Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Son, Tom Clancy, and Big Freaking Rabbits  


Family: I'm quite happy to say that my oldest son, age 11, will be flying in this weekend to spend Christmas with us.

Since he lives with his mother for most of the year (and they live pretty far away) I usually only get to see him during the major school breaks. It's a very long time between the end of summer and the Christmas holiday, so it feels like an eternity since he's been here.

We plan on chopping down a Christmas tree and catching a showing of The Hobbit, but other than that, I think we are going to lay low and just hang out as a family… we may play a few videogames as well.



Games: I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I picked up a 3DS XL during one of the big holiday sales, so I've been spending a lot of time getting to know the system. Impressions are pretty positive so far, apart from the strange situation of not being able to log on to free WiFi when I'm out and about because the system doesn't seem able to connect in order to bring up the screen where you click ‘I agree’ in order to actually use the free WiFi. It seems like there must be a simple solution to this problem, but if there is, I've been unable to find it.

In terms of what I've actually been playing on it, it's been mostly Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars. It happened that @ChiKongLui recommended it to me during one of our podcasts, and I picked it up for $10 a couple of months ago, before I had even bought the system. 

It ended up being the best $10 I've spent in a while -- I'm not a fan of Clancy-type stuff in general, but this is a turn-based strategy game partially developed by one of the original XCOM creators, so it's totally solid and a hell of a lot of fun. The graphics are pretty ugly, but once I got over that, it's been a fantastic game to play on the go. My full review is coming soon, but if you have a 3DS and you're a fan of turn-based strategy, buying this one is a no-brainer.

Speaking of reviews, I just turned in my text for Black Knight Sword on PSN. (It's also on 360.) Although I'm actually a fan of the crazy visual style and offbeat nature of the game, actually playing it is a disappointing experience and it shows the same sort of unsophisticated, unpolished gameplay design that's common to Japanese developer Suda51’s titles. 

Look for the writeup at @Gamecritics, but the short version is that it's not really worth the purchase price unless all you care about is Suda51’s offbeat nature or some bizarre graphical choices.


My friends over at Undead Labs sent over this link to a developer writeup detailing some of the finer points in their zombie survival title, State of Decay. I haven't had a chance to play it in a while, but it was already looking pretty great back then. This is easily one of my most-anticipated titles for 2013, so click on over and take a look at some of the stuff they’re working on.

 One of my other most-anticipated titles for next year is Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, on WiiU. (And yes, I am going to buy a WiiU *just* for this game...) 

Here’s a video link to one of the new monsters called a Lagombi. I don't know if that's the name it’ll have in the NA version, but whatever it ends up being called, it's a big freaking rabbit. It definitely looks like one of the mid-or low-range monsters, but the person in the video is apparently a terrible player since they're getting hit with every attack. 

Anyway, I can't wait to see what kind of armor can be made from this beast… whatever the end result, I'm sure it's going to be cute and fluffy.


Music: The good people of nerd rock band @KirbyKrackle have released a version of the disgusting Christmas date-rape song, Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Fortunately, they have de-creepified it by switching the male and female vocals, and by rewriting the lyrics in order to give it a Han/Leia Star Wars theme. I generally hate this song whenever it comes on the radio, but this new version... I think I likes it.


THQ confirmed that Metro: Last Light – the hugely anticipated sequel to 2010’s cult classic Metro 2033 – is scheduled for release in March 2013 on Microsoft Xbox 360, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC. Initial copies of THQ Inc.’s (NASDAQ: THQI) Metro: Last Light will be sold as a Limited Edition packed with exclusive content. To guarantee the free upgrade to the Limited Edition, Metro: Last Light is now available to pre-order from the THQ Store and select retailers, including, Best Buy, EB Games, GameStop and for an SRP of $59.99 on console and PC.

The Metro: Last Light Limited Edition will include a standard retail copy of the game with ‘Ranger Mode,’ the fan-favorite game type fromMetro 2033 that represents the ultimate, immersive Metro experience. Additionally, the Limited Edition includes the Ranger load-out, containing bonus military grade bullets to spend on weapon upgrades and equipment, and the deadly AKS-74U modified Russian rifle. 

 Beginning on Dec. 18, fans in North America who pre-order the full LE digital version of Metro: Last Light on PlayStation®Network will receive a free digital copy of the popular shooter Homefront at launch. For instant gratification, purchasers will acquire a free Metro: Last Light PlayStation Network theme at the time of pre-order.  

For more information and a list of local retailers, please visit , follow or become a fan at


A string of grisly murders is going down in Boston, and FBI agent Erica Reed is taking it personally -- her younger brother, Scott, was murdered by a serial killer three years ago. She also has an unusual skill at her disposal: a set of post-cognitive abilities that help her sense how a crime unfolded. As the body count builds, so does Erica's fierce desire to avenge Scott's death. The result is an engrossing point-and-click mystery that you (and your readers) won't want to miss.

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is a four-part adventure series that recently debuted for PC and Mac with Episode 1: The Hangman. Review copies are available, and I'd love to hook you up so you can check out this tense psychological thriller firsthand!

If this is the first you're hearing about Cognition, here's a quick rundown:

·  A dedicated indie team: Cognition is developed by lifelong adventure fans Phoenix Online Studios, the same guys behind the ambitious King's Quest spinoff The Silver Lining (which was praised by KQ creator Roberta Williams herself!)
·  Strong storytelling: The "CSI meets Dexter" storyline was crafted with help from legendary designer Jane Jensen, whose portfolio includes Gabriel Knight, Gray Matter, and King's Quest VI.
·  Gorgeous graphics: Cognition's bold graphic novel artwork was overseen by artist Romano Molenaar, whose comic credits include X-Men, Witchblade, Tomb Raider, and many others.
·  Kickstarted before it was cool: Months before Tim Schafer kicked off the crowd-funding revolution, the devs raised $35k on Kickstarter to begin Cognition's development. Phoenix later teamed up with publisher Reverb Games to get the project completed and distributed.
·  Going Greenlight: Thanks to amazing fan support, Cognition is ranked within the Top 100 games on Steam Greenlight ( And it's already available for purchase from Rain, GamersGate,, Green Man Gaming, and Gamefly.

You'll find more info about Cognition (including a chilling trailer and some gorgeous screenshots) at the official website:


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