Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Revisiting the Vita (and other tales)  


This week starts the countdown to getting my book edits done. Most of my time in the evenings will be going to that until it's wrapped up, so I'm going to get right down to business here and then get to work...


Games: According to the package notice left on the door of the GameCritics West studio today (how do they always manage to come when no one is in?) the next thing I'll be reviewing appears to be Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel.

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel

Unfortunately, EA is only sending one copy, so it seems like trying to review the online co-op will be a little problematic. On the other hand, the game does offer splitscreen action, so maybe that won't be entirely terrible...

Otherwise, I'm putting the finishing touches on my Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate review tonight. 

Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate

Although I'm nowhere near the end because the games in this series are absolutely enormous, I've already got about 75 hours or so in between the solo campaign and online/local multiplayer. While I still have some quibbles with the basic formula and the graphics won't drop any jaws, Capcom has no trouble delivering an outstanding experience that's deep, rich, and satisfying. Spoiler: it's going to be a very favorable review.

In other games news, I've been tooling around with a few things randomly. 

With the wife currently in command of my 3DS (she's working on her own Monster Hunter character, of course) I’ve hopped back onto the Vita and have been trying to catch up with what I've missed during my recent 3DS binge.

Right off the bat, I found two little gems courtesy of @AshtonRaze and @Jeremy_LaMont. These fine fellows recommended Haunt the House and Aqua Kitty respectively, and their instincts were right on.

Haunt the House

Haunt the House is a cute, cartoony little thing about a ghost who can possess objects in a series of (wait for it...) houses with the goal of frightening the occupants away and freeing spirits trapped within. It's super-simple and the entire thing can be finished in an hour or two, but I love the concept and the aesthetics are awesome.

Aqua Kitty is an iteration on the 1980 classic Defender, although I suppose the majority of gamers these days are probably too young or haven't done enough research to know much about the original.

… aaaand that feels really weird to write. I may need to take a moment here.


Anyway, the gist is that the player controls a submarine that shoots back and forth in a 2D ocean with the goal of defending kitty friends hanging out at the bottom of the sea. Enemy fish will try to come and kidnap them, so it's all about blasting and dodging while collecting the occasional power up.

Aqua Kitty

It may sound a little simple, but Defender was an enormous hit back in the day, and I'm guessing that anyone who spends a few minutes with Aqua Kitty will see why.

The other big winner I discovered on the Vita was Cyberbots, a 2D fighting game made by Capcom. For whatever reason it was never localized for the US, and it's always been one of those “games that got away " until now.


It's located in the PS One Classics section of the online store, and it goes for $6 or so. It's unfortunate that the game has had no translation done on it whatsoever (all dialogue is still in Japanese) but the menus are in English and with a little help from a move list from GameFAQs, it's totally playable. 

I had a great time with that today, and it was really interesting to look back at this title from 1995 or so and see what a solid, well-developed and interesting fighter it is. Side note: sharp-eyed players will recognize a few characters here, Devilotte and Jin Saotome, both of whom have made guest appearances in other Capcom games.

Clive Barker's Undying

Speaking of "games that got away", GoG.com recently added Clive Barker’s Undying to their list of releases. This has been on my ‘gotta try this’ list for ages, so heads up that you can now get it in a legit way. Find it right here.

Finally, the wife and I have been fooling around with Resident Evil 6 (just Jake’s campaign so far) and I have to say that after hearing everyone trash the game so hard for so long, we were both surprised to find that it's actually kind of fun.

Resident Evil 6

That's not to say that the game doesn't have problems -- I am absolutely mystified as to why Capcom thought they could put a player into this virtually brand-new experience with no education or tutorials of any significance. The inventory systems are totally different, the character controls are totally different, using melee attacks is of the utmost importance, and the entire game seems like a top-to-bottom reboot of what Resident Evil is. Or was, I suppose.

It's clear to see that the developers attached the RE name to cash in on its popularity, but in all honesty, I think they would have been better off turning this into an all-new IP. It's a pretty radical departure from what I think everyone expected, and while that would have been enough of a challenge to overcome all by itself, the absolute lack of any meaningful information on how to interact with the game was a grievous error in judgment. If I hadn't read @GC_Danny’s astute review and talked to several people about it beforehand, I suspect our reaction to the game might have been quite different.


Podcast: I've had several questions via email and Twitter about the status of the podcast, so I wanted to take a minute to clear things up: the podcast is alive and well, and we’re recording a new episode this Friday.

Of course, since our former host Dylan Collins has departed to focus on other things, there are definitely some changes in the works. While our time with Dylan was great and we wish him the best of luck, we’ve got a bunch of ideas cooking and are quite also excited about the new, rebooted show to come.

Thanks very much to all of the listeners and to everyone who has expressed concern about the status of the show... it means a lot to us that people out there care! Have no worries, though. The show is in good hands and you can all look forward to a new episode next week, most likely.


Resident Evil newcomer Rachel, who made her debut in the 3DS release of Resident Evil Revelations, will be joining Hunk as a brand new playable character in Raid Mode.  Resident Evil Revelations also features two brand new enemies, including the Wall Blister and a surprise new creature that appears in Raid Mode once players have reached a certain level.

