Marvel Officially Set to Kill Wolverine

Marvel Officially Set to Kill Wolverine - 2014-04-25 16:51:28

Wolverine has been through a lot in his illustrious comic book life. He debuted on the last panel of Incredible Hulk #180 in 1974, joined the X-Men, and has become considered one of the best super heroes ever. That will all end in September when Marvel kills Wolverine.

It’s been widely assumed this day would come. His healing powers are gone, and there’s that whole series called Three Months to Die.  Now, Marvel confirmed through Entertainment Weekly that everyone’s assumption is right. Three Months to Die will end in a four part mini series called The Death of Wolverine. One issue will be released every week, with the final issue featuring his demise.

The first issue of The Death of Wolverine rocks a cover that is a nod to the first issue he was featured in. According to Marvel, that will be something they do for every issue of the series.

While it’s pretty safe to assume good old Logan will be back sometime, this story is supposed to have repercussions throughout the Marvel Universe. How this will tie into everything isn’t really clear, but Wolverine has dabbled in a bit of everything since his debut. Keep an eye out for the end of Wolverine when it hits the shelves on Sept 3, 2014.

New ‘N’ Tasty Oddworld News

New 'N' Tasty Oddworld News - 2014-04-25 15:40:23

Oddworld Inhabitants announced a slew of information regarding the upcoming title Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty. No, it wasn’t a release date, rather a release window for the release date.

The game’s release date’s release date is before June 9 at $24.99.  It won’t be ready by then, but it is something to look forward to.

Aside from that, there is cross buy and cross save when you buy it on a Sony Console. If you purchase it on PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4, and don’t want to stop, you can take it on the go with the Vita.

There are also some new screenshots. Most just show off the art style, but one shows off a little more.

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If you look closely at this screen, it looks as if there will be a projectile mechanic. Abe’s arm is reached out, and there’s a bit of a trajectory line behind the enemy on the far left. There isn’t any indication from the trailer to confirm that theory, but it looks like it’s a feature. Hopefully, more information will leak as the game inches closer to its release.

Play Sports With Your Friends in Sportsfriends

Play Sports With Your Friends in Sportsfriends - 2014-04-25 15:49:17

The Co-owner of Die Gute Fabrik Doug Wilson has announced via Playstation Blog that their game Sportsfriends will be released on May 6th.

Sportsfriends is a collection of four sports related mini games; The QWOP like duelling game Super Pole Riders, the minimalistic 2Vs2 Hokra, the aerial sports fighting game BaraBariBall, and the screen-less physical rhythm duelling game Johann Sebastian Joust.

The games are meant to be played at parties and will only feature local multiplayer, as well as feature Playstation Move support for Johann Sebastian Joust.

Though there isn’t a set release date for the PC, Mac, and Linux versions, Sportsfriends will launch on May 6th for Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. Players who purchase either copy of the game will also be able to download it for free on the other console.

 

 

Image to Publish Web Comic God Hates Astronauts

Image to Publish Web Comic God Hates Astronauts 1

Today the comic blog Multiveristy Comics has announced that Image comics will be publishing the return of the popular web comic God Hates Astronauts.

God Hates Astronauts has been described as The Venture Bros mixed with the Billy Bob Thornton movie The Astro Farmer by creator Ryan Browne.

The series which was created, written, and illustrated by Browne over the course of six years, follows a team of self absorbed superheroes who have been hired by NASA to stop farmers from launching themselves into space.

 

Unfortunately for NASA, the team gets wrapped up in almost everything but the astro farmers including bank robbing owls and alien tigers who eat cheeseburgers.

The team dealing with some talking, bank robbing owls. Image slightly altered to censor some swearing.

 

The original series only lasted three issues and was only sold by Browne at conventions before he uploaded them online for free.

In March of this year, Browne launched a Kickstarter for a giant hardcover version of the series and was successfully funded well beyond it’s goal. The edition featured retouched art, text, and colours.

The relaunch of God Hates Astronauts will be published by Image and will be out sometime in August of this year.

 

Watch_Dogs Allows Friends to Invade and Steal Their Data

Watch_Dogs Allows Friends to Invade and Steal Their Data - 2014-04-25 12:11:30

As the release date for Watch_Dogs comes closer, some more details of it have been revealed.

In the single player mode, the player can be invaded by people on their friends list and follow them around the city.

While looking like an NPC, the invading player can try and steal data from their friend while stalking them.

The host player will be notified that their data is being stolen and will have to quickly figure out which NPC is actually an invader.

Invading players can also start multiplayer games in a host’s single player game when they get close enough to them.

Watch_Dogs will be released on May 27th on PS3, PS4, WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.

Grid Autosport: The Future of Interactive Racing?

Grid Autosport: The Future of Interactive Racing? - 2014-04-25 12:49:35

GRID has always been a series that has interested me. Despite the stiffer learning curve over games like Need for Speed, GRID series has maintained a good balance between arcade action and driving simulation rigorousness. GRID Autosport  for PC, PS3, and the XBOX 360, is shaping up to be a well crafted driving game, but the real question will be if it can compete with the next generation lineup of driving games already on consoles.

On the PC, GRID does not look like a game built for the last generation of consoles. Lighting, reflections and shadows all build an immersive experience. Beyond this, Codemasters have not only modeled the dashboard on every car, but have implemented a visual blurring of the console as you race faster. In practice this felt fantastic, I felt drawn in and enjoyed the subtle touches that gave the illusion of speed. The team from Codemasters also went into great detail that although they will not have as many cars or tracks as other games out in the market, everything they do have will feel complete and enjoyable to experience.

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Jumping over to the console versions of the game, they are boasting that GRID will look similar to the PC version but it will be locked at 30FPS. Not ideal for people that love the feeling of speed and fluid motion that 60FPS can offer, but to see graphics of this quality on the last generation was astounding. There will be no PS4, or XBOX One version of this title, and that feels like an odd choice. Even just offering a current gen version at 60fps would be enough, especially in the game drought that is now present on these systems.

But what really matters in any driving game is the feel of the cars and the overall driving experience. This is where Codemasters really have a handle on the genre. Building the Formula-1 games, GRID and Dirt, they know what they are doing when it comes to car games. The ability to toggle on or off as many assists as personal preference dictates worked out well. Taking control of an open wheel car and racing at ludicrous speed felt fluid and smooth. The change in driving style from one car to another also shows a meticulous attention to detail. The different modes felt very different, each showing off the abilities and weaknesses of each car.

The team is also promising an in depth career mode, taking the player from the low level teams and slowly building up reputation as they push their cars to the limit. Cars will carry though as they go from race to race, so they have built in ways for you to upgrade your cars, repair them or just sell them for new ones. It will be a balancing act to keep your best car and not have the repair costs from an older model hurt your bank account. Overall this sounds similar to what other driving games have done in the past, but it is hard to say without proper testing.

Beyond the modes, Codemasters promise a robust online experience with the help of their online portal, Racenet. They are saying this will allow you to see real time stats of players in the world of GRID Autosport.  Beyond this, it can allow players to great online racing groups and clans right from the interface. If this all works as planned it could be a great way to link players and make the experience of the racing game a more open experience.

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Most impressive of all was the fact GRID has been optimized to run on integrated graphics. A member from the Codemasters team let me play around with the Windows X86 tablet version of the game. Although it was not running at the framerate they were planning for final release, it was very playable and looked good to say the least. They even managed to build in tilt controls, although for true fans of the series a racing wheel and gaming rig will still be the way to play.

Codemasters never disappoint in the driving space, and I am pleased to say from what I have seen, GRID Autosport is looking to follow this trend. This is a racing and car lovers game, built to really show off the sense of speed and motion. The fact Codemasters managed to push the last generation to this limit is astounding. That all said, final judgement will have to wait until it is released on June 24th.

Divinity: Original Sin Has Release Date

Divinity: Original Sin Has Release Date - 2014-04-25 07:52:43

One year after its Kickstarter ended, Larian Studios has announced Divinity: Original Sin will see final release June 20

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The Belgium-based developer announced the date on its website, along with a video showing a comparison between the old alpha-builds and the current state of the game, with marked improvement in graphics, ambient effects and terrain variety.

