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  1. GP Staff

    Game of the Year 2016: GP's Top 10

    We're nearly a month into the new year, but you didn't think we forgot to post GP's top 10 games of 2016, did you? Okay, so it's a little late, but better late than never, right? In any case, there were quite a few memorable and great games in 2016; our individual game of the year lists tended to reflect that a lot as each one had at least a few unique games that didn't pop up in others. Some games dominated the conversation for most of the year, some were quaint surprises, and yet others popped up at the last minute to steal the spotlight. And in a year where shooters had one of their biggest years in a while, perhaps the most surprising thing about our list is that only one made it on (which speaks to the quality of the games that released in 2016). But enough talk! Here are the ten games the GP staff and contributors voted on as our overall Top 10 games for 2016. Enjoy! 10. Kirby Planet Robobot "Kirby“s latest outing has me reflecting upon my childhood, and how these games make me feel, in a different way than I expected. I simply haven't felt this impressed, this unbelievably delighted from a Kirby game since my childhood. I've often said that Return to Dream Land marks the pinnacle of traditional Kirby gameplay. But Planet Robobot takes it -- and fans“ expectations -- and manages to make everything feel like a mechanized wonderland." - Jonathan Higgins 9. Severed The beauty and the pain portrayed in Severed is matched only by how simple and refined the combat is. It may not have the whimsy of their other games, but Severed is easily one of DrinkBox Studios“ best, and one of the best games overall on the Vita -- not just of this year, but of any year. - Chris "Wildcard Corsair" Garcia 8. Owlboy So much about what makes Owlboy worth experiencing isn“t in the mechanics, but in its cast and environments. You won“t feel triumphant in the end — it“ll be more like you just watched a really awesome Disney movie. The folks behind Owlboy put so much meticulous care into their work that it took nine years to make. The end result is absolutely worth your own time and attention. - Jonathan Higgins 7. Pokemon Sun and Moon Alola is an absolutely, positively phenomenal place. Its challenges were versatile; I“ve never had as much fun with a main story in a mainline Pokémon game. The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal; “The Battle At the Summit!” is probably Masuda and his team at their absolute best. Narrative direction? Superior, bested only by Black & White. Music, sounds, and general ambiance? Also top-tier. All of this and more make Sun & Moon easy to recommend to first-timers, or lapsed fans. - Jonathan Higgins 6. The Witness It's hard to follow up a game like Braid, but developer Jonathan Blow did it. The Witness is truly unlike any other game I've ever played, thanks to its unique combination of exploration and puzzles. The game teaches you organically how to think about the solutions to each puzzle, and the way that each area is divided into different types of puzzles is extremely well done. It is, without a doubt, the smartest game of the year. - Jason Clement 5. Tokyo Mirage Sessions As a fan of both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei, I can certainly understand the disappointment some felt when Tokyo Mirage Sessions turned out to be a game that in no way matched what they had envisioned Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem would be. But the heart of both franchises shines through in ways expected and not, with a top-notch presentation and a warm heart that in my mind turned out to be the Wii U“s last and greatest hurrah. - Justin Graham 4. Final Fantasy XV Though it“s rough around the edges, Noctis“s road trip tale of brotherhood and a desire to find his betrothed after his kingdom has fallen under imperial rule shines through where it counts, wearing its inspirations from past Final Fantasy games on its sleeve while standing well on its own. And the game“s ending is not only rewarding, but one of the very best that the series has delivered yet, nailing the game“s themes one after another. - Justin Graham 3. Dragon Quest Builders Building has never been quite as compelling in video games as it is in Dragon Quest Builders. While the simplistic combat is perhaps the game's weakest point, Dragon Quest Builders is by far one of the deepest experiences I've played this year thanks to its blend of exploration, construction, and traditional JRPG mechanics. Nearly everything about it from its addicting gameplay to its fantastic soundtrack make it an outstanding experience and one of this year's biggest surprises. - Jason Clement 2. Overwatch I won“t tell you my exact hour count, but I“ve put a disgusting amount of time into Overwatch. You know how I complained about not having enough time to play games in my backlog? Well, I'm pretty sure I could've finished a couple of RPGs with the amount of time I have thrown at Overwatch. But anyway, Overwatch is a total blast to play. Rich with personality/polish, an incredibly varied playable cast, rewarding team-based gameplay, and plenty of positive reinforcement built right within the game makes the consistent fun I've had with it far outweigh the criticisms I could level against it. And from someone who pretty much never plays first-person shooter multiplayer is incredibly high praise. - Barrel 1. The Last Guardian The Last Guardian is, by all accounts, a game that very possibly could have come out and completely underwhelmed; after all, it was in development for some eight years (and more often than not, those types of deals tend to be disasters in the end). But somehow, some way, Fumito Ueda and his team at GenDesign pulled it off. By no means is it perfect; playing the game can be challenging at times due to some awkward controls and stubborness on Trico's part to obey at times, but the journey is worth it at the end and incredibly compelling. The Last Guardian has some of the most stunning environments and architecture I've ever seen in a video game. The visuals are breathtaking, especially when you're in the outdoors areas and see Trico's feathers glistening in the light and ruffling in the wind. The Last Guardian is triumphant, its story possibly exceeding what Team Ico had accomplished in its two previous games thanks to a touching narrative that is built on the relationship between the boy and Trico throughout their journey. I can't imagine how Ueda plans to top this, but I can't wait to find out. - Jason Clement
  2. GP Staff

    Game of the Year 2015: GP's Top 10

    2015 has been an interesting year for sure, although I'm pretty sure we can say that for just about every year (and we probably have). But whereas 2014 saw the rise of "that" movement, 2015's biggest story definitely has to be the slow and utter collapse of Konami and Hideo Kojima's relationship. I'm not sure if we'll ever completely get the details on that, but it's been crazy to see it all unfold. In other news, there were a bunch of good games this year; have you heard? Nintendo may not have had as big a year as last year, but you better believe they represented with a few big titles. Sony had at least one big high profile game delayed (*cough* Uncharted 4 *cough*), but they still had a few good exclusives as well. Let's not forget the indie scene either, which was abundant with amazing games that seemingly came out of nowhere; it seems like they just keep getting better every year. So without further ado, here are GP's Top 10 games of 2015. 10. Destiny: The Taken King Bungie had a pretty radical vision for shooters when the conceptualized Destiny. One that ultimately fell short of expectations. Though many players stuck it out and saw slow improvements to the game, no previous effort has been as great as Destiny: The Taken King. It seems odd to include a game“s expansion on the premise that it “fixed” the base game but The Taken King seemed to do much more than that. It polished Destiny significantly, allowing it to shine brighter with much needed changes and exciting new elements alike. Special events like Festival of the Lost and the Sparrow Racing League complimented improvements such as a streamlined post-game system, better drop calculations, the addition of much more engaging story missions, and even a new approach to earning the game“s most elusive elements: exotic weapons and gear. Existing areas received new life, new areas surpassed expectation, and old friends became and continue to become as interesting as we always wanted them to be. When you think about it, that“s a pretty big achievement for a single expansion. - Chris "WildCardCorsair" Summers, Staff Writer 9. Yoshi's Woolly World Official GP Review When Good Feel“s latest endeavor was revealed to the world on January 23rd, 2013, we got to see the beginnings of another entire world made from yarn. Over the two years it took for Yoshi“s Woolly World to establish an identity and be released, everyone familiar with the developer's“ pedigree had already formed opinions on what the game was going to be, and what everyone making it was capable of. There's no denying that Woolly World is a cute game, but everything about how it works will exceed even the highest expectations. It's absolutely the best Yoshi“s Island game since the original on SNES -- and it even deserves to stand with console contemporaries like Super Mario Galaxy 2 & Super Mario 3D World. - Jonathan Higgins, Managing Editor 8. Axiom Verge Official GP Review How many Metriod-likes does it take until one comes along that challenges the parts of classic gaming canon that inspired it? Axiom Verge isn't just a game that cuts and pastes the same themes and concepts from Super Metroid. The first area certainly gives off that impression, but developer Tom Happ“s vision derezzes the familiar and forces every player who thinks they know what to expect to rethink what both the game and the over-saturated genre are capable of. Axiom Verge deserves to stand out as much as Shovel Knight, Super Meat Boy, and Cave Story -- it's an indie game whose success should keep established developers who“ve been around for decades longer on their toes. - Jonathan Higgins, Managing Editor 7. Super Mario Maker Perhaps the greatest thing Nintendo has ever done is put the gift of level creation in their fans' hands. Super Mario Maker is a game with pretty limitless potential; players are still coming up with levels that wow and surprise us in ways that we never thought of before. People will still probably be creating amazing stuff a year or even five from now, and that's a testament to how greatly designed Super Mario Maker is as a level creator. Long live, Mario. - Jason Clement, Editor-in-Chief 6. Bloodborne Bloodborne is an exhilarating action-RPG that is very unlike even its spiritual predecessors. It's haunting but imaginative world, incredibly fast-paced and diverse gameplay, and occasionally fiendishly hard difficulty (The Old Hunters DLC, specifically) makes it clearly stand out. Even if one were to start growing weary of the Victorian architecture, Bloodborne tactically flips the entire script at the halfway mark with its dramatically different enemies designs and scenery to keep would-be naive hunters on their toes. It is by far one of the best titles you can pick on the PS4, without a doubt, and a blast to play. - Barrel, Mod/Staff Writer 5. SteamWorld Heist Official GP Review There's almost nothing I can add here that I haven't said before. SteamWorld Heist is the real deal, and if you have a 3DS, you owe it to yourself to check out Image & Form's finest game yet. The Steampunk universe within is incredibly charming, the turn-based strategy gameplay is extremely tight and varied, and there's much to do, explore, and plunder. SteamWorld Heist is without a doubt the best strategy game of 2015, and one of the best games of the year overall. - Jason Clement, Editor-in-Chief 4. Splatoon Destiny: The Taken King may be this year's best co-op multiplayer experience, but Splatoon is easily the best competitive multiplayer game of 2015. It's kind of an anomaly if you think about it. A couple of years ago Nintendo was convinced people didn“t really want multiplayer. Now in 2015 they“ve given us a game that is designed primarily around an online experience. Shooters have never been a part of Nintendo“s game plan either, aside from the rarities like the Metroid Prime series and Duck Hunt, yet now we have a fast paced third-person shooter. But despite how much Splatoon seems like the antithesis of Nintendo games, it couldn“t feel more like one if it tried. The vibrant colors, zany paint premise, and character design are all right at home among Nintendo“s pantheon of legendary characters. And if this were all there was to Splatoon you“d still have a solid game worth purchase, but it isn“t all. Regular updates have added new weapons and maps for the better part of this year and shows no signs of stopping. Miiverse integration gives Inkopolis, the game“s interactive menu and hub, a lively, populated feel. Regular Splatfest events continue to give players a reason to jump back in. The single player campaign even feels a little like Nintendo“s answer to Portal. But the best part of Splatoon, and the reason why it“s on this, and many other Game of the Year lists, is the feeling you get when you play, that even though the four squids on the opposing team are your enemies for three minutes, but they“re your friends immediately after. - Chris "WildCardCorsair" Summers, Staff Writer 3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Official GP Review (Editor's Note: We, uh, weren't able to get the written entry for this by the time of publication, so for now we're running a blurb from John's list.) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hit on all cylinders this year. Great narrative. Great, natural shift to a true open world setting. Great visuals. Great soundtrack. Did I mention that the Witcher 3 was great? - John Kidman, Staff Writer 2. Xenoblade Chronicles X The Xenoblade Chronicles series began with quite a blunder for Western audiences, as you may recall. If not for a certain organization named after the weather, the states may have never gotten the first game. Which would have been a shame, because Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii is a critically acclaimed work of art. That might explain why Nintendo of America did not hesitate in localizing Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U. And just like that, BAM -- lightning strikes twice. Not only is Xenoblade Chronicles X a quality RPG and a great addition to the Xenoblade Chronicles series, but it's also one of the best games the Wii U has to offer. With its intriguing story, gorgeous visuals, amazing soundtrack (composed by Hiroyuki Sawano of Attack on Titan fame), fun gameplay mechanics, and a massive world that's easy to immerse yourself in, Xenoblade Chronicles X is one game you don't want to miss. - Jordan, Community Manager And our 2015 Game of the Year is... Artwork by Gigi D.G. (Used with permission) Be sure to check out her webcomic Cucumber Quest 1. Undertale It may be tempting to want to fight the passionate fandom for Undertale and act without thinking. Still, those who wield enough mercy to give Undertale a fair shot will notice that unassuming looks and deliberately playing upon one“s expectations are very much an item with the whole experience of playing it. Singing Undertale“s praises is easy for most of those who have played it through, but avoiding direct spoilers of both its storytelling and gameplay situations out of respect for the uninitiated is far more difficult for a generally short game... or as long as you want to make it, I guess. You see, even that can actually be a spoiler considering how deep the game is willing to go at times. Undertale is a lot of things. It pridefully pays homage to classic RPGs, while also humorously roasting them in that same breath and it somehow still feels sincere all the while. The turn-based combat system is simple in theory until you learn that you don“t actually have to kill anything at all. You can tell a ghost that it looks beautiful today, or kill it with a plastic knife. It's all up to you. Naughty or nice, however, gameplay can also be quite challenging and will shamelessly test your determination throughout. It feels reminiscent of bullet hell titles at times, yet is also very willing to change up its gameplay rules throughout by dipping into entirely different genres and somehow not feeling forced at all. Believe the hype -- there's nothing like Undertale. It's an innovative experience that's full of heart and will stick with you long after it's over, and that's why it's our Game of the Year for 2015. - Barrel, Mod/Staff Writer - Jason Clement, Editor-in-Chief
  3. Another E3 has come and gone, and now it's time to reflect back on what was shown. This particular E3 will probably go down in history for one big reason — actually, make that THREE big reasons. In a highly strategic move, Sony played their trump cards one after the another during their E3 press conference, announcing some of the most highly anticipated games ever. The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Shenmue III are titles that many gamers thought they'd never see at this point, so to turn legends into reality really turned the event into a momentous one. Of course, it wasn't only a fantastic show because of that. Many other brand new games were shown off as well, and though there are a number of big sequels in the works (this year seems to be the year of the four-quel), creativity seemed to be abundant this year in comparison to previous years. With that, here are the ones that impressed the GP staff the most this around. Jason's Picks Star Wars Battlefront I've always thought DICE was a great fit for the Battlefront series given their pedigree working on FPS games, but I'd be lying if I told you I was excited for the new Battlefront revamp before E3. While it was great to see the series return after more than a decade, what could they add to improve on it? Better graphics? Not to mention they announced that there would be no space battles about a month back. And then they proceed to showed the first gameplay footage, and... that was all I needed to become a believer again. The Battle of Hoth was the perfect demo and really made you feel as if you were in the moment, being a part of something much bigger. The sound of zooming Speeders, Tie-Fighters, and X-Wings; of AT-ATs moving their giant steel legs, and blaster fire — this is what Star Wars is all about, and DICE captured it in all its glory. Super Mario Maker Like Star Wars Battlefront, this was also a game I was not really into until recently. I thought Super Mario Maker was a novel concept when it was announced last year, but creating levels didn't really excite me that much. And playing levels that other people created? If they weren't made by Nintendo, how good could they be? That answer came on the final night of The Nintendo World Championships 2015. The game that would decide the winner was none other than Super Mario Maker, and it was only at this point that I realized just how crazy the level design could be. What was even more impressive is that the levels shown were created by NOA's Treehouse division. If they could go wild like that, what might the rest of fans in general create? I can't wait to find out. Jonathan's Picks To Leave This is a game from FreakyCreations that I spoke highly of last year when I played it on the PlayStation Vita. The premise of the game is simple enough: Guide the door you're carrying to the end of a level without touching anything. When I played it on PS4 this year, I just wanted to assess the visual differences, and how different it felt playing the game with a controller instead of on a handheld. I was hooked again after just a few minutes, and could have sat there all day and played that game! The objective is simple, but execution requires mastery of patience and platforming skill. It's honestly one of my most anticipated games of next year. Truly a hidden gem. EarthBound Beginnings The audience reaction to the EarthBound Beginnings reveal at the Nintendo World Championships was on par with Sony's "Holy Trinity" announcements of The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue 3. It may not have aged gracefully, and at its core... it's just another 8-bit RPG that's super punishing like Dragon Warrior. But what it means for EarthBound fans is... hope. Getting MOTHER 3 is no longer a pipe dream, because we've gotten the first game after twenty years. I suspect we'll hear about the third game in a matter of time, if not during E3 next year. Leah's Picks Final Fantasy VII Remake The Final Fantasy VII Remake is probably what surprised people the most this E3, including me. I was pretty much gawking at the screen with my mouth open as I screeched, "OH MY GOD," when they revealed it. I was even shaking for a long time afterward! This long awaited remake is definitely going to be an interesting and exciting title to keep tabs on considering the design choices and changes Square Enix might make. Let's just hope it doesn't end up like Final Fantasy Versus XIII/Final Fantasy XV where we don't hear anything about it for an eternity. Cuphead I believe Cuphead was shown briefly during last year's E3, and it was then that I fell in love with the game's art style. We got to see more of it at this year's E3, and I even got the opportunity to test it out on the showfloor! Actually getting to play Cuphead and seeing it in motion had me begging for more. The animation is just so stunningly beautiful. And co-op is a blast, too. Man, I can't wait to finally play the finished version whenever it releases next year. Barrel's Picks New NieR It is a shock in itself that Square-Enix keeps giving Yoko Taro money to make games when they are anything but commercial successes. But, even more mind-blowing is that NieR not only gets a sequel, but one handled by Platinum Games, AKA the best developer of character-action games for the past two console generations. This concept has me even more excited after hearing that the excellent NieR composer, Keiichi Okabe, is returning for the soundtrack (almost arguably the original NieR“s greatest strength next to its bizarre, but surprisingly poignant, storytelling.) and Akihiko Yoshida on the art, known for his work in Final Fantasy XII/Tactics and Vagrant Story. Either way, this sounds like a peanut butter and jelly combination that I had no idea that I wanted and now that I do know about it… I want it pretty badly. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain To be honest, I“m not really sure why I“m looking forward to the game as much as I am. Ground Zeroes was laughably sparse on content and did not leave a particularly good impression on me by the time I was done. However, the more I see and hear of The Phantom Pain, the more clearly Ground Zeroes looks to be a stepping stone for a far greater game, and possibly a fitting send-off as Kojima“s last Metal Gear Solid title. Or… maybe the real reason I“m looking forward to it so much is because you capture tanks with floating parachutes, raise puppies for your personal army, beat up soldiers to add music to your cassette tape, and light a cigarette with a sniper rifle. But who knows, maybe Kojima just hoodwinked me with those exciting E3 trailers/demos and I“ll be stuck playing Raiden again by the time I get the final product. John's Pick Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Sony's capstone game may have been overshadowed by a series of bombshell announcements, but Naughty Dog once again paraded their uncanny ability to blend action sequences, storytelling and eye-popping visuals into quite the experience. The first gameplay demo of Uncharted 4 featured 30 seconds of Nathan Drake standing still, but a wild ride ensued once they addressed the control issue. This E3's extended demo delved a bit deeper into the game, but the consensus from attendees is that Naughty Dog is once again pushing the current generation of consoles to new heights. My shortlist for most anticipated games in 2016 contains two games. This is one of them. WildCardCorsair's Picks Horizon: Zero Dawn Most people were 'oohing' and 'ahhing' at the Final Fantasy VII Remake or the re-reveal of The Last Guardian, but for me Guerrilla Games stole the show with their brand new IP, Horizon: Zero Dawn. I'm sure most people are well aware of Guerrilla's last IP, Killzone, especially because it spanned 3 console generations and 2 handheld generations. But this — this is definitely something new. The environments look lush and vibrant. The monster design (basically dinobots) is striking. Even the premise is something that stands out among games releasing anytime soon. Plus the fact you can sum up the game by saying, "It's like if Nariko was in Monster Hunter fighting dinobots from Transformers," is pretty amazing. Fallout 4 Fire up your old Inkspots vinyl, the vault dwellers are back in town! While most people were probably more excited about Shenmue III, the sequel I was pumping my fist in the air for was Fallout 4. Sure, it was revealed a couple days before, but that did nothing to decrease my hype for it as the show rolled on. Being the lone survivor of Vault 111, and journeying into the Boston wasteland is top of my to-do list this year. With the obscene amount of time I put into Fallout 3, there's pretty much no way I wouldn't be as excited as a super mutant in a gattling gun factory. And dogmeat! And there you have it! If next year's E3 is even half as good as this year's, it's going to be another good show for sure. What were the games that you came away most impressed with from E3 2015? Let us know in the comments below!
