Memo to Sony: make.believe You’ve Got Some Backbone.

The Interview (Sony Pictures 2014) (Custom) Hmmm. As stupid as this whole Sony hacking thing has been to try and avoid, now we’re at the stage where things get even weirder because it now has to be followed. Sony Pictures has decided to kill The Interview, pulling not only the film’s premiere this week, but the actual Christmas launch entirely. Of course, the company is being called out and called all sorts of names by other media companies. “Holy irony of ironies and if it were them, what would THEY do, Batman?” Answer: “Probably the same damn thing, old chum.” More on that in a second.

Anyway, things have gotten so wretched that even George R.R. Martin has chimed in with a LiveJournal post (wait, people STILL use LiveJournal?) chiding “Regal, AMC, and every other major theatre chain in the United States” along with Sony for caving hard over threats of potential violence and other protests had the film been screened anywhere in the U.S. of A. Good on you, George! Please don’t kill me off in a response, sir.

As for Sony, All I have to say is “Yikes!”... Continue reading

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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

On Sony: Oh, Baloney!

Sony logo 

The Gossips (Norman Rockwell)Someone asked me last week what I thought about the recent Sony hack (allegedly from North Korean hackers upset about an upcoming movie) and I told him I’d have to get back to him on that because I wasn’t following the story at all. Well, I wasted a half hour looking it up and can safely say a hearty “Who Cares?” springs to mind.

I’d bet you a whole penny that EVERY entertainment company on the planet is stocked with executives behaving badly who say nasty things about people they know, don’t know or don’t care about after they leave their sight. Big deal. The fact that news organizations are bending over backwards to churn out daily updates on who said what about whom and how “bad” it all is in mind-blowing to me because it’s not only OLD news, it’s something anyone and everyone (who’s not a bald-faced liar) has done to someone else they’ve worked for or with… Continue reading

Final Fantasy VII on PS4: Calling Out For a Troll Free Number…


 

Yikes. You know, there’s a very good reason I don’t follow and post every sliver of game news, nor do I care about some off the “news” that stirs certain areas of the internet up into a frenzy. At the PlayStation Experience in Las Vegas last weekend, one of the “big” announcements was the legendary JRPG Final Fantasy VII coming to the PlayStation 4 in 2015. At the time of its release back in 1997, it was not only a system seller for Sony’s original PlayStation, but one that bought millions of new players into CD-based gaming on a console, as previous games in the series has only appeared on cartridge-based systems. There was a PC version released back in 1998, but other than a recent re-release for modern PC’s, some excellent and jaw-dropping fan-made modifications and a beautiful remake of the game’s opening movie as an early demonstration of the PlayStation 3’s power, Square Enix has pretty much moved on from the very idea of a proper remake of this classic… Continue reading

Suikoden II on PSN: Millions Rejoice They Don’t Need to Spend Millions…

Suikoden IIWell, okay. A copy of Suikoden II doesn’t cost “millions” these days, but it’s not cheap at all. Some have paid close to $100 for the game disc alone, while mint condition to sealed copies can cost many times more. Of course, Konami hasn’t made a patina coated penny in profits from those sales. But starting tomorrow, all that changes when the game finally arrives on PSN as a PSOne Classic. It won’t cost much (hopefully under $20) and is still one of those deeper than it looks on the surface games that’s been generating desire since it went out of print.

Granted, it seems that it only got a single production run and until this point in time never got a western re-release. Now, (well, tomorrow) it’ll be in the hands of PS Vita and PS3/PS4 owners who can finally play what’s been called one of the greatest JRPGs ever made. Hmmmm… of course, now the BIG question remains will saves from this game also work with the Suikoden III, the PlayStation 2 follow-up that used the previous game’s files to grant players bonus content. Methinks Sony will need to tweak that Content Manager software the PS3, PS4 and Vita use to share that data when the time comes. I still have my physical copy of the third game, but I sold off my SII earlier this year because I needed the money. I bet the farm on Sony and Konami finally making things right and thankfully, that’s seemed to have paid off. Whee.

The Witcher 3 Update: Too Damn Good, Delayed Until May 2015

The Witcher 3 May Delay

Game delays aren’t great news at all and CD Projekt RED’s upcoming open-world RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has already be hit with one big delay that pushed the game into 2015 from 2014. Well, that wait has just gotten about twelve weeks longer. CDPR has issued an open letter to its fans explaining the (rather obvious) reasons for the delay: the game is just too damn big and good to be completed at its current pace. Well, that’s what I distilled from this note:

Dear Gamers,

Ever since we started working on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we knew it would be an ambitious game. We wanted, and still aim, to give you an incredible experience, an epic adventure in a vast, completely open fantasy universe.

The sheer size and complexity of The Witcher, key features of the title, have had a decisive impact on production. Now, nearing the end of our work, we see many details that need to be corrected. When we release the most important game in our studio’s history, we must be absolutely sure that we did everything we could to limit any bugs to a level that will allow you to enjoy the game thoroughly.

