Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review Links, Snatcher, Danganronpa 2, Wolfenstein's Demo & The Valley of Gwangi  


Games: sorry for the lack of updates, but I've been spending most of my time jumping back and forth between projects. Before getting into those, here are a few links to reviews that just went up at @Gamecritics:


Now with those out of the way, I’m happy to say that I just finished recording a podcast with the @CaneAndRinse crew on my favorite game of all time, Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher -- or perhaps I should say, it used to be my favorite game of all time.

I don't want to spoil everything here, but Snatcher made an incredible impression on me when it was released  stateside in 1994 and I've held it in very high regard ever since. Although I completed it two or three times back in the day, I haven't touched it in years (I live in constant fear that my Sega CD will stop working!!) so it's been quite a while since I put it through its paces. I decided the time was right when C&R gave me the nod, so I jumped back in and re-experienced it all over again.

Despite the age of the game, I’m happy to say that it almost totally holds up. The art is still charming, the voices are still great, and the music is still absolutely faaaaaaaantastic. On the other hand, I had completely forgotten and (or perhaps I was never aware) of how persnickety the actual gameplay is.

It’s essentially a visual novel and the player chooses different menu options to talk to people, to explore things, to go to different locations, and so on.  The problem is that the developers want the player to click on some options several times even though there’s no cue that they should do so, and it's also  very easy to overlook something and get totally stuck with no idea of how to progress. For example, despite going through this game several times before, I got hung up for about three days because I couldn't figure out what I had missed, and that was both frustrating and time-consuming. 

(Spoiler: It was the sunblock in Gibson's house.)

Although I still love the game immensely and I think it holds great value, the gameplay just doesn't stand the test of time and I'm afraid I have to remove it from my top slot. I'm not a big believer in nostalgia, so if something is good it's got to be good no matter when you play… Some games are able to pull off the trick, and Snatcher nearly gets the job done, though sadly, not quite. 

For a deeper dive on Snatcher and what the rest of the @CaneAndRinse crew thought of it, keep your eyes peeled for the pod… It's being edited as we speak, and should be up soon.

As an interesting parallel, I'm actually playing another visual novel for review at the moment – Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. I'm still under embargo so I can't say very much about it, but I will say that so far (and I'm not done yet) it's every bit as interesting as the first, and I really commend the writers on the things they've done. 

I wasn’t sure how they could top the original, but the characters are interesting, there've been a number of surprises I did not see coming, and the way that they acknowledge the previous game is very, very intriguing… I haven't hit the big payoff yet, but it seems like things are going a certain way, and I'm bursting with anticipation for how it's all going to end up.

I’ve still got about a third of the game left (or so) but I've been loving every second of it up to this point. The first Danganronpa is certainly going to end up on my top 10 of the year, no question, and it’s looking like the sequel will be right beside it.

Aside from those things there hasn't been a lot of time for gaming, although I did dip into Wolfenstein: The New Order for a few minutes… I thought I was going to have a chance to blast through it, but I only ended up having enough time for the first two chapters or so. I will definitely come back to it, but for now I’ll say that it's quite different now compared to what I played of the PAX demo last year.

At that point last year, I was supremely unimpressed, and I was wondering why anyone would even bother resurrecting the game. It seemed like a lot of exactly what someone would expect from a Wolfenstein, and not much more. A lot of guns, a lot of hallways -- I just didn't see the point. However, there have been a number of changes and tweaks in the final game, and it feels like a new project. From what I recall, the opening stage wasn't in the demo, the second stage (which I played) is now greatly truncated compared to what it was before.  The story bits (also not in the demo) really enhance the experience, as well.

I guess this is a prime example of how an early look can give an inaccurate view of what the final product will be, and if I had known it this was going to be this good, I would've done the review myself. Looking forward to getting back to it when I have more time, but so far it seems like a thumbs up.

Movies: My 5yo is really into movie monsters, so we've been going through a lot of old films together. It's awesome because he doesn't care if something is in color or black-and-white, and I don't care if we need to fast forward through a lot of talking to get to the action. We have a great time, and we’ve seen a lot of old favorites, as well as a bunch of things that I've heard of but never viewed. One of these was The Valley of Gwangi, from 1969.

The basic premise is that a bunch of cowboys who run a Wild West show come across a hidden valley which holds a number of prehistoric creatures. Of course, the beasts get loose and hilarity ensues… There's not much more to say about it except that it was a hoot, and if there was ever a movie that was right for revamp it's this one.

I mean, come on, cowboys versus dinosaurs would be a fantastic combination with today's technology. Of course it wouldn't have to be something eyebrow, just a big, loud popcorn flick to take a kid to in the summer.

Come on Hollywood, let's get it done.


