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  1. What time is it? You should probably know by now, as Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW released in-stores today and has a brand new trailer to boot. For the uninitiated, this new Adventure Time title features a brand new storyline that takes players into the Secret Royal Dungeon beneath the Land of Ooo for some 4 player co-op, dungeon-crawling action. Also, the cast of the TV show is lending their voice talents this time around. The Steam version of the game will have some exclusive content in the way of Peppermint Butler being available as a DLC character for $1.99. Also available is the Collector's Edition for 3DS, which features a glossy premium Steelbook BMO case. Check out the launch trailer for the game below.
  2. With The LEGO Movie releasing in theaters early next year, it comes as little surprise that the somewhat ironically named The LEGO Movie Videogame is following closely behind. Once again helmed by TT Games, the game adaptation follows the tongue-in-cheek plot of the movie where you take on the role of Emmett, an ordinary Minifig thought to be "The Special," a character prophesied to save the world from an evil tyrant. The game itself will contain some 90 playable characters inspired by the movie and 15 levels in all. Also, there will be a brand new LEGO visual animation style that is said to simulate the movement and feel of real LEGO toys. You can check out The LEGO Movie Videogame when it releases in February 2014 on just about every major console and handheld.
  3. Jason Clement

    Review: Star Trek

    Developer: Digital Extremes Publisher: Paramount Pictures, Namco Bandai Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: Out Now ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game, which was provided by the publisher 2009's Star Trek faux-reboot had quite the polarizing reaction from fans, but the one thing Paramount seemingly understood was that movie tie-in games are generally pretty bad. Thus, the world was spared another potentially rushed, bad licensed game at the time. Or perhaps they just didn't think to capitalize on it in that fashion. In any case, they apparently had a change of heart because they had since partnered with Namco and tapped Digital Extremes (of Prototype series fame) to create a Star Trek game that would coincide with Star Trek Into Darkness' release in theaters earlier this year. Early on, there were signs that perhaps this would actually be the Trek game to end all Trek games. Screenshots indicated it would have heavy inspiration from games like Mass Effect and be heavily action-oriented, unlike previous games. Would they boldly take licensed games where few have gone before? Fortunately for Star Trek: The Video Game, it is not based on the story of the 2009 Trek film or its recent sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness; instead, it features a brand new story. Unfortunately, it's not very good... at all. The plot revolves around the Enterprise investigating a distress call on New Vulcan, where an extremely powerful device called "The Helios Device," which can create wormholes, is stolen. Turns out the thieves are none other than the classic TOS villain, The Gorn, who have been re-imagined as a cross between Jurassic Park's raptors and the 1998 remade Godzilla. Naturally, it's up to Kirk and his crew to track down the Gorn and retrieve the Helios device before the space raptors can wreak havoc on the rest of the galaxy. Unfortunately, that's about all there is to it - the plot is just about as shallow as it sounds. Star Trek plays mostly as a third-person, cover-based shooter that puts you in the role of either Kirk or Spock. Whoever you don't choose becomes your A.I. or human partner, depending on whether you've opted into playing online or not, or with a friend. Throughout the course of the game, your partner will help assist you by helping to pry open stuck doors, giving you a boost in order to reach out of reach areas, helping you hack a console, reviving you when you're critically injured, and engaging the enemy with gunfire (phaser-fire?). In theory, the whole partner system is an intriguing idea; after all, games like Bioshock Infinite have proven that it can work well, but there are more than a few setbacks caused by it in this game. If you're playing with a human friend, things should work as intended, but playing with an A.I. partner will often lead to many frustrating glitches over the course of your playthrough. Here are a few examples: At certain points throughout levels, the A.I. partner would just stop following; fortunately, there is a command that will call them to your spot if such an occasion arises. This would be a perfect fix... if it actually worked 100% of the time. In many cases, I would have to guide the A.I. partner using the button multiple times to the spot I wanted it to go to instead of simply having it navigate the area to the spot on its own. At this point, I thought I was in the clear, but looked back only to find that Spock was slowly floating upwards in the air and through the ceiling. Fortunately, the game's use of checkpoints is fairly liberal, so I didn't lose too much progress when I had to restart from the last one, but that kind of glitch is unacceptable. In another extreme, I was progressing through an area outside a space station in a space suit, but I had lost Spock. I tried going back to find him, but somehow he was upside down with his head in the platform, all while still in a running motion. No joke. Shortly after that, I clipped through a floor panel only to slowly fall and drift away from the space station, seeing it become smaller and smaller. Surely the game would register a death for the character and respawn at the last checkpoint... right? Nope. In fact, I purposely let Kirk keeping falling away until the Space Station was no longer visible, and then he just sorta hung there, helpless. Don't ask me how any of this got past Namco Bandai's QA. Other minor yet annoying glitches I encountered include instances where I couldn't pick up weapons in an area, making it difficult since I could only rely on a phaser (which doesn't use ammo) until I reached an ammo reload point; several points where Gorn soldiers partially clipped through walls; and more than a few instances where either the partner A.I. was not assisting in a gunfight or the Gorn were unresponsive and wouldn't