Friday, February 23, 2007

Interesting design - good and bad

So since we have been on break and I've been trying to catch up with some missed games I've been playing a lot of random things here lately. The Wii is getting some play so is the PS2, PS3 and the 360. Not to mention the good old standby of the DS. So I saw this system sitting over on the side and figured I would turn it on again.

So lets get this right out of the way, I'm not bashing the PSP nor am I praising the DS or vice versa. The PSP has some great games that I've been going back and really enjoying. Tekkken is always fun to go back and play and I'm starting up on Syphon Filter and Every Extend Extra. Lets not forget the PSP sold an obscene amount in the month of December - a million units I think it was in America alone.

HOWEVER - there are 2 things that baffle my mind as to why they were done in the first place. First is the volume controls. They are these 2 really small buttons that I can never find when I need them but why are they buttons in the first place? My car has the same issue when it comes to temperature controls. I hate turning the heat on and it's at like 60 and I gotta mash the up button all the way to 80. A slide control for the volume is always a much better route to go. Why Nintendo decided not to do this with the GBA Micro baffles me.

Although what annoys me more than these 2 buttons is how the volume controls are handled. When you don't have a game in you get this great on screen display of how loud/quiet the volume level is at:

This thing is super great at telling the user how loud things are. Unfortunately when you are playing a game this overlay doesn't appear when you press the volume buttons. Not sure if they felt that it was a bad move to have it interfere while playing a game or what but I hate it and wish I could somehow turn it back on. Maybe there is a way and I just haven't been able to figure it out.

The 2nd thing that drives me nuts is the power light which normally looks like this:

Yeah I'm aware of having to plug it in because the battery could be better but thats now what we are here to discuss.

So what happens due to the placement of the battery light, when I'm playing a game I NEVER see the damn thing because it gets covered up like this:

As you can see my thumb completely covers up the light. The battery has ran out many times without me realizing that it was low. I have no idea if they will ever redesign the PSP but I hope someone fixes my 2 complaints.

Enough complaining! So I'll admit I like to peruse the area of the internet known as GAF from time to time. Setting up an account seems way too hard so I've never got around to doing it so I never chime in on the conversations going on. However one that caught my eye was this guy talking about how everyone should play Kim Possible: Whats the Switch? He even included a video that he had uploaded to youtube to show off the gameplay:

As you can see it looks completely awesome! She even has a grapple hook which for some reason speaks straight to my Bionic Commando lovin' ass when I was a kid playing it in the arcade. The game is totally Viewtiful Joe but done right. Has really great level design and interesting gameplay mechanics. You have you standard enemy and he takes like 3 or 4 hits to die and you have this gum that you use to hold levers into place. If you throw the gum at the enemies it will keep them in place and only take 1 hit to finish off. She even has a divekick which stuns enemies. Not only that! But she has both of Wolverine's dive kicks - the angled one and the straight down one which you can use to break through weak floors and find hidden secrets and stuff.

Oh yeah - I wanted to comment on the pole swing that she has. When she reaches the apex of her swing she changes direction in the anim. This was a really smart move because they force the player to only jump forward not having to deal with jumping backwards and all that silly nonsense. Whoever decided this - good job. You can see what I'm babbling about in the video - like 30 seconds near the end of it.

My only real complaint about the game is that it really is too hard for what the target audience should have been. Not only that but it's probably a little too long for what it is. Some of the later levels go on for what feels like forever and you can only save once you've completed the level. I picked it up new for $30 and had a lot of fun with it. You get to find hidden tokens that give you new outfits throughout the game and the cut scenes even have you in the outfit you are wearing - was rather impressed. Thanks to the GAF forum member who suggested this game.


Devin Greer said...

Wow, well... Hm.... Kim Possible, eh? Interesting... For me, the PSP is a good portable gaming system, that could have been better.

Probably the thing I notice the most is the control scheme. There are only 2 shoulder buttons, and it's missing the right analog stick, not to mention L3 and R3... I mean, it's just kind of awkward. For example, I've been playing Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, the past week. And I loved the console games, but the camera is just weird. I mean, I think I've gotten used to it, but using the shoulder buttons feels weird, and makes for awkward camera angles at times.

There's also a very popular complaint, that I've only been dealing with lately, the life of the battery. It sucks, and only lasts me a day or 2, maybe 3 at the most. Because since I've gotten the game spoken about above, I've been using it more, now.

Also, there's the screen. I'm the kind of person who0 likes to take care of my things, that being said, I keep my PSP in good condition. But with such a sensitive screen, it's collected quite a few noticeable scratches. And I don't remember how it happens, exactly, but there dust under the screen. Fucking... Dust... under the damn screen... How the fuck does that happen? And I can assure you that it's under there, and not on the surface, weird shit...

Other than that, I love my PSP. I also got a God Of War cover sticker thingy for it, pretty sweet, and I set my background to the picture that the cover is, and line it up, and it looks pretty kool. Speaking of God Of War. I had a few questions.

I don't know why, but I've notice that I don't think I've ever seen what you look like, before. I went into all of the Treasures in God Of War, and I couldn't find the name Derek Daniels. So, I was wondering if you could post a picture or something, just out of curiosity.

Also, GameTrailers and GameVideos have been releasing some new video content for God Of War II. I love when this stuff is released. Although I think I might have spoiled a lot of surprises and awesome experiences for myself, I don't think there will be quite anything like playing it. The newest video out is one with Kratos climbing either on or around what looks like a Titan, who is apparently Atlas. That I find awesome, and seeing the Icarus Wings in more game-play, feels good, knowing that will be in there.

