Geek Round Robin

So there’s a bunch of geeky going ons right now, I figured I’d address them all (or at least the ones that come to mind as I write this).

  • Marvel/Disney – This is already “old” news, happening well over two weeks ago, but there are two things I want to happen out of the Marvel/Disney merger. Firstly, I want a Marvel TV show on ABC. There are many ways you can go here, with a “Heroes for Hire” concept pitched somewhere, or, to capitalize on the X-Men brand – an X-Factor series. Runaways is an option, or a S.H.I.E.L.D. (with a potential H.A.M.M.E.R title change after season 4 or so) espionage series. Personally, I would like a “Marvel Street”-type show. The Marvel Universe is ripe with street-level characters, and a show jumping from character to character would be very interesting. You could have an ensemble cast of Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, Punisher, Elektra, Spider-Woman, Jessica Jones, Hawkeye, Ronin and many, many more. Every once in a while, feature a big name character like Captain America or Spider-Man. The show, however, should focus on the lesser known heroes and weave story lines between them – think Heroes, just not crappy. The second thing I want to see out of the Marvel/Disney deal is a fleshing out of the Epic imprint, and have Marvel turn it into a worthy competitor to Vertigo. I think a creator-owned line powered by Marvel ideology will be a wonderful thing, and just thinking of the type of stories we’ll get to see out of such an imprint is putting a smile on my face. We can see the amount of effort Marvel are willing to put into a creator-owned book with Ed Brubaker’s Criminial, which is a spectacular book. Think 20-40 of those a month. Glory will be had by all.
  • True Blood Season 2 – The finale just aired, and I gotta say, I’m disappointed. This season of True Blood was insane, and it seemed there was no holding the creators back. The scene in the penultimate episode, where Sookie wanders through her own house and just witnesses one long line of crazy was spectacularly eerie, and I expected more of those for the finale. The actual finale was very laid back, predictable and boring. When MaryAnn finally meets her demise, I checked the time stamp and saw the episode was only halfway through. I knew we were heading for trouble right then and there. It was all over too easily. Maryann was built up to be this awesome big bad, and it just fizzled at the end. The egg was pointless, Eggs was pointless, and I was never quite clear on how exactly Tara fit into the Maryann equation – if she summoned her, how did Maryann sleep with a young Sam? Tara in general seems to be the weak link of the show, I never liked her, and probably never will. Her whole story arc throughout this season was disjointed and chaotic. And then we were left with the myraid of loose-end tying scene. The writers apparently decided to turn the camp up to 11, as any scene involving Bill was painful to watch. I can honestly say I’ve grown accustomed to his incredibly thick accent and odd sentence structures, but this was unbearable. Overall, I’d give the episode a 6-6.5 in a season that as a whole was more like a 9. It’s a shame that such a great season to a great show leaves us with a sour taste in our mouth… though that might be because we licked an ostrich egg with blood.
  • Arkham Asylum – Damn, this game was brilliant. I’ve finished the main story and started venturing into the challenge room, but it’s nice to have a superhero game done right, and a Batman one to boot. Developers should watch very closely what Arkham Asylum did right and take notes. From the story (which, granted, wasn’t mind shattering, but it served its purpose) to the superb voice acting, to a unified, inventive design perspective, this is how you do it folks.
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I’ll stick with my PS3, thanks.

So now that Sony’s had it’s retort, I’m happy.

While Sony didn’t have an earth-shattering annoucement like Microsoft did with Final Fantasy XIII, they did showcase some pretty cool stuff.

First and formost is the launch of Sony’s media service, which, in a nice twist, will hit the Playstation Store tonight. I don’t know how often I’ll actually use this feature, but it’s nice to know it’s there and competing with XBox’s Netflix deal.

Some pretty sweet looking games were showcased. Resistance 2 looks great, as wel as MAG which is a great undertaking. I’m not a personal fan of shooters, but I can appreciate the genre enough to know that 256-player battles are damned epic! A new Ratchet game for the PS3 was announced, in the PSN title “Ratchet and Clank Future: Booty Call”. It’s much sooner than I would have expected a new Ratchet game, but I’m not complaining.

Infamous is a game that looks amazing, even though the storyline does look a bit generic. LittleBigPlanet once again looks totally awesome, and Sony used it to give the business part of their presentation, which was a great way to speed that boring segment up. Then of course there’s the God of War 3 trailer, which looked bloody awesome. Lastly, DC Universe Online is a great addition, especially me being a HUGE comic fan (albeit a Marvel one). It was awesome seeing Jim Lee on stage, and the game looks very stylized.

I’m really suprised Sony didn’t spend more time showcasing Home. It’s really their number 1 selling feature right now, and us Sony fans have been waiting eons for it. But all we got was a 2 minute trailer, showing us stuff we mostly already know (though the game-specific Spaces were a nice new addition). Why not spend 10-15 minutes of the conference talking up your biggest feature? It’s Home that sets Sony apart from the competition, I honestly don’t understand that descision.

All in all, what the Sony conference showed, was that although they lost a major exclusive with Final Fantasy, it still has a decent number of quality exclusive content, with games like Metal Gear Solid, Resistance, LittleBigPlanet, God of War and so on and so forth.

Plus, we still get Final Fantasy Vs. XIII.

Almost makes me want to get an XBox…

Wow, the next 24 hours are going to be very hard on Sony fans.

For those who don’t know the Microsoft Press Conference at E3 just wrapped up and it had some great announcemets. The problem being of course, that I’m a sony advocate. I want the big, black monster to do well and am among the throngs eagerly awaiting LittleBigPlanet and Home.

