October 5, 2011

Live on the laser’s edge in Cubixx HD

Cubixx HD

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…)

October 4, 2011

Play More Games: The One and Only Punch of a Stupendous Badass

UNLEASH THE GODHAND

So this week I was getting ready to be all, ooh, Dark Souls. Oooooh, Rage, etc., etc. And then Sony went and announced their new “Only on PSN” initiative yesterday, through which they’ll launch one or two exclusive games every week in October, including recently announced, Pub-Fund-backed games, Eufloria and Okabu.

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[1], 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.

[1] LITERALLY

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.

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September 29, 2011

VGH #24: 25 Hours of Failure

VGH #24: 25 Hours of Failure

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!

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September 28, 2011

Bastion review: A proper story

The Bastion

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…)

September 27, 2011

Play More Games: Remastered

Worst box art ever

Hey folks, Paul here.

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.

FIFA Soccer 12 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 – Two soccer games, one $60 bill: Which one will you choose?

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.)

For a full list of this week’s new releases, check out Tech-Gaming or Amazon.com.

September 26, 2011

Contest: Win the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection!

Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection

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.

Good luck to all who enter!

September 22, 2011

VGH #23: War Is So Horrible

VGH #23: War Is So Horrible

In this week’s episode: the crew discuss some of the news that came out of the recent Tokyo Game Show. We’ve got Viewer Mail, musings about the new Ace Combat, and Alice: Madness returns!

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September 21, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – What a game.

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.

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September 20, 2011

Play More Games: In Defense of Gears

blatant cross-promotion

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.

For a full list of this week’s new releases, check out Tech-Gaming or Amazon.com.


Correction: Child of Eden isn’t out on PS3 until next week.

September 16, 2011

BGM Mode: Round One… FIGHT!

muh huh huh

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:

“Ryu Stage” – Yoko Shimomura (Street Fighter II)

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.

“São Paulo” – Hideki Okugawa/Yuki Iwai (Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact)

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.

“Stormy Saxophone 2″ – SNK Sound Team (The King of Fighters ’96)

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.

“Vanity Paradise” – Takayuki Iwai (Vampire Savior)

Vampire Savior/Darkstalkers 3 Music: Vanity Paradise (Hsien-Ko/Lei-Lei Stage)

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.


“Keep Yourself Alive II” – Daisuke Ishiwatari (Guilty Gear XX)

Gratuitous Queen reference! From the inimitable Daisuke Ishiwatari, who basically made Guilty Gear all by himself.

“Wings of Despair” – Keiki Kobayashi (Soulcalibur III)

Wings of Despair- Soul Calibur III OST

“Twilight Dwellers” – Keiki Kobayashi (Soulcalibur IV)

SCIV Twilight Dwellers 14

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.

“M. Bison Stage” – Yuzo Koshiro (Street Fighter Tribute Album)

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!

September 15, 2011

VGH #22: Destroy Him, My Robots!

VGH #22: Destroy Him, My Robots!
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!

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September 15, 2011

Contest: Win Universe Sandbox!

Universe Sandbox

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!

All you have to do to enter is follow us on Twitter and retweet this message:

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!

Good luck to all who enter!

September 14, 2011

Play More Games: Addendum

September 13, 2011

Play More Games: WAR TEAM

Renegade Ops

Believe it or not, this is the slowest week in September for new releases. What are we looking forward to amongst this agonizingly bleak crop of games?

Despite the painfully generic name, my most anticipated game of the week is Renegade Ops (PSN, XBLA). This is a top-down, vehicular combat game by Avalanche, the studio who brought us last year’s amazing Just Cause 2. (#2 in my top games of last year!) If you’ve played Just Cause 2, you know what to expect: crazy stunts, perilous chases, and explosions everywhere. Rico and his magic grappling hook are sitting this one out, but in exchange, there’s online co-op for up to four people. Since co-op was something each of us at VGH would have loved to see in Just Cause 2, I’m eager to see how well Avalanche pulls it off.

Next is Hard Reset, which has created some early buzz, not for being a first-person shooter, but for being PC-exclusive and single-player only. Developer Flying Wild Hog promises Hard Reset will be more of a throwback to classic PC shooters like Doom, which tried less to capture the action of Hollywood blockbusters a la Call of Duty and instead featured larger, more intricate levels that encouraged more exploration. Also giving me a huge nostalgia rush back to my days of playing Doom, Heretic and Dark Forces: the crazy weapons on display. Did someone say “arc welder“?

