Sunday, October 31, 2010

So about that Majin demo...


New Vegas still refuses to release its kung-fu grip on my imagination, but when I realized I would have to mention Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom in yesterday's Games of November post, I tore myself away from the wasteland to give Game Republic's newest title a spin.

Long story short: try the demo.

It very much brings to mind classic titles like Ico, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Beyond Good & Evil. Now, I'm not trying to say Majin is going to be able to go toe-to-toe with those titles in the annals of gaming history - those are just the flavors it smacks of.

Presentation ranges from great (character design) to mediocre (voice work/casting) - but the overall package here is best described as earnest, and endearing.

Gameplay is fine. The way the player character controls is fine, his platforming is fine, the combat is just fine and nothing more - but the simple, elegant level design and the co-op with your AI partner is just lovely. Lovelier by far is the creature design and art direction. The Thief himself is... good enough, but the Majin and the enemies you face are fantastic. Gnarled wood juts out from the Majin's forearms, and tendrils of greenery reach up from his back, swaying gently as he moves.

He's very much a gentle giant - a bit on the slow side - but he has an equal air of mystery and capability to him. I like him, and that's very important for a game that plays like this. The Majin is more than a co-op partner: he's your puzzle solution, he's a platforming facilitator, he's your special attack in combat. Commanding him is effortless and intuitive, and interactions are reinforced by excellent, expressive animation.


For some reason, two things stick out most about the demo, for me:

(1) The enemies you fight are basically skeletons covered in some black goop. Once you defeat them, the goop bleeds off their skeleton into a puddle on the floor - but this goop is also what damages the Thief. You'll notice a thick sludge of it dripping off your legs, and as he takes steps it stretches from his foot to the spot of ground he last touched - a lovely, creative little addition.

(2) ...to remove it - to heal yourself - simply walk up to Majin when he's not busy laying the smackdown on enemies. He will inhale deeply, and draw the corruption from you and into himself. The Majin is the only thing that heals you.

Likewise, you are the only thing that can heal the Majin after a tough battle. You are quite plainly reliant on each other.

The best word for the Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom demo is charming. I was expecting the lovely, poppy art direction, but I wasn't anticipating being so... seduced by the Majin himself and the comfortable puzzle/platform/mashy combat gameplay.

Play this demo.

Remind me to talk about that Majin demo tomorrow.


'Cause I really need to talk about that Majin demo tomorrow.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Games of November 2010.


If there's any month of the year that seems to be playing it safe with success, it's November. A month replete with new iterations of high-profile franchises, the most interesting titles are the ones that aren't sequels - too bad there's so few of them. Also in the "too bad" department is Sony's stable of exclusive games for the month. November 2010 should've been home to Little Big Planet 2 and Gran Turismo 5 - alas, both have been pushed back - though word is GT5 will still release this year.



November 2nd
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
PSP
Hype-O-Meter
: Guaranteed purchase.

Ready At Dawn are masters of the PSP, and Chains of Olympus still reigns as one of the most impressive titles on the platform. If the demo for Ghost of Sparta was any indication, this will be one of those titles that makes one redefine what you can expect of a handheld game.


November 4th
Kinect
360
Hype-O-Meter: For us, nil.
Hype-O-Meter: For the population at large, pretty high.

I don't know any gamer who is actually interested in Kinect. Those that are can only submit one game in their arguments for its awesomeness: Dance Central - which will probably be the best dance game ever made - but that's ignoring the point of the device. It won't matter when reviews come out panning the hardware and its launch library - all that matters is that Microsoft is putting the full weight of their cash money behind it, it's on Oprah, and the masses will flock to it as The New Thing, much like they did with the Wii. To clarify: we are not the masses. It's not for us - it's for them.


November 9th
Call of Duty: Black Ops
PS3, 360, PC, Wii,DS
Hype-O-Meter: I'll likely never play this game.

The umpteenth Call of Duty title is the first one that sees Treyarch stepping out of Infinity Ward's shadow as the franchise's primary developer. It'll sell a zillion copies (yes, it'll outsell Medal of Honor), it won't review nearly as well as Modern Warfare 2, and will probably be the second or third-best multiplayer shooter of the year.


November 9th
The Sly Collection
PS3
Hype-O-Meter: Day one.

