Archive for November, 2009

Crack in Time Impressions

CiT1

Improvements from Tools of Destruction

  • Challenge: One of the big problems with Ratchet ToD was the lack of challenge. CiT definitely nailed this one. I felt that completing the main campaign on the “hard” setting was on the easy side, but there is tons of challenge in getting the skill points and PSN trophies, doing the optional moon side-quests, collecting the Zoni/bolts, and most importantly, improved arena battles. I still prefer the approach of the older Ratchet games that spread the arena style challenges over the ends of different campaign missions in different non-arena environments.
  • Visuals: Compared with ToD, CiT adds tons of new graphical effects, filters, and brings back spherical levels. Overall it simply makes more skillful use of the same general technology.
  • Space Mission Hub: The space combat was pretty simple, but the big improvement was the easy to navigate mission and mini-moon hub.
  • Tons of Small Changes: The core game design is the same as ever, but there are tons of small tweaks and changes to everything about the game, which make the game feel fresh and improved.
  • Fun New Mini-Mechanics: Mini-Moon Side Missions are the big standout. Hover boots and time puzzles were also fun.
  • Aesthetic Improvement: Some of the levels really showed some artistic flair beyond the standard high production values that are expected from the series.
  • CiT2

    Positives that aren’t new to the series

  • Core Diverse Action/Platforming Gameplay
  • 60 FPS
  • Production Values: Animation, voice work, 3D graphics, colorful environments that feel alive, and the cut scene quality are all great.
  • Diversity and Level Design
  • Arena Battles: These challenges are often some of the best parts of the game.
  • Great Level Design + Well Balanced Battles
  • CiT3

    Negatives

  • No Flying: I loved the tilt wing flying segments (not the outer space stuff) in Tools of Destruction and was really hoping that they were going to take that to the next level. Instead, it was completely removed.
  • No Racing: Mario Galaxy had highly entertaining water race levels, Jak 2 + 3 had the best racing segments in the genre. I’m disappointed that the new Ratchet title doesn’t have anything similar. The hover-boots and rail grinding segments were nice, but weren’t fleshed out into full racing gameplay.
  • Father/Son Issues: There were many horribly awkward father-son dialog that made me want to slink out of the room. Whoever wrote this game had weird parenting issues and they felt wildly uncomfortable in a game.
  • Story: It’s extremely well voiced and animated, but the story and characters were unengaging.
  • Simple puzzles: Many of the puzzles such as the battery-bots and the omni-soaker felt almost like simplified chores.
  • CiT4

    Conclusion

    If you aren’t familiar with the series, it’s really fun: The core fun is the combat and managing all your different weapons and powers and figuring out how to tackle all the different zany and very well balanced levels and battle scenes and then getting awesome Pixar-like production values on top of that.

    If you are familiar with the series this is definitely a high point: lots of little improvements and enhancements and polishes to the Ratchet experience. Also, this is a full blown sequel with all new levels, monsters, story, gameplay adjustments, etc.

    8 Comments

    LittleBigPlanet: Online Create Mode

    This week, LittleBigPlanet will be patched with support for Online Create Mode (multiple players connected across the Internet create a level together), as well as netcode improvements, and save/export improvements.

    Online create mode sounds great. I hope we get more features, modes, and levels like this that are exciting. Looking back at the DLC for 2009, most of that is just filler stickers and costumes.

    The two previously announced, upcoming, DLC enhancements that sound really exciting:

    • Web Level Queue: There are so many really amazing community levels, but it’s hard to find them in the in-game tool. With this system, web sites can post a link that will add the level to your in-game level queue so it’s all ready to play when you boot your PS3.
    • Water

    3 Comments

    Uncharted 2 1.02 Update Today [Update]

    The Uncharted 2 1.02 update should be arriving in about 1 hour. The update includes a new map and double cash weekend. Plus the Uncharted 2 characters are fat from thanksgiving, lol. [Update: Now live!]

    14 Comments

    Amazon Black Friday PS3 Bundle and More

    Amazon has a PS3 120 GB Slim Bundle with Infamous and Killzone 2 (Includes a $10 Amazon.com Promotional Credit on Black Friday). Pretty good deal. Here are some other PS3 Bundles from other retails.

    Be sure to check out there other Black Friday Deals. Here is the Video Game Black Friday section. There are also some great deals on Blu-rays too.

    3 Comments