Category Archives: Previews

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron Demo is as Awesome as its Title is Long

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is an action platformer whose visuals are reminiscent of Okami and whose gameplay is reminiscent of Devil May Cry. This is not surprising considering Sawaki Takeyasu, the art director for both, is the mastermind behind El Shaddai.


According to the official site, the main character, Enoch, is a scribe from heaven trying to prevent a great flood by capturing renegade, probably corrupted angels. Enoch narrates a bit to himself at the beginning, but the rest of the dialog of the demo is taken by an archangel named Lucifel (Lucifer), who speaks on the phone as you pass and is not afraid to break the fourth wall to introduce a boss to you (though you do not get to fight the boss in the demo). It is a rather Clover/Platinum Games-esque narrative, and considering their track record, I am one-hundred percent okay with this.

One can tell from the first playable moment that this game is some kind of art—the whole world looks like a negative, with black surrounding and a white protagonist surrounded by trees made of flame-like clouds or cloud-like flame. Take a few steps forward and a drawn face floats across the screen accompanied by a laughing voice. The world shifts and changes around the character and it never gets boring just to look at. I found myself wanting to rush forward just to see how the environment would shift or just to see what the next screen looked like, since despite the dark silhouette motif everything remains interesting to look at. The demo goes back and forth between 3D eight-way movement and 2D side-scrolling. Platforming exists in both, but the 3D scenes tend to be more combat-focused while the 2D were entirely jumping and moving. It is the side-scrolling segments in which the environment changes the most drastically, in some cases having swirling, wave-like clouds rise from the bottom of the screen to act as solid ground for platforming. It is nothing short of cool to look at, and makes the simple task of walking forward something more than just a way to get from one in-game event to the next. Few times during the demo did I find myself staring at a static world—there is almost always some kind of movement.

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Are You Committed? Asks Atlus; Here is the Response

A while back Atlus asked fans to submit responses to the question ‘Do you Want To Get Married?’, and, well…this is the response. A good mix of yes, no and uuuuuh, with an awkward moment between a few couples to boot. Notice, too, snippets of the English voice acting–for Vincent, Catherine and Katherine alike. You can definitely hear the Kanji Tatsumi in Vincent and the Rise Kujikawa in Catherine (only creepier).

UPDATED Watch the first 15 Minutes of LA Noire

Aaaand taken down. Oh well!

Spoiler warning, for obvious reasons.

Will say two thing though: damn is this game dripping with style. Second…gosh does your partner talk at  you incessantly.

Check out Brink’s Intro As Well as New Security Gameplay

Two videos for your viewing pleasure; first, the intro to the game–accented narrator and all. Second, a video that showcases some new gameplay from the Security portion of the storyline. Both are new!

Interesting tidbit from the intro video: the Resistance is trying to escape. That…makes things interesting. Why wouldn’t Security allow people to leave? Wouldn’t that help out the situation–given that resources are scarce?

UPDATED A Detailing of Brink’s Abilities for Soldier, Engineer, Medic and Operative

Good news everyone! You don’t have to wait until Brink’s release on Tuesday to start planning out your builds. We’ve taken the time to document all the abilities shown in this video, including not only all the general abilities, but also all the abilities available for soldier, engineer and medic; UPDATE, we just found all the operative abilities, too.

So then! Let’s take a look, shall we? This way you won’t have to pause every 3 seconds to read through what’s being shown. Or wade through the uninteresting bits of the video.

Universal Abilities

  • Grenade Shooting: Where you can shoot your frags in the air; this ability allows tighter control over when and where the grenades go off.
  • Combat Intuition: informs you of when an enemy who is not on your radar has you in their crosshairs.
  • Sense of Perspective: go into third person while attempting to perform objectives like building/repairing and capturing points. You won’t be able to move, but you’ll be able to see from all angles.
  • Downed fire: exactly what it sounds like. Shoot while down with your secondary weapon.
  • Resupply rate: faster cooldown on your supply meter, can mean a difference of seconds.
  • Sprinting Grenade: you can cook grenades midsprint.
  • Battle hardened: permanent increase of health.
  • Supply Max Increase: supply meter increase of one pip: meaning, you get to use one more special ability than usual (which is makes it four instead of three)
  • Sprinting Reload: exactly what it sounds like.
  • Silent running: also exactly what it sounds like! Makes you ‘invisible’ to enemy radar until you are in close.

Hit the jump for the class-specific abilities.

