Wednesday, March 7, 2012

PS Vita late to the party with digital distribution

I recently went through an expensive process of prepping my already expensive Vita to be a primary digital medium device.  I am terrible at keeping up with cartridges, and even worse when they are the size of a thumbnail. 
Normally, this would just be a choice, but because of Sony's proprietary memory cards on the vita, its an investment.  To make my Vita digital download ready I am required to spend 100.00 on a 32GB Memory card.  This means that instead of picking up Uncharted and Lumines, two games I really want.  I bought a memory card.
This was a long term investment, I figured over the course of my vita I would save enough money (Downloadable games are generally 5 dollars cheaper) and also be able to keep track of all my games much easier, and lower the risk of loss and improve convience.
Now here is the problem, in a age where more and more retailers are willing to cater more and more to the hardcore player.  Whether through midnight releases, or the ability to pre-download a game with a digital release, retailers are beginning to understand that hardcore gamers want their games ASAP, and its one of the big advantages they can have over Wal-Mart/Target that don't do those types of promotions.
Now, my most anticipated game of the Vita launch window was MLB the show 12.  I love baseball, I love MLB the show, and the idea of a mobile show made me gitty.  I am at my local GameStop at 11:50PM for the Mass Effect 3 release, I finish showing my receipt and the clerk asks if I want to get anything while im here, and even mentions to me that I could get MLB the show with Mass Effect if I wanted.  I declined.  I want it digitally. I can wait a few more hours, I'll be playing Mass Effect anyway.
When I get home I am checking my Vita about every 15 to 20 minutes so I could at least start the download before I go to bed.  at about 1AM est. I figured they must release it on Pacific time.  I focus on Mass Effect until about 3AM, Midnight Pacific and again start checking every 15-20 minutes between reaper encounters to see if they it available for purchase.  Nothing.
Finally at about 4AM I can barely keep my eyes open, I check one last time before going going to sleep.  /sigh
I am up at about 08:15, groggy and immediately rush to my vita to get the download started while I am in the shower.  No update.  Nothing.  Not available for download.  I have a few cups of coffee and hit Mass Effect again for a few hours, checking occasionally hoping to get my download started.  At about 10:30 I start to worry about getting the game at all.  I do an in store pickup at best buy, in stock. Whew.  I get the confirmation email stating "unfortunately we could not find your product"  Crap.  Cancel order.  I call two local GameStop's that show in stock online "Sorry bro, just sold the last one"  *&*%
Call a GameStop that shows "limited stock" online that's about a 25 minutes away that I know is SLOOOOW. I call, they have it, and he'll hold it for me.  Whew.  I check one last time to see if its avail for download.  Nothing. 
Game in hand, and regret for spending 100.00 on a memory card bubbling over.  I continue to check my Vita in-between games and MLB the show does not come avail. on the play station store until after 9PM est.. 
I love my Vita.  It does exactly what I want a handheld to do, but its also billed as a hardcore gaming device for Hardcore gaming fans.  Its not angry birds, its Uncharted.  If this stuff didn't matter, there wouldn't have been 60 people picking up Mass Effect 3 at midnight on Monday night, or the 500 people at the best buy picking up MW3 in this past November. 
Sony makes more money on Digital downloads.  they don't have to physically produce a game or share the cut with retailers, but if they want the hardcore gaming market downloading via PSN, they are going to need to provide the consumer with the product much earlier, not 13 hours after Wal-Mart does.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Guides

Kingdoms of Amalur Guides:

Whats going on internet -- I have been working hard on making quite a few Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning tips, hints, tricks and guides.  So I decided to go ahead and put them all in one place for easy navigation.
Character Creation Guide: - A Basic guide to making a character in Amalur, including destinies, races, and skill tree's:
Kingdoms of Amalur: Crafting Guides - Provides a look at the basics of all the skills in Amalur:
Sagecrafting/Detect Hidden/Stealth/Merc/presuasion:
How to make a great Mastercrafted Weapon:
Amalur: Custom Character Builds: Mid-Level
Basic builds: Might/Finesse/Sorcery Build:
Combo Builds: Two different combo builds mixing talents:
Stealth Build and full Balance Build:
I will try to keep this page as updated as possible when I post new guides.  Hope these video's help you out! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Value Gaming:

Recently in-between Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning sessions I have been playing quite a bit of Gotham City Imposters and Shank 2.  These are two "budget titles" that I have enjoyed quite a bit and it made me start to wonder the place in our gaming for specialized titles.
(You can view my Shank 2 impressions Here)
Gaming is expensive.  60 bucks is the standard price for a base game, not including collectors editions, add-ons, expansions, episodic DLC, Cosmetic DLC, in game perks/bonus's, and subscriptions based games.
So change that, Gaming is REALLY EXPENSIVE from a consumer point of view.  With that cost, gaming publishers have felt the need to show value for the 60 dollars.  Its one of the reason's top quality single player titles have incorporated multi-player such as the Uncharted series and now Mass Effect 3. 
Having spent the 5 hours drudging through the Battlefield 3 single player campaign.  I can say this isn't always a benefit, when a generally multiplayer game (an excellent one) decides they need to make a single player campaign to show value and compete with other titles.  While playing the campaign I was activity thinking of all the money and time that was wasted that could have been into the amazing multiplayer development, or better yet.  Save the single player campaign and knock 15 bucks off the price.  For 60 bucks, the consumer expects a full entertainment package, but the truth very very few games deliver quality products in all aspects. 
Back to my point about budget titles, or as I like to call them "Value titles".  As big budget titles feel the need expand and stretch their resources beyond what they are capable.  I feel this is a great opportunity for value titles to come in and be specialized in doing what they do, and doing it very well.  If a game like Gotham City Imposters, which a lot of people compare to a zany MW3, can give me 80% of what MW3 multiplayer is, for 25% of the cost.  Doesn't that automatically mean their is value in the product?  Especially if I had no interest in the single player portion of MW3.   Couldn't titles like these put pressure on developers to give the consumers a choice in what they want?
Gaming is expensive as previously stated.  Why do we have to buy parts of a 60 dollar video game that we don't need or want.  Everything is gaming is itemized now.  Why can't I pick up my Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3 multiplayer Pack for 34.99?  with an option for the Co-Op play for 9.99? 
If consumer Money is in play.  Perhaps we are better off looking at "Value Games" as a legitimate alternative, until larger AAA titles start giving us the option to purchase what we are are looking for.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: DLC

