Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Arkham Origins, Swap Force, Phoenix Wright, and Gravity  


Links: @Gamecritics just had a slew of new reviews go live! 

Sweet Fuse: At Your Side by @ApricotSushi
Gone Home by @SparkyClarkson
Deadpool by Dan Coyne
How To Survive by… Me!

And don’t miss the @Gamecritics Podcast Episode 99
You asked us questions and we sort of answered them!


Games: For review, I’ve been playing two games at once…  Not my favorite thing to do, but it is that time of the year and they aren’t at all alike, so playing one is kind of like taking a break from the other. The first is Batman: Arkham Origins, as mentioned in the last post.  I’m finding this is a very interesting title on many levels, but not necessarily for the reasons that you might expect.

In general, I was enjoying it a good deal.  It won’t make my year-end top 10, but it feels like the sequel I was expecting after Arkham Asylum.  Of course, everyone knows that Arkham City was the next game in this series, but that one put me right off. In fact, I tried to play City at least two or three separate times, but never made it more than a few hours in.  

To begin with, I never liked the premise, and the game started terribly.  Too many things were hitting me all at once, and it seemed as though the developers were assuming people would retain all of the systems familiarity from Asylum.  I clearly recall getting into fights near the game’s beginning that had way too many thugs, while not being able to remember how to use the gadgets, and so on.  I came to City wanting to love it just as much as Asylum, but it left me cold. It’s wildly overrated, I think.

On the other hand, Origins has a much better premise, and one that strikes me as something I would realistically read in a Batman graphic novel.  The pacing at the beginning is much better, and it takes more time to walk the player into what’s going on.  I also appreciate that the main quest is uncluttered by developers trying to cram too much in.

Unfortunately, just as I was nearing the end of the game and getting ready to write a fairly positive review, I hit a showstopping glitch that rendered the game unable to be completed.  It was especially ironic because I just got done telling people how few bugs I had encountered during my playthrough, and then less than fifteen minutes later, the game croaked.  PR assures me that the developers are aware of this problem and that a patch is coming this week, but as of right now, it’s unplayable.

The other game I’m playing for review is Skylanders: Swap Force, and it’s been the best game in the series so far.  However, there’s not a lot to say about it, really…  Apart from a number of smart tweaks  and improvements it’s more of the same, but since it was so fun and enjoyable to begin with, that’s not a bad thing.  
That blue guy on the left? TOTAL BADASS. 
Series fans can look forward to the most polished entry with some interesting new characters, and newcomers can look forward to the best place to jump in.

In between those titles, I picked up Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies on 3DS and gave that a whirl.  The first game in the series is one of my favorite titles of all time, so I was definitely looking forward to it.  The first level started off right and gave me hope that the listing ship the series had become was righting itself, but the second level was a catastrophic crash and burn…  It was so annoying and overly talkative that I kept falling asleep trying to get through it.  

For the love of all that's holy... STOP TALKING!!!
People tell me that it really picks up in the next level, but I’m just having a real problem getting through the section I’m in right now.  I’ll come back to it later, but I just can’t manage to force myself to trudge through at the moment.

Later this week, I’m going to begin reviews of Saints Row 4: Enter The Dominatrix and Deadfall Adventures, so look for some words on those soon.


Film: The wife and I had a rare day and night, so we decided to take in a movie.  After hearing some any accolades for Gravity, we bought a couple of tickets and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Overall, I feel comfortable in saying that it was good, but not great.  

The performances were solid and I appreciated that Sandra Bullock basically carried the entire movie by herself.  It’s rare to see a role like that performed by a woman, and I’d like to see more choices like it.

In terms of the story…  Well, it started off in the right direction, but my suspension of disbelief was broken by a few too many action sequences.  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen the film, but I would have been quite satisfied with half of the events that took place, and perhaps even a different ending.  By the time the credits rolled, I had lost my emotional engagement and felt very much as though I was watching a video game plot, and I don’t mean that in a good sense.

