Sunday, July 27, 2014

Triple Bummer!!! The Swapper, State of Decay: Lifeline and Abyss Odyssey  


Games: It's been a disappointing week for games. Three releases that I've been stoked for have all been letdowns, and none of them are on the ‘will definitely finish this’ track.

The first was The Swapper. I heard nothing but kudos for this game since it hit PC last year, and I was pretty psyched when I heard it was coming to consoles. (Played it on PS4.)

Honestly, the story is a great sci-fi tale of switching bodies and existential questions, but the story feels totally disconnected from the gameplay. The Swapper’s puzzles feel so artificial and gamey to me that I quickly lost patience for them, and I couldn’t immerse myself in the world because it just felt so contrived. At no point did I ever feel like my character was in a believable world, or that the environment made any sense.

Apparently it's a very short game but I only got about halfway because I found myself going to GameFAQs too often to get past the puzzles, and that's just not a good experience. If the devs had made just a little more effort in integrating the puzzles with the environments, or making the environments more logical in terms of the game’s world, I probably would've hung in there.

The next bummer is the Lifeline DLC expansion for State of Decay. I reviewed the base game for 360 back in 2013, and I still stand by it as one of the best zombie titles ever made. With the release of Lifeline, the core game received some fixes, additions, and patches that fans have been requesting, so it's even better than it was. If you've never played the original, I absolutely recommend it. However, I can’t say the same for this DLC.

In the add-on, the player takes control of a small group of soldiers sent to rescue targets from an overrun city. They quickly establish a small base, and then it's up to them to perform supply and rescue runs while waiting for the chopper to come back at various intervals. It's a great idea and since it offers all-new characters and an all- new map, I couldn't have been more excited. However, it was incredibly frustrating and unpleasant for a number of reasons.

The first is that the AI is pretty terrible, and directly led to a number of situations turning out to be disasters. For instance, one of the earliest missions has players rescuing a doctor, and on the way to recover notes from her overrun house, she charges headlong into a swarm despite the fact that she's only got a screwdriver. There's no way to make her hang back or to stay in the car that brought you there, and when trying to get all of my troops back in the car so that we could run over the zombies rather than fight them, she refused to comply. As such, she got killed in that mission three separate times, and I kept restarting until I was able to save her because it was just too stupid to lose her there.

Speaking of stupid, the soldiers on your team are little better. At one point I was being chased and ran back inside my base. I was low on health and out of ammo, and I ran inside thinking that the rest of my troops would come to my aid, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The zombies chased me inside the gates with none of the guards stopping them, and as I was getting torn apart in the middle of my encampment, two guards stood watching without lifting a finger.

This moronic AI wouldn't be so bad if the difficulty wasn't so high, but compared to the base game, it's a lot tougher, and it doesn't often feel very fair or sensible. For instance, I was searching a small warehouse, and after sweeping the area to pick off a few stray zombies, the coast was clear. I went inside to search for goods, and five seconds after I started searching, a horde of zombies flooded in through the back door.  My partner and I took them out, but just as we were finishing the first group, a second wave came in. We polished those off, and then a third group came in. Keep in mind, this area had been totally clear before we started our search, so the zombies were appearing out of nowhere. We got overrun and both of my characters died despite taking measures to prevent such a thing from happening. Similar events are quite common, with waves of zombies appearing at high frequency and in great numbers. I get that there are some SoD fans who constantly want the game to be harder, but honestly... fuck them. In my opinion, it's already tough to deal with, and as it stands, it's scaled too high.

There are other things that are problems like not being able to bring more than one soldier for backup despite the fact that the game can easily handle friendly groups of 3/4, or the absurd length of time it takes to reload a gun. I'm no soldier myself, but Lifeline has the longest reloads I've seen in any game in recent memory, and losing characters because they’re taking an hour to pop in a clip is rubbish. I still love the base game and I'm absolutely still a fan of Undead Labs, but this Lifeline expansion was entirely too frustrating, and I hope that they patch it to a place where ridiculous zombie spawning and brain-dead AI doesn't kill the fun.

The final made-me-frown game is Abyss Odyssey, recently released by Atlus. Like the other two, it’s so close to being something quite cool, but it just doesn’t quite get there.

To give it credit where it’s due, the visual style is great, I like the character design, and the idea of a combat-heavy platforming roguelike where the player must go deeper and deeper into a pit is a good one – It’s all solid here.

Issues arise early on, though. One thing is that the procedurally-generated levels feel quite boring and samey, so that's a bit of a problem. However, a bigger issue is the controls. I played it on 360 and I found that in addition to occasional frame-rate lag, the character feels far too sluggish -- it takes a fraction of a second too long for the character to turn around, and since the devs are keen on ambush encounters and throwing multiple enemies at the player, it’s not a good experience.

