July 18, 2012

Summer Backlog Attack 2012, Week 3

Summer Backlog Attack 2012, Week 3

We chatted a bit about StarCraft: Ghost last week on the show–one game that unfortunately won’t be gracing anyone’s backlog any time soon.

Not that we need the extra weight, of course. Making slow progress and not really enjoying myself, I threw in the towel on Psychonauts, instead starting up Mega Man ZX Advent and enjoying that much more. I may go revisit Tim Schafer’s classic later on, but for now I’m enjoying shooting reploids with my megabuster.

Meanwhile, Paul was still treading water in Bioshock and Randy was still busy at work to even think about the backlog. Besides, there was a new Walking Dead episode out! Check out the episode for their impressions, and tune in this week to find out if anyone gets out of their rut!

July 13, 2012

VGHomework: In the Cloud

Gaikai/StarCraft: Ghost

Every weekend, the VGH crew answers a few follow-up questions from that week’s episode, then turns the floor over to you! This is VGHomework.

We dove a bit into some gaming news this week on the show, first speculating about what Sony will do with their Gaikai purchase, and then getting all misty over some promising games that never saw release.

Q: Have you tried a cloud gaming service like Gaikai or OnLive? Could you ever foresee trading your disc-based/digital download console for one?
Paul (@spaulsandhu): I’ve never tried a cloud gaming service before but when we were spitballing on the show the idea of a Netflix style service but for games came up. I would definitely be interested in a service like that especially if it gave us access to a library of classic games! Man I really hope that comes to pass…

Matt (@mkernan): I’ve dabbled with OnLive a little bit in the past. I came away pretty impressed overall with the responsiveness of the system and the fact that I could play popular PC games on my Mac. I think I could eventually see myself moving to an all-streaming situation, but for the time being I’ll stick with my traditional consoles.

Q: What’s the best way Sony could incorporate the cloud into the PlayStation 4 or Vita?
Matt: I think the current conditions with broadband penetration and speeds in the US mean that there’s not a chance in hell of the PlayStation 4 being all-streaming, but I’d really like to see Sony use Gaikai’s technology to implement 100% backward compatibility. Heck, maybe even just use it to give the users the ability to start playing new games instantly–start off by streaming the game to us, while the full game itself is slowly downloading in the background. I’d be happy to temporarily put up with an ever-so-slight latency and slightly-degraded visuals in a PS4 game just to be able to jump directly into it the moment I’ve purchased it. The technology could make demos far easier to swallow too.

Aside from that, I’d like to see them use the streaming technology to create a much more fluid experience where I can play all of my PlayStation games on any device I own.

Q: What canceled game were you most looking forward to playing and why?
D.J. (@metaly): I mentioned it on the show, but Front Mission 5 and Monster Hunter Portable 3rd are the two biggest casualties in terms of Japanese games that never got their chance in the West. I guess they weren’t technically canceled since they did see an overseas release, but I’d love to be able to play games without having to futz with a fan translation patch.

Q: If StarCraft: Ghost actually came out, what game(s) should it be most similar to?
D.J.: I’d love to see a campaign with a little more deliberately paced stealth, like Splinter Cell pre-… Kind of like Chaos Theory but set in the StarCraft universe. The multiplayer could be larger scale, with ghosts just being one class you could play, alongside squads of marines and StarCraft‘s iconic vehicles. I think they were originally planning to have players infiltrate the other side’s floating Command Centers, and… wait, isn’t that just Battlefield 2142?

Is there cloud gaming in your future? What are some canned titles you wish you could play right now? Let us know in the comments!

July 12, 2012

VGH #61: Man in a Vent Shaft

VGH #61: Man in a Vent Shaft

Sony’s purchase of cloud-gaming company Gaikai has us wondering about the future of shiny plastic discs. Also: THQ’s near-cancellation of The Devil’s Third gets us talking about some potentially good games that never saw the light of day.

In the Hangover, we offer a quick update on our Summer Backlog Project, survive The Walking Dead: Starved for Help and the tap to the beat of Final Fantasy: Theatrhythm.

