Demos out for Major League Baseball 2K11 and Top Spin 4

A little late on this one, but 2K Sports released demos for Major League Baseball 2K11 and Top Spin 4 on Tuesday.

The demos are available for XBox Live and PlayStation Network players.

Major League Baseball 2K11′s demo features a three-inning scenario between last season’s World Series opponents, the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers.

Top Spin 4′s features tennis pros like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams in settings like the U.S. Open and French Open.

The supervillain’s life: “DC Universe Online” reviewed

By Brittany Vincent
Contributor

Time constraints and an avalanche of games falling from my enormous backlog kept me out of the MMO fold for quite some time, but one title finally struck my fancy enough to bring my inner supervillain out of hiding: DC Universe Online.

I’d avoided MMOs for years, fearing the cost of addiction rearing its ugly head. But it’s 2011. It’s a new year, a fresh start, and I’m rockin’ shiny new spandex while l smear the good guys all over the pavement. It’s been about a month into my masquerading as a costumed supervillain, and I’m here to report back.

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The verdict? DC Universe Online isn’t a game-changer, but it’s overall a decent
option to get casual players into test-running an MMO, especially for
gamers like me who have all but abandoned the genre. I can’t say it runs
particularly well for a console iteration, like say Final Fantasy XI, a
perennial favorite for me when the mood strikes for grinding, but it
certainly has its moments.

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Yakuza: Of the End is all about zombies

If you’re already sick of zombies, prepare to grab the nearest bucket because gaming’s infatuation with the walking dead has found another victim: Yakuza. The official trailer rolled out at TGS (Tokyo Game Show) this week and left me wondering just what is going to happen at the end of Yakuza 4 to cause this.

The fifth Yakuza game pits Kamurocho hardcase, Kazuma Kiriyu, and other famous characters from the series against a horde of the undead that are apparently bringing ‘the End’ to everything they know. At least that’s the impression that I’m getting from the trailer.

I’m not sure if it’s an elaborate gag or not, or if this is going to be a gaiden of some kind, but you can make that judgment for yourself in the first crazy trailer showing off the new game.

Yakuza think Kazuma Kiryu dresses like a punk

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They also think that Kazuma Kiryu walking around and getting into as many fights as he does is just bad for business.

Boing Boing has a piece by Jake Adelstein and fellow writer, Lisa Katayama, asking actual Yakuza to sit down with Sega’s beat ‘em up and share their thoughts on it.

Jake Adelstein is the author of Tokyo Vice which covers the time he spent as a crime reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun after he had passed their entrance exam, surprising himself as well as his employers when he showed up. It’s a great book that gives an inside, and deeply personal, look on his twelve year journey into Japan’s underworld as a Westerner working the crime beat in Japan’s largest newspaper. Today, he works as a consultant on the yakuza and does his part in Polaris Project Japan to help fight human trafficking.

His career had also put him in touch with a wide variety of colorful people who prove that truth is stranger than fiction. People like the yakuza who were willing to play the game and call Kazuma Kiryu a guy who dresses like a punk.

The article is both interesting and hilarious at the same time, especially on what was said on the fighting and the look of Kazuma Kiryu, and well worth a read especially if you’re a fan of the series.

No Gaming for many PS3 Players Worldwide

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Waking up this morning, I was surprised to see my PS3 tell me that I could party as if it were 1999, but apparently its version of the millennium bug has been going on since Sunday. According to updates on Kotaku and Slashdot, there’s some kind of calendar issue that’s affecting PS3s worldwide. Many of those, they say, are the original phat units. Even developers are being affected by this with debug consoles caught in reboot loops.

On my end (I have a launch 60GB PS3), I couldn’t even sign onto the PSN network and the date on my unit was already set to 12/31/1999. I couldn’t even update the time from the internet, but it allowed me to download patches for games such as MW2…which I couldn’t play anyway. See the screen above? That’s all I get from MW2. At least it’s patched to 1.90, though, not that it helps.

Funny thing is that it doesn’t seem that every game is affected in the same way. I started up Valkyria Chronicles and was able to play the game, albeit it’s a single-player only title but it does have trophies. With MW2, it didn’t matter whether or not I wanted to just play the campaign. It booted me out regardless of what I wanted to do and it isn’t the only game affected. Manually changing the date doesn’t do much except make it look correct, but whenever MW2 checks back with PSN for trophy info, I’m sent right back into the Black Void of Error.

The ‘net is filled with plenty of speculation at this point on what the cause might be, running from it being a problem with leap year interpretation (it’s not due yet) to a possibility that it stems from upgrades to the PSN (which doesn’t explain why offline systems like mine were affected, or why it was able to download patches for titles).

