Monday, September 1, 2014

The SCEJA Persona 5 trailer.

Cutscene!



Glasses!  Turtlenecks!  Crowds.

The SCEJA Press Conference 2014.

Alright.  It's one AM and I'm still awake.  Wow me, Japan.


Having the Vita logo front & center with the PS4's a good start. C'monnn Gravity Rush 2!

Way of the Samurai for Vita!  Wooo! A new Phantasy Star for Vita from Tri-Ace!  (They made Resonance of Fate).  Phantasy Star Nova. Interested.

W-Force... a new Dynasty Warriors... Gundam Breaker 2...

Something from Marvelous AQL...  Luminous Arc Infinity - a lovely-looking RPG... Nice.  Man this translator sucks.

...some romance visual novel games aimed at lady gamers...

Light pink white Vita slim coming Nov 13th in Japan.  Wow.  A pink Vita.  Way to reach out to female gamers in a meaningful way, Sony.



Themes are coming to Vita - backgrounds, music and icons.... sizzle reel for Vita... which includes Farm Simulator.  Okay.

Destiny will be PlayStation-exclusive in Japan.

Ubisoft is up to talk up AC Unity and The Crew.  The translator pronounces it You-Be-Eye Soft. Heh.

The Crew's Japanese beta test will be exclusive to PS4.  ...Far Cry 4 trailer - it's the opening we saw earlier this year.

They're showing a Witcher III' trailer.  I wonder if folks in Japan always feel a little burnt that their events never get new trailers for western games?

Shu Yoshida's up!


An SCE Studio Japan title for PS4... A new Hot Shots?  Yes, a new Hot Shots Golf.  Very realistic environments.

How he's talkin' about LBP3... again, it's basically everything we heard at E3.  He shows a trailer for The Tomorrow Children and The Order: 1886... now he's going to talk about "That Game..." which turns out to be Bloodborne.  Holy shit, release date!



Bloodborne will launch on February 5th (in Japan - no word on a western release date.)

Now they're talking about Morpheus.... Kingdom Under Fire II... Let It Die... wow.  Tons of gameplay we didn't see at E3. Now it looks like Earth Defence Force.  EDF 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair. 

A medieval RTS title called Bladestorm - huge battles with tons of characters, good graphics. Now Nippon Ichi... Disgaea 5, coming to PS4 in 2015.

Kojima's come out to talk about the P.T. teaser for Silent Hills. Instead of just talking about Silent Hills.


Now Guillermo del Toro's talkin' about what a brilliant storyteller Kojima is.  Okay.

Now we're seeing some footage from the Resident Evil up-port.  Honestly, why they wouldn't at least make it look as good as RE5 is beyond me.

Whup - a dude from Sega.  If this isn't RoF or Valkyria Chronicles I'm gonna' be disappointed.

It's Yakuza Zero.  Okay.  A pretty decent-looking in-engine cutscene.  Then he talks about accurately recreating 1988 for a while.  A long while.  Now Namco Bandai's up.

For Vita & PS4... now I'm curious... God Eater 2: Rage Burst.  And now... this:


Dragonball Xenoverse coming to PS4.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 for PS4.

A new Gundam game...

Dead or Alive 5...

Sengan Karua: Estival Versus for PS4.... a new volcaloid game...

Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force...

A new Ys game for PS4!  Doesn't look too bad.  I mean, it's a shitty stream, but it looks like a decent-looking PS3 game.  That's nice.  And coming to Vita.  nice.

Holy shit PERSONA 5 TRAILER!!!



It's all a cinematic... modern setting, dude with glasses and turtleneck... Persona 5 is coming to PS4 in 2015.  PS4!  Wooo!


Themes are finally coming to PS4.  Thank goodness.

And now it's a big sizzle reel... hm, I didn't know Guilty Gear Xrd was coming to PS4...

Finally, something from Square...  Is this frickin' Dragon Quest Dynasty Warriors?  Pretty much, yeah.

Dragon Quest Heroes, coming 2015 to PS4.   And I am well past spent.  I shoulda' been asleep three hours ago, so g'night.

Annnd a white PS4 is coming.


Whelp,

  • Bloodborne's Japan release date is February 5th, 2015.  Way sooner than I expected.
  • Phantasy Star Nova for Vita
  • Way of the Samurai for Vita
  • Ys something for PS4 and Vita
  • Persona 5 on PS4
G'night. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Music! WeAreCastor.

WeAreCastor's Bon Voyage BandCamp page.

I was browsing SoundCloud the other day, and someone I was listening to liked a song whose artist liked Devil Don't Dance by WeAreCastor.  I love it - a nice blend of soul/funk and modern stuff - but WeAreCastor aren't a band that can be pidgeonholed into a single genre.  Each song, often, has a very different sound than the last - and it's seriously worth a listen.



