Friday, April 29, 2016

Okay yeah A Fox In Space is worth watchin'.

Worth reading - explaining Hob.


Hob is one of those lovely-looking indies we were all comfortably pleased with when Sony announced it at some conference or another.  We saw lovely worlds and puzzle-platforming and a little dude with a giant hand - but what's the deal?  What's the game's gameplay and structure, really?

Well, this post at the PlayStation blog explains it.  It's worth reading the entire thing, because this single-handedly did more to hype me for Hob than that lovely announcement trailer ever could.

This is the part that really grabbed me:
"I’ve always enjoyed games that encourage the player to explore and to venture off the main path and reward them for it. My rule when playing games is that if I know a certain direction is the main path, I instantly go explore elsewhere first in hopes of being rewarded for it; it’s extremely satisfying when you are."
And then I had to give them the time to read the whole thing.

Ratchet & Clank is the fastest-selling R&C game ever.


There's a post over on the PlayStation Blog that's trying to hype you for the Ratchet & Clank movie, but in amongst the rest of the text is this little nugget:
"The game based on the movie (based on the game) launched on April 12 to rave reviews and has been our fastest selling Ratchet & Clank game to date."
So here's hopin' this ain't the end of everyone's favorite anthropomorphic space wombat.

The Battleborn launch trailer.



Man Gearbox are good at pickin' music.  The end.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Musical interlude.



get off the floor
look in the mirror
keep lookin' that good
some girl's gonna' buy you dinner

Please let this be concept art for The Order: 1889.

It's concept art "for an undisclosed project for Sony" by an arist named Ioan Dumitrescu.  Dumitrescu also worked on a VR luge game (yes, seriously) that one of Sony's first-party studios are working on. 




I just really want the sequel to The Order to be a supernatural western.

Oh Tribute Games. Why must you torture me so...?

First it was announcing Mercenary Kings for Vita & Xbox One on April Fool's Day, and now this.













Huh. A six-minute Deus Ex: Mankind Divided trailer.

That's... presumptuous.  Okay, let's give it a whirl.



Hm.  Not bad.

An hour of DOOM single-player footage.

I did not watch much, for fear of spoilers.



Just enough to know I'm gonna' enjoy myself.  Man, May 13th is like right around the corner!

Dark Souls III is the last Dark Souls for a while.


Who said that?  Who said that just this week on their weirdly popular podcast?  That From Software was gonna' step away from the Dark Souls series and make a new thing?  Oh right it was me!

The cool peeps over at NeoGAF translated a Chinese-language interview with (series creator) Hidetaka Miyazaki, and there's two interesting things.  First off, there will be two pieces of DLC for Dark Souls III - one coming Fall 2016, and another coming Spring 2017.

Second, and more importantly, the studio is stepping back from Dark Souls to create a new IP:
"...if a FROM Software developer come to me five years from now and beg ‘please let me make another Dark Souls‘. Then I will not rule out the possibility to let my subordinates start a new project.

What is certain for now is, to me personally Dark Souls is over. So rather than make another sequel, I think it’s time we take a step to a new direction. Development of a new IP has already begun."
Please something set in Japan with all kinds of Shinto spirits.  I wanna' fight a nine-tailed fox with nothin' but a katana and some skill in a From Software game.

Sky Force Anniversary comin' to PS4, PS3 annnnd Vita!



Looks nice.  Comin' "this summer."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Darkest Dungeon is now playable on Vita.

I was in a bad mood at work today.  A real, real bad mood.  I wanted someone to come over and give me lip just so I could tear into them (I probably wouldn't!  I'd just be sullen!).  Then I went outside for a cigarette, checked Twitter, and my mood changed completely. 




And then Wayne June (DD's narrator) liked my tweet!  (!!!!!)

This is huge, to me.  Just the fact that somewhere out there is a playable build of Darkest Dungeon on Vita.  There's no going back from this!  This is actually happening, people!



