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Thu 13th Aug 2009

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JamieO commented on Cowabunga! Platinum Games Developed TMNT Title...:

@Tasuki Your point about the release price of Transformers: Devastation is valid for me, because I bought it new for £30 on its first week of release, which is about $45 in the US. I've easily found good value for money from it after repeated plays, plus I'm planning to complete it again in the holidays.

@sinalefa I agree with you, the replay value of mastering techniques still applies to Transformers: Devastation with skills like activating slow-motion by dodging, mixing up light and heavy melee combos, using unique character abilities, and shooting down ranged enemies. Players can also charge around as a vehicle, and use a smart bomb type ultimate attack on L3 and R3. Note that I really enjoyed The Wonderful 101 on my Wii U, too, so I'd be happy if TMNT surprised us by somehow adopting its isometric view for a four-player cooperative mode.

@themcnoisy I'm actually still choosing my favourite three games for your Forum Members GOTY 2015 list. My top choice is a lengthy open world game that I spent many hours completing for its unlockable ending, but I'm confident with a much shorter game as my second choice. I'm struggling to choose my third pick, though. A hectic year meant that I only played about 10 hours each of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but I pretty much only ever choose games that I've completed as my Game of the Year picks. I’m actually buzzing from having the three classics on PS4 in Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection at the moment, and I think I'll complete Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune again tonight, so it's likely that I'll have a remaster as a contender for third place.

It's fun to speculate about this TMNT title, especially as it’s developed by PlatinumGames, but it's still very early days, of course.



JamieO commented on Cowabunga! Platinum Games Developed TMNT Title...:

@get2sammyb Yep, this excellent news for me, plus it makes complete sense following Transformers Devastation. PlatinumGames already have a beautiful looking cel-shading engine to capture the look of an eighties' cartoon, and they've proven that they can deliver more accessible Bayonetta fighting mechanics, but still maintain plenty of depth.

This is all perfect for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, although I hope that gamers don't obsess too much about a short game length, and start focussing more on the importance of replayability with these games instead. A four or five hour game length for a title that I repeatedly complete is ideal for me.

This news will draw further comparisons between PlatinumGames and classic arcade, SNES and Mega Drive era Konami, too. Just like @Rogue76 mentioned above, I instantly thought of Konami's side-scrolling beat-'em-up games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Arcade Game and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.

Whenever I see the 16-bit Konami logo sweep down onto the screen – and hear the chime as colour is added – I instantly think of quality. The name PlatinumGames makes me feel the same way, Transformers Devastation is me second favourite game this year after Batman: Arkham Knight.

Admittedly, this game will need a new hook – the transformations into vehicles were cool in Transformers Devastation – so perhaps its time for PlatinumGames to add a bit of co-op into their brawler games.



JamieO commented on Review: Super Star Wars (PS4):

Thanks for the compliments on my review in this comments section, it's always appreciated.

@carlos82 Spot on, I've been playing Super Star Wars the old-school way, too. There’s no need for me to save at all on easy difficulty, because I can blast through the entire game comfortably without even thinking about saving. I like controlling Han whenever possible, and using the homing shots of the seeker is fun. However, I played brave difficulty without saving last night, but I lost my last two credits on the Mode 7 Death Star Attack stage again. I don't have an effective X-wing technique to avoid squandering lives before taking down the 20 towers and the 20 TIE fighters. If I reach the final Trench Battle level I can complete it without losing any more lives. I'll never beat Jedi difficulty the traditional way, though, I need to save often on the hardest difficulty.

@Bad-MuthaAdebisi It wasn't my intention to dislike or loathe the prequel trilogy, my point was that there was much more positivity around Star Wars in 1992 when the original trilogy was the core story, and the fans adored those characters. I watch Revenge of the Sith all the time, because I really enjoy it. It has an action packed opening, Order 66 is shocking and epic, plus the Mustafar lightsaber duel is atmospheric.

@dnky666 Funnily enough Issue 97 of Retro Gamer magazine that I discuss above also has a feature called The Making of Zzap!64 on pages 62 to 67.



JamieO commented on Review: Super Star Wars (PS4):

Some games are simply a complete treat for a reviewer. I love covering the PSone here, and analysing PlayStation retro games, but this Super Star Wars review is my personal favourite piece of writing this year. Thank you as always to the kind folks at Push Square.

Below are my references to a selection of the many retro magazines I read to research this review:

  • Control, Issue 5, January 1993, Super Star Wars preview, pages 10 to 13. Control includes a nice quote about the visuals, they said that "Graphically, one can only call Super Star Wars amazing. From the cute animation of Luke, with his flowing locks and beaming smile, through to the slickly presented flying stages, it oozes quality".
  • Nintendo Magazine System, Issue 5, February 1993, Super Star Wars review, pages 74 to 77. Tim Boone and Jaz Rignall scored it 93/100.
  • Retro Gamer, Issue 97, December 2011, pages 34 to 39, The Making of Super Star Wars Trilogy by Mike Bevan. An awesome feature covering Kalani Streicher working at LucasArts, find it and read it.
  • Retro Gamer, Issue 148, October 2015, SNES 25 Years: Playing With Power feature, pages 58 to 67. Written by Push Square's very own Damien McFerran, there are discussion points about the SNES' "sluggish CPU" and a cool quote from Chris Sutherland's time at Rare, where he reflects upon Mode 7. Sutherland explained that "We actually stayed clear of Mode 7 for the most part, because the ability to scale and rotate was so new and shiny, it felt like it was obligatory". I became frustrated with the X-wing shoot-'em-up Death Star surface section on the Jedi difficulty, so this quote felt apt to me.
  • Super Play, Issue 4, February 1993, Super Star Wars import review, pages 34 to 37. Matt Bielby scored it 89%.
  • The Super NES Book/ The Mega Drive Book. This Retro Gamer bookazine is currently available, and includes a second print of The Making of Super Star Wars Trilogy by Mike Bevan on pages 74 to 79.


JamieO commented on SNES Classic Super Star Wars Charges Its Light...:

@Tasuki, @AhabSpampurse, and @LieutenantFatman: Thank you for showing an interest in the Push Square review of Super Star Wars, and cheers for your kind words about my retro reviews specifically, Victor. I am always interested to read about the classic titles that Tasuki revisits in What Are You Playing? features, and on Push Square's forums.

I am also disappointed that Super Star Wars has not been released on the European PlayStation Store, yet. I am based in the UK, and I have been checking for it regularly on our PSN today without any success.

My understanding is that PS4 Star Wars Battlefront is released in Europe on Thursday 19th November, so I have a bit of a new hope that Super Star Wars has only been held back in the UK to coincide with DICE's game being released.

I will check for Super Star Wars on PSN again up until Friday, and in the meantime I will just keep playing my SNES cartridge. Keep your fingers crossed this week European Star Wars PS4 and PS Vita retro fans, plus I hope everyone in North America is enjoying it.



