, I'll admit I hate birthdays with a passion since I've got older though I still know friends who act like 4 year old kids when there birthdays come around. I hate being the centre of attention so I hate birthdays. Also it comes at a bit of a bad time. My Birthday will probably get in the way of me playing Soul Calibur 4 in my new chair which is never a good thing. Probably won't do anything although some friends have put a few ideas forward. Probably won't do any of them tho, I don't drink or smoke so to my friends I'm a bore in many ways. But I'm content, happy and not to bothered about turning 20. I'm sure when I look back I'll regret a thing or two. Its just I hate doing things that just don't interest me. If I have time I also hope to get some more editing done on the site, sadly submissions are still taking ages. Not sure where people got the 48 hour length from as it took a whole week for my Broken Sword Images to be submitted. Though this delay is understandable considering how busy the site must be right now.

So thanks for reading Blog 2, please leave a comment if you wish and have a great week.
SaitenMar - True English Gent.

Happy Birthday!











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Blog 1: 360 Dashboard Redesign & Microsoft's New Vision.

Hello There My Fellow GiantBombers!

This being my first blog for this cool, hip and happening new site I wanted to talk about a matter that recently got my blood boiling. For those of us who love our Video Games, you will have no doubt tuned into the the widespread media coverage of Gamings key Event, E3. Though its fair to say that for the most part E3 was pretty average this year, there were a number of key talking points from Final Fantasy 12 coming to the 360 to Nintendo's below average press conference. But for the moment I want to concentrate on one specific announcement made by Microsoft in their press conference. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, the much debated New 360 Dashboard Redesign. Now I'll happily admit that the current 'Blade' system as had its day, its become slow with the influx of content found on the Marketplace and its style had become a little average for most 360 users. Yet despite these problems, the current 360 Blade Dashboard is still generally loved by a good amount of users, but theres no denying the system needed a redesign. Especially when you compare the system to Sony's XMB (Xross Media Bar). But did we truly expect such a change when we feasted our eyes on Microsoft new vision for its Hardcore orientated console, it depends on the user I guess. Its clear the general feeling of fans for Microsoft's new vision is mixed, but I guess its a 60/40 split. From doing my research (a fancy word for just looking around on the web and reading gamers views on the matter) I'd say 40% of 360 users do like the new Media Centre-like redesign, while around 60% of 360 users simply do not. Of course, these are my views from traveling around the World Wide Web and are not at all scientifically proven. I'll admit I place myself in that 60% of users who simply do not like the new redesign, I usually like to give these types of things a chance and now its been over a week since it was first announced, and I've read, watched and listened to articles concerning the new design I still stick to my first impession. The old 'Never Judge A Book By It's Cover' line doesn't fit with the new Dashboard design, simply because my view of it hasn't changed a great deal since first being seen at the Microsoft Press Conference. It's not a case of me not liking the general style, or simply hateing the concept of LIVE Avatars. It's more to do with my overall feeling of what kind of audience plays the XBOX 360 Console, its fair to say that Microsoft have since the original XBOX been aiming for a more Hardcore Audience of Gamers. The audience that would rather cut up a creature of Hell with a chainsaw then play motion controlled tennis or play a tough action packed online shooter with mates then play short mini-games with the family and Grandparents. You get my point, but maybe I was wrong in thinking this way. Microsoft seem to think I was wrong, from the feeling I got from the Press Conference. Are Microsoft aiming for the Nintendo dominated audiences? Are they after the casual family friendly gamer who just loves playing the endless mini-games the Nintendo Wii system seems to have nowadays. I suspect they are!

