June ’08 Edition
The month of June has now passed and it is now time for us to look back at the games and topical stories that occurred over the past month, as well as give you an incite of our gaming habits and what we are looking forward to this month.
So what have you been playing?
Rob: Well after no sign of any Rock Band during release it turned up from the lovely press guys at EA, a fortnight later but without instruments. Well I figured apart from missing the drums which I was itching to have a go at, I’d got two Guitar Hero 3 guitars and a wireless mic for singing – result! I’ve nearly cracked the single player guitar and have found it pretty dull. I’ve still been playing GTA IV in drabs and plodding onto the second island finally, while Halo 3 has seen a lot of activity in my drive with online play with my friends.
Dave: As my Summer has officially started and I can use my right hand properly, I’ve had time for lots of gaming. I’ve played the three games I’ve reviewed (Monster Jam, LEGO Indiana Jones and NASCAR 09), Rock Band with my friends, Wii Fit and of course Grand Theft Auto: IV. I also hit 30,000 GamerScore this month which came as quite a surprise.
Art: A heap of Age of Conan, a PC MMO. Yeah, it might not be kosher to talk about it on a console-focused site, but just give me a freakin’ break, okay?! I honestly don’t know why I re-subscribed to Age of Conan, as most of the friends that I had been playing with quit because of the rampant bugs that the game suffers from, but the combat keeps me coming back. It’s not completely different than what you’d see in your standard MMO, but because you have to input your combos with a series of keystrokes and constantly be active in combat, things don’t get boring as quickly as they did with World of Warcraft.
Hopefully they’ll fix the bugs to make an already great game a bit less wonky.
Tom: Aside from the games that I have been reviewing (DBZ: Burst Limit and Overlord: Raising Hell) I have been playing a multitude of random games, ranging from Age of Conan and World of Warcraft on PC, a bit of Halo 3 on the 360, and the newly released Final Fantasy game, Crisis Core, on the PSP. Oh, almost forgot Alone in the Dark on 360. If you are a fan of huge crazy cinematic set pieces, you NEED to play this game!
Chris: I reviewed Civilization Revolution and have been playing that a heck of a lot since receiving my copy. But before Civ Rev took up a lot of my time, I bought Bioshock to have a play through, since many people were raving about it. I’m not that far in, but it’s a damn good game. I’ve also been playing Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii which is also pretty good.
Ant: After two and a half years my Xbox 360 decided to show the Red Rings of Doom. Thankfully it was only a week until I was back with my 360 again. Broken consoles aside though, I have been mostly playing Rock Band to death, I love it! I’m still chipping away at GTA IV and I’ve just picked up Commandos 3 with the Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix BETA on Arcade which is awesome! Sure you get Ryu and Ken but these are the guys I only play as anyway. The game is shaping up nicely. I just need to find a decent Arcade Stick setup to really get into it.
Reece: After recently building a brand new gaming computer I have been spending much of my time enjoying the experience of Crysis, as it is meant to be played. I must admit that I feel for console only gamers that have not been graced with this title. On the console front I have keeping mostly to Battlefield Bad Company, with a sample of Grand Theft Auto IV when times get rough. I am certainly going to feel the pinch of the summer blues as once again game releases are sparse.
Call of Duty: World at War, your thoughts?
Rob: Not a fan of Call of Duty, I’ve always preferred the Halo series. It isn’t a bad game and World at War could be another hit, I certainly know a lot of my friends will be getting this.
Dave: I was disappointed Treyarch are taking the game back to World War II. I’ve really had enough of it, but as it uses the same engine used for Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty: World at War could still be one of the best games of the year. Trailer wasn’t brilliant, but some of the details sound incredible.
Art: I didn’t especially care for Call of Duty 3, so my hopes for this title isn’t exactly high. Going back to WWII doesn’t help matters either. I’m interested in seeing how it turns out, but Treyarch has a lot to live up to.
Tom: To put it bluntly, I’m somewhat peeved. Seriously, WWII has been done to death. Give it up and move on! Still, it will probably be a good shooter, and I will still probably buy it, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m not happy about going back to fighting Nazi’s……AGAIN! The next Call of Duty should be something really unique. Anyone up for Call of Duty 6: Medieval Warfare?
Chris: I’m undecided. It does seem like a step back, but from what I’ve seen it looks OK. However, Treyarch are developing it and they developed COD3 which I didn’t really enjoy. They are taking hints from COD4 though, including its features, so it may be good.
Ant: When I first heard that CoD would return to WW2 with its next instalment – I was a quite disappointed, CoD4 was a fresh edition to the series I was hoping they would continue with. After seeing the teaser trailers online I have been a little reassured. I feel sorry for Tryarch and the flak that seem to be getting, it’s tough for a developer to continue such a strong franchise. I hope they have pulled out all the stops with this Pacific campaign, it just seems a little odd to split the game up between the Pacific and Russian campaigns in World at War. Surely there are plenty of campaigns in the Pacific theatre to make a whole game on it?
Reece: Amazingly enough I have yet to complete, or even start, the single player campaign of Call of Duty 4. I have the game sitting on the shelf and awaiting a quiet weekend, but the desire to pick it up has been lacking. With that said, I know that it is going to be a fantastic experience and can feel the shame of having the series take one step forward, two steps back. Can they prove most people wrong and produce an experience better than Call of Duty 4? You tell me! How the hell would I know?
Sony releases Qore, what are your opinions of the service?
Rob: Charging to download demos and read news? Pathetic really, but then again Sony do offer a free online service, so that is a sort of comprise to the situation. Then again I wouldn’t subscribe even if I owned a PS3.
