Monday, March 26, 2012

The New Podcast, Raccoon City, Review Links and More  

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Podcast: The first "real" episode of the new GameCritics podcast is now up and ready for your listening pleasure. Featuring new host Dylan Collins (@VhDylan) the crew takes on Mass Effect 3, best & worst sequels, trailers full of spiders, and I go into great detail on I Am Alive. There’s something here to offend everybody! 

Give a listen, won't you?  You can find it RIGHT HERE.

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Games: Speaking of I Am Alive, I completed the game a few days ago and my review has been submitted to GC. Look for full coverage on that soon, but in the meantime, do yourself a favor and check it out... it may not be to everyone's taste, but I think it's got a lot to say and it manages to say it in very interesting fashion.

In other reviews news, my full writeup of Mass Effect 3 is now live, and you can see what my final verdict was RIGHT HERE.

Also, Eric Bowman (@Ercoman) gives his evaluation of Binary Domain, and it's a favorable one. In case you haven't added this sleeper hit to your to-play list, you can read more on it RIGHT HERE.

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Games: As to what else I've been playing, I completed Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City in co-op with fellow GC’er Dan Weissenberger, aka @GC_Danny.


It's a pretty strange title in that development was handled by Slant Six, the developer responsible for the PSP SOCOM titles. I'm not entirely sure why Capcom didn't handle the reins themselves, nor am I sure why it seems as though Slant Six isn’t aware of how rough and unpolished their game is.

Although Raccoon City is getting hammered all over the Internet, I have to say that I did enjoy certain parts of it. The idea of playing as an Umbrella strike team member is pretty cool to me, and shifting the dynamic of power from being a solo hero to being part of a full assault squad struck me as quite interesting and full of promise. Unfortunately, the title's problems far outweigh the good bits.


To start with, the difficulty is way out of control. Dan and I played on the easiest setting (casual) and it was anything but a cakewalk. The enemies are ludicrous bullet-sponges, we were constantly running out of ammo, and holding off the hordes of enemies (even as part of a four-person squad) was pretty overwhelming. The maps are difficult to read, dodging requires multiple simultaneous button presses instead of simply being mapped to ‘A’ like it would be in any normal game, the cover system is questionable and the upgrades and perks for each character aren’t very exciting or special.

Something else that struck me is that anyone who hasn't already played Resident Evil 2 (originally released fourteen years ago, mind you) won't have a clue as to what's going on, and there is very little effort made towards making the strike team themselves memorable in any way apart from appearance. I also took special offense at the final level, when players are given a choice whether to protect or kill a certain NPC. Everything happened incredibly fast, and before I knew it, Dan and I were on opposite teams and he killed me before I even realized that our allegiances had changed. That particular twist left a very bitter taste in my mouth, and ended a game with serious problems on an even worse note.


It's not the worst thing I've ever played and I still think the idea of being an Umbrella agent is a good one, but Raccoon City should have been a far, far better title than it is. 

Disappointing!

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Misc: Here’s a funny and apparently true infographic showing why online gaming is better than online dating… Single gamers, rejoice!


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NEWS/PR/INFO

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Xseed is proud to announce that the action platformer Sumioni: Demon Arts has released exclusively on the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system as a PlayStation Store download for $19.99!
Sumioni: Demon Arts takes full advantage of the PS Vita system touchscreen and rear touch pad to create an engaging and visceral 2D platforming experience. Boasting 30 stages and multiple endings, the game offers gamers plenty of challenge to look forward to, with online leaderboards and other DLC slated for addition post-launch.
Presented in a classical "sumi-e" ink painting style, Sumioni sees players guiding a lone Inkdemon named Agura through a fictionaltake on ancient Japan. The apathetic and once exiled Inkdemon has been given a chance to redeem himself by ridding the world ofa sinister dictator who's taken over the capital cityand threatens to resurrect an ancient evil. On his journey, Agura will see first-hand just how resilient humans can be...and may even come to like them a bit.
For more information, visit  www.sumioni.com.

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Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) would like to send out a quick reminder that they are now accepting submissions for the 5th annual Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Game Design Competition, the publisher's yearly initiative to promote higher education among women and encourage their involvement within the male dominated gaming industry.

The winning submission will receive a $10,000 scholarship to be applied towards tuition and other educational expenses, along with the opportunity for a paid internship of up to 10 weeks at SOE. The application deadline is March 29, 2012, after which SOE will determine the scholarship winner. More details can be found here: https://www.scholarshipamerica.org/gamersinreallife/.
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Today, Ubisoft® announced its diverse lineup for PAX East, including Assassin’s Creed® III, Far Cry® 3, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier™ and a number of acclaimed digital and iOS titles. Attendees can check out Ubisoft’s lineup at booths 824 and 836 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on April 6–8, 2012.

