Friday, October 30, 2015

Awesome Posters! Ver. 5.0

It's Central Canada Comic Con time again!  And my dogs are barkin', but - as always - I came home with some pret-ty sweet art for my long-suffering walls.

Awesome Posters! 4.0
Awesome Posters! 3.0
Awesome Posters! 2.0
Awesome Posters!

I wandered through Artist's alley for a bit, this year, before I ended up getting caught up in a conversation with Sabrina O'Donnel, who's in town from Edmonton, and wanted to know what other conventions in town might be worth setting up shop at.  I could only offer one or two suggestions, and told her about an art collective in the Exchange District that might suit her purposes.  She has some pretty wicked stuff - here's a pin-up nude of Callie Maggotbone, for example:

But I did not buy a nude of Callie Maggotbone.  We chatted about how the series died too quickly, agreed that Undergrads should have gotten a second season too, and I went with this - Sugar Skull Pinup.

I think mostly because I watched Book of Life last week, which reminded me of how much I love Guacamelee and the whole day of the dead thing.

Oh, she was also selling cute little buttons.  I bought one with Jake's face (for me), one with a pixel-art heart container (for me), and one with Gunter (for Kayla).  If you don't know who Jake and Gunter are, you also won't understand why I bought Sarah Wilde's fantastic Romance Time.

'Cause everyone else gets it.

Then I went and paid perennial favorite Justin Currie a visit.  I have a ton of his stuff already, but all year I've known I wanted a copy of A Fine Lunch Sketch for the office.  And now, I have one.

As is tradition, upon leaving the 'Con I immediately regretted not buying another one of his pieces.  This year it's Fear My Song.

But that's what next year is for.  Oh man!  There was also a guy there with some amazing anime stuff, and his was buy-two-get-one-free, so I ended up with...

The actual one is much taller than this. I think he cuts off edges on his Deviantart so folks can't steal 'em.

See You Space Cowboy, and

Samurai Champloo and

Kill la Kill.  Awesome.

I checked out Ron Guyatt's booth again, but I'd already bought everyone of his that I wanted last year.  I checked out Con newcomer Echo Chernik, but I didn't end up as blown away as I'd hoped.  I returned to a smaller table I'd walked past earlier in the day, warm with water-colored whimsy, belonging to Gillian Newland.

I strode up and said "hello, I'd like a little girl swinging from a tyrannosaur, please."

She's got some other great stuff - some wonderful stuff is in her portfolio linked above that wasn't available at the Con - but she got an extra five dollars for throwing in this little gem called, simply, LSP.

And that was this year's Con!  I bought no toys whatsoever.

I'm so mature!

Hey. Hey, PC gamers. PLAY GALAK-Z.

Because now you can play Galak-Z.

Galak-Z is, if you'll permit me, the PS4's Bastion or Mark of the Ninja.  It is that awesome goddamned indie you wish was on your platform - and if you're a PC gamer, now it is.

Here it is on Steam.
Here it is on GoG.

Go!  Go, for the good of the city!

The Rise of the Tomb Raider launch trailer.


Next year, Lara.  You and me.  That's a date.

Civilization Revolution 2 Plus is coming to Vita on Dec 3rd.

Like XCOM, Civilization Revolution 2 for Vita has been popping up on ratings sites for a while, now - but today 2K made it official with an announcement on the PlayStation blog.  One wonders if the game hasn't been tailored a bit for the (booming) Japanese Vita consumer demographic, because all of Civ Rev 2 Plus's "plus" bits are about historical Japanese characters and technology - new Japanese-centric scenarios, new Japanese leaders like Oda Nobunaga, Heihachiro Togo and Himiko, and they're hyping the Japanese Yamato class battleships.

Now, I have never - in my life - played a Civilization game.  I've heard wonderful things, of course, but never played one for myself.

Do I think Vita is the place to start with the venerable franchise?  You bet your ass I do.

Oh, and speaking of 2K...

...did you know they released a patch for Borderlands 2's Vita version yesterday?  Apparently it takes advantage of the additional memory made available to developers in a recent Vita firmware update, and cheers up the framerate a bit.

2K, I don't know what is going on with you, being all nice to the Vita - but I fucking love it.  While you're being so awesome, how 'bout you get Levine to make that BioShock game he promised all those years ago?  Eh?  Eh?

Also, announce XCOM.  I need it.

What has two thumbs and totally called it?

This guy.

Dragon's Fin Soup drops Tuesday, November 3rd on PS4, PS3 and Vita - free with PlayStation Plus.

Can I get a rimshot?

Thank you, claymation monkey!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Is Dragon Fin Soup launching on November 3rd?

Short version: probably, yeah!

Remember Dragon Fin Soup?  Kinda' twisted fantasy world, tactical RPG with procerually-generated elements, Kickstarted in 2014.  They asked for twenty-four grand, the Internet gave them a hundred and twenty grand, which far surpassed the PS4, PS3 and Vita stretch goals.  Just yesterday, they threw up a new trailer reminding us that the game takes place in a world that exists on the back of a giant turtle, swimming its way through the multiverse.

Now, here's why I believe it's coming on the third.

#1: The above trailer is referred to as its launch trailer.