The technical achievements were impressive and more starring roles for women like this one would be quite welcome, but Gravity was more of a thrill ride than an emotional one, and the movie was lesser for it.


Leading publisher of digital entertainment Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Eisner Award-winning creator and writer of The Walking Dead for his Skybound imprint at Image Comics, have officially revealed The Walking Dead: Season Two - A Telltale Games Series, which is now available for pre-order on PC/Mac via the Telltale Games Online Store as well as Steam.  The second season will make its highly-anticipated premiere later this year on PC/Mac, home consoles and iOS, with additional platforms to be announced.

The Walking Dead: Season Two - A Telltale Games Series will continue the story of Clementine, a young girl orphaned at the outset of the undead apocalypse, now left to her own devices to seek safety and survive in a world gone mad.  Now assuming the role of an ordinary child, players will struggle to outwit both the dead and the living in situations that will test their morals and control the flow of the story through their decisions and actions.

Expected to premiere later this year, The Walking Dead: Season Two - A Telltale Games Series will consist of five episodes that will be released for digital download over the course of the season and will conclude in 2014.  Players can save 10% off of the purchase price of the PC/Mac versions with a pre-order of the season pass, giving them access to all five episodes for the total cost of $22.49 USD or equivalent when ordering through the Telltale Online Store, or through the Steam digital distribution service.

For more information on the game, visit the official websiteFacebook, and follow Telltale Games on Twitter. For more information on The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, and all of his titles, visit www.Skybound.com andwww.TheWalkingDead.com.


Midnight City, the recently founded indie label of Majesco Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: COOL), an innovative provider of games for the mass market, is proud to announce The Bridge coming to Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft on November 13th. Winner of multiple design and gameplay awards, The Bridgefeatures beautifully hand-drawn environments and thought-provoking physics challenges that push the boundaries of player perception.  

The Bridge focuses on bringing players into a new gameplay experience, beyond what they may expect from the usual puzzle game. Following in the footsteps of non-traditional titles like Braidand Limbo, The Bridge offers a uniquely cerebral approach to gaming. With detail-oriented, hand-drawn environments that resemble architectural design, more than level design, players are asked to look beyond just the protagonist and into the environment to solve each puzzle. The ability to control the world around the protagonist offers a plethora of options for strategically positioning both the character and the world to achieve success. Critical thinking is a key to player progress and is not limited to just the environment; players will face off with “The Menace,” gravitational vortexes and parallel universes adding twists for additional layers of gameplay in this award-winning title.

The Bridge was developed by game designer and programmer Ty Taylor and artist Mario Castañeda; together they are known as the Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. The Bridge is rated E for Everyone and will release on Xbox Live Games Store on November 13th for a suggested price of $9.99.  
For more information, please visit our website: www.midnight-city.com
For more on The Bridge, please visit: www.thebridgeisblackandwhite.com


SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. have announced that The Typing of the Dead: OVERKILL launched exclusively for PC Digital Download yesterday just in time for Halloween. Developed by Modern Dream with a little help from Hardlight Studios, this adaptation of console gore-fest The House of the Dead: OVERKILL™ is available for download now and will be priced at £14.99/$19.99/€17.99.  The original The House of the Dead: OVERKILL is also included in the package!

The Typing of the Dead: OVERKILL, like its aforementioned console counterpart, uncovers the ugly, terrifying secrets behind the original The House of the Dead™; the daddy of all over-the-top shooters. This time though, trigger-happy creature blasters will trade in their light guns for keyboards and will need to hone their typing skills to repel the mutant hordes with lightning-fast spelling and lethally accurate grammar. Up to two players can take on the fright-filled story mode or one of three monster-maiming mini-games all designed to improve your keyboard skills in the bloodiest typing tutorial around.

The Typing of the Dead: OVERKILL is out now and available on Steam and from other participating digital retailers. For more information about the game, please visit www.sega.com/typingofthedeadoverkill.


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