Really, The Sly Collection is no more interesting in the grand scheme of gaming than Black Ops, but what can I say? I love cel shading, I love cartoony games with great animation, and I love platformers. Sucker Punch's premier games on the PS2 were cruelly under-appreciated in their own time, and I can't wait to play Sly 2 in HD.


November 16th
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
PS3, 360, PC
Hype-O-Meter: Guaranteed purchase.

If there is a black mark against Brotherhood, it's that the campaign is a reported 15 hours long. That's lamentably limited for an open-world game, but Brotherhood may make up for it - and stand as a worthy follow-up to last year's excellent Assassin's Creed II - with its remarkably unique multiplayer component, which quite simply plays like nothing else.


November 21st
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Wii
Hype-O-Meter: I've got my eye on it. From across the room.

Nintendo's year of giving the core gamer exactly what they want continues with a return to the post-hip Donkey Kong Country franchise. Lots of modern gamers like to poo-poo the SNES game(s), but I'm here to tell you - the first one was fucking awesome - I just don't expect Returns to be as interesting.


November 23rd
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom
PS3, 360
Hype-O-Meter: An almost-guaranteed purchase.

I was struggling to decide which game should get the top-of-the-post picture spot, before I tried the demo for Majin. The platforming feels a little loose, the combat isn't particularly satisfying, and this game is just dripping with charm, creativity and little touches that really make the thing pop. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is November's dark horse, and a title I will be paying very close attention to.


November 30th
Epic Mickey
Wii
Hype-O-Meter: I'll be checking reviews.

Warren Spector made a dark(ish), gorgeous action-adventure game starring Mickey Mouse.

Warren Spector.

This may be the Wii Game of the Year.

D'awwwww!


As seen on Destructoid.

Rumor: IO Interactive cutting project & people.


George Broussard is a co-owner of 3D Realms. First let me say I am just... dumbfounded that 3D Realms is still actually in business. What, precisely, it's in the business of doing is beyond me - the studio hasn't actually developed a new game in thirteen years.

Anyway, today Broussard tweeted that IO Interactive was getting hit with layoffs. A reaction to Kane & Lynch 2's uniformly tepid critical response and performance? Probably. A very late echo of the news that IO layed off precisely thirty-five people back in March? Possibly.

I just hope to hell the canceled project isn't Hitman 5.

You guys had time and resources to make three current gen games, and you just... never considered making the game your fans were begging for the whole time? Y'know what? You deserve to go out of business.

Still - rumor.

[update] A Square Enix representative confirmed to Kotaku that more cuts have indeed been made:
"I can confirm that we have made some internal changes at IO Interactive which has regrettably resulted in the loss of some jobs," a rep said in a statement. "This is a natural part of any studio's existence when you ramp-up and ramp-down on projects to ensure you have the right level of resource and expertise within the studio. We genuinely wish those who have been affected by this, the best of luck for the future."
[/update]

Happy Halloween from Dead Space 2.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition coming to North America.


Not much of a surprise, sure, but it's still nice to know we're not being left out.

I know I'm not the only one who's pretty damned disappointed we're not getting Super Mario World in this package - there's really no reason not to include it - but aside from the four ancient games included (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and Super Mario Bros. 3), we still get a some pretty nifty goodies for the $30 (US) price tag.


We get the game(s), a soundtrack CD featuring music from throughout Mario's history, from Super Mario Bros all the way to Galaxy 2, a "retrospective dvd" and a "history book" with previously unseen material, including artwork, notes and drawings by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.

That ain't a bad deal. Shame about not including Mario World. Or Mario World 2. Or Mario 64. I can just imagine the reasoning at Nintendo HQ:

"You're not thinking long-term. Why put every single Mario game from eighty-five to the turn of the century on one disc at a reasonable price when we can sell folks back their childhoods again and again over a few decades?"

Still... all the other stuff sounds great.

Keiji Inafune quits Capcom.


Keiji Inafune has been with Capcom for 23 years, working on everything from the original Mega Man (character design) to Street Fighter (graphic design) to recent phenomenons like Dead Rising (executive producer). Lately, he's been... vocal about his perception of the state of the Japanese gaming industry. At the most recent Tokyo Games Show he famously said
Personally when I looked around [at] all the different games at the TGS floor, I said 'Man, Japan is over. We're done. Our game industry is finished.'
In a blog post from Capcom subsidary company Daletto, Inafune announced his resignation from Capcom - perhaps the single most successful third-party Japanese developer and publisher during the current gen. Here's a few translated snippets:
I entered the company as a character designer and 23 years passed in an instant. As a developer, I've reached the top at Capcom. There are no more stairs to climb.

* * *

Capcom is a really good company. I love Capcom, and that's no lie. It might be the best [company] in the world.

* * *

I want to continue making games. Just not at my present position.

* * *

I'm leaving Capcom with the intention of starting my life over

So sayonara, Capcom - hello, whatever the heck else he does next. He says he has no plans to take a vacation, but will transition immediately into whatever his next step is.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

ZeniMax buys Shinji Mikami's studio.

Earlier this year, legendary game director Shinji Mikami (God Hand, Resident Evil 4, Vanquish) began hiring for his own, independent studio - Tango Gameworks. Today, ZeniMmax Media (which also owns id Software and Bethesda, and recently got into publishing) announced they've purchased the studio before it has made a single game.

From the press release:
“It’s refreshing to find a publisher who understands, trusts, and supports the development of blockbuster games and works to make it a collaborative effort,” said Mikami. “The library of AAA franchise titles ZeniMax owns speaks for itself. We are very excited to be joining ZeniMax and working with a company that is dedicated to creating the best games ever made.”

Based in Tokyo, Mikami has an extraordinary track record as one of the world’s most successful game developers. Five of his projects, including Resident Evil, have scored 90 or above on Metacritic.com and Gamerankings.com.

The development studio Mikami founded, Tango Gameworks, is dedicated to AAA multi-platform game development and has attracted some of Japan’s most accomplished and experienced developers who served key roles on game franchises like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Final Fantasy. Tango will continue to be run by Shinji Mikami, and he will serve as the creative lead for all future projects.

“Shinji Mikami has earned a stellar reputation as one of the industry’s finest game developers,” said Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media. “He has repeatedly created hit titles that have earned praise from fans and critics around the world. We share his vision for innovative, genre-defining games and look forward to working with Shinji and his team at Tango.”

I'm just happy we can count on another game from him.

* * *

Also in the East and West department, did you know that Capcom purchased Canada's Blue Castle Games (Dead Rising 2)? Another young studio - formed five years ago - Blue Castle will, apparently, now be known as Capcom Game Studio Vancouver.

Yeah, that... that's got a ring to it. Ish.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Game Diary: In this post, I don't shut up about New Vegas.


Last night I actually managed to tear myself away from New Vegas long enough to put a half-hour into Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. Cowboys + zombies = cool - as is the sum of any item with added zombie - but the mechanics of RDR don't really elegantly dovetail with a bunch of rushing enemies.

That's hardly my final word on the subject - it gets high marks for presentation alone, with the same caliber of acting and writing found in the main game, for example - but I refuse to put a definitive stamp on the DLC until I've gorged myself upon its trough of content.

So yeah - put thirty minutes into that. The rest of my time? You guessed it.

Vegas, baby.

WARNING:
Minor character and weapon spoilers below.


Meet the Eyebot (Duraframe) - Subject E. ED-E for short. I found it, broken and abandoned on a table. A little elbow grease and knowhow, and ED-E was functional again - hovering at my side and shooting lasers at anyone who threatened me - and I hated this little fucker.

Even when I told it to be passive, Eyebot (Duraframe) - Subject E had an idiotic tendency to fly off towards anything that sneezed and do its best to get itself killed.

I kept it around long enough to sniff out its quest line, decided the little bugger wasn't worth the effort and poured a few rounds of buckshot into it.

So long, you horrible little aggro-monster. You've soured me on companions in Vegas forever.

Then, days later while I was moseying through the vendors peddling their wares at the junction of interstate highways 95 and 93, this girl in religious robes starts chatting me up. I look like I can handle myself, she says.

Well, obviously. My character is generally "good," but let's face it - he's a bit of a sociopath, and a mad dog killer - and he's real good at it.

Fortunately, my reaction to her request to accompany me was the same as the in-game dialogue option:

What the hell do you bring to the table? Her answer isn't convincing, but there's something... earnest about her. Why not? Okay, I reckon - you can come along - if you get yourself killed, not my problem. If you get in my way, or cause trouble for me, I'll put a bullet in you myself.



Meet Ronnie. Veronica, actually, but I call her Ronnie. At first glance she seems like a sweet kid - and she is - except for the pneumatic power fist on her right hand. Ronnie likes punching things. She's sort of like a smartass warrior monk.

