Archive for July, 2008


Gotta catch ’em. All of ’em

EgbertApologies for butchering the Pokémon catchphrase but this latest announcement by Blizzard Entertainment for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion – ‘Wrath of the Lich King’, just puts me in mind of Nintendo’s obsessive collect-’em-up title.

I thought the hook was already buried deep within my cheek in regards to announced features for the expansion. Extensive new content? Yay! I want me some of that. Raise the level cap? Mmm-mmm! Loving that progression. Then they did it… They appealed to the brainless grinder in me. They announced their Achievements system.

Basically they’re borrowing the system Microsoft have made popular with their XBox Live ‘experience’, and bolting it into the perfect casing for such a devious set of enticements – a Massively Multiplayer Online game. With it they’ll be awarding points for completing various chores and attaining specific conditions (from the bizarre; getting your hair cut in a new WotLK barbershop… to the obsessive; raising your reputation with 40 factions to ‘Exalted’).

And what do points make? Prizes! (sorry, Brucie). And by prizes, I mean some fairly innocuous little rewards in the shape of titles, vanity pets and tabards. “More pets?” I hear you scream, “But I’ve got pets coming out of my ears! I can’t possibly devote yet more bank space to all these cute little critters!”. Worry not, that’s where Blizzard’s announcement comes in (you did click the link before, right?).

Blizzard CM, Wryxian, revealed that in WotLK, players won’t need to forever juggle bag & bank space due to their insane need to collect each and every mount and vanity pet in the game. You’ll simply ‘learn’ the pet/mount as you would a spell and it’ll appear in a new tab in your character info window to be called up whenever desired. Cool huh? Yeah. That’s me tied up until the expansion after WotLK comes out desperately trying to catch ’em all, too.

Oh, crapcakes!

ps. Almost forgot to mention – if you are planning on expanding your critter collection to near-legendary status, the website with all the information you could ever want is ‘’. Consider it a to-do list as well as a how-to guide.


Persona 4 storms the charts!

Persona 4 Box ArtWith a huge existing PS2 user base and a great following for the series, I guess Persona 4 (released in Japan on 10th July, hitting US shores 9th December) was always going to do ‘well’ upon release. Now though, we know exactly how well thanks to Media Create’s sales rankings for July 7th-July 13th. It’s kinda surprising in that ‘Yay!’ kinda way .

According to an article on Wired’s Game Life website, Persona 4 tops the charts with 193,000 sales! Even second place, Nintendo’s powerhorse ‘Wii Fit’, is only trundling along steadily (adding to it’s albeit still impressive existing 2,353,000 sales) with a much smaller 30,000 untis. The next ‘new’ release that week comes from ‘Densetsu no Stafy Taiketsu! Dire Kaizokudan’ on the Nintendo DS, clocking in at number 3 with only 29,000 sales. 193,000 sales?! I’m sure Atlus must be feeling all smug right about now (how about a celebratory European release date announcement, eh? No? Okay… maybe another time *bah*).

It makes me happy that the PS2 is still managing to command such a healthy share of the market but should we really be surprised? According to this article from Kotaku covering hardware sales for the same week, the PS2 is only trailing the PS3 by just over 2000 sales. In this age where some console manufacturers are eager to push us all into the next generation of hardware at the earliest opportunity possible, I’m glad to see that the old PS2 can kick ass/take names show the big boys that it’s still far from dead.

By the way, apologies for the link-fest in this post. Got a little carried away.


Watchmen trailer

Watchmen TrailerTwo posts in one day? Unheard of! But being a big, fat fanboy, I felt I had to at least mention the first trailer for Zack Snyder‘s take on Watchmen. Playing on the front of some film or other called ‘The Dark Knight‘ (presumably a sequel to Martin Lawrence’s ‘Black Knight‘), this is our first chance to see the comic book -> big screen adaptation in motion… if you haven’t been eagerly consuming the behind-the-scenes ‘webisodes’, I guess.

So how does it look? Well, I’ve very, very hopeful after seeing the trailer. Whenever something you’ve loved in another medium crosses over to film, you tend to get wary – and often, justifiably so. The people responsible talk a good game. They’ll harp on about sticking true to the source material and capturing it’s essence but then they just go off and produce their own bullshit take on the story, ignoring what you loved about the original, throwing out key elements due to budget, pacing or sheer-fucking-stupidity and drowning it in crowd-pleasing filler.

But it seems like we’re in for a treat this time round. The set shots have been true to Dave Gibbons‘ artwork, with the same muted colour scheme and design throughout. Dr. Manhattan looks the business and the scene from the trailer with three of him just captures the character’s expressions from the comic book perfectly. There’s even rumours abound that the comic book’s original ending might survive. For those in the know, that should be interesting.

So pop along to (a site you really ought to bookmark if you haven’t already) to check out the trailer.


WordPress 2.6

Wordpress 2.6Another patch rolls round and again it’s pretty painless. I might even start believing I know what I’m doing if things continue to work as expected like this. WordPress 2.6 has been released and along with the whole avalanche of regular under-the-hood fixes and tweaks, there’s a couple of nice additions probably worth mentioning – at least in relation to this site. Seems only fair to get some pimpage out of the update considering it makes this website possible.

