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PS3 Fanboy reviews: Go! Sports Ski


Go! Sports Ski is the latest title from Sony in their casual Go! series of downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, following the Go! Puzzle pack released earlier this year. Dubbed a 'ski simulator' by Sony, Go! Sports Ski offers the usual bundle of features for most of Sony's PSN offerings -- including 1080p support, online leaderboards, and a cheap price (a mere $2.99).

What sets Go! Sports Ski apart from many of the other recent titles is fairly robust online multiplayer support. The game has several different online gameplay modes, including time trials, battle runs and slaloms -- as well as the ability to download the ghosts of the top players in the world. Once you've downloaded the ghosts you can either watch them for tips or compete directly with them in the single-player game. It's a nice little inclusion and I hope that Sony starts offering this level of online multiplayer support for all of their upcoming PSN titles.

Go! Sports Ski's real hook though is that it is controlled exclusively by the Sixaxis motion controls. Yes, like Lair and Super Rub-a-Dub, you control your character entirely via tilting the controller around -- the surprising thing is that it actually works pretty darn well. To move your skier forward, you tilt the controller forward. To turn your character to the right, you tilt the controller to the right. To do a sharp turn, you tilt the controller in the direction you want to turn and tilt it back at the same time. To jump, you simply jump the controller up quickly. While there is a bit of a learning curve (like all motion controlled games), it only takes a couple runs to get comfortable with the controls -- and once you do, you'll be surprised at the precision that is possible with it.

Gallery: Go! Sports Ski

Continue reading PS3 Fanboy reviews: Go! Sports Ski

PS3 Fanboy review: Heavenly Sword

    Sony has recently started up their holiday blitz by releasing three highly anticipated games for the PlayStation 3; Warhawk, Lair, and Heavenly Sword. While Warhawk was released to almost universal praise, Lair was largely met with torches and pitchforks. So where does Heavenly Sword fall? Does it achieve the soaring greatness of Warhawk or is it doomed to languish in the used sales bin at your local videogame store like Lair?

    Gallery: Heavenly Sword

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: Heavenly Sword

    PS3 Poll Police: How did you feel about TGS '07?

    The Poll Police have pulled out of their duties in Tokyo, as the Tokyo Game Show winds down. We believe it was T.S. Eliot who once said "This is the way Tokyo Game Show ends; not with a bang, but a whimper." Well, if Eliot were a gamer, we're sure that'd be true. Anyhow, we've got our opinions about the show for this year, but we're curious about what you thought. So, our poll for this week is quite simple: what impression did you take away from TGS?
    TGS '07: What did you think?
    I thought it was a pretty exciting show.
    It was neither here nor there on my radar.
    I thought it was sort of tame.
    It was bad.
    pollcode.com free polls
    We don't know if it was the plethora of trailers and moderate dearth of playables, or the delay of Home, or the already-common-knowledge announcement of the DualShock 3, but TGS was missing a bang this year. Our personal opinion -- don't vote just to agree. However, you should check out our results from last week's poll after the jump. Technically, most of you should have been pleased.

    Continue reading PS3 Poll Police: How did you feel about TGS '07?

    PS3 Fanboy interviews Ratchet and Clank's Ryan Schneider


    We got in touch with Ryan Schneider, our friend at Insomniac, and talked a little bit more about their upcoming Ratchet & Clank game. Ryan was able to tell us a bit about the game's massive size, potential Home integration, and more.

    The search for the Lombax Secret, and Ratchet's past, is certainly driving a much stronger story in this iteration. What sparked the change for a more story-oriented game this time around?
    I would say the quality of writing has been outstanding. TJ Fixman is our writer. He's a guy with his own agent, and he has movies optioned. We just have a terrific writer. It's not so much that we were taking a different tact to the story compared to the past. But the topic is more epic in general. We're exploring Ratchet's roots. Why is he the last of his kind? What is the Lombax Secret? Who are the Zoni and why is Clank the only one to see them? What kind of dynamic tension does that create? Will Ratchet trust his buddy Clank, or will he think he's got a bolt loose in his head, and he's gone haywire? These are the elements that make a good story. We've turned the lens inward. If you look at the past Ratchet games, it was about Ratchet against an enemy. Now, he's on a quest to discover something about himself. I think that alone makes the story more epic and more mysterious.