Obsidian Entertainment and today released the gamescom trailer for Armored Warfare.  In this "Urban Warfare" trailer, players will get an all-new look at the free-to-play, massively multiplayer online tactical military video game that puts you in control of modern tanks, armored vehicles and more. Fans can sign up for the closed beta now at
The trailer can be viewed here:


XSEED is happy to announce that we have launched our over-the-top action RPG title, AKIBA'S TRIP: Undead & Undressed, on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system.

Touted as XSEED Games' largest voice-over project to date, AKIBA'S TRIP: Undead & Undressed boasts Dual Audio. Its English and Japanese voiceovers complement a narrative dripping with satire and nods to Japanese culture to create a bewitching modern-day supernatural "otaku" adventure set in a faithful recreation of Akihabara, a popular Japanese "alternative" tourist destination.
For more information, please visit our official site at
We've uploaded our new launch trailer on our official Facebook page as well.



Independent developer Vagabond Dog and oppressive game publisher Devolver Digital have released a unique new demo for the unconventional RPG Always Sometimes Monsters. Gamers will assume the role of a video game journalist attending a review event for the game itself and be able to interact with other journalists, the developers, and, of course, play a short demo of Always Sometimes Monsters. Those that complete the demo will be able to write a review and score the game within the demo and help determine the success of the developers.

Released in May to both critical and commercial success, Always Sometimes Monsters tells the story of a down-and-out character on the verge of collapse after learning the love of his or her life is set to marry someone else. Selecting from characters of different gender, race and sexual orientation players will encounter a world that reacts uniquely to who they are as they live through common experiences and unique hardships. With time working against them, players set out on a unique cross-country journey filled with memorable and countless choices. Each playthrough is filled with a staggering number of diverging paths, creating a narrative tailored to the individual playing, their choices, and their personal ethical compass.

Always Sometimes Monsters and the new demo are available on Steam ( with a 50% discount on the full game to celebrate the launch of the demo. For more information visit or follow @VagabondDog on Twitter. 



With a renowned history that’s served as the origin for many nostalgic video game characters, worlds and experiences, Sierra™ continues on today in a return to form that fans of great games will love. A part of Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), Sierra’s focus is on indie studios developing innovative, edgy and graphically unique games, including new IPs and contemporary reimaginings of beloved Sierraclassics. Headlining Sierra’s slate of indie games is an all-new King’s Quest™ experience in 2015, and a new Geometry Wars™game planned to launch this holiday season. Additionally, the Sierra team is well underway exploring other indie projects to potentially launch later this year, and in 2015 and beyond.

In development by the beloved and quirky studio The Odd Gentlemen (The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom), King’s Quest is a fully reimagined version of the fan-favorite Sierra game fit for both the old and new generation of King’s Quest players. Huge fans of the original King’s Quest series, The Odd Gentlemen are crafting a charming new adventure with an awe-inspiring art style, engaging puzzles, and a wondrous interactive narrative brimming with humor. In the new story, King Graham – revered as the greatest adventurer to ever live – shares his life’s adventures with his curious granddaughter, Gwendolyn. It is through these tales that Gwendolyn discovers the true greatness of her grandfather. King’s Quest is expected to make its heralded return in 2015.

The first title set to launch under Sierra is Geometry Wars3: Dimensions from the team at Lucid Games. Geometry Wars3: Dimensions is an exciting new evolution of the fast-paced, frenetic Geometry Wars gameplay fans love, and will introduce full 3D action and both cooperative and competitive multiplayer for the first time in the franchise.  In addition to a full single-player campaign with 50 unique challenges and over 10 battle modes – five of which are brand new to the series – Geometry Wars3: Dimensions features dynamic and persistent progression, offering players a consistently new experience each time they play.Geometry Wars3: Dimensions is planned to launch later this year.

For the latest information on Sierra, including additional details on King’s Quest and Geometry Wars3: Dimensions, be sure to check out the official Sierra website at


Ubisoft® and Signal Studios announced Toy Soldiers: War Chest, the next iteration in the Toy Soldiers series. Leaving the battlefields of past eras behind, players face off against rival toy armies to determine who rules the battlefield. Toy Soldiers: War Chest will be available for download on Xbox One, video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Windows PC in early 2015.

Four diverse armies will be available at launch. The proud and disciplined Kaiser returns to lead his German Empire forces and defend their reign with new troops, weapons and turrets. New to the franchise is the Star Power army led by the whimsical but dangerous heroine, Starbright – her army of unicorn steeds, ferocious pixies, flying Pegasus and laser-shooting teddy bears have come to rain hearts and rainbows of destruction onto the battlefield. Each army defends with its own unique base turrets, combat and aerial attack vehicles and army units, making each gameplay experience distinct. Two additional armies in Toy Soldiers: War Chestwill be revealed closer to launch.

