Sunday, January 22, 2012
Games: Although there are some must-reviews coming down the pipe pretty soon, the industry is more or less in a big lull right now, and that's perfectly okay with me. I've really been enjoying knocking games out of my backlog, and the latest one up at bat is Sega’s Yakuza 3 (PS3).
Straight up, I love Yakuza. Love it. It's got some of the best writing and characterization in the history of videogames, and it’s so damned mature in the truest sense of the word (most of the time, anyway) that there's really nothing else out there like it for me. Having started Yakuza 3, I was trying to remember exactly why it was I let myself get two games behind in the series, and being honest, there's really no excuse. I am now mad at me.
I'm not sure if I'm going to review it since I suspect my review schedule is going to fill up rather quickly, but I may do some sort of feature or retrospective... the series is so criminally overlooked by critics and players alike that I feel a responsibility to help get the word out. (Also, for info on the upcoming fifth game in the series, scroll down to today's PR section.)
More to come.
Games: Portables-wise, I've put money down on a Vita (WiFi version) and reserved Army Corps of Hell as my first game. After having spent a brief period of time with a unit at the most recent PAX and being pretty impressed, I know that it's a sexy piece of kit. I've also really enjoyed my PSP despite its many tribulations -- it really does have quite a few excellent games on it, and it's never gotten the respect I think it deserves.
(Although to be fair, Sony shoulders most of the blame for the catastrophic mishandling of the system, yo.)
Anyway, I may be a bit of a Pollyanna here, but I'm hoping that Sony has learned their lesson from past mistakes and will get the Vita into the proper position. Job number one? Games, games, games and more games. Job number two? Get some goddamned advertising out there. The system is nearly here, and I haven't seen a peep about it anywhere except for some hands-on previews from the usual media outlets. Job number three? Games.
In other portable news, I just started Aliens: Infestation on the DS.
I wasn't able to put much time into it, but I'm looking forward to doing so. I'm really intrigued by the reported ‘perma-death’ of the player’s squad members and how faithful the game will end up being. It took me a long time to find a copy in a brick-and-mortar, so this one has been on my radar for quite a while.
Games: I've been on the fence about buying Mass Effect 3 (day one) ever since being burned with the worst game of 2011, Dragon Age 2, but I finally decided to go for it. I may be feeling like the world's biggest sucker if BioWare doesn't get their act together, but ME1 is still one of my favorite games of all time and despite the lackluster performance of ME2, I am hoping against hope that the end of the trilogy will restore the series to greatness and deliver the kind of experience that I want.
Regardless of how it turns out, I definitely plan on reviewing it, and make no mistake, if it's not up to snuff, I won't be shy about saying so.
While on the subject of Mass Effect, I just learned from @PeterSkerritt (who you're already following, right?) that the action figures based on the game will each come bundled with some sort of mystery DLC, and apparently the only way to get these unknown things is by purchasing these figures. Personally, I think this is pretty cheesy and extremely aggravating to the completist in me, but it's pretty clear that DLC is here to stay. I doubt this will hardly be the last time we see some unusual cross-promotion of this sort.
I don't plan on buying any of these figures because I really don't think they look that great, but in case you're interested, you can check them out at Big Bad Toy Store. I've done tons of business with BBTS over the last ten years, and they are an outstanding online retailer. They’ve got a pretty incredible selection of stuff, too.
My opinion on these particular figures aside, BBTS gets my highest possible recommendation.
NIS America is happy to announce that Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 ships out on February 28, 2012 in North America, and February 24, 2012 in Europe!
Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is the sequel to the popular RPG Hyperdimension Neptunia, in which you control personifications (humanoids) of videogame consoles with the objective of protecting the world of Gamindustri. In Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, the four heroines are the younger sisters of the CPUs (Console Patron Units) from Hyperdimension Neptunia. Once again, fans can indulge in the mysteries and adventures found within Gamindustri!
Yakuza™: Dead Souls, this next iteration of the iconic Japanese series, is set in the infamous red light district of Tokyo, which is under attack from hordes of zombies. The game features gunplay for the first time in the Yakuza™ series, where everything from pistols, machine guns and rocket launchers can be employed against the zombie invasion. Players will not only face armies of the undead and incredibly powerful mutants, but a treacherous Japanese underworld that is just as merciless. Playing through the eyes of four of the most infamous characters of the series, witness allegiances shift quickly and the line between friend and foe lost. With all the depth and story of a Yakuzatitle, plus the addition of exciting shoot-outs and previously unplayable characters Ryuji Goda and Goro Majima, Yakuza: Dead Souls is worth dying for.
For more information please visit www.sega.com/yakuza/.
The Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition is coming.
This complete package, which includes the full version of Fallout: New Vegas as well as the Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues andLonesome Road add-on packs, allows you to experience everything that New Vegas has to offer. To sweeten the pot, you’ll be armed with the latest cache of unique weapons, ammo types and recipes from the most recent add-on packs Courier’s Stash and Gun Runners Arsenal.
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition will be available in retail stores across North America on February 7th 2012 and throughout Europe on February 10th.