When is it happening?  Well, later than Red Hook had initially hoped - but that's par for the course with indies.  Instead of Spring/Summer 2016, it'll be late summer, according to today's update over at the Darkest Dungeon site.
"PLAYSTATION UPDATE

We have previously announced Late Spring/Early Summer as a target for PS4 and Vita release. With the adjustment of schedules and matching up with potential future events we are now targeting late July or August. We want to make sure that all of the Town Event contents we are working on now are solid for inclusion into the console release, as well as making sure it runs like butter and plays well with a controller. Adjusting controls, in particular, is not a quick process.  We have a level of quality that we want to ensure in all of our releases and we would rather take some extra time to make it right, rather than rush it out the door. The awesome and talented Sickhead Games has been helping us with the porting.

We remain incredibly excited to bring the game to PS4 and Vita, and we have seen such enthusiasm from the community, as well. Sony has been a fantastic partner to work with, and we can’t wait to make a big Summer splash with the game!"
-source-



Elsewhere, the update also has a ton of news about new content coming to the game - specifically the Town Events that, now, sound pret-ty darned cool.
"TOWN EVENTS

Let’s talk Town Events. We have now been full steam on Town Events for the past few weeks, and we’re excited about the new features! With the added time we have been able to digest our own internal feedback to the system, as well as the feedback we’ve received from our community.

Last time we talked about Town Events we wanted to put a clear definition out there as to what we want to accomplish with the added system. To reiterate:

‘Town Events’ are designed to add variety to the Hamlet over the course of a campaign. Upon returning from an expedition, there is a chance for a thematic event to trigger in town – this functions akin to a deck of event cards.

Town Events add variety to the overall campaign and also provide additional personality to the Hamlet itself! In some cases, the events are related to quests.  For example, the ALL SAINTS DAY event has a high chance to proc after successfully completing the Ruins Gather Holy Relics Quest. ALL SAINTS DAY sends the Abbey into a zealous celebration, and makes all treatments there free for that week!. We like this example as it helps answer a common community concern on the value of the various gather/destroy quests that we’ve had in the game for a long time, and have been criticized for their loss in value due to inventory restrictions.

Town Events are currently planned to deploy in mid to late May. We will also be circulating the patch on the “Coming in Hot” beta branch before wide release, so stay tuned for details if you wish to be one of the first to try out the update!"
Ugh.  Just... so happy about this.



So awesome Exist Archive news yesterday, awesome Darkest Dungeon news today.  Here's hopin' tomorrow is 13 Sentinels news day!

I need more money to throw at PSN.


Okay, so first of all, obviously, crucially and casting a shadow over the whole of creation is


Severed.  Out today on Vita, it takes priority over all things.  Dark Souls III?  I'll get back to you in a while.  Enter the Gungeon?  I won't be delving any time soon.  Risk of Rain?  I'll take a raincheck.  Ohohoh.  Clever.

Then, also, obviously,


Alienation - the next thing from Housemarque plus a Diablo-esque loot system!  OMG YES!  And then there's also



Rocketbirds 2: Evolution, whose launch trailer has more cock jokes than you can shake a penis at.  And then there's sweet little indie The Sun and Moon which is definitely worth ten bucks...


And omigosh there's an awesome Golden Week sale on PSN right now and Lost Dimension is finally down to twenty bucks!


I've been wanting to try this ever since Ben Moore told me it was like a mix of Danganronpa's story and Valkyria Chronicles' combat. And oh shits Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is down to $23!!!


I'm not into Digimon, but Cyber Sleuth got such awesome reviews and... and my PSN wallet now sits at $20.  But Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit is $7.50!  Why not?!


I am gonna' rhythmically cook the fuck out of those dishes.   And there's other awesome stuff on sale too!  Other highlights include...

  • Superbeat Xonic for $20
  • Ragnarok Odyssey Ace for $8
  • Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines for $10
  • Hatoful Boyfriend for $2.50
  • Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax for $18
  • Ar Nosuge Plus: Ode to an Unborn Star for $16
  • Catherine for $5
  • Bayonetta for $6
  • Gravity Rush Remastered for $18, 

Ahhh.  I am a good consumer.

Oswald finally gets his Leifthrasir trailer!



Woooo!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Chamberlain & Chance 19: can't stop never stopping.

There's no stopping us!  I think!


