Swery 65: Back With White Owls, Disguises And Plenty Of Creative Spirit

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After splitting with Access Games, creator Hidetaka Swery Suehiro, SWERY 65 (or just Swery to fans and friends) didn’t exactly vanish from sight. While tweeting and traveling, he also managed to appear as a pin-up in a game developer calendar (sporting a great painted on tattoo), drink lots of coffee and keep fans entertained with plenty of thoughtful social media posts on a wide range of subjects.

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Well, the man is back to work with a new studio named White Owls Inc. and a few new projects in the works. Don’t expect a game to appear suddenly out of thin or thick air (he may look like a magician in that photo, but nope, he’s just Swery) and definitely don’t expect a followup to D4, as that IP is still in the hands of a different studio. While you’re waiting for what’s next (looks like a book project of some sort), feel free to peruse White Owl’s online shop and maybe buy something cool for yourself or someone else.

I have the feeling I should finally interview the man one day, but I’ll let him work because I’d rather enjoy what he creates over riddle him with my oddball queries. More likely than not, I’ll end up replaying Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut just because it’s still a kick in the head to discover something new I missed out on.

-GW

Time To Switch. But Not Tonight, I’m Pooped

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I just got back from the Nintendo Switch event here in NYC, but I’m wiped out from being awake since 4am. My hands-on will go up tomorrow, but I did like much of what I saw and played. Back in a bit, Zzzzzzzz…

– GW

Nintendo Switch: Waited, Dated – Sated? We Shall See


So, as you can probably guess from the general lack of Nintendo Switch posts until now, I’ve been wholly avoiding the nonsense rumors, speculation and generally pointless gossip about Nintendo’s new console until this official reveal event just so what remained of my sanity stayed intact. This quickie post will actually be a preview to my hands-on later in the week where I form actual news based on what I see and play during my three hour time slot on Saturday. Tonight’s event was what I’d call entertainingly sedated with some expected releases, a few surprises and at least one must-buy launch title that should have been a pack-in. EDIT Of course, with only an hour to show off stuff, the event seemed… lacking in thrills to some extent. However, post-show, a small flood of reveal trailers for other games have dropped online, making the Switch a lot more impressive.

March 3, 2017 is the official mostly worldwide street date for the console which will launch with a $299.99 price tag in North America. The package will include a system, dock, two Joy Con controllers, HDMI and charging cables plus an AC adapter. A new Pro Controller is a separate purchase (and yes, third party peripherals are coming from a few companies. More on those in a separate post). A full list of features is here. The Switch will also be the first Nintendo system to require a fee for online play (Wii U and 3DS are unaffected), but there will be a free trial period at launch with some features disabled and the full paid version with a few perks to follow later this year. There’s also going to me mobile device implementation so players can communicate far better than possible on Miiverse.

As for games, well… it was a mix of oddball new stuff, the return of a few classic characters, a few sequels and… not much else for the moment. Some 80 games were said to be in the works, but the event revealed a mere 15 including a number of works in progress and very brief non-gameplay teases, trailers for a few below the jump. Oh, by the way… the Switch seems to be region-free. Huzzah! But this doesn’t mean the Asian territory e-Shops will be accessible if you can’t read the languages on them. Continue reading

Gravity Cat: A Royal Wedding of Tech As Advertisment


 

Yep. Japan still has the coolest game promos. This one’s for Gravity Daze 2, aka Gravity Rush 2 here in the US, which is set to land on the PS4 on January 20. You don’t see TV ads this lengthy for games in North America at all outside of trade shows and media events. But I’d take a few of these fun promo clips any day over another garbage infomercial or medicine ad selling snake oil with deadly side effects followed by a legal ad asking if you’ve taken one of those drugs and suffered from side effects, ugh.

Anyway, the recent demo was great overall – check out my somewhat rushed play through below:


 

-GW

Husk: Shivercliff Is Calling This February


 

husk_logoHmmmm. UndeadScout’s upcoming horror game Husk just got a boot upwards on my play list because it seems it’s not going to be just another great-looking fright game in a roiling ocean of them. My eye has been on this one for a while, but I’ve been silent on it until more of what’s going on up in those hills was revealed (+25XP if you got the corny reference). In any event, the game is calling out to those horror fans who want a bit more meat on the bones, so do yourselves a favor and go check out the Steam store page and sure, go sign up on the official site for future updates. Hey, someone’s gotta go look for YOU after you go missing, right? Might as well be me or someone else you think you can trust. Yeah, I said *think*. It might be too scary to go get you if I’m not totally prepared.

Although, I do charge a nominal fee for rescue missions.

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Husk arrives on Steam February 3, 2017.

-GW

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Imprint-X Hands-On: A-Hacking We Will Go In Morgondag’s Latest Trippy Indie


 

Vendela and Kim over at Morgondag have been busy getting their next game up on Steam and if you love quirky puzzle games, Imprint-X will be right up your alley. A few minutes spent with a build of this unique hacker clicker puzzler reveal it’s quite engaging in its wordless presentation that opens gameplay up to anyone. Actually, all you need to know is in the description on the game page:

A robotic virus is raging! Nano Bots called Wardens are enslaving people! You are one of the hacker clones, saving intellects by hacking into infected brains and defeating the mysterious Wardens; figuring out their correct button sequences.

 

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There’s both a smart simplicity and hefty challenge awaiting you puzzle masters as the game goes from simple switch clicking to more advanced patter memorization and faster clicking needed to ‘catch’ moving parts of some puzzles. As with Morgondag’s stellar, strange Rymd Resa, the visual style is clean yet beautifully stylized with an intriguing soundtrack that adds to the atmosphere. I’ve only sunk a solid half hour into this so far, but my brain is getting a workout already. As reviews are embargoed until the 26th anyway (the game’s release date), you’ll all have to hold your collective breath until then. Back in a bit.