#2: Recent updates on the Kickstarter have suggested the game's PC launch is essentially good to go, but Sony seemed pretty passionate about the game, and convinced Grimm to wait for a simultaneous launch on all platforms and a six-language localization effort.  Why is this important?

Because the North American PlayStation Plus collection hasn't been announced yet.  Sony has said this is because they're still finalizing the lineup. Yesterday, Grimm indicated, via a Kickstarter update, that they would have "exciting news" - expected to be the release date - to share today.

But they shared no exciting news today.  Know why?   #3: Because Sony asked them not to.

So... a crazy Kickstarted procedurally generated tactical RPG for free, anyone?

Yes, please.

Darkest Dungeon's Abomination class is...

...a fucking werewolf!!!


"Branded. beaten, and chained up for years, The Abomination has escaped his confinement and seeks refuge in the Hamlet! He is a tortured soul – a shapeshifting monstrosity with poison in his veins!

Some of you theorized that a shapeshifter might be in the works, and looks like your hunches were correct! We worked closely with our Lord Tier Kickstarter backer to craft this exciting and unique character, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on him. The Abomination will go live for all our players in November, alongside two new backer-designed enemies – the Madman, and the Collector!"
-Darkest Dungeon-
Oh Darkest Dungeon, when will you stop being so completely awesome?


Oh Darkest Dungeon, I love you.  I love you so very much.


The latest Odin Sphere: Leifdrasir trailer showcases Gwendolyn.

And I heart Gwendolyn.

There's evades now!  Look at those air juggles!  Ooooh I can't wait, Odin Sphere!  I can't wait!

If the Assassin's Creed crew made a Hitman trailer,

it would look exactly like this.

The song is Between Two Points by The Glitch Mob, off their 2010 album.

Whelp, NieR: Automata looks superfun.

Anyone else reminded of Metal Gear Rising?  Thank you, Platinum.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sony's Paris Presser breakdown.

Okay, so what did Sony show off in Paris?  Well, not much.  Not much at all.  They showed an old Call of Duty trailer with the zombies mode again, and reminded people that Call of Duty DLC is coming to PS4 first, just like it used to come to Xbox 360 first.

Then they reminded people that Star Wars Battlefront is still coming next month, and talked about the exclusive bits they'd nabbed for that.  Whatever it cost, no doubt, could have funded Drinkbox Studios' next six games but whatever.

Dhalsim was announced for Street Fighter V, which is actually pretty darned cool and I love how twisty and rubbery he is now.

Oh, and he's gone full hipster with the beard and all.  "I was stretchy before it was cool."  But, again, Street Fighter V coming exclusively to PS4 is something we already knew about.  No big whoop - but they announced a release date - Tuesday, February 16th, 2016.

Tekken 7 was then also announced for PS4, but isn't that something you should maybe get out of the way before talking about Street Fighter?  That's kind of like showing Gollum the One Ring and then showing him the Arkenstone.  I don't care about your Dwarven trinket - that's the one to rule them all, thank you.

 Then they talked about Battleborn.  Remember Battleborn?  It's the sort-of-MOBA FPS that Gearbox (of Borderlands fame) is putting together, also known as Gearbox (of Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines infamy).  Then they announced that Battleborn's beta test will happen next year exclusively on PS4 and the crowd was like... stonefaced.

Y'know that pause that presenters do, to give time for people to applaud?  It was so awkward, there.  Just silence.

Yeah, sorry Sony - whatever you paid for that was a waste of cash too.  You could have just burned it  in a dumpster and given a nearby hobo a cozy night's sleep.

Then, Boundless.  Boundless is quickly forgotten, even as it looks kind of interesting..?  Imagine Minecraft with doors to multiple, vastly different worlds, and it's also like an MMO, but there's no verbal communication with other players.  And there's grappling hooks.

Not... that thrilling but hey, No Man's Sky!

Coming June 2016.  
Cross your fingers!

Then Housemarque announced Matterfall.  What's Matterfall?  Well check out this trailer, which I think makes it pret-ty clear!

Okay, so... it's a shooter?  I think?  Wait, maybe this post at the PlayStation Blog will explain what kind of game Matterfall actually is...
"MatterFall follows an unexpected hero fighting for survival on a ravished sci-fi world infected by a mysterious and deadly alien material known only as “Smart Matter.”

Using agility and powerful weaponry you must explore this new world and utilize your own control over the Smart Matter to uncover the mystery of this new threat and save the day before it threatens the very existence of the human race."
-PlayStation Blog- nope!  Moving on.

We got another Horizon: Zero Dawn gameplay demo.  It's... largely identical to the one at E3, right down to how the Thunderjaw is taken down (rope arrows and an explosive shot to the weak point) - but a lot more of the world is explained and fleshed out by narration.

Still looks smexy.  Bloodborne: The Old Hunters got a brief little trailer, which is mostly just about kickin' ass with a giant pizza cutter.

...though it serves to remind me that we're not getting The Old Hunters' physical release in North America (why is Europe getting all the physical releases?!), and I'll hafta' import that.

Driveclub Bikes was announced - a stand-alone expansion, available... right now.  Then... praise be, they showed Gravity Rush 2.  Remember in the first (real) trailer for GR2, Kat had this silver stuff on her arms and legs and she took a running leap off a rooftop and just shot straight out?  And it was like "is that just a new move, or..?"  Well, it's not a new move per say.  In addition to the style of gravity bending you fell in love with in Gravity Rush, Kat sports "Moon Style" (silver adornment), which makes her lighter, faster and allows for massive jumps, and "Jupiter Style," which is heavier and allows hard-hitting attacks.  See?  Check it out:

And then we got this hot new trailer that really shows off where all that PS4 horsepower is going - specifically, the Havok physics engine.

A lot of people predicted what we'd see next - a multiplayer trailer for Uncharted 4.  And it looks... pretty damned amazing, actually.  Check this:

They showed off some more gameplay of Dreams - the next thing from (LittleBigPlanet) Media Molecule.  It still looks creepy and weird, but now it also looks like a creepy, weird game with awkward controls.

After that, it was mostly PlayStation VR stuff.  I am of the opinion that PlayStation VR (and any VR that's not plugged directly into a beastly PC) will go the way of Virtua Boy, the PlayStation Move and the Kinect - I don't think the market will support meaningful development post-launch - but y'know.  Dare to dream.

Like, Crytek is making something for it, the Until Dawn crew is making an Until Dawn spin-off for it, yadda yadda yadda. "Over 200 developers" are working on stuff for PS VR, they said - but they also said the same shit about the Vita, and look where that is lately.

I'm bitter, I know.

Then they announced Gran Turismo Sport, which sounds a lot like DriveClub 2.  They're hoping to get on PS VR as well (of course), but after the trailer, Kazunori Yamauchi just drones on for like ten goddamned minutes about how if you win the tournament in the game they'll give you a trophy at the FIA the same day they give real trophies to real drivers.  It was... obscenely boring.  But then they showed Wild.

And Wild still looks awesome.

It's a brilliant demo, really - taking you through each stage of the Shaman's journey, walking you through the mechanics, skipping the boring stuff.  Very cool - very smart showing.

Though, admittedly, before she appeared I said to myself "why do I feel like the Snake God is going to be a sexy mostly-naked snake-woman?  Ah, there she is."  She still felt awesome in the literal sense of the word, though - so that's cool.

Also, I want to swim as a rabbit now.

Then... (sigh) ... David Cage came out.  Except now we know it's not pronounced Dayvid, but Dahvid.  My whole life I didn't realize I might, one day, need to correct people on how to pronounce my name, but there it is.

And remember the Kara tech demo from years ago?  Well, Cage decided to spin that into a full game called Detroit: Become Human.  I'll admit, at this point in the conference I had returned to my desk at work and was just listening to it on my earbuds, but this... is so classic Dahvid Cage.  Just relentless, schlocky over-writing, and... here's the thing...

I know people are hyped for this.  I'm reading comments on websites that I'm pretty sure aren't just shill accounts, talking about how excited they are for Detroit, but I look at a Quantic Dreams game and think "this thing's budget could fund ten indie studios for three years."

What a disappointing conference.  No real announcements, nothing particularly interesting - but we got a closer look at Gravity Rush 2, which looks marvelous, saw a huge chunk of WiLD, which looks marvelous, and Uncharted 4's multiplayer, which looks ridiculous.

I give it four out of ten.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A brief reaction to Sony's Paris presser.

Nice to see new Gravity Rush 2 footage.

Nice for No Man's Sky to get a release window... though I wonder if it's not a bit ambitious.

Really sad at the complete lack of smaller indie games, and, of course, Vita.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Wait, French people play video games?

Next you'll be telling me they don't all wear horizontal stripes and jaunty scarves.

They do eat frog's legs, though.  That is actually a thing - I've had it - and I couldn't get the taste out of my mouth for days.  I think it was just super-heavy on the seasoning.

Is it weird that I don't think I was aware of Paris Games week until this year?  The thing's been going on since 2010, but this is the first time I've heard anything about it, and definitely the first time I'll actually be paying attention to it, because Sony famously skipped out on Gamescom in Germany this year.

Gamescom has always been the other western games show - smaller and less exciting than E3, more dominated by indie coverage, and often colored by strange foreign-language leaks in the weeks beforehand that we could never quite be sure of.  Sony said that because E3 was a week later than usual in 2015, and Gamescom was a week earlier, it didn't make sense for them to attend, so they stayed out of Germany and will land in Paris next week for an actual press conference.

...what could it be?

Be still my beating heart.

There are some "obviously"s that should be cleared out of the way.  Obviously, we're going to see more footage - or at least another trailer - for Uncharted 4, with its release less than six months out.  Probably, we're going to see some more of Horizon: Zero Dawn and that new MediaMolecule thing Dreams.

They might focus a lot on that PlayStation VR thing - but I kinda' hope not, 'cause let's face it, the odds of that being a genuine business success are pretty small.  Personally, I'm hoping we get some cool third-party announcements.  For example, did you know that Sega trademarked the name "Aoki Kakumei no Valkyria," which translates to "Valkyria of the Blue Revolution"?

For a lot of fans of the Valkyria Chronicles franchise, this is "holy shit" news.  Now, naturally, I find myself hoping it's real and it's coming to Vita, because I hope everything comes to Vita.

