Monday, March 31, 2014

Dark Souls II, Conception II, and the Emerald City Comicon  


Games: Well, I finally managed to finish Dark Souls II a couple of days ago, and it was a great experience overall. My final review is in the can and should go up at @Gamecritics soon. Not to spoil my verdict, but I was a huge fan of the changes to the formula, and I really appreciate the increased accessibility.

In fact, my only real complaint was that the developers make some strange decisions right at the very end, and instead of building towards a logical, exciting climax, they drag things out with sections that are admittedly pretty neat, but don't feel like they belong right before the conclusion. On top of that, things get confusing, and I ended up needing to ask some friends for help just to figure out how to actually end the game.

Oh and that final battle? A thoroughly unimpressive non-event.

I don't mean to sound too negative, though, because I was absolutely glued to that game for 73 out of the 74 hours that it took me to finish (with a grand total of 374 deaths) and much of it is just brilliant -- great level design, great atmosphere, and super solid gameplay combine to create a wonderful experience to be immersed in. Although I don't think it displaces Demon’s Souls as my favorite (its world and story were just pitch-perfect) it's definitely going to be on my year-end best list, for sure.

In other games news, I just completed the demo for Conception II on Vita (it’s also on 3DS) and it's got my attention.

The premise is that there are demons invading earth, and the main character must "classmate" with several different girls in order to produce (I guess?) Star Children who are used as teammates in dungeons. It sounds sort of bizarre, but it’s a bit of a cross between Persona and a dating sim, which sounds pretty awesome when you think about it

What I saw so far was quite interesting, but of course it kind of goes without saying that anyone coming to this game should be open to the concept of playing a male role with the purpose of courting several different females, not to mention there’s a certain amount of innuendo going on that some people will find humorous, and some might find offensive.

As for me, I'm happy to take it for what it is and I thought the demo was entertaining, so I’ll definitely be looking into the full version. That said, I was a little concerned about the dungeon design… It seemed a little boring and repetitive, although I'm sure there’s much more to the formula than what was shown in that small slice.

Side note, the game save from the demo carries over into the full version, so time spent playing it isn’t wasted! Such a cool feature. Keep doing that, @AtlusUSA!


Comics: The Emerald City Comicon took place this past weekend, and after being snubbed for a couple of years in a row, I got smart and bought my tickets about six months early. It seemed a little absurd at the time, but considering how early the show sells out, I'm glad that I did.

The event took place in the Washington State Convention Center this year, and it was enormous. Although I don't think there were as many exhibitors as something like PAX, this was the most crowded I've ever seen it, and it certainly felt very PAX-like when walking around. It wasn't too bad when we got there early in the morning, but by noontime it was becoming quite tough to make it through the crowds, especially with my youngest son still in a wheelchair with a broken leg.

(His cast comes off soon, hooray!)

Interestingly, the female presence was quite strong this year. As we walked through the artist areas, it seemed like the majority of artist there were women. I don't have any hard numbers but this was an awesome trend, and I hope it continues. It's great to see more diversity in terms of who's holding the pencils and writing the stories!

Along the same lines, the female presence overall was quite strong. My wife commented to me that she noticed tons of women who were there of their own accord, and not as some guy’s girlfriend or tag-along, and I was thinking the exact same thing. As someone who grew up in a time when it was unheard of for girls to play games or read comics, it's pretty awesome to see how quickly the opposite sex is making up ground. I'm sure there’s still a long way to go, but the progress I've seen so far is quite heartening.

Anyway, here are some pics of what we saw and did...

We planned to get my son the zombie fanatic a shirt here, but strangely, none of the designs were that great. Also kind of overpriced. Bummer! 

No matter what anybody says, the Army of Two games are stupid fun times if you're playing with a buddy. My wife and I enjoy them, and it was cool to see the bros 'bumping on the floor. 


 Pretty sure she was cosplaying from Saga, but not 100% sure. Anybody know?

 Always good to see a nicely-done Rorshach like this. So cool. 

It's tough to make out the details here, but this is a hand-drawn pic of the Doctor Who companions. It's just beautiful in person, and is a complement to a similar drawing we bought last year featuring the Doctors. This awesome piece was done by Charlie Donkin (here's his Etsy page) and he's a hella nice guy, to boot. 

 This piece featuring Mass Effect's Reapers is stunning. The one based on Shadow of the Colossus  below is just as fantastic, and both were bought for a song. Click on over to Gillian Newland's website if you want to own these for yourself - and why wouldn't you??

This is a small booth the famous 501st Legion had set up as a fundraiser of some sort. You kicked in a few bucks and got to take some shots at Empire scum... It was awesomely fun times, and when my son scored the headshot you can see here (look close at the right trooper's eye) the crowd around roared with cheers and applause.   

The size of this flamethrower just blew me away. 

Speaking of large accessories...

My son spotted a couple who had fabricated their own Daft Punk masks, and he was dying to get his picture taken with them. We lost them in the crowd and had searched fruitlessly for an hour or so, and were just about to leave the show when they appeared out of nowhere and we finally caught up with them. They were quite nice people and they offered to let our son wear the silver mask... His grin afterwards was the highlight of my day.



Nicalis, Inc., developer and publisher of independently awesome video games, announces the action-platform game 1001 Spikes is coming to Xbox One® in addition to the previously announced PlayStation®4, PlayStation®Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PC versions.