Also out this week:

Bit.Trip Saga – Finally, a collection of all six of Gaijin Games’ quirky Bit.Trip games, now for the 3DS! This is actually one of the first 3DS games I’ve really been interested in, although I’m still holding out for Super Mario 3D Land. If you haven’t got a 3DS, you can pick up the Wii version of the collection, Bit.Trip Complete. Watch the game in action here.

White Knight Chronicles II – I really, really wanted to like the first WKC, but its battle system and generally slow pacing just didn’t agree with me. Developer Level-5 says they’ve tweaked the battles in the sequel with new mechanics and a larger party. Should I take another look or just continue playing Monster Hunter?

The Gunstringer – An undead, old West shooter (Come on, another one?) where your you control your zombified outlaw by tugging on his marionette strings. You have to give credit to developer Twisted Pixel for taking one of the complaints about Kinect (the somewhat laggy and floaty motion control) and spinning it into a feature. (And it comes with free Fruit Ninja Kinect!)

God of War: Origins – If you missed out on Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta because you don’t have a PSP, now you can play them on the big screen thanks to this PS3 HD collection.

From Dust – Eric Chahi’s world-building/destroying game has completed its tour on XBLA and is now headed straight to PSN! It’s also been out on the PC for a few weeks, if you prefer.

Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness – Capcom rereleases one of its classic 2D figters as a PSOne Classic this week. Watch robots fight it out in the game that introduced characters like Jin Saotome and Devilot, who went on to future fame in games like Marvel VS Capcom and Puzzle Fighter. BLODIA!

NHL 12 – I think this one’s about hockey.

Are you grabbing anything this week, or are you still holding out for when all the big guns open fire next month? Speaking of big guns, will I see you online in Renegade Ops?? (On PS3, of course.) Let us know in the comments!

For a full list of this week’s new releases, check out Tech-Gaming or Amazon.com.

September 8, 2011

VGH #21: Can’t Stop Putting It Down

VGH #21: Can't Stop Putting It Down
In this week’s show, Deus Ex star Adam Jensen infiltrates VGH Industries! D.J. revisits the original Legend of Zelda and Randy muses about de Blob 2. The Crew also discuss some long running series that they feel need to be given The Old Yeller treatment.

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September 7, 2011

Play More Games: BloodRayne, Seriously

BloodRayne: Betrayal

It may still be unseasonally warm out, but you only need one glance at this month’s release lineup to see that Fall is officially here. As we talked about in Episode 18, the next few months are packed with tons of new games and we’re scrambling to even talk about all of them, let alone play them! With that in mind, here’s the first of several Lightning Round editions of Play More Games where I’ll spotlight a game or two we think are significant and then do a quick run through of the rest so you can hurry up and get back to your couch.

This week’s featured game, astonishingly enough, is not just download-only, it’s also a BloodRayne title. Yes, you read that right. BloodRayne: Betrayal is a dramatic departure for the vampire actioner whose two previous-generation outings were met with general apathy. (And let’s not mention the Uwe Boll film.) Abandoning its 3D roots, Betrayal is a 2D action platformer in the style of Castlevania or Strider. As the half-human, half-vampire Rayne, you unleash all kinds of bloody violence upon your enemies in a combat system that I was surprised to discover requires more attention and technique than I was expecting. It all made sense when I saw the game was developed by WayForward, creators of the excellent–albeit somewhat sadistic–Contra 4. While BloodRayne is much more forgiving (especially with its blood-sucking mechanic), don’t expect to just waltz through it Bela Lugosi-style. It’s also got some stylish, 2D sprite graphics and a soundtrack that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Castlevania game. If you’re still not intrigued, check out the demo on PSN or Xbox Live Arcade, or watch the trailer that originally shocked us that we were suddenly looking forward to a BloodRayne game.

Other games out this week:

Resistance 3 – The latest installment of Insomniac’s alt-history World War II FPS is getting a surprising amount of early praise, but is it special enough to weather the imminent shooter storm of Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, and Modern Warfare 3? At the very least, Olly Moss’s incredible box art will look fantastic on your shelf.

Dead Island – The buzz around this open world, zombie survival game seems to have been steadily declining as people discovered the actual game doesn’t quite live up to the poignancy of its much-discussed debut trailer. Also, early reports are saying that–in addition to all the zombies–the game’s tropical island setting is infested with glitches and questionable game mechanics.

Starfox 64 3D – Following the success of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Nintendo’s counting on another N64 revival with this 3D space dogfighter. Admittedly, I never played much of the N64 original so I’m looking forward to spending time with this, although the lack of online multiplayer means I’m not exactly rushing out to get it.

