Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Too many games, not enough time  


Although it's exciting to see so many great games start popping up in the fourth quarter... there are too many great games popping up in the fourth quarter.

I've had my hands absolutely full with more stuff than any one man can handle, and then on top of that, I'm still trying to wrap up the edits on my book, plugging away at the good old day job, and spending as much quality time with the family as possible… it's pretty fair to say that "leisure time" isn't a phrase that exists in my vocabulary right now.

Anyway, getting back to the games, within the span of a week (more or less) we got Dishonored, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, The Walking Dead Ep. 4, DLC for Borderlands 2 (if you’re into that sort of thing) and a lot of smaller stuff like Derrick the Deathfin and Unfinished Swan on PSN, DLC for Trials: Evo and A World of Keflings on 360, Blood of the Zombies and DLC for Elder Sign: Omens on iOS, and a bunch of other things that have slipped my mind at the moment.

Seriously, all of this? Practically at once?

I'd love to take my time and do a full review for nearly everything that just came out, but it's impossible to get to more than one or two in a "timely" manner, and the real shame is that so many of these projects are so deserving. As far as I'm concerned, 2012 has been a pretty outstanding year for gamers, and the hits just keep on coming.

I get that it's sort of a good problem to have as a player (and even as a reviewer) since having a wealth of quality content is always welcome, but I feel bad for the developers who have put so much time and effort into turning out these great games -- so much depends on publicity, mindshare, and word-of-mouth from the review sphere. It's an absolute shame when something worthwhile gets buried in an avalanche of releases like the one we are getting hit with now…

That said, there's only so much that can be done.

News Flash! This just in! Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut has just been confirmed a few hours ago. Here's the info:

Acclaimed publisher Rising Star Games Inc today announced that the cult phenomenon hit, Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut, will be released in the US and Europe Q1 2013 exclusively for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. High-definition graphics, fresh content and updated controls provide a whole new, outrageous gameplay experience for diehard fans and newcomers alike.

"I'm very happy Rising Star Games gave me the chance to work on Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut," said Hidetaka 'Swery' Suehiro, Director of Deadly Premonition. "It's been a while since Deadly Premonition was released, but I'm still receiving so many messages of support from fans around the world. I'm writing some exciting new scenarios and adding some new features. All will be revealed over the coming months and I'm confident I can deliver an unforgettable experience for you all."

Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut includes the following new features:  
  • New scenario from the game's director, Hidetaka "Swery" Suehiro
  • HD graphics
  • Reworked control system allowing for an even better combat experience
  • Downloadable content to expand the mystery beyond the original game  


Games: … Speaking of worthwhile things getting buried, I just completed The Testament of Sherlock Holmes on 360. Haven't heard of it? Didn't know it was out? Not too surprising -- see above.

Developed by Frogwares and put out by Atlus, it's a great point-and-click detective game that's very true to the character and a wonderful change of pace if you're in the mood for something slower and cerebral.

I'm just about to submit my review, but without really spoiling anything, it's safe to say that it will be a very positive one. There are some interesting aspects to the design and writing, and I can't remember the last title of this sort that I not only enjoyed, but enjoyed and finished.

Look for my review at GameCritics coming soon, and if you want to hear a little more about it now, I made a guest appearance on Josh and Jay’s Excellent Podcast. Jay is as much of a fan of this game as I am -- maybe even more -- and we spend about an hour discussing various aspects of it. Give a listen if you like, and if nothing else, at least know that this game is out there. Maybe once the holiday season is over and all of the “must buys” have been bought, you might be in the mood for something a little different.


