Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn's 1.10 patch changes EVERYTHING.




Praise Allmother.  This is (was, I guess) literally my biggest complaint about the game.

Check out the trailer for Tale of Ronin.



Now... this is being made by Dead Mage - the folks who still haven't finished Children of Morta and have heavily suggested it won't actually honor its second fucking stretch goal (Vita) - so I'm more than a bit suspicious.  But... samurai... and an involved story...

Hmmmm...

Alrighty. I care about Battle Princes Madelyn now.



The Battle Princess Madelyn Kickstarter has been kickin' around my social media for the past week - it's kind of a Super Ghosts N Goblins game, but with a girl knight instead of a boy knight - which is cool!  But I can't bring myself to care about Kickstarted indies in a post-Hyper-Light-Drifter world.  In a world where the Children of Morta folks haven't said a word about the platform in like a year.

Fuck those people.

That said... Battle Princess Madelyn has doubled its initial goal of sixty grand.  It has twenty-six days to go in its campaign, and its $150,000 stretch goal is... a Vita port.

...rather have Hyper Light Drifter and Children of Morta but... siiigh...  I mean, I've been burned by battle princesses before.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rumors spontaneously surface about Momodori: RUtM on Vita!

How?  Why and wherefor?


(Playism hearted that last one too.)  So here's hopin'!  A VITA PORT IS BEING CONSIDERED.  Oh, maybe it's worth noting - Playism is Momodora's publisher.

Maybe it's also worth noting - I did not hold my breath for the Vita port.  I checked it out on PS4 because I'm a lying liar.  Who lies.  And lays, when there is a couch of reasonable length available.


And I like it!  Upon completion, I may actually come to love it, but for now I just find it lovely - comfortable and comforting.

Your combat abilities are pretty darned limited, for the most part.  Basically, there are four attacks (and that's reaching a bit!)  You can slash at enemies with the divine maple leaf that is your main weapon - you have (1) a three-hit combo, where the final strike is importantly far more damaging than the two that precede it, (2) a single aerial slash of the leaf that you can execute while airborne that deals heavy damage, (3) shots from your bow, which don't do nearly as much damage as you'd like, and (4) a charged shot from the bow.

The charged bow shots are actually kind of interesting - if you charge it a bit, it does more damage.  If you charge it to max, it will fire three stronger arrows in a gentle spread, and - after unlocking a certain ability - with further charge, you'll fire a perfectly-accurate torrent of arrows in a straight line.  The default control scheme puts the arrow button on R1 - which seems weird, at first - but once you begin charging the powerful arrow shots, if you hold the button down, you can keep it charged up while jumping, dodging or attacking with the leaf (you'll get knocked out of the charge if you take damage).

This allows you to create powerful if simple combos where you'll like charge your shot, jump (X) in with an aerial slash of the leaf (square), go into the three-hit combo and end it with a WHAM from the bow.  It's... satisfying.


At the same time, it doesn't remind me much of my favorite Metroidvanias.  In terms of control and combat dynamics, it feels more like (the similarly retro) Shovel Knight.  It's simple and sharp, and is okay with killing you.  Mechanically, in the hand, it feels more like the simplicity of Mega Man than the supple combat and locomotion of Guacamelee or Hollow Knight - it's just way, way better-looking than Mega Man or Shovel Knight.

Aesthetically - and this is gonna' sound crazy - what it brings to mind most of all is actually Bloodborne.  You explore an ancient, cursed city that is largely devoid of sentient life - gothic and stately here, beautiful and overgrown there - and the citizenry you meet seem to have abandoned hope that things will ever improve.  There's something... sad and mournful about it.

So - the action is simple, but tight, and satisfying.  The presentation is lovely - excellent music, too - and the game, overall, is some rather pleasant retro comfort food.  It's a little light on mechanics, I'd say - but that simplicity is also part of its comfort and appeal.

I can dig it.  And I want this on my fucking Vita.


Friday, March 17, 2017

A cool article about Guerrilla Games and their office culture.


