Gaming Steve

Review Archives - Page 3

August 16, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 58 - 08.16.2006

Dead RisingSo why was E3 really scaled back, and what the heck is XNA? All of this and more on this week's show! Oh yeah, and more information on how to write for the site.

Gaming Steve Episode 58 Program

  • 00:05:06 Game News:
    • Goodbye Computer Gaming World, hello Microsoft.
    • Big surprise, Spore is heading to consoles.
    • Downloadable content is making a mint.
    • Bioware gets MMOG middleware.
    • Spore delayed again.
    • The analysts' were wrong (again), game sales are better than ever.
    • Ho hum, Blizzard bans a mere 59,000 WoW accounts.
    • World of Datecraft?
    • Card-arcade hybrid heading to the DS.
    • Japanese buy 10 million DSes.
    • RIP E3 ... we will miss you.
  • 00:42:15 Interview: Chris Satchell, General Manager of Game Development for Microsoft chats about XNA.
  • 00:55:59 Review: Dead Rising for the Xbox 360.
  • 01:04:57 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
  • 01:07:32 Show Mail: I answer your audio questions.
  • 01:31:12 Final Thoughts: Make sure to check out the new Caesar IV demo.
Download the show (95 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 58 (MP3).

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July 18, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 57 - 07.18.2006

PreyDon't worry everyone, I didn't go anywhere. I just had a series of unfortunate events, but here's a new show ... just for you! Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 57 Program

  • 00:08:17 Game News:
    • Now you can move from Azeroth ... for a price.
    • When will we see the Wii?
    • Sony white PSP ad draws fire.
    • Street Fighter II and other classic games announced.
    • Pokemon to go online.
    • No games for Zune?
    • Driver abandons the Atari ship.
    • Target pulls UMDs.
    • EA announces yet another Lord of the Rings again.
    • Sony slapped with another patent suit.
    • June sales way up.
  • 00:36:52 Game Preview: Maelstrom for the PC.
  • 00:39:08 Game Preview: ATI press event.
  • 00:43:16 Review: Prey for the PC and Xbox 360.
  • 00:52:06 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
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  • 00:55:41 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 01:40:19 Final Thoughts: Doom RPG is awesome ... who knew?
Download the show (105 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 57 (MP3).

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Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:00 PM | Comments (35) | Posted to Podcast | Preview | Review |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

June 19, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 56 - 06.19.2006

Louis Castle and Peter MooreNow this is a show! I got Peter Moore, I got a preview of the first RTS for the Xbox 360, I got a review of the Nintendo DS, I got an interview with the godfather of RTS, Louis Castle, I got you a detailed overview of Microsoft Game Studios in Seattle ... I got a lot. Enough with the talk, on with the show!

Gaming Steve Episode 56 Program

  • 00:03:15 Game News:
    • Dungeons & Dragons Online goes solo.
    • Wii price and date to be announced ... by September.
    • EVE Online invades China big time.
    • Dragon's Lair goes HD.
    • Blizzard making everything into an MMO?
    • DS Lite sells 136k in first two days.
    • Tim Schafer demands 360-compatible Psychonauts.
    • Spore spreads to mobile phones (again).
    • Lara Croft is coming back.
    • Microsoft is working on a handheld ... what exactly?
  • 00:31:54 Interview: Peter Moore, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division. Oh yeah, and he also runs something called the Xbox 360.
  • 01:07:36 Game Preview: The Battle for Middle Earth II for the Xbox 360.
  • 01:22:56 Interview: Louis Castle, Vice President of Creative Development for Electronic Arts and the creator of such classics as Dune II and Command & Conquer.
  • 01:34:56 Review: Nintendo DS Lite.
  • 01:41:25 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
  • li
  • 01:45:34 Show Mail: I answer your audio questions.
  • 02:19:23 Final Thoughts: Digital download is just awesome.
Download the show (145 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 56 (MP3).

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Posted by Gaming Steve at 5:00 PM | Posted to DS | Interview | Podcast | Preview | Review | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

June 6, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 55 - 06.06.2006

Rise of LegendsAnother week, another cool interview. This week I bring back fan favorite Greg Canessa the General Manager of Xbox Live Arcade. Also I give you a preview next week's show in which I visit Microsoft Game Studios in Seattle. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 55 Program

  • 00:09:37 Game News:
    • Damn those nukes I got aliens to kill!
    • A new Paper Mario game for the GameCube? Is that thing still alive?
    • Alienware assimilates Blu-ray drives.
    • Half-Life 2: Episode One launches.
    • Amsterdam to open game-addiction clinic.
    • Minnesota game bill signed into law.
    • One out of two MMOers play WOW ... wow.
  • 00:29:30 Interview: Greg Canessa the Group Manager for Xbox Live Arcade.
  • 00:57:27 Game Review: Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends for the PC.
  • 01:04:18 RetroReview: Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64.
  • 01:11:32 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
  • 01:15:19 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 01:49:38 Final Thoughts: I can't stop ranting!
Download the show (116 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 55 (MP3).