With more heroes, missions and playable armies than any previous Toy Soldiers, Toy Soldiers: War Chest is the most expansive title to date. Additional features in the game include more turrets and turret upgrades, more barrages, new game modes and expanded multiplayer and cooperative play.
For more information on Toy Soldiers: War Chest, please visit


Bethesda is pleased to announce that we’ll be offering a Season Pass for The Evil Within, the upcoming survival horror game from legendary director, Shinji Mikami.

The Evil Within Season Pass will allow you to experience survival horror from a new perspective. In the first add-on, assume the role of The Keeper (aka Boxman)in a sadistic collection of mission-based maps. The second and third add-ons take you further down a path of madness in a two-part, story-driven experience in the role of Juli Kidman -- Sebastian Castellanos' mysterious partner from The Evil Within. Encounter unthinkable enemies and new areas that reveal hidden motives and harrowing evil.

Priced at $19.99, the Season Pass offers savings on three planned add-ons for the game and will be available soon at select game retailers, PSN, Xbox LIVE, and PC. Season Pass and DLC content may not be available on all platforms or in all territories. Pricing and release dates may vary by territory and/or platform.

The Evil Within releases on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC on Tuesday, October 14th in North America and Friday, October 17th in Europe.
The Evil Within has been rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on The Evil Within please visit


Sweden based game development studio Night Node have released their first game Orbital Gear on Steam. Orbital Gear is a fast paced shooter, where gravity defying mechs fight each other in a multiplayer mayhem!

You slingshot yourself using the gravity of planets and try to aim your movement towards the enemy, in an attempt to destroy their base. Once you have destroyed enough buildings or defeated enough enemies and stolen their energy cores you quickly manoeuvre yourself away from the enemy fire and leave the energy cores in your main base, charging your super weapon and obliterating your opponents once and for all!



Dying Light has a new trailer!


Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital have released the “Mercy Update” for the indie thriller Gods Will Be Watching on Steam, Humble and GOG, bringing sweet relief to those gamers that found the harder paths through the game a bit too hard. The update to the critically lauded title brings new challenge settings that adjust the game’s overall difficulty and a new option to remove the element of chance from decisions made throughout the game. It’s still no cakewalk though, chumps.

"The team is very happy with the release of Gods Will Be Watching and the reception of the intense challenge we set out to deliver, but we've also been listening carefully to all the feedback, and we want to make the game as accessible as possible to every kind of player,” said Deconstructeam designer Jordi de Paco. “The Mercy Update is the result of our team’s discussions with both fans and critics, refining the game and creating new settings that allow more gamers to experience Gods Will Be Watching at a comfortable challenge level."

New challenge settings range from Original Mode, which keeps the game’s full difficulty intact, to a new Puzzle Mode that removes all elements of chance and Narrative Mode for gamers looking to just experience the story with minimal obstacles to success.

Gods Will Be Watching is available now for PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, GOG, and Humble. For more information on Gods Will Be Watching or to try the original prototype, visit


It's time to return underground and uncover how 4A Games made Metro Redux the most complete and ambitious "remasters" of modern times.

Improved graphics, complete with Ranger, Spartan and Survival game modes, hours of additional content and features packed into games that were rebuilt on 4A Games' brand new engine -- Metro Redux from Deep Silver is a beautifully re-mastered package for newcomers and Metro fans alike.

For a look into how this compilation came about, check out the video below for download or on YouTube.

Download link:

Upon release on August 26th in North America, Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux will each be available separately as a digital download for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC for $24.99. Alongside the digital release, a boxed compilation containing both games, Metro Redux will be available at retail for a suggested $49.99. 


Rising Star Games' digital escapade continues with another new partnership for 2014. Japanese developer, Pygmy Studios has partnered with Rising Star Games to bring La-Mulana EX - a new version of the cult 2D action-adventure game - to PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system later this year.

 Set in the fabled ruins of La-Mulana, players will help Professor Lemeza Kosugiembark on an exciting but incredibly deadly adventure. Armed at first with only his trusty whip, he'll traverse through the lost city, finding treasures and discovering a bounty of unexplored caves, unsolved riddles and ravenous monsters. But with the ruins having claimed the lives of everyone that has ever entered, will Lemeza be able to survive in the quest to find the secret to life itself?

Packed with challenging enemies, treacherous locations, huge bosses and punishing but rewarding gameplay, La-Mulana EX is guaranteed to be a must-have title for PlayStation®Vita system when it arrives later this year. More details about La-Mulana EX, including the new features exclusive to PlayStation®Vita system, will be made available in the near future.

For more information on all Rising Star Games titles, please visit the official site:


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