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Found 15 results

  1. Jonathan Higgins

    E3 2015 Hands-On: Tearaway Unfolded

    When Tearaway came to the PlayStation Vita in late 2013, I had no idea how hard I would fall in love with it. It“s a game I hold to such high standards, a game that means so much to me that I wrote a lengthy piece quite some time ago that tries to get to the bottom of why I feel it“s so special. The world Media Molecule created felt like it was mine. In fact, I remember the game asking me to take a picture of my world. Rather than take a picture of my living room or the outside, I answered that request by taking a picture of my girlfriend. That picture of her started showing up in books devoted to the study of the sun — of what Tearaway considered my world! That“s the kind of experience that brings people closer to you to watch and see the crazy things Media Molecule is capable of. I feel like that“s one of many reasons why I“m excited about Tearaway Unfolded. It delivers the same “message” as the Vita version (plus brand new content, too), but it does so in different ways — ways much easier to share with people thanks to it being on PlayStation 4. Before I discuss these console-specific features, here“s a bit for those completely unfamiliar with Tearaway. This is a game created by the folks who made Little Big Planet, so you can expect the same care and attention to detail, in terms of its overall presentation. It tells the story of a message — Iota or Atoi — an actual letter given form and motivation thanks to You, an omniscient force helping it along. It“s a platforming game that“s built on “breaking the fourth wall”, so to speak. Interactions between the world of Tearaway Unfolded and You, the player, are absolutely vital. I was worried those interactions, which rely heavily on the Vita“s hardware specifically, wouldn“t translate so well on PlayStation 4. But, by the end of the E3 2015 demo, I“m confident the game will leave everyone who played the original game on Vita feeling just as happy as they did before, despite some different approaches. And if this is your first time ever playing Tearaway? I“m honestly all the more excited for you. There are three main components that stood out in the demo, and all three of them heavily involved the PlayStation 4 controller. The first involved a platform that seemed beyond my reach, so I swiped the touch-screen on the controller and made a gust of wind blow the paper down towards me. After the wind left, the platform returned back the way it was, and I could access a new area. When I was ambushed by a group of enemies that Atoi wasn“t strong enough to defeat on her own, the game prompted her to throw a rock at me — which ended up in my controller (there were indeed sounds of a crumpled up rock to add immersion, too) — so I could aim and then chuck it back at the enemies with much more force than Atoi could manage herself. After adventuring for a while, Atoi reached an ice cave where my Guiding Light — the LED light on the controller, mind you — had the power to melt the ice blocking her path forward. Those are just three features specific to the PlayStation 4. Others are indeed faithfully translated from the Vita, like drawing and cutting out shapes upon a citizen“s request. When an elk asked me to make it snow, I obliged by drawing a snowflake using the controller's touch-pad, then using the Guiding Light to pick it up and show the world what I could do. The one thing I was curious about was how the game would feel without the use of the Vita“s camera, but the game does indeed use the PlayStation Eye (which was available to me for the demo), so I“m not able to accurately assess how the world would feel without a camera for further immersion. Still, even without some of the hardware-specific details that made the Vita version so special to me, I am now fully confident that Tearaway Unfolded will show both new and returning fans how much fun the PlayStation 4“s world can be. It will be available on September 8th. If you want to hear even more before then, be sure to check out the game's official website.
  2. barrel

