One of my favorite Halloween-themed RPGs of last year, Costume Quest, has just been released for PC and you can find it right here on Steam. It’s worth noting that this is the first PC release from Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions in six years.
When I played Costume Quest last year, I was immediately won over by its cartoonish style, its charming wit, and its highly-approachable gameplay. It’s also the only game I’ve ever played that had an Arrested Development reference in it. I’ve never really been a fan of turn-based combat in games, but I found myself surprisingly satisfied by Costume Quest’s simple, straight-forward battles. However, if you’re a long-time RPG player, you may find the game’s mechanics a little too thin for your tastes.
Having said that, some may find the $14.99 asking price a little steep, considering it was released a year ago on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network for that same amount. This PC version does include the Grubbins on Ice DLC, which adds a bit of extra value to the package. I’m sure it’ll inevitably have its price slashed as part of a future Steam sale, but due to the game’s Halloween theme, there’s no better time than now to play it.
What do you think? Is it reasonable to ask full price for a year-old game, even if it’s the first time it’s been made available on a particular platform or should games be offered at a discounted price in these types of situations? If you’ve played Costume Quest, what did you think of it? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know what you think!
As mentioned in the Last Call section of VGH #25, season 2 of The Walking Dead premieres this weekend on AMC. If you’re not caught up, don’t worry – Season 1 is on Netflix streaming. So, Sunday night is on quarantine, but where does that leave us the rest of the weekend? Allow us to pick your brain – drop a note in the comments and let us know what’s on your gaming agenda this weekend!
It’s almost time for the annual Extra Life gaming marathon for charity, where gamers around the country team up to play for 24 hours straight to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since 2008, Extra Life has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for these hospitals, all thanks to the generosity of gamers like you.
Unfortunately, because of some last-minute scheduling conflicts, Video Game Hangover won’t be able to participate in this year’s marathon. If you’ve already joined Team VGH or were planning to support us, we’d like to recommend you redirect your support to Jeromy Adams, captain of Team Sarcastic Gamer and one of the founders of Extra Life.
We regret that we won’t be able to stay up all night playing games, but we hope that you’ll still be a part of this amazing opportunity for gamers to help children in need by doing something they love.
How hard is too hard? The recent release of Dark Souls has us talking about insanely difficult games. In The Hangover, we’re shocked to hear which game Randy is actually enjoying. We’ve also got a contest winner, Viewer Mail, and a zombie-fied Last Call.
There’s been disappointingly little buzz about Aliens: Infestation, so I’m making it my responsibility to tell you about it. First of all, this isn’t Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox Software’s console FPS that’s due out sometime next year. Infestation is a 2D, sidescrolling shooter that drops you and a squad of marines back onto xenomorph-infested planet LV-426 to rescue fellow soldiers, who will live or die based on your split-second decisions. You’ll wield classic weapons like flamethrowers, smart guns, and, of course, the M41A pulse rifle, and maybe even drive a power loader or two. Developer WayForward is the studio that brought us the excellent Contra 4 and, more recently, BloodRayne: Betrayal, although Infestation looks a bit more Metroidvania than the all-out action of the former two games. However it ends up playing, I am firmly on the ready line.
So it was confirmed today that Mass Effect 3 is going to have a multiplayer component. Casey Hudson, executive producer of the Mass Effect series confirmed via twitter that at the very least we’ll be having co-op multiplayer missions. He didn’t say anymore than that though, I assume it is because any more details would surely break the 140 tweet character limit. True to form, posters on the official Bioware forums have exploded with their typical acerbic attitude (P.S. don’t visit the official Bioware forums unless you want your head to explode.) But honestly, I cannot see the reasoning behind such anger other than maybe being upset at Bioware for being so damned hesitant to confirm the multiplayer rumours over the last couple of months. But even so, people just need to freaking relax. Side note: I like how the release date delay till next year makes a lot more sense now!
