Good To Be A Gamer – Episode 01

Good To Be A Gamer (Ep 01)

 

On the show, I talk Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. The Nintendo 3DS gets a release date and a price tag, EA Sports is betting on Virgin Gaming, we get details on Portal 2 for the PS3 and The Walking Dead make it into a video game?

NEED TO KNOW

**News**

Nintendo 3DS get a firm release date and pricing. Nintendo officially announced their next generation DS at E3 2010, introducing the 3DS. The 3DS is the first foray into glasses-free gaming and it looks amazing. Finally we have release details! Nintendo 3DS hits shelves in the US on March 27th and you can get yours for $249.99.
Learn more about the Nintendo 3DS.
Read the Nintendo press release.

Portal 2 announces PS3 Features including cross-platform game-play with PC & Mac. The announcement Portal 2 would be released on the PlayStation 3 shocked and excited the gaming community. This week, GameSpot brought us feature details. The most exciting feature is the Steamworks support, allowing PS3, PC & Mac gamers to engage in co-operative play and online chat. Gamers who purchase Portal 2 for the PS3 will have the ability to download a free PC or Mac version so long as they integrate their Steam and PlayStation Network accounts. PS3 gamers will also get the ability to save their games in the cloud. Portal 2 will be released April 19, 2011 for Mac, PC, PS3 & Xbox 360.
Read the full story at GameSpot.

Virgin Gaming joins forces with EA Sports to bring gambling to game-play. Electronic Arts penned an agreement with Virgin Gaming to make them the official world-wide provider of online tournaments for EA Sports. Virgin Gaming will integrate their tournament platform into selected EA Sports games to enable competitive game-play on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. Gamers will be able to buy-in to official tournaments, bet on the game outcome and the platform will track game-play to prevent cheating.
Read the Virgin Games press release.

The Walking Dead Video Game? 1UP.com notified readers they recently received an invitation to a Telltale Games event to take place February 17th. At the event, Telltale Games is expected to announce their newly developed games. The invitation includes a rather vague description that could reference a video game based on the hugely popular television series adapted from the graphic novel, The Walking Dead.
Read the post on 1UP.com.

**Games released last week include:
Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
Little Big Planet 2 (PS3)
The Mysterious Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Nintendo DS)
Plants vs. Zombies (Nintendo DS)
Mindjack (PS3, Xbox 360)

**Games being released this week include:
You Don’t Know Jack (Wii)
Dead Space 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Lord of Arcana (PSP)
Two Worlds II (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Breach (PC, Xbox 360)

**On the Calendar, check out these Upcoming Events:

Unity Games XVII
Play Day (Board & Card Gaming)
January 29, 2011 – 9am to 12am
Woburn Hilton Hotel in Woburn, MA
http://www.unitygames.org/ugxvii/ugxvii.htm

TempleCon (Board, Card, LARP, Miniatures, Video Gaming & Steampunk)
February 2-4, 2011
Crowne Plaza in Warwick, RI
Website: http://www.templecon.org

Total Confusion
February 24-27, 2011
Holiday Inn in Mansfield, MA
Website: http://www.totalcon.com

 

GET IN THE GAME

**Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is the follow-up game to Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword. 150 years in the future, Mankind is struggling to stay alive. The remaining humans are hunted and enslaved. When a slave ship crashes in New York, the only survivors are Trip and Monkey. Trip is a tech-savvy young woman from a tribe that has remained hidden while robots rule the earth. You play as Monkey, a big, burly fighter with acrobatic skill. To increase her chances of survival, Trip enslaves Monkey to ensure he will protect her as they travel across the treacherous landscape to find a way back to Trip’s people, fighting off mechs along the way. The story is well-told and integrates nicely with the game-play.

Enslaved is set in a post-apocalyptic world. Instead of going for the typical dust-bowl landscape we’re used to seeing from so many games, players are immersed in a lush, green environment which reminds me of the History Channel’s Life After People. Steel, concrete and brick crumble under the oppression of nature, as plants scale structures. The destabilized structures also provide a great environment for the platforming aspects of the game, adding that bit of danger when you realize your hand-hold is crumbling under your weight. Quite simply, the game is gorgeous.

Another fantastic aspect of Enslaved is the facial recognition. A lot of effort has been put into the character design and motion capture to add an additional feeling of realism. A prime example is the inclusion of Andy Serkis, of Lord of the Rings fame, who lends himself to Enslaved for the facial and motion capture, as well as the voice of Monkey. In addition, he puts his considerable talents to good use as co-director of the cut scenes.

In terms of the actual game-play, the game is fun. It combines strategic planning and combat, platforming and hack & slash with a dash of shooter game-play. The companion aspect with Trip is done well. While your primary mission is to protect her, Enslaved doesn’t make it feel like a babysitting job. The companion aspect is a welcome interactive experience, providing necessary assistance to get through the game. The fighting is not especially difficult, but the developers have done a great job mixing in different types of game-play to prevent the game from becoming too monotonous.

Sadly, it’s not all good for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Somehow, the game has not been able to avoid dreaded hang-ups. There are more than a few instances when you will find yourself stuck in the background, forcing you to move back before you can continue forward. Hanging on a piece of scaffolding when hopping from one piece to the next is a sure way to be removed from the gaming experience. Another issue is physical interaction with Trip. Too many times you will find yourself walking into and around Trip in order to find just the right stance to toss her to the next level.

To find out more about Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, visit Namco’s Official Site.

THANKS

Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the host and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek. For more information and show notes, please visit the website.

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