Posts Tagged Sony Computer Entertainment
thasdgmopjsff… Sorry, I should have picked my jaw up off the floor before I started speaking. To say this game opens in the most epic of fashions would be saying Kratos has a slight anger management issue. I have never witnessed such a grandiose intro with titans that not only fill the screen but are in fact fill the entire level and vast amount of enemies on screen at once. Epic is a word used a lot in this generation of games but GOW III has truly redefined the word and then disembowelled it.
When you first pop White Knight Chronicles: International into your PS3 you’re greeted by a one time 2.8gb HD install screen. Once that’s done you’re can create your own character who is introduced in the game and plays a minimal role in the story of WKC. ( He/she is in most of the ingame cutscenes but doesn’t speak. )
WKC offers a deep character customization. You can adjust the character’s name, hieght, wieght, proportions, skin color, eye color, hair style, gender, voice and even it’s permanent facial expression. Make sure you’re satisfied with the final product before you’re done or you’ll have to pay $4.99 ( via PSN) to re-edit your character in the future.
On to the story.
White Knight Chronicles progresses very slowly. It begins as the people of Balandor are gearing up to celebrate a coming- of- age party for their princess, Cisna. A young man named Leonard is joined by your user created avatar to pick up and deliver wine for the festivities. All is well until the party is crashed by bad guys seeking to capture the princess because of her hidden abilities. Leonard takes it upon himself to save the princess. While doing so he awakens a giant suit of armor that allows only him to transform into a White Knight.
After unsuccessfully protecting the princess from her abductors, Leonard and his friends spend the rest of the story trying to rescue Cisna, meeting new allies and enemies along the way. By the end of the game secrets unfold, more Knights are introduced, betrayal and death befall on the heroes and a bigger story comes to light that sets the stage for the sequel.
You’re free to edit any character in your party’s armor and commands. Every piece of armor and weapon equipped is visible on all the characters in the game including your avatar. You can also switch between any character in Story Mode, as long as they’re not guest characters.
The game offers huge fields to explore for harvesting points or treasure chests filled with armor. You don’t have to explore the entire map to advance through the story though. Depending on your pacing, you can complete the story mode in under 20 hours. I took my time and completed the Story Mode in a little over 60 hours. Mainly due to the fact that I was dividing my time between Story Mode and multiplayer.
On the down side of things, White Knight Chronicles suffers from very poor lip syncing . I’ll never understand why this is an issue when the game was released in Japan in 2008. I think Level 5 had enough time to at least improve the lip syncing .
While I enjoyed the story mode and all it had to offer, it’s not the best story ever told. By the end it did manage to keep me interested in things to come.
Graphically, White Knight Chronicles isn’t the most stunning game available for the PS3 but it’s far from the worst looking game. Maybe it’s just me but the detailed enviroments found in WKC seem to have been inspired by Square Enix’s MMORPG FFXI. Even though the environments in WKC range from a vast forest to a massive desert you’ll find yourself fighting the same enemies regardless of where you go, with the exception of one enemy found around Balandor.
This is just a small sample of the huge Kingdom of Balandor. There is no load time once you enter the cities.
The music in WKC is very good and compliments the game’s fantasy world completely. My favorites being the Village of Sinca and the free city of Greede’s Market zone.
The battle system is a mix between real-time and turn base. The closet game I can think of to compare it to would be FFXII only slighty better. There’s no option to turn your character on auto-pilot like there was in FFXII.
Unlike other rpgs there is no job function in WKC. Instead, your character can learn every skill available from a ranged of 8 different weapons. Example; To use a sword skill you first have to have a sword equipped. You can switch weapons and armor at anytime in the game. You can also create and name your own combos to unleash on an unsuspecting monster. Unfortunately, you only have 3 marco sets to add weapon commands to at your disposal. I find that to be something of a disadvantage for those who may want to use the various different weapons and magic the game offers.
Another complaint I have with the game is that if you want to retrieve something from your inventory you can only do so at the world map or at a Logic Stone ( savepoint ). That and the limited slots available to carry things from potions to equipment during the game is a poor design choice.
My character Astraea doing some quests online. This is just the 3rd wave of baddies!