Chamberlain and Chance - Something borrowed

THIS WEEK!

  • Chamberlain plays another awful game so you don't have to! 
  • So many games got their release dates announced last week. 
  • Ratchet & Clank is Sugar Frosted Mini Wheats for your soul. 
  • What forgotten games need to rise from their graves?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Exist Archive is coming west! On PS4! AND VITA!

Three months ago, when we got word that Grand Kingdom (woo!) was gettin' localized by NIS America, I was thrilled, and I noted that now - with the assumption that 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim will get picked up by Atlus USA - the list of games I want localized is down to two: Uppers and Exist Archive.  Well...



Well ain't this just the best news of the month?  I mean yeah, it's awesome that Severed has a release date, but I am so happy about this!  More exclamation marks!  More, I say!

(!!!!!!!!!!!)


If you've already listened to this week's podcast, you know that I am personally hurtin' for a new, well-honed RPG blade from tri-Ace, makers of Resonance of Fate and cult classic Valkyrie Profile.  I mention Valkyrie Profile specifically because did you know that tri-Ace released a spiritual successor to Valkyrie Profile last November in Japan, and it's called Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky?



And that reviewers and gamers were pret-ty darned positive about it when it came out?  And it's got the same composer as Valkyrie Profile and Resonance of Fate?  And Aksys announced that they're localizing it today!  

Aksys, who do excellent localization work.  Aksys, who brought over my beloved Muramasa Rebirth and did a phenomenal job with it.  Aksys, who're putting out physical versions on both PS4 and Vita!

Here, have a Japanese gameplay trailer. 


Yayyyy!  It'll come out on October 18th.  
"You die right off the bat in a massive explosion. Boom! Gone. The end. Or is it? While you certainly aren’t explosion proof, your journey is certainly not over before it started. Instead, you awake in a surreal realm, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Are you dead? Are you alive? Are you now an immortal being that wields the power of an evil god?

The short answers are “Yes,” “No,” and “Yes.” The explosion that ended your everyday life was triggered by the soul of an evil god named Yamatoga. You and 11 other people (who are also no longer living) are now immortal vessels for the soul of Yamatoga. As is to be expected when one becomes newly imbued with evil god powers, you and your comrades find yourselves mixed up in an ancient conflict involving a gaggle of gods and massive stakes."
-source-

So I am like 2 and 1 for the Localization Wish List.  Here's hopin' we hear some more on 13 Sentinels and Uppers soon.  And to be honest I'm pretty interested in Valkyrie Drive too.

If you're down for more details, I suggest browsing the Exist Archive tag over at Siliconera.  They've collected all the media there's even been for the game.

Super hyped.  Can't wait.  Day one.  Thank you, Aksys!

Uncharted 4 TV spot.



Mee-yeow.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Personal Note - that's a start.

The middle cabinet housed Kayla`s figures.  Except Batman.  (I`m Batman.)`
Our collection actually got a lot bigger before the second move.

Once upon a time, I had a pretty respectable figure collection.  I still do, actually - they just haven't been displayed.

Just before Christmas - which was the least-Christmassy Christmas of all my Christmasses - Kayla told me it had been a pretty bad year.  I'd tried to remain upbeat, at the time - I told her there had been a lot of good in the past year - but truth be told I was kind of... crushed.  I'd shut down, given up.  I was running on autopilot.

After the last move, I hadn't even set up my Detolf cabinets and unpacked my figures.  Momohime, Gwendolyn, Snake, Nendo Snake, Selvaria and the Dragon's Crown Crew all remained in their boxes, high in a closet.

Then Christmas happened and we were all sitting in an emergency room together and I told Kayla that she was right.  She was right.  It had been a really, really shitty year.


Weirdly enough, just after my Dad went into the hospital, I found I was regularly distracting myself from the horrors of reality with the thought of the above Katsuragi figure.  With Kayla`s encouragement, I nabbed her, set her up on a bookshelf, and mostly forgot about figures.

