Less than 24 hours before the Xbox reveal, Sony sends the first salvo at Microsoft by dropping a teaser trailer for their E3 console reveal.
The Gaussian Blur on that new PS4 is amazing!!!
Although I doubt it will look as good as this, let’s hope it’s still purdy.
It’s only 44 seconds long, but this promo video might provide a glimpse of what Sony will be showing at E3 this year
The production looks professional and the splashes at the end all seem to fit the Sony mold. IF this is real, the PS4 is one sexy piece of hardware.
It looks like the find folks over at the MKIceVsFire Youtube channel might have found some juicy new information about the second round of DLC you would receive in the Injustice Season Pass.
Again all this is speculation BUT, if this turns out to be true this would be a total turn-around from what many people felt was a weak proposed DLC lineup.
Batgirl, the first leaked character has been confirmed by Ed Boon and Netherealm, so the assumption that the rest of that list should be true as well, if you missed that story and lineup check it out here.
The major additions to the possible leaked second round are Red Hood, Power Girl, Sub-Zero and the highly anticipated and wanted Martian Manhunter. People since day one have been clamoring for Manhunter to be in the game and if this comes to pass everyone should be really happy.
Here is a link to the Youtube video, thanks to MKIceVsFire again for always providing such awesome information, let’s hope these rumors are true!
Tell us what your thoughts on this possible roster update and how you are liking the game so far.
- Possible DLC Character Leak for Injustice: Gods Among Us? (thespawnpointblog.com)
- Batgirl confirmed for Injustice: Gods Among Us (destructoid.com)
This past week 505 Games and Snoop Lion put out a game called “Way of the Dogg” that is a Rhythm Heaven knock off with a revenge plot. The game seemed to come out of nowhere and from the reviews around the web, I doubt that it will really make any headway on its prospective gaming platforms. “Way of the Dogg” seems totally like a throwaway title with few redeeming qualities, and although I think the game will melt away into obscurity I do think the Snoop Dogg/Lion brand is still kind of awesome.
That made me ponder what fighting games would have been even more awesome with a smidgen of Snoop in the mix and thus I begat my top five list of characters that would have been way better if played by the D-O double G.
5 – Nicotine CaffeSnoop – Samurai Showdown Series
Reasons why Snoop would make a great Nicotine:
- Both have the special move to alter their opponent’s ability to control themselves.
- Snoop and Nicotine are known to take life lightly and are often seen smiling, even when fighting.
- Both have the ability to blow a small poisonous cloud at their opponent.
4. Smoop – Mortal Kombat series
Reasons why Snoop would make a great Smoke:
- Do I really have to say why? Really? C’Mon.
- Both are defined by being able to emit a cloud of smoke or vapor
- Both Smoke and Snoop have the power of invisibility but Snoop’s is special because it seems to only work around members of law enforcement.
3 – VolSnoop – Soul Calibur Series
Reasons why Snoop would make a great Voldo:
- Both are known for their eccentric behavior and style of dress
- Snoop and Voldo were trapped for long periods of time by both money and the hold of a powerful leader
- Like Voldo, Snoop’s character has revolved around a specific trait. Voldo has his karars and Snoop has his resemblance to a Doberman Pincher; both have made them extremely popular.
2- DhalSnoop – Street Fighter Series
Reasons why Snoop would make a awesome Dhalsim:
- They practically have the same physique
- Both are totally into meditation
- Both have multiple forms, a zen-like state and warrior state.
1- VertiSnoop – Primal Rage
Reasons Snoop would make an awesome Vertigo:
- Both Snoop and Vertigo are a mix of two different animals.
- Both have the power to hypnotize both friend and foe.
- Both are hell-bent on world domination.
We can see from this post that there is nothing that can’t benefit from adding a little Snoop to the mix. Games past, present and future can achieve greatness with this formula. If there are any other characters that you can think of that would be more Snooptactular please tell us in the comments below.
If you haven’t’ gotten enough of Bioshock Infinite’s sights and sounds you can snag some really cool ringtones for your phone today.
Along with a bunch of cool swag Irrational Games posted some sound files from various things in the game. My favorite is the Salt Machine one.
Check out them all out here:
The smash hit game Injustice: Gods Among Us has been one of the most anticipated games of the year not only because of Netherealm’s fighting game prowess but because of the diverse roster. With Ed Boon’s announcement of the Lobo as the first DLC character people have been waiting to find out who is next.
Some crafty gamers might have found out by digging into the game’s disc source code.
If the information proves to be correct the newest characters might be Lobo, Zod, Batgirl and surprise…. Scorpion
Check out the links here:
and the Youtube video from MKIceVsFire, a well pretty reliable MK source.
We will see how much of this holds water and if so how they play.
What do you think of the additions, tell us below in the comments.
Things randomly come across my abundant amount of gaming and news feeds during any given day but few ever really capture my imagination like the game I’m about to tell you about. Ballpoint Universe (formerly a Kickstarter called “College-Ruled Universe”) from from Arachnid Games is strikingly beautiful. The game is a mix of both a platformer and shump that was all created by using ballpoint pens. Yes I just said the whole world is brought to life by the drawings made with ballpoint pens. I know it sounds weird but once you see these illustrations come to life you will absolutely become a believer.
Gorgeous intricately woven foregrounds and backgrounds are here for your eyes to delight in. Whimsical otherworldly creatures greet and instruct you on how the world works. They give you missions & equipment within the platforming sections and bring life into the space. Then the game ramps up again when you get to the shooter parts, interchangeable ship parts not only add artistic flair to your ship but give you the ability to make you more formidable while fighting the waves of two-dimensional baddies.
All this along with a pretty dope original soundtrack from Doc Prop makes this a game I want right now. It looks like from their website we’ll have to wait 22 more days to get the full experience but for now check out the demo here
*To play the game you’ll have to install the Unity Web Player
It looks as if the Indie game movement is saving us again from what could be an anemic spring/summer release schedule. Drinkbox Studios comes to the rescue with its wonderfully done Luchador-themed brawler, Guacamelee. The game exhibits lots of flair while being extremely accessible — it provides MetroidVania veterans a challenge, while giving newbies an opportunity to embrace the genre.
