Archive for February, 2008
Sources have indicated to GamesIndustry.biz that the head of Sony Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison, who will leave the company at the end of this week, is to join Atari in the near future.
Harrison, who recently expressed his frustration at Sony Japan’s lack of foresight on the casual games front – ceding ground to Nintendo in the process – will apparently join up with ex-EA executive David Gardner and spearhead Atari’s push into the casual space.
He’s going to be a big loss to Sony. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Sony’s First Party output develops from this point onwards.
I finished this on Devil Hunter mode a couple of weekends ago. I’m not sure what difficulty Devil Hunter is meant to represent but it wasn’t too hard so it’s probably somewhere between Normal and Hard mode in normal game turns. I haven’t tried Human difficulty and I’m on Mission 11 of Son of Sparda difficulty (which I class as Hard mode), so my impressions will be based on playing through on Devil Hunter difficulty (with a little mention of Son of Sparda difficulty).
As you know you had to install around 5GB of data before you could even play DMC4, which took around 20mins for me.
If you want comparisons of load times between the PS3 and 360 version then you’re going to have to look elsewhere. I don’t own a 360 and if I did, I wouldn’t of bought 2 copies of DMC4 and nor would I have wasted any time doing a time wasting comparison test of load times.
All I will say is the load times that I experienced were very short and if you’re asking me if the 5GB install was a waste of time, then I don’t know because I can’t tell you exactly how much time was saved by doing the install. It would’ve been nice if the install was optional though, but only Capcom can explain why they forced PS3 owners to install it.
NERO: THE NEW RAIDEN
On to the game. Devil May Cry 4 has a lot of similarities to Devil May Cry, which is a good thing for me as DMC is one of THE greatest games ever and still the best in the series. You start off as Nero who irritated the hell out of me for a large part of the game. He just lacks a lot of charisma and personality that Dante has in abundance.
His Devil Bringer techniques are what sets him apart from Dante. Using Buster to grab enemies and bosses is pretty cool but it’s too easy to rely on it against the more difficult opponents and it doesn’t require a lot of skill to use. His gun is too slow to make much of an impact and it’s not really that effective until you’ve purchased the 3rd charge shot.
His sword combos using Red Queen are fairly similar to Dante’s but different enough to make playing as Nero feel fresh. Nero can’t switch styles like Dante and he can’t use different swords or guns (he does acquire Vergil’s Yamato sword which allows him to activate his Devil Trigger but he can’t use it instead of Red Queen when in Human form) but he does have the Devil Bringer which is what he’s all about.
You can also use the Exceed attack to power up your sword by pressing and holding L2 but I never used it once. Seems like a pointless addition to me.
NERO V DANTE
I found it really hard to like Nero. His combat techniques are a lot of fun but as a character he just irritates me. I’ve mentioned above he lacks any sort of a personality but I suppose they couldn’t have made him too similar to Dante.
What makes it worse is you don’t get to play as Dante until Mission 12 (past the halfway mark) and when you do, you’re so used to using the Devil Bringer that it takes you a mission or two before you get back into using Dante’s superb array of moves. The good news is that you get to use all the experience you’ve earned with Nero to power up Dante straight away.
DANTE: A BRUCE LEE FAN
You have access to Dante’s four styles that featured in DMC3 straight away. Trickster is still my favourite, Dante is almost untouchable if used right, Swordmaster is great for dealing some major sword damage but Royal Guard and Gunslinger were never used. That’s just my personal preference though.
Dante also acquires some new weapons which are a mixed bag to say the least. Gilgamesh allows Dante to unleash the Bruce Lee inside of him. It’s not unlike the Ifrit weapon Dante got in Devil May Cry only without the fire!
Anybody else notice the two tributes to Bruce Lee just before he gets Gilgamesh?
