Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Looking Back: The Journeyman Project

I've been thinking... about games from my past and how fond memories of each still root themselves into how I game today. While some may intertwine, I don't just look at my favorite games of the years past... but those that stuck out in my head as quite memorable for some reason or another. They may not be perfect games, in fact - their quirkiness may be the reason for it being memorable; but I'd still like to share with you, my experience and thoughts on them.

The first is a 1992 PC title by Presto Studios (Now defunct) which is tricky to track down. Thankfully, being the hoarder I am of cool things of my past, I kept the actual CD Rom that came with our first PC (a Packard Bell, 75mhz beast of a machine running a fresh new copy of the newly released Windows 95). Yeah, oddly enough, Packard Bell packed in some rather odd software with their PC at the time, I'll go over some of those in a later post like this one.

The 1992 title I was speaking of is 'The Journeyman Project'.

I had the Turbo edition (a slightly updated version over that of the older versions) and it's one of those titles that used special codes you'd need to enter a few times within the game as a sort of "DRM" predecessor in which you'd NEED to have the manual to figure out the puzzles. I remember thinking it so weird that I had to flip through a manual for codes for doors and such, but it was unique to me at least.

The game itself takes place in the distant future (something like 2320) where the entire earth is under a unified government of peace; on the verge of a meeting with Alien diplomats whom want to accept the human race into a peaceful alliance of global species. You play Agent 5, whom is part of a company in charge of controlling time travel or fixing things that perpetrators have managed to go back and change. The scientist whom discovered the means behind time travel is the antagonist of the game who sends large, heavily armed robots back in time to sabotage the events leading up to the meeting with the alien forces, as he believes them to have malevolent intentions.

You are tasked with averting these changes and going back even as far as the time of dinosaurs to recover discs that hold the records of history needed to compare with the changes being made, in order to prevent them (the discs were hidden during those times for such occasions).

This is your HUD, Interface and gameplay screen.

The entire game plays through the view of Agent 5's monocle eye piece, which acts as his hub to the world, allowing him to store data, check his inventory and attach bio-chips to help him in his journey. It's got a slight cyber-punk style to it, with the whole implanted technology bit.

The game itself, however, is pre-rendered 3D (not real time, which is understandable for it's time), you get to explore the environments that look much like 3D games do today, but each scene is more like a picture that has interactive pieces within them. You can move Agent 5 forward, backward, left and right and each move is followed by a sort of fade transition to give the impression of walking. It's a bit jarring for today's standards, but it's completely functional and kind of resembles the idea used in old school point/click adventures... just in a first person view.

The gameplay itself really makes you think as the story eludes to what you have to do, but doesn't lay it out exactly. Being that it's only about an hour or two long (if you know exactly what you're doing) it makes sense that they made things vague so that you have to go around investigating things and learning the world for yourself.

One of the Robots sent back in time. Also your enemy.

There are sequences in which characters and enemies are animated, but generally play out like a short movie where you have choices of what to do. Believe it or not there's even a bit of a morality system in place too as you get to choose to either take down the menacing robots peacefully or aggressively, which effects your final score at the end. The is also a little bit of live action-esc kind of acting to help flesh out the characters... and no it's not as bad as you think.

I have quite fond memories of going through it as it's a really unique title. A bit 'pulled back' for today's standards, but interesting none-the-less. It's music too, I fondly enjoy listening to (looked some some vids on youtube while writing this). Sadly, not a lot of copies out there. I did manage to find some on ebay and amazon.com if you're interested. GoG had it's two sequels, but not the original or the revamp. The revamp, dubbed "Pegasus Prime" updated the visuals a bit, including things like better quality FMV bits and actual walking animations between screen transitions.

If you're interested in at least seeing the game instead of tracking a copy down, there's always awesome youtube users whom have walkthroughs of the game :) Included below is the first of 6 videos that'll take you through the game. Enjoy:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fandom eats at my bank account

Being a gamer isn't a cheap hobby... that's for sure. Most of you whom read this, knows this. With games sitting at $60 a pop when first released (a NA price, I know worldly it's all over the place) for a standard edition and special/collectors/limited editions going up from there, honestly drugs might be a cheaper way to spend one's cash.