Unlike ED-E, Ronnie's not a ranged attacker. When I sneak along, she sneaks with me - and I've never noticed her pulling in enemies before I do. She stays quiet, she stays put, and only once I have lined up a fatal Sneak Attack Critical Hit on the cranium of an enemy does she spring into action.

If I don't notice an enemy in a room full of mercs, I may hear the mighty crack of her attack behind me, and watch the unseen foe fly across the room. She can take about as much punishment as I can (not much), but together we're an absolutely lethal combination. I soften enemies will bullets, and she'll finish them off with a single, Herculean strike of her mechano-glove.

She's reliable. She's a bit funny and rather charming (voice work provided by The Guild/Dr Horrible's Felicia Day), and when the opportunity to pursue her quest came up I found it was the natural thing to do next. Take her home, help her sort her shit out.

So we head back to the secret underground bunker, home of the dying Brotherhood of Steel faction. After she stirs things up and gets shot down, we're off on a cross-country trip to obtain volatile and violent ancient technologies to prove that her people are on the path to their own destruction.


We brave terrible dangers together. With Ronnie at my side, I stroll casually into the central camp of the most feared terrors of the waste. We've been invited, but my message is not one of peace.

"You must relinquish your weapons," the peon tells me.

Well, that's not going to happen.

"You cannot appear before ____ so armed!" he tries again. There are countless men like him, all bristling with weapons in this camp. Taking on him and his army is absolutely impossible for me. But not for us.

You can pull this gun from my cold, dead hand, I tell him.

Together, we kill them all, and their glorious leader, and his elite guards who happen to wield something called Ballistic Fists - pneumatic power gloves that fire shotgun shells when you punch a dude. I fix one up until it gleams, and hand it to her.

You earned it.


Once we've uncovered enough weapons of unstoppable ancient power and returned to her home, I'm quite pleased to receive a massive amount of experience points and a new perk for Veronica. I head off towards my home base, pleased as punch... but Ronnie's not behind me any more.

...what the hell...?

I go back to her home, and she hasn't moved.

She's bugged.

She won't follow me any more. She won't have my back any more, and I can't have hers.

...I made a great deal of caps and XP off the quest with her, but there was only one thing for it. After trying a dozen ways to finish the quest and keep my Ronnie, there was only one solution: I had to take the hit, not collect the caps, not get the XP, not finish the quest - and I would still have my friend at my side.

That was when I realized how much I'd come to adore the girl.


Yesterday a patch was released for PS3, fixing the issue - I was able to have my cake and eat it too: Ronnie's quest is complete, and she got herself a perk that increases her already formidable offense.

New Vegas has utterly consumed my gaming time - if you're reading the blog, that's already clear - but Ronnie here is just one example of how, in so many ways, Vegas is a much better experience than Fallout 3 - bugs and all. After all, if not for that damned bugged quest, I never would've realized how much I had come to value the wiseass warrior monk. A remarkable change, in me.

When I told her she could tag along, I really expected her to be dead within an hour - and good riddance. Now I wouldn't want to take a step into the wastes without her.

Why didn't anyone tell me this was a thing that had happened?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is out on blu-ray. Right now. At this very moment, you could stroll down to your local sundry store and purchase the 35th anniversary high-def version of one of the greatest movies/musicals/experiences of all time! This is reality, now, and it turns out it's been reality since the 19th.

I had no idea until I was poking around earlier today to find the best price for the Back to the Future trilogy (turns out HMV was cheapest - odd, no?), and there she was. Listed among all the other dime-a-dozen movies.

If you haven't seen Rocky Horror, that is a tragedy of your existence and must be remedied. If you've seen it and are, therefor, a fan, you can how purchase it in HD for a very reasonable price.


...its case is a book!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Way of the Samurai 4 announced.


Gaming Everything has scans of a four-page Famitsu spread on the previously unannounced Way of the Samurai 4. No word on localization, of course - but after the uncomfortably last-gen feel of WotS3, I'm not holding my breath on this one.

No More Heroes HD PS3-exclusive in North America.


Burn on the 360. The PlayStation Blog reports that No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise, the high-def up-port of celebrated Wii title No More Heroes won't be available on Microsoft's console, come 2011. Could this be a timed exclusive? Sure could!

Heroes Paradise will fully support Sony's new Move controller, but (glee!) will also work just fine with your standard Dualshock. It has new sub-missions, upgradable weapons, gym training, new boss encounters and a Rebout Mode which allows you to re-fight previously defeated foes. In addition, Viewer Mode will allow you to replay cutscenes.

Make it $40, and you've got a sale.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Undead Nightmare drops tomorrow!


Yay! This may actually pull me from the neon clutches of New Vegas.

Not will, but may.

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom demo drops tomorrow.


Good thing, too - or I would've completely ignored this game. It seems to be an action-adventure, heavy on lovely art direction (Game Republic also made Folklore), and to be honest I've paid it only a modicum of attention over the past year.

That demo will definitely be worth a look - but Fall 2010 is so packed, even if it's fantabulous I simply may not have the time to attend to it.

PSP 2 : the 2 stands for 2 Analog Sticks.

Thank goodness!

Kotaku reports that, as the Tokyo Games Show was going on, a bunch of suits gathered in Sony's Tokyo Aoyama offices for a private meeting. There, they showed off the PSP 2. Here's the skinny.

  • the screen is one inch larger, and much sharper - touted as "HD."
  • there is a track pad on the back of the unit, described as "like a big mouse trackpad," though no details of implementation were mentioned.
  • dev kits are in developers hands, but the hardware has not been finalized (guess they didn't learn their lesson with the PS3).
  • Sony is having trouble balancing battery, power and heat - they intend to have that corrected before it is shown to the public.
  • TWO ANALOG STICKS

*the above image is not what the PSP 2 looks like - it's just a mock-up.
Source.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Amazon.fr thinks Uncharted 3's tagling is "World of Deceit."

Lets see how many links I can put in a post, shall we?




You may remember Amazon.fr listing Uncharted 3, the Team ICO Collection and the now-debunked Horizon earlier this year, only this time they've updated the image from the old one. The title and design, it seems, comes from some work California-based concept artist Albert Ng posted on his blog - which according to him, has nothing to do with the real, inevitable Uncharted 3:
"... this was a project done for an architecture class and has no affiliation with Naughty Dog and their Uncharted series. I apologize for the misunderstanding."

Here's the thing, though. According to his Linkedin profile, Ng works for Tyler West Studio - a conceptual art studio that does indeed list Sony Computer Entertainment among their clientele.

This is why God made the rumor tag.

...really?


Muramasa: The Demon Blade is

coming to mobile phones.

This is a real thing.

A real thing that is happening.

I really did mean to get to Vanquish today...


...get back to it, I should say - but what I want to play is New Vegas, and if I weren't playing that I'd want to be playing Kirby.

Vegas continues to impress with the depth of its world and the quality of the writing - and an amount of options that's pretty staggering, compared to its predecessor. It's just a much, much deeper experience.

Those of you concerned about The Bug Issue should know, yes, it does seem a bit more prone to error than Fallout 3 - but these seem limited to the occasional hard freeze. ...and once an enemy clipped through the world and fell out of existence, meaning I could never recover the final Irradiated Dog Tag I needed for a certain quest.

Burn.

But it clearly hasn't dimmed my enthusiasm for the title.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wonder what the "special reward" is for beating New Vegas on Hardcore?

If not, don't read the sentence under the picture.


According to Go!Gaming Giant, it's a trophy/achievement. Wah-wahhhh.

Drawings!

At work, lately, I've mostly been just doing up flowers. I've got about twenty-five dandilions all stacked together, hanging from a single pin on the wall of my cubicle. I use them for inter-office notes. Occasionally, however, I return to dabbling in bears. This one, for example, was a two-day project, in celebration of the freedom I currently enjoy:

Eh, so it's not that impressive. Over the past while I've done others, with more character. This one started as a standard bear-torso, perfectly vertical, so I decided to throw in some personality.


After the ultra-popular Zombie Bear, I applied the basic idea of drawing a teddy bear and dressing them up to various degrees of success:

I like the words, but the drawing is merely okay for Devil Bear.


I'm quite happy with Angel Bear overall. Looks very at peace, doesn't s/he?


The tagling for Amish Bear was going to be "Thinks he's better than you, English," but I thought that might be offensive to some.


Wizard Bear needs no title, or introduction.