I really dig the things that it gets right, and I'm going to try this one on PS3 to see if the controls are any better, but I suspect that they probably won't be… I really wish it felt better to play.

Don’t want to leave you on a down note, so just a quick word about The Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 4: Amid The Ruins… Although The first three eps of the new series have been pretty terrible, the latest one really got the Walking Dead mojo back.

My review is in the can and it’ll be up soon, but if you’re like me and have been feeling less-than-jazzed about The New Further Adventures of Clementine, Episode 4 might change your opinion. 

Cheers to @Boiteabebelles for convincing me to give it a try, because I was honestly thisclose to outright quitting after Ep.3…


Deadpool is coming to Marvel Puzzle Quest!  Starting on August 1st in the upcoming Episode titledDeadpool vs. Marvel Puzzle Quest, Deadpool will star in his very own episode and be available for player’s roster at the conclusion of the event.

Also, a new gameplay feature to be introduced on July 29th called Team-Up.  Team-Up brings heroes into battle that aren’t in your roster.  It will add huge amounts of tactical flexibility for players looking to take down their opponents by providing a larger selection of Marvel characters for their squad.

And finally, the Dark Reign subtitle of the game has been removed as the game in the coming months will be branching into other realms in the Marvel Universe.

See the brand-new trailer here.


Metrico is coming to Vita! The new gameplay trailer, including the most gameplay you’ve probably ever seen in one video, can be seen at:


Defense Grid 2, the sequel to the hit 2008 tower defense game, today kicked off its Steam pre-order in advance of the game’s September 2014 launch. In addition to receiving ten percent off of the launch price, consumers who pre-purchase Defense Grid 2 now will receive immediate access to the beta (currently only for Windows users). As more people pre-order, additional incentive tiers will be unlocked, including the original Defense Grid digital art book, a free copy of the Containment expansion to Defense Grid: The Awakening*, and much more.

A special edition of Defense Grid 2 will be available for purchase that includes all unlocked pre-order incentive items, an exclusive digital Defense Grid 2 art book and the e-book, The Making of Defense Grid 2: The Complete Story Behind the Game, by Russ Pitts.

Pre-order Defense Grid 2 here:

Defense Grid 2 (DG2) features stunning landscapes as players fight for the survival of human civilization. With single-player, co-op and competitive multiplayer modes in levels that change dynamically, DG2 offers endless ways to tap into resources and build towers in order to defend against waves of incoming enemies. The controls are intuitive while the gameplay is deep. Consumers have already demonstrated their high level of excitement for DG2, with 10,000 beta keys claimed in just fifteen hours through a giveaway. Defense Grid 2 will be released this fall for digital download on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more information on the game, please visit:


XSEED Games, the independent-minded console publishing brand of Marvelous USA, Inc., today announced that the company will launch the over-the-top action RPG title, AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed, on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system on August 12, 2014. XSEED Games has also revealed that the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system version of the game is scheduled to make its English-language debut later this holiday season. In addition, the official AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressedwebsite launched today and can be found at:

In AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed, players must repel a brooding malevolence that has fallen over Tokyo’s popular Akihabara (Akiba for short) electronics district. Akiba has been invaded by creatures known as “Synthisters” who prey on the anime- and game-obsessed patrons of Akihabara like vampires, but feast on their social energy and will to live rather than their blood. Only direct exposure to sunlight can stop this menace.

 AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed is developed by ACQUIRE and published by XSEED Games in North America and will be available both physically for the PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®Vita systems at participating retailers, as well as digitally on both systems via PlayStation®Store, on August 12, 2014 for $39.99. Details about the PlayStation®4 system version will be revealed at a later date.
The PlayStation®3 system and PlayStation®Vita system editions of this title have been rated Mature by the ESRB. The PlayStation®4 system edition is Rating Pending.

More information on the game can be found via the newly launched product website at For information on XSEED Games products, please visit Fans can also follow XSEED Games on Facebook at and on Twitter at


Turn-based strategy fans, rejoice! ATLUS will be bringing over the cult hit SRPG (that's strategy role-playing game) Tears to Tiara 2 to North America and NIS America will be releasing the game in Europe. ATLUS is handling the localization of text into English, and the game's original Japanese audio will be left intact.

It will be exclusive to the PS3 and release Oct. 14 for $39.99, and will be an 80+ hour experience that combines strategic turn-based gameplay with an exciting story that unfolds like a visual novel. 

The Tears to Tiara 2 Opening Movie is Here: 

And you can check out the official website here:


What next?

You can also bookmark this post using your favorite bookmarking service:

Related Posts by Categories