As a result of Dad going in to the hospital, some new responsibilities sprung up and I didn't have the luxury of autopilot any more.  There were people who needed care, and few hands to help (God bless Kayla, Rowan and Matt), and these new responsibilities along with a yet-bigger workload at my job (which recently ballooned again!) meant that when I came home and gazed upon the husks of a pair of once-bountiful Detolfs, I couldn't bring myself to give.  A.  Shit.

Figures were far and away that last thing I cared about.  Months ago - the lion's share of a year ago, really, though - certain figures had come up for preorder at AmiAmi and I had jumped on them.  What happens, with AmiAmi, is you lay down these preorders and almost forget about 'em in the intervening months.  Then an email pops up asking you to pay for it, and you do, and it usually ships out the next day.  And so I kept payin' for them, because yes, if I were to think about it, I absolutely want the only figure that seems to exist of Mako Makanshoku in her two-star Fight Club uniform.


And months ago when the Vader Nendoroid went up for preorder, I put my name on the list.


Same with Raiden.  I mean, it`s not like Raiden is my favorite - though it might be worth noting that MGS2 is probably my favorite of the series - but if I`m going to have Solid Snake and Venom Snake I really should complete the set.


And they would show up and Kayla would ask where I planned to put them and I would shrug.

"Nowhere," I'd say.  The boxes for Vader, Mako and Raiden are still on bookshelves, unsealed and unopened.  Then, last week, AmiAmi fired an email at me to let me know that Cornelius and Velvet were ready to ship, and would I kindly provide them with ‎¥15,700?

The figure had been produced to help promote Odin Sphere Leifthrasir's Japanese release.  Or maybe (manufacturer) Alter just figured the game's HD up-port would invigorate the Otaku market.  Either way, an Odin Sphere figure was finally being produced that didn't only feature one of the game's lovely ladies.  (Gwendolyn, Mercedes and Velvet have all had solo figures in the past.)


This figure showed Velvet and Cornelius, in his cursed Pooka form - both looking suitably gorgeous and powerful - and reminds me that one of the things I love most about Odin Sphere is its operatic story, and the melodramatic tale of these two star-crossed lovers.  And it's not like money isn't tight lately.  It is.  Tighter than it's ever been, in fact.  But... I paid it.

Usually Japan's EMS shipments will get around the world and to my door in five days with a Stat holiday in between.  Velvet and Cornelius got hung up in Vancouver, because there's some sort of problem with the receiving office there, and delivery was "attempted" yesterday - if you count walking up to the door and putting a slip in the mailbox that says "go out of your way to go to a post office and pick it up tomorrow" before bolting back to your mail truck as "attempting delivery."

Asshole.

Either way, I didn't think I wanted Velvet and Cornelius to remain in their box.  And I sure didn't want to leave them on a bookshelf where a psychotic feline may feel the need to abuse them.

So today I spent about an hour rummaging through still-unpacked boxes to locate the little screws and allen keys and rubber parts that are required to assemble a Detolf.  Then I spent about an hour assembling a Detolf.  Then I went down to the post office and walked out with a box about the size of two PS4 boxes.

And there they are.


It's a very sparse little shelf, at the moment.  And at some point in the move, a crack appeared in the front door of the thing.

But it's a start.  Maybe I'll set up Mako next. 

Persona 5 drops July 8th. Or Atlus was hacked. Or both.

Earlier today, folks started posting screenshots suggesting that Atlus Japan had accidentally revealed whatever they're going to announce on May 5th (there's a countdown and everything) early.  That reveal lists Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5 for a simultaneous worldwide release on PS4 and PC (no mention of the PS3).


Within the hour, though, a new message popped up, encouraging Atlus to change their passwords.


Suggesting, naturally, that Atlus's site was broken in to for shits and giggles.  Or that Atlus is attempting to make it look like they were breached to cover up the leak, 'cause that's better maybe?

Either way, the site's back to normal now.

Friday, April 22, 2016

So what's in the news?

Quite a bit today, actually.  God Eater Resurrection and God Eater 2: Rage Burst have western release dates!