Dungeon Fighter Live: Fall of Hendon Myre Coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade
NEXON Korea Corporation today unveiled a new promotional trailer of “Dungeon Fighter LIVE: Fall of Hendon Myre,” an Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the popular “Dungeon & Fighter” (“Dungeon Fighter Online in North America) PC game. “Dungeon Fighter LIVE: Fall of Hendon Myre” will be published by Microsoft Studios and is set to launch later this year. The game will be available via Xbox LIVE Arcade. “Dungeon Fighter LIVE: Fall of Hendon Myre” will provide the same familiar control system as the original game, but will be playable at 720P resolution.
To view the new trailer, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nwB12MQR3k
“Dungeon & Fighter” is a 2-D massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) for the PC that currently has more than 300 million registered users worldwide and has a maximum concurrent user record of 2.6 million users playing at once in China.
Independent developer Strange Loop Games, in collaboration with indiePub, today announced plans to release its groundbreaking liquid physics puzzle game Vessel on PC March 1, through digital distribution platforms including Steam andStrangeLoopGames.com. A finalist in both the 13th Annual Independent Game Festival and the 2010 Indie Game Challenge, Vessel allows players to solve puzzles by bringing to life physically-simulated liquid (water, lava, glowing goo, chemicals and more) and animating it into living machines called Fluros.
In Vessel, players take on the role of Arkwright, a renowned inventor whose inventions - living liquid creatures known as Fluros - have gone awry, turning on their users and disrupting machinery throughout the world. To fix the flawed Fluros and restore order, players must create, manipulate and destroy a wide variety of Fluros and operate complex machinery to solve challenging puzzles. Vessel takes players on an exploratory adventure through four fascinating worlds, fixing the work sites where Fluros are employed and ultimately leading the player to complete Arkwright's next great invention, "The Accelerator."
Vessel will be available on Windows PC March 1 for $14.99 via Steam andStrangeLoopGames.com. Vessel will also be released on Xbox LIVE® Arcade and PlayStation®Network at a later date, to be announced.
For more information, please visit: http://www.strangeloopgames.com/
There are 14 Adventure games on tap at the AGS Bake Sale - And you name your own price! This bundle of 14 brand new games has been cooked up for the sole purpose of raising money for the Child's Play Charity. Indie gaming has never tasted so good.
All of the games in the AGS Bake Sale are made with Adventure Game Studio -- the same engine behind retro-styled adventures like Gemini Rue and the Blackwell mysteries -- but the genres are all over the map! Here's a sampling:
9 Months In: a traditional adventure game about a pregnant woman in prison trying to clear her name before her child is born.
Indiana Rodent and the Raiders of the Lost Cheese: the biggest, most ambitious platform game ever made with AGS (quite an accomplishment considering the engine wasn't created with Mario-style platforming in mind!)
Escape The Barn: a classic "escape the room" puzzle game, suitable for all ages.
RAM Ghost: an adorable virtual house simulator in the style of Little Computer People. Adopt an abandoned, unloved bit of code floating in the endless sea of information and tend to it in the hopes that it will one day grow up to be a proper program.
Abner The Amazing: a fantasy adventure in which a boastful knight and his sidekick must find out who stole all the colors and left the world a grainy black and white.
Zombie Attack: a top-down retro arcade shooter that has you battling waves of monsters, accumulating power-ups, gathering weapons, and unlocking new characters -- all in a desperate attempt to stop the forces of evil from taking over the earth.
You can see the full list of bundled games on the AGS Bake Sale website: http://www.agsbakesale.com/
The Bake Sale bundle has "pay what you want" pricing, with one small caveat: a minimum of $1.50 is required to cover payment processing. Beyond this, any money donated goes straight to Child's Play to give sick kids a bit of gaming cheer. The developers themselves aren't making a cent -- they've pitched in their time, their talents, and their bandwidth to raise some money for a really good cause.
More info about the AGS Bake Sale and the people involved can be found on the AGS Blog: http://ags-ssh.blogspot.com/ SALE ENDS 2/29/12.
The AbleGamers Foundation Awards the 2011 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year Award.
Star Wars: the Old Republic earns the annual award for extreme accessibility in any mainstream game for BioWare and LucasArts
The AbleGamers Foundation is proud to announce BioWare’s Star Wars: the Old Republic is the winner of this year's Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year award. Each year, the AbleGamers Foundation looks at all of the mainstream video game titles released in a given year for the best use of accessibility in a game. Recipients must demonstrate excellence in accessibility by including options that allow for gamers with a wide range of disabilities to fully enjoy the game.
Many of the larger releases cut accessibility or place it on the list of things to be patched in later on down the road, but SWTOR took the time to add things like colorblind friendly options, full subtitles, and control options to let those with mobility impairments play the game as easy as possible.
“It's very rare to see a game of this caliber initially released with so many accessibility options,” said Mark Barlet, president of the AbleGamers Foundation. “BioWare did a wonderful job including a large number of options right at launch with the promise of including more as soon as possible.”
“We were absolutely inundated with requests to review Star Wars: the Old Republic before the game was even released,” said Steven Spohn, editor-in-chief of ablegamers.com. “Thousands of gamers regardless of their disability wanted to know if they would be able to play this highly anticipated game. Fortunately, we were able to report the majority of disabled gamers will be able to play SWTOR.”
Read the story on AbleGamers.com, our community website for gamers with disabilities.