Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dragon's Crown (PS3/PSN)

The skies opened up, angelic voices sang, and the gods and goddesses of old bestowed there blessings upon me the day that I received the code for the upcoming release of "Dragon's Crown"! Just kidding, but even so it was a blessed event to me. I've been longing to get my hands on this game for what seems to be an eternity, and to be lucky enough to get early access to it was a privilege indeed. Both myself, and the staff at Atlus have been dropping hints for the past two months (or so) about how cool of an experience it was going to be. The fact that the pre-order bonus comes with a most excellent artbook is alone a testament to the effort Atlus has poured into the marketing/creation of this game. Keep in mind that Atlus, and Vanillaware titles are few, and far between so getting them while you can is definitely a wise decision. Most of you out there will know that Atlus's game releases/co-releases are usually gems, and end up with cult followings becoming harder to find as time passes. This is why I stressed so much to pre-order the game. Not only will doing so get you the game (PS Vita/PS3) itself, but by pre-ordering it you will also get a limited edition artbook with art by Vanillaware's George Kamitani. It's a win-win situation.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Online Injustice, Martian Manhunter & A Steaming Pile of ...

Like many enthusiasts in the world gaming journalists, and gamers themselves are often times compelled to voice their opinions about certain things that concern the subjects that they are most passionate about. I find that this moment in time I'm at that particular boiling point when I too have to get something off of my chest. This "issue", as I'm going to call it pertains to Netherrealm Studio's own unique brand of bullsh*t. Anyone who has been playing "Injustice: Gods Among Us" online these days will admit (assuming they are not doing it themselves) that the online lobbies are filled with lagswitchers, hackers, and cheap ass gamers. The game is broken as hell, and the guys over at Netherrealm Studios seem to be doing diddly squat about it. Sure Microsoft deals with most of the online BS (supposedly), but damned if I don't keep running into the same jackasses I report over, and over again. Something's not right here folks. Someone, somewhere is not doing their damn job.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do Not Fall (PSN)

During my playthrough of XPEC's latest release of "Do Not Fall" a couple of things kept on popping up in the back of my mind. One such thought was that the main character "PiPi" reminded me an awful lot of the old "Nestle Quick" bunny from the animated television commercials, and secondly that the name "PiPi" reminded me of something I ought not mention here (Childish Laughter Follows ^.^). The game as odd as it is revolves around some interesting characters/creatures, and their pursuit to make the ultimate drink via the inside worlds of a vending machine. Some of you may not be sold on such an off-the-wall idea, but it's these out-of-the-box creations that generally gain most of my respect when it comes to video game offerings. The developer definitely knew what they were doing with the design, and theme of the game, and executed it all in what I like to call a "Perfect Storm". Do Not Fall, as cutesy as it may appear is a hardcore mind !@#$% that will have you returning for more, and cussing as you try your hardest to perfect your playthroughs. While this description would likely turn away a lot of you it's certainly not a bad thing.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fran Bow (PC): "Sneak Peek"

Recently, through Twitter I was contacted by a Swedish game developer (Natalia Figueroa) who has co-produced a game with her partner Isak Matinsson. This team of developers who run a game development studio called Killmonday has brought to my attention a very special PC based indie title. This indie, otherwise known as "Fran Bow" takes the innocence of childlike storybook imagery, and warps it six ways from Sunday. The psychological tale of gore ridden murder, and the fantastically twisted imagination of a girl named "Fran Bow" takes bold steps to impress a more mature audience. It could easily be compared to the tale contained within American McGee's "ALICE", but stands entirely on it's own with a wholly unique spin on insanity. It was the images of the game that Natalia had shared with me that really captured my attention. The surreal, and often times gory images had a Gothic tone that definitely peaked my morbid curiosity, and will no doubt capture the attention of many other like-minded gamers.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mamorukun Curse! (PSN)

When I first heard the title "Mamorukun Curse!" I had no clue in hell as to what it was about. Through the usual Youtube, and internet research though the details about the game did begin to emerge. Even so it wasn't until I actually got my hands on the game that it all began to truly make sense. The title "Mamorukun Curse!", which is odd in it's own right is actually a play on words that most anime lovers will understand. In most anime situations that involve younger characters "kun" is added to their name as a sign of affection in the shared character dialogue. Hence the title, "Mamomorukun's Curse". The main character of the game who goes by the name "Mamoru" ended up meeting his untimely demise as he was crossing a road in the real world. This vehicular tragedy ended up sending poor Mamoru barreling head first into the afterlife along with a handful of other boys, and girls from other parts of the real world. This newly banded army of friends found that not only they were dead, but that in order to gain a second chance at life in the real world that they'd have to aid the eccentric afterlife tour guide, "Fululu (pronounced "Fururu")" in the removal of an otherworldy threat. It is this vaguely fleshed out plot setup that is the basis for this full-fledged Japanese shmup (Shoot'em Up).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

