Ni no Kuni II: RENEVANT KINGDOM – Level-5, At The Top of Their Game


 

Feh, who needs Final Fantasy and its overly complex kitchen sink boy band kettle-pot plot latest entry when Level-5 is simply making some of the best, if not THE best pure JRPGs out there today? Don’t get me wrong, folks. I don’t hate FF at all. It’s just moved so far into being too hip/ster and modern for my tastes with each installment. The first Ni no Kuni was fantastic, albeit a wee bit too epic in length if one wanted to see and do it all. Sadly, my PS3 was stolen before I got to complete the game (over 90 hours was put into those save files), but this sequel got me pumped to dive in for more and more stunning visuals now that it’s a PS4 game. Just ogle the hand-drawn and painted magnificence (oh, alright, it’s all digital, but still!) and hear that solid voice acting knowing you’re in good hands with this upcoming console exclusive. Lovely work here, just beautiful and I can’t wait to dive in.

-GW

New Death Stranding Trailer: The Good, The Mads, And The Ugly


 

So. I didn’t watch The Game Awards this year because these sorts of back-slapping shows are meaningless for the most part, but I did catch a few YouTube vids of cringe-worthy moments I won’t discuss here. That said, the best thing saw post-show on YouTube next to new Zelda footage was this bizarre update to Hideo Kojima’s new and still in development PS4 exclusive, Death Stranding. The first trailer was a total brain-masher that people spent too much time dissecting, so you know that second one above was even more disorienting.

If you didn’t catch it, the guy holding the odd baby looks a wee bit too much like director Guillermo del Toro and that’s definitely Mads Mikkelsen with the inky stuff on his face. I have no idea what this game is going to be about, but like a bunch of people in the same boat, I want it just to see how Kojima and his team can pull it all together into something somewhat cohesive yet still intentionally baffling. Okay, there’s really nothing “ugly” about this trailer at all – I just needed to get a catchy title and that popped into my head first.

-GW

Arrow Video December: If You #TBT These, They’ll Come After You

My email is hiding stuff from me again, so this post is later than usual. As that title suggests, While today IS a Throwback Thursday, trying to do that with anything Arrow has this month will just get them mad at you and your wistful reminiscing. Just buy them and be scared or giddy or whatever you do best when you pick up a horror flick you fondly or fearfully recall.

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HELLRAISER: THE SCARLET BOX LIMITED EDITION TRILOGY (12/13, $124.95)- Pre-order/order at the MVD SHOP or on Amazon

These terrifying and original films boast brand new 2k restorations along with hours of archival content and newly produced extras including audio commentaries and interviews with Clive Barker, Doug Bradley and Sean Chapman in his first interview on the Hellraiser films in decades.

The 4-disc set will also include the newly edited version of Leviathan, the definitive documentary on Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser 2. A new documentary, Hellraiser: Evolutions, will also be included and will look at the evolution of the hit horror franchise and its enduring legacy.

These features will sit amongst a host of rarities and never-before-seen footage from the movies including the legendary ‘Surgeon’ scene from Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, the subject of fierce debate amongst fans for many years, now finally unearthed for its home video debut.

This limited edition Blu-ray comes with an exclusive illustrated 200-page hardback book featuring new writing from Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes and a 20-page booklet featuring never-before-seen original Hellraiser concept art. The limited edition packaging is adorned with incredible new artwork from Gilles Vranckx alongside a set of 5 exclusive art cards and a fold-out reversible poster.

Read on below the jump for a novella’s worth of features…

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Zelda: Breath of the Wild Site Is A Breath of Fresh Air Today

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Yep. While the disappointment of the release slipping possibly into next summer is a bit annoying, the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild now has an official site chock full of too much info is a really good thing. Go poke around, please. Especially if you’re a big, cranky skeptic who didn’t get the chance to play the demo this past June and think an open world Zelda is somehow a bad idea despite the series being chock full of open world goodness from the very first entry.

-GW

Be Chairman of the Board This Cyber Monday With A Few Cool Card Games

So. Need a few gift ideas today but you don’t want to move too many muscles treading over the bones of last week’s defeated? I guess that’s why they call this Cyber Monday, huh? Anyway, if you like board and card games or maybe both mashed together, well, good:

wwg-cyber-mondayJust click on that lovely art above, buy what you like, sit back and wait until your box of stuff arrives, then wrap and place under tree or in back of closet or wherever if you aren’t an indoor tree-hugger.

If on the other hand, you’re feeling REALLY creative, have a great color printer and are very, very good with cutting things carefully and maybe even using a glue stick and a load of acid-free board to mount stuff on, the extremely aptly titled and incredibly fun 5-Minute Dungeon has a hugely successful Kickstarter with a budget reward for those of you who can’t wait ’til 2017 to play this great family game.