An exclusive first look at Assassin’s Creed III gameplay footage will be shown in a fully-enclosed theater at the booth. The game’s new hero Connor will head up the thrilling new installment of the beloved Assassin’s Creed franchise that is set in Colonial America during the American Revolution. Session attendees will also receive a special-edition Assassin’s Creed III-branded item.

During the show, PAX East attendees will also have the chance to truly immerse themselves in the Far Cry® 3 universe and identify with one of Far Cry 3’s most insane characters, Vaas. On Friday, acclaimed tattoo artist Suze, from The Hourglass Tattoo Parlor in Boston, will be offering Far Cry fans a unique opportunity to obtain real tattoos from a selection of tribal designs inspired by the game. For those that aren’t ready to commit to a tattoo, there will also be two Far Cry 3 mohawk stations on Saturday and Sunday where visitors can get mohawk haircuts in the same style of the game’s feature villain, Vaas. People who obtain a tattoo or mohawk at Ubisoft’s booth will receive a Far Cry 3 tank top, modeled after the very one Vaas sports in-game.

Consumer Booths

PAX East attendees who visit Ubisoft’s booth can play some of this year’s most highly anticipated multiplayer titles like Far Cry 3, Mad Riders™, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier™, and the free-to-play PC game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Online.

Additionally, I Am Alive™ will be playable at the booth, along with iOS games Babel Rising, Monster Burner, MotoHeroz® and Prince of Persia® Classic HD.

Pre-Order Incentives

Not only are attendees able to play many of Ubisoft’s upcoming releases, but they can also take advantage of pre-order incentives for a few of Ubisoft’s biggest games at the show. Pre-order offers include:

* Assassin’s Creed III – Official T-shirt or SteelBook™ designed by award-winning comic artist Alex Ross
* Far Cry 3 – Bloodied pint glass
* Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier – Free limited-edition bandanna designed by Penny Arcade and a personalized lenticular photo print-out from Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier

For exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes photos from PAX East throughout the event, please visit Ubisoft’s Facebook page (facebook.com/ubisoft) or follow Ubisoft’s Twitter account (twitter.com/Ubisoft).

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Funcom is excited to announce that the company is heading to PAX EAST on April 6th and will be bringing the upcoming, modern-day, massively multiplayer online game ‘The Secret World’ to the show floor for public hands-on. For first time, fans of ‘The Secret World’outside of the press and the closed beta get to play the game, and those heading to PAX can experience the full Templar starter experience in addition to the haunted town of Kingsmouth.

Funcom will be located at Booth 260 on the show floor. With ‘The Secret World’ playable on over 25 computers, Funcom will also be doing regular stage presentations of the game and giving away 10,000 Illuminati, Templar and Dragon dog tags. Along with each dog tag will be an exclusive key code that grants guaranteed access to the first of several upcoming public beta weekends. Details on the upcoming public beta will be announced later.

During the show, which runs from April 6th to April 8th, Funcom will be engaging with the online community surrounding ‘The Secret World’ through the official TwitterFacebook and YouTube channels, and will be releasing daily video podcasts giving a glimpse into ‘The Secret World’ and life at the Funcom booth.
Recently Funcom announced that over 750,000 gamers are now registered for the ongoing beta testing. ‘The Secret World’ is published by Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) and will ship on June 19th, 2012.
Those looking to join the beta test can sign up via the official site at www.thesecretworld.com.

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Gelid Games’ upcoming vehicular combat title Wheels of Destruction has been invited to participate in PlayStation®Network’s Spring Fever by Sony – as a result, Gelid is thrilled to announce that a new release date is set for April 3rd, 2012. Coming exclusively to PSN, Wheels of Destructionwill also be bringing PlayStation Plus members an opportunity to purchase the game at 20% off. The game is already a steal at $9.99, but at $7.99, it’s foolish to pass up this amazing class-based, online deathmatch gem of a game.

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Starting on March 27, the demo will give players a taste of the platforms, combat and adventure Zack Zero has to offer. It contains a sneak peak at two levels of the game: the enemy base, where Zack will face the army of Nahirgs, and the magic caverns, a mysterious and dangerous place with an ancient inhabitant.
Zack Zero was launched wordwide on PSN on January and is rated E by ESRB. Here you can watch the launch trailer.

The game was updated recently, taking into account both users and reviewers opinions. You can have a look to some of the general fixes, polishing and improvements here: Zack Zero 1.01 update.

