March 1, 2012

VGH #43: The Internet Was Upset

VGH #43: The Internet Was Upset

Would Uncharted be just as fun as a kart racer? New series reboots of Syndicate, XCOM and Kid Icarus bear little (if any) resemblance to the classic games that they’re based on. Naturally, purists and fanboys around the ‘net have mixed feelings on the matter. On this week’s show, we offer up our 2 cents and talk about how important genre classification is to our favorite games.

In the Hangover: Randy declares which game stands out as his favorite in the huge PS Vita launch line-up, Paul plays a game that isn’t really a game, and D.J.’s love affair with SoulCalibur V continues unchecked.

In Last Call: delicious baked goods, classic sitcoms reconsidered, and amusing (but ultimately heartwarming) nonsense from Twitter.

Somewhere in all of this, Phoenix Wright makes his first appearance in our Video Game Community Theatre segment. We hope you don’t object.

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February 29, 2012

Nexuiz review: Frenetic fragging

Note (2/26/2013): In the wake of the dissolution of THQ, the multiplayer servers for the XBLA version of Nexuiz have been shut down. If the game sounds fun, there’s always still the PC version, which is still functional as of this update.

Nexuiz, the third title in Microsoft’s “House Party” 2012 promotion on Xbox Live Arcade, is an arena-based first-person shooter which initially began life over a decade ago as a freely available quake mod. This new commercially released iteration from Illfonic may be gussied up to match modern technical expectations, but the game’s lineage is immediately felt the moment you jump into a match.

Intense and fast-paced, Nexuiz’s design sensibilities are clearly rooted in a bygone era. One where there was no sprint button because your player character already moved quite swiftly in the first place and where the word “gib” was an everyday part of a gamer’s vernacular.

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February 28, 2012

Play More Games: Super Über

SSX

Shhh… Is everyone who picked up a Vita happily distracted playing their shiny, new handheld? Good, let’s talk about some of the non-Vita games coming out this week, including something that could shake up the whole industry.

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February 28, 2012

Contest: Win Shank 2 (XBLA)!

Well, looky what we have here. The wonderful folks over at Klei Entertainment (@Klei) were kind enough to give us three Xbox Live Arcade codes for Shank 2 for us to pass along to you, our dear listeners and readers. If you haven’t heard my thoughts on the game yet from VGH #42, I’ve gone ahead and embedded a video version below. How convenient is that?!?

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February 24, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘Upgrade potential detected’ edition

It’s Friday! I’m excited (if you couldn’t tell). I’m gonna jam some fancy, futuristic tool into this weekend’s eye socket and extract all the awesome goodness that it has to offer. It feels good to be playing new games and even better to have my new video capture device to play around with and make fun little videos with (Like my Syndicate first impressions video, for example).

In case you missed any of it, this week brought VGH #42 – Comedic Levels of Violence, an awesome Warp figurine giveaway (that ends on Monday), and a new episode of Matt Makes His Wife Play Games. If you missed out on any of those, be sure to check them out and leave us some feedback!

But enough about us, what are you playing this weekend?!? Something new or putting a dent in that backlog? Drop us a comment below and let us know.

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February 23, 2012

Matt Makes His Wife Play Games – Rayman Origins

I love games, but my wife doesn’t.

Every now and then, I sit her down, stick a controller in her hand and ask her to play something, hoping that one of these days she’ll change her mind.

Last time we chatted about games, my wife decided that the demo for Rayman Origins was her game of the year for 2011. I finally picked up a copy of the full game, so I decided to make a video of the two of us playing it together.

February 23, 2012

VGH #42: Comedic Levels of Violence

VGH #42: Comedic Levels of Violence

It’s been a big week in gaming and this episode of the Video Game Hangover podcast is super-sized to match!

We kick off the show this week with some in-depth analysis of the new single-player and (gasp!) multiplayer demos for Bioware’s upcoming Mass Effect 3. We also dig in to some other recent plays including Shank 2, Rhythm Heaven, and Double Fine’s Happy Action Theater. Boredom also gives Randy the excuse he needed to reconsider Red Faction: Armageddon and…guess what? It’s actually pretty fun!

The heart of this week’s show is our conversation about Sony’s brand-spankin’ new handheld, the PlayStation Vita. Can a dedicated gaming system compete in a world of Androids and iPhones? We don’t care…we just want to play awesome games! Tune in for our impressions of this insanely sexy new piece of hardware along with new Vita games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, Escape Plan, Gravity Rush and more.

We may be super-sized but that just means there’s more to love.

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February 21, 2012

Play More Games: Living in Syndication

Having never played the original 1993 real-time strategy incarnation of Syndicate, I didn’t quite understand what all the hubbub was about when Swedish developers Starbreeze announced that they would be rebooting the series in 2012 as a first-person shooter. The trailers that I saw for the new game showed a fast-paced, sci-fi themed, cover-based shooter in which an augmented agent infiltrates competing organizations in a battle for corporate supremacy. While I saw hints of Deus Ex: Human Revolution on display, Syndicate loyalists saw…not Syndicate.