Bright Lights goes on a bit long - one kinda' feels it it should end around the four-minute mark but it's still some chipper, upbeat stuff.



Just in case you missed Devil Don't Dance...



The whole album, Bon Voyage, is one of those albums you can turn on and just walk away from.  It's either very good or excellent in turn, and after it my iPod rolls directly in to Invade & Disco, the band's follow-up to Bon Voyage which dropped six months later.



WeAreCastor.  Check 'em out.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pledging love through the giving of stuffs.


Kayla and I will have our three-year anniversary this month.  I am, oddly, not one of those guys who forgets anniversaries (Kayla tells her work friends "nerds do it best.")  Exactly one month after our first kiss, we went out for a nice dinner - and the month after, and the month after.  It's kind of like a standing date night, on the months that we both don't just forget (which happens - but we both forget, so I don't feel guilty).  But the yearly anniversary - that's a thing.

These things usually begin with Kayla telling me she doesn't want me to buy her anything.  In the subsequent 0.03 seconds, the tiny General Ackbar who lives in my brain sounds his sage warning, and I inform her that, "tough noogies, you're getting a present whether you like one or not, and if you don't tell me what you want I'm going to go out and buy you lawn darts or something."

(Disclaimer: I would never buy her lawn darts.)

But the threat of lawn darts carries weight, and she settled on the idea of a very nice watch.  I can get that type of desire.  I, for example, have a very nice watch.

The Rapport of London PW91 double-hunter case skeletonized pocket watch.  In silver.

She told me about the watch she liked, but didn't want me to go get it because she deemed it too expensive.  I twisted her arm a bit, and she conceded that I could get her the watch, but we might as well wait until closer to our anniversary.

"What if it's gone by then?"

"I'll just get a different watch."

"But Kayla... is this the watch you want?  Is this the watch and no other watch will make you quite as happy?"

"Yeah..."

"Okay, let's go get The Watch."

The Watch, for Kayla, was a jewel-encrusted number from Michael Kors.  We went into the store and she found the precise watch she was looking for.  We then poked around and I pointed to a very elegant thing in silver, saying something like "that one's nice."

"That is nice!" she agreed.  She got the sales lady to pull it out of the case.  She tried it on. "It's too expensive," she said for the zillionth time.

"Kayla, is this The Watch?"

"Yeah..."

"Then I don't care how much it costs."


Kayla's watch is the Michael Kors MK3190 Womens Watch, in silver.  It cost around three hundred dollars, and was worth every penny, as she loves it.  Over the subsequent few months, she's been bugging me about what I want for our anniversary.

The obvious answer, at first, was "preordered games," but - while I'll be in desperate need of gaming money come September - that didn't feel like an appropriate anniversary gift.  For one of the hundred+ games in my library to be Our Third Year Anniversary Present.

She told me she'd considered that ridiculous(ly awesome) Kratos figure, but reckoned it'd be too much.  I agreed.

I poked around the 'net for a bit.  We considered some hoodies from Redbubble - I've still kinda' got my heart set on this Lollipop Chainsaw number and a green hoddie with this on it:

C'mon.  That's awesome.

And, as near as last week, we were this close to ordering a pair of hoodies which feature the logo and Tiki key art from Dragon's Crown and some gorgeously-simplified Momohime key art from Muramasa.


...but hoodies wear out, y'know?  It's unlikely I'll be able to point to these hoodies in five years and say "that's what Kayla got me for our third anniversary."  ...but still... Dragon's Crown hoodie...

...give me a minute... annnd ordered.  Okay, where were we?

Right!  David deserves giftage!

Last week, Kayla observed me playing Diablo III, and made mention that it looks like something she'd like to play.  Then she made mention that she could go out and get me a second Dualshock 4 as "part" of my present, and we could play co-op.  Well hell yeah.


So, as far as I'm concerned, half my gift is a girlfriend who'll play Diablo with me.  That's a precious thing, right there.  The rest of the gift... couldn't be shipped to Canada.

Let me begin by saying I have three high-end figures of video game girls.  More if you count (what I consider to be) low-end Play Arts Kai figures.  I told myself I would limit myself to characters from Vanillaware video games, which puts a huge stopper on things.

...though I'll admit, if someone showed me a really adorable Yotsuba figure, I wouldn't be able to pass it up.  And I'm regularly tempted by the Kill la Kill stuff.

As Kayla and I passed through hobby shops, perfecting our collection of Funko Pop Adventure Time figures, I always find myself pouring over any version of Harley Quinn I could find.  (I also stared for a good long while at the Play Arts Kai FemShep, but I swore them off).

