Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dark Souls III: Coming to VHS on April 12th.



Awww that's charming.  Except the "one man" part, over and over.  I have never, not once, played a Souls game as a male hero.  We've got plenty of games with male heroes already.

Betcha' didn't think I could turn such a fun trailer into an equality thing, did'ja?

DOOM cinematic trailer.

DOOOOOOM.

Hmmm check out the Seraph announcement trailer.

Comin' to PS4.  And not Vita because God hates me.



So the deal here is, auto-aim is always on.  The game is entirely about movement, evasion, using your supers and (I think) choosing when to pull the trigger.   It also has an auto-tuning difficulty level - the better you play, the harder it gets, the better the rewards for killing demons becomes.

Quote from the dev:
"“But, Daniel, if you don’t aim isn’t the game just easy-mode-auto-win casual fodder?”

Another excellent question from our astute PlayStation fans! The answer is of course not. Because the player doesn’t have to aim we instead allow them to focus on all of the stuff that matters more: evading exploding pillars of flame, sliding down a wall firing an SMG one-handed, and cartwheeling over a boss whilst simultaneously unloading a shotgun shell into its demonic face. Because the player doesn’t have to aim we have room to make this kind of gameplay really challenging!

This is what playing Seraph is all about — looking and feeling amazing."
Hm!  You have my curiosity, Seraph.  More deets here.

Axiom Verge drops on Vita April 19th.


Developer Mike Happ has a nice big write-up over on the PlayStation Blog today, and it kinda' hypes me more for the game just when he starts listing off a bunch of 9/10-or-better reviews the game got when it launched last year.

Better late than never, Happ!  Thanks for not givin' up on this version.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is coming west on PS4.

...annnd Vita!


Now I've never really gotten in to the whole rhythm game thing - or the Hatsune Miku thing - like at all.  Kayla actually has at least one super-adorable Miku Nendoroid, though... but either way, this trailer makes it look kinda' fun...

I appreciate that all of the inputs seem to be on the right-hand face buttons, at least.  But how does one activate the stars?  What of the stars?!



Comin' this fall (physical and digital on both platforms!), more deets here.  Localized by Sega.  Hm.

Well, you're doing a better job than Squenix, Sega!  Now don't fuck up Valkyria.

Risk of Rain drops on PS4 and Vita on April 12th.


And all we got for the announcement was this little Tweet.  No trailer or nothin'.  Just a coupla' screens.



...which is... y'know... kinda' bunk, so here's a trailer from last month yayyyy!

Senran Kagura's Daidōji joins the cast of Uppers!

And I wouldn't put that exclamation point there, except... well, here's today's trailer for Uppers.



Now, Uppers appeals to me mostly because it's a new brawler under the wing of Senran Kagura producer Kenichiro Takaki - and Senran Kagura is (to me, at least) a super-fun brawler - and Uppers takes a few step back from the problematic objectification and sexualization of SK.  It doesn't leave the room, but it backs well up from SK's passionate pastiche.

Now the two games, in terms of their brawling flavor, seem very different.  Uppers seems a slower-paced affair - a very up-close-and-personal brawler, with maybe six to ten enemies onscreen at a time.  Senran Kagura (on PS4) will throw 100+ enemies at the player at once, plus a boss or two, and it plays super fast.  I can't assured you that Uppers is actually fun, what with the whole not-having-played-the-Japan-only-demo thing, but folks who have assure me that it is, in fact, fun.

Which is important.

So Uppers appeals to me.  And now they've added Daidōji.

She doesn't have that awesome super-saiyan hair until she transforms into Shinobi mode.

...Daidōji!

Daidōji has usurped Katsuragi as my favorite Senran Kagura fighter.  Like Kat, she's a charge character (you can tap the button or hold it for a more powerful variation of a blow/entirely different move).  Unlike Kat she's not about flashing you her pantsu or groping your chest.  She is Mugen and Jin in Samurai Champloo.  She wanders the earth, seeking powerful warriors to test her skill against, hoping and praying to find someone stronger - and always being disappointed.

Behold.  Daidōji.  There are a lot of problems with Estival Versus, but she isn't one of them.



I play her more than any other Estival Versus character, so I fool around with her costumes a lot.  Her hair and dress at the very start of this gameplay is her normal hair - everything else has been fiddled with.

Also I was super-sad when I dropped my combo after killing the last Bear Ninja.  Getting any charge character's combo up over 1000 is not an easy task.

Oh, so anyway - Uppers.  Uppers drops July 14 in Japan, and Daidōji's inclusion is a first-print bonus.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nintendo are cowards and Alison Rapp deserved better.