fire, making them easy targets. Not everything is painfully bad, though. There are some genuinely exciting moments and parts where it feels like Digital Extremes almost got it; such as a jaunt through a collapsing space station, traipsing through a fire-filled section of the Enterprise, and a thrilling chase with the Gorn through a New Vulcan base. These areas attempt to add a touch of Uncharted-style platforming and action to an otherwise fairly mediocre game with by-the-books gameplay. When the game is working, there is at least some enjoyment to be had while playing, but that may depend on how much you actually like Star Trek as a franchise. Also helping the game a bit is the addition of voice-acting from the cast of Abram's new Trek movies, with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto carrying most of the dialogue. Their performance varies in quality, with Pine delievering some lines that would almost have you believe you were playing through the movie itself, to an almost phoning-it-in quality ("Spock, I'm hurt bad!"); Quinto's performance is a bit more consistent, though the quality of the delivery is a bit worse than his film work. In general, the voice-work is mostly solid, even with NPCs. Thankfully, the music is reused from the films, so Michael Giacchino's soundtrack is one of the bright spots in an otherwise soured experience. When it comes to the game's visuals, it's a mixed bag. At certain points, the bridge and hallways of the Enterprise look fairly good and representative of what was shown in the movies (minus lens flare), and certain character models' textures look fairly decent. Much of the time, though, both Kirk and Spock look underwhelming as character models and often have a muddy type of texturing; this is especially noticeable when their mouths move. It's a shame that Digital Extremes didn't have more time to touch up on this a bit. By and large, Star Trek is one of the most conflicting games I've ever experienced. On one hand, there are some fun, exciting segments, the story set-up is otherwise fairly good, and there's decent voice work to be had for the most part. Even with mediocre, run-and-gun gameplay that does nothing new, and some of the lamest hacking mini-games ever, if there were no substantial bugs, this would be a relatively above-average game. As is, Star Trek is a complete mess of a game that should have had another few months of QA testing. It shows some signs of promise early on, but this is not the title Trekkers/Trekkies have been waiting for. These are not the voyages of the Starship Enterprise you want to experience. If you're still curious due to being a big Trek fan, it might make for a decent rent provided the bugs don't get to you. Otherwise, Star Trek continues a long line of underperforming and underwhelming video game releases in a series that doesn't quite know what to do with itself. Pros + Voice actors from the two new Star Trek movies reprise their roles here + Some fairly decent and dare I say, exciting parts. These are brief, however. + Music is taken from the films, meaning it's fairly good as well. Cons - Bugs, glitches, and the like mar the game to a point where it's sometimes unplayable without restarting to the last save point. - While it starts out somewhat strong, the plot is really, really dumb. - Underwhelming, bland visuals - Gameplay is typical third-person cover shooter fare; adds nothing new; dumb, useless minigames Overall Score: 4.5 (out of 10) Below Average Star Trek could have been a relatively passable experience had it been given a few more months of QA testing to sort out a multitude of bugs. Sadly, it didn't have the luxury, and the end result is a Star Trek game that plays badly and is as unremarkable as the games that have come before it in the series.
  4. As has been the tradition for games with lots of DLC recently, Warner Bros. has announced a Season Pass for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins. It will be available on all of the platforms the game is coming to and will be available for purchase at launch for $19.99 (a $30 value overall). The Season Pass will include five of Arkham Origins' upcoming DLC packs, one of which will also include two exclusive skins. As for what the five DLC packs contain, see the list below. Gotham by Gaslight Batmanâ„¢ Skin and Brightest Day Batmanâ„¢ Skin New Millennium Skins Pack Infinite Earths Skins Pack Arkham Origins Initiation: Play as Bruce Wayne before he became Batmanâ„¢, and face his final test to prove himself worthy to his greatest teacher, Kirigi. An all-new story campaign which has yet to be detailed So if you feel like saving $10 on DLC, check out the Season Pass when the game launches. Batman: Arkham Origins will release on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC on October 25.
  5. Saying that I love the Metal Gear Solid series would be putting it lightly. The truth is that I absolutely adore it. I've played every game in the series multiple times, I've hunted for secrets along with every other fan and I've even written a few speculation pieces on the games themselves. Keeping up with the news coming out about the latest game in the series and the thought processes of the developers behind the scenes that make these games happen has led me to one conclusion. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain might actually be the last MGS game that Kojima makes. I know he's said that he was done with the series at least a hundred times over the last decade or so, but this time he might actually be done. Now, why might I think this? Well, let me explain... The Gameplay Has Become More Accessible While I haven't personally played the game yet, it's obvious from the many gameplay videos floating around the internet that things have changed in a very big way. Gone are the corridors and grid-like level design. The possibility to run and gun your way to a mission objective is greater than ever, and for one of the first times ever, the game will be releasing on four different consoles at the same time. The most exposure an MGS title has ever had. They might not be as well known as LEGO, but they're still pretty good But what does all this have to do with Kojima stepping down from the stealth action genre? It is a bit of a leap, but just take a look at the gameplay videos. Do they really look like something you would see in a normal MGS game? No, not at all! If anything, they look more like something you would