So Rage has apparently been leaked onto the internet. No surprise there I suppose although it's more than a little frustrating that pirates can obtain the game on the format of choice, several days before release. But what really got me this time is this comment taken from a less than reputable site offering the game:

downloading it now for 360.. i think reading they locked out some side missions for pirated/2nd hand versions, oh well we still get the full main story for free unlike the dumb suckers forking out $60

Nice. Not only has the user lumped pirated versions and second hand copies as one and the same, they've also thankfully reminded the decent members of the gaming community that they weren't 'clever' enough to take advantage of this fantastic way of obtaining the game.

He's downloading it now for 360, the bastard.

An entire generation growing up with easy access to free games, complete with the notion that they will never be punished for it, is concerning to say the least. Kids and students don't exactly have a lot of money and it's not hard to imagine this kind of thing becoming standard fare for them. It's not they're going to grow up and suddenly decide to start paying for their games either, not when they've always felt entitled to get them for free. Steam offers and integrated online services have gone some way to preventing a mass exodus from the consumer market but comments like these always make the future a little uncertain.

Still, if all else fails the gaming community can collectively call them a dick and forever shun them. They probably don't even know what a Hadouken is.


The Resident Evil movies are surprisingly deep

When you watch a movie and realise has a surprisingly relevant subtext, you usually gain a newfound appreciation for that piece of work. The Resident Evil movies, at least on the surface, are not good films. The characters lack complexity, the narratives range from basic to nonsensical and worst of all, they seemingly tarnish a much loved videogame franchise. But what if there is some kind of genius hidden within these abysmal films? For all it's faults, the series is actually a clever meta-representation of the very zombie outbreak it chronicles.

1. The Start - Not so Bad

Just like at the start of an epidemic, the first film is seemingly not so bad. Cool moments such as the laser room help propagate the feeling that the lesser parts of the film can be contained in the future; there is some hope.

2. Thing's have spread.

You know that hope about containment? It's gone. Along comes Resident Evil: Apocalypse with it's complete abandoning of horror in favor of B-Movie action. Things have gone from bad to worse and you just hope that the destruction of Raccoon City represents the end; surely people don't want more of this?

3. Let's just end this now.

By the third film any hope that things will be alright have vanished. The virus has spread to unmanageable proportions along with the popularity of this horrific franchise. You've pretty much decided that death is the only way out of this zombie nightmare, just as you hope this movie will create and ending to the story of Alice and her Resident Evil world. At the end you realise a sequel is coming...apparently there will be no quick and easy escape.

4. All hope is lost...

The world, these movies, you; all shells of former selves. A 3D showcase hammers home that fact that this nightmare will never end.


The case for a Kingdom Hearts HD Collection

You know what I love? Some Kingdom Hearts. Ever since I was shown the crazy mix of Square Enix and Disney back on the PS2 I've been a fan of the action RPG and some of my favorite game experiences come from the first two entries. Things have gotten a bit muddied with the endless list of spinoffs Square has been pushing out lately but it's done nothing to sour the prospect of a new proper entry in the hearts of fans. I'm sure many will sigh at the suggestion of a HD collection but I think there's a few decent reasons to get one out there.

1. There is no Kingdom Hearts on current-gen consoles.

Eventually KH3 will be released on the PS3 and possibly the 360. When that time comes Square will need the audience to be up to scratch on what Kingdom Hearts is exactly and a HD collection serves exactly that purpose. Similarly it will help promote the brand to home console owners and not just the handheld market where the franchise is dominant right now. It's all well and good having titles on PSP, DS and 3DS (I wouldn't be surprised to see a Vita spin-off announced either) but it's important to appeal to the platforms the next main entry will appear on.

2. A lot of gamers missed out on Final Mix content.

Box Art (Front)

Both KH1 and 2, as well as Birth by Sleep received 'Final Mix' editions in Japan adding extra content and features. In the case of KH2 an remastered version of the Gameboy Advance title 'Chain of Memories' was included using the PS2 engine. Since a lot of this content was in Japanese it's perhaps asking a lot for it to be localised but it would make a strong case for existing owners of the originals to pick up a new collection.