About 1001 Spikes

Discover the lost treasures of Ukampa in South America as Aban Hawkins searches for his estranged father, world-famous archaeologist Jim Hawkins. Before the elder Hawkins mysteriously disappeared, he entrusted his daughter Tina with a map to the location of the ruins with a grave warning that death awaits around every corner. Aban Hawkins races into the frozen tundra of the antarctic, undiscovered temple ruins, and the vast caverns of South America in search of his father and the legendary treasure rumored to lie behind the Golden Door of Poko-Mum.

Game Features: Tough-as-nails difficulty, Pixel-perfect, razor-sharp controls, Clever-yet-insidious game design, Single and simultaneous 2-4 player co-op and vs. multiplayer! 8-bit inspired visuals with current gen flare, Soundtrack by Misoka and Rushjet1, Over a dozen unlockable characters with different abilities, some as featured friends from other games, Over 100 stages to clear, Three save files, and Multiple endings.
1001 Spikes continues Nicalis’ partnerships with ultra-talented and super-awesome independent developers. Previously Nicalis has teamed up with Edmund McMillen (The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth), Studio Pixel (Cave Story, Ikachan), Nicklas Nygren (NightSky), Hotapen (Legend of Raven) and Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV).

More information can be found on the official website at

Idea Factory International is excited to announce that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, a new installment of the long-loved fan favorite RPG series, Hyperdimension Neptunia, will be released on PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system in the North American and European markets in the late summer of this year. Hyperdimension NeptuniaRe;Birth1 is a remake of Hyperdimension Neptunia™, which was previously released for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system in 2011. Renewed event conversations, graphics, and newly added game mechanics will entertain fans who have already played the PlayStation3 version of Hyperdimension Neptunia as well as newcomers to the series. More detailed information regarding the release method and the release date will be available soon!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Yep, still on Dark Souls II...  


Games: I don't usually like to go so long between updates to the blog, but there just hasn't been a lot to say, games-wise. As you may have guessed, I'm still hip-deep in Dark Souls II, and since I've been devoting every free moment I have to it, there hasn’t been a lot of time for other game-related stuff.

If you follow me on Twitter then you’ve probably already gotten sick of me talking about it incessantly, but in case you haven't… Well, the game is just fantastic, and nearly everything I wanted from a Demon’s Souls sequel is in here. All of the design decisions and changes to the formula are ones that I like, and I've been eating it all up with a spoon.

At the moment, I'm just at the entrance of Black Gulch, and this seems to be the last part I need to explore before moving on to Drangleic Castle. There may be a few other parts to go through that I'm not aware of yet, but as far as I can tell, I've exhausted every other option and it feels a bit as though the game is starting to head towards a conclusion. At this point I've put in over 55 hours, and with most other titles I'd be howling for it to come to an end. However, this is the rare occasion when I'm genuinely happy to for the adventure to continue on, and that's quite a feat for any title -- I can count the number of times I've said it on one hand.

To be fair, I've spoken to a few people who have more love for Dark Souls than I do, and I've gotten a sense of resistance or disappointment from them -- and hey, that's fine. Everyone's experience is personal, and far be it from me to criticize someone for liking something that they enjoy. But, as someone who felt very disappointed with Dark, this sequel absolutely atones for the sins that I felt it committed, and all is forgiven.

If I have any disappointment about Dark Souls II (and believe me, there's not much) it's that some of the bosses were not quite up to par in terms of awesomeness, and some of the weapons that you can make from the boss souls don't seem that great. Of course, I haven't tried them all and I haven't leveled the ones I have up enough to be truly effective, but just a quick scan of the options gave me the impression that most offerings would not suit my playstyle, and I ended up consuming at least half of them to increase my levels.

Other than those two extremely minor quibbles, I'm having a hard time coming up with criticisms. In my view, it really is one of the few sequels that improves on its predecessor in every way, and the experience overall is much more positive than I had with Dark.

I'll be doing the Second Opinion review for @Gamecritics after Kristin turns in her Main, but my final evaluation shouldn't come as a surprise. Unless the game takes some kind of incredibly horrific wrong turn in its final hours, this will end up being a stellar experience that has easily eclipsed the original Dark. I've got no substantial criticisms of this entry, and would also highly recommend it to anyone who's been curious about the series but hasn't jumped in yet. It still provides quite a bit of challenge, but offers enough accommodations and accessibility so that it doesn't feel nearly as offputting as previous installments might have.

Dark Souls II is just fantastic, fantastic stuff, and it's got my absolute seal of recommendation so far.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Deadrock Divide, MonkeyPaw Quicklooks, and a check-in  


Book: just got word from my publisher that the release date of my new book Speaking In Forked Tongues has been pushed back just a hair. The original release was 3/25, but it’s now 4/11. I’ll have more news on it as it comes, but for those of you interested, mark it on your calendars!


Games: For a little change of pace tonight, I’ve got some brief coverage of two titles from @MonkeyPawGames. They’ve been bringing Japanese titles over to the US PSN store, and although they’re not doing any translation, it’s still neat to see some of these. Both of these were covered by Paul Stuart, a new writer with us over at @Gamecritics, so thanks to Paul for the evaluations!

Tomba 2

As a tremendous supporter of the original Tomba PSN classic, I was eager to stroll down memory lane for its sequel. There’s something ridiculously engaging about a peculiar pink haired caveman with an affinity for defeating evil pigs.

While certain titles can overcome language barriers, Tomba 2 is unfortunately not one of them.
Unlike its predecessor, Tomba 2 is very menu heavy, with literally every interaction requiring some grasp of Japanese-based menu selection. I tried my darndest to overcome this obstacle but failed miserably.  A shame, as the game appeared a significant graphical leap over the original.

