EA is looking at buying Take Two because of Rockstar and not for
the sports titles from 2K Games. I think that's pretty damned
Take Two has
always had one money making game in it's lineup at all times. That
game is whatever is the latest version of GTA. For EA to even be
thought of as going after the sports department of Take Two is a
joke. Afterall, 2K only has sports games with limited resources
(read: licenses). Yes, they do have some love from a MLB license,
but they don't have an NFL license, which is, and always will be,
the big sports moneymaker. Add in that EA has Tiger Woods, NHL,
NASCAR, and a dozen other sports licenses under their control, and
it's obvious that one missing MLB license is not enough to drive a
take over attempt.
Of course, there
is plenty of icing on this GTA cake if EA does succeed. They would,
for one thing, finally have control of both Sid Meyer and Wil Wright
under the same roof. They would also get the 2K sports titles, any
of the additional Rockstar games (which never are critically
acclaimed, but still bring in far more than they cost to develop),
and a nice additional batch of extra games. Take Two, if you don't
think about any illegal scandals from past management, has always
done a nice job of making minor games on the cheap and sparing no
expense on the blockbusters. This led to easy profits, and that is
never a bad thing to look at when a company is trying to make a
quick takeover bid.
This weekend saw
me with a little Rock Band and a good deal of Smash Brawl. I'm still
focusing most of my time in Brawl to the Subspace Emissary.
Afterall, SSE is the easiest way to unlock all of the characters,
while still enjoying the game. The 1 second (read: 1 HP flower
stamina) battle is all well and good, but it's just not fun. I'd
rather spend the extra time at SSE and have some enjoyment from the
tedious prospect of unlocking all of the fighters. It's slower, but
it's also less likely to drive me insane as I keep hitting the start
button to start the next fight...for 450 total battles.
getting further in SSE. I say this since most levels see you playing
as some interesting parties and these parties slowly start to join
other groups. For example, one set of stages will see you start with
only Zero Suit Samus (who I really don't like playing as), and then
soon Pikachu joins in. This is great for me, since Pikachu is
probably my strongest Brawl fighter...so far. This group then gets a
little better once Samus gets her suit back and you can now fight as
normal Samus (who's far more to my liking than Zero Suit). However,
that group only gets better when they join up with Diddy, Donky,
Falcon, and Olimar (another character that doesn't work with my
style of playing).
This small party
system is how most of the early game plays out, with the parties
slowly merging. I'm now getting close to having access to parties
that really keep me enjoying the game, even when my primary dies in
Long story short,
I'm now about 60% through with SSE, and I'm also getting a fair
amount of play with some of the other modes. For example, I've just
unlocked some new events for event mode, I have some new guys to try
out on homerun derby, the coin launcher mini-game is a great time
killer, and I need to clear some of the target ranges.
I think that may
be the best part of Brawl versus the previous incarnations; the
stuff outside of typical multiplayer free-for-all battling is a lot
of fun. Also, with SSE forcing some less than desirable characters
on you, you get a good opportunity to use some fighters you'd
normally ignore. If it wasn't for that, I probably would never had
found a reason to try out Lucas or Pokemon Trainer (who ironically
for one of the small initial teams).
The Wii was
already doing pretty well on its own. It is the fastest selling
console and it's only gaining some additional momentum as Brawl
rakes in the sales...currently
over 1.4 million in just one week. Plus, we have only
another month before Mario Kart makes its triumphant return to a
The one part that
has me concerned is; what comes next? Yeah, somewhere in the near
future, Wii Fit will be coming along. I think there's also some
Tales based love from Namco. However, these are both niche products.
RPGs don't generate the big sales numbers (unless they include
"Final" or "Dragon" in the title and come from Square Enix),
Nintendo consoles are not looked at for RPGs when the PS3 and 360
both seem more suited to this content, and Wii Fit is not aiming for
the supposed "hardcore" gamer. In other words, beyond Mario Kart
(which always has a nice wide appeal factor), Nintendo is looking
While it's nice to
Reggie Fils-Aime is getting ready to hype the future for
Nintendo, I can't help but wonder what exactly is Nintendo even able
to do. I mean there are some solid Nintendo franchises, and Reggie
is promising announcements involving "maximizing all of our key
franchises", but this doesn't sound right.
