Happy New Year (Take 2)

(Thanks, TroniCPol!)

Hey, my mood lightened! Ha. Anyway, I was trying to think of an appropriate New Year’s thing to post when it hit me that I hadn’t played the late Kenji Eno’s very offbeat D2 in about four years. It works as a perfectly bleak yet eventually hopeful holiday horror game experience for the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thanks to just being too busy to unearth one of my Dreamcasts, make sure the battery is working so that I could start playing about nine hours before midnight so the end credit sequence ends with the onscreen game clock counting down to the New Year and getting a cheery message for all that effort, I haven’t gone near this gem. But that’s going to change.

Anyway, backlog or not I’ll finally replay this classic at some point this year just to see if I can speed through it a bit faster. Much of the game’s length is due to extended stretches of cinematic sequences that can’t be skipped, so it’s a pay attention game almost all the way through, lousy US dubbing and all.

Ah well. Anyway, Happy New Year, people – 2017 is going to be innnnnnteresting.

-GW

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Diablo Turns 20: Blizzard, What Are You Up To?


 

Twenty years is a long time for any form of interactive entertainment to be around and still have an active fan base. Blizzard seems to know its classic PC game Diablo has a rather dedicated and somewhat vocal legion of players that have stayed with the franchise through three games, numerous patches and a few expansion packs. Granted, the love for the first two games meant Diablo III was going to be heavily criticized for both its long development time and any huge changes to what longtime fans expected. Let’s just say the fans didn’t disappoint in letting themselves be heard.


 

But of course, Diablo III was a mess at and post launch, but tons of patches, the removal of that horrid Auction House and surprisingly, mostly superb console ports that actually improved upon the foundation laid made it a far better game for everyone save last-gen system (PS3/Xbox 360) owners who didn’t get the great 2.4.0 update. I’d already sunk a few hundred hours into the PS3 version and planned to transfer my save files over to the PS4 when I finally made the move to that console. Of course, that didn’t happen thanks to Phill Katz stealing my PS3 after I sent it to him for repair. NO, I haven’t forgotten you, asshole.


 

So, yeah. I’ve had to restart from scratch with Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition on the PS4 and so far, I’m quite pleased with my progress. I’m working on a Demon Hunter build and blazing through Adventure Mode after completing the Campaign once just to build up a ton of Paragon points so I’ll have a huge pool to use when creating other characters later. The 2.4.0 content surprised me with a dark and grim new map that added a few new enemy variants, crashing waves, rain and… freakin’ gigantic sea snakes popping up if you ran too close to the edge of some spots on the map.


 

Anyway, this post has no point other than me reminiscing and wondering just what the hell Blizzard is up to. Yes, I know about the Necromancer class coming as well as the upcoming “remake” of the first game using the DIII engine. But I’m hotly curious as to what else is planned. Other games get re-releases, HD upgrades or flat out remakes, so it only makes sense that this one would at some point soon. Unless Blizzard is just messing with us fans. Those old cinematics sure cleaned up well, huh?

-GW

ZAKU Is Back: Super Fighter Team Gives You A Chance To Nab This One FINAL Time

ZAKU Lynx
 

If you’re a huge enough fan of the Atari Lynx but missed out on its first original boxed (online) retail game in years, well guess what? ZAKU is back! Super Fighter Team has heard the pleas from Lynx collectors worldwide and is reissuing the instant classic for a final time in a 400 copy run.

ZAKU on LYNX 

Just go click on that link above and get that wallet out. Or you can read my old review as you click on that link to BUY THE GAME. Whatever you’re going to do, you better do it FAST, as this is guaranteed to sell out ridiculously quickly.

Table Top Racing Gets A Nice, Necessary Update For Us Fat-Fingered Speed Freaks…

TableTopRacing IconExcellent. While I loved the Vita version of Table Top Racing, my big complaint (and it seems the main issue a bunch of other users had) was the rear touchscreen being automatically used for a rear view angle with no means to turn it off. This made holding the Vita comfortably something of a challenge, as the merest brush of a finger on that rear screen meant you’d be looking back for a split second. Or worse if you had no idea about that screen being used, you’d start a race and be looking at the FRONT of your car until you moved your fingers into a more claw-like grip. Ouch.

Well, THAT’S no longer an issue as Playrise Digital has whipped out a patch that sets the rear view to off (you can toggle it on if you like), shows the control layout (the original download didn’t, and while the game is easy to play, some people didn’t figure out the left trigger is used for certain functions) and tweaks a few other things. The update has been out for a little while, but I just hopped back into the game last night and saw the fix was in. Anyway, go grab TTR, as it’s only $7.99, a ton of fun and if you’ve been avoiding it because you have larger hands, it’s now even more of a no-brainer buy…

Review: Shadowgate

Shadowgate logoPlatform: PC (via Steam)
Developer: Zojoi Studios
Publisher: Reverb Triple XP
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: A- 90%

Shadowgate_Room_1A few years back, I was at a media event talking to a PR person who told me that some sites let her know that they didn’t like covering adventure games and that too me aback because that attitude is pure biased lunacy. The adventure genre didn’t necessarily “die” a while back, folks – it was just neglected and left by the side of the road by jaded critics who didn’t bother giving too many great games the time of day. Anyway, those days of dreary dread have turned around in recent years and thankfully, one of the more influential and important games of the late 80’s is back and better than ever. Zojoi Studios’ brilliantly re-imagined Shadowgate takes the old story out for a stroll in a new coat of absolutely lovely visuals, a superb new soundtrack and even options to change that and a few other things (save the visuals) back to the classic NES game many of us oldsters spent too much time trying to beat and eventually beating but good a few times.

What this reboot doesn’t do is simply template that original game into a more casual form or make it an action-heavy experience that would cater to the more caffeinated modern gamer. From the interface to the brain-bending puzzles, everything you loved about the old game is back and in full force. Granted, some of these things WILL lead to frustration for some gamers used to hand-holding or self-solving puzzles in their entertainment experiences. That said, exercising the mind with a good and highly challenging game such as this one will be the best thing some of you can do for so little money… Continue reading

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…

Corrections Dept: Xillia’s Kitties Can’t Do Magic That Well!

Tales of Xillia 2 Standard EditionOkay, I’ll tweak the post tomorrow when I’m more awake, but I made two goofs in my Tales of Xillia review regarding the exploits and some side quests monsters vanishing. One: In Kitty Dispatch mode, Rollo WILL come back faster if he’s carrying certain sub-items with him or you save and come back later in the day (that system clock seems to work for that as well as the bonuses).

Two: while some low-level monsters may disappear from the Job Board when your Badge level increases, those TOUGH sub-bosses stay on their own sub-menu and never disappear. I was up for roughly 37 hours on that last chunk of my playtime, so when I sat down to write from a few notes I’d taken, I ended up adding in a thought I had based on me being half-awake while playing and confusing the Job list with the sub-boss list. Hey, it happens! Anyway, I’m in the final stretch of the game, but I’m saving that until tomorrow or Thursday because if I don’t sleep now, I’ll probably be as dead as some of those monsters Ludger and company go hunting throughout the game…

See you all tomorrow. Zzzzz…

Review: Tales of Xillia 2

Tales of Xillia 2 Standard EditionPlatform: PlayStation 3

Developer: Namco Tales Studio, LTD.

Publisher: Bandai Namco Games

# of Players 1-4

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

tox2-screen02 Tales of Xillia was one of last year’s great JRPGs, offering up an intriguing plot, a party of interesting characters designed by different artists, the series trademark fast-paced battles and plenty of the usual JRPG tropes all adding up to a lengthy and memorable game experience. The follow up, Tales of Xillia 2 changes up things a bit with two new main characters, a much darker tone, even faster combat, a different skills leveling system, loads of reused maps (this is a good thing – more on this below) and a fair amount of humor thanks to a localization team having a blast with their translation efforts. The result is a game that will pull you in for the long haul as it takes Ludger Kresnik and company on a journey spanning a few familiar and all-new areas (well, all-new to those who haven’t played the first game)… Continue reading

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…

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…