Sony has acknowledged that they are working on the problem. Hopefully we’ll get some kind of fix sooner than later, but it’s more than a little disconcerting to see something like this cripple so many systems at once.

UPDATE(1) 3.1.2010: Some PS3 owners in Europe have even gone so far as to try and trade in their affected units for the slims at retailer GAME. GAME, however, is reportedly refusing to do so at this time.

UPDATE(2) 3.1.2010: Kotaku reports that Sony has contacted them with news that it has narrowed the problem to the clock the PS3 uses. They go on to say that a fix should be on the way in 24 hours, but “if you have a fat PS3, do not use it for 24 hours”. Aside from coming off as if it should be quarantined, I’m surprised that they actually had to say that.

It defies belief that something like this actually slipped past Sony’s Q&A. The PS3, for me at least, has performed flawlessly until now and I have no doubt that it will again after this fix. But still, it’s incredibly eerie to see Sony with this much egg on their face over what seems like such an innocuous feature.

UPDATE(3) 3.1.2010: Kotaku has good news that it looks like the problem with the internal clock for fat PS3s has been fixed and no patch was even needed. I was able to sync my PS3′s clock with the ‘net and start up MW2 without any problems. It looks like today’s craziness might be over.

Review: Demon’s Souls

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It’s nearly winter here. The trees are mostly bare, cold winds rustle dried leaves, and everyone is getting ready to deal with the ice and snow that it inevitably brings. Around these parts, it’s a yearly ritual that brings both pain and joy to our particular corner of the world.

Demon’s Souls comes off as the season of winter pressed onto a blu-ray disc with the freezing rain, white outs, and ditched cars stuck on the side of the road that help define it. It’s usually below freezing and salted ice forms up on your mudflaps like barnacles before breaking away to leave behind a surprise for the person following you, just as an eighteen wheeler did for you a few miles earlier. Many loathe it with the kind of hate that would defrost their cars on their way in to work.

But it’s also the favorite time of the year for others that love snowball fights, ski trips, snowmen, and warming up with a mug of cocoa. I loved it when I heard that my school was one of those closed, usually because the roads had gotten so bad or that the same water main that had broken the year before had done the same thing again. But in our small world, it was a temporary reprieve, and Demon’s Souls is filled with just enough of these to find joy within its brutal season of gameplay.
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Not an issue

I love Sony’s new ads featuring Kevin Butler, the VP that wears as many hats as Sony needs him to and with plenty of style to boot.

On that note, and in view of Red’s review of the amazing Uncharted 2 (I’ve played it,too), here’s a little example of what I’m talking about. Enjoy!

And don’t forget, it’s also fun for the whole family!

PS3? Rumors? Pfft.

Sony’s seemingly apparent lack of an ability to prevent the spread of crazy rumors that later turn out to be true hasn’t stopped it from poking fun at itself while playing the innocent bystander.

For a long while now, everyone had been speculating that the PS3 would become smaller (like the slim PS2) and that a price drop was imminent. To many, this made sense in order to help bolster its numbers against its rivals and to give consumers another reason to choose it instead.

The only question was when and it didn’t help that Sony’s poker face held up in the face of rampant speculation and scrutiny. Even at their past news conference at E3, SCEA President and CEO, Jack Tretton, had joked with the crowd in saying that they at least kept one thing quiet with the surprise announcement of Final Fantasy XIV, taking it all in stride. But with the news of the new price drop at Gamescom, Sony’s starting to come out swinging with a nicely sized funny bone.

A clever commercial celebrating the new price point has come out along with another piece reminding everyone that it does everything aside from being able to launch satellites (although I’m sure someone is thinking of how). I like the approach that they’re taking with these and hope to see what else they’ll do. It’s certainly head and shoulders above their previous artsy attempts that were almost as disturbing as finding the Burger King in bed with you.

Update 9.7.09:
I had a feeling that saying “Nigerian millionaire” was going to ruffle a few feathers, even though it was a clear hint to the advance-fee scams made infamous via e-mail. The new commercial replaces the line following the part where he says you can’t believe everything on the internet with “That’s how World War 1 started.”…which is bizarre. That makes as much sense as saying “That’s why Caesar was stabbed.”. I guess in this case, retroactive humor is hard, but you can still watch the original below.

Review: Godfather 2

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I shouldn’t have been surprised at the treatment of the film after the first Godfather game from EA, but in playing through Godfather 2, I found myself impressed yet again with how they have continued to pillage the venerable film for ideas. If you’re a fan of the films, I’d advise you to stay away, but if you’re remotely curious about the game and are willing to stomach what it does to the franchise, then read on. This isn’t going to be pretty.
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