This article popped up on Twitter today, and I loved it.  First off, it gives the name of the Fallout: New Vegas writer I couldn't remember on the podcast - John Gonzalez, who lead that writer's team, and the one on Shadow of Mordor (meh!) - second, I had no idea Guerrilla had such an open, creatively-minded culture.  Third, I love this paragraph about how they ended up producing (what I determine to be) the most successfully-feminist triple-A video game I've ever played.  And the answer is exactly what you'd hope:
"Aloy was always a woman right from the initial concept. While no one at Guerrilla expresses any kind of agenda when it comes to gender equality, as technical lead Michiel van der Leeuw notes, there was an awareness that female leads in games are often sexualized – a precedent the team had no intention of following. "She had to be agile and athletic. She's an outcast but she's also brought up lovingly," he says. "There were so many elements we had to balance to make her the person she is. I like that people have picked up on her teeth being a bit crooked, her face being asymmetrical – I think people pick up on her imperfections because she's a real person.""
The article gives a really excellent impression of Guerrilla, perhaps most notably from Horizon writer - and new Guerrilla hire - Gonzalez, who moved from the States to Amsterdam to join the team, and now refuses to leave.
"I've seen a lot of things and experienced a lot of things in the industry that would lead you to become cynical and disillusioned. I don't find that to be the case here. I feel like the level of ambition here is really high, but I don't feel like the ambition is high for external reasons, like wanting to be masters of the universe. It's high because people really care about the quality of the product. I just feel like I don't want to step away from that, you know? This is a place where I can improve myself, can bring myself to the work. I want to stay as close to that as I can."
A nice example of this is the ants on the trees.  You may have seen a GIF or video of the leafcutter ants you'll find on trees, here and there - it was kind of a big deal when the game first launched.



Y'know why those are in the game?
"It's a level of attention to detail most won't notice, but one Guerrilla appears to do without consideration – even to the point where animators took time out of their day to render ants climbing up tree trunks, all of their own volition. ... "They felt like the environment needed something to make it come alive.""
So yeah, check the article.  S'good stuff.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chamberlain & Chance 63 : Schadenfreude?


Wiiith Alex!  Alex thisChamberlain that podcast on iTunes

Chamberlain and Chance - Schadenfreude?

THIS WEEK!

  • Movie talk!  Logan is pretty darned good and Kong is really kinda' not.  But that Baby Driver looks pretty hot, right?
  • Chance is in full Mark of the Ninja/Don't Starve/Dying Light/Overwatch/Darkest Dungeon mode with Horizon: Zero Dawn.  
  • Hollow Knight is pretty sweet, you should check it out!
  • And how long is it gonna' take for Alex to fix is damned PS4?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Also I wanna' drop the Baby Driver trailer I saw today in there.  I think it's better than the other one that's floatin' around - or at least I like the action shots more. 


And here's the one that's on all the western sites lately: 


Could be hot shit!  Edgar Wright, baby.


GOD YES - Horizon: Zero Dawn story expansion incoming.

NeoGAF's SunhiLegend is indeed a legend.
None of Sunhi's GIFs are on a Pro, by the way.
This is on a normal PS4.

Two weeks after launch, Sony announced today that Horizon: Zero Dawn has sold-through - that is, physical copies actually bought by a consumer (not just shipped to stores), along with digital sales - 2.6 million copies.  Which is a pretty goddamned incredible launch for a new, single-player IP.

So we got a couple of statements - here's (PlayStation boss) Shawn Layden's:
"We knew Horizon Zero Dawn was going to be something special, so to see the incredible critical reaction to a brand new game world translate into this level of sales is really gratifying.  Guerrilla has created a game that is nothing short of exceptional, and the reaction we have seen from fans--from hours and hours of gameplay streaming to endless photo sharing--shows just how impactful it has been."
Here's Guerrilla managing director Herman Hulst:
"We're thrilled that Horizon Zero Dawn has been embraced by critics and players alike. Developing the game was a labor of love, so it's extremely satisfying to see that it elicits the same passion and enthusiasm from the gaming public that we felt during its development."
It really does feel like a labor of love, for the record.  This is like when EA Redwood Shores (Sims ports and Simpsons licensed crap) went and made the game they wanted to make, and produced Dead Space, or when Sucker Punch made inFamous.  I heart it very much.