R.I.P.D. the Game (XBLA/PSN)

There's been a lot of buzz going around the internet these past couple of weeks regarding Universal's theatrical release of "R.I.P.D.". Most people see many similarities when compared to the former "M.I.B." movie series. I myself can definitely see the initial based title, and the basic plot of the film being slightly similar to "M.I.B.". At the same time though I can also say to you that it won't be a complete knock-off of said franchise. What Universal, Atlus, and Oldschool Games are obviously trying to achieve is an afterlife oriented experience in which dead law enforcement of the past (namely Roy & Nick) are standing up against an unseen threat. While this secret organization of good guys versus bad guys is similar to that of "M.I.B." the threat against the "R.I.P.D." officers are anything, but the same. In the case of "R.I.P.D." the threat does not come in the form of otherworldly aliens, but instead the ghastly, and disfigured souls of the criminally departed whom walk unnoticed amongst the living. The "R.I.P.D.", or "Rest In Peace Department" as they are known have been monitoring the recent deado gold theft activities, and have sent out Nick (A newly deceased cop) along with an old time sheriff named Roy to investigate the situation as well as take out any deados that they find. This of course is the basis, and overall premise behind the game of the same name.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pacific Rim (XBLA)

By now most of you have heard about, or even seen the theatrical release of Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim". Myself, being the Guillermo del Toro fan that I am was actually surprised to learn that he was involved in the making of it. It was a pleasant surprise indeed. Not many directors can create/incorporate such unique, and interesting creature designs as Guillermo can. This fact alone was the driving force behind my decision to take on Yuke's latest robotic video game creation. For those of you who don't know of Yuke's they had previously released another robot oriented XBLA title based on the movie "Real Steel". Myself, and other gaming journalists pretty much agreed that that particular film-to-game release was a pure money maker. The DLC needed to customize your dueling robots would set you back a pretty penny, and as a result the game's popularity waned a good bit. Thankfully though Yuke's has returned with a vengeance, and has minimized the dreaded DLC that they had become synonymous with.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Time and Eternity (PS3/PSN)

Through vivid dream-like animations, symphonic music, witty character dialogue, and brilliant voice acting NIS America breathes life into this vibrant fun-filled anime adventure otherwise known as, "Time and Eternity". The plot, as simple as it may seem involves the marital love interests of a pervy husband-to-be, and a seemingly innocent bride-to-be. Toki, the princess of Kazma is soon to be betrothed to her beloved yet quirky knight in shining armor (*INSERT YOUR NAME HERE*). Sadly, as it often goes in such a tale of love-filled fantasy the main wedding event is spoiled by some uninvited guests, and things immediately go from being joyful to grim, and even sorrowful. In this game's moment of tragedy the princesses' long hidden secret is revealed unwillingly as her dual soul "Towa" emerges to save the day. The prince who was mortally wounded is left unable to defend his bride, and sits slumped down watching his precious Toki, now turned Towa take out the assassins single-handedly.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Scourge: Outbreak (XBLA)

These days it seems that creative innovation has been replaced by inspiration, and influence. Often times game developers stick with tried, and true gaming formulas that have proven successful for others in the industry. Sadly enough the developer of Scourge: Outbreak (Tragnarion Studios) has fallen victim to this process of game design, and thinking. In essence the game that they have created comes off as being more of a GoW (Gears of War) clone. It borrows basic ideas from said franchise creating only a semi-unique experience in the process. At the heart of the story there is a corrupt corporation called the "Nogari" who is dealing in biological warfare, and a counter-terrorist group called "Tran" that are at odds with one another. Tran, and it's ECHO squad are ultimately trying to unearth the secret goings on of the Nogari, so that they can expose their intentions to the world. In the process of doing so they meet opposition from within, and outside of their own operations. The three man, and one woman ECHO squad ultimately finds themselves in the midst of a conspiracy that will have them fighting for their lives, and questioning their source of intel as well.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Avatar Miner Paintball (XBLIG)

Over the past few years the xblig marketplace has been littered with avatar oriented indies, and Minecraft clones. As such honesty I find myself often times wondering where originality has gone. Even with this predetermined mindset I went ahead, and gave 2.0 Studios the benefit of the doubt. I thought surely they would add something interesting, or different to this washed out genre of gaming. As one might imagine though what I had hoped for, and what was realized were two very different things. Unfortunately for the most part those things were not good.

100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience

From TAITO's humble beginnings as the world leader in arcade innovation to the modern day Japanese arcade scene director Brad Crawford takes us on a documentary style journey that will no doubt intrigue many of the gamers of today as well as the gamers of yesteryear. For veteran arcade gamers, and at home console players alike the importance of these socially driven experiences will be explained in a manner that all can understand. You'll get to see interviews with Japanese greats such as Clover-TAC (An expert shmup gamer), Daigo "The Beast" Umehara (A Fighting game expert), and even some of our American favorites (Mike Ross, Mike Z ...) who have helped revive recognition of the declining Arcade industry. Along the way you will also gaze upon the many breathtaking sites of Japan, all of which are depicted in glorious HD. You'll even get to see hardcore Japanese gaming enthusiasts hammering out the arcade buttons in hopes of achieving the next world's record.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MTG 2014 (XBLA): "Double Take"

I know some of you are wondering what this "Double Take" review/article is all about, so I will gladly explain. As a gaming journalist I strive to give accurate details in my reviews, and as thorough as my initial review of MTG 2014 was it ended up seeming more like a "First Impressions" type of article. I absolutely do not like doing things half-assed, and as thorough as that last review was it still seemed half-assed to me. Being the perfectionist that I am I have decided to right my wrongs, and deliver a more in-depth review of MTG 2014. A game like "Magic the Gathering" is truly complex in nature, and takes some quality time to fully understand. As such a gaming journalist like myself should not rush their work just to get the job done. I knew I needed to spend some more time with the game, but at the same time felt that I needed to rush to get the review out there to support the game. For this I apologize. As I mentioned earlier I am here to rectify that wrongdoing though. So, without further adieu, let us get into this beast of a game that is MTG 2014!!!

Flump Studios' "PESTER" Goes PC!!!

Most of you know that I have mad love for a good shmup, and this year has been an Awesome year for those types of games. Among the more recent shmups (shoot 'em ups) that I covered was an XBLIG shooter that went by the title, "PESTER". Pester, in essence was a throwback to the shmups of old, and featured some current-gen touches that were more than welcome. If I remember correctly I told you guys that the game was definitely worth picking up. Whether, or not you did so you will have yet another chance to get in on the action of this retro shooter. This time around Flump Studios has released a PC port for all the PC gamers out there. The game will only set you back a dollar, and can be found from different online sources. Currently the game is available on "IndieVania", and "IndieCity". The developer has also informed me that it will be available on Amazon's Indie Store next week. I'll leave you some links in hopes that you give this game a proper chance. For one dollar it's a heck of a deal!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox 360) - General Zod

By now most have learned of the Xbox 360 release of Injustice's "General Zod" character. Some of you may even have tried him out in the offline, and online modes. Whether you have, or have not though I'm here to deliver my first impressions take on this Superman villain of old. I figured being the fighting game fanatic I am that I'd throw my own two cents worth out there with the rest of the community.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dungeon Smash - Dark Isles (XBLIG)

The developers at  Haiku Interactive have created a game that is both simple, and somewhat complex in design. This overhead dungeon crawler known as, "Dungeon Smash - Dark Isles" mixes both RPG elements, and the simple controls of a twin-stick shooter to breathe life into a basic plot driven story mode. At the heart of the game you'll find a visually enhanced tale of 5 kingdoms that have been at war with one another for quite some time. The five different princesses of each kingdom decide that peace is long overdue, and have their champions to accompany them to the signing of a peace treaty. Unfortunately to everyone's surprise each princess is captured, and taken away by a horde of flying demons. Following in pursuit of the princesses' captors two heroes, and two heroines (Balbak, Xan, Alandro, Shayleah) venture out on a quest to rescue the damsels in distress, so that peace can finally be realized. Each hero/heroine carries with them a certain set of skills with which they'd dispatch their enemies, and must use these skills to traverse the shadowy depths of the underworld for the kingdoms' sake.