Blog Archives

New Dragon Age 2 Images Tease Relation to Grey Wardens

Released on the Dragon Age Facebook page are images that, while not outright stated to be DLC or a sequel to Dragon Age 2….well, logic would dictate that it would not be presumptuous to assume that these are most likely DLC screenshots.

“We managed to land some high rez images that Mike Laidlaw claims he “found lying around.” Are those griffins?” teases the page.

The griffins, one might recall, are the emblem of the Grey Wardens.  Notice, too, well…the fact that these look like new locations. Thank god. The question, now, then: where shall the DLC take us!?

The other two images after the jump.

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In Defense of DLC

People sure seem bitter about DLC now-a-days, don’t they? Between MW2’s $15 map packs, EA’s Project Ten Dollar, content keys to unlock files already on the disk, the infamous horse armor, alleged “pay-to-play” demos, and even the future potential of charging you for user generated content, it seems people have a lot to be angry about. However, is it really as bad as it seems?

One of primary complaints I’ve seen surface is how games are shipped ‘half-finished’ or how content is intentionally removed in order to be repackaged as DLC. This thought process seems prevalent with the recent flux of “GotY Edition” titles surfacing (Uncharted 2, Dragon Age: Origins, GTA4, and Forza 3 all announced these past few weeks), with some gamers claiming that these are the “real” or “complete” versions. Is this really the case, though? Were you initially sold an “incomplete title”? I wouldn’t say so.

More and more, developers are budgeting for DLC releases. Meaning that, if DLC didn’t exist as a medium to sell the additional product, you’d never see it to begin with. The game itself is fashioned separately as a whole product. Yet some people seem to think without DLC, all this extra content would have otherwise wound up on the disk. From a business point of view, that kind of thinking is completely backwards and stands out as another example of how so many gamers have a false sense of entitlement (but that’s another discussion entirely).

Instead, we should be looking at it in a more realistic (and less idealistic) light. Our favorite games are given renewed life, replayability, and longevity in some fashion–something console gamers rarely had prior to DLC’s availability. Other than the SOCOM and Halo series, how many of your favorite multiplayer games had additional content to expand their longevity last gen? I certainly can’t recall any. How many of your favorite old school RPGs had chapters added after release to delve into the history of some of your most beloved characters? None. That’s the beauty of DLC though. Scenarios like this are now possible.

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Super Meat Boy Review

For the past couple of days, my reality has consisted of nothing but blood curdling shrieks. You see, I’m currently trapped in a nightmare. This terrible nightmare has a name–Super Meat Boy. Fun fact: Super Meat Boy is the devil. Hell, Super Meat Boy is perhaps the most infuriating title I’ve played all year. I can’t recall the last time I was this angry at a video game.

Yes, Super Meat Boy is the devil…but I can’t stop playing it.

The premise of the little monster is simple: Dr. Fetus is a dick. And true to form, he’s stolen your love interest, Bandage Girl. I’m sure this sounds familiar to some of you (incidentally the acronym is the same as Super Mario Bros). And, like Mario, I sincerely believe that Meat Boy deserves to be considered for a spot under “generation classic.” A bold claim which will need to be revisited at a later date, but one currently held with real conviction.

I can spend a long time detailing the aspects of SMB which exude the feeling of a classic title–from the retro chiptune soundtrack, to the inclusion of warp zones that teleport Meat Boy to homages to classic gaming consoles. Meat Boy himself oozes charm, thanks to the wonderfully gooey sound effects, his expressions, and his dashing animations. Even the “supporting cast” of Dr. Fetus and Bandage girl are precocious, in their own way (and isn’t the idea of a fetus as a villain amazing in of itself?), but none of this is what makes SMB stand out. Sure, it’s a love letter to old-school platformers, but what really makes SMB superb is the incredibly deliberate design. SMB stands strong on its core design without any of the “features” bloating modern titles. And it’s all the more bold, outstanding of a title for it. Team Meat knows, well, where the meat of the gameplay is.

Meat Boy must run, dash, jump and wall jump at high speeds–nothing new, as far as platforming mechanics go–across worlds designed to be microcosms for your own personal hell. These actions are all governed by simple controls which follow the ‘simple to pick up, difficult to master’ paradigm. The thing about the game is, Team Meat knows where you want to hide your family heirlooms, your children, and your dignity. But I will tell you right now: there is no escape. The only way to come out alive is to have the precision of a madman. Have I mentioned there are no checkpoints in any of the levels? Because there aren’t. Hence, the need for near perfection. Don’t take this to mean that SMB requires specific precision–levels aren’t (always) linear, and can often be approached in a number of ways. Some of the more creative approaches require nerves and reflexes of steel, though. In my current playthrough, I’ve died over two thousand times. Normally, that sort of death count would cause me to give up playing a game, but while each death brings me a little closer to heart attack, it strengthens my resolve to beat the level.