Hopefully the English version previously released in 1999 will appear sooner rather than later.

Wolf Fang

Although Wolf Fang is also in Japanese, it fares better than Tomba 2 in that it’s a little clearer in execution. To best describe Wolf Fang, it’s a videogame version of the ‘giant robot’ genre so prominent in Japanese anime.

While trying to read between the Japanese lines, one can select a uniquely configured mech and Oceania battle location, each featuring an end of stage big boss. Combat occurs while piloting the selected mech. After taking significant damage you’re forced to eject and go it alone, a single puny person against the Western Hemisphere. Gather enough people, however, and it’s robot time once more. I think. I couldn’t perfectly decipher the nuances of this mechanic sans context.

Time to learn Japanese, Stuart-san.

Resembling other sidescrollers of the PS1 era, Wolf Fang is certainly no walk in the park. Expect to die often, reset in mech form. Controls, however, are fairly tight in both human and mech modes, thus – while frustrating at times due to difficulty – it’s arguably never unfair.

Once again, thanks to Paul Stuart for the quick looks.


Previews: Recently, I took a quick trip to @BootsnakeGames to take a look at their upcoming title, Deadrock Divide

Although there's not a lot of info on it right now, what I was seeing looked really positive. Essentially, it seems to marry elements of XCOM and FTL. Considering how popular and well-received those titles were, it seems as though these guys are drawing from good sources of inspiration.

The game is still quite early and I wasn't able to do a hands-on, but the brief walk-through they were kind enough to share with me showed an in-game economy between miners in space, and the ability to customize ground troops and ships while navigating through the universe. Basically, you fly around and trade for goods, and then when boarding another ship, being boarded, or landing in a given area, it switches to XCOM style tactics. More info on this one as it comes, but it seems to be one to watch out for. 

Also, you might want to check out their previous game, Containment: The Zombie Puzzler. It was one of my favorite titles of the year when it came out, and it definitely didn't receive as much love as it deserved. In a nutshell, it's a match-three with zombies, featuring a light storyline and environmental interactions. Fantastic stuff.


Games: Oh, so what have I actually been playing? Good question. 

At the moment, I am pretty much consumed with Dark Souls II. I think I'm somewhere around 30 or 35 hours, taking my time to comb the areas thoroughly, and farming certain sections when I get the opportunity. Progress is still coming quite steady, and I've been enjoying all of the different areas so far. This is pretty much the best possible sequel I couldn't have asked for, so I'm trying not to rush through it.

Since every moment of console time is going to Souls II right now, the only other thing I'm dipping into is (what else?) Marvel Puzzle Quest. The developers have made a lot of cool, interesting changes and there's still quite a bit of content to chew on there. I played it maniacally for about the first three months, but it's finally starting to loosen its hold on me a bit. I still play daily, but it's not the feverish obsession that it was. I'm probably in a healthier place with it right now.
This is also probably a good time to do a quick Monster Hunter check-in. The wife has been progressing through Freedom Unite on the Vita at a good clip. I wasn't sure how much assistance she would need in order to get rolling, but she's needed very little. The big issue was that I knew she was a little disappointed that the Switch Axe wasn't in the game, but she's been getting in the Long Sword groove quickly, and I've been quite impressed at her accomplishments so far. At the moment, I think she's trying to clear the Tigrex, and she's just about got it down. For being the first big difficulty wall in the game, she's definitely up to the challenge. 


I am thou. Thou art I. From the sea of our souls come new games in the Persona series. That's right, the time has come for the Velvet Room to open once again, so dust off those Social Links and keep an eye out for blue butterflies - ATLUS' acclaimedPersona series is returning to North America with completely new games for this year and beyond. 

pqPersona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Fall 2014) -- You got Persona in my Etrian! You got Etrian in my Persona! Well, you're right on both counts. Persona Q is a cross-over for the Nintendo 3DS™ system that brings Persona 3 and 4 characters to the gameplay style of Etrian Odyssey. It also marks the first time the Persona franchise will be available on a Nintendo system. 
Characters from Persona 3 and 4 have been given a complete visual overhaul to match the Etrian style and plunged into an alternate world resembling Yasogami High School. Legend has it that listening to the end of the bell chimes of Yasogami High's clock tower causes people to die, and this time the bell tolls for the Investigation Team and the SEES. Trapped in an other-world filled with Shadows, the protagonists from Persona 3 and Persona 4 each have different events to follow, allowing the player to choose and experience two different plotlines. As both groups seek a way out of the labyrinth, they will run in to two new characters, Rei and Zen, who may hold the secret to this new mystery.

p4auPersona 4 Arena Ultimax (Fall 2014) -- Arc System Works is bringing the sequel to the award-winning tournament fighter Persona 4 Arena to the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® in 2014! A few days after the P-1 Grand Prix concludes in the first Arenatitle, the city of Inaba gets enveloped in a thick red fog and Mitsuru, Akihiko, Fuuka, and Aigis are shown as prisoners on the MidnightChannel. The Investigation Team from Persona 4 and former SEES fromPersona 3 must once again fight to their limits in the new P-1 Climax tournament to rescue them and finally uncover the true culprit behind the deadly tournaments. 
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax will improve on the award-winning fighting game formula with battle-altering 1-hit special attacks and new characters, including Yukari Takeba and Junpei Iori from Persona 3 and a brand new character, Sho Minazuki. Not a lot is known about Sho other than his goofy nature and being an unstoppable force in both puns and combat. Two swords, two scars on his face, red hair and red mist in Inaba? Surely it can't be coincidence that he's standing in the way of the Investigation Team. And to make matters worse, it seems he can control a Persona...