Lucifer is very useful when fighting Mephisto and Fausts (the ghost type enemies). With Nero you can grab them repeatedly until they reveal their true form but as Dante doesn’t have the Devil Bringer, I found Lucifer very useful against these guys. You can basically place a number of swords around any enemy and when they go off, they usually deal quite a bit of damage.
Pandora’s Box is 3 weapons in one and all deal heavy damage. It’s a little slow in firing but it is quite powerful. I didn’t use it because I prefer to move around at a fast pace.
Dark Slayer (Vergil’s moves from DMC3 SE) can be used by pressing the D pad in the same direction as the current style you’re using. I tried it a couple of times but I can’t really comment on it’s effectiveness just yet.
I found it easier to get S ranks with Dante the first time of asking (I got 3 in a row with Dante at one point) but I did get an S rank on my very first mission with Nero on my first play through. It’s too easy to rely on Nero’s Buster move when you’re in trouble. It probably takes a bit more skill to get the best out of Dante, make of that what you will.
The game really came alive once you got to play as Dante. His combos and moves are a lot more spectacular than Nero’s. The game was clearly built around Nero and his Devil Bringer techniques and it did take me a mission or two to get back to my best using Dante, but once I did the game was so much more enjoyable.
Most of Dante’s cut scenes are hilarious especially before and after he fights the various bosses. A lot has been made about Capcom forcing Dante to re-fight the same bosses that Nero already has, not to mention having to backtrack through the same areas but this is no different to previous DMC games.
I didn’t find this a problem at all but I suppose new players to the series will find it a chore. The board game ‘puzzle’ was a bit tepid (Mission 19 was the worst mission in the game by far) but the game was a highly enjoyable experience.
The bosses add a bit of personality to the proceedings but are not quite up to DMC standards, whilst being a bit more imaginative than DMC3′s bosses.
The game is also quite linear, which means you shouldn’t get stuck or lost but some people obviously don’t like linear games. It works great for Devil May Cry and it’s style of combat. It would be as enjoyable if the game world was more open.
The camera is partly fixed and fully movable depending on where you are in the game. It’s not a major problem for me but I can see some people getting annoyed with it. The camera in Ninja Gaiden Sigma was a lot worse in my opinion. I died more times from the camera in NGS than the actual enemies.
My major gripe with DMC4 (apart from not playing as Dante more) is the rubbish Secret Missions. They are so bland and unimaginative that I never bothered going for them after the first 3 or 4. Definitely nowhere near as good as the Secret Missions on DMC and to a lesser extent DMC3.
The graphics look great and there was no slowdown or screen tearing at all. Very impressive when the combat is in full flow.
I really enjoyed Devil May Cry 4, especially as Dante and if I had to give it a score I’d give it 9/10.
I just hope Capcom do not decide to make Nero the star of future DMC games and bin Dante completely. Dante is DMC and if they did decide to lessen his role even further in future games then I won’t buy anymore DMC games.
This doesn’t include PSN sales for GT5:P
Release Title Units Shipped
2007/12/13 Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (Japan) 0.25M
2005/03/10 Gran Turismo 4 (S.Korea) 0.11M
2005/03/09 Gran Turismo 4 (Europe) 5.64M
2005/02/22 Gran Turismo 4 (North America) 2.87M
2004/12/28 Gran Turismo 4 (Asia) 0.07M
2004/12/28 Gran Turismo 4 (Japan) 1.23M
2004/05/26 Gran Turismo 4 Prologue Edition (Europe) 0.41M
2004/01/15 Gran Turismo 4 Prologue Edition (S.Korea) 0.05M
2003/12/04 Gran Turismo 4 Prologue Edition (Asia) 0.11M
2003/12/04 Gran Turismo 4 Prologue Edition (Japan) 0.79M
2002/07/25 Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Geneva (Asia) 0.03M
2002/07/17 Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Geneva (Europe) 1.00M
2002/05/16 Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Seoul (S.Korea) 0.09M
2002/01/01 Gran Turismo Concept 2001 Tokyo (Asia) 0.01M
2002/01/01 Gran Turismo Concept 2001 Tokyo (Japan) 0.43M
2001/12/13 Gran Turismo 3 A-spec (Asia) 0.01M
2001/07/20 Gran Turismo 3 A-spec (Europe) 5.84M
2001/07/10 Gran Turismo 3 A-spec (North America) 7.14M
2001/04/28 Gran Turismo 3 A-spec (Japan) 1.89M
2000/01/28 Gran Turismo 2 (Europe) 3.68M
1999/12/23 Gran Turismo 2 (North America) 3.96M
1999/12/11 Gran Turismo 2 (Asia) 0.02M
1999/12/11 Gran Turismo 2 (Japan) 1.71M
1998/05/12 Gran Turismo (North America) 3.99M
1998/05/08 Gran Turismo (Europe) 4.30M
1997/12/23 Gran Turismo (Asia) 0.01M
1997/12/23 Gran Turismo (Japan) 2.55M
In North America, sales clearly peaked at GT3 and dived by over half for GT4. I suspect that GT4 was much more improved and polished, but the novelty and fad of the hyper-realistic sim concept simply died down.
Anyone else have any other interpretations? Does anyone think that interest will be revised with GT5 or GT5:P?
I know I just quoted this article, but I’ll do it again. GameIndustry.biz talked to SCEA’s vice president of product marketing, Scott Steinberg, about the 80GB PS3 and sales. Here’s what he had to say:
Last year we saw the price drop, coupled with the introduction of new SKUs and the discontinuation of some SKUs in certain territories. It still doesn’t seem to be very settled. Can you talk about any plans for this year in terms of finally settling on hardware?
We’re still looking at a lot of that stuff.
The lessons from the fall were pretty acute to us. We expected to sell a lot more of the USD 399 system than the USD 499 system. We entered 2008 pretty dry on the 80GB at USD 499 because of the equilibrium on sales for both systems.
We found that the hardcore guys were willing to spend that extra hundred dollars, and the more casual consumers without the bells and whistles were quite comfortable with a Blu-ray machine that, from a consumer electronics comparison, is still much more expensive than USD 399.
We weren’t quite predicting that. We weren’t predicting the evenness of those sales numbers and we got pretty light on the 80GB. You’ll see that correct itself as we get deeper into the year. We are still sort of evaluating what that means from a going forward strategy. We’re pointing to that commercial flow in the fall as a reason why we are still a little bit light at retail for those 80GB machines.
So maybe Sony’s problem right now is that they just don’t have enough 80GB PS3′s lying around to satisfy the demand. Once some more are manufactured, you’ll be seeing it on the shelves again.
GameIndustry.biz got to talk to SCEA’s vice president of product marketing, Scott Steinberg, and they talked about stuff like the fact that Sony didn’t have a keynote or make a big announcement at GDC ’08. They also talked about this:
In terms of titles you are looking at in 2008, what do you have to counteract the just-announced Gears of War 2? One of the downsides of having a breadth of titles is that you might not be able to point to any one title like a Halo 3 or a GTA that are going to sell consoles. Is there a single strong PS3 title in your mind that you can point to like that?
Well, I think it is really easy to point to one when you’ve only got one. And so by default, that sort of solves itself.
I don’t want to say that we have an embarrassment of riches, but we have the ability to go in a bunch of different directions depending upon the choice and the taste of the gamer. So we’re not just forcing one genre upon our population, our installed base.
One of the great things about the PS2 was its breadth of titles, and I fully expect the PS3 to be the same. While I love a good FPS as much as the next guy (unless it’s Gary), I also want to play some other great game genres too. I think that’s what differentiates PlayStation gamers from Xbox gamers more than anything else. Xbox gamers seem to be more racing and gunning oriented, while PlayStation gamers like that stuff and other stuff too. Correct me if I’m wrong.