Alison Rapp, beloved marketing personality, has been fired because a bunch of stupid assholes don't even know what they're angry about.  That is seriously what happened, and as usual we can rely on Kotaku's Patrick Klepek to give it a proper write-up.

Nintendo should be ashamed [update]and yes - I read their statement.  I also read Alison's, where she lays the firing at the feet of GG's targeted campaign of maniacal hatred - and I believe her.[/update]  Everyone involved should be ashamed of this, save the victim - who's been denied her dream job simply because of the Internet's more-than-generous allotment of angry idiots and assholes.

Dear Nintendo and the dickless wonders that achieved this,


Sincerely,
-Anyone With Even Half A Brain

More PS4K info leaks all over NeoGAF.


A NeoGAF member going by OsirisBlack - who has been verified by site moderators as a genuine industry insider - has this to say about the rumored PS4.5/PS4K:

"Price is currently $399.99 they were discussing a better CPU which would raise the price to $499.99 we were guaranteed the price will be no higher than $499.99 (He mentioned the CPU upgrade quite a bit almost as if they haven't really decided on a final spec could be a pricing issue.) also there is currently no plan for any type of trade in program for current PS4 users but that could change.

They stated that the GPU is twice as powerful as standard PS4 and much faster. They did not say exactly how fast but that is was running at a higher clock speed while being much smaller than the original.

It will have a 4k blu ray player and will upscale games that are not natively 4k.

Also there was talk of some sort of VR lounge for the media player app which is supposed to be getting a substantial upgrade.

It was stated plainly and with no room for interpretation that there are developers that already have development kits for the PS4K and that they are making games that will directly target and take advantage of the higher specs of the PS4K. It was also stated that these games will in fact work for the PS4 but with considerable sacrifices made to performance.

It was also made very clear that current games would not be getting any type of performance upgrades by being played on the system and any benefits to older games would come via patch per game and per developer. When asked if this was going to happen the response was "Its a possibility but doubtful with the exception of a handful of games."

We were also given a list of games that will be available at launch that will directly take advantage of the PS4K where the differences are and I will quote him "Significant."

For the PSVR
Eve Valkyrie
Robinson
GT Sport

For the PS4K
Deep Down (Thought this was dead)
GOW4 (This was the exact abbreviation on the sheet I can only assume its god of war 4)"

The gamers in the thread are pretty vocal about feeling betrayed that PlayStation would essentially launch a new platform with hot new games that run "with considerable sacrifices to performance" on the PS4 you bought in the past two or three years.   God of War 4 being a PS4K exclusive, for example - or even GT Sport - would feel like some straight-up bullshit.  I mean God of War 4 hasn't even been announced, but if I'm playing the sub-standard version on my hot new PS4?  That's bullshit.

Later in the thread, OsirisBlack clarifies that the PS4K is mostly about boosting the platform's VR capabilities.
"To clear up a few things though he did not make it sound like all games would be native 4k just that they would be scaled to 4k and we do have a tentative placeholder date for late Q1 next year.

Tried to keep my personal thoughts out of this thread but I really believe this move is all about the PSVR trying to look a bit better when compared to its direct competition."
And if it is, indeed, mostly about PSVR, that kind of soothes the burn - but it's not gonna' make the headset's resolution as good as the competition, either.  And it's not gonna' make me feel better about what my imagination now insists is a low-res, poorly-animated version of God of War IV running at fifteen frames per second.

Well, GameSpot HAD an exclusive FFXV announcement...

But then they accidentally posted it early, and now they can't talk about it, and every other gaming website picked it up and is talking about it.

Final Fantasy XV drops September 30th, 2016.  Also there's something about a demo coming tomorrow.

Eli Roth directed an animated Dark Souls III trailer.

And here it is!  It's only slightly less-gross than you'd expect of an Eli Roth film.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Nights of Azure launch trailer.



What the heck qualifies as a "passionate battle"?

Oh right.

Da-na dun dun dun. Another one bites the dust.

Today - The Escapist.


This popped up in the Twittersphere today.  Defy media (who you'll remember also gave GameTrailers the boot) have shut down the The Escapist's headquarters.  An official statement from Defy indicates that "a small number of people were impacted," but folks who actually, y'know, work at that office (or did, 'till today) report that every single full-time member of the staff has been laid off.

The Escapist has another, smaller office in Seattle, and Defy has said that the site will continue on - albeit with a much, much smaller staff.

Sorry, Escapites.  Nobody's backin' a Patreon for you, I think.

I will miss Critical Miss, though.  That's a quality gaming webcomic.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Chamberlain & Chance 15 : Love them and leave them.


