Oh crap, here comes Phelps

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Rockstar’s L.A. Noire has made a name for itself as one of this year’s top games because of the commendable risks Team Bondi took and more importantly, because those risks paid off. But that doesn’t mean the game is faultless, far from it, a clunky combat system and inconsistencies in the acting and ethics of leading man Cole Phelps removes the shine of an otherwise gleaming title. Comedy site Funny or Die have made a parody of L.A. Noire and pin point exactly some of these issues. Like how Phelps may begin a conversation casually only to begin a tirade of anger towards his interviewee. Or the somewhat troublesome navigational mechanics. But FoD’s mimicking of Phelps’ investigatory activities is just hilarious and affectionately pokes fun at the game’s best moments. Enjoy!

The force unleashed on Star Wars Kinect

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Praise be! After pondering for many a minute whether what Microsoft showed for Star Wars Kinect was real or another concept demo (my polite way of saying fake), CVG captured real people really playing the game. For real.

The footage shows two people playing through the live demo from Microsoft’s press conference on Monday proving the competence of the game, even if it is a little laggy in places. But that’s to be expected from a game still in development that uses motion controls. The bigger question is not how well it will work as it’s bound to be tighter before it ships this Christmas but who the game is aimed at. It was pegged as one of the hardcore experiences for Kinect yet from the graphics and what we can understand from the gameplay, it’s quite a casual kind of game. That’s not bad and I even think someone referred to Star Wars Kinect as the peripheral’s Infinity Blade which may not be a bad thing either. Taking away the running around and leaving just lightsabre battling and force powers as if some kind of semi on-rails brawler sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Frogger makes yet another come back.

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Frogger is undeniably a classic video game, relevant for its generation and fun the first few times around. But publishers seem to think that just because a game is dubbed a classic, it can be churned out again and again on everything that houses a microchip. Why, just the other day I was manoeuvring a reptile through a busy street via a microwave. So here we are again at the dawn of yet another Frogger game, Frogger 3D for the 3DS. Konami announced the game last night at their pre-E3 conference and Destructoid bagged themselves a trailer which I have to say, does look interesting. Traditional Frogger modes will be accompanied by new stages and puzzles to navigate plus new enemies and allies too. Still, I don’t think this by any means will spark a resurgence in Frogger popularity but may be a tad entertaining in the short run. Then again…

The beginning of an icon

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This video starts with a young lady plunging into the water, against her own accord. She wasn’t diving or enjoying a casual dip, she fell and that fall was the beginning of the end of her youth. She had to become a woman. She became Lara Croft.

Dramatic huh? Well, the debut trailer for Square Enix’s Tomb Raider reboot has drama by the barrel load. There’s not an ounce of in-game footage but in this instance, that doesn’t matter. This video is about setting the grand scene for Lara, a reboot after many previous reboots that failed to really take off due to overwhelming similarities and less than stellar experiences. But where once stood a real-life model dressed as a video game heroine, prancing around for uncomfortable dudes, now stands a trailer showing an anatomically proportioned girl thrown into a rather unpleasant situation.

The words ‘A survivor is born’ flashes up towards the end and if all the hype is to be believed about a dramatic shift in Tomb Raider, this could be the reboot which finally counts. You’re looking good Lara!…the video I mean… damnit, old habits die hard…!

L.A. Noire official launch trailer makes me wish it was Friday (next Friday)

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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the official launch trailer for Rockstar Games’ next big hit, L.A. Noire. How do I know it’ll be a hit? Given the wealth of hype surrounding the game what with its startlingly realistic facial animations, film festival-wooing story line and the fact that it’s a Rockstar title, I’d be more surprised if it wasn’t a hit.

Though considering Team Bondi have developed quite a different game for Rockstar, the trailer does stick with the tried and tested method of focusing on gun fights and action. That’s not a bad thing, far from it, the footage looks awesome and something I’d very much like to be playing just a little different from previous trailers that champion everything else about the game, like interrogating witnesses and searching for clues. But lets face it, the mainstream audience don’t want to see those kind of things, they want action, they want shooting and Rockstar wants this game to sell. I’ve got my copy pre-ordered (yes I know, I’m part of the problem) and know at least a few more who’ll be picking it up next week. So that’s at least three copies… anyone else planning on getting it? (as if I need to ask!)

Bayonetta, now with commentary


With the arrival of the DVD, creator commentary has become a staple inclusion for many a disc but isn’t something video game developers have tried all that often. Valve is one of the few who have realised its worth but Hideki Kamiya is getting in on the act by playing one of his games from 2010, Bayonetta. The game itself was truly a joy to play and it’s really quite interesting to hear – or read as Kamiya’s Japanese language is subtitled – the thought processes behind one of last year’s best games. Both videos are only short so won’t take up too much of your time and may even rouse interest in playing through Bayonetta again since the likelihood of a sequel is as slim to none. Ho hum…

As clean as Cole

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Every time Rockstar release a trailer for L.A. Noire, I always harp on about the facial animations, how lifelike they appear and how they could raise the bar for in-game acting. So I’ll spare you the flowery butt kissing, even if trailer number three above once again looks stunning and state some of the facts. Hero Cole Phelps is one step removed from the usual Rockstar protagonist. He isn’t being forced to kill for money or has any kind of shattered American dream to face. What he does find challenging is keeping the rest of the LAPD on the straight and narrow what with all the dirty money flowing through their grubby hands. The new trailer details some of his plight as an clean-cut detective but I have to wonder if we’ll be able to decide whether he remains that way throughout the game. Can we turn him from a life of unquestioning duty to just another bent cop on a severely bent police force? Not that I would of course, I tend to stick to the path of good when games offer moral choices but it’ll be interesting to see if L.A. Noire can, or rather has the option to, tempt me into the world of sleaze and corruption when its released in Europe on May 20th.