Category Archives: PS3 Games

An Early X-Chromosome Scope On E3 News

If you read my blog at all, you know I’m always looking for the female POV in games. I can’t play a male for very long unless he’s a handsome Mafia man. This post is an overview of E3 news from a female point of view, looking mainly at Sony, Microsoft, and Bethesda.

Sony’s opening presentation seemed the most fem-RPG friendly (I didn’t get through all of Nintendo or Microsoft). Sony announced Assassin’s Creed: Liberation for the Vita, which features a non-Caucasian heroine (video). She looks awesome. The mainline Assassin’s Creed 3 for PS3 continues to be a staunch bastion of balls. His name is Connor, if I recall. Are we kitties interested in buying Vitas? Not at all.

Sony also announced the next super-immersive, storytelling-type game by Quantic Dream (makers of Heavy Rain). The title is called Beyond. I was entranced by Heavy Rain and highly impressed by its quality of writing and graphics, which summed to a memorable and unequaled level of immersion on the PS3, so I’m excited by this title. Even better, Ellen Page will be voicing the role of the female protagonist.

I have only two concerns about Beyond. One is the paranormal theme. I wonder if non-realistic cups flying and ghosty things happening will actually pull the player out of the the “Quantic Dream” and make them feel like they are in just another horror game, or will everything combine well to make a whole that is even more amazing? Also, will a female protagonist kill any chance of romance, or will male players be expected to hit up a boyfriend? If this game seriously looks at death and completely neglects the importance of love, then it may fail for me. Still it will be a must-see.

The Microsoft games involved a laundry list of studs and uber-dudes. The dudettes mostly boiled down to iconic girl-games like Tomb Raider (a game on all platforms by the way, so PC and PS3 should be covered) and Fable, The Journey, both of which are supposedly due to release this fall. The new Fable will be more Kinect-centric. I’ve been stalled halfway through Tomb Raider: Underworld for about a year, but I really like the direction Crystal Dynamics is taking this game.

Namely, the devs are (maybe influenced by other games like Uncharted) focusing more on conveying emotion in a survivalist situation, which is great! If the player cares about the protagonist and connects at a human level, then the player actually wants to win/get revenge/etc. Tomb Raider: Underworld doesn’t seem to have that. It has decent adventures and puzzles with beautiful graphics on the PC. The devs assumed that I knew and cared more than I did about the overarching storyline, or maybe they thought climbing rocks and walking tightropes would be enough.

The slow-motion heartbeat effect where you have a split second to take an action also looks kind of thrilling in the new Tomb Raider. E3 video. I’m not so thrilled though about the early announcement of DLC XBOX-exclusive blah blah however–*head explode*. Since my head has now exploded, I have no cerebral matter with which to throw a jab at the bonus-bloated tiers of Riders Of Rohan pre-order packages heretofore announced. Refer to the anti-DLC rap video I posted.

Of the games being previewed at E3, I’m most excited about Elder Scrolls Online. This excitement is not rational. I’ve seen nothing yet that merits giddy vibes. In fact, the Elder Scrolls devs themselves seem suspiciously cautious. Or maybe they seem cautiously suspicious. It’s hard to say. They are describing a simplified skillbar and high level of accessibility, which means that the game is being made mainly to rake fat stacks (of course) and not to cater to serious MMO fans. Massively posted a few new videos and an interview today with Paul Sage.

Skip that first short video. Dear Bethesda video guy, why do you make videos where the start and end credits are 25% of the video?

CAT GIRLS. Do I have your attention? SWTOR is bringing an always-on free trial in July as well as a new Cathar species according to their E3 preview video on Massively. Yes, this is another SWTOR species with the same human body but a different-looking head. Cathar women are known as good slaves, so that could make for interesting (and furry) roleplay. Speaking of roleplay, the HK (“handsome kissable”) assassin droid is already rumored to do gay romance.

I made up that rumor thing–I think. That’s how rumors start, right? Love is better than war, people. Dizzy up that Wookie at the cantina. Too much violence in society.

Peace.

Further Reading:

A closer look at Microsoft’s E3 press conference lineup.
Beyond: Two Souls gameplay video on NUR.
More on the super-simple Elder Scrolls skill bar.

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Using A PS3 Controller For An MMO (Rift, LotRO, etc.)

Editor’s Note 12/18/12: this guide is being converted to a guide that focuses Rift instead of LotRO, so may have some glitches until I have time to test and fix it.

Image Did Not LoadPvP and rift grinding in Rift can feel like C-clamps on the finger joints. A console controller might provide some relief–or so I hypothesized as I ran joyful raids all day in Black Gardens. Unfortunately, there is a lot of poorly presented information on the internet on the topic of using a PS3 controller with a PC. The old Youtube video that everyone seems to link disabled my mouse if I followed the instructions exactly, and if I tried to improvise, the controller wasn’t detected.