JamieO commented on Review: GEX (PSone):

@Quintumply Thank you, it is kind of you to say that you are loving these retro pieces, I have more side-scrolling PSone reviews planned for Push Square in the future.

@get2sammyb Cheers, my friend, I love learning and sharing smaller details about these retro games.

Below are a few links to articles that I have referenced in this review:

  • Evan Wells talking to Game Informer, taken from an interview in Issue 227, this feature is called My First Game: Evan Wells – ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron. In the credits for GEX Evan is listed as a designer of secret levels, and for creating 3D spaceships.
  • Gregg Tavares discussing GEX and his experience as a programmer on the game.
  • Lyle Hall’s Gamasutra piece called Playing Catch-Up: GEX’s Lyle Hall, taken from 2007. Lyle Hall was the producer of GEX, and he is noted as being responsible for the character concept of GEX in the credits of the game.

Just like @Azikira has contributed here, I am interested in hearing gamers share their thoughts and experiences of PSone GEX, or finding out if they played it on 3DO, Saturn, or PC. If anyone has trouble with PSone GEX’s password system, remember to keep returning to the Tomato Soup level in the first Cemetery world, because GEX can find an easy video tape collectible for a password every time. This VHS tape at the end of Tomato Soup is essentially a way to constantly save your progress.



JamieO commented on Review: Mickey's Wild Adventure (PSone):

@JoeBlogs There is no harm in sharing the link to The Mean Machines Archive twice, mate, it's a quality resource, so it's always worth telling other fans of Mean Machines about it.

@Churchy Thanks, the way in which you still played Mickey's Wild Adventure even though you're not a fan of Disney reminds me of how I tried to learn the rules of American football in 1990, just so that I could play John Madden Football on the Mega Drive.

@electrolite77 My laptop is over-the-hill and cranky, with very little hard drive space, so I mainly read my old physical copies of magazines. I understand that keeping storage of lots of gaming magazines becomes a real space issue, though, because I lose space in my flat because of it, but I really enjoy sitting and flicking through a well-worn gaming magazine. I remember that there is a site called The Out of Print Archive that works to preserve classic gaming publications, too. Cheers.

@AG_Awesome Thank you very much clearing this up for us, and sharing it with @audiobrainiac here, it was kind of you to take the time to check the release status of Mickey's Wild Adventure on the North American PSN. It's a shame that the PSone version of Mickey Mania didn't make it to the US. I know that on the UK's PSN we received Japanese import PSone games like GaiaSeed that have an NTSC 60Hz display, but I don't really understand the technicalities of reversing the situation to run a PAL 50Hz game on an American television.



JamieO commented on Review: Mickey's Wild Adventure (PSone):

@RawShark I'm with you all the way here, it was the Mean Machines section in CVG around about 1988 and 1989 that really kicked off my heightened interest in gaming magazines. I have a decent collection of CVG — my magazines take up a lot of my flat's space though — and Nintendo Magazine System, but less issues of Mean Machines SEGA.

The issue five of Mean Machines that I referenced in this review has fantastic SNES Final Fight art, by the way, not just for its cover, but in a tips sections too.

SEGA Saturn Magazine is one of the stand-out publications that was able to expertly express the passions of core gamers in its coverage of genres like shmups and one-on-one fighters. MAXIMUM is another example of this, you're right to mention Richard Leadbetter, the detail of his work has consistently impressed me. I agree that it's brilliant to still read modern articles by Rich and Jaz today, the column in Retro Gamer by Paul Davies is similarly great, although I couldn't find Paul Davies' piece in the latest Retro Gamer issue 147 when I bought it today.

I also have a complete collection of the SNES magazine Super Play, it was definitely one of my favourite 1990s gaming publications.

It's awesome that you were able to appear in a classic magazine during a tournament, mate. I think it’s great to hear retro gamers discuss such fond memories. Cheers.



JamieO commented on Review: Mickey's Wild Adventure (PSone):

@themcnoisy That button spelling of the cheat code for Mega Drive Aladdin is genius, thanks for sharing it. I know that many retro gamers debate about whether the Capcom SNES or Virgin Games/ Disney Software Mega Drive version of Aladdin was better, but I think that we were lucky in the 16-bit era to have two great Aladdin games. Then again, none of the gamers I knew in 1993 owned both a SNES and a Mega Drive, so we would have to visit a friends' house to play a rival system. It's cool that Shinji Mikami worked on the SNES' Aladdin, though. As a side-note, take into account that PSone Mickey's Wild Adventure is noticeably more challenging than Mega Drive Castle of Illusion at first, especially when you initially adjust to keeping Mickey’s distance from a barrage of hits. It doesn't take too long to master, though, and it becomes a satisfying game to complete.



JamieO commented on Review: Mickey's Wild Adventure (PSone):

@RawShark Cheers, I still own all 24 issues of Mean Machines, and I read them quite often. I even bought duplicates of some issues, because my originals had become so worn and tattered from me over-reading them. I'm sure you know this already, but just in case you haven't heard of it, you should definitely check out The Mean Machines Archive if you are a fan of the legendary UK magazine.

@gingerfrog Yep, my nostalgia for the Mega Drive version of Castle of Illusion is through the roof, too. Spot on.



JamieO commented on Review: Mickey's Wild Adventure (PSone):

@JerriKoe I am glad that you enjoyed my review, thanks right back at you for the compliment, Push Square will try our best to keep the retro content coming.

@audiobrainiac I don't have access to the American PSN through my PS Vita, PS3, or PSP. I'm based in the UK, so the review was written from playing the European PSone game. My understanding is that it finally received a US release on PSN in 2012. Instead of only searching for Mickey's Wild Adventure, try searching PSN for its alternative name of Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse. I imagine that it will be very nicely presented in NTSC with 60Hz for American gamers. Good luck if you decide to search for it.

@mookysam I agree completely, the art style in this game looks beautiful on the PS3, but it especially shines on my PS Vita.

As always if anyone would like a natter about this game, I will check in on the comments here.

I also reviewed the SNES version of Mickey Mania five years ago for Nintendo Life, and I have completed it on SNES and PSone, if any of you are interested in discussing the differences between the console games.

Even if you don't want to chat about Mickey's Wild Adventure specifically, but enjoy talking about other related subjects like retro gaming magazines, classic gaming publications are another subject that captures my interest.



JamieO commented on Soapbox: From Pretender to Major Player - Reme...:

This is a really excellent feature, I was especially excited to read it as soon as I noticed it was written by Paul Davies, his perspective as a games journalist who covered the transition from 16-bit to 32-bit, plus the boom of the fifth generation is fascinating. I've been reading Paul's work for over 20 years now, his writing style is so affable and welcoming, and he conveys his memories of one of my favourite eras in such a warm-hearted way.