You can take the character you created and every item you discovered throughout the Story Mode online in WKC. New quest appear with every new area you’ve ventured throughout the Story Mode and have to be purchased from any town in the game. Some quest you can solo, others will require at least a team of 3 at the least . Your party can only consist of 4 members.
Rewards from the online quests can be used to upgrade or create weapons and armor and advance your Guild Rank. Your Guild Rank determines the available quest(s). You begin as Guild Rank 3. The higher your Rank the more difficult the quest.
White Knight Chronicles also offers an online community called GeoNet. Players can sign in ( must be logged into PSN first ), post comments on the message boards to organize quests or just rant like most people do on forums. Also available via Geonet is your Georama. Introduced in the Dark Cloud series then, Georama basically allows players to create their own town that can function as lobby where anyone can enter and take a look around.
Non-player characters can be recruited to towns from Story Mode. This makes the player’s Georama change depending on whoever is currently living in it. Non-player characters have jobs and specific skill levels, which will affect the kind of materials and items available to use in Georama. Each player has their own Geonet that can create up to 20 separate Georama rooms.
(Please note that the multiplayer modes are only available once you’ve completed the first chapter of the Story Mode. )
The online portion of the game runs smooth as butter. I’ve logged in over a hundred hours online with very few instances of lag. These rare instances only amounted to other online players popping ahead of my character a few times. Nothing game breaking.
To Level 5′s credit not many JRPG or RPG companies have been ambitious and creative enough to deliver the quality that White Knight Chronicles offers, offline and online. If you’re looking for a free MMORPG experiance to on the PS3 to tide you over until FFXIV, then WKC is right up your alley.
I give White Knight Chronicles: International 80 Knights out of 100. A flawed gem.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of White Knight Chronicles: International provided by Sony Computer Entertainment.
In 1895 the Lumière brothers made the first ever motion film and now in 2010 the French, in David Cage, are reinventing the cinema again albeit in a new medium via the Playstation 3. This is no ordinary game, its story is told in a completely unique method; “Thank you for supporting Interactive Drama”, it’s the first trophy you obtain (they are awarded during loading screens to avoid ruining immersion) and it says it all. This is an incredible Film Noir thriller of a game and the best thing about Heavy Rain? Its corrected all of Quantic Dreams’ faults from their previous effort Fahrenheit and made one the best games of this generation.
For those of you who were wondering when I was going to get this review up, you’re in luck! Here it is! Now first off, pool (formally known as billiards) is all about physics, and this game does an excellent job at replicating that, and it looks good doing it, too. It’s loaded with features, too, and it encourages you to play with friends.
Unfortunately, I’m the only one out of my friends to own this title . Anyway, it’s not without it’s flaws, though, as you’ll find out through the review. I broke it down into tabs, shockingly, for better navigation. Be sure to check those out, as I’ve included provisions for a feature that is seldom used, too. Hope you’ll enjoy the read!
Gameplay and Controls
First and foremost, the game definitely isn’t for someone new to pool, but if you’ve even got a remote interest in it, the game has a GREAT tutorial setup to get you used to the controls and the basic uses of different shots like spin, bankshots, and even the standard, how to break.
If you’re new to the game, you can start out going through the tutorial, but if you prefer to skip it, you can (it’s available from the main menu at any time). I definitely recommend it, though, as it shows you how to do some of the trickier shots as well. It’s pretty fun in it’s own right.
As far as controls go, this game does a great job with that. You have your power meter, the spin location on the cue (as well as the elevation), the ability to change your angle towards the table, etc. There is also a choice between 3 different views; the standard behind-the-cue-ball view, an overhead view, and the “Ball View”, which allows you to change the view onto the different balls on the table, giving you an idea of where it will go once it’s hit. The only problem about that view, though, is having to make adjustments, which has to be done in one of the other two views.
Speaking of making adjustments, holding down the circle button allows for fine adjustments on pretty much anything, from the power meter, to the cue placement, and even where to place the cue ball after a scratch (which is done by holding triangle). It can be a little tricky at times, since some of the harder shots require highly minute adjustments and you could have a tendency to overshoot your ball placement. One you have your shot lined up in a satisfactory way, you press the X button which enables you to take your shot.