Here are a bunch of other game-related bits, rapid-fire and in no particular order:

>@GC_Danny’s Resident Evil 6 review is now up. It's pretty epic and very detailed, and he also takes a slightly different tack towards the material than most other reviewers did. You can check it out here, but if nothing else, know that he recommends everyone plays the game in the Jake, Chris, Leon order. According to Dan, playing it any other way really hurts the game’s buildup and storytelling.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories
>I tried the demo for Silent Hill: Book of Memories on Vita (it's available for download now) and I have to say, I thought it was shockingly cool. In a radical departure for the series, the game is a top-down dungeon crawler with customizable characters and sidequests. I know this approach sounds a little insane considering the source material, but you know, I felt like it worked. The play mechanics felt solid and well-fitting for a handheld, and there was a nice level of tension, if not the same sort of scares that the other iterations may offer.

>The Last Express is now available on iOS, and after hearing about this classic for years and years and years, I bought it on the spot and give it a whirl. I quit about a half an hour later. To make a long story short, the game very much feels like a product of its time… navigation was awkward and tedious, there were no subtitles offered even though there is an absolute ton of spoken dialogue, and I constantly got the sense that I might have been very impressed with it back in 1997. In 2012, it just felt very old and outdated.

>I’m a huge fan of I Am Alive (look for it on my top ten in December) and I was glad to see it finally arrive on the download services since it was well known that this particular game had a very troubled history. However, I had no idea exactly how troubled it was… According to this story onThe Game Effect, it was akin to being a living nightmare.

 >We at Gamecritics have been saying for years that games don't need to be fun, and it finally seems like more and more people are coming around to that way of thinking. Extra Credits has done a video on this very same topic, and they did a great job of explaining the idea that games can deliver all sorts of experiences -- sad, romantic, harrowing, soulful -- without the requirement that they be "fun" at the same time.

>Here are a couple of awesome resources for indie developers… If you're in the business of making games and you don't have a lock on your PR side, then you will soon find yourself out of the business of making games. Seriously, it shocks me to meet so many indie developers who really don't put much effort into networking, advertising, and getting the word out there. Take a look at these two things, and it’ll help.

Dead Island: Riptide
>Deep Silver needs your feedback on what should be included for the upcoming Collector’s Edition of Dead Island: Riptide. Tell them what you want right here.

> I made an offer on this blog a while ago to help anyone who was getting involved with Greenlight on Steam, and I was contacted about 1953 –KGB Unleashed. I have not played the game myself, nor do I have any stake in it, but an offer is an offer so here's a heads up that it exists and wants your votes.

...Whew! Deep breath...

TV: Before I go on a rant here, let me give a quick shout-out to Lost Girl on SyFy. The wife discovered it randomly searching through iTunes and we gave it a shot just because, and I've got to say, we were pleasantly surprised.

The gist is that the main character is a succubus who doesn't know who or what she is. She knows she's not human since she sucks the life energy out of people at random intervals, but otherwise, she's clueless. Eventually she bumps into other members of the Fae world, and events slowly unfold from there.

We are pretty early in the first season at the moment, but despite having an aversion to fairy-themed things, this show is hitting all the right notes. The writing is smart, often adult-oriented and has a good sense of humor. It comes off like a slightly-darker Buffy, at times.

The action in the show comes in two forms: combat and sexual. In both respects, it's ultra refreshing to watch a female lead character who doesn't shrink back from either, and who shows no qualms about getting things done, whether it's killing oncoming enemies or seducing someone who's got information. The protagonist, Bo, is a strong, bold woman who stands up for herself, and I think that's pretty awesome.

I'm hoping that the rest of the first season is as good as the episodes we've already seen, but we added this one to our regular rotation right off the bat. For whatever reason it seems to be flying pretty low under the radar at the moment, but give it a shot if anything I’ve described sounds even remotely interesting.

Okay, so that rant... I'm a little overdue with this, but Doctor Who ran its midseason finale recently. It's no secret that I haven't been a fan of Moffatt’s run on the show for various reasons, but one of the biggest is that I've never liked Amy Pond.

I thought the first episode of the re-reboot starring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan started off wonderfully and the story featuring young Amy was great. It inspired a lot of confidence in me at the time, and I felt as though the show was going to continue on in fine form. That opinion changed rapidly.