Bam!  Fifteen episodes of podcasting goodness!


Chamberlain and Chance - Love them and leave them

I do this, Chamberlain does that, and if you're not down with Shoutengine, you can find us on iTunes!

THIS WEEK!


  • Virtual reality makes some headlines!
  • How does XCOM run on Vita? 
  • Chamberlain suffers through another shitty game so you don't have to!
  • Does the way you obtain a game to play inform how you enjoy it?
  • How does Salt & Sanctuary make its own mark on the Souls formula?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Game Diary - Pernicious Kagura.

Look at me!  I actually have a bit of time to blog!  Wooooooooooo!  XCOM is out on Vita!  Salt and Sanctuary is finally on my PS4!  I still haven't finished Far Cry Primal!  I just picked up Tearaway Unfolded for twenty bucks at Wal-Mart!

...and I can't stop playing Estival Versus.


There is a GIF that I cannot wait to make with Yozakura. 

I don't know why.  Every time I even think about Salt and Sanctuary I get excited, but once again I haven't touched it since last Friday.  I rarely get to spend quality time with my PS4 lately, so you'd think - and I honestly expected - that I would be spending my time with XCOM's Vita version.  I have been dying for this since the Vita launched.  I've been begging for it for years, and it's here.

Alex will tell you that even with his top-of-the-line gaming PC, XCOM 2's performance is less-than-stellar, but when he was complaining about drops to 20FPS during explosions, I couldn't help but think "dude, at least you get to play XCOM 2."

I figured I'd have the same attitude about XCOM on Vita.  I didn't expect it to run at 60FPS or even a solid 30, but what does that matter in a turn-based game?

I need to put more time into it.  Definitely.  And I will.  Definitely.  But XCOM on Vita does not run well.  There are like, missing animations.  Graphics aren't actually a huge step down from the PS3 version, but there was one part in an early mission where I put a rocket into a building, took down its walls, and then the rookie I ran up the middle couldn't hit the Sectoid that was like two tiles away because the wall that I'd taken out somehow blocked the shots.

So I guess it's buggy too?  And I don't want to... I don't know, struggle against a game right now.  I'm still having a very rough time, personally, and I just wanna' have some fun.

And Senran Kagura: Estival Versus is some straight-up triple-A super-high-production-values shit on Vita.  It runs like a dream.



WARNING:
This post may make you very uncomfortable, via content and discussion
AND
contains about 30 megs worth of GIFs.  I'll put it behind a page break.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Aw. You're welcome guys!

At the end of each Easy Allies weekly podcast, Brandon Jones will read the names of one-quarter of the backers who put in $25 or more per month - except on this first episode of the podcast - this week's episode, in which he reads every single one.

It takes him six minutes to get through all of 'em - and at around one hour, twelve minutes and thirty-three seconds into the podcast, he says my name.


And Brandon, you pronounced it perfectly.  That feels... way cooler than it should, maybe?  The podcast will go live for non-backers tomorrow.

This Flinthook gameplay is so sexy.

Stay back, Chamberlain!  It's a Roguelike!

Ummn yeah. Thumper PSVR gameplay.



Video courtesy of Polygon, and they've got this whole "article" thing over there to go with it, but I'll just quote the important bit:
"...the experience almost single-handedly converted me from a PlayStation VR skeptic to a possible day-one adopter."

It takes a full minute for this Dark Souls III trailer to get good.

But once it gets there..?



Oh. 

My.  

Fucking. 

God. 

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir - alchemy & cooking trailer.



I know it sounds like a small thing, but it means a lot to me that they kept the same voice for the chef in the Pooka village.  I'm really curious how the travelling chef will sound!

Oooh interesting Alienation details.



Here are the important parts:

  • 3 classes - Tank, Saboteur, Healer,
  • each class levels up and gets skill points,
  • there's loot - epic weapons, and so on,
but most crucially,
  • the entire campaign can be played solo. 

DOOM multiplayer trailer - demons, power-ups and weapons.



Oh DOOM.  I don't even like multiplayer shooters, and here you go makin' me want to play multiplayer.  You know I love you, baby.

Point: Xbox.

This is April's Games with Gold lineup.


Wolf Among Us, Sunset Overdrive, Dead Space and Saints Row IV.

They're kinda' makin' you look like crap lately, Sony.  Like Galak-Z for free is great (and if you don't have it yet stop reading this, go turn on your PS4 and download it RIGHT NOW, IT'S INCREDIBLE), but here they are for the second month in a row giving away a full-release current-gen triple-A game.

What the fuck have you done lately, Sony?  It's time, man.  It's time to start giving away the PS4 AAAs.  It's past time.