The typical fall onslaught of big-budget blockbuster games is nearly upon us, but before we find ourselves entirely engrossed with bat-men, battlefields, and assassins, let’s take a look at a less-weighty title that’s available right now. At first glance, Playstation Network-exclusive Rochard might appear to be just another side-scrolling action game, but once you get into the swing of things, you’ll find an incredibly satisfying mix of platforming, puzzles, physics, and puns, courtesy of Finnish studio Recoil Games. (more…)
Several weeks ago, I had never even heard of Cubixx HD, only learning of it a few days before its release on the PlayStation Network. Things have changed since then. I’m now all too familiar with it: When I close my eyes, I can see its neon-lit, geometric enemies patrolling the six-sided playing field. I can still feel the controller in my hands as I guide my cutting laser across one of the cube’s surfaces. And, most of all, I can hear the electronic KA-CLANG that announces I’ve died and it’s time to try again. There’s a good chance that if you spend any time with Cubixx HD, you’ll find yourself in a similar situation. But let’s go back a bit first. (more…)
But wait, there’s more! Not content with releasing seven PSN exclusives over the next four weeks, they also casually mentioned that they’re kicking off the month by pulling a handful of classics out of the PlayStation 2’s back catalog and putting them up for sale on the PSN. That’s right–PlayStation 2 games on the PS3! Cue the floodgates of gamers begging for re-releases of their favorite discs, or the cynics saying that this was Sony’s plan all along when they phased out backwards compatibility. Personally, I’m happy to see Sony making this surprisingly tasteful lineup of obscure games available to a new generation of gamers.
So what PlayStation 2 games will you be playing in October of 2011?
First, my personal favorite: God Hand, the outrageous 3D brawler from now-shuttered Clover Studio that’s famous for its litany of martial arts moves, an insane sense of humor as only Japan can deliver (absolutely don’t miss the trailer), and for having no illusions that it’s “ball-bustingly hard.” Here’s what I had to say about it back in 2006:
God Hand is the greatest baseball batting, face stomping, button mashing, uppercutting, crotch kicking, drunken boxing, rocket launching, kick-me signing, arm chopping, gay bashing, barrel rolling, demon spawning, haymaking, clown crushing, wall clipping, poker playing, repeatedly continuing, mach speed pummeling, woman spanking, mighty morphing, Devo singing, massive damaging, chihuahua racing, Clover closing, double-or-nothing, surf rocking, gorilla suplexing game I’ve played this year. STRONGLY ENDORSE.
Five years later, I still strongly recommend you show your support for God Hand. Maybe Capcom will listen up and put Gene into Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Arcade Edition.
In this week’s show: a new member approaches! The Crew talk about what makes a game “Timeless”, and we chat a little about Gears of War 3, Rusty Hearts and Cubixx HD. Also: Earn more entries for our Ico HD contest!
When I first tried playing Bastion, I wasn’t quite sure what all the fuss was about. In fact, after I played the demo, I sort of shrugged a little, deleted it, and went about my day. All I had really known about the game prior to its release was that it had a hand-painted look and that it was dynamically narrated. While the demo indeed confirmed that the game featured both of these elements, the relatively brief slice of the game on display didn’t exactly leave me clamoring for more. I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed by what was supposed to be one of the marquee titles of Microsoft’s “Summer of Arcade” promotion. I ultimately ended up purchasing the full game after seeing and hearing the overwhelmingly positive reception it had been receiving. Once I began to really dig into it, I found my initial lukewarm feelings were completely turned around. What I had initially thought was just a mediocre hack-and-slash affair turned out to be so excellent that it might just be the best downloadable title of 2011. (more…)
Wow! It has finally arrived. This week’s biggest, NAY… this week’s COLOSSAL release is one our most anticipated releases of the year! But absolutely horrible puns aside, we here at VGH could not be more excited about the release of the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection. In our latest episode which is due to drop (things aren’t released, but dropped now right?) on Thursday, I very briefly talk about how my first go around with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are one of my great gaming shames. I wasn’t in a very good place in my personal life at the and I think it cannot be overstated that our real lives can, and do, have a serious impact on our enjoyment of our recreational time. Long story short, I tried both of these games when they were first released and I did not enjoy myself at all. Now usually I would chalk this up to simply a difference in taste but I think deep down I knew there was something special about team Ico’s lead designer Fumito Ueda’s minimalist approach to game design.
Perhaps I just wasn’t ready, who knows. But I think it is simply fantastic that we’re getting two games that are almost universally lauded as modern day masterpieces, re-released in full HD. Clearly, we feel strongly enough about this release that we’re even running a contest this week so we can get a copy of this collection in the hands of just one more gamer. My co-hosts simply cannot stop talking about how amazing these games are and I feel so lucky that I am getting a second chance to play them for the first time. I don’t remember much, if anything about either title so this is going to be a pretty interesting experience for me. Clearly my expectations are sky high, but something tells me that they are going to be met with gusto!