I love Harley Quinn, though.  Specifically, I love her in the Arkham video games, and in the Warner Bros. animated series from back in the day.  Harley was actually created for the animated series, and she was so successful they ended up making her a permanent part of the Batman mythos.

For me, the animated Harley is Harley.  She is the archetype.  My Harley isn't some demented cheerleader-slash-nurse in a mini skirt and a bustier, a'la Arkham.  She's the Harley of Mad Love.  There's a lightness, a crushed sweetness to Harley Quinn - like the Joker might have if you got the sense he did all the murders and acid traps for the sake of love.

My Harley Quinn is Paul Dini's - and she looks like this:

The DC Collectibles Batman Black & White: Harley Quinn Statue by Bruce Timm.

It's from a Black & White series of Batman figures that go to artists who worked on the series at one point or another, getting their own spin on the major personalities.  There are literally, like, a dozen vastly different Batmans in the Black & White series - but I think this is the only Harley.

The collectibles shop we frequent has all those Bat-men, but they've never had Harley.  Every time we go in, I ask if they've got her - but no, they have her ordered. She should be in next week. After six weeks of inquiries, one of them was kind enough to tell me that their supplier never actually confirmed they'd been getting any.

Harley was now a collector's item, among collectors.

So we checked out Amazon - a dozen different sellers had it, but no one would ship it to Canada. Oh well.

Game over.

But not for Kayla.  Kayla had it shipped to a little business just across the US border that makes its money holding on to such items, and drove down there to pick it up.  About three hours each way.  Oh, and she brought me some birthday cake Oreos.

What a girl.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Guess what's coming to Vita and PS4? Indies!


Again!  That ain't a bad thing, of course - but I'll admit that every time we get another mini-flood of indie-on-Vita announcements, my excitement boils for a bit as I scan the news, searching, searching...

...no.  It's not a Darkest Dungeon announcement.

Oh well.  At least we get the next thing from the crew that made The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile.  That's pretty awesome!



And it sounds pretty awesome.  Dig this:
"If you’re familiar with some of our earlier games like The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile and Charlie Murder, you should know what to expect: solidly executed, intricate and brutal combat, lovingly hand-drawn and animated 2D art (of the non-pixel variety), a killer in-house soundtrack, and a massive roster of set-defining, dynamic and unique bosses. Salt is inspired as much by our history as a studio as it is by old classics like Castlevania DS, and new classics like the Souls series."
Everything I just read turned me on.
"Like in The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, the emphasis in Salt and Sanctuary is stylistic sidescrolling combat: weapons have movesets, air attacks have hang time, and rolling is king. There’s a huge amount of depth to the combat in Salt, however. Weapons can be one-handed and paired with shields or offhand crossbows for versatility, or wielded two-handed for added power — and every configuration has its own unique moveset. There are staffs for magic, bows for ranged combat, and belt-slotted consumables like throwing daggers and weapon-buffing Pitchfire. Of course, loadout weight affects your movement, rolling speed and stamina regen, so a good balance of defense and agility is key. Basically, it combines two things we love: fast, precise 2D combat and super strategic RPG depth. Also, there are curb stomps."
-source-
Sold.  Day one.

Like Guacamelee, Salt and Sanctuary is a Sony Pub Fund game - which means Sony ponied up some dough for development, guaranteeing them (likely) limited timed-exclusivity rights.

Also announced today for Vita are Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, a card-strategy game, that wierdo swordfighting indie Nidhogg, classic shooter Metal Slug 3 and an interesting-looking adventure game called Alone With You, which boasts that it will permit the player to explore "a half-dozen unique areas."

Shootin' for the moon, are we?



Another Pub Fund game, I'm willing to bet either the player-character or your helpful artificial intelligence buddy killed your comrades.

I'll check it out if (1) it's cheap and (2) there's nothing else interesting to play.  Curiosity may compel me.

As always, it's nice to see more announcements for my favorite platform.  Honestly, even with the momentary infatuation I'm enjoying with Last Light and Diablo III, the Vita remains my most-played platform of 2014.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Game Diary.


First Light.  Ummmn yeah.  That's good inFamous.

I had a lot of complaints about Second Son when compared to the first two inFamous titles, most of them focusing on how just getting around the open world as Delsin wasn't nearly as fun as it was as Cole in inFamous and its sequel.  First Light is a blast to get around.  Fetch still has the light-dash thing, and that makes getting up the sides of buildings a thoughtless process, but it hides its collectibles way out in empty space, demanding you make use of her neon-powered high-jumps, her air dashes, her neon thrusters.