Gamescom's where Puppeteer, Killzone Mercenary and Tearaway were announced - so it stands to reason that Sony might end up dropping some new first-party announcements - but it's also where they announced indies like WiLD, Rime and Pix the Cat.

I'm hoping we see some strong indie stuff, here, because it's felt like Sony's kinda' been off their indie game for a while.  We've seen a ton of excellent indie releases in 2015, but relatively few announcements compared to years past.

So!  Let's make a wish list.  A crazy, insane, never-gonna' happen wish list.

  • Rebel Galaxy will be out on PS4 later this year.
  • Okami is getting a Vita port. 
  • Valkyria of the Blue Revolution is a new core Valkyria Chronicles title, and it's coming to Vita. 
  • Eitr is coming to Vita. 
  • They bought out the Indivisible RPG and now it's coming to all Sony platforms. 
  • Galak-Z, Mercenary Kings and Broforce are all still coming to Vita, Sony just decided to pay Curve to port them over, and they'll be out in December. 
  • Whatever Sucker Punch has been working on since wrapping inFamous: First Light
  • The thing that Sony Bend has been working on. 
  • A new, triple-A effort from Sony Santa Monica.  Maybe God of War?  On PS4?  Please?
  • XCOM announced for Vita.  Finally.
  • Fallout 4 has PlayStation VR support.
  • No Man's Sky has PlayStation VR support.
  • Alien: Isolation is having PlayStation VR support patched in.

...and that would satisfy me.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This, that and the other.

Never, in the history of this blog, have I gone so long between posts.  Apologies.

First up, PS4.  Whatcha' been doin' on your PS4?  I've been taking advantage of those sweet flash sales, and playing Wasteland 2.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Metro Redux and Bastion were all nabbed last week.  Rapture because of the sweet graphics and the possibility of being emotionally moved by a video game again, Metro Redux because that seems like something I should have in my library, and Bastion mostly just to remind myself how hyped I am for its appearance on Vita later this year.  I played it long enough to grab the Breaker's Bow and kick some ass with it, and that's all the reminder I need.

As for Wasteland 2: Director's Cut...

Wasteland 2 is super-easy to explain if you've touched upon two of gaming's best examples of required reading.

Once upon a time, XCOM: Enemy Unknown let its guard down, and was seduced by classic Fallout.  Wasteland 2 is their illegitimate love-child.

That's really all there is to it.  Structure, freedom and character are pure Fallout, combat is a slightly simplified XCOM.  Quest resolutions are completely open, with far more than blue or red options, and the world is abjectly weird just for the sake of abject weirdness.  You roam around the world map as a Ranger's badge icon, avoiding (or plunging bravely into) radiation pockets, challenging or evading random encounters (assisted by the Outdoorsman skill), and landing in far-flung settlements that may take two to ten hours to work through.  The quests really are nicely large, but never too large.  What's a bit awkward is how you roam around these zones as you would in most RPGs - freely walking about and exploring - until combat occurs, and you're locked into XCOM's you-have-so-many-action-points-to-move-so-far thing.

That transition - from the exploration and story-driven RPG to the turn-based tactical combat - is clumsy and uncomfortable, especially when your shotgunner was for some reason keeping to the back of your group of heroes, your sniper was up front, and now you have to spend a turn or three repositioning them before they can even get a shot off.

It pays (quite richly, I should note) to take your time, panning the camera forward to make sure there are no enemies about before moving your squad into a new room, and setting up ambushes by selecting a single character to move, placing them just so, and selecting the next.

Super, super-hard fights have been overcome just by chilling out, backing off and carefully placing my squad before letting the fur fly.

Once in combat, it's not quite as supple as XCOM's wealth of tactics and options - heroes get a few "precision shots" that seem to have an insanely low chance to hit, but will lower an enemy's chance to hit if you nail them in the arm, speed if you shoot them in the leg, or cause a stun of you land a headshot - but there aren't significantly interesting options like the Flush or Suppress tactics in XCOM.

It's mostly about using cover effectively, and positioning your squad with intelligence enough to weather the enemy's turn.  Ambushes (essentially the Overwatch mechanic from XCOM) have huge utility, though, and simply aggroing a crew of raiders in a heavily-fortified location and dashing back behind a line of Rangers all set to ambush has turned many impossible encounters possible.  

So the short version is XCOM + Fallout = love.

I'm loving it.  It's up there with Bloodborne and Galak-Z for the most valuable games of 2015, for me.


This will keep Meow distracted for hours.

I've been watching a lot of anime, again.  Mitchiko e Hatchin is one of those cool, laid-back animes that are more interested in character exploration and development than they are action.  It's a nice show - beautiful, sad, hopeful, sweet.  Didn't get all the way through it, because I ended up trying out My Little Monster on Netflix.  Another character-driven show, it's central question is asked and answered before the end of episode 2, and from then on it's just letting you snuggle up with its characters as they try to come to terms with what they already understand.  The last episode almost made me cry, though.  It was awesome.

I also watched most of Samurai Champloo again, but easily the most exciting anime I've touched lately is Space Dandy.

I'm late to the party on Space Dandy, I know.  From the creators of Samurai Champloo, it is perhaps best described as a Japanese riff on Futurama.  Or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It follows the same characters, but each episode exists in a vacuum that explores one science fiction concept or another, when it's not doing character exploration.  It establishes this early, by killing off the entire cast in the first episode, right after they're all introduced.