p4danPersona 4: Dancing All Night (2015) -- Funky Student isn't funky enough to bust a move with Rise and the rest of the Persona 4 crew inPersona 4: Dancing All Night for the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system. The summer following the events in Persona 4sees Rise return to Inaba after spending the summer back in her old life as an idol. After hearing rumors about the Midnight Stage, she checks a certain website at midnight and sees a mysterious movie clip and, you guessed it, winds up on the "other side." Worse yet, she finds out her junior idol peers from the group Kanamin Kitchen are missing as well. She has no choice but to send an SOS to the Investigation Team to help rescue the missing idols. 
Not even Riddle-senpai could have seen this twist coming: Normal battle tactics don't work against the Shadows on the Midnight Stage, but dancing does! Rise, the Protagonist, and the rest of the Investigation Team will have to dance their way to victory. 30 pulse-thumping tracks make up the new Persona Sound in this rhythm-based action game. P4DAN is made in collaboration with Dingo Inc., the company behindHatsune Miku: Project DIVA (PlayStation®Portable). 

p5Persona 5 (2015) -- This is it. The big one. The latest true continuation of the award-winning Persona series will make its debut in North America on the PlayStation 3 in 2015. 
More details about the games and their launch timing will be revealed in the coming months. You can get all the latest by liking ATLUS on Facebook, following @AtlusUSA on Twitter, or subscribing to the ATLUSYouTube channel, and get updates by signing up to be part of theATLUS Faithful Newsletter.


Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced new details for METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES.  As launch day nears, KONAMI is releasing new details around one of the year’s most anticipated games.

First, it was revealed that those who purchase METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES early on will receive exclusive DLC for use within THE PHANTOM PAIN. The DLC will only be available in the first batch of the retail version and for a limited period of time for the digital version. The DLC provides players with additional resources for a Mother Base area that will be available in THE PHANTOM PAIN. Mother Base is introduced during the events of GROUND ZEROES and plays a central role in the forthcoming METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN. Unlocked through downloadable code, the added staff for Mother Base will give GROUND ZEROES players an edge when they take on THE PHANTOM PAIN.

In addition, anyone that purchases GROUND ZEROES will be able to unlock exclusive content within the game to carry-over to THE PHANTOM PAIN. Prisoners of war and VIPs rescued in GROUND ZEROS will be added to the Mother Base staff in THE PHANTOM PAIN, providing GROUND ZEROES players an early in-game advantage; character skins will also be able to be carried over.

METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES will also bring the game to life by featuring a second-screen iDROID app, which replicates Big Boss’ in-game communication/map device. Downloadable via iOS, Android and Xbox Smart Glass systems for FREE, the iDROID app syncs the main action to a secondary device. Users can call up maps, summon air support, or play any of the cassette tapes found throughout Camp Omega.

Last, KONAMI has also announced that it will offer both physical and digital versions of METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, for an SRP of $29.99. Bringing pricing in-line with the “current generation” price, KONAMI aims to provide as many people as possible an opportunity to experience Kojima Productions’ FOX Engine and the first installment in the two-part METAL GEAR SOLID V experience. METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft will remain at the SRP of $29.99 for retail and via download for SRP $19.99.

METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES will be available in retail stores nationwide and online beginning March 18, 2014


Piranha Bytes, the creators of acclaimed RPG titles Gothic and Risen, return to their origins with a new, classic RPG set to launch this year,  Risen 3: Titan Lords. Inthe third installment of the Risen franchise,  Risen 3: Titan Lords pulls players into a hand-crafted role-playing world full of rugged charm where every decision changes the course of the story and your fate, and the fate of the world, is up for the taking.  Risen 3: Titan Lords is set for releasein August 2014 for PC and consoles.
Once again, PiranhaBytes delivers enticingly lush and vivid worlds in  Risen 3: Titan Lords   , and true to their roots as leading European RPG developers gives fans the freedom to explore it. The world of  Risen 3: Titan Lords   promises to be diverse, authentic and full of life, providing the player with an authentic, classic RPG experience.


XSEED Games, the independent-minded console publishing brand of Marvelous USA, Inc., today announced that the company will be releasing the flashy, wild action RPG title, AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed, on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system in summer 2014. Released as AKIBA’S TRIP 2 in Japan, the all new standalone story in AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed takes players on an eclectic trip through Tokyo’s “Electric Town” electronics district in which they will battle vampire-like foes in over-the-top, highly stylized role-playing action.

 In AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed, players work to repel a brooding malevolence that has suffused Tokyo’s popular electronics district, Akihabara (Akiba for short), which has been painstakingly remodeled in the game to resemble its real life counterpart. Akiba has been invaded by creatures known as “Synthisters” who prey on the otaku patrons of Akihabara like vampires, but feast on their will to live and energy to socialize rather than their blood. Only direct exposure to sunlight can destroy the Synthisters, and it’s up to players to ensure that that’s just what they get. If only it weren’t for those pesky clothes protecting them from the sun’s harmful rays…

 That’s where players come in. It’s their task to roam this sanctuary of anime and gaming fanatics, identify the outwardly human Synthisters with the help of a handy smartphone app, and then beat and pull at them until they’ve been relieved of their clothes, exposing them to sunlight and sending them to the netherworld. Everyday objects from baseball bats to comic books to motherboards can be used as weapons, and players can take their enemies’ unique clothing for their own personal use as well.

AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed tells the story of a young man named Nanashi who was lured into a trap and transformed into one of the walking undead. Lucky enough to be spared the worst of his fate by the kiss of a mysterious Synthister hunter named Shizuku, Nanashi is sworn to rid Akihabara of the Synthister threat. Together with the rest of his companions in an organization unofficially dubbed the “Akiba Freedom Fighters,” Nanashi and Shizuku must uncover the truth behind the Synthister plague and save Akiba from being overrun by their kind. 

Developed in Japan by ACQUIRE and receiving a Gold Award by Famitsu upon its Japanese release, AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed will be released in summer 2014 by XSEED Games in North America on the PlayStation®3 system and PS®Vita. XSEED Games will share more information in the coming months. This title has not yet been rated by theESRB.

For more information on XSEED Games products, please visit: Fans can also follow XSEED Games on Facebook and Twitter.


Some say Hitler shot himself in a bunker in Berlin in 1945. Others believe he fell to a sniper bullet two years earlier during a secret trip to North Africa. Or was it his double? Decide for yourself when you get your hands on Sniper Elite 3’s pre-order bonus “Hunt The Grey Wolf.”

Hitler, Allied code name “Grey Wolf”, and his double have embarked upon a clandestine trip to the Libyan port town of Tobruk in 1942. In order to prepare for this mission, and that crucial final shot, you must infiltrate the ancient streets and crumbling rooftops of the German-held town using stealth and distraction. Featuring an expansive open environment, and randomized target identities, journals and locations, no two playthroughs will be the same.  The question is – can you tell fact from fiction, the real target from the double?

You can pre-order Sniper Elite 3 at GameStop or other major retailers. The collector’s edition for  Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system features a limited edition ammo tin box, dossier, three exclusive ammo and weapon DLC packs, collectible playing cards, sniper shooting range target, dog tag and a bullet-shaped torch pen.

The latest chapter in the award winning series, Sniper Elite 3 takes players to the unforgiving yet exotic terrain of WWII’s North Africa conflict in a battle against a deadly new foe. Sniper Elite 3 will release at retail in North America on July 1, 2014 for Xbox One, Xbox360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 system and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The game will also release digitally on July 1 for Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft for Xbox One, Xbox360 and PlayStation®Network for both PlayStation®4 system and PlayStation®3 system. The PC version, which is being self-published by Rebellion, will release on June 27.


Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. has announced details of its upcoming extensive new DLC for CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2.

Entitled ‘Revelations’, the new content will be released on March 25 for Xbox Live Games on Demand and PlayStation®Network, and follows fan-favorite Alucard as exclusive new branches of the immersive storyline are uncovered. Alucard, the turned son of Gabriel, has shunned human life for many years, choosing to hunt only creatures of the night. The DLC takes place just before the apocalyptic events of CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2, where Alucard readies for his father’s return and the forthcoming battle against Satan. As the plot unfolds, it begins to reveal how the lone vampire is inextricably linked to his father’s fate.

‘Revelations’ takes place within the epic world seen in CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2. Playing as Alucard, gamers must discover the legendary vampire’s secrets, unearth the true extent of his involvement in Dracula’s story, and set in motion the events of CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2. The DLC expands the incredible story of the recently-released sequel, with the fate of the Belmont clan unveiled. Alucard has his own unique, powerful abilities, including use of the Glaciem and Igneas powers, in addition to vampiric abilities which allow him to transform into a wolf, a swarm of bats and even turn back time. Blood also fuels capabilities, as drinking the blood of enemies will intensify immortal powers.

CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2 is available now on the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox Live Games on Demand, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®Network, and Steam® for PC.  Its sumptuous 3D world and epic quest are now enhanced and extended with all-new locations, and the chance to experience familiar ones, via the ‘Revelations’ DLC available on March 25th for Xbox Live Games on Demand and PlayStation®Network.


Today, Genius Sonority, publisher of interactive software, is proud to announce the downloadable title, THE DENPA MEN 3: THE RISE OF DIGITOLL, for the Nintendo 3DS platform for release in the summer of 2014.

About The 'Denpa' Men 3: The Rise of Digitoll
THE 'DENPA' MEN 3 is the third game in the expansive RPG series where players catch and form parties with Denpa Men to conquer dungeons and explore a vast world. In the third iteration, the Denpa Men you are trying to capture can now fight back by throwing colored balls at you, but players have new weapons at their disposal such as an antenna to capture Denpa Men.

The Denpa Men are mysterious creatures who appear around radio waves. Find Wi-Fi signals or scan QR codes to find Denpa Men, and use the AR “Catch” feature of the Nintendo 3DS to make them part of your team. Each Denpa Man is unique in its appearance, stats, and abilities. The possibilities of their variations are limitless. It is also said that among them exists a very rare kind of Denpa Man.

Official THE 'DENPA' MEN 3 Trailer:

THE 'DENPA' MEN 2: Beyond the Waves eShop sale
In celebration of THE 'DENPA' MEN 3 coming to North America, we are proud to announce that THE 'DENPA' MEN 2: Beyond the Waves is going on sale for a limited time in North America & Europe: 3/6 ~ 3/13

A demo for THE 'DENPA' MEN 3 will be available in May. In addition to giving players a sneak peek of the game, it will allow them to transfer their progress to the full version upon release. Note that the demo version can only be booted up thirty times.


