January’s PS Plus Lineup (Provided PSN Is Working!)


 

Poor Sony has been through the wringer this year. Between “hackers” hitting a few of the company’s entertainment divisions and among other things, knocking PSN offline for a bit over the last holiday weekend and a truly crazy class action lawsuit allowed to proceed, all of 2014’s successes seem so very far in the past. Nevertheless, PlayStation Plus subscribers will still be getting a bunch of free games as usual. January’s list of freebies is a nice one indeed, but at this point, it’s all up to whether or not PSN will be running properly so gamers can actually get all of that content. The privileges of membership, indeed…

Persona 5: Last Gasp on the PS3/First Breath on the PS4…

Persona 5 2015 bg 

Atlus’ long running Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series of games has always been a reliably sturdy franchise for fans, surviving a few major artistic and gameplay changes some dislike while providing deep and generally well written plots as well as some interesting characters. The company has been teasing Persona 5 for a little while now as the game is still in development in Japan, and as this latest teaser shows, some of the familiar elements are back. Expect high-school age kids finding out they’ve got hidden powers called Personas, Japan at the brink of some sort of apocalyptic destruction, and dozens of hours of gameplay not counting plenty of side-quests. Demon fusion, teen angst, maybe a bit of romance options and a number of returning good, evil and neutral NPC’s to chat with will no doubt also be par for the course.


 

This second teaser trailer reveals not much at all other than some of the new cast of characters and their names. Additionally, as this will be the first Persona game for next-gen (or current gen if you’ve already made the switch), it will be interesting to see the differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game. I’d imagine the more powerful PS4 will run the game at a steady frame rate and probably feature ore detailed environments. But outside that fighting game, the series has never been about super flashy visuals or lightning paced action. We’ll keep an ear to ground for more on this one, but let’s just say a chunk of time is being carved out in order to dive deep into this one and play it at length.

Unmechanical Extended Edition: Get A (nother) Grip Games Goodie in 2015!

Unmechnaical EE banner 

Grip Games is at it again with a cool enhanced update to one of its popular titles. Unmechanical Extended Edition is coming in 2015 for PS3,PS4, Xbox One courtesy of Grip and developers Teotl Studios and Talawa Games. Given that the original game was a critical success on multiple mobile platforms and PC, a console version with a bit more content was pretty much a no-brainer. Exclusive to the console versions is a new chapter that allows playing of the puzzle/adventure/platormer hybrid as a new character. Grip has also announced the Vita version of the game has been canceled, at least for the time being. The press release notes this, however:

While it is possible that this version will eventually be released, it definitely won’t be simultaneously with other versions.

Ouch. If speculation must be made, I’d imagine that getting Unreal to play nice on the Vita is probably trickier than expected. That or there are other issues keeping this one from its Vita debut. In any event, if Grip and company manage to work things out and get the game up and running, an update will be posted as soon as any news arrives in the inbox here. In the meantime, here are five screens to check out.

Unmechanical_1 Unmechanical 3 Unmechanical_5 Unmechanical 6 Unmechanical 8

Right now, sometime in January 2015 looks like when we’ll see Unmechanical Extended Edition land safely on home consoles. Stay tuned for more on this one…

Review: Falling Skies: The Game

Falling Skies The Game PS3Platform: PlayStation 3 (also on Xbox 360/Wii U/PC)

Developer: Torus Games

Publisher: Little Orbit

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

 

Score: C+ (70%)

You could say that there are two types of turn-based strategy game fans out there: those who’ve played XCOM and those who yet haven’t. Falling Skies: The Game works better for those in the latter category as well as those XCOM fans who won’t bash this too harshly for its intentional lifting of much of that game’s mechanics. While it’s a well-made game and plays just fine with only some pesky camera issues in tight spots, a few gameplay flaws knock it down from being a great entry in the genre. However, if you’re a big enough fan of the show, the game will probably warrant a buy right off the bat. Just don’t expect anything revelatory in the plot or handful of familiar characters you’ve come to know and love and you’ll more than likely have a fine time over a rainy weekend… Continue reading

Godzilla IS Coming After All. THANK YOU, Bandai Namco!

Well, oopsie. Remember that Godzilla game Namco Bandai was only releasing in Japan I wrote a little post about back in September? Oh, how wrong I was about that game staying overseas. But here’s a case where me eating crow pie is a something I don’t mind doing at all. In fact, make mine a double, please. Check out the big reveal trailer below. Earplugs in, first. It’s LOUD:

The Japanese version is out this month, but Bandai Namco Games is going to be taking time to properly localize the game and get it out in North America and Europe in Summer 2015 for both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Excellent. If you watched the September trailer along with this new one, you’ll see that the game looks quite spectacular and fans should be pleased that they’re finally getting a decent Godzilla game this decade.