As time goes on, I get better at spending money on games and I leave only the most anticipated games for launch day pick-ups and even fewer of those for collector edition considerations. Instead I choose to wait for price drops or the purchase of used games (generally price drops, as I like the idea of supporting the developer even if I do it at a smaller offering instead of giving places like EBGames my money). Steam, GoG and sales across console digital stores sure help out quite a bit as they allow one to acquire lots of games at a fraction of the price you'd pay elsewhere.

Erm, that's not really the point of my blog though. The entire point is that... sometimes... as a fan of games and particular titles... we, as gamers, seem to make even more special exceptions for spending money on stuff that... we probably don't 'need' but still like to collect and stare at in awe.

Such is the case for my next purchase.

I noted in my last blog, my fondness of Bioware's Mass Effect series, and just so happen to follow their page on facebook, which linked me to a small updated entitled "New ME3 lithographs at the Bioware Store". Of course I was at least interested to see what they had (if nothing else) and then I found this:

Holy crap. I wanted it instantly. I added it to my cart and browsed the rest of the site, adding a hoodie and other other goods to my cart as well. At nearly $300 in total goods, I just sat back, raised an eyebrow and said to myself "I'll sit on this, think it over later" and left the site. I went about my evening and did whatever, came back later and checked in on my list of "goods" and deleted them all from the cart... except the original lithograph that I had spotted.

It features the Asari Aria T'Loak, whom if you remember Mass Effect 2, is a criminal overload of epic proportions. She's just right mix of edgy and insane with smart and cunning, which is quite the contrast to the other Asari you spend a lot of time with in the series, Liara. I've always liked her as a character and was very excited to see her return in the series third outing. To have Bioware then throw this up on their store in a limited quantity of just 500 prints just made my day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No, I will not read your Mass Effect 3 blog post.

One Fucking word and I'll blow your head off.

Hey guys, girls and giant human sized rabbits from the future, how are you? This is a rather odd blog post, but I thought I might just throw it up here anyways.

**Special note - I will NOT be discussing ANYTHING spoiler-wise about ME3 here.**

I am currently enjoying the hell out of Mass Effect 3 on my 360. It's really the ONLY thing I'm playing right now. I've got about 15 hours in on the single player game (I play rather meticulously, carefully planning, choosing missions, searching for hidden stuff, talking with characters and playing around with the environments to see what I can and can't do) and probably nearly as much time in it's multiplayer offerings as well.

I love the Mass Effect series. I really do. I love the writing of it's characters, I love the extremely realized worlds, I love the idea of playing your Shepard how you want (good or evil or a mix), I love the amount of detail the team has put into every aspect of the titles and how I escape into that world every time I jump in to play. This is why I won't be reading ANY of your Mass Effect 3 blog posts. I care too much about experiencing the world for myself, being caught off guard by split decisions I have to make and finding my own way through it's paths of story.

I don't want to ruin a single thing and so I've decided to completely ignore anything I see online that has to do with ME3. That's quite hard to do as a ton of people on every damn aspect of the internet, wants to discuss their experience with it, be it something that happened in the game or their over all view of the game or what have you... and while some try to make sure it's spoiler free... a lot of the time it ends up being not-so... or a comment after the post ends up spoiling something. There's quite the uproar going around right now concerning one part of the game (won't mention which).. (I haven't read up on it, merely seen headlines) that even Bioware is responding to... and I dislike seeing even stuff like that. Sigh. Why is the internet so crazy? :S lol.

Suffice to say, I'll continue my great time with this game and ignoring anything related to it on the internet (including blog posts you guys make), just thought I'd let ya know :P If you're on XBL and have the game/want to play online, I would love to play! :D Thus far I've been playing with strangers.

