August ’08 Edition
With August coming to a close, the staff here at Console Monster reflect back at this month’s current events in the gaming world for each platform, as well as give a little insight of their gaming antics this month, and what they are looking forward to playing next month.
What have you been playing this month?
Dave: This month I’ve been playing a range of games, mostly some games I needed to revisit to boost my GamerScore. I have played four new games this month, firstly was The Orange Box, followed by Geometry Wars Evolved² – which I reviewed, Fable II Pub Games – which I also reviewed and Scene It? LCA which I bought for cheap. I also picked up Beowulf and Stuntman: Ignition for £5 each but haven’t had time to play them yet.
Reece: My main gaming platform, a 360, has only just come back from being repaired. In the time that I have had it back Braid has been getting the bulk of my attention, followed by Soul Calibur 4 and the fantastic Darts Championship.
Craig: Halo 3. If you remember last month, the challenge i set myself this month was to reach Level 45 on Halo 3. I can quite happily say, with a great big cheesy smile on my face, that I have passed this challenge. Level 45 was achieved on 23rd August 2008 at 8.35 pm. Unfortunately though, that’s all I’ve managed to squeeze into a very busy month outside of gaming.
Tom: This month I have been hacking up all my mates on Soul Calibur 4. The character creation mode is surprisingly addictive. Apart from that I’ve been playing around with a load of old games such as Resident Evil Zero and Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon. Oh, and I recently picked up a copy of Buzz: Quiz TV for the PS3, and it is great fun with some mates and a few beers.
Chris: I’ve been playing so much this month it’s ridiculous. I’ve been flipping between Rock Band, Braid, Geometry Wars 2, Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Too Human like a mad man. And what fun they have been…minus Too Human. But Braid and Geometry Wars 2 have been sucking up my time. I love them both. Great games.
Anthony: This month has seen me return to GTA IV on 360, spending what feels like hours chipping away at the story mission, and I’ve just barely touched half way! I hammered through a few hours of Too Human before sending that off to Chris to review, it’s a little repetitive overall,Chris’ review sums it all up really. On XBLA I completed Wolf of the Battlefield: Commandos 3 which was short and sweet. On PS3 I bought PixelJunk Eden which is still great fun with some good multiplayer laughs. I also just recently brought The Last Guy on PSN, which is another breath of fresh air to the PlayStation Network.
Microsoft released a high calibre line-up of titles for its Xbox LIVE Arcade throughout August – Did you have a dip in the “Summer of Arcade”?
Dave: I certainly did. I purchased Geometry Wars Evolved² and received Fable II Pub Games. I’ve just purchased Braid and it is now one of my highest-rated games to date. I’ve also had my eye on Castle Crashers for a while. That’s a new Arcade title a week! And with Pirates vs. Ninja Dodgeball in early September, it’s not about to stop here.
Reece: Yes I did, and I have not finished just yet! Braid and Geometry Wars 2 have been my first purchases and both have been fantastic. I will no doubt be plunging the points into Castle Crashers in the coming weeks also.
Craig: Again, not had much chance to play anything else aside from Halo 3. Hopefully Geometry Wars 2 will be in my ever growing arcade collection this time next month.
Tom: I had a look at the demo for Braid, and whilst I was impressed, I can’t justify spending 1200 points on a game that will be over in a couple of hours. I did however snap up Castle Crashers straight away. I absolutely loved the gameplay and art style of Alien Hominid, and so I’m really pleased to see that Castle Crashers look and plays just as well, if not better. It really is a true gem of a title.
Chris: I have. I dipped in, then came back for more. I have all titles released bar Galaga Legions and Fable Pub Games so far and Castle Crashers is definitely on my list. I love the art style of Dan Paladin so it’s definite buy. And I heard everyone raving about Braid so I bought that. My fellow HUDers loved Geo Wars 2 so I got that too. What a great summer. Summer drought? Not this year! However, I fear that after the Summer of Arcade is over, we will revert back to the usual rubbish. Well…until Mega Man 9 hits of course! Then let the good times roll.
Anthony: The Summer of Arcade brought a good month to XBLA. I tried to play through all the trial games, though I only ended up picking up Geo Wars 2 in the end. The new modes are a great feature to the game and seeing your buddies’ scores on the main menu helps boost your competitive edge. I’ve been waiting for Castle Crashers since it was announced, so I was happy to hear it was coming out this month. You can’t help but adore Dan Paladin’s art style and character design – I’m trying to resist the urge to order a set of those figurines!
Battle of the Console HDD’s. With the recent release of the standard 80GB Xbox 360, and the announcement of the 160GB PS3 bundle – Is having a large HDD important to you?
Dave: I bought a 360 Elite a month after my launch console received the red ring of death so storage on my Xbox 360 is not a problem. With my launch console, I found myself having to delete files on a regular basis so I feel it is important I have enough space for my needs. 120GB might have been slightly too much though. I may also look to purchase a PS3 sometime this year, mainly for the bigger titles such as LittleBigPlanet. With all the installs, especially the bigger installs, a bigger HDD may be a better option though it will unfortunately come at a price – something which isn’t an option within the Christmas run-up releases.
Reece: Nope. On a PC hard drive space is extremely important to me, with movies and games requiring hard drive installation. On a console I have got into the habit of removing demos I will never play a second time, trailers I will never watch and keeping music on disks. The important stuff, game files, are typically small and cause no problems fitting in.
Craig: Not really. Having said that, my Xbox 360 is on its last legs, and I think the next time I receive the, dare I say it, Red Ring of Death, I’ll be getting the 120Gb Elite console, giving me plenty of room to download more demos and arcade games.
Tom: To a certain degree a larger hard drive is useful, especially considering my 20GB Xbox 360 hard drive is starting to fill up with all my arcade games and downloadable content. Still, 160GB is maybe going overkill for a console. I for one am not a fan of having to install games on my console. It’s not a PC, just let me put the disk in and play! At some point I may end up buying a larger hard drive for my 360, but I’m not going to be bothering with installing games on it when that feature gets launched.
Chris: I don’t necessarily buy a lot of things from Xbox Live Marketplace to warrant a bigger hard-drive, so I just use the one I have. But with the PS3 dealing out the free music videos as well as some top quality PSN titles, I’d be more inclined to upgrade my PS3 HDD than my Xbox 360 one.
Anthony: Since I bought my PS3 I’ve since then barely downloaded any videos or trailers on my 360. Before then, I have always had to keep managing my 20GB of storage on my Premium console, especially with many demos now breaking the 1GB mark. Over on my 60GB PS3 I’ve never had that problem, I rarely keep any trailers I download once I’ve shown them to friends and family. I believe the size of a HDD is purely down to the type of user (or hoarder) you are, and it is good to see the platform makers acknowledge this with the different types of SKU’s they release which appeal to the different types of gamers out there. I do wish Microsoft didn’t charge the earth for their HDD’s though, and follow a similar route that Sony take on being able to add your own HDD for a much smaller cost.
Mediawatch-UK says upcoming Wii slaughter-em-up, MadWold, will “spoil the family fun image” of the console. Do you agree or will games such as MadWorld open the doors for hardcore games on the Wii?
Dave: Personally, I don’t see the big deal. The Wii may be a “family” console but releasing games, such as MadWorld, which ruin this “family fun image” will encourage the more hardcore gamer to play on the Wii. I only play on my Wii once a week, if that. A more hardcore game may encourage me to switch on my Wii a little bit more. It may even boost the number of people who want a Wii.
Reece: This is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be kept away from Nintendo’s eyes, otherwise we will have their family image fear all over again (Mortal Kombat on the SNES anyone?). A console is a console, regardless of the software it can play. No one calls a DVD player a porn-box just because it can play such material. I don’t think it will help the Wii with hardcore gamers, or hurt them; just as family games on “hardcore” consoles do not hurt their hardcore reputation.
Craig: I don’t really see the big fuss. The Wii may be a family orientated console, but that doesn’t mean all the games have to be family orientated. It’s good that developers are trying to cater for hardcore gamers, Good luck to them is all I say!
Tom: The Wii will always be seen as a ‘family fun’ console due to the amount of lame party games that are released on it. There are a few good games on the console that are for a mature audience, but they get eclipsed by the crazy amount of stupid little kiddie games. So what if MadWorld is for a mature audience. When it gets released there will likely be 4 party games released the same week, and so no-one will even care.
Chris: MadWorld looks brilliant. I’ve heard such great things about it. It probably will spoil the family fun image, but Nintendo really need to cater to the hardcore like they always have done. The Nintendo E3 conference was a bad showing of this though since they focused on casual and only hinting at new Zeldas and Metroids. But it’s obvious that Nintendo want to spread their reach and by accommodating to the hardcore market is the only way to compete with Microsoft and Sony.
Anthony: MadWorld does look interesting, and is certainly something I wouldn’t expect to appear on the Wii. I hope this pushes other developers to take the same risk and create more mature content for Wii gamers – We ARE out there! I’m sure a lot of the industry will be keeping their eyes on its sales once the game releases, to see if the Wii gamers embrace it or not.
What are you looking forward to playing next month?
Dave: September sees the release of Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. Oh. My. Days! I have fond memories of playing the original over my Christmas holiday and loved it. Hopefully Rare’s added new features make the game even better. Mirror’s Edge looks like it could be a possible game of the year. I will probably invest in at least one Xbox Live Arcade title next month. Other than that I’ll just be playing some of my oldies.
Reece: Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise needs to be purchased, as does Mirror’s Edge! Other than those two no-doubt gems I will be playing older games simply for my gamer—– habits and taking the time to complete games I have yet to enjoy (such as Call of Duty 4).
Craig: Next stop, Level 50 on Halo 3. On a serious note however, I’ll be trying my best to score touchdowns in Madden 09, so expect a review to hit the site real soon!
Tom: I’m not really hugely looking forward to any games next month. Sure there are some nice titles coming out, but I’m really after Fable 2, Fallout 3 and Gears of War 2. They are my next essential purchases. I may try out a couple of games like the new Viva Piñata, and may end up buying a couple, but my real hype is reserved for the 3 games I listed.
Chris: Next month is back to the usual grind. My holiday will be over and I’ll have far less time to play games. But I shall take a look at what the games are like next month (no heavy hitters until October for me. Fallout 3, here I come) and purchase any I deem to be worth my precious time. Or I just keep climbing the Geo Wars 2 leaderboard!!
Anthony: I’ll probably be playing more GTA IV, must complete! I’ve been meaning to pick up the downloadable content for Burnout Paradise, so I’ll most likely be checking that out. Mercenaries 2 looks like fun, as does Star Wars: TFU, though the demo didn’t leave me wanting more, but it is Star Wars, and the inner geek in me will want to at least find out what the final game is like. Dead Space has also been receiving some good praise, I read the other week it is what Resident Evil 5 should be, quite a controversial statement by the media, so I am intrigued to see how that game plays. The worrying thing about this game for me is that it has lots of floor crawlers…I hate floor crawlers; they scare the bejebus out of me!
So how has your Monster Month of gaming been? Let us know what you’ve been playing, or if you have any opinions you’d like to share with our readers about this month’s topics, leave a comment below. Until next month, we here at Console Monster wish all you fellow gamers a great gaming month of September!