Saturday, February 18, 2012
Tonight, Coffeecola resumes its normal late-night shenanigans after putting things on hold to run Broken Love. A whole lot of interesting things were popping up during that time, so tonight will be mostly about me clearing out the backlog of stuff I wanted to talk about or link to earlier. Hold tight!
(Also, before I get into it, here's a link to the A Jumps, B Shoots podcast that I was recently on. The topic is New vs Used games, and these guys put together a pretty entertaining show. If that sounds like a good way to spend an hour, check it out.)
Games: So, the Mass Effect 3 demo. I hesitate to bring it up, but I can't let it pass without making at least a few brief comments.
|Wait, WHO are you, again?|
First off, I really hope that the game addresses Ashley’s radical make over... if the game hadn’t told me that's who it was, I never would have recognized her, and I don't mean that in a good way. Secondly, female Krogan head coverings? Really? I mean, they're already commoditized in the story, so that little touch felt like a bit too much. Again, I hope that the game covers this aspect in some detail. Third, the combat. The controls felt kludgey to me, and I actually got bored before the demo ended. I sincerely hope that the game doesn't overdo the corridor shooting. After all, there are a million shooters out on the market already and the combat has never been the main reason I enjoyed ME.
As for the multiplayer... it's multiplayer. I am reserving judgment to see how the final implementation shakes down, but it seems as though there are plenty of opportunities for micro transactions and the content that was shown wasn't compelling to me at all. Of course, I'm not much of a multiplayer person to begin with, so I really hope that BioWare’s claim that the campaign doesn't require multiplayer holds true.
After going through both MP and 1P parts of the demo, I think I might have canceled my pre-order if I wasn't already slotted to review. The vibes just don't feel right here, but I feel somewhat obligated since I covered the first two and ME1 is one of my favorite games of all time... I definitely want to see how the trilogy turns out, even if it ends up being a train wreck. Or, it could be awesome. I mean, that is possible. Maybe it's not very likely, but it's still possible.
Games: What else have I been playing? Driver: San Francisco and Warriors: Legends of Troy. Neither one of these are games that I would have picked up without hearing some positive chatter from other people, but they both have turned out to be winners in my book. I'm cooking up full reviews for both, but in a nutshell:
Driver – It’s the car game for people who don't like cars. It's got an interesting story that mixes fantasy elements with a 70’s cop show theme, there are some unique gameplay mechanics (you can leap out of your own body and into someone else's at will) and the soundtrack is absolutely killer.
Warriors - Basically an interactive retelling of The Iliad and the events of the Trojan War, this title takes the basic Dynasty Warriors formula and slows it down, takes out a lot of the over-the-topness and spends a lot of effort detailing the various personalities and conflicts that occur. The gameplay is fairly static and it encourages grinding for cash to buy upgrades, but putting it on Easy and just plowing through each level is like getting the most interesting history lesson possible.
Games: Binary Domain from Sega has demos available on PSN and XBL, and I definitely suggest that you check it out.
A lot will depend on how much variety there is in the missions and environmental design, but I see a great deal of potential here between character customization and team management. The controls also felt quite solid to me, although I did not have a headset available to test out the voice commands. Apparently, players can shout out orders or answer questions from their teammates, but the same function is also accessible via the controller if so desired. If you ask me, there is definitely a "sleeper" feeling to this one… take a look and see what you think.
Games: A trailer has just been released for Far Cry 3, and you can see it right here. I can't say that I enjoyed FC1 and FC2 was not a favorite of mine either, but I like the premise on display this time around and you never know, the third time could be the charm.
To round things out, here are a few quick links you might want to take a look at.
@xMattieBrice takes PlayStation: the Official Magazine to task for some transphobic writing. I am quite happy to report that the editorial staff steps up and tries to set things right. Yay!
@TevisThompson has written an incredible essay on Zelda and what's wrong with it. There is no way I can do it justice with a quick summary, so do yourself a favor and click on over.
This link has nothing to do with gaming, but as a parent of two children and someone who is 100% in support of GLBT folks, I found this short story to be very touching and a great example of parents doing it right.
Bethesda is pleased to announce that Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition is now available in retail stores across North America.
With the release of the Ultimate Edition Bethesda Softworks presents the definitive edition of Fallout: New Vegas®. This complete package, which includes the full version of Fallout: New Vegas as well as the Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road add-on packs, allows you to experience everything that New Vegas has to offer. Each of these four main add-on packs combined ultimately raise the level cap to 50. 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.
You’ll find there are more friends – and enemies – to make whether you’re a seasoned explorer of the Mojave, or playing the game for the first time. You’ll be able to explore the Sierra Madre Casino, Zion National Park, Big MT research crater and the treacherous Divide – all of which are now open for exploring. On your journey you’ll discover there are also more consequences to be responsible for, and more opportunities to live in glory – or infamy – throughout the Wasteland. The choices you make will be as influential as ever.
Fallout: New Vegas is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on Fallout: New Vegas please visit http://fallout.bethsoft.com/.