Oh, and on the MP portion of the game... What is the point of Mics if all people do is yell at each other? Seriously... I've played many a match where we play in silence and are able to keep tabs with how team mates are doing, how the objectives are going etc and finish the rounds just fine. Jump into a match with mics and all I've heard is "WTF ARE YOU DOING!", "GET THE FUCK OVER HERE GUYS, THIS IS THE BEST CAMPING PLACE", "YOU ALL SUCK FUCKING COCK" and "SERIOUSLY? THIS WHOLE TEAM SUCKS SHIT".

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ben X - one of the better films I've seen in a while

I've forgotten exactly where I heard about BenX, but it's taken some work to get my hands on it... and I'm glad I did. The film is in Belgian, without any subtitle options (on my copy at least) and so I resorted to opensubtitles.org to get me a copy that would allow me to understand what was being said in the film. The sub I did get my hands on was poor, some words were straight up not translated and oft times sentences made no sense in their structure, not to mention subtitles just missing for various things said, but it was still enough to be able to enjoy the film.

It's a 2007 film from Belgian film director Nic Balthazar (whom also wrote the book that the movie is based off - which just so happened to be based on a true story of similar events) which follows a high school student, Ben, whom struggles with bullies and people in general mostly due to his quirks brought on by his Asperger syndrome (a form of Autism). They show you Ben through out stages in his life, trying to live a normal life with going to school and the tribulations met with fellow students and even teachers not understanding how it is Ben learns and deals with life. Ben does not express himself through vocal means and instead stays silent, meticulously analyzing the small things in life; the way people's lips move, how their eyes express and so on, not being able to just take in the world as a whole idea.

Ben has an escape, however, as he is able to better converse his thoughts and realize himself as a brave and heroic character in the MMO "ArchLord" (which is an actual MMO). In this world, everything makes sense to him and he references the ability to be whom ever you want in such a world instead of having to deal with your only option of "self" in the real world. More importantly, his entire time on the game from inception up until we meet him in the film (a level 80 character) he has paired up with a girl whom goes by the handle "Scarlite". His "Healer" and companion, the two bond greatly over the game and she plays a larger role later as the story progresses.

But that's really all I'm going to say... because I pretty much knew that much going in and I was pleasantly surprised at how the entire rest of the film played out after the point I thought it might end. It wasn't a movie where I could pin the idea down as quickly as I thought I could and for that I adore it. It had me guessing a bit and I really enjoyed the character of Ben and his way of thinking.

By the end of it, I had tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, as the credits rolled, I took a breath and decided to write this blog post. Check it out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I love GoG - My GoG shelf

I like other digital distribution services as well, don't get me wrong, but what GoG is doing for the older classics is beyond a service to the industry. The guys and girls behind the site take their time with each and every title that goes up on the site, making sure that each game is ironed out to work perfectly out of the box (or rather after installing) without any major issues for customers to deal with. Is it an old DOS based title that won't run on modern machines? Don't worry, GoG will put it in DOSBOX (a superb Emulator) and tweak it to work best with modern OSes. I've even heard of the team doing their own patches to get games working, without incident, on machines that would other wise take a whole lot of work arounds for fans to get running (if they'd done it themselves).

Their collection of titles is growing all the time and at $5.99/$9.99 for each title, it's hard not to snag a few out of nostalgia or curiosity. As seen above, some of their most recent titles include hits like Hitman, Deus Ex, Syndicate, Theif and Worms.

As games start to move to the digital platform... I start to feel more and more nostalgic to the idea of having a shelf and stacking my games on it. Sure, consoles (for the most part) still allow you to collect and arrange physical cases for your games... but on the PC side of things it's becoming a rare thing (besides the Collector's edition of StarCraft 2, the previous physical copy game for the PC that I've purchased is like Half-Life 2 back in 2004). I really don't mind digital content as it allows me to keep my stuff with me where ever I go.. and it's quite convenient not needing a bunch of discs swapped in and out in order to play my games, but I still feel for that "Look over to my shelve and just decide to put in a classic title" kind of feeling.