    Is the writer new to the franchise?
    Yes, this is TJ's first Ratchet game. TJ and Brian Hastings make for a great team. Bryan's our chief creative officer, and TJ's one of the funnier people I know. We love butt jokes -- and what's cool to us is that it does appeal to eight year olds and adults. The animators did a great job too. For example, in one scene Quark gives Ratchet and Clank a clue. It's the pirate guys and he says "check out this pirate design. It's perfect for parties and late night misadventures." Then, he leans into the screen and winks. It's not written into the script but it makes it come to life and makes it that much funnier.

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interviews Ratchet and Clank's Ryan Schneider

    PS3 Fanboy review: Lair


    While Colin gets the delightful task of reviewing Warhawk (9.0), I'm left with the arduous burden of reviewing Lair, one of PS3's most hyped and anticipated games. What could possibly go wrong with a game where dragons fly around, killing each other? With stunning graphics, incredible production values, and dragons, Lair easily had a ton of potential. However, it all goes to waste through unresponsive controls and flawed level design.

    As any Gamecube owner knows, Factor 5 is a team comprised of technical wizards. Their previous Rogue Squadron games pulled off graphical techniques on Nintendo's last generation machine that most Wii games still don't take advantage of. Factor 5 managed to rip out the most celebrated moments of the Star Wars films and make a captivating series that delivered action faithful to its inspiration. So, why does Lair feel like a retread from Factor 5's previous games?

    Gallery: Lair

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: Lair

    PS3 Fanboy review: Warhawk


    Warhawk has gone through a rather bumpy development cycle. Originally slated to be an epic single player game with a strong multiplayer component, rumors started circulating earlier this year that Incognito was experiencing development problems and were unhappy with the single player portion of the game. The murmurings turned out to be true, with Sony confirming just a couple of weeks later that Warhawk had officially become a multiplayer-only PlayStation Store title and that the single player portion of the game had been dropped.

    Though a lot of people took this announcement as a portent of doom for Warhawk (dropping half your game so late in development is never a good sign), a highly successful beta during the summer was able to garner a quite a bit of positive press for the game. This combined with some glowing previews made the public suddenly a lot more interested in Incognito's foray into online warfare. So did they pull it off?

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy review: Warhawk

    PS3 Fanboy looks at Ratchet & Clank's concept art


    We don't think you've seen these before. Stolen from the inner depths of the Insomniac offices, we have brand new concept art from the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction. In our first gallery, you'll see the creative process at work: from environment designs, to creature creations.

    In our second gallery, you'll get a closer look at many of the new characters in R&C. For example, the "sultry" Talwyn, someone that holds the key to the "Lombax secret" perhaps?

    Thanks to Insomniac for providing this art to our readers! (Expect to see many of these return for our Wallpaper collection this weekend!)

    Gallery: Ratchet & Clank: Concept Art


    Gallery: Ratchet & Clank: Renders

    PS3 Fanboy interviews PSN producer Rusty Buchert


    Ever wonder who's responsible for choosing the games on the PLAYSTATION Store? Rusty Buchert, senior producer at SCEA's Santa Monica Studio, is the man to talk to about original games on the PSN. He has a unique vision for the Store, where he wants to bring indie games, such as Everyday Shooter, to the masses. Check out our exclusive interview with the man behind the scenes.

    Can you explain to our readers what your position is at SCEA?
    Hi all, my name is Rusty Buchert and I am a Sr. Producer at the Santa Monica Studios. My focus is purely on PSN titles for the PS3.

    The PLAYSTATION Store has differentiated its offering from that of its competitors. We've seen a lot of unique experiences, such as fl0w, that simply aren't on the other platforms. How is Sony's focus on downloadable games different than the other guys?
    My focus has been to find unique, fun experiences. We started searching for games like this from the outset and we were searching through the Indie Scene right out the gate. In general the Scene thinks outside the traditional development box. All to often people get indoctrinated into one general way of thinking about games in genre, design, and execution. You are not going to get anything new thinking like that. We were betting on the fact that people wanted something new and not a rehash of a rehash of a rehash.

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interviews PSN producer Rusty Buchert

    Ratchet Week: Tools of Destruction hands-on


    Ratchet's initial E3 showing didn't wow us. There simply wasn't anything "new" to talk about the game. However, we recently played an updated build of the game, showcasing some of the later levels in the game. We saw some original new ideas, fantastic SIXAXIS controls, and a level of humor that surpasses anything we've seen from the Ratchet series. With its famous good looks still intact, we can confidently say that Ratchet & Clank Future is going to be a solid addition to any PS3 owner's library when it comes out October 23rd.

    The game is based upon four facets, according to the team at Insomniac: mystery, adventure, variety and spectacle. The mystery comes from looking into Ratchet's origins, and the mysterious new powers that Clank attains. The adventure comes through a "whole new galaxy" to explore, one that's promised to be the largest yet. Variety comes from brand-new mini-games, and a variety of new powers that Clank will take advantage of. Finally, the spectacle can be easily seen in these screenshots (check out our gallery for more): this game is pretty as heck. "We believe we're on par with computer animated movies," a representative from Insomniac said. In many ways, they're getting close. The world of Ratchet & Clank Future is incredibly rich in color, and we're glad to say that the game extends to worlds far beyond the Metropolis level we've seen. In the updated build, we saw an icy planet, a lush jungle swamp, and a space shooting segment, all running at a smooth framerate. The target, we're told, is a silky smooth 60 fps.

    Beyond the visuals, we got a chance to play some of the later levels in the game -- and they are far more interesting than the beautiful, but simplistic, E3 presentation. In one level, we talked to an NPC that wanted us to collect Leviathan souls. In order to do so, we had to find and track down these giant beasts and obliterate them. We were thrown into an environment that was far bigger than anything we've seen in previous Ratchet games. Although Metropolis forced you down a clear, narrow path, Tools of Destruction felt much larger, giving the player a lot more places to explore.

    Continue reading Ratchet Week: Tools of Destruction hands-on

    PS3 Fanboy interviews Everyday Shooter's Jon Mak


    One PSN title captivated us more than any other at E3: it's Everyday Shooter, an award-winning music-shooter game. The smooth visuals, combined with the absorbing music, and addictive gameplay, made it one of our favorite (but underrated) games of E3. We had a chance to talk to Jon Mak, after his incredible E3 showing to talk more about Everyday Shooter, and working with Sony as an indie game designer.

    We've been having trouble describing Everyday Shooter to gamers. Maybe you'll have a better way with words than us: how would you describe Everyday Shooter?
    Everyday Shooter is like a music album, except instead of it being a collection of songs, it's a collection of shoot-em-ups. Each track/song/level is completely different visually, musically, and in terms of gameplay. You can see the screenshots to get a feel for the diversity in levels.

    Each level focuses on a different chain reaction system that is not explicitly explained to the player. So with each playthrough, the player gains a sense of wonderment as they discover the nuances of each enemy and how they relate to form the greater chain reaction system. Although this gives a slight puzzle-y aspect to the game, make no mistake, this is a SHOOT-EM-UP, and not a puzzler.

    One popular aspect of Everyday Shooter is the way it treats audio. All the sound effects in the game are guitar riffs harmonizing over an all guitar soundtrack. Bigger reactions causes bigger riffs to play. Thus you'll feel as if you're playing along with the music, except that your intstrument is the shoot-em-up!

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interviews Everyday Shooter's Jon Mak

    PS3 Poll Police: What is your gaming snack of choice?

    The Poll Police had to take a stop and pick up a few dozen donuts today, so they're a little late this time around. Surely you won't hold it against them? Since they've only got limited time, they insist to dive right into the poll for this week. The question for this week is a little odd, but it's a fantastic way to gauge what kind of gamer you truly are. Are you ready to succumb to the strong arm of the internet poll law?
    Whilst gaming, what is your snack of choice?
    Just liquids -- solids are a bit messy.
    Chips, pretzels
    Cookies, desserts
    Sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs
    TV Dinners
    Pizza
    Full course meals
    I don't eat while playing.
    pollcode.com free polls
    We at PS3 Fanboy, of course, eat full course meals while we balance the controller on one knee and work both sides of the controller with one hand. It's very hard, but what can we say? We're that hardcore. If you're curious about last week's poll results, check them out after the jump.

    Continue reading PS3 Poll Police: What is your gaming snack of choice?

    PS3 Fanboy interview: Zafro, the Stardust superstar


    One game has caused the entire PS Fanboy team a lot of lost sleep: Super Stardust HD. This PSN downloadable title is far more addictive than any of us could have possibly guessed ... and although we're trying to beat each other's top scores, none of us can even match the incredible scores of the people at the very top of the Rankings. Zafro is one of those leaders, and we took some time to talk to him about mastering Stardust.

    How did you first find out about Super Stardust HD? What made it so appealing?
    My first impression of Super Stardust HD was from the trailer made available through the PlayStation Store. What stuck with me the most was the music, but the game looked great fun as well. The appeal to me is that I am a fan of shooters, such as Gradius, R-Type, Ikaruga, etc. I always keep my eyes open for games like this, so Stardust appealed to me greatly. Although not exactly the same style, a top down fast-paced shooter will almost always win me over.

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interview: Zafro, the Stardust superstar

    PS3 Fanboy interview: Udon Comics and Street Fighter


    Everything old is new again. The internet has been abuzz ever since the first sprites from Capcom's upcoming HD Remix of Super Street Fighter II were publicly released. The art, created by Udon, looks absolutely spectacular. We interviewed Jim Zubkavich, Artist and Project Manager at Udon, about their collaboration with Capcom.

    How did Udon and Capcom first team up?
    UDON began in 2000 as a team creating illustration/design artwork for comic book or toy manufacturing clients. After a couple years getting established, we decided to publish our own comic books. One of the first ideas that came to mind was creating comics based on licenses that all of us enjoyed growing up. At the top of that list was Capcom's Street Fighter property. After some negotiation and art samples sent back and forth, Capcom allowed UDON to create a new full color comic series that debuted in the summer of 2003. When the comic series began we would just send Capcom the script and artwork for approval each month. Eventually our relationship with Capcom grew stronger and they started communicating with us more frequently about the franchise and the strength of our artists.

    In 2004, after the debut of our Darkstalkers comic series and translation of the Eternal Challenge Street Fighter artbook were well received, Capcom approached us about contributing artwork to their Fighting Jam video game. In turn, that strengthened the bond between the two companies even more. At each step we've strived to show Capcom how much we respect their properties and how much we enjoy being a part of their creative process.

    With the 20th anniversary of Street Fighter coming in 2008, Capcom wanted us to be a part of the festivities. The high definition re-release of Super Street Fighter II Turbo is something we're very proud to be contributing to.

    Continue reading PS3 Fanboy interview: Udon Comics and Street Fighter

    PS Fanboy review: Ninja Gaiden Sigma

    A lot of people give Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Team Ninja as a whole a lot of heat because they keep recycling the same game over and over. This review isn't about that, and here's why. I am a PlayStation fanboy. Before I grabbed onto my PS One back in late '95 or whenever, I had mostly stuck to Sega and Nintendo consoles and aside from the Wii, still do. Never has my wallet coughed up the cash for a Microsoft system -- this isn't meant as flame, but a setup to this review. I've played neither Ninja Gaiden nor Ninja Gaiden Black. That's what you're going to get in this review: the viewpoint from someone who has never played the games, but recognizes the basic structure is from years ago. This begs the question: is Ninja Gaiden Sigma a must-have for all gamers, or just PlayStation fanboys who've never experienced the game before? Read on and we'll get you your answer.

    Continue reading PS Fanboy review: Ninja Gaiden Sigma

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