We’re pleased to announce that the Skyrim Creation Kit is now available. Along with the Creation Kit, we’ve also released the Skyrim High-Resolution Texture Pack as a free download. Both the Creation Kit and High-Resolution Texture Pack are available free via Steam.
With the Creation Kit’s release, fans can now upload, download, and install custom content through the Skyrim Workshop on Steam making sharing mods easier than ever before. You can access the Skyrim Workshop via mods.elderscrolls.com.
Experience The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as you’ve never seen it before with the Skyrim High-Resolution Texture Pack. Make sure your system requirements exceed Skyrim’s recommended specs before attempting to install, including Windows Vista or 7 operating system, a minimum of 4GB of system RAM, and a DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with at least 1 GB of RAM and the latest drivers.
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is a side-scrolling PS Vita puzzle platformer about an ornery mutant blob that, after being held captive in a lab that can only be described as something out of a retro sci-fi movie from the early '50's, escapes into the world and sets out on a path to destroy and consume everything! A follow-up to last year's PlayStation®Network title Tales from Space: About a Blob, Mutant Blobs Attack will contain a wide range of exciting new features and gameplay modes designed exclusively for the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system.
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack features new levels, new powers, new PlayStation®Vita controls, new gameplay modes, new puzzle solving elements, a new (faster) blob player character, and more.
For more information, visit the official Mutant Blobs Attack blog at http://www.mutantblobsattack.com/, follow the game on Twitter @MutantBlob, and like DrinkBox Studios on Facebook.
ATLUS ONLINE LAUNCHES OPEN BETA FOR KNIGHTS OF THE SKY, NEW FREE-TO-PLAY BROWSER-BASED MMORTS. Live the fantastical life of a Sky Castle Lord... all within the comfort of your favorite browser!
ATLUS ONLINE, a division of ATLUS dedicated to massively online gaming and entertainment, today launched the Open Beta for their upcoming free browser-based MMORTS, Knights of the Sky, compatible with all major browsers.
Knights of the Sky is ATLUS ONLINE's first browser title, a massively online real-time strategy game offering deep tactical gameplay. With no files to download or install, players can instantly step into the role of a Lord and take charge of a Sky Castle, airships, and territories! Thanks to its real-time resource management, challenging wars, and engaging plotline, Knights of the Sky is sure to please casual and hardcore gamers across the world.
The newly launched Open Beta provides gamers the opportunity to experience the game before the official launch. Their participation will provide developers invaluable feedback to refine and improve the game. Returning Closed Beta players will notice numerous bug fixes and enhancements, along with Quick Battle feature and increased Level Cap.
To register, play, and find more info about Knights of the Sky, visit the official website at http://knightsofthesky.atlusonline.com/.
Dear Steam Users and Steam Forum Users
We continue our investigation of last year's intrusion with the help of outside security experts. In my last note about this, I described how intruders had accessed our Steam database but we found no evidence that the intruders took information from that database. That is still the case.
Recently we learned that it is probable that the intruders obtained a copy of a backup file with information about Steam transactions between 2004 and 2008. This backup file contained user names, email addresses, encrypted billing addresses and encrypted credit card information. It did not include Steam passwords.
We do not have any evidence that the encrypted credit card numbers or billing addresses have been compromised. However as I said in November it's a good idea to watch your credit card activity and statements. And of course keeping Steam Guard on is a good idea as well.
We are still investigating and working with law enforcement authorities. Some state laws require a more formal notice of this incident so some of you will get that notice, but we wanted to update everyone with this new information now.
Twisted Pixel announces the 3rd in a series of themed challenges for Ms. Splosion Man beginning on Valentines day. The challenge shows up in the opening menu of the main game, but only for the duration of the contest, which runs February 14th - 27th. Twisted Pixel has teamed up with Omaha Steaks for a big meaty challenge sure to make your mouth water.
In this challenge there are 33 panes of glass that taunt you with their fiendish transparentness. Can you find and break them all? Each one missed will add 10 seconds to the finish time, so players need to keep a sharp eye! Since breaking glass doesn’t satiate the need for sploding meats, the fine folks at Omaha Steaks have graciously offered to supply the prize for this challenge. The five (5) fastest U.S. times on the leaderboard by end of day February, 27th will win an Omaha Steak Filet prize pack!
Everyone can play, but U.S. participants are only eligible to win the steaks due to edible goods shipping regulations. For more information on the fine products from Omaha Steaks, please visit www.omahasteaks.com and follow via twitter @OmahaSteaks
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND ships to retailers!
Aksys Games, a publisher of interactive entertainment software, is proud to announce that the next installment in the premiere 2-D fighting game series BlazBlue, BlazBlue Continuum Shift EXTEND, ships to retailers today! Now is your chance to grab it as a PlayStation®Vita system launch title, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system from Sony Computer Entertainment, or the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Packed with a fully revised character cast, all new modes of gameplay, and new story scenarios, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND will quench your thirst for the power of the Azure. Take your BlazBlue action to the next level with the Limited Edition version for the Xbox 360® or PlayStation®3 system, which includes a special 2012 calendar, 40-page art book, and 17-song soundtrack CD!