Maybe I’m making a bigger deal of this release (I’m not) than it really is, but if you’ve ever listened to the show, you know just how much I appreciate artsy games. Developers that simply attempt to make games that break out of standard AAA mould are usually relegated to indie status and don’t always get the support of large publishers, kudos to Sony for having the conviction to give these games a second release with such support. Also as a tiny, but incredibly awesome gesture towards hardcore fans, you can actually flip the game’s paper inlay/cover art around and have the original Japanese and EU box art designed by Mr. Ueda himself for your display. That’s just classy as hell if you ask me.
So… are you getting the Ico HD collection? Are you as excited about this release as we are? Let us know in the comments, and for crying out loud, enter our contest if you want a shot at a FREE copy of these games!
Once again, here’s D.J. with more of this week’s releases:
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Classic Trilogy HD (PS3) – After numerous delays, PlayStation 3 owners finally get to experience Sam Fisher’s first three stealth missions in HD. For a bargain price of $40 for either the disc or digital download, you get the original Splinter Cell and its sequels, Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, all together in a convenient bundle. While it’s a huge disappointment that Ubisoft neglected to include the latter two games’ groundbreaking spies-vs.-mercenaries multiplayer modes, there’s still some quality sneaking to be found in the single player campaigns, and don’t forget Amon Tobin’s excellent Chaos Theory soundtrack.
Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X HD (XBLA, PSN) – Regarded as one of the finest of the original Resident Evil games (AKA pre-Resident Evil 4), Code: Veronica follows Claire and Chris Redfield as they continue to unravel the secrets of the Umbrella Corporation, all while dealing with pesky zombies and giant spiders. Originally debuting on the Dreamcast in 2000, RE:C:VX returns with an HD makeover, as seems to be the theme this week.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition (DSiWare) – Nintendo’s giving DSi and 3DS owners another gift this week to celebrate Zelda‘s 25th Anniversary: a retooled, DSiWare edition of one of Link’s more offbeat adventures. This was originally meant to be played on the Gamecube using four linked Gameboy Advances, and although you can still group with three other friends, supposedly they’ve made it easier to play solo this time around. Knowing Nintendo, the multiplayer is probably local wifi only, but hey, free Zelda game (provided you download it before February 20th, 2012).
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (PSN) – After debuting on Xbox Live Arcade last summer, Konami’s strange Castlevania mash-up is coming to the PSN, with all of its many, many DLC packs included for free. Differing from the 2D Castlevania games of the last few years, Harmony of Despair is a multiplayer, co-op affair that lets players choose one of their favorite Castlevania heroes and make their way through a smaller version of Dracula’s castle before fighting one of the series’s bosses. Personally, this isn’t my preferred way to play Castlevania, but it’s garnered something of a cult following so it may be worth a look.
Mercury Hg (PSN, XBLA) – After its previous outings in Mercury Meltdown on the PSP and Mercury Meltdown Revolution on the Wii, the heroic blob of molten metal (Is it the same blob every time?) is making its jump to an HD system, in case the awful pun threw you off. Guide as much of the little blob as possible to the end of a maze that’s part Marble Madness and part miniature golf. It’s more fun than it sounds, and is definitely way safer than playing with the real thing!
Rochard (PSN) – Rochard has you playing as the titular space miner as he deals with aliens invading his asteroid workplace. It’s a 2D platformer where you use your gravity-gun-like weapon to manipulate objects and lower gravity to help you traverse the environment. Check out some trailers of the game in action here.
Child of Eden (PS3) – Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s successor to Rez is finally, finally out for the PS3. Instead of the 360’s Kinect peripheral, players can use multiple Move controllers to shoot down waves of enemies threatening an AI program. It’s also in stereoscopic 3D–recommended if it’s been a while since you saw your dealer. (Note: Video Game Hangover does not endorse the use of psychotropic drugs while playing Tetsuya Mizuguchi games.)
We’ve mentioned on the show how excited we are that two of our favorite games, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, are getting rereleased in gorgeous HD (and with a stable framerate!) on the PlayStation 3. We’re equally excited to give one lucky listener the chance to experience these games themselves by giving away a copy of this brand new collection, which is finally out this week!
There are two ways to enter to win. The first is easy: Just follow us on Twitter and retweet this message:
RT and follow @vghangover for a chance to win the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection for PS3! http://j.mp/qxaijM #vghangover
By doing this, you’ll receive one entry into the contest. Tune into this Thursday’s episode, VGH #24, to find out another way to enter and increase your chances of winning!