So... here's the deal - and it's a bit convoluted:

  • God Eater Resurrection is PSN-only, and will launch on June 26th (PS4/Vita)
  • God Eater 2: Rage Burst will launch on August 30th
  • The PS4 "day one edition" of Rage Burst will include a download code for Resurrection
  • There will not be a physical version of Rage Burst on Vita.  Because fuck you, Vita player, that's why. 


  • buuut there will be a physical release on Vita in Europe (because fuck you North American Vita player, that's why). 
  • And if you preorder Rage Burst for Vita digitally in Europe, you'll also get Resurrection free. 

So I guess I'm importing Vita carts from Europe now.


Tales of Berseria, AKA Empowered Heroine Ho (it does, in fact, feature Tales' first lone female hero) will launch in the West on PS4 in "early 2017."



Squenix's I Am Setsuna will drop on PS4 and PC (digital-only) in the west on July 19th.  And not on Vita because fuck you Vita player, that's why.

 Elsewhere, Randy Pitchford and the Gearbox crew admitted during a panel at PAX East that the developer's next project is Borderlands 3 - which is probably wise, given how not-hyped everyone is for Battleborn.

Oh, also, y'know that cute little indie platformer where you're like a ball, and going into the floor is like diving into a reverse-gravity well?  It's comin' to PS4 and Vita... on April 26th because APRIL IS THE MONTH INDIES CANNOT IGNORE.



I think I am, mechanically, in love.
The Sun and Moon, the winner of Ludum Dare 29, is a platformer with a unique mechanic: you can dive into the ground. Momentum is conserved but gravity is reversed, letting you fling yourself high into the air or deep beneath the surface. The goal is always straightforward - collect the three orbs in the level and jump into the wormhole - but spikes, endless drops and impossible heights make this more and more difficult.

Key Features
  • Dive into the ground - This unique mechanic preserves your momentum, letting you use the level itself to overcome a huge range of challenges.
  • Conquer over 150 levels - Run, jump and dive your way through levels spanning from easy to brutally difficult. You'll need to both master the controls as well as think outside the box.
  • Non-linear level unlock system - Explore the game in whatever order best suits you.
  • Achieve Time Goals - Three tiers of medals provide an additional challenge for even the easiest levels.
  • Minimalistic graphics - Straight-to-the-point graphics help you focus on the gameplay.
  • Music by Dubmood - A killer track that grows as you progress.
Siiigh do I have enough PSN funbucks for April 26th..?

Anyway, also on Vita, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force will launch in the west on July 12th.  Still no explanation why we were denied the awesomer-looking Gundam Breaker 3.

What else, what else... Oh yeah.  Some bungfaces are trying to take down TheVitaLounge.

-source-

And by this point, I think we know why.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Annnd I'm back onboard with Hellblade.

So remember how the combat in Ninja Theory's "indie triple-A" Hellblade kinda'... Well, no, completely looked like not-fun crap?  Ninja Theory figured that out!  And totally retooled the mechanics!  And then they hired Daisy Ridley's Force Awakens stuntwoman to make the animations more legitimately badass.



Alllright!  I'm so glad I can be excited for a Ninja Theory game again.

Wait - wait. One more song.



Bang bang bang bang! 
Vámonos, vámonos!

Hitman episode 2 - Sapienza launch trailer.



Comin' April 26th.

Now I know what you're wondering, and the answer is no.  No I won't.

I have too much to play, durnit.  I'll wait for the physical release, methinks.  If that ever happens.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst delayed - but not by much.



It'll come out two weeks later - on June 7th - and the devs say it's because they want to polish up the online and action feedback from the closed beta.
"To support the Social Play features, we are using a brand new online technology. We also want to make sure we have the opportunity and time to address player feedback from the Closed Beta. That is why we will give ourselves a bit more time to perfect the game, with a new release date for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst of June 7th (NA) and June 9th (EU). We’re confident that these extra two weeks will make sure the game is as amazing as possible for you the players."
S'cool, s'cool.  We're gettin' Mirror's Edge 2, that's all I need.

Hmmm Devolver announces Ruiner...



No platforms beyond PC, Mac and Linux announced.  An indie shooter by ex-CD Projekt Red (Witcher), ex-Techland (Dying Light), ex-11 Bit Studios (This War of Mine), ex-Flying Wild Hog (Shadow Warrior) devs.  That... ain't a bad pedigree - but I feel like I like the world-building more than the gameplay, here.