The Impossible Game – The silly iOS/Android diversion comes to your PSP this week! It’s actually a lot of fun if you’re into games that are equal parts twitchy reflexes, level memorization, and constant dying. No, really. I enjoyed it.

Uncharted 1 & 2 Dual Pack – Still haven’t played either of the Uncharted games? Better pick up this compilation before Randy shows up at your door to have a word with you. There’s still plenty of time to get caught up with Nathan Drake before Uncharted 3 hits in November!

And that’s it for week one of the Fall onslaught! Are you picking up any of these (or maybe a game we didn’t even cover?) or are you saving up for the next few months? Let us know in the comments!

For a full list of this week’s releases, check out Tech-Gaming or Amazon.com.

September 2, 2011

BGM Mode: Overworld Themes

Zelda~

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of RPGs. Right now I’ve been playing a metric ass ton of Xenoblade Chronicles and the absolutely gorgeous soundtrack got me thinking of some of my favourite Overworld themes from games of yesteryear. Near the end of Episode #20 of VGH Randy asked me what an Overworld theme was, and of course I didn’t answer him because I’m a jerk! But seriously, an Overworld theme is just the music plays while your adventurers (usually in an rpg) traverse the world (map)!

(Note for Randy, the song that plays in DQ9 when you’re running around between cities would fit this criteria)

Xenoblade doesn’t really have a traditional rpg “Overworld” per se but the music is simply incredible and inspired this weeks BGM Mode. So it may or may not get two slots this week. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the game currently has my soul in its grasp.

But lets kick things off with what I consider to be the greatest/quintessential Overworld theme of all time, and it doesn’t even come from a traditional RPG!

The Legend of Zelda – Overworld Theme – Koji Kondo

You may have heard this song before. Over 20 years later and Koji Kondo’s masterpiece still resonates with gamers. Nothing more needs to be said.

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September 1, 2011

VGH #20: I Want Your PAX

VGH #20: I Want Your PAX

D.J. has returned from PAX Prime in Seattle with a cornucopia of new and exciting games to share (as well as a virulent new strain of the PAX pox). We also discuss Deus Ex, Xenoblade Chronicles, fine Canadian comedy and football games that nobody buys.

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August 30, 2011

Play More Games: The More Things Change, The More they Stay the Same

Ye$! Madden 2012 is finally here! I love thi$ game $o much! It i$ ab$olutely incredible ju$t how much the Madden $erie$ evolve$ from iteration to iteration! Madden football is amazing!!!* P.S. Money!

*None of the preceding text is true. In fact just apply “opposite day” rules to it.

It’s a pretty quiet week in terms of releases we’ll actually play here at VGH Industries. Obviously Madden 12 will end up selling about a trillion copies and that’s cool, it just isn’t our cup of tea. Early reviews have been pegging Madden 12 as a step back from previous versions, so I have no idea how EA’s monopoly on sports games is going to turn out for fans of their games in the future. Personally, I stopped playing the only sports series (EA’s NHL games) I’ve ever cared about years ago. Since the death of 2K’s sports games I wonder if EA has just gotten a little complacent in terms of pushing their sports franchises forward. Rather than turn this into a commentary on my thoughts on the current business practices of EA, let us move forward!

Tropico 4, sequel to Tropico 3, which was a sequel to Tropico 2 which was a sequel to Tropico 1, is out! As someone that absolutely adores city/world builder games I finally gave the Tropico series a try a few months ago when I picked up Tropico 3 on a Steam sale. It was stunningly gorgeous but the game play didn’t get its hooks into me like other games in this genre have in the past. Case in point (not really) I’ve spent like 300 hours with Civ 5, and apparently Civ 5 sucks! Also it is pretty much nothing like Tropico! I may just have to back and give er’ another go though, because the over the top humour in Tropico 3 was actually pretty great and I think I didn’t really grasp much of the game play which is what probably hindered my enjoyment a bit. Next time… I will complete the tutorials instead of just jumping into the main game!!! Rawr!

Releases for the Week of August 29th

Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Psp, Wii, Ps2)
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad (PC)
Tropico 4 (360, PC)
ClaDun X2 (Psp)
Duke Nukem Forever (Osx)

 

August 25, 2011

VGH #19: The Line Piece Is for Noobs

VGH #19: The Line Piece Is for Noobs

Crossovers! The VGH crew stitch together elements from some of their favorite video games into a twisted new batch of franken-games. Developers: are you listening? Plus: D.J. gets bionic, Paul finds a sneaker sleeper, and Randy looks for the fun button.

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