Dragon Age Inquisition Hands-On: All is As it Needs to Be (Which Means You’ll Be Very Busy Soon)…


 
A half hour may be a long time if you’re sitting through a really bad TV show, being tortured, have a terrible toothache or are waiting for some test results, but it’s clearly not a good deal of time to sit down with a build of Dragon Age Inquisition. For me ( a fan of the series and BioWare’s RPGs in general for quite some time), the game is one that doesn’t need a huge amount of hyperbolic posts from editor-types or even PR gurus because it’s a series that’s pretty much sold itself to a fan base who wanted to see a western-developers RPG do more with the genre (and it’s succeeded for the most part despite a few bumps along the road it’s traveled). My half hour at EA’s media event a few days back was spent ogling the beautiful visuals, running around with my party picking plants for crafting and looting assorted caches while getting the hang of the deeper combat system that now adds some very welcome tweaks to the mix of real-time and “turn-based” format.

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STYX: Master of Shadows Launch Trailer: Time to get Sneaky, Sneaky With the Ugly Shorty…


 
Okay, he’s kind of cute in that way ugly little goblins can be cute under the right light and without too much alcohol in one’s belly (never get drink around a goblin!), but yes, STYX: Master of Shadows is out tomorrow on Steam and for the PS4 and Xbox One. I’m hoping his one does well, as Cyanide Studios has put a lot of work into this game and it looks like their most polished title to date. We’ll see what the scores say, although I’m betting some reviewers “get” this game and what it’s trying to do while others don’t. I almost wish this was on the older consoles just so more people would show interest in what’s here, but hey – you can’t push those new systems as much of you drop four versions of the same game on the first day. That and the more developers who get used to the new hardware and can craft games that show off what they can do, the better for sales of those systems. Allegedly. Anyway, this one seems worth a closer look, folks…

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward Kickstarter: Senscape Making This One for the Love of Craft…


 
Ha and ha-ha. I had to get in ONE cheap pun because H.P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward hasn’t got very much at all in the way of “amusing” content in it. It’s a nice and unsettling short novel and a neat read that sinks into your bones as its mysteries unravel. Anyway, veteran adventure game developer Senscape is making a PC game based on the book and like a lot of cool game ideas in progress, they’re reaching out via crowdfunding and hope people like you and I will kindly spare some coin (or more than a few coins) to get their project on the way to digital and physical life. Senscape has done a few successful PC adventure games in the past (Scratches, Serena, Asylum), so it’s quite clear they know what they’re doing with Lovecraft’s work and are certain to make this one a memorable and unsettling experience.

Charles Dexter Ward Anyway, enough rambling from me. Run, don’t walk like mister Dexter is doing above over to the game’s Kickstarter page, read up and pledge! Be lucky it’s not a Cthulhu game, as I’d imagine cash wouldn’t be accepted at all, but blood and souls and stuff like that? Yeah, they’d come for you even if you clicked on that page and didn’t contribute. ESPECIALLY if you didn’t contribute. *Gulp!*

Hmmm. Now, I won’t sleep at all tonight… Yaaaaah.

Oh Yeah, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition Is Out. Buy It.

 

No, I didn’t forget about this one. Between the low drama of other game issues and crappy connection speeds everywhere, I know all those games dropping into retail this week were overlooked here. It’s funny that with the PS4 version of RoS, Blizzard, Sony and plenty of gamers aren’t even talking about the “last-gen” versions anymore even though MORE people still own and play games on the PS3 and Xbox 360 than their shinier replacements. Hell, I’m buying this expansion on the PS3 because I’m the stubbornest of old goats as well as a total cheapskate. Anyway, as noted earlier, I won’t touch this game at all until I finish up some stuff I need to get done or it WILL NOT GET DONE at all. Diablo does that to productivity…

New Raven’s Cry Trailer: Rough Seas Can’t Dampen My Desire To Give This One A Shot…

 

Okay, so the sound mix is way off balance and sure, it’s not looking as stunning as other games coming out this late for last-gen systems, but I’m still going to play TopWare Interactive’s Raven’s Cry when it’s released. Veteran developer Reality Pump Studios has been working on this game for a while, so I’m curious to see the final result for a few reasons. It’s probably one of the last open world games on the PS3 and Xbox 360, it’s not another fantasy RPG, and while the pirate theme has been done to death and some consider that last Assassin’s Creed game the be-all, end-all game in this sub-genre, it’s just nice to root for the “little” guy every now and then, I say. Besides, rough edges aside, there’s something about a European-made RPG that commands attention and respect. Well, at least I think so…

Raven’s Cry lands on PC, Mac, PS3/PS4 and Xbox 360 on October 14, 2014.

Monster World RPG Update: Not QUITE Ready, But You Get An Ending, Anyway!

