Next-Gen Prince of Persia

Almost everything is always Next-Gen at some point in time; the one we’re talking about now is the PS3 / XBox360 generation. And Prince of Persia is coming to that generation.

As I reported earlier, the new Prince of Persia will hopefully come out at the end of this year. The visual styles shown in the screenshots in Gamestop’s report seem to indicate a new visual style, more gritty than the first Prince of Persia: Sands of Time’s dream-like environs. Our new Prince isn’t really even a prince either, or at least not at first. Returning is a mysterious female companion, and hopefully the humorous ever hot-and-cold relationship between prince and compatriot return.

I very much enjoyed the feel and story of Sands of Time, although the next two darker installments weren’t much to my liking. I feel Prince of Persia, while an action game, should have a lighter, swashbuckling feel, more similar to the first Pirates of the Carribean movie. As long as they keep the emotion and visual design as light as the aerobatic combat, this should be a fun game.

The Conduit

Alerted by alert reader Alert Greg, The Conduit promises to be the blockbuster shooter title hardcore Wii owners have been looking for. Details at IGN, including screenshots, make the game look like an extremely promising title. The control scheme of the Wii seems like a perfect platform for an action shooter, but outside of Metroid Prime 3 — really light on the shooter elements — no one has done it.

I have my reservations, after noting the game is being developed by High Voltage Software, who seem to have worked mostly on lame TV show video games and ports. But I’d love to be proved wrong.

Edit: I watched the trailer. This game looks incredible. If they can really deliver this, I’m gonna be all over it.

Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff

Now I don’t know about you, but I spent many a sunny day of my youth inside playing Tecmo Bowl. It was a fantastic action sports game, with no pretense of anything approching simulation. You ran a guy down the field and over your opponents, so much fun.

Tecmo will release a new version, labelled Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff later this year for the DS as well as a version in 2009 for the Wii. The DS version, while unlicensed by the NFL, will have 32 teams and campaign season in a fictional football league similar to that organization. Personally I find this a better fit. Additionally, it seems that editing tools allow you to hand-create teams if you’d really like the New York Giants or somesuch nonsense.

Gameplay seems very promising on the DS, where it may allow you to run the crazy downfield routes of your dream with stylus-driven “best control” style. You could also shake off would-be tacklers by going wild with the stylus on the screan. Meld all that with old-school Tecmo Bowl simplicty, and you’ve got yourself a winning combination!

Not only will the game support local wireless connections but multiplay will also be available online using Nintendo WiFi. Beat up strangers while you’re at the Starbucks having a chai mocha double whipped half-soy caffe mocha!

Expect Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff this fall.

Jack Thompson Guilty of Misconduct

I don’t elate in this unfortunate man’s poor choices, but Jack Thompson has been found guilty of trial misconduct by the Florida Bar Association. Among other things, Thompson made false statements and engaged in activity solely to embarress or delay third parties during proceedings related to Rock Star games Grand Theft Auto and Bully. It is unclear what punishment Thompson faces, although becoming censured or disbarred by the Florida Bar are likely outcomes, probably marking the end of his career.

It was Thompson’s life work to prevent violent games from ending up in the hands of children. Although he went about it entirely the wrong way, I have to support the ends if certainly not the means. Gamers have a vested interest to keep the adult portions of our entertainment out of the hands of kids, if not solely for the reason of being responsible parents and older siblings — if we don’t, these people will litigate us, gamers, developers, and publishers, out of existence.

Mass Effect for PC Released

The PC version of Mass Effect released today. From what I’ve read, the improvements to the PC conversion are subtle but impressive, and prove to be a superior version to the one available on the 360. I hope to get my hands on it soon, and will have some likely violent and adult screen shots to peruse.

Returning Armada

The Vasari faction in Sins of a Solar Empire can research an ability called Returning Armada. This grants a new ability to the Phase Stabilizier tactical structure — a sort of artificial phase lane jump gate that can link your systems. The new ability is also called Returning Armada, and it will summon five to eight frigates of various types every five minutes.