The main character of the story is a lowly farmer named Juan, who finds himself confronted by a demon in skeleton form. This mysterious creature grabs your would-be love interest, kills you, then skitters away to complete his plan of world-ending domination. While in the afterlife, you are met by a female luchador who bestows upon you a magical mask that both brings you back to life and imbues you with the strength and speed of ten Koko B. Ware‘s.
You can tell by the cadence and snark-laden story that the folks at Drinkbox have really hit their stride when spinning a comedic yarn. The jokes are funny, the memes timely, and gaming callbacks just numerous enough to not be overdone. You can tell that they love games and love having a good time; that they appreciate traditions without taking themselves too seriously. This light and airy feel is evident within the art style as well. Guacamelee taps into Mexican folk art themes and Day of the Dead lore, jumping easily between the worlds of the living and the dead. A cartoonish Mexican town is your playground, laced with beautiful earthy tones with huge splashes of neon pastels around every corner. I played the game mostly on my Vita, but when I transitioned to the PS3 via my cross-save (more on this later) the colors jumped off the screen. Along with the gorgeous graphics comes a fun soundtrack that blares mariachi and electronic music that really fits the aesthetic and ties the package together nicely. The game feels like a lighthearted homage to old-school Mexico, with a layer of modern self-effacing humor on top.
Guacamelee’s combat is mostly of the combo/brawler style. Later in the game you meet a recurring character that gives you more wrestling moves to add to your arsenal. The interactions with him are some of the best in the game and provide a small shout out to Metroid along the way. The controls are easy to pick up and provide all the tools you’ll need to dispatch of the enemies once they get bigger and stronger.
The game wraps in about six hours but felt just right. It will take you longer depending on how completion-ist you are or how long it may take to get through some of the trickier platforming levels. Boss encounters are really well done and challenging. Interactions with the town’s people provide fun and silly side quests that don’t feel tedious, and if you wish you can even play with two people on the PS3
For a $15 price tag ($12 if you are a Playstation Plus member) you get a wonderful experience chock full of dopeness. I honestly think if you’ve been looking for a game that is great for pick-up-and-play purposes, you can’t really beat this one.
Kudos to Sony
Besides the awesome game and reasonable price tag, there are a couple of other things of note with this package. Some months ago Sony started rolling out some games under their “Cross-Buy” banner. So if you owned a PS3 and a Vita you could basically get the game on both systems at one price. Guacamelee is one of those games. Usually with a feature like this, the cross-save feature is implemented sloppily or in a convoluted way within the game. But Drinkbox does this simply and eloquently. Navigate through a couple of screens, upload your save, head to your home console, download and you are playing where you left off.
If this is a glimpse of what Sony was taking about with the connectivity between the PS4 and Vita, then I’m sold. It works extremely well and made me love the game as a commuter. One other added bonus is “Cross-Control”: you can also use the Vita as a second controller via Remote Play! The Vita’s screen becomes the games mini-map while you control the game you see on the television.
I love stuff like this and thought it was an awesome addition to the game. If you’d like some instructions on how to get this up and running check out the blog post on the Guacamelee site
The Champ is Here
After finishing the game I totally understand why there were long lines and lots of smiles to be seen coming from the Guacamelee station at IndieCadeEast this year. I wondered what all the commotion was about and now I get it. Beautiful games that provide nothing but fun should give people that kind of reaction. If you are tired of trudging through another shooter or sequel, you need to play and share Guacamelee with everyone you can.
Media Molecule’s next project is coming to a Playstation Vita near you on October 22. Tearaway’s papercraft art style, innovative touch control features and whimsical story will try to resurrect the struggling handheld and give folks a reason to care again before the launch of the PS4. I for one loved what I’ve seen so far and with MM’s track record, I am sure they will make a delightful and fun game.
They dropped some cool tidbits that you should check out here
I rolled on to my Facebook feed yesterday and to my surprise saw that PixelJunk was promoting a really cool contest for their game 4 A.M. If you haven’t heard of it, I posted a overview of the game some time back that had a great interview with Rowan Parker the lead designer of the game. Honestly I think this game’s existence is still the only reason to own a PS Move controller and is one of the best motion/music mash-ups games you can have with that peripheral. It is truly a one of a kind experience that you shouldn’t miss.
They are giving away a PixelJunk customized Sony Pulse Elite Headset and a Move controller signed by the whole 4 A. M. team!
Check their FB page for details: https://www.facebook.com/notes/pixeljunk/4am-spring-soundclash-win-pixeljunk-customized-sony-pulse-elite-headset/10151839761874972
After seeing this sweet swag I have to get my skills back on point. If you would like to see me perform check out and follow me on PSN under the name KAHJAH1
LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!!
Bioshock Inifnite in my opinion is one of the best games I’ve ever played. It has sparked so much interesting conversation about a multitude of different subjects that we had to sit down and try to figure it all out. I was lucky enough to have Martin from the SuperJawnCast and Shareef from Shareefjackson.com with me the other night to try and tie up all the loose ends and it was a whole bunch of fun.
We break down likes and dislikes and towards the end get into all of the juicy spoiler-rific bits. There aren’t any spoilers for the first hour or so.
Check how it all went down here and let us know what you thought in the comments:
Looks like someone leaked the trailer 6 hours early, check it out here first!!
I usually don’t post news stories like this but I had to spread the word for those that didn’t see the announcement. One of my favorite games of last year is coming back and it looks to be crazier than ever.
Many folks wondered what would happen to the franchise after the acquisition of the IP by Deep Silver (makers of Dead Island). It looks like they let the folks at Volition do what they do best, make over-the-top games.