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May 24, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 54 - 05.24.2006

Heroes of Might & Magic VWow, I asked you to send me your questions about E3, and did you ever! I do my best to plow through all of your questions and comments about E3. I also have a crazy interview with Cliffy B from Epic Games, Lead Designer of the upcoming Gears of War. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 54 Program

  • 00:02:00 Game News:
    • Phantom CEO charged with pump and dump.
    • Xbox Live downloads crazy popular.
    • Dell opts for AMD chip.
    • Study downplays link of video games to violence.
    • DS Lite Euro release date set.
    • The Wizard is coming! The Wizard is coming!
    • Kill Curt Schilling (in EverQuest that is).
  • 00:24:46 Interview: Cliff Bleszinski (AKA Cliffy B) from Epic Games, Lead Designer of the upcoming Gears of War for the Xbox 360.
  • 00:41:08 Game Review: Heroes of Might and Magic V for the PC.
  • 00:48:28 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
  • 00:51:10 Show Mail: I answer a ton of audio questions about E3.
  • 01:47:14 Final Thoughts: The last E3 wrap-up, I hope.
Download the show (113 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 54 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

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April 25, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 49 - 04.25.2006

Brain AgeIt seems like E3 is just a few weeks away ... oh wait. It is just a few weeks away! So what surprises await the gaming masses at this year's E3? PS3, Revolution, Halo 3, Spore, what news is going to make the big headlines in a few weeks? This week I take a look to E3 and what we should expect to hear.

Also big news as I join forces with Xfire and their 4 million users to bring you all my E3 coverage this year. Four million people .. that is a lot of new people to the site. Enjoy the show!

Gaming Steve Episode 49 Program

  • 00:02:45 Game News:
    • Disciples III reborn.
    • Guitar Hero gets an encore.
    • Command & Conquer 3 coming.
    • Sony shaves $20 off the cost of PS2.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic strikes gold.
    • Guild Wars characters for sale.
    • Xbox 360 getting new CPU.
    • Play Dungeons & Dragons Online free for a week.
    • Yet more downloadable content available for Oblivion.
    • Silent Hill scares up $20 million.
    • Viacom to acquire Xfire.
  • 00:32:30 E3 Preview: What are the hottest games going to be at E3 this year?
  • 00:41:32 RetroReview: Caesar III for the PC.
  • 00:47:07 Game Review: Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day for Nintendo DS.
  • 00:52:48 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
  • 00:54:48 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 01:29:10 Final Thoughts: Gaming Steve and Xfire? And what to expect at E3?
Download the show (97 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 49 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
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March 13, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 42 - 03.13.2006

ticket_to_ride_game.gifI start off year two of the Gaming Steve podcast show with a nice little recap of the last year and the many changes the site has undergone. In addition, the long-awaited Gaming Steve t-shirt is finally revealed, I explain some small changes to the show, and get ready for a week of GDC craziness! Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 42 Program

  • 00:50:00 Special 1 Year Anniversary: A retrospective look at the explosive growth of the site and what the future holds for Gaming Steve.
  • 00:15:32 Game News:
    • GBA gets Player's Choice.
    • Microsoft's Origami folds into an Ultra Mobile PC.
    • New Guild Wars dated.
    • Anti-game study approved by Senate panel.
    • BioWare working on a new MMORPG and forms a new studio.
    • ESA launches Video Game Voters Network.
    • God of War 2 to rock your world.
  • 00:43:00 Review: Ticket to Ride for the PC and Macintosh.
  • 00:51:29 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
  • 00:55:24 Show Mail: I answer a dozen audio questions.
  • 01:52:44 Final Thoughts: Next week is the Game Developers Conference ... aka a week of gaming insanity!
Download the show (118 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 42 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
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Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:30 PM | Comments (21) | Posted to Podcast | Review |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

March 1, 2006

DS Download Station Hands-On Review

DS Download StationWhen I heard that Nintendo World in New York City just got the first DS Download Station in the US I ran down the street to give this Station a try.

The first thing I noticed about the Station once I entered the store was that ... there was no Station! I was expecting to see a small kiosk or something similar, but there were none to be found at Nintendo World. Only after I spoke with an employee did I find out that the store itself was the Download Station and that I could use my DS Wi-Fi anywhere within the store to access the Station. Good to know if you plan to visit the NYC store and give this service a try (note to Nintendo, you might want to advertise the DS Download Station a bit in the NYC store). This setup is a unique case as when these DS Stations begin to appear throughout the country there will be an actual kiosk that will beam wireless demo versions of games and other downloadable content into a players’ Nintendo DS system.