"And then everybody died.  The end.  That's our episode, see you next week!"

This permits Space Dandy to just get on with the business of enjoying itself and playing around with various high-falutin' ideas, all while (amazingly) managing to maintain an effective narrative thread across both seasons.  It's sort of like... imagine if every episode of The Outer Limits had the same main cast, and they were subjected to a new, insane concept of sci-fi weirdness every week, and sometimes they were aware of what happened in previous episodes, and other times had no idea.

And, crucially, that they all just went along with it.

The character of Dandy (described early, and often, as "a dandy guy in space") is crucial to this.  He is The Dude in The Big Lebowski, Spike in Cowboy Bebop, Jughead in Archie.  He's a bit of an idiot, he has his own ambition (in Dandy's case, going to his favorite breastaurant), but his life mandate is simply to go with the flow of whatever happens.  If he ends up giving away a fifty-million ₩ bounty to help out a little space girl or becomes one of the first victims of the zombie plague that will wipe out and simultaneously bring peace to the universe, he's cool with it.

'Cause that's just the Dandy way.  Also, I love that the currency of Space Dandy is the woolong - the same one from Cowbow Bebop.  For the record.

Yet elsewhere... Vita.

Not gonna' happen.

Did you know Broforce isn't coming to Vita any more?

So that's Galak-Z, Mercenary Kings and Broforce - no longer coming to the handheld.  This really disappoints me.  Like, disappoints me more than it should, and more than I acknowledge would be healthy.  I don't know why it bothers me to this degree - perhaps just because I love my Vita so damned much.  ...even as the backlog on it continues to grow.

Disgaea 3, Danganronpa 1 and 2, Ar Nosurge Plus, Super Meat Boy, Xeodrifter, Corpse Party... in truth, my Vita cup runneth over, but as a rule, lately, it's the western high-profile indies that tend to pull most of my time on the thing.  Losing another one of them - and getting the repeated impression that Sony gives no fucks about their abandoned creation - feels like a kick to the chops when we're already down.

But... somewhere, a list of trophies for XCOM: Enemy Unknown leaked today for Vita.  Despite the name, the trophies directly reference mechanics from XCOM: Enemy Within (the expanded game), and if that's real...

But Grand Kingdom continues to look so gorgeous and up my alley...

(Please get localized, please get localized!)

But Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir remains a thing...

Man, I can't wait to bust out those new combos.

But Uppers, the next thing from the guy who made Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble for PSP, is a thing, and it's being produced by the Senran Kagura dude.

But The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter is coming out next week, after a very long an challenging localization by XSEED.  I mean, sure it's a PSP game, but... XSEED gives me hope.

Atlus gives me hope.  Aksys gives me hope. Between them and all the other indies - did I mention Organ Trail, which dropped this past Tuesday?

Between Atlus, XSEED and Aksys, maybe we will see Grand Kingdom and God Eater Resurrection and Uppers and Exist Archive over here.  Between them and all the other indies who are happy to show up on Vita... maybe the thing's still got a long life in it.

Maybe even long enough for me to clear out that backlog.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The briefest of Game Diaries.

I put about ninety minutes into Wasteland 2 last night, and it's... frustrating, here and there.  I kept on trying to heal my one guy who was almost dead, and somehow all of my characters except the one who's good at healing kept healing themselves.  The combat, additionally, is... not very fun, so far.  Like at all.  It's tedious and - while very simple - confusing.  How much AP does it take to shoot my weapon?  Or reload?

I have no idea, but I know when I can't do any of those things, because it says "not enough AP."

I'll give it another shot in a few minutes.

Elsewhere, my lunch breaks yesterday and today were spent with Corpse Party: Blood Drive.  I have, at this point, put twice as much time into it as I did its sixteen-bit predecessors, and I'm actually digging it.  It's like ninety percent supernatural horror in visual novel form, and ten percent cute chibi polygonal characters wandering around Silent Hill-esque environment.

Oh, and Kayla got up to the first boss on Super Meat Boy.  That's better than I!

Also, who else watched the Fallout 4 live action trailer?

That is a complete waste of a trailer, and of a good song.  They should have taken the five hundred thousand dollars it cost to make that trailer and handed it to a promising indie dev.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Stray dog sim Home Free coming to PS4.


PS Blog post.

Home Free's Kickstarter page. 

Also - every time I read about this game, I can't help thinking about The Fisher King.  Remember The Fisher King with Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams?  The gist of it is, relatively normal guy Jeff Bridges ends up becoming friends with off-his-meds homeless guy Robin Williams, and in classic movie formula, it gets to a point where he's all angry with Robin Williams and tells him to fuck off, so Robin Williams goes away and gets rolled by some asshole teenagers.  Then Jeff Bridges is in a meeting with some greasy TV executives, and they're pitching him a show where he's one of three homeless guys who just love the "freedom" of being homeless and Jeff Bridges freaks out on them and decides to go look for Robin Williams.  The name of the show they pitched Jeff Bridges was Home Free.

Corpse Party: Blood Drive's launch trailer is straight anime horror.

I actually picked it up yesterday when I snagged Wasteland 2.  So far it is... very disturbing.