The best news is that we don’t have to wait that long for all this madness. It releases August 23rd, anyone want to buy me a early birthday present
Check out the trailer via here:
The mobile gaming space that was once dominated by Gameboys and Atari Lynxes (Ha!) has now been supplanted by iPhone and Android devices. Graphic advancements, miniaturization of arcade classics and new twists on genres have made the mobile platform a force to be reckoned with. One of the most popular genres in “phone gaming” has been the “Endless Runner” one. Games like Canabalt, Temple Run, and Jetpack Joyride have been downloaded millions of times and have been on the top of numerous mobile “best-of” lists.
Their main objective is to jump or run through a space while collecting objects and avoiding falling or hitting obstacles. They are the best kinds of games for quick gaming sessions and scoreboard junkies because they scratch the “I don’t have lots of time to game” itch. I can’t tell you how many countless hours I’ve eaten up trying to beat friends and family in my chase to be number one. For all that said, the runner grind of the collection can also be a bit boring at times. I’ve stopped playing just as many of these games because they don’t add anything to the experience besides the usual run, jump, rinse, and repeat.
Luckily while at IndieCade East this year I came across a game that wanted to do something different with the runner genre. During the game slam, a young woman named Jenna walked up to the podium and gave a quick presentation about her game called “The Golden Arrow,” a game in which a bad-ass, monster-killing princess is the protagonist. My ears perked up and on screen was a retro, 8-bit-styled runner game that added a narrative to the timeless runner formula. I knew that I wanted to find out more about the game, and she said it would be hitting the iTunes store in the upcoming weeks.
I got my hands on the game and let me say, it really is a great game. Monster & Glitch, the one woman indie development studio headed by Jenna Hoffstein, makes a game that combines a fun, accessible playing foundation, delightful and propelling soundtrack with a charming narrative that both makes the game stand out and pushes the player forward.
The mechanics are straightforward: varying presses of the screen will determine height and duration of your jump over and across multiple platforms. Various objects will be put in your way to stop your journey, but through some quick responses and some help from smart game design you can extend your runs and get closer to your monster-killing goals.
Your score increases the longer you run but the twist is in how the story unfolds. After you run a certain distance you will receive a scroll that gives you another part of the narrative. In most runner games your progress resets after you die, but in Golden Arrow your runs are cumulative from one scroll to the next. So you will only have to travel the distance remaining after your last death. Being able to “pick up” from where you left off makes the game such a delight to play and keeps you engaged in the process. It totally removes the potential frustration that can happen in a game like this.
You can gain running speed by jumping into stars on the playfield. More important are the randomly placed rocks that you see in the world. I found that running into them slowed you down and gave you a little more control over jumping, especially if you need to make multiple jumps on a platform. Once I learned to slow down it exponentially lengthened my runs and thus my high scores. I was tops on the leaderboards for about ten minutes, until being dethroned. (Brianna, Jest, and Marmarh I’m coming for you!!)
Golden Arrow’s music also is a highlight. Wonderful vocals fill the start and story screens while pulsating chiptunes push you along your trek. Wait until you get to the 6,000 meter mark and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
The story of the princess who finds her prince has been commonplace in many an enchanted tale, but there are a couple of poignant story bits there for discovery. I won’t spoil them but will say that some of them surprisingly touched me on a personal level. Once you finish the tale, you will appreciate the care with which Jenna weaves her story together.
Golden Arrow is great because it doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel, and in many respects it didn’t need to. What I believe sets this game apart from many of the games on the market is that it didn’t try to hook me with micro-transactions or time gates. It got me hooked by giving me addictive gameplay wrapped in a fun and engaging story. I suggest everyone pick up this game on the iTunes store for the low, low price of $.99.
Also I had the chance to sit down and chat with Jenna Hoffstein and talk about the game and how it was to develop The Golden Arrow. Check out our exclusive interview here:
We are about to turn another gaming corner in a couple of months. The jump to the new next-gen consoles is upon us, and we will go into a future of prettier and more expansive games. Ones which will bring a new level of fidelity and give game makers more interesting ways to tell stories.
This past week I was taken to a place that relishes in not going forward, a place that believes honoring and showcasing old school games is its life’s meaning. Digital Press in Clifton, NJ is a magical place for retro game lovers, a non-assuming place where people wear many hats. A friendly store clerk will go seamlessly from “perfecting” you in Street Fighter 3 to ringing up your Sega Master System purchase. Patrons are just as impressive, I think people should visit this place sometimes just for the overheard conversations. Then can totally run the gamut from anecdotal musings of gaming greatness to encyclopedic breakdowns of retro lore and strategy. DigitalPress is both fascinating for the laymen and nerdgasm inducing for the fanboy.
I wanted just to share some of the sights from that awesome day with you all and hope that you check out their site http://www.digitpress.com/ and give their storefront a visit. Arcade cabinets, gaming tournaments, geekdom and possibly cake pops await!
A huge thanks goes out to my friends Marc and Berit for taking me retro gaming mecca. I can’t wait to return, next time with money.
The Sony PS4 hypemobile officially revved its engine yesterday and started the next generation of console gaming. A two-week period of hype that began with a forty-five second trailer ended with a date. It looks like after a two-hour, TED-talk-esque performance they should have used the date for their E3 conference. I walked away more underwhelmed than anything, and Sony left me with more questions than answers.
I know it’s too early to see the console, I know it’s too early for a price. Sony needed tangible things to lay its hat on tonight and they were so abstract that it made me wonder if they can actually pull off what they are hoping to do.
Let’s break down the important takeaways from last night’s conference.
THE CONTROLLER – All the rumors and leaked dev kit pictures were true. A sleeker design, touch pad, new triggers and analog sticks. The infamous “share” button and light bar were there too. What I found interesting was how the new dualshock was constructed. It looks like the bottom part of the controller looks to be of a different material than the top. Maybe it’s just cosmetic or it could be functional. (Maybe less slippery?)
THE CAMERA – The new Playstation Camera looks more like a Kinect than its predecessor but smaller in form factor and possibly a little more advanced. This looks to be what the light bar on the controllers will interact with.