5mindungks5mindungeonbossesWhile you can (and should!) get a retail copy of the game (set to ship in 2017), a $5 pledge will get you a print-and-play copy of the game in December. That’s where your printing and cutting skills will come in handy. Of course, if you’re terminally lazy, have no scissors or sharp crafting blades and own a crappy dot matrix printer or a Rexograph machine, this reward will be as useful as a whistle on a plow. In that case, just go pay for the big deal boxed version and go take a nap until next May.

-GW

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Die Young: Take A Trip To Shock Shack In 2017

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Horror games are a dime a dozen these days (or less when on sale) and I think I’ve seen every jump scare-packed trailer out there at least three times. So yes, I am a very jaded guy when it comes to the usual broody music and tilted camera angles spelling out coming carnage in paint by numbers visual form. REDRUM! That said, Indiegala s.r.l (yep, the same folks with that great bundle site who also have the promising MMO from Brain in a Box called VOODOO in development and on Kickstarter) is poking at the genre with a sharp stick with Die Young.

As you can see in that trailer below, the build-up is cheery, the sights look lovely and things even kick off with a really a catchy tune… but the payoff at the end is quite the corker. Let me warn you now that the final shot is a bit disturbing (or definitely will be to some folks):

Ouch. I hope that’s not the heroine of the game, as it’s supposed to be a survival game about a gal who wakes up in a hole on an island and has to find her way off before the locals track her down. Deliverance meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or some other chase ‘n chop flick? This might work out well if it’s at least fair to the player and not some relentless gore festival with no escape. Consider it a challenge to stealth game fans, I guess. We shall see.

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My, those sunflowers sure are pretty, aren’t they?

-GW

A Little More Of The Last Guardian Is A Lot Of Awesome


 

Spoiler Alert: This is absolutely gorgeous. Oh, and yeah – you get too many hints on what to do early on. Ah well. December 6th is getting closer and I’m rethinking my non pre-order plans for a hot minute. Yeah, I may just go the digital route and not deal with a disc version. On the other hand, I like having something to hold onto, specifically in this case of The Last Guardian being Team ICO’s swan song. It’s one of the few games where I’m actually going in with expectations of a greatness and don’t intend to be disappointed unless everything collapses at whatever ending wraps this one up. We shall see, my friends… we shall see.

-GW

The Last Guardian: Almost Here, With A Tear

 

At the very least, The Last Guardian will be remembered as Team ICO’s swan song, long in the making and very likely well worth that long wait. Interestingly enough, there’s an official soundtrack LP (yes, on vinyl!) by Takeshi Furukawa being put out by the fine folks at I Am 8-Bit that looks really lovely.

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As I no longer have a record player here, I’ll just settle for a copy of the game I expect to be readily available on its launch date. Hype on the game seems to have quieted down considerably over the years, but I’m expecting a post-review surge of purchases followed by the usual suspects returning the game because they don’t “get” it. Ah well… we shall see soon enough, right?

-GW

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Teaser Makes EVERYONE a Critic


Wow. Well, I generally hate over-hyped movies to no end, but the marketing team for Luc Besson’s gorgeous-looking upcoming adaptation of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is made up of some raise-deserving geniuses. Clearly realizing the director’s work tends to be polarizing to those who take it too seriously or go in with biases, they’ve decided to let anyone who comments on the trailer get their own personalized blurb version just for commenting on the teaser. This made me chuckle to no end and yes, I needed that laugh. If you need a similar laugh of your own, well here you go. Have at it and feel free to share that link when you get it.

BEVONTULE Hands-On: Liminal Effort = Maximum Results

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So, what’s a BEVONTULE, you ask? Well, first of all… you’ve very likely pronounced it wrong, so let’s go get that sorted. It’s Bay-von-chu-lay, and you quick thinking speed reading link clickers already know it’s an in-progress Unity 3D engine tactical RPG by a very dedicated team of two Portsmouth, OH natives, Derek Bradley and Andy Fenton. The Unity-powered game has been in development for a while and the recent demo kept me quite busy for a few hours. “Wait, a few HOURS?” you ask? Yep. As no save system was implemented and the gameplay was pretty solid, I kept at it and kept my laptop humming away for about four hours or so.

Granted, the demo can be completed in less time if you’re good at leveling up properly and can survive a pretty nasty boss battle. But my play style leaned heavily on hoofing it all the way back to a village you might not discover when playing the demo unless you turn around and make a beeline for it before you venture too far into danger. The spot has a few shops, an inn to heal up at and some nice treasures to find that help the cross-map journey considerably. You’ll also be able to pick up and turn in a few item fetch quests that make hoofing it back to worthwhile. Finally, heading to town resets the enemies outside, which means you can choose to fight or flee from them.

Yep, more often then not I chose to fight. Hey, a guy’s gotta level up, right?

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