Presents of Mind

So, it was my birthday last month, but I don’t celebrate it these days like “normal” people do. I tend to just wake up and be thrilled to be breathing, move on and let a new year pass hopefully without any bad stuff occurring. Cake is optional these days (Hey, diet? You doing OK?). I also don’t do presents unless I get surprised with one, but this year, I decided to pick up a few things for myself with a bit of extra money I had left over. A little retail therapy, if you like. It’s been quite a year or few years, is all I’ll say about that. Anyway, here’s a small list of what I got myself:

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“I can stop anytime I want to…”

I wanted to cut back on the caffeine and someone suggested trying mixing chicory with coffee, so I went with Community’s 100% chicory, as I have a few large canisters of coffee here and I like experimenting when I get the chance to do so. Finding the correct mixture for my tastes was an interesting thing as well, but I did try a pot of pure chicory first but found it a bit too strong. Well, that was my fault, but it did remind me of some of my first attempts to make coffee some decades back where one person liked it and another had her eyeballs practically leave her skull. Let’s just say I got a lot better at the making coffee thing since then.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth Now Available: Obsidian’s Got A Solid Hit, It Seems…

 
I normally avoid reading other reviews until after I write my own, but the two I’ve seen for this game are pretty favorable and only knock the game for some bugs and technical issues that need patching up and some repetition in attack animations (a common complaint for RPGs for ages). This bodes well for developer Obsidian and publisher Ubisoft, who rescued the game from oblivion after original publisher THQ folded a few years back. Now, if only Obsidian could get a few more RPGs made using a similar combat engine (but a different visual style), I’d be even happier. Well, this goes on the buy list and in the “Play It!” queue (which has grown by a few too many titles as of late).

Thirteen Minutes of South Park: The Stick of Truth: Obsidian Nails It Quite Well Indeed…

 
While I’m not what I’d call a regular viewer of South Park, I’ve seen enough episodes of the show that I have to give veteran developer Obsidian huge credit for getting it right. I love how the game pokes at some traditional RPG/JRPG tropes (gotta love that main character with amnesia and no speaking voice!) while also nailing the rhythm of the show in the editing and other bits. It’s a good thing Ubisoft picked this up after original publisher THQ went under, as it’s got hit written all over it (provided you’re a fan of the show, of course). How this will do outside the show’s base is tough to say, as I know some folks despise the art style and limited animation the show uses. I’m not one of those, by the way. Anyway, March 4 is the big day for this one, so keep an eyeball peeled if you haven’t placed a pre-order yet. I have the feeling this may sell out in a few spots and be one of those overpriced eBay titles if it scores highly with the critics and people make it a surprise sleeper hit. Yeah, it’s NOT supposed to be for the kids, but you know how THAT always goes with South Park games, right?

E3 2013: South Park: The Stick of Truth Trailer: They Didn’t Kill Kenny!

Nope, THQ’s dying off in slow flames didn’t stop this game from getting snapped up by the highest bidder when the publisher’s assets were sold off, so veteran developer Obsidian Entertainment and new publisher Ubisoft are making sure fans of the TV show will have nothing to worry about. Granted, if you hate South Park, you’re shaking your fist at the screen and screaming “Whyyyyyyy??!!” or something (and if you’re at work or in a public place, you’re just mouthing it so no one gives you a dirty look), but this one looks like it’ll be fun and as pointedly crude as the show.

I’m not a regular viewer myself, but it does make me laugh and cringe at all the proper moments. One thing, though… where the hell is the Wii U version? Ubisoft? Get on that, please. I’ll most likely grab this for the PS3, but I’d say Nintendo’s console could use some more love…

South Park: The Stick of Truth Trailer: THQ Bets The Farm You’ll Buy This RPG

Ah, the eternal coin flip here: Is South Park still enough of a viable money-making franchise for THQ that enough gamers will drop full retail for it (thus making The Stick of Truth a huge smash hit from day one)? Will the talented folks at Obsidian deliver a RPG experience closer to a Neverwinter Nights 2 (quite good), a KOTOR 2 (decent, but flawed) or an Alpha Protocol (good idea, poor execution)? Will enough critics be kind to the game once they get past the gimmicky elements and dig into the RPG aspects? All these Q’s and many more will be answered soon enough.

I’ll admit now that I don’t watch South Park regularly enough to offer up anything other than an opinion that the game needs to be consistent and not rely solely on the outrageous humor the show is well-known for. That said, I’d love to see this on portable systems, but I guess that’s up to THQ (if they’re still around after the game comes out)…

Dungeon Siege III TV Ad Might Be Accidentally Meta…

I’m older than the hills, so hearing the music in this ad zapped me back to my childhood when I’d occasionally plop in front of the TV and be baffled by The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. OK, not too baffled, as I was enough of a clever kid to “get” most of the show. Anyway, I’m not sure if Square Enix’ PR department planned this, but the ad is a bit meta if you know your TV and film history. As for the game itself, it looks mighty darn good and I’m hoping that Obsidian has hit the nail on the head in single player or co-op modes, as I just LOVE a well-made dungeon hack. DS3 arrives on June 21, 2011 for PS, PS3 and Xbox 360…

Fallout: New Vegas DLC In The Works

Well, you knew it was coming, didn't you? Bethsoft goes and makes one of the biggest games of the year even bigger. Too bad my 360 is dead (yet another one at that, grrrr!), but methinks what Obsidian has crafted will keep me quite occupied until the PS3 gets its own DLC pack…

Press release below.

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Fallout: New Vegas Soundtrack List Revealed

Sooooo, what will YOU be listening to while you're playing Fallout New Vegas? Me, I'll stick to the game's soundtrack, especially since Bethsoft just dropped the track list in my inbox the other day. What's playing? The answers are a click away…

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Fallout: New Vegas Voice Cast Revealed

Looks like Bethsoft and Obsidain are taking no chances here. The more loyal (or overly obsessive perfectionists who want every aspect preserved as close to the original games as humanly possible) fans of the Fallout series form the beginning should definitely be pleased now that New Vegas’ voice cast has been announced. Cue the press release:

“The Fallout franchise has taken narratives in interactive entertainment to the next level, and we could not be more excited about the all-new celebrity lineup for Fallout: New Vegas,” said Pete Hines, Vice President of PR and Marketing for Bethesda Softworks. “The voice acting provided by these actors helps drive the compelling and immersive story of Fallout and further adds to the overall gameplay experience.”

Ron Perlman returns to voice the narrator in Fallout: New Vegas, a role he has played in every major Fallout game to date. Matthew Perry plays Benny, a smooth-talking, two faced gangster, and Wayne Newton takes on the role as “Mr. New Vegas,” the radio DJ of the Mojave Wasteland.

Three celebrities take on roles as playable companions in Fallout: New Vegas: Danny Trejo is Raul the Ghoul, a mechanic and former gunslinger; Zach Levi is Arcade, a member of the Followers of the Apocalypse who hides a mysterious past, and Felicia Day is Veronica, a sarcastic Brotherhood of Steel scribe.

The epic cast continues with Kris Kristofferson as Chief Hanlon, a grizzled solider at the end of his career, and Rene Auberjonois as the enigmatic and reclusive Mr. House. Michael Dorn reprises his role as Marcus, an intelligent super mutant, who was last seen in 1998’s Fallout® 2; John Doman is Caesar, the charismatic and powerful dictator at the head of Caesar’s Legion. William Sadler plays Victor, a friendly robot with the personality of an old fashioned cowboy.

In addition to this star-studded cast, players can expect to hear even more celebrity cameos throughout the world of Fallout: New Vegas.

Fallout: New Vegas hits retail on October 19, 2010 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and October 22, 2010 for Windows.