3. Non-PSP owners can play Birth by Sleep.

The recent trend of re-releasing PSP titles is capitalising on the fact that the system didn't perform well outside of Japan. As with the God of War titles and Metal 'Gear Solid: Peace Walker', this is the perfect opportunity to let console owners experience a key part of the Kingdom Hearts story. I'm sure many fans would relish the opportunity to play this title in particular.

4. Kingdom Hearts 3 isn't getting here anytime soon.

Final Fantasy 13 versus only just entered full development; there is no way KH3 is arriving anytime soon. With the seemingly endless amount of games Square announced on a weekly basis, surely there's space to set a smaller team on this project?

Anybody else want to see this come to fruition? Or have you been burned out by the wait for KH3 and the many handheld releases?


When is it time to re-access a videogame?

I'll be away from my PS3 for the next couple of months and, like most of this year, will be reliant on whatever's around to play videogames. Considering I know there'll be 360's around I though it would be a perfect opportunity to finally play through the Gears series properly, possibly investing a bit of time in Halo as well.

In keeping with my desire to do more writing, I thought it would be nice to post some thoughts and reviews from the perspective of someone who has never played these games before. A new reaction, yet from somebody who does actually understand what videogames are about.

While that might be cool, it got me into wondering not only if those reviews are still relevant, but if they're even fair to the developer to create*. You see a lot of reviews going up covering re-releases from games spanning the NES era to the HD remakes from the PS2 but you rarely see critics re-assessing titles from 2-3 years ago. Is there an ethical issue where earlier games, no matter their impact at the time or the other games they've influenced, will compare poorly though no fault of their own? A review is always a product of it's time but I wonder how soon gamers should be allowed to go back and critically re-assess what a game is and where it stands in the field.

It would be interesting to have some thoughts on this. Is it ok, especially in the internet age, to be constantly revisionist? Or should opinions be allowed to stand for a certain amount of time before we go back and challenge them?

*Note: I don't actually think my reviews will in any way impact the developer. This is just a theoretical line of thinking.


Procrastinating just got a little bit easier

You could literally spend all day on Giantbomb just messing around.

I set up my account for two main reasons; to mess around with some of the quests when I'm bored, and to write a few reviews and see how that turned out. A mix of wanting to do nothing but do some constructive and ordered writing at the same time. An odd juxtaposition and yet one that this site allowed.

What I soon discovered was that the quests were far more diverse than I imagined, giving me rewards for nearly every action. Just like achievements it hints and prods you to check out new areas of the site, or take a look at those other wiki pages to try and solve that clue. On top of that there's trivia and lists (who doesn't love lists?) on offer in-case you burn out on the quests, each offering their own kind of 'game'. Then when your done with that there's a new video or review up.

Essentially Giantbomb translates the ethos behind a good videogame into it's site. Just when your about to leave something pops up giving you the 'just another 5 minutes' feeling, keeping you engaged. In theory it seems to derive from a simple concept; 'gamers enjoy interacting with their entertainment, let's build a site around that', but it's quite remarkable how alone Giantbomb is in doing this successfully. Other gaming websites have tried to appear more inclusive to their communities but none have managed to make the experience feel as engaging and, most importantly, fun.

Everything a user does on Giantbomb feels like it's a part of the site as a whole. There is no sectioned off area that feels disconnected from the larger body, making everything a user does feel relevant. You read the phrase 'by gamers, for gamers' a lot. Here I feel like that's actually been implemented in a way that actually means something.


Setting some stuff up

So I've set up my profile, explored the forums and created a list. The initial focus on quests has now worn off (a game within a site about games, where the game involves reading the and now I've created a blog post. The train's rolling. Hopefully all the that will be updated more and I'm hoping to do a few reviews, just to get back into writing again. I already did one on LA Noire just to check out how the whole system worked, so go check that out. Opinions on reviews are welcome and, to be honest, wanted.

Here's looking forward to a fun experience on giantbomb.