SOCIAL INTERACTIVITY – The “Share” button honestly is a damn cool idea. If Sony did learn something from its competition last generation it was to take some of the cool stuff the other guys have and put it into your tech. The On-Live platform’s community spectator feature is making the jump to the PS4. As a sports gamer, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS. This will be the ultimate trash talk button — no longer will people be able to run away from those $5 “oh so I didn’t beat you the other day in NBA2k right?” bets. Let me put this video up on my Facebook page for everyone to see.
The ability for people to also help you in games is a welcome addition; I know damn well I need a Dark Souls chaperone.
GAIKAI – This can’t be understated, if Sony can get this right it will be a game changer. From downloadable games being playable while still being downloaded, realistic backwards compatibility across multiple consoles, and giving the PS VITA a brand new life via real remote play. Gaikai will be the most talked about part of this new console if they can pull it off. With the US’s current internet infrastructure I honestly worry about this being as smooth as they think it should be. Early adopters will take the brunt of this hit for sure.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT- When Gueriilla Games got on stage, I hoped they wouldn’t show another Killzone game, but they did and it looked pretty and I didn’t care. I already know I will get pretty with a new console, show me something different. Same thing with Infamous and Diablo, these are established IP’s but that’s not what I came here for. Destiny would have wowed me if it wasn’t announced a couple days earlier.
HEY YOU FORGOT SOMETHING – If you aren’t going to show the console, talk about things you are going to put in the box, like the mic you said you are going to include. Instead of hearing this in the conference we learn this in a Press Release on the Playstation Blog. I don’t remember hearing anything about it during the conference and that is a mistake. I add this to the list because I honestly believe it’s a big deal. We know just how many people didn’t use their mics on the PS3 and how that doesn’t foster community. Telling people that a mic comes in the box just makes the deal sweeter and lets consumers know that this time you want people to play together and interact.
TOO LONG, TOO AKWARD – Last gen, one of the biggest knocks against Sony was that they didn’t know how to engage with the public, through PR or in the way that you interacted with their systems. This two hour dog and pony show totally could have been cut down to forty-five minutes or an hour. Front man after front man trying to conceptualize things that most gamers didn’t really care about did not help their cause. The lasting image of the four Bungie guys on stage at the end of the conference looking like an awkward boy band with synchronized robot arms will never leave me. Sony needed more Jack Trenton and less Jack from Lost. They need a “face” for the company — they still need their J. Allard.
NOT ENOUGH NEW GAMES – You have a dedicated event with the whole world watching and you kinda stiff people on the new stuff. Two new games, with only one being partially demoed. This is not the way to make people want your system especially if you are going to wait to pull anything else out until E3. This gives your competition time to figure out a plan of attack and focus on things you left out of your own showcase. I bet Microsoft will show all of the goods when and if they pull anything out before E3 and they will take the spotlight and momentum Sony should have had.
I think for all the hype and set up for this “game changing” announcement we really didn’t get lots of meat on the bone. Sony still has a way to go before they convince me and many other gamers that the PS4 is a necessity and a must have.
While doing some research on IndieCade’s webpage, I came across a game that had a really inventive concept: the idea of an audio-only game. Blindside by Aaron Rasmussen and Michael T. Astolfi is an audio-only game in a 3D space. This former Kickstarter project has come to life on the iOS platform and has provided a truly unique experience. A voice guides you around your environment, trying to lead you in a direction away from your prey. It’s one of those games that you want to tell your friends about and ask after they are done how the game made them feel.
Games like this are what make the survival horror genre so much fun.
Check out our interview below for more info on how Blindside came to be.
So I walk across the conference floor and see a tall, young man with a crowd around him. I also see a blinking ball of light that resembles a Playstation Move controller. Anytime I see a Move controller it automatically gets me excited and upset at the lack of cool games or ways to interact with one. I move a little closer to the crowd right in time to hear Shawn Pierre say, “Does anyone want to play my game, Rainbow Bacon?”
First of all, I love bacon. And to see how excited the folks in the crowd were upped my interest level tenfold.
Six people emerge from the crowd and split into two teams of three. Pierre plays the role of both ringmaster and participant while he puts the Move controller in the middle of the teams and belts out instructions on how to play the game. “Now remember your color, and remember: two-hand touch is what counts.”
The game starts and the Move controller shines orange. A player from each team runs into the middle and circles the opponent before one of them tries to “steal the bacon” and bring it back to their side without being tagged. Watching grown men and women play this classic schoolyard game brought back so many of my own childhood memories. I had to go and find out what and where the inspiration for this new twist on this old school game came from.
Shawn Pierre, creator of Rainbow Bacon, tells us a little more about it:
For the uninitiated, the idea of making a game is daunting; impossible, in fact, for most. Coming up with a concept, making a working prototype, fleshing it out, and then showing it to a room of strangers must be the most anxiety-ridden thing I can think of. This is the road many developers travel, and how many of the games you’ve come to know and love have been made. Budding game-makers in the independent space go to conferences like IndieCade to meet other devs and have their ideas shown to new audiences, many times for the first time.
I travelled out to Astoria, Queens to the Museum of the Moving Image this past weekend to check out the first ever IndieCade East, and meet and talk to some of these brave individuals. IndieCade was a part of E3 before starting its own independent event on the west coast in 2009. Since then, it has gradually expanded, and this was the event’s first time on the east coast.
The first IndieCade East included some of the west coast event’s core components: dozens of exhibitor booths scattered around the museum, speaker sessions and game demos, Game Slam (like a poetry slam for game devs), and GameJam (a turbo-dev session where devs start making a game on site and compete in rounds to win a prize). The event wasn’t as big as say PAX, but was pretty well-trafficked by folks from the east coast gaming scene, and seems like it has potential to grow.
Besides the actual Game Jams and discussion panels there were really cool exhibits with old school game cabinets, retro consoles and even some current gen setups. My favorites of these were seeing a working Virtual Boy and Portal 2 played on a huge screen. Seeing families game together was a blissful moment, as well, one that I will hopefully be able to experience and share with my future children.