Oh thank goodness. The NX controller leak is fake.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Worth reading.


Kotaku's Nathan Grayson touched base with Red Hook's Chris Bourassa and Tyler Sigman, and put together a write-up on the trials and tribulations of seeing a surprise-success game through Steam's Early Access, and the challenge of managing a passionate community.

Worth readin'.

Hyper Light Drifter drops March 31 on PC and Mac.

Launch trailer!



Linux version will come shortly, with console ports "in 2016."  Here's hopin' the Vita port holds up!

Hm. More leaked NX controller photos...

File under rumor.




Tuesday, March 22, 2016

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Plus sneaks on to Vita today! (!!!!!)

No announcement, no nothin'.   Just BAM - XCOM is on Vita, motherfucker!  And I'm all


Here's some screens a kind Twitter user posted this morning.


Woke up to the news that XCOM: Enemy Unknown Plus - a Vita port with all the content of modern ultra-classic XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the Enemy Within expansion, but not the multiplayer - dropped on the PlayStation store in Europe this morning.

Now here's the craziest part.  (Publisher) Take Two had never even announced that this port existed.  There was no post on the PlayStation Blog that this was in the works, there is no launch trailer, no pre-release PR whatsoever - and if a tweet has appeared from 2K about it, I haven't seen it.  So naturally I was refreshing Twitter constantly today to see if it would appear on the North American store.

And lo.  It has come to pass.


It's twenty bucks, comes in a 2.2GB (I tossed some old PS1 games off my memory card), and I think Estival Versus is gonna' get pushed to the side in the immediate and forseeable future.

XCOM: Enemy Within, you should know, is one of the greatest games of all time, and perhaps the single most-perfect realization of a tactical RPG ever created.  I am gonna' throw down with this as soon as I can (which likely won't be 'till tomorrow), and I'll let you know how she runs!

I'm so fucking hyped to have this on my Vita! (!!!)


Monday, March 21, 2016

Chamberlain & Chance XIV!!! We've done this fourteen times(!!!)


And you keep listening to it because you're so damned awesome!  Your taste is impeccable.  There's no denying that - and as a special treat this week, we once again bring you the dulcet tones of Alex McCracken, who sports a silky-smooth Seduct-O-Matic 69K where is vocal cords should be!

Chamberlain and Chance - Tramp stamps, video games and politics

I do this blog, Chamberlain does that blogAlex does this other blog and this whole thing can be easily obtained on iTunes!  Or just by clicking the download button above!  Or the play button!  So many options!

THIS WEEK!
  • Chance still doesn't shut up about Senran Kagura!
  • Alex will put up with shitty performance, if the game is gold!
  • Chamberlain can't abide enjoying a super-fun game!
  • What do Canadians think about the American electoral process?
  • How does Chamberlain let you know that he's down to party?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Easy Allies launches today and I am in like Flint.

The GameTrailers crew are BACK, BABY!  First, enjoy this touching and hilarious intro video.



Then, enjoy this slightly-awkward but honest announcement of their crowdfunding venture on Patreon.



That's right!  Brandon Jones, Daniel Bloodworth, Kyle Bosman, Mike Huber, Ian Hinck, Ben Moore, Brad Ellis, Don Casanova, and Michael Damiani.  That is a lot of white dudes, but they're also the white dudes who gave me some of the best gaming-related video content of the past decade, so yes.  Yes, I am in.

Their base goal was just $200 per month, for which they promised regular streams.  But the more they get per month, the more they'll do - like so...

Subscriber Song - $200 per month
The New Couch - $800 per month
Production Equipment - $1,000 per month
A Respectable Gaming PC - $2,000 per month
Mike Huber’s New Show - $4,000 per month
The Return of our D & D Adventure - $6,000 per month
Ian Hinck’s New Show - $8,000 per month
A Second Podcast - $10,000 per month
Reviews Reborn - $15,000 per month
Michael Damiani’s New Show - $20,000 per month
The Return of Retrospectives - $30,000 per month
A New Studio - $50,000 per month

Why doesn't Bosman have a show on that list?  Will we get a Bosman show regardless?  Whatever - the part that's most important to me are the reviews, at $15K.  

When I woke up at like 6:30 AM this morning, the Patreon was up to $10,000.  By the time we pulled in to the parking lot at my office, it was at $12,000.  When I got home, it was at $20,000, and I finally had an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is.  


It now sits at $23K, and continues to climb.  They may actually get a new studio.  Kinda' Funny Games, for comparison, pulls in $37K per month from Patreon.  