see in a game like Red Dead Redemption. Now, this isn't a bad thing in the slightest. What it means is the new direction of the series is going to look more like something other developers will be capable of doing if they were given the reigns of this beast of a series. Instead of having to worry about mimicking the MGS style, they'll be able put their own twist on it with the freedom given to them with the open-world system. Don't think Konami would ever pass the MGS series onto another company? They kind of already have. Metal Gear Solid Remakes Recently (in the last few weeks) Kojima revealed that he and Konami might be looking for someone to remake the original Metal Gear Solid using their fancy new Fox Engine. That in itself is pretty cool news. Getting to really go back to Shadow Moses with this fancy new tech would just be the bee's knees. But the fact that they're looking for a different company to make it raises some alarm bells in my mind. Yup. Another one. Again, not bad alarm bells. It's more of a "Hey, wait a second," type of alarm system. The fact that they're possibly passing on the most iconic game in their series to another company along with their most powerful game-making tools tells me that they're testing another company to see how they do. The reason they're doing this with the first game in the series and not say, Metal Gear Solid 6, is because they want to see if another company can successfully make it feel like the original MGS game. If they can make the fans even somewhat happy, then imagine what they could do if given the okay to make the next main title game. They Already Replaced Everybody Else If you're into gaming in any way shape or form, then you probably know that David Hayter has been replaced by Keifer Sutherland as the voice of Big Boss. Even if you haven't played the series, you probably heard about the news somewhere. It still eats me up inside knowing that Hayter is gone, but there might be more of a reason for it than what we've heard from Kojima. All of the voice actors we've lost... I can still feel them Now, I've got two different theories going along with this one here. The first one goes like this: When you think of Snake, you think of David Hayter as the voice. Or Kurt Russell if you're weird. The point is, up until the Phantom Pain reveal, David Hayter pretty much was Snake. Now that that tie has been severed, Konami has been given the chance to create a new Snake, and along with him, a new game. If there is no place for Hayter, then perhaps the place for Kojima will be opening up soon as well. The more changes they make, the easier it'll be to switch Kojima out with someone new if they wanted to. It would be a difficult thing to get over, but if things work with the Metal Gear Solid remake, that just might be what happens. Kojima Goes To Hollywood Here is my second theory on why Kojima would leave the game series. While I can't speak for the man himself, it seems Kojima has always wanted to just make movies. Of course, he ended up making games for most of his life, but now he has a real chance to make the jump thanks to the switch from David to Keifer. Not only does Keifer voice Snake, but they even changed the way Snake looks to better match Keifer's mocap. He'll go down in history as a monster It isn't too big of a leap to see Keifer Sutherland getting the part of Big Boss in the eventual movie announcement seeing as the character is now modeled off of him. While Kojima probably wouldn't be able to direct the movie, you just know that he would be a big part of the creation process. And thanks to his new found work relationship with Keifer, he should find it rather easy to get Keifer to work with him. While all of these theories and possibilities do require a bit of a leap to seem believable, just remember that I've actually gotten a few of these right before. Could we really be seeing a new director for the game series? Is there a possibility that Kojima could be grooming Keifer for an impending movie role? Why not say what you think in the comments below? As always, thank you for reading.
  6. Much like last year with Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why'd You Steal Our Garbage!?, D3Publisher has announced a collector's edition for this year's follow-up, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW, and it will be exclusive to the 3DS version. While we don't yet have any pictures of it, D3 has released information on what will be in the collector's edition, which in addition the game, will include a limited-edition Beemo package design in a glossy premium SteelBook case, a bonus DVD with actor interviews as well as storyboard art from series creator Pendleton Ward, and a 'Fin and Jake's Dungeon Guide,' essentially a full-color manual with art, game tips, and the like. D3Publisher also announced that the Wii U and 3DS versions will have exclusive content that takes advantage of the second screen. In the Wii U version, Beemo will appear on the gamepad and offer hints and commentary through 300 different voice clips; likewise, Beemo appears in the same capacity on the 3DS touchscreen as well. Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW does not have a specific release date just yet, but it is slated to release sometime this Fall for Wii U, 3DS, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. The Collector's Edition for 3DS will have an MSRP of $40. Will you be getting the 3DS Collector's Edition?
  7. If you missed it, Games with Gold is an interesting little promotion where Xbox Gold owners will get a few new games to download freely each month leading up to the launch of Xbox One. This may sound like a copycat move in regards to PS Plus, and it kind of is. However, unlike PS Plus, this is literally just a promotion which means it will end once Xbox One is out (unless Microsoft decides to pursue it further). For the month of August there will be a few games to grab which were revealed on the Major Nelson blog. First, Crackdown will be made available tomorrow. If you are interested then make sure to download it before August 15th since they cycle through titles especially quick. August 16th will bring Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Case Zero to Live Gold members. There are two games available because Case Zero is just a brief prequel which served to get players prepared for DR2. In any case, these should also be downloaded before the end of August.