I was also reading Paul's Retro Radar column in issue 146 of Retro Gamer recently, and this month's Play it Loud piece on how much he loves gaming music complements what he's describing about the tunes in WipEout here really nicely.

Big cheers to Push Square and to Paul Davies, I'm flicking through my fingerprint worn July 1996 issue 176 of CVG now in honour of this article. I'm reading this magazine in a new context now, it must have been at the point that the CVG team were starting to take the PSone more seriously, because it's brimming with PSone content. Highlights for the original PlayStation in CVG #176 include a 1996 E3 show report, two pieces on Jumping Flash! 2, and reviews of International Track & Field, Resident Evil, Return Fire, and Rockman X3.

Just as Paul is describing CVG's early impressions of Crash Bandicoot in this article, issue 176 has a small E3 '96 box-out on it that describes Naughty Dog's game as "Not as alternative as Sonic X-Treme, nor ground-breaking as Super Mario 64, but SCEA’s new mascot is arguably more sumptuous than either to behold". Good times, for sure.



JamieO commented on Review: Rayman (PSone):

@JaxonH Unfortunately, there is still no news about PSone games becoming available on the PS4.

This is a purely retro review, in a similar manner to how Nintendo Life reviews retro games even when they are not part of Virtual Console on Wii U or 3DS.

The PSone version of Rayman is available on more modern systems too, for example I played the game extensively on my PS3 and PS Vita. I started a replay of Rayman from scratch on PS Vita when my skills improved, to see how much faster I could complete the levels, and it looks especially vibrant on my original Vita's OLED screen.

We also thought that reviewing one of 1995's PSone launch period games would be a nice fit as part of Push Square celebrating PlayStation's 20th Anniversary in Europe today. Check out the PSone tag for more articles about Sony's 32-bit birthday console.



JamieO commented on Review: Rayman (PSone):

@get2sammyb Thank you, Sammy, you’re very kind, as always. I agree, I'd be happy to write more PSone retro reviews for Push Square.

@SteveButler2210 I hear what you're saying about how you struggled when you first played Rayman. My initial experience of Rayman many moons ago was to buzz from its art style – I remember thinking how the design of the little Antitoons reminded me of sprites in SEGA's brilliant Ristar – but eventually I submitted to frustration. I was playing it in an old-school manner, I didn't even use the memory card, I tried to repeatedly collect 100 Tings to hoard extra lives, and I was recording my progress by writing down passwords. Trouble is it became laborious, because I was obsessing about rescuing Electoon cages, and I started losing lives faster than I was stockpiling them. In the context of 2015, I honestly recommend that gamers should take the pressure off at the outset, and use the ten continues cheat for endless lives. I also advise that players should not worry about finding cages for the full ending, just enjoy learning the level at first. This was much more fun for me, and it allowed me to master the more confusing level layouts, including making Rayman follow Ting trails or crawl to look for leaps of faith. Also, remember to listen for the chime sound that indicates you've triggered a change in the stage (new platforms appear, and checkpoint signposts pop up etc).

@Quintumply Issue 90 of Retro Gamer magazine is interesting for a Rayman fan, it’s from May 2011, and the feature is called The Making of Rayman. In this issue Darran Jones finds out details about its development from Michel Ancel. I reference it in my review.

I’ll hairlycopter hover around the comments on this review, just in case there are any questions about the first Rayman game. Wishing a Happy 20th Birthday to the European PSone!



JamieO commented on Review: Xeodrifter (PS4):

I think that Xeodrifter complemented Super Time Force Ultra as part of September 2015's PS Plus update by including a decent couple of PS4 and PS Vita cross-buy titles. It was a good month for my taste in gaming, I always appreciate the chance to play a new side-scrolling retro influenced adventure on both my console, and the convenience of my handheld. Even though Xeodrifter is not cross-save between the PS4 and PS Vita, it doesn't really need save transfers, because the maps are tightly packed and accessible.

If anyone is still unsure about Xeodrifter after reading the review, and is a fan of the Metroidvania sub-genre, my advice would be to play the game until you earn the initial four power-ups to give it a chance. You could potentially reach the halfway point in just over an hour, if you're not too concerned with gathering collectibles for 100% completion, so you'll have a better understanding of the different gameplay mechanics that Renegade Kid introduces throughout your progress.

Also, the term "pixelated pyrotechnics" is not my own, I took it from a Eugene Jarvis quote that he used to describe the visuals in his 1980 Williams arcade game, Defender, in Retro Gamer Issue 129's The Hardest Games Of All Time feature.



JamieO commented on Review: Xeodrifter (PS4):

@LieutenantFatman I quite like pixel graphics being blown up on a big HDTV's display, I guess I have memories of my tiny black and white telly when I first bought a Mega Drive in 1990, so I still buzz from seeing sprites on a big screen.

The only minor visual disadvantage I can think of from playing Xeodrifter on the Vita is that the main sprite looks teensy when you leap into the background with the Plane Shift Power. I didn't play it on the 3DS, but like @chiptoon says, I imagine that the stereoscopic 3D effect would work well for plane shifting in this game.

I also noticed the Vita game slow down slightly when the diddy little sprite is in the background plane, too, but it was a rare occurrence, and only when the screen was especially busy with enemies.

Overall, I was happy to beat Xeodrifter a second time on my PS Vita, after completing it on the PS4 first. It feels rewarding to take advantage of learning the order of planets where each boss appears, and the most efficient routes to find them, so it was fun to whizz through the Vita version.



JamieO commented on Review: Xeodrifter (PS4):

I've included some links to features and articles below, which caught my eye when I was learning more about Xeodrifter for this review:

I'll check in on the comments here, just in case there are any questions about the game. I completed Xeodrifter on both the PS4 and PS Vita if anyone wants to know more about the Vita version.



JamieO commented on Talking Point: What Are You Playing This Weeke...:

@get2sammyb Aww, shucks, in hindsight I'd have preferred to have taken a bite from a fresh Destiny apple, rather than upset the team's applecart. Hopefully there will be another game soon, which all of the writers will be playing during the same weekend, and history can be made. D’oh! Metro Redux ended up being a worthwhile choice, considering I was aiming for a single-player focus, though. That game was a bargain, I enjoyed its bleakly inviting context, – along with a mysterious and supernatural story – which kept me interested enough to complete Metro 2033 Redux in a few sittings.

@NicolaHayden Yep, I live within a stone's throw of the River Mersey, presuming you can lash a stone a hefty distance, mind you.



JamieO commented on Feature: Share Your Pictures of the Apocalypse...:

There are so many quality screenshots in this feature, I'm actually finding photo mode to be such a fun distraction in The Last of Us Remastered –alongside an obsession with finding all of the game's collectibles – so it’s taking me twice as long to complete the game. I've only just reached winter recently.