Oh also its website is pretty smexy.  Also when your game shares its name with a classic Nine Inch Nails song, I'm kinda' already in your corner.

Neverending Nightmares drops May 3 on PS4 & Vita.


Wow, that was a quick turnaround from announcement to release.  Fifteen bucks, twenty percent off for the first two weeks with PS+, and there are deets here.

Musical Interlude.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Multipost! MULTIPOST! ...again.

I've little time and a copy of Dark Souls III that requires attention.  You know how it is. But that doesn't mean that you should be denied the most important gaming news of the day, so let's break it down!  First off, rumor has it Horizon: Zero Dawn ain't comin' in 2016.




Which just kinda' makes me think Red Dead Redemption 2 is comin' this fall.

Second, YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG got a new trailer today!



Well.  That's


Ooh - here's a big one - two-step authentication is finally coming to PSN.  Polygon's got the details, but here's the important part:
""In order to further safeguard our users and their accounts, we are preparing to offer a 2-step verification feature," a Sony representative said.

The spokesperson did not offer a time frame at this point, saying only that "more details will be shared at a later date." Sony updated the PS3's firmware to version 4.80 yesterday, and users noticed that if they entered incorrect login information, the system mentioned two-step verification — which isn't currently available on PlayStation Network accounts."
Fiiiiinally.

Also, Eurogamer is sharing more leaked details on the rules that Sony is expecting developers to live by as they move forward developing for the PS4 and the 'Neo.'  Those rules?  Extensive.  If I were a dev, I would not be pleased about this.  They're very much to protect the consumer experience, but as a consumer I'm very aware that the health of a studio and/or their ability to put out a product - and have the overall effort be profitable enough to do it again - is of paramount important to me.

What else... well, stealth game Aragami is coming to PS4, but its gameplay looks kinda' derpy. Shadow Complex Remastered (pretty darned good Metroidvania) is comin' to PS4 May 4th,  Also a 2D brawler called Dungeon Punks, but it looks pretty bad.  And a rhythm-platformer called 140 is coming to PS4 and Vita.  Yay Vita!



And that'll do Dark Souls III calls goodbye.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pyre is the next thing from SuperGiant.

Supergiant, of Bastion and Transistor fame.  They make awesome stuff.



Comin' in 2017 to PS4 and PC.  More deets here.  No time, gotta' go.

Grand Kingdom is gettin' a Beta.


Goes May 3rd to May 10th, contains 2 single-player missions and the opportunity to participate in 3 online battles per day, your progress in the Beta carries over to the PS4 version of the game upon release, and the Beta won't be available on Vita.

Sign up here, more deets here.  Naturally, I signed up hours ago.

Resonance of Fate is $9.99 on PSN right now.


Resonance of Fate is, in my humble opinion, the hands-down best JRPG of the last generation of consoles.  A trio of heroes who aren't classic JRPG stereotypes, an obfuscated over-arching narrative that takes a backseat to what feels more like a season of a stylish action Anime and some of the hands-down funnest, most challenging, most gloriously cool-looking turn-based combat you will ever play


Here's my review from 2010, here's Eurogamer's, and here it is on the PlayStation Network store for ten bucks.  You know what to do.  As for me...

Do I have an extra ten dollars to drop on a digital copy of one of my all-time favorite games?

You bet your ass I do.  Here, have a trailer.  It's in Japanese, but it's a trailer with actual gameplay in HD.



Every time you see a character leaping around, doing backflips and shooting dudes?  That's not a cutscene.  That's not a super move.  That's how it plays.  It's frickin' amazing and excuse me I need to go throw money at PSN.

Holy crap I care about Mafia III.

Hm.  Mafia III got a new trailer and release date today.  It's gonna' drop October 7th, 2016 and let's just take a look at that trailer annnd...



Huh.

Um...

Oh my God this looks Sofa King good. 


And who the hell is Lincoln's voice actor?  I swear it sounds like Michael Jai White.  That would be awesome. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Read this PS4K scoop.