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Check Out This Outland Trailer

Because we haven’t had enough genre-bending DLC games this year, here’s a trailer for Ubisoft’s upcoming title,”Outland.” Think platformer meets Ikagura/bullet hell (it even uses the same light/dark mechanic) meets…Shadow of the Colossus (for the bosses), all packaged gorgeously in a unique visual style. Trailer, with epic movie narrator, follows.

The title drops in 2011 for both XBLA and PSN. Thankfully, I should say: there are way too many DLC titles in addition to full titles being released during the remainder of the year.

Check Out Mass Effect 2’s “Lair of the Shadow Broker” DLC Trailer

Yes, we get two lovely trailers from Bioware today, since both Witch Hunt and Lair of the Shadow Broker come out on the same day: September 7th. Both are similarly themed, in that the protagonist (also known as Commander!) reconnects in some way with a previous/possible love interest, giving players some semblance of closure. Don’t you love the Bioware trophes?

Check out Dragon Age’s “Witch Hunt” DLC Trailer

Not much to add here, except that as I suggested this DLC marks the end of the Origins storyline: the trailer says this is the Warden’s last quest, not necessarily Morrigan’s. Of course, we may never see her again, I’m just putting this tidbit out there.

We also get to see Ariane, a party member for the DLC, who happens to be a “gifted Dalish warrior” who is “her clan’s best hunter.”

And, lastly, judging by Morrigan’s tone during the narration, it’s almost as if she expects you to come searching for her, she’s not surprised at all. She is, after all, the “temptation” in question.

The DLC is set to release September 7th.

Review: Dead Rising: Case Zero

I had very mixed feelings about the original Dead Rising. On one hand, I loved. I loved it with a visceral, real love reserved for romance novels, described with gratuitous synonyms for thrusting and grinding. In terms of raw content, it had it all: variety, zombies, and a leveling system encouraged by its new game plus mode.

It was a game that rewarded dicking around for twenty hours before starting the game. It also had (horror of horrors in some people’s opinions) a time limit, which made the game tense and exciting. You didn’t have forever to dick around. You had to be smart, and you had to be methodical.

This all came with one, enormous caveat: if your TV wasn’t the size of a continent, the text was completely illegible. Completely impossible to read. It ruined a fantastic game.

Now along comes Dead Rising: Case Zero, a prequel one shot that sets up the events of Dead Rising 2. Released for 5$ on Xbox Live, it is part demo, part teaser, part standalone experience. And it is a near great game that shows promise of things to come.
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Watch the First 10 Minutes of Shank

As of today, the intensely violent brawler is available on both PSN and XBL for 15 bucks–but, maybe you’re still not sure about purchasing the title. That’s fair. If you don’t feel like testing out the demo for whatever reason, I present to you another option: watch the first 10 minutes of Shank–story, gameplay and all. Hopefully you can get a sense of what the game is like, and perhaps it will sway you into trying out the demo at the very least.

New Dragon Age DLC Follows Morrigan

No matter what you did at the end of Origins, there was no escaping Morrigan’s departure: either you pissed her off and she left, or you had the demon baby and she left. Needless to say, there was no real closure in that setup, and ever since then fans have been obsessing over how Bioware planned to tie that loose end. Just where is Morrigan going and why doesn’t she want us to follow her? What about the demon baby? This has got to be a storyline that continues onto Dragon Age 2, right? Well, it seems as if this new piece of DLC called “Witch Hunt” drops on September 7th for 7 bucks, and it promises to answer some of those questions.

The Bioware website describes the DLC as follows:

“The dreaded Archdemon has been slain and the advance of the darkspawn halted by a lone, heroic Grey Warden. The kingdom rejoices, but at least one question remains: what happened to Morrigan? The sorceress joined the Wardens cause, but it is said her true purpose was not revealed until the eve of the last battle. She vanished into the shadows, and while rumors claimed she crossed over the mountains into Orlais no trace of her path could be found. She was never heard from again… until now. Nearly a year has passed since the Archdemon’s death, and word has reached the Wardens that Morrigan has returned to Ferelden. She has been sighted in the southern wilderness where she was first encountered. Is it truly her? If it is, then why has is she here and what secret does she carry with her? The Warden heads into the forest to find out and tie up this last loose end once and for all.”

And, while yes, you’ll get to earn special items that you can import into Origins or Awakenings, here’s the kicker: at the end, this DLC is described as the “dramatic conclusion” to the Origins storyline. So, what better way to sing your swan song than to tie up the biggest loose end? Here’s hoping that this still isn’t the last we see or hear from our Witch of the Wilds, though–if we’re seeing Flemeth in DA2, we better damn well see Morrigan, too!

Play Shank With Kill Bill, Black Dynamite Costumes

Okay, maybe those two things aren’t the ACTUAL influences behind these newly revealed costumes for Shank. They should be. Especially Black Dynamite, because what else are you supposed to stop Kung Fu Treachery with?

Anyway, check out the alternate costumes revealed by the Shank blog, which you will be able to unlock in-game:

Chainsawing baddies with a ninja costume? Only in Shank, boys and girls. Only in Shank.