The first addition is ‘all for me’ as in my imaginary readers don’t get to feel the benefit directly. It’s the ‘Post Revisions’ feature. In short, every time I change a post, it’ll keep track of the changes and if I ever find myself deleting a chunk of text and regretting it down the line, I can simply call it back into existence. There’s even a lovely comparison function so I can view the differences between various saved versions.

The ‘Press This!’ feature, gives you a bookmark link that you can drag into your browser to help you steal… *ahem* …sorry, I mean ‘blog’ about things you encounter while you’re browsing. Grab stuff on your travels and post about them straight away without that annoying ‘pasting it all together yourself’ roadbump.

‘Captions’ is a new feature which is pretty nice. I’m not sure how much mileage I’ll get out of it myself as apart from the image in the top-left of the posts, I haven’t really gone to town piccie-wise as of yet. Maybe eventually but not something I need right now.

‘Theme Preview’, as the name suggests allows me to check out how my site would look with a different theme applied without having to apply it (and probably break the website in the process). Good, but as I’d already got an add-on that let me do that already, it’s not a huge bonus for me. I can get rid of the add-on (and not worry about it going out-of-date with future WordPress versions) and having the whole thing tied together is a plus.

There’s also some caching gumpf called ‘Gears’ which I doubt I’ll be using, a word count feature (woohoo?) on the post page (this post contains 459 words, fact fans!) that doesn’t really set my world on fire, gallery sorting (no galleries so again, not a biggie here) and the plugins interface has been spruced up and is now better organised. That last one is cool but it’s not like it was an horrific mess beforehand though.

As per usual, the continued updates to WordPress bring some funky little additions and gives existing features a pleasing tweak. Overall, it’s a great package that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone wishing to talk complete arse to a non-existent visitors.


The Sims 3 E3 trailer

The Sims 3 at E3So E3 is upon us again with it’s usual glut of high hopes and crushing disappointments. Maybe I’m just bitter that the best I can manage is watching the various game site feeds showing the announcements and key notes by industry giants instead of being there in person, but it does seem we build E3 up to be some amazing font of new information and sneak peeks. Instead, it’s usually a lot of worthless posturing, statistics massaging and information that we’ve had for weeks.

As much is true of this new trailer for The Sims 3 that EA pimped during their little showcase. Still a long way off (2009 – I guess they’ve got a couple of expansions they want to wring from the stone that is The Sims 2), it’s claim-to-fame is the boast that The Sims 3 opens the doors for your little ‘digital you’ and allows them to explore their surroundings. Given your Sim’s need to ‘go bathroom’ every 14.7 seconds, hopefully the surroundings are full of W.Cs or, at the very least, that the very first store you encounter on your journey sells adult diapers.

I’m still looking at The Sims 3 with some suspicion, though. The open-world feature is basically just taking the training wheels off of the earlier outings – removing the loading screens and allowing you to explore other ‘lots’. Sure, linking them all together into one streamed world would be nice but does it merit a ‘3’? The fact they’re not plugging any other features at this point also makes me worry that they’re simply going to drip-feed them to the public when they inevitably reset the expansions counter back to zero upon launch.

Probably being cynical but after showing their hand twice now, I’d be a fool to expect EA intends anything else – especially when we’ve already proved we’re ready to snap it up and ask for seconds (or even thirds). The new trailer can be found on the official The Sims 3 site.


Another Persona 4 trailer

Persona 4 Box ArtHot on the heels of the announcement the other day dating the US release of Persona 4 (official site here), Atlus have put out another trailer, this time showing off some of the characters you’ll be scampering around dungeons with.

Of course. with the game being released in Japan yesterday (lucky sods *cough* sorry), I’m guessing this is one of those final marketing pushes just to keep the game in the public eye but I’m still happy to see new artwork and scenes from the game anyway. Even happier if we got a European confirmation for the game seeing our shores (or even, *gasp*, a date for it’s arrival) but you take what you can.

The characters seem to be matching the standard archetypes introduced with Persona 3 but I guess that’s to be expected and not really a bad thing. School setting, small town environments and what appears to be another holiday locale – great stuff, can’t wait.

The video is only a YouTube affair so fairly blocky but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, eh? You can find it here


Persona 4 US dated

Persona 4 TVJoystiq (and a few other places around the net) are reporting that the continuation of my current favourite JPRG series, Persona 4, should be hitting North American shores on the 9th December 2008. Of course, Japan will be getting their sweaty mitts on the title within mere days (10th July!) and no word of a European release as of yet (think sometime late 2009 knowing the delays we usually face in such matters).

Still, it’s nice to see some firm dates and signs of movement even if it isn’t for my local brethren specifically.

But that’s not all – along with the date there’s also news that “each copy of the game will come bundled with a soundtrack CD featuring “select music” from the title“. The music to Persona 3 really stood out for me, both fitting and strangely infectious. It’s rare I find myself humming music I hear in games but Persona 3 had just such a soundtrack. As Shoji Meguro will be returning to take up the music director reins, hearing Atlus are bunging in a ‘free’ soundtrack taster CD in with the package is great.

And still there’s more. The Joystiq snippet features a nice blurry YouTube English language promotional trailer just to get you wishing it was December already. You can find the article (and the English language trailer) in question here.