PSN Flash Sale: Make Your Snow Day More Useful Yet Less Productive

PS Flash Sale (Large) 

Trapped indoors thanks to all this snow, are we? Well, Eeee-hee-hee! or something like that. I’m actually trapped indoors thanks to a freelance job that needs to be done before pumpkin hour (midnight), so I’ve no to time to play anything (*whine!*). While I wait for another part of the job to float through the ether this way, I figure I may as well post something quick and painless.

Anyway, If you have a PlayStation Network account, you’re not going to be lonely at all. Well, if you’re alone, you’ll still be lonely, but you won’t lack for entertainment options thanks to this latest PSN Flash Sale.

Tons of games and movies (wait, does digital content actually weigh something?), but the list is so long that I’ll only list the PS4, PS3, Vita and PSP games below the jump. If you’re smart you’ll just boogie on over to that link above and burn a small hole in your wallet before the sale is over Monday.
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Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen Gallery (PS3): Not Pixel-Proof, But Perfected on PC

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Before (well, 1280 x 720 looks a LOT better on a HD set in 1080i)…

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After! PC version, *much* prettier PNG image.

Ah, the terrible JPG format and how it degrades over the shortest periods of time. Foo. I’d wanted to post a bunch of screens from the PlayStation 3 version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen over the last few weeks up to the game’s PC release on Steam shortly (January 15), but when I finally got around to looking at the over 300 screenshots I’d taken over time, they all looked terrible. Normally, I go back and save jpeg images as .png files, but I got busy with too many things just didn’t have the time. Yet another reason to hate digital art, I guess. Still, a promise is a promise, but instead of a daily gallery of ugly imagery, you’re getting most of the shots I liked in one easy to peruse (but hard on the eyeballs) set of screens below the jump.

That said, before I commence with the eye torture, ogle that lovely trailer above and then go read this post, as here are more screens from the PC version along with more info about what the updated version of the game will have in store for those picking it up again or for the first time. There’s a lot of info there (thanks, Capcom!), but it’s all worth checking out because I know it’ll get got by fantasy RPG fans looking for a nicely-sized game world and plenty of pissed off mythical beasts coming at them with now even more gleaming teeth and claws. By the way, pre-ordering the game on Steam gets you its soundtrack and a digital art book. So there’s some incentive for those who want it.

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Land Of A Thousand Gransys II: Daily Dragon’s Dogma: DA Gallery? Sure, Why Not?

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While I’m waiting for a few important things to iron themselves out (tech and otherwise), I’ve been killing time going back to some older game saves just to see how certain titles have held up over time. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is one of those games that keeps on giving since it’s 2012 release, much to the surprise of Capcom I’d bet. Anyway, as the game is finally hitting PC next year, I figured I’d poke through a bunch of screenshots I’d taken while playing the PlayStation 3 version and post one a day until the new version launches. So, here you go. It’ll be a mostly random set of screens taken with the game’s Photo feature with the occasional caption when I find something amusing to say.

Um… that’s it for now. Oh yeah, it’s DECEMBER already. Yikes. If my poor brain doesn’t blow up from having so much to do, I’m going to have quite a busy rest of the year. Back in a bit.

Review: Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations

Adventure Time Finn & Jake Wii UPlatform: Wii U (also on PS3/PS4, Xbox 360/Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS)

Developer: Vicious Cycle

Publisher: Little Orbit

MSRP: $39.99 (PS4/Xbox One, $49.99, 3DS $29.99)

ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 & up)

Official Site

Score: B (80%) 

As someone who likes all the console and handheld Adventure Time games, it’s good to see a new one arriving so soon that’s even more of a throwback than the more action oriented titles that have come before. Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations is a fine homage to old school classic point and click adventures with some nifty combat portions to keep your fingers limber. While the game isn’t all that difficult to complete (particularly if you use the hint highlight system to find clickable objects and locations), it’s a great diversion for a rainy weekend as well fun enough to warrant additional installments. It’s also the first Adventure Time game with rendered 3D characters and environments with developer Vicious Cycle doing a mostly excellent job in making Finn and company look great in polygonal form.

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The game is set up as a series of “graybles” as (re)told by the alien Cuber (voiced by Emo Phillips) from his space station. While it’s not quite Game of the Year material, the story is pure Adventure Time: pretty darn amusing and as usual, chock full of goofiness and tossed off references fans will knowingly nod and grin at. Fans of the show new to this style of game will find that it’s easy to get into and play, but experts at pointy and clicky stuff new to the show may find the game lacks a certain level of challenge save fora few puzzles that require knowing how certain episodes play out. Then again, unless you’re really bad at following prompts and using a tiny bit of deductive reasoning, you can do a bit of trial and error with not a failure state in sight.