...Must I really watch ONE MORE POND EPISODE?
I quickly grew to despise Amy. She never clicked, or became likable. She was irritating, obnoxious, had too much attitude, and seemed to become too comfortable with interstellar adventuring too soon.  And don't get me wrong -- it's got nothing to do with the fact that she was a ‘strong woman’ or whatnot. My favorite run of the entire show was the Donna arc.

In my opinion, Donna has been the best companion of the entire reboot, with her character being a great counterpoint to Tennant’s Doctor, humanizing him and keeping him in check. Amy’s relationship to Smith’s Doctor just doesn't fit in my mind. He seems to bumble around and act confused, and she gets bossy and is generally unhappy with things. This dynamic just doesn't work for me.

As the show went on, I got the sense that Moffatt was either infatuated with her character, or simply couldn't come up with any other ideas besides making the last two and half years all about Amy. I mean, honestly, instead of calling it Doctor Who, it could have been retitled “The Amy & River Show” and that would've made more sense.

(And don't get me started on River... she’s just as annoying as Amy, and makes even less sense as a character.)

In any event, last week's episode was the goodbye to Amy (and Rory, sadly) and I'm happy to see her go. The plot itself had a few interesting points, but I haven't enjoyed seeing the Angels as often as we have, and the story overall felt half-baked. The ultimate resolution and departure of the Ponds was much like the last 2 1/2 years have been -- full of plot holes, poorly-explained story points, and largely unsatisfying. Even so, I'm glad that we can finally say goodbye to Amy, the quality of the writing notwithstanding. In fact, I'm tempted to say that the next companion can't possibly be worse, but that would be a level of jinx that I'm not prepared to commit to right now…

My thoughts on that final episode aside, I've been listening to the Lonely Tardis podcast over the last week or so, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who's interested in Whovian chitchat. Two of the three cast members are definitely bigger fans of the re-reboot than I am, but they all have interesting viewpoints and frequently raise issues and facets of the show that are great to chew on. You can check it out right here, and tell them that I sent you.


For players who want to get ready for the 2013 launch of THQ's highly-anticipated first-person shooter Metro: Last Light, they can soon purchase the critically acclaimed, cult-classic Metro 2033 for half-off on Xbox LIVE. Metro 2033 will be available for $9.99 USD beginning tomorrow for a limited time only. The deal ends Monday, Oct. 22!


Keflings fans will get the chance to Trick and Treat this month thanks to two new kingdoms, graveyard and candy, coming as DLC to A World of Keflings on Xbox Live Arcade. Both DLC packs will arrive in time for Halloween with ‘Sugar, Spice and Not So Nice’ (the candy DLC) releasing Wednesday Oct. 10 for 320 Microsoft Points.

ATLUS, a brand of Index Digital Media, Inc., today unveiled plans to localize and publish Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan, the latest entry in the long-running RPG franchise designed as a contemporary homage to the pen and paper roleplaying games of old.

Marking the series' arrival on the Nintendo 3DS, Legends of the Titan introduces a wide range of enhancements and additions, including a greatly improved graphics engine with polygonal enemies and special effects designed to take full advantage of the platform's unique 3D capabilities.
As with previous games in the series, players explore beautiful yet menacing realms - each varied in flora and fauna - mapping their journey along the way using the touch screen and their stylus. No two games are ever the same, thanks to a character creation and party customization system that encourages experimentation and rewards creativity and imagination.
Moreover, while Legends of the Titan - built with older hardcore gamers in mind -- is still a brutal challenge and not for the faint of heart, a new Casual mode option ensures newcomers to the series and genre need not be intimidated.

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is scheduled to launch in early 2013, exclusively for Nintendo 3DS. For more information, visit the game's teaser website at www.atlus.com/etrian4.