  8. Have you fallen prey to the addiction that is Terraria? Some call it a 2D Minecraft, but it actually has a whole lot of interesting features all its own. With that said, European gamers previously got themselves a snazzy collector's edition while the North American gamer was left out. This won't be the case for much longer! GameStop has put up two listings for a Terraria Collector's Edition - one for PS3 and one for Xbox 360. This is a boxed set of content, most of which is the same between the two consoles. Goodies that come with each edition are a flashdrive designed after a Terraria pickaxe, stickers, and a poster. So what sets these two collections apart? Picking up the game on Xbox 360 gives you a disc with the game on it. Buying the PS3 version though has no disc and includes a redeemable digital code instead. In either case, you get to play some Terraria on the console of your choice and put the fancy box on display.
  9. Everyone has probably gotten bored of some of their favorite games at some point, right? I mean, you can only raise a family in the Sims for so long before you start to resent them. When this boredom of your favorite game washes over you, it can cause you to go to some dark places. Or really boring places. Boredom is a real crapshoot like that. The point is, everyone has gotten to this point at some point or another with their games. It is pointless to deny it. We've all been there before, and odds are we'll be there again soon enough. Just what am I talking about though? Well read on, and you'll find out. Ending All Life Everywhere Forever In The Elder Scrolls There is very nearly an endless amount of content packed into the Elder Scrolls games. While each one is great in it's own special way, nothing will beat out The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind as my favorite of all time. And the reason is simple. Because no matter where you look, there is probably going to be a secret hidden somewhere on your screen. From the very first time you gain control of your character to the moment you decide to stop playing the game you'll have something new to find. It is seriously an amazing game. But despite all this, you can still get bored sometimes. And when you have the literal strength of a God, things can get pretty crazy for all life on the continent. Crazy deadly, that is. They're all dead and they don't even know it. While it is true that you can go throughout the entire continent and permanently kill every single person you see, including quest characters important to the story, there just lacks a certain flare to that approach. The much more satisfying thing to do would be to strip down to your underwear and equip only a bow and arrow. Why is that? Because you're the Flash now. By the end of the game, your character's agility is through the roof. Of course you become slowed down by carrying large items like armor and weapons, so when you drop all of that in favor of just a bow and your undies, you become unstoppable. You'll be jumping over entire towns and zipping across the landscape like the Roadrunner in your quest to end all things, and it hilarious every time. Running Jurassic Park Is Tough The game Jurassic Park: Genesis might be a somewhat ancient release for last generation consoles and PC, but it is hands down some of the most fun you'll have while playing a city building game of any type. But that doesn't exactly mean you'll be building much of anything. In fact, you'll probably be destroying more than you're building. What could possibly go wrong? Now there are two ways you can go about this once the normal game becomes too boring. Firstly, you can go the nature preserve route. This is where you make a custom map that is more or less just one giant landmass with lakes scattered about. You fill it up with food sources and dinosaurs living together and watch as nature takes over. They'll hunt each other, breed, maybe even thrive. That is until you get in your helicopter and start hunting them for sport. The second thing you can do is just pull a straight up Jurassic Park on your visitors and staff by destroying the exit to the park while also knocking a few holes in the fences of your exhibits. To make things even more dramatic, you can make use of a cheat that will make a thunderstorm form over your park. Once chaos has been established, it is then time to get in your helicopter and hunt everything for sport. The Sims Are Proof That We're Monsters The Sims is a really weird game series. It is essentially a game where you take care of a little house full of people with the same needs and wants as you, only their lives are sped up to a dramatic degree. You can do all of the same things your sims are currently doing for real, but the only difference is you get to see the results of your sim's hard work almost instantly compared to the years it would take you in real life. Despite their horrendously short lifespan, our sims really do have it better than us. All of their hopes, dreams and fears are very plain and obvious to each other and there's absolutely no guess work involved with their day to day life. If they want someone to like them, all they need to do is tell them the same joke five times in a row. If they hate someone, then there are no repercussions to fighting them. Having it so nice can kind of lead to a resentment. Notice the lack of a ladder on that pool. And resentment plus boredom is a recipe for death. Death for the sims anyways. You'll enjoy their terror and confusion immensely. Does this make you a bad person? Yes, of course it does. but who cares? Those sims had it coming for even daring to strive for the goals you set before them! Now, just how do you seek needless revenge against things that don't really exist? Well the most popular way is to just throw them in a pool and take out the ladder, but that isn't nearly theatrical enough! They need to put on a show! Eight sims in one house. No doors, no windows, SAD CLOWN PAINTINGS EVERYWHERE, and of course different tools that will help them on their way to death. Will Ricardo be eaten by flies? Will Jill cry herself to death in the Mime room? Will that pizza delivery guy ever deliver that pizza?! Nobody really knows the answers to those questions, except for the last surviving contestant. And he's too depressed to talk to anyone about it. Whelp, I guess that means it is time to let him live his life and see where he goes with his horrific memories of watching all of his friends fight over the last doughnut, only for Drew Carey to swipe it right before he was eaten alive by cockroaches. Becoming An NPC In Grand Theft Auto Out of every story I've ever read about people becoming bored with their games, they've almost always had these same two things in common. Extreme violence and needless destruction. So when you see stories like the one I'm about to tell, you have to wonder to yourself. Who is more crazy? The one who lashes out at their surroundings, or the one who disappears into them? Things tend to go south rather quickly. In a game where the main point is to pretty much go crazy and cause as much mayhem as you want, things can get pretty complicated when you get bored with the game. You can't really go on a mayhem if the whole point of the game is your ability to go on a mayhem whenever you want... So what do you do? You lash out at cliches and become one with the game, of course. A somewhat crazy and fun thing to do in the Grand Theft Auto series is to see just how long you can go without incident as a normal npc in the game world. This means obeying the speed limit, stopping at red lights, no fighting or bumping into people and certainly no killing. Can you do it? And if so, for how long? When does it become mind numbing? How long can you last before you lash out?! There is only one way to find out. When you become bored with a game, even just for a day, your mind will make up the fun for you by making up new rules and objectives for you to follow. Whether you're killing everyone forever or just trying to get down the street without scratching the paint on your car, there is always fun to be had with your games. What are some crazy objectives you've set for yourself? Why not describe them in the comments below? As always, thank you for reading.
  10. Video games are something that we all have in common. No matter what genres you“re into, or what consoles (or PC) you affiliate with, it doesn“t change the fact that we all spend at least some portion of our time with video games. So, now that Microsoft has stepped away from their much hated DRM plans for Xbox One, many are now able to accept the system as something possibly worth purchasing down the line. I was one such person who was not pleased with the direction Microsoft was pursuing, but even now, there is very little currently luring me to the system. What would it take to get me to want to own the system? I do not oppose it on the fact that they ever attempted to do “anti-consumer” things, but simply see little of interest to my tastes. There are definitely some games that I loved that came exclusively to Xbox and Xbox 360, though. If some of these titles were reborn then I would be ready to jump into a midnight launch line to pick up the Xbox One. Breakdown Namco provided an incredibly unique game to Xbox owners in 2004 with Breakdown. In regards to story, voice acting, and visuals, it isn“t the most stunning thing out there. Instead, what makes this game such an interesting part of gaming history is the viewpoint. Instead of the first-person camera we“re used to where we just see a gun, players were greeted to a set of limbs. Not just limbs for holding a gun and shooting with, either. You were also able to interact with the environment in a multitude of ways, punch and kick people, and view all of this occurring as if it were your body. Now it might not seem that fantastic now but at the time the game was known primarily because of the oddness. As “next gen” is meant to be about experimentation and innovation this would be a great game to revisit. Kameo: Elements of Power Rare has gotten a lot of attention lately due to the reveal of a new Killer Instinct game at E3 2013 (even if it is actually being developed by Double Helix). But what about Kameo: Elements of Power, the property they brought to Xbox 360 for its launch in 2005? The action-adventure game was surprisingly fresh for the time and brought bright, lively visuals to a system that would rarely seem them over its own lifespan. If it seemed strangely suited to Microsoft“s system, that“s because it was initially set to be on the GameCube. This may have reflected itself in the relative ease of gameplay, but all the same, it brought an interesting gameplay concept of shape shifting to Microsoft“s box. Why not revitalize and expand upon such elements with the power of a more modern system? Metal Wolf Chaos First off, yes, I“m aware that this video game gem never left Japan. Secondly, that doesn“t mean it was unable to become known by Microsoft and non-Microsoft fans alike as one of the most hilariously “American” games ever made. Sure, it might have been developed by FromSoftware in Japan, but they sure beat us to it. The game focuses on the United States as a country in serious unrest. As the President, you decide to take matters into your hand. Foregoing the House, Senate, and any other sort of governmental decision making, Mr. President jumps into his personal mech and gets to work. Considering the fabulous-looking mech game Titanfall is likely going to be a huge hit for Microsoft platforms, they could use more games of the genre in the future. If only Metal Wolf Chaos 2 could be one of them. Phantom Dust Why on Earth didn“t Phantom Dust take off? It“s hard for me to figure out considering the game is so incredibly fun. Mostly, it must have come down to the Xbox userbase at the time who found themselves more compelled by standard Western games than anything niche. Obviously that is not true of all players, but what a shame. Phantom Dust was in fact developed by Microsoft Game Studios but you“d likely never realize it while playing. The game seems far more like an interpretation of Jojo“s Bizarre Adventure than Halo. This is likely due to the design aid of Yukio Futatsugi who crafted the much-loved Panzer Dragoon. Considering that Futatsugi is already involved with Microsoft again for Crimson Dragon, this may be the most likely possible sequel on my list! Yes, a lot of the choices are niche but that's what it would take. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both going to see a lot of sales, but many of those will hedge upon which has the better exclusives - real exclusives. Timed DLC is unlikely to sway consumers nearly as much as full games. Although these four games likely won't come to fruition, or even change perceptions if they did, it would certainly add an air of creativity to the system.
  11. Jason Clement

    Soulcalibur 2 HD Online Coming This Fall

    Namco Bandai announced that an HD update to the classic fighting game Soulcalibur 2 would be heading to Xbox 360 and PS3. According to Polygon, it's a straight and faithful port rather than an entire remake. Players of the original 2003 version of the game will remember that each platform had a unique special character included in that version, with Heihachi being exclusive to PS2, Link being exclusive to Gamecube, and Spawn being exclusive to Xbox. However, the teaser shown at Comic-Con only showed Heihachi, so it would seem that Spawn is out of the question, as is Link (especially since the game isn't coming to Wii U). Also notable - Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada announced that Masaaki Hoshino would be serving as producer on the Soulcalibur series from now on. Soulcalibur 2 HD Online will be coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 this Fall.
  12. Marcus Estrada

    Flashback Remake Includes Original Flashback

    In 1992, Paul Cuisset and Delphine Software produced a fantastic game (for the time or otherwise) called Flashback. It was highly cinematic in nature, with flowing motion and action. Players who have experienced the original Prince of Persia should be familiar with this style of game. Despite being difficult, there was still much to like about Flashback. The game was left alone until recently VectorCell decided to take a crack at a remake. This is Cuisset's modern game studio which is best (or worst?) known for creating Amy on XBLA. The modernized version of Flashback appears to have changed a lot, although it still retains a fluid 2D atmosphere. On August 21st, Flashback launches on XBLA at a discounted price due to being part of the Summer of Arcade promotion. Regardless of how the game turns out, at least players will be able to experience the original classic too. VectorCell announced that the 1992 version will come alongside their new game. Two games for the price of 800 Microsoft Points doesn't sound that bad. It just remains to be seen if there are a large amount of Flashback fans out there, or gamers who will look past VectorCell's previous work.
  13. If you're an Xbox owner you're likely aware of the Games with Gold promotion currently underway. Announced at E3, it was meant to be a way to hype 360 players with free games each month until the Xbox One launches. Unfortunately, it is not a new addition to Gold, at least not yet. In either case, the next game on the menu to go free is Assassin's Creed 2. Yes, this is a non-exclusive game that came out in 2009 but that doesn't mean it isn't good. Those who have yet to play it really should, as it stands as one of the best in the main series of numbered Assassin's Creed games. You can download the game at no cost as long as you have a current Xbox Live gold subscription. Be aware that each game is only up for download for a limited amount of time. If you're interested, try and download it this weekend just to be safe. What is your favorite Assassin's Creed game?
  14. Marcus Estrada

    Summer of Arcade 2013 Dated for August

    Those with access to an internet-connected Xbox 360 have likely seen Microsoft's yearly Summer of Arcade sales. During the summer months they offer up four different XBLA titles to go on sale. It benefits the developers, Microsoft, and gamers who get a deal on the new games. So what four games are going to be on sale and in what order? How much will they cost? All this information has been shared today on the Major Nelson blog. Let's take a look at the info: August 7: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - 1,200 MS Points August 14: Charlie Murder - 800 MS Points August 21: Flashback - 800 MS Points August 28: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - 1,200 MS Points Although the majority of these games are not exclusives, they may offered at the best price during their launch. As you can see, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is the first game up! This title in particular has seen a lot of buzz. If all works out, then stay tuned to GamePodunk as we review these titles in the future. Do you want to pick up any of the four titles?
  15. Marcus Estrada

    Xbox Live Beta Signups Open

    If you've got a 360 and still use it regularly then you might be interested in the latest public beta that will soon be underway. The basic information about this update was posted on Major Nelson's blog where he invited the community to join in on the beta. What does the beta offer? Well, it speeds up the system's booting as well as a handful of other performance tweaks. The bigger aspect of this change however is the removal of Microsoft points in favor of real money-based transactions. This is of course because Xbox One was promised to use local currency transactions. In order to offer this, the existing Xbox Live needs to be transferred over beforehand. If you want to give these new features a test then you can sign up. Unlike previous betas, users sign up through the 360 itself.
  16. Square Enix released the latest trailer for the upcoming Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII today, and it highlights several interesting things. For one, Lightning narrates the opening by saying how she's tasked with rescuing lost souls in the current world and guiding them into the next. Hope also figures into the game prominently as a character as well, and seems to be the one overseeing Lightning's quest. Snow and Sarah also show up briefly, as does one other old friend in a surprise appearance: Fang. There is a brief moment where Noel explains his reasons for fighting against Lightning as well. In all, Lightning Returns seems to be wrapping up a lot of loose threads and bringing characters together for an explosive finale, and it'll be interesting to see how it all concludes. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is slated to release on February 14, 2014 on Xbox 360 and PS3.
  17. Marcus Estrada

    Kameo: Elements of Power Cover

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  18. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse got a pretty bad rap from game critics, but they just did what they were paid to do - they reviewed it based on its merits as a game. However, that's not (entirely) what I'm here to do today. I've noticed that many reviewers of the game had varying knowledge of the show, but not many of them actually claimed to like the show - heck, I saw one review where the reviewer admitted to not even liking the show. So I decided it was high time a die-hard fan of the show reviewed the game. This is that review. *cue that "dun dun" sound from Law & Order* Developer: Heavy Iron Studios Publisher: Activision Platform(s): Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC Release Date: November 20, 2012 ESRB: M This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is a third-person shooter based on the Family Guy television show, specifically, the episode "Road to the Multiverse." In that episode, Brian, the Griffin family dog, and Stewie, the baby of the family, travel into parallel universes that show Quahog, Rhode Island - the setting of the show - in various states such as a scientifically advanced utopia and a world run by dogs. Back to the Multiverse runs with that theme by setting each level in an alternate universe, many of which are based on other episodes and gags from Family Guy that have nothing to do with "Road to the Multiverse." So does the game get the Family Guy humor right, or does it fall flat on its ass-neck? The story of the game begins with Bertram, Stewie's evil half-brother who was killed in the episode "The Big Bang Theory," returning to swear vengeance on Stewie - it turns out that this Bertram is from an alternate universe, and is amassing an army from other universes to destroy the universe in which Stewie, Brian, and the other Griffins reside. Stewie and Brian leap into action, with Stewie grabbing guns from his secret bunker in his room and grabbing his multiverse remote to chase Bertram through the multiverse and stop him from exacting revenge. While the premise is interesting, the universes visited in the game aren't really all that inspired, compared to the universes featured in the Road to... episode. There's a world ruled by frat boys and sorority girls, then a world ruled by Amish, a world where everyone is evil, a world ruled by alien chickens, a world ruled by...well, you get the idea. While having one constant theme to the universe isn't a bad idea in itself, it's the choice of themes that drags the game down, because none of them are really that interesting. Stewie explains the basics of what's happening in each universe when he and Brian arrive, but you wouldn't really have to be all that sharp to figure out that a level teeming with pirates is a pirate universe. The one saving grace of each universe is all the call-outs and winks to episodes of the series - for instance, in a level where handicapped people have all the power, there's a Wheelies Cereal ad from "Ready, Willing, and Disabled" and the Big Pete's House of Munch restaurant from "No Meals on Wheels." You'll also find appearances from other characters in the show, who are usually dressed to suit the theme of the level. You might find Herbert patiently waiting for school to let out in the Amish world, or find Quagmire tied to a bed in the evil universe. These nods and cameos really help to let you know that you're in the Family Guy world, and often provide some humor that other parts of the game are lacking. Many characters from the show make appearances, regardless of whether they fit the level's theme. By lacking, I mean the dialogue - most of it isn't all that funny. I certainly chuckled a few times, but overall the jokes really fall flat. Thankfully, all dialogue is recorded by the voice actors from the show, so at least it's done right even when it's not done funny. The worst part about the dialogue is that very little of it was recorded specifically for the game. The cutscene dialogue is mostly new, but the words uttered by various characters (including Brian and Stewie) throughout the level are mostly lifted directly from the show. What's worse, much of the voice work is repeated throughout each level, where a few canned lines play each time a character picks up ammo or health, resulting in a lot of repetition that gets old fast. It's certainly funny to hear a line the first time and remember which episode it's from, but not so funny after you've heard it a hundred times over the course of the fairly brief, 10 level campaign. I'm not sure how long it took me to complete the game since it doesn't keep track of playtime, but I can safely say it wasn't more than 6-7 hours, and that was only because I scoured every part of every level looking for collectibles and shout-outs to the show. If you just blow through the game, it might take 4 hours at most. The game's music isn't too bad, and it sounds like music that was composed specifically for the show, even on the occasions where it wasn't. Where the game really shines is the graphics, because the game essentially looks like a 3D version of the show. The graphics are cartoonish and all the characters look like they should, which is a great touch that brings the game closer to the source material. It also helps that the game opens with the show's intro, though it would have been cooler if it was rendered in 3D and not a direct video. The game also runs at a smooth 60 FPS framerate, and it almost never bogs down regardless of on-screen action. The game certainly looks the part. So how does it play? Back to the Multiverse is a pretty standard third-person shooter, which is an odd fit for a Family Guy game, but it's at least more entertaining than the mish-mash of gameplay styles from the 2006 Family Guy game. You play as Brian or Stewie and can switch out between them, unless you're playing co-op, which is local only - no online here. Each character has a set of weapons that they gradually unlock over the course of the game, and their weapons are different enough from each other to make both characters useful in certain situations. There are also a handful of powerups to use, such as one that summons Ernie the Giant Chicken to attack your enemies, or dropping a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man to distract enemies. Unlike most third-person shooters of this generation, this isn't a cover-based shooter, and there's no regenerating health - the enemies will sometimes take cover behind objects, but for the most part, they stand in the open to fire at you or run right up to you to hit you with melee attacks, which you can ward off with your own clumsy swinging of Stewie's golf club or Brian's whiskey bottle. That is, the enemies do these things when their programming actually works - oftentimes enemies would simply stand and stare at me, even when I was right in front of them, as if waiting to be put out of their misery from this fairly mediocre experience. The gunplay works, the melee doesn't work quite as well but still does its job, and the AI gets better later in the game for some reason, but taken as a whole, this game just doesn't have anything unique to offer. Really, it doesn't have much to offer at all - there are some neat unlockables, like costumes from various episodes of the show, as well as multiplayer characters, but it's not likely that you'll want to take the time to unlock everything the game has to offer anyway. Aside from the campaign, there's a multiplayer mode that I didn't get to try, because it's all local-only. There's the regulation deathmatch mode, a horde mode, something called Infiltration, and in a shout-out to an older episode, a mode called Catch the Greased-Up Deaf Guy. In multiplayer, you can play as various characters including and besides Stewie or Brian, many of which have to be unlocked from the in-game store with money collected during the campaign. The game also has a challenge mode, where you're dropped into one of the campaign maps and given some objective to complete, such as defeating a certain number of enemies or rescuing a number of NPCs. The challenges have 3 difficulty levels and can be played solo or co-op, but there's really not much reason to play them outside of a few unlocks and possibly boredom. All in all, Back to the Multiverse is a fairly solid game aside from some enemy AI issues, just one low on content and with nothing unique to set it apart from the myriad of other shooters out there. As a game, it works, but isn't going to wow anyone. As a Family Guy game, it's got plenty of references and nods to the show, and at least some of the humor is there, but in the end you're still playing a fairly bland shooter that just happens to feature characters and themes from a popular show. Die-hard fans may get a kick out of some parts of the game, but definitely shouldn't pay the asking price of admission - just give it a rental if you want to get in on the fan service, or if you've ever wondered what a particularly long episode of Family Guy with lots of violence and no cutaways would be like. Score: 6.0 out of 10 Closing comment: A middling score for a middling shooter. There's a little something here for fans, but only if you're willing to play through a standard shooter with spotty AI and aren't concerned about not being able to play multiplayer online. Maybe if you have friends who also like Family Guy to play co-op and multiplayer with you, you could try to get the game cheap, but otherwise, just stick to a rental.
  19. Marcus Estrada