There are five “cases” to tackle in the Land of Ooo that have Finn and Jake meeting up with the usual suspects from the show and everyone is voiced perfectly as you’d expect. In terms of gameplay, most of the game relies on a simple menu system that allows you to choose Finn to do most of the investigative work while Jake assists in getting him in and out of trouble or to seemingly inaccessible spots in the environment. Talking to everyone if you’re stuck will get you some clues that range from mostly direct to somewhat obscure (yes, like the show), but you can solve bits of some cases before you’d think if you have just enough info and accidentally or intentionally talk to someone who starts giving you a short quiz about evidence you’ve gathered.

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At certain points during play, “Combat Time” sequences become available, adding a bit of button jamming action to things. These sections are short and easy to beat, offering simple rewards in the form of collectibles Finn and Jake can use to decorate their fancy over-sized tree house. The game probably would have been fine without the swordplay and special attacks, but someone generally gets some sort of beat down at some point on the show, so you get to dish out the digital pain on a few folks who probably deserve it. Then again, without these smack laying down parts, the game might be less amusing and fun to play to some fans who expect a knockout or three (or more) before all is said and done.

While the game isn’t all that lengthy (as noted, it’s a rainy weekend special), it’s well done enough to warrant a sequel or two in the same style or at least more Adventure Time games down the road. Actually, it would also be really interesting to see if Vicious Cycle can handle the crazy and contagious energy of a more recent Cartoon Network smash hit, Steven Universe. It’s a completely different look and vibe on that show, but so far, every tie-in from the comic to the sole mobile game Attack the Light has been very well received. As usual, we shall see. In the meantime, you may as well support Little Orbit and Cartoon Network by taking Finn & Jake on a few Investigations, I say.

BUY IT! Dragon Fin Soup Looks Like A Tasty Bowl Of Pain


 

Dragon Fin SoupBased on the absolutely gorgeous artwork by Randis Albion alone, Grimm Bros. first game, Dragon Fin Soup is worth a buy. The game is, according to the developers: “half story-driven tactical RPG and half high-stakes roguelike, with a pinch of crass humor and a heaping helping of murder & madness set in a procedural generated fantasy world.”, which is right up my alley lurking with a +2 Club of Timesink waiting to konk me on the noggin.

Even better, the game is now available on PC via Steam or the Humble Store as well as a cross-buy for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in North America and Europe at not much more than the PC version costs. If you happen to be a PS Plus member, guess what? DFS is a FREE download this month! Gorgeous, hard as hell and somewhat inexpensive (or FREE if you’re lucky) is a fine and dandy way to spend a lousy weekend. Or any weekend, for that matter.

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Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations – Mysterious Goings-On, Old School Style


 

“What time is it?” Um, 6:48pm as I type these words!. Hmm, that joke fell flat didn’t it? Fortunately, Little Orbit’s latest, Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations has far better writing than I can muster up and looks as it’ll be a total blast to play through. Available NOW on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS, the game takes the popular show and characters into a less sprite-ly space (the game is made up of POLYGONS! *Gasp!*) and pace as it emulates some of the older-school adventure games us well-aged gamers grew up playing.

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Not to say there’s no action and occasional stuff being broken for no good reason other than it’s amusing, mind you. Don’t believe me? Well, take a looky at these GAME FEATURES:

Sleuth your way through five cases set in the Land of Ooo, each of which plays out a separate chapter (like your own personal episode of the show).

See the Adventure Time characters and familiar locations for the first time in 3D.

Tackle puzzles by creatively using inventory objects and Jake’s shape-shifting abilities.

Combat evildoers as Finn using a variety of unique swords and Jake’s awesome attack forms.

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I stole that info above from the press release, so maybe that’s a SIXTH adventure that needs to be solved? Uh, wait. I just gave myself away as the culprit. Oops. Well, Jake and Finn don’t know and you won’t tell them at all, so I’ll be camped out in front of my TV waiting for them to slap the cuffs on. Or slap me around the room. I think I’m insured. I think.

Adventure Time Finn & Jake Box Shots 

So, yeah – get this game. Well, you don’t HAVE to buy EVERY version in that photo above. But if enough of you did exactly that, I sure bet Little Orbit and developer Vicious Cycle would be very thankful indeed. Perhaps a bit baffled… but thankful nonetheless.

