Grinding Cupcakes

As the Third Anniversary Weekend on Guild Wars winds to a close, I find myself in possession of many cupcakes. That’s only because I’ve been working at it for so long:

Caffeeeeeeine!

If my wife is reading this, I swear that I left my game on overnight and haven’t been playing it the entire time.

Prince of Persia Prodigy

Ubisoft Montreal is developing a new, upcoming Prince of Persia trilogy it was announced. The first installment, Prince of Persia Prodigy, is reportedly due this holiday season.

I really enjoyed the first return of Prince of Persia, the Sands of Time. The series went downhill a little after that, but was still a great set of games. Assassin’s Creed, the newest from the Ubisoft team who built the first Prince of Persia games, shows its pedigree, and if it demonstrates what may be capable from a new trilogy in the future, I have great hopes. More to come on this.

An Evening With Kart Online

I played some Mario Kart over Nintendo WFC for probably longer than I should have last night, but it’s just too fun. Random pickup groups are a blast, cause for shaking fists in anger and pumping fists in satisfaction. There’s just nothing quite like running people over when you’re a massive Bullet Bill, or just massive when you pick up a Mega Mushroom.

The game tracks your online progress using VR points, among other statistics. I have no idea what VR stands for. But you gain points for coming in the top three or four finishers, depending on how many people are in each match, and lose for coming in the bottom three or four. I’ve gotten up to about 5400 points, as I win more than I lose. But those 10th place finishes are still possible, and hearbreaking, especially when you see your rating plummet.

The game also tracks a number of other statistics, including your first place finishes, your bumps and item launches, all kinds of stuff. Really cool to watch and see just how many times you’ve ran into someone.

Online play is just a blast, it’s the core of the game, and it shows. Multiplay Kart is where it’s at.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Just in case you hadn’t heard, GTAIV comes out tomorrow — 12:01am if you’re lucky enough to be close to a midnight launch facility. All reports indicate this is probably game of the year, even though we’re only in April. The sheer scope of the game, the natural alive feeling city, and no shortage of things to shoot, wreck, steal, gather, photograph, and capture make the game the biggest ever.

Too bad I have to wait a year for the PC version…

Tyrian End-Game Rewards

An update long in arriving, Deldrimor Weapons have finally arrived. When Factions released two years ago, a player was rewarded for the first time the final story mission was completed. Nightfall and most recently Eye of the North followed the trend. But Prophecies had no equivilent. That has now changed, three years later.

And I have to say, wow, they’re worth the wait. Almost every single one of these items look fantastic, and if they don’t look great they’re merely adequate. Unlike some of the other “high-end” items — such as some Destroyer weapons — none of these you’d be ashamed to carry. Especially the martial weapons such as sword, axe, spears, and scythes look fantastic. The staff is also an attractive item.

Those characters who have already completed the story need only repeat the final mission to gain access to the end area, and are treated to a Deldrimor Talisman and a humorous sequence involving the “missing” NPC characters absent from Hell’s Precipice, the final mission.

I haven’t gone to pick mine up yet — only because I can’t decide what I want!

Mario Kart Wii Online

Last night I tried to play a match through Nintendo WFC on Mario Kart Wii, and I was not disappointed.

Online, you can play with participants worldwide, within your region, or on your friends list. Because I don’t have anyone’s friend code yet, I just did a match in my region. When starting a match, you get a cute visual of who is joining the match, what their Mii looks like, and where approximately they are in the world. It seems to leverage the same look as the world in the Weather Channel. Additionally, those matched have a score close to yours — you start with 5000 points, and win or lose points depending on your score at the end.

Once twelve participants are gathered — and it looked like I was pulled into an existing match with 10 others, as I could spectate on another match as I waited to join — the match initiates. You can chose your racer and kart, and then vote on a track. Then you’re ready to go.

I also have to say this is very quick. It took less than 30 seconds from clicking the region menu item to the start of the race. Perfectly suited to fast play, and much more satisfying than the matching services on SSBB.

The race itself was great. Zero lag at all, even with two racers on the screen — my son played with me. Thankfully we played on Mario Circuit from the SNES kart game, and I managed to edge out my competitors to take home the gold on my first online match!

In the end, the multiplay on Mario Kart Wii seems to be the best online experience that can be had on the Wii.

Mario Kart Wii

I picked up Mario Kart Wii yesterday night at the Gamestop midnight launch. I waited until this morning, however, to open the packaging because I knew my son would just flip over it. And I was right.

The steering wheel was his main focus; he just thought it was fantastic. And it is very clever, and pretty easy to use. It offers a very direct input method, great for beginners. Also, as I suspected, the game supports a wide array of other input methods, including the Classic Controller and the Gamecube controller. Classic all the way baby.

The game itself is fantastic. I was first greatly pleased by the excellent menus system. Easy to use, pleasing to look at. Very good in a game that just has loads of options.

We jumped right into a game, and it’s a blast. The action with twelve participants on the map at any one time is crazy. The items of course are insanely overpowered. Maintaining a lead is difficult, and you’re never quite certain you can even stay on the track — but that’s a hallmark of the series. The action is very fun, and the twelve-player multiplay (with up to two on a single system) offers the best online experience you can get on the Wii.

Mario Kart Wii serves up so much fun, so many maps, characters, and karts, with so many game types both on and offline, it’s a shame not to pick it up.

Guild Wars Turns Three!

Yes it was three years ago that Guild Wars released, and to celebrate there should be some cupcakes and new presents available for the duration of the weekend. Additionally, the Shing Jea Boardwalk, Dragon Arena, and Rollerbeetle Racing reopen for the celebration. Hopefully I’ll win some more tickets and get Lucky!

Gotta Catch Most of Them

My son has a fever, and the prescription is Pokemon. I can’t help but help him out.

We have Pokemon Diamond, and have had it for a while. I played through the game quite a ways before getting bored — almost every battle is the same. But I had to pick it up again because he just loves some of the legendary pokemon, specifically Dialga, whom he has named Whiskey. I managed to play through to where you can capture the legendary, and came to enjoy the game again.

While still quite a bit repetitive, getting your little monsters higher in levels is pretty satisfying. And because the game allows you to repeat instances earlier in the game, you can always go back with your lower-level guys and train them up a bit more.

The driving factor really has been Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Several of the Pokemon from Diamond and Pearl are in Brawl, so it just feels fun to catch those we’re familiar with. I’m trying to get Lucario now, which is an involved process of procuring an egg, tending to that egg by walking with it all over Sinnoh, hatching it into Riolu, and then leveling him up to Lucario.

I tell myself that it’s for my son, but in reality, the little monsters may have gotten their adorable and terrible hooks into me.

Those Are Some Wacky Wheels

Although Mart contends that Mario Kart ripped off Wacky Wheels — video below — I think the Mario Kart franchise has enough original content that it’s worthy of my attention. I guess I’ll let him play it with us though, even though he kind of hates all over it. After all, it probably gets lonely all the way up there on his moral highground.

Enjoy the wacky video — and judge for yourself!

And, by the way… Mario Kart for SNES came out in September of 1992. The above Wacky Wheels came out in October of 1994. Mart insists a time machine was employed.