Giant Bomb's got the deets, and the news is very good.


[update]  Digital Foundry's broken it down - the short version is

  • The CPU is identical to the current PS4's CPU, but it's been overclocked so you get about a 30% performance boost. 
  • The GPU difference is huuuge - a 230% difference in FLOPs.
  • Memory offers 28% more bandwidth, and an additional 512 MBs for devs to play with. [/update]

Chamberlain & Chance 18: everything is Dark Souls III.


Chamberlain and Chance - Short attention span theatre

Alex returns just as the podcast reaches the age of consent.  A coincidence?

Yes.

THIS WEEK!

  • Stories isn't very good at telling stories. 
  • Hyper Light Drifter is to Chance as Cameron Diaz was to Jim Carrey in 1994.
  • Enter the Gungeon is spectacularrr
  • Chance and Alex gush all over Dark Souls III, while pointing out everything they dislike about it. 
  • What could Chance and Alex possibly dislike about Dark Souls III?

You'll have to tune in to find out!

Multipost! MULTIPOST!

I have little time and less energy.  Let's break it down quickfast.

Let It Die got a teaser trailer for PAX.  Zero gameplay.



A source leaked the existence of a Batman collection for new-gen consoles to Eurogamer.  It'll include Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.  You know - the good ones.  Plus all their DLC.


The phrase 'Dead Don't Ride' has been bandied about on Twitter quite a bit, today.  Rumor has it it's a driving/survival game in which the undead are somehow involved, made by Sony Bend.

Also announced today, Dark Souls III is the most successful day-one launch of any Namco Bandai title in the west, ever.  Here, have a new accolades trailer with another excellently-chosen song.



Insomniac's small Metroidvania Song of the Deep is coming to PS4, One and PC on July 12th, and here's a trailer.



Insomniac also has three titles in development for VR.  Now you'll recall Insomniac's Song of the Deep is going to be the first game published by GameStop.  GameStop unveiled the name of its publishing arm today - GameTrust - with this vaguely Japanese-lookin' logo:


They also announced that beyond Insomniac's offering, they've signed three other studios...

  • Frozenbyte, creators of Trine
  • Ready at Dawn, of The Order: 1886 and God of War: Ghost of Sparta and
  • Tequila Works, whom you'll remember recently re-obtained the rights to their adventure game Rime after Sony supported its development for a year or more with little-to-no progress being made on the actual game. 
So good luck, GameTrust!  I'll be pretty curious to see what Ready at Dawn's workin' on. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Game Diary - Ratchet & Clank.

It's been a long time comin'.  By the time we recorded the podcast this weekend, all I'd seen of the game was its opening, as Ratchet is thrust down a linear hallway towards his meet-cute with Clank, and Clank flees from his creators on his way to bump into Ratchet.  All I could say about it, when we recorded, was that it's sort-of like Ratchet & Clank by way of Uncharted, and that it.  Is.  Gorrrgeous



I was wrong, for the record, about R&C being linear.  It's not, in the same way earlier titles weren't linear affairs either - it opens up into proper, classic Ratchet & Clank after those opening minutes, and thereafter you are flung in to a greatest hits album of the most memorable levels from throughout Ratchet's 14-year canon.

Look familiar?

By that I don't mean that Ratchet & Clank is replete with nods to its history (though it is) and self-referential (it's that too).  By that I mean that in Ratchet & Clank on PS4, you will play levels from Ratchet & Clank on PS2, Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal and the Future duology.

And not a re-imagining of that level or a re-mix of that level.  It is the exact same level.   Just way prettier.  Like the Metropolis level from the original game.  That's in here - complete with the exact same Captain Quark-branded obstacle course and the train ride.

Ole Faithful.

The exact same train ride.

What differences in design there may be, I cannot perceive.  Old muscle memories from last century take over, springing up that ancient obstacle course and bouncing across the exact same geometry we mastered in past games.  Similarly, there is only one weapon in Ratchet & Clank that isn't directly pulled from previous entries - the Pixelizer.


