Well, we can finally get our hands on Nintendo’s next generation console, the WiiU. Did any of us do it? Nope. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not interested in the launch – if you’re into video games, you’re into new consoles. 

I spent some time on Sunday watching Giant Bomb’s Quick Look videos for ZombieU and New Super Mario Bros. U. The GB crew also did a livestream on Sunday that you can watch here. What are your thoughts on the new system? Planning to pick one up this year, next year, never?

Sunday, 11:04 am – Ricky

Wow, I pulled a Hitman this week and completely disappeared! No matter, looks like Albert held down the fort.

It’s been a busy week, but I did get some gaming in! For the most part, it was Borderlands 2, but I also had a chance to dive back into Skate 3 with matt and another buddy. While it came out in 2009, and we’ve seen some amazing tech since then, the game has aged really well. It’s a great co-op game, and it’s nice to have it there and ready whenever I need a game that just lets me jump in and jump out.

Gavin was so very kind in gifting me Mark of the Ninja, and Albert gifted me Hitman: Absolution, so guaranteed there’s some sneaking around in my not-to-distant future. Back to the Steam sales!

Thursday, 5:58 pm – Albert

Happy Thanksgiving to my American comrades!

What am I thankful for? Games! Video Games! These things that allow me to immerse myself into a world where anything can happen and the sky (or the platform it’s on) is the limit. On that note, I’ve immersed myself into the shoes of a bald, custom suited badass who is on a journey to kill people… and find himself.

I’ve been a long time fan of the series of Hitman and what I believe makes Hitman seem familiar is that ability to play a level, discover multiple ways to kill the target, do so, and then check your score on how “silent” you were. I achieved the rank of Silent Assassin in both Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and Hitman: Blood Money which involved a lot of studying your surrounding, timing, and quick thinking. So to put in perspective what you had to do to achieve those things here is a little list:

In order to obtain Silent Assassin, you must:

  • Have no covers blown.
  • Have no witnesses.
  • Never get caught on camera (except if you took the video camera tape before completing the mission).
  • Leave no evidence (suit and custom weapons).
  • Kill only your targets (except with accidents).
  • No bodies, unconscious or dead, may be found (except for the dead bodies of accident kills).
  • No one must be injured apart from targets and accident kills.

These additional achievements are what made the OCD part of me really enjoy the Hitman games and Hitman: Absolution is no different.

The Bodyguard – cue *I will always love you*

I’ve only spent about 5 hours with the game but the game play and controls are solid. I’m playing on a PC so the mouse and keyboard works perfect. The tutorial mission is intuitive and gives you just enough information to understand your surroundings and interactions. The newest control to the game series is the ability to use Instinct which is basically a cross between the Batman: AA detective mode and the blending mechanism of Assassins Creed. While this definitely gives you an edge, people who want to stay pure to the original game style have their own difficulty called Purist which completely eliminates any pop up or icons letting you go on your own hearing and player sight. While I could go on about the game play  the one aspect that really spoke out to me was the conversations that people were having around me. The several environments that I’ve experienced have felt very alive, for the lack of a better word. Everyone has multiple paths, they are having conversations and none of it is scripted. I just randomly walked by people and they were mid conversation ranging from “You haven’t touched me in weeks!” to “You’re sure its not prostate cancer?” to “Do no bang the maids, THIS MEANS YOU!” All the conversations have color and quality to them. They also definitely have some dark humor to them and sometimes that just plays flawlessly. I found myself laughing to myself just listening to conversations and acting on what they were saying as sometimes they give you valuable information. It’s this type of audio quality that I believe Assassins Creed was trying to showcase with the original of sitting on a bench and listening to conversations but Hitman has improved on that and made it more organic.

You can put two bodies in one closet… they get along just fine…

The story so far in Hitman: Absolution seems quite baffling. I’m not really sure what they are going for here but that’s not the main focus point of Hitman. For me, it’s hiding in plain sight with a disguise, scoping out collectibles (evidence in the game), picking up different weapons, finding distractions, listening to conversations and fiber wiring and throwing people out of windows. If you like any of those things, you might want to suit up.

Can you hear me now!?

Oh also, Steam Sale. XCOM, Max Payne, Arma II (for Day Z), Sleeping Dogs, and the Walking Dead are all on sale. You know what to do.

Wednesday, 3:03 pm – Albert

So I figured since I was talking so much trash about my disinterest in the Wii-U, I decided to take a look at the one game that would actually even make me consider buying one. That game is Zombie U. I’ve watched some videos and my verdict is AMAZING game. This game could be the only reason why I might pick up one someday. Check out these videos. The second one is shorter and is more of a trailer but IT IS SKEERY.

Tuesday, 8:19 pm – Albert

There comes a time when a gamer reflects upon his life when a new console is bequeathed upon the world for its gamer offspring. The Wii-U’s release reminds me of when I bought a Wii for the first time. I didn’t get one on day one, and it was sold out for about a week, but I got it with a friend after checking a second location in the second week. I was so excited! Everyone was talking about how much fun it was. In essence, it was a solid party machine to play Mario Party, Wii Sports, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Super Mario Brothers… but the fun only last so long. At the time I was much more loose (giggity) with my money and just fell into the hype. I feel this time as the new Nintendo console has been released, i’ll be very surprised if I ever find myself compelled to buy one because as i’ve learnt with my Wii… it has just become a Netflix player. It is a pretty good Netflix player though. It can choose TV Shows just like that! It can stream shows and can pause if it is needed. Quite elaborate but i’ll stick with being a pompous ass master race PC player.

Wii-U-Wii-U-Wii-U-Wii-U-Wii-U said the ambulance…

Speaking of WHICH, Steam sales start tomorrow. YEAH. Another one. Hide your kids, hide your wallet.

In a side note, I have Hitman: Absolution ready to be played on my computer. I have pre-ordered, pre-downloaded, and installed the Hitman: Sniper Challenges they gave you to tide you over until the release of the game (which was today)… and I played FIFA 13 Ultimate Team.

DAMN YOU EA… damn you… I love you please give me Sim City 4

Tuesday, 9:18 am – Ricky

Great write-up Gavin – and the linked impressions are well thought-out too.

While I’ve been excited to see the games in motion, and happy to hear most folks are happy with their purchase, I take issue with a company releasing a day 1 patch that gets core system features up and running.

Believe it or not, not everybody has access to the Internet. In fact, only 81% of Canadians, and 78% of Americans have Internet access. Beyond that, not everybody has access to high-speed and large data caps. If you’re on a hub and stick set-up, or worse, dial-up, you’re probably not going to get the update for days, and you’ll have busted your bandwidth cap.

Now, this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the update added elements that were also only accessible with the Internet. However, it seems like backwards compatibility is part of the day 1 patch. That’s a selling feature, a bullet point on the back of the box. It moves systems to millions of people who invested in your console during the previous generation, and you’ve gated the feature behind Internet access.

I’d be the first to argue that the Internet is no longer a privilege, that it’s now a right. But that doesn’t mean that everybody has decided to exercise that right. How many gamers are affected by this kind of issue? Probably a very small group. But that doesn’t make it right for Nintendo to approach a product in this fashion.

All of that said, I really like what I’ve seen of the system, and though I won’t be getting one in the near future, I hope that Nintendo finds their footing soon.

Tuesday, 8:40 am – Gavin

Well, I spent a good bit of time reading reviews about the Wii-U, and they all say sort of the same thing – seems awesome, but it has a few quirks that will take some getting used to, and not everything is ready straight out of the box (people have been complaining about huge updates that need to happen immediately – I think that they’re just being whiners.  Do it and get it over with and shut up about it.  If you can’t wait a few minutes, then maybe you need to up your Ritalin dose).

One of the better amateur customer reviews I read was this one.  It’s just some guy’s blog, but he talks about everything he likes and dislikes about the system.  The biggest complaint is that it attracts fingerprints like crazy.  How much is that going to bother me when I inevitably pick it up?  I couldn’t tell you.  I do spend a few minutes every month cleaning the seams in my Xbox 360 controller with a pin and some rubbing alcohol, so this might drive me crazy.

The key point I did read was that the reviewer felt like it’s not a day 1 purchase.  He does like a lot about it, but not every feature is ready to go, even after the updates.  Whose fault is it?  Nintendo?  Hulu?  I don’t know.  I don’t have cable, so those features aren’t going to drive me up the wall, but a) I’m not getting it this year, and b) even if I did, I won’t presume to speak for anyone else who wants the advertised features to work straight out of the box.  It’s not that they’re broken; it’s just that they’re not implemented yet.  I imagine that must be frustrating for those who were expecting full functionality (and why wouldn’t you, really?).

It’s a good review from someone who doesn’t really hide their bias, but has no vested interest in a complimentary review and is able to critically examine what they do and don’t like.  It’s more a hardware and OS kind of review, as opposed to a game review, which is nice.  I’m still anxious to get one, but I waited well over a year for the Wii, so I can wait for this one if I am so inclined – let the library build up, that kind of thing.  I’m a first-party whore, but I’m not an early adopter.

Monday, 8:18 am – Gavin

I am a bad person for not contributing more recently.  Bla bla bla, point made, atonement complete.

The early reviews of NSMBWU were quite complimentary, even if the game itself wasn’t desperately groundbreaking beyond the use of the second screen.  “Best 2D Mario in 20 years” has been bandied about a bit, which is nothing to sneeze at (though that is almost impossibly high praise – ahem *Yoshi’s Island* ahem).  Sadly, I haven’t been able to play yet.  I was in a mall on Saturday and got to at least hold the controller (The EB Games television screen was broken).  It’s big.  It’s unconventional.  But the ergonomics are pretty slick – it actually feels comfortable.  I don’t know how comfortable it would be if I were a small child with tiny hands, but generally speaking, it’s the kind of thing I could hold onto for extended periods of time.

Despite how busy this week looks, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the first of the consumer/amateur reviews.

Monday, 8:05 am – Ricky

The WiiU looks to be scoring big with a few launch titles, specifically with 1st party stuff, but is that really a surprise?