Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dragon's Crown, Friday Monsters, Brothers, and Saints Row IV  


Games: It’s been a while since I updated, so let me start things off by sharing a couple of links in case you missed them:

Dragon's Crown
First, here’s my take on Dragon’s Crown for PS3/Vita, which you may have heard about thanks to the brouhaha surrounding the hyper-sexualized art style.  Personally, I thought it looked great, although everyone has their own preferences.  However, it’s an incredible game regardless of what it looks like, and it's probably the best beat-‘em-up that’s ever been made.

Friday Monsters!
Next, here’s my take on Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale for 3DS.  It’s quirky, cute, and really different.  It wasn’t totally satisfying, but I liked it all the same, and would recommend it for those players looking for something a little off the beaten path.

My last link tonight is my review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons for XBLA.  Much like Friday Monsters! it’s a very unconventional experience, but it’s also one of the most soulful games I’ve played this year.  This story about two brothers trying to save their father is beautiful, magical, wondrous, dark, and at times very real.  I wouldn’t blame you for overlooking it thanks to the miserable PR job Microsoft is doing, but anyone interested in narrative, emotion, and unconventional game design should absolutely check it out.

So, since the stuff I just linked to is already in the can, you may be wondering what I’m up to now.  It’s still currently under embargo so I can’t share many details, but I can say that I’ve been spending time with Saints Row IV and it’s been something of a revelation.

Not super-representative of the game...
I came to the Saints Row series about two years after the first game came out back in 2006, and I genuinely liked it quite a bit.  Although it was pretty clearly a slightly different take on Grand Theft Auto mechanically, the sense of humor and irreverence were fantastic and the game just flat-out controlled a hell of a lot better than anything Rockstar had managed to turn out.

I hit Saints Row 2 as soon as that released, and it was essentially a good example of how ‘bigger, better, more’ is a valid development strategy for certain titles.  On the other hand, the format was starting to feel a bit stale by this point, and I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t fresher.  Still, a good game.

Then came Saints Row 3, and I’ve got to be perfectly honest here – it was a pile of garbage.  

I know a lot of people say that they had a great time with it and I don’t dispute that, but I also think that most of the people who enjoyed it are people who had never played the previous games.  If this was the first exposure someone had to the Saints franchise, then it makes perfect sense that it would be a lot of crazy fun.  But, as someone who had played both of the previous games, it felt like a hot mess with its absolutely atrocious writing, nonsensical missions, and terrible pacing.  I’m pretty sure the studio was going through some difficulties at the time and I can understand that, but the fact is that the game is just not very good.

Much closer to what it's actually like.
After having seen what a sloppy train wreck SR3 turned out to be, I was extremely leery of all the build-up and hype that was surrounding Saints Row IV.  Honestly, I expected to put 2 hours into it and then call it good, but then something amazing happened – the game turned out to be genuinely, shockingly fantastic.

Like I said, it’s still under embargo so I can’t spill the beans here, but I can say that the developers have corrected all of the problems that I had with the last game and then took the entire formula and shook it up from top to bottom.  It’s different, it’s totally fresh, it’s full of surprises, it’s fun and exciting…  This is one of the biggest turnarounds for a sagging series that I think I’ve ever seen.

Fear the Dubstep Gun... It actually kicks a lot of ass.
I’m about 12 hours through the game right now, and the entire experience has been an absolute blast.  It’s kind of a shame that PR for the game hasn’t really told the true story of what’s going on here, but then again, walking into some of this stuff without knowing it was coming just makes it that much better.  

If you’re tired of the GTA/SR formula or you’re just tired of open-world games in general, I would still encourage you to at least check out the game once it hits - and you fans of Crackdown? You’re gonna be in heaven.


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today confirmed Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition is available for PC at select retailers. Originally developed by NetherRealm Studios, led by Mortal Kombat co-creator and creative director Ed Boon, Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition is adapted for PC by High Voltage Software.

Featuring all of the previously released downloadable content (DLC), Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition for PC includes fearless warriors Skarlet, Kenshi, Rain and the nightmarish Freddy Krueger, as well as the 15 Klassic Mortal Kombat Skins and three Klassic Fatalities (Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Reptile).
For more information about Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, please visit, on Facebook or on Twitter @MK_Mortalkombat


Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl - Trailer


XSEED Games, the independent-minded console publishing brand of Marvelous USA, Inc., today announced that the battle adventure game, Senran Kagura Burst, is headed to the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system as a digital release this Fall. It’s all about girl power in this over-the-top side-scrolling action game that spawned a successful anime and manga series in Japan. Senran Kagura Burst is set in an academy which serves as a front for an underground school where female students are secretly trained in the art of ninjutsu. Consisting of two separate storylines, Skirting Shadows introduces players to the “good shinobi” of Hanzō Academy while its counterpart, Crimson Girls, turns the tables to tell the same tale from the rival Hebijo Academy’s point of view.