The Pixelizer slaps enemies with damage and turns them in to block-mosaics of themselves.  The cube pixels will tumble apart if you kill an enemy with the weapon (or shortly after pixelizing them), but mechanically it's a shotgun.  Short range, wide spread, very effective against a large number of smaller enemies.  Elsewhere, you have played with every single one of these weapons before and why does the blade launcher have to appear in every R&C game anyway?  It's the last weapon you turn to when you've exhausted the clip in everything else against a boss.  "Oh well, out of rockets.  I guess I'm throwing ninja stars at you for five minutes now."

So there are, I suppose, complaints to be made.  As a consumer - as a video game consumer in particular, which is a breed that finds nourishment almost exclusively in the new and unusual - there's something almost offensive about how Ratchet and Clank re-uses now-ancient levels, how there's almost no flying around in a ship, and despite all that how this is the first major Ratchet title I can recall that doesn't have an arena to battle waves after waves of enemies in.

There's a lot to finger-wag at, here, but I can't hate Ratchet and Clank.  In fact, I love it.  I absolutely love it.

Direct-feed.  Dynamic lighting and motion blur.

I loved pretty much every moment of playing it, and whenever Dark Souls got a bit too tough (I'm stuck between a boss and a miniboss, at the moment), I'd switch over to this digital comfort food.  This is chicken soup.  It is a nice mom-and-pop style burger with all the fixins, and good fries.  

Ratchet and Clank is still around after fourteen years because, damnit, this is some good stuff.  Exploring the Gadgetron headquarters is still cool.  Swooping along grind rails, swinging from tiny points a mile above a roiling ocean and hopping along platforms over a lava pool is still a thrill.  Searching for brains for a demented scientist on a far-flung jungle planet is still cool.  Repelling an invading force by swooping through the skies in my retro sci-fi lookin' fighter, taking down water-collecting ships above a tropical paradise is still awesome.  

Ratchet and Clank are Sony's Mario, and I love them. 


Every time Ratchet hops out of his ship after landing on a new planet, the camera zooms in to his face as he looks up at this strange alien world, ready to blow the hell out of whatever may threaten, a slightly devilish grin on his face. Clank gazes placidly over his shoulder, largely indifferent to how spectacularly badass the two of them become when combined.  

There remains, to this day, something wholly wholesome and satisfying and comforting about running up to a stack of boxes, flinging one's self into the air and crashing down with a slam of one's Omniwrench, sending a twinkling galaxy of precious bolts scattering, and absorbing them.  The cash counter leaps up - that much closer to affording the Omega variant of The Peacemaker.  There's still something absolutely intoxicating about levelling up a weapon through use and unlocking a new, powerful modification for it.  

So offering me Ratchet and Clank at 1080P on my PS4 is very welcome.  Offering a somewhat-truncated version of the games we so fell in love with is... far better than nothing, and more reasonable when you're charging $20 less than a full-release game.  

I love Ratchet and Clank on PS4.  I'm very happy it's here.  I'm very happy to have it in my library, and I'll be very happy to return to it in the future.  


When Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time appeared back in '09, it got pretty good reviews - but most critics also complained that it was more of the same.  I agreed that it was more of the same, but felt that more of an awesome thing was still awesome.  The critics, for the record, love Ratchet and Clank on PS4.  For example, here is its Metascore, right next to the Metascore for Dark Souls III


If there's one thing the PS4's Ratchet and Clank says, very clearly, it's that more of the same is still awesome, when it comes to Ratchet and Clank - and I want more of this same.  I want to pay sixty bucks for a full-release R&C with Rebel Galaxy-esque flight around solar systems.  I want the arena back, and I want the option to switch from helicopter-Clank to jetpack-Clank when I want to.  

I just really hope those critics (and the movie, which, based on what I've seen from the game, will not be very successful) push enough consumers to convince Sony and Insomniac that Ratchet and Clank are still the mascot the PlayStation brand needs, and deserves. 

I want to see a Ratchet & Clank game that blows the lid off my mind with how awesome in can be - instead of just reminding me how awesome the franchise was, and how good-looking games on the new gen can be.  

I want more of this, and I want that sense of discovery again.  I want my cake, and then I want to eat it.