    Review: Tearaway

    Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: Sony Platform: PS Vita Release Date: November 22, 2013 ESRB: E for Everyone Media Molecule has always been a developer I respected, but never one where I was particularly invested in their actual games. Their first IP, LittleBigPlanet, left me of two minds: in raw creativity it allowed for something incredibly distinct and made headway for a vast amount of community-generated content on consoles; but as a game, it was mainly a toolset to make content that was arguably mediocre on its own with so-so platforming mechanics. Tearaway is their second foray at a new IP, with a very clearly inspired origami presentation and an ambitious design specific to the Vita hardware. With little respect to such ambition, and like many first-party Sony properties in 2013, Tearaway had the extremely unfortunate luck of not only being torn aside by having virtually no marketing, but it was also released in an incredibly brutal November time-frame. Whether or not it be out of pity, or being a self-proclaimed handheld fanboy, I decide to not leave Tearaway crumbled up or forgotten. I“ll answer the questions in advance: The silly headband-looking thing are actually a pair of headphones you can wear when you are resting. And yes, I“m always angry. The narrative initially unfolds with “You” (yes, the player in real life) quite literally shaking up both the real world and Tearaway“s imaginative papercraft world. By doing so, "You" somehow create a connection to both worlds. This spurs a curious papercraft avatar character, either Iota or Atoi, to go on an adventure to deliver a message to “You”. Having your face firmly embedded in the sun of their world, you help guide Iota/Atoi, with your otherworldly and seemingly omnipotent prowess, on their pilgrimage. For what would normally seem like a pretty basic and easy-going platformer (I'm using that term very loosely), Tearaway absolutely thrives off of its presentation, however shallow that may initially sound. In general, traversing through the world will never really be taxing or a test of reflexive skill; the experience is meant to be absorbed with a childish wonderment and be a vent for creativity. The origami aesthetic feels almost tangible on the OLED screen and the audio design is brimming to complement it in its immersive qualities. In motion, Tearaway is absolutely mesmerizing to behold and, as cliche as this phrasing is, its world feels truly alive. However stilted papercraft may inherently be in real life, the game truly goes above and beyond with its visual theme. It really feels like you can go right out and touch stuff in its world, which in some instances, you can outright do so, whether it be in the specified sequences or through casual discovery. You can also seriously tell there is a real genuine passion and commitment to the origami theme, where the title even goes as far as to give you instructions on how to create the individual characters in real-life through actual papercraft. Another treat with how the title is presented is in regards to its audio. The musical tracks play on a celtic musical theme for the most part, and despite being sparse in number count, they are quite well-done and stand out in the instances where they do make an appearance. But the more impressive works with the audio are in its more subtle atmospheric material, such as the sound of scissors serving as percussion in a background song when drawing/cutting stuff to the natural ebb and flow of paper environments wrestling back and forth; things that may very well slip past you since it is so seamlessly captivating. It's hard to not simply gush with enthusiasm about how much it gets it right in its presentational grandeur. Beyond that, though, what makes Tearaway memorable past being a stunning visual showcase is how immaculately it pulls personalized interactivity with its controls and the player's seemingly passive influence to its setting during gameplay. Like the intro implies, Tearaway is distinctly an adventure for “You” to play around within its world. While the end destination is the same for all players due to its structure, it goes out of its way to get you to contribute, and by doing so, integrates nearly every unorthodox feature on the Vita system in surprisingly cohesive ways (except “Near”; let“s be real…). The various system uses range from asking