  4. It's 2015, folks. Brace yourselves and your wallets, because it's going to be a bumpy ride. If anything, this year is set to be another big one in regards to the amount of great games set to come out. From Sony to Microsoft to Nintendo, each of the Big Three all have major titles on the way, and the big third parties all have their big titles coming as well. But let's not forget indies as well as a number of small devs are churning out what will arguably be some of the best games this year as well. In light of this, we've polled a number of the GP staff, and here's what they're most looking forward to in 2015. Jason Clement - Editor-in-Chief - The Legend of Zelda (Wii U) Mainline console Zelda games are the Uncharted games of Nintendo. In the last decade we've only gotten two brand new entries so when a new one does release, it's an exciting time. What makes The Legend of Zelda for Wii U so anticipated by many is that it looks to deliver on taking the series to even newer heights with its massively open world, seamless gameplay-to-cutscene integration, and the best visuals the franchise has seen to date. We still have no idea what the story is at this point (or what the eventual subtitle will be), but if it can deliver on top of everything else, The Legend of Zelda for Wii U has the potential to be the best game in the series yet. Also looking forward to- - New Fire Emblem (3DS) - Star Fox (Wii U) Marcus Estrada - Managing Editor - American Truck Simulator Euro Truck Simulator 2 is one of those games that people think is a total joke until they give it a shot. After finally settling down behind the wheel of a digital big rig I understood and wanted to do nothing more than ferry packages between locations. Of course, I had no idea what any of these cities were. American Truck Simulator is poised to bring that same weirdly addictive trucking gameplay back but placed in a setting I'm actually familiar with. Sure, the sprawling countrysides may not be so different but I'll definitely have a better sense of scope if my goal is to drive from San Diego to Los Angeles or from Florida to Ohio. At least if things go according to plan, American Truck Simulator will be coming on February 20th! Also looking forward to- - Yakuza 5 - The Fruit of Grisaia Barrel - Staff Writer, Moderator - Bloodborne My thoughts on the Souls games have constantly fluctuated. I wouldn't really label myself as a hardcore fan of any particular entry but rather as someone who has become increasingly curious about the series moving forward. Yet, before I knew it, I've religiously played each entry with renewed interest due to their highly varied player progression, challenging bosses/scenarios, intriguing multiplayer integration, and thoroughly connected world exploration that feels genuinely rewarding (and not just a means to ride a horse in samey, bloated environments). Oh, and I also bought a PS4 much earlier than I intended to on the basis of playing the spiritual successor, Bloodborne, early. In any case, Bloodborne looks like a refreshing departure from its predecessors with its many sweeping changes to the combat mechanics and general setting, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Also looking forward to- - The Witcher 3 - Xenoblade Chronicles X Leah Santa Cruz - Staff Writer - Persona 5 Persona 4 was one of those games I randomly decided to buy and it was probably one of the best gaming decisions in my life. It's become one of my all-time favorites and it is a very important game to me. As such, Persona 5 is something that I am immensely looking forward to this year (and I RARELY get hyped for anything anymore). With Persona 5, I am hoping for more of the magic that Persona 4 brought while still being able to be its own unique thing. Just thinking about everything that Persona 5 has to offer gets me so excited, such as what the characters and story will be like. Now let's hope that it does come out this year and isn't delayed again! Also looking forward to- - Story of Seasons - Armikrog Julian "Ludono" Rittmayer - Staff Writer, Moderator - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Short is the list of franchises I still get hyped up about, and Metal Gear Solid ranks toward the top of that list. Each main entry in the series has been quite—pardon the pun—solid, and I have no fear that my faith in Hideo Kojima will be unfounded. Indeed, last year's bite-sized Ground Zeroes only added more fuel to the fire, giving us a taste of the reworked engine, the new controls and providing an excellent preview of what's to come! The closer we get to release, the more we find out about this game, with new-and-improved Metal Gear Online mode coming alongside The Phantom Pain. Some may say it's too early to call, but I can easily see this game becoming my Game of the Year down the road... Also looking forward to- - Resident Evil Revelations 2 - Rise of the Tomb Raider Jonathan Higgins - Staff Writer - Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker ATLUS, I love you. Both Devil Survivor: Overclocked and the original Devil Survivor 2 take up the #2 and #3 spots in my 3DS Activity Log (behind—you guessed it—Pokémon Y) with 415 hours across both games. They combine the best gameplay elements of Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest, and Pokémon. Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker features twice the content of the original version and a complete overhaul that does what Devil Survivor: Overclocked did for its original version from 2009. There will be voice-acting, outstanding visuals, and so much stuff to do that I“m bound to spend 200 more hours in modern-day Japan fighting demons as a bunch of high school kids. Also looking forward to- - Radio the Universe - Codename: S.T.E.A.M. Chris "WildCardCorsair" Garcia - Staff Writer - Splatoon It isn't every day you hear Nintendo reveal a new IP, and even rarer for them to tackle anything resembling a shooter, but at the end of the day Splatoon couldn't be more Nintendo-ish if it tried. The zany character designs, catchy tunes, and original approach to the arena shooter genre screams "must own" for me. And now with the latest Nintendo Direct we even have info on character customization, weapon availability and that sweet, sweet in-game hub. I don't even have an inkling of how many hours I'll likely be spraying paint all over everything like Jackson Pollock with Parkinson's. Not to mention it's another game for my Wii U; sounds like I'll be one happy clam. Also looking forward to- - Codename S.T.E.A.M. - Persona 4: Dancing All Night Which games are you looking forward to in 2015? Let us know in the comments!
  5. GP Staff

    Game of the Year 2014: GP's Top 10

    "Tumultuous" is perhaps the one word that could be used to sum up the video game industry in 2014. We've seen some of the highest highs (PlayStation Experience, an E3 where virtually all of The Big Three "won," etc.) and also some of the lowest lows (Gamergate, broken games on launch, etc.); clearly, it was a divisive year for many. 2014 also saw another challenge in the way of being the first full year of life for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as well as the second full year for Wii U, and all three experienced growing pains in some fashion. For Xbox One, Titanfall came and went and—for the most part—now largely remains untalked about, and Sunset Overdrive, while critically acclaimed, was not the sales success Microsoft had hoped for. PlayStation 4 was the best-selling and fastest-selling new console for much of the year but struggled to release any great first-party exclusives beyond inFamous: Second Son and First Light due to several delays (not to mention running into huge issues with DriveClub). Wii U sales still lagged far behind the rest despite Nintendo releasing some of the most critically acclaimed games this year and selling the most units this past holiday season since its launch in 2012. Still, the beat goes on, as they say, and as 2015 looms large in front of us all and we look forward to an onslaught of fantastic-looking game releases, here are the top 10 games that the GP staff found to be the best during 2014. 10. Cho Dengiki Stryker In a world where Western gamers are still mostly getting used to the concept of "visual novels," it seems impossible that any of them would plunk down for 40+ hours playing Cho Dengeki Stryker. Yet, thanks to the excellent cast of characters, heavy emphasis on action, and storyline it's impossible not to become engrossed. This superhero tale plays out with a good mix of camp and drama and paces itself wonderfully. Even after you've experienced it once, playing through another few times reveals new layers of the story. Working to a complete understanding of Cho Dengeki Stryker is immensely enjoyable and very much worth the time commitment. - Marcus Estrada, Managing Editor 9. Velocity 2X Velocity 2X may not seem like a big deal at first, but that's one of it's strengths. The classic gameplay elements of top down shooters are polished until they shine like pure diamonds while Velocity/Velocity Ultra's teleport mechanic spices up the mix, giving originality to the experience. Add finely crafted levels and a difficulty progression that is nothing short of masterful, and you may start to understand what I love about this game so much. It's hard to imagine how this game could be improved at all, but considering I said that about Velocity Ultra as well, I think the folks at Futurlab will think of something. If you have a Vita or a PS4, I can promise you that Velocity 2X is a stand out experience on either system. - Chris "WildCardCorsair" Garcia, Staff Writer 8. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze The Wii U saw tons of great games during 2014, and while it can be easy to see Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8 as the console's big ones, one mustn't forget the masterfully-crafted platformer that is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. What Retro Studios did right when reviving the Country series with Donkey Kong Country Returns (which is everything, basically), they did even better when they froze DK Island over and catapulted Donkey Kong, Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky into some of the most cleverly-designed levels you'll ever play through. Add the game's fantastic level design to David Wise's stellar soundtrack, fun co-operative multiplayer, beautiful backdrops, and a level of challenge befitting of the Donkey Kong Country name, and you've got yourself one of the finest video games of the year. - Jordan Haygood, Video Manager 7. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth When you have a title (or more) that has as passionate a fanbase as the Persona titles do, it can be tough to create something that offers fanservice without feeling too cheap. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth melds the Persona 3 and Persona 4 casts with the gameplay mechanics of the Etrian Odyssey series, and it works so well. You have the two familiar teams as well as newcomers Rei and Zen in addition to a storyline that is set during both games, yet isn't connected to either. It's a great fanservice title that gives us that opportunity to see the two groups interact together as they work to solve that mystery behind both aforementioned characters' memory loss as well as the formidable tower that looms above the world they were teleported to. - Elizabeth Burnette, Moderator 6. Transistor Transistor is an incredible experience not just because its aesthetic expertly necessitates its drama, but because it is proof that (quite literally) placing the narrative into the hands of the player is a highly evocative means of eliminating the player/game dichotomy. Additionally, over the course of the last decade, seldom is one able to recall a game that transmutes the tropes and cliches of its genre(s) in order to successfully capacitate an end result that is both reverent and neoteric. - Ciel, Moderator 5. Steins;Gate Attempting to explain why Steins;Gate is one of the best game of 2014 presents a a bit of a quandary. With the game being such a plot driven experience, as most visual novels are wont to be, it means many aspects of it must be glossed over or left unmentioned entirely in risk of providing unwanted spoilers. But it is these aspects which make it such an intriguing and piquantly flavoured dish, one you must sample for yourself lest you won't get the complete experience. Is Steins;Gate for everyone? Not at all, the visual novel aspect of it is very much a "love-it-or-hate-it" kind of deal and slow starting plot often filled with incoherent technobabble could definitely turn some people off, but ultimately none of that truly matters when discussing one the most poignant experiences ever displayed on a monitor. - Julian "Ludono" Rittmayer, Moderator 4. Mario Kart 8 Mario Kart 8 exceeds at just about everything it sets out to do while somehow managing to be the best-looking game Nintendo has created to date. In addition to having the best and most exciting tracks the series has ever seen, a plethora of characters to play as, and tons of customizable kart parts, a robust online multiplayer mode helps make it the definitive version of Mario Kart. As far as kart-racing games go, it doesn't get any better than this. - Jason Clement, Editor-in-Chief 3. Shovel Knight Independent developers have produced many memorable characters and moments. Games like SteamWorld Dig, Mutant Mudds, Velocity 2X, and more have managed to breathe new life, characters, stories and designs into genres that "triple A" publishers and developers have all but left for dead. As you're playing through some of the titles I've mentioned, you can see how they've taken the titles that inspired them and created some sort of unique spin that brings the dated concepts of their retro-gaming "ancestors" to the modern age. And then there's Shovel Knight. There are many reasons why Yacht Club Games' labors couldn't have actually been possible on the Nintendo Entertainment System. But I'll be darned if playing through it didn't have handfuls of people singing praises regarding how this game belongs on the NES, standing alongside games like DuckTales, Adventures of Link, Mega Man and the games that motivated YCG and their backers to create this truly unique world. It's one thing to evoke the golden age of gaming in your work. It's another thing entirely to create a game that so many could actually see playing back in 1993 when the NES was at its most evolved. Here's to Shovel Justice. This game has done a solid to anyone looking to relive days gone by. - Jonathan Higgins, Staff Writer 2. Bayonetta 2 From the threat of non-existence Bayonetta 2 was saved by none other than Nintendo. What's more is it became much better for it on the Wii U. Everything about the original Bayonetta“s stylish, frantic gameplay carries over to its sequel and then a whole lot more. It ups the ante with its incredibly tight combat system, stellar bosses, crazy personality, and an absurd amount of content to work towards. Bayonetta 2 is in such a class of its own among character-action games that many are unlikely to even come close to it for years to come, regardless of the system hardware that they appear on. - Barrel, Moderator and Staff Writer And GP's Game of the Year for 2014 is... 1. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U The most recent Super Smash Bros. incarnation is nothing short of a masterpiece. Nintendo created a product that is immensely entertaining and can even be used to help decide if Thursdays should be a “no pants” day. An obscene amount of care went into every aspect of the game, from the balance of fighters to the amount of unique information on each in-game trophy. Smash Bros. for Wii U brought back many familiar characters and added a healthy dose of newcomers from Pac-Man, Xenoblade, Duck Hunt and Fire Emblem: Awakening. Players do not need to be Nintendo aficionados to appreciate the healthy roster or amazing compilation album. The new modes like Smash Tour and 8-Player Smash turn Super Smash Bros. into an even better party game for those who are not feeling particularly competitive. It offers something for just about everybody, and that's why it is GP's Game of the Year for 2014. - John Kidman, Staff Writer And that wraps 2014! Are you surprised at the outcome of the list? Let us know what you think!
  6. Another E3 has come and gone, but whether you're an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo fan, it's safe to say that everyone came away a winner this year with some amazing new games coming out. Sure, a good amount of them might be coming out in 2015, but that doesn't mean we're any less excited to play them. While we do mention more than a few big name titles below, we also mention a few smaller titles that definitely deserve more notice, so definitely be sure to check them out as well. So without further ado, here's a look at the games that left a big impression on us during this year's E3 as separated by each writers' picks. Jason Clement Editor-in-Chief The Legend of Zelda -Wii U- What series producer Eiji Aonuma showed us the first look at the next iteration of Zelda, it wasn't much more than a quick glance at what the actual world would look like, but holy cow did that short minute or so wow us. The revelation that this would be the first truly open-world Zelda game combined with the beautiful engine they showed off was enough to get an Zelda fan drooling with anticipation. And everything that was shown was actual gameplay as well? 2015 can't come soon enough. Xenoblade Chronicles X -Wii U- Xenoblade Chronicles X has been on my radar ever since it was announced a year or two ago, and for good reason. It looks to build on what the first Xenoblade Chronicles did in many ways, and offers a far better looking and more expansive world (and presumably, a deeper, more epic story as well). While I wasn't blown away by the gameplay trailer shown in a Nintendo Direct earlier this year, Nintendo's Treehouse livestream demo managed to turn that around tenfold with their playthrough of the game's first 45 minutes or so. There's so much content in this game that it's busting at the seams, and I can't wait to dive into what is likely to be the deepest RPG experience until Final Fantasy XV comes out. Cuphead -Xbox One, Steam- Admittedly, I don't know too much about Studio MDHR's Cuphead beyond that it's supposed to be a run-and-gun sort of game, but I do know that I was completely taken with its old-school 1920s-1930s animation style. In a sea of indie games being shown in a sizzle reel during Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference, Cuphead was the one game that made my eyes bulge out like a cartoon character (fittingly). If developers can make games that look seamlessly like real animation and cartoons, we just might be coming into a new Golden Age for video game animation, so I can't wait to see more of this Xbox One and Steam title. Marcus Estrada Managing Editor Rainbow Six: Siege -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC- Rainbow Six Siege looks like an incredibly impressive new game in the franchise and I wish it were out already. It looks astounding thanks to incredible detail and destructible environments. Then there's the huge reliance on teamwork because players don't respawn if they get killed. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of the SWAT series. With Sierra all but gone now though this is probably the best I can get. Chasm -PC- Chasm might be a name that's slightly familiar to you. If so, that's probably because it was Kickstarted quite successfully. The Metroidvania-esque action platformer was on the show floor and proved to be tremendously fun. I couldn't help wishing the demo were longer so I could keep on playing. Gaiages Writer/Moderator Splatoon -Wii U- I'm of the particular Nintendo crowd that thinks the company should just keep making sequels to their multiple franchises infinitely, so when I first saw this new IP pop up on the Digital Event, I was less than enthused. However, after watching the trailer at the event and some Treehouse footage, I'm more than sold. Leave it to Nintendo to make a shooter based around cute squid kids shooting ink everywhere. Grim Fandango HD -PlayStation 4, PS Vita- It's a fact, and not opinion, that Tim Schafer is a game developer god, and that he makes absolutely no bad games whatsoever (Brutal Legend? What's that?). Almost all of his works are available in some modern format, except for one: Grim Fandango. So imagine the surprise when Sony announced that Schafer was remastering the supposed classic and bringing it to the Vita? I honestly can't wait to give this title a spin when it re-releases. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD -Xbox One, PlayStation 4- A little before E3, Square announced that it wasn't bringing the likes of Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy XV, or Bravely Second to the show, and left fans wondering... well, what are they going to show? Square decided to drop a bomb of awesome hype instead, announcing an HD remake of the fan-lauded PSP title Final Fantasy Type-0. A shame that a group of fans just finished a fan translation on the original title, but great news for those that want to experience the game officially translated on the big screen. Ciel Community Manager The Legend of Zelda -Wii U- Since its conception, Zelda has been—or at least strove to be—an open-world game. Yet the experience, the world, was always limited to some degree by being merely a coalescence of individual spaces (i.e. predefined screens in which the action occurs) that exist in succession. The player is permitted to navigate between and within the grid-like world, knowingly passing between each arranged space. As such, the open-world offered by Zelda games has always been present, if not somewhat illusive. Contra to Zelda's pedigree, the latest offers a world that is no longer composed of spatially restricted areas, but rather its aim is to yield a truly open-world experience that echos the exploratory freedom and immersion granted by the Elder Scrolls series. No Man's Sky -PlayStation 4- True, footage and screenshots of No Man's Sky have been revealed prior to its E3 2014 presentation, but the game proves yet again its capacity to awe and inspire. The game appears to condone enthusiastically the type of wondrous exploration that can only be induced by the act of happenstance. Each planet is unique to each player. Further, the living galaxy is constantly in flux such that it develops and manipulates itself in accordance with additional players. All this enables one to feel immersed in their own aggregated experience, their own story, while simultaneously existing as part of a living, ever-changing, infrastructure that is beyond predictability. One last thing: ground... to air... to space... to space combat. Rainbow Six: Siege -Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC- Despite its uninspired subtitle, Rainbow Six is back, baby! It was something that once lived wildly in the interest of gamers, yet the tactical shooter is now rendered somewhat of an apparition in the shooter genre. This is probably the chief result of the advent of fast-paced shooters be they third-person or first. I am old, my reflexes have escaped me, and my only means of survival in most online shooters is my aptitude to outplay my opponents not with any gamerly skill, but with methodical preparation and point-by-point execution. In other words, I no longer win online with skill (e.g. impossible headshots, no-scopes, etc.), but with my brain and with team coordination. This is what Rainbow Six has and always will be about. Steve Bitto Writer/Moderator Sunset Overdrive -Xbox One- Insomniac wants to make me cry. It hasn't been since I saw Resistance demoed on PlayStation 3 that I wanted to play an Insomniac game this badly. Unfortunately, I don't have an Xbox One but Sunset Overdrive is a major reason to change that. The universe Ted Price and his band of merry developers has created is super unique, colorful and FUN. This inFAMOUS meets Ratchet and Clank adventure through a post apocalyptic playground is going to be a must have game for Xbox One owners. Oh, did I mention I they brought back the weapon wheel? Let it Die -PlayStation 4- Suda 51 teaming up with PlayStation is a huge win for Sony in my book. His work is known for its over-the-top charm, gore and humor. Odd combination, I know. Let it Die has been described as a survival-horror brawler and during Sony's E3 presentation depicted demonic looking individuals dismembering one another. Each player had a name and either hp or experience meters over their heads and it looks like customization will probably play an important role. Sony is billing the game as free-to-play so it will definitely be online. It's hard to tell how players will interact outside of killing each other but hopefully Suda51's touch on the game will be pronounced as always. We should learn more in the near future as it is slated for a 2015 release. The Order: 1886 -PlayStation 4- To be completely honest, it wasn't going to take much for The Order: 1886 to impress me. I love the universe and mythology Ready at Dawn has created and I wanted to see it flourish. As I pointed out in my Sony E3 preview, people have been down on The Order recently. Sony needed to show gameplay that displayed not only the pretty graphics but add depth to the story too. In the short piece they chose for E3, Galahad is under attack by one of the previously unseen half breeds and he's scared. Ready at Dawn has made a point of showing that while the members of The Order are powerful, they aren't invincible. This will be an interesting dynamic to explore and I hope they do so in subsequent demos. Although the recent delay is disappointing, this game can be a knockout for PS4 if they take the time to polish it. I'm more excited than ever. Chris "WildCardCorsair" Garcia Contributing Writer Splatoon -Wii U- While it“s generally hard to describe something like Splatoon, I think I“ve come across the perfect analogy. You start with one part arena shooter, add one part Jet Set Radio, throw in a couple pinches of kawaii animu, and you“ve got Splatoon! Your squid-shifting self only has to paint as much of the floor in your team“s color to win, but the enemy“s color of paint hurts you so you“ll need to paint over it as much as possible in order to not die. As I sorta mentioned earlier, you can also turn into a squid which is not only adorable, but allows you to move quicker, recharge your paint (ink), and hide from the enemy. If you don“t have a smile on your face while playing Splatoon, you aren“t human. Starwhal: Just The Tip -PC, PlayStation 3- I almost didn“t play Starwhal: Just the Tip but I“m really really glad I did. It“s a downloadable title, out for PC now, but coming also to the PS3, via PSN. The premise is simple. You are a narwhal, a space narwhal to be exact, and it is your goal to use that horn to stab other space narwhals in their exposed hearts for glory and honor (not really, but probably). The game is totally insane, simple, easy to learn, and most of all fun for up to four players local co-op. It“s basically like the 80“s did so much coke and acid they exploded on your PS3 and formed the perfect party game. The game also gives me the perfect excuse to ask strangers if they want to play “Just the tip.” Velocity 2X -PlayStation 4, PS Vita- If you“ve played Velocity Ultra for PS3 or Vita, you already know that it“s awesome. If you haven“t, you should go do that. Seriously. Velocity 2X is the sequel that we deserve, and the sequel we need right now, but we“ll have to wait a little longer. The game revolves around the ace test pilot Lt. Kai Tana, who due to spoilery reasons, now finds herself in a very unfamiliar part of space. She“ll have to put the teleport-capable Quarp Jet to good use, sure, but this time she“ll also have to get her hands dirty in person. Velocity 2X features new, completely gorgeous sidescrolling levels in which Kai Tana will have to strut her stuff sans ship. Everything about this game is impressive from the level design, the mechanics for both shooting and platforming, and even the breathtaking environments. Which games impressed you the most during E3? Let us know in the comments below!
  7. Undoubtedly for many, Sony's Gamescom 2013 press conference was the biggest part of Gamescom to look forward to this week, especially due to expectations of more news on the upcoming Playstation 4 and more game announcements for Vita. But did the press conference hit all the high notes? Did it live up to everyone's expectations? Or did it go astray and leave people wanting more? The GP editorial team assembled to share our thoughts on the matter. Read on below! Jason Clement Editor-in-Chief "First and foremost, I felt Sony absolutely nailed the most important thing that everyone expected to hear about - that being, of course, the fact that Vita is getting a clear price drop to $199.99 and with some cuts to memory card prices as well. In regards to the rest of the conference, they showed off some great new PS4 games (such as Rime), but the spotlight on indie games really seemed to drive home the point that for Vita, third-party publishing is all but done, and that indie games and first-party games are what will largely drive the platform from this point forward, though it's possible third-parties could pick back up in a year or two. Will Vita owners be fine with this status quo for now? We'll find out." Marcus Estrada Managing Editor "I'm glad they gave the Vita a price cut because it definitely needed one. However, I don't really appreciate their obsessive attention to indies. No, it's not because of any hatred for indie games (obviously, they are my favorite things) but without support by big name companies, how long can the Vita really be considered an asset to Sony? There was little compelling to me about the PS4 that we didn't already know, either. It's good to see they are not switching things around to become more Microsoft-like or something, but still, it looks like a nice system. Nothing about it yet makes me feel like I 'need' it though. Likely those games will come later in the lifespan, which is fine with me." Elizabeth "Gaiages" Henges Community Manager/Staff Writer "I wasn't able to watch the conference myself, but like most I'm happy for the Vita time and price drop. I wasn't really put off by the number of indies that were shown for the system; to be honest at this point, I'm glad the Vita's getting any support at all. Also, playing some of those indies (particularly Rogue Legacy) on a handheld sounds nice... but then again, I am a portable person. As for the rest of the conference, nothing really interested me. The launch line-up for the PS4 doesn't look all that bad or anything, it's just not my cup of tea." Jared Features Editor "Rime, Rime, Rime. All I can think about is the game Rime. With what little we saw from it, you think that wouldn't be the case, but it is. I am just really interested in Rime. Just show us more Rime and I'll be happy. Other than a release date for the PS4 and Hotline Miami 2 being temporarily exclusive to Sony, nothing else really wowed me. The Vita price drop is good news, but honestly this just means I can buy a used one for even cheaper now. As for negatives, the camera operator needs to be fired from a cannon. Nobody wants to see crowd reactions during a brand new reveal, and the Microsoft jab was poorly done. I liked it, obviously. But you can't really rag on them for doing what the fans asked for." Elizabeth Burnette Moderator "I think it's great to see the Vita and the memory cards for it get a price drop. Though, I wish the cards had dropped to maybe two thirds of their original cost. As far as the titles mentioned, I'm really excited to see Borderlands 2 come to the Vita as well as the indie love that Sony is showing." What did you think of the conference? Did it live up to your expectations? Let us know below in the comments!
  8. This E3, Nintendo has more to prove than ever before. While they had a free shot at getting the Wii U the attention it needed in the conferences over the last two years, the initial information they announced was confusing to many (where it wasn't even immediately known if the Wii U was a Wii add-on or a new console) and the launch line-up was somewhat lackluster. Now they have to contend with two new powerful consoles from their competitors and will need to come in with all guns blazing if they hope to secure the "talk of E3" as it were. Yes, Nintendo needs to drop the bomb and make some big announcements in order to get people excited for the future of Wii U, not only in the short term, but in the long term as well. If there's any time they're poised to do that, it's now, and they may just deliver on some of those big surprises on Tuesday. The good news? We already know that Nintendo is slated to show off a new 3D Mario game, a new Mario Kart, and we'll finally get our first look at the next Super Smash Bros. title. It's also highly likely that Retro will unveil their next game since it's been 3 years since Donkey Kong Country Returns originally released on Wii; more than enough time for development on their next title to be mostly complete. Beyond those announcements, who knows? Here's what the GP staff is predicting from the next Nintendo Direct. Retro At Last Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief The possibility of Retro Studios showing off their latest title is extremely high; almost guaranteed. But the question is, what have they been working on for so long? Many believe it's a new Metroid title, likely continuing from where they left off with Metroid Prime 3, but something tells me that it might be something else. You see, over the years, Retro has had many of the key players on the Metroid Prime team depart, but in that time they've acquired quite a bit of talent from other super-talented developers, including Naughty Dog, Vigil, and more. Eric Kozlowsky, formerly of Naughty Dog has said about Retro's new project that "if all goes well it might just be one of my crowning achievements as an artist." Current rumors are indicating that it may be a new IP, and I think they might be right on the money. After all, why waste Retro's talent simply reinvisioning older Nintendo franchises? They did spectacular work with the Metroid Prime series and Donkey Kong Country Returns, but Retro is absolutely Nintendo's equivalent of Naughty Dog; why not utilize their talents to the fullest potential and create something entirely new? Nintendo probably realized this as well, and that's why I believe they've given Retro the go-ahead to create something that Nintendo's in-house teams could not - a new IP that is attractive to Western and mature audiences. Has Retro finally created Nintendo's Uncharted? We'll find out shortly as all eyes (and ears) center on the next Nintendo Direct come Tuesday morning. Animal Crossing Adds Paid DLC Marcus Estrada | Managing Editor Nintendo had previously given out free DLC for the more modern Animal Crossing games (Wild World, City Folk) and are doing so with New Leaf as well. However, they have never had the audacity to charge for it. Because Animal Crossing is always such a popular series, though, I think they might seriously consider adding it in. Of course, then they would need to navigate between what is worthy of being paid DLC versus the free ones given out in SpotPass. It's Been A Long Time Coming Gaiages | Community Manager So, Nintendo has shown quite a bit of support for the 3DS this year... Link to the Past 2, Mario & Luigi Dream Team, and the list goes on for all the great portable titles Nintendo's giving us this year. It really seems like the Wii U isn't getting any love... yet. Do I expect the Wii U to get some attention? Certainly, but if my prediction is correct, it'll all be drowned out by the massive fan noise that'll generate from the announcement of the Mother 3 translation. Think that's farfetched? It's really not. With Earthbound coming to the Wii U VC, and the fan translators offering to give their high quality translation to Nintendo for free, the Big N might just take that leap and bring one of the most asked-for games over to the West. Of course, it'd have to be on the 3DS VC since it's a GBA game, so that'd kind of downplay any Wii U news, but still... Pokemon Ready To Rumble John Kidman | Contributing Writer Skylanders proved to the world that a game could make you pay for characters on your disc while receiving very few complaints. Disney followed suit with the announcement of Infinity, but how could Nintendo pass up such a cash cow for its western audiences? My prediction is that Pokémon Rumble U will utilize Surf to reach the West. I can envision this Japanese eShop title to be localized for North America and Europe just in time for the holidays. Pokemon Rumble U will likely still be an eShop title, but there is a possibility that Rumble U could also receive a physical release with a few starter Pokémon to help stock the shelves this holiday season. Parents would gladly pay $2-3 for new characters, albeit a smaller toy for a much shorter game, over the MSRP of Skylanders and Infinity characters that range anywhere from $10-15 each. Release Dates and Windows - Near and Far Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief So far this year we know that The Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD are coming to Wii U, but is that all? Not by a long shot. Nintendo knows they need to go big or go home if they hope to distract consumers from the impending launches of the Xbox One and PS4 so they'll have a few more big marquee titles on the way. The biggest? 