Thursday, February 28, 2013

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is officially official.

No other info beyond a fall 2013 release, coming to PS3, 360 and WiiU.  Strange, you'd think they'd toss this thing on the PS4, too.

And given that I have to be up at an ungodly hour in the morning, goodnight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

That's so cheap it's almost stupid.

If you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber, you can buy Telltale's The Walking Dead - Season 1 - the entire thing - for $9.99 this week.  There's no question the game is worth ten bucks, but I'll do you one better - it's worth your time.

Elsewhere, the PSN has a rather large assortment of sales this week, thanks to its Best of 2012 celebrations.  Personally, I'll be picking up Super Stardust Delta on the Vita for a cool five - everything else they're sellin', I've already got (or don't want).

When will Mortal Kombat's Vita version be cheap?  That's what I want to know.

Ooh!  Also, there's a new God of War: Ascension demo out.  Or at least I sure hope it's new.  If it's not better than the demo that came with Total Recall, then it's a terrible demo.

[update] It is not a terrible demo.  Definitely check it out - it basically lets you play through everything you see in the awesome launch trailer. [/update]

Three Things.

Thing The First : Ubisoft's Remember Me drops June 4, 2013 in North America and on June 7th in Europe.  Here, have a new trailer.

Nice!  Sometimes I honestly forget that single-player action games are my bread-and-butter genre.

Thing The Second : Did you notice EA wasn't at Sony's PS4 announcement presser?  I thought that was a little odd, too, given that Sony's inked so many timed exclusivity deals for DLC this gen with EA.  Well, now there's this this rumor:

"CVG has learned that EA has secured a partnership with the Xbox firm, according to accounts from two sources who wished to remain anonymous. However, neither person was certain of what EA will show, nor what the terms of the exclusivity partnership will be. 
Due to the necessities of multiplatform development and publishing, it is likely that such a partnership will not extend beyond exclusive downloadable content, or staggered release dates. An outright exclusive EA game on the Next Xbox would be unlikely, and certainly a major coup for Microsoft if such a deal were to be secured. 
Both industry sources had different speculation on what the EA partnership would be. One claimed it might be Battlefield 4, while the other suspected that Respawn Entertainment will make a surprise appearance. Neither person works for EA or Microsoft, and so could not confirm the terms of the deal."
Given that there's still no word on Mirror's Edge 2 and Dead Space 3 was kind of a let-down, this bothers me less than I initially thought it would.

Thing The Third : Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Resistance) may have a new IP coming - they've trademarked something called Sunset Overdrive.  I'd be more excited about this if they'd released anything as enjoyable as Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time in the past four years, and hadn't concerned themselves with defiling that beloved franchise's twitching corpse ever since.

Oh, and Square Enix trademarked Deus Ex: Human Defiance.  So I guess that's four things.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The God of War: Ascension launch trailer is all kinds of sexy.

I have not been particularly thrilled with 98% of the media Sony Santa Monica has released for God of War: Ascension, including the demo they put out on the Total Recall reboot's bluray.  But this..?  I think this is the first thing that seriously hyped me for Ascension.

This, finally, looks like a God of War game - a good God of War game.  I'm no art critic, but I know what I hate.  And I don't hate this.

If you'd like to spend some more time with the game's media, the below dev diary also dropped today.  It's not terrible.

Next-gen hair rendering. Ooh la la.

AMD is super-proud of how Lara Croft's hair looks in the PC version, and one must admit - that looks pretty frickin' awesome.  Wouldn't mind seeing some footage of it animating, but still.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag info leaked.

Kotaku found his poster image, and info seems to be lining up for Assassin's Creed IV to drop this holiday season.  Rumor is you play as Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway and grandfather of Connor - "a Privateer, Assassin and occasional pirate" - with the game set "on multiple islands including Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas."  The game is said to be slated for current and next-gen consoles.

Given that the naval combat was far-and-away the best thing about Assassin's Creed III, I have zero problem with this.

[update] Now Kotaku says the other side of the poster at top is this map (click to embiggen):


StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch trailer.

Dig it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Can't wait

for Muramasa on the Vita.

Just thought that bore repeatin'.

Sort of like...

A few weeks ago, I had put DmC: Devil May Cry to rest.  I was quite pleased with it, but I found myself musing about the swordplay in Prince of Persia (1989).

It was a two-button system - one button parries, one button attacks - and when dealing with higher-level enemies, the fights would be one long string of you attack, they parry, they attack, you parry.  Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! as the blades crash against each other again and again in this little dance of steel until one attack zips past the defender, and it's all over.

There's been nothing quite like it, since.  Sort of like the sword fight between Blade and Frost at the end of the first Blade movie.

Metal Gear Rising pulls off this feeling very well.

Y'know what else it kinda' reminds me of?

God Hand (2006)

In that it feels somewhat... unwieldly, at first.  Somewhat arbitrary and analog in its controls - like Metal Gear Solid, I suppose - but here, as in God Hand, the brilliance of the strange timing and balance of your moves isn't immediately apparent.  It only becomes clear over time, and particularly when playing on the harder difficulty levels.

Metal Gear Rising doesn't really bear comparison to any other brawler, because it doesn't really go for the Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden school of brawling.  It doesn't feel like any other brawler - which can be quite a valuable thing, even if it denies itself some accessibility in the process.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is coming west.

Mario, this one's for you. This fall, you'll be able to pick up the previously Japan-only Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix for PS3!

HD 1.5 Remix contains the original Kingdom Hearts - more specifically, the Kingdom Hearts Final Mix version (which was also previously Japan-only) - along with what I hope is an HD up-port of the PS2 version of the Game Boy Advance game Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories.

It also, weirdly, contains HD remastered cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days - two and a half hours of them - but not the actual game.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A day of rest.

I finished Rising on Friday and pecked away at the review today, but I'm switching from six weeks of evening shifts to day shifts, I'm tired as crap and I'd rather just keep playing Rising on hard mode.  G'night.

Oh, also, Game of Thrones season 2 is out now on DVD/Bluray, if that's your thing.  Oooh, ooh!  Also - Adventure Time seasons 1 and 2 will be out on bluray in June.


Saturday, February 23, 2013


I just ripped a 1080p direct-feed version of the Killzone: Shadow Fall gameplay from YouTube and watched it on my 50-inch plasma.

In other news, I'm feeling more hyped for Killzone: Shadow Fall.  I wonder how much higher general hype would be if they didn't have such a crappy low-def stream feed from the conference.

Friday, February 22, 2013

PS4 feelings.

I don't think I ever really felt the PS4 would be backwards compatible.  Sony painted themselves into a corner with the PS3's Cell processor, and the only (efficient) method of having all your PS3 games work on the PS4 would be to include the Cell chip in every single console - rather like they did with the PS2's emotion chip in first-gen PS3s - but that's just not going to happen, here.

Heck, it barely happened back then.

There's no sense in being pissy about it - backwards compatibility simply isn't in the cards, unless Sony is prepared to invest in software emulation - which, based on the PS3's BC situation, is a dubious proposition at best.  Hackers have already produced some (rather unreliable) emulators for PC, but given how complex the Cell is, it's unlikely you'll ever be able to slide a PS3 disc into your PS4 and have it play.

I know Sony's other devs - Naughty Dog and Geurrilla, Sony Santa Monica, Media Molecule and SCE Studio Japan - have a larger part of the popular gamer mindshare, but to me, Sucker Punch is the most reliably excellent developer in their stable.  Sure, not graphically (though inFamous 2 was gorgeous), but nobody does pure fun factor like Sucker Punch.

It may sound simple-minded to suggest, but this announcement is all I really wanted from the PS4 debut.  And I got it.

I'm a happy camper.

A gorgeous new first-person shooter, a racing game and some mumbled support from Japanese third-party developers aside, Sony wasn't exactly bringing the noise in terms of software - but let's be honest, here.

Odds are pretty good the first year of the PS4 is going to suck, in terms of software.  First years always kinda' suck, as a general rule.  We'll have a Resistance, of course.  We'll have a Gravity Rush or some game that will make the console's purchase feel less ridiculous - but given the PS4's totally-traditional chipset, I feel it's not too optimistic to imagine the platform will have much more robust third-party support than its predecessor.

The way the system's architecture is described, it also sounds like the PS4 will have a lot of room to pull off some rather ridiculous stuff in terms of teraflops and gigaquads (Killzone: Shadow Fall runs at 1080p, 30FPS for example), so I feel there's probably a lot to look forward here.

It's designed to be easy to port your game on to for multiplatform developers, but has a layout that will make it possible for Sony's first-party studios to push the system far further than a multiplatform dev might want to (see: the difference between an Uncharted and a Dead Space).

Now everyone's talking about what Microsoft will unveil in April (word is that's when they'll announce the 360's successor), but I'm not sure I care.  Odds are it will be equivalent to the PS4 in terms of horsepower, and beyond that the only remaining question is software.

If I were to bet on a company to have excellent software, I'm afraid I won't be betting on Microsoft.  Sony simply have the best stable of first-party developers, and that's that.  Unless Microsoft's box ends up out-performing the PS3 in every which way but loose, I can't see myself adopting it within the first two or three years of its life.

My only real fear for the system, now - for the entire next generation, come to think of it - is that if triple-A games for the current gen have budgets that equal the GDP of small countries, if developers have been shuttering their doors left and right for the past half-decade because a single failed launch spells death for a development house, what on earth is going to happen to developers when all games are expected to look this sexy?

Well, okay - "sexy."

I worry, man.  I worry for the Double Fines and Platinums of the world.

On the bright side, a new inFamous!

Tokitowa is officially getting localized - as Time and Eternity.

Coming out this summer!  Now, I know the announcer in this trailer is all kinds of pervy, but let us appreciate the gameplay animation and clear info about the game's plot - along with some nice clear screenshots below.


Its localization is, no doubt, due almost entirely to that one Tweet I sent last year. Click on Tokitowa in the tags below to see all the other screenshots and trailers.

Wait, wait... I want the screenshot with the eye jab in here..:



Disgaea D2 is getting localized.

NIS announced it at 6am today.  It'll land on our shores sometime in fall 2013 as Disgaea Dimension 2: A Brighter Darkness.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Eight minutes of direct-feed Killzone Shadow Fall gameplay.

This would be a lot more impressive if Battlefield 3's PC version hadn't already happened.

I mean, it's still awesome-looking and I'd love to play it, but I'm less hyped than one would hope.  The trailer does get better on subsequent viewings, though. (Did'ja notice it when the player's submachinegun rearranged itself into a sniper rifle? Awesome.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The PS4 breakdown.

The Vitals :

  • coming holiday 2013
  • no price point announced
  • no form factor shown
  • new controller
  • 8GB of GDDR5 RAM
  • classic PC x86 architecture for easy ports
  • huge implementation of streaming tech
  • only ten announced titles 
  • a new inFamous!
First of all, meet the Dualshock 4 (click to embiggen). It's got the touchpad in the middle, much like those appealing leaked pics last week.

The share button above the d-pad does just that - in the demo shown, it automatically uploads gameplay clips to social networks.

The new form factor of the grips is very... rounded.  Word is the Dualshock 4 has been tweaked for reduced input latency.  Good.

The blue light in the back... tracked by this Kinect-like 3D camera...

...for functionality that I hope and pray they won't shove down our throats.  

In terms of raw spec data, we actually have quite a bit. 

Main Processor : Single-chip custom processor
CPU : x86-64 AMD "Jaguar", 8 cores
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon-based graphics engine
System memory : GDDR5 8GB
Hard disk drive built-in
Optical drive : BD 6xCAV, DVD 8xCAV

The PS4's processing power is looking pretty fine, but it's the 8GB of "unified" GDDR5 memory that's got most people talkin'.  GDDR5 is a type of RAM that's almost only used in high-end graphics cards - and in such cases, it tends to top out at 4GB.  It's used because it permits for a phenomenally large flow of data at once, which is precisely the thing(along with disc-read speeds) that bottlenecked the PS3's performance.  I did some digging around for comparison..:

So, yeah - for high-end graphics, this is the stuff to have.  During the presentation, Square Enix showed off their Agni's Philosophy next-gen tech demo from last year (not playing on a PS4), and Epic showed off the Unreal Engine 4 demo again (playing on a PS4 dev unit) - here's the direct feed.  

Additionally, Sony finally pulled the curtain on what they've been doing with (cloud computing/streaming company) Gaikai since its purchase - the PS4 will use cloud computing a'la OnLive to allow the player to demo full games before purchase, without the need to download all the data for the game.  Gaikai's tech has also been built into the architecture of the PS4, to allow for better remote play with the Vita than the PS3 had with the PSP. 

There were next-to-no game announcements, but Sony have confirmed a large roster of devs or publishers who they say are supporting the PS4. 

Horaay for tri-Ace, Atlus, Platinum, Ninja Theory, Kadokawa, From Software and Marvelous Entertainment.  

Elsewhere, the pickins for actual game announcements were slim.  On the bright side, we've finally been told what Sucker Punch has been working on since the sublime inFamous 2 - it's inFamous: Second Son and it appears to feature a fire conduit. 

In other nice news, Blizzard finally admitted that Diablo III is coming to consoles - specifically, PS3 and PS4 (don't fret, MS fans - I'm sure it's coming to Xbox too).  

Also coming to the PS4 and every other platform they can are Ubisoft's Watch Dogs (new trailer), Capcom's Deep Down (working title - here's a trailer) and Bungie's Destiny.  Coming to the PS4 with timed exclusivity is the next thing from professional hot air balloon Jon Blow, The Witness (trailer).  

The only announced PS4 exclusives so far are inFamous: Second Son (eee!), something called Knack (trailer), Driveclub (trailer) and of course a new thing from Guerrilla Games, Killzone: Shadow Fall (trailer)

Annnd... that's it.  A bigwig from Square Enix came out and said they'd have something to announce at E3.  

The PS4 will be out for the 2013 holiday season, and I for one feel it'll be worth it just for a new inFamous game

The Killzone: Shadow Fall trailer.

And the coolest news from Sony's presser is...

inFamous: Second Son has been announced.

Thank you.  I've been dying to know what Sucker Punch has been up to.

Capcom announces Deep Down for next-gen systems.

Deep Down is a working title - because the actual title is probably Dragon's Dogma 2.

The next thing from the dude who made Braid... getting timed exclusivity on PS4.

Times like this, I wish I didn't hate Braid with a burning passion.  Y'know what woulda' been nice to see from the indie space, Sony?  Somethin' exclusive from Klei.

Watch Dogs PS4 gameplay trailer.

The first PS4 game announced is...


The PS4 Unreal Engine 4 demo.

Here's Unreal's next-gen engine running on a PS4 dev kit.

Loyal? Me?

The above PSN message went out last night across North America.  I don't feel it was disloyal of me to have immediately assumed it was some sort of scam and look it up online - but no, it's legit!

On the eve of the PS4 announcement, Sony decided to get in just a little better with folks who already love them, as displayed through our customer loyalty.  Was it just to PlayStation Plus members, or did one need to buy a certain amount off the PSN in the past few months?  We may never know, as none of Sony's official outlets have addressed the credit - and word is some folks quietly got five dollars worth of loyalty a week or two ago.

As for me, I spent mine on Castle Crashers for PS3 - having heard nothing but good things about the game, and being keen to find something Kayla and I can throw down with in co-op multiplayer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kittens on the Beat.

The only thing standing between you and mis-matched socks is a pair of hard-core crime-fightin' kittens.  Oh, and speaking of hilarious Internet videos, I hadn't seen this one in years - 'till I tracked it down last night:

(Spoilers for BioShock.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Dragon's Crown trailer!

Thirty sweet seconds!

New screens!  And they're in the Vita's native resolution, too...

Mmmmm... HD Vanillaware...