Get hype! As the Summer drought comes to an end, the VGH crew looks into the back half of 2011 for that one game (or two, or three) that seems most worthy of our hard-earned burrito money.
I don’t know what a Metatron is, but I think I want one.
It’s been a good Summer for people who like pretty games. Recent retail titles like Catherine, Shadows of the Damned and Alice: Madness Returns as well as downloadables like Outland, Bastion and From Dust have all boasted uniquely inspired art direction and high levels of visual polish. None of these hold a candle, however, to the insane amount of “pretty” on display is this week’s big new release, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron.
Developed in Japan by Takeyasu Sawaki, one of the character designers on Devil May Cray and Okami, and released Stateside by Ignition Entertainment, the game attempts to do for Christian mythology (“El Shaddai” means “God Almighty” in Hebrew) what the God of War games did for Greek mythology. El Shaddai is adapted from the Book of Enoch in the Dead Sea Scrolls, apocryphal texts dating back to 150 B.C. that were omitted from the Old Testament.
On the surface, the story of Enoch (a living man permitted to reside in Heaven), sounds like classic quest-style gameplay: Enoch is charged by God to head to Earth and round up a group of seven fallen angels who have been inbreeding with the local wildlife (a.k.a. “the humans”). Your liaison with God while you’re on Earth is Lucifer, way before he had his little fallout out with upper management.
Instead of getting bogged down in the theology, the game instead focuses on a “simple to learn, hard to master” style of combat that includes single-button attacks, counters, blocks and parries. Early previews suggested that fans of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta-style games would be right at home. Beyond all of this, though, the visual appeal of the game is what drew me in: saturated colors, glowing Tron-like lines, and pencil sketch backgrounds with cell-shaded elements. Simply put, there isn’t a single other game out there that looks like El Shaddai. Reviews have been highly favorable, calling the game “visually inventive”, “a delight to play”, and “an absolute masterwork”.
I was initially concerned that this would be another case of style over substance (I’m looking at you, Alice) or, God forbid, a sly propaganda piece for the Republican Party, but the demo and reviews have eased my worries. I’m dying to get my hands on it.
A few other releases on the VGH radar this week:
- Two of our recent XBLA crushes, From Dust and Bastion, will be available for download on the PC this week.
- Breath of Fire IV, the classic J-RPG from the PSOne days, is available in the PlayStation Store this week.
And now, a note on Space Pirates and Zombies from D.J.:
Back in the mid-nineties, I played the absolute crap out of a Mac game by Ambrosia Software called Escape Velocity. It was essentially an RPG that started you off as a spaceship pilot, warping commodities and VIPs around the galaxy and occasionally tangling with space pirates as you upgraded into progressively swankier ships. Eventually, you could buy huge battleships to fight aliens and put down (or lead) a rebel uprising against Earth. As Randy would say, it was freakin’ excellent.
Since then, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a successor to Escape Velocity, and I think Space Pirates and Zombies, or SPAZ, could be a contender. It’s got the whole space pirate and mercenary thing going, except instead of just your solitary ship, you can custom-build an entire fleet and swap between each ship in real time. There’s a massive galaxy to explore and conquer, weapons and technologies to research, and, as you might have inferred, zombies get involved at some point. Will it recapture the the innovation and magic of Escape Velocity? I’ll let you know.
Of course, you can always try it yourself. SPAZ is out on Steam this week, and there’s a very thorough demo available if you’re curious. It was developed over the last two years by Minmax Games, a team of two mere mortals, who I’m sure would love it if you played their game. If you see the appeal in the life of a space pirate, or you just want to support a cool indie developer, clear your schedule and give SPAZ a try.
A huge enemy is approaching fast! This week, the VGH crew takes on boss battles: Do they still have a place in modern gaming or are they relics of an almost-forgotten age? We’ve also got groovy coasters, bordered lands, and secondhand shooters. I hit it with my axe!
There’s only one notable release this week, but oh, is it a big one: Halfbrick‘s runaway mobile success, Fruit Ninja, is finally out for Xbox 360 and Kinect. No longer confined to your phone or tablet’s tiny screen, Fruit Ninja is now super-sized and ready for your living room.
It sounds like a pretty straightforward port of the mobile game, which is interesting since most of the original gameplay modes last about a minute or two on average. I don’t think my longest Fruit Ninja session could have lasted more than 10–and that was at the height of my addiction, and on a platform that didn’t require me to flail my arms around wildly.
I did get to try the multiplayer mode for the first time recently, and it was a surprisingly tense affair. After hearing that Fruit Ninja Kinect supports two players on the same screen, my reactions were, in order: That is awesome, and almost immediately after, Just how many injuries per minute can you expect when you have two people standing side-by-side and swiping their arms at anything that moves? I might pick this up just to watch people play it… from a safe distance, of course.
That’s if I had a Kinect, obviously. I have to admit that this is among the accessory’s most compelling offerings, alongside Child of Eden, but I’m still waiting to truly be convinced.
Have you got a Kinect and are taking the 800 Microsoft point plunge this week to chop some virtual fruit? Let us know in the comments!
With only 10 minutes on the clock, the VGH team will weigh in on two recent gaming headlines: The demise of the Red Faction series and the big Nintendo 3DS price drop. We’ve also got Viewer Mail, the Hangover, Last Call, and lightsabers. Time’s up!
Trying to see everything that this year’s PAX East gaming convention had to offer in the course of a single afternoon was an enterprise doomed from the start. In my first 3 hours on the show floor, I had only managed to see two of the booths on my wishlist (Red Faction: Armageddon and L.A. Noire) and meet up with some fellow Dragon Quest IX devotees. I needed to devise a smarter plan of attack or I was destined to waste what little time I had waiting in line to watch a video of the first 10 minutes of Portal 2.
What I decided to do was this: see smaller games. I knew that behemoths like Duke Nukem and SOCOM would inevitably get plenty of press from gaming magazines and blogs (and, as it turns out now, more than a few mediocre reviews) so it was in my best interest to use my day in Boston to fill up on as many cool, creative, under-hyped indie and downloadable games as possible. These games, by nature of their budgets and visibility, were bound to get less media coverage further down the road. Plus, their lines were shorter.
Some of the games that I played that afternoon have, by now, been released: Bastion, Outland, and The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile all delivered on what they promised during their demos. A few still haven’t seen the light of day: Orcs Must Die, Fallen Frontier and Warp all intrigued but are awaiting concrete release dates. One of the games I was most impressed by, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, is out today as part of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade.
The look of I.T.S.P. instantly appealed to me: all shadows against deep hues with massive, multi-eyed, multi-tentacled monsters in pursuit of a tiny, seemingly defenseless UFO. As I played with the ship’s lasers to take on smaller baddies and it’s claw to move obstacles, the charm of the gameplay began to click with me, as well. The attendant manning the booth wasn’t willing to talk about multiplayer at the time but recent previews are describing it as more of a tactical co-op experience. In short, I’m dying to get my hands on it this week.
On the subject of great independent games, LIMBO, one of my faves from 2010, is making it’s PlayStation Network debut this week. If you don’t have access to an Xbox, this is your chance to play one of the most beautiful, engaging and singularly infuriating games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.
Lastly, if the summer gaming and television drought has made you truly desperate for entertainment, you can indulge your need for both in the video game versions of Bleach, Phineas and Ferb, and Sesame Street that are hitting store shelves this week.
Ding! Achievement unlocked! In this week’s show, we discuss the allure of trophies and achievements in video games. Feedback is read, “retractments” are issued, and the Last Call offers some sage advice for managing your backlogs.
Contrary to whatever the hell I committed to in VGH#2, my junior prom date was actually a girl named Catherine. While I would eventually grow in to the shining example of maturity and social grace that listeners of the podcast have come to know, the late 80s/early 90s were not the best of times for me: I was chubby, nearsighted and bespectacled, prone to wildfire breakouts of acne, and hopelessly awkward. Why Catherine ever asked me to go to the prom with her (yes, that’s right — she asked me), remains a mystery for the ages.
In Catherine, the new game for PS3 and Xbox 360 from Atlus, gamers play as Vincent, a thirtysomething office drone whose life is thrown into disarray after a one-night-stand with the titular character. Despite a 5-year relationship with his pregnant girlfriend (named, oddly enough, Katherine), Vincent is quite literally haunted by his encounters with Catherine: much of the gameplay centers around a series of nightmares where our protagonist must climb crumbling staircases, avoiding obstacles and death, to reach the top and survive the night.
While a patently adult-themed video game about the lurking horrors of modern relationships was initially quite intriguing to me, it’s this detail (along with the reported extreme difficulty of Catherine) that has me hesitating: will balancing the intricacies of Vincent’s life during the day and surviving the nightmarish puzzles every evening keep me locked in to the game for 20+ hours and across multiple varying endings?
As long as one of those endings doesn’t involve me sitting alone in my room, still wearing my powder-blue accented tuxedo while listening to The Cure’s “Pictures of You” on repeat, Catherine has to be more compelling and satisfying than Prom Night 1991 was.
Also out this week and worth mentioning: XBLA’s Summer of Arcade continues with From Dust, Eric Chahi’s (Out of This World) spiritual successor to Peter Molyneux’s 1989 game, Populous. In the game, players will assume control over the environmental elements in a barren archipelago in an attempt to allow a nomadic tribe to flourish. Sounds interminably boring to me but I know there’s a huge audience out there starving for modern “God-games” like this. PS3 and PC versions of From Dust will arrive later this year.
3DS gamers (both of us!) will be happy to see that there’s another release this week that might actually be worth playing: Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions brings six new versions of the classic Namco games to Nintendo’s handheld, including the addictive Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions. Surely those must be worth a $40 purchase, right? RIGHT?
Why can’t we have nice things? Critics loved some of June’s big new releases but gamers were mostly indifferent. In this week’s show, the VGH crew weighs in on this disturbing–but not terribly surprising–trend.
I hope you’ve cleared your schedule: Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade kicks off this week, and, as if in response, there’s plenty of new games out on the PlayStation Network as well. And this is just week one! Get ready for the palest, most shut-in summer ever!
Leading the Summer of Arcade charge is Supergiant Games’ Bastion, a 2D action game that’s fully narrated by what sounds like Morgan Freeman’s stand-in. The narration is definitely the most discussed aspect of the game, and I’m curious to see what it adds to the final experience.
Randy and I have talked about how much we enjoyed Limbo last year, and now PlayStation owners can finally try out this monochromatic and very macabre puzzle-platformer. If you enjoyed Braid and don’t mind the occasional enormous spider or surprise spike trap, then Limbo is highly worth a look.
SNK reminds everyone that it hasn’t forgotten about its Neo Geo Station initiative by adding a couple more games to the lineup. This week, it’s Baseball Stars 2 and The King of Fighters ’95, in both PS3 and PSP flavors. I have to confess I don’t know much about Baseball Stars, but KOF95 was a landmark entry for the long-running series as it allowed players to create their own, custom teams for the first time. It also marked the debut of Iori Yagami, a now-iconic character who’s almost synonymous with the KOF name. While it’s a little frustrating that SNK seems to be taking their time rereleasing their huge back catalog of games (even more painful when they sport a yearly label), if you’re in need of a 2D fighting fix or missed the whole KOF phenomenon, ’95 isn’t a bad place to start.
Dead Block kind of snuck up out of nowhere, but after watching the trailer they’ve put together I can say it’s definitely unique. Yes, it’s yet another zombie game, but this time you’re holed up in a building and have to setup doorway traps for the slow-moving zombies as they shamble from room to room. It’s sort of like tower defense, but not quite. Developer Candygun–which is an incredible name, by the way–has packed their strange sense of humor into every corner of the game, as when you’re not planting cardboard box masks on zombies’ heads, you’re killing them with the power of classic rock and roll. This is a strange one, for sure.
Finally, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions comes to PSN today. A cleaned-up version of one of my absolute favorite games, FFT has been out on UMD for some time, but now PSP Go owners (or just PSP owners who like to go the digital route) can grab a copy without leaving their couch. It’s got the same classic, tactical RPG gameplay that made the 1997 original so addictive, plus a brilliant reworking of Yasumi Matsuno’s twisting storyline about clashing armies and the lengths to which people go for power. If you have a PSP and haven’t played this update (or the original), please, please, please check it out.
Is that enough games to keep you inside this week? Let us know what you’ll be playing in the comments!
As you may have learned from Episode #13: The Nuclear Option, the arcade scene in the Bay Area is fighting hard to come back. Last week, I checked out Gamecenter in San Mateo, a brand new (opened last month!) arcade in downtown San Mateo. The owner, Myung Kim, is a former game developer who was inspired by the thriving Japanese arcade scene and hopes to bring some of that enthusiasm and sense of community to America.
So far, I’d say he’s doing a great job: When I dropped in, I found a huge, cheering crowd huddled around a row of fighting games, while the other end of the arcade was packed due to a Super Smash Bros. tournament in progress. There was even a guy attempting to teach his female friend the intricacies of giant robot-on-robot combat, for better or for worse. (Think what you will–you’ve got to give him points for enthusiasm.) All this was happening on a Sunday afternoon, which is hardly peak hours. I can’t wait to see it on a Thursday or Friday evening, which is when I’m told the biggest crowds show up.
If you’re in the San Mateo area, stop by Gamecenter and show your support! You might even learn a thing or two. They’re open Wednesday through Monday, from 3PM to midnight. For location and more info, visit their website and watch their Facebook page for up to the minute news on special events–like Super Street Fighter IV and Marvel VS Capcom 3 weeklies starting this weekend! You can also follow them on Twitter at @GCArcade.
Check out the gallery below for some photos! (Click to enlarge.)
Since they’re a bit nestled into an alley, they’ve put up a helpful sign right on the street to help you find the place. Also, thai food.
I was greeted by Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (posing as Tekken 6) and four linked cabinets of Japanese sensation Gundam VS Gundam NEXT. It’s not well-known in the States, but I hear the competition at Gamecenter can get downright fierce.
Six back-to-back, custom PS3 cabinets running Super Street Fighter IV AE, Marvel VS Capcom 3, Tekken 6, BlazBlue Continuum Shift II, and Arcana Heart 3. You need to buy a $7 wristband to play these, but that means unlimited play time until they close. I’ll say it again: unlimited play.
Fighting games not so much your thing? There’s a row of other games to hold your attention, and they’re no slouches: Next to the requisite Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (admittedly, a fighting game), there’s the criminally underrated Virtua Cop 3. Not pictured: Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom, Espgaluda II, Magical Drop III, and a cocktail cabinet playing classic games like Centipede.
Oh, and Ikaruga. My old nemesis, we meet again.
There’s an array of TVs at one side of the arcade where you can hook up consoles to play on. They’ll even rent you a Japanese Xbox 360 so you can try out some of the imports they have on hand.
(I won’t say anything here so you can just drool over this exceptional Neo Geo library.)
Various pieces of gaming memorabilia.
Gamers preparing for the Smash tournament. You can tell these guys were serious because they were all playing Melee and their characters looked like they were constantly having seizures.
On this week’s show: Gaming in the Digital Age! The crew wax poetic about how evolution in the gaming distribution landscape is a total GAME CHANGER. Guest stars this week include: Vegan Nuclear Bombs, Uncharted 3, Navi and someone named Steve???
It’s a pretty light week for new releases, but at least one of these is guaranteed to keep you glued to your controller so badly, you might gnaw off your own thumbs to escape.
That game, of course, is the sequel to Twisted Pixel’s ‘Splosion Man: Ms. ‘Splosion Man, naturally. The basic gameplay premise is the same: press A to explode–excuse me, ‘splode–yourself into the air, off walls, and through pesky scientists as you navigate a slew of platform-based puzzles. Early reports describe this as being a more refined game (Does that even makes sense when your sole action is to detonate yourself?) with better boss battles, an overworld map, and the much-hyped “2 Girls, 1 Controller” mode, where each analog stick controls a separate Ms. ‘Splosion Man. Commence the thumb gnawing.
Ms. ‘Splosion Man is out this Wednesday, exclusively on Xbox Live Arcade, for 800 Microsoft Points. Or, if you refuse to own an Xbox because of your Apple fanaticism, you can look forward to the inevitable iPhone knockoff sometime next year.
This week’s other big release is the meticulously timed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2), releasing for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PC, N64, Colecovision, Fisher Price See and Say, etc. A reliable source told me that our own Paul Sandhu is already camped out in line for it, even though someone already spoiled the ending for him. Even if you’re not a die-hard Potter fan, if you own a PS3, you might want to pick up a copy anyway since it supports the PlayStation Move and you can pretend that you’re playing that Sorcery game that they showed off at E3 2010. Remember when they were making that game?
Anyway. Motion-controlled wizardry or endless explosions. Take your pick.
On this week’s show: games! Specifically, the guilty pleasures and bargain-bin treasures that keep us entertained between all of those Big Important Games we play. We’ve scoured our collections for the titles that we’d categorize as “so bad it’s good” or “too cheap to suck” and included our favorites here. If that isn’t enough, we’ve also got sweat, dude-bros, James Bond and swanky new music by Brother Android. So good it burns!
I did my share of defending America’s (and Earth’s!) independence from giant insect overlords this weekend, but it turns out that was only the first wave. This week’s new releases challenges you to fight against a new group of threats, whether they be human, alien, or… simian?
The evil Ravager aliens return in D3′s Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. The sequel to the 360-exclusive Earth Defense Force 2017, Insect Armageddon finally brings the thrill of shooting swarms of 20-foot-tall ants to the PlayStation 3. That’s pretty much all there is to it: Expect to mow down wave after wave of giant ants, spiders, and robots (obviously) with an ever-increasing arsenal of weapons. It sounds shallow, but the original game was addictive and more fun than it had the right to be, possibly due to it feeling like being right in the middle of an awful SyFy channel movie, right down to the unintentionally hilarious dialogue. Insect Armageddon also adds much-needed online co-op for up to three players, so you won’t have to confront your arachnophobia alone.
If you’re looking for something a little more family-friendly, you might want to take a look at the new Ape Escape game for the PlayStation Move, suitably titled PlayStation Move Ape Escape. This PSN game comes with a handful of levels and a selection of motion-controlled tools to help you round up those pesky, belightbulbed monkeys that have been running rampant since the 1960s. The gameplay is simple and straightforward, but it’s actually kind of fun and it looks great. Also, I think those cartoon monkeys are kind of hilarious. There’s a demo in the PlayStation Store if you want to test your ape-catching skills first.
Lastly, in case you missed our Twitter giveaway last week, the Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception multiplayer beta is now available to all PlayStation 3 owners. It’s basically the same multiplayer formula that Naughty Dog put together for Uncharted 2, but they’ve added a cool buddy system and some new abilities that add a few more layers of depth to the gameplay, which was already pretty brilliant to begin with. Once you’ve downloaded it, be sure to check back regularly since they’re rotating through different maps and game modes for the duration of the beta.
Have you already had a chance to try the Uncharted beta? Let us know what you think in the comments!
If you’ve listened to Episode #11: Cartoon Animal Abuse, you’ll remember I talked about Southtown Arcade in San Francisco. Here are a few photos I took in case you were wondering what it looks like when you start up a brand new arcade! (Click for larger versions.)
The entrance is unassuming. From across the street, you’d have no idea it’s filled with a horde of people beating the crap out of each other. (Virtually, of course.)
The inside. It’s a small space, but they’ve packed it wall-to-wall with Japanese-style arcade cabinets. (There’s another row of cabinets along the opposite wall which you can’t see.) Spectators observe players’ fighting skills while eagerly awaiting their turn. Get your quarter up!
Two fighters go at it in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Since MvC3 doesn’t have an official arcade version, this is actually a custom cabinet running the PlayStation 3 version. (Don’t worry, it’s got a traditional stick and buttons instead of a couple DualShocks.)
The hand-drawn sprites of The King of Fighters XIII look incredible on this screen. This player opted to test out his moves with a few sessions of training mode.
The Southtown guys prove they’re running a classy joint with this gorgeous poster of Shinkiro’s art from SVC Chaos. (Then they prove they’re true fighting game purists by not featuring an actual SVC Chaos machine.) A few more posters of fighting game art adorn the walls.
If you’re in or around San Francisco and you have even the slightest interest in arcade games, definitely check out Southtown Arcade! It’s easy to get advice from some of the players there if you’re a beginner, and if you’re not fighting-game-inclined, there are some other standbys like Metal Slug, Windjammers (a personal favorite), and the super-hardcore Tetris: The Grand Master 3: Terror Instinct. (Yes, that’s the real name.) They’ve also recently added Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, so you can get your Phoenix Smasher on.
We’re back! Taking inspiration from their favorite books, movies, and TV shows, the VGH crew is wishing, hoping, and dreaming of video game adaptations that probably won’t ever see the light of day. Plus: Paul finally gets bitten by the DQIX bug, D.J. leaves the house, and Randy is easily offended. In the community theater segment, we hope to not get sued by the creators of Sam and Max.
It seems like the dry spell may be coming to an end for 3DS owners. We recently saw the opening of the 3DS eShop and its surprisingly tasteful selection of classic Gameboy games, and this week, the handheld is getting its first, definite must-have title in the form of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Nintendo’s given Link’s classic N64 adventure some much-needed, modern visuals and what’s being called the best use of 3D yet. There’s also a convenient touchscreen menu interface (sure to come in handy for any submerged temples you come across) and a second quest that should give veterans something to do even if they’ve already memorized the original game. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve played Zelda 64, so I am officially interested. That’s +1 game I’d like to play on the 3DS.
Shadows of the Damned is decidedly different. It’s a third-person action game and a collaboration between Resident Evil‘s Shinji Mikami and the always-eyebrow-raising Suda 51. You can definitely see both developers’ influence as the game plays a bit like a new-school Resident Evil with a completely insane sense of humor, although both the action and characters feel pretty stale. For instance, the main character is yet another rugged, Hispanic man who constantly scowls and calls the bad guys cabrones. Is there a single person left who thinks this archetype is novel, let alone amusing? I have to give them credit for the neon-lit, Día de los Muertos-esque take on Hell, but I’ll probably pass on the game. I am totally itching to hear the soundtrack, though, which was provided by Silent Hill‘s Akira Yamaoka.
Finally, F.3.A.R. is out this week. I think I’ve mistakenly included it in a couple past Play More Games, only to find that it suffered yet another last-minute delay. I’m pretty sure you can actually buy it now. I’m 99% certain. Call ahead just in case.
Long have gamers waited for this day. When Final Fantasy VII first arrived on Western shores in 1997, few could have foreseen the extent to which it would change the gaming landscape. It turned an entire generation onto JRPGs starring spiky-haired heroes and started Square Enix (back then, simply “Square”) down the path to becoming a global superpublisher. Yet even after countless sequels and spinoffs, many of the series’s fans would argue that nothing has come close to recapturing the magic they experienced when they played Final Fantasy VII for the first time. For years, the fans pleaded with Square Enix for a remake.
Now, in 2011, they’ve delivered:is finally available for the PlayStation 3 after years in development. Similar to the PS3 tech demo first shown on the back in 2005, Reunion HD reunites players with Cloud Strife and the world of Final Fantasy VII, this time with the same imaginative environments rendered in real-time in 1080p and Nobuo Uematsu’s classic score, reorchestrated and presented in 7.1 surround. You’re also sure to run into all your favorite characters (and maybe a few new ones) along the way.
Before the release of Half-Life in 1998, people saw FPS games like Quake and that other game as a venue for shooting their friends. Now it’s impossible to read about a new FPS without hearing about the unprecedented levels of immersion, the advanced enemy AI, and the enthralling storyline. With each new Half-Life game, developer Valve has managed to push the boundaries of first-person shooters a little farther, and the results have been unequivocably brilliant.
This week’sis no different. (SPOILER WARNING) While it’s already been leaked that the game jumps ahead a bit and begins with Gordon Freeman and company already struggling over what to do with the experiment from the recovered Borealis vessel, where the story goes from there is anyone’s guess. Expect to see other players’ influence on your own trip through the campaign thanks to Valve’s new “enhanced singleplayer” philosophy, and keep an eye out for a surprise cameo from a popular Portal character. (No, it’s not who you think. No, not her, either.) Episode Three is available now in stores and, of course, via Steam.
Originally announced back in 1997, Duke Nukem Forever promised to be a wise-cracking, alien-blasting follow-up to the surprise hit, Duke Nukem 3D. During its comically long stint in development, we’ve seen entire series like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty rise up and conquer the industry. Gearbox Software, the developer who rescued the game from the husk of 3D Realms, is betting that Duke still has what it takes to win over a generation of gamers who probably never even played Duke 3D.
Early reviews paint a grim picture of a clunky first-person shooter that’s been muddled thanks to a decade of redesigns and developer departures, but let’s be realistic: There’s little chance any game could survive 14 years in development and come out intact, let alone live up to its hyperbolic expectations. Any well-informed gamer starting up DNF has hopefully tempered theirs and will understand what they’re getting: an artifact of a bygone era of gaming that’s been dragged into a new one via a near endless chain of questionable decisions. It’s here more as a formality—for our observation and for closure instead for entertainment—but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s finally here.
Yes, Duke Nukem Forever is out today.
The VGH crew offer their fascinating insight and biting commentary on the big announcements from E3 2011. Kinect, PlayStation Vita, Wii U—nothing is safe in this mini-episode to end all mini-episodes!
Microsoft Conference: 3:05
Sony Conference: 24:55
Nintendo Conference: 43:09
D.J.: I mentioned that the new 3DS Animal Crossing trailer showed indoor furniture (specifically, torches) placed outside. It turns out that the torches were just in a room where the wallpaper made it look like it was outside. There will still be new objects like benches and lamp posts outside, though.