After my initial confusion I whipped out my DS, took a seat, and started to look for a local Wi-Fi signal. Sure enough, within 10 seconds my DS found the "DS Download Station" signal and I quickly connected. Oh yeah, in case you are curious the station was "version one" (Nintendo expects to update the content on these stations once every three months or so).

Once my connection was established I was given a list of seven game demos and one movie I could download (you can view the interface in the above photo). The games demos were Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, Mario Kart DS, Meteos, True Swing Golf, Pokemon Trozei, and two different versions of Tetris DS, while the video clip was an "exclusive" Metroid Prime Hunters movie. I wasn't too interested in Mario Kart DS or any of the other games which were already on the shelves, so I decided to give Brain Age and Tetris DS a go. First up, Brain Age!

I have been really interested in giving this game a try ever since I first read about it several months ago. In Japan this game has been an absolutely monster success, so much so that it actually increased sales of the DS hardware. The first two versions of this game will appear in the US on April 17 and May 30 and have been localized for Western tastes.

Once I selected the demo it took around 15 seconds for the game to download into my DS and then begin. The menu for Brain Age appeared to be the same menu used for the full-version of the game, but most of the options were grayed out. I was able to access two "tests" (“Brain Age” and “Brain Training”) as well as the sudoku number puzzle.

I selected the "Brain Age" test from the touch screen and was quickly introduced to this “test” by the disembodied head of Professor Ryuta Kawashima (don’t ask). This first test consisted of a series of cognitive tests which required me to look at words that appeared on both DS screens. I actually needed to hold the unit sideways, like you would hold a book, and as the words appeared on the screen I needed to say the color of the word into the DS microphone. So if the word was red in color I simply needed to say “red” into the DS microphone.

Sounds easy, right? Well, there was one trick; the word itself was often the name of a color. So the word "blue" might actually be in green letters. Your brain might “read” the word “blue”, but you needed to say the word “green” in order to get the answer correct. It might sound simple, but it was a bit tricky to say the correct color quickly and accurately. The good news is that the DS's voice recognition, via the built-in mic, worked great, even in the loud Nintendo World store. After about 45 seconds you are done with this short exercise you get a score based upon the speed and accuracy of your responses.

The other mode, "Brain Training" was actually a math drill! Yikes! But wouldn't you know it, Nintendo somehow actually made doing math problems fun. Again, I needed to hold the DS sideways (actually the entire Brain Age game was played in this manner) but instead of words appearing, math problems would scroll up the left side of the screen. I needed to write the answers to these problems as quickly as possible on the touch screen. One nice touch is that before you begin the game asks if you are left or right-handed. If you are lefty the game flips itself 180 degrees so that the touch screen is on the left side. No wonder this thing is a best-seller, little touches like that go a long way.

The math problems were all fairly simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems and the handwriting recognition was quite impressive. Especially considering that I was writing as fast as possible, and there were times where even I couldn't understand what I wrote, the software rarely made a mistake. Once again at the end your time is analyzed (with five seconds added for each incorrect answer) and you are given a brain score.

Finally I gave the sudoku game a try. It was your standard sudoku game played on a 3x3 grid and the DS needed to be held sideways. The board appears on the touch screen and whenever I needed to enter a number into the board I just selected the appropriate box. Once selected, the sudoku board flips to the left screen and the entire touch screen allows one to easily write the number on the screen. If you get the number correct, you are rewarded with a little green checkmark. If not, you get the buzzer and have to try again. And you need to be careful because if you enter five incorrect answers you lose the game and need to start over again.

I was a bit disappointed that these three demos were so short (although the sudoku game took a few minutes to finish), but I have to say that I definitely see the appeal of this game. The interface was simple enough for your grandmother to use, and yet somehow I was having fun doing math problems. A lot of fun. Expect this game to become a monster hit in the states as well.

Once I was done playing the demo I turned off my DS and jumped back onto the DS Download Station. In theory I could keep any demo I downloaded in my DS for weeks at a time as you only lose the demo data after you turn off your DS. In fact, I still have the "Tetris DS Push Mode" on my DS and I expect to keep it on my DS until the game is released later this month!

With that being said, the next demo I tried was "Tetris DS Standard Mode". Again the demo downloaded into my DS in about 15 seconds and started right up. This version of Tetris was actually a "battle" version of Tetris where I was going up against the computer. This version of Tetris has been around for quite some time and should be familiar to many people. The computer’s board was viewable on the top of the DS while my board was on the touch screen. As rows are removed they are sent to the opponent’s screen, the first person to the top of the screen loses. Other than this “battle” aspect, it was a traditional Tetris game, only with a Super Mario Bros. backdrop and the ability to "capture" any single piece to save for later.

As for the gameplay, what more can I say? Tetris plus Super Mario Bros. background graphics plus Nintendo DS Wi-Fi plus classic Nintendo sound effects/music equals the best version of Tetris ... ever! Oh yes, this game is going to sell several million copies no problem.