“But what’s it about?”, you ask? Funny you should ask, kids. It’s late and I’m lazy… so let’s go to the press release!

COMPLETE & UTTER DESTRUCTION

Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, first appeared in 1954. Scientists studied Godzilla and found that they could harness energy from the monster. Called “G-Energy,” this seemingly endless source of power was used to better the lives of all mankind. 60 years later, just when mankind’s memory of the beast faded, Godzilla appeared again. Godzilla destroyed at will, all in search of more G-Energy. Such irony, the same G-Energy which was used to better the people’s lives, also caused Godzilla to awaken. Can the G-Force, mankind’s last hope, stop Godzilla? What fate awaits Godzilla once he has consumed all of the G-Energy, and grown to his full potential?

Bash your way through over 20 stages of mayhem. Explore Mission Mode, Diorama Mode, and King of Monsters Mode! Collect G-Energy in each stage to Power-Up your Godzilla up to 100 Meters tall! Your offensive and defensive prowess will increase with your size.

Okay, that sounds like a cross between a super awesome sci-fi flick and an Enzyte commercial at 3am (remember Smilin’ Bob?), but for Godzilla fans like me, it’s all good. Expect more on this one soon. I can now go to sleep a very happy guy. See you tomorrow, folks!

Review: Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom

Adventure Time TSOTNK PS3Platform: PS3/PC

Developer: WayForward Technologies

Publisher: Little Orbit

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Official Site

 

Score: A- (90%)

In the Nameless Kingdom, there’s a huge shop early on that “sells” nothing but the clay vases Finn been smashing to bits in that first dungeon you went through that opens the game. Finn can’t actually BUY a vase at all as far as I can tell. He can only lift one up to carry around and eventually try to leave with it. Or he can smash as many as he can with a weapon or just throw that lifted vase to the ground, breaking it. The only thing that happens when he does any of those things is an alarm goes off and a timer starts ticking down. Fifteen seconds later, a guard from the castle grabs Finn and then he’s outside the shop. When you go back inside, the clerk/owner scolds you a little and that’s that. Well, that is until later in the game when you discover a way to really get that guy’s attention by busting every jar at once. Such is the weird world of Adventure Time.

ATTSOTNK5

But that one event and its oddball randomness yet familiar to the show sameness is neither here nor there. The third time’s the charm (and how!) for WayForward Technologies with Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom being the best of the three games they’ve made to date with Finn and company. This latest title is clearly influenced by Nintendo’s older games in The Legend of Zelda franchise to the point that it feels like a really spectacular mod that happens to be Adventure Time related. It’s also a surprisingly tough game, or not so surprisingly tough if you’re well versed in how this style of game should be played. There’s no hand-holding here, you learn what needs to be done by observing the environment and enemies while paying attention to (and using) what’s in your inventory. You’ll very likely get stuck in spots, but the game has enough hidden stuff and offbeat side quests that make up for the vagueness it often bashes you on the head with…

Continue reading

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom Saves My Sanity This Week…

Okay, between the kitchen ceiling and walls here STILL not being repaired (oh, it’s a comedy of errors on the whys and hows of that nonsense – worth a post in of itself, but I’ll do that tomorrow or Thursday) and me pulling what’s left of my hair out at other things, I’m glad to have one nice diversion today: Little Orbit’s Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom. WayForward Technologies has cooked up a very inspired top-down adventure with gameplay and aesthetics that are going to be VERY familiar to fans of a certain marquee mascot character. Okay, the game is a shameless homage to the sprite-based Legend of Zelda games, but I’d say that Link HAS to be jealous. Why? Well, he’s only in a big deal fighting game and a nice non-canon beat-‘em-up this year on two platforms while Finn is in a game that’s actually a solid Zelda adventure with Adventure Time humor packed into it.

Okay, let me get back to it. Tomorrow, another wall gets partially knocked in and I hope to heck there’s not anything leaky behind it, grrrr… Oh yeah, a bunch of AAA titles arrived today, but I’m not playing any of them (yet).

Friday Mail: More Work (and I’m Not Complaining)…

NamBan Thank You Man
 
Well, there’s nothing like coming home after a trying day to a nice surprise or two. Tales of Hearts R is being played as we speak (or as I type) and so far it’s quite a bit of fun. Er, wacky humor aside. I think this may be the kookiest localized Tales game I’ve played, but let’s see how it goes. I haven’t seen nor heard “rapscallion” used in a sentence in about three months, but I’d guess that some of you out there have never heard or seen the word at all. What does it mean? Um, you know how to use the internet, don’t you, ya whippersnappers? Look it up!

