Blog Archives

News in Brief: Communist Day Edition

Welcome, welcome. If you’re here, you’re probably lamenting the fact that I am working on May Day. Either that or you’re probably thinking of that song by that guy. Whatever. It’s time for all the news that wasn’t quite fit to print.

Big news, of course, is that the Playstation Network might go up again soon. I’m kind of surprised it sparked less debate about digital content and online rights management, because with it down lots of people couldn’t play or download games they already owned. Well, I’m not really surprised: the whole thing’s been enough of a clusterfuck that I can’t really be surprised by anything about it.

In any case, the PSN will be back up. Will you use it? After two credit card scares in the space of a couple months? Do you think they’re good enough to stop a third? …Yeah, they probably aren’t.

More information about RPGs of all persuasions, the 3DS, and more after yon cut!
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Latest Update From The Playstation Blog Regarding Network Maintenance

Hey everyone, I know I already posted about this earlier, but new news just went up on my Facebook feed, so guess what? You guys get to hear it too!
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Weekly Gaming News And Articles Collection Week of April 17th – 23rd

Hey all!

So, this is my first post and figured I’d start with a collection of some of the more prevalent news that’s come around this week so ya’ll can catch up if you’ve been working for the weekend and haven’t had a lot of time to check up on the news! My first review will be appearing on here later on, but until then, enjoy!

Playstation Network Is Down! Everyone Keep Calm!

So first of all, those of us with PS3’s (myself included) know what’s been going on since Wednesday. PSN outtage! And its been down for quite a while! It’s Saturday now, officially by the freckle on my arm anyways, and it’s still down! Reports have been coming in from various sources, but so far, the official word from the Playstation Blog is that they believe this whole event was caused by an outside intrusion–a hacker, perhaps. Some people say Anonymous is behind it, but hell, that’s more speculation and unfounded conspiracy rumors that I just don’t feel like getting into. Hit the link for all the deets!

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Review: Costume Quest

We should have seen it coming.

There are two types of games on PSN and XBLA. The first is the game that takes small ideas, polishes them to the point of perfection, and then layers on the charm, creating a memorable experience. Recently released (on the same day, no less!) title Super Meat Boy does this to perfection: it is a simple game I could play forever. The other kind is a game that really desires to be a fully featured, $60 game, and uses its price tag and downloadable nature as a crutch to excuse it for overreaching and, ultimately, failing.

And that, sadly, is what we have with Costume Quest.

It’s not a bad game. Okay, it’s schlock. It’s an awful game. But it tries really hard. It is a game with a soul, except its soul is stuck in a sad, depressing body.
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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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Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Oh Sonic. Oh Sonic. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.

If this were an episode of Tennant era Doctor Who, this is where the Doctor would proceed to blow Sonic into thousands of tiny little pieces.

It’s taken Sonic 4, a “return to form”, to get me to, finally, realize a certain, indelible truth about the world: Sonic the Hedgehog is not a good character, and he cannot be in a good game. It is impossible.

As for Sonic 4, it is alright but about to ruin your nostalgia dreams.
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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.

Explodemon: Not a new Pokemon

There are games I wouldn’t know about except for the lovely folks at the IndieGames blog. Explodemon is one of them. An 2.5D platformer coming to PSN this year (hopefully), it’s endured something of a complicated development history. Not least because the very day it was officially announced, ‘Splosion Man was announced.

You know, that kind of horrible, soul crunching coincidental stuff. Which is disappointing, because really, once you strip away the fact that they both explode to jump, there’s really little similarity. ‘Splosion Man was all science and western games. Explodemon is very much a parody of 1990’s Japanese platformers like Mega Man, Pulseman, and other games with man in them. And, from watching the trailer, it looks fantastic. As much as I liked ‘Splosion Man, I wondered what it would look like with that sharp, stylized Japanese edge, and if it were…tighter. Denser. And this looks like it will fulfill that niche.

Playstation Network, in the Winter. I won’t say I recommend it, because I haven’t played it, but I will say that I’m keeping an eye on it, even in a holiday season crammed with platformers.

MAG to Charge 99 Cents Per Month For Additional Soldier Slots

Last week, Zipper Interactive announced that they’d be “giving players the option to create and maintain multiple characters in the MAG universe.” MAG players everywhere grateful for the decision, since the ability to maintain only a single soldier per account is a cumbersome, annoying system. Today, however, Zipper told us about the giant asterisk attached to their previous promise: players will have to pay a dollar per month to keep extra soldier slots on their profiles.

“Gamers who log in this afternoon will discover two additional slots below their original default character. For $0.99 (US) per added slot, players can select the extra character they want to unlock and create a brand new persona,” they stated.

The perk? That while characters will only last for 30 days after your purchase, they’d still remain in the MAG servers until you decide to pay up again–they won’t just delete your soldiers.

“Don’t fret if you decide not to renew one or both of them immediately. Once your extra characters have been created, they reside safely dormant on the MAG server until activated for subscription once again.”

Could this move by Zipper be a sign of things to come in terms of online multiplayer games and subscriptions to them/paid features associated with those games? In any case it’ll be interesting to see how many people actually bite on this “offer,” and how many people will simply do the usual ‘delete the character you’re bored with and start a new one in a different faction’.

Listen to Shank’s Original Score

The Shank blog delivers the musical goods today, gifting us with the opportunity to listen to a track off their upcoming downloadable title, Shank. Scored by Vancouver’s Vincent De Vera, the track is what a man would sound like, if he were an original score intending to depict the pinnacle of manliness. Yeah, I just wanted to use the word man and manly as much as I could there, because really, it’s the only way to describe this track.

Listen to Track 01 by Vincent De Vera and Jason Garner

If you enjoyed that, make sure to head on over to the Shank Facebook page and ‘like’ it–Klei Entertainment promises to “release the entire soundtrack for free… in all its DRM-free glory” if they manage to get 1,500 fans.