The contest will run until Monday, October 3rd at 3 PM Eastern, and we’ll randomly choose a winner around 5 PM. Make sure you’re following us and include the #vghangover tag in your tweet so we can find your contest entry!
One final note: this contest is only open to those with a mailing address in the U.S. or Canada.
It’s difficult for me to write a review of Human Revolution without calling back to the original Deus Ex and its sequel. Deus Ex is still widely regarded as nothing short of a masterpiece for its execution of a groundbreaking mix of various game play and storytelling elements. In fact, 11 years later, I have a hard time thinking of many games that have matched Deus Ex in that particular regard. It isn’t easy to make a sequel to a game of such outstanding pedigree as the luke warm reception to Invisible War will show you. What Eidos Montreal has pulled off with Human Revolution is a pretty rare feat in this industry. They’ve not only paid homage to an incredible game, but they have eclipsed the original title in many ways.
Gun-toting soldiers kill aliens on a far-off planet. These words could be used to describe nearly every triple-A best-seller on the Xbox 360 in the last 6 years.
Gears of War 3 is my great gaming guilty pleasure. I’m well aware of how easy it is to dismiss Gears for lacking in creativity and for catering to the least-intellectual portion of the gaming public. I believe that Gears is a genre in itself, though. The third-person, cover-based shooter? Gears pretty much invented that. Co-op campaigns? Gears has had ‘em all along and continues to do it better than just about any competitor. The now-obligatory Horde Mode? Gears did it first. If you take any of the staples of modern shooters and trace them back to their origins, it’s easy to see that the folks at Epic have either outright created them or taken them and made them better.
With Gears of War 3, out today, it appears that Epic is now updating their own conventions in the interest of making them….well, a lot less conventional. Gears 3 includes no less than six different multiplayer modes, including a new version of Horde that incorporates tower defense elements and a new Beast Mode that allows you to play as some of the series’ more eccentric enemy types. Co-op now allows 4 players and includes diverging objectives across a massive 12-hour campaign.
Sure, Gears isn’t exactly Shakespeare…but how many games are, really? Early reviews of Gears of War 3 seem to indicate that Epic is raising the bar here, as well, citing the game’s convincing character development and moments of surprising emotional depth. Who knew Marcus Fenix was such a softy underneath all of that armor?
And now, D.J. weighs in on the rest of this week’s games:
Resident Evil 4 HD (XBLA, PSN) – Coincidentally, the game that practically invented the modern third-person shooter gets an HD facelift this week. Although the graphics are definitely showing their age, RE4 is still one of the finest games ever made and is worth trying if you somehow haven’t played any of its numerous iterations over the last five years. I already own two versions of it and I have to admit that I’m considering making this the third.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 (DS) – It’s like Dragon Quest, except you command a team of the series’s iconic monsters to do the battling for you. Expect to lose a few hundred more hours as you train your monsters and watch them evolve into new species that are both terrifying and adorable. Ooh, and you can battle your friends online this time, too.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 – Innocent Sin (PSP) – In case you’re wondering why there was so much fan excitement when Atlus announced this for the U.S., it’s because this is the first time this chapter of the Persona saga has been officially released in English. (Some potentially controversial content prevented the game from being localized on the original PlayStion.) Either gaming is growing up or Atlus couldn’t bear the thought of another decade of angry fan letters and online petitions.
Kirby Mass Attack (DS) – Control up to 10 Kirbys at once in this fully stylus-controlled game. Kirby: Canvas Curse, another stylus-only Kirby game, was the first DS game that really demonstrated the handheld’s potential to me, so I can’t wait to try out this spiritual sequel. It looks like there’s even some 2D shooting mixed in.
Burnout Crash! (PSN, XBLA) – In a strange reversal of the direction they took with Burnout Paradise, Criterion Games has taken its cataclysmic racing series and thrown out the actual racing in favor of focusing on just Crash mode, which now plays out from a top-down perspective. It’s an interesting move since I know Crash mode had quite a niche of followers who were disappointed by its absence in Paradise, but I can’t thinking it loses a lot of its appeal when you aren’t witnessing the ensuing chaos down at the street level in gritty photorealism.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection (PSN, PC) – Hey, PlayStation and PC owners: You can finally grab this final Nazi zombie map pack, including one that takes place on the moon. Of course!
Cubixx HD (PSN) – I didn’t hear about this until recently, but it’s essentially a reworking of the classic Qix, except this time the playing field is wrapped around a 3D cube, and there’s… multiplayer deathmatch? I’m a fan of the original, so they’ve got my attention. Watch the trailer here.
Altered Beast (PSN) – WISE FWOM YOUR GWAVE. POWERRR UP! You know what this is.
Between fruitlessly trying to teach myself how to play Street Fighter III and following the Soulcalibur V and Street Fighter X Tekken news coming out of TGS, I’ve had fighting games on the brain lately. And, somewhat inspired by Capcom’s surprise announcement that they’ll be releasing past Street Fighter soundtracks to use in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online, I thought it would be a good time to serve up a selection of my favorite fighting game themes. Following Paul’s lead from our last installment, let’s kick it off with one of the great classics:
At the height of their popularity in the 90s, fighting game characters would each have their own unique stage, and along with it, their own theme song that represented their background and personality. If you’re an arcade veteran, hearing any of those themes is sure to drum up powerful emotions on both ends of the spectrum—whether it’s because you spent hours perfecting moves with your first “main,” or because you had to hear the song endlessly since it belonged to that one rival that always shut you down. No matter which way you think of him, Street Fighter’s Ryu has one of the most memorable themes of any fighter, from the adrenaline-pumping bassline to the synth melody that’s always sounded strangely wistful to me—perfect for Ryu’s melodramatic, neverending search for new battles.
All the arcades I’ve been to seemed to only have either Street Fighter III: New Generation or 3rd Strike, so I’ve never actually played 2nd Impact, the middle game in the trilogy. But, that hasn’t stopped me from logging some serious hours with the soundtrack, which originally got my attention because it was so weird—a blend of jazz, drum and bass, and even some Brazilian samba. It’s definitely not your typical fighting game music. This track comes from Sean’s stage in Brazil, and a variation of it plays during the bonus stage when he helps you practice parrying.
The King of Fighters '96 – Arashi no Saxophone #2 (Iori Yagami Team)
SNK was dropping jazz influence into its King of Fighters soundtracks long before Street Fighter III got the idea. This is probably the most memorable song to me out of the series’s nearly 20-year run. It’s Iori’s theme, and I always like to imagine it’s actually him playing the saxophone. It seems like kind of an antiheroic thing to do on his days off.
This one’s just silly, but I still love it. The third entry in the Darkstalkers/Vampire series went full-on dance/electronica for most of its soundtrack, so it’s just natural that Hsien-ko, the Chinese ghost, would have this Asianized dance track playing in her idyllic garden stage.
It’s always fun to hear a different take on a favorite song—it might be a cover that casts it in a completely different light, or it could just do enough things differently to give you new appreciation of the original. In this case, Keiki Kobayashi took one of Soulcalibur III‘s songs—a solid track, although admittedly not one of my favorites at the time—and reworked it for the sequel. The result comes off as more majestic and less frantic, with a deliberate, dramatic opening that gives way to an anthemic rendition of the original. It’s an excellent accompaniment to the stage itself, which has you dueling on a raft traveling down a castle’s moonlit moat.
And speaking of alternate versions, I’ll wrap up with one of the best. This is Balrog’s (M. Bison in Japan) stage, remixed by the legendary Yuzo Koshiro for this album made to celebrate Street Fighter’s 15 anniversary. To me, Yuzo Koshiro is synonymous with ActRaiser‘s orchestral soundtrack, so it always puts a huge grin on my face knowing that he’s capable of something like this.
What’s your song of choice to have playing as you land that sneaky surprise attack at the start of the round? Let us know in the comments!
The recent PSN update of Elevator Action prompts the VGH crew to discuss rules and regulations for remaking classic games. We’ve also got sexy poutine, Deus Ex memes, the obligatory Monster Hunter segment and some amazing new music by DJ FINISH HIM!
In the mood to play something besides the shooter-of-the-week? Universe Sandbox, the offbeat game-slash-astronomer’s-playground is just what you need. Listen to our impressions in Episode 22 and then hurry back because we’re giving away a copy of the complete version on Steam!
RT and follow @vghangover for a chance to win Universe Sandbox on Steam! http://j.mp/oRjtUA #vghangover
The contest will run until Monday, September 19th at 3 PM Eastern, and we’ll randomly choose a winner around 5 PM. Make sure you’re following us and include the #vghangover tag in your tweet so we can find your contest entry!
Many thanks to creator Dan Dixon for sharing the game with us and making this possible!