Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Games of January 2015.

January is already off to a fine start, as I played Duke Nukem 3D on my Vita today.  For free.  That's ri-God-damned-diculous. I mean sure, it's no DOOM, but DN3D is also the first game I ever played online multiplayer with.  Fifteen-year-old me and my girlfriend would hop into DOS (remember DOS?), tweak the setting on the pistol and run around empty levels gunning for each other.  It was revolutionary, at the time, what with its environmental interactivity and open level design begging for exploration and other... features a young man finds infinitely endearing.

-Penny Arcade-

So, to begin,

January 6th
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition, an FPS that is old enough to drink (in Canada).
Vita, PS3
Hype-O-Meter:  It's time to kick ass and chew bubblegum. 

...and I have run pitiably low, in terms of gum supply.  Thus and therefor, I shall limit myself solely to affairs of the ass, and the kicking thereof.

Duke Nukem 3D is either a big nostalgia button placed square over the heart of your inner child, or it is not.  If not, go away, this game is like twenty years old and you probably won't like it.  If it is, please note that DN3D:Megaton Edition plays beautifully (great controls, seems to be 60FPS), contains all of Duke Nukem 3D's original content (a'la the Atomic Edition), as well as three additional episodes -  Duke Caribbean: Life’s a Beach, Duke It Out in D.C. and Duke: Nuclear Winter, just in case the entire original game for ten bucks wasn't enough for you.  Or, y'know, free with PS+.

Y'know the line I always remember, though?  It's weird.  I remember when you see the first boss in the game, and Duke says "I'll rip off your head and shit down your neck."  And then you fight the boss, and when you kill the boss, there's a cutscene in which Duke rips off the thing's head, sits down where the head was, opens a newspaper and starts whistling.

I like to think he did.  He did shit down its neck.

An adorable JRPG.
January 13th - Vita - Hype-O-Meter:  Y'know what?  I should. 

The Atelier series is actually one of the longest-running, most-successful franchises in all of JRPGs.  Ayesha is the fourteenth title in the series, and Koei Tecmo has been awesome about localizing their original PS3 versions and the sweet little Vita ports each of the past four games in the series has received.  Each game has a new lead character, and the lead character is always the weakest and most combat-ineffectual character in the game - but they're always alchemists.  Basically, professional geeks who use magic to create items.  Items like bombs.

It's like napalm!  Yay!

I tried the second game of the last trilogy - Atelier Totori, which was totes adorbs - but never finished it.  What's worse, I've kind of ignored JRPGs entirely, on my Vita.  I've got P4G (naturally), Sorcery Saga and Totori, but I tend to get involved in action games - which is a real shame, given that it's the Japanese developers who are actually supporting the system with triple-A releases (or at least games that approach the standard).

Given that Ayesha is the first installment in Atelier's Dusk trilogy, it seems like the ideal place to re-introduce myself to the series.  Plus that little witch character is supercute.

January 20th
Citizens of Earth - an RPG.
PS4, Vita, Wii U, 3DS, PC
Hype-O-Meter: Hmmm... Atlus likes it...

Atlus - that awesome publisher of odd (usually Japanese) fare - picked up Citizens of Earth for publication, as I recall, when its funding fell through.  The game is... basically Little King's Story, except you're the Vice President of Earth, and the followers you collect to throw at enemies are like, English teachers and homeless people.  I've no idea what to think of this game, though I will admit that it could be amazing.

I'll also admit to waiting until other people recommend it to me.

A first-person open-world platforming RPG/zombie brawler.  From Techland.
January 27th - PS4, One, PC - Hype-O-Meter: Day one.

Dying Light is very high up on my hype list for 2015.  To put it simply,

But that's not all.  Dying Light is also the next thing from Techland.

I don't know about you, but when I tried Shadow Warrior - which everyone was lauding for its first-person swordplay, and saying "why can't Skyrim's swordplay be like this?" - I couldn't believe how much of its systems were yanked from Techland's Dead Island titles, and how poorly it compares. 'Cause it doesn't compare at all.  Techland - not Flying Wild Hog, not Bethesda, not Ubisoft - are the absolute masters of first-person brawling.  Period.

Techland are the folks who made Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide, both of which are absolute modern classics, thanks entirely to how fantastically they handle first-person swordplay, club-play and general fisticuffs.  They cemented Techland as masters of first-person brawling, and Dying Light represents the developer combining their trademark brilliance with both Mirror's Edge-esque first-person parkour and an interesting day/night cycle in which you do not want to be caught out after dark.

Spec Ops: The Line developer Yager Development may be working on Dead Island 2 for Techland's ex-publisher Deep Silver, but don't be fooled.  Dying Light is the true sequel to Dead Island and Riptide - and going on precedence, it's going to be one of the most immersive, visceral and rewarding experiences of 2015.


An ancient adventure game from Tim Schafer. 
January 27th - Vita, PS4, PC, Mac, Linux
 Hype-O-Meter: I'll buy it just to support stuff like this. 

...because, full disclosure, I never played Grim Fangango (1998).   In fact, the only Lucasarts adventure game of Schafer's I've ever played was the demo for Full Throttle, about a hundred times. Of all Schafer's classics, though, Grim Fandango is the classic-est.  It's the legendary developer's most-legendary game - often called the best adventure game of all time - and I'll finally get to play it.

It won't blow anyone's socks off, graphically, but it will probably still be one of the best-written games you'll play all year.

* * *

And that's January!  G'night everybody!

1 comment:

  1. Citizens of Earth is such a delightfully WEIRD game, I can't but keep an eye on it. Despite my interest, I'll wait and see for reviews, just in case.

    Same boat as you when it comes to Grim Fandango, never played it. This re-release is long overdue. I WOULD have played it by now if there had been some digital port on sites like GOG.com. Doesn't matter anymore, it'll be here soon.