@E3, Sometimes The Treehouse Hides All The Cool Stuff

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If you had the time and bandwidth this week you could have spend the better part of a few days watching Nintendo employees play a bunch of upcoming games at E3 that were part of their big puppet show press event. You also could have gotten to see at least one game not part of that family-friendly briefing that NEEDED to be given some mention outside the Treehouse Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is coming this year, but you’d never know this if you only watched the main event. Anyway, the trailer is above and some 25 minutes of gameplay from the Treehouse trio is below. Listen for the warnings about the game’s content and prepare to chuckle a bit as the gameplay is a bit over-described yet is still unsettling. “Wetness Gauge” and all the uses of the word “creepy” made me crack up, but the game looks nice and scary where it counts and it’s absolutely not for the kids.


 

Metal Gear Solid V: Konami In Stealth Mode, Dodging Bullets


While this demo of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is incredible, not seeing “A Hideo Kojima Production” or his name (or his studio’s name) anywhere on the demo is a bit heartbreaking. Granted, Kojima does get credit for directing and editing the also great E3 trailer (which also has him properly credited as designer at the end):

But for some gamers the upcoming PS4/Xbox One/PC release itself may as well have “Alan Smithee” in the credits at this point. If you want a real laugh, watch the trailer with YouTube’s closed caption option set to ON. The messed up English that results is pretty damn funny considering the language being captioned in such a wacky manner IS English. Anyway, the game looks great and should sell quite well. But for some fans it’ll be a bittersweet play through with its creator ousted from what could be his best work.

Mad Max “Eye of the Storm” E3 Trailer: Here Comes The Avalanche

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My poor heart can’t take this suspense much longer. I know Avalanche Studios does some outstanding work and all, but this latest Mad Max game trailer is pretty damn spectacular, classic AC/DC tune and all. Even though the game isn’t anything close to a role-playing game, the open world and car customization are getting some fans to go a bit kooky making comparisons to Fallout 4 or other post-apocalyptic genre titles. I wouldn’t go that far with the comparisons but I’ll admit that this one will be a bigger game than some expect partly thanks to the success of the film. At least on the critical front as I don’t know what the box office take is to date.

Devil’s Third Update: Tomonobu Itagaki In… Breath of a Salesman


 

Tomonobu Itagaki’s Valhalla Game Studios has been busy getting its Wii U exclusive Devil’s Third ready for prime time and the game finally has a release date. Well, provided you’re in Japan (August 4, 2015) or Europe (August 28, 2015). I’d speculate that Nintendo of America will drop the North American date at E3 next week as well as show more gameplay footage, but we’ll see what’s what then. I have a feeling they’re translating that video above into English as it covers both the single and multiplayer modes as well as shows off how the gae has changed for the better since last year.

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In the video Itagaki goes from game creator to extolling the virtues of the upcoming title in his trademark manner. Even if you don’t speak Japanese it’s a compelling video because of the man’s rough voice and distinctive look he’s kept for ages. The very bloody M-rated action game is certainly not for all tastes but it’s good to see the Wii U getting another game that’s not another family-rated party fest. The console needs quirky, funky games like this to show it’s not an “underpowered kid’s toy” as I’ve heard it described at a certain game shop around here.


 

Granted, it’s tough to say exactly how many fans of this over the top action game actually own a Wii U. On the other hand, I’m betting fans of Bayonetta 2 will be all over this game because that was another Nintendo exclusive that’d drove a few gamers to take the plunge and buy a console because it was the only one the game appeared on.

SOMA Gameplay: While You Were Sleeping, Frictional’s Been Busy


 

The more I see of SOMA, the more I want to play it and hear about others playing it. This slow-burner of a sci-fi horror game from Frictional Games looks fantastic and as you can see, has atmosphere to burn in spades. I do love that the game builds up to what’s in this 12+ minute video and will most likely leave viewers interested in the game wanting to grab it just to see how everything falls into place. It seems that players will be in for an excellent blend of adventure game search and use, environmental hazards and one pretty oddball opinionated machine. Iie arigato, Mr. Roboto! Yikes. Anyway, SOMA is out September 22 on PC and PS4.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III: Three’s Company For The Long Haul


 

So. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III is out and yes, you SHOULD buy and play it if you like action/RPG’s with a sense of humor (and optional gore), loads of random loot drops and probably closure as NeoCore Games finishes up its trilogy. That said… oh, for the days of the retail review disc arriving in the mail! While 20GB may not seem like a huge file to download in this era of “everyone” having a high speed connection, the best I can do around here is roughly 11 to 36 mbps. And that’s WITH connections dropping out from time to time adding more time to the download. 11 hours to download a game (which would be closer to 5 or 6 if the speed is consistent and there aren’t any connection drops) is way too long for me and while I’m not impatient, I have no idea how people put up with this sort of thing with larger game files.

Yeah, yeah, it’s something we’ve “gotten used to” as the digital age has beat retail over the head senselessly as a “superior” option. But for folks like me who fail to see the speed difference when having a disc means you get into those games you want FASTER and with only any day one (or later) patches to download, this digital divide is more “haves” versus “have nots” stuff I see some game companies no longer addressing. Boo. But hell, I won’t take this minor annoyance out on NeoCore games and all their hard work at all. Although it WOULD be cool to see them get their trilogy out on consoles at some point so even MORE people could enjoy it. Eh, we’ll see. In between the ongoing strife here I need to fit my Sunday around getting this game onto a hard drive here, so it’s an early night for this old fart. Back in a bit.

12 Seconds of DOOM: More Than Enough to Wake the Dead


 

Yikes. As someone bored by the current state of the PFS genre, this SUPER teasy teaser for Bethesda’s upcoming DOOM reboot made something rattle inside me I haven’t felt in quite some time. Perhaps it was that blast of metal and the howling sound plus the way that creature was shaking as it lumbered forth, shoulder guns blazing away. Yeah, that was something I’d not want to see ambling my way if I were on my last box of shells and there were more waiting around a corner somewhere. Well, time to set my E3 sights on this one I guess. I’m NOT attending the show this year thanks to stuff happening at home (as in walls and ceiling needing to be replaced in a few rooms plus the ongoing roof repairs), but I’ll be keeping an eye on a bunch of titles like this because that’s the only thing that will keep me from going all Space Marine on those folks knocking stuff down just to put it all back together (and hopefully for some sort of good this time- the previous work has blown something terribly).

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III: 2015, Meet 1999? That Works For Me


 

Like a worn pair of favorite jeans you’ve had in your possession for years or a good leather jacket, NeoCore Games‘ throwback action/RPG The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing has been one of those reliable standbys that feels as it’s been around a great deal longer than it actually has. This is actually a good thing, mind you. NeoCore’s click and slash series is up to its third installment which is coming to Steam on May 22nd, so here’s a look at what to expect with that set of tease-packed videos above.

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Diehard players who still have a death grip on their older Windows XP-powered computers will be glad to see as with the other two installments, Van Helsing III will run on their creaky old systems. Neocore doesn’t own them that at all, mind you. But it’s great to see a developer not ditch those players who bought that first game at all and continue to support them with all three parts of the series working on what they currently own. While the ability to use an Xbox 360 controller to play the game was a patched in addition to Van Helsing II, the game is still superior with the standard keyboard/mouse setup.

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The mix of action, horror and humor elements is something that sets the game apart from the more deadly serious to much sillier Diablo-style games on the market, as is NeoCore’s attention to more “realistic” detailed environments. Granted, the mix of steampunk, classic monsters (werewolves, vampires and such) and other fantasy bits keeps things fresh throughout. One thing the game will need to be is extremely optimized and as good as can be at launch. VHII had some pesky launch issues that were resolved over time but probably soured a few gamers who tried it out and found it lacking in some areas. From what I’m seeing so far it seems that the third time’s the charm. We’ll find out in four more days.

Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark: Buy It For The Title Alone, I Say

Schrödinger’s Cat and TRotLA logo 

A game with a name like Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark just SCREAMS out “Shut up and BUY me, Meow!”* and even if it’s the crappiest game with Schrödinger’s Cat in the title, it’s probably still more than worth the $14.99 asking price on Steam because it’s probably better than you’re thinking. Yeah, this logic puzzle of a post has been brought to you by Wednesday because it’s not yet Thursday and by Friday you’d have moved on to something like “Hey, what’s for dinner two weeks from next Monday?” or something like that.

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Developer Italic Pig seems to have done their homework here as the game looks nice and amusing and yes, a bit of quantum physics come into play as they usually do when you have a cat who may or may not be very dead or very alive. The Particle Zoo is in chaos with Leptons, Gluons and Bosons all running amuck and only ONE cat can tackle the problem in his interestingly quark-y manner. Of course, it’s a sure bet that most people won’t appreciate the humor in this one unless they’re ready to do some reading or already know what’s up with the figgy Newton-ness of a clever developer doing it’s thing. Hmmm. I wonder if the dev team gave that cat nine lives, one or none for the entire game?

*(of course, if the cat is dead, this game doesn’t exist and renders this post completely null and void. The cat was alive when watched the trailer three times, so it’s a safe bet the game is real as well).

Konami Kills Silent Hills; P.T. Probably Gone For Good

P.T. RIPIf you own a PlayStation 4, love horror-related games and have yet to play P.T., get ready for a little shock. You only have a few hours before that title (which stands for Playable Teaser and was actually a concept demo for the Guillermo Del Toro/Hideo Kojima Silent Hills project that was to feature The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus as the lead) is probably gone forever.

Konami has canceled the project entirely and will be yanking the demo off the PlayStation Network on Wednesday the 29th. The company still plans to keep creating games in the long running Silent Hill series in the future, but the loss of this demo comes as yet another blow to fans of Mr. Kojima’s work. This latest business decision comes not too long after both Kojima and Kojima Studios’ name were removed from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain after still unrevealed disagreements between the creator and company. Both his name and his studio’s name were also chopped from the P.T. demo site in Japan and it seems that once the free demo is gone, it’ll not even be available to download even if it’s been placed in one’s PS4 queue for play at some point in the future.

P.T. Title Screen 7780S (Custom) 

As a bit of a gaming historian and big (but sometimes easily rattled) horror fan, this irks me to no end as well as shows how lousy digital distribution really is in terms of preserving content. Pulling a game demo may not seem like a big deal to many of you and it’s not really a huge deal at the end of the day. That said, given that P.T. showed off more creativity and genuinely freaky scares than some completed games, not having the demo around to show off in the future doesn’t bode well for any other demo or full game deemed disposable by companies who want to erase the past. Foo. Hopefully Konami will reconsider and at some point make the demo available at some point down the road. However, given the company’s kicking Kojima to the curb so abruptly after decades of service (no matter the reason, it’s a shame how things seem to be ending), it’s a bad sign of things to come if other games deemed doomed get dropped on the chopping block.

Anyway, if indeed the demo does disappear forever, there’s always YouTube for watching videos of people playing it. Konami’s official P.T. clips on its Japanese channel seem to be already gone, which is annoying because there were some reaction videos featuring gamers and non-gamers that were flat out hilarious. Oh well. Life goes on… but with a little less great scary as hell stuff to share with like-minded folks.

What a shame.