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  • unmanneddrone 6:50 am on January 5, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: 2011 in Review, , ,   

    To @rocgaude, @feenwager, @beige and @angryjedi, thanks very much for another fine production. Had a jolly old time with the new squadcast. Not much I can comment on, outside of being a Vita owner and someone who has finished Golden Abyss.

    Let’s just say the Vita has a greater shot – despite the godawful fucking mooing from the peanut gallery – at tickling the fancies of a post-iOS gamer crowd. The touchscreen and interface coalesce slickly and IF Sony do the right thing by the developer crowd and encourage the growth of an (Gawd, I hate this tech-speak/Tested terminology) application ecosystem, the Vita has the capacity to be everything detractors have wanted from iOS gaming from the beginning. It is a light machine, the OLED screen is big and bright and there’s a responsiveness to the UI that has to this day been dominated solely by Apple.

    The benchmark set by the Smartphone coup should be a catalyst for Sony – no stranger to sleek UI and interfaces for the most part – to capitalise on what perhaps the original PSP tried to do in a multimedia and use capacity.

    The audience, however, is the killer. Will those clamouring for iOS controllers bother acting upon their alleged grievances and see what the Vita has to offer? I hope so, but probably not. I’ve never bought into the mindset that big production games should be anchored solely to consoles, and with the Vita’s screen, it certainly allows for visual real estate that doesn’t compromise or feel constricted or detract from the experience. There’s multitasking, there’s planned emphasis on PS3 interconnectivity and, like Motorstorm RC or WipEout 2048, cross-platform play AND receiving both platform versions for the price of one game…

    …some folks might say the system exists in some sort of limbo space, and perhaps I’m just a sucker for the outlier and oddball, but I prefer to think of it as a perfect niche. But we’ll see when it hits the US and Euroland.

    Now, Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Finished it the other night and had a jolly good time. Nothing mindblowing, outside of enjoying the relative graphical feast Bend have rendered for a launch game. It feels more like the original Uncharted, in so far as having a much greater emphasis on clambering and puzzle-solving than shooting. Snappy controls, great use of the touch screen for simple item interaction and puzzle solving, terrific characters and incredible sound. I cannot stress the sound design enough, not that it wasn’t evident in the console games. Really finely honed acoustic work, particularly in subterranean levels.

    Anyway, to cut this short, Golden Abyss is nowhere near a shark jump. It’s probably what many people would have liked the third instalment to have been, although it is very much a quiet little prequel. Small band of characters, smaller set pieces, localised action, but a ripping little yarn given the same care and attention that the big games have. It’s not perfect, but as someone who felt like they got their fill in Uncharted 2, it’s a delight to play.

    Also, the ‘boss battles’ in Golden Abyss – no, not against yetis or some supernatural misfires – are conducted as touch-based swiping QTEs, akin to Infinity Blade. Might sound shit, but it’s totally excellent and befits Uncharted far more than chasing some ghost-roiding Serbian war criminal around an explosive sap arena. Or spiking guardian apes not fit for Michael Crichton’s Congo.

    Yeah, that’s my little spiel. Looking forward to the Vita in 2012. Should be interesting. Same cannot be personally said for many console games, that much I say.

    Thanks again for a great squadcast. Keen for the next!

    EDIT: @beige Just a quick “great to hear Anno” getting its dues. Really enjoying the online interactivity implementation with global voting and such, too. Feels like a purposeful and considered use of online.

  • Pete Davison 5:10 pm on January 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , 2011 in Review,   

    The Squadron of Shame Review of 2011: A Big Bowl o’ Podcast

    Listen now!

    Direct link

    And we’re back! The Squad takes a look back at the year that was 2011 and determines what the highlights and lowlights were, taking in everything from Xenoblade Chronicles to Modern Warfare 3 along the way.

    Music in this episode:
    Duel of the Fates — John Williams
    YO — Shoji Meguro

    Subscribe via RSS
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    Got any thoughts on 2011? Post ’em here and tag ’em “2011 in Review”.

    Enjoy the show!

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