Regardless of where you stand on that debate, the freshly realized version of Syndicate (PS3, 360, PC) is here today and, while it has abandoned its isometric roots, it seems to be garnering some positive notices (including a surprising 5-star review from the frequently cantankerous Jeff Gerstmann at Giant Bomb). The four of us here at VGH Industries posted our playthrough of the multiplayer co-op demo a few weeks back and found it to be inspired and fun.

A game whose demo failed to resonate with the team, Asura’s Wrath (PS3, 360), is also out this week. This bizarro amalgam of elements from Dragon Ball Z, God of War and, strangely enough, Heavy Rain left us scratching our heads. Check out Episode 38 of the podcast for our color commentary on the title.

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February 20, 2012

Contest: Win a Warp figurine!

You know what time it is? Yup, it’s time to attempt to win something rad while also helping us to shamelessly promote VGH! Two birds, one stone.

The fine folks over at Trapdoor, Inc. were nice enough to send us two figurines of the character ‘Zero’ from their new downloadable game, Warp. The packaging indicates that only 1,000 of these little bad boys were made, so it’s really pretty special. Check it out! (first photo, credit: @Syruponbutter on Twitter.)

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February 20, 2012

D.J.’s Top PSP Games*

Fig. A: PlayStation Portable

*which are not named Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

The fancy, new PlayStation Vita might be launching this week, but we’re still looking back at a few of our favorite PlayStation Portable games, as we got into in Episode 41. Here’s my list!

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February 17, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘House Party’ edition

Microsoft has kicked off their ‘House Party’ promotion on Xbox Live Arcade this week, with the release of Warp from Trapdoor, Inc. From what I played of the demo, it seemed pretty fun. Check out the video I recorded when I checked it out.

On the Sony front, PlayStation Vitas (and games) are making their way into people’s hot little hands (including Randy’s!), with the ‘first edition’ bundle hitting this week.

Read on for a full rundown of what the VGH crew are planning to play this weekend.

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February 16, 2012

VGH #41: Quad-Wielding™

VGH #41: Quad-Wielding™

The new PlayStation Vita is grabbing headlines this week but we’re not quite done with the PSP. On this week’s show, we celebrate the life, love and times of Sony’s last-gen portable by remembering the system’s best games.

Also: The winter gaming drought is finally over as the VGH team chimes in on three big recent releases. Randy really likes The Darkness II, Paul is lukewarm on Kingdoms of Amalur, and D.J. takes a second shot at Soulcalibur V.

Finally, we seriously stretch our acting chops with a scene from the first Dragon Quest game. Thespians!

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February 15, 2012

Play More Games: Mi Vida en Vita

Dozens of Japanese gamers can’t be wrong.

While it didn’t exactly ignite a firestorm of sales upon release in Japan last December, Sony’s “next generation portable” is finally available in the States this week in the form of a $350 First Edition Bundle. The PlayStation Vita promises a closer-to-console experience in a handheld device with the graphical acuity, social hooks and obscenely expensive accessories that modern gamers (hopefully, for Sony’s sake) crave.

The line-up of launch games is widely blamed for the Vita’s cool reception in Japan (i.e., “no Monster Hunter”) but the titles hitting store shelves this week certainly seem more in tune with the sensibilities of American gamers. As something of a Nathan Drake devotee, I’m curious to see how Uncharted: Golden Abyss survives the move to the Vita’s smaller screen — as well as the move to a new developer. The downloadable oddity Escape Plan has also piqued my interest with its exaggerated violence, monochrome visuals and controller-free play.

Can the PlayStation Vita peacefully co-exist with a world of smartphones and tablets? Only time will tell. Expect much sideline commentary from the gaming blogs over the next couple of weeks as the death of portable gaming is greatly exaggerated. Here at Video Game Hangover, we’re just happy to have new games to play.

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February 10, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘Kingdoms of Darkness 2: The Shankening’ edition

For the first time in a couple months, a number of us at VGH HQ are actually playing some brand new games (keep an eye out for our impressions in the coming week or two). Things are steadily picking up in terms of new releases during this period that I like to affectionally refer to as “second fall”. It’s always nice to have cool new games to play, even if I know there’s never enough free time (or money!) to actually play them all.

While I’ve got you here, have you listened to VGH #40 and watched the lastest installment of ‘Matt Makes His Wife Play Games’?

What are the VGH crew playing this weekend?

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February 10, 2012

BGM Mode: The Soul Still Burns

Soulcalibur

With Soulcalibur V now unleashed upon the fighting game community, it’s time for BGM Mode to take a look back at the series’s epic soundtracks. And that’s not “epic” in the Internet forum sense–the Soul series has always done things on a grand scale, whether it’s the flashy action, the panoramic stage vistas, or even the ultra corny announcer. It follows that the music would be appropriately grandiose, usually sticking to a rich, orchestral sound but occasionally throwing in the odd electric guitar just because.