To kick things off, the boys began a 12-hour megastream over on their Twitch page, so here's what you need to know: 





Welcome back, you beautiful boys.  We love you. 

Weeeird. Console gamers are more hyped for VR than PC gamers.


Weird, right?  Check out this poll GamesIndustry commissioned.

YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG is coming physically on PS4 and Vita!


Through Limited Run Games, of course.  I've never been tempted by one of Limit Run's releases - I was slightly tempted by Volume, but not immediately falling in love with Volume after spending ten minutes with it was the nail in that casket.

YIIK - a game I've never played, has never been reviewed, and may just be abjectly weird with no redeeming qualities beyond its groovy presentation - is actually pretty appealing, to me.

I may throw down on this.   Much like Gravity Rush, just because that box art is frickin' amazing.

We'll see where my cash situation is when it goes up for preorder, which we're assured will happen "soon."  When is soon?

No idea.


Want some deets?
On the afternoon of April 4th 1999 Sammy Pak went missing.That night, a video of her last known moments was uploaded online. All of your friends excitedly watched as she is pulled from an elevator by something…. otherworldly.

This is a story about what happens when you look for someone who can’t be found… and the strange things you invite into your life when you go to forbidden places.

Key Features:
  • 25 Hour Japanese RPG style campaign!
  • Journey in the late 90’s, on the eve of the world’s end, in this surreal RPG experience.
  • Unique combat that blends action based moves, with turn based combat.
  • Fight complex and epic battles featuring up to eight party members.
  • Explore and solve six unique dungeons filled with puzzles and traps!
  • Fully voiced acted campaign featuring voices by Chris Niosi(Kirbopher/Disgaea 5), Clifford Chapin(Attack on Titan), Andrew Fayette (Yuri of Wind), and many more!
  • Expansive soundtrack including works by Andrew Allanson(Two Brothers), Calum Bowen(Lovely Planet), Toby Fox(Undertale), Hiroki Kikuta(Secret of Mana), and many more!

You'll steal me away again, won't you?

Laser Disco Defenders coming to Vita this year.



Weeeird.  Not also coming to PS4.

Weeeird!

Deets here.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Whoah - slow down there, lead foot.


Just wait 'till I get some good Ikagura footage.  She looks frickin' awesome in Daidōji's coat.

But it's kinda' hard not to look awesome when you're wearing Daidōji's coat.  Daidōji herself being her own brand of spectacular.  The characters on the back of the coat say "one to stop a hundred million."

Daidōji

Oh my gumdrops. Paranautical Activity drops this week on Vita!



It just popped up in this week's The Drop post on the PlayStation Blog - comin' this Tuesday!  I wonder what the price will be?  I wonder how it'll run?

I'm not too concerned with either because Roguelike Voxel DOOM, man!  Roguelike Voxel DOOM!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Stephen Totilo sold me on VR.


Well... maybe not sold me, but Chamberlain and I had a conversation on the podcast about VR, in which we both agreed that we hadn't really seen any single game that made us want to go out and buy a VR headset.
CHAMBERLAIN: We're waiting for the killer app for that.  There's got to be something that's gonna' be the killer app.  They wouldn't release it if there wasn't something.  I trust them - we'll see...

CHANCE: Do you actually trust them?

CHAMBERLAIN: No.  You're right, I shouldn't.

CHANCE: I trust a history of peripherals like this failing badly.  Now, in fairness, there's never been anything like the push that we're seeing into VR this year.

CHAMBERLAIN: I think technology has caught up to the point that it can support it now, where previous attempts at this (Virtual Boy) were just painful to behold - they just didn't look good, they weren't fun - where now the machines in your house have the guts to actually do it.  Maybe now is the time.  Maybe it's finally arrived, I don't know.

CHANCE: I think the PC technology has caught up to the point. Aside from Thumper I haven't seen anything for PSVR that I'm like 'ooh that looks like a game I want to play regardless of whether or not it's in VR.' But I'm wondering if once you put the headset on I would be okay with a game that looks as shitty as that Zombie Taxi game because it is just so shockingly immersive that it is like the different between Super Mario World and Mario 64.  Like 'oh my goodness, this changes everything.' Maybe it is.
And then, like magic, a few days later Stephen Totilo posted an article with this headline:


In the article, Totilo essentially says "you're right, Chance."  He begins by saying that people playing VR look pretty silly, and when you look at the monitors showing what they're seeing, it never looks interesting or immersive or impressive - but once you put the headset on, all those doubts go flying out the window and you are absorbed in another world.
"These games do not show well unless you’re playing them. Any apathy you have is completely reasonable, if you’re a bystander wondering if VR is just more manufactured hype like 3D TVs a few years ago. 
The difference between watching a VR game on a monitor or in a trailer and actually playing it is often astounding. If you watch a trailer for a VR game or watch a live VR session as its graphics are output to a TV for spectators, you might as well be looking at a postcard for the Grand Canyon and not quite understanding how incredible it is to be there."
-source-
He talks to a developer and points out that, on this monitor, the game they're showing to people doesn't look all that great.  The developer says (paraphrased) "yeah, we try to turn everything up to 11 on our games, but people go into sensory overload if you do that in VR.  So we basically have to turn everything down to 7, so in a trailer or on a screen it looks like ass.  Once you've got the headset on, though, you flip the fuck out because on a screen it's a 7, in VR it's 11."

He then notes that he and all journalists are sickeningly aware that articles about VR don't do well.
"When I’m talking about VR with people who work at game companies, they are surprised when I tell them that VR stories do badly on our site. People don’t click.

Any reporter I talk to, though, knows the score. VR = traffic death. Readers don’t care.

Well, readers, I don’t blame you. No matter how wildly VR trailers zoom the camera into a VR headset, no matter how hard they try to recreate the experience in 2D, in the end you’re just seeing a regular old game trailer. You’re seeing a bunch of games that look set to 7."
-source-
So maybe...






...maybe I'm gonna' start saving up for this Fall.

In Vita news... (!)

(I lurve mah Vita.)



First up, Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book was confirmed for localization to the west, yesterday, by Koei Tecmo.  It'll have a physical limited edition for PS4, but will be PSN-only for Vita.  Which is a real surprise, from Tecmo.  They've had a lot of success with their colourful RPGs' special editions on Vita, but I suppose this might be taken as an indication that the sales numbers aren't where they need to be, there.

It is to cry.  It'll drop June 10th, and June is already jam-frickin'-packed with titles that my Vita needs in them now (Odin Sphere's localization, Grand Kingdom), so I'll probably end up grabbing it on a sale.  ...given that I haven't actually put Escha & Logy Plus into my Vita yet...



Best Buds vs. Bad Guys was announced for Vita this week.  It looks okay.  Ish. Elsewhere...


DnD-inspired action-platformer Unepic has an official release date on PS4 and Vita - March 29th in North America and March 30th in Europe!  So that'll be happening soon.

[update] And then like five minutes ago the dudes from Image & Form (Steamworld Dig, Steamworld Heist) put up a little Q&A on YouTube.  The first question they addressed was "when will [Steamworld Heist] come to other platforms, and which platform first?"

Answer: "Soon," which they immediately clarified as "as soon as we can manage it," then they re-listed all the planned platforms (PC, Mac, Linus, iOS, Xbox One, PS4 and Vita) and reconfirmed a 2016 release for all of them.  As for which one first..?  They don't know.

Bleh.[/update]

This weekend's PSN Flash Sale...

Is a bit of a bummer if you're only worried about your PS4.  Elsewhere..?  There are some amazing deals on some absolute gems, here.  First of all,


MURAMASA REBIRTH IS $7.50!!!

Seven dollars and fifty cents for an epic fifty-hour sidescrolling action-RPG platformer from the masters of 2D presentation, Vanillaware!  Here's a review!  Buy it!  Buy itttt!

There are... it seems like close to 200 games and movies on sale - but only between now and Monday - and here are the ones you might want highlighted for you: 

Also on Vita, 
  • CounterSpy for $4.49 
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth1 and Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth 2 for $8.99 each
  • Mind Zero for $7.49
  • Norn9: Var Commons for $11.99
  • Project Root for $2.49
  • Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype Complete Bundle (cross-buy!) $2.49
  • Super Stardust Delta $2.99
  • Steamworld Dig $2.99, 
...so I think I'll throw down with Soldner and Project Root.  Always wanted to try Project Root, but it got some iffy reviews.  And if you don't have Super Stardust Delta or Steamworld Dig, get 'em 'cause those are classics. 

On PS3, you've got...
  • Alice: Madness Returns Ultimate Edition for $1.99! 
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed for $1.99 
  • Castlevania Chronicles (PS1 classic) for $1.49 
  • Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut for $4.99 
  • Fatal Frame, 
  • Fatal Frame III: The Tormented and 
  • the scariest fucking videogame ever made, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly for ninety-nine cents each!  
  • Flashback for $0.99 
  • Galaga Legions DX for $0.99 
  • Remember Me for $8.99 
  • R-Type Dimensions for $2.99 
  • The Swapper (3-way cross-buy) $1.49 
  • Transformers Devastation for $17.49  
Alice: Madness Returns for two bucks is a no-brainer (but I've already got it).  Fatal Frame II as a PS2 classic, though..?  I think I'm gonna' toss two bucks at that. 