But anyway - the most important part is buried in the GameSpot article the above quotes come from, towards the bottom.  Specifically,
Hulst also confirmed that Guerrilla is already working on a story expansion for Horizon Zero Dawn, though no other details about this were disclosed.
-source-

CollegeHumor's realistic Switch commercial.



Admit it, Chamberlain.  ADMIT IT!!!

(I'll admit it - my Vita and I are very intimate.)


Did you know that a Vita's screen is 960 by 544 pixels?  And the above image is exactly that?  And did you know that rabbits can be trained to use litter boxes?  Does that blow your mind?

Yeeeeeah.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Music! Souuuuuul.

I tried to expand my musical horizons to... popular music.  I have no idea what's being played on the radio, because I never listen to it.  There could be awesome new music out there, but I'll never know because I don't go looking for it.  I just end up stumbling across stuff I love in twice-yearly Blues trawls, or I'll hear a song over the opening credits of a movie and get super-into a new band.  

So I listened to the UK top 40 and... well, it turns out I don't like popular music very much.  The only one I kinda' dug was Big For Your Boots by Stormzy.  And it's weird how... um... uniform it all was.  Like in the top 40 on the UK charts there are like a half-dozen tracks by Ed Sheeran and four from The Chainsmokers.  I'd never heard an Ed Sheeran song before, and I'm... I'm okay with maintaining my previous Sheeran frequency. 

So my iPod has been rotating, at work lately, through Saint Motel (oh, also, another one of their good ones is Slow Motion), a mix playlist of modern, weird and classic stuff called "A ! Fuckyeah!" and a 4-disc set called "Soul! The Very Best of Motown."

I always scroll about halfway through the playlist, and stop on Shop Around by The Miracles, which you may remember from that Overwatch clip show where I kill a Widow over and over.  

And then...




(There is, naturally, some overlap between the best Soul songs of all time and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.)




Man, Smokey Robinson sings about being sad while putting on a brave face a lot, doesn't he?





Gettin' a little disco there, Thelma. 


There we go.  Chin up, Smokey!  

Aw yiss - The Deer God launches April 25th on PS4, Vita.


Sweeet.

Now I have not heard... great things about The Deer God.  In fact, its Steam release is sitting at fifty nine on Metacritic - but it remains aesthetically lovely (+1 for me), a 2D platformer (+1!) and a Roguelite (+1).  I've got to check this out when it drops.

Hopefully I'll be done playing Horizon by then.  I beat it, but can't stop playing it.  I'm currently, still, just wandering around the Sacred Lands, doing side stuff and nabbing collectibles.  I'm past level 20, and I haven't even approached the Carja gate.

Love it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sony's indie spring event has Rain World, Cosmic Star Heroine and Full Throttle.


Breaks down like this,

March 21st - Everything, which I'm not about to try to explain.

March 28th - PaRappa The Rapper Remastered which I shouldn't have to explain.


April 4th - Cosmic Star Heroine, the most ambitious thing the boys at Zeboyd have ever done.  A throwback to 16-bit RPGs of olde, it will get a physical release on PS4 and Vita from Limited Run Games, but the Vita version won't launch with the PS4 release on the 4th. Awwww.


April 11th - Rain World, a lovely-looking platformer where you play as an adorable slugcat (its actual name), exploring and surviving a post-apocalyptic urban nightmarescape in an attempt to get back to your family.  Rain World was announced for PS4 and Vita years ago.  Tragically, it was then picked up by Adult Swim Games, which doesn't do the whole Vita thing.  People have been asking them about the Vita version for months, now, and they won't say shit.  They won't even say it's not coming, they're just not even acknowledging the question.  So fuck you, Rain World people, I'm not buying your lovely-looking game.