 

And I say HAH! To Max Team for “spoiling” their game for all of you. Well, not really. There’s a good ending in here as well, but I’m not going to spoil that for you at all. Actually, I got a note from the guys (or was it ONE of them? Hmmm. How come you NEVER see Fernando OR Massimo at the SAME time in the same place? Hmmmm?) saying that the game is still being bug tested, but should be done at some point. Hey, it’s a FREE download, so I say take your time, boys. Take your time. If it’s as good as it looks, I don’t mind the wait one bit.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls UEE: A Reminder That It’s Nice To Share…

Now, I intend to play this one completely solo just because I prefer the challenge of going it alone (and Okay, because I have a crappy home connection), but it’s great to see Blizzard championing couch co-op for this expansion. Remember, console owners get Diablo III included with this expansion, so it’s a great deal no matter which system you buy it for. Of course, the more powerful PS4 will get the better looking version of the game, allegedly with some other options not available to PS3 owners, but we’ll see about that in a few days, right? Actually, I’ll probably wait until I complete a few reviews in progress before I even decide to touch this one. I have the feeling that once I fire this one up, I won’t be coming up for air any time soon…

Let Classic Arts Showcase Come to the Rescue When You Need A Dose of Random Culture

(thanks, danime2003!) 

CAS_logoIf you’ve never been exposed to the entertaining wonder that is Classic Arts Showcase, it’s time to upgrade your television viewing experience. I could bore you with a retelling of the history of this fully funded highbrow clip show that runs seemingly endlessly in eight hour blocks on cable networks across the country (and is now online for even more people to check out), but that’s what the link to the official site is for. Actually, CAS is rarely “boring” unless you COMPLETELY hate the arts and don’t want to see some of the most unique and completely RANDOM performances from stage, screen and even TV, many of which are unavailable elsewhere.

In case you’re THAT lazy, here’s what the CAS site says about their programming:

Expect the Unexpected

There is no program guide for CAS, because the beauty of CAS is that you’ll never know what to expect. One moment you might be watching a rare film of George Gershwin performing one of his own compositions on the piano, and less than five minutes later you might see Beverly Sills in a great moment from a classic opera. Each weekly eight-hour show is downlinked by hundreds of channels across the country at different times, with different schedules. The element of surprise — not knowing exactly what’s coming up next — is part of what CAS is all about. The goal is to generate excitement and build a new audience for the wide range of performances presented through the arts.

(thanks, bayareabert!) 

And I can VERY safely say that the randomness indeed makes CAS so much fun to watch. Yesterday I happened to flip by the channel here with about 45 minutes of free time floating about and caught a long clip from a Hitchcock film, a bit of Swan Lake, an aria or two, a clip from the film Aria, a fun bit of an old TV show that had a waltz turning into a sort of sock hop and back again, and part of a Nat King Cole TV performance before I had to head out the door. How cool is that? Sometimes you’ll see old animation, sometimes a musical performance or super-arty film segment, an brief interview with a long dead genius and more. This fragmented presentation recalls MTV in its early days when it played stuff seemingly at will, although if you watch CAS long enough, you’ll see there’s a method to the non-madness.

Anyway, if you’re bored this summer thanks to the TV dry spell, give Classic Arts Showcase a look-see and if you find yourself strangely addicted to it, well… my work here is done.

STYX: Master of Shadows Summer Trailer: Sneaking Up Soon, Wanting To Steal Your Wallet…

Styx and StonesCyanide Studios’ upcoming stealth/action game, STYX: Master of Shadows is looking pretty slick and I’d bet that one doesn’t need to have played the developer’s previous game Of Orcs & Men in order to hop into Styx’s boots and feel right at home. It’s too bad this one’s only for “next-gen” consoles and PC, as I know more people would have the chance to play it if it were kicking it “old school” on the PS3 and Xbox 360. But hey, that’s one way to get people to finally make the move, I suppose.

In any event, this certainly looks like Cyanide’s best work to date and I hope even the most jaded gamer out there gives this one some respect, as it’s too easy to fall into the “I never heard of it before, so it must be crap” trap I see scribbled about games all over the internet. Yuck. Styx needs to get stabby-stabby on those folks, I say. We’ll see what happens in November when the little guy sneaks into store shelves or a download queue near you…

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition TV Spot: Giving That Devil His Due (Before He Does You In)…

August 19 is right around the corner and that means quite a few people are planning to take a little vacation to hell and back with this console version of the Reaper of Souls expansion for Diablo III. This one’s going to eat away at productivity here, which isn’t a good thing at all, so I’m actually going to hold off picking it up for about a week or so while I knock the pile of work I have here down to a more manageable size. That’s not to say YOU shouldn’t run like hell out to grab this one on day one if you’re a fan of the series (you absolutely SHOULD). I just know myself all to well and know I’ll just pull a disappearing act if I get this and there’s “suddenly” some “free time” that pops up like a rabbit out of a hat…