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Polymorphous Perversity

Nicolau Chaud holds Randy Pitchford’s “there is no line to cross” mantra to heart–if it wasn’t obvious with the controversial Beautiful Escape, which put you in the shoes of a serial killer, then it should be cemented with his latest project called “Polymorphous Pervesity.” Chaud describes the premise of his latest endeavor as follows,

“You are a young male with an unknown sexual disorder captured by some mysterious agency and thrown into a bizarre parallel reality where everything gravitates towards sex. You’re set on a sexual quest to explore unknown lands, meet strange people, and learn more about your sexuality.”

Ultimately the purpose is to take us on an exploration of sexuality and the many facets of the libido–this includes fetishes, paraphilias and perversions. To this end, the game has mechanics like “fuck” instead of “attack”, with skills relating to sex to be included, a “horny meter” which you must keep low in order to stay alive, and an adaptation to your “performance” and sexual preferences, just to name a few things.

The concept behind the game is Freudian in nature; children are “polymorphously perverse” –meaning that they do not attempt to restrain or repress their sexual desire like adults who have undergone societal conditioning. This conditioning “suppresses the polymorphous possibilities for sexual gratification in the child, eventually leading, through repression, to an amnesia about such primitive desires.” These concepts are in line with Freud’s many hypothetses on  societal-wide repression.

The reaction on the forum is woefully predictable, which only goes to show the necessity of such a game pushing buttons which we are uncomfortable with. Chaud, a psychotherapist with 4 years of experience under his belt, responds to the skepticism as follows,

“sex is very powerful;
sex is very strange;
sex varies immensely among people

I just felt like approaching these things in a game. Why not? You’re right, most people don’t know anything about sex other than what their own hand tells them, or beside what they see in standardized porn movies. They like this aspect of sex, while they think rapist and pedophiles and corpsefuckers are sick people, even though their drives are very similar.

But no, this is not an educative game at all.

And yes, it may come out funny. Sex is often fun, so I don’t see why the game shouldn’t be. Sex is not “OMFG SO SERIOUS”, and neither should the game be. But I can’t help if people think dicks are funny. I mean… it’s just a dick. If you’re a guy, just drop your pants and you’ll see one.”

C’mon sushi dick. You can run over hookers, indulge Kratos in a QTE fling, or bed an Asari but you can’t handle the idea of something like this?

The game is still in development though the release date is uncertain. The development blog can be found here. Further reading: Jordan Rivas has also written about the game in a thoughtful writeup here.

Gears of War 3 Beta Impressions

I’ve spent a few hours playing the Gears 3 beta today and I’m so impressed with it that I had a difficult time ripping myself off the TV to write some impressions up for you guys. Excitement to talk about the experience got the better of me though, so here we are!

First thing’s first: the game is not immediately enraging to play because of connection, hosts or lag. The game runs rather smoothly–more so than whatever they’ve been implementing on Gears 2 (since they’ve been testing out their new infrastructure in the updates to Gears 2). There are still some ‘HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN, I SHOT THE GUY?!?’ moments, but they’re not very frequent. For the most part I felt like any time I died, it was my fault–and not the result of not actually being where the game shows me, as was often the case in Gears 2.

Secondly, the new arsenal of weapons has effectively spiced the gameplay up. I’m not sure how I feel about the game revolving around power weapons though–especially since it seems as if the spawn timers for power weapons is much, much quicker than 2. Hopefully this is ironed out come launch time, since control of the power weapons means control of the map: and by spawning them so often, players who initially get control will be better able to retain that control.

While we’re on that note let’s talk about some of the new weapons specifically. I’ve got to start with the digger launcher first, since despite having only used it less than a dozen times, it’s already my favorite weapon in the franchise. Gears of War is a game that revolves around cover–we all know this. The digger, however, laughs at your silly little concept of cover. It burrows underneath the map and explodes once it hits either a wall, or a person, whichever comes first. The obvious question, then: what cover? Hitting someone with this slow-moving weapon fills me up with such glee, and it really changes the dynamics surrounding cover. Nothing is as safe or as certain as it used to be when you’re behind cover now.

The sawed off shotgun…there’s not much to say there aside from it being obvious fan service to the legions that cling to the final-destination fox only no items like mentality of shotgun-only play. It has 4 shots, though a single shot can kill multiple people if you’re close enough. It takes forever to reload. I would not be surprised if a good deal of the hardcore players embrace this addition fully, there’s a very decisive no-frills feeling that comes with it. You hit someone, they’re dead–that’s it. The gnasher doesn’t have that certainty, even at close range.

The retro lancer is extremely inaccurate, but god does it hurt if you land the bullets. It’s real draw, I would say, is the OHKO charge move that comes with it. You may surprise enemies who are unaware that you’re not just sprinting, but charging up a deadly assault.

I’ve yet to lay my hands on the one shot, so I don’t have anything to say about that just yet.