Darkest Dungeon launches January 19th, 2016.

Who's not surprised they won't make their initially-projected launch window?  Nobody

Who'll be impressed if they make January 19th?  This guy.

Here's the post from (game designer) Tyler Sigman:
"Greetings everyone!

Thank you for being part of the Darkest Dungeon early access experience! This community has grown beyond our expectations, and we’re both grateful and humbled by your support, ideas, critiques, and feedback throughout this past year.

From the moment we launched early access back in February, we had two important priorities: regularly deliver exciting, meaty updates to the game, and ship the full release this year. We recognized that October would not only be an awesome thematic fit for the full release, but it was early enough in the year to avoid getting swept away by the massive AAA releases around Thanksgiving.

As many of you know, game development has a great many dependencies and variables. Between PAX’s, Coves, & corpses, it became clear that an October date would mean rushing our endgame content out the door – a move that would ultimately not be in anyone’s best interest. So, we looked at the December 1st timeframe – it would be tight, but with a few lucky bounces and a whole lot of focus, it was doable. A Death Star trench run with Obiwan gently whispering in our ears.

Unfortunately, late last week Chris’ father-in-law passed away suddenly. Given our small team size, events such as these have a measurable effect on development. If anyone is out of action, it means delays because each person’s job is highly specialized.

As a result, we have set January 19th as our Official Launch Day.

In keeping with our commitment to regular content updates, we’ll be dropping an interim patch towards the end of November that introduces a new playable hero: The Abomination! Designed in collaboration with our Lord tier Kickstarter backer, this bloodthirsty class is unlike anything currently in the game. Keep your eyes peeled for the full reveal in the coming weeks! This update will also include two decidedly unsettling backer-designed monsters, as well as some other ‘goodies’! You can also expect continued hotfixes as necessary.

As always, a very sincere thanks to all of you who have made this game and this community something special. We are truly on the home stretch, and we are incredibly excited to bring this game to completion…and beyond!

–The Darkest Dungeon Team"
And as a Vita-lover, you know I wanted to hear where they're at on the PlayStation side of things - just after the announcement, they Tweeted this:

Ahhh.  One day, Vita.  One day.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Let's do some math! 2015 edition.

Every year - usually in August - I get out a calculator and figure out how much the Fall Rush of games will cost me.  The price tag usually flits between five hundred and a thousand, but I get the feeling fall 2015 won't be nearly as costly (or interesting).  There are two games, off the top of my head, that I'm super-hyped for - Darkest Dungeon's 1.0 release on Steam (a PC game stealing my heart.  Who'da thunk it?) and Fallout 4 for my PS4.

Other than that... myehhh.  But you never know.  Once we start actually looking at fall releases, the list could grow.  So let's see what we've got!

Okay, so... what we've got, basically, is RPGland.

I N D I E    U P D A T E

First up, indies.  What indies are coming down the pike is, as always, a crapshoot.  Often, lately, developers will remain mum on release dates until (at best) a few weeks prior to launch, and (often) a mere day or two before the game becomes available.  Tons of delicious-looking games are supposed to drop on Vita and PS4 this year - heck, a lot of them were supposed to appear this past spring, and then just went pretty silent - but a lot of cool stuff might come out this year.  Stuff like...

Stylish turn-based stealth-platformer Ronin was slated for launch on PS4 and Vita "late 2015," as of this past June.  Haven't heard anything since, but fingers crossed!  I'd play the crap out of it on Vita.

The Banner Saga
Originally announced as coming to PlayStation platforms in "early 2015," celebrated indie strategy title The Banner Saga did... not come out in early 2015.  In July, developer Stoic said it's simply taking longer than they expected, and offered apologies and assurances it would be an excellent experience when it lands on consoles.

Ray's The Dead
The cute story-driven zombie adventure's been on the stove for a while, now, and developer Ragtag announced in August that they'd landed a publisher deal with (of all people!) Adult Swim.  So... it's still coming!  One day!  Maybe!

The next thing from lovely Canadian studio Drinkbox, Severed is a first-person action/adventure/dungeon crawler.  Originally slated to drop this past summer, Drinkbox announced in July that they wanted a few more months for playtesting and tweaking.  ...and nothing's been heard since...

Supergiant Games' delectable bite-sized action-RPG will definitely hit Vita this year, if the dev's last statement on Twitter this past August is to be believed.  Yay!

Salt & Sanctuary
There's pretty much no way Ska Studios' 2D love letter to the Souls franchise will appear this year.  A few weeks ago they reconfirmed it's got no release window, so don't hold your breath.

Mercenary Kings
Hahahah I wish!

Not A Hero
OlliOlli developer Roll7's shooter landed successfully on Steam this past May, and we've not heard much of the promised Vita and PS4 versions since... but on October 5th, they said they're adding the "final touches" to the port - so it very well should drop this fall!

Remember the procedurally-generated space sim Drifter?  It's still out there - announced as "coming soon" to Vita and PS4 in 2013, the game went into Steam Early Access in 2014 and is still there.  It's currently at release 0.6.2, and yeah... the PlayStation Ports won't even get touched until it goes 1.0.

Inner City Kids
The groovy retro-pixel 90s/urban/punk XCOM riff was supposed to drop spring 2015 - but it didn't.  I haven't been able to find an update on a release window, so I've asked developer Jamo for a comment.

Nuclear Throne
Vlambeer's roguelike shooter has been on Steam Early Access since 2013.  Still hasn't gone full launch.  ...sigh...

YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG
The dev has reiterated several times that it'll drop "this winter," so keep hope alive!

So let's be generous and say... half of these come out between now and the end of December, and say they're twenty bucks each.  There's $120 for indies.

And now, on to disc-based games.

October 9th
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
The Uncharted collection has been earning stellar reviews, and nostalgia combined with the fact that yes, Uncharted 2 in particular is a frickin' incredible game, might push me into a purchase.
Maybe - $75.00

October 13th
Wasteland 2: Director's Cut
The modern spiritual sequel to not only 1988's Wasteland, but the original isometric Fallout titles, will drop on consoles this Tuesday.  With a more reasonable price, I'm actually pretty tempted...
Yes - $45

October 27th
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
Fantasy RPG Divinity: Original Sin earned a ton of best-RPG plaudits when it dropped in 2014.  It's a modern spin on the classic RPG, and that is pretty darned appealing.
Yes - $60

October 27th
Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition
I'm actually more interested in Darksiders II's up-port than I am Uncharted's.  Aside from some pacing issues and a limping ending, the game's biggest problems were its bugs.  If those are fixed, I'm definitely down for some more Zelda-through-the-eyes-of-pulp-fantasy-comics.
Yes - $30

November 10th
Fallout 4
The only triple-A release of the fall that I'm interested in.  Bethesda has been pretty quiet on the actual story involved in Fallout 4, and we can rest assured that the game will be riddled with annoying little bugs, but... this is the next thing from the crew that made Fallout 3 and Skyrim.
I'm down for that.
Yes - $75

November 24th
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
The expansion for one of 2015's best games offers more things to see and do and kill in Bloodborne.  That's all I need to know.
Yes - $20

December 15th
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (Vita)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky was one of the most celebrated JRPGs in the final years and months of the PlayStation Portable, and Trails of Cold Steel is lined up to be the most important Vita game in the last half of 2015.  I don't have great success with falling in love with JRPGs, but - gosh darn it - I'll keep trying.
Yes - $50

Q4 2015
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (Vita)
I went and tried one of those ridiculous, pandering Japanese games that's all about girls' breasts flopping everywhere and getting stripped down to their skivvies, and... it had really fun combat and presentation.  So I'm down for the sequel.
Yes - $50.

And now, for the math.

Wasteland 2: Director's Cut ($45)
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition ($60)
Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition ($30)
Fallout 4 ($75)
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters ($20)
Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel ($50)
Senran Karua: Estival Versus ($50)

= $330.00

Times 1.14% for taxes...

= $376.2


Not a Hero
YIIK and one other indie if we're lucky, at a generous at a generous estimate of twenty dollars each ($120).

= $496.20.  

That will be the least I've spent on the Fall Rush in yearrrs.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hoodies! Again!

Thirteen months ago, I scored a pair of hoodies representing two of the games I cherish most - Muramasa and Dragon's Crown.  They aren't officially licensed - not by a long shot - but they do represent the obscure arts that I adore, and so I'm happy and proud to have them.

Now, it's worth pointing out, neither of these hoodies have fallen apart on me.  They actually seem to be of reasonable quality, and they aren't coming apart at the cuffs as hoodies tend to do.  They're solid, is what I'm saying.

It's also worth pointing out that I'm not considered by anyone who knows me to be a "hoodie guy."  I don't wear sweat pants or track pants, I don't wear T-shirts.  Ever.  And if I walked into work wearing jeans - even on Fridays, when everyone wears jeans - everyone I work with would stop and feel the need to point it out that oh my God, Chance is actually wearing something casual on Friday.

I am a collared shirt and jacket or collared shirt and overcoat sort of fellow, but as winter rears its crisp and icy head, the hoodie-under-the-jacket look becomes necessary and even appealing.  So, today, I turned once again to Redbubble, of a mind to subtly endorse the gaming culture touchstones I so cherish.  Bloodborne has a lot of options.  A ton, really - but nothing involving a Hunter really spoke to me.

Creepy as fuuuuuu...

So this one with nice fan art of Vicar Amelia will have to do.  ...frickin' awesome boss fight.

Elsewhere, hoping against hope, I punched in the words Darkest Dungeon and - eureka! - actually found four options.  I went with these two because I don't need Pikachu in my Darkest Dungeon and the Plague Doctor one isn't very funny.

...and those should show up in three to seven business days!  Yayyy.

And now I'm... kinda' feelin' like I wanna' go play some Bloodborne, oddly enough...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Street Fighter V - Laura reveal trailer.

Yeah, Chamberlain, I don't think you're getting Blanka.  She even has electricity attacks.

*insert sarcastic quip about over-sexualized ladies in Street Fighter here*

The best Uncharted moments.

It's weird and great that they got Sean Murray in on this.

Cargo plane sequence - yes.  The train sequence - yes.  But for me, it's not any one moment.  It's... the Uncharted gameplay language that they really nailed in 2 and refined in 3.

Or if it is one moment, it's the moment when I leapt from a platform while still firing an assault-rifle one-handed at an enemy behind me as I flew through the air.

