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Month: October 2011

Clever girls (and guys) get Jurassic Park for free with 1 year of Playstation Plus

God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs… Sony creates savings opportunities!

Sony has just announced that anyone who purchases a one-year subscription to PlayStation Plus will receive the PSN version of Telltale Games’ forthcoming adventure, Jurassic Park: The Game, for free. One year of PS+ will run you $50 and the game will be priced at $29.99 when it releases on November 15th, so the deal definitely has teeth.

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Weekend Hangover: Premature Deception edition

Drake came early! Everyone at VGH HQ got a copy of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception this week. We’re not trying to brag or anything. Well… maybe a little bit. But hey, as we mentioned in VGH #27, that was kind of the entire point of going to the AMC / Uncharted theater events, so just let us relish this special feeling for a moment. Besides, the game is really good and well worth a couple more days of waiting. But yeah…. we’re playing it this weekend.

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Dress-up time – Saints Row: The Third’s Initiation Station now available

I had a blast playing dress-up last night. No, not with my actual dolls – those are in storage. I was mucking around with the newly-released Initiation Station for Saints Row: The Third. After fiddling around for about 10 or 15 minutes, I ended up with the depraved individual you see before you, whom I’ve oh-so-creatively named “Matilda.” The standalone application/demo lets you pick from a fairly impressive list of features, hairstyles, clothing, accessories, taunts, tattoos, and even underwear. With all these choices at hand, you’ll be able to create everything from a well-dressed, well-groomed, attractive dude to an intensely disturbing, half-naked, red-headed pervert.

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RAGE Review: Still Just a Rat in a Cage

My relationship with first-person shooters has been a somewhat tumultuous one.

If pressed to come up with a list of my favorite video games of all time, titles like Quake, Perfect Dark and Half-Life 2 would probably be on it.  I’m one of those weird people who actually buys the Halo and Call of Duty games so I can play through the campaigns.

Over the last year or so, my taste for the genre has soured, though.  Chalk it up to evolving interests or a lack of developer innovation but my recent attempts to play Crysis 2, Killzone 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops were aborted after only a few hours.  It was with a fair amount of trepidation then that I approached RAGE, the first new game from id Software (makers of the aforementioned Quake) in almost 7 years.  Would this long-in-development shooter be another victim of my changing tastes?  Or could id, a developer who more or less invented the modern FPS, successfully renew my love for the genre?

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LittleBigPlanet 2 Special Edition and Move bundle unveiled

Sony today unveiled a new OHMYGOD look at that adorable little Nathan Drake Sackboy! HOW CUTE!

Oh, sorry. Anyway, in addition to announcing that new Sackboy outfit, they also announced a new ‘Special Edition’ version of LittleBigPlanet 2 today. This new release includes the main game, along with the new Move-enabled story level pack, the Toy Story level pack, and a handful of costume packs. I’ve played some of the levels in the Move pack myself and they were a ton of fun.

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Be Advised: Play More Games

Enemy boat spotted

Battlefield 3 is out today and it’s a big one. Developer DICE is calling it the successor to 2005’s Battlefield 2, which is to say it’s not a new entry in the Bad Company offshoot series that featured slightly scaled-down Battlefield gameplay and (rather successfully) introduced destructable environments. Destruction does return to some extent in BF3, along with series staples like jets, squad leaders, and 64-player Conquest games played over expansive maps–although the latter is exclusive to the PC version. No matter which version you pick up, though, you can expect the same world-class, team-based FPS gameplay that DICE has engineered down to a science since Battlefield 1942 nearly ten years ago. That’s provided you can ride out the launch week server woes and patches, of course. I’ll be making an effort to play it, in one form or another.

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Sales Hangover: Arkham City becomes fastest-selling game to feature shark punching

Editor’s note: I didn’t actually do any fact-checking on that whole “face punching” thing.

The latest game to chronicle the exploits of the “World’s Greatest Detective”, Batman: Arkham City, is performing pretty well, evidently. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced today that the game has shipped 4.6 million units worldwide in its first week on the market, with the LA Times following up with a report that says actual sales have already hit 2 million units.

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Crysis review: Consolation prize

Crysis

I have a confession. I’m a Mac user. That has very little to do with Crysis, but it does mean that when the gorgeous, PC-only shooter first arrived in 2007, I was severely ill-equipped to experience its visual splendor. Not only was I not in the same ballpark, I wasn’t even in the right zip code. This veritable feast for the eyes was so resource-hungry that there were plenty of Windows users whose systems couldn’t quite cut the mustard either when it came to running it at a desirable quality and framerate. Thankfully, Crytek has seen fit to come to our rescue. No longer will you have to live in fear, worrying that you may find yourself in an awkward conversation, forced to sheepishly admit that you’ve never played Crysis because your computer couldn’t hang with those other, more powerful PCs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Crysis has arrived on consoles.

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Weekend Hangover: Spooky detectives edition

Editor’s note: Randy had a really great Professor Layton-based idea for our weekend post, but I had trouble with fleshing it out. Instead, I wasted close to an hour creating that abomination you see above (it’ll make a little more sense when you finish reading the post).

There’s a distinct chill in the air, Halloween is getting closer, and we’re ankles deep in the fall game release onslaught. What’s everyone playing this weekend (when not carving pumpkins or sipping on hot apple cider)?

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BGM Mode: In the year 20XX

Mega Man

With this week’s Lore in a Minute retelling the history of Mega Man, I’ve had the Blue Bomber on my mind lately. So, what better time to showcase some music from one of the biggest game series–in fact, the biggest–of all time? I’ve already extolled the virtues of Magnet Man’s theme in VGH Episode 8, so I’ll spare you this time. (Although really, you should go listen to it anyway.) But, I’ll still kick things off with some Mega Man III.

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Drake’s journal and armband review: Off the cuff

As part of Sony’s marketing push for the upcoming release of Uncharted 3, a couple of interesting promotional items are being offered to fans – namely, replicas of Drake’s journal and wrist cuff. If you live in one of the handful of cities where the AMC / Uncharted 3 theater events are taking place and you attended one of them, you should have received the pair in your gift bag, along with a few other goodies. If you want to try your luck, they’re also being offered together as a level-2 prize in the Subway “Taste for Adventure” contest. With the release of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception quickly approaching (and because I just received them last night at the Dallas AMC event), I thought it would be worth taking a closer look at them to find out if they’re remarkable replicas or terrible tchotchkes.

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Xenoblade Chronicles: You say Monado, I say Monado.

Mechonis vs Bionis

Editor’s note: Xenoblade Chronicles is not currently available in North America at the time of this writing. Paul’s review is based on an imported copy of the game.

Guys, this is a tough review for me to write. If you’ve listened to VGH #20, then you heard me gushing over how incredible Xenoblade is. As a fan of the genre I was absolutely floored that a developer could release a modern day JRPG that dismissed the conventions of yesteryear while also updating its gameplay mechanics to be more in line with the modern day gamer’s tastes. Why did it take me so long to write the review?  Xenoblade is absolutely MASSIVE. I wanted to write this review when I was a “paltry” 50 hours into the game, since I figured I’ve nothing more to see and I had a pretty firm grasp on what the rest of the game was going to be like. D.J. was awesome enough to suggest that I complete the game before reviewing it, so I took his advice to heart. When all was said and done, it took me roughly 75 hours to complete.

Word on the Internet is that is that Xenoblade is the best JRPG to come out in a decade. It’s the savior of the genre. On Metacritic, It’s the 6th highest rated game in Wii history with a 93 overall, eclipsed only by the likes of Super Mario Galaxy and other Nintendo staples.

For a while there, I thought that I was going to feel the exact same way as majority of people that have played Xenoblade. But if you need a sound bite that sums everything up nicely, Xenoblade Chronicles is a masterpiece that never was. Just a fair warning folks, Xenoblade is a massive game, and even without delving into everything I want to talk about, this review is going to run a little longer than our usual fare.

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Drake’s Deception: Asking you to pre-order add-ons for a game that isn’t even out yet


[Spoken aloud, by Drake]: “All men buy DLC: but not equally.” (At least I think that’s how the line in the reveal trailer goes…)

In an increasingly more common move that strikes me as a mix between shady and yet somehow still somewhat consumer-friendly, Sony has just announced that you can pre-purchase a big ‘ol chunk of multiplayer DLC for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Fortune, starting today as part of a program they’ve dubbed the “Fortune Hunters’ Club”. For the low, low price of $24.99, early birds will get the game’s first four map packs and the first three multiplayer skins packs, as they are released, with the first pack hitting in November.

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The First 15: Ico HD

A grand adventure

What is The First 15?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I received my copy of the ICO HD collection and for some reason I though it might be fun to write down very detailed notes of everything that was happening on screen. I don’t even know what compelled me to do this, I suppose I just wanted to conduct an experiment. The introduction to any game is absolutely vital in grabbing your attention. A developer can really set the tone for your entire experience with their game so it’s of the utmost importance to deliver something interesting right off the bat.

In its simplest form, The First 15 will act almost as a “preview” to a title’s review (if we choose to review it of course) but in the larger scale, it might be really interesting to see if there are any similarities between games that succeed at hooking players with their introductions and which games do a less than stellar job at digging its claws into you. Do The First 15 minutes of a game really make or break an experience? Or can a game that stumbles out of the gate turn into a classic? What about games that have incredible introductions but later falter? In any case it’ll be interesting to see what kind of conclusions we can come up with (if any) once we’ve accumulated enough data.

Just a fair warning, since we’ll be jotting notes as we play, some of these posts might read more like a Cole’s notes version of what’s going on in the game but hopefully we can properly convey what we’re feeling and what’s going on as we play. Another warning, if you feel that what happens in The First 15 minutes of a game will constitute a spoiler… well it’ll be “spoiled” for ya.

The First 15 starts immediately after a dream sequence in which Ico is climbing a stair case, it’s thunder storming and  when he reaches the top of the stairs, he sees a cage… with a black figure in it. The figure is dripping a black, “tar” like substance. It oozes out of the cage. A black shadow appears on the wall behind Ico and grabs him, and forces him “into” the wall, then Ico wakes up from his nightmare…

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