Lastly, we’ve got your Tweets and comments, a reminder to set your DVR for the new season of Breaking Bad, a celebration of 25 years of Metal Gear, and a fun foodie recommendation.


July 9, 2012

Summer Backlog Attack 2012, Week 2

Summer Backlog Attack 2012, Week 2

We checked in on our backlog progress in Episode 60. Paul has already blown through Enslaved and has made a fair amount of progress in Bioshock, although he’s not exactly loving it. I ran into a similar situation with Psychonauts–I can see why it garners so much praise, but its flavor of 3D platforming isn’t really my thing. Meanwhile, Randy wasn’t doing much of anything, but he may have been distracted by all the short skirts and zombies in Lollipop Chainsaw.

Will I overcome my platforming apathy and make it to the end (or at least to the next level) of Psychonauts? Will Paul have an epiphany that turns him into an FPS die-hard? Will Randy ever relive those two lost hours of Radiant Historia?? (If only he could go back in time and avert that disaster in the first place.) Tune in to this week’s episode to find out!

Until then: If you’ve got a backlog, does it contain more “short” games like Enslaved or Bioshock, or is it the longer games that end up going unplayed?

July 6, 2012

VGHomework: NSFW

Oh, hello.

This week’s show was even randier than usual since we were talking gaming and sex! Now it’s time for your hosts to answer a few questions the morning after:

Q: Is sex in games exciting, or does it make you roll your eyes?
Matt (@mkernan): I think that if it’s done well in terms of writing, acting, and animation, it has the potential to be great. Most of the “sex appeal” I’ve seen in games tends toward the pointless and exploitative end of the spectrum though.

Q: Have you ever played a game because you were attracted to one of the characters?
Randy (@randy_wrecked): Bayonetta. I had zero interest in the mechanics of that game but I found the character smokin’ hot. I played it on the easiest difficulty just to get it out of my system.

Q: What’s your sexiest gaming moment and why?
Paul (@spaulsandhu): Sexiest moment in gaming for me would probably be the sex scene in Witcher 2 between Geralt and Triss in the elven pool. It has just the right amount of lady butt, man butt, but in all seriousness it was a really nice combination of explicit sex and tenderness that came together in a scene that didn’t cause me to roll my eyes. It was really well done.

Q: Who has the best butt in gaming?
Paul: Best butt in gaming is pretty obvious, feast your eyes on this.

Randy: D.J. Ross does, of course.

Matt: Miranda Lawson.

D.J.: Well, Matt and Randy already stole my choices, so I’ll have to go with the dancer from Final Fantasy IV that they actually censored in the original SNES release. Yow!

Don’t be shy! Let us know if you think games have grown up enough to handle this subject matter, or if they still have some maturing to do.

Image credits: Super Adventures in Gaming, Bioware forums

July 5, 2012

VGH #60: What a Downer

VGH #60: What a Downer

We’re getting all hot and bothered this week, and not just because it’s 103 degrees outside. The release of Lollipop Chainsaw prompts a decidedly PG-13 conversation about sex, sexuality and video games. NSFW!

Paul and D.J. are working their way through their backlogs and offer quick updates on Psychonauts and Bioshock.

We’ve also got thoughts on the new Mass Effect ending, Andrew Garfield’s pre-Spider-Man work, and the tenuous threads between Dane Cook and Capcom.


July 3, 2012

Play More Games: Theatrhyththrymthrhynmythm

omg look at their adorable stupid faces

Each week in Play More Games, members of the VGH team will chime in on the new video game releases that have piqued their interest.

Hey, a new 3DS game! It’s a sure sign that a console has finally gained a foothold when it gets its very own, awkwardly titled Final Fantasy spinoff. For the 3DS, that’s Final Fantasy Theatrhythm. (Or Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, if you prefer.) I need only the slightest excuse to pick up a new music game, so fill one full of classic Final Fantasy songs and it’s a no-brainer. The gameplay looks similar to Ouendan or DJMAX Technika, which have you tapping on-screen targets or sliding the stylus along a track in time with the music. But, drawing from its namesake’s RPG roots, you’ll be doing all this while guiding a party across a Final Fantasy overworld, or tapping notes to help your party battle monsters. That’s cool, I guess, although it’s really going beyond the call–all they had to do was give me some stuff to tap while male cheerleaders chocobos and moogles dance in the background and I’d be set.

Look for my impressions in next week’s episode! (more…)

July 2, 2012

Summer Backlog Attack 2012, Week 1

Summer Backlog Attack 2012, Week 1

As you already know if you’ve checked out Episode 59, we’re launching an all-out attack on our backlogs as we get into the middle of summer. We even came up with a ridiculous name for it, and I figured, while we’re at it, let’s have a huge leaderboard graphic, too. So now, here we are.


June 29, 2012

VGHomework: Backloggery

Typical gamer's backlog

This week on the show, we’re talking about gaming backlogs and what we can do to eliminate (or at least reduce) our piles of shame. How did it get to this point??


June 28, 2012

VGH #59: The Burning of the Everything

VGH #59: The Burning of the Everything

We start our Summer Backlog Attack this week to avoid the summer gaming lull… but with this many games, is there ever really a lull? We’ve also got a second opinion on Gravity Rush, more Mario Tennis Open, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, your Viewer Mail and Last Call.


June 26, 2012

Play More Games: 6/24


Each week in Play More Games, members of the VGH team will chime in on the new video game releases that have piqued their interest.

Randy Dickinson (@randy_wrecked): I hope Spec Ops: The Line is as good as I want it to be. It’s essentially just a 3rd-person, squad-based military shooter about a search-and-rescue mission in a fallen desert city–not exactly a premise that would typically pique my interest. But Yager, the developers, have promised new highs in the use of character and morality in the game, reaching for something more akin to the emotional horror of Apocalypse Now rather than the meathead spectacle of a Rambo movie. Early reviews have been mixed (one critic even said it ultimately felt like they were playing an interactive snuff film) but I remain cautiously optimistic that Spec Ops will bring something challenging and new into the crowded “war games” genre.

Paul Sandhu (@spaulsandhu): Oh great, just when I commit to going through my backlog this summer Bethesda has to come around and try to screw it all up. As if 120+ hours wasn’t enough with Skyrim… now Dawnguard, the first DLC/expansion pack for the game, is being released this week. I do however, think it is an Xbox 360 timed exclusive… so I’ll probably be safe until it hits the PC. One does have to wonder if Bethesda can keep up with releasing high quality content for Skyrim on the PC though, what with the modding community finally hitting its stride.

But I digress! In Dawnguard you get to do VAMPIRE quests and can become a VAMPIRE LORD. Bloooooood!

Honestly I haven’t been following this expansion pack at all. I just know it’ll probably be fun, and has vampires in it. I’m sold.

D.J. Ross (@metaly): The Close Quarters expansion pack for Battlefield 3 is out this week for non-Premium Xbox and PC players. I discussed it during last week’s Hangover, but here’s the short version: four new, smaller maps, two new modes, and 10 new assignments and their associated weapons to unlock. The maps are fun to run around in, but they’re a bit small and they, along with the new Conquest Domination game mode, feel less like proper Battlefield and more like–you guessed it–Call of Duty. With that in mind, sometimes it’s nice to have a change of pace, and the new Gun Master mode (a riff on Gun Game from Counter-Strike and Call of Duty: Black Ops where kills earn you progressively more powerful weapons) is a fun and incredibly frantic race to the top. My only problem with it is I tend to play late at night and the adrenaline rush wreaks havoc on my sleep schedule.

Also worth mentioning is that Mass Effect 3‘s free extended ending DLC is out today. Will this be enough for Bioware to smooth things over with an angry, angry fanbase? Tune into next week’s show to find out.