The co-op RPG takes place in the Divinity universe, a tongue-in-cheek high-fantasy setting shown in games such as RPGs Divine Divinity and Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga, and in hybrid strategy game Dragon Commander. A main feature of Original Sin is its cooperative play between two characters, controlled either by one player or two, and detailed interaction mechanics with each other and the surrounding world.

Divinity’s Kickstarter ended April 26

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, 2013 with $944,282 dollars, over twice its initial goal, with 19,541 total backers. The game is currently in early-access beta on Steam for $39.99, as of April 3, 2014.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Patch Coming

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Patch Coming - 2014-04-25 10:43:59

Those that bought Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes should keep an eye out for a new update from Konami for PlayStation 3, and 4, and Xbox 360 and One. Set to launch May 1, 2014, the update will give gamers access to content that was originally platform-exclusive.

For Sony gamers, this means they get access to the Jamais-Vu mission that was originally only available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Taking place in an alternate universe, Body Snatchers Snatchers (who seem really similar to the creatures by the same name in another Hideo Kojima game, Snatchers) have over run an American prison on the coast of Cuba. The mission was too much for Big Boss, so the CIA hired the time traveling cyborg Raiden as he is immune to body snatching.

While that sounds pretty cool, Xbox gamers won’t be left with nothing. They get access to the Déjà Vu mission. This is essentially a nod to the series’ first 3D instalment, referencing big events from Metal Gear Solid.  It also features a flashback mode where the graphic style reverts back to the reduced polygon look of the old PlayStation era.

Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zero launched March 18, 2014 world wide on current and next gen consoles. It’s considered more of a prelude to the full-fledged Metal Gear Solid V game that was announced in 2012, but has yet to get a release date.

If this doesn’t sound enticing, the patch is completely free. So at the very least, it adds a few more hours to the game.

Bayonetta: Straddling a Thin Line Between Empowerment and Offense

Bayonetta: Straddling a Thin Line Between Empowerment and Offense  - 2014-04-25 05:50:37

Despite absolutely loving Platinum Games’ Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, I hadn’t played Bayonetta, the studio’s infamous 2010 release, until just this week. As I expected after enjoying so many of Platinum’s other games, Bayonetta is exceptional in terms of combat design and visual bombast. What I’m not so sure about, though, is whether or not the title character herself—a sarcastic witch who dispatches enemies with weaponized high heels and magical stripper moves—was so great.

I’m not alone in this. Bayonetta is a polarizing figure who seems to split audience opinion into two, often directly opposed camps. In the years since the game’s release, critics on one side of this schism have hailed her as an icon of feminine empowerment while those on the other side see Bayonetta as an encapsulation of a frequently sexist medium’s worst tendencies. That this kind of debate is argued from either perspective by thoughtful writers invested in a more inclusive future for games speaks volumes. Bayonetta is a title that is difficult to glorify without also offering a few concessions and equally tough to condemn without acknowledging what it does get right. This is probably due to the disconnect between character design and writing that often puts the game at odds with itself.

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The game is full of contradictions. In many scenes the camera lingers on Bayonetta’s body longer than it would for a male character, some of her most powerful combat moves leave her nearly naked, and her skintight outfit was obviously designed to titillate. Director/writer Hideki Kamiya’s motivations in creating a memorable action game protagonist are easy to figure out. The primary goal of creating a character like Bayonetta was likely to construct an instantly recognizable action hero—one who players would recognize as instantly as they do Devil May Cry’s Dante or God of War’s Kratos. That this was accomplished by making sexuality the primary characteristic of a new videogame hero is enough to make Bayonetta a problematic title. But it’s complicated by how the character is actually written.

Far from the typical portrayal of women in games as helpless, naive, or deferential to men, Bayonetta is in full control over all of the ludicrous situations she finds herself in throughout her adventure. The guys who fill the game’s supporting cast—tagalong journalist Luka, gun vendor Rodin, and underworld rube, Enzo—have little to no agency in the story and are either treated as equals or subordinates in their relationships with Bayonetta. She owns her world, is incredibly capable of battling no less than an abstracted version of the Judeo-Christian god, and is depicted as an extremely smart and self-aware woman. Though her character design is extremely sexual, Bayonetta herself controls her identity completely. Outside of the game she is portrayed as nothing more than an object of desire, but within it she is much more. This creates a pretty significant conflict between intention and perception and, I think, is responsible for the wildly differing readings of the character that have been argued since the game’s release.