As the title said, the press conference almost made me want to actually get a 360. Aside from awesome game demos like RE5 and Gears of War 2, Microsoft debuted some pretty cool services. Ranging from a partnership with Netflix (which means didlly-squat to me, not living in the US) to a new avatar system (a stylized little rip-off of Home, but still).

These are but small things compared to the big hits Sony was taking – first it was the whole Rock Band 2 coming out on the Xbox several months before other consoles. Now we learn the 360 will get additional GTA IV for content, where as the PS3 won’t (apparently, it’s old news, but I didn’t know about it). During the press conference it was revealed that the 360 will get an exclusive Portal expansion (cleverly titled: Portal: Still Alive). I orginally though it was Portal 2 that was exclusive and nearly shat myself, but still, I too want an expansion…

But the biggest hit of all came at the very end. When the representitive retook the stage and showed off a new trailer. It took some time to figure out what it was, but once you did, it was sad. Final Fantasy XIII will be made for the 360. It hurts. It really does. I’m happy for Square to be expanding and spreading the beauty of Final Fantasy to other consoles, but it hurts. Final Fantasy was our thing, it was Sony’s prized RPG series. It’s what made me buy a PS1, PS2 and a PSP.

End of an Era...
End of an Era...

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m pissed at Microsoft or Square or anything – hell, if Square sells more copies of FF XIII and makes more money so they can make more games – all the better. It’s a sadness really, cause Final Fantasy goes hand in hand with all my favorite Playstation experiences.

Maybe Sony will unleash a monster tomorrow. Maybe they’ll announce Halo 4 as a PS3 exclusive, who knows. For now though, it feels like we lost a child.

MK Vs. DC

Fanboy Dream?
Fanboy Dream?

Honestly, I’m not in the least bit excited about this. I actually think I may *shudder* pass on this one.

This suprises me more than anyone, as I’ve been clamoring for a Super-Hero fighter ever since Marvel Nemesis proved to be a total and utter failure. There are several reasons why this isn’t really giving me the geekgasm it should:

1. The premise is stupid. Sure watching Sub-Zero freeze Batman is cool and all, but there needs to be one hell of an explanation to how Sonia Blade can even touch Superman, let alone beat him in hand to hand combat. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, I have no problem with the Star Wars characters in Soul Calibur IV, even though it makes even less sense. It just doesn’t sit right, I could accept it more if it was Marvel chatacters, as they tend to be more street level, but it’s the whole Johnny Cage vs. Flash that seems ridiculous to me. Thought that scene of Catwoman dry-humping Sonia is a nice one.

No fucking way...
No fucking way...

2. Mortal Kombat has long since lost its charm. Sure MK 1, 2 and 3 were great. Deadly Alliance, Deception and the many others that have come since weren’t. Fight load times were unbearbly long, and the game wasn’t flowing as well as it should. There seem to be roughly 3 fighters coming out at the same time – Soul Calibur IV, Street Fighter IV and MK vs. DC, I only have money for one, so I’m gonna go for the sleekest one. And yeah, Soul Calibur has already been pre-ordered.

Sonia... always a pleasure.
Sonia... always a pleasure.

3. I want a Super-Hero fighter, dammit! Not a Super-Hero and some other guys fighter. Or better yet, let me rephrase – I want the Marvel Super-Hero fighter from EA Chicago. We only saw about 2 minutes of footage before EA Chicago closed down, but hot damn, that was SWEET. I want THAT game.

Obligatory "Meeeow" joke.
Obligatory "Meeeow" joke.

4. Cheating in the game will be incredibly easy. All you have to do is choose Batman, it’s an automatic win. If this is not a feature in the game, well then…

Turning the Tides

I’m a Sony fan, born and bred. I had a PSOne, and I own a PS2, PS3 and a PSP. I don’t own an XBox, Gameboy, DS, etc.

I like Sony’s stuff. It started with me being a Final Fantasy die hard, and the only way to play the games was on the Playstation, and it just stemmed. And now, finally, Sony is starting to win – with the announcement of Firmware 2.40 and the inclusion of Trophies. Now I always thought the Achievements were the only thing Microsoft’s console had going for it, as I’m not into shooters and those are pretty much the only good games on the XBox (that are not on the Playstation as well). It’s cool having these little extra things to do while playing, Gotta Catch ‘Em All and all that.

So Achievements are cool and all, but Trophies… Trophies are better. First up is the division of Trophies into the 3 classes, and letting the developers play around with their distiribution. Then there’s the leveled score, which granted, means about as much as the Gamerscore, but Levels are cooler than a random number, they add a certain element of prestige. Lastly, the future integration with Home. That’s something XBL is never going to have – physical representation of your accomplishments. I can already imagine the creative ways companies will depict their trophies – can you just imagine the “1 Million Headshots” Resistance trophy?

I’m psyched, I just hope companies like Rockstar or Insomniac begin patching their games to include Trophies for great games like Ratchet and Clank and GTA IV, instant replayablity!

Here’s the video explaining the features for 2.4, enjoy:

The Way It’s Meant to Be

Now this is how a Spider-Man is supposed to look like!

I’m psyched for Web of Shadows, it looks like it’s gonna revolutionize Spider-Man games. I’m not all that psyched about the story – a Venom virus attacks New York? Sounds pretty m’eh, but that combat looks slick.

In other Marvel Gaming news:

Ultimate Alliance 2’s general plot was revealed – Civil War.

The next Spidey game’s (after Web of Shadows) plot will have something to do with the Marvel Zombies.

Still no word on the final fate of the EA Marvel Fighter, now that EA Chicago closed.