Other notable games out this week:

Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection (PSN)
The Amazing Spider-Man (360, PS3, PC, Wii, 3DS, DS)

June 22, 2012

VGHomework: The Next Generation

PS9 has the mind control system

We’re looking forward to the next generation on this week’s show–actually, we’re compiling our list of demands. What do we think about the inevitable next wave of consoles in general, and what will the big three have to do to pry us away from our beloved PS3s, Xboxes, and–yes–even Wiis?


June 21, 2012

VGH #58: Victory Crouching

VGH #58: Victory Crouching

We state our demands for the next console generation while Microsoft tries to keep its next Xbox under wraps. In the Hangover, Paul experiences a summer lull, D.J. blings out his Battlefield 3 experience, and Matt is head over heels for Gravity Rush.


June 16, 2012

VGHomework: Senseless violence edition


We’re not extra surly this weekend; we’re just continuing the violence discussion from this week’s show! (At least, that’s our story.)


June 14, 2012

VGH #57: Breakin’ Somebody’s Nutz

VGH #57: Breakin' Somebody's Nutz

It’s our last E3 show! Really, we promise. This week, we take aim at one of the big themes to come out of the Expo: over-the-top video game violence. We’ve also got talk of Diablo III, Mario Tennis Open, Mighty Switch Force! and swanky new music by Jim Guthrie!


June 12, 2012

Play More Games: 6/10


Each week in Play More Games, members of the VGH team will chime in on the new video game releases that have piqued their interest.

Randy Dickinson (@randy_wrecked): I’m a little torn on Lollipop Chainsaw. While Grasshopper Manufacture is responsible for one of my favorite titles of last year (Shadows of the Damned), the idea of playing a game as a zombie-killing cheerleader doesn’t exactly sound compelling. On the positive side is the involvement of James Gunn (writer of Slither and Super, two indie movies that I like a lot) and Jimmy Urine (frontman of Mindless Self Indulgence, one of my favorite bands). On the negative side: well, did I mention that you play as a zombie-killing cheerleader?

D.J. Ross (@metaly): Just a week after Shigeru Miyamoto revealed Pikmin 3 for the Wii U, Pikmin 2 finally arrives on the Wii to get everyone caught up. If you never got to play Pikmin 1 or 2 on the Gamecube, this is a great way to try out the better of the two (in my opinion) with intuitive wiimote controls. (And if you still want to play Pikmin 1, well, you can.) The game is easy to learn and full of that signature Nintendo charm, and you’ll quickly become addicted to watching your Pikmin army whittle away at any obstacle or enemy in their path. (It also carries a bargain price of $20, in case you’re wary about picking up a game from last generation.)

Other notable games out this week:

Gravity Rush (Vita)
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Vita)

June 8, 2012

VGHomework: E3 hangover

Iwata with bananas

Another E3 has come and gone. Were you left feeling underwhelmed, as seems to be the concensus this year, or were there enough announcements to keep you excited for the next year’s worth of games? We’ve collected some of our thoughts below.


June 7, 2012

Pure Chess review: Get on board

Editor’s note: While Pure Chess is available for both PS3 and PS Vita, this review focuses on the Vita version.

I’m a big fan of Hustle Kings, specifically the asynchronous message play multiplayer found in the Vita version of the billiards game. When I heard that the same development house, VooFoo Studios, was working on a Chess Game with a similar mechanic, my interest was immediately piqued. While the chess pieces in Pure Chess are just as gorgeously rendered as the beautiful balls in Hustle Kings, the “play by mail” functionality just doesn’t quite deliver the same oomph.


June 6, 2012

E3 2012: Day 2

E3 2012: Day 2

Nintendo takes the stage on day 2 of E3 2012 and our bodies are ready. Hear our reactions to the Wii U gamepad, Miiverse and Nintendo’s online plans, 3DS games, and the all-important Wii U launch titles.


June 5, 2012

E3 2012: Day 1

VGH: E3 2012: Day 1

The first day of E3 has come and gone but the memories will live on. In this episode we share our highlights (and air a few grievances) from the Microsoft, Sony, EA and Ubisoft press conferences.