Monday, May 14, 2012

WTF, Vita?!? and A Recap Of Last Week.



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Stupidity: As an early adopter of an Vita, I was supporting Sony with my wallet and giving them the full benefit of the doubt when I ponied up on day one. I'm well aware of the dangers when you invest in a piece of hardware too early, but the PSP ended up being something that I got quite a bit of mileage out of, and I was confident that Sony would have learned from past mistakes. I mean, how could they not, right?

Yeeeeeeeahhhhhh.

Well, after a great first impression with the unit, it's been sitting unused since two weeks after I opened the box. The lack of games I'm interested in has given me no reason to carry it around or even keep it charged, and I'm quite disappointed in the way Sony has let it lag lately.

I thought I'd have a reason to jump back on the Vita when @Jeremy_LaMont started talking about a new PS Mini that caught his attention, but imagine my surprise when I found out that Floating Cloud God Saves The Pilgrims was only available for PS3 or PSP!

Want to play this on your Vita? SORRY!
I mean, let me get this straight... I realize that backwards compatibility might be an issue (or at least, that's the line that Sony keeps feeding to us when we ask about previously published titles) but what kind of asstacular thinking neglects to ensure that current releases are compatible with the current hardware? 

It's an absurd state of affairs we're in now, and it strikes me as the worst sort of planning, even for a company notorious for not making the smartest business decisions. I guess that serves me right for having a shred of faith and Sony... I'll be sure that won't happen again in the future.

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Games: Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I realize that it's been a while since the last update. Let's do a recap!

In terms of review material, I just finished Prototype 2from Radical Entertainment.

Heading down... Just like the MetaScore.
My full writeup has been submitted and should be up in a while. I won’t keep you in suspense -- it pretty much sucked. What made it even worse? I passed up a few other games that I could have done a review on in the hopes that this one would have improved on the original, but no such luck.

It's a real shame since I think the concept is great and the player’s character is quite powerful in relation to the world he's running around in... catharsis via mass destruction is easy to achieve. Unfortunately, that kind of thrill grows stale all too soon, and what's left is an out-of-date open-world game that can't keep pace with the competition.

Fail.

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Oh, and before I forget, my review for Anomaly: Warzone Earth (XBLA) just went up.

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My next review will be Minecraft on 360. I've never played the game before, so I'm coming to it completely fresh. I've heard of it, of course, and I generally had an idea of what to expect, but it's certainly something that I wouldn't typically play. As a writer, it's interesting to try and come up with ways to cover a game such as this that doesn't line up with my personal preferences…

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For fun, I've been spending most of my free time (what little I have, anyway) on the iPhone. A recent discovery is Tower of Fortune, and I've been having a hard time putting it down.

Crazy, but it's golden.
Essentially, it's a micro-scale RPG with a hero trying to climb to the top of a tower to rescue his daughter. However, the entire game revolves around a slot machine mechanic instead of the usual turn-based or action formulas.

It's a little hard to imagine until you see it, but everything in the game requires a spin of the slots, including attacking the enemy, being attacked, earning experience, or earning money. Side trips to the local tavern are used to restore life and earn permanent buffs for the hero, and after beating certain monster types, better swords and equipment are awarded.

The graphic style is just as offbeat, with the entire thing produced to resemble an LCD display of the sort you might see on a Game & Watch unit, or one of those cheapy Tiger handhelds from the 90’s. It's incredibly cute and charming, and although the bizarre mash-up of RPG and slots initially seems like complete insanity, it works. 

I've heard it gets a bit grindy towards the end, but so far it's a big thumbs up to this one.

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In other iOS news, @TimSpaeth and @Hargrada convinced me to take a chance on Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. I just started last night, but it's essentially an electronic collectible card game very similar to Magic: the Gathering.

Magic-like, but not Magic. 
It's been a while since I played one of these, and I frankly, I wasn't all that jazzed at first. There have been a lot of wannabe CCGs, and I was so deep into Magic for so long that it's hard to wrap my head around any other game. That said, after about an hour with it, it started to click. Now, I think it's a pretty clever hybrid that really takes advantage of the electronic format.