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Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) today announced that its annual fan event will now be called SOE LIVE and will take place at Bally's in Las Vegas, October 18-21, 2012. An annual SOE-sponsored event, SOE Live is set to be the ultimate gathering for the SOE community, and provides players an opportunity to celebrate their favorite games across SOE's portfolio of titles, including: DC Universe™ Online, EverQuest®, EverQuest II, Free Realms®,Magic: The Gathering - Tactics®, PlanetSide® 2, Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™ andVanguard: Saga of Heroes®.

SOE Live reflects the belief that all SOE players are part of one extended family and presents an opportunity for fans of all ages to meet the talented people behind some of the online world's most successful games. In addition to a slew of social events, SOE will host developer panel discussions and game-themed live events, giving attendees a chance to voice their opinions of current and upcoming game content. SOE Live will also feature exclusive access to new announcements and beta programs, tournaments, premium swag and more.

For more information, visit http://www.SOE.com/SOELive.

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Videogames publisher Iceberg Interactive today announces that the action and exploration game  "Adam’s Venture Episode 1: The Search for the Lost Garden” is now available on the Steam online gaming platform as a direct download for PCs worldwide.

Adam’s Venture’s introduction to the Steam community comes with a 20% discount, rendering it temporarily available for a sheer €/$ 3,99!  Do not miss out on this adventurous deal:http://store.steampowered.com/app/108100/

Set during the 1920’s, Adam’s Venture delivers a unique combination of action oriented gameplay with classic puzzle solving, that takes you on an epic journey to the middle East to discover the legendary Lost Garden of Eden – but an ancient evil tries to prevent you from succeeding...

The Search for the Lost Garden is the first episode in the Adam's Venture series and introduces you to young explorer Adam Venture. Join Adam and his girlfriend Evelyn as the team embarks on an epic adventure fraught with mystery, intrigue and danger in their quest to find the legendary birth place of humanity.

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It's alive! ...maybe its dead? *edges closer and pokes it with a stick* It's...UNdead!

The pre-order offer for the PC and Mac versions of our game based on Robert Kirkman's award-winning comic books has come to life! You'll save money ($22.49 for the 5 part season instead of $24.99) and get access to our developer forum; you'll also be able to buy our "Almost Everything Pack" for a ludicrously discounted price (more on that in a bit). However, for fans of The Walking Dead, there's no higher goal in life than becoming a shambling, hungry walker. And by pre-ordering, you have a chance to do that!

As a walker, you can hang out with like-minded folks, taking leisurely walks through cities and across farmland, stopping to snack when the opportunity presents him/herself. You don't even have to dress nicely...come in whatever rags you have on! Sadly, ladders and climbing seem to be issues, but you can't have everything.

We'll select one lucky person who will join the cast as a human character in episode four. He or she will be modeled by our artists as a human survivor, before they are killed in a manner even Robert Kirkman would shudder at. The former survivor will then be reanimated as a member of the zombie horde. If you aren't selected as the human cast member, don't worry - we'll choose up to five more people to skip human and go straight to zombie. 

Pre-order customers who are hungry for more Telltale brains can add the "Almost Everything Pack" to their collection for only $20 in addition to the cost of pre-ordering The Walking Dead. Normally $89.99 (you're saving $69.99!), The Almost Everything Pack includes the full digital seasons of Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Hector, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Sam & Max Seasons 1-3 and Puzzle Agent 1 and 2! The contents of The Almost Everything Pack can be downloaded from the Telltale Store and played immediately.

For more details, head over to our The Walking Dead pre-order page. 

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Deep Silver will release Risen 2: Dark Waters for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3system on May 22, 2012 in the USA and Canada and April 27 for Windows PC.

Official website: http://www.risen2.com
Twitter: @risenofficial

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NinjaBee and IndieRoyale.com are proud to announce the release of the IndieRoyale Ninja Lightning Pack! The Ninja Lightning Pack includes all five of NinjaBee's PC games bundled together for a 'shockingly' cheap price! 

Titles included in the bundle are A Kingdom for Keflings (city-building simulation), Cloning Clyde (action platformer), Outpost Kaloki (space station tycoon game), Band of Bugs (tactics-style strategy), and Ancients of Ooga (action platformer).

All five titles are available as standalone DRM-free or Desura downloads, with Steam keys included for the two games available on that service, Cloning Clyde and Ancients of Ooga. The Ninja Lightning Pack will run for just 100 hours, under the same pricing model as before: the price will automatically increase as more people buy the pack. Those generous purchasers who pay more than the current minimum can keep the price low or even decrease it.

Indie Royale was co-created by Gamasutra sister site IndieGames.com and independent game download service Desura. More information on Ninja Lightning Pack, including real-time statistics and its current price, is available at its official website or via its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Further details about games included in the bundle can be found at NinjaBee.com. 

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