Then steps in GoG (Good old Games) with their virtual Shelf :) I got word today that they threw up Anachronox for sale on the site and I jumped at the chance to buy it. I'm downloading it now and hope to jump into it soon :).

Anyways, here is my collection of classic titles on GoG. What does your GoG gaming shelf look like?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wasteland 2? Yeah, why not.

So, if you've been following my blogs, you'll know that I'm big on the idea of fan funding a project that would possibly get looked over by publishers. With just over 2 hours to go in Double Fine's kickerstarter project that asked for $400,000 to help fund a throw back to the adventure games of the past; the project sits at over $3.2 million... I'd say they've been quite successful in their attempt to get fan backing.

No doubt intrigued by this idea, Brian Fargo, head of InXile (also a huge part behind the former Interplay) and a guy with a list of huge games under his name has decided to reach out to fans to craft a sequel to his company's 1988 title "Wasteland" (Over view of title here). "Fallout" before Fallout existed, Wasteland followed a very similar style (albeit a bit pulled back in visuals due to the hardware of the time) and was actually a predecessor to Fallout itself. Due to legal reasons (EA owned the Wasteland trademark, which in 2003, Fargo bought from them) when Fargo and team worked on Fallout 1 and 2 (yes they also created fallout) they simply couldn't use the wasteland name. Anyways, he has brought together a superb "A-List" team of developers (Alan Pavlish, Michael A. Stackpole, Ken St. Andre and Composer Mark Morgan) to help him with the project and is asking fans for $900,000 to get the project going; explaining that it costs a lot to get a game off the ground and that he wouldn't take any kind of salary or payment from the donations for the project.

Seeing as the page opened just a few hours before and it's already got nearly $300,000 in pledges... I'll bet that it'll reach it's goal of $900,000 much like Double Fine did their $400,000 mark. Perhaps we'll even see that number surpassed much like Double Fines.

(Link for those not reading at my blog)

Here's an interesting video on the kickstarter page that explains all of this and more (in a decent comedic tone too - the bit where they go to publishers made me laugh) and of course you can visit the page if you so choose to want to support the project. Here's hoping more smaller developers see this kind of thing take off and are able to bring back classic games of our past into the way they should be made without publishers changing what should be.

Ahh yeah. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

When I'm out... these are my weapons.

So, I got home late tonight to find quite a few items out of place in my room. It was quite the mess compared to what it usually looks like. Curious, I asked my brother and he explained that 2 of my little cousins had come by for a visit. "They didn't touch my Vita did they?" was the first thing that came out of my mouth; thankfully they didn't :) That may sound a little harsh... but... little kids and expensive tech just don't mix well IMO... well... these little kids at least. (Last time I let them mess with my stuff... the middle click button on my ipod classic broke :|.

Soz, anyways, I went about the task of tidying up, putting stuff away and noticed that a lot of my handheld gaming devices were strewn across the room. After collecting them up and throwing them on my bed, I remarked "Oh, I've got more of these things than I realized" so I threw down my phone and decided to take a pic of "The pile".

From left -

Portable SNES (from Yobo - a Chinese company) you actually put SNES cartridges right in the top of it. It also doubles as a SNES that you hook up to your TV, has it's own lithium-ion rechargeable battery and wireless controllers.

DS Lite - My main DS system.

3DS - Actually my brother's 3DS, but it was in amongst the mess.

Gameboy - Got in a big ol buy from a co-worker whom had it sitting in her basement. There's a line down the side that cuts the image off, but still functional besides that.

Sega Game Gear - Ahh yeah. Gotta love stoner friends eh? Bought that and games off a friend back in high school one day he needed some cash quick.

PSP 1000 model - My original PSP. It's UMD drive bit the dust.

PSP 2000 model  - The replacement to the 1000 model.

PS Vita - Ahh yeah.

