Video splash for Transformers: War for Cybertron

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the videos for the Transformers War for Cybertron video game coming out June 22, here’s a group of them:

Campaign:

Multiplayer:

Pre-Order Characters (for Escalation mode):

Spike TV’s Video Game Awards (VGA) Winners and Trailers

Spike TV’s Video Game Awards 2009 was held Saturday evening, Dec. 12.  Although the winners of each category may be controversial to some, some of the trailers and/or announcements made at the conference were quite exciting.

One of these announcements was that Green Day: Rock Band is in the works for 2010.  The best part is that the entire track list from this stand alone game will be exportable (for a $ fee, we’re sure) to play in Rock Band 2 for xbox 360 or PS3 owners (sorry Wii owners).  Here’s hoping they’ll include their Dookie album in the game…

The new Halo: Reach trailer was revealed, showing off multiple spartans, including female ones, and one spartan with a skull painted on his helmet.  You can view the trailer below:

Some of the winners from SpikeTV’s 2009 VGA’s were as follows:

  • Best Action Adventure:  Assassin’s Creed 2
  • Studio of the Year:  Rocksteady Studios (who did Batman Asylum)
  • Best Team Sports Game:  NHL 10
  • Best Individual Sports Game:  UFC 2009 Undisputed
  • Most Anticipated Game:  God of War 3
  • Best DLC:  Ballad of Gay Tony (for GTA IV)
  • Best Downloadable Game:  Shadow Complex
  • Best RPG:  Dragon Age Origins
  • Best Shooter:  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Best Mulitplayer:  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Best Handheld:  GTA China Town Wars
  • Best Fighter:  Street Fighter IV
  • Best Driving Game:  Forza 3
  • Best Original Score:  Halo 3: ODST
  • Best Soundtrack:  DJ Hero
  • Best Music Game:  The Beatles: Rock Band
  • Best PC Game:  Dragon Age Origins
  • Best Wii Game:  Super Mario Bros Wii
  • Best PS3 Game:  Unchartered 2: Among Thieves
  • Best Xbox360 Game:  Left 4 Dead 2
  • Best Graphics:  Unchartered 2: Among Thieves
  • Game of the Year:  Unchartered 2: Among Thieves

We were happy with Marty from Bungie getting recognized for best original score for Halo 3: ODST and happy that CoD: Modern Warfare 2 earned two awards.  They deserved that.  But we have to wonder about the best Xbox 360 game winner.  And where was Trials HD?  Why weren’t they even nominated for Best Downloadable Game???  That’s not right.  Dana White from the UFC must be very happy with his organization’s win.  We can’t help to wonder if the people who vote for the games in a video game awards show on Spike TV would be biased towards voting for a game that has a show on that station (UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter)… hmm.

Earlier in the week before the VGA’s, a new Transformers game was announced.  The game is called Transformers: War For Cybertron.  The game is based on the war(s) between the Autobots and Decepticons before they traveled to Earth.  So, the vehicle modes will be cybertronian, not Earth-based, and you won’t be seeing any humans.  Will this game be coinciding with the new Transformers cartoon that will eventually be showing up on Discovery-Hasbro’s new channel?  No one really knows but rumors will likely be around the interwebs.  You can see the teaser trailer below:

Are you excited about any of the new trailers?  Any winners from the VGA’s that surprised you?  Let your voice be heard below in the comments section.

What I’ve Learned From Completing the Endless Setlist 2 (in Rock Band 2)

Taking on the Endless Setlist 2 in Rock Band 2 in one night is no small deal.  What I’ve learned from completing this task is as follows:

  • Do I have a life?  I just spent 6 consecutive hours + 10-15 minutes singing to a video game.
  • Doing it on expert vocals.  IF you can sing, this is the way to do it.  Let me just say that when you get to last 10-15 songs, you’ll be thankful you’re singing on expert instead of playing guitar or drums on expert.
  • I should have practiced singing “Shackler’s Revenge” before I started this.  I consider myself a pretty good “Rock Band” vocals guy, but the verses on Guns N’ Roses’ “Shackler’s Revenge” are darn near impossible to figure out, especially without practice.  The chorus and pre-chorus (if you call it that) aren’t that bad, but that first verse is what made me fail — the only song I failed during my 6 + hours of doing the endless setlist 2.  The under-rated 3 star rating Rock Band gives the vocals on that song really means that’s how many stars you’ll end up scoring on the song.  I should mention I 4 or 5 starred every song in the endless setlist 2 except for Shackler’s Revenge.  The song prevented me from getting the “Bladder of Steel” achievement.  By the way, if there are songs you are unfamiliar in singing, you should really try them out in Free Play BEFORE doing the endless setlist 2 on expert vocals.
  • It’s not cheating… It’s called “working smarter, not harder”.  Tricks I learned that worked for me:  First of all, singing the words is unnecessary.  Singing “La La” on the correct notes seemed to be more effective (although annoying if you’re going to do this with someone else playing an instrument).  Holding out a pitch instead of singing the words on songs like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ “Where Did You Go?” was WAY easier.  Another trick is to put the volume of your vocals up and/or the sensitivity of it up and then put the microphone in front of your speakers for the rap/talking/screaming songs.  It actually works.  You’ll get a Gold Star on those songs without having to do it yourself.  Why should you want to do that?  To get a BATHROOM break!  (The songs are “So What’cha Want”, “Give It Away”, “Testify”, and “Visions” — and they’re nicely spaced out between the 84 songs.
  • Cowbell and tamborine parts, where you tap the mic (or hit the “A” button) can be other times to get a food and drink break or hit the bathroom.  Just make sure you choose the times that are long (Hint, if each tap of the mic only gives you 1% or if it takes two taps to get 1%, then you know you can dash off for a minute break — “Bodhisattva” and “The Trees” are a few of these songs).
  • If you’re going for the “Bladder of Steel” acheivement by yourself, then you have to do it on vocals.  I’ll be doing this again on medium next time (to be safe from failing), since “Shacker’s Revenge” cost me from getting it the first time.
  • Don’t do this on vocals the night before or after you have/had to talk or sing a lot.  I could have planned better.  My vocal chords felt like they were swelling.
  • Singing the octave (or 2) lower is key.  Don’t kill your voice.  If you have the skills to do it, drop your singing down an octave (or 2) on the parts that you can.
  • Make sure no one else is wanting to use the TV or xbox for a long time when you plan to do the endless setlist 2, or you’ll make some enemies real quick.
  • Set your profile’s online status to “appear offline”.  Otherwise your friends will wonder why you aren’t responding to their party invites.  You see, your xboxlive status does NOT show them that you’re playing the endless setlist 2.  It just shows them what song you’re playing.
  • “Painkiller” should be renamed “The Song That Shall Never End” (even though you wish it would).  It’s the very last song in the 84 song setlist.  By then you’re tired of singing the songs that you really don’t care for, and you’re ready for the setlist to end.  I must warn you, there are many times you feel Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” is going to end, but it doesn’t.  It’s like an annoying little 8 year old girl who won’t stop singing.  You’ll almost wish you took a few painkillers before doing the song.

The good news is that after you’ve finally beat the endless setlist 2, and see your achievements pop up at the bottom of your screen, you’ll feel like you actually accomplished something… just don’t try convincing your wife that it was worth it.

Transformers: Revenge of the G1 Characters (DLC)

RotF Game - DLC pic

Previously mentioned on this blog, new downloadable content is coming to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video game in the form of G1 (original 80’s cartoon) characters.

 

Here are the details:

Release date:  August 27, 2009

Cost of DLC$10 via xboxlive marketplace (800 MS points) or playstation network

Characters:

  • G1 Optimus Prime
  • G1 Megatron
  • G1 Starscream
  • G1 Sunstorm (yellow/gold-ish jet similar to starscream)
  • RotF Movie Soundwave
  • RotF Movie Sideswipe
  • RotF Movie Jazz
  • RotF Movie Jetfire
  • New skins for characters:  G1 colors for Movie Ratchet and Movie Sidewipe;  Stealth colors for Movie Bumblebee

New MapsCourtyard (U.S. Eastcosast), Hillside (Cairo, Egypt), & Sandstorm (Cairo, Egypt)

 

With the game going for $32-43 AFTER shipping on ebay (and even less if you don’t mind a used game), this might be the time to consider getting it.  Every boy who watched this show as kid in the 80’s (and who played Atari or Nintendo back then) would have LOVED to play as G1 Optimus, Megatron, or Starscream.  On August 27, you can (and this game has online multiplayer!).  Check out the new DLC launch trailer below.

 

Halo 3: the love and hate relationship

Grifball - Halo 3

I love Halo 3… but it drives me crazy (sometimes) too.  For some reason, I have very high expectations when I play.  I expect to win or at least be very competitive.  When I don’t win or, worse yet, when I’m totally not competitive at all and end up getting demolished, I’m not a happy camper.  Why?  I’m not like that with other games that I play online.  When I’ve sucked at Call of Duty 4 or Call of Duty: World at War, I didn’t mind and still had fun.  Same can basically be said about Gears of War 2.  But Halo 3… if I suck, then I’m not having fun (usually).  However, I keep coming back to it more than Gears.  There must be reasons why.

