Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Clarification, A ME3 Map, I Am Alive, Misfits & Dr Who

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Clarification: Last night on Twitter, I made a comment about shopping in the app store and apparently it wasn't nearly as clear as I thought it was. I had several replies chastising me afterwards, and I wanted to clarify what I meant to say. If you still want to chastise me after that then that's totally cool, but it seemed pretty obvious that I was not able to make my point in 140 characters.

MY BAD!

So, I'm not really an Apple person but I finally switched to an iPhone last week and I've been spending a lot of time checking out the games and seeing what I've been missing out on. I knew that there were a ridiculous amount of titles to choose from, but finally witnessing it firsthand was overwhelming, and it didn't take long before I started formulating my own plan of attack. That, combined with my knowledge of sales, marketing and consumer habits is what led me to make the comment that I did.


Here is the actual tweet: Checking out the app store. If your game is over .99 and there's no Lite/Free version to try? PASS.

Afterwards, I understood how easily it could be interpreted in a different way (and I apologize for that) so let me clear it up right now.

What I meant (and failed to get across) is that when I'm browsing the app store, there are literally thousands of titles to look at and it's a ton of work to try and research each one if the information given in the description isn't enough. My own personal preference is that I'm happy to risk $1 on something that looks promising even if I don't know any other information about it, and I'm even happier if a developer gives me a ‘lite’ or free version as a way of trying before I buy -- that's awesome, and it's really smart marketing.

Personally, I'm far less likely to spend anything over .99 if I don't know any information about a particular title, if none of my friends or fellow critics have recommended it, and if there is no trial or free version. With all of the competition on the app store, my feeling is that any developer putting out an unknown game at any price point more than .99 is cutting their own throat if they don't throw consumers a bone.


I'd also like to clarify that I have no problem paying more than .99 for a game as long as it's got a good reputation or strong word-of-mouth from people that I trust. I wasn't trying to say that every game should be .99 or free, it was more meant to comment on what I see (consumer-wise) as the optimal way to appeal towards potential customers.

I hope that clarifies my position and I again apologize for being murkier than I should have been. I guess there are certain statements that just can't be made in the length of one tweet.

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Games: My good friends over at Spikysnail wanted to let people know that The Splatters is still coming, and that they've got a new video to show off. I played the game at last year's PAX and I had a blast with it, so although it may not be on everyone's radar at the moment, it's definitely one to watch for. It hits XBLA on April 11, and you can see that video RIGHT HERE.

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Games: I'm not going to say a damn thing about Mass Effect 3’s ending right for several reasons, but one of my Twitter followers sent along this chart showing the different locations of Assets to collect in the galaxy, and I thought it was a totally awesome timesaver. If you're still playing the game and working towards winning your war, you may find THIS MAP quite useful. WARNING: very mild spoilers, so look at your own risk.
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Games: Just a quick word on I Am Alive, the post-apocalyptic survival/platformer that was released on XBLA and immediately overshadowed by GDC and ME3. It's a real shame since the game has a lot of really, really interesting stuff going on and the content is so stark and mature that it's like the world’s most serious boot kicking you in the gut. 


I haven't had as much time to play it as I would have liked (currently, I'm guessing I'm about halfway or so) but I certainly think anyone interested in games criticism owes it to themselves to check it out and see what it has to say. More to come on this later.

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TV: The wife and I have been watching Misfits, and we're currently in the middle of Season three. I've mentioned the show here at the blog and on Twitter before, but it's such a fantastic program that I think it's worth mentioning again. If you haven't seen it, you are genuinely missing out.

What we think it makes it so great is that despite being a show about people who have special abilities, it's such a character-driven piece, and the writers are doing extremely solid work with each face on the show. Everyone has depth, personality and motivation, and even more oppressive, not writers have managed to avoid many of the traps and pitfalls that kill other fantasy/scifi shows like this one. The biggest example I can think of is how Heroes started so incredibly strong and then exploded into a giant fireball of stupidity and terrible writing. It would have been very easy for Misfits to follow that path, yet it never has.


For example, the subject of time travel came up early on, but the writers moved on after exploring it and didn't use it as a crutch. Although super powers and special abilities come into play often, the scripts aren't based on them -- more often, the shows are about some trouble that results from a misuse of power, and how the characters respond as people. I also admire the restraint shown by not fiddling with powers too often. There was one major shakeup, but the show stayed strong afterwards and kept building on the characters rather than obsessing about the powers themselves. I also love that the show doesn't need a giant ‘big bad’ each season, and that the characters don't spend any time at all wondering about where their powers came from. They have them, they accept them, and the show moves on.

I'm trying not to spoil anything for those who haven't seen the show yet, but take it from me -- if you're a fan of character-driven superhero/fantasy/scifi then you need to locate these episodes, make some popcorn, and dedicate an evening or two. You won't be sorry.