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Um, spoilers? Nah, not really, angry Tales fans wanting to beat me with a busted controller right about now. These two scenes happen so early in the game that you’ll not get the context unless you’ve played the import already. Even then, I’d bet the original Japanese isn’t as goofy.

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Anyway, back to it. It’s going to be a stupidly busy weekend and upcoming week here. CES Unveiled, some reviews to catch upon, too many previews and hopefully a certain developer will get back to be about a really bag bug in a game I need to review. There’s nothing worse in a game about killing bugs than a game-killing bug that stops things cold is all I’ll say. If it’s not my console acting up and in fact it IS a bad bug, then at least one review I’ve been pointed to by a friend needs to come down.

Granted, any fix probably won’t change the reviewer’s opinion one bit. But hell, it’s best to be fair to the developer and say you’ve actually completed the game you posted an unfavorable notice about rather than just knock out something that’s not constructive at all that doesn’t even mention the issue.

Far Cry 4 Also Gets The Soundtrack Treatment…

Far Cry 4 OSTCliff Martinez, formerly a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and composer of some fine film scores (“Traffic,” “Drive, ” “Spring Breakers”) is also the main man behind the tunes to Ubisoft’s upcoming FPS, Far Cry 4. Working with Ubisoft Montreal’s Music Designer for the game, Jerome Angelot, Music Supervisor Simon Landry and Audio Director Tony Gronick, Martinez has created an original score meant to flow flawlessly with the game’s action and cinematic sequences. While the game’s soundtrack won’t be getting the big deluxe box treatment Rockstar is giving Grand Theft Auto V, it’s a more than solid enough set of tunes to add to your own music library (especially if you’re a soundtrack collector).

Of his collaboration on the soundtrack with Ubisoft, Martinez says:

“It was an honor to be asked to write the music for the Far Cry 4 game as my first full-length video game soundtrack,” said Cliff Martinez. “It was exciting for me to be asked to take my usual minimalistic cinematic approach to the immersive game world. Any game where you can ride on a rampaging elephant is a project you can’t turn down!”

Well, I’m listening to the music as I type this post and really feel as if I’m in some very dangerous foreign land about to go on some rather wild adventure. Granted, I’m typing this post in a public place, so the worst that can happen is some old guy bumbles by and drops a hot cup of coffee on my shoe. But hey, I’ll settle for that tiny bit of excitement over dodging digital bullets and rampaging elephants any day of the week. Anyway, the Far Cry 4 Original Game Soundtrack digital edition will release worldwide on November 4, the limited 2-CD edition will release on December 2 in North America and on December 9 in Europe, and the limited 3-LP edition will release in January 2015. Far Cry 4 will be available November 18 worldwide for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.

Dragon Age Inquisition Updates Keep You Twitching and Choosing…

So, the final (but not quite final I’d bet) push is here as Electronic Arts and BioWare even more heavily promote Dragon Age Inquisition, the upcoming BioWare-developed epic RPG set for release November 18. While the game is coming to PS3 and Xbox 360, it’s the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions that are getting the most attention from many fans and pretty much every critic set to review it. Those versions should clearly show the developer making the game they wanted to make from the beginning of this popular franchise, although one can only imagine how future games will look once older hardware becomes less common.

There is also an intriguing and optional social feature currently in beta called Dragon Age Keep that looks to immerse fans even more completely into the world of Dragon Age as they learn every bit of lore from previous games and even share their progress in the new adventure as they play. Check it out:

if you’re Twitching for more Dragon Age, fear not. EA and BioWare have you covered this coming Thursday with a live stream of the game’s multiplayer component starting at 10:00AM PST (that’s 1:00PM EST) on the developer’s Twitch channel. This content will include the following:

  • Three Multiplayer Maps: The team will be showing three destinations: Elven Ruins, Orlesian Chateau and Tevinter Ruins.

 

  • Three Multiplayer Characters: The team will be showing character progression on the three unlocked starter characters: Legionnaire, Keeper and Archer.

 

  • Tips & Tricks: The team will be walking viewers through core tips and tricks on how to be successful in Dragon Age multiplayer. They will also touch on Ability Trees, Chests, and Crafting.

 

  • Live Q&A: Producer Scylla Costa and Associate Producer Billy Buskell will be taking questions from viewers live during the stream.

 

Who:                     Dragon Age multiplayer Producers Scylla Costa and Billy Buskell

What:                   Dragon Age multiplayer gameplay feature 3 maps, 3 multiplayer characters, and Q&A.

When:                  Thursday, November 6th at 10:00AM PST / 1:00PM EST

Where:                http://www.twitch.tv/bioware

 

That should tide you over until the game is finally launched on November 18, 2014 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows.