We‘ve recently seen what Sony has in store for us in 2016 during their Paris Games Week conference. The obvious big hitters were of course No Man’s Sky, Horizon and GT Sport (which btw. is not GT7, despite sneaking the 7 into the trailer several times, you bastard!), but we also finally saw a bit more about Dreams, the new Media Molecule game. Still not 100% sure on what it actually is, but it looks a bit like Project Spark meets 3D sculpting, which is amazing in theory, but will most likely be over everyone’s skill set when it reaches the consumer. Won’t stop me from sharing some ideas I already had with you (feel free to do the same in the comments below)
1: You play as a penis with erectile dysfunction, sliding down a huge tube. On your way to the goal you can collect Viagra pills to boost your score and grow stiffer. The catch: if you collect too many, you will suffer a heart attack and lose a life.
2: You play as multiple penii at the same time and fight against evil vaginas by pissing and spunking on them. Watch out though: if two or more penii touch each other, they decide to become homosexuals and try to convert the rest of your penii.
3: A Doodle Jump style platformer where you play as a penis. Your goal is to jump from giant bouncy boob to giant bouncy boob while avoiding condoms and hanging breasts.
4: A remake of Super Mario Bros. 1-1
While I think of more great level ideas, what is everyone playing over the weekend?
Andrew (Twitter): Ghostbusters and Costume Quest 2 on Saturday. Then, once Halloween is overL I may just subject myself to another kind of horror entirely, Halo 2 on Games For Windows Live.
Dante: Scream Fortress is live! There may not be a new event this year, but they added enough to make it fun again. That's what I'll be doing until it's over.
Greywolfe (Twitter, YouTube): police quest three. i'm just about at the half-way point of the game. hearthstone's tavern brawl. if i ever get in to be able to play it, because this week seemed to be a mess for me. [but hopefully that'll be better over the weekend.] - inca [yeah. i still haven't finished it. :P] - and the tail end of rex, where i finish up exploring the abandoned city and get myself off the crazy planet. i've finished up banjo kazooie and have started up the original spyro the dragon. there's bits of it i hate. i dunno if i'll finish it. :(
Scrooloose: Going to be getting started on Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition, so excited about that. Original Sin was such a pleasure to play, still really really high on my list of top RPGs. I can't wait to see the changes in the enhanced edition. Still playing Volgarr the Viking, that's been super tough and a lot of fun. I basically play it until I can't stand failing anymore then go on to something else for a while. And of course I'll still be playing my fair share of Rocket League because I can't stop myself from loving that game.
Steve: Destiny and Battleborn closed technical test for the most part. Also looking at phones and realizing how much Canadians get shafted by our 2 big telecoms.
Thomas (Twitter): Maybe I’ll finally finish Halo 4 and AC: Unity. If not, I will probably return to the Witcher 3, because it’s been a while and I could use a good AAA RPG right now, since I will miss the Fallout launch.
Trish (Twitch): Spending the weekend browsing mobile games on google plays market since ive gotten my new phone, also playing some destiny.
Yoda0VGs (Twitter): More Vermintide for the Review!
It's almost here again. Halloween. My favorite holiday of them all. This time of year, I tend to become a little obsessed with things that are dark, spooky, and/or macabre. I like to break out stories by Edgar Allan Poe, or watch movies by Tim Burton or John Carpenter (the original Halloween movie is one of my favorites). You get the idea.
I love the fact that Halloween falls right on the very last day of October. It basically gives me an excuse to spend the whole month getting in the mood and preparing for the big day. In addition to reading stories and watching movies, I also spend that time thinking about costumes and jack-o-lantern designs, and of course, playing video games. There has been an abundance of decent Halloween-related games over the years, going all the way back to Haunted House on the Atari 2600. I usually don't go back quite that far, but here is a list of some of the ones that I do like to play:
My comfort zone when it comes to video games extends to slow games. I like adventure games. I like turn based strategy games [assuming there aren't a billion units]. I like turn based role playing games [assuming there isn't a stupid ton of micromanagement]. So, platformers are generally right out. The speed of a platformer, coupled with the number of enemies and the level of sheer frustration those games can engender just make them not worth my while.
But I've been trying. I most recently beat Evoland 2, a game that takes some inspiration from platformers of the past. I also beat Shovel Knight, again, earlier this year, because I love that game a great deal.
Both these games are great, but they're modern and have modern gamers in mind. Evoland - thoughtfully - saves your progress every time you change scenes. Shovel Knight has a clever, player-directed difficulty setting where you can either break your checkpoints or you can leave them intact, allowing you to make the game incredibly difficult, or just "somewhat challenging."
Banjo-Kazooie, however, comes from a different time. A time when men were men, squirrels could get their own game and you could still get away with making a cutesy, animal-based platformer.
Banjo-Kazooie is this last, a cute, animal-based platformer that doesn't really take itself seriously at all. The plot is pretty simple: Bad witch discovers she's not the nicest looking witch in all the world. A bear by the name of Tooty is. She decides this simply will not do, kidnaps the bear with the intention of swapping bodies and gets caught in the act, red-handed by a mole named Bottles. Bottles yells for Banjo to help his sister, which, basically starts the adventure.
The creepy nature of the plot aside, Banjo-Kazooie is a blast. You start at Banjo's house where Bottles teaches you a couple of moves that you can use to jump, stomp and run through each ensuing level. For the first few worlds, your move set will slowly broaden until you can fly, bomb creatures from the air and run extra fast with the help of a pair of running shoes.
Each level is a complete little world, with it's own particular perils and theme. In one world, you might be in a winter wonderland, while in another, you may be traversing a scary mansion. No two worlds are ever quite alike. Each has its own [fantastic] musical theme, little character designs that show just enough personality to be memorable [but, given the brief nature of your visits to each, don't get fleshed out overmuch] while never getting in the way of game play or bogging the player down with superfluous fluff.
This particular game comes from an age that incentivized exploration through collectibles. In Banjo-Kazooie, the main "currency" of the game is the musical note. You can pick up 900 of these and each note that you pick up brings you closer to opening sections of Gruntilda's [the witch] lair. At the beginning, you simply need fifty notes to progress, but as the game slowly winds up the difficulty crank, so it expects you to rise to the challenge of collecting ever more notes.
To unlock future worlds, you need puzzle pieces that complete picture frames throughout the lair. Again, starts off simple - you only require one of these to get into Mumbo's Mountain, but by the time the game winds down, you're going to make sure you're scouring levels for as many as you can get. These are - in the game's parlance - Jiggies.
Jiggies are earned through doing a collection of little "quests" throughout the level you're in and these are great. It's a very rewarding way to entice the player through the game. Some are fairly "standard." There's a Jiggy for collecting a "collection" of Jinjo's - little, bird-like creatures that have been scattered throughout the levels by Gruntilda, while others are more esoteric and need far more work. In one of the very last levels, for example, your patience with a young bird [that you hatch, yourself - and then later feed, too] is rewarded when, at last, the bird takes to the skies and reveals the Jiggy it was holding onto for you.
There are other collectibles: extra lives, honeycomb pieces [that extend your life bar] and Mumbo tokens [which allow you to visit the local shaman, Mumbo and be transformed into something native to the world you're in. In one world you might be an ant and in another, you might be an incredibly adorable walrus.] all of which you'll seek out, but the main game requires that you simply collect notes and Jiggies.
And this seeking out is the most fantastic thing about the game. Modern games will hold you by the hand and guide you, step by step through what you need to be doing next. Shovel Knight had the over world. Evoland 2 - while incredibly open in it's second act - still has a structure you can follow. Banjo? If you're smart and wily, you can sequence break - going into worlds that you should only visit further along in the adventure. Likewise, each level is wide open. You can start at any point [for the most part] and collect any Jiggy you choose. [This is almost always true. A couple of worlds force prerequisites on you - Clanker's Cavern has an entire second half that can only be done by doing a very specific Jiggy-related task.]
One of Banjo-Kazooie's greatest assets is this variety. You never quite know what you're going to run into while you're playing and this makes it easy to want to play. If there's one thing modern gaming has entirely lost, it's the element of "what's around the next corner" and this particular game has that down to a fine art. Wozza the Walrus won't deal with me if I'm a bear, but how about when I'm a walrus, too? There's this very weird camel guy in Gobi's valley that says all this funny stuff, I wonder if I can get him to move? All these little things add up to make Banjo-Kazooie a joy to play.
But it is not without its faults.
One early move you learn is a maneuver that allows you to toss eggs, but it's never as accurate as you'd like it to be, because 3d gaming was in its infancy and trying to aim your "missiles" so that they did what you wanted could be quite daunting. This is - to a lesser extent - a problem with every move in the game. 3D wasn't a perfected art at this point, so judging distances - especially when you're high up in a level and the prospect of falling is a clear and present danger - could be tricky. One of my single biggest gripes with the control of Banjo-Kazooie was that they didn't just come to a complete stop. Often, if you're running in a direction and you take your hands off the controller, there's a little gap between your action and the action on screen. Essentially, the bear and bird pair will skid to a halt a couple of steps further than you meant for them to be. This can create a weird kind of terrible tension where you absolutely need to stop dead, and sometimes, the game will keep moving you, plummeting you to your doom.