It’s time for Guacamelee! fans to return to fighting form as DrinkBox Studios today announces that it will bring its award-winning action-platformer to the PlayStation®4 system, the Xbox One all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, as well as the Wii U™ system from Nintendo. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition - which is among the first indie titles scheduled to launch via Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program for independent game developers on Xbox One - will feature a bevy of new content, including an extended story with new game areas, a new boss character, powerful new player abilities and many other enhancements.

New Features for the Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition Include:

·       Expanded Story: An expanded version of the game that includes DLC content from the original
·       New Game Areas: Players will ride boats through the Canal of Flowers to save a besieged fishing town, and avoid lava as they climb through the fiery Volcano
·       New Boss: Face off against The Trio of Death, a three-headed skeleton that lives in the Volcano, helping the evil Carlos Calaca build his skeleton armies
·       New Abilities: Maximize destruction with the powerful new INTENSO combat mode.  Plus: Chicken Bombs and Independent Dimension Swapping
·       New Enemies: Lethal new elite-class enemies that want to chokeslam luchadores to sleep
·       Support for multiple save slots  
·       Dual currency system that supports permanent item unlocks

As an added bonus, DrinkBox has released a brand new teaser trailer showing off some of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition’s features, available at:

Set in and around a small village in Mexico, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is an action-packed, 2D brawler/platformer that alternates between the worlds of the living and the dead. Inspired by Mexican folklore, players take control of a down-on-his luck wrestler named Juan Aguacate, as he fights through hordes of undead enemies and skeleton henchmen to stop the evil Carlos Calaca from gaining ultimate power by sacrificing the beautiful "El Presidente's Daughter”. The Xbox 360 version of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is not yet rated by the ESRB. All other digital versions rated E10+. For rating information, please visit

For more information regarding Guacamelee! STCE please visit the game’s website, or DrinkBox Studios’ Facebook andTwitter pages.

Eye For Games' is proud to announce our upcoming art and interview book “The Art and Design of Video Games,” which will be available for pre-order starting Monday, February 24th.

Quick facts:
- The book will feature 25+ developers.
- Over 250 pages of content.
- Developers of all sizes and genres are featured.

Book details
“The Art and Design of Video Games”
Author: Eye For Games
Publisher: Galilee
Pages: 250+
Format: Hardcover

The art book will be available for a discounted price at starting Monday, February 24th.
Price: €35 / $48
This price includes taxes and international shipping and handling costs.


Midnight City, indie label of Majesco Entertainment Company(NASDAQ: COOL), an innovative provider of games for the mass market, has joined forces with two of the most well-known names in indie games. First up, Midnight City will publish Double Fine Productions’ first big sequel, Costume Quest 2, coming to PC and consoles. Next, Midnight City will bring The Fullbright Company’s award-winning Gone Home to consoles. Both titles are slated for digital release later this year.

In Double Fine’s triumphant return to Auburn Pines, our candy-crazed crusaders Wren and Reynold must once again protect Halloween from untold horrors, and grown-ups! Your favorite trick-or-treaters will come armed with a new batch of costumes they wear to transform into giant super powered fantasy Hallowarriors. Yeah, we totally just made that up. Fans of the original can look forward to a sweet upgraded battle system and a story that is unmistakably Double Fine.

The Fullbright Company’s runaway hit Gone Home is making the highly-anticipated move to console, bringing the explorative Greenbriar family experience to a whole new audience. Heralded as one of the best games of 2013, Gone Home extends an invitation into an ordinary family’s mysterious past as a young woman who discovers an empty house that's much more than it seems.

Costume Quest 2 and Gone Home join Midnight City’s growing roster of indie titles alongside handcrafted puzzler The Bridge, the infamous madness-inducing Slender: The Arrival, and innovative minimalist e-sport VIDEOBALL.

Check out the announcement trailers for both titles on the official Midnight City YouTube channel:
Follow Midnight City:
Twitter: @Midnight_City


We've been telling you about the Conception II package that's going to come with a CD soundtrack for a while now. And guess what! We actually have a sample of some of the music available for you to watch and listen right now, right here:

We would be remiss to not point out the sample soundtrack mix is an excellent music choice for  perusing the full website, which just launched today! Complete with character descriptions, back story, explanations of the game's combat systems and more, you can check out the full site here: 
Don't forget! The demo is coming on March 25, and pre-orders are guaranteed to receive the limited collector's edition! 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dark Souls II  


I'd planned to post a new blog every night for the last week or so, and then the same thing happened to me every time: I'd sit down to play Dark Souls II before starting any writing, and then it'd be 2AM before I knew it...

If you're reading this blog, then there's a pretty good chance that you're already playing the game yourself, but if you don't have a copy and you're the sort of person who's inclined towards this experience, I can certainly say that it's well worth your time and attention. Well, after the 15-ish hours I've seen so far, anyway.

As context, a quick summary of my history with the series:

King's Field: The Ancient City
First, I played all of the King's Field games released in the states. The first two showed much promise but were quite rough, but the third, The Ancient City (my review here) really brought it all together and set the stage for what was to come.   

Demon's Souls
I then got a review copy of Demon's Souls prior to release, and played through that two and a half times before it hit retail. It was a fantastic, genuinely revolutionary experience, and it went on to become one of my favorite titles of all time. My full review is here

Dark Souls: Some Bullshit is Ahead
Then Dark Souls came out, and although many people say it's the better game, I have to disagree. Although it certainly has good points and the first half of the game is strong, I was quite disappointed with it overall. You can read my in-depth thoughts on that game here, but basically, it felt like the developers ran out of time and/or money before it was done, and I had some issues with its design in general. This was also a pre-release experience, and there were no FAQs or Wikis at the time.

After feeling so down on Dark, I wasn't sure if the series would be able to recapture the magic for me. But as of right now, I'm quite happy to say that Dark Souls II has hit a delicious sweet spot, and I've been enjoying it quite a bit more than its immediate predecessor.

Although the basic gist of Dark II is the same, it feels quite a bit different thanks to some significant tweaks and changes in the design. 

For example, the world here makes much more sense to me. I was never able to buy into the idea that so many different factions and powerful beings would be crammed one on top of the other as they were in Dark Souls, and although the developers pulled off some neat tricks with the way the shortcuts worked, the world was something that I couldn't fully buy into.

I also felt like there were several points in Dark where the developers were actively trolling the player, such as the archers on the buttress supports in Anor Londo, or how some areas were nearly impossible to find without outside assistance. It just didn't feel as though the correct level of challenge and respect for the player were there. That trolling feeling has not been present (so far) in Dark II, and I appreciate that.

Otherwise, I'm finding that I really enjoy the new world design. Although everything is still essentially in one big massive land, the way that the areas relate to each other feels more "realistic"  and believable, and it feels like nothing so much as a hybrid of Demon's and Dark in that there are shortcuts and interconnectedness, but there's also enough linearity to keep the player from feeling hopelessly lost, even though there are points where confusion can set in.

I'm finding other changes to the formula to be positive, as well -- for instance, the player gets the ability to fast-travel between any bonfire right off the bat, which helps a ton and makes the game feel like less of a slog getting from one place to another.

I'm also a fan of the way the game removes enemies from the environment after they've been killed certain number of times. It prevents infinite farming for those who would abuse it and gives the player a bit of tension from knowing that the amount of souls are limited, but also gets rid of annoyances for players who are simply going to an area multiple times. For example, I found myself stuck at the boss of No-Man's Wharf for a while until I figured out a good strategy, and having to kill the same pirate zombies over and over was just an annoyance. Right about the time I was getting totally sick of it, the game removed them from the level and I was able to quickly run to my objective --  a big relief.

As far as the multi goes, I haven't spent any time with other players at all. I'm on the 360, and if you start a party chat then it prevents the game from going online, which also means that it prevents anyone from invading. I plan to dip into that after I've had a proper go at the main adventure, but the thought of being interrupted at any time when I'm in the middle of trying to make some progress is the opposite of appealing.

In general, I'm quite impressed with Dark Souls II and I like it a lot more than the original Dark. Of course, there's still a long road ahead of me and there's plenty of time for the game to go astray, but all of the design decisions seem headed in the right direction, and the "feel" of the game is right where I would want it.

Worst goddamned thing in any Souls game, ever. 
As long as that stupid Frampt from Dark doesn't make an appearance, I'm guessing this is going to end up getting a big, big thumbs up.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Broken Legs, Lords of Shadow 2, Inazuma Eleven and MonMonth!  


Family: If you follow me on Twitter you probably already know this, but my 4yo son broke his leg yesterday.

Ironically, it should've been nothing more than a bump or a bruise, but apparently young bones can snap when they twist just so, and he was unlucky while running around.
*not my son's actual x-ray. 

He's very athletic, loves to be outside, and does lots of different activities – gymnastics, rock climbing, and so on. Getting laid up with a broken leg is a huge barrier for him, and it means a lot of extra work for us as parents. He can't go to the bathroom by himself, he can't get his favorite toys, he can't walk, run, or jump, and he has difficulty even sitting up since his leg has to be elevated.

I feel absolutely terrible for him, and I hope that all of the milk and cheese he eats will pay off with rapid bone recovery. I can already tell it's going to be a long 4-6 weeks…


Games: Currently, I'm playing Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 on PS3.

I actually had no intention of playing it, but we had a hard time generating interest for it in the review crew, so I figured I’d take one for the team and knock it out before Dark Souls II. Shockingly, it turned out to be pretty awesome, and I've been enjoying the hell out of it.

Essentially, it's like God of War mixed with Metroidvania elements, and flavored with a radical re-imagining of the Castlevania mythos.

The reviews for this game have been absolutely terrible, and a quick glance at Metacritic would lead one to believe that it was a stinker to be avoided, but that's absolutely not the case. I really don't understand what's driving this wave of hate for the title, and every normal person I've talked with has had as much affection for as I do.

The combat could use a little work, but it flows nicely and has plenty of exciting moments. The graphics are absolutely fantastic, and quite amazing for the hardware it's running on, and the world is quite large, detailed, and offers plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

I'm not done with it yet, but I've been loving every minute of it, and would absolutely recommend it so far. Maybe something terrible happens later on to ruin it, but from what I've seen this is definitely one to check out.

(And all the reviews moaning about the stealth elements? Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill…)


I’m also playing Inazuma Eleven, which is (for serious) a JRPG involving characters trying to rebuild their second-rate school soccer team, so all of the random battles and bosses are about actually playing soccer.

This may seem like a really bizarre pick for someone with my tastes (I’m sick of traditional JRPGs and I’m no sports fan) but it’s so interesting and different that I couldn't help but check it out.

Despite having poor tutorials and some nonessential systems which should probably be cut, the core is great. The story is surprisingly good, playing soccer is easy yet interesting, and the best thing is that there’s a heavy dose of fantasy injected by way of the special kicks.