Here are a few more of my pictures meshed together in a TwitPic montage:




JamieO commented on Review: Another World (PlayStation 4):

@SimonAdebisi I agree, I was very impressed with how much work Eric Chahi carried out over two hard-working years by himself. Two years was a fairly lengthy development time for a 16-bit game launched in 1991. I'm not sure if he had an office, or a work space, I used the term 'bedroom coder' more to describe an independent attitude that was prevalent during the day, but he definitely worked alone for a long time.

I think his main source of assistance came from his friend Jean-Francois Freitas, who worked on the audio and music composition side of development. Chahi even painted the cover art used on the Commodore Amiga box, which is also the title screen image in the 20th Anniversary edition.

Here's another quote from Retro Gamer magazine (Issue 24) from Chahi to demonstrate how he was an independent developer: "I felt that I had something very personal to communicate and in order to bring my true vision to others, I had to develop the title on my own." Chahi also discussed the process of dealing with publishers in 1991, by saying in the Retro Gamer interview that "I didn't decide to go it alone for the challenge, but because I felt it was necessary to create my game without any commercial pressure."

It's worth hunting down issue 24 of that Retro Gamer magazine for any gamers who are interested in Another World, if it’s not too hard to find. You can also read The Making of Another World feature on page 144 of the very first Retro Gamer Collection: Volume 1 bookazine.

Another World is an example of how a retro game can be indie too.

**** Edit: I just found a video on YouTube video called Another World - The Making Of with Eric Chahi, which says that it was "Created at his parents' home by a young graphic programmer."



JamieO commented on Review: Another World (PlayStation 4):

I couldn't help but include a few cheesy Star Trek references here – from "final frontier", to "strange new worlds", as well as "new life and new civilizations" – but in a way developers like Jordan Mechner and Eric Chahi were exploring uncharted territory and a new frontier through the sub-genre of side-scrolling cinematic platformers, in 1989 and 1991 respectively.

During my research for this review I read an excellent interview by Martyn Carroll, as part of The Making of Another World in Retro Gamer magazine (Issue 24, April 2006, p.34-37). Below are some interesting Eric Chahi quotes taken from the magazine:

  • Eric Chahi on cinematic video games: "I wanted to extract the essence of a movie – the rhythm and the drama – and place it into game form."
  • Chahi’s thoughts on Another World’s difficulty curve: "The trial and error aspect doesn't disturb me though. Another World is a game of survival in a hostile world, and it really is about life and death. Death doesn't mean the end of the game but it is a part of the exploration."
  • Finally, here is Eric Chahi’s response to the SEGA CD’s 1994 pseudo-sequel, Heart of the Alien (as far as I know Heart of the Alien didn't receive a PAL Mega-CD release): "The soul of the original game was missing, and I felt more than a little deceived when I saw that my original concept had been destroyed."

There's also an interesting interview on the PlayStation EU Blog with Eric Chahi (design, program and artwork), Martial Hesse-Dréville (programming), and Abrial Dacosta (CEO, The Digital Lounge). The interview is called Classic platformer Another World is coming to PS4.

@divinelite It's worth noting that Eric Chahi worked fervently, and almost in solitary on Another World for two years before its 1991 release, during an era when bedroom coders thrived. It was then published by Delphine Software. This epitomises the spirit of an independent developer in my eyes.



JamieO commented on Talking Point: What Are Your Hopes and Fears f...:

Man, I must have been guzzling down the positivity juices when I contributed to this, because I’ve not discussed my fears at all, so my section reads as one hope after another. I also made a mistake here by referring to The Order: 1886 as a steampunk setting, since I forgot that Ready at Dawn’s co-founder, Ru Weerasuriya, had told Joystiq that the game is grounded more in reality than fantastical steampunk technologies.

I guess my only concern for E3 2014 is that it requires such a vast amount of time, resources, investment, and pressure to develop a triple-A game on the PlayStation 4, so I don’t know if this will reduce the number of new prominent first-party titles at E3. As I’ve noted above, my expectations are really high based upon previous Sony press conference highlights, for example I mentioned Naughty Dog’s stellar live demos, but I’m not sure if it’s still too early in the generation for a show stealing stage display.

Furthermore, it has grown increasingly challenging for publishers to keep a secret from the media in this industry. I also imagine developers will want to avoid controversy, the likes of which have been brought about by raising gamer’s expectations of visual fidelity based upon target renders. I presume the lessons of unrealistic Killzone 2 and Watch Dogs E3 demos have been taken into consideration.

However, we’re seven months into the eighth generation now, so with forward planning, and a large dollop of secrecy, it’s not impossible for a dynamite first-party reveal. I can’t help but be excited for E3 2014, overall. I’ve built my own buzz and hype in my head, so my hopes greatly outweigh my fears. Alongside the Christmas games rush, and the UK expos in September and October, E3 is my favourite part of the gaming year.

Good luck to Push Square’s news and editorial team this week, too. I greatly enjoy the coverage of E3 here, and I appreciate the work and energy that goes into reporting on such an unrelenting barrage of gaming announcements. Enjoy E3 2014, everyone!



JamieO commented on Feature: Games of the Generation - Jamie's Fiv...:

@calin1010 Looking at your list, it's clear that our taste in games is similar, I rate both Batman: Arkham City and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception very highly. Sometimes when you enjoy the genre and gameplay feel of a series, presuming that the quality is consistent with each instalment, it's the set-pieces and events in the game that determines what becomes your favourite instalment in a franchise. You've chosen a top-five that I can fully support, although I'm perhaps unwisely waiting with my fingers crossed for an as yet unannounced PlayStation 4 release of Grand Theft Auto V.

@Gemuarto You certainly have a passion for Dead to Rights: Retribution, plus its brawling looks meaty, so you've captured my interest in Volatile Games' 2010 title. If I find a cheap boxed retail PS3 copy I'll buy it and check it out. I remember in Shadow Dancer from 1989 in the arcades and on the Mega Drive you had a gnarly dog companion, so I'm interested in a game with a canine ally, other than Call of Duty: Ghosts. The dog in Dead to Rights: Retribution is even called Shadow!

@Godsire- Cool, we share an appreciation of Batman: Arkham Asylum slightly above Arkham City. I found all of Christopher Nolan's Batman films to be excellent, Batman Begins is fantastic, although The Dark Knight is my favourite of the movie trilogy.

@JMC You make a good point about returning to open world games in particular. I find that the structure of the story sections dotted around a map, alongside numerous side missions, combine to make it hard to remember what is the next task when you return to a sandbox game after too long of a hiatus. I hope that you enjoy The Last of Us more when you return to it, and it grabs your attention for longer, it's quite possibly my favourite game from my top five.



JamieO commented on Feature: Games of the Generation - Jamie's Fiv...:

@JMC I own multiple gaming systems and handhelds, so I find that quality new games are released at such a fervent pace that it's hard to keep up by completing all titles before moving on to a new game.