Finally, this is a turtle I drew after a request from a dude in my office named Jim. Jim's a great big bear of a man - he's of native ancestry, though I had no idea until he told me so - and he wanted either a big fierce/noble bear ("I can draw... teddy bears," I told him meekly) or a turtle. His was the tribe of the turtle, it seems. I had no idea what I was doing, really. I found a terribly pixelated black-and-white photograph of a snapping turtle, and ended up making this:

This is a scan of a photocopy of the original drawing, which I asked Jim for. He was seriously thrilled with it - which seriously thrilled me - and seems intent on having it rendered indelibly upon his flesh in the form of a tattoo.

If he ever gets that tattoo, I am getting a fucking picture of it.

Digital Foundry: You won't beat Vanquish in four hours.


...not on your first try, anyway - you'll have to be a total pro to do it, from the sounds of things - but that has nothing to do with what the final statistics screen will read, which is likely what Game Informer based their appraisal on.

Having not yet put the requisite time into the title, I won't comment personally, but I will say this:

(1) Digital Foundry is awesome. To me, they're 50% of the equation that makes Eurogamer the best gaming website on the internet. They're not trying to sell you on anything, they're not trying to convince you - they deal in code, framerate, screen tear, hardware, and facts - and they tell it like it is.

(2) I was talking about the four-hour-thing with Blue the other day. I said it wouldn't surprise me if you could beat Vanquish in two hours if you're an absolute beast at it - and that's perfectly reasonable. You could do the same thing with Mikami's underappreciated 2006 brawler God Hand. Not that I could.

Point is, it's fine for a game to be that short if it's still a great game one way or the other. Look at every single Metal Gear Solid game. Skip the cutscenes and you can beat every one of them in under five hours.

Quantity does not equal quality.



I'm so proud of myself about the joke I didn't make, just now.

Actor outs Hitman 5. Gobs will be smacked.


This is much more satisfying than the horrible tease of the above image. Speaking with The Gaming Liberty on Thursday, (Agent 47) actor David Batesman reveals that IO Interactive is indeed - finally - working on a new Hitman title.

The whole thing is worth reading - his attempt to get himself cast as 47 in the wholly panned movie adaptation of Hitman is interesting - but here's where it gets really good:
Retroplayer - Has there been any more talk of Hitman 5? If so, what can we expect?

David - I have to plead the 5th Amendment on this one. I am under contract not to say anything.
But, fortunately for us, he says something anyway.
David - There have been delays. However, like I said earlier, if the artwork is anything to go by ... brace yourself!

He adds that fans of Hitman can be... a little much, at time, but that
That kind of dedication and appreciation of the game deserves repayment... with an even more gob smacking installment in Hitman 5. I don't envy IO Interactive for the pressure they must be under to deliver. I am utterly convinced they will!

It's true. I am a bit much - but Hitman is part of the Holy Trinity of stealth games - and it's been way too long since the fantastic Blood Money.

Alright, let's get to it!


I don't think it's cruel of me to suggest I've been slacking the past few days. One post a day on Thursday and Friday. What's that about? A lack of time and emotional exhaustion, mostly - but not today! Today is wiiide open. There's a story or two from earlier in the week that require mention, so let's crank the Korean pop music and get crackin'...

Honestly. Zip it to 0:43 and listen to that song. It's fun. Makes me want to go shopping with the girls and enjoy a summer romance.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let's talk a bit about New Vegas.

I've only put twelve or fourteen hours into Fallout: New Vegas, and my attitude towards its foibles may change between now and review time, but...


I've been largely absorbed in it since Tuesday, and the interwebs have lit afire with people and critics (who, obviously, should not be confused with people) bitching about bugs. Look, I'm as disappointed as the next fellow that Fallout: New Vegas is imperfect - we all hoped that the third time would be the charm for the Gamebryo engine's marriage to a Bethesda property - it just wasn't. Any reviewer who wasn't utterly seduced by the bigger picture New Vegas offers took it right to task and panned the game for its technological shortcomings.

This Kotaku article points out that in Vegas the very first thing that happens can fuck right the hell up. Internet reaction seems to regard this as unprecedented.

Did everyone just forget about that bug back in Fallout 3 that would completely prevent the story from moving forward in the Vault, during the first ten minutes of the game? Seems that way. Two years is, after all, an eternity on the internet.

