Blacksad: Under the Skin: “All the Animals Come Out At Night”, Indeed (2)

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Blacksad

Already out on Steam, Microids, Pendulo Studios and YS Interactive’s Blacksad: Under the Skin will release on December 10 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Here’s a look at the launch trailer and some screens of this action/adventure game with an all-animal cast set in the 1950’s:

I’d posted about this one previously here, so this is a reminder to me to get to reviewing it soon as a console release. More on the plot and such below the jump.

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Meanwhile, Back at Microïds HQ… (2 of 2)

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Okay, my poor wrists were acting up a bit yesterday, so I had to cut my Microïds article short in order to get a few other posts out before things got ugly. Here’s what else is upcoming from the publisher:

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Both classics have gotten separate releases already, but here’s a chance to nab a twofer starting on November 21, 2019.  As reported here, the collection features the originals and their modern remasters that capture the look and feel of their counterparts with updated visuals that aren’t far off from the source, yet add a nice coating of newness to the experience. By the way, the games aren’t sequels to each other. They did help pioneer a certain look and have similar themes, though.

New content and new features:

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  • For the first time, play the Director’s Cut version (2 exclusive cut scenes)
  • White or pink? Choose one of the two historic colors of Conrad’s T-shirt
  • Play any level you’ve completed during the adventure
  • Replay the cut scenes you’ve watched during the adventure
  • Jukebox: enjoy the game’s music on demand
  • Street Art Gallery: earn points during the adventure to unlock images
  • Graphics filter and Post-FX
  • Remastered music and sound effects
  • A brand new “Rewind” function which lasts for different lengths of time, depending on the difficulty level
  • Tutorials

These are worth a look because of the history behind them and yes, indeed, both are pretty hard as nail on the default settings until you get the timing down perfectly.

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A Few More From Microïds to Keep You Moving (1 of 2)

In addition to the Blacksad news I posted a few days back, it’s going to be a pretty busy time going forwards for Microïds, that’s for sure. Let’s see now:

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Roman Rumble ArtRoman Rumble in Las Vegum (Asterix & Obelix XXL2) has arrived on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $29.99. This one’s a remastered sequel to a PS2 game from 2003 that first got a sequel three years later and now it lands on the consoles above sporting new visuals and a wealth of gameplay improvements over the 2006 version. New dev team Osome Studios has taken Etranges Libellules‘ work and powered it up to the next level.

I’m ancient enough to remember reading many of the old and brilliant Goscinny and Uderzo comics as a kid, so this one will be plenty of nostalgic fun and a game that’s going to be acceptable for gamers of all ages. Check out the game trailer below for what to expect (I’m cracking up because the game riffs on a number of pop culture elements here and there) Viva lost wages! This one should be fun for a few laughs. Check it out:

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Blacksad: Under the Skin Story Trailer: Or, I Need to Get Out More (Or Stay Inside and Read More)

Well, this looks pretty cool. I’d never heard of this game or comic character before, but as a fan of adventure games for a while, this looks really fun and noir-ish is right on up my alley and then some. Microids, Pendulo Studios & YS Interactive are the folks behind this, so I’m going to be doing some digging to see If a review code can be located. I think I have at least one PR contact at Microids, so that’s a good sign. If this one’s as good as it looks, being aboard the train will turn out to be a fine thing indeed. Especially for those of us who haven’t yet read the comic stories yet.

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Well. looky here, bonuses if you want them!

 

The game will be available in retail and digital formats in either standard or Limited Editions (PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One and Switch) on November 19th, 2019.

-GW

Review: Gear.Club Unlimited 2

Yeah, yeah. I’m not a big Mario Kart fan these days. So sue me. Granted, I do like the series a lot and yes, it’s fun as heck and all that. But when it comes to racing games or in this case, pure driving games, I tend to prefer a bit more realism these days or at least something that works as a hybrid of simulation and casual play where you can dip in and enjoy a game that has actual cars to mess around with. On my other consoles, it’s been a wealth of choices for quite some time and I’m more than pleased with the selection I have. On the other hand, we have Nintendo’s last two home consoles (Wii U and Switch) that up until late last year, had a grand total of three GOOD titles that featured licensed cars, one on the Wii U from 2013 and two which came out in 2017 and 2018. That’s just plain nuts.

 

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That versatile Unity engine sure does a car body good in this game.

gcu2_boxartAlthough both have a few issues that keep them from being as great as they should be, I’ll still recommend Microïds and developer Eden Games Gear.Club Unlimited ($44.99) and Gear.Club Unlimited 2 ($59.99) because warts and all, they contain a decent amount of actual licensed cars and are quite lengthy racing experiences when all is said and done. Yes, the load times are somewhat long (grrr!) and the handling can be squirrelly (and more so in the sequel even with the patches). But there’s a certain cool factor when you take a an actual licensed domestic or foreign car out for a test run from the dealership or can afford to add it to your digital garage and full-on race it whenever you feel that need for speed.

Speaking of garages, should there be a third game in this series, Eden should trim and simplify the garage function in order to give players a speedier means of car management between events. Keep the paint and sticker customization, but relegate everything else to a slick menu that’s faster to navigate. Also, adding the ability to drive freely on any unlocked course as a means of learning the handling model would be an excellent addition (as well as bringing back fond memories of the best parts of Eden’s Test Drive Unlimited games from the late 2000’s).

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Gear.Club Unlimited 2 Launch Trailer: Wheel Impressive

 

Skidding into retail and the eShop today is publisher Microïds and developer Eden Games’ Switch exclusive sequel, which is the sole licensed racing game on the console following the success of the original Gear.Club Unlimited (which has gone on sale on the eShop for a limited time). The sequel offers more than 1800 miles of tracks, over 50 cars, 250 races, including championships, missions and challenges, enhanced upgrade and customization features and more.  A review copy is on the way, so keep an eye peeled for an upcoming post. I did really like the hands-on time I spent with the game, so feel free to check out those impressions here.

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“Key in the ignition, pedal to the floor, open road around the bend, headed down Highway 10…”

-GW

Capsule Reviews: Barney’s Got It Right (Again) Part 1

(Thanks, CptNem!)

“Get me rewrite!” Or: Sometimes the Stupidest Things Happen at the Dumbest Possible Times Division (Q Branch). Anyway, last night I was about two hours into writing up this article, I actually sneezed while typing and (get this) accidentally replaced about 8 or 900 words and a few videos with one word. I hit that Undo button and laughed loudly because boy, it’s a good thing that option exists when stuff like this occurs, right? But guess what? That actually didn’t work. Yipes. I then find out that WordPress’ auto-saving function in drafts or works in progress does NOT account for these unhappy accidents and yes, will overwrite even as one is trying to fix an issue. Eep.

After some time messaging with a WP tech support rep who was otherwise helpful but couldn’t solve my particularly stupendously stupid accident, I figured out that yep, I needed to start over. I absolutely HATE rewriting stuff like this, so after pressing the old panic button about a dozen times until it exploded, I decided to go watch a three quarters of a very good Netflix documentary on Orson Welles and call it a night. Hey, it was a long day up to that point and staying up any later trying to fix what was busted would have just made things worse.

Anyway, yep, I’ve been busy playing a bunch of games that I’m going to recommend below, now in slightly shorter form than the original, but I think you’ll get the gist of things. Or at least your wallet will start trying to hide before you can whip it out.

R-Type D EX boxR-Type Dimensions EX (Nintendo Switch, $14.99): Absolutely stellar versions of the 1987 classic arcade shmup and its 1989 sequel offer up a wealth of options that make it accessible to anyone who can hold a controller. Both games feature the ability to switch between 2D and 3D art on the fly (with a number of visual options), super responsive 60fps gameplay at 1080p and even a 2-player co-op mode where friendly fire can be toggled on or off.

There are even slow motion and fast forward options if you want to learn how to play or just make things pure hell on your stress level, although that crazy fast forward mode is survivable if your skills are up to the challenge. Me? I laughed so much while using it because I was thrilled I actually survived a few levels while using it. The game tallies up all the R-9 ships you’ve lost, so completing a stage with as few (or no) deaths is pretty rewarding when it happens.

R-Type 01

Heh. You may need a Geiger counter (or H.R. Giger counter, actually) to tally up this game’s visual references in a few stages.

The game is still as incredible a challenge as it’s ever been, with those Bydo Empire baddies doing their level best to blast you into space dust. Whether you play with unlimited lives or really challenge yourself with the more intense original difficulty, you’re getting a pair of games with a ton of replay value as well as a nice slice of game history. I’m not sure if Tozai Games has the publishing rights to the other entries in this series, but if they do, a nice set of all the games would be more than welcome by fan if they can make it so. This one’s also on Steam if you’re a PC gamer looking to check out what’s here on a PC that will run it, so go take a peek if your interest is piqued.

Score: A (95%)

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Gear.Club Unlimited 2 Hands-On: Eden’s Zippy Switch Racer’s a Winner

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GCU2_boxFor whatever reasons, games with licensed cars have been a bit (okay, REALLY) underrepresented on Nintendo’s home consoles for far too many years. The sole good game with licensed cars during the last generation was 2013’s Need For Speed Most Wanted U, a stellar conversion/update that got overall excellent reviews but didn’t sell as well as it should have. I won’t even mention that Fast & Furious game from the same year because it was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

With the Switch doing so exceptionally well since its launch as a home/away hybrid system, you’d think that at over 1230 or so games in we’d see more and better licensed racers filling up retail and the eShop, but nope. Other than the still delayed rally-focused V-Rally 4, and the upcoming truck sim Spintires: MudRunner – American Wilds, pickings are slim for those who want a more authentic racing experience with branded foreign and domestic cars.

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Only a tiny portion of the map is revealed here. All those other courses unlock as you go.

 

Thankfully, last year, veteran developer Eden Games stepped to the plate with Gear.Club Unlimited, an enhanced upgrade of their popular mobile game that removed the mobile-friendly microtransactions and added more cars and game modes. While well received by racing fans and some critics, there was some negativity about shorter than expected race sessions and some elements that seemed too close to the mobile game’s roots. Still, the game did well enough (and is still moving units at full price) that Eden set out to make a sequel that addressed the issues in the first game while adding improvements guaranteed to make the sequel even more impressive.

Let’s just say they have (and how):

 

 

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Gear.Club Unlimited 2: More Real Race Time on Switch

GCU2_2D_ESRBOh, I’m kind of mad at myself as a new-ish Switch owner (well, it’s been a few months already) who had NO idea there was a decent (and huge selling) racer using licensed cars on the system. Of course, I blame ALL those people going on and on about Mario Kart this and Mario Kart that, which is fine and dandy, as yes, it’s a ton of fun for all. But I didn’t realize that one of my favorite racing game developers (Eden Games) had made a mobile to Switch port last year of Gear.Club Unlimited and I still haven’t picked it up. Oops.

I did poke at some reviews that noted it’s not perfect, but I’m on the hunt for a inexpensive copy just to see for myself because Eden’s other racers have been quite good (I’m looking at you, Test Drive Unlimited 1 & 2, V-Rally 3 and a couple of others I still own and occasionally play when I find the time.

 

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Anyway, Switch owners are getting Gear.Club Unlimited 2 this December 4 worldwide from Eden and publisher Microïds and if the trailer is any indication, it looks to be an even better followup. Take a peek:

 

 

Press release with that tasty car info below the jump if you’re up for more reading today.

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There’s A Vertigo Game Coming. With A Hitch.

Vertigo

Yep, that was me upon reading this email from earlier today. I’ll say no more other than I like some of what Microïds has done over the years and if they can do this right and pay homage to Hitchcock and one of his greatest films, I’ll be one of those championing the work. That said, I know a load of people will indeed be upset at this news and all I ask is for them is to be patient, go poke around at the company’s site and see that there’s probably no cause for alarm at this point.

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Press release below the jump:

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