I'm a bit of an art snob when it comes to stuff like this and the illustrations on the cards are pretty low-rent, but the formula of play is different than anything else I've come across. Also, it offers asynchronous multiplayer, and that's something I'm into these days... trying to coordinate schedules with friends is a near-impossibility, so any game that lets me "play" with others without actually having to play with them is great.



***************PR/NEWS/INFO***************


Legend tells of an immensely powerful dragon that appears in the Everfall beneath Gran Soren. Known as the Ur-Dragon, this is the challenge that awaits Dragon’s Dogma owners. Players and their parties of Pawns from around the world can compete collectively online in an asynchronous encounter against the Ur-Dragon via Xbox LIVE or PlayStation Network. The effect of each party’s attacks will be combined, but be warned its immense strength means it will take multiple encounters before the Ur-Dragon finally falls. Be the one that deals the fatal blow and receive the maximum reward, but regardless all players can still obtain both common and rare items dropped by the Ur-Dragon when they inflict damage.

Players without an online connection can also take on the Ur-Dragon alone, but the rewards will be different to those received online. All slayers of the Ur-Dragon will have their names and play times recorded in a hall of fame for others to view and aim to beat.

The Ur-Dragon challenge is available when Dragon’s Dogma releases in North America on May 22 and across Europe on May 25.

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The battle between heroes and villains in DC Universe Online (DCUO) continues as Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) today announced that The Last Laugh, the fourth downloadable content (DLC) pack for DCUO, will be available in June for download on the PC and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The Last Laugh will pit players against each other in high-intensity multiplayer brawls, feature an all-new weapon, and introduce new Light-Powered Legends PvP characters.

The Last Laugh will include an all-new weapon, hours of multiplayer gameplay in the Safe Houses and Headquarters, and new Legends PvP characters. DCUO's The Last Laugh DLC pack will be accessible for free for the game's Legendary members and available for purchase for Free and Premium players via the PlayStation®Network in-game Marketplace, and on the PC via the DCUniverseOnline.com website.

DCUO is licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on behalf of DC Entertainment. For more information about DCUO, visit  www.DCUniverseOnline.com.

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When night falls and the supernatural awake from their slumber, only the bravest souls will trespass unscathed. Independent developer NeocoreGames today announced the entry of a brand-new IP entitled The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, an Action RPG filled with fierce and demonic battles, memorable characters, and a refreshingly unique story that brings the legendary vampire slayer to modern audiences. The upcoming title, loosely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, is being developed for PC and Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Set in a gothic-noir universe resembling a fantastical 19th century Europe filled with monsters, magic, and weird technology, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing will follow the son of the famed hunter, known in-game as Van Helsing, in a tale wrought with wry humor and snappy dialogue. Van Helsing, a larger-than-life hero possessing a dark yet romantic charm, will follow his path to the dismal land of Borgovia where former supernatural foes have enlisted his help to defeat a new scourge terrorizing the ravaged Eastern European city. With an assortment of extraordinary characters, an engrossing storyline, and a beautifully dark and gothic art style, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing looks to bring RPG enthusiasts an anachronistic adventure like no other.

 The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is slated for a late Q4 2012 release.

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Risen 2 PC Patch notes:

After installing the latest patch, the fighting system will now offer the possibility to block the attacks of medium to large-sized monsters.  In addition, the patch offers a new dodge move that allows the hero to side-step in a fight. The patch also includes several balancing tweaks.

New Features:
- Most monster attacks can be now blocked
- Player has the ability to dodge during combat (activated through pressing the direction keys twice)

Tweaks:
- Improved vegetation rendering
- Improved object draw distance
- Improved terrain rendering

Balancing:
- Maximum amount of automatic saves limited to 10
- Improvements in monster combat AI
- Improvements in character AI if they get attacked from behind
- Simplified cannon sabotage in Puerto Isabella
- Merchant on Sword Coast now also sells rum and grog
- Removed exploit for shooting game
- Mara's health increased
- Stealbeard's hat can't be sold anymore

Bugfixes:
- Fixed issue with flickering trees in far distance on Nvidia graphic cards
- Fixed crash with 7.1 sound system configuration
- Fixed issue with SLI graphic cards
- Fixed rarely occurring crash during climbing
- Fixed issue within return to ship option
- Fixed an error with rain in interiors
- Crew members can't be killed by monsters anymore
- Player will get the cunning potion after crafting
- Fixed issues with skill teachers
- Fixed several exploits 

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Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax® Media company, today announced that Dishonored, the supernatural assassin action game under development at Arkane® Studios, will be available in  North America on October 9, 2012 and throughout Europe on October 12, 2012.  Developed under the direction of co-creative directors Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith, Dishonored is slated for release on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows.