I suppose it's also worth mentioning that every core Fallout game has been utterly bug-riddled. Yes, going right back to the original on PC. Does that mean Fallout gets a free pass? That it's somehow cool to release a game with broken, stupid crap that we wouldn't accept from any other developer? 'Course not.

But...


Fallout 3 was just as bad. And I'm sure most of us will agree that Fallout 3 was brilliant.

I've put a dozen into the Mojave wasteland this past week, friends, and I'm here to tell you - New Vegas is better. In those twelve hours I have experienced four hard freezes - most of them in the last three hours of play - and it's sure as hell not going to stop me from heading back into the game just as soon as this blog post is writ.

As a product - a device that we, the consumer, expect to simply function properly - sure, no doubt New Vegas is another astounding failure of technology.

It's also an absolutely incredible, immersive, beautiful, terrible, addictive experience. The fact that the overall experience is so phenomenal is absolutely part of why these immersion-shattering bugs are so lamentable, but neither do they stop New Vegas from being worth a gamer's money and - more importantly - time.

Last year I wrote a review of a much lesser game. I spent most of the review bitching about the title, but this recent kafuffle regarding New Vegas brings one sentence to mind. In the paragraph where I was complaining about bugs in Wanted: Weapons of Fate, I said
I'm sorry Wanted, you're not Fallout and I'm not gonna' take that crap from you.
I will take that crap from Fallout. Because, bugs, warts, stiff animation, shoddy AI and all - it's still an incredible bloody game.

* * *

It's also worth noting, the PC version of Vegas has already received a patch, with unconfirmed rumors of one also hitting the 360 today.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Catherine gets a JP release date.


February 17th, 2011. That is, technically, adhering to the "Winter" release date they promised. Now the question is, can we expect a localization?

It's an Atlus game, so the answer is (probably) yes. The only sticking point may be Catherine's "mature" themes, which often come under fire in North America.

The next question is when can we expect it?

That one's more tricky. The last two console-based Shin Megami Tensei games (Persona 4 and Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon) took between four and six months to arrive on North American shores after their Japanese releases. The further back you go, the more time there was between original release and localization (Persona 3 and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne took over a year).

So, going on recent precedence? It should be out in North America for Fall 2011 - but Catherine is pretty damn weird - so you never know.

Thanks Felipe!

Call it a "lazy day" if you like.


My job isn't physically taxing, but it's very emotionally draining. I've been on for about ten days in a row without a real break, and I've got to go back tomorrow. There's no notable news tonight, unless you count a rumor about Helghast goggles being included in the Killzone 3 Collector's Edition - which I don't - so this is a post to say, essentially, sorry there's no real post.

I'm going to go take care of myself now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Scott Pilgrim is on Blu-ray November 9th.

Today Blue told me it was coming out in like, three weeks, and I was all "whaat," and he was like "shyeah," so I'm like "for-rilly?" and he's all "totes."

Turns out he's right. Tons of extras, too.



I guess, in a way, Scott Pilgrim bombing at the box office was a good thing. Sort of.

Hah!

Thanks Matt.



Empire was always my favorite of the trilogy.


[update] I did some digging around the other How it Should Have Ended videos, and this... this one is... well, it's just totally fucking awesome.



Which reminds me, I need to look into those Back to the Future blu-rays.

Portal made in the LBP2 beta.

It's clearly video day here on the blog.

I've refrained from posting countless videos of crazy stuff done with Little Big Planet 2 - I didn't point out this crazy Flower level, for example - but there's just enough combined awesome to break the habit with this level, created in the recently expanded beta.

It's Portal. Kinda'.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today was release day.

Honestly - I don't think there's ever been a day where I actually went out and purchased/picked up/acquired three brand new games. It's conceivable to me that once I may have bought three used games in a day - not that I specifically recall an example - but let's not split hairs: today had three must-buy titles.






Fallout: New Vegas - the follow-up to 2008's technically flawed, critically acclaimed Game of the Year.

Costume Quest - Double Fine's (uncharacteristically quick) latest release, following last year's fantastic Brutal Legend. The Halloween-themed RPG is directed by lead animator Tasha Harris, and overseen by cult-figure auteur Tim Schafer.

Vanquish - The New Thing from Shinji Mikami, legendary director of genre-defining titles like the original Resident Evil, Resident Evil 4 and God Hand.

Honestly, today is just... spectacular. Pardon me, the Mojave wasteland is calling.