What's going on everyone, two of the games I have been playing have just released or announced some DLC that I thought I would go into.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning just released its first bit of DLC.  An Armor and weapons bundle that cost around 5 bucks US.  I have posted a video so you can view and how to install the DLC Here
Now I could kinda see someone who didn't get any preorder bonus throwing down five bucks for a great set of starting armor and weapons, but anyone who played the demo and got the commander shepard armor or anyone who has a preorder bonus, this very much has an Oblivion horse armor feel to it.  Especially considering the game was just released on Tuesday.
Now on the other hand, a game released on the same day (US) Gotham City Imposters that has announced that they are going to release a new DLC come march that will include a new map, new weapons, new support item, new costumes, and some game play upgrades.  All for the low low price of Free!  You can see the full Announcement Here

Now, I understand that KoA:Reckoning is a high budget title that's development was probably infinitely more expensive and Gotham City has its own hoard of optional DLC to buy.  So I am not commending KoA, but there is a customer service element that I think is missing from publishers.  The feeling you get when a budget title ($15) announces a free actual DLC.  You feel like when something is minor with your food order and the restaurant takes it off the bill.  Like, they didn't have to do that, but I'll remember that they did.

KoA is more like McDonalds charging you .25 cents for that extra sauce packet.  You understand, but...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning Impressions

Greetings All,
Early this morning I posted a video of my impressions after a 9 hour playthrough of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.  You can view that video HERE.

I wanted to go a bit indepth into my first 9 hours or so into the game.  So far I would have to say that I have been impressed with my experience so far.  Though the game seems to have a one demensional type feel to it.  Though that one demension is the combat and it has been as good as advertised.  The God of War style combat (Minus the quick time events) is a joy to watch and pull off.  It looks great, feels powerful and can be challenging but not frustrating.

Some of the other parts of the game are not nearly as strong.  I have been impressed with some of the quests early on, the full voice acting and combat has made me almost completely ignore the main quest for the first 7 hours of the game.  Though for every good side quest, you are hit with another MMO style go here and kill 10 of X creature or fetch quest.   The combat makes these easier to swallow.

The world of Amalur feels more like an MMO then a fully realized individual world.  The enemies feel like mobs.  Like they are waiting for me to come and kill them.  Yes the bandits at the camp are doing situps which is a nice touch, but they don't feel alive.  Perhaps I was spoiled by Skyrim, but when I go turn in a quest in the middle of the night, I want my quest giver to be in bed...

As of right now I am excited to continue playing the game and exploring Amalur.  The combat is more then enough to keep me moving from area to area.  We will have to see if its enough to keep me glued for the 100+ hours of entertainment the game promises. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning: Patrons

Hello All,

It was pointed out to me in a comment that you can have a different Patron for each race in my character guide.  I have made a list of all the Patrons below.  You can see the Character Starter guide Here

Fire - +6% Fire Damage/+6% Fire Resistance
Wisdom - +10% Mana
War - +5% Physical Damage/+5% Armor
Order - +5% Health/+5% Mana
Justice - +10% Health
None - 1% XP

Fire - +6% Fire Damage/+6% Fire Resistance
Water - +6% Ice Damage/+6% Ice Resistance
War - +5% Physical Damage/+5% Armor
Death - 1% Change to Crit Hit/+8% Crit hit Damage
Mischief - +6% Poison Damage/+6% Poison Resistance
None - 1% XP

Earth - 5% Elemental Resistance
Air - 6% Lighting Damage/+6% Lighting resistance
Wisdom - +10% Mana
Order - +5% Health/+5% Mana
Justice - +10% Health
None - 1% XP

Wisdom - +10% Mana
Love - 5% Health/1% Chance to Crit
Death - 1% Change to Crit Hit/+8% Crit hit Damage
Fate - 5% Mana/+5% mana regen per sec.
Mischief - +6% Poison Damage/+6% Poison Resistance
None - 1% XP BOnus

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Whats up Everyone!
We are now less then 24 hours until I will be able to pick up my copy of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.  (No midnight releases Here!)  I have posted a couple of video's recently on my Youtube page in anticipation. 
Now, I have been trying to decide whats the best way to make a video for the release.  I think doing a video diary would have too many spoilers.  So maybe I will do an updated Impressions diary and focus on Character builds. 
Speaking of Which, you can get ready for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning with my Character Creation Starter Guide.

As always check out my You Tube Channel for all the latest videos.