3D Mario and Mario Kart will also hit the Wii U before the end of 2013. Those two would act as the one-two punch that many have been waiting for all along, and if you remember in 2011, that was the masterful move Nintendo made on the 3DS with the release of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. As for what else might release? Expect to see Pokemon Rumble U release in the Fall in order to get all the kids on board with actual toy pokemon collectibles this time around. If Skylanders is any indication, it could be huge. As for other games, expect to see Monolith Soft's X (which will also get an actual name) and Bayonetta 2 get a release date in 2014 (likely in the latter half). More Japanese Games Make Their Way West Barrel | Moderator After the recent success of Fire Emblem: Awakening and the anticipation for Shin Megami Tensei IV (which has been doing well in Japan), I expect Nintendo to actually make a localization announcement for Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem for Wii U at the next Nintendo Direct and show a tiny bit of gameplay. Also, in much more bold speculation I expect Treasure (the developers behind stuff like Sin & Punishment 1/2 and Ikaruga) to make a new action game for Wii U, but not necessarily a shmup or bullet-hell like their pedigree would suggest. I could see them getting creative with the system's capabilities by having something similar to The World Ends With You in terms of gameplay flow where you alternate between the gamepad and touch-screen while also changing your focus on the TV to the gamepad. Crazy? Indeed. But I feel like Treasure has been sitting on a new project after a steady stream of re-releases on Xbox Live Arcade, and it would be the perfect time to show it off when Wii U owners are hungry for new titles, no matter how bizarre. For the 3DS, I expect to see Camelot Software Planning tease another Golden Sun sequel (those who have seen the end of Dark Dawn will know why) or possibly a new RPG series altogether for 3DS. Oh, And Just One More Thing... Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief In the past, Nintendo was known to end their conferences with one super big last announcement; a coup de grace, if you will. In 2004, they ended their conference with the huge bombshell reveal trailer for what would later become The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. In 2009, they revealed the the first trailer for Metroid: Other M, which, at the time, looked downright exciting; they also shocked fans everywhere with the partnership between Nintendo and Team Ninja on the project. Expect them to end on a big note again this year. Interestingly enough, rumor has it that Nintendo's conference ended on a strange note last year (with a doubly long Nintendo Land segment) because Retro's game was pulled from the presentation (at Retro's request) at the last moment for not being ready. If this is true, it would seem to corroborate that we will likely see the game this year, so perhaps Retro's new project will get the famed final spotlight during the conference? It's possible; if I were a betting man, that would be the safest bet to go with. Last we heard from Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma is that it would take some time for them to develop the Wii U Zelda title, and that they are currently in the conceptual phase so it's unlikely we'll see any video content of it. So if the big announcement at the end isn't Retro's game or Zelda, what could it be? Why, another big exclusive in the vein of Bayonetta 2, of course. Bayonetta 2's reveal as a Nintendo exclusive was one of the biggest shockers in recent Nintendo history, especially given the game's source material and Nintendo's family friendly image, but if anything, it's proof that Nintendo realizes they need big AAA games that appeal to older gamers as well. Expect to hear of another big exclusive snapped up by the big N. Shenmue 3, perhaps? Hey, a guy can dream... What do you think? Do you have any predictions for what Nintendo will announce?
  9. Whatever your opinion is on Sony, there's no denying that the PS4 is the next-gen console that clearly has the most momentum coming into E3, especially after a few weeks of negative PR for Microsoft's Xbox One, thanks to a backlash against DRM implementation that will require an online presence once a day and more. When Sony's successor to the PS3 was announced earlier this year, they made sure to come out of the gate running. This was a system that would be first and foremost dedicated to games, and the message was clear to both consumers and developers. That same game plan still holds true going into E3; by focusing on the gamer and not the average consumer (at least not yet), Sony hopes to win the hearts of fans everywhere with what many expect may be a killer launch line-up that will likely be fully revealed on Monday. What other announcements might Sony make? Join the GP staff as they ruminate on their predictions for the upcoming conference. No Price... Just Yet Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief "If anything, the one thing I don't think Sony will do is announce an official price for the PS4, contrary to popular belief. While it's true that they did announce the Vita's price at E3, the PS4 is an entirely different beast altogether. Think back to 2006 when Kaz Hirai presented the PS3 to the world; that conference had a plethora of bungled moments, but the one that really cost them was the announcement that the price of the console would be $599. Kaz saying that it represented "significant financial investment" from the consumer only further twisted the knife, in a sense. So if Sony learned anything from that conference, it's that the price can undermine everything. They could have the best, most surprising announcements, but if the price is wrong, it'll cost them dearly. No, Sony will announce the things people want to hear - games, exclusive deals, price-drops on PS3/Vita, new accessories - but they'll leave the pricing announcement for another day in order to preserve the good PR they'll no doubt receive from fans and press alike... at least for a time. Expect the price to be announced sometime before the Fall begins, likely sometime in August." Nothing But Games John Kidman | Contributing Writer "My prediction for Sony is that they will hold a conference that echoes Kaz Hirai's statement that the Playstation 4 is "first and foremost" a console designed for gaming. The press conference will likely reiterate a few of the features, but the primary focus will be on the console's launch line-up and the console's powerful specs. Of course, how can we forget the actual unveiling of the console beyond a few blurry teaser trailers? The VITA will also receive its own share of the limelight with a few key games, but the use of the VITA as a PS4 peripheral will be a major focal point for the device. Also, be prepared for a major pat on the back regarding the stellar Playstation Plus program. My predictions for the Sony conference are less about what I'm expecting to see, but rather what I am not expecting." Power in Simplicity Gaiages | Community Manager "Sony saw how the Xbox One conference failed to impress gamers, and they're not about the same mistake at E3. Of course, that means they're going to focus on the games, but there's another way Sony can one-up the competition... and that's with the PS4's interface. I think Sony's going to show off how exactly the PS4 works... from turning on the first live system they're going to bring to the floor. If they show off how easy it to turn on and simply play a game, then I believe they'll have a clear-cut advantage over Microsoft. With all of the Xbox One's complexities coming from trying to do everything, the possible simplicity of the PS4 might be just what gamers need... if Sony wants to play their cards that way." The Wait Ends For One Long Awaited Game, And A New Era Begins At Sony Santa Monica Barrel | Moderator "With the Playstation 3, I don't expect to see [Final Fantasy] Versus XIII, but I'm going to be the crazy person and say I do expect to see The Last Guardian at long last. It's crazy, and I'm more than lying to myself, but I could see Sony at least act like they are bringing it for real... in 2014. Also it will have like a fraction of a second of gameplay footage, which people will be dissecting/complaining the heck out of about how it looks pretty different from what they expected in earlier trailers. For Playstation 4, I expect to see a new IP from Sony Santa Monica Studio to make a big splash and possibly be the talk of their conference. Yes, something not God of War related. I'll go the extra step and guess something with a modern day realistic-ish setting with a sort of unserious twist, in contrast to their God of War titles and more artsy downloadable stuff like Sound Shapes." Vita's Lukewarm Presence Continues Barrel | Moderator "As much as I want the Vita to succeed, I sense a lukewarm presence at best for it at E3, even though smaller publishers like XSeed, Aksys, and Atlus will surely put stuff on the show floor. That said, I can see Sega to surprising us by announcing the US version of Phantasy Star Online 2 for Vita and promising more info to come in the following months (since they don't want to talk about PC specifically and the compatibility with it at a Sony event). I also expect some throwaway talk with Killzone: Mercenary working with Killzone 4 on PS4; Possibly working similarly to how Resistance: Retribution worked with Resistance 2." Focus On Move, Streaming, And Social Features Continues John Kidman | Contributing Writer "Don't expect Sony to abandon the Playstation Move in the least. We already know that the peripheral will be supported and Media Molecule's upcoming sculpting game will be a next generation release, so we will likely receive our yearly conference fill of waggling. Also, we will undoubtedly hear more information on the PS4's Facebook integration, but I am not expecting any major surprises in this area... unless they happen to bring Zuckerberg on stage." Barrel | Moderator "Expect to see something heavily related to Gaikai, and this will... slightly waver consumer trust despite how new and old IPs will be shown earlier in the conference. I say this because the PS4 will be implied to have online DRM functionality (which won't be directly answered during the show, for better or worse) while also having supposed other community related benefits." What are your predictions for what will be shown at Sony's conference?