Samsung Galaxy S - Not the newest beast on the block, but it plays Plants vs Zombies and Angry Birds... so it's gold in my books :P

Kind of a pointless blog, sure. But w/e, I thought I'd share.

Friday, March 09, 2012

4 Days left to help fund Double Fine's new adventure

I first crafted a blog post nearly a month ago about the (then) new kickstarter page that Double Fine put up to gather $400,000 to help fund a new adventure game that harkened back to the adventure games of old. It's since caught wildfire and fans have come out in droves to show their support. The studio has collected over $2.5 million from over 72,000 backers of the project which has helped grow the project to a much bigger scale than they could of imagined.

Initially, they planned on using the $300,000 ($100,000 was to go to the documentary team whom is filming the entire development process) to make a small, relatively pulled back title for the PC without any plans for spoken language, or multiple written languages... but Tim Schafer has come out and said that the extra money gathered has allowed them to confirm that the project will indeed have spoken dialogue, have it's text translated into a number of languages (French, Spanish, German and Italian) and be making it's way to Mac, Linux and some iOS/Android devices.

Multiple rewards have also been added to the mix, with various pledge levels. The $100 pledge in particular includes a T-Shirt, Poster and the game in an old school PC title box (like those that Day of the Tentacle or Grim Fandango came in) with game and documentary on separate discs. Higher pledge levels gets you niftier gear for your generosity, but even the smallest $15 pledge will give you access to a copy of the game when it ships.

Schafer has made a new video detailing some things fans were asking about and to bring attention to the upcoming deadline (Tuesday, March 13th) in hopes to raise as much money as they possibly can. So, if you were interested in donating to the project but haven't gotten around to it just yet, you've got 4 days left :P

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Waiting on Mass Effect 3... what to do...

Finish up some ME2 DLC of course. I knew I wanted to go through the 'Lair of the Shadow Broker' DLC that I purchased on XBL ages ago (and never got to) and I got word last night that my copy of Mass Effect 3 was on it's way... so I spent today jumping back in to ME2 to clear up a few loose ends.

I loaded up my old save, which hasn't been touched since some time in 2010, back when I finished the game and took a few minutes to get use to the game again. Once I did, I poked around the Normandy, talked with it's characters (in my save I rescued them all, something I was super proud of at the time) and checked in on my journal to see what was new. One mission is all that was left, and it just so happened to be that of the Shadow Broker DLC I mentioned above. I guess I spent some time clearing even the smallest of side quests in 2010.

Anyways, I jumped into the DLC mission and was uber-happy to have Liara back on my team. Liara and Garrus are my fave characters thus far in the series and to have her missing for 99% of ME2 really made me sad. Sure the other characters were f'n great, but I still missed Liara, especially since she was my "romance" choice from the first game. I heard, however, that the DLC in question allowed you to reconnect in some way, with her and that she was set to return to the squad in ME3 which is really what pushed me to play the DLC. I finished the DLC with a smile on my face, Liara is back! :) (Okay, technically she's still doing her own thing, but w/e).

Not content with that, I went and downloaded the Kasumi - Stolen Memory DLC pack (that I got on sale at one point) and it just finished downloading as I was writing this. So, I'll be able to jump into that as soon as I post this short blog. I'm rather excited to have more ME content to play and I honestly can't wait for my copy of ME3 to arrive (which should be tomorrow as it was sent out via courier last night... which made me assume it'd be here today, but I guess tomorrow will be the day). 'The Arrival' DLC is downloading as we speak, I hope to have all of them finished when ME3 does show up.

Monday, March 05, 2012

You got your Portal in my Mario!

What's better than playing classic NES mario or Valve's Portal? How about mashing them together into one wicked sick game called Mari0? Thanks to those behind Stabyourself.net this is now a reality.

For Windows, Mac OS or Linux.