In terms of game-types, I only have Team Deathmatch unlocked right now. I’ve never been much for TDM in my shooters, but Epic’s choice to make the lives pooled may soon change that. This means that a single person cannot carry a team. More importantly, it encourages more team-based play because it is in your best interest that everyone performs optimally. On the other hand, it might prompt much abuse from highly skilled players who resent less-skilled players for bringing down the team. Speaking of team-oriented play, however, another welcome addition is the spotting mechanic. Zooming in on an enemy with your left trigger, then clicking in your left stick will ‘spot’ that enemy for the rest of the team. Though not many people do it online at current (there is no indication as to how to do it in-game, however), it is a very useful tool for those of you that want to play as a team.

There’s other things to talk about but the game, it beckons me~

P.S. For those of you wondering, yes, I’m playing as Anya right now. However, it’s not because I finally get to play as a female character in Gears, but because I can’t play as my favorite blue power ranger. Otherwise, I never play as female characters–despite their inclusion, the “right” way to play always feels like donning the male appearance. That probably says something, but I lack the articulation right now to pinpoint what, exactly.

A Preview of The Available Abilities in Brink

Behold! A small taste of the (seemingly) vast number of abilities available to unlock in Brink, the class-based shooter slated to drop on May 17th. It’s got molotov cocktails, imma-hack-into-da-turret-now, and the perhaps broken “Oh, did you kill me? I’m just gonna…revive myself now” as abilities. Like Black Ops, it seems that abilities change your appearance. This being the case, the number of options in appearance will be ridiculous.

Normally, this might be grounds for a compliment, but I can’t help but have Matthew Burns’ ‘Why We Don’t Have Female Characters’ in the back of my mind (as some of you might know, there are no female characters in the game, and the developers have excused it by stating that it was a choice between deep customization options or half-assed male-female options). A snippet, though you can read the rest of the satirical post here,

“Well, it’s hard to make female characters. First of all, in order to accommodate female characters in our pipeline, you’d basically need to re-code the entire engine from the ground up. Because the technology we have today just wasn’t built to be able to handle stuff like that. I’m thinking about it now and I have no idea how you’d even start making those kind of changes in our low-level architecture. The implications to our engine are just all over the place– the threading system, the frame buffer…

Then there’s the art aspect. Can anyone say they really know what a woman looks like? I mean we all have ideas. But we’ve tried them and they don’t work. Women are difficult to model because they have– they’re sort of put together– well, let me put it this way: male bone structure is mostly made up of ninety-degree angles. Right? Maybe a couple forty-fives here and there. But it’s simple, and that makes it easy. I guess I shouldn’t say “easy,” but I mean more straightforward.

Female bone structure, on the other hand, is extremely complicated. There are, like, n-gons and inverted matrices in there and everything.”

Pure Gameplay Of BFBC2: Vietnam

Nothing cinematic or fancy here, just two minutes of DICE playing through two new maps the upcoming expansion, “Hill 137 and Vantage Point.” There’s….a LOT of fire involved. Almost ridiculously so. And new sound clips, it seems. Lastly, you can see some of the new weapons in action, as well as the replacements for the high-tech gear available in BC2.

Reminiscing with ilomilo

Childhood. The memories seem so far away, but they all come rushing back to me while playing ilomilo. The splendor of being impossibly tiny in a huge, magical world. The music, a theme which all my old stuffed animals can march to with animated gusto.

Everything about the title brings me back to that place. The premise is simple: you want to meet up with your friend. So off we go, with a tiny dog backpack in tow, off to a world only my friend and I know.

Adventure.

At first, the task is incredibly easy…but we don’t care. We’re too busy marveling at it all–the huge submarine booming overhead, the teacups in the distance, the sock puppet with a dislike for toy cubes, creatures meant to give us piggyback rides. It’s a dreamworld, and it’s all ours. And yet faint rasp of my feet hitting the ground as we approach each other is a reminder of just how tangible and tactile this world is.

When I was little, I kept a box. Inside this box, you could find a teal toothpaste marble from the local glassshop. An intact univalve shell, found on an SF beach. A chunk of quartz, accidentally found when I split a rock into two. A tiny sunflower button, which fell off a dress. Items collected by virtue of beauty, meant to be kept safe. I thought of this box as I collect tiny trinkets in ilomilo…when you collect enough, snippets of a memory between ilo and milo are revealed. And sure enough, every time I open the box I think of things that are otherwise lost to me. Even the saftkas remind me of a something kept in the box: tiny but colorful voodoo dolls, depicting me and my sister, brought to me by a latin american psychic. The way I they follow me everywhere reminds me of the years where I would refuse to let go of the right arm of an old teddie bear, given to me by my father on the day I was born.

“So, where to?”
“Let’s meet at the giant pinwheel.”

Perfect.