Monday, January 31, 2011

Duty Of A Troopa

Who knew that troopas were such valiant soldiers, putting themselves on the line for the sake of their King and honor.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Sony NGP (PSP 2)

5” OLED touch-screen with the resolution of 960 x 544, front and rear facing cameras, front and rear touch-pads, Six-Axis, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3G connectivity and DUAL-ANALOGUE STICKS. Yeah that's right, it's the PSP 2!

OK,OK, it's not actually called the PSP 2 (yet) but so far Sony have been using the name "Next Generation Portable" or "NGP". However, it's liable to change. I actually like the new name. It similar to how Nintendo went from the Gameboy to the DS. And is it just me or does the design look like a really sexy version of the PSP?

Sony has tried to reinvigorate the PSP before, first with a slimmer version of the original device in 2007, and then with a significant redesign that never really caught on, known as the PSP Go, in 2009. This time though it seems they went back to the drawing boards and what they have come out with is a completely new machine that could easily stand up to its Nintendo rival. One of the most intriguing features has to be the rear touch pad which was aptly demonstrated in the NGP exclusive Little Deviants; by moving one's fingers along the touch panel at the back of the system, it was possible to raise the ground on screen, causing characters within the game to roll. If you tapped any spot on the rear pad, that area of the game world would shake, causing nearby 'deviants' to jump. It's as if you are putting your finger through the system to gouge the game world... Adding this rear touch pad to the handheld will, hopefully, create many new and worthwhile opportunities for game design on the device. Who knows, maybe future COD titles for this console could have you stroke the rear (not an innuendo!) of the console in order to reload!

Franchises confirmed to be included on the NGP launch day include Uncharted, Hot Shots Golf, Killzone, Resistance, Wipeout, Gravity Daze, Little Deviants, LittleBigPlanet, Monster Hunter, Yakuza, and, of course, Call of Duty. It has also been confirmed that Sony's PlayStation Suite software (including PlayStation One games) will be available on the NGP.
Sony has seriously dropped the bomb on us; the question is do I get a Nintendo 3DS in March or do I wait until the end of 2011 for the NGP? Personally I think the NGP will be better. Sony seems to have done right everywhere that Nintendo have done wrong! With a release date in late 2011, this is one gamer eager to be handing Sony the cash on the release day of what should be a revolutionary handheld!
Verdict: Buy It!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How To Annoy Gamers

Recently found a series of posts while browsing through the deep dark depths of Digg. It just shows how easy it is to upset a complete stranger by talking absolute rubbish about something you know so little about.

Typical Geek Hiding Behind His Computer

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dead Space 2

Three years on and Isaac Clarke is more bad-ass than ever...

This time last week we did a special look-back at Dead Space in anticipation of its sequel. Its safe to say that we here at MancalaZonk were blown away by our first experiences of the possible horror game of the year! It starts with Clarke waking up on a space station known as the Sprawl to find that it has become overwhelmed by a fresh outbreak of Necromorphs. From the very first moment of the game, Isaac is fighting for his life. Unlike most video games we can see how previous events have seriously taken their toll on the sanity of our protagonist. He is totally ruined by the events of the original Dead Space. He saw things that no man should have during his time on the Ishimura spaceship, but the fact that Isaac's girlfriend died on the vessel after he encouraged her to work there really haunts him. The internal war that Isaac must fight makes for a really engaging story.

Combat has also become far more satisfying than it was in the original. With a faster Isaac that is much lighter on his feet the gameplay has become remarkably more fluid. Yet the violence and gore that played a huge part in the previous game never gets old. With backtracking and disorientation stripped from the game, Visceral have ended up with a fast-paced game that's suspenseful and scary at the same time. While you may be funnelled through levels in a linear Point A to Point B style, there is so much detail in the environment, along with some unexpected shocks and surprises, that you would not even notice the directness of each stage.

I, along with many of the fans, was really looking forward to the multiplayer that was lacking in the previous title. After playing it with the members of I can safely say that we all came to the same conclusion: it sucked! It is basically a 4v4 objective based game where humans must face Necromorphs in an attempt to complete a goal. All I should say on the matter is 'Visceral stick to the single player!'
Verdict: Buy It!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I've always wondered 'what's so special about Tetris?'

This time last year it was announced that Tetris had sold more than 100 million copies for cell phones alone since 2005. Now that is a phenomenal figure! Maybe its just me, but I could never see the attraction of a game where you have to slot bricks into a hole as they fall at a speed that constantly increases.

For me, when I start the game I am bored by the slow moving blocks and the lack of a challenge. However, as the blocks gradually speed up my competitive side takes over and my stress levels begin to rise to a level that you would not see when playing Halo or COD. How can such a simple little game have an effect like that on a person? And more importantly why would anyone want to buy a game with such a repetitive style to each of its 'levels?'