New Dashboard Design
I wish to note that I mean no hate towards the Nintendo Wii, I'm just making my point. When you compare the two consoles side by side and take a good look at what they offer, you'll find that both consoles suit two very different tastes. From the Wii's family friendly games catalog (Wii Play, Wii Fit, Mario Kart Wii) and physical motion controls, to the 360's often heavy hardcore orientated game catalog (Gears of War, Halo 3, Bioshock, GTA4) and superb Online Multiplayer Gaming features and you can clearly see that both please two very different tastes. Of course the argument can be made that many gamers prefer a bit of both occasionally, I for one own the Nintendo Wii system and although I have only found a few games on the system truly fun and interesting to experience, I still found it an enjoyable console to play despite my preference to the 360 and PS3 consoles. So cleary that arguement can be bought forward, but you can't argue with the fact that the new LIVE Avatars haven't been placed in to please the Hardcore Audiences because I have never recalled 360 Users asking for a Mii based Avatar system for their 360 consoles. This is where my blood starts boiling, take a look at some pictures of the new system and if your like me. You'll no doubt feel that some of the 360's soul as gone missing, the soul that the Blade System created in my opinion. Though even despite the clumsy slow feel to the Blade system these past few months it still does its job fantastically well, with a pretty simple to use Marketplace and blades that are easy to navigate and use for those new to the system. As I said eariler, its totally understandable for Microsoft to feel a redesign was needed and my final judgement on the new Dashboard will be made when it launches this fall. But I still feel a little sick when I think that I'll have to create my own little Mii for the 360 that'll sit happily, smiling and generally looking somewhat childish on my Dashboard for all to see, not to mention the fact that the LIVE Avatars even resemble their Nintendo brotherin. That is exactly what I speak of when talking about Microsoft's new vision for its system, the picture to the right is a fine example. Maybe its just the Transformer picture I don't know, but it looks wrong to me. Looks bland and the Gears of War 2 theme looks pretty poor. Though its nice to see that Microsoft aren't getting totally rid of Gamerpics (which as always been perfectly fine for me). But I also asked the question, will it be any better then the Blade system we already have?



I'm not convinced it will, of course we know it'll run better then the current system and without seeing the whole New Dashboard Package as a whole its hard to say for sure. But there still keeping many of the same Dashboard pages the same as they currently are with the Blade system, just with a different look and I'm still unsure why we need a special box (or whatever there being called) to tell us what game disc is currently in our system. Of course, its also important to remember that changes will probably be made as we get nearer to the Fall Updates release and I do hope that some of the bland, dull looking graphics get a bit of colour. I have always been a fan of the colourful Blade system on offer because it looks so darn good on an large HDTV. I also want to mention the new partnership Microsoft also talked about in their press conference, the new Partnership with Netflix which will mean 'US' users will be able to download movies as usual but also do a number of other interesting features such as watch a movie with a friend together at the sametime. I'm sure you were as confussed as I was when you first heard that, why do we need that? if I want to watch a film with a mate I can just ask him over and we watch the movie (probably a Die Hard film) together. That made little sense to me, much like quite a bit of  what Microsoft said all through the press conference. Anyway, this partnership with Netflix recieved very few cheers and although I don't know a great deal about Netflix it means even less to me because European simply won't get this at all (what a great surprise there) and I have read that despite the thousands of films on offer with Netfilix, only a certain amount of them are actual Film hits. Though I suspect I'll never be happy with the LIVE Avatars, I do believe I'll come around to likeing the new Dashboard redesign and even though I find it sad that Microsoft are clearly moving slowly away from continually pleasing its hardcore audiences and aiming for a middle ground between the Hardcore and the family friendly gamer. I also suspect that some features of the new design will change. Lets be honest, everyone as their own views on Microsoft's New Dashboard and the general feeling of their Press Conferene. This was just mine, and this being my first ever blog on this fantastic new GiantBomb website. I felt it was only right to share out my views. For the most part you probably don't agree with most of it, but it wouldn't be much a debate if you did would it? I'll have an updated view on this once we get nearer to release with the Fall Update and keep checking for future blogs I do.

Thanks to GiantBomb and Whiskey Media for Creating a Fantastic New Gaming Home for us Gamers!
SaitenMar - True English Gent!
SaitenMar!
3 Comments

Lookin Fine!

Looks great guys, though I haven't looked around to much just yet. Over the moon you guys have the site finally up tho.

We finally have a new home for gaming.

1 Comments