Tales of Zestiria Launches: Your Royal Time-Killer Hath Arrived


 

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No, I haven’t even started Tales of Zestiria yet. But that’s only because my review copy hasn’t arrived. This is actually a good thing because once I start the game (yes, I’m going to be playing the PS3 version just to keep my ancient launch day console happy), I’m not coming up for air any time soon. I’m already buried under backlog stuff from all sides, but a Tales game demands to be played in huge chunks of time so that players become fully immersed in the story and world Tales Studio has so carefully crafted.

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That said, based on my hands-on time a little while ago, it’s safe to say that PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Steam/PC users are the very lucky recipients of one of the best games in the long-running franchise to date. I know that some Steam users are already reporting some mild performance issues (which is what happens when you port a game to be played on consoles to machines with millions of different user and factory configurations), but no one is screaming for their money back.

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If you’re thinking of grabbing the game for yourself or as a gift, listen up. Bandai Namco is giving away a free DLC pack for the first 30 days after the release of the game. Players will be able to download the epilogue chapter “Alisha’s Conviction” free of charge on the PlayStation Network store (for PS3 and PS4) or through Steam if they own the PC version. According to the press release:

the epilogue follows Alisha and Rose with hours of additional story elements and gameplay taking place after the events of Tales of Zestiria. The “Alisha’s Conviction” downloadable content will be priced at $9.99 after the 30 day promotion ends.

Tales of Zestiria is rated T for TEEN by the ESRB and is available for purchase at video game retailers today in North America and Latin America for the PlayStation 4 (MSRP $59.99) and PS3 system (MSRP $39.99). The PC version (available now on Steam) is $49.99.

Some Batman Day Stuff To Drive You Batty

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So, it’s Batman Day tomorrow and yes, a few (well, more than a few) sites are having some nice sales on some fun to funky items. I’ll give a shout out to a handful below:

Mezco Batman Day Sale

MezcoToyz is offering up an awesome deal of mystery randomness with its 1-day ONLY Batman themed Mystery Box. $19.39 (yes, the year Bats first appeared in comics)nets you a box that will contain assorted Batman and DC Comics related merchandise. You may get something common,but you may also snag something super-rare and guaranteed to have the Joker pop by with a can of Smilex gas while you’re sleeping. Hey, he collects toys too… at your expense, of course! This sale runs from 12:01 AM on September 26th to 12:01 AM on September 27th and yes, supplies are LIMITED. Oh, and if you’ll be in NYC for the event, make sure to visit Mezco at New York Comic Con (booth 1754).

BatmanCover LEGO Batman 3 Complete Bundle

If you prefer something a bit more interactive, Bundle Stars has you covered with two cool Bat-bundles of PC games with the Caped Crusaders and friends. Ten bucks nets you the first three Batman: Arkham games along with three huge DLC packs or Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham plus SEVEN nice DLC packs.

Meanwhile, the PlayStation Store, Sony is running a Batman Day sale on a slew of Barman titles for the PS3, PS4 and Vita. Boogie on over to that link above and let your wallet fly around the room for a minute before you wring it out until it’s all dried up and you’re buried in more than enough Bat-games to keep you occupied and out of trouble for quite some time. Or IN trouble because you’ve stopped going to work and have taken to wearing a cape, boots and utility belt you’ve designed on those trips to the bathroom. Remember to duck when you throw that homemade Batarang for the first time, as it’ll swing back and crack you upside the head before you can react.

I suppose you can do some reading as well, but I’ll let you poke around online for assorted sales. I do know DC Comics is doing something fun (as always) I haven’t read a decent Batman comic in ages, so I’m kind of need to do some poking around myself. Hmmm… it looks as if I’ll be hitting up the library here tomorrow or a nearby comic shop for a few freebies.

Tales of Zestiria Hands-On: Old Reliable And The New(ish) Platform

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In the case of and for Namco’s long-running Tales franchise, familiarity certainly doesn’t breed any contempt at all. Some hands on time recently with the PlayStation 4 version of Tales of Zestiria reveals producer Hideo Baba and the development team at tri-Crescendo in fine form with a game that’s a throwback to Tales of Phantasia and its more epic medieval fantasy approach in terms of character design and settings. There are also some changes to the combat system and even better, battles now play out on maps without those brief transitions from previous games in the series. Continue reading

Gallery: Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations

Gallery

This gallery contains 16 photos.

  All I know is there had BETTER be a line in Little Orbit’s upcoming Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations where someone says to Jake (and that someone should be Finn) “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown…”. Okay, I’ll still … Continue reading