It doesn’t seem like a lot, and it’s a serious chore to research. The Phase Stabilizer isn’t cheap, either. But the ships quickly gets ridiculous. If you have five planets each summoning the Returning Armada, you get new ships every minute. Double that, it’s every thirty seconds, without cost to you.

I’m currently running a game as the Vasari. I’m playing against three random mediums, in 2v2 mode. I rushed straight for Returning Armada, and didn’t do a thing to help my teammate, who actually turned on me! I wiped him off the map for his insolence. I then easily defeated one other opponent with my free ships, and now I’m simultaneously destroying a pirate base and the remaining opponent as well.

The bad thing about the Returning Armada is that you only get certain kinds of ships. There are no planetary bombadiers, so you’re forced to scuttle some of the endless waves of light carriers or heavy cruisers that come your way. It’s also a way to jump-start your economy, since by scuttling you gain additional resources that are reclaimed.

Returning Armada is a powerful ability but one difficult to pull off, especially in a free-for-all game — or where your backstabbing teammate turns on you.

150cc’s of Frustration

I’ve tried the 150cc Grand Prix on Mario Kart several times now, and it always ends in me throwing my Classic Controller, more often than not rebounding on the cable attached to the Wii Remote that I’m sitting on, returning careening into my balls. Ouch.

Seriously, 150cc is hard and not fun. The CPUs always gun for you, and the number of items flying is silly. I was hit, not a dozen yards from the finish line on the new Mario Circuit, by a red shell, blue shell, POW block, and lightning bolt. Luckily I was so far ahead I finished first, but that’s not always the case.

On the other hand, playing online is still a lot of fun. I played maybe a half-dozen matches and never finished lower than 4th place. I even got second on Rainbow Road! Human players can make the same mistakes I do, and aren’t all gunning for me. Unfortunately the only way I know how to unlock all the characters is to do the Grand Prix competitions. Maybe I can get Greg to do them for me.

It’s Like Half of Crysis

I was looking forward to Haze. It promised to be a thoughtful shooter with great set piece battles and an interesting story. Well, it has half of that.

The recent review from Gamespot indicates Haze has great action, but intensely painful story-telling and poor AI. The great thing about Crysis was a passable story, characters that didn’t get in the way of action, and superbly intelligent enemies. So, Haze got it half right.

Online Multiplay System for Stardock Games

This may be old news to some, but coinciding with the information regarding Demigod, there was what appears to be a developer announcement regarding the possibility of a ladder/account system for online multiplay with various Stardock titles, including Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod. I envision this to be a lot like the Company of Heroes system, that tracks your stats, wins and losses, etc. If so, this will be a welcome improvement on the game. I’d love to do some matches online.

Ganondorf Beatdown Away From Home

Last night the wife, son, and I went to see Greg and fiance to hang out and play a little Wii. We ended up playing some Super Smash Brothers Brawl, as my son just thinks Greg is probably the coolest guy ever and forever wants to play games with him, specifically Brawl.

We played a few matches, and just had everything go on random, courses and characters. I end up with Snake, the kid gets Ganondorf, and for the life of me I can’t remember what Greg got. It doesn’t matter. Alex just wipes the floor with us.

Now, I am not one who subscribes to the button mashing theory of Brawl. The theory states — and I’m paraphrasing — STUPID GAME how-can-you-just-mash-buttons-to-win BULL****!! I think a skilled player can always work around someone just mashing buttons without rhyme or reason, and exploit weaknesses and poor timing.

I don’t think this rule applies to my son, or somehow he shows moments of brilliance in this game.

He just wrecked us. I mean there were times when he did Ganondorf specials or smashes and actually had all three other players — two humans and one CPU — flying through the air as a result. It was a massacre. In the end I think I had one KO, and he had four. It wasn’t pretty.

I really need to ge tthat replay.