  10. Microsoft has gone back to the starting point with Xbox One. No longer should we focus on the original Xbox or Xbox 360 but look toward a brand new era of digital entertainment. Do you watch TV shows or movies? Microsoft wants to own your living room and have you enjoy all that media through Xbox One. Oh, and the device will have something to do with games too. Although the Xbox One reveal had nothing to do with games, it has been proclaimed that Microsoft's E3 presence will be all about the games. What about these supposed fifteen exclusive games - will they all be shown? Will we get much-needed answers to our questions about used games and online connectivity? The staff of Game Podunk have put on their "game analyst" hats and are ready to share their best E3 predictions. A Rare Opportunity Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief "Most of us have heard the news by now - Microsoft will be announcing a sequel to a 'historic' Rare franchise, but the question is which franchise are they referring to? Many people seem to think it will be none other than the long dormant Killer Instinct series, and for good reason - Microsoft recently renewed the trademark for the series last Fall. While Killer Instinct is clearly the frontrunner in all this speculation, what if the Rare sequel in question isn't from that series? The Banjo Kazooie series is probably Rare's hallmark franchise and what people love them most for, but somehow I don't think that will be it either. No, we're going to need to go back in time a bit more. There are two series that haven't been considered that would push fans' nostalgia buttons like crazy if Rare were developing a new game for them - Battletoads and R.C. Pro-Am. While neither series has been relevant for some time, they might provide the nostalgia bomb that Microsoft is looking for in getting some people to jump onboard with the Xbox One. The problem with R.C. Pro-Am is that Microsoft already has a popular racing game in Forza, so unless the former does something dramatically different, we can probably rule it out for now. Which leaves us with Battletoads. Crazy? Sure, but it might just be crazy enough to work and give Microsoft the big surprise they're looking to shock people with." Silence Is Golden (When It Comes To DRM) Marcus Estrada | Managing Editor "Microsoft has recently explained the problematic parts of the Xbox One and is unlikely to step away from them now. So what can they do to calm gamers down during their conference when all they're currently arguing about is a 24 hour internet check in and changing used game market? Simple, they won't talk about it at all! They're going to focus on their games and other properties but not say a single thing about the online pushback against their decisions. They already canceled their after-conference appointments with journalists so it's likely Microsoft will just clam up about any of this. They've given their answer via the official Xbox news website and are now done discussing it. Take the Xbox One or leave it because the console's controversial features are (probably) here to stay!" The Great Used Games Tax John Kidman | Contributing Writer "I suspect a speedy retreat from the poorly articulated 'fee' surrounding used and borrowed games. Microsoft hit everybody in the jaw when they initially announced the existence of this surcharge, so expect a few audible 'boos' from the audience when they first begin to address the issue that sent the twitter feeds and gaming websites into flame spirals. Microsoft will likely fully articulate a smaller-than-anticipated ($5 or $10) fee after a few pithy comments, perhaps about 'not believing everything you read on the internet.' I suspect this fee will similar in structure to online passes. The gaming industry is like any other industry, consumer driven, and imposing a large fee is truly a bad business model. A much better business model would be embracing the used game market on consoles by creating the ability to buy and sell ownership of digital titles, sending 10% of the proceeds of the transaction to the developer and paying the seller the balance in whatever monopoly money the console creator decides to implement." A Double Dose of Halo Gaiages | Community Manager "At the Xbox One reveal, it was stated that the Xbox One was going to get a bunch of exclusive, some of them even being new IPs, so they better flaunt their gaming power at the biggest gaming conference of the year! As to what they will show, that's anyone's guess... and my guess is that we'll be seeing a new Halo game. Yes, I know, there's the Halo TV series, but what better way to hype that than with a tie-in game? Also, Halo is pretty much one of Microsoft's system sellers, so what better way to hype their new system than with a new entry into the franchise?" 15 Exclusives, 8 New IPs, 1 to Rule Them All Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief "One of the biggest things about Microsoft's conference is that they're set to announce 15 first-party games for release within the console's first year on shelves. That's a lot of games, especially for a launch console's initial year, which is typically rife with delays and periods of game droughts as gamers weather the wait for the true next-generation games to arrive in year two. While we don't know if MS can make good on that proposition for sure just yet, we can guess as to what they'll announce as part of the 15 exclusives. Let's start with a few that we actually know of already: Ryse and Ascend: Hand of Kul (formerly Ascend: New Gods). The former was announced in 2012 and is a new IP being developed by Crytek, and the latter is a free-to-play online role playing game being developed by Signal Studios, who created Toy Soldiers for XBLA, and though the game was originally announced for 360, I have a sneaking suspicion that it has moved to Xbox One. Both games would also fulfill the new IP condition as well. What else do we know is coming? LocoCycle from Twisted Pixel was recently announced. Not surprisingly, Forza 5 is also on the way. Alan Wake developer Remedy Entertainment's latest game Quantum Break was revealed as a new IP at the Xbox One reveal event. Is it likely we'll see Halo 5 release in the Xbox One's launch year? Likely not, though it's probable if 313 Industries simply continues using Halo 4's engine without any huge upgrades. You can also bet on seeing some type of new Gears of War title being announced; possibly Gears of War 4. Let's assume Lionhead isn't only working on Fable Anniversary as well and has been working on another next-gen Fable; that would round out the big 4 MS franchises. And last but not least, Black Tusk Studios is reportedly working on MS's next big game, and it's assumed to be a new IP as well. Breaking down what we know and what we're predicting- 1. Forza 5 2. LocoCycle 3. Quantum Break 4. Ryse 5. New Halo title 6. Gears of War title 7. New Fable title 8. Black Tusk Studios title 9. Ascend: Hand of Kul (?) Assuming Ascend: Hand of Kul does make the leap to Xbox One and that three of the 15 games are new entries in the Halo, Gears of War, and Fable series, then that accounts for 9 of the 15 exclusives that MS is referring to. As for the remaining 6 games? We'll have to wait and see. Expect them to be a mix of smaller XBLA-like titles and a perhaps a few AAA titles. One thing seems certain, though - MS is banking big on at least one big game to really get people talking, and it could very well be the Black Tusk Studios title. Stay tuned as we find out the answer in just a few short days." What do you think? Do you have any predictions for Microsoft's Pre-E3 Conference?
  11. Yesterday we all learned about the final remaining console to be announced in the next generation race: The Xbox One. Though the name was a bit of a surprise, no doubt many were excited to hear details about this successor to the 360 and how it would improve on and change the current Xbox gaming scene. Unfortunately, there are still a few things that remain ambiguous about the system. It's been revealed that it will require an internet connection to play games, but how often will you need to be connected? One representative said every 24 hours though others are playing coy with the official answer. How will this affect consumers' reception of the console? Another thing that remains uncertain is how the Xbox One will handle used games, with some reports saying that it will charge a full-priced fee to consumers who use a used disc, but Microsoft's Major Nelson is saying that it's not written in stone yet. So what does this mean for you? Should you be excited for the Xbox One? The GP staff assembled their thoughts on the matter and shared their initial impressions about the console (both good and bad) below. Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief "If there's anything that truly took me by surprise about yesterday's announcement, it was the name they Microsoft went with. 'Xbox One' could quite possibly be one of the biggest misfires in video game console naming since the Wii U was revealed in 2011, and not because it sounds bad, but because it may ultimately lead to confusion among consumers. Don't believe me? It's already happening in Bing's search engine. Aside from the name, there wasn't much that excited me. Understandably, they're holding their biggest game announcements for E3, but sports and TV offerings didn't exactly strike a chord with me, and the obscured information we're getting about the console's DRM tells me that Microsoft are more concerned about taking control away from consumers as much as they can to suit their own needs. There are obvious concerns with this, and Microsoft will have a lot to prove with the console when E3 finally arrives in a few weeks." Marcus Estrada | Managing Editor "The Xbox One seems to be heading toward exactly what Microsoft wants - control of the living room TV. While I expect there will eventually be games I'm interested in for the system, as of now, they aren't playing to my interests. That's fine, as I don't expect any company to ever do so, but they also seem to be pushing me away as well. If used games cost an extra fee (aside from purchasing them used to begin with) then that is an annoyance. So too is the idea of games that are not otherwise online possibly making use of always online connectivity. Having suffered some really bad internet connectivity issues as of late, I can see that my household isn't ready for that, and that is true of some others as well. I still fully intend to buy the system, but I will continue to not support digital-only content as Microsoft has proved for the second time they do not really care to allow legacy support for XBLA games. They did not offer original Xbox users transfers of their (very few) digital titles, and they are doing so again here. As a collector, this is going to be the biggest issue I face in the future, and it's a shame no one is really looking forward on this topic." Marshall Henderson | Editor "The Xbox One is a hot mess of absurdity. It introduces a lot of ideas, but very few of the good ideas are particularly pertinent to their extant market, and the other ideas are actively geared against that market, and any other market that would use their product for any of its independent uses. Typically after announcing stuff like this, the incumbent consoles might be expected to state their case to counteract their competition's announcements, but really, one could convey anything Nintendo or Sony would need to say by simply reading the verbatim statements of Microsoft's representatives in a more incredulous tone. Frankly, Microsoft doesn't seem to be making a game console at all at this point. The representatives for the Xbox One have made it perfectly clear that their goal is television and sports, and the majority of their presented functions are not gaming-related at all, with the exception of the occasional backhand to gamers wanting to borrow games from one another or have any sort of experience with the console not pre-approved by Microsoft. This is a corporate market now, with consumers being expected to accept the terms of their purchases, rather than buying products that serve their needs. You don't owe Microsoft a damn thing, not to pay a fee on a used game you bought--oh wait not, oh wait maybe, not to connect to the internet at least once a day, not to keep your Kinect plugged up." Harrison Lee | Staff Writer "The Xbox One is a bit of a disappointment. It's a slick-looking DVR that offers voice functionality and high-quality motion control, or so we're led to believe. It also plays next-generation games, but Microsoft wasn't keen on advertising those bits. While I understand they want to save the gaming goodies for E3, it looked like the company had decided cable TV was the future of entertainment, and that the Xbox One will lead the way. I hope this isn't their philosophy because we're pushing away from standard cable service. In addition, the attempt at targeting a much broader user base makes me think they might have made some hardware concessions in the GPU and visual fidelity performance sectors to account for the extra TV and media-related tech. Surprisingly, this next generation of consoles is apparently matching your average mid-grade PC, and without compelling exclusives to draw me to the One (or the PS4, for that matter), I'm probably going to hold out until a sale." Jared | Features Editor "The new Kinect is the most interesting thing Microsoft offered at their presentation. The voice recognition that they demoed was amazing to say the least and that supposed ability of being able to monitor your heartbeat was just a great way to show of how advanced this little doohickey could end up being. Everything else they showed off or announced was predictable. It is still too early to tell if the Xbox One is going to sink or swim, but they're really going to suffer if they keep refusing to give people a straight answer on all this DRM nonsense." Gaiages | Community Manager "I'm still not quite sure what to think of the Xbox One reveal. The 360 has been taking a certain... mostly non-gaming direction as of late, and the One seems to be following that same direction. With the ability to multitask between different forms of media and many of the new features not involving gaming at all, Microsoft is really striving for this to be an all-in-One device (pun completely intended). I'm hoping we'll see more about the games during E3. With Microsoft's boast of a fair amount of exclusives and new IPs, they're going to have to reveal some of this at the show to really get gamers behind them. A random thought, though, for the voice recognition... sure, it worked fine at the conference, but what about those with accents or speech issues/impediments? Seeing how excited Microsoft was about it, I sure hope the technology is up to the task to understand everyone." If there's anything you can glean from these thoughts overall, two words seem to summarize our overall feeling of the Xbox One at the moment - hesitation and uncertainty. It's safe to say that some, if not many of you reading this might feel the same way as well, especially judging from reactions on social networks and the like. Will Microsoft be able to get rid of the doubt and hesitation currently that persists around the Xbox One currently? We'll find out in a few weeks when they pull back the cover completely on the Xbox One at E3. What were your thoughts on the Xbox One reveal? Let us know in the comments below!
