Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Slap into a Slim Jim

Apparently the pressure finally got to Sony - the PS3 Slim is real. There have been rumors circling about the gaming community since practically a month after launch, but there was never any solid proof. Making the PS3 Slim itself wasn't entirely necessary, but the price drop was.

Before I get much under way with this post, let me say that, while I still think the PS2 is one of the greatest gaming consoles of all time, the PS3 is possibly my least favorite. I think that the PS3 has fantastic graphical capabilities and a smooth controller. The cause of my dislike for the PS3 is not the system itself, but rather Sony's marketing plan. The exclusive titles currently available for the PS3 are either amazingly epic (MGS4, Little Big Planet) or mediocre at best (Drake's Fortune, Resistance: Fall of Man). There are so few exclusive titles for the PS3, it's really no surprise why many gamers would opt to buy an Xbox 360. That way they can have a plethora of exclusives (or at least games that are only available for 360 and PC) such as Gears of War, Halo 3, and Mass Effect, while having a large library of multi-platform games including Bioshock, Resident Evil 5, and the Orange Box. I'm not saying that all of these titles affected gaming the way that MGS4 did, but there are a lot more titles available for the 360 that are considered "good" as opposed to the PS3's two "superb" games that rise up among a sea of "okays". That mixed with the fact that there are more 360 owners than there are PS3 owners, it's really no surprise why so many developers flock to Microsoft nowadays (Metal Gear Rising, anyone?)

But anyways, back on track. The PS3 slim is supposed to retail for $299, a price to compete with the 360 Pro. This would mean that gamers can play all of their PS3 and PS2 games on a cheaper and smaller system that (hopefully) will have next to zero kinks in the system upon release. If all goes swimmingly and none of the systems decide to severely overheat like some of the first batches of the original PS3, then Sony just might be able to pull themselves back up and be neck-in-neck with Microsoft and Nintendo. And the fact that the system is in fact smaller doesn't hurt either - more shelf space for your games and movies.

However, there are rumors about the 360 receiving a price drop as well. This has yet to be confirmed, but if it is the case, Sony could have their thunder stolen. Honestly, I am more a fan of the 360 than the PS3, but I really hope that this price drop works out for Sony. I do not, however, wish for them to rush out a piece of junk simply because everyone was pressuring them to make a PS3 slim. Nor do I want them to announce the PS4 any time soon. They need to fix what is broken right now, which means releasing some more exclusive games that are good. Where is Kingdom Hearts III? How far along is team ICO on The Last Guardian? Again, I don't want these projects to be rushed, but Sony is really good at teasing gamers with trailers and then not saying anything else for a whole year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Space Pirates beware...

It's official - the Metroid Prime Trilogy is in stores. All three of Samus Aran's first-person adventure titles are now available in one metal box which includes an art booklet. The controls to the first two games have been updated to accomadate for the Wiimote, with slight graphical updates as well. Apparently Retro and Nintendo thought it was a good idea to tone down some of the more difficult boss battles in Prime 2: Echoes - for those who have played it, you know how irritating the boost and spider-ball guardian could be.

However, for those who are not as familiar with the games, I'll give you a quick overview. The games are set between the original Metroid and Metroid II and elaborate on the story of Samus' relationship with the space pirates and their leader Ridley (whom Samus defeated in the original Metroid). Fueled by vengeance and greed, the space pirates split their forces into three main teams. One begins mining phazon on Tallon IV (Metroid Prime), another engages galactic federation troopers in orbit above Aether (Prime 2: Echoes), and the third falls to will of Dark Samus (Prime 3: Corruption). Samus is sent on a mission which initially entails her deaing with said pirates, but quickly escelates to something greater. In Prime, your main enemies will be the space pirates, with the element phazon leading you through the other mysteries of the game. Prime 2 pits you against the Ing - creatures from an alternate dimension - as well as a dark phazon-infused version of Samus. Prime 3 begins with Samus aiding the federation in their battle against the pirates, but ultimately sends her out to recover missing tech and put an end to Dark Samus.

Stepping into the varia suit as you become Samus Aran is almost surreal for gamers. In the past Metroid was always seen as a side-scrolling platformer with a plethora of weapons and colorful alien baddies to shoot. The Prime series certainly uses a fair share of shooter elements to its control system, but with the different visors, third-person morph ball mode, and countless puzzles to be solved, the Prime series is better classified as an adventure series. The series sports a wide host of creatures both new and old, and explores the history of the Chozo - Samus' mentors - in subtle ways. The environments are breathtakingly detailed and well thought-out, from Phendrana to the G.F.S. Olympus - though some may be turned off by the Ing-infested dark world of Echoes.The soundtrack is moody and is a nice throwback to the soundtracks from past games, while creating an entirely new feel.

The Metroid Prime series carries about it an air of "everything old is new again" and gives gamers a truly unique experience. It's rare these days for a game to feel completely original, but the Prime trilogy pulls it off beautifully. If you already own the games seperately, I wouldn't really suggest you go out and buy this package - unless you are a die-hard Metroid fan or want the special metal box. But if you're new to the series or you just never got around to playing the Prime games when they first came out, I'd definitely say that the Metroid Prime Trilogy set is well worth your time and money.
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