Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn's 1.10 patch changes EVERYTHING.

Praise Allmother.  This is (was, I guess) literally my biggest complaint about the game.

Check out the trailer for Tale of Ronin.

Now... this is being made by Dead Mage - the folks who still haven't finished Children of Morta and have heavily suggested it won't actually honor its second fucking stretch goal (Vita) - so I'm more than a bit suspicious.  But... samurai... and an involved story...


Alrighty. I care about Battle Princes Madelyn now.

The Battle Princess Madelyn Kickstarter has been kickin' around my social media for the past week - it's kind of a Super Ghosts N Goblins game, but with a girl knight instead of a boy knight - which is cool!  But I can't bring myself to care about Kickstarted indies in a post-Hyper-Light-Drifter world.  In a world where the Children of Morta folks haven't said a word about the platform in like a year.

Fuck those people.

That said... Battle Princess Madelyn has doubled its initial goal of sixty grand.  It has twenty-six days to go in its campaign, and its $150,000 stretch goal is... a Vita port.

...rather have Hyper Light Drifter and Children of Morta but... siiigh...  I mean, I've been burned by battle princesses before.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rumors spontaneously surface about Momodori: RUtM on Vita!

How?  Why and wherefor?

(Playism hearted that last one too.)  So here's hopin'!  A VITA PORT IS BEING CONSIDERED.  Oh, maybe it's worth noting - Playism is Momodora's publisher.

Maybe it's also worth noting - I did not hold my breath for the Vita port.  I checked it out on PS4 because I'm a lying liar.  Who lies.  And lays, when there is a couch of reasonable length available.

And I like it!  Upon completion, I may actually come to love it, but for now I just find it lovely - comfortable and comforting.

Your combat abilities are pretty darned limited, for the most part.  Basically, there are four attacks (and that's reaching a bit!)  You can slash at enemies with the divine maple leaf that is your main weapon - you have (1) a three-hit combo, where the final strike is importantly far more damaging than the two that precede it, (2) a single aerial slash of the leaf that you can execute while airborne that deals heavy damage, (3) shots from your bow, which don't do nearly as much damage as you'd like, and (4) a charged shot from the bow.

The charged bow shots are actually kind of interesting - if you charge it a bit, it does more damage.  If you charge it to max, it will fire three stronger arrows in a gentle spread, and - after unlocking a certain ability - with further charge, you'll fire a perfectly-accurate torrent of arrows in a straight line.  The default control scheme puts the arrow button on R1 - which seems weird, at first - but once you begin charging the powerful arrow shots, if you hold the button down, you can keep it charged up while jumping, dodging or attacking with the leaf (you'll get knocked out of the charge if you take damage).

This allows you to create powerful if simple combos where you'll like charge your shot, jump (X) in with an aerial slash of the leaf (square), go into the three-hit combo and end it with a WHAM from the bow.  It's... satisfying.

At the same time, it doesn't remind me much of my favorite Metroidvanias.  In terms of control and combat dynamics, it feels more like (the similarly retro) Shovel Knight.  It's simple and sharp, and is okay with killing you.  Mechanically, in the hand, it feels more like the simplicity of Mega Man than the supple combat and locomotion of Guacamelee or Hollow Knight - it's just way, way better-looking than Mega Man or Shovel Knight.

Aesthetically - and this is gonna' sound crazy - what it brings to mind most of all is actually Bloodborne.  You explore an ancient, cursed city that is largely devoid of sentient life - gothic and stately here, beautiful and overgrown there - and the citizenry you meet seem to have abandoned hope that things will ever improve.  There's something... sad and mournful about it.

So - the action is simple, but tight, and satisfying.  The presentation is lovely - excellent music, too - and the game, overall, is some rather pleasant retro comfort food.  It's a little light on mechanics, I'd say - but that simplicity is also part of its comfort and appeal.

I can dig it.  And I want this on my fucking Vita.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A cool article about Guerrilla Games and their office culture.

This article popped up on Twitter today, and I loved it.  First off, it gives the name of the Fallout: New Vegas writer I couldn't remember on the podcast - John Gonzalez, who lead that writer's team, and the one on Shadow of Mordor (meh!) - second, I had no idea Guerrilla had such an open, creatively-minded culture.  Third, I love this paragraph about how they ended up producing (what I determine to be) the most successfully-feminist triple-A video game I've ever played.  And the answer is exactly what you'd hope:
"Aloy was always a woman right from the initial concept. While no one at Guerrilla expresses any kind of agenda when it comes to gender equality, as technical lead Michiel van der Leeuw notes, there was an awareness that female leads in games are often sexualized – a precedent the team had no intention of following. "She had to be agile and athletic. She's an outcast but she's also brought up lovingly," he says. "There were so many elements we had to balance to make her the person she is. I like that people have picked up on her teeth being a bit crooked, her face being asymmetrical – I think people pick up on her imperfections because she's a real person.""
The article gives a really excellent impression of Guerrilla, perhaps most notably from Horizon writer - and new Guerrilla hire - Gonzalez, who moved from the States to Amsterdam to join the team, and now refuses to leave.
"I've seen a lot of things and experienced a lot of things in the industry that would lead you to become cynical and disillusioned. I don't find that to be the case here. I feel like the level of ambition here is really high, but I don't feel like the ambition is high for external reasons, like wanting to be masters of the universe. It's high because people really care about the quality of the product. I just feel like I don't want to step away from that, you know? This is a place where I can improve myself, can bring myself to the work. I want to stay as close to that as I can."
A nice example of this is the ants on the trees.  You may have seen a GIF or video of the leafcutter ants you'll find on trees, here and there - it was kind of a big deal when the game first launched.