  12. Today's Playstation event in New York brought with it a bevy announcements regarding the future of Playstation, not the least of which was the announcement of the upcoming successor to the PS3 called, unsurprisingly, the Playstation 4. Here's a recap of some of the other announcements that were made at the event, including a few game reveals and more. Playstation Vita Will Be Able To Play Certain PS4 Games Via Streaming Vita was discussed for a bit before Sony confirmed that you will be able to stream and play PS4 games on the Vita. Sony hopes that in the future, every PS4 game will be able to be playable on Vita via streaming. PS4 Officially Announced Sony confirmed that the PS4 is actually a thing coming out like we all expected, and that there will be a new Dualshock controller as well as talking about the specs of the machine. For more info, see the full article here. New First-Party PS4 Exclusive "Knack" Announced Mark Cerny (whose credits include Crash Bandicoot) debuted the trailer for his all-new game in development for PS4, called Knack. Knack appears to be a creature/robot that can absorb objects to grow in size, almost looking like the Zelda series' Ganondorf when he's bigger. It's very Pixar-like and appears to be heavily story-driven. PS4's Social Interaction and Gaikai Streaming Discussed Sony discussed a bevy of information regarding the PS4's features, and they're heavily steeped in social integration as well as streaming. You can read more on this here. Guerilla Games Announces Killzone: Shadow Fall Killzone series developer Guerilla Games drew first blood by showing the first game coming to Playstation 4: Killzone: Shadow Fall. Its visuals and physics seemed to stun onlookers in the audience. More can be read about Shadow Fall here. Next Generation Racing Sim Drive Club Announced Evolution Studios, best known for the MotorStorm series on PS3, took to the stage at the press conference to announce the first PS4 racing game, entitled Drive Club. It was revealed that the project had existed as a concept for an entire decade. More on the game here. The inFamous Series Makes Its Grand Return With inFamous: Second Son Many gamers have been wondering what developer Sucker Punch has been up to since the release of inFamous: Festival of Blood, and we got our first look tonight at their latest project: inFamous: Second Son. More on it here. Jonathan Blow Announces The Witness For PS4 Famed Braid developer Jonathan Blow took to the stage in a surprise appearance to announce that his latest game, The Witness, will be for PS4 and subsequently showed a trailer for the title, which has long been in development. More details here. Quantic Dream's David Cage Makes An Appearance David Cage (of Heavy Rain and upcoming Beyond: Two Souls fame) spoke a bit about how games are increasingly able to express the nuances of emotion, and that with the PS4's capabilities, it will be more possible than ever to convey emotion with the game's characters. He also mentioned that Beyond: Two Souls' main character will have 30,000 polygons, making for extremely life-like facial expressions and such. Media Molecule Showcases Move Potential LittleBigPlanet 1 & 2 developer Media Molecule showcased the potential of the Move with a few demos and said that it was their intention to "marry the Move with the PS4. They went on to show how they could manipulate puppetlike characters to put on a rock concert. Capcom Showcases New Engine and IP, Deep Down Capcom's Yoshinori Ono announced a new engine that they've been working on code-named 'Pantha Rei.' He also showed off a brand new IP that looked somewhat reminiscent of Dragon's Dogma called Deep Down. Square-Enix Shows Off Real-Time Rendering in Luminous Engine In order to show off more of the PS4's power, Square-Enix showed off a demo showing off real-time rendering using their Luminous engine, which was impressive. Afterward, they announced that they would have an announcment about Final Fantasy on the PS4 at E3. Ubisoft Talks Watch_Dogs We first saw Watch_Dogs unveiled at last year's E3, but today Ubisoft showed off a different demo of the game and announced that the game would be coming to PS4 as well. Blizzard Announces Partnership With Sony In another surprise appearance, Blizzard announced that they would be partnering with Sony to release Diablo III on the PS3 and PS4. Activision Shows Off Bungie's Destiny Destiny was already blown out in a huge preview event, but they finally showed a bit of footage of the game and mentioned how it would change the way we play first-person shooters. The game would also be getting some exclusive content in the Playstation version. PS4 Bound For Release By the End of the Year Sony announced that the PS4 is on track for a release at the end of the 2013. No pricing has been announced yet, and we still have yet to see what the console looks like. Expect to hear more about the next-gen console at E3 in June.
  13. Christmas is just around the corner. While most responsible people have their shopping all done and gifts wrapped, there will always be the kind of people who wait until the last minute to get it done. Fear not, as we at Game Podunk have come up with two lists of last minute downloadable gift ideas for the gamers in your family. In fact, we comprised a list for those who need to shop for family friendly titles and a list for the more 'hardcore' gamers. Oh, and did we mention that it's all affordable too? Most console games are expensive, especially considering the economy nowadays, and though there's many that are well worth their higher asking price, we'll be focusing on quality games that are under $25. Check them out below! For the Whole Family Journey Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 (USD) Offical GP Review A beautiful game that puts more focus on a deep, emotional narrative; exploring the vast scenery; and relying on random strangers to help you reach your goal; Journey is a game that doesn't just have stunning art but offers anonymous online players to help others who might be having some trouble getting to the huge mountain. This PSN only title might be on the short side (clocking in at 2 to 3 hours) but everyone in the family will want to play it over and over again. Rock Band Blitz Platform: PSN (PS3 only), XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Official GP Review Chances are, you've owned at least one entry in the peripheral instrument-based Rock Band series. And maybe you even splurged and got the full set: guitars, microphone, and drums. Rock Band Blitz takes the fun part of the series and makes it more accessible by removing the need for all those instruments. It comes with 25 tracks but you can also import your Rock Band 3 DLC to jam out to. It's also great to know that you can use the 25 tracks from Rock Band Blitz in Rock Band 3 whenever the hankering to dust off those plastic instruments. The Unfinished Swan Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 Official GP Review Another short game that still manages to deliver on stunning graphics and touching story, The Unfinished Swan has players use their imagination and the ability to toss black paint to uncover the vast white world around the orphan Monroe as he sets out to find the titular unfinished swan in his favorite painting of his mother's. Crashmo Platform: 3DS eShop Price: $8.99 Crashmo is the follow-up to last year's eShop puzzler sleeper hit, Pushmo. It expands on the puzzle gameplay introduced in the first game by adding the ability to push blocks around the grid and in turn, letting blocks stacked above fall down. There are new special floating blocks and other puzzle elements added as well, ultimately making this a much more complex and satisfying game overall. For puzzle fans, this is quite possibly one of (if not the best) third person 3D puzzlers out there right now; don't miss it! Playstation Plus Platform: PSN (PS3 and Vita) Price: $49.99 for 12 months; $17.99 for 3 months Okay, maybe this one is cheating a little (since the higher tier subscription is over $25) but if you own a PlayStation 3 and haven't purchased a monthly subscription to Sony's PlayStation Plus, then you're missing out. Available in three month ($17.99) and twelve month ($49.99) purchases, it averages out to about $5 a month. The PlayStation Plus service doesn't just you give the ability to use the 1GB of online data storage for game saves; each month, Sony offers free games to your library as well as huge discounts on select titles. The catch is that free games are only accessible while your subscription is active, so it's comparable to a service like Netflix; however, any discounted titles that you pay for are yours to keep forever. For the More Experienced Gamers Fez Platform: XBLA Price: $9.99 (800 MS points) If you have a lover, family member, or friend who“s been begging for a game featuring a fez hat (Santa gets that request all the time), FEZ has got you covered. This little puzzle-platformer puts you in the 2-dimensional shoes of a little guy named Gomez. Living without a care in his 2D plane of existence, Gomez comes across a strange artifact that grants him his game“s namesake, which allows him to shift the dimensions of the world itself. In this game, players must solve puzzles and clear levels with this power as they help Gomez save the artifact that granted him the fez before it gets ripped to shreds. Spelunky Platform: XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Here“s a game that“s perfect for Indiana Jones, if he was into video games. Providing him with tons of cave exploration, rope-swinging action, and his biggest fear – snakes, he“d certainly feel right at home with Spelunky. This game has you playing as an explorer who stumbles upon a cave filled with treasure. The cave isn“t any normal cave, however... Seriously, before digitally gift-wrapping this downloadable, make sure the gift“s receiver can tolerate dying a billion and a half times, because this game is hard. Mainly, the hardcore difficulty is a result of the game“s randomized cave layout. Once you die and are transported back to the beginning of the level, you will quickly notice that the level has become completely different from what you just played before. This means you will have no choice but to die, die, and die again until you manage to beat a level in one go. Fortunately, Spelunky is also quite funny, so you“ll have something to help you calm your frustration a bit over the holidays. Mark of the Ninja Platform: XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Whether your loved ones love ninjas or just enjoy sneaking into the kitchen for late-night snacks without being seen, Mark of the Ninja is a stealthy little game that“s sure to take them by surprise. In this stealthy action platformer, you play as a ninja assassin sent to find the truth behind his mystical tattoos, which amplify his powers at the expense of his mind“s slow destruction. The story is an interesting one with a variety of different choices, which is sure to keep you invested while hiding in the shadows, sneaking up on victims of your razor-sharp katana, and doing whatever else ninjas are prone to do. And with such slick controls, being a ninja has never felt better. Trine 2: Director's Cut Platform: Wii U Price: $19.99 (on sale for $14.99 until 1/4/13) Non-Director's Cut version also available on Steam for $14.99 regularly, as well as on XBLA, PSN, Mac OS X, and Linux. If you or your loved ones had the opportunity to purchase a Nintendo Wii U, or are getting one for Christmas, Trine 2: Director“s Cut is a great downloadable title to add to its library. It“s not only an insanely pretty game, but it“s so good in general that many of the more expensive games currently out for the console don“t even match it. This physics-based puzzle-platforming title puts players in control of three heroes, each of whom have been bound to a single entity, and the player must switch between the three as they try and find out how to progress through each level. Tokyo Jungle Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 Official GP Review Tokyo Jungle is without a doubt one of the most unique games of the year. Set in a bleak, post-apocalyptic future where humans have disappeared, you play as one of 40+ different animals who either used to be household pets or have escaped from the zoo, and your only purpose is to survive in the iron wilderness of a Tokyo that's been overrun by nature. Though the mechanics are somewhat simple (eat, mate, defend yourself, and survive), the random variables the game presents (weather, pollution, what animals are in a certain areas) all make each playthrough a fairly unique experience and one of the must-play games of the year. Article was written by Jordan Haygood and Elizabeth. You can follow them on Twitter as @KaptainJ and @TheLiztress.