Divinity: Original Sin
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 July 2014, 2:45 pm

Divinity: Original Sin may be the best RPG of its kind in years.

It is smartly written, patiently paced, fun to play and hard enough that success feels like an accomplishment. Set in a complicated world that developer Larian Studios has been tinkering with for years, its narrative comes with a rich lore already in place and an easy confidence in its history and foundations.

To say that I recommend Divinity: Original Sin is an understatement. As far as computer role-playing games go, this particular one threatens to steal a place in my mind on the shelf with games like Baldur’s Gate, Ultima VII, Planescape: Torment and Fallout 2. Though I’m not ready to crown it to those heights yet — I’ll need a year or two to ruminate on whether it really achieves that level of greatness — it has passed the first initial gates to get into the running.

I do wonder, though, whether at least part of what makes Divinity so great in the modern age is simply a function of how few games do what it does anymore. It is in some ways as though Divinity is a game that was created mostly in 1996, and fell through a crack in time to the year 2014, where Larian simply added all the technical whiz-bangery of the modern age. There is a sensibility to the game that doesn’t really exist anymore in most western RPGS — or most games for that matter — a sensibility that by its nature spoon-feeds you nothing, but rewards you time and again for just being smart enough to figure the world out.

Divinity’s most daring aspect may simply be that it is unapologetic in demanding the player put in a meaningful effort to succeed. In a way, as a gamer, it’s just nice to be treated as an adult.

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Practical Problems
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 July 2014, 5:23 pm

"How to get your significant other/older relative/etc to play a game" is a pretty common topic in gaming circles. And we have all sorts of advice in various threads about what games are the best gateway games and how to go about leading them down the garden path from there. However, we rarely talk about a real dragon that's snoozing away in the middle of the living room: the person's hardware.

An acquaintance I ran into walking the dog just hit my sore spot. He's upset because he can't get his girlfriend interested in playing games. He's tried several and gotten nowhere fast. He topped off his litany with a lament that she wouldn't even play Minecraft with him.

He's a PC gamer, which makes things both easier and harder. Easier because you don't have to convince the significant other to buy yet another piece of expensive hardware and all its trimmings to get them playing. However, that doesn't let you off the hook the way you think it might.

This became clear when I asked him a simple question. What were the specs of her computer?

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July 21 - July 27
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 July 2014, 12:47 pm

The Walking Dead S2:E4 lands this week on PC, 360 and PS3, carrying on with a franchise that feels like it might be running out of gas. That could just be me, though. I never got all the way on board with The Walking Dead in any of its multiple formats.

I think it's the zombies. As a beloved menace, only vampires seems to gather more prime-time visibility, but I just don't love zombies the way it seems so many others do. I've passed on most of the great zombie flicks, avoided many of the games and, with the exception of World War Z, have read no novels — graphic or otherwise.

I don't have some huge indictment or complaint about tales of zombies, except maybe that it feels like the same story told over and over and over again. I even get that zombie stories are in many ways not really about the monsters, but about us. I see the cool metaphors wrapped into the slow, dead, inexorable doom of the zombie apocalypse. It just doesn't usually grab me.

Games like Dead Rising, Dead Island, Resident Evil and even The Walking Dead — all games I've played — have usually been something I spend a couple hours with and move on. Doesn't mean they're not great games, just games where inevitably the thought of another zombie or another dealing with the problems of a world overrun with zombies sounded like a job perfectly crafted for someone else to deal with.

Which is how I've come to think of The Walking Dead. It sounds like a terrific story and engaging experience that someone else is expertly suited to deal with. Enjoy.

