Presents of Mind II: Some Gifts Just Speak for Themselves


Uh, would you like something to eat, game?

…And some gifts just sit right down on the nearest loveseat when they walk out of the box. Yikes. I saw this Death Stranding Collector’s Edition on sale at a local shop when I was poking around on ebay listing a few games I’m selling and yes, the price was right, so I bought one. The shop actually wasn’t the lowest priced one I saw, but Best Buy RAISED their crazy low price of $89.99 before I could buy it. I literally slept on the deal and thought about it, decided it was a go the next morning, but I was surprised to see them jack the price back up up to only $30 off the original 199.99 MSRP. Oh well. Adorama, you have my thanks for keeping your deal where even with tax, I made out all right and got free shipping in the process. Oh, and a LOT or air packing bags in the rather huge box, too.

I still need to find time to play this, but with a copy now on hand, it’ll happen sooner than later. Actually, I need to find a space for the box as it’s so huge, it takes up more room than I thought it would. At least Sony put the steelbook right on top so when the box in opened, it’s separate from the other goodies inside. Back in a bit – I need to go find out where I’m going to put this thing.


Death Stranding Launch Trailer: Turn, And Face The Strange

I’ve been wisely avoiding any news and potential spoilers on Kojima Productions new game because I want to go in as cold as possible. So right now, I’m about frozen solid in terms of what I know about the plot and characters. I’ve seen a few trailers over the years while it was in development, but true to form, they were intentionally vague or showed off some impressive tech and packed in the weirdness that was hard to decipher if one decided to go down that rabbit hole. I chose not to, as speculation is the worst thing one could do with what was looking like a strange enough title that was innovating on a few fronts.

For me, Hideo Kojima’s games since the Metal Gear Solid era have been essential because even with trailers, you’re not getting the full story because there’s going to be a ton of context not seen until the full game is experienced. That and the sole time I broke with this tradition of mine was with P.T./Silent Hills, a game that was killed by its publisher and fantastically frightening demo unceremoniously removed from PSN after a nasty breakup that saw Kojima form a standalone studio. That was one game that very likely could have turned that series around, but we’ll never find out. I’d let myself be seduced by the idea of new Silent Hill game with a talented team at the reins (Guillermo del Toro amd Norman Reedus were part of the project), and it was a shock to find out later that the game was canned and its creation halted.

Anyway, Death Stranding arrives a week from now on the PS4, and next summer on PC. I’ll be getting the PS4 version because hell, it arrives first and I hate spending money on any potential PC upgrades that might be needed to run this on my aging laptop.


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.

Silent Hills: No Scare-City of Screams In This Soon to Be Horror Hit…

Now that a possible few million people have been scared half to death or so from that P.T. demo which has since been revealed as a teaser for the latest Silent Hill game, I’d say Konami, Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro have got the attention of horror fans as well as curious folks who just so happened to be handed a controller just to see what happens.

Naturally, the reaction videos here are priceless, but Konami proves it’s not sexist at all because below you get to see a bunch of guys and gals at this year’s Gamescom nearly peeing themselves while trying to play that demo. Yeah, I wasn’t there, but I did play it at a friend’s place and yup, it gets pretty effective at times. Of course, part of the scare factor is the looping around the same map that changes so randomly I’ve yet to hear of two people having the exact same experience.

With all that looping around, crazy changes to the area and yes, those incredibly realistic visuals that play with your fears (if you hate cockroaches, darkness, messed up ghostly faces filling your screen and a few other things, break out the adult diapers), it’s clear that Sony and Konami have got a pile of money coming their way once this game is released… Continue reading

Gamescom 2014: P.T. Is SH? Count Me IN!

I’d have to say the biggest new game news out of Gamescom was the surprise reveal of a collaboration between game creator Hideo Kojima, writer/director Guillermo Del Toro and actor Norman Reedus in the form of an all-new horror game called Silent Hills (currently) for the PlayStation 4. There’s a playable teaser (dubbed “P.T.”) up on PSN* as I type this and it seems that some players aren’t getting that it’s NOT supposed to be a demo of the FINAL game, but a teaser of what’s to come and may change entirely from what’s there. Then again, given the amusingly screechy reaction from YouTube user SoapyWarpig (the first person to discover what this mysterious P.T. was, congratulations, by the way!), I’m betting a lot of fans of that particular horror franchise will be plunking down some money towards a PlayStation 4 if they haven’t gotten one yet.

*Note: P.T. is a bit “tricky” to find on the PS Store if you’re just looking for it on your phone/tablet, laptop or desktop. However, if you log into your PSN account and use the search bar (type in PT), you’ll get sent to the demo page and all you need to is download away and get to playing. I think the jump scare stuff in that first video is funny because it might be Kojima poking fun at the endless stream of “let’s watch random guys and gals freak out!” videos that litter YouTube for every horror game these days. I found it more unsettling and bizarre than actually fly out of my chair frightening. Now, to find out if this is another PlayStation-only game or a timed exclusive that’s going to pop up on other consoles and/or PC at some point…

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Gameplay – 30+ Minutes of Kojima Productions Madness!