Just every single damn thing I've seen for God Of War II impresses me deeper than ever I though possible. I mean, I thought God Of War was the greatest game of all time, and when I saw that you guys up-ed the ante what looks like at least times 5, maybe even more, was a huge shocker. Everything I've seen looks so awesomely epic that it makes me wish that I could travel in time to March 13th. Everything, so epic? It's weird, but I think great.

Things like ripping Typhon's Bane from the eye of that Titan, I'm assuming his name is most obviously put Typhon. Climbing all on (and I've heard inside) a Colossus. It's crazy.

Also, I've seen in some videos in which Kratos fights a fucking fat Gorgon. I've heard that it's Medusa's sister, called Uriel. And he rips of her head, using it just like Medusa's head, as Medusa's Gaze. So, not including the switchable weapons, I was wondering something. There's Typhon's Bane, a lightening magic (rumored to be given to Kratos by Cronos), a rumored earth magic, Poseidon's Rage... And then Medusa's (or is it Uriel's?) Gaze. So where does that fit in? There's only 4 d-pad buttons, unless you did something like R&C (the quick select) or J&K (pressing the button once more to get to the next weapon/magic. I was wondering if Medusa's Gaze was put as a switchable weapon, or what?

Hahaha... Sorry this comment is so long, but I got to talking about my opinion, and then to God OF War, and those are 2 things I love to talk about, so, without further ado. I bid this comment an end.

-Devin Greer

Anonymous said...

Thanks I'm going to have to try and explain to the wife why I need to buy Kim Possible...and I'm sure it will go over well at work as well.

John Edwards

jchensor said...

The "Home" buttons is key. Pause the game by hitting the Home button (so it asks if you want to return to the main menu on the PSP). From there, the volume actually shows up. So does the Audio and Brightness settings I think.

That's the only way I know to get around the fact that the volume just doesn't show up during gameplay.

Anonymous said...

I picked up Kim Possible on your recomendation, and you were right. It's pretty good.

Derek Daniels said...

Devin: Yeah, the analog is in the wrong place and the lack of the right analog hella sucks - especially when so many PS2 games get ported over.

The dust HELLA sucks haha. I have the same problem with my GBA Micro which I have to take the cover off and clean like once every couple of weeks.

There are 4 magics and 3 subweapons. The Medusa head is still a magic just like part 1.

Jedwards: Haha - I had the SAME god damn problem.

Jchensor: Thanks for the bootleg solution. ^_^

Anonymous: Glad to hear you like it. Like I said it gets a little flat as time goes on but it's good enough that I think people should give it a try.

Devin Greer said...

Keeping secrets are you? Fine, *cries*, I'll just have to wait until March 13th!

Donald said...

Hi, I'm the one that recorded/posted the KP videos (yet I don't post on NeoGAF?). I'm glad this game is getting more exposure now thanks in part to you and possibly NeoGAF. The video's hits jumped from 1000 to 6000 in an instant.

It should be down to $20 by now at some locations. I picked it up at Gamestop (evil Starbucks) a few days after Christmas. I may do a video review of it someday for my show, Still Gaming, but I pitched it to a big KP fan community and they didn't seem to care in the least bit since most of them don't even own a video game console. Oh well, not worth risking any more of my dignity! XD Their loss. I have a text review of the game on GameFAQs.

Anyway, thanks again for spreading the word on this underrated title!

Devin Greer said...

I just got my signed demo from Cory, I have to say, now... Since I have ACTUALLY played it for myself, that it is fucking amazing! I like the new/altered moves, new stuff like that is always a great plus. The move that stood out the most was the one where you hold square down and after doing a move, Kratos starts running and then you can either press square or triangle to continue a combo. I also love the recording system for the kills, collected orbs, play-time, etc. That is definitely nice. And all of the in-game action is amazing. Doing all of that stuff to the Colossus was a great gaming experience. I went to go do the "3-way-mini-game", but the girls weren't there... =( Hahaha... The combat seems much more fluid, but alas, the demo ended and I had to turn off my PS2... I loved it, I can't wait to March 13th!

Derek Daniels said...

Donald: Wow - that was you who put up the video? haha! Let me just say it was this video that convinced me to buy the game.

Sucks that no one is buying it/getting into it. I think the game is too hard for what should be their target audience and too kiddy for the people who would best enjoy it. Great game though.

Devin: Yeah - the hold down square move was kind of our solution for where the put the shoulder ram move. Everyone seems to have loved that move and we didn't have a place for it because of weapon switching/world interaction hanging out in R2/R1 land. I think it worked our pretty well.

BTW I just realized I never answered your other question. Here is a really bootleg picture of me during crunch time when I'm hella tired:

Derek Daniels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Dwyer said...

Nice. Gina has been looking for a platformer to play since she's getting frustrated with Cloning Clyde. That and the fact that she hasn't touched CC in over three months... The EB around the corner from my place has *one* copy left, so I know where I'm heading when I leave the office.

Greets Derek and congrats on God of War 2. I'm still getting my head around the amount of SF2 players that are now players in the industry. Good job!!


Derek Daniels said...

Todd! Hey man, glad to hear from you!

Yeah, the number of people from the fighting game community in the videogame industry is really crazy. Just on the god of war team alone is like...8 or 10 people. Let alone there are sooo many other people who have been to tournaments such as ecc, evo etc that are making great games.

Let me know if Gina likes the game!

BJ said...

Hey – since you’re a YouTuber, you might want to check this out… There’s a video company that’s recruiting
YouTubers and if they like your stuff, (and they should) they will actually pay you when your video gets a hit.
Here’s their link… It’s about time the people who make
the videos get some of the money instead of it all going to YouTube!