-GW

Worst Assassins Ever (The Non-Blogathon!) #1: The French Connection

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A good cop? Oh, the irony of that caption. Or, a picture is worth a thousand words (or less)…

IF yours truly was ever going to host a blogathon, it would either be something like the ‘That’s NOT My City!’ or ‘Worst Assassins EVER!’ blogathon because both are topics that make me chuckle in films more than they’re supposed to. As a native New Yorker who’s heard from a bunch of friends over the decades about how certain films shot here (or places pretending to be here) range from inspiring (great!) to “It’s so unsafe there! Do you actually go out at night?” (lousy!), I can think of far too many made in (or outside) in NYC films to scribble about. As for terrible assassins in films, with assistance I could probably write a book on how the best of the best go from first in their class to dirt-napping klutzes thanks to inconvenient plot monkey wrenches needing them to forget how good they are in favor of making a series of increasingly terrible decisions that put them into the hall of shamefully comedic demises.

However, between being a bit more scattered than usual (“I want the hangings public” is my mantra of late) and not motivated enough to create all those GIFs, promo posters and banner art to pass out to potential contributors, I’ve decided to flip a coin for the name and non-host a stealth blogathon anyone can contribute to. Or not. Actually, this particular film popped into my head first because it fits both categories perfectly AND happens to be a great essential flick that’s still well worth a look. For those about to complain… don’t. I love this film to death, but repeated viewings over a few decades show it’s got a hidden comic gold vein running through it in the form of one the the most inept professional killers you’ll ever see. Continue reading

Diablo III 2.4.3 Update: Party Like It’s 1996 (Or, To Hell & Back, Grinning)


 

Well, oooh. I wasn’t expecting to be this surprised by an update, but yep, Blizzard did just what I was thinking they were going to do with a bit more throwback action, albeit it short-lived. The update also popped up on PSN (as the 1.15 patch), which is the version I played through last night and messed around with into this morning. Other than it not having the retro UI, it’s exactly the same content. I was more surprised that the team had not a lot of info from the original Diablo and had to piece things together using fan wikis, but hey – most fans are helpful when they’re not fighting with each other.

(Hey! Subscribe to my boring YouTube channel, already!)
 

The throwback maps made me grin like a loon as I took a newly created Monk through those hellish stages. I went through on Normal the first time, which is why The Butcher went down without killing my holy fist punching dame. Actually, in my original Diablo play back in ’96, I didn’t die against that brute until my second time through because I got overconfident, his room was on a new spot on the map with a dead end outside I got trapped in and the exploding barrels I hit took off a wee but too much health when he rushed up with that axe. Ow. Actually, I had a run later through the PlayStation version in 1998 where I got stuck dying on the 7th floor thanks to a lightning fast lightning magic blasting mob parked right at the stairway. I think I still have that save data on an old memory card here.


 

In any event, if you’ve a PC, PS4 or Xbox One, remember spending too much time in digital Hell and want a quick trip back to 20 years ago… yeah, go grab Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, but do it soon. The Darkening of Tristram event only lasts until the end of January and you might not want to miss the oddball gifts you get when completing the run.

-GW

Random Film Of The Week: Predator 2

predator_2_ver1As sequels go, Predator 2 shouldn’t even work as well as it does. But here it is in all its Hollywood circa 1990 R-rated violent glory, still making me laugh both with and at it. Granted, you need a particular sense of humor to appreciate the film as a whole, as trying to pick it apart into chunks of good and bad ends up wrecking the work put into making it completely bonkers yet a total blast to sit down with for a spell.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t available for this sequel thanks to disagreements over his fee (something a little film called Terminator 2: Judgment Day would take care of forever), the film dropped his Dutch character and moves the setting ten years ahead to a sweaty 1997 Los Angeles where a heat wave and gang warfare lure in a new Predator for some urban hunting action. Inspired casting abounds here, with Danny Glover leading the way as Lieutenant Michael Harrigan, a not quite by the book cop who, like others in these sorts of action flicks, has unconventionally heroic means of getting the job done. Reuben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso and Bill Paxton also play cops working with Harrigan as Jamaican and Colombian drug gangs blast each other as well as anyone that happens to get between them.

(Thanks, Forever Horror!) 

When the bulk of the Colombian gang is wiped out in what looks like a ritualistic sacrifice, Harrigan and his team immediately suspect the Jamaicans. But the loss of one of his team reveals there’s a third party at work here and Harrigan sets out to get to the bottom of things and possibly get some revenge in the process. Little does he realize that the bottom of things is very literally under the steaming streets in the form of a trophy packed alien ship. Continue reading

Happy New Year (Take 2)

(Thanks, TroniCPol!)

Hey, my mood lightened! Ha. Anyway, I was trying to think of an appropriate New Year’s thing to post when it hit me that I hadn’t played the late Kenji Eno’s very offbeat D2 in about four years. It works as a perfectly bleak yet eventually hopeful holiday horror game experience for the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thanks to just being too busy to unearth one of my Dreamcasts, make sure the battery is working so that I could start playing about nine hours before midnight so the end credit sequence ends with the onscreen game clock counting down to the New Year and getting a cheery message for all that effort, I haven’t gone near this gem. But that’s going to change.

Anyway, backlog or not I’ll finally replay this classic at some point this year just to see if I can speed through it a bit faster. Much of the game’s length is due to extended stretches of cinematic sequences that can’t be skipped, so it’s a pay attention game almost all the way through, lousy US dubbing and all.

Ah well. Anyway, Happy New Year, people – 2017 is going to be innnnnnteresting.

-GW