April 18th - Full Throttle Remastered is the only title on this list that's actually launching on Vita too!  Day one!  Thank you, Double Fine!  I could never get the original game on PC when I was a kid, but I played the ever-loving hell out of its demo.  Oh - worth saying - it's a classic point-and-click adventure game about a badass biker dude.  Cool beans!

April 15th - What Remains of Edith Finch - one of those walk-around-and-learn-a-story-by-exploring-the-environment games, but this one's made by the folks who produced The Unfinished Swan so I am deeeeply uninterested.

But hey, man!  Full Throttle Remastered!

...I wonder how many people care about PaRappa..?  Probably a lot, right?

Monday, March 13, 2017

What the - more Horizon screens!

I was gonna' write something about Horizon, but you know how it goes.


They're gigantic again, so... page break!

Huh. Momodora: RUtM has been rated for Vita.


So this appeared over at the pegi.info site today.  Fingers crossed!

Also, sorry for the lack of posts lately.  Personal stuff.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ohoh lordie - Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight launches March 16 on PS4.

I saw a trailer for Reverie Under the Moonlight like six months ago, when they were drumming up a bit of hype for it.  I immediately tweeted it at some Sony folks and said "holy fucking shit, put this on Vita."

Well, they didn't put it on Vita - but it will launch on PS4 on March 16th!  Now, check this out - and pay special attention to the animation, and the combat mechanics.



That

is

lovely, and I know what you're thinkin' and you know what I'm thinkin', so of course I checked the dev's Twitter, and was rewarded with a sweet modicum of hope.

Source.


Fingers crossed!

Here's the game on Steam and here's today's PS Blog post on the subject.

Caligula launches May 2nd on Vita. Digital-only.

Oh, and now it's called The Caligula Effect - to distance the game, I imagine, from the infamous soft porn flick.



Still, glad it's coming.  Caligula's about a paradise that seems perfect, but is actually a digital construct of a blond pop star.  Why has she trapped everyone here, and what does she want?  It's a mystery!  So the protagonist forms a team of other classmates who've come to realize they're trapped in a dream world, and fight to free themselves.

Import reviewers had very mixed things to say - notably about the shitty framerate you'll find in the trailer above.  Methinks I will wait for some reviews too...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Chamberlain & Chance 62 : We Get What We Deserve


Wiiith Alex!  Alex thisChamberlain that podcast on iTunes



Chamberlain and Chance - We get what we deserve

THIS WEEK!
  • Alex went hands-on with Hollow Knight!  
  • Chamberlain does not regret spending like $500 to play Zelda, and Zelda's puzzle solutions are hella intuitive!
  • Chance continues to ravenously fellate Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Chance thought Alex would enjoy Night in the Woods.  Does he?!

You'll have to tune in to find out!

Sixteen minutes of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War gameplay.



Hmmm... I dunno.  S'okay.  Looks okay.

If August is like a slow month or somethin', maybe.   Kinda' crazy to have a game announced and then get fifteen minutes of gameplay like a week later - but that's the benefit of announcing only six months before release!

Woop woop boost mode hits the PS4 Pro tomorrow.

I care about this now!


You can get all the deets on PS4's 4.50 firmware over on the PlayStation Blog, but for my money all I'm lookin' for is a smoother framerate on Bloodborne - which, tragically, never got a kickass PS4 Pro patch.   Come tomorrow, you'll be able to activate boost mode by going to settings, then system, then checkin' the Boost Mode box.  Niceee....

Huh. Guerrilla Games are hiring...




Sequel?  DLC?  We'll see...

Flinthook launches April 18 on PS4, One and PC.

I did not expect it so soon.



Prolly gonna' dip on that.

Oooh new Sundered gameplay.

Boss fight!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Hollow Knight is legit.

So last week on the podcast, when listing off all the indies coming to Switch, I stopped at Hollow Knight and told you to go watch some footage of this.  Today, Alex took my advice, and I strongly encourage you to do the same. 