The PS4 list is a lot less interesting, but Mercenary Kings for four bucks woo!
  • Mercenary Kings for $3.99 
  • Steamworld Dig for $2.99
  • Transformers Devastation for $17.49 and 
  • Zombie Vikings for $7.99
If you don't yet own Mercenary Kings or Steamworld Dig, now's the time.

Below officially drops this summer on Xbox One.

In Twitter news...

First up, Mike Bithell's Volume will be getting a physical release via Limited Run Games.




Second, Broforce's PS4 version has a patch in the works.  It will hopefully come "later this month."  Doesn't make up for releasing a broke game, Bros!




And Tribute Games is being a total gottdamned tease about Mercenary Kings on Vita.  They tweeted this,




and a fan tweeted this, and they replied...




Sure it will, Tribute!  Suuure it will forgive me if I don't hold my breath!

Well, Friday certainly had a lot of crazy in one day, didn't it?

First up, craziness surrounding the platform holders.


After the possible NX controller leak, Kotaku tossed up the above headline, reporting that all over GDC this week, they'd heard developers chatting about the "PS4.5."  Some of this was just overheard while waiting in line for presentations,
"As we were chasing down this story, coincidentally, Kotaku UK EIC Keza MacDonald overheard some developers casually talking about the machine while on line at GDC. They mentioned the name ‘PS4.5’ and discussed its increased horsepower, mentioning both 4K resolution and PlayStation VR."
-Kotaku-
But Klepek and the US Kotaku crew were already "chasing down the story," because a lot of developers had been briefed on the idea.  It's unclear if what the devs are calling the 4.5 is the equivalent of the 32X, that you jack in to your already-purchased platform, or an entirely new console you'll be obliged to buy again, but all of Kotaku's sources agree it will feature an upgraded GPU, enabling the thing to push 4K resolution (some are calling it the PS4K), and more processing power.  This also represents Sony nipping at the heels of Microsoft, who've already announced publicly that they want to release incremental improvements to Xbox hardware.

Friday was also the day that Gawker Media (which owns Kotaku) had a judge tell them they need to pay Hulk Hogan 115 million dollars.  Gawker has said they intend to appeal (which we're told would require at least $50 million handed over to the courts, to be held, while the appeal goes forward), but most agree that having to pay out a sum this large would sink Gawker.

And Gawker has done some nasty-ass shit, I absolutely agree - some vile shit, in their day - but as a gamer, I shudder at the thought of losing both GameTrailers and Kotaku in one year.  For example, just this week, without Kotaku, I wouldn't have pretty much decided that I'm getting the PSVR this fall - but anyway - yesterday, Microsoft did a dumb thing and then a smart thing.  The dumb thing?  This:


Hours after hosting an luncheon that pursued equality in the video games space for both genders, Microsoft threw a party complete with sexy dancers dressed as Catholic school girls.  The images darted around Twitter like embarrassing little lightning strikes, and before long news of the event had reached the very highest echelons of Xbox.

Once it did..?  Phil Spencer sent out an email to the entire Xbox division and posted it to Xbox Wire, making it clear that (1) someone's gettin' fired, (2) Microsoft deserves to get called out when it pulls stupid shit like this and (3) this was some stupid shit.
"How we show up as an organization is incredibly important to me. We want to build and reflect the culture of TEAM XBOX – internally and externally – a culture that each one of us can represent with pride. An inclusive culture has a direct impact on the products and services we deliver and the perception consumers have of the Xbox brand and our company, as a whole.

It has come to my attention that at Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values. That was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated. This matter is being handled internally, but let me be very clear – how we represent ourselves as individuals, who we hire and partner with and how we engage with others is a direct reflection of our brand and what we stand for. When we do the opposite, and create an environment that alienates or offends any group, we justly deserve the criticism.
 It’s unfortunate that such events could take place in a week where we worked so hard to engage the many different gaming communities in the exact opposite way. I am personally committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion is central to our everyday business and our core values as a team – inside and outside the company. We need to hold ourselves to higher standards and we will do better in the future."
-source-
There was no better way you could've handled that bad situation, Phil.  Thumbs up.

Friday, March 18, 2016

RUMOR - is this the NX controller?


Let's hope not.  Destructoid's run some tests and thinks it might be authentic.  The biggest thing in favor of legitimacy, to me, is simply that it came from Alexanoder Maier again - the same writer whose Nintendo leaks just end up being true.