Here are the basic simple steps that finally worked for me–with specific notes on the things that tripped me up. This document means I won’t have to unravel this again when I get a new NPC, and it will save me from facepalm damage caused by watching Youtube videos. That said, I don’t claim to be an expert. I just want to record what worked–in detail–because it was a pain. I had zero success when I first tried doing this last year. NEW: I’ve also added a mapping template assistant (see links at end of post) to record your buttons in a more readable format to help get the skills set up.

(Note that if you’re a Microsoft drone using an XBOX controller, you should have no problems at all because that’s how Microsoft rolls, you know. (Teasing. A little bit.) So you can just install your controller via Microsoft’s software and official site help, and then skip to step 6 like a normal human being.)

Step 1 For Installing A PS3 Controller: Go to MotionInJoy and download the latest version of the program for your system. If you’re like me and can’t find any link at all, disable your AdBlock or download the program elsewhere. (edit Oct. 2012- avoid the big button-links that are actually other ‘featured’ programs. The links are now hidden in the version text.) Install. The software may auto-update when you first start it.

Step 2: Here are the instructions for the latest version of MotionInJoy to install it. If you’re on Vista, your install will not happen like this, and if you close the program, it will mysteriously refuse to start again. Headaches will continue until you right click and run as administrator.

Step 3: Plug in your controller to a USB port. The lights should blink. You can’t push the PS3 button, nor should you need to. Start the MotionInJoy program. It will not recognize your controller yet.

Step 4: With MotionInJoy open, click the Driver Manager tab at the top. Click the checkbox for your device (should be only one choice at this point, if not, unplug the controller and see which option disappears.) Click the Load Driver button. After some work, the panel will spit out an output indicating success. You may get a popup warning about publisher verification, but according to the MIJ site, this has been taken care of at the time of this writing.

Step 5: Click back to the Profile tab. On Windows Vista, unlike the official instructions, the program still did not recognize my controller, but I noticed a Windows icon on the taskbar asking me to restart to complete updates. (Windows 7 did not have this issue.) After restarting the computer, I opened MIJ and at that point my controller was finally recognized. The lights on the controller showed it was auto-charging (it will be steady red if already charged), and I praised the goddesses for having mercy on my soul. Select the Playstation 3 radio button and click the enable button at the bottom.

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You can also vibrate yourself and do controller calibration through the controller panel button at the bottom. I did not need to do anything with this. The fact that all the PS3 controller buttons are being read should be good enough for your controller-to-key program to remap those buttons into being interpreted by the game program. If your computer is equipped with Bluetooth, try the official instructions for pairing your controller via the MIJ tool.

Step 6: Now you’re ready to download a program that reads the controller, interprets it, and sends the input to the game program that would ordinarily not take this input (i.e. LotRO). The two main choices appear to be Xpadder (shareware no choice) and JoyToKey. I will not link the commercial XPadder site because WordPress doesn’t like me doing that with their generous free hosting.

Step 7: Click “create” at the bottom left corner of the JoyToKey window to create a profile and name it. At this point, the list of Joystick options on the right should be registering your PS3 controller. Press buttons and watch to see what lines highlight. Double click the line with your mouse to open up the config window for that line. Enter the keyboard key to correspond with the controller button.

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My initial setup is to use the L2 button for Cntrl modifier and the R2 button for Alt modifier on 8 buttons for a total of 24 possibilities. Moving your character with the left stick on the default setting is awkward. Go to the Options tab and increase the “threshold for input” to like 25-40%. This improves control.

Also in Options, under the “Show/Hide buttons menu, I enabled “Show all axes (8 way + POV +2). You will then see more Axis options in the Joystick 1 configurations, which will let you configure your right stick for mouse look. As an example, now double click Axis6(>0) and select the “mouse” tab option at the top. Click the “right mouse click” box (or left click, depending on your mouse setup) and change the vertical slider to -30. Do the same with Axis6(<0), but set the vertical movement slider to +30.

Now when you move the right stick, it will emulate you right clicking and dragging–i.e. looking up and down. I was personally not able to get key commands for pageup/pagedown type camera control to work. This mouse solution is fine as long as your mouse pointer is not hovering over a skill, which will actually cause a click on it instead of a mouselook drag.

Step 8: Now click the “preferences” at the top of the JoyToKey window and select “Associate Config Files With Applications.” You’ll need to click Add, enter a name for the app (i.e. Rift Client), the name of the config file you just created (i.e. Rift config 1), and the path to your Rift.exe. (Editor’s note: I have actually tested this in both Rift and LotRO, and this preference is not necessary. The controller will simply work on whatever window is in focus without setting an association.)