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND has been rated ‘T’ for Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). More information about Aksys Games and BlazBlue can be found at http://www.aksysgames.com/.
Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom ships to retailers!
Aksys Games, a publisher of interactive entertainment software, is proud to announce that the hit Japanese otome game, Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom for the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, will be shipped to retailers today. Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom is a visual novel based on the historic Shinsengumi of Japan featuring beautiful art and multiple endings. Grab your PSP® system and get ready for a romantic adventure you’ll never forget. Or for a little extra special magic in your digital relationship, pick up the Limited Edition for a 72-page art book and a CD soundtrack along with the game!
In Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, a young woman by the name of Chizuru comes to Kyoto in search of her missing father, and soon encounters danger and the Shinsengumi in quick succession. When it becomes clear the Shinsengumi are also searching for her father, Chizuru is put under their protection. But odd things are afoot in Kyoto—possibly even supernatural happenings. Can Chizuru navigate this maze of mortal danger and political intrigue? Amidst so much mystery and death, can she find romance?
Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossomhas been rated ‘M’ for Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). More information about Aksys Games and the Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom can be found at http://www.aksysgames.com/.
Capcom today shared new information and assets regarding the FINAL FOUR playable characters appearing at launch in the highly-anticipated Street Fighter X Tekken game, available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America on March 6, 2012 and March 9, 2012 in Europe. Without further ado… bringing the final launch line up to an impressive 38 characters… fans can now welcome the addition of Street Fighter’s M. Bison and Akuma as well as Tekken’s Jin and Ogre!
Also announced today, the release date for the PC version of Street Fighter X Tekken has been confirmed for May 11, 2012. More details on the PlayStation Vita version will be shared in the near future.
EXPERIENCE EXTREME OFF-ROAD RACING WITH MAD RIDERS™
Ubisoft® announced that Mad Riders™, an adrenaline-fueled off-road arcade racing game, is coming to Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®Network and PC this spring.
Mad Riders, developed by Techland, will see players performing amazing aerial stunts and racing at breathtaking speeds on over 45 stunning tracks from all over the world. To gain the edge on the competition, players will need to use their Boost skill wisely and take advantage of shortcuts hidden in the tracks.
For players who want to take the experience online, Mad Riders has extensive competitive features and leaderboards, allowing players to test their skills against the rest of the world. Thanks to an intuitive drop-in system, players can compete in three exciting multiplayer modes playable up to 12 players.
SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES FIFTH ANNUAL G.I.R.L. SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
2012 Art Competition Celebrates Women's Advanced Education and Industry Experience within Gaming
Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) today announced that it is now accepting applications and submissions for its 2012 Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Game Design Competition. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, the G.I.R.L. Scholarship prides itself as being an active catalyst for inspiring women's involvement in the video game industry, as well as for providing an open gateway for those pursuing careers in the field of creative and applied arts.
Since its inception in 2008, the G.I.R.L. program has granted scholarships to four winners through its annual "Game Design Competition," each of whom has made an impact within the gaming and art industries.
SOE will award one winner of the 2012 G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition with a scholarship in the amount of $10,000 to be applied towards tuition and other educational expenses at the winner's school of enrollment. Winners will also be given the opportunity to participate in a paid internship of up to 10 weeks at SOE's headquarters in San Diego for hands-on experience working on one or more of the company's games.
"The goal of G.I.R.L. has always been of opportunity, education and recruitment to get more women into the gaming industry," said Laura Naviaux, senior vice president of global sales and marketing, Sony Online Entertainment. "Over the last few years, we have been nothing short of impressed with the hundreds of amazing submissions from talented students nationwide. Now in our fifth year, we can't wait to see the creativity that comes out of the G.I.R.L. program."
Submissions for the 2012 G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition will close on March 29, 2012. To apply, applicants must register with Scholarship America®, SOE's scholarship administrator, and submit their application for evaluation, as directed here: https://www.scholarshipamerica.org/gamersinreallife/.
For more information about G.I.R.L., please visit: girl.soe.com. To follow G.I.R.L. on Twitter, go to: https://twitter.com/SOE_GIRL or to join G.I.R.L. on Facebook, go to:http://tinyurl.com/SOE-GIRL.
He’s a captain. He’s a commander. He’s CAPTAIN COMMANDER, off to save his men (and their orifices) from evil aliens. Brought to you in stunning 2D, Captain Commander’s 8 bit graphics will transport you to the farthest reaches of the universe in Adult Swim’s latest free online flash game produced by Pixeljam.
Take control of the next great galactic military hero - Captain Commander. Blast your way across an alien planet and rescue captured soldiers from an abundance of uncomfortable probing. The Captain is proficient with guns, hand to hand combat, and alien vehicles so there will be plenty of havoc to wreak as you destroy the native population.
Play Captain Commander!