Sunday, January 18, 2015

Links, Monster Hunter, Catching Squirrel Girl, and Culling The Backlog.  


Welcome back to Coffeecola! Starting off tonight, here are some links to some recent reviews over at my home base, @Gamecritics:

Hatoful Boyfriend by @Apricotsushi

Never Alone by @JimB_85

In other linkage, here’s our Game Of The Year podcast. I'm sure most of you have probably heard it already, but just in case, here you go. Oh, and brace yourself for our GOTY selection… It’s absolutely not what you’d expect.

If you want something else to listen to, I was a recent guest on the @Father_Nation Podcast, and I talked with Jesse Foster about my views on parenting, videogames and kids, homeschooling, appreciating wives, and more. It's all about being a dad and not so much about videogames, but if you want to hear some of my other views and to get to know me a little better, here's your shot.

I asked folks to send me their own personal GOTY lists, and here’s a brief list of sumbissions. Check ‘em out and feel free to disagree all you want!

Now, moving onto games…

If you were one of the select few, Nintendo emailed you demo codes for the upcoming Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. I was lucky enough to get some, so I've been playing the demo with my wife and some friends, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm going to reserve my in-depth comments for now since I'm sure I’ll be talking about it quite a bit once it hits, but I will share a couple of resources right now.

First off, if you're a person who's been thinking about jumping into the series but you don't really know anything about it, I strongly recommend this Monster Hunter Beginner’s Guide by Roy Blakely, also known as @Kotowari. 

I've been through the guide myself and his advice is 100% spot-on. The only caveat with this is that the guide was based on MH3U, and has not been updated for MH4U. As such, there are (of course) going to be some differences between the versions, but the core information and instructions here still apply. It's still an excellent resource to get started.

Another great resource is this starter’s list explaining the weapons, accompanied by brief commentary. Written by @AEvanko, his Gaijin Hunter blog is written with the hand of someone who really understands the game on an expert level.


Finally, one last thing about Monster Hunter before I move on… Basically, kind of an embarrassing admission. I went to Amazon a couple of days ago to check on the status of my preorders, and I just about fell over in shock when I realized that I had completely forgotten to order the collector’s edition of MH4U. I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that I had ordered two copies of the CE, but when I checked, there was absolutely nothing there… I was thunderstruck.

I have no idea how it happened, but it totally slipped my mind and now not only is the collectors edition sold out, the Gamestop Monster Hunter-themed 3DS was also sold out before I had a chance to order. There are no words.

Here’s a quick update on @MarvelPuzzle Quest: the current PVE reward is a brand-new character, Squirrel Girl. 

I've never heard of her before and I've never read anything with her in it, but apparently she's pretty popular… The competition is fierce at the moment, so she must have a pretty loyal legion of fans.

Finally, on the most recent @Gamecritics podcast (it hasn't been published yet, but look for it on Monday or Tuesday) we talked about how much time we have to play games, how much of a chance we give games to hook us before we kick them to the curb, and so forth. It got me thinking about my backlog, which is huge. It may not be as big as some people (@Horrorgeek and @Finalmacstorm, I’m looking at you guys) but it's pretty big.

I felt like I should be perfectly honest with myself in admitting that I wasn't going to ever touch some of these titles given what limited free time I have and the huge amount of new stuff coming down the pipe every day, so I decided to cull the herd and get rid of stuff that I'm pretty sure I’ll never play.

You are never going to be played!!!

I've listed the titles below that got the axe (of course, these are just physical copies… I haven't taken a tally of my downloads yet) but I feel pretty safe in saying that these ones aren't anything that I’ll be missing out on. 

That said, if any of you have any strong feelings about any of these, or any reasons why I should take another look at them in a critical sense, let me know. Any titles on this list that don't receive any votes of support are going into a cardboard box that will eventually be stored right next to the Ark of the Covenant in that big warehouse.


Natural Doctrine – ridiculous difficulty

God of War: Ascension – had enough of Kratos
Uncharted 3 – heard it was crap, not a big UC fan to begin with
Under Defeat HD

Burnout Paradise
Devil May Cry 4 – got halfway, bailed
Eternal Sonata
Lost Odyssey – stopped halfway, forgot where I was
Red Faction: Guerrilla – got halfway, bailed
Resident Evil 6 – do I even need to say anything?
Risen 2: Dark Waters – heard Risen 3 is the same thing, but better
Sniper Elite V2
The First Templar
The Last Remnant – heard it was hella busted
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise – Had enough w/ the first one

Edit: Singularity was on this list, but I had a number of folks chip in and say it was worth a play, so Singularity has been returned to the backlog! 