In a lot of ways, it's the platformer I wish Second Son had been.  Story is meh so far.

In other news, I'm really enjoying Diablo III so far.  I got my Monk up to level 24, and at that point Kayla expressed enough interest in the game that she went out and bought me a second Dualshock 4 for the sake of co-op (and our upcoming anniversary).  I rolled a Wizard and she went with Barbarian, and that ancient Diablo formula proves seriously addictive.

I want her to get home just so we can keep smashing our way through some demonic hordes together.  And, also, y'know, 'cause I miss her.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

REVIEW - CounterSpy.


CounterSpy is a fine example of a game which prizes style over substance.  It's lovely.  It has an excellent 70s spy-groove soundtrack, bold, beautiful, poppy art direction from ex-Pixar artist Mark Holmes.  Its menus are stylish, beautiful, minimalist retro menus.  Its cutscenes are all silhouettes and horn-heavy jazz.

It's lovely - it's just not much fun.


It's a game that's far more about the tactics of what you're about to do than actually doing those things.  Good planning wins the day, here, as the game seems intentionally designed to limit the agency and power of its stylish hero when it comes to actual movement and combat.   The titular spy is only quick when it comes to snapping in to cover (note the two walls with arrows in the image above - those are the two cover points in this room), and just a bit too sluggish at everything else.

Shooting and its single-button-press fisticuffs never feel particularly satisfying - even with some pretty great headshot animations - both because there is no real player skill involved in the former and the controls of the latter never comfortably click.

There are intelligent choices, regularly made, on the part of Dynamighty.  When in cover, you can sweep your aim over the room before you in the form of a very large circular reticle, giving you an approximation of where your weapon will be aiming when you tap L1 to aim and sweep out to take your shot.  Enemies that are alerted to your presence but unseen - or close enough to hear an un-silenced gunshot - appear as icons at the edge of your screen.  Clever!

There are intelligent choices made, here.  But they don't equate to a game that's particularly fun - they just permit a game that's a bit boring to be very manageable.


Yes, tragically.  Boring.  CounterSpy features randomized levels - it's designed for infinite replayability - but after a single playthrough on its normal difficulty, you'll have seen and experienced everything the game is capable of throwing at you.  You'll have more weapons and purchaseable powerups to unlock, but beyond that, the game has blown its wad.  Subsequent playthroughs on its harder and hardest difficulty reveal no greater pleasures or surprises.

It's paper-thin.

That would be forgiveable if the act of silently sweeping through its military bases were as slick, sleek and snazzy as its presentation, but it quickly grows stale, and is thrown into stark relief when one suggests that fellow stylish stealth indie Mark of the Ninja exists, and manages to be infinitely more fun with a simple, linear campaign, gloriously expressive movement and customizable character skills.

CounterSpy is a fine first try for developer Dynamighty, but it's nothing you should spend money on outside of a very low sale price.  It's a six-out-of-ten game with nine-out-of-ten presentation.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Don't Starve: Giant Edition comes to Vita September 2nd.

Wooo!


Vita screens!


Price!  $14.99.  Totally reasonable. The Vita version "...includes the Reign of Giants expansion. This expansion is usually $4.99, and we’ve bundled it in for everyone. It includes new characters, seasons, biomes, and other challenges that will happily kill you."


No cross-save!  "Unfortunately, in order for us to get the game on Vita, we had to rewrite a bunch of backend code to optimize it. Because of this, the save games are not compatible with PS4, so there is no cross play."


But!  "BUT! We love you all, so we’re making the game cross buy! If you own Don’t Starve on PS4, you get the Vita version for free, and vice versa."


New playable characters! "Reign of Giants adds two characters for players to discover and survive with. Play as Wigfrid, a stage actress who went a bit too far with method acting on her latest role, an ancient Valkyrie, or Webber, a young boy who lives inside the spider who tried to eat him long ago."


Year-round starvation!  "Struggle through a full year of seasons as you experience the torrential rain falls of spring and the blistering heat of summer."



A bigger, badder world!  "New biomes have been filled to the brim with new creatures and gatherables that will either help you survive — or kill you."

Shit.  Now you're scaring me.


More than one save slot! "You asked, we delivered."


Giants!  "They're in the name, for crying out loud!"

Oh God it's like a week away!  YayyyI have got to finish Rogue Legacy... but yeah, I can see this taking up a lot of my time.

Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 - Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games.



Yikes.  Glad these videos are a thing.

New Titan Souls trailer.



The game now has an "early 2015" release window.  Yeah, I can see myself diggin' on this.

Unless Hyper Light Drifter already came out by that point, in which case this'll probably feel pretty bare-bones.  (Apples & oranges, I know.)