Step 9: Log in. You should magically be good to go. If you’re not, then I can only assure you that I know how you feel. If you ask in comments, it’s possible that I or someone else can help. Of course, if anyone has any brilliant insights or clarifications to help with this topic, I’d love to hear it.

Disclaimer: I have used this successfully now on two different computers, with no bad effects or viruses, with both systems scanned and monitored by Norton. I am not affiliated at all with this software, and cannot be held responsible for any damage that may occur for any reason. This blog post is just a help doc. As of fall 2012, MotionInJoy makes an internet connection mandatory so it can open ads and even a browser window on you. This is obviously plain bad. I am considering an XBOX controller, but for now I’ve disabled javascript and graphics on default-browser Firefox and have begun to use Chrome as my go-to. I’m then at less risk for applications opening my default browser to something unwanted.

Further reading:

NEW: I have created a printable template for mapping out your PS3 controller to a PC game. Download the template ZIP file and open the BMP (windows bitmap) image in Windows Paint or other graphics program. It should be ready to print on one 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Here is a sample of using the template to remember where all of your skills are mapped, in this case for a LotRO Warden.

Using MotionInJoy (same link as above)
More guidance on using MotionInJoy.
Revora.net, more on JoyToKey


Wanted: Red Dead Redhead

We played Red Dead Redemption last night after renting it on Gamefly. My premise was as follows. I enjoyed Mafia 2 a lot, despite being forced to play a male protagonist. I enjoyed GTA IV for a while, also despite the male protagonist. RDD is a highly acclaimed, very highly rated game by Rockstar. I expected to enjoy RDD. RDD is a beautiful, classy, and very playable RPG, but I was wrong about my preconceptions that I would enjoy it.

What was wrong with RDD, causing Yolari and I to give up and send it back after only a few hours? It was the very slow pace at which the story evolved, mainly. We just couldn’t get to a classic hook that made us want to keep playing, like Mafia 2 offered us. We needed something substantial and soon to offset the fact that from the get-go, we had no connection to John Marston. We really didn’t even like him.

While Mafia 2 allowed the protagonist some narrative cut scenes to explain things, we got nothing like that in RDD, only mysteries unexplained. Yolari was particularly frustrated with controlling the horse. I was a little dismayed that I couldn’t stop and chat with people, which seems like a standard in an open-world RPG. I loved chatting with Easy Pete on the porch of the saloon in Fallout: New Vegas. He didn’t have a quest for me, but he made me feel like a welcome stranger. I didn’t feel welcome in RDD.

Why does Rockstar insist on making these male protagonist only games, when just about every other big name modern RPG maker is on board with the equality program? (CD Projekt of The Witcher is another exception.) Apparently Rockstar thinks that because the player is controlling a bad-ass dude with a gun and a big knife on his hip, that’s all they need to interest a player immediately. In this case they were wrong. If RDD had sported a bad-ass girl with a gun and a knife though, I admit my attention span would have been much higher. Who knows. I might have even purchased the game. As it was, no connection at all with the character, no hook for the story, no background, no clue, no emotional connection or dramatic moments that made me really feel what John Marston was feeling.

Contrast the opening experience in RDD to Mafia 2. No contest whatsoever. The story and character got me, despite my differences with him. There is probably no contest either in terms of profit between RDD and Mafia 2, and that’s a shame. I bought GTA IV for $20 last year and I enjoyed it for a while, but that’s the last dollar I give to Rockstar until they end their male chauvinist ways. And it’s not like they can’t do it. THQ did it for Saint’s Row 2. Y’all get with the program, Rockstar, ya hear?


Mafia 2: Wanna Be A Playboy?

This game is classy. It’s slick, beautiful, with the highest possible production values. It might be the best-looking game I’ve seen on the PS3, but that’s just a part of the game’s beauty. The details are amazing, especially in the interiors. The textures are excellent, which is strange for the PS3, since they are usually washed out. A lot of controversy surrounds the game’s use of racism. You know what? Racism really happened in the nineteen-forties. I think it’s sad that these reviewers would champion pap for grown-up kids like Grand Theft Auto over this. I mean, on the radio in Mafia 2 you hear war reports that refer to real historical things like concentration camps and mass graves. In GTA you hear a lot of dumb jokes about I don’t know what.

Mafia 2 has integrity. It has realism. It’s uncompromising, and a breath of fresh air compared to games nowadays that sell out and serve up dumb kid stuff to sell copies by appealing to the lowest forms of immaturity. In a deal with Playboy magazine, Mafia 2 incorporates real collectible playboy pictures in the game. Does this lack class? Well, these pictures didn’t do all that much for me, but I admit Continue reading