Rayman Legends – hate the art, don’t like the too-harsh gameplay.

A Boy and His Blob
Alice in Wonderland
Boom Blox – elbow strain
De Blob – control issues
Fishing Resort
Madworld – Got halfway through, didn’t care for it
Monster Lab
No More Heroes 2 – I hate Suda 51’s stuff
Red Steel 2 – no WiiMotion Plus

Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer
The DaVinci Code
Disgaea 2
Drakengard – recall it running like crap
Drakengard 3
Kingdom Hearts – camera issues
Final Fantasy XII – waiting for an HD remaster
Manhunt 2


The Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell launch trailer


Achtung! Berlin is burning and Adolf Hitler has risen from his grave to gather an army of Undead Super Soldiers who are poised to spill blood and guts across Europe. Only one thing stands in their way – you, and the fleshy sacks bristling with guns and explosives you call your best friends. 

Zombie Army Trilogy, rising early 2015, gives Xbox One gamers and PlayStation 4 gamers their first chance to experience the blood-pumping co-op shooter series that became a cult sensation on PC. Former enemies become allies as the living fight against the dead. 
Packed with apocalyptic new content and two eye-popping remasters Zombie Army Trilogy also includes the never-seen-before third instalment in the series and a brand new horde mode, delivering the ultimate package for fans of adrenaline-fuelled gunplay and harrowing intensity.  
Zombie Army Trilogy will be self-published by Rebellion on all formats and will be available for download via Xbox Live, the Playstation Network and Steam for PC. A retail version will also be available.

·       Battle through 15 gut-wrenching missions spanning THREE epic campaigns across the irradiated, demon-infested ruins of World War Two Germany.
·       Wrestle the occult powers in the campaign and across FIVE terrifying horde maps. Face the horrors alone or fight back-to-back in 2-4 player online co-op.
·       Fight as elite sniper, Karl Fairburne or one of EIGHT playable heroes including FOUR new female characters, armed with over 25 iconic weapons and explosive traps.
·       Take on legions of Undead Super Soldiers, Armoured Skeletons, Zombie Snipers, Chainsaw Elites, Fire Demons and more, before facing the demonic Hitler himself in a final stand to decide the fate of mankind!
·       Bask in the gruesome glow of the infamous X-Ray Kill Cam, and watch in gory detail as rotting flesh and organs are shredded from the inside.
·       Experience haunting environments and intense-action, all framed in bloody beautiful 1080p.

For PC gamers, Zombie Army Trilogy will be available to pre-order today via Steam or the Rebellion Gamestore
As a thank you to the fans that made the series a cult hit, Rebellion are also offering an exclusive loyalty discount to owners of the first two Nazi Zombie Army games via Steam before launch.
The official website, has been unleashed on the interwebs with more information and FREE content including an exclusive MP3 album of atmospheric compositions from the game’s soundtrack by Nick D Brewer.


We are delighted to announce that the dungeon-crawling action RPG adventure,Brandish: The Dark Revenant, will be available for digital download on January 13, 2015 in North America for the PSP (PlayStation®Portable) system at a price point of $19.99. This title will be fully compatible with the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system and PlayStation®TV system at launch. 
Featuring an innovative "world turning" mechanic, players will be immersed in a third person real-time dungeon-crawling adventure with a first person flair, dungeon walls rotating around their avatar as each corner is turned. 

 Check out the new official website at


The first wave of PlayStation®4 players is set to deploy to Auraxis on January 20, 2015. Today, Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) announced that the critically-acclaimed, free-to-play massively multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS), PlanetSide 2, will enter Closed Beta for the PlayStation 4 (PS4) computer entertainment system in North America this month.

Starting with a few thousand initial invites, the amount of players with access to the Closed Beta will steadily increase through the Beta period. Players will be invited to the Beta in chronological order of when they signed up. Players can opt in by email for a chance to participate in the Closed Beta through the PlanetSide 2 website:

PlanetSide 2 Closed Beta will begin on Jan. 20, 2015 for the PlayStation 4, with a full PS4 launch slated for later this year. For additional details on the PlayStation 4 version, visit the PlanetSide 2 FAQ:

More information can be found in Executive Producer Clint Worley's blog post:


Etrian Mystery Dungeon is going to be a doozie when it comes out in spring 2015. The roguelike RPG from Atlus and Spike Chunsoft will bring delight to your ears when it launches, because we're including a soundtrack CD with pre-orders and limited first-run copies of EMD. We have more details coming soon, but for now, enjoy the splendor of the brand new trailer! So if you were wondering how Etrian Odyssey and Mystery Dungeon fit together, there you go! 


Plus, if you missed our Twitch Livestream, you can access the archive here! 


NIS America has a few awesome announcements for you before the year ends and the wonderful new year begins.

We are very excited to officially announce that the next entry in the long-lived Disgaea series, Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance is making its way to North America and Europe in Fall 2015, for the PlayStation®4 entertainment system! Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance will be available as both a physical and digital release. 

Second, we are also very happy to announce that the dungeon crawler RPG, Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy will be making its way to North America and Europe in March of 2015, available on the PlayStation®Vita. This title will be available as a physical and digital release. Website and trailer will be coming soon, so please keep an eye out for it!

Last but not least, we are pleased to announce that The Awakened Fate Ultimatum will be coming to North America on March 17, 2015 and to Europe on March 20, 2015, only on the PlayStation®3! The game will be available as a physical and digital release. We also have a our first batch of English screenshots for this game, which can be viewed on our asset page below. 

A limited edition of the title is also available for pre-order from the NISA Online Store.


Independent video game developer DrinkBox Studios announced today that it is bringing the distinctively strange world of its highly anticipated adventure game Severed exclusively to the PlayStation®Vita system in Spring of 2015. Filled with ghastly enemies, including three-headed constellations, six-armed swordmasters and beasts made of crows, Severed has players take control of a one-armed heroine wielding a living sword as she knits together pieces of her story from both the past and the future.

As the heroine, players will embark on a journey through a surreal, nonlinear world by using a touch-based combat mechanic to defeat enemies in this first-person adventure. During their journey, warriors will unlock new abilities, discover secrets of the mysterious world, and grow in power as they master both offensive and defensive techniques

For more information regarding Severed please visit the game’s website, or DrinkBox Studios’ Facebook and Twitter pages. The new Severed trailer can be found here.


Leading and award-winning developer and publisher of digital entertainment Telltale Games, and world-renowned game developer Mojang, today announced that 'Minecraft: Story Mode - A Telltale Games Series' is in development and is set to premiere in 2015.

 Minecraft: Story Mode will be an all-new narrative-driven, episodic game series, developed by Telltale in collaboration with Mojang and members of the Minecraft community.  Set in the world of Minecraft, the game series will introduce new characters and familiar themes, but will be an entirely original Minecraft experience inspired by the game that continues to inspire a generation.

Minecraft: Story Mode will be a standalone product, separate from the core Minecraft game, and will be available to download in 2015 on Xbox consoles, PlayStation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android-based devices.

Minecraft: Story Mode - A Telltale Games Series is currently in development, and is not yet rated by the ESRB. The series will be published digitally in 2015 by Telltale Games in partnership with Mojang.


Independent developer Dennaton Games, rogue publisher Devolver Digital, and creative production company iam8bit announced that the Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number three-disc vinyl Collector’s Edition will unleash aural fury onto your ears in early 2015. Fans can now pre-purchase Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number via a substantially awesome analog offer presented on 180-gram vinyl for $60. The Collector’s Edition includes a colorful three-disc vinyl set that hosts the 28 ecstasy-fueled songs from the game and a collectable phone card containing a download code for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and the full digital soundtrack download on Steam.  

The colorful set can be pre-purchased direct from the iam8bit store starting today (

The tri-fold jacket encasing the vinyl features original artwork by Niklas Akerblad, the Swedish artist responsible for the striking cover art for both Hotline Miami games. The three discs include music from returning Hotline Miami artists such as M|O|O|N, El Huervo and Perturbator and newHotline Miami artists Megadrive, Mitch Murder, and Magic Sword.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is the follow up to the stylish top-down shooter Hotline Miami from independent developer Dennaton Games. The original game continues to be a critical and commercial success since its launch in 2012 that resulted in more than a dozen Game of the Year nominations and awards from game critics and more than a million copies sold. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is set to launch on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita in Q1 2015.

For more information on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number please visit or follow us on Twitter @devolverdigital and @hotlinemiami.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kicking Off The New Year!  


It's a brand-new year and 2015 hasn't really gotten rolling yet, so I'm going to just blast through a bunch of random stuff tonight. No particular order, just freestylin’, yo.


I'm not really much of a tablet user, but we have a Kindle Fire in the house, and apparently Amazon has started their own game studio in order to crank out some exclusive stuff. The first release is called Tales From Deep Space, and it's not half bad.

Basically, it's a 2D platformer with a pair of aliens who team up to get past various obstacles. It's nothing earth-shattering, but it looks really sharp (very reminiscent of Ratchet & Clank in style) and the touch controls aren't half bad. Also, it's pretty cool that Amazon is developing some exclusives… There are more on the way, too.


I just recently retired my character in Fantasy Life the other day, after about 45 hours. There was still a ton left for me to do and I still haven't leveled up enough to see the DLC that I paid for (!!!) but it seems like I could probably play that game forever and I really wanted to make time for other things.

I'll probably come back to it once I have some free time on the 3DS (although there won't be much of that once Monster Hunter 4U hits) but I really, really enjoyed it and I think it's Level 5’s best work in years.

A lot of the critics and reviews I read were really cold on it, but I think that's a combination of having to rush through it for review purposes, and perhaps having certain expectations not matching up with what the game actually is. I'm very glad I jumped into it, and I liked it enough to pass it off to the wife… She's not really one for dialogue in games (and FL is awfully chatty) but I think she's going to dig the gameplay.


The newest Marvel Puzzle Quest character is out, and it's Luke Cage, also known as Power Man. I have to admit that I'm not really familiar with him apart from the fact that he was partners with Iron Fist for quite a while… 

In fact, I'm not sure that I even own a single comic book with him in it, but hey, a new character is a new character, and his powers seem pretty interesting.

Speaking of powers, I'm glad to see that the developers are constantly going back and retuning old characters. Dr. Doom was one of the first, and I've always felt that he had a lot of untapped potential. 

The devs clearly agree, because he just got a big revamp with the addition of a new purple power (with a new mechanic) called Diabolical Plot. 


I've talked about Freedom Wars on Vita before, and I recently put a few more hours into it. I really, really like the overall concept and I'm also a fan of how it plays in general, but I think I hit a bit of a wall and I may be done with it.

My biggest problem with the game is that the battles against the massive Abductor robots just take too long… It's like the devs want to create big, epic fights, but in the case of this game, the characters are so fast and mobile that it seems like it should focus more on running and gunning and using the grappling hook than extended encounters. 

I know some people say I’m being contradictory since I love Monster Hunter so much, but let me tell you, the battles in MH aren't really that long once you know what you're doing, and if you're actually playing with other people, they're even quicker. 

In Freedom Wars, no matter what weapon I'm using or how powered up it is, it still feels like it takes forever to do any significant damage. On top of that, the AI needs work (when I die, REVIVE ME, dammit!) and I recently lost some progress due to the game glitching out, and few things sour me faster than losing 45 minutes of effort due to a hiccup in the game’s programming.

I think this franchise has so much potential, and I really hope the developers take a serious look at it, rebalance things, and clean up some of the systems. And hey, if it was on the PS4 with more robust online multiplayer, that would be pretty tremendous. This is a great property that needs nurturing, and I hope it’s not left for dead after just one outing.  


Finally, I'm not sure how many people know this, but both fellow @Gamecritics writer Dan Weissenberger and I are huge fans of semi-obscure Japanese developer Goshow, and I just recently discovered that one of their titles that I’ve never seen before is now available on PSN. 

Called Warriors of the Lost Empire, It seems like a simple, straightforward dungeon crawl-type game with third-person action, but despite the fact that all of their efforts are unpolished and idiosyncratic, there’s just something absolutely fascinating about the work Goshow produces. Their other titles available domestically are Colosseum: Road To Freedom, Gladiator Begins, and Clan of Champions. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes them stand out to me, but there’s definitely something.

I've only just started playing Empire so it's way too early to talk about it in any critical sense, but if you are a fan of Goshow the way that Dan and I are (does that describe anybody out there? Anybody at all?) then do yourself a favor and check it out -- I'm not sure many people even know it exists.