The trouble is that the difficulty curve in some games is so stringent, and this applies to The Last of Us and Vanquish, that returning to later stages when you're out of practice can be surprisingly punishing.

On the flip-side, the way that the plot events in The Last of Us develop is excellent the further you ramble through the game, and Vanquish manages to increase its scale and intensity towards the end. I like the final locations in both Killzone 3 and Vanquish, the backdrops are similar in the way they increase the context of the science-fiction setting. There are two decent final boss battles in Vanquish too, plus it has a neat little take on the developer credit sequence, as an extra treat for finishing it.

Good luck beating these games, I hope you get the chance to complete them in the future. Have fun!



JamieO commented on Feature: Games of the Generation - Nathan's Fi...:

I really like @nathanuc1988's list, it reflects the diversity in taste between each staff member at Push Square, even early on in our 'Games of the Generation' series of features.

My list is a bit heavy on blockbusters, but I think Nathan's selections cover a greater sense of contrast between each gaming genre. I always have time for the LittleBigPlanet games, and it's interesting that Nathan chose the PlayStation exclusive Demon's Souls over its multi-platform spiritual sequel. It's good to see the original release receive some kudos.

Great stuff Nathan, I look forward to reading the other Push Square staff member's lists, too.



JamieO commented on Feature: Games of the Generation - Jamie's Fiv...:

I think it’s been particularly ace during the PlayStation 3 generation that I’ve shared these experiences with other gamers. Most of the games on this list have been completed and scrutinised together by meeting up with my cousin and friends, because we’ve spent many a hung-over Sunday taking turns to play-through a single-player story mode. Just as I mentioned about my girlfriend, the advancement of more compelling story components in modern games can be almost as fun to watch, as they are to play.

Thanks to Push Square I’m also more involved with a community of PlayStation gamers, and I’ve shared my first hands-on of potential future classics with the team at expos, meet-ups and events. For example, cheers to @Dazza who recommended Arkham Asylum to me, I completed it after he tweeted me to praise Rocksteady’s Titan-sized Batman bonanza late in 2009. A game may well be on my radar, but my interest piques when it’s another gamer who recommends it. I’m always grateful for this, like how @get2sammyb first turned my attention to Resogun and Velocity 2X.

@CanisWolfred I’m still a fan of Killzone 2, but I prefer how the journey through Killzone 3 takes in a vaster range of Helghan’s sights. As you mentioned, it’s the PS Move controls that make the difference to me, I completed it with the core motion control set-up at home, but I also agree with @chazaroonie, because I had lots of fun using the Move sharp shooter on this game at my cousin’s house. I definitely recommend Killzone 3, its set-pieces are well positioned to pace the action, and it rounds off the trilogy effectively by linking back to the feel of the first game.

The idea of a seven year life cycle also interests me. I find the North American release dates between each console paints a clear picture of this, because the time span has grown proportionally in the US from the original PlayStation (five years), PlayStation 2 (six years) and PlayStation 3 (seven years). However, it’s also indicative of how Sony’s view of each market has altered, with Japan having to wait a long seven years and three months between the release of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. In contrast the UK’s lifespan for Sony’s second and third consoles has balanced to become directly comparable to each other, as PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 share an approximate release date life cycle in the UK of six and a half years.

Apologies, I edited this comment, because I had replied to the wrong people about Killzone 2 and 3.



JamieO commented on Review: Resident Evil: Director's Cut (PSone):

@eliotgballade No worries at all, I'm happy to hear your thoughts about your favourite retro games in the survival horror genre, plus there's always time to talk about the Dreamcast.

Unfortunately, I can't contribute much to your Blue Stinger discussion with @Beaston61, although I remember reading about it in the Dreamcast magazines during Halloween time in 1999.

I think that the first time I heard about that title was a 'Coming Soon' feature in the awesome SEGA Saturn Magazine. This was late in 1998 just as the Saturn, and consequently the UK's quality official Saturn magazine, were both coming to the end of their life.

Those magazines also covered a 1998 Saturn game that was published by SEGA, called Deep Fear. This title was directly comparable to Resident Evil, but it didn't have fixed camera angles, plus it had an interesting setting where the survival horror took place deep below the ocean.



JamieO commented on Review: Resident Evil: Director's Cut (PSone):

@charlesnarles Resident Evil is a special offer Horror Sale price of £3.99 here in the UK, so I hope it's on special offer for you in the US, too (although it sounds as though you got a few Resi games for free on PS Plus).

The entire game is set in the mansion grounds, if that makes sense. You spend time between the mansion, gardens and the guardhouse, but the map becomes larger through underground areas. Umbrella has been up to their experimental tricks at Spencer Mansion, you see.

Your health status is shown as a green heart and pulse monitor, I think it's called an electrocardiogram. Jill is especially weak, so she can only take a few bites from a zombie. Chris is stronger, but his route is noticeably more challenging and he's missing two vital carrying slots, which makes item management more frustrating.

You can boost a low health meter with green herbs, but experimenting with green, red and blue herbs is most advisable, especially if you are hit by poison.

The game doesn't really take itself too seriously at all, perhaps I was being a bit too stony-faced by expecting it to remain scary and tense all of the time.

You have to use ink ribbons at a typewriter, or in a save room, to save your game. These become more scarce if you play on the advanced difficulty setting, but if you get a feel for this game on the training mode, there are lots of spare ink ribbons to save with.

Note. My understanding is that the US release of Resident Evil on PSN is the DualShock version, so you'll have the option of analogue controls and rumble effects, too. Sadly, I personally think that the new soundtrack in the DualShock version is not as effective as the original arrangements. It still sounds creepy enough, though.



JamieO commented on Review: Resident Evil: Director's Cut (PSone):

@eliotgballade I hear what you're saying, I've heard other gamers mention that they enjoy the cheesiness and silly quotes from PSone Resident Evil. For this review I completed this game again as Jill, and I played most of Chris' route, and it stood out to me that Capcom’s Production Studio 4 had carefully crafted such a choked atmosphere throughout the entire journey, so the cut-scenes began to spoil the tense mood for me.

Even if Resident Evil has the visual trappings of a 17 year old game, I think it’s worth remembering that Capcom added lots of detail to this early PSone title. For example, despite being shot to the ground, an enemy can still rise again to nibble at your ankles, so recognising distinctive death groans and pools of blood that indicate a definite fatality is important.

Resident Evil is also remembered for classic set-pieces that startle the player, the early Cerberus attack through the hall windows is a notable shock moment. Capcom’s level designers continued to play on this with repeated jump scares in the game, and by mixing them up with altered puzzles and new mansion locations in the GameCube version.

If this is anyone's first attempt at PSone Resident Evil, I’d be interested in hearing how challenging Push Square's readers find the puzzles, obviously without consulting the guidance of a walkthrough. There are difficulty spikes and sections where the pacing of the game feels more testing, predominantly when save rooms are spread thinly apart. For example, after a boss battle with the humongous snake, Yawn, there’s a basement section leading to the kitchen, library and Hunter infested halls, where the progression tried my patience this time around.



JamieO commented on Review: Total Recoil (PlayStation Network - Vita):

@jgrangervikings It's great that my review has intrigued you about the game, your comment is a nice example of how a review analysis can say more with its words, rather than just the score allocated at the end.

There are a number of positives about Total Recoil and I hope that Eiconic build upon these in future PlayStation Vita games. The upgrade system would work brilliantly, if the in-game price of each item was lowered, and the variety of specific gameplay 'Challenges' is a thoughtful addition to add replay value to the game.

The physical dual-stick controls on Vita are far more sturdy than when using an iOS/ Android touchscreen, so I hope that more indie developers bring twin-stick shooters to Sony's handheld, as they are an ideal fit for Vita.

It's cool that the voice-over work for the game's announcer is Tom Clarke-Hill too, because he voiced Tony the Tiger, the mascot for the Kellogg's Frosties breakfast cereal. I guess the loud shouting blurts of the announcer are a homage to arcade games, reminiscent of Midway's Smash TV and Total Carnage.

This game is another good example of Sony's current support of indie outfits, which is definitely something to celebrate. Like you said, I would much rather buy Total Recoil for £1.99 than a two litre bottle of Coke, or a McChicken sandwich, even if the sandwich came with fries!

Total Recoil is worth the £1.99 price tag (note, I'm in the UK, which is why I refer to its price in pounds). Thanks for your comment.



JamieO commented on Review: Dungeons & Dragons Chronicles of Mysta...:

Thank you to everyone above for the kind comments about my review, I enjoyed covering Chronicles of Mystara a great deal for Push Square.

@odd69 Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder was SEGA’s arcade sequel to the original classic, Golden Axe. It was a 1992 coin-op, so it should not be confused with the Mega Drive/ Genesis game Golden Axe II. Retro hack-and-slash and brawler fans have been eager for SEGA to port this game for a long time, because it has never been converted to console or computer before, plus it used SEGA's System 32 arcade hardware, which was very powerful for 1992.

Therefore, Revenge of Death Adder had strong sprites and colourful background art design, four-player co-op, as well as multiple path routes through the game. It is a shame and a missed opportunity that Golden Axe: The Revenge of the Death Adder remains unconverted, I would love for SEGA to port it with a HD gloss to PSN.



JamieO commented on Dungeons & Dragons Chronicles of Mystara HD:

@Rogue76 Unfortunately, with the 7 hour time difference, I doubt I will get the chance for multiplayer Mystara this weekend. My weekend is busy with visits to family and friends, plus I am keen to dedicate any spare gaming time to playing a PS Vita game called Total Recoil for review.

I know that in the D&D review comments @odd69 showed an interest in meeting up with fans of this game online, so it may be an idea for one of us to set up a specific thread regarding connecting gamers for online co-op brawlers, perhaps in the PSN section of Push Square's forums.

Sorry about that, I am up for multiplayer, so I'm sure we’ll get chance to meet online for co-op soon. Have a good weekend, mate.



JamieO commented on Game of the Month: June 2013 - The Last of Us:

A very well deserved Game of the Month winner, nothing could touch Naughty Dog's stunning creativity in June, there was no need for an internal poll on this one.

We are just over six months into the year and The Last of Us has now overtaken the brilliance of BioShock Infinite as my Game of the Year, so far.

A great comment by @Paranoimia above, too: "We PlayStation fans may not have an iconic character, but we've certainly got an iconic developer."



JamieO commented on Review: Dungeons & Dragons Chronicles of Mysta...:

@AceSpadeS Cheers for your comment, I found that there was so much to analyse between both games in Chronicles of Mystara, I am grateful to Push Square for the opportunity to discuss them here. It is these complexities that help make the game so replayable. To be fair, Sammy's The Last of Us review blows this out of the water for detail and in-depth scrutiny, though.

@JavierYHL Chronicles of Mystara is only available on PS3's PSN I'm afraid, it is not available for Vita. You are not the first person I have heard enquire about a Vita port, so hopefully Capcom are considering it, because the coin-op roots of these Dungeons & Dragons games would work great on handheld. **** Edit: Apologies, I posted this reply shortly after Damo's comment, I didn't realise he had already answered your question. ****



JamieO commented on Dungeons & Dragons Chronicles of Mystara HD:

Good stuff, mate. I'm up for online multiplayer too, I'm away this weekend, but we could organise it if you get a spare moment next week. I'm in the UK, but I remember sorting out a multiplayer Simpsons Arcade session with a US gamer from Push Square and a convenient way to link-up our different time zones was by organising it through Twitter.

I tweet as JamieOretro, just in case you're on Twitter.

My review of Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara is live on Push Square now, too. I mentioned your point about online gamers skipping dialogue, I found that to be a little bit frustrating as well, because the story moves along quickly enough without skimming through it.

Thanks for discussing this game with me as I was doing all my preparatory work for the review. Cheers!



JamieO commented on Dungeons & Dragons Chronicles of Mystara HD:

Thank you @Rogue76, that is such a nice thing to say. I'm glad that I was able to help you, I hope you are enjoying it.

I have managed about 12 hours of gaming time on Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara this weekend, I finished Shadow over Mystara a few times yesterday, too. Shadow over Mystara is a slightly longer game than Tower of Doom, it takes about an hour and a half to beat, which is approximately twenty minutes longer.

I just find these titles to be so re-playable. I also played a very smooth four-player co-op game, where I controlled the Dwarf. I like the feel of the brawling characters in comparison to the magic users, as magic attacks can slow the pace of the game.

Sunday is such a good day to play more of Chronicles of Mystara!



JamieO commented on Dungeons & Dragons Chronicles of Mystara HD:

@Rogue76 I am going to be playing Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara on PSN all weekend. I have already put a significant amount of time into it, but I have consciously only concentrated on Tower of Doom to begin with, because I feel that I did not play that game enough when I owned the Saturn D&D collection.

I have completed PSN Tower of Doom all the way through four separate times, including single-player, two-player local co-op and online multiplayer twice (four-player and a two-player restricted game). I can already recommend a purchase of this for Tower of Doom alone, and that is taking into account that Shadow over Mystara is regularly considered the better game. I know Shadow over Mystara well and it is worthy of the high praise.

You mention in the comments section of the Sacred Citadel review that you enjoy multiplayer and this is brilliant in Chronicles of Mystara, although I encountered some slowdown during four-player online co-op, but it was smooth as silk for two and three-players, so it may have been a laggy connection.

Sacred Citadel has modern visuals, but Chronicles of Mystara still includes two fantastic looking games, it is a treat if you enjoy detailed sprites, pixels and background design. Capcom's title has more lastability with two separate games, branching paths, gameplay challenges and four different choices of difficulty. These Capcom Dungeons & Dragons games are rightly revered and loved as retro classics.

I'm going to be thorough with this one and there will be more information about Chronicles of Mystara on Push Square next week.



JamieO commented on Review: Sacred Citadel (PlayStation Network):

@get2sammyb Thank you kindly, Sammy. That is really sound of you to say.

@rjejr and @Rogue76 I'm based in the UK, so I have not been able to check if Sacred Citadel has received a price reduction in the US. However, for UK gamers the current special offer price-tag of £5.99 is an opportune time to check it out cheaply, especially if you’re a fan of side-scrolling hack-and-slash games.

I completed Sacred Citadel from start to finish three separate times for this review. I first beat it in single-player controlling the Safiri Warrior. I then blasted through online co-op, and I was pleased to find gamers who were happy to play the entire game in a single online two hour sitting, so we were rewarded with a Mutual Benefit ‘Complete all levels in multiplayer’ trophy. The third time I played through the adventure again in local co-op, but this time as the Seraphim Mage.

However, it is a slight shame that two local players can't hook up to one PS3, and then head online to find a third player. Online multiplayer only includes you on your PS3, the other one/ two players need to be online. Also, you meet gamers in a lobby, and select different acts and stages together, but you can’t drop into an online game mid-level.



JamieO commented on Feature: Sony's E3 2013 Showcase - Did It Meet...:

@AD-80 I agree, it is really impressive how Sony has achieved universal praise for their implementation of PS Plus, because they are very consistent with quality free games, so gamers quickly recuperate their membership fee. It is simply excellent value for money.

I like your logic regarding DriveClub, I didn't think about it like that, fingers crossed you're right. I know that the DriveClub PS Plus Edition has slimmer content, like a smaller selection of tracks and vehicles, so it may be used to help ensure this new IP appears on a PS4 gamer's radar. Perhaps the system that Evolution Studios has developed is so compelling, so once you are part of a club and have mastered the driving system, it will have its hooks in you, and you will be more tempted to upgrade to the full game.

DriveClub has actually become more prominent on my radar since E3, I think it is another solid move by Sony to offer gamers a sample of tracks, vehicles and its online network system, with the PS Plus Edition.



JamieO commented on Feature: Vote for Push Square's E3 2013 PlaySt...:

I voted for Killzone: Shadow Fall, but I based that decision on a combination of my impressions from the original trailer in February, the new E3 gameplay demo and my love of the series. I really like the mix and the variety shown in the settings, which has already been demonstrated in the visuals. This ranges from the gleaming, sterile Vektan City to a new forest area that Arjan Bak (Guerrilla Games’ Environment Art Director) showcased, with lush green foliage, rocky boulders and a waterfall cascading down a cliff.

This new environment has Lucas Kellan as a Shadow Marshal behind enemy lines on a mission to retrieve intel, as he uses a zip-line to whizz between tall trees. I also like the design of the Shadow Marshal’s gun, with its switching modes, and the gameplay opportunities the OWL drone provides. Killzone: Shadow Fall is a promising PS4 launch purchase, for me so far.

I can definitely see why so many people voted for inFAMOUS: Second Son, too. The gameplay footage and its new visual upgrade look brilliant, all provided by PS4’s technical oomph, so that game looks absolutely fantastic in action.



JamieO commented on Feature: Sony's E3 2013 Showcase - Did It Meet...:

@AD-80 That’s true mate, and I can see a visual connection between the design of PS4 and the original PS2 hardware too, which still sits under my TV today. Apologies if I was not clear, I was not suggesting that Sony copied Microsoft, as there has not been enough time between the Xbox One reveal and E3 for Sony to alter their design. I think that it would have been a long and intricate process for Sony to create the look of PS4, they wouldn't change it last minute.

On a side-note, it was after watching a full run through of Sony’s conference for the second time that I spotted @Mason’s observation about PlayStation Plus membership being a necessity for online multiplayer on PS4, so this is an important point in regard to the total cost of the console. It’s not a big deal to me overall, as there is so much value from free games on PlayStation Plus, and your membership carries over from PS3. Also, if you own PS3, PS Vita and PS4, your access to PS Plus is all set at one price, too.

It was the conference slide stating ‘immersive multiplayer online on PS4’ as a part of PS Plus that was most revealing, as we’re all used to online multiplayer being free on PS3. Therefore, if anyone is not a member at the moment, gamers wanting online co-op and competition will need to add the PlayStation Plus subscription fee to their £349/$399 PS4 purchase.



JamieO commented on Feature: Sony's E3 2013 Showcase - Did It Meet...:

I think @get2sammyb makes a good point when he refers to how there has not been much general conversation about the physical design of the PS4 hardware, especially following the fuss after Sony did not reveal the console’s form in February.

When I watched Sony’s blurry teaser trailer in May, I started to formulate an idea of the hardware in my head, but my imagined PS4 was not even close to the finished design. My first impression was surprise from a sense of coincidence that it bears some resemblance to Xbox One (jet black finish, split between gloss and matte). However, I liked the sliced angular front and back of the PS4 straight away. I'm finding I appreciate the PS4 console design more and more, so it’s cool that its appearance is growing on me.

I also meant to mention that I was buzzing from the Star Wars Battlefront announcement during EA’s conference. I was tweeting with @GazPlant from Nintendo Life at the time and he observed in jest that with DICE at the helm it may turn into Battlefield: Star Wars Edition. Such a move would feel out of sync with the series, but with the technical expertise of DICE I would actually enjoy a Battlefield: Star Wars on PS4. I'm sure DICE will strive to remain faithful to the core gameplay of the Battlefront series, though.



JamieO commented on Interview: Trading Punches with PlayStation Al...:

An excellent interview, I agree with @zipmon, it provides a nice insight into how much work goes into creating balance and an even sense of character symmetry in a fighting game, especially with a variety of distinctive IPs.

I have lost touch with the one-on-one and crossover fighter genres slightly over the years, especially as I was obsessed with arcade and SNES Street Fighter II in 1991/92. However, I played quite a bit of Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV with my cousin and our buddies, so I think Capcom did a great job of rejuvenating the genre for mainstream players in those games.

When Seth Killian announced he was leaving Capcom on the Capcom Unity blog, on June 22nd this year, I thought it was cool how respectful and appreciative gamers were of his work in the comments board. It is interesting to read more about some of his reasons for leaving Capcom in this interview.

I like that his name is ‘s-kill’, as it is perfect for someone who has developed a speciality in this genre, which is a game style that often demands you master its intricacies to become a competent player. As @get2sammyb suggests here, it could also explain why he plays as Nathan Drake in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.



JamieO commented on Review: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (P...:

Fair play, what a cracking review, @get2sammyb has provided a detailed read here. I particularly like the reference to this game’s nostalgia and its fan-service: from the transforming backgrounds, to the soundtrack, its authentic voice acting and character themed move-set.