In the same vein, the forced swimming is atrocious. You get "used to it" by the end of the game, but it is difficult to control, has a tendency to make you overshoot your actual goal and drowning is a thing that can really happen.
And when you die...
...Well, I mentioned that this was an old game with an older design paradigm, so when you do kick the bucket, your notes that you collected get revoked. You're forced to re-play that section of the game again to re-acquire all the notes you just lost so that you can beat your "note score" for that world. This can be a frustration at the end-game where the levels get increasingly more difficult and require particular dexterity on your part. [Engine room in Rusty Bucket Bay, I'm looking at you!]
Besides, at least this frustration has been dealt with in the XBox re-issue of the game.[that you can currently snag through the Rare Replay compilation.]
This Xbox version introduces it's own set of frustrations - Motzhand's organ plays exactly the same note regardless of which key you hit while you're working with that particular puzzle. All of the Nintendo branding and shout-outs are gone [this is understandable, but sad] and that special kind of tension where you lose all your notes when you die is gone. [This can swing both ways. On the one hand, the challenge can be interesting. On the other, it can also be particularly frustrating.]
What do I think of Banjo-Kazooie? I think it's absolutely worth experiencing. The current re-release does some things rather differently, but if you've never played it, this would be the place to start. Of course, if you want the original experience, you should attempt to find it for the Nintendo 64.
This is easily, behind The Dig, one of my favourite games this year.
Last year's highly acclaimed PC RPG, Divinity: Original Sin now comes to PlayStation 4. This enhanced version of the game even includes new features not seen in the original release; split-screen co-op, full voiceovers, new content, and more. Also out this week, WWE 2K16 and a standalone bike expansion to Driveclub. Cast a few spells, slay a few goblins, then proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.
There are quite a few interesting titles that have hit the Steam Store this week. First up, there's Mugen Souls. A previously PlayStation 3 only affair, the turn-based JRPG now brings its Lolita stylings to Steam, along with a pretty generous amount of free DLC.
Next up is PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate. You may be wondering what exactly differentiates PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate from the regular vanilla version that was already available on Steam. Well, PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate is actually a combination of PixelJunk Shooter and PixelJunk Shooter 2, now merged together into one continuous super game. There is also an optional upgraded "Ultimate" art style that is included in the package.
Also out this week, the very cool-looking Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide, plus Tales of Zestiria and Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. In addition, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has web-swung its way on to the Steam Store. And finally, two 20-year-old fan favorite PC titles, Little Big Adventure and System Shock, have arrived as well (and in enhanced editions, no less).
Take your time and select the games you like best. Lord knows there's plenty to choose from. Proceed further to see even more of this week's new releases.
You'll get a high quality Wireless Xbox One controller redesigned with customizable metal thumb sticks, a faceted cover for the D-pad for increased accuracy, smoother action buttons and triggers, along with extra buttons in the form of paddles that connect under the controller. You'll also get a rubberized grip that provides extra comfort and staying power for intense battles combating sweaty hands. The Elite Controller will come with a hard case for storage, batteries and a bunch of interchangeable components along with a braided USB to mini USB cable for a wired connection to your PC. Available for Xbox and Widows 10 will also be an app that allows for configuration remapping for the Elite controller.
So you'll get a lot with your package, and that's awesome. The Elite Controller promises to be highly customizable, very high quality product for those who are really serious about their gaming. Which is great because that's the demographic here, serious gamers. For everything you get, which is admittedly a lot, you'll have to shell out $149.99.....!! I'll say it again even though this is written and you can just read it, the Xbox One Wireless Elite Controller will cost you one hundred and fifty dollars, exclamation point!
I won't be purchasing one of these. That cost point by itself is a deal breaker for me and I game a lot. Like, a lot. I use an Xbox One controller for my PC and I love it. It's really accurate, it's very smooth, very comfortable, so far very durable and in my opinion it's worth the money. Now I don't have a rubberized grip or extra paddle buttons or three sets of metal interchangeable thumb sticks. This would be super cool, I admit that 100%. But I don't deem those things worth nearly three times the cost of the standard controller. No, not even with the redesigned internal architecture that allows such a level of reconfiguration. With everything the Elite Controller comes with I could see spending maybe $80, that would be my ceiling.
Now, I haven't tried using the Elite Controller. I'm just a guy who like most, doesn't get demo access to new products. This thing could be incredible. But incredible or not that's a lot of money to throw down on a controller. Not to mention I can't find any information on the app that will be available for configurations, I can't even say if that's free or not. Microsoft's video showcasing the controller and app doesn't mention if it's free or if it costs, but I do notice the wording "app available..." on their site so I'm not holding my breath for free. I also can't find any information about the app via Google or any forum conversations. Someone out there must know....right?