Ugh.  Ugh!  So awesome lookin'!  Hand-drawn, beautifully-animated 2D sprites, Metroidvania, sharp platforming mechanics, and I will be really impressed if those "140 different enemies" aren't just recolors.  

I'm holding myself back from buying it on Steam (less than twenty bucks!), because honestly... if awesome-looking indies keep coming to Switch, I'm... gonna' have to buy a Switch. 

Unless Sony unveils the Vita 2 at E3 ha ha ha ha ha they've abandoned the market

Nier: Automata launch trailer woooo!



I totally woulda' picked this up today and then not played it because Horizon is incrediballs, but we're recordin' the podcast early this week so I won't have to ignore it quite yet.

God, 2017 has been a wealth of awesome.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Some of my Horizon: Zero Dawn screens. (4K warning!)

Behold!






I came across a few of these ancient sci-fi siege tanks, half buried near a stream on Nora land.  That's some nice environmental worldbuilding, Guerrilla.




Isn't this one gorgeous?  Weirdly enough my new Pro takes its screenshots in 4K, so if you expand this thing expect it to be fucking huuuuge.  But just look at the textures and surface treatment of Aloy's outfit.  This is the tier-one Nora stealth armor.  Here, lemmie blow it up a little.


Isn't that ridiculous?  This is what the game looks like, running in real time.  That's crazy!  Moving on...


A lot of critics have pointed out that Aloy's rappelling animation is ridiculous.  She doesn't attach her rappel line and descend line a normal person - she takes a flying leap off whatever high point she's standing on, spins around mid-fall and throws a grappling hook back up to to grab the ledge before sliding down the rope.  There's even a little flourish after she lands where she turns away from the camera, holds out her right arm and yanks the line back in - but the above screen, I think, captures Aloy's actual feelings during one of her rappels.

Look at her eyes, here.


She's like "you're damned right I'm bad ass." Once again, the textures on her outfit and skin?  Mindblowing.



The outskirts of Meridian.



And now, a few overrides.  Here, Aloy tames a Sawtooth.


And here, a Snapmaw!  The best way to get through some of the game's toughest fights is simply the override ability.  A Sawtooth is protecting a few Bellowbacks?  Override the Sawtooth and let him run wild.  I'm really hoping you can unlock the ability to override a Thunderjaw, but that will only become important if I ever meet a Thunderjaw.  At the moment I'm kind of comfortable that I haven't - just a few corrupted Stalkers screw my day up hard at the moment.

These are six shots of the same scene, same angle, at six different times of day to show the lighting engine at work.  Guerrilla, you too are bad ass.












I really should do more night time shots.  In the podcast this week, I told Chamberlain that Horizon is an open-world game that looks as good and full of detail and artful arrangements as The Last of Us.  This is a great example of that (not my screenshot - this comes from NeoGAF).


Finally this gif showed up on the NeoGAF forums today and I really need to share it.  It's just Aloy running across the landscape with a bit of fog going on.


Fucking ridiculous.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Chamberlain & Chance 61: Work and Play.


Wiiithout Alex because I'm shitty :( I was up pretty late on Tuesday night with a certain video game and asked the boys if they could do the next night and first it was yes but then it became no and by then it was too late and no Alex and it's my fault I'm sorry!

Alex thisChamberlain that podcast on iTunes

Chamberlain and Chance - Work and Play

THIS WEEK!

  • Chance lies, and says that Cosmic Star Heroine will launch at $4.99.  It's not.  It's $14.99 and I am dumb!
  • Chance has played Forma 8 and it was pretty boring!
  • Chamberlain has played Final Fantasy XV and it really doesn't get any better!
  • And how pleased is Chance with Horizon: Zero Dawn?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

Spread your love like a fever.

So CD Projekt Red tweets this


And then Geurrilla tweets this:

And then Endless tweets this




Couldn't be more perfect.  Oh also I'm sorry if this post's title feels weird, it's from a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song.

I've wanted to post these comics for a long time.

Dunno why it took me so long, but before I post the first one, there's one thing we need to clear up.  I love puns.


And...

You can find Doodle for Food right here.