After getting my butt kicked by the computer a couple of times (the computer was surprisingly difficult to beat) I downloaded the other Tetris demo, "Tetris DS Push Mode". A strange combination of Tetris, Donkey Kong, and tug-of-war I found that I enjoyed this demo above all the rest. You must compete against the computer and push him/it off the screen before he/it does the same to you.

Themed to the classic Donkey Kong arcade game, the Tetris field takes up both screens with you dropping shapes from the top of the screen to the bottom, while the computer drops shapes from the bottom to the top. In the middle of the screen is the mess of shapes which is constantly shifting back and forth between you and your opponent. Each time the player clears two lines the screen will move down a small amount and vice versa for the computer. Eventually one side will be pushed off the screen and the game will end.

Since you and the computer are building on the same playing field you really have to be careful where you place your shapes. That huge block of lines you're waiting to clear might be cleared by your opponent instead if you're not careful. The game is extremely fast-paced, even for Tetris, and the classic Donkey Kong animations and sound effects are fantastic. As I said before, of all the demos I tried this was the game I kept on my DS and have played it more than a dozen times so far. This game really is a great implementation of the Tetris and Donkey Kong license.

In addition to these three demos I downloaded and tried out the others as well. They all play as you might expect, such as the Mario Kart DS which allows you to try out a sample race. Overall the DS Download Station was simple to use, extremely fast, and allowed me to try out two of the most anticipated DS games of the year. What more could you ask for? Look for these Download Stations in a store near you later this March.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:00 AM | Posted to DS | Review |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 27, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 40 - 02.27.2006

The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionThis week I provide the first part of my hands-on preview of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I review a new game cut directly from the Star Control mold, retro-review the best Bungie game you have never played, answer your Oblivion questions, and so much more. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 40 Program

  • 00:04:08 Game News:
    • Merrill Lynch guesses at $800 PlayStation 3 cost and causes a mild panic.
    • EA slashes new game prices by 20 percent.
    • Infinium opens their books.
    • Ex-Gizmondo Exec trashes a million dollar Ferrari.
    • Condemned to storm PCs this April.
    • Classic Sierra games set for re-release.
    • DS Lite to wear only white at launch.
  • 00:27:44 SporeTalk: An overview as to how the download and ranking system will function.
  • 00:32:22 Game Preview: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the Xbox 360 and PC, part one.
  • 01:12:45 Game Review: Space Rangers 2: Rise of the Dominators for the PC.
  • 01:26:07 RetroReview: Pathways into Darkness Macintosh.
  • 01:35:17 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a very cool prize!
  • 01:38:10 Show Mail: I answer your audio questions.
  • 01:57:03 Final Thoughts: So when can I scratch my Oblivion itch again?
Download the show (122 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 40 (MP3).

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Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:00 PM | Posted to Podcast | Preview | Review | Spore |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 22, 2006

The Best Board Game Turned PC Game ... Ever

Ticket to RideAlthough I love computer games (obviously) a little secret of mine is that I might actually enjoy playing board games even more than video games. I have been an avid board gamer since my youth and with the explosion of German-style board gaming over the past decade I have been in board game nirvana. Rarely will a month go by without a new quality board game released in the States (definately check out BoardGameGeek to find out about these games).

And of all the games I have played over the years one of my absolute favorites is Ticket to Ride from American publisher Days of Wonder. Since its release this game has been a worldwide success and even won the Spiel Des Jahres Game of the Year in 2004 (which is like winning the Academy Award of Gaming). All it takes is one session with this game and you'll see why it's so popular. Real quick overview: Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America or Europe. The longer the train routes, the more points the players earn.

The challenge lies in that there are a limited number of routes. So let’s say that you're trying to build a route from New York to San Francisco, and someone else builds right in the middle of your train line. Now you’ll have to build halfway around the country in order to complete your route. Of course, you can do the same to your opponents.

Believe it or not, but my description is actually more complex than the actual game … it's just that simple to play. It's one of those games which is easy to learn, plays quickly, fun for all ages, but yet has surprising deep strategy. I have yet to find a man, woman, or child who doesn't love playing this game.

So when I heard that Days of Wonder was creating a computer version of this game I giddy with excitement. Just released, the computer version plays on both PC and Mac, allows for online play, features stunning beautiful graphics, and is horribly addictive. In fact, I might even say that the computer version plays better than the board game version! Since games often take only 20-40 minutes to complete rarely will you be content just playing a single game. You have heard of the Civilization "just one more turn" phenomenon. Ticket to Ride has heralded in the "just one more game" phenomenon.

I won't even bother going over the fantastic online community, the ability to play solo games, and the exclusive Swiss map included with the game. All I have to say is go get this game, now. You won't be disappointed.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:30 PM | Posted to PC | Review |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!