I have to admit that although it is such a revolutionary game I would not been seen dead with it on my cell phone, or anywhere else for that matter, when there is so many other things I could be doing with my free time...
Verdict: Don't Buy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nintendo 3DS

25th to the 27th March (depending on where you live) release date FINALLY revealed but at $250 is it really worth it??

Nintendo 3DS Camera, Face Raiders, Mii Maker, StreetPass Mii Plaza, Activity Log, Nintendo 3DS Sound, AR Games, Nintendo eShop, System Transfer, Internet Browser; the features that will be pre-installed on the handheld. Sounds to me like the usual old bullshit software that you only use once before you stick in the first game. Yeah sure they have really 'cool' names like 'Face Raiders' but who wants to play a game, similar to one that you might have found on the Eye Toy for PS2, when you are on the bus or the subway?

More than likely games will be dirt cheap to make up for forking out so much on a new console... eh... highly unlikely but who's to say? Maybe a pig might fly by Nintendo HQ as they are about to confirm game prices. With the new 3rd dimension and better graphics you can guarantee that publishers will hike up the prices knowing that consumers will pay almost anything for something that cost next to nothing to make as long as it has 3D somewhere in the title.

Apparently the battery life is going to be 3-5 hours. 3-5 HOURS? FOR A HANDHELD? With all the technology out there in this modern era you would expect Nintendo to be able to at least come close to the battery life of their DS Lite. The last thing I want is to be in the middle of a game when the battery goes.

Is it just me or does the console itself look like it was designed by a 2 year old? It looks as if someone got a DS and just added a joystick. Not only that but they decided the power button would look better in plain view rather than on the side. It doesn't.

Although as I'm typing this I realise I'm completely dissing a console that isn't even out yet. Maybe it's just my recent bias against everything Nintendo since the Wii seemed to be a sell-out by aiming itself towards noobs who have no interest in gaming or maybe its just my dislike for most handhelds since I outgrew the Gameboy Color but all I know is that, while I could be talking complete and utter rubbish, the 3DS is something that I will not be looking forward to this year.

Verdict: Wait and See!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dead Space

With the highly anticipated release of Dead Space 2 next week we here at ManacalaZonk have decided to take a look back at the original

The first thing we noticed when playing the game was the revolutionary HUD system. Instead of the classic health bar, ammo count, etc., Visceral Games decided to implement the HUD into the game. The health bar can be seen on the back of our protagonist, Isaac Clarke, and when he goes to aim the ammo count can be clearly seen as a hologram emitting from the combatant's gun. Having all the traditional HUD elements built into your suit makes grisly scenes much more immersive and it is innovations like this that will play a huge part in the development of future titles on the 3D screen.

With only one true firearm, a security pulse rifle, you must repurpose pieces of mining equipment found throughout the game to create makeshift 'guns'. Isaac can then use his engineering knowledge to upgrade these modified weapons to make them more powerful. During your travels, you will find a number of areas that do not have functional gravity. In these situations, Isaac's magnetic boots will keep him grounded that allow you to perform zero-gravity jumps and attach to nearly any surface (hmm... seems to remind me of the gravity boots that play a huge part in the Ratchet and Clank series?).

With few semi-interactive cut-scenes the gameplay is very fluid, yet, over time, mission objectives start to become mundane and repetitive. However, provided you are looking for a game with the opportunity to repeatedly mutilate evil monsters in stunning graphics on a HD screen then this game is for you. Dead Space never fails to impress with its visuals. Whether you're watching the torrential rainfall of asteroids across the hull of the mining ship from the bridge atrium or witnessing an eerie corpse spin elegantly into a zero-g vacuum as it spurts blood, the haunting yet exquisitely beautiful graphics of Dead Space have a way of sticking in your mind long after you've quit playing.

Verdict: Buy It!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

LittleBigPlanet 2

LittleBigPlanet 2 will give players the opportunity to design their own games within the already highly customizable world inhabited by Sackboy and an infinite number of possible creations.

Like the original, the experience is split into two parts: playing the story mode, and creating your own levels. This time, however, the creation mode towers over the campaign with an array of options to help make your gaming dreams a reality.

Honestly this is not the standard style of game that I'm into but the sheer potential of this game alone would blow your mind. I'll admit that I wasn't very impressed by the hard-to-master creation area of the game but I would say that after you get used to it anything (and I mean anything) can be created.

When testing the game I decided to invite my friends from over to play it with me and it was interesting, to say the least, how well the multi-player mode went down between us.

The original LittleBigPlanet was impressive, but LittleBigPlanet 2 cements Media Molecule’s position as masters of facilitating user-created content. By providing an abundance of tools and inspiration, along with the platform to share your creations, you could play LittleBigPlanet 2 every day and experience something different and amazing every time.

Verdict: Buy It!