In this scenario, you’re able to choose between two shooting modes (they affect the accuracy of the shot). You can either have the mode that has you pull back the right stick and shoot it forward, or you can opt for a different setup, which rather has a spinning, color coded wheel. Depending on the color (green for easy shots and red for hard), the wheel will spin at different speeds. For the best accuracy, you have to line up the black bar, that the color band follows, with the white bar above the cue diagram. Accuracy runs by tenths of a percent, so it’s very hard to get 100% accuracy on that setup.
Once you take the shot, the camera pans around the table in a fashion that it calculates which balls will be hit, where they go, etc (so it’s pretty dynamic). A bad scratch, for instance, will show the camera zooming up to the cue ball as it makes its way toward a hole. The views, with system, are actually pretty dramatic in that sense.
After a few shots, you will notice it getting harder and harder to get a good, accurate shot (on the cue diagram, using the right stick setup for shots, red circles will pulsate around the red dot showing how hard the shot is for instance), you’ll want to use chalk.
First off, there is standard blue chalk, but you can also purchase other chalks from the Store that will increase accuracy, etc. In order to use chalk, you’ll have to select it from the chalk menu (default is blue, so if that’s all you have, don’t worry about the chalk menu). After making your chalk selection, shake the controller and it will apply it, increasing your accuracy for the shot (you’ll want to apply it probably after every 4 shots or so).
Now for the game types themselves. The game is loaded with different game types. You’ve got standard black ball, US 8-ball, 9 Ball, Killer, etc. You can play these either online, with a friend, or against a computer. Hustle Kings is also loaded with a bunch of different modes as well, including Quick games against a computer controlled opponent, a career mode (that gets harder as you progress through it), a trick shot mode (the more you play through career, the more you’ll unlock. they’re really fun and challenging, though), and a multiplayer mode (which will be more thoroughly detailed in a later tab).
When playing single player, the AI is very good. Especially in higher difficulties. VooFoo Studios, the developers of the game, said sometimes they can seem unbeatable, yet, they don’t “cheat” the physics system and do everything that a human player would be able to replicate. I, myself, was blown away by how well the AI played the game!
As far as career mode goes, you’ll play against different opponents at different skill levels, depending on the tournament you’re entered in. Some of the matches are straight head-tohead, Hustle (where you place a wager on the game) and a mixture of skill-based mini games (which are also available from the main menu). These mini games include clearing the table on one break, hitting balls in a designated pocket, etc. These types of games are a great way to hone your skills while playing solo, especially with the challenge they provide.
The gameplay is great fun and I enjoyed it quite a bit. There was one glitch I came across, though, that made me laugh in a way. I got frustrated on a mini game that I had been trying to complete forever, and I overpowered my shot on purpose to make the bell I aimed at fly off the table. It looked like it was going to, but it seemed to have gotten stuck in a weird way. The ball bounced off an invisible barrier, headed back toward the green of the table, but kept disappearing and respawning down the bumper until it got close to the end, when it finally landed on the table and acted like nothing happened (and I almost pocketed it, too). Since I couldn’t replicate the scenario, though, it was only a minor problem (I was too weirded out to have recorded it, though haha).
Hustle Kings also has a collection of trophies available to obtain, with many of them focused on the online aspect of the game. For people looking for a real challenge when it comes to trophies, this game is for you. SOme of them are pretty easy to obtain, but the majority? Not so much. There is one trophy in particular that may be pretty hard to get. It’s called “Luck is an Art” and requires you to beat someone who already has it (when the game first came out, only the game’s developers had the trophy).
As far as points go, you receive HKC (Hustle King Credits), which you can use to purchase new stuff from the Hustle King store, including new cues, chrome balls, new avatars (which are lacking by the way, at least playing online uses your PSN ID’s avatar, though). I’m saving up my HKC for some of the cooler balls, because they look awesome thanks to the graphics engine!
Gameplay and Controls?
|Great attention to the physics|
Plenty of modes
Challenging all around
Plenty of cool things to buy in the Hustle Kings store
Very strong, intelligent AI
|Fine adjustment could be a bit tricky|
Though rare, it can have some weird glitches
Lack of avatars
This game is gorgeous. First of all, the game’s maximum resolution is 1080P, and it creates a crisp, clear, colorful picture. Everything literally pops out at you, and the detail to the visuals alone is worth the $9.99 price of admission!