The 2012 IndieCade has named this year’s award winners, including the Grand Jury Award going toUnmanned, created by Molleindustria. IndieCade recognizes superior examples of story development, visual, technological, audio and all-around independent game titles as well as a creator who has greatly contributed to the independent gaming field.
The game and developer winners this year are:
Grand Jury Award: Unmanned- Molleindustria
Visuals: Gorogoa-  Jason  Roberts
Audio: Dyad- RSBLSB
Impact: Reality Ends Here- Jeff Watson and Simon Wiscombe, USC Game Innovation Lab
Interaction: Interference –Nathalie Pozzi and Eric Zimmerman
Game Design: Armada D6-  Eric Zimmerman and John Sharp
Technology: Vornheim- Zak S.
Story/ World Design: Botanicula- Amanita Designs
Special Recognition: The Stanley Parable- Davey  Wreden
The Trailblazers Award: Elan Lee
Developers Choice Award: Renga- wallFour
Audience Choice Award:  Hokra- Ramiro  Corbetta
The first annual IndieCade EAST will occur on Saturday – Sunday, Feb. 16 -17, 2013 in New York City at theMuseum of the Moving Image.  IndieCade EAST will provide attendees the chance to play some of the 2012 IndieCade finalists, award winners and official selections, watch films about game culture, participate in the first ever IndieCade East Coast Game Jam hosted by Playstation Mobile in addition to hear speeches from game designers, journalists as well as game academics.
For more information, visit http://www.indiecade.com/


Simutronics today launched a MASSIVE update for One Epic Knight.  The 1.2 update brings a number of new features to the game, including:
Upgraded Controls: Epic Knight is now more agile with new moves, including
Faster Lane Changes
Swipe up while in the air to extend a jump a little bit
Swipe down while in the air to return to the ground faster
Swipe left or right to change lanes mid-air
Pit and ledge lighting improved for enhanced visibility
New Trinket System: Players can purchase and equip up to two trinkets at a time to enhance their Epic Knight
Two new potions, and players will receive a free potion for their first run of the day
Three new achievements
New coin and bundle packages available in the store
New Epic Knight sayings! Can you find them all?
Gameplay Fixes and support for the iPhone 5’s larger screen
One Epic Knight is a free-running platformer featuring simple controls, numerous upgrades, and addicting gameplay. Gamers maneuver Epic Knight through an ever-changing dungeon, avoiding traps and collecting gold in order to upgrade and improve their epic Knight.
You can download the game now for FREE in the iOS App Store.


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2 comments: to “ Too many games, not enough time

  • Rodrigo


    Brad, talking about TV series, have you watched "Warehouse 13"? It has some cheap special effects from time to time and it's always about artifacts with weird powers, but they always avoid using the "magical" artifact to solve every problem. It's more about getting the artifact so no one can use it. And the character interaction is very fresh (I'm tired of the gloomy, sarcastic world every TV character seems to come from), it's a good show, in my opinion. Not a classic probably, but entertaining.
    And I also like "Person of interest", it's not sci-fi related, but it has a simple premise and strong execution. It could be a formula show, but it's always trying something different.
    And about games, I'll wait until the prices drop to buy Dishonored and XCOM, for now I'm thinking about Dead Island GOTY, since you guys at GC liked it so much. Although I avoid the season of releases (to have money to pay the rent and that kind of thing), I confess that I'm saving for the Steam sale to come (we'll we ever have Steam on consoles?).


    Hey Rodrigo!

    Yes, I'm actually a huge fan of Warehouse 13. I may have mentioned it often, but it's one of my regular shows, and I love the cast. Although some of the plots aren't that great, it's always enormously entertaining to see the characters interacting with each other and they do a great job, as far as I'm concerned.

    I've seen a couple episodes of Person of Interest, and it seems okay, but it's not my cup of tea. It's pretty rare that I will get interested in something that is so heavily crime based, but it's not bad. My wife really likes it.

    As for steam, I don't think we will have steam on consoles, but I think steam will put out a console of its own within the next two years...