With this in mind, we took another look at current workloads and what they mean for the team. Even though everyone is working at full speed, we concluded that we need another 12 weeks, so we are shifting the release date of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to May 19th, 2015.

We owe you an apology. We set the release date too hastily. It’s a hard lesson, one to take to heart for the future. We know what we want to do to make Wild Hunt one of the best RPGs you will ever play. And we continue to work hard to achieve just that. So, we apologize and ask for your trust.

Thank you for the all support you show us on a daily basis. We truly do appreciate it. It has fueled us in our passion since the start and will continue to do so.

The Board of CD PROJEKT SA

Amusingly enough, news came around the time this new trailer dropped online, but it just made me want to wait as long as it takes for the team to get it done:


 

Now, you could yell at CD Projekt RED to stop playing their own game so much and just get it out, but that would be a mistake. No game ships 100% bug free and this one is especially tricky. That extra three months should be enough for the dev team to tighten things up and make sure the launch goes as smoothly as possible. Remember, in addition to a digital version, the company is also making physical retail discs for two consoles and all of these have to run as smoothly as possible. Whatever issues are keeping CDPR busy are most likely affecting all three versions (or two, if you’re a PC diehard and console hater), but those of us who respect the developer know they’ll make it all work.

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!

Sony’s 20th Anniversary Limited Edition PS4: Nifty Shades of Grey


 
I should have figured that Sony would be going back to basics for their 20th anniversary, but seeing that familiar shade of grey on a new model PS4 made me chuckle a bit. I bet it’s not backward compatible at all, meaning some younger folks who buy it, might want one to add to their collection or just hate that color aren’t seeing the complete picture. I still have three of those old grey models here and they get trotted out from time to time, too. 20 years is a long time and I can still recall the initial skepticism some had about Sony jumping into the game console business with the PlayStation after a deal with Nintendo to co-create a game console fell through. How the gaming landscape would been had that arrangement not fallen through is anybody’s guess. Like them or not, you have to give Sony credit for making good on their initial promise to shake things up and continue doing it for so long despite some ups and downs over the years.


 

Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Sony – you’ve certainly earned a place in millions of lives since 1994. Here’s to (at least) 20 more years (provided we’re all still around)…

Earth Defense Forces 2 Portable V2 Vita Update: Yes, This NEEDS To Be US Bound.

Another “enlistment” video from D3Pulisher in Japan for Sandlot’s upcoming Earth Defense Forces 2 Portable V2 on the Vita has more than sold me on this game. As a longtime EDF fan, I’ve known that EDF 2 was and is the best game in the series in terms of content and the developer really pushing the PS2 past its limits back when that version was initially released. The enemy variety was and still is the best in the series, the night maps with those spiders hopping about with glowing eyes were terrifying and those damned rolling pill bugs drove me up a wall figuring out how to get rid of them before they steamrolled poor Storm 1. All that and the game has one of the funniest levels in the series with a MASSIVE beast showing up as a surprise boss after its two rather large offspring get taken down while on a rampage.

This updated version takes content from the original version and the PSP update (which was great despite the sluggish frame rate), adds what’s looking like improved multiplayer and much cleaner visuals. It looks as if the controls will be the same and Pale Wing’s goofy running animation is intact. Well, at least she can fly and has the best weapons in the game. I do hope her experience growth is the same as in the other versions of EDF 2 and not the insanely low numbers she gets in EDF 4. My one major gripe about that game was how unfair it handled character leveling. Anyway, I’m hoping D3Publisher of America or some other smart publisher is looking to localize this and get it out at some point. I’ll import if I must, but I’d really LOVE to see a push to get this one out and done in North America just so Vita owners can have another must-buy title…

Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer Update – More Fun @ Ace Chemicals!


 

In this second of three parts, Batman more or less says “tanks for the memories!” as he and the new Batmobile blow a bunch of enemy vehicles into scrap metal and we get left hanging at the end. Well, at least he doesn’t say “Batteries to power! Turbines to speed!” when he kicks that tricked out weapon he’s driving into gear. Granted, this teaser is half as long as the first one, so yes indeed, it’s a cheap trick on WB Games’ part. Still, I do love those independently operating wheels on that new Batmobile. It sure must be really easy to park that thing, although I’d bet Batman would just drive over some empty parked cars in an emergency and maybe have Bruce Wayne pay a few bills after the fact. Then again, why bother doing that if all it will do is confuse some poor Gothamite who suddenly gets a small windfall from a multimillionaire not connected to their ride’s demise. Allegedly.

Batman: Arkham Night is coming in 2015 (June 2, 2015 to be exact) for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. WB Games and Rocksteady will drop the third trailer on December 6, 2014. I’d imagine it’ll be an explosive finale with a “to be continued” tacked onto the last bit.