May 8, 2012

Play More Games: My God, It’s Full of Stars!

2007’s Warhawk was one of the first PS3 multiplayer games that I remember friends talking excitedly about. While I tragically missed out on the game’s heyday, I had enough time with it to develop an appreciation for Incognito Entertainment’s melange of grand scale land-and-air battles with third-person twitch-shooter mechanics. Plus: it had jetpacks! As we’ve established on a recent episode of the podcast, those things go a long way with us here at VGH.

Starhawk, out today for the PS3, is the spiritual successor to Warhawk. The developer has changed to LightBox Interactive (but includes members of the Incognito team) and the game now occupies a Wild West-tinged sci-fi world. The most intriguing and game-changing addition is probably the unique “Build and Battle” system, which allows players to call in supply drops of defensive walls and turrets, vehicles, weapons, and even giant mechs on the fly.

My time with the game’s beta earlier this year was a blast and I was impressed with the high level of polish already on display. I’m easily turned off by run-and-gun multiplayer modes but working with my friends to assemble defenses in massive 32-player matches immediately clicked with me. Looking for an advantage in a Capture the Flag match and realizing that I can call in a tank drop, file the members of my team into it, and then barrel into the enemy compound made the game feel fresh and thoroughly unpredictable.

If you’ll be playing Starhawk this week, be sure to keep an eye out for me. I’ll be the guy in the jetpack.

Also out this week:
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (XBLA)
Datura (PSN)
Nexuiz (PC)

Two quick notes:

If you’re interested in Nexuiz, be sure to check out our review of the Xbox 360 version of the game from way back in February.

I strongly considered writing this entire article about Starhawk, the noted eco-feminist writer and Paganism advocate, but I clearly decided to go another way with it. You’re welcome.

May 4, 2012

Weekend Hangover: Hispanic Superheroes Edition

With Star Wars Day, The Avengers movie, Cinco de Mayo, Free Comic Book Day and a superhero-themed episode of the Video Game Hangover podcast all intersecting this weekend, we suspect gamers and fanboys/girls around the world have no shortage of entertainment options to pass their time.

As if the thought of Scarlett Johannson in a skintight leather bodysuit weren’t enough, the cast and crew here at VGH have found some other worthwhile pursuits for the next three days:

Randy Dickinson (@randy_wrecked): Saturday is Cinco de Mayo! Who’s your favorite Hispanic superhero? Batmanuel is the only one I can think of. If you don’t know who that is, you should definitely add the live-action version of The Tick to your Netflix streaming queue for this weekend.

When I’m not drinking Sangria and gorging myself on tofu tacos this weekend, I’ll most likely try to wrap up Catherine and spend some more time with The Witcher 2. Starhawk is out on Tuesday so I need to clear my gaming slate by then.

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May 4, 2012

StarDrone Extreme review: Just a fling

StarDrone Extreme is a bit of an oddity. Hailing from Eastern European indie house Beatshapers, it’s pitched as a “high-speed action thriller with a mix of arcade action, pinball, breakout, physics and collect-the-objects”. That’s a pretty wordy bit of marketing, so let’s just classify it as a “flinging” game to keep things simple. StarDrone originally hit the Playstation 3 last year with Move support in tow with little fanfare to relatively mixed reception. Now, the slightly tweaked StarDrone Extreme has made its way to the Playstation Vita.

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May 3, 2012

VGH #52: Squirrel Punching

VGH #52: Squirrel Punching

Inspired by the imminent release of The Avengers movie, we’re setting our sights this week on the best and worst superhero-themed video games. We’ve also got talk of The Walking Dead, Kid Icarus, Modern Warfare 3, and the sexual proclivities of Batman.

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May 3, 2012

Contest: win Awesomenauts!

The awesome folks over at Ronimo Games were nice enough to send along a PSN code for Awesomenauts. Since I actually got the game for free via PlayStation Plus, I thought I’d pass it along to one of our lucky listeners or readers.

Just use the widget below to put yourself in the running for the game (or, if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber, just download the game for free and give it a whirl!). Keep your eyes on the blog in the coming days for my written review.

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April 26, 2012

VGH #51: You’re Really Just Playing Pong

We can’t believe that we’ve made 51 episodes already!

On this week’s show, we discuss a whole slew of other gaming-related things that we simply can’t believe: Call of Duty‘s success, the Wii’s dominance, Mass Effect‘s overlooked accomplishment and the possibility of a single-console gaming future.

In the Hangover segment, we explore our love/hate relationships with Disgaea, Radiant Historia, Kinect, Witcher, and Bit.Trip Saga.

Finally, we wrap up with a Last Call that somehow references Kid Icarus, Megan Fox, and collectable fine art pieces.

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April 20, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘green herb’ edition

I couldn’t think of anything particularly relevant to discuss in today’s Weekend Hangover post, so I just randomly decided to honor Resident Evil’s infamous green herb and its mysterious healing properties. The kind botanical friend first appeared in the original Resident Evil and the series has never managed to shake it since. It’s made a token appearance in every creeper-filled Capcom joint ever since. Any dope will know that you’re bound to take some hits, so it’s critical to take breaks between shot-gunning sessions and apply the herb as needed. If you don’t keep an eye on your health, you could very easily end up cashed. Anyway, don’t forget to share VGH with your buds!

But enough about green herbs. What games are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’ll be zoning out to:

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April 20, 2012

Four games under 20 dollars

Today is 4/20, so I thought it would be fitting to present you with a list of 4 games that can be had for under $20. This idea came to me naturually and I totally didn’t borrow it from anywhere else. I’ve intentionally stuck to disc-based console games that have dropped in price over time, as downloadable titles are typically less than $20 in the first place. All four of these are excellent games that I had a wonderful time with, each for different reasons, and they all offer a pretty decent chunk of content at a low price.

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April 20, 2012

Contest: Win Fez!

We here at VGH aren’t exactly known for our patience. The people behind indie darling Fez were kind enough to send over a code for the game, but Randy and I both had ants in our pants and had already gone ahead and bought the game. Our impatience is your gain! We’re giving away our copy of Fez to one of you lucky folks. Head to the giveaway widget below and get yourself entered to win! We’ll be announcing a winner Tuesday morning, so get to it!

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April 19, 2012

VGH #50: The Enhanced Edition

VGH #50: The Enhanced Edition

 

Our 50th episode! How freakin’ crazy is that?

Can a game be good without a strong narrative? Inspired by the effusive reviews that The Witcher 2 has been receiving, we’re dedicating this week’s discussion to the importance of story in video games.

In the Hangover, we’ve been playing Fez, Bit.Trip Saga, Driver: San Francisco, and more.

We wrap up the show with Last Call and talk of Record Store Day, the day before Record Store Day, and advice for indie game developers on how to graciously accept praise for their creations.

Be sure to get your voice heard on our monumental 51st episode! Leave us a message at http://audioboo.fm/vghangover or just call us at 682-999-VGH1. What’s your most memorable video game hangover? What should we talk about on the show? Give us a call and chime in.

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April 13, 2012

New Resistance: Burning Skies trailer highlights multiplayer

Sony has just dropped a new trailer for Resistance: Burning Skies which shows off the game’s 8-player online multiplayer action. I’m personally looking forward to getting my hands on it, as I’m really interested to find out first-hand how a first-person shooter feels on the Vita. Find out for yourself on May 29th when the game launches.

April 13, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘Fez is out!’ edition

Fez is finally out! For a game that’s been in development for around five years and has won a number of awards, it’s kind of a big deal that you can actually download it and play it today. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it appears to be getting really good reviews.

So what are you playing this weekend? Have you picked up Fez? Planning to play something else? Tell us!

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April 12, 2012

VGH #49: Slinging the Purple Fire

VGH #49: Slinging the Purple Fire

Grappling hooks for everyone! On this week’s show, we’re talking about our favorite (and regrettably underutilized) gameplay mechanics. Red Faction, Crackdown, Super Mario Galaxy, Just Cause, Mother 3, and more are mentioned during our conversation.

In the Hangover this week, we’re revisiting Bioshock, playing with our balls in Hustle Kings, and trying to learn all of the moves in Skullgirls.

We’ve also got talk of poop, divorce, bad-assery, QTE’s and fighting games. You’ve been warned.

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April 10, 2012

Play More Games: Cartoon Girls and Funny Hats

Fez

Fez is out this week! For reals! First announced all the way back in July of 2007 (the PS3 and Wii weren’t even a year old), you’ve probably heard of it since then if you follow the indie scene, or at least seen screenshots of its distinctive pixel graphics. I got to play it for a while at PAX last August, and it felt like a solid platformer. The Escher-like core mechanic—rotating the 2D world 90 degrees at a time to reveal new paths—took some time to get used to, but it was a nice twist (excuse me) on the genre.

What stuck out the most in my mind, though, is how one of the PAX presenters mentioned that part of the game’s ambition is to be something you can sit back and take your time with, which the player character’s leisurely movement encourages‐he’s definitely no Mario. That’s really cool, I thought, instantly imagining myself lazily rotating Fez‘s world around as I searched for the key to the next area. Will that fly with gamers accustomed to slurping up the newest releases and plowing through them so they can trade them in towards whatever’s out the next week? I’m a little skeptical, but considering how long the game has been in development, hopefully people can come to terms. I’d hate for everyone to rush through it too quickly.

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April 6, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘Not at PAX East’ edition

Borderlands 2 at Pax East 2012

PAX East kicks off today!!! …and we’re not there. It’s pretty darn exciting anyway though. Are you at PAX? What are you looking forward to seeing there? If not, what are you looking forward to reading/hearing about from the show? Borderlands 2 is sounding pretty fantastic to me so far (bonus points for the fact that Gearbox is located a mere hour from my house).

Drop us a comment and let us know what you’re looking forward to from PAX, what your game-playing plans for the weekend are, or just tell us anything else that’s on your mind!

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April 5, 2012

VGH #48: Fighting for Love and Whatever

VGH #48: Fighting for Love and Whatever

It’s a Hangover takeover! Rather than squeezing this week’s gaming talk into the first segment of the show,  we’ve decided to dedicate the entire episode to Kid Icarus: Uprising, Xenoblade Chronicles, and the recent Battlefield 3 updates. Game on!

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April 3, 2012

Wheels of Destruction review: Burnt rubber

Have you ever found yourself playing Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars and thinking, “this is fun, but what would really be great is if you took out all this soccer stuff and replaced it with guns and rockets”? No? Yeah, neither have I, but at first blush, that was the vibe I was getting from Wheels of Destruction: World Tour before actually getting my hands on it. Upon playing it, I found Wheels of Destruction felt a bit more like a vehicular game of Unreal Tournament accompanied by a control scheme I’d summarily label as “wonky”.

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March 30, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘I forgot what I was supposed to be doing’ edition

I’ve been Googling “cleavage”, “cleavage day”, and various other similar terms for the past hour and I completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing…

Anyway, here’s a pic of Lara Croft, in honor of ‘National Cleavage Day’. We here at VGH wish you the breast weekend ever!

What’s everybooby playing this weekend?

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March 29, 2012

VGH #47: Vegetable-Based Objectives

VGH #47: Vegetable-Based Objectives

Oh, Mass Effect 3…where did it all go wrong? Inspired by Bioware’s recent debacle, we’re seizing the opportunity this week to discuss video game endings: the ones that got it right and the ones that missed the mark. Also: Mulchers, hand cramps, vagina monsters, generic white men, and the importance of carrying enough arrows.

In the Hangover: Paul is having fun losing with Dark Souls, D.J. addresses some concerns with the Starhawk beta, and Randy la-la-la-la-loves Gears of War 3.

For our Last Call this week, we shine a light on our killer new theme music from Shane Reaction: Zombieland.

The end is nigh!

Warning: Episode contains spoilers for Super Mario Bros. 2.

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March 23, 2012

Weekend Hangover: Carpal Tunnel Edition

It seems that Nintendo finally figured out that Amazon doesn’t deliver on Sundays because they’ve released Kid Icarus: Uprising today.  Reviews have been trickling out all week long and they’re all over the place: Destructoid called it “equal parts tremendous and terrible” and Joystiq called it “an excellent game”.

While the critics can’t seem to agree on the quality of the game, one thing that nearly every review cites is the painful hand contortions that are required to actually play it. Perhaps a red flag should have gone up at Nintendo HQ when someone suggested including a plastic stand for the 3DS so gamers wouldn’t be doomed to a lifetime of wrist pain?

Regardless, after a 20-year absence, Pit, Medusa and the Eggplant Wizard are back this weekend. At least 2 members of the VGH team have expressed interest in the game. Will it be worth the pain?

One final note: under no circumstances should you ever do a Google Image Search for “carpal tunnel syndrome surgery”. I may not sleep tonight.

What’s everyone playing this weekend?

Randy Dickinson (@randy_wrecked):
I recently downloaded my freebie copy of Super Stardust Delta on the Vita and I’m itching to play more. It’s gorgeous, it’s devilishly chaotic, and the touch controls feel unobtrusive and natural.

I’ve also got at least 10 games of Hustle Kings and Draw Something running at any given time. Don’t judge me.

D.J. Ross (@metaly):
To help ensure I don’t get to Mass Effect 3 this century, I was thinking of picking up the new Kid Icarus: Uprising. Is this a good plan? You tell me.

Paul Sandhu (@spaulsandhu):
I hate Mass Effect 3! Am I doing it right? Gonna continue my second playthrough a bit. Rarrrr how dare Bioware do this to me rarrrr.

Matt Kernan (@mkernan):
I’m taking a road trip down south for a wedding this weekend, so I’ve loaded up my Vita with all the demos that I haven’t gotten around to trying yet. I might even finally start up Uncharted: Golden Abyss. I contemplated packing up the PS3 and hoping the hotel TV had an open HDMI port, but Mrs. Kernan vetoed me. I left it on at home though, just so I could prove that Remote Play works.