Let’s start off with Soulcalibur II‘s opening movie for good measure:

“Under the Star of Destiny” – Junichi Nakatsuru

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn9PTh_HA7s

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February 9, 2012

VGH #40: Big Bombs

VGH #40: Big Bombs

Epic fail! Despite the best intentions, not every video game release is a hit. On this week’s show, we’re talking about some of our favorite gaming flops. We also chime in on the Syndicate co-op demo, Soulcalibur V, Osmos HD, and the Art of Video Games.

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February 8, 2012

Play More Games: Are You Afraid of the Darkness?

It’s been almost five years since the release of the The Darkness, the original game based on Top Cow’s long-running series of comic books about a young, demonically-charged Mafia hitman. At the time of the its release, only two Halo titles had thus far seen the light of day and the Call of Duty games all took place during World War II. In gaming, a lot can happen in five years.

Undaunted, The Darkness II is out for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC this week. The game has a new developer (Canada’s Digital Extremes is now at the helm) and Jackie Estacado, the hitman from the first game, is now the head of the crime family. You still take down baddies with something called “quad-wielding”, the series’ unique combination of two-handed shooting along with control of two vicious, demonic tentacles.  It’s fast-paced, gory, amusingly self-aware and the gameplay never gets old — traits that are just as entertaining now as they were five years ago.

Didn’t play the first game? The Darkness II kicks off with a brief “previously on” segment that gets you caught up on events.  You can also download the demo for a bloody little taste of what to expect.

Speaking of demos, the fine folks over at Laughing Jackal Ltd. have finally released one for Cubixx HD, their addictive puzzler for the PS3.  D.J. really enjoyed the game when he reviewed it last year and this is a great opportunity for more folks to finally check out one of the PSN’s hidden gems.

D.J. on Capcom’s Resident Evil: Revelations:
As we briefly discussed in a recent episode, Resident Evil: Revelations (or however it’s spelled) wasn’t even on my radar before the demo hit the 3DS eShop. Despite being a professed RE4 diehard, Resident Evil 5‘s all-out action and co-op emphasis made me question the path the series seemed to be taking, so Revelations‘ isolated, pre-RE4 survival-horror feel caught me completely off-guard. (Sort of like a Licker dropping from the ceiling.) It’s now definitely piqued my interest. I’d definitely like to play it before Resident Evil 6 arrives this fall… maybe even with that goofy circle pad attachment.

Paul on Big Huge Games’ Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning:
So I decided against being financially responsible and just up and ordered Kingdoms of Amalur for release day. If you listened to my impressions of the game on VGH #38 you’ll remember that I actually fancied the demo quite a bit and probably would have enjoyed it even more if it weren’t for some random glitches. Early word surrounding the game has been really positive and I needed something to kill time until Mass Effect 3 hits next month. Based on what I’ve read, Amalur sounds like it’ll scratch that RPG itch I have (that never seems to go away) and actually sounds like it has some really compelling combat mechanics backing up the excellent narrative and character customization system.

I’m seriously hoping that Amalur is the first title of the year that surprises me with its high quality as games that fall into that category are always a welcome treat! The game came out of left field for me, and I am really looking forward to sinking some serious time with it this week. Look for my impressions of Kingdoms of Amalur next week on VGH #41!

Matt on Klei Entertainment’s Shank 2:
The follow-up to 2010’s bloody, 2D side-scrolling brawler makes it’s debut this week, hitting PSN and PC today, while the Xbox Live Arcade version arrives tomorrow. I enjoyed the original quite a bit, with it’s simple-yet-satisfying combat, gorgeous artwork, and its Kill Bill-esque style. Though I completed the game, I never did get around to trying out the 2-player co-op, as it was local-only and my opportunities for couch co-op are few and far between these days. Shank 2 looks to offer a more refined second helping of what I found so enjoyable in the first one but also adds a new co-op survival mode (which support online play, thankfully). Keep an eye out for my impressions in the next week or so.

Also out this week:
Jak and Daxter Collection (PS3)
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition (PS3, 360, PC)
Gotham City Impostors (PSN, XBLA, PC)
The Simpsons Arcade Game (PSN, XBLA)

February 8, 2012

Matt Makes His Wife Play Games – GOTY 2011

I love games, but my wife doesn’t.

Every now and then, I sit her down, stick a controller in her hand and ask her to play something, hoping that one of these days she’ll change her mind.

One night when we were hanging out together, I decided to ask her what her “game of the year” was and this was the result.

February 3, 2012

Weekend Hangover: ‘Superwhat now?’ edition

We’re not exactly sports buffs here at VGH, so that title screen there is about as close to sports coverage as you’re going to get from us. Perhaps some of you will be watching the “big game” this weekend, but most of us will probably be doing something far more productive with our time: playing video games.

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February 3, 2012

VGH #39: Tasteless Comedies for Lonely People

VGH #39: Tasteless Comedies for Lonely People

On this week’s show, we discuss the finer points of the current generation of consoles! Also: the glorious return of Video Game Community Theatre! There’s a gun inside.

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