Dishonored is set in Dunwall, an industrial whaling city where steampunk- inspired technology and otherworldly forces coexist in the shadows. You are Corvo, the once-trusted bodyguard of the beloved Empress who has been murdered. Framed for the crime, you become an infamous assassin, known by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. In a time of uncertainty, when the city is besieged by plague and ruled by a corrupt government armed with frightening technologies, dark forces bestow supernatural abilities upon you – but at what cost? The truth behind your betrayal is as murky as the waters surrounding the city, and the life you once had is gone forever.

Creatively eliminate your enemies with Dishonored’s flexible combat system as you combine supernatural abilities with weapons and gadgets at your disposal. Pursue your targets under the cover of darkness or boldly attack them head on with weapons drawn. The outcome of each mission plays out based on the choices you make. Dishonored has not yet been rated by the ESRB. For more information on Dishonored visit www.Dishonored.com.

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Rising Star Games, Inc. today released the first in a series of tutorial videos for its upcoming shmup (shoot 'em up) arcade game Akai Katana. The first tutorial, "Orientation," teaches basic strategy and tactics inAkai Katana, highlighting the game's weapons and Phantom mode.

Combining the spirit of adventure offered through a true side-scrolling experience with the adrenaline-filled gameplay of today's bullet hell genre, players in Akai Katana are tasked with restoring peace and order to the world while taking on a tyrannical empire built of bloodshed.

Akai Katana is developed by CAVE Interactive and published by Rising Star Games, and will launch in North America this May 15 on Xbox 360. The first DLC Theme pack is available now on Xbox Live for 240 Microsoft Points.

To view the "Orientation" video, please visit  

For more information on Akai Katana and its pre-order details, visit http://www.akaikatana.com/.

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Today, Ubisoft® announced a deal with Marvel Entertainment, LLC to develop a video game based on the popular Avengers characters and other heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe.
Developed by Ubisoft Quebec, Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth’s interactive environments are inspired by iconic Marvel comic artwork and the Secret Invasion storyline. This game will be released this fall for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft with Kinect™ for Xbox360 and Nintendo’s Wii™ U™ system.

Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth features 20 different characters, including Avengers such as Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor, as well as other fan-favorite Super Heroes and Super Villains from the Marvel Universe.

For more information on Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth, please visit: www.AvengersBattleForEarth.com

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Kalypso Media is pleased to unveil DARK, an exciting third-person stealth-action game for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and for Windows PC. DARK -- developed by RealmForge, creators of the award-winning Dungeons -- puts players in the role of a vampire out to discover the secrets of the mysterious global GeoForge Corporation. By making the most of powerful vampire skills, stealth and lethal combat abilities, players will engage and destroy their enemies, while moving silently through a stylized futuristic cityscape. The treacherous techno universe of DARK is rendered in gorgeous cel-shaded graphics with gameplay that tests the players’ ability to master both stealth and combat. DARK is slated for a global release in early 2013.

Features:
Stealth and action combine as players walk the world in darkness and silence, attacking their unsuspecting foes with supernatural fury
Use powerful vampire abilities and hard-hitting melee attacks to defeat dangerous enemies -- turn into a puff of smoke and disappear, or close with your foes in an instant!
Powerful and intelligently controlled AI enemies mix the fantastic with the real-world. Battle police and elite special forces along with ghouls and other vampires
Castles, museums, skyscrapers, nightclubs and more are rendered in stunning 3D cel-shaded graphics, beckoning the player to explore -- but beware, powerful enemies hide everywhere
RPG element mix with a compelling story – players will build up their skills through successful evasion and combat, while advancing the story through conversations with NPCs

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