Siiiigh...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Star Ocean 5 combat explanation videos.

(Basics.)



Of course it would be easier for it to be explained to me, super-important English-native that I am, if it weren't all in Japanese, but there's one thing these videos manage to say just fine...

(Advanced.)


...and that is that Star Ocean 5 is a pretty darned good-looking JRPG.  Like seriously, it's this, Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts.  Everything else looks like a PS3 up-port (because they often are.)

...which reminds me, maybe I should give Nights of Azure a second look... 

Nah.  I've got enough to play.  And actually... wow, yeah.  That's pretty much it for today's interesting news unless you count the fact that I didn't cover Star Wars: Battlefront coming to VR exclusively on PlayStation, or Star Wars Battlefront getting DirectX 12 support exclusively on Xbox One.

Way to give a little Star Wars Battlefront exclusivity to everyone, EA!  You are truly no one's enemy.  Except Dead Space.

So I'm gonna' go play some more Estival.  Tomorrow night is gonna' be Salt and Sanctuary all night, I think.

Sweet, sweet Friday.  How I long for thee. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Game diary!

First of all, game diary.   Actually wait.  First of all, blues.



Second, game diary.  Salt and Sanctuary is fucking awesome.


As in it's... better than I could have hoped.  I was only able to put an hour into it last night, and this evening has been occupied with familial responsibilities, so that hour represents the current length and breadth of my experience with the title.  I cut my way through the opening section and explored a deliciously dark, gothic and profoundly vertical castle tower.  At the top I met the Sodden Knight - a massive bruiser with a shield bigger than I am, and a sword that would make Cloud Strife realize he'd spent his life undercompensating.  A single swat of his blade would send me flying and knock off a big chunk of my health, and when first we met he kicked the ever-loving shit out of me.

"You'll beat him," Kayla told me, confident.  She was right - and when he went down I exhaled a great gust of relief, looked at her and said

"Y'know what that felt like?"

"Like beating a boss in Dark Souls?"

"Yyyup."


I will say that, for that hour, it was far easier than any Souls game you've ever played.  I wonder if and expect that it'll ramp things up, now, having completed its introduction, and I'm dying to keep platforming my way through its depressing depths.

...but it's exactly what I wanted it to be.  Like, it is the original pitch that first made my heart skip a beat: 2D platforming Dark Souls.   It's Dark Souls, in style, structure and design to the Nth degree, to the point that some reviewers actually suggest they're disappointed by how closely it reflects From Software's playbook - but for my money, the fact that a little (two-person!!!) indie studio effectively recreated the uneasy exploration, vicious thrill and glorious victories of Souls when a studio with triple-A aspirations couldn't is astounding.

So I am dying to keep platforming through Dark Souls, but I'm also acutely aware that I am dying to have it on Vita, first and foremost.  I almost don't want to play it just so I can have my first run through on my favorite platform - but it's not like my favorite platform is hurting for games either.


I am, actually, really surprised by how good-looking Estival Versus is on my Vita.  Haven't fired it into my PS4 yet (I've got enough to play there, too!), but the Vita version is just shockingly sharp and detailed when compared to Shinovi Versus, which was already a strangely graphically-impressive game to begin with.  One senses a framerate that's not quite as buttery smooth as its predecessor, but Senran Kagura's simplified combat doesn't require sixty frames.  It's just nice to have, is all, and if I want it, I can get it on PS4.

On Vita, Estival Versus is simultaneously more of the same and one of the more impressively confident triple-As on the system.  Tamsoft went all-out for Estival, with a ton of full anime cutscenes and what feels like three times the amount of story preceding and following every mission you're going to undertake.   There are some small changes, here and there - the girls' personal mission series are now gatekept behind completion in the main story mode, Hibari's butt-stomp is no longer the single most powerful attack in the game, parrying has become more important and the girls can now wall run, but for my money the most welcome addition is the way your super-awesome ninja arts are handled in Estival.

In Shinovi Versus, you would see a (skippable, in-engine) dramatic-angle cutscene of your hero executing their super, and then it would execute in the game world and kick the shit out of your foes.  In Estival, the camera swoops in to show your hero striking a badass pose, and they execute the move with the camera zooming around them to frame it perfectly - it's not separate, it doesn't cut away from the flow of the action, and it looks absolutely phenomenal.


How they pulled this off on Vita is kind of beyond me, when some companies can't get a framerate this good on PS4 with a 2D pixel-art shooter.

So yeah.  Very happy with this week's new releases.  But let's talk news, shall we?  There's been a lot.

First of all, here's the launch trailer for Estival Versus.



Fuckyeah!

Moving on...