    Microsoft Stops Charging 360 Game Patch Fees

    Here's an interesting shift in Microsoft's stance. For the 360's lifespan they have always required that developers pay a fee if they use up their one complimentary patch. When Fez hit XBLA and had issues was the first time many gamers were made aware of the practice, as Polytron decided to forgo any new patch due to the fee. Eurogamer has received the word from multiple developers that this rule is done with. These updates, known as Title Updates, are now free unless a developer is abusing them to make too many updates. As it stands, having a previous fee on the updates sometimes served Microsoft well to have developers aware that they needed to provide a solid product at launch. However, in this development age, it seems that is very tough to do. We now have to wonder if this change will follow from the 360 over to Xbox One.
  20. It was during Microsoft's E3 conference that they initially announced that they were copying a bit of what makes PlayStation Plus so alluring to consumers. Starting from July until the Xbox One releases in November, they will offer two free games a month for Xbox Live Gold members. The promotional page is live and shows off Fable III although that is actually a game not included in the promotion's time span. Each month a free game will come out on the 1st and 16th. July's two games are Assassin's Creed II and Halo 3. Just like Sony's Instant Game Collection, these titles are only available for a limited time as free downloads. Of course, only Gold members can take part in nabbing them as well (it is unknown if losing Gold status will remove the games). Also, this is not a new facet of Xbox Live Gold but simply a way to drum up excitement until the Xbox One launches which is when the promotion will end.
  21. At a time when people were first starting to be tired by the excessive zombiefication of gaming, Plants vs. Zombies came on the scene to become surprisingly well liked. The tower defense game was cute and strangely addicting. For whatever reason, it was decided that there should be a third person shooter based off of the Plants vs. Zombies world and that's where Garden Warfare comes in. It doesn't seem like anyone was asking for this game, but it exists anyway! Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is coming to Xbox One first, then Xbox 360.
  22. Jason Clement

    New Xbox 360

  23. DarkCobra86

    How Xbox One Differs From Xbox 360

    Though this was interesting and wanted to share with GP. Definitely making me sure I don't want an Xbox one. Credits goes to milkman on GDD for finding this on neogaf.
  24. Unless you are getting the trilogy version or already have it. I think this is an excellent deal if you wanted to play the game. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Mass+Effect+3+-+Xbox+360/2795128.p?id=1218352577734&skuId=2795128&st=Mass%20Effect%20&lp=2&cp=1 Xbox 360 http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Mass+Effect+3+-+PlayStation+3/2820073.p?id=1218356321860&skuId=2820073&st=Mass%20Effect%20&lp=4&cp=1 PS3
  25. A new trailer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII reveals that the third entry in the Final Fantasy XIII series will miss a 2013 release and instead launch early next year. This is hardly surprising seeing how Final Fantasy XIII-2 released in January of last year, so it makes sense that Lightning Returns would need at least 2 years to finish and polish up before its release. Another not-so-surprising reveal in the trailer is the appearance of Snow, whose appearance is slightly different this time around and who is still looking for Serah, Lightning's sister. Looks like the two have a little clash at some point in the game as well. And last but not least, the city shown in the trailer is revealed to be called Yusnaan; you can expect to hear more about it over the course of the next 8 months or so. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will release on Xbox 360 and PS3 on February 11, 2014 in the US, and February 14 in Europe. You can view the latest trailer below.