you draw a crown via touchscreen for a squirrel king, or taking a real-life photo to give a deer a new fur coat, or recording an audio clip to give a scarecrow an intimidating scream, and many more unique scenarios later on. There is also something that is stupidly charming, and probably partially narcissistic in my case, when it uses Vita's camera to place your face upon on the sun throughout the story, or when you poke your hands via the rear-pad into the world, and seeing the characters being taken aback by your "power" and constantly captivated by your presence. What is more impressive is how often it changes things up, despite how gimmicky most of these things are by themselves, so it feels so consistently fresh and appealing. What I think I like the most about playing through the game, though, is how much it encourages creativity. Iota/Atoi are fully customizable for the most part and with enough time and effort you can truly do some amazing stuff. It is especially impressive that I felt comfortable using my fingers to draw, despite owning a capacitive stylus, because the controls were so spot-on. Admittedly, I've never had a lot of confidence in myself as an artist, so I never did too much to customize Iota look beyond placing preset accessories (plus I like the character designs enough already), but it still manages to make it fun regardless of your artistic talent. One early game example is that it casually asks you to draw a snowflake. It certainly doesn“t have to be a snowflake, it can be anything you want to draw using the touchscreen. So, naturally, I just drew a crude-looking starfish face... thing. However, that crude, seemingly irrelevant one-time joke, helped pave the visual theme for that entire level where every-single-“snowflake” in the sky was that goofy looking drawing of mine flowing to and fro with the wind, just because - Tearaway is full of little moments like that. Still, for as one-sidedly positive as I may seems towards the experience, that doesn't mean it is free of criticisms. Perhaps Tearaway“s greatest flaw is how much it relies on its first time charm and novelty. The core gameplay is hardly indicative of reliving the experience again because of its carefree structure, simple mechanics, and focus on things that are only likely captivate the first-time you see them. It may have worked nearly flawlessly on myself playing through, but it“s still a short-game at the end of the day lasting on average 5-6 hours with very little replay value and not very noteworthy overall collectibles (aside from the papercraft sheets). Also, it isn't free of technical issues, where I encountered two bugs that were close to game-breaking and almost significantly dimmed my overall experience and progress. Also, the combat in particular definitely wears out its welcome and is easily the weakest portion. Even if the game does try to introduce new things as it progresses to the combat, it simply isn“t enough to make it not feel like an out-of-place chore most of time, especially when the title's best moments are without a doubt in its calmer sequences. I think the advantage that Nintendo has always had with their recent handheld hardware is that they have always lent it better to creativity and a lot of releases reflected that. Ironically, Tearaway managed to ignore that memo entirely, and was by far the most creative title that was released on handhelds in 2013. Even if Tearaway is by no means perfect, the moments it does excel at are outright brilliant and can easily overshadow most of its minor issues. While there are certainly plenty of better games (from a mechanical standpoint) that came out in 2013, you“d have a tough argument to say that few others are as ridiculously endearing, immersive, memorable, and downright creative as Tearaway. Pros: + Stellar, captivating presentation that uses origami aesthetic in striking ways + Vita system features are utilized very cleverly throughout + Creates a personalized adventure that is ridiculously charming + Well-done musical score and great audio design Cons: - Short and doesn“t have much replay value - Combat sequences don“t add much to the game - Some bugs Overall Score: 9.0 (out of 10) Fantastic Proving to be more than just a system showcase, Tearaway delightfully molds itself into one of the most memorable, creative, and downright charming titles you can find on any system from 2013.
  3. barrel