Speaking of character-driven...

The other night the wife and I were talking about how bad Doctor Who has gotten over the last two years, and how much we had enjoyed it previously. One thing that keeps popping up is that we both think the show would have been stronger if Amy Pond hadn't been turned into its focus the entire time… honestly, we are both bigger fans of Rory and were disappointed that he never played a bigger role in the show.

We could've been SO GOOD together!!
We often talk about how the show could have been better, and the idea of Amy getting killed over the course of their adventures keeps popping up. Not to be grim or anything, but I mean, think about it -- how interesting would it have been if Amy had died at some point, and the Doctor and Rory had been left in the aftermath? It would have provided so much opportunity to explore sorrow and loss on a human scale, as well as how it would relate to being a Time Lord. The Doctor could have changed the current formula by having a male companion for a fresh dynamic, and how many situations could have emerged to cause reflection on their new relationship?

Just a thought as to what might have been… in any event, I do sincerely hope that Pond leaves the show as soon as possible, and that the writers get back to doing the kind of stuff that they did for the Eccleston and Tennant seasons. Smith is a great Doctor in my opinion, but the material he's been given just isn't up to snuff.


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PR/NEWS/INFO
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Today, Ubisoft® announced that Shoot Many Robots™, a 2.5D side-scrolling shooter game, is now available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft at a cost of 800 Microsoft Points and on PlayStation®Network for $9.99.

Developed by Demiurge Studios and published by Ubisoft, Shoot Many Robots stars P. Walter Tugnut, a hillbilly who stockpiles guns, ammo and beer in his dilapidated RV, awaiting the inevitable robot apocalypse. When the abandoned factory in the distance begins producing robots on its own, Walter sets off in his RV on a robot-killing rampage, hoping to save humanity from an onslaught of robot hordes.

For those who don’t want to play alone, Shoot Many Robots features online four-player as well as two-player local co-op, which throws players into a tidal wave of degenerated robots with an array of weaponry that would make any shooter enthusiast proud. Plus, gamers can tailor their gaming style by equipping Walter with countless combinations of items.

For more information on Shoot Many Robots, please visit: shootmanyrobots.com

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SOE today announced that the third downloadable content (DLC) pack for DC Universe™ Online (DCUO), The Battle for Earth, is now available for download on the PC and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Featuring an all-new Earth Powers set, and new multiplayer and open-world content, The Battle for Earth delivers legendary adventures as players prepare for the ultimate showdown with Brainiac.
 The Battle for Earth thickens the DCUO plot, offering players more action, epic battles, and a ninth power set, and sets the stage for a new chapter featuring the future versions of two of the most legendary DC Universe figures ever. DCUO's third DLC pack brings new open world content, an Alert, Duos, and two Raids:

Themyscira - Experience a new Raid on Wonder Woman's home island that pits players against Chimeric Brainiacs and ultimately, the deadly Avatar of Magic. Players will fight alongside mythical creatures such as Cyclops, Hydra and Colossus, while simultaneously protecting key units of Amazons and Beastimorphs.
South Gotham Brainiac Invasion - Super-charged action continues as players battle Brainiac's invasion force in the streets of South Gotham, the Courthouse Alert and new Duos. Working to stop Brainiac's Union -- formed by the people trapped inside the bottled buildings -- who are constructing Proto-Avatars to assault Gotham, players will be challenged to rise up and defend Earth against Brainiac's final assault.

The Prime Battleground - The Battle for Earth storyline leads players into an epic battle in which they must fight all three of Brainiac's newly completed Prime Avatars, and then Brainiac himself. Heroes will fight for the safety of the Earth and its inhabitants, while Villains will want to defeat Brainiac and expand the influence of evil across the planet.

Earth Powers - Rumble on to the scene and shake things up with DCUO's ninth power set. Earth Powers can be used for both Tanking and Damage, and features an exciting new Tanking mechanic that defers damage to a player's constructs and automatons. Geokinesis abilities give players the ability to shape Earthen constructs to crush enemies and reinforce allies while Seismic abilities allow players to call mighty, Earth-shaking forces to rattle and daze opponents.

DC Universe Online's The Battle for Earth DLC pack is now accessible for free for the game's Legendary members and available for $14.99 USD for Free and Premium players from the PlayStation®Network, through the in-game Marketplace, and on the PC from the DCUniverseOnline.com website.

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XSEED Games, an independent-minded publisher, is proud to announce that they will be bringing Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin, both from acclaimed Japanese developer Nihon Falcom, to PC on Steam.  Ys: The Oath in Felghanawill launch on 3/19 at a price of $14.99. More details on the launch of Ys Origin will be provided at a later time.