  • Complete recreation of SMB
  • Elements from Portal
  • Portal gun that shoots portals
  • 4-player simultaneous co-op
  • Level Editor that was used to create the levels in the game
  • 33 different hats
  • Downloadable Map packs
  • Game modifiers for extra fun


Saturday, March 03, 2012

Valve and Steam entering the console race?

This really just made my eyes widen. There are solid rumors floating around that Valve want's to brand their own box (for the home entertainment market) as a console competitor, built around their Steam service.

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell even recently told Penny Arcade: "Well, if we have to sell hardware we will."

Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up.

The Steam Box could be unveiled at GDC, though we're also hearing that the company may wait until E3 this year to show off what it's been working on.

If true, it seems the big three console manufactures have some stiff competition coming along.


Thursday, March 01, 2012

PS Vita: A Review (sort of)

I actually had to wait on amazon and Canada Post to get me my Vita. I got word from Amazon that they shipped my order (Vita, Memcard and Uncharted game) on the day of launch, Wed Feb 22, (why they couldn't ship so it'd arrive on the 22nd - I don't know) and I figured if I hadn't seen it by Friday, it'd be a definite Monday arrival. I was right. I got word from the post office that a package had arrived for me (on Monday) and late afternoon I went out to retrieve said package. Spent a few hours charging and updating the system (I had to try 3 times to get the update :S It kept giving me an error). From there I spent the evening with it. I've since had 3 sit down sessions with it, each a few hours in length.

Visual aid as I talk about the layout and buttons.
Absolute first thought "It's smaller than I had pictured". It's really only about 3/4 of an inch taller and wider than my PSP slim and about as thick (though, it feels slimmer once in your hands). The screen itself is quite impressive, as it seems as though you're just holding a large screen, instead of feeling like a screen packed into a system (again, like the PSP). I like the grips on the back and the over all feel of the machine when sitting in my hands. Sadly, it's already got smudge marks all over it from my using the touch screen/pad. It looks as though it's going to be hard to keep looking nice.

The buttons really threw me for a loop. I assumed that the face buttons were going to be in the same scale of the PSP (also what may have made me feel that the system would be larger than it is)... but they are not. Unlike the PSP where the buttons are near identical to that of a PS2/PS3 dualshock controller in scale and feel, the Vita's buttons are much smaller. The (Square, Triangle, Circle, Cross) face buttons fit under my thumb and kind of remind me of the face buttons of the DSL - only with a harder click to them. The D-Pad is decent, but again, different from what I expected. Instead of the 4 separate arrows, it's more like a traditional D-Pad, again with a harder click feel to it. The PS button is fine... but the Start and Select buttons I found too small and because they're smooth flush with the system, kind of tricky for me to press, as I have large thumbs (and digits in general :P). The top power and vol control buttons are fine. The joysticks felt foreign when I first played with them, but 20 mins or so into a game and I hardly noticed that I wasn't using actual joysticks, very nice upgrade from the nub of the PSP.

Speakers are in a nice spot :) I didn't cover them at all, but, after playing Uncharted I rather wanted them to be louder (might check the volume settings in uncharted, if there are any). The ports for games, memory cards, headphones etc, seem to be thought out and in spots that aren't in the way or too noticeable.

Okay, physical details out of the way. Lets get into the system! :)

The "Task Manager" as I like to call it. Allows you to quickly jump between open apps/games.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE XMB? Gahh, I loved the XMB! The new, touch screen only, menu system makes me raise an eye brow. It's graphical and is sort of like what you find on a smart phone - pages of shortcuts that allow you scroll through them - and it's something I'm not big on. The idea works and no doubt is great for users whom like simple interfaces... but I find it such a waste of space. I haven't played around with all the settings yet, but I wonder if I can make folders? I would love to have a folder on the main screen for "Games", another for "Demos" and so on so I don't have to fill pages with the damn things. What I do like about the interface though, is the multi-tasking and constant shortcuts everywhere. When you hit your PS button (you can be doing anything, playing a game, browsing, watching netflix etc) it'll give you the page built for the app you're currently using for a set of options and a way to close it immediately... OR you can just go ahead and go to the main page and open up another app and start into that. Hit the PS button while you've got a few apps going and you'll be brought (first to the current app's page, then) to a sort of task-manager slide that allows you to shift between those you have open or again back to the home screen. When you've gone back to the home screen you can flip between app sessions simply by flipping left and right. It's quite handy for multi-tasking and works rather well. It the end, it's a decent interface, but one that I need more time with and one that could use a few tweaks. I spent some time playing games, messaging PSN friends, checking out the trophy list for my game and looking up something on google, all with some quick back and forth... something even my android phone seems to have a little trouble with in comparison.