Y'know why those are in the game?
"It's a level of attention to detail most won't notice, but one Guerrilla appears to do without consideration – even to the point where animators took time out of their day to render ants climbing up tree trunks, all of their own volition. ... "They felt like the environment needed something to make it come alive.""
So yeah, check the article.  S'good stuff.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chamberlain & Chance 63 : Schadenfreude?

Wiiith Alex!  Alex thisChamberlain that podcast on iTunes

Chamberlain and Chance - Schadenfreude?


  • Movie talk!  Logan is pretty darned good and Kong is really kinda' not.  But that Baby Driver looks pretty hot, right?
  • Chance is in full Mark of the Ninja/Don't Starve/Dying Light/Overwatch/Darkest Dungeon mode with Horizon: Zero Dawn.  
  • Hollow Knight is pretty sweet, you should check it out!
  • And how long is it gonna' take for Alex to fix is damned PS4?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Also I wanna' drop the Baby Driver trailer I saw today in there.  I think it's better than the other one that's floatin' around - or at least I like the action shots more. 

And here's the one that's on all the western sites lately: 

Could be hot shit!  Edgar Wright, baby.

GOD YES - Horizon: Zero Dawn story expansion incoming.

NeoGAF's SunhiLegend is indeed a legend.
None of Sunhi's GIFs are on a Pro, by the way.
This is on a normal PS4.

Two weeks after launch, Sony announced today that Horizon: Zero Dawn has sold-through - that is, physical copies actually bought by a consumer (not just shipped to stores), along with digital sales - 2.6 million copies.  Which is a pretty goddamned incredible launch for a new, single-player IP.

So we got a couple of statements - here's (PlayStation boss) Shawn Layden's:
"We knew Horizon Zero Dawn was going to be something special, so to see the incredible critical reaction to a brand new game world translate into this level of sales is really gratifying.  Guerrilla has created a game that is nothing short of exceptional, and the reaction we have seen from fans--from hours and hours of gameplay streaming to endless photo sharing--shows just how impactful it has been."
Here's Guerrilla managing director Herman Hulst:
"We're thrilled that Horizon Zero Dawn has been embraced by critics and players alike. Developing the game was a labor of love, so it's extremely satisfying to see that it elicits the same passion and enthusiasm from the gaming public that we felt during its development."
It really does feel like a labor of love, for the record.  This is like when EA Redwood Shores (Sims ports and Simpsons licensed crap) went and made the game they wanted to make, and produced Dead Space, or when Sucker Punch made inFamous.  I heart it very much.

But anyway - the most important part is buried in the GameSpot article the above quotes come from, towards the bottom.  Specifically,
Hulst also confirmed that Guerrilla is already working on a story expansion for Horizon Zero Dawn, though no other details about this were disclosed.

CollegeHumor's realistic Switch commercial.

Admit it, Chamberlain.  ADMIT IT!!!

(I'll admit it - my Vita and I are very intimate.)

Did you know that a Vita's screen is 960 by 544 pixels?  And the above image is exactly that?  And did you know that rabbits can be trained to use litter boxes?  Does that blow your mind?


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Music! Souuuuuul.

I tried to expand my musical horizons to... popular music.  I have no idea what's being played on the radio, because I never listen to it.  There could be awesome new music out there, but I'll never know because I don't go looking for it.  I just end up stumbling across stuff I love in twice-yearly Blues trawls, or I'll hear a song over the opening credits of a movie and get super-into a new band.  

So I listened to the UK top 40 and... well, it turns out I don't like popular music very much.  The only one I kinda' dug was Big For Your Boots by Stormzy.  And it's weird how... um... uniform it all was.  Like in the top 40 on the UK charts there are like a half-dozen tracks by Ed Sheeran and four from The Chainsmokers.  I'd never heard an Ed Sheeran song before, and I'm... I'm okay with maintaining my previous Sheeran frequency. 

So my iPod has been rotating, at work lately, through Saint Motel (oh, also, another one of their good ones is Slow Motion), a mix playlist of modern, weird and classic stuff called "A ! Fuckyeah!" and a 4-disc set called "Soul! The Very Best of Motown."

I always scroll about halfway through the playlist, and stop on Shop Around by The Miracles, which you may remember from that Overwatch clip show where I kill a Widow over and over.  

And then...

(There is, naturally, some overlap between the best Soul songs of all time and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.)

Man, Smokey Robinson sings about being sad while putting on a brave face a lot, doesn't he?

Gettin' a little disco there, Thelma. 

There we go.  Chin up, Smokey!