Dave: I don’t own a PlayStation 3 but I don’t see what people are complaining about. Yes, it’s $3 (about £1.50) for a few trailers but that’s exactly how the XBOX Live Marketplace started out and that cost £40! Give it time and it will succeed.
Art: I personally wrote an article about Qore, and I feel that the service is the biggest waste of money for consumers. It’s tantamount to charging people to get marketed to. They need to beef up the monthly episodes with worthwhile content or make the service free.
Tom: Sony, WTF!? Quite frankly, this is ridiculous. They need to stop wasting their time on things that nobody cares about, and sort out the core online package so that it is half decent. I mean, how long have we been waiting for Home to be released! Compared to Xbox LIVE the PlayStation Network is a joke. Granted it is free, but I would gladly pay £40 a year like Xbox LIVE if the service was as good, but sadly, it just isn’t.
Chris: It is quite stupid. A lot of the content will be on YouTube anyway, which is free to watch of course. I’ve not tried Qore for myself, as I don’t own a PS3, but from what i’ve heard it is quite poor. Shane Bettenhausen from 1UP put it best at the end of an episode of 1UP Yours, when he went on a short rant about Qore being a pay-for service.
Ant: We’re still yet to see Qore released here in the UK. Hopefully by the time it does land here they will have a good enough content stream for the series. Paying for exclusive demo is a bit of a cheek, they should roll out the same demos to non Qore readers a week or two afterwards, a little similar to Silver vs Gold subscriptions on Xbox LIVE. But in its current form I wouldn’t be subscribing.
Reece: Mother always told me if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Therefore, .
Have you been caught up in the MGS4 hype?
Rob: No, hate the series. Over-rated and not to my liking.
Dave: I’ve only played it once and thought it was really good. I wrote an article about the hype (read it here) but I don’t think I got caught up in it though. I did however get caught up in the Rock Band hype and almost cried with happiness when it came… though it is a really good game and I’ve still yet to buy a drum kit for it!
Art: I wouldn’t say “caught up,” but I definitely did enjoy the game. I thought the gameplay was excellent in the first two acts, and started to slide a bit in the last three acts, focusing more on narrative than on the stellar gameplay it provides. Superb game, just not as ground-breaking as some would lead you to believe.
Tom: I may have been caught up in the hype slightly, but not too much. Having played through some of the game, I can honestly say that it is worthy of the hype that it has received. Well most of it. Is it worth 100%? Personally, I feel that no game is ever worth 100%, and despite being brilliant, the game does have its flaws. But hey, that’s only my opinion.
Chris: I’m a fan of the MGS series, but not being an owner of a PS3 I haven’t been drawn in by the hype. However, the game does seem to have a lot of praise from many different reviews. The 100% scores though are influenced a bit by hype. No game is without flaws. They can improve on flaws in past games but they cannot totally iron out all flaws.
Ant: Not at all if I am honest. The last MGS game I’ve properly played was the first one. After that I just didn’t have much interest for them, I’m not much of a fan of stealth type games you see. With all the hype around it being the greatest thing on gaming Earth, I might try it out this final instalment, but I get this feeling that I just will not follow the story as much if I played all the previous titles. On top of that, the idea of sitting through 20+ minute cutscenes at a time doesn’t really warrant a purchase.
Reece: Yes! But not in the way you assume. I have mostly been caught up in the hype, by going crazy at anyone that is of the opinion that the game is the ultimate masterpiece. Yes I have not yet played the game, yes I have created my opinions on viewing text and video, and yes I am completely right that no game deserves 100%!
What are you looking forward to this month?
Rob: Well it suddenly dawned on me Smash Brothers Brawl finally got a PAL release a few days ago, so I guess I should invest in that. Other than that I think my gaming summer is going to be quiet…
Dave: July doesn’t have many top titles being released so it’s a good time to catch up with some of my oldies such as LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Colin McRae DiRT and maybe even Gears of War. I’m also looking to pick up Half Life 2: The Orange Box (I am still yet to play it) and possibly some cheap games. I am convinced I will get to at least 35,000 GamerScore despite me being on holiday for a week.
I’m also looking forward to a new Console Monster feature where you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. Look out for that in the very near future!
Art: E3. I’ve always enjoyed the press conferences that always have their little treats. I’d love to say that I’m looking forward to anything coming out in July, but it looks like it’s a complete barren wasteland. At least I’ll get to enjoy a lot of the games that might have fallen through the cracks!
Tom: I’m looking forward to finally playing the PAL version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, after a ridiculous delay. Also I am planning on picking up a copy of Battlefield: Bad Company, and getting trigger happy online. Huge multiplayer battles with destructible environments? Yes please! Aside from these 2 games, there isn’t really much coming out within the next month, so I will probably end up going over some of my older games. A return to Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is long overdue.
Chris: Next month I will give Bioshock more time so I can actually finish it. But next month is E3, which is always exciting. Let’s just wait and see what mega stuff is unveiled.
Ant: The Summer drought is upon us! I think this month will be a chance to catch on the many titles yet incomplete or unplayed. GTA IV, Rainbow 6 Vegas 2, Lego Indiana Jones as well as Rock Band will most likely get a look in this month. Where the hell is Wipeout HD, really! E3 is almost upon us, and I’m looking forward to hearing what all the big fellas have to say this year.
Reece: Silence? God I am going to miss game releases over the summer. The thought of paying for Smash Brothers, a game which I was playing many months ago is quite the insult, as is buying Guitar Hero. I think I will hold onto my money until some real games come up after the gap, which will mostly be filled by retro gaming on older platforms.
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 about this months topics, leave a comment below. Until next month, we here at Console Monster wish all you fellow gamers a great gaming month of July!