XSEED Games delighted RPG fans in 2010 and 2011 when the company published several Ys titles from legendary RPG developer Nihon Falcom to the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, and now Ys fans can celebrate once more as two of the series’ most revered titles,Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin, are heading to PC as digital downloads via Steam.

Ys: The Oath in Felghana is an action RPG driven by fast-paced combat and paired with an intricate puzzle-filled world, and an enhanced port for the PSP system garnered many accolades when published by XSEED in 2010. This Steam release is true to the original Japanese PC release from 2005, but with added Steamworks features such as Steam Achievements and Steam Cloud support. The game follows the ongoing adventures of series hero Adol Christin and his trusty companion Dogi.

Conversely, Ys Origin serves as a prequel to the original Ys, and is the first Ys title not to feature Adol Christin or Dogi. This will mark the first time that the game, originally released in Japan for PC in 2006, will be officially released in English. Set 700 years before the first title in the Ys series, the game’s story focuses on the twin Goddesses and the mysterious Black Pearl made famous in Ys I & II, and follows the adventures of several playable characters as they ascend the menacing Darm Tower.

For more information on XSEED Games products, visit www.xseedgames.com. Fans can also follow XSEED Games on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/XSEEDGames and Twitter at www.twitter.com/XSEEDGames.

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The first ever Mass Effect “N7 Challenge Weekend” is on RIGHT NOW. 

Join your friends online on Xbox 360 and PC between Friday, 3/16 at 5PM PST and Monday, 3/18 at 5AM PST and take the fight to the Reapers in Mass Effect 3 like never before. Participants will have an opportunity to attain awesome rewards to be used in Commander Shepard’s battle to take Earth back with the following challenges:

Operation Goliath - Any player who is part of a squad that beats the Reaper faction on Silver difficulty or better will unlock one Commendation Pack. This means that at least one member of the squad must be extracted at the end of the mission – this will earn all squad members the reward. Each player can earn a maximum of one pack and each pack contains a random N7 Arsenal Weapon. Originally only available as single-player weapons via the N7 Collector’s Edition, these multiplayer variants will be exceptionally rare and are NOT obtainable through regular purchasable Reinforcement Packs. The Commendation Packs will contain one of the following guns at random: (1) N7 Crusader Shotgun, (2) N7 Eagle Pistol, (3) N7 Hurricane SMG and (4) N7 Valiant Sniper Rifle.

Destroy as many brutes as possible – if the multiplayer community kills a combined 1 MILLION brutes within the hours of the challenge, ALLplayers will receive a Victory Pack as a reward. 

 **Please Note: All rewards will unlock on Tuesday, 3/20 at 5PM PST. You must redeem (open) your packs in the multiplayer store menu within 7-days of receiving. If you do not redeem these packs within the allotted 7-days, the packs will expire and cannot be restored. To participate, all players must enable the data tracking option in the game (optionsà onlineà upload gameplay feedbackà make sure it’s “ON”).  If this is set to “OFF” your completion and/or contribution to the challenges will not be tracked and you will not receive any unlocks.

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345 Games announced today that “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat” is coming to North American retailers everywhere on April 17.  The disc-based game/TV show hybrid - based on the successful multi-platform Spike TV series “Deadliest Warrior,” which pits two of the most feared warriors civilization has ever known against each other in a battle to the death - will be available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Also, gamers who preorder “Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat” at GameStop before April 17 will receive an exclusive DVD featuring never-before-released episodes of the hit show.

“Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat” combines the wildly popular downloadable console games, “Deadliest Warrior: The Game” and “Deadliest Warrior: Legends,” in addition to all downloadable content packs, an exclusive new level, 30 new weapons and exclusive TV show content.  Fans of the show will be treated to never-before-released episodes from all three seasons.

Both digital titles and all DLC included for only $29.99

Cross-play with consumers of the original digitally-distributed titles

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Showcasing in-game footage from MechWarrior Online, this hotnew video is full of lasers (pew-pew!), rockets, GIANT ROBOTS and some sweet, sweet metal carnage. In this video you’ll see an Atlas, a Jenner and a Hunchback battling it out in a remote wilderness location, one of many environments that will launch with MechWarrior Online later this summer.

Set in the year 3049 during the early stages of a massive interstellar war, MechWarrior Online puts you in command of the most powerful war machine to ever walk the field of battle, the mighty BattleMech™.  Command your Mech™ and customize it to suit your battlefield role; upgrade systems, replace weapons, and tweak armor with endless options. 

MechWarrior Online lets players command at will: go head-to-head online alone or with friends in high-octane Conquest and VS modes. Band together and form your own Mercenary Corp, invite friends and battle other player-made Merc Corps for prestige and power.  Pledge your allegiance to one of the five great houses and fight for control of precious Inner Sphere planets. 

For more information please hit up www.mwomercs.com!

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