Konami Japan’s YouTube channel put up a few Kojima Station E3 videos during the show, but the one everyone wanted to see was of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in action. Let’s just say that boy, did they come through big time on that. Now you can slide that slider back and watch the entire broadcast that talks about the game and its assorted features and such, but if you’re just interested in seeing what the Fox Engine can do on the PlayStation 4, well you’re all set on that front at about 49 minutes in. The game looks fantastic, that offbeat Kojima sense of humor is in full effect (the “Phantom cigar”, cardboard box stealth and “Fulton” balloons are priceless!) and overall, this brief taste of the game shows what’s coming sometime in 2015 when the game actually hits retail and digital outlets. it may be madness, but it’s the best kind in action as far as seeing this game’s creative team outdo itself here…

E3 2014: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Extended Trailer: Keifer Of The Flame, I’d Say…

MGS_V_TPPJack Bauer as Big Boss didn’t thrill me much when I first heard the news, but Keifer Sutherland has acquitted himself quite nicely here, although I know the David Hayter fans are cringing and shaking whatever they have handy at the screen. Well, this latest Hideo Kojima and company (Kojima Productions, of course) epic looks to be the best 3D game in the franchise to date, adding a huge open world and I’d imagine the options for no two people to play the game exactly the same. as usual, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be cinematic and lengthy and denser than a year old loaf of Bisquick bread, but that’s Kojima’s style in action. You may end up watching more than you play at some points, but if you’re into it, you’ll end up playing more and taking notes because of all the stuff he’s dropping on your noggin.

As noted earlier, that FOX Engine is masterful across the board, so every version of the game will look amazing. I also see that the amount of mature content, blood and gore here means this one’s not for the kiddies at all, not that there was ever a Metal Gear Solid game made for anyone under 18 if you think about it. Okay, some would argue MGS: Ghost Babel on the Game Boy Color isn’t “mature” thanks to its visuals, but I’m not here to argue (*punt!*). Anyway, The Phantom Pain is coming.

Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes: Demo As A “Luxury” (For Better Or Worse)…

So, it’s here and even though it’s been known for a while it was going to be what amounts to nothing but a brief demo with a $30 price tag (and similar to Gran Turismo 5 Prologue in its cost versus brevity factor), some critics have been punching away hard on poor Big Boss/Solid Snake. As I’m not made of money, I’m going to wait for a used copy or trade from a friend to pop up, but I really want to play this just to see that Fox Engine in action, how Kiefer Sutherland works as the voice for Snake (taking over from David Hayter) and the ability to tackle that single (and large) map as many ways as possible. Granted, the one to two hours maximum play time I’m hearing about IS a bit pesky, but I’m gathering most reviewers played through just to complete their posts and aren’t fully appreciating that demo for all its worth. On the other hand, this is a Hideo Kojima game, so perhaps that and the Metal Gear name are carrying that price point into “Hmmmmm…” territory for some writers and players.

That said, the full game (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain) is still underway as far as development goes, so I do hope the cost of this slice is offset in some manner, be it some exclusive content available to those with save files (on-disc and not DLC so EVERYONE who bought in can see/play it) or something else Kojima and publisher Konami can think up to keep the angrier folks down off their soapboxes. Eh, we’ll see, I suppose. I’m just glad to see a new MGS on a home console after all this time…

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Gets Slightly Nostalgic for 1998…

I actually got another mighty chuckle going when Hideo Kojima showed that trailer above at the PlayStation 4 launch in NYC last week. I’d been thinking for a few months now it would be wonderful if any developer or publisher who had a key launch or other title for the original PlayStation did something like a remake with all-new visuals, but of course, Kojima goes and has his team get retro in the weirdest manner possible. Hey, it works for me, being a fan of Metal Gear Solid and all. But I know that some younger gamers saw this trailer and nearly spit up their Red Bull because they’ve yet to experience the glory that was (and is) the original MGS. Granted, that Fox Engine is pretty mighty at doing outstandingly realistic visuals on the PS3, PC and other platforms, so there’s no doubt that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will do well when it lands in a few places (retail and digital) at some point OK< Spring 2014). Yeah, yeah… David HAyter has been replaced by Keifer Sutherland as the voice (and face) of Snake, but I think I'm one of the few who shed a tear and moved on quickly. I have more urgent things to think about besides who's being paid to portray an iconic character – I just want the game to be memorable and really well written.

And here’s about 13 minutes of the game with no chunky Snake to ogle. enjoy!

TGS 2013: Metal Gear Solid V Gameplay: 12 Minutes Of Popeye Is What You Get For Free…


Teacher: Okay, class? Repeat after me: “Thank you Mr. Kojima!”
Class (in unison): “Thank you, Mr. Kojima!!!”

Yeah, that’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain gameplay at TGS “directed” by Hideo Kojima. That new Fox Engine is pretty damn impressive, that’s for sure. The weather effects, lighting and even the tent cloth flapping in the breeze (among many other things) adds some of the best illusion of reality I’ve seen in a game. I believe this is the PS3 version running and it’s still unfinished, so I’ll not get nit-picky about no shadows on the ground. Still, this is VERY impressive (and amusing with the commentary that needs to be subbed in English so you all get a chuckle), so that waiting is even more pesky. Oh well – take as long as you like, Kojima Studios!

OK, I need to go find my eyeballs. I think they rolled under a table…