Why, you ask?
First off, I don't
see Miyamoto pimping out any of his stuff to make rapid fire
sequels. Plus, it has never happened before in the history of
Nintendo. So, I don't see any real amazing news coming from
Nintendo. With how recently a lot of major Nintendo games had come
along for the Wii, very few of these franchises are likely to see
the light of day again this decade. Mario? Nope. Metroid? Doubtful.
Smash? Hell no. Mario Kart? Not beyond the one due our in a month.
Pikmin? I don't see any future of good old Olimar. Maybe a little
Mario Party or some of the usual overplayed sequels, but nothing
major with only one exception...
I see another
Zelda being the potential big holiday blockbuster that Reggie plans
to announce at E3. I say this only because it's been known for a
while that Twilight Princess was not originally a Wii game, but that
a Wii Zelda had been in the works for a while. In other words, it's
time for the unknown Zelda game to get it's release. The only thing
is I don't see it being a blockbuster for the next holiday season.
Nintendo usually has had problems with surprises. We're not talking
about Rockstar, who can pimp a game with four leaked screen shots a
month before it comes out. We're talking about Nintendo...the same
company that announced Smash Brawl before they had even assemble a
team to work on the game. Nintendo is not going to let something
come out that's as big as Zelda and not start hyping it more than a
year in advance.
supposed to be the hyped Nintendo game of the next holiday season, I
just don't see it as anything more than a minor game in the real
staple of Nintendo franchises.
So, once again,
I'm feeling that same feeling; what's next? After Mario Kart, I'm
only really seeing one major game in the Wii's future (Zelda), and
one slightly more nice franchise (Tales), but very little else that
will take advantage of the Wii potential and the potential of such a
high install base (Wii owners).
Now here is my
real point in all of this talk. I'm not looking at Nintendo and
wondering why they are slacking on releasing new Wii games. Not at
all. They have given us, in the last 15 months, Mario, Zelda,
Metroid, Smash, Wii Sports, the Virtual Console, and all of the DS
games (like more Zelda, Advance Wars, etc.).
I'm looking more
at the third parties that have still not given the Wii a good long
look. Seriously, the Wii was expected to turn things around for
Nintendo, and now it's been 15 months since the Wii has been road
tested as a strong and amazing system. So, where is the third party
support about now? There are a few third party developers giving
Nintendo some love, but ultimately it's been Nintendo against the
world...and the world is siding with the less supported system.
Blah. Maybe I'm
just feeling the upcoming drought now that Brawl is here and the
future is starting to look bleak. Nintendo can only do so much, as a
single company. It's time to see a good influx of games actually
coming to the technologically less superior system. The fans have
spoken and technology is not the way to go, but it's also a cheaper
console to develop for (HD visuals tend to up the development costs
just in the art department alone). It's time to see some Wii love
from the companies that really stand to gain. Afterall, Nintendo is
making a killing as it stands.
Last night I
finally got through SSE on Brawl. I was afraid of what I'd be facing
since I had heard too much talk of the final stage taking up to
three or so hours to accomplish. Luckily, while this is true, there
are save spots in the level and a map to help you get through the
In the end, the
stage is easy enough to lay to rest if you were able to beat
everything else in the game up until this point. Some parts may end
up a bit on the hard side, but that's only if you don't follow one
simply rule of saving often. When you save you get full health and
all of your lives restored.
I also had the
time afterwards to unlock any missing characters by revisiting a few
levels. As a hint, try the Swamp, Ruins, and Forest stages again
once you've beaten the final boss of SSE. Unless you've been playing
a lot of brawls (450 or more), you'll find some extra characters and
be able to round out your roster.
Now a little for
spoilers for the end of SSE. If you don't like the spoilers, then
you'd best look away.
The final boss,
Tabuu, is a bitch. There's no other way to put it. That, and I hope
you are good with heavy fighters. Any light fighter will be
destroyed before you know what happened. Tabuu has, literally, a
wide assortment of moves that equal instant death for most
characters (some heavies may survive), and a few moves that are
instant death for anyone (no matter the weight).
There is only one
really good strategy for this fight. While you can learn to dodge a
good amount (but not all) of the attacks, there guaranteed death
moves require one special bit of knowledge. That would be that
Pokemon Trainer is the only character that can be 100% immune to
attacks. When you change pokemon (down+b), you are moved from play
for a couple of seconds. Time this correctly and you will be free
from certain doom.
It doesn't hurt
that Charizard is also one hell of a broken fighter. His forward+b
rock smash move is certain to deal a lot of damage to any character
immune to knock-back. In other words, any of the big bosses of SSE
are easy fodder for Pokemon Trainer. Between removing yourself from
harm and the big damage of the rock smash, Tabuu does have a nice
weakness to him...as well as any of the bosses.
At least having
gotten SSE out of the way, I've now unlocked all stages and
characters. I only have some extra crap to deal with now, assuming I
want some bonus trophies, CDs, and stickers. The only thing you
really have to do after beating SSE to finish the major unlocking is
to use a few characters a few times in brawls, and to play a few of
the earlier events (up to ~25) for a few extra stages.
On a completely
different note, if you are a Picross DS fan, like I am, then you may
want to check the classic puzzle exchange if you've been skipping
for a few weeks. This is the first update since around a month ago,
and it is big. 10 packs in total with about 92 puzzles. There also a
wide variety of sizes (only three 5x5 puzzles) and a nice mix of
free and normal mode puzzles. I know I now have a reason to skip
Brawl for the next week.
comes the Rock Band goodness! First, the music store (to buy
DLC) will soon be
part of the game. That includes some previews (hopefully
more than just audio...like some example note charts on
expert...hint, hint Harmonix). This will be nice since music
in the store will be sortable by various means, including by band,
song title, and even challenge ratings. Yes, you can now see
what tier each DLC falls into for each instrument (including bass)
and for the total band.
Secondly, this new
patch for the store goes
beyond just the store. Some of it is good, some is vague,
and some can be bad depending on your perspective. The fan cap
for each difficulty will go up (meaning the entire leaderboard will
become skewed for a few days as bands reach the new cap for their
level). The million fan achievement will now be possible when
playing on hard. Not to mention, easy players will now be able
to go across the Atlantic.
recognition will be improved. I hope this means
that the talky songs, like Sabotage, no longer just give points
based on how bitchy the game is being and it actually listens for
what you're saying and the rhythm of your voice. I know my
Friday night band's vocalist would enjoy getting properly graded and
not just getting random "poor" remarks when he's spot on and
perfects when he's f#@$ing around.
The songs are
supposedly getting more diverse in BWT mode. I
just hope this means that I will no longer see so many cities that
are obsessed with one damned song in each set list. I'm
looking in particular at anything not in North America or Europe
(the Flirting, Green Grass, and Run to the Hills focused cities).
I know I'd like to play some other songs or songs with varieties of
difficulties in the larger sets.
Speaking of songs,
the game should also be far more streamlined when loading up DLC
after the patch comes along. In other words, the songs will be
cached once and then you're set. I know this will fix one of
my most constant annoyances ("Loading Additional Content").
Last of all, band
logos will now be visible online on the 360. This doesn't mean
too much to most people, but when your band is crazy enough to make
a full on logo, it's nice to see it come across to the world.
My one question is
this; when will the patch come along? It's supposed to be
ready this week, but I want to know when. Afterall, Friday is
the night my usual band plays, and since we're typically held to
hard, I want to help the rest of the band get the million fan
achievement as soon as possible.
Now to change
subjects. From what so many love, to the person many people
love to hate...
I know many people
will take offense at this, but
Peter Molyneaux is a genius! With two unique operating
structures, the Arcade and standard games, one one console like the
360, it is about time that there is some sort of crossover in the
case, he's making a total of three Arcade games that will come out
shortly before Fable 2. The smart part of this is that these games
will let you gamble for gold (virtual and worthless...except...).
Unlike most gambling based games, the money you make will have a
purpose. It will all be able to be transferred to you Fable 2 game
when the game is released.
Since Fable 2 does
not have the usual fat loot drops from enemies (afterall, why would
a wasp be carrying a sack of coins?), money will be harder to
obtain. When you add in the way that you can buy anything in a town
or, for the most part, the world, to gain political titles (mayor,
king, emperor), then you will be needing a good source of money.
Hence these crossover games will work perfectly to help the players
that need a little extra income. Add in that the pub games (which
these all play out a lot like) in Fable were so damned addictive,
and this is perfect. It will get people hyped for Fable 2, they are
Arcade games with an honest purpose, and they will be picking up an
old idea that was pretty nice in its day.
What idea, you
Final Fantasy VIII
and several Dreamcast games (Skies of Arcadia was my most memorable
one in this group) had portable memory card games. FF8 used the
Pocketstation (never did see a real US release) memory card and the
Dreamcast games used the VMU. These memory cards all contained, in
addition to the ability to save games for their respected systems, a
small LCD screen, a d-pad, and some buttons. This meant you could
play mini-games on them. With some games, like FF8 and SoA, the
items you gained in these games would be transferred to you save of
the big scale game involved, and then you'd be able to get the fat
loot while away from the fat console. I won't even mention how the
games on the SoA mini-game (I forget the name...something like "Pottle's
Quest", I think) were fun. Really fun. Also addictive. Very
For Molyneaux to
bring back this idea, especially in the Arcade and Virtual Console
era, is nothing short of genius. Assuming the three Arcade games are
not exuberantly priced, I can see myself buying them and having a
blast earning some money for Fable 2 a little in advance. Plus,
unlike games like FF8 and SoA, nothing special will be unlocked with
these, so there's no disadvantage for those who cannot use the
system. If it's too rick for your blood, you will have no problems.
Also, since Fable 2 is barely online/multiplayer, this will not
offset the balance of the world like the pay structure of something
like Hellgate: London did for that game.
Even though it's
been hip to hate on Molyneaux, I've never felt the least big of
resentment. Ok...maybe a little for my main actress in The Movies
becoming a complete drunk (but that's not bad) after she finally
started to make it big. This is the type of news that only serves to
remind me of how awesome the man is and how awesome his ideas can
be. He may get carried away from time to time, but you can always
tell that he's in the business for the love of the games...not for
the love of the business/money.
Two quick notes.
First off, no post on Monday. I'll be traveling back to the Seattle
area and this will leave me drained. So, I'll be resting up on
Monday when I get home and not thinking about posting.
Secondly, I was
wrong...sort of. I think it's more that the way the Rock Band update
was presented by many sites was wrong, but I fell for and commented
on this error.
Ok...so there are
a lot of different sites posting news on that big Rock Band update.
There's places like Kotaku, Joystiq, XBox site, and other sites
small and large. What does this matter? For me it matters greatly
since I simply read the almost copy and paste done by these other
sites. Meanwhile the official
forums had the same info...but with a few extra words.
I bring this up
since one of the updated parts I was most excited about was there
being more variety in the set lists. I took this, with how many
sites copied and pasted it, to mean that some sets would be changed
since certain songs were done to death in a given venue or city.
By reading the
real announcement of this update on Rock Band's official forums, I
could see that this is still great news, but in a completely
different way. That is to say that it sounds like no sets are
changing, but the content of a random set list will be getting
better. Apparently, there was a bug in the random system that liked
to pick identical and similar (same artist) songs when multiple
random track sets were picked.
I know this is
quite true since I've gone through plenty of hell with a 2 song
random picking Metallica (usually leading to failure) and when the
set is picked again, another Metallica song would show up. For me it
usually involved failing at Blackened, then failing at Ride The
Lightning, then failing at ...And Justice For All, then finally
passing Enter Sandman. So, if this patch will fix this part of the
random generator, I know this will be almost as good as shifting
around tracks in the set venues.
The one thing I'd
still like to see in a patch is for some alterations to existing set
lists. That is to say that I'd like to see some of the DLC become
part of a set list. Maybe have an option in the game that will look
at genres and eras and pick the songs based off of your DLC.
Afterall, there are more DLC then regular in game songs, and I'd
like to have some new blood, so to speak, in my existing sets. Maybe
turn the Southern Rock Marathon set (Flirting, Green Grass, and
Mississippi Queen) so that it may include Skynard or Black Crowes
for one of the songs. It could even be made so that the set changes
each time you load the game (random southern rock, for example), or
maybe turn it into a three song random that will only look at
southern rock for the three songs. As a final option, maybe let you
create a set list but it has to fall into that correct genre.
While it's not a
big deal now, it could increase the longevity of this game when we
finally out number the in game songs with DLC by as large of a ratio
as we will be seeing by the time Rock Band turns one year old.
Afterall, DLC does increase longevity on its own to only a given
point. After that, we need something to alter the venues or else DLC
only means something to random and "make a set list" sets.
Speaking of Rock
Band, the DLC for this week is looking like it will make up for the
crap of last week. Yes, it will be
six master tracks from Boston . The entire list can be found on
that link, but the most important thing is we'll see a return of
More Than a Feeling! This is one song from the glory days of Guitar
Hero (glory days being the days before Encore) that I have wanted to
have the full four person group for since Rock Band first came
For the legal
sounding aspects, the pack will go for 800 MP ($10) or 160 MP ($2)
per song. In other words, more of the same price scheme seen on the
Grateful Dead pack.
The best part of
this is that it means more than three songs in a pack is not some
aberration. First it happened with five on Christmas, then six with
the Dead pack. Now another six pack is upon us and rumors are flying
that the albums may be soon. At this rate, the DLC will definitely
be plentiful. I just wish this larger pack idea could be used on
more weeks with very subjective music (like the Thrash Pack week) so
that two unique and different genres can be hit upon at once so it's
more likely that everyone could walk away happy in some form.
Also, with these
larger packs, it comes back to what I mentioned earlier. The DLC
will be greatly squashing the number of in game songs soon. This is
why the sets need to be revisited for BWT mode. Soon the choices in
BWT are really going to feel limited.
I was ready to
call it quits for this week with the Rock Band DLC
announcement...but then my friend Tangwich sent me
some really sad (and f#@$ed up) news.
Yes...CBS is once
again canceling Jericho. Afterall, it had bad ratings. However, this
can be explained quite well with an excerpt of what I wrote to
Tangwich after reading about this;
Why couldn't CBS
put the show on at a good time slot? Why couldn't they advertise? I
wouldn't had even known the second season was ready to air seven
weeks back if it wasn't for an old DVR setting to record Jericho at
any time on any channel. If it was given some attention and a good
time slot the show would have done awesome. The second season did
not require the first to make sense, it was gripping with its
awesome plot line, and the...I can name a thousand reasons the show
should remain...and one damned good reason to drink a little extra
tonight during Rock Band. If you still have the Tuesday episode on
DVR, we should watch it again before Rock Band. Maybe toast it's
memory and besmirched honor. :*(
I just hope that
cable holds some hope of saving the show. I know...it won't happen.
Look at other fallen greats (perfect example being Arrested
Development). True, some get a cable life in their darkest moments,
but they tend to be animated and without a major cast to worry about
(Futurama and Family Guy come to mind). Not many network live action
shows can find a cable home after a double death sentence. I hope
that maybe HBO (or even SciFi) look at the possibilities of Jericho
adding to their struggling line-up. Afterall, HBO is now short The
Wire and The Sopranos, and in need of something that already has a
fanbase. However, I see nothing in the future for Jericho...except a
few diehard geeks lifting their glasses in it's honor when the
curtain falls...Tuesday may mean great things with Boston hitting RB,
but it means far worse things when the night draws to a close with a
complete loss of future Jericho.
The only bright
side to this news is that I don't care one damned bit for CBS. They
have the worst football coverage (give me FOX, NBC, ESPN, or anyone
else over a CBS broadcasted Seahawk's game), no good shows (outside
of a soon to be departed Jericho), and a horrible national news
anchor. At least now I can be free of that damned network. With the
loss of Jericho, CBS will also lose this viewer.
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