Competition gamers may find the price tag acceptable, and that's ok because that's the target demographic here; but I'm sticking to laughable myself. Think about buying an Xbox One. That's $300 by itself. Now buy two Elite Controllers, there's another $300. Want a full set or four? Well, the math is pretty simple. When will we as gamers stop paying all this extra money for what usually equates to a few extra features that we probably won't even use. Look, I get that a lot of work went in to making this controller a reality, and you'll get a lot in the package should you make the purchase. And I get that the whole thing is very high quality, this is wonderful. But it's too much money! Of course nobody has to buy one of these right? No one is forcing them on us. Yet I still have to say, Microsoft, at least buy us dinner first.
Andrew (Twitter): Various Wii U virtual console Castlevania games. (There are actually quite a few on there.)
Dante: Hearthstone, TF2 and who knows what else. Maybe Viewtiful Joe 2.
Greywolfe (Twitter, YouTube): banjo kazooie is done. it is a complete blast. :) rex is nearly finished, too. just mopping up different areas of the abandoned city, now. inca got stalled, again :P - i just dread the end of that game. :) - the big world of warcraft project has nearly finished up darkshore. so i'm heading to a new zone, soon. i'm going to have to find something to replace banjo kazooie with and i'm not sure what.
Scrooloose: Rocket League for me still. Planning on picking up Hearts of Stone for Witcher 3 and getting my Gwent decks claimed, so going through that. Also I may finally put the effort in to making my character in Path of Exile again.
Thomas (Twitter): Probably more Kingdom, Rebel Galaxy and Rogue State. What a great season for Indie-Games. Who need Halo and Assassin’s Creed?
Trish (Twitch): Pre ordered my copy of Fallout 4, and grinding light levels in Destiny. I'm so terrible at this game it's not funny.
Yoda0VGs (Twitter): Gonna be checking out some Warhammer Vermintide!!
Steam is not the only one that has nice sales. I was able to get my hands on the second Costume Quest on the PS3 for $2 not long after it was released. I played the first one and it's DLC on the PC and I thought they were nice RPGs with a really simple combat system. I had some issues with the combat in the first game because I play most PC games with a mouse and keyboard combo. When you were in a fight you were prompted to execute key presses of shift, tab, spacebar, etc. So, when executing some attacks I accidentally left/closed the game a few times before giving up on the costumes that required those kind of keys. That made my choice easier to go the console route for the second one.
Let me give you some background story just in case you haven't played the original. Costume Quest is a turn based RPG that places you in the shoes of a Reynold, a regular kid, on a quest to save his twin sister, Wren, who was kidnapped because she looked like a giant candy in her Halloween costume. Since it's Halloween, everyone's wearing costumes and depending on which one you're wearing you'll have different abilities, in and outside of combat. I don't want to spoil the story so I'll leave it at that. Writing is top notch as it always is from the Double Fine folks.
In the second game you can choose whether you play as Reynold or Wren to save Halloween from an evil dentist, Mr. White. You'll be time traveling, like Doc and Marty, to the past and then back to the future in order to put an end to the dentist's plans. Combat has been changed. In order to make your attacks more powerful you'll have to correctly time your button presses. All costumes have the same timing mechanism, but their timing is different, so you'll have to get used to each of them. They've also added strengths and weaknesses to costumes and enemies Pokémon style. You can also use Creepy Treat Cards to spice up the combat with special effects.
This game can be played and enjoyed by adults and kids. My kids loved watching me play and then they took turns playing their own save files. It takes from 6 to 8 hours to finish, but I suggest you take your time with it. If you try to rush it you'll get quickly bored by the combat and the constant need of having to go to a fountain to heal your party.
One last thing, I may be getting old, but I think the text in this game is hard to read. They chose a font that's a bit weird and its size is too small for me to read it comfortably from the couch. I have a 32'' tv so that may be part of the issue. I'm seriously considering buying a larger tv because of the small text in games these days.
There's a new Fatal Frame game available for the Wii U this week. In Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, you play as three separate characters exploring different parts of a haunted mountain. As you try and piece together the mystery behind the mountain, you will frequently be assaulted by malevolent ghosts. Your only means of defense is a specially designed camera capable of stunning and/or capturing the mean-spirited...spirits. In a creative use of the hardware, this game lets you use the Wii U GamePad itself as the actual camera.
Also out this week, Just Dance 2016, Slender: The Arrival, and The Legend of Zelda: [Cross-Dress] Heroes (whoever decided it would be a good idea to put Link in some of the weird-ass clothing options available in this game probably doesn't need to be working on any more Zelda titles). I ain't afraid of no ghosts! Proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.