You’ll play in an assortment of different pool rooms, either ones you choose (you can unlock more through the game) or one chosen at random. They each add a different stylistic flair to the game, and give it a bit of an atmosphere while playing. Though the gameplay itself is focused on a small area, the background is relatively big, with neon lights, windows, ambient lighting, etc (depending on where you’re at). While playing, it still has a bit of a subtle, calm effect as you’re lining up your shots.
You can also choose the color of the table cloth, from standard green, to red, to violet and all points in between. As for the balls? Stunningly detailed. The light reflecting off of them is smooth, yet refined. It gives the balls a sense of depth (as well as the shadows that drop from everything. They don’t have jagged edges, but are rather smooth and akin to reality). The game does a good job of getting you immersed into the gameplay through the graphics, which is a big plus.
There are some things that I would have liked to have seen (though, may have wound up being a full release). First off, it’s funny watching replays and seeing a floating stick pull back and hit the cue ball. It would have been great to see rendered people (from the cartoony avatars the game has) take the shots, but for being a cheap, downloadable title, that’s not too much of an issue. Other than that, I don’t have any real complaints with the graphics at all, it’s still a wonderful looking game!
Shadow and light work adds plenty of depth and realism
Runs at 1080P
One of the best looking downloadable titles to date
|No modeled/rendered players|
To start off with the sound, I will begin with the soundtrack. First of all, the music genres they have included with the game just scream pool. They’re perfectly mixed for the atmosphere of the games and the backdrops within a game. You have a choice between the likes of funk, hip hop, lounge, jazz, and techno.
Don’t care for either of those? The game also supports custom soundtracks. After I found that out, I downloaded my George Thorogood and the Destroyers album onto my PS3, and to make a long story short, it was awesome. Custom soundtracks is often underused in PS3 games, but this game, luckily, makes good use of it. The only problem I came across, after disabling all the in-game music, I decided to stop listening to GT and went back to the game’s music. After one song, it didn’t continue on to the next, but was fixed after the game was restarted. A minor inconvenience, but just an FYI if you do decide to do that.
As for the game’s sounds themselves, they’re near perfect. The sound of the balls clashing into each other was masterfully recorded, as were all the shot sounds in general. They sound exactly the way they were supposed to.
What wasn’t so great? When navigating the menus, the game has this annoying high-pitched chirp when you go through it. If you have your speakers set up pretty loud, it can really ring your ears. Another complaint I have with the noise is that when you use the chalk, the low frequencies are pretty loud, and punch your speakers. Almost sounds like someone kicking your door pretty hard.
Not much else to comment on in the sound department. No gunshots and explosions .
|Great reproduction of sounds/very realistic|
Perfectly fitting in-game music
Custom Soundtrack support
|Loud, annoying menu navigation chirp|
Chalk use is too loud
If there’s one thing that could make an awesome game even better, it would be a strong multiplayer component, and I must say, Hustle King’s multiplayer is one of the best experiences on the PS3. Yeah, pretty astonishing for being a cheap, download-only title!
First off, the network code is done amazingly well. Games start up and connect very quickly. I decided to do a quick match first, and was instantly partnered up against an opponent. I would say between choosing to do a quick match and entering the game, it took maybe 7 seconds, and it seemed most of that was because it just had to load the game.
This was even with a laggy player, too. I knew this because when he/she took a shot, it told me that my opponent had fouled because the shot timer ran out (which it didn’t). After the shot, the balls had been moved around, etc. I was glad the game wasn’t like that for everyone, though, but it didn’t totally affect the game any.
A good connection with a player, though, allows for you to see the ball be hit, and the subsequent damage that had been done. It was a much smoother experience, thanks to the great networking code. Only thing I couldn’t see was the accuracy of his shots until after the shots were taken, which is perfectly fine!
The game also includes numerous options of play as well. You can create a “room” with up to 32 players, and allow you to assign universal gameplay rules, like the aiming guide (from short, long and off) and what type of game it will be. Head to head events are like the 9-ball, US 8-ball, and black ball, with each player facing one other opponent.
There is also the “multiplayer” event type, which allows for up to 8 people playing a game simultaneously (14.1 continuous, killer, etc) and adds a bit of fun to the experience. The game, in these respects, is very, very social, much like the real game itself.
Other options include making the game a ranked game, a Hustle game (where you put a wager on it), or just practice. You also have the option to make the room a private room for you and you friend(s), with the only way to get in is to be invited by someone already in the room.
They actually seem to do a great job of joining your friends, too, but I couldn’t test that out because I don’t know anyone with the game haha. If it’s anything like the rest of the multiplayer, though, it would be perfect! Maybe this review will convince some of you?
Anyway, if you’re on your own and you want to see what kind of games there are, you can actually browse a server list. Since you get to name your room and everything, it’s no surprise you can browse through the servers (honestly, why can’t all games do this?). It’s about the best thing about multiplayer, really, since you get a chance to see which servers match your search criteria, and you can choose which to join, based on who’s playing, what the game rules are, and how full the server is. They did a wonderful job on that front! I still prefer the more advanced PC-type server browsing, though.
Once in a room, you will see people’s names highlighted in red and green. Green ones are open opponents not currently engaged in a game, the red ones are. If you want to challenge someone, you just highlight their name, press X and choose to challenge, and await a response. Once they respond and approve the challenge, again, the load time to get into the game is very quick.
Local multiplayer is also an option, and allows for up to 16 players to compete in a tournament as well. This, plus the other options pretty much make up a complete multiplayer package.
Now, for a couple drawbacks. First of all, the game only supports text chat, and that’s in the lobby. So no trash talking or anything (which isn’t too big of a deal for me, but I’m sure a lot of you would appreciate it). Some people could also be inactive when sitting in a room, and they don’t have a status option to let you know either they are busy or have been inactive for a time (they could make the color yellow if the person has been inactive for, say, 5 minutes). Other than that, the multiplayer portion of the game is just about flawless!
|Very good network code|
Matches start almost immediately
Strong list of multiplayer options and games
Great local multiplayer
|Supports only text chat, and only in lobbys|
No way of telling who's been inactive
For being just $9.99, this title is a steal. It’s like a pool player’s virtual kingdom! The gameplay and physics are top notch, without any real issues (maybe a glitch here or there). It’s seriously one of the best looking games you can get from the PlayStation Store! Though there are a couple annoying, loud sounds, the reproduction of the rest are very high quality and sound the way you’d expect them to.
The game has a very strong multiplayer component and rivals that of the best you can find anywhere on the PS3, which includes tons of options, both in searching for a room and creating one. One of the best features would have to be the ability to browse through servers/rooms, which is a rarity in console multiplayer gaming. It’s also great that games start almost immediately, with quick load times to boot!
Any issues with the game are few and far between. If you’re a fan of pool, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up! I highly recommend it. There were a couple things I hadn’t tried, though (as well as a couple upcoming details), so don’t stop with the review on this tab, or you’ll miss a few things!
|Great physics engine|
Visuals are absolutely stunning
Top quality audio work
Very, very strong multiplayer component
Game quality exceeds the price
Very strong and challenging AI
|A few annoying sounds|
Could use rendered players
Only supports text chat
Very strong and challenging AI
One of the things I haven’t tried yet was uploading a video replay to YouTube, which is something else this game supports. There are plenty videos available on YouTube right now that people have uploaded, so you can check those out.
There is also some supposed DLC that could be coming in the future (if it hasn’t already), including some more offline and practice modes, as well as Snooker, but that’s still to be seen. Would be pretty cool, though, but how much would such DLC content cost? If it were free, then why the hell not, eh? Then again, given how good the release product was, it would be a welcome addition at a reasonable price, too.
There may also be some work done for a patch that will include both voice chat, and video chat while playing the game as well (maybe even just text). As long as it doesn’t create issues with the currently-strong network code, I’m game!
This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Hustle Kings provided by VooFoo Studios.
Gran Turismo finally hit the PSP, in October 2009, after years of delays; I recently got a PSP Go and took GT for a spin. The first thing that hits you about this game is the frame rate. It’s astonishing that Polyphony have managed to make a game look and run this well on such a small handheld. There has been a sacrifice in the amount of opponent A.I. you face with only 4 cars now on track. It’s a disappointment, which might be a big issue with some gamers. However, for me it was a worthwhile sacrifice as the controls are impeccable thanks to the fluidity afforded by running the game in 60fps.