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Earthbound, Never Homebound
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 July 2014, 12:26 pm

Our brief glimpse into 1994 allowed me to relive a part of my life when things were comfortable and simple. The biggest concern I had was usually what to watch on the new cable system, when to finish my homework, or how I would pay for the newest issue of EGM. It was a time when my world was a few blocks big, arcade machines and comic books where everywhere, and where worries about career, life, and love were abstract, incomprehensible fictions in the face of the playground. 1994 was the last hurrah of childhood—of games during recess, of choosing sides in the Nintendo vs. Sega battle, of pizza, sleepovers and friends. When 1995 rolled over, I had lost family members, lost the friends that had been my elementary school life, and was, more and more, being pushed towards adolescence. 1995 brought quiet school days spent on the bleachers reading, a wardrobe of fat-concealing vests (handy for pockets as well as confidence), and the inexplicable afternoons where I would lock myself away, curl up, and just cry.

Somewhere along 1995’s march to middle school, I ran across EarthBound. That’s not entirely true, though. I had known of EarthBound because of the publisher’s extensive marketing campaign, which leaked a number of ads into Nintendo Power as a lead up to its release. As with other games I knew I would never own, EB was recognizable but not formed. I knew it was an RPG, in a time when Lunar: The Silver Star and Final Fantasy II/III were the only RPGs I cared for. I knew that it had gorgeously quirky Claymation ads, which weren’t part of the game proper. And probably most importantly, there were a number of Scratch-n-Sniff promos for the game that made everything just so silly.

It was a game with humor, and a game that smelled. That's what I knew. Now grown, I understand the importance of sense memory – how, neurologically, scents can enhance recall and, when paired with an experience, cause moments in our histories to become inexplicably conjoined. But as a child, smelly ad stickers were probably the best way to get my attention.

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Long War Diaries: The Operatives
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 July 2014, 1:02 pm

This article is part of a series on the "Long War" mod for XCOM: Enemy Within. You can read Part One and Part Two at Polygon.

"Long War" and I are on a break.

My war against the aliens is dragging on, but I am slowly making progress. By accumulating new scientists and engineers, I've been able to advance the research and development of new weapons and armor, and my genetic-engineering and mech-building facilities are currently under construction.

I'm still having trouble keeping high-ranking squad members healthy and available, but I will soon have advanced beam weapons, improved fighter-plane capabilities and a slew of other soldier and equipment upgrades. If I can hold on for just another month, I suspect the tide will turn in my favor. But it will be a long, torturous month.

A big part of that torture is EXALT — the enemy humans who sympathize with the invading aliens. I've located the EXALT base. I have deployed a squad to destroy it. I have failed. I have failed seven times. I am being broken.

And so: I'm on a break.

Which makes this a perfect time to take a few steps back and share with you the highlights of my murderous assault on EXALT, so that you may know and understand exactly why, when it comes to EXALT, I don't want to merely win. I want to decisively end them.

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Star Fox
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 July 2014, 6:44 pm

For weeks I had gone back to the video rental store, denied my birthright of playing the brand new Star Fox recently released by Nintendo. Since it came out, we went every Sunday after church since, and every time it was the same. Some other kid had rented it out already. Finally, just in time for summer vacation, the game was available. I could be that lucky child renting it out and depriving any other youth the pleasure of sweet, polygonal dog-fighting action.

With the unrelenting excitement that comes standard to most seven-year olds, I smashed that gray cartridge into the Super Nintendo, struck the power button, and then ... sat back and prepared to zone out with my eyes glued to the television screen. In hindsight, maybe my father wasn't such a fan of video games because my expressions often resembled those of the hippie stoners he had gone to high school with.

I was hooked from the opening animation, pupils tracking the cinematic display of ships getting gunned down by a menacing spacecraft that descended towards a beautiful blue planet. Fighter vessels burst from the carrier like bees from a hive, a stray craft turning to fly towards the player. The music pulled me right into a movie theater, bombastic and epic during the title screen, yet so calm and serene for the settings menu. I played through the tutorial, quickly learned that I was not yet ready to comprehend inverted-flight controls, and then launched into this interstellar adventure.

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July 14 - July 20
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 July 2014, 12:09 pm

Once again the big man himself, Sean "The Splugorth" Sands, vacates the offices just in time to leave a rather quiet, uneventful week in the lap of some poor shmuck with too much time on their hands. (In other words: me.)

There's not a lot to work with this week, especially having to dig into some of the less-than-stellar sources of information that are not always accurate. If the Internet is to be believed, Saint's Row IV: National Treasure Edition either comes out this week, was already released last week, or simply does not exist.

You know what does exist? Abyss Odyssey, my pick for Game of the Week. For some, the title will be noteworthy as being developed by the same folks that brought you Rock of Ages and Zeno Clash, but for me it's the fact that the game is being published by Atlus. That typically means that the game is set apart from its competitors by doing something quirky, different, interesting, or any combination of those three.

If you like the idea of plunging into the depths of the Earth as a warlock's nightmares become reality, where the enemies you encounter have in-depth move sets and the game's state changes based on how well the community has fought against the mask of the warlock, then Abyss Odyssey is probably a game worth your attention. Personally, they had me with a character named "Ghost Monk."

As for last week, if you're wondering what you might have missed while we traveled back through time twenty years, it turns out the final episode of The Wolf Among Us came out. Otherwise, you just missed out on some other platform rereleases for Another World and One Piece: Unlimited World Red. So a typically slow July.

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GWJ Plays: The Sega Channel! (1994 Week)
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 July 2014, 12:02 am




Mortal Kombat II
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 July 2014, 6:22 pm

Mortal Kombat kind of sneaked into my life out of nowhere. I know that’s hard to believe, now that it’s a juggernaut in the arcades, on home consoles, and (if rumors are right) soon to be a Hollywood hit. But it’s true. There was a time when "Mortal Kombat" was just a misspelled phrase to me. Street Fighter II has been my arcade beat-em up of choice since I laid hands on it in my neighborhood Pizza Hut, so it’s been hard for another brawler to take up residence in my memory banks. Getting the hang of a Dragon Punch is hard enough. Learning a whole new set of fighters and moves is too much! MK was such a non-event that it took my Uncle to snap me to the realization that there was a new game on the block that was worthy of my quarters and mindshare.

“Have you heard about this Mortal Kombat game?” he asked one afternoon as we were sanding and painting the corner house. “I walked by your cousin’s room and I heard some guy yell ‘Get out of here!’ so I walked in to see what he was watching.”

“It’s ‘Get Over Here’, by the way! And the "guy" is a hell ninja out for vengeance”, my cousin piped up from the room next door, where he was sulkily cleaning the bathroom grout. The teen years were giving him an extra case of the moodies when it came to my Uncle.

I thought a flaming yellow skull ninja was a funny thing to argue over, but it was pretty much the first time Mortal Kombat became A Big Thing to me. During sleepovers with my cousin, it became one of the staple games we turned to (after Contra, of course). I could always count on him for a MK match. And while I can not say I was ever any good at it, the story behind the game was just as intriguing as those Hong Kong chop-socky flicks we would watch in the 11 pm limbo of late night television.

And one day, our of nowhere, I saw Mortal Kombat II sitting in a corner of a 7-11 one sunny afternoon!

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Brothers, Princes, Kings
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 July 2014, 6:48 pm

"My royal rump is sore," Edgar moaned. Even as he complained, he flashed a pearly white smile. The entourage broke into laughter, snapping at the reins of their mounts. Chocobos, feathers of gold shining brighter in the hot desert sun, bounded across the dunes towards Castle Figaro.

"So you are the pampered princeling after all," the Captain grunted. There were gaps separating his yellow teeth. "Fair-faced and pale skinned, just as the ladies of court prefer."

"Aye," a subordinate called out from behind. "They say the other is the real man o' the two."

"He certainly has the sandy chin to prove it," Edgar smirked. Yes, he was the handsome one, but he was no spoiled child. He understood this game of theirs. It was a test to see just what kind of man Edgar was. If he took offense to the jest, he was no fellow of theirs. If you smile, laugh, and own up to these accusations, you prove yourself worthy of such company.

Were Sabin here in his stead, posterior bouncing upon the back of this bird of burden, they would find some other way to test his virtue. Perhaps they'd send his naive sibling on a fool's errand, lost in the caverns or forest while the rest had slept and handled business back at the village. Or perhaps they'd send his mount back to its home, forcing him to walk the rest of the way. Knowing Sabin, he'd do it, too. He'd die on those sands, proud, never having given in to their japes.

"The other will make a good general," the captain suddenly stated rather solemnly. It wasn't optimistic speculation, though Edgar was certain it was intended to be taken thusly. The young prince knew the truth, however.

Edgar's hand reached into his pocket, his finger caressing the two-faced coin that his father had once given him. The King's demise was near, and a successor had yet to be named.

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X-Wing
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 July 2014, 2:38 am

"Whu-wheeew!"

My roommate's upward-inflecting R2D2 whistle tells me it's time to quit being so evasive.

Using my left hand to steady the joystick on my desk, I cut hard to starboard and roll around to harry the last TIE Fighter. I have to go on the offensive — R2 has made the executive decision to drain my shields, diverting the power to my lasers for a few more shots. The joystick creaks from repeated direction changes (you can't make me say jerked) as the TIE fighter evades my reticule with its tighter turning circle. My next two shots are impatient and spray wide. I've got maybe one more chance. Wrestling the crosshairs forward of the TIE fighter's flight path, I hold my breath, like a biathlete, and fire. A hit. A victorious MIDI refrain sounds, and I resume breathing as I enter hyperspace.

Mission completed.

A cheer erupts around the room, which is suddenly strangled when we remember it's 1am on a Tuesday and we're in a crowded college dorm. We settle for some fist pumps instead (stop sniggering up the back).

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Sonic CD: Sounds from the Future!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 July 2014, 9:48 pm

The day I hooked the SNES into my shelf stereo was a revelation. From my meagre television, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was impressive. Out of the stereo, it was sublime. Hidden lows boomed into existence as the title blared. Highs gained tinny clarity. The form of everything was transformed before my ears.

For my cousin, this was old news. He invited his brother and I to his bachelor pad a few weeks before Christmas of last year. Mostly, he wanted to show off some Japanimation he had scored – the kind where people explode after being punched. But he also wanted to show off his Hi-Fi stereo, 32-inch television, and the systems connected to it. To me, it looked like he had won one of those raffles from EGM that promised every kind of AV gadget under the sun.

Before he dropped Devil Hunter Yoko into the VHS player, I spotted a Sega CD in his equipment pile. “Oh yeah, check out the new Sonic game,” he said.

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Basements
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 July 2014, 8:42 am

This is the first year that I ever experienced horror playing a video game. I've already experienced tension, addiction, frustration, and exhilaration. But fear? Why would I be scared of cartoonish sprites?

I only know about Doom because my older brother brought a copied floppy home from high school and installed it on our computer. Yeah, I'm the kid brother, but he still enjoys having me around, and he's a great gateway to books, movies and games I might not otherwise discover on my own. So when I went down to our basement that one day to see what he was up to, he was more than eager to put me in the pilot's seat and show me this amazing, awesome new game.

Of course, my brother is also a jerk, and as soon as he showed me the basic controls, he went upstairs.

He left me alone. In the basement.

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Myst
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 July 2014, 4:30 pm

At the risk of sounding like a Penthouse Forum letter: I always thought these kinds of stories were made up, until it happened to me. I decided to marry someone because of a videogame. And both the game, and the woman, are extraordinary.

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1994 Week: The Year Ahead
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 July 2014, 11:28 am

Good morning, users.

You may have heard in last week's podcast that we at GWJ have discovered a way to tunnel across time and dimension to peak into a prior GWJ — a GWJ BBS, running in 1994. The world mourns the loss of Kurt Cobain, while praising the rise of Jim Carrey via three movies in one year.

It is a dark time.

Join us now, as we peek across existence into a time that is in many ways simpler, lower resolution, and a moment when games were rapidly evolving in a lot of good (and awful) ways.

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Persevere
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 July 2014, 11:36 am

I’m 13 and I’m playing in the first organized basketball game of my life. My uniform doesn’t fit, because I didn’t join the team until halfway into the season and was stuck with whatever was available. There’s two minutes left in the losing game, and so I am called from the end of the bench of people I don’t know by a coach I only met the week before. Hitching up my too-big-shorts the entire way, I make my way to the officials table to check in.

Aside from my parents, no one in the gymnasium, including my coach or teammates, really have any idea who I am. Just some kid with a weird accident and zero talent for the game of basketball. I check in and just point at the kid I’m replacing because I’ve forgotten his name.

The kid inbounding ball never looks my way, though to be fair I probably wasn’t in the right place anyway. I amble down the court holding up my shorts with one hand while the tank-top jersey threatens to spill off one shoulder in a way that would be provocative on a supermodel, but on me would just look like a pot roast falling out of a grocery bag.

The ball is passed around a couple of times and, through a series of mistakes I can’t fully explain, ends up in my hands. I take three steps and shoot the ball. Three things happen at that moment:

The first is that I get penalized for traveling — apparently you have to throw the ball at the ground periodically to move.

The second is that the ball flies over the entire backboard and lands out of bounds.

The third is that I say a word that is not welcome in eighth grade sporting events, and get called for a technical foul.

You will be surprised to learn at this point that I stayed on my high school’s basketball team until I graduated.

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Veering Wildly Out Of The Slump
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 July 2014, 10:29 pm

Alright, crew. I've seen lots of talk lately about how you're all in "slumps" — talk about how E3 and the new generation of consoles aren't really grabbing you. I imagine a few folks stayed out of the Steam Summer Sale thread, because of slumps, or fear of too large a pile, or some sick desire to avoid gifts of games both great and grotesque.

Well I'm here to tell you to stow that gab. Sure, you might be in a rut. You might not like the games you've grown accustomed to enjoying. Perhaps you have found that something besides gaming has your attention these days — but I'm going to make a quick guess: You aren't posting about a lull in your gaming because you're feeling pulled toward some other, non-gaming activity. No, if you were otherwise occupied, it probably isn't because of your newfound love of posting on gaming websites about how you're not really feeling that interested in gaming these days.

So here, let me help you.

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June 30 - July 6
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 June 2014, 10:22 am

This week Divinity: Original Sin releases for the PC. This is one I've been anticipating for a while, though not always with the greatest degree of confidence. I think back fondly on the original Divine Divinity, which was, stupid name aside, an outstanding game and one of my favorite RPG experiences. Though there have been several Divinity follow ups since, none has felt like it lived up to the original game.

Late last year Larian Studios released Divinity: Dragon Commander, a hybrid RTS based, I guess, on the Divinity series, and it was at this point that my hopes for the upcoming Original Sin fell to their lowest level. Dragon Commander somehow took the conceit of playing a dragon in an RTS and made it not particularly fun, which is its own kind of special accomplishment. It really seemed like maybe the first game had been a fluke.

But, six hours put into the Early Release for Original Sin has put me in an entirely new mood for the game. What I've played so far has been exceptional, fun and leaves me eager to dive into the full game this week.

There doesn't seem to be much else this week, but for those of us who've just endured the account draining Steam Sale, that's probably a good thing.

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From the Wasteland to the Divine
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 June 2014, 10:08 am

Over the past two weeks I’ve been playing the early access builds of Wasteland 2 and Divinity: Original Sin. From what I’ve seen so far, the future may be good indeed for the return of the classic, isometric CRPG.

It has been, arguably, since Dragon Age: Origins that last we had a true CRPG that harkened back to the days of Baldur’s Gate or some of the classic Gold Box AD&D games. Now, primarily through four of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns to date for games, we have four of these games on the way. If these first two efforts — even in their pre-release states — are any indication, then there’s a lot to get excited about.

I have to be honest: That’s not what I was expecting.

I had it in my head that for these games I would find one of two things (or perhaps both). The most likely, I figured, would be that these games would be shadows of the classic CRPG experience, that Wasteland 2 would kind of remind me of a classic Fallout game with all the depth, character and features stripped out. Or that Divinity would do little more than remind me how much I loved the original Divine Divinity — remind me how you can never really go home again. This was, after all, exactly the feeling I felt after playing the competent, but still disappointing, Divinity II.

This was part of the reason I’d been holding off on diving into these early-release games before now. I couched it in the entirely plausible argument that I didn’t want to ruin a story-driven game by playing before the story was cohesive or complete, but what I really didn’t want to do is to validate my suspicion that the games driving a possible revitalization of CRPGs were all paper tigers.

Upon playing them, though, what I’ve experienced is something … remarkable.

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GWJ Conference Call Episode 402
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 June 2014, 11:31 pm

Episode 402 - June 25th, 2014
Wolfenstein, Mario Kart 8, Rise of Nations Multiplayer, Wildstar, Gunpoint, Our Personal E3 Feels, A Segment With Jeff Cannata on His E3 Takeways, Your Emails and More!

Right Click Here and 'Save As' to Download!
(A Parisian 57.5 MBs, 1:40:25)

This week Shawn, Julian and Cory see what stuck in their minds now that the E3 dust has really settled. Jeff Cannata also chimes in with his E3 thoughts!

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Road to Joy
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 June 2014, 4:18 pm

The first night I raced online in Mario Kart 8, Minarchist had eluded me on every track. I could only watch as he sped into the distance on one of his motorbikes, vanishing on the horizon to claim first place. He may as well have been continuing his time trials, the rest of us left in the dust to combat for lesser glories.

The second night I crept closer, occasionally seeing him far on the track ahead, as if demonstrating to me the proper way to drift those tight corners and snag those coins. I never really was able to keep up, but just seeing him ahead of me was a delight. I was starting to keep up, and I didn't need to sink hours into racing ghost data on time trials to do it.

The third night I neared him, almost overcoming him in first. I had struck him with a properly timed shell and began drifting into a corner, my Larry Koopa cutting on the inside edge, ready to hit that boost and surpass him. Even if it was going to be for five seconds, I was going to be in first place. My heart lifted. I was about to achieve a personal goal set back when joining the Goodjers with Karts tournament online.

And then Manach crashed right through me with her starman, sending me into third place and stealing my victory — no matter how brief it would have been — away from me.

That's okay. Revenge is a dish best served by a raging, heat-seeking red shell.

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June 23 - June 29
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 June 2014, 10:22 am

The Steam Sale has already tempted me twice with its glorious deals. While the winter sale felt like it came an went with little to tempt me, the summer sale has already felt rife with the kind of deals that I couldn't get enough of. What too often flies under the radar in these sales, though, are the sales on the DLC and downloadable content for games. For example, all of Rocksmith 2014's song DLC being on sale for 25% off is sorely tempting.

If you're in the mood for something new this week, the Transformers games have been consistently solid, and Rise of the Dark Spark comes out this week. Presumably unconnected to, but happy to cash in on the popularity of, this week's theatrical release of Age of Extinction, if I had some extra cash to throw around I might be tempted by Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. I played both War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron, and though they were both largely forgettable after a month or two, they scratched a certain nostalgic itch quite nicely at the times.

For the game of the week I'm picking Sniper Elite 3, the third (or fourth depending on where you put Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army) iteration of the first person shooter series. It took me a while to get interested in this particular series of games, but its combination of action, tactical and stealth shooting mechanics eventually proved appealing.

Also this week, PvZ Garden Warfare comes to the PC, Company of Heroes 2 gets an expansion, and there's a game on the PS3 that has Shen Megami Tensei's name attached so I'm betting that's a big deal to a few of you. You know who you are.

Here, let me save you some time: Devil Summoner 2 got robbed!

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Next Gen Remorse
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 June 2014, 5:15 pm

So, eight months in and the next generation is pretty damn disappointing, if you ask me. Am I missing something? Is this all next-gen is, because as far as I can tell nothing at all has changed.

I don’t mean to be dour or negative, but I do feel a bit like the major console players somehow convinced us all to buy the same machines we already had, with very little to show for it. As I look at the upcoming cavalcade of next-gen games set up for the end of the year, I don’t really see anything that makes me think, “oh, this is why I bought an Xbox One.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there aren’t good games coming out or that there aren’t games I’m excited for. It’s not that at all. But, what I am saying is when I look at the offerings to come, I really don’t see anything that feels like it couldn’t have been played on my 360 or PS3.

Adding insult to injury was recent news that Watch(underscore)Dogs had been graphically hobbled on the PC, conjuring images in my mind of Ubisoft as Kathy Bates holding a sledgehammer threateningly above James Caan, who in this particular metaphor represents my PC. It’s as though game and console makers all agreed on what Next Gen should look like, but just decided not to actually make machines that can accomplish it.

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June 16 – June 22
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 June 2014, 12:58 pm

The dust of E3 has finally settled, leaving many of us looking at our game libraries with a heavy sigh. Yeah, we have lots of great games on our piles or in our Steam lists, but those titles are, like, two months old. Maybe even three! Who wants to play aging tripe like that when you have bigger, better, higher-resolution titles on the horizon!

The games industry does not seem eager to satiate our hunger for the illusion of new and fresh experiences, and thus we're drip fed a selection of what I can only think of as filler titles. Violently embrace other men in the sweatiest hug imaginable in EA Sports UFC or kick some tires and take to the tracks in Moto GP 14.

Yet in my constant efforts to usurp the typical expectations of you lot, I'm going to have to give the week to Pushmo World. I'm a rebel like that, preferring a cute and cuddly variant of Catherine's twisted puzzle-solving, block-shifting gameplay available for a system that the games press would have you believe no one owns.

For the rest of you, I imagine it's a good week to continue progress on your pile, or perhaps to sleeplessly eye your monitor whilst refreshing Steam to check if the sale has started yet, or maybe read a book, spend time with the family, climb a mountain, fight a dragon, sunder the universe, etc. A typical Tuesday, if you will.

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Dog and Yoshi Show
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 June 2014, 3:41 pm

Theoretically I should loathe E3. It is nothing more than a marketing blitz designed to appeal to shareholders and the broadest audience possible, delivering nothing but safe, vertical slices intended to trick you into believing this is how the game plays. Sure, when it actually releases it will see constant drops in framerate, questionable A.I., tearing, clipping, and repetitive combat arenas scattered from one level to the next.

Let's also not forget each game's disappointing and rushed five-second "conclusion" that messily wraps everything up in a chaotic knot before scrolling you through forty-five minutes of credits.

If anything, E3 is the games industry at its most oblivious. Fingers are firmly plugged into ears as publishers ignore the many complaints of the consumer, all whilst hand-picking a couple of memes to pretend they listen to their fans. "Hey, you guys love zombies? Of course you do! That's how we're justifying a trailer for a new Dead Island on stage, at least."

I should hate E3. Every little thing about it should cause me to cringe, cry and bellow in rage. We line up our plates before the publishers, they distribute gruel, and we smile and call it steak.

But dammit, man, I can't help it. I just love this stupid dog and pony show.

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