Okay, I might have a problem.

I am super glad to get Mad Love in print form, though.  I gotta' stop spending money.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hey Chance!

Hey!  Hey Chance!  Super Meat Boy is out on Vita today!  You love 2D platformers!

        Indeed I do.

Gonna' download it?

        Already did.

Gonna' play it?


Well... hey Chance!  How's Persona 4: Dancing All Night going?

        It's okay.

...just okay?

        Yeah, I'm not like, peeing myself over it.  It's okay.  I'll get back to it, at some point.

Okay, how's Ar nosurge? 

        Combat's fun.  There's a lot of "oh Japan" eyeroll stuff in there, though.

Like what?

        Like twelve year olds wearing fetish gear with their buttcracks hangin' out.  It's... really offputting.

So... not worth playing?

        Eh.  Combat's fun.  Story seems decent.

Um... well hey Chance, how far are you in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain?  It's super-awesome.

        It is super-awesome.

Have you had the boss fight against-

        Whoah there spoilerboy.   I didn't finish it.

Well you're going to, aren't you?

        Yeah.  Probably.

Goddamnit.  You're still playing Darkest Dungeon. 

        I am.


Far Cry Primal. Hm.

I wasn't prepared to say anything about Far Cry Primal until I saw some footage.  Whelp, here's some footage.

Hm.  Or - to be specific - hmph.

Now look, we can all agree that the bow in Far Cry 3 and 4 is super-awesome and fun, and the games' context-sensitive approach to spectacularly-animated first-person takedowns is, additionally, super-awesome and fun - but how is Primal going to give me the amount of tactical options that 3 and 4 did?

Unless a frickin' wizard from Atlantis shows up with C4, bullpup SMGs, sniper rifles, grenade launchers and a wingsuit, I'm not sure how much room this game has to flesh out the experience.  In my head, I see a flint dagger, a flint-tipped spear and - the very latest in hunting technology - the bow.  Not even a longbow, mind you, 'cause they wouldn't show up for another few thousand years.

I suppose... I suppose you could have like, slings.  Like David-and-Goliath slings.

...and spear throwers, maybe.

I'll keep an eye on it, but I'm not hyped.  Not like I would be for Blood Dragon II.

Oh yeah - and blowdarts.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Retail therapy.

Kayla and I spent the afternoon and early evening tooting around town.  I've never been able to find season 5 of Adventure Time on bluray in a store, but today the Internet told me that three HMVs in three malls across town had copies.  So - given that the plan was just to drive around and whatever - I called the one at the mall furthest away, and asked them to hold it for me.  Like a mini road-trip thing.

When we got to the mall, about fifty people were all just milling around outside the doors.  None of them knew what was going on, but a teenage girl told me her store was closed, though people were allowed in the mall.

We went in.  Turns out there was some kind of power outage that affected all the Interac and credit card machines, and the only store outside of the food court that wasn't shuttered was a Chapters - a big bookstore chain.  We decided to check it out.

I was hoping to find the next two volumes of the Hellboy series I've been buying, but no dice.  What I did find was The Complete Far Side.  I fucking love The Far Side, you have no idea.

For years, I'd had my heart set on The Complete Calvin & Hobbes, but they didn't have it - so the complete collection of one of my top-three all-time favorite comics would have to do.  Seriously, the one with the cats up there remains one of the funniest things I've ever seen or thought about.

What with the power failure, they were only accepting cash at the register, so I parted with $120 of my precious dollars, and called one of the other HMVs across town to see if they could hold Adventure Time for me.

They did.  We drove.  I snapped up the last copy they had of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and wandered over to the anime section.  And lo and behold, they had Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Series in a single package.

Now, you don't have to tell me that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is superior to the 2003 series.  I know it is.  It's better, funnier and follows the manga more faithfully - but the original FMA anime remains a classic, and the source of a lot of fond memories.  Fifty bucks for all five seasons?  Deal.

They also had the complete first season of Space Dandy.  ...never seen Space Dandy...

...but it's from the crew who made Cowboy Bebop, and - like buying Mitchiko E Hatchin sight-unseen, I'm prepared to give some creators the benefit of the doubt.  Deal.  Purchased.  Oh, right, didn't I come here for Adventure Time..?

So that was another two hundred bucks.

While we were at Chapters earlier in our tale, and I was poking about the humor section in search of Calvin & Hobbes, I pulled a few books I thought Kayla would like - Mindy Kaling's, and Felicia Day's.

She grabbed the first book in the Outlander series, and when I handed her these, she mulled them over for a few minutes and - to my surprise and delight - decided she'd get them all.  Tragically, as the registers only took cash, she couldn't buy them.  She asked them to hold on to them for her.

After our expensive visit to Chapters and our expensive visit to HMV (Kayla, also, spent about $200 there), we were due for some dinner, and decided on a restaurant that just-so-happened to be in the same parking lot as another Chapters.  I asked her if she wanted to go in and look for the books she couldn't buy earlier, and we decided to check it out.

She got her Outlander book, and I re-found the Kaling and Day books, and what to my wondering eyes should appear?

If you don't know why this is so completely amazing and why you should be hella jelly of me right now, permit me to say this...

And that was my day.

My very, very expensive day.