Things I love about Halo 3:

  1. Playing with friends:  I still have not found a game that has as good of a party system as Halo 3.  It’s the best for playing online with your friends.  After each game, you’re back in “your room” with just your friends.  While matchmaking searches for the next game, you’re with your friends.
  2. Fun weapons:  Between the battle rifle, shotgun, sniper, needler, rocket launcher, spartan laser, missile pod, energy sword, gravity hammer, and so on… there are lots of fun ways of getting your enemy.
  3. Vehicles:  Many first person shooters lack vehicles or have vehicles that are hard to control.  In Halo 3, the vehicles are easy to control and there’s a nice variety of them.
  4. I don’t have to listen to idiots online:  Halo 2 was plagued by having to listen to morons on the opposing team or even worse, on your team!  In Halo 3, I can easily mute them in game, or better yet, I can choose the option of only being able to hear the people on my team and in my party.  NOTE:  With the xbox live’s new party system, the latter can be acheived in any game.
  5. GRIFBALL:  Arguably the biggest surprise of Halo 3.  A gametype similar to soccer or rugby, but in Halo 3 with gravity hammers and energy swords.  Lots of fun.  Lots of laughs.  Best played with friends.

Things that annoy me about Halo 3:

  1. How did I die?:  In Call of Duty 4, once you die, you get to see a replay of how you died before you respawn.  Therefore, there’s no confusion.  In Halo 3, you sometimes have no clue how you died.  Yes, you could go to theater mode after the game is done and watch the video of the whole game, but there’s two problems with this.  One, you have to fast forward to the part that you wanted to see (hopefully you remember how far into the game you want to go).  Two, going into theater mode while playing with friends in between games seems to never happen, as it would inconvenience the other members in your party.
  2. That’s ridiculous!How are they still alive?  Too many times (due to lag?), you’ll (appear to) unload a full clip of your weapon into an enemy, only to see them survive.  Yes, this can happen in other games too, I suppose, but it seems to happen more than I want it to in Halo 3.  Perhaps my high expectations for Halo 3 distort my perception on this topic.  Maybe it happens less than I think it does… but regardless, when it happens, it’s very frustrating.  Good thing I play in my basement at night… I don’t need my family (sleeping upstairs) to hear me yelling during these moments.
  3. Ranking system is “broken”:  To say the ranking system is “broken” is a bit harsh, but it drives this point home.  Every night I play, I get matched up against level 50’s (the highest one can be).  Let me clarify, they’re not level 50 in the playlist I’m playing in, but they ARE level 50 in something else (like Lone Wolves or Team Slayer playlists).  I’ve seen the argument that a Team Slayer level 50 isn’t necessarily equal to being a level 50 in an objective game, like Capture the Flag… but I hate that reasoning.  If a guy is level 50 in Team Slayer, then that means they excel at killing their enemies — which last time I checked is a HUGE component of succeeding on offense and defense in objective games!!!  So, why am I being put in games against level 50’s in Squad Battle or Team Skirmish or Social Big Team games???  Bungie, the creators of Halo, has used the earlier argument to explain it… which I hate.  This is a major annoyance and problem for someone like me that is only a level 31 (in Lone Wolves).
  4. Experience rating vs. Actual Rank:  In every playlist, you have an experience rating, but also a rank (unless it’s a Social playlist, where you’ll only have an experience rating).  This is very confusing for many people.  Yes, it’s been explained by bungie here, but people still get confused by it — probably because they use the same symbols for experience rating as they do for overall rank.
  5. People playing on second accounts:  Although this could be argued as not exactly “cheating”, there are people who are normally ranked in the 40’s or level 50, who say “hey, let’s make a new account so that we’ll be ranked low and get to pwn noobs!!!”  The Team Doubles playlist seems to be plagued by these type of gamers.  How do you know if you’re against someone like this?  Check out their game history — if they haven’t played much, but their overall experience is only slightly lower than their games played, then that means they’re winning almost all of their games.  This likely indicates a guy who was probably a level 50 who now is on a 2nd account to be able to totally demolish his enemy… which is YOU!  Have fun.