I remember back at this year’s Eurogamer Expo, Sammy was already eagerly learning the intricacies of different characters and fighting strategies, following the release of the Beta version of the game. He kicked a fair few gamer’s backsides in the demo that day, including mine.

Trouble is, I am desperately saving for a Wii U, so I won’t have spare money to buy PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale until next year. The cross-buy PS Vita freebie (cross-play and cross-save), included with your game purchase, makes this a proper bargain though. I am confident that there will still be plenty of online combatants to fight in multiplayer next year.

I think @Chozo85, @Dambuster and @Galvatron are spot-on, this game is an excellent showcase of the power and diversity of PS Vita. It is another example of a quality game for us to cite, as a great Vita title to mention, when answering all of the naysayers.

I would have loved for there to be a more ambitious single-player adventure option in this game, similar to the ‘Subspace Emissary’ in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which treated Wii gamers to a co-op adventure mode, too. However, SCE may include something like that in the inevitable sequel.

A kick-butt review!



JamieO commented on Interview: Goichi Suda - Grasshopper Manufacture:

Another part of this interview that I enjoyed was the discussion revolving around the different people Suda would like to work with, it's interesting to hear devs talk about people they admire, who are an influence from different industries, like film and music. I read an interview where Goichi Suda was buzzing because the interviewer had a Morrissey button on his lapel, in a similar way to how he admired Jon's Zombowie iPhone case.

A small tidbit that is along these lines, is that back in 2007 Gouichi Suda told IGN that his favourite video game is Out of This World. He reiterated this in a discussion with 1up, where he listed Éric Chahi as one of his favourite game designers.

I think it is cool that Suda has been so heavily inspired by Delphine Software's slick 1991/'92 2D game. It makes complete sense when you consider how Out of This World was brimming with style, creativity and fantastic art design. I think Push Square's @Dazza would like that snippet of information.



JamieO commented on Interview: Goichi Suda - Grasshopper Manufacture:

I absolutely love this interview, it is fun and quirky and its tone is completely in tune with Goichi Suda's personality. The industry needs more developers with the creativity of Suda51, the way in which he describes prioritising capturing a gamer's attention, by evoking a feeling or an emotion from the player through flamboyancy and style, has led to many memorable games.

I am a huge fan of punk rock music and to see such an independent spirit and a focussed identity in a Japanese developer, with the courage to push boundaries, is admirable. Especially when such an ethos is applied across the board on both a smaller project XBLA Kinect game, or a big budget mutliformat release. I also really enjoy how he embraces popular culture, whether or not through taking inspiration from movies, or music, as indicated here by the use of a band like The Damned, or showing respect towards a Joss Whedon TV show.

I often cite the creativity of Grasshopper Manufacture, alongside Platinum Games, as examples of how Japanese video game developers are as inspirational today as they were in the 'old days'. Gaming needs characters like Suda51: devs that are willing to experiment with style and artistry, especially in a world of safety-net minimal risk sequels and a barrage of holiday season dominating First Person Shooters.

I wish more developers were punks! A completely stellar interview, @JonWahlgren.



JamieO commented on Double Dragon: Neon Lights Up the PSN This Summer:

I am a big fan of Double Dragon too, its two-player co-op gameplay really captured my attention when I first played the original coin-op in 1987, I still enjoyed the basic premise of it in the updated Game Boy Advance port by Million in 2003/4.

I wonder if Double Dragon: Neon will include throwbacks to the original, like the elbow smash and headbutt, or the way in which you had to fight your buddy after beating Big Boss Willy (you can't make a name like that up, or his alternative 'Machine Gun Willy' moniker).

This one is in safe hands, I have a lot of respect for WayForward Technologies, from their 2D work on DS (Contra 4 and Aliens: Infestation etc), through to more close to home titles like PSN BloodRayne: Betrayal.

It is about time for a new, well crafted return of double dragon (at least the Super Famicom box art was a bit better than the crummy US SNES artwork, pictured above).



JamieO commented on Rumour: PS4 Codenamed "Orbis", Due Christmas 2013:

I do not care the slightest little bit about a 4096x2160 resolution, if the games that actually utilise the power of PS4 can achieve 60FPS and still output at full 1080p, I will be impressed.

Obviously I don't know how powerful PS4 will be, but based upon Sony's track record of pushing each new hardware release to impress on a technical level, it is not too presumptuous to expect PS4 to be a tech-spec impressing monster. I doubt its tech pushing games will be 60FPS at a resolution of 1920x1080, I do not have my fingers crossed for 4096x2160.

Perhaps less power hungry 2D games, indie titles or PSN games, could use 4096x2160. As @James said, I may be underestimating that 4096x2160 could become the standard in the future, in 2006 I was still gaming using RGB through a CRT.

I do have my fingers and toes tightly crossed that PS4 includes backwards compatibility, though. Backwards compatibility is a huge deal to me, I bought two 60GB PS3s, just so that I could box my PS2 away and play my collection of 130 odd PS2 games on PS3. I have too many consoles to make space under the telly for my old PS3 and a new PS4, space is constantly an issue as I live in a small flat.

Console manufacturers should consider the way in which many gamers collect games, we do not all trade or sell off our old titles. I build an archive library of games, I hoard them and I appreciate the convenience that backwards compatibility provides, not to mention the wonderful way in which PS3 upscaled my PS2 games for my HDTV.

The cynic in me thinks that backwards compatibility may be dropped, because there is too much money to be made from re-releasing PSone, PS2 and even PS3 games on a future PS4, as DLC or as a 'Classics Collection' box-set. My PS3 collection is pretty decent already, I do not feel like re-buying 100 odd PS3 games for the second time.

It's daft of me to get my knickers in a twist over a rumour though and @get2sammyb makes an excellent point regarding the challenge Sony would face if they had to emulate PS3's Cell processor on PS4.



JamieO commented on First Shiny Sonic 4: Episode 2 Screens Leak Out:

The visuals for Sonic 4: Episode 2 remind me of the Sonic Fan Remix video that was doing the rounds in 2010. The busier detail to the backgrounds, and the toning down of the bright colour palette, share a bit of a resemblance to the fan's re-imagining of different levels from classic Sonic. It would be cool if SEGA were so impressed by the work of the fan programmers that they took them on board to work with Dimps.

Obviously that is just a speculative comparison on my part, it's an unsubstantiated little observation.

In any case I have a very good feeling about this game. I like the visual style based upon these screenshots, especially the possible addition of a new Ice Cap snow lashed mountain zone, and I have enjoyed previous Sonic games by Dimps. I think that SEGA have made a lot of good decisions regarding Sonic in recent years. Online co-op, with a screen each to ourselves and bringing Tails into Sonic 4, sounds fun to me.

Mark me down as positively optimistic for Sonic 4: Episode 2.