Rather than being too serious or sim-like, the characters can kick a ball and turn it into flames, kick goals with the power of dragons,  split themselves into decoys, summon whirlwinds, and more. It's too bad that the game wasn’t optimized to run on the 3DS (it was originally for the standard DS) but it's definitely worth a look for players interested in something off the beaten path. A definite winner here.


My good friend @Apricotsushi has chosen March to be MonMonth, and I have to say that she's picked a fine genre to celebrate. Click on over to her blog for more details on hunting monsters, community-style.

While I'm on the topic of monster hunting, it's time for a quick update into Freedom Unite.

Those teeth. Those goddamned teeth. 
The wife has been making steady progress, and is up to three-star quests in solo mode. I’m quite proud of her ability, but when I'm not proud of is my series of fails today… She's after Blangonga fangs to improve one of her longswords, and I thought it would be no problem to quest up with her and grab a couple.

How wrong I was.

In true Monster Hunter fashion, the game denies the player anything that they want badly, and we kept killing the damned snow apes before the fangs would break. We went through two or three quests where the monster died with its teeth intact, and after that, I downgraded to weaker weapons and even changed weapons, but to no avail. No matter what we did, we were not able to break the teeth before killing the thing, and I was utterly embarrassed. Argh!

Anyway, are you going to celebrate MonMonth, or are you playing along in Freedom Unite right now? Post a message and let me know!


NIS America is thrilled to announce that KADOKAWA GAMES and Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. have collaborated to offer Disgaea DLC for Demon Gaze at launch in North America and Europe. For the first month upon release on PSN, players can download a number of Disgaea characters for free that will allow them to add fan-favorite Disgaea characters to their list of party member appearance choices. Characters being offered are Etna, Flonne, Sicily, Asagi, and Prinny.
For more information, please visit


Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital are super pumped to announce that upcoming indie thriller Gods Will Be Watching will arrive on PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, Humble, and GOG this June. Starting as a standout entry in Ludum Dare 26 competition, Gods Will Be Watching, developer Deconstructeam has greatly expanded the original story of a space exploration team stranded on an unfamiliar world faced with ethical conundrums and moral dilemmas.

The updated and expanded Gods Will Be Watching is a minimalistic "point and click thriller" centered on despair, commitment, and sacrifice as players face intriguing puzzles and tough decisions that will affect their entire crew's wellbeing. Set against the backdrop of an interstellar struggle, Gods Will Be Watching follows Sgt. Burden and his crew in six tense chapters from hostage situations and wilderness survival to biological weapon prevention and agonizing torture scenarios. Each decision is crucial and players will need to choose between the lives of their team and the saving the world from genocide.

Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital will have different playable scenarios available to demo at SXSW Gaming in Austin, Rezzed in Birmingham, and PAX East in Boston through the spring leading up to the launch in June. Fans unable to visit these shows can try the original game jam at and follow development via Twitter @Deconstructeam


Resident Evil 4 is availablefor PC digital download on Steam® globally and across European retail for $19.99 / €19.99. PC gamers can enjoy the ground-breaking survival horror masterpiece in the highest visual fidelity ever with stunning HD graphics running at a smooth 60 frames per second for the very first time.

Resident Evil 4 received numerous “Game of the Year” awards when it debuted and currently stands as one of the best reviewed games of all time with an incredible 96 ranking on Metacritic, the critics review consensus site. This latest edition boasts a complete visual overhaul with sharpened texts and textures on characters, backgrounds and in-game objects. Fully optimized for the wide screen, the title features Steam Achievements, Steam Cloud, Steam Trading Cards, global leaderboards, and full game controller support.  Subtitle support in English, French, Italian and Spanish as well as previously released bonus content such as the Separate Ways epilogue is also included.

In Resident Evil 4, special agent Leon S. Kennedy is sent on a mission to rescue the U.S. President’s daughter who has been kidnapped. Finding his way to a rural village in Europe, he faces new threats that are a departure from the traditional lumbering zombie enemies of the earlier installments in the series. Leon battles horrific new creatures infested by a new threat called Las Plagas and faces off against an aggressive group of enemies including mind-controlled villagers that are tied to Los Illuminados, the mysterious cult which is behind the abduction.


Ubisoft® has announced that Trials Fusion™, the highly anticipated sequel to the massively popular platform racer Trials Evolution®, will be available for download on Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Steam® for Windows PC and the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system on April 16 in North America.

Trials Fusion will be available digitally for $19.99 on Xbox One and Xbox 360 from the Xbox Live Games Store, on PlayStation®4 system and on Steam® for Windows PC. A physical retail version including a Season Pass will also be made available for $39.99 SRP on Xbox One and PlayStation®4 systems.
In addition, the first gameplay trailer for Trials Fusion is now available. Developed by RedLynx in collaboration with Ubisoft Shanghai and Ubisoft Kiev, and designed specifically for the next generation of hardware, Trials Fusion offers players an unlimited array of obstacles and challenges as they race against the clock – with players from around the globe – to set track records.

Trials Fusion builds off the same maddeningly addictive physics-based gameplay of its predecessors while incorporating brand-new features, including the FMX tricks system.

Create tracks that stretch your imagination and skill, and put your friends to the test by sharing online with the bustling Trials Fusion community, made possible by the fan-favorite Editor mode.

Whether players choose to race alone, against friends or in a worldwide tournament, the competition is endless… Just one run is never enough.

For the latest information on Trials Fusion, please visit:
For the latest on all of Ubisoft’s games, please visit: