Archive for December, 2012

Merry "Mario" Christmas!?

December 25, 2012
Updated image! Inspired by Chalgyr’s background image!

Coffee Beans
We have finished unwrapping gifts and the Beans are currently playing with a few of them right now. While things have been slower on the site the last 2 months, I just wanted to take the time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all are having (and/or have had) a great Christmas, and that you get to spend time with family and friends, and perhaps get a gift or two.

Also, here’s a non-Christmas related video (more Halloween) that some of you might enjoy of the Beans; it is Mario related:

Hopefully, you can drink some coffee and maybe even find time for some games today!

Bean 1 and Bean 2. Mario and a Koopa? Kritter? Take your pick. Just have a Merry Christmas!
Original image that was above.

Critics vs. Customers! ZombiU reviews, or zombie reviewers?

December 18, 2012

Coffee Beans
Do you like zombies? Do you not like zombies? Do you feel like a zombie when you wake up, and generally throughout the day?

ZombiU released for (and with) the Wii U on November 18, 2012, basically as a brand new IP. The game was developed and published by Ubisoft, and received an ESRB rating of “MATURE” with “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of. It released with a MSRP of $59.99 in the United States, and can be purchased either via a physical retail copy from stores, or a digital “copy” through the Wii U’s eShop.

With a full month of “professional” critic reviews and customer reviews for ZombiU to look at now, and having completed the game myself, is ZombiU a Wii U title you should play (if, you are of age)? Have Wii U owners agreed with the “professional” reviewers on ZombiU? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

How a zombie smiles, before reading reviews of ZombiU?

The Brew
While reviews for the game were under an embargo, GameSpot “leaked” their ZombiU review in a professional fashion (see: sarcasm) a few days early by publishing it on their site, then removing it. The damage was already done though, and their review score quickly spread around different message boards and video game websites.

The first “professional” review scores for ZombiU started being published on November 18th, the day the Wii U launched and the day the ZombiU review embargo was lifted. ZombiU currently has a “professional” review score average of 77.09%, based on 43 reviews on GameRankings.com. Its MetaCritic.com Metascore is currently 77 out of 100, based on 61 critic reviews.

What about customers though? What have gamers, perhaps like myself that ignored the early reviews, who have played the game thought about it? ZombiU currently has a review score average of 92.77%, based on 36 customer reviews from Amazon.com. The game had a review score average of 88.43%, based on 2,149 gamer reviews directly from the Wii U’s eShop rating.

ZombiU’s eShop ratings.

Note: All of the review scores for ZombiU were captured around 4:00PM EST on December 18, 2012.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I chose to not read most ZombiU reviews, until I finished the game. I didn’t want to see “problems” with the game before playing it for myself, and I was also afraid some of the reviews might have contained spoilers, so I didn’t want to read or see anything that might have given something away in the game.

One average is a C, one an A, depending on the grading scale.

After I completed the game, I decided to read the “reviews” of the game and see what some of the problems were, and what did I discover? Apparently, the problem many early “reviewers” of ZombiU had is they were too busy to finish the game (see: complete it), before slapping a score on it. Apparently, the proper way to “review” games these days is to watch a few trailers, read a few impressions of it, play it for maybe an hour; then decide if you want to go positive or negative in the “review” and stick with it.

What “reviews” of ZombiU contain either outright incorrect information, or show the “reviewers” apparently didn’t finish the game? Here’s my short list, for now. IGN. Nintendo Life. Game Informer. Then there is Game Spot’s reviewer, who went into the game knowing (I guess) it is a survival horror title, but thinks it should have been an action game instead? GameSpot’s reviewer though, and many others, did seem to like ZombiU’s multiplayer options, which Mrs. Coffee and I did try out one evening together.

Here’s a video of Mrs. Coffee and I playing ZombiU’s local multiplayer. Mrs. Coffee was using the Wii U GamePad to place zombies around the map, and I was the survivor running around with the weapons, trying to survive for as long as possible:

Is the audio synced up correctly? It seems off on YouTube, but right in my player. Feedback?

I just don’t understand reviews having incorrect information, as two of them above do, and leaving that incorrect information published. Perhaps the sites were taken over by zombies? I contacted both sites with reviews containing incorrect information. One site didn’t want to address a larger problem with their “review”, and chose to leave incorrect information published; the other site apparently didn’t care their “review” contained bad information and has left it published as well. Then, one of the reviewers hasn’t answered a simple question about the game that he was asked, “How long did it take you to complete it so I have an idea?

ZombiU gives you that information. The game tells you how many hours (and minutes and seconds) it takes you to finish the game, and how many survivors it takes you to finish the game as well. Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo is the only reviewer of ZombiU I am currently aware of that provided the number of hours it took him to complete the game, and the number of survivors it took him to get through it. His review of ZombiU is HERE.

My “Playtime” and survivor count.

As for myself, I completed ZombiU in 24 hours, 40 minutes, and 10 seconds according to my game’s “Playtime”, and it took me 34 survivors to complete the game. I have many ex-survivors wandering the streets, sewers, and general areas of London still, so please add my Nintendo Network ID of Coffees to your Wii U friend list if you want more zombies wandering around your ZombiU game.

Should you play ZombiU, if you are above the recommended age? I recommend giving the game a try. Whether that is buying it, renting it, or borrowing it from a friend (my copy is currently loaned out right now actually). I think you will enjoy the game if you don’t go in expecting a FPS game, or an action game, and understand that the melee combat is designed, I believe, to keep you on your toes. You shouldn’t expect to get 100 hit zombie combos in the game, and understand that ammunition for guns is scarce. Many of my hours playing were spent exploring different areas in the game. There are small alternate paths in a few areas that you may miss if you are just running through the game, and sometimes those areas contain weapons and ammunition, and even story pieces. I believe exploration is encouraged in the game.

So, based on the review averages for the game so far, I side more with the “customer reviews” averages than the “critic reviews”. I think ZombiU is another perfect example of why there should be basic video game review standards on sites, as I have written about in the past.

Questions
Did any of you perhaps not purchase ZombiU, because of the early reviews on the game? If you have played ZombiU, what do you think about the game?

If you have played and beaten ZombiU, how many hours and survivors did it take you? Also, have any of you attempted to beat Survival Mode yet, and possibly completed it?

You can purchase ZombiU below from Amazon.com, and find out how long you will survive!

Read other Critics vs. Customers pieces here and here.

November Brewed – Coffees consumed, games played, & a Wii U game finished!

December 8, 2012


Coffee Beans
November is gone, and with it millions of turkeys. (For a few of those missing millions, start HERE.) If you had a busy November, here are a few posts you may have missed:
     1) Halloween candy laced with the t-Virus making people zombies? Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles Data Report
     2) Vote? Don’t vote? Gamers vote? Everybody votes? Did you vote? Everybody Votes Channel Data Report
     3) Nintendo’s U.S. Wii U TV advertising. Marketing genius, or marketing failure?
     4) Call of Duty? Conduit? GoldenEye? Metroid? What is the most played FPS Wii game in the U.S.?
     5) Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U

While I didn’t post as much in November as recent months, I did get a good bit of gaming done and drank lot of coffee during the month. What coffees did I consume, and which Wii U game did I complete? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

Coffees Consumed
We finished using the Gevalia Espresso Roast very early in November, and enjoyed it while it lasted. November then consisted of us using our coffee grinder a good bit. We ground up some of the Kona Blend Coffee that was another birthday gift to me back in October, from my brother and his family. We have enjoyed the Kona Blend and have enough to last us a little while longer, if we start grinding it up. We finished the month of November using the Maxwell House Master Blend coffee and the Maxwell House Original Roast coffee; both the 200+ coffee cup containers.

Games Played
The skimmer list for games played in November is: Rage of the Gladiator (iOS and WiiWare), Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Bros. 3, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Mutant Mudds, Max & the Magic Marker, Nintendo Land, ZombiU, Trine 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Rage of the Gladiator – If you don’t know, Rage of the Gladiator is now available for your iOS devices and soon to be Android devices as well. The game has a price of just $2.99, and has all of the WiiWare content/bosses included, with some improvements. The game was ported over by a different developer though, Gamelion, while Ghostfire Games remained involved in the process. Ed, from Ghostfire Games, contacted me over the summer and asked if I would be interested in helping test it out, and help some on the community front. Gamelion seems to be very active on the developer community front though, so I was able to more of less help out with the testing of it, and see how it progressed through development.
Mario Kart Wii – Bean 1 randomly requested this one I think in October, and he kept playing it early in November. He has now graduated to Mario Kart DS though, since our New Super Mario Bros. DS cartridge randomly freezes in levels now; which results in a very sad Bean and me randomly finding the game cartridge shoved under his door.
Super Mario Bros. 3 – This was another one Bean 1 and I randomly played early in the month, but not very much of it.
BIT.TRIP RUNNERI. SURVIVED. THE GAUNTLET! So, I started this from Mrs. Coffee’s gift from my birthday, the BIT.TRIP COMPLETE set, and I am in the third world so far (I think the last as well). I’m really enjoying my time with the game, and it is definitely challenging. I can see why some people might not like these type of games, due to the difficulty, but when everything flows together so well, it really is a great experience.
Mutant Mudds – Could I complete the main levels before IncompleteGaming? It wasn’t meant to be! But, I am still enjoying my time with Mutant Mudds, and find myself randomly trying to beat the levels from time-to-time, sometimes with Bean 1 watching. Other times, I’ll be voluntold by him to play the game; even if it’s a delay tactic right before he goes to bed, sometimes I’ll play a level a few times trying to beat it.
Max & the Magic Marker – This was one I hadn’t played in a long while, but Bean 1 found it on our Wii’s SD card and fired it up one day. I showed him a few things in the game, and he actually got the hang of drawing/erasing pretty quickly, and was soon off running around the level having fun. I didn’t play it much, but it did make me hope that we get a Max & the Magic Marker HD sequel on the Wii U now. Not only could the game still support Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls, but I think using the GamePad to draw in the game would work very well also.
LittleBigPlanet – This is another game, like Super Mario Bros. 3, that I find myself playing most often with Bean 1 watching and/or being voluntold by him to beat a level in it. We have made pretty good progress in the game, but Bean 1 has discovered how to find the user created levels, and watching him run around in the Nintendo-Mario themed levels is a lot of fun, and some of them are incredibly well designed.
Fat Princess – This is a demo I had downloaded on our PS3 for a long time, but never played it. Bean 1 randomly requested I give the game a try one night, so I did having no clue what to expect. After not winning the first night, and just running around the battle losing, I turned it off defeated. After figuring out what to do the second night, winning became a lot more achievable, and I can see why this game was pretty popular when it first released. If you haven’t played Fat Princess, you should be able to still find a demo for it on the PSN store, and give it a try.

Nintendo Land – I briefly talked about my time with Nintendo Land in my Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U piece, and I have since played it a bit more. I actually put more time into Metroid Blast and The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. I am really enjoying Metroid Blast, and The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest is surprisingly better than I was expecting using the GamePad controls. Bean 1 and I completed one of the Battle Quest missions together, with me using the Wii Remote+ and him using the GamePad. So, while he figured out the GamePad controls I was able to swing away and help keep us going for a bit. It was actually a lot of fun, and we completed the mission we did together.
ZombiU – This is the Wii U game I completed in November. It kept me coming back to it, night after night. If you can go into ZombiU not expecting it to be perfect, but expecting a different experience, I think you will enjoy it. Go in thinking survival horror, even with a sense of survival terror thrown in; and don’t go in thinking you will be burning down rows-after-rows of zombies with guns, and don’t think your melee weapon will be wielded like a lightsaber (for SHAME!) delivering you up 1,000 hit combos. I really don’t understand the mindset of some of the early reviewers on ZombiU, complaining about things like the melee combat in the game, since the melee combat is one of the very things that helps deliver the mood of the game. It’s as if the “reviewers” were expecting a guns-a-blazing game, grabbed the wrong game and perhaps realized they got ZombiU only after getting home. Reading some of the reviews appears they were expecting to get Resident Evil 5 or 6 action based game instead; I just don’t know. Also, many of the early reviews have incorrect information (entire paragraphs in some), and leave out alternate, relative, information (if you tell me the game has “Low” replay value, but fail to tell me if you beat it, how many hours it took you, or how many survivors, I can’t really judge much on the replay value). One even complained about scanning with the GamePad via motion controls, but FAILED to mention an alternative default control option for doing the same exact action in the game.
Trine 2Is this The Princess Bride of video games? It’s told via storybook like the movie was, and the game definitely has a good assortment of characters from the start. The sense of humor in the writing is there so far, and the way the characters interact with each through dialogue randomly as you progress is a nice touch as well. Have I said how incredible the game looks? I really hope that NSMBU looks this good, or there might be a “Caffeinated Thoughts! Nintendo is LAZY!” post incoming. I actually now pretty much use only the GamePad when I’m playing Trine 2, not even looking at the TV. Perhaps once we get a new HD TV, that will be remedied? The GamePad play is really great though, and very convenient for lounge playing late at night on the couch. I haven’t tried the online yet, but Bean 1 and I did complete the first section together, and I have since made pretty good progress in the game (I think), playing through about one section each night this last week. If any of you have Trine 2 on the Wii U and want to play it online, feel free to add my NNID to your Wii U friend list: Coffees.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – That’s right. The future is black coffee, and Black Ops 2. I have been playing Black Ops 2 on the Wii U, though most of my time with it in November was the very last night of the month. I have played a bit of the single-player campaign and the multiplayer, and the streaming of the game to the GamePad is done very well. Now, I will say for some reason the game doesn’t use up the entire GamePad screen display when it streams to it. I’m not sure why it displays the way it does, but it works very well nonetheless, and I found myself using the GamePad streaming feature quite often my first night with the game.

Questions
Did any of you get a Wii U in November, and if so, what games have you been enjoying on it? If you didn’t get a Wii U, but have been gaming in general, are there any games you would recommend that you played during the month?

Again, if you missed my “Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U” piece, my Wii U ID is Coffees, and feel free to add that to your Wii U friend list, and I’ll add you back!

As always, if you have any questions about the coffees I consumed or games I played during the month, feel free to leave a question below or send me an email to: Scott(@)CoffeeWithGames.com.