Halo 3: ODSTHalo 3: ODST comes out on September 22 of this year (2009).  It will include two discs, one with the new ODST campaign, and the other with a Halo 3 multiplayer disc that has the last 3 new maps, Longshore, Citadel, and Heretic (a remake of Halo 2’s Midship map).  It also comes with a new multiplayer mode called “Firefight”, which is similar to Gears of War 2’s “Horde” mode, where you fight with friends against waves and waves of alien enemies.  Looking forward to it…

DLC for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video game

RotF Game - G1 Starscream

I might actually have to buy Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen VIDEO GAME for my xbox 360 now.  I saw today on Kotaku.com that the makers of the game plan on releasing some new characters as DLC for the game — including G1 Starscream (as in the original starscream based on the original transformers from the 80’s).  My fav. character in the game?  Boy, they know how to get me to spend my money, don’t they!

Apparently the game isn’t too bad for a video game based on movies (which usually are terrible).

source:  http://kotaku.com/5315069/transformer-dlc-brings-characters-maps-and-more-this-summer

This game is considered by many to be the best Transformers video game ever made… but that might not be saying much considering the history. It does have multiplayer as an option, and G1 Starscream will (eventually) be one of those characters that you can play as.

You can check out some in-game (campaign) cinematics footage of this game here:

Amazon.com (w/ Myspace) Music vs. itunes Store

ipodclassic120

iPods are all the rage, and I have to admit that my wife and I now have one too. We took the plunge — a 120 GB size plunge — hey, if you’re going to do, you do it right! Anyway, I’ve had experiences with downloading music (legally, as in actually buying it) online for the iPod. You have to use the iTunes program to get music from the computer to the ipod. I, however, do not HAVE to use iTunes store — that’s where this post comes in to play.

You see I’ve downloaded music from Amazon.com and I’ve downloaded music from iTunes Store as well. Here’s my take on the experience of using both:

itunes logo

iTunes Store

PROS:  The iTunes Store is easy to search.  What is also nice is that you can easily see which songs are the most popular for a band — which is handy if you know the name of the band, but can’t remember the song’s name but do know that it’s one of the band’s biggest hits.  If you search for a song, you can often find multiple versions of that song (like remix, dance version, album version, etc…).

CONS:  When you download a song from iTunes, it is in the iTunes format, which is not an mp3.  Why should I care?  It is only playable in iTunes and in your iPod.  Again… why should I care?  I have another mp3 player called by Rio that will not play these iTunes downloads.  Also, my xbox 360 can wirelessly access songs from my laptop computer — but only if they’re wma’s or mp3’s.  Songs in the iTunes format can not be wirelessly played from my computer to my xbox 360.  (Now… I can hook up my iPod to my 360 to eliminate this problem — unless my wife is using the iPod.)  Lastly, iTunes songs are mostly in 128 kbps.  More and more songs on iTunes are available at 256 kbps (which is CD quality), but you have to pay $1.29 instead of $0.99.  Many people tell me they can’t tell a difference between 128 kbps and 256 kbps, but I swear that I can (for some songs), and why have 128 kbps if you can have 256 kbps?  It’s like settling for 720p on your TV instead of 1080p.

 

amazon.com logoamazon.com Store

PROS:  All of their songs are at 256 kbps and for $0.99, beating iTunes price.  After you download the song, the amazon download program will automatically put the song into your iTunes collection, just like iTunes store does.  The songs are in mp3 format, which means they can be played in any mp3 player (including the iPod, of course) and can be wirelessly shared from your computer to an xbox 360.

CONS:  amazon.com searching is probably not as fluid as iTunes store, however it’s not hard.  We’ll still give the advantage in this category to iTunes Store.  Furthermore, using Amazon.com, you have to install its downloader, which might be a turn-off for some people (who already have more programs on their computer then what they want/need).  So, we’ll put that in the “cons” list too.

Amazon + Myspace Music trumps iTunes Store?

Places like music.myspace.com allow you to listen to entire songs by an artist, not just a 30 second clip.  I love the ability to do this — something that iTunes does not offer.  Listening to a full song can really help me decide if I want to purchase it.  I also recently found out that if you’re checking out an artist on Myspace Music, you can click on Albums in the myspace music player and be taken to a list of the artist’s CDs.  Click on one and you’re taken to a page with all the songs on that album and pictures/links on the side for the other albums of that artist.  What I love about this page is the ability to see how many “plays” each song has had by myspace users AND there’s a link next to each song to purchase it (if you like it, of course) from Amazon.comClick on this link (Paramore’s “Riot” album on Myspace) to see an example of what I’m talking about.  Of course you can listen to the WHOLE SONG before purchasing — something that (again) iTunes Store does not do (only allowing 30 second clips).

 

Conclusion:

iTunes store wins for easy searching, but Amazon.com w/ Myspace music wins for everything else.  Naturally, this is just my humble opinion, and I will always leave open the possibility that I haven’t done “my homework” into as much as I could have — making it possible that other people may have valid points to add to this discussion.