Wii U players will be able to take advantage of the unique features of that system with three different styles of play. Using the screen on the GamePad players can quickly access their map and weapons, or switch the GamePad out for a Wii U pro controller.  Alternatively, players are able to transfer all the horror to the GamePad as the title utilizes Off TV play.

The Miiverse feature will offer Wii U players further exclusives. Players can post a dying message on the Game Over screen for other players around the world to see.  The ‘Creatures Voice’ function allows players to personalize the thoughts of enemies in Raid Mode to taunt their friends. Screens of all the Wii U functions can be downloaded here.

Resident Evil Revelations supports Residentevil.net with online events and in-game connectivity planned for after launch. Exclusive dioramas of the game’s characters and enemies can be collected through the online service. Earn custom parts and weapons for use in Raid Mode and items for Campaign Mode.

Resident Evil Revelations will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Wii U across North America on May 21 and Europe on May 24.


Today, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announces the first DLC for SILENT HILL BOOK OF MEMORIES, the PlayStation Vita-exclusive title with all-new gameplay mechanics and a constantly-changing storyline built around the Silent Hill universe.

This debut download pack (priced at $4.99) includes refined balancing and dozens of new gameplay features, including:

10 New Playable Characters
50 New Outfits
15 New Accessories
14 New Artifacts
10 New Weapons
15 New Story Notes
2 New Enemies
4 New Trophies

SILENT HILL BOOK OF MEMORIES' downloadable content will be available on PlayStation Network beginning 3/20 for $4.99. SILENT HILL BOOK OF MEMORIES for PlayStation Vita is available now in retail stores nationwide or digitally through the PSN Store.


Kingdom Rush, beloved tower defender by Armor Games for iPhone and iPad, just released the free "Winter Storm" update with cool new content and a (frozen solid) hard mode, and I'd love you to consider covering the news. 

Blustering onto the award-winning game in this update:

Two New Wintry Stages
Terrifying Troll Enemies 
A Malicious Hard Mode 
Two Viking Heroes' Debut 
Five New Troll-thumping Achievements 


Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, ended its panel at the PAX East convention today with the announcement that three titles from its revered catalogue - DuckTales ,  Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and Dungeons & Dragons:  Shadow over Mystara - are making a welcome return on multiple platforms in the coming months. Originally released in 1989 on the Nintendo Entertainment System, DuckTales was widely acknowledged as one of that generation’s seminal platform titles. Taking its cue from the Disney cartoon series of the same name, DuckTales Remastered follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck as he explores differently themed worlds to collect their treasures and become the world’s richest duck.

DuckTales Remastered has seen the development team take the levels and layout from the original 1989 release as a foundation before expanding upon them to significantly enhance the gameplay experience but where this update truly impresses is its graphics and sound. All of the visuals from the 8-bit game have been beautifully re-created as hand-drawn and animated sprites, across a backdrop of luscious, re-envisioned level backgrounds. Furthermore, original Disney Character Voices talent, including some from the cartoon TV series, bring in-game characters to life with charm and wit, while the classic melodies of the original soundtrack are given a modern twist.

As the first modern role playing game, the Dungeons & Dragons franchise from Wizards of the Coast gave birth to numerous products including two arcade titles from Capcom, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and its sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara.  Both these titles are now being re-released with updated HD graphics and a wealth of other enhancements as a definitive double pack entitled Dungeons & Dragons ®: Chronicles of Mystara™. Scheduled for release digitally on PlayStation 3, Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360, Wii U and Windows PC in June, the title is being developed for Capcom by Iron Galaxy and will be priced at $14.99/€14.99/£11.99/1200 MSP.

Just as in the arcades, up to four players will select their character class before doing battle against the mythical beasts from theDungeons & Dragons’ universe with a mix of melee, range and magic attacks. But now, thanks to GGPO, there’s no need to jostle for position around a cabinet as Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara offers seamless drop-in/drop-out online gameplay in one of two modes. In addition to the classic arcade mode with its branching paths and multiple endings, players can utilize the all new House Rules feature and customize gameplay for a completely different experience.

"Rise and shine! Ah, another glorious Friday morning.

We here at MMPR and Rising Star Games have been hearing rumors that you've been thinking about taking a trip to come stay with us up here in Greenvale on April 30. We just want to tell you that we think that it's a wonderful idea!

We are certain that you'll have an absolutely delightful time. Let loose those city shackles, and come enjoy the fresh air and quiet, country life. Take a stroll through town and meet the locals - they have wonderfully interesting stories to share. Socializing not your cup of coffee? You can always enjoy a nice scenic drive through the hills, or wet a line and go fishing. And if you're feeling hungry, hop on over to the A&J Diner, or wet your whistle at the Swery65 bar and grill. Life certainly is beautiful here in Greenvale.

To show you just how beautiful it is, we've prepared a "Welcome to Greenvale" trailer just for you. Won't you come join us?"


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