I've visited the PSN store, grabbing the Netflix app and a few demos to test out. My copy of Uncharted being my only physical game, I also purchased 'Mutant Blobs Attack' and 'Escape Plan' from PSN. Escape plan still confuses me, but is a good game to take advantage of the touch screen and pad that the system has. Mutant Blob is actually quite addictive; it's sort of like a mix of locoroco, katamari and a quick paced platformer, I'm rather liking it. I've also given the 'Welcome Park' app a try, which is, more or less, a series of mini-games that are meant to teach you the basics of using the Vita (the touch screen, rear touch pad, cameras, microphone, motion sensors etc). I did download the three free Augmented Reality based games that use the included AR cards, but have yet to transfer them to my Vita to test out (I downloaded them on my PS3, over night).

Yep, Uncharted looks superb. Plays pretty nice as well.
I've also jumped right into Uncharted, which I'm totally in love with. It's Uncharted as I know and love it and aside from the plentiful "Hey you can touch the screen to do this, and this and this" pop-ups that plague the first of the game, I am rather impressed with the title. Visually it looks better than the first Uncharted did on the PS3... that's crazy. Play wise, like I said, it's Uncharted through and through. There a few things that have been added to it though, that make a lot of sense in the series. The subtle aiming assists you can do by moving the system, makes stuff like head-shots soooo much easier to pull off. Wow. You have no idea until you try it. I thought I wouldn't be much into the alternative ways to control the game... but they're really well done and make the experience that much better. I didn't like aiming with it ALL of the time, but like I said, the subtle little moves just before you finish them off worked wonders. Also, climbing along ledges is a breeze by just sliding a finger across the path you want drake to travel. Running a finger over the screen to dust something off or make a sketch of something... wonderfully immersive compared to clicking a button to do so.  I'm really impressed by this title. I did take a few screenshots in game (a feature of the Vita) but have no idea how to get them off of my Vita :S

There are a few other titles that I'd like to purchase as physical copies, but plan on holding off on spending money on gaming for a bit after my Vita purchase. The demos and items I did download are going to chew through my 8gb mem card quite fast... as each demo/trial is like 600-900mb each! Sheesh. But I guess that's why larger memory cards exist, huh? Kind of holding out to see if we'll be getting 64gb, 128gb and larger cards in the future. That'd be nice.

Thumbs up.

Over all, I'm quite pleased with the system itself. The feel and look of the unit (physically) are nice, even if they're different than what I had envisioned. The speakers could be a bit louder and the start/select buttons a bit more pronounced, but I didn't have any issues controlling my games with the device. The touch screen/pad are a unique combination and work without a hitch with the games I've played, as does the motion sensor aspect. The main menu could use some tweaks (which I'm sure will come along with firmware updates) to allow a bit more customization and the browser lacks flash (stupid) but aside from that, the experience was really smooth; quite a bit more than I had assumed it would be. The snappiness of the menus, navigation, switching between apps and over all experience feels better than any other console/handheld I've used thus far.

The game's I've played so far impressed me with build quality, graphical ability (Uncharted) and the idea of knowing that these first round of titles are so decently polished. It leads me wonder about the kind of improvements we'll see down the road in 2nd, 3rd and 4th year games. Can't wait to get my hands on a few more titles and see what's coming along for the system for the rest of the year.