Players can earn experience and level up throughout the story, unlocking new moves, powers and outfits. The Nintendo 3DS system’s stereoscopic 3D capability is fully supported, allowing Shinobi Transformations, special moves and victory poses to be viewed in full 3D.


Everlove - Trailer 


GungHo Online Entertainment America is pleased to announce its PlayStation®Vita system puzzle-platform hybrid, Dokuro, is now available for download free of charge for PlayStation®Plus subscribers. The promotion will continue until August 27 in North America, giving Vita owners with PS Plus the opportunity to download Dokuro and experience its spooky charm for themselves.

The recipient of a host of industry awards, such as “Best PS Vita Puzzle Game” and “Original Game of the Year”, Dokuro is a one-of-a-kind action-puzzle game that uses the PlayStation Vita’s Front Touchscreen and Rear Touch Pad to enable players to manipulate the game’s environment and transform the game’s diminutive protagonist between two forms – a nimble skeleton and a dashing prince – in order to solve a variety of puzzles in his quest to help an innocent princess escape the Dark Lord’s fortress.


DrinkBox Studios is bringing platform-brawler Guacamelee! to Steam as a special Guacamelee! Gold Edition on August 8 for $14.99, £11.99 and €13.99. To celebrate the Steam launch, Guacamelee! will be 10 percent off for the first week of release.
Features for the Guacamelee! Gold Edition Include:

       Full Game along with the first two DLC packs – Costume pack and “The Devil’s Playground” challenge level
       Steam trading cards
       Steamworks integration with Achievements, Leaderboards, Cloud Save, and Big Picture Mode
       Fully remappable keyboard controls
       Create new custom costumes and share these with others via Steam Workshop

As an added bonus, for the first week, purchasers of Guacamelee! Gold will also receive a free code for the critically acclaimed Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack on Steam.


Indie game publisher and developer eastasiasoft and development partner SideQuest Studios announced that their upcoming role-playing game Rainbow Skies is coming to the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system in 2014.

Featuring cross-play support, Rainbow Skies lets the player begin the adventure on the PlayStation®3 system and continue exploring and battling monsters anywhere on the PlayStation®Vita system.
“We have enjoyed great support and success on the PlayStation®3 system in the past and are happy to bring our latest development to the PlayStation® family in 2014,” said Marcus Pukropski, CEO of SideQuest Studios. “Rainbow Skies combines lots of fan feedback with our own vision and will be an awesome mix of old meets new. We are looking forward to showing gamers more of Rainbow Skies in the months to come.”

Official website:


Stardock is pleased to announce that it has secured the rights to the classic PC franchise Star Control with the intent to develop a new Star Control game. Development on the new game will begin this year with a release date to be determined at a later time.

Entering its 20th year as an independent studio, Stardock remains one of the few development studios solely dedicated to PC gaming. Its critically-acclaimed PC games include the timeless Galactic Civilizations series and the award-winning Real-Time Strategy game (RTS) Sins of a Solar Empire, which has sold more than two million copies worldwide. PC Gamer Magazine recently chose Galactic Civilizations II and Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion for inclusion in the top 100 PC games of all time.

 Star Control maintains a cult following as a beloved PC franchise, with the first title including options for melee or strategy gameplay set in a science fiction universe. The sequel—Star Control II—expanded on the Star Control universe as an adventure game and shooter. Star Control II still holds spots on critics’ lists of the best PC games of all time among both new and seasoned PC gamers.

For more information on Stardock, please visit


Like a deadly swarm, five NinjaBee games descend on XBLA today in the NinjaBee Bundle. A World of Keflings, Band of Bugs, Ancients of Ooga, Cloning Clyde and Outpost Kaloki X will be available starting today for a mere 1600 MSP, slashing the 3600 MSP retail value of all five games by more than half.
 Help hapless Keflings as they attempt to build a (tiny) new kingdom in A World of Keflings. Wage war with your exoskeletal soldiers in the exciting insecticidal tactics game Band of Bugs. Eat, chant and puke your way to revolution in Ancients of Ooga. Engage in ethically questionable science in the zany platformer Cloning Clyde. Take capitalism to space in Outpost Kaloki X, an interstellar tycoon game.
 This honey of a deal is available for the phenomenal price of 1600 MSP for a limited time. Don’t miss out. Buy the bundle today and see what all the buzz is about.

For more information about NinjaBee games, visit

Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today confirmed that the ultimate ninja, Strider Hiryu, will return in Strider, a brand new title in development for Xbox One®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox 360®games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 system and PC. An intense side-scrolling action platformer, Strider’s action begins in the expansive metropolis of Kazakh City, a mix of ornate Russian architecture and hard-edged futuristic high-rise buildings with sprawling energy cables and pipework. Players freely explore the city and beyond, gaining new abilities and items which in turn open access to a truly massive and expansive interconnected game world.


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