    2013 12 08 180452

    From the album: Tearaway

  4. barrel

    2013 12 07 233816

    From the album: Tearaway

  5. barrel

    2013 12 07 230242

    From the album: Tearaway

  6. barrel

    2013 12 07 210841

    From the album: Tearaway

  7. barrel

    2013 12 07 210300

    From the album: Tearaway

  8. barrel

    2013 12 06 155353

    From the album: Tearaway

  9. Jason Clement

    Tearaway

  10. Much to the disappointment of doomsday-preppers everywhere, the end of the year has finally reached us and we're all still kicking around. You know what that means! That's right, you get to watch me desperately try to think up ten different games that came out this year that I can remember liking. I knew what my choice for game of the year would be weeks in advance, but the other nine spots were a nightmare battlefield to choose the games that were almost the best, but just didn't quite have what it took. A special note to all of the great games I haven't played this year - games such as Metal Gear Rising and Dragon's Crown. The only reason you aren't on this list right now is because I just haven't gotten around to playing you. But I'm sure someone will take you in and give you the praise you probably deserve. 10. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 I don't watch anime much anymore. I simply don't have the time unless it is something I really feel the need to watch. Naruto is not on that list of must-watch shows. But the games, great golly gosh are they just swell. At least, most of them are. Last year saw the release of Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm: Generations, a game that was clearly rushed out the door missing some of the series best features and gimmicks. It was awful and had no right to be on my shelf. But Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 was a return to form with the game's huge cinematic boss battles, an endless list of playable characters and an art style that looks so much like the anime that you can't help but be impressed. It certainly isn't the best game of the year, but it is one of my most favorite fighting games released this year. 9. Guacamelee I bought Guacamelee the moment it released onto the Playstation store without so much as knowing what it was even about. It was on sale, I had money in my PSN wallet, and it was simply the best looking game that was going to release for that month's indie sales, so I had no choice but to get it. What followed was about five hours of pure lucha madness. Unlocking new moves, exploring the world looking for hidden treasures and completing a multitude of quests throughout the game's story was just plain old fashioned fun. The game was hard at times without being so difficult that you'd get angry and quit, staring blankly into the mirror holding back the tears of your failure. Even though the story itself wasn't all there, it was still fun and had a very interesting ending considering how lighthearted the game itself was. You could really just buy it for the music alone and get your money's worth. 8. Rain Official GP Review I'm a pretty big fan of those artsy fartsy indie games that have been coming out as of late. Case in point - I wouldn't have guessed in a million years that I'd ever nominate a game entirely about walking and jumping as GOTY, but that is exactly what happened last year when I put Journey as my favorite game of 2012. And it wasn't even the only game like it on my list. There was also The Unfinished Swan, a game about a boy trapped in an invisible world where he uses paint to see his surroundings, and though its story was poor at best in my opinion, the gameplay mechanics were dynamite. And now in 2013, we're back here again with the PS3 game Rain. You play a young boy who turns invisible the moment he steps out into the rain pouring down over his town, but he isn't alone. Lurking in the unseen are strange, mangled beasts that want nothing more than to kill the children trapped in the rain. While people might not agree with me, the game gave me a huge Silent Hill vibe while I played. The further you progress, the more twisted and demented the game becomes. I can't recommend it enough, and that is what earned it a spot on this list. Be warned though, there isn't much replay value in the game itself. There are collectibles to find after you beat the game, but it isn't very fun to go through the same puzzles twice. 7. Grand Theft Auto V Official GP Review Grand Theft Auto V didn't exactly get the best score in the world when it was reviewed here on Game Podunk. Some people liked it, some people didn't. That is just how opinions work. But even stranger are the day walkers people who both liked and disliked the game for the sum of its parts. The single-player portion of the game was mighty fun to just mess around in and the characters portrayed were impressive to say the least. It was the first GTA game where I actively wanted to play the story mode just to see where the characters went. But then there are the game's extra activities. Things like yoga, tennis and bike riding. While those things are neat to see in a game where you can do so much, they just weren't fun to do. I would have been thrilled if they had been cut in favor of more heists or things like that, but that is just me. The thing that really pushed GTA V to my #7 spot had to be the online, though. It was so terribly broken and nearly impossible to get ahead in the game that outside of playing with friends, I had no fun whatsoever with it. 6. Beyond: Two Souls Official GP Review Much like Heavy Rain before it, Beyond: Two Souls suffered from some pretty bad gaps in its story. From disjointed scenes that had nothing to do with the game's story to huge revelations that ultimately lead nowhere, Beyond was a pretty frustrating game at times, especially near the ending of the game. However, it wasn't really noticeable while I was in the thick of it. While everything was flying by me and I was fighting ghosts or some such, it all seemed pretty great. It was always after I turned the game off that I started realizing that certain things just didn't make sense. I nearly had the same problem with Telltale's Walking Dead game when it released last year. While I played the game and avoided spoilers like they would kill me if i read them, it was all good exciting fun wrapped up in a neat little story. It was only after I beat the game that I figured out none of your choices mattered and you were essentially just clicking buttons until you got to the same scene as everybody else. Despite this, I'm still looking forward to TWD: Season 2 and whatever David Cage comes up with next. 5. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag I'll admit, I have not yet beaten Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag yet. Judging by the game's percentage counter, I'm only about 30% into the story and still have a lot to see and do. But that doesn't mean I can't put the game on this list, because what I have seen and done has been pretty great. Much better than all of the past Assassin's Creed games I've played so far. One of the game's best improvements has to be the areas of the game that take place in the real world. In the past iterations of the game, you were forced to jump around some ruins as Desmond Miles so you and your friends could turn on some lights or to simply walk from one area to another. It always annoyed me and the game felt incredibly boring during these areas. But in Black Flag, you can now search around an entire building in first-person mode looking for secrets and Easter eggs in people's offices as strange things begin to happen around your place of employment. For some reason I like this a lot more. There is also the whole piracy thing. Being the captain of a pirate ship sailing the seven seas has been a refreshing change from all of the grim, dark, save-the-world stuff we've seen in the past Assassin's Creed games. In this one you're just some guy bumbling through life trying to make a buck. There might be more to this character, but at the moment it is just great being a pirate. More games should aspire to just be fun like this! 4. Bioshock Infinite You all knew this was coming, don't deny it. The story was nonsensical at times, and there was absolutely no point to add in any player choice throughout the game since it never mattered in even the slightest. But the game was darn fun and the characters and setting were interesting as all get out. It is almost impossible to fail when your setting is in the early 1900's and your gameplay is at least passable. Thankfully, the gameplay was pretty fun too, so there wasn't any problem there from me. My only complaint might be that, even on hard, the game was a bit too easy at times. I, of course, never played on 1999 mode since I was being worse than a pirate and only borrowing the game from a friend, but either way it isn't too big of a complaint. 3. Tearaway Much like Assassin's Creed IV before it, I have not beaten Tearaway yet. This probably has to do with the fact that I do not own my own copy and it would be wrong of me to take it from the person who actually bought it seeing as they haven't beaten it yet either. But I have played a rather large portion of the game, and it is darn fun. One of the best Vita games I've played since I got my handheld a few months ago. Now, if it so great, why haven't I bought my own copy yet? Well, Christmas is the main reason. But rest assured I will be buying my own copy after the holidays are over, and you should too since despite how great it is, it isn't really getting all that many sales or publicity. So get out there and get this! Let people know you want new well made IP's on the Vita! EDIT: Shortly after this list was written up, Tearaway went on sale for $17 on the Playstation Store. Seeing as I couldn't pass that up, I now own my own copy. 2. The Last Of Us Surprise! The Last of Us is not my personal game of the year despite being absolutely great in pretty much every way. It was my belief that you should at least play on hard during your first playthrough of the game to get the best end of the world feeling with the game, and I was absolutely right. At no point through the game's story did I ever feel safe in the slightest. I was always scrounging, always searching for anything that could have been used as a weapon. In most games dealing with the end of the world, you never really feel threatened. In TLOU however, just hearing the distinct clicking noise of an infected was enough to put me into alert mode. With only a few areas in the game that felt out of place or overly action packed, it was the first game in years that actually felt like you were trying to survive. It was also the first game that let the feeling of survival by all means necessary actually flourish in its online mode. At least for me anyways, since I only ever played the modes where you could die once. More games need to make you feel nearly useless in every situation so that when you do manage to do something awesome, it actually feels amazing. 1. Ni No Kuni: The Wrath Of The Witch Official GP Review While I don't get a lot of free time to watch shows and movies, my absolute favorite movie of all time goes to Hayao Miyazaki's The Castle of Cagliostro. That isn't just my favorite animated movie either. That is out of all of the movies ever released since I have been alive. So of course I might have been a bit excited at the prospect of a game being worked on by Miyazaki, but I kept my cool as the months ticked by awaiting it's release. But the moment it was available for download on the Playstation store was the same moment I killed my Playstation's hard drive with a humongous download. But it was worth it, for after the nearly fifteen hour download and installation, I faced nearly 70 hours worth of gameplay. And while I might have beaten the main story in those 70 hours, there was still countless hours worth of content to still be found with endgame storylines, side missions, collectibles, monster taming and more. The game is just insane with how huge it is. In fact it is one of the game's downsides too. It takes nearly ten hours before you can even leave the first area in the game, and another ten hours before you can explore the world. But if anything, that is just me picking at straws to try and find a flaw. Sure the game might have held your hand at first, but there was an awful lot it had to explain to you. As for the game's story, it was a very Miyazaki affair. Filled with more of a child-like wonder. While that might turn some of today's gamers away, I absolutely loved it. The lighthearted art style and characters really brought the game together as I reunited the world. I could go on forever about just how much I loved this game, so let me leave it as this. If this game isn't at least mentioned on your list, I hate you. But not really though. Just go out and spend the $10 required to purchase a copy of your own and never look back as you get to truly enjoy a game of such a high caliber. You'll thank me for it. My thanks and congratulations go to Level-5 for making such an amazing game that I'm sure I will play for many more amazing hours. As always, thank you for reading, and have a happy new year.
  11. Jason Clement

    TearawayExo

    From the album: Editorial/Feature Images

  12. Jason Clement

    Tearaway Coming To A Vita Near You This Fall

    Tearaway was first revealed at Gamescom last year as Media Molecule's next project; their first new project since LittleBigPlanet 2 released some two years ago now, in fact. While we haven't heard a whole lot about the game since, Sony has revealed a solid release date for the Vita game: North America will be getting it on October 22nd; continental Europe on the 23rd; Australia and New Zealand on the 24th; and the UK and Ireland on the 25th. The game, while not terribly far removed from LittleBigPlanet's whimsical aesthetic, is based on a world that is entirely constructed from paper, and its gameplay focuses on manipulating the world and its levels by using the Vita's unique features (the touchscreen and touch pad on the back) to cut, paste, fold, and more. Are you looking forward to playing Tearaway this Fall?
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