The games and concepts I saw from game-makers there were exciting and gave just a glimpse of what a dedicated, imaginative developer can do if inspired to make the games and experiences they love.
Huge thanks goes out to the folks at IndieCade East for letting us crash their party last minute. Massive Kudos to Matt Parker, Nick Fortugno and their staff for putting together an awesome con.
Here are some of the sights from IndieCade East 2013:
Many humbled thanks for my friend Jeff for coming through in a pinch and being my camera/sound bro.
And lastly, thank you to all those folks featured in this IndieCade recap. I am amazed by your beautiful and inspired work. It really makes me appreciate the hard work and long hours that you’ve all put to make thoughtful and fun entertainment.
Dead Space 3 is a game that everyone should play – especially other developers. Not because the game employs any interesting gameplay mechanics, or expands what you can do with an established franchise. Instead, Visceral Games and EA are showing the gaming community how you can easily run a series directly into the ground by running away from what made you great. Unfortunately and ironically it seems as if the title of the game has also described its latest iteration.
We pick up the story some 200 years after Dead Space 2: the Unitarians have surpassed and supplanted their EarthGov rivals and have become much more powerful. So powerful in fact that they now have their own black-market-loving militia. Our favorite necromorph-stomping engineer, Isaac, is back and has been trying everything to forget the past. Everything, that is, except for Ellie, the one-eyed survivor from the Sprawl incident. It seems that in the time span from the last game, you two have become romantically involved, broken up, and now she’s dating a jerk who forces you – at gunpoint – to help him save her. Isaac can’t catch a damn break.
I won’t go into spoilers in this review because for as forgettable and rushed as I think the product was, I want people to experience the narrative for themselves. Rather than do that, I will discuss the wrapper and not the candy.
Many Dead Space fans bought into the story and universe for a couple of reasons: wanting to be scared and really liking gory action. The first game introduced an eerie world filled with atmospheric solitude and a “strategic dismemberment” concept. Coupled with an iconic design for the protagonist, it created a very different and fresh take on the horror genre that captured people’s imaginations. Dead Space 2 expanded on that with updated graphics, a broadening of the mythos and ramped up the gore factor to ten. Dead Space 3 took almost all of that meaty foundation and actively chips away at it.
This is why this game is so frustrating. Early on, when Visceral announced this sequel, they gave us a glimpse into a game that wound up resembling Gears Of War more than Dead Space. Cooperative play and soldiers shooting at Isaac were the showcases. The gaming community saw this, heaved a collective sigh, and waited for a new trailer or word from producer Steve Papoutsis that the elements that embodied the series were still intact. Steve’s response was to reassure everyone and ask then to give the benefit of the doubt. After finishing Dead Space 3, it’s left me more disappointed than anything.
For every advancement made, the game feels like it takes a step or two backward. Gone are any of the memorable moments that you found in Dead Space 2, like the needle in the eye scene or any of interactions with the NPC’s.
The design of the characters seems a little off as well, especially Ellie’s. Her animations and speech often seemed rather disjointed. The addition of the Unitologists as a fighting force and enemy was a poor choice and removed any tension or horror that could have been. The allure of the crazy religious sect was that they were shadowy and all you really knew about them was their undying allegiance to the makers. When you meet them now they are nothing more than a SWAT team, hell bent on killing you. Adding enemies with guns, while providing only a tacked-on cover system that doesn’t really work did the game a disservice and lessened the final product, in my opinion. The new co-op character, Carver, didn’t really add anything of significance to the mix either in my solo game; although I hear he is fleshed out a bit more in the co-op missions. Everything in this game seemed a bit throwaway: the story, environments, and villain all seemed to be an afterthought. Even the small transitions that occurred when you put on a new suit seemed to be rushed. I loved the way the camera would focus and hang on your visor after you put on a new suit, though – it just added the small touch of flair and badass-ness that makes you want to be Isaac. The lack of those small touches makes me feel like the game was either rushed in some way or that the team put their efforts in other unseen places.
I will say this: the gun building in the game was the highlight for me. At first I scoffed at the two-gun approach, but in retrospect it made me experiment much more and try out new combinations more often. My assault rifle/rocket launcher combo made parts of the game much more enjoyable. I learned this the hard way when some boss battles took twice as long because I didn’t have the right weapon setup. It felt like in older games you could get away with just using a plasma cutter if you wanted to play that way but in Dead Space 3 you need to manage your toolset in smart ways or make a Swiss-Army type gun that suits all situations. Most people won’t know this unless they are told or find themselves consistently on the losing end of a fight.
Dead Space 3 had a bunch of things going for it when it was announced: it came with the foundation of having a pretty rabid fanbase, super interesting story with great characters, and some of the scariest tension-filled moments since Doom. It falls short on most of the things that made the franchise great, and adds unnecessary fluff to try and compensate. It seems like the tradition of weak third games in a trilogy has reared its ugly head and the Dead Space series looks to be its latest victim.
For the folks who rent this game, understand that there is an online pass required if you want to play co-op. I didn’t know this when I rented from Gamefly and was super disappointed that EA would gate a major feature behind a paywall. I know that this has become the way of the world, but it still stings a bit when you want to have the full experience in a narrative-based game.
Once I have a chance to run through the game on co-op, I will post my review on what new or interesting things are on that side. Hell, if you want to play co-op with me and help me review it, send a friend request to KAHJAH1 on PSN.
“Life is Magic” from Red Robot Games is a free iOS and Android MMO that uses geo-location to populate your world. A game with a gorgeous art style and crisply animated sprites that pop off of your screen make this game something pretty new to handheld devices. When you start the game you have the ability to pick between three archetypes. The Monk, Machinist, and Mage are at your disposal, each with strengths that range from magic specialties to melee combat.
What I believe sets this game apart is how deep the gameplay is. It incorporates many systems that we have become accustomed to in the MMO space and transitions them to the small screen with ease. You can travel across the actual world via “Travel Tokens” that you accrue in your dungeon crawls and find various weapons, armor and treasure. Whatever you find can be equipped, sold or gifted to other characters in or around your vicinity or in your party.
Players can join your game via an invite system and help you battle it out against a varied range of mythical creatures. These creatures are held within level-based dungeons. These catacombs of doom each contain ten levels to complete and hold one of the game’s coolest gameplay systems.
Each dungeon is based on a risk/reward setup: for every level you complete you are shown the loot you’ve obtained for killing that room’s beast. You are then given a choice to leave with your loot to fight another day or go deeper into the dungeon. The deeper you go, the harder the enemies are and the better the loot gets. This adds so much to the gameplay because it pits you against one of man’s oldest questions: do I manage my health or go for more gold and equipment?
Whether you cut and run or fight to the death, you can use your new-found goods to purchase or upgrade your gear in one of the geo-located shops around where you are at the time. The map is laid out just the way a GPS would display it but with a fantasy theme on top. If you are looking for health potions, go to your local super market or bodega (say it with me bo-de-ga). Need new weapons or armor? Head to your local hardware store or, in my neighborhood, weave emporium. It was a ingenious idea of how to populate a world and it pays off even more when you travel to different places because it gives you a sense of everything around you in the real world.
Battles are turn-based and fluid, each move is beautifully drawn and sounds great. Strategies abound to use and figure out. I might have missed it but I would have loved if there was s digital manual somewhere within the app for more advanced gameplay tactics. Most of it you’ll find via trial and error and I guess that is most of the fun.
Lastly, since the game is based on the free-to-play model, there is only a certain amount of adventuring you can do per day, unless you are lucky enough to level up during a play session. You will notice a numbered meter in the upper right hand side of the screen with a lightning bolt symbol. These points seem to be the game’s action points. Open a dungeon or go deeper and you use some. Have a jaunty discussion with a barmaid, lose some more. It’s an artificial barrier that most games of this ilk seem to employ but I understand it. There are also ways around it…if you want to spend real world money. If you die during a battle but want to keep your loot, you can spend ten lightning points or spend money to buy some more. You can totally get most of what you want for free but there is a business model for the developers if you want to invest in the game.
Life is Magic is a great game, especially because you can tell that the folks over at Red Robot Games had a very focused idea of what they were trying to build and the world they wanted to create. That focus has produced one of the best looking and fun mobile MMO experiences I’ve played in a long time. In case you missed it you should really get your hands on this game.
We are back from vacation and want to wish you all a Happy New Year, we hope you all had a safe and prosperous 2012. We thank you for your support and plan on this being a great year as well.
This year is slated to have some of this generation’s most anticipated games: “The Last Of Us”, “Bioshock Infinite” and “Dead Space 3,” just to name a few. But I have another game that you might want to keep your eyes peeled for. “God of War: Ascension” from the fine folks over at Sony Santa Monica might have a sleeper hit in the making, at least on the multiplayer side, that is.
The multiplayer beta dropped last week on the PSN and at first I thought, “This can’t be any good can it?” But to my surprise it’s not just good, it’s very good. Good enough to perk my interest when the game comes out later this year.
You jump into the MP and find yourself in a palatial setting with the camera set behind a hulking mass of a man. From the start you can tell that this God Of War team is on to something new, but things feel familiar in a way. The role of gladiator is yours to undertake while you play these modes. You pledge your allegiance to one of four of the mythical gods—Poseidon, Ares, Zeus and Hades—each with different weapon types and “blessings” to bestow upon their champion.
Each gladiator will brandish a different melee weapon depending upon with whom they align themselves. Followers will have swords and huge hammers at their disposal to begin with. Each weapon type so far has a very different feel to how they swing and interact with players. At first I played with the sword and loved how nimble you felt slashing your way through players, but once I got my hands on a mighty hammer I changed my tactics and play style to compensate for the heft of my weapon.
What makes this so much fun so far is that it doesn’t play like a hack and slash kind of game. It honestly feels more like the classic Dreamcast game “Power Stone.” Bouncing around the gorgeous multi-leveled playfield while dodging traps filled with fire or spring loaded pikes feels extremely good. At the same time, the controls feel familiar for long time fans of the GOW series. Combos are implemented the same way as in other games with new wrinkles thrown in here or there for fun. The parry system makes the game feel like you are fencing: you step toward your opponent, then make a split second decision to parry or feint. When an opening in his/her defense shows itself, you strike and hit them for damage.
When you figure out what the game is trying to show you, it quickly becomes evident that they developers are not trying to fit the multiplayer fighting engine into the GOW mythos; they are actually trying to do the inverse. It’s exciting and with the four-on-four gametypes, a lot of fun. You will totally be hooked when you trigger a trap that catches a pursing enemy, or when you finish one off with a super cinematic “Brutal Kill.” I just hope that there are more of those brutal kills per weapon or that you have the ability to unlock more while ranking up, because they are beautiful gory masterpieces to watch. I want more gore, SonySantaMonica.
This GOW team has a big hill to climb to overthrow the reign of Kratos with Ascension. An iconic videogame character with three huge critically acclaimed games to try to overtake. With that said, this gamer is ready to give you the benefit of the doubt after putting out a pretty damn good multiplayer beta that shows you not only are showing respect to the source material but are also willing to go out on a limb and try new and exciting things. For that alone you’ve so far earned my $60.
If you’ve played it, tell us what you think in the comments or if this has peaked your interest and you have questions hit us up on Twitter at @Spawnpointblog.
The “SoundShapers” is a series of articles and interviews that spotlight a different member of the Sound Shapes community weekly. Check out other posts here.
This week’s Shaper has shown a special ability to make a variety of levels that show off the versatility and nimbleness of both the editor and the creator. From intergalactic vistas to symmetrical playgrounds, he has an eye to make all of these ideas come to fruition.
This week’s Shaper is Earl_LeeGrave, and my favorites of his levels are:
“Fail_Jail…Bail? $1” – Reminds me of what working on a car assembly line must be like, in a good way. Every part of the level feels “made” for it. When I use the word “made,” I mean that the parts that make up each section don’t feel like they are made of separate pieces or come from the editor. They each feel whole and complete. Every small tunnel and elevator was concealed in such a way that it made everything feel very organic. I think this is a testament to how good a Shaper Earl is, and he should be applauded.
“Tank_Trust” – Is a pretty quick level but is very well done. Again, Earl’s attention to detail helps to paint a weird otherworldly picture. From the beginning, the level starts with ominous visuals and tones. Cryptic messages fill the screen and propel you toward your first platforming stages. It makes you really wonder what is at the bottom of the rabbit hole. Having played so many Sound Shapes levels, Earl’s usage of some of the editor parts that I don’t see often implemented by other players is really appreciated and shows an “out of the box” mindset on how to make a level.
“Lennut_Repus #ASYM” – I know that in the interview below Earl has given his opinion on which of his creations is his favorite, but I have to say this level is mine. What makes this level top notch is the great use of pacing. You are eased into the board by going through multiple desolate scenes with only haunting vocal chips in the background. It adds so much to the atmosphere in the level and really brings about a sense of anxiousness to get to the meat of the level. Once it kicks in, the melodies fit so perfectly with the visuals that it’s uncanny. The way it progresses shows there was lots of intent on making it this way. I really consider this one of the coolest levels in the community.
Earl took some time out of his schedule to share some info about his background and how he makes his creations.
TSP: Give a little background on yourself and why you decided to play Sound Shapes.
Earl_LeeGrave: Earl_LeeGrave’s real name is Mike… 34 years old, I live and have lived in Maine my whole life. Outdoor enthusiast (mountain biking, snowboarding, etc), have DJed house, tech house, drum & bass, and trip hop for many years now. I have a Bachelors in Graphic Design & Media Arts from Maine College of Art aka MECA. I currently own a bicycle/backcountry ski shop in Portland, Maine which has continually grown in the 3 years I have co-owned it with my friend. So far so good! If you want to check the website and logo I designed it’s: www.allspeed.com, also on Facebook under Allspeed Cyclery & Snow.
TSP: How do you plan out your levels? (Music first or art)
Earl: Sometimes I dictate the style of music to the visual flow I’ve created. Sometimes it’s vice versa and sometimes I’ll make adjustments as I go. “2_POINT…OH?!” was all about the music when I started. I then based the design and story around sticky ball escaping a futuristic fortress of sorts into nature and then fighting a war between aliens and humans. “BRAINSPLOSION!” was more of a collaborative effort between the music and the design for me. After the new DLC came out, I made a point to utilize all the new elements. I intentionally left enough dead space within the level to be able to place the notes where I wanted to, so I could build the music as well as the design of the level. I had the most fun making “BRAINSPLOSION!”; however, being my first curve-dedicated level, “BRAINSPLOSION!” was an appropriate title; the new curves are not the easiest elements to work with, but are fun!
TSP: Do you make your levels on the PS3 or Vita? What are your favorite levels that you’ve made and why?
Earl: PS3… I’m so used to the controls of PS3 and the zoomed in bigger screen for MAD detail YO, plus I’m plugged into a few decent speakers that I can crank! To be completely honest, I don’t have one of those little fancy gizmos… I think the rest of my life would be gone and dedicated to SS if I had a Vita! Queasy… should I sell my business and head to Canada? haha
“BEEJOOLED! #GRAV” was one of my favorite levels to make. It started out as a shout out to some of the friends I’ve been making in the SS community (TheBeejAbides & jool2306) and also to incorporate the “Gravity” theme of the week. It allowed me to be extra creative rather than stick to my usual style. The engagement box was falling through the world, while egg man chased it to the altar. Another level that I’d say is a favorite of mine is the HCL inspired by Daftbomb, called “COFFIN_HOPPER – HCL”. It seemed like he wanted other HCL’s to come out and nobody was doing it. I almost considered it as a sort of theme of the week. It’s super hard to play and it was super hard to make, there are no resets, but I had a blast making it.
TSP: What is the favorite level you’ve played and why?
Earl: I’m assuming this question is loaded. There are too many, so I’ll try and pick levels that I’ve played most recently. “Center of the Earth” by TetraGenesis. It seems similar to my style (underground, tunnels) but done very well, with textures, shadows and composition. Really great. Music was clean and sharp and it was super fun to play. I also really liked “Face it and listen” by Gezouten. Great beats, awesome graphic design, precise detail, very modern/minimal delightfulness! “Space Monster” by sukakika: nuts! reminds me of the insanity of me, and so well designed, real organic but not flawless. It was a lot of fun to play. Beautiful title page that wasn’t involved in the game, weird good stuff.
TSP: Any tips or tricks that you’ve learned?
Earl: Many times when I’m designing something very detailed after I’ve already laid out a lot of the level, I’ll step out into the white to work on it (such as text, or an egg man! then I’ll just copy and paste and drag it in. That way, while I’m designing it, I can see the image/text without all of the chaos of the level and since I’ve made a copy, I mess it up from alterations after I moved it into the level, I can always go back and make another copy and I won’t have to start from scratch with all that detail.
Also, when you’re designing a level and you make a screen or two, you have to play it over and over before you continue. It will help you figure out where you’re going, be it design, music, whatever. The flow of those two screens usually tells me if I want to keep designing to the left or to the right, up into the sky, or underground, how hard it is to play, etc.
TSP: What would you like see added to the game in future updates that would make your creations even better.
Earl: More unique, low-memory shapes and red evil goons, more bass line packages and wacky sounds!
BOOM… if you could, Spawn Point, a “few” other quick shouts out for those creators with sick design and sound that stick out in my brainsplosion at the moment! old_poptarts, redespair, tonytough, gasssst, sleeester, guycohen2, outtooman, mercuryant, gemuvan, threepwoodsin, sephiroth_brazil, bluebebleu, indoor_squid, dustinisgood, iwillforget, reinokid, oh-yeah ps, retrosteveuk, cloudtheknight, pikathon, flashquickster… and many more believe it or not!
Before I sign off, I want to thank each and every Shaper for being a part of this amazing series. I have been extremely fortunate to have made new friends and gaming buddies through this. I’ve spoken with people from all over the world from so many different walks of life. It’s been so fun to get a peek into the lives of so many wonderful gamers. A very special thank you to one of the most innovative and special gaming devs in gaming today Queasy Games. Your ability to create such a great game and bolster the community by giving them both the tools and a true voice for feedback is what makes this game and your company very special. I really appreciate everything you’ve done to help my share my blog and it’s meant the world to a budding blogger like me.
I am extremely sad that the #SoundShapers series ending but excited for what comes next and hope that all of you fine folks that have come back every week continue to check in on us and share the love. Without all of you we wouldn’t be here and are eternally grateful.
The “SoundShapers” is a series of articles and interviews that spotlight a different member of the Sound Shapes community weekly. Check out other posts here.
This week’s shaper is a mainstay of the community and has made some pretty cool levels. I was attracted to some of his creations because I really like symmetrical levels. Many of this shaper’s levels are great because they are, in the words of Tart himself: short, sweet and to the point. They offer a challenge to both novice and veteran players and show that he has firm grasp of the platforming genre.
This week’s Shaper is Old_PopTarts
My two favorite levels from Tarts were “Escape from Guantanamo Bay” and “Say CHEESE!!”(1sl).
“Escape from Guantanamo Bay” – was really fun to play because of how the red elements are placed in the level. The “kick box” enemies were placed in such a way that it reminded me of the game “Plinko” from “The Price is Right” TV show. You have to time out both your jump to avoid the boxes and where you land on the safe areas. It was a small part of the level but stuck with me after playing it.
“Say CHEESE!!” – is a level that resembles what you would see through a camera’s viewfinder. You can see this from the level’s community screenshot but it looks even cooler when you play it. The level is pretty straightforward: dodge all the red dotted lines on the periphery while trying to gauge your jumps on and off the circular treadmill. It’s simplistic in its design, but challenging to finish. It took me more time than I thought it would to complete, but I felt like I accomplished something once I was done.
After playing Tart’s levels I reached out to him for a quick interview:
TSP: Give a little background on yourself and why you decided to play Sound Shapes.
TART: State-side born in a town called Peoria in Illinois. You may have heard ”If it plays in Peoria, it’ll play anywhere.” I’ve been a gamer since the first Nintendo system all the way to the Vita. I’ve always been into platformers and who doesn’t love music? A game that mashes them both intrigued me. I’m familiar with Jonathon Mak from the game Everyday Shooter so this game definitely caught my eye. It’s a very interesting concept and works very well in action. It’s a gem that I hope everyone has a chance to play!!
TSP: How do you plan out your levels? (Music first or art?)
TART: I like plan out my music first and get the basic layout of each screen before I start to shape my level. I find it’s much easier to start with symmetrical shapes for the whole screen and tweak from there. If you rush and just place notes randomly, there’s a chance your level won’t be as polished. You can have a whole song done but as you progress you replace certain sounds with entities from the game to compliment or replace without compromising the integrity of your song.
TSP: Do you make your levels on the PS3 or Vita?
TART: I had an unwanted visitor in my home back in May, so unfortunately I don’t have access to a PS3 at this moment. Soo I do all my Shaping on the PS Vita, which is extremely intuitive and very well thought out. I favor the touchscreen/pad in tandem. It really makes shaping and positioning a breeze.
TSP: What are your favorite levels that you’ve made and why?
TART: I would say my favorite level I’ve made is “Escape from Guantanamo Bay”. It was my first fully fledged level, albeit short, sweet and to the point, I believe it’s a well rounded level. I’m currently working on my next Sound Shapes level and it’s a bit more ambitious than “Escape from Guantanamo Bay” and I am having a blast making it. I really can’t wait to release it and see what others think of it!!
TSP: What is your favorite level you’ve played and why?
TART: Picking a favorite level I’ve played is an extremely tough choice. There are many works I am fond of by creators such as: Daftbomb, TheBeejAbides and TonyTough among countless others. Favorite levels from each would be “Cheer-up Buttercup” by Daftbomb, and “A Nightmare on Church Street” by TonyTough each respectively and in no particular order. If I missed you I am terribly sorry!!
TSP: Any tips or tricks that you’ve learned?
TART: Save and save often! I’ve heard of hours lost on projects due to nasty bug that is to be resolved soon. I have fortunately not had this issue (knock on wood.) I am still learning as I go, so I may not be that helpful. I gladly pass that on to Daftbomb and his instructional levels for just this! I will point out that you must take your time and try not to rush if you want your level to be polished and fun.
TSP: What would you like see added to the game in future updates that would make your creations even better?
TART: It has been mentioned before, but I would love an option to set the tempo for screens individually to set the right tone and send the right message. I would also love to see new Sound Shapes entities and new color palettes. An option to cue strings of levels and play them back to back would also be welcome. I would have loved to have a “ghost” mode as well but have been told Queasy Games would need a fully deterministic engine to do so :/
I would like to first thank Queasy Games and John Mak for this lovely gem. Everyone who even remotely likes platformers and music should give this game a go. I would also like to thank Kahlief for this opportunity to share my thoughts. Lastly I would like to thank the all the creators for giving me tons of content to obsess over! A special shout-out to Redespair, MilkManiac, DUSTINISGOOD and BeejAbides for setting such high bars on speed-runs and look forward to meeting you all on the Sticky Ball courts. ^_^
Big thanks goes out to Tarts for being a part of the series and sharing his thoughts on his work. A huge congrats also goes out to the SoundShapes crew for winning “Best handheld and Song in a Game” at this year’s VGA’s. Two really dope DLC launches this month wrap up a pretty amazing year for us as Shapers and there is more to come. I can’t wait to see what new levels come about from all these goodies. As for us at the Spawnpoint, we are wrapping up our #SoundShapers series next week and we hope to see you there.