LollipopChainsaw

I’m left with a similar conflict as the one I had while playing Grasshopper Manufacture’s Lollipop Chainsaw. Like Bayonetta, Chainsaw’s main character—a spunky blonde cheerleader named Juliet—is highly sexualized. She is also very aware of how the outside world sees her, though, and much of the game is concerned with asking players to question why we would so readily see the character as a sex object rather than a complex individual. Despite all of this, Chainsaw is still, ultimately, a game that reduces one of the medium’s few female protagonists to little more than a pretty face. Because this is a common trait in both Lollipop Chainsaw and Bayonetta there is a feeling that these titles are little more than attempts by developers to sell sex while injecting socially conscious characterization as an afterthought. It all comes off like Platinum Games and Grasshopper Manufacture wanting to have the cake and eat it, too. Both of these games would be less worrying if they existed in a medium where female characters were already better represented. Since this isn’t the case, they may be more harmful than they otherwise would. While Bayonetta is complex enough to keep her from being one of the worst offenders in an industry with such a poor track record of positive female representation, characters like her are still not good enough.

Can BioWare Redeem Dragon Age?

Can BioWare Redeem Dragon Age? - 2014-04-25 05:03:31

This week we got a shiny new trailer from BioWare that sheds a little more light on the first big RPG for the current generation of consoles; Dragon Age: Inquisition. As you might expect from a trailer, we got pretty graphics, dramatic music, intense dialogue and a disclaimer stating that everything shown was actual game footage as opposed to pre-rendered CG sequences. In short, it did everything a trailer is supposed to do, which is get people excited about a new game. What it does not necessarily do—and this is no fault of the trailer—is allay fears from fans that BioWare might disappoint them again.

BioWare is in a difficult position with its audience. Financially, the Edmonton—and recently Montreal—based developer is in a better place than they’ve ever been. They’re now owned by Electronic Arts, they have big budgets to work with, they can open more studios and enjoy the employee benefits of belonging to a large, multi-national corporation. Critically however, both journalists and the general audience have been less receptive to the studio in recent years, thanks to their last two games, Mass Effect III and Dragon Age II.

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Let’s just start this off by saying that neither game is terrible, and Mass Effect III is by and large, the best game of its franchise in terms of gameplay. However, there was a mixed-to-negative response from both critics and players to its ending. The main criticism is that after all the emphasis on decisions having consequences, the ending seemed to ignore all previous decisions and simply allow players to choose one of three endings, infamously referred to as the red, green and blue endings. Dragon Age II, on the other hand, is bit more of a disappointment, reigning in the exploration of the first game, confining the player to one city, reusing environments for dungeon exploration but providing an ending that was both explosive and controversial which was exciting to some and upsetting to others.

These two games both came after a steady rise in accolades for BioWare, first garnering a lot praise with their Baldur’s Gate series on PC, then enjoying one hit after another on consoles with Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, and finally, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. In many ways, they are the company that put the fire to the Japanese RPG developers, throwing down a gauntlet to JRPGs on consoles that some JRPG publishers simply couldn’t pick up and respond to. From 2003 onwards, BioWare carved out a reputation for itself in the console space as one of the best RPG creators in the world, with great stories, well-developed characters, a mix of humor and drama, and fun, engaging RPG systems.

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Dragon Age II

Their last two games took some of the edge off that shiny reputation, but now, with the announcement of Dragon Age: Inquisition, things are looking different. Over the last year, since its E3 debut, Inquisition has slowly revealed elements of its combat and exploration systems, and it feels like BioWare is trying to give its fans a simple message; we are going back to our roots. The need for “accessibility”—which often meant dumbing a game down—seems to have fallen out of fashion. BioWare is once again willing to create an RPG with systems designed to engage fans of the genre that don’t want simplicity or handholding. The world has once again expanded, inviting players to roam over a variety of regions, rather than simply tread through the same city for 15 years. The main character is making a return to a high degree of customization, allowing for different races and voices to be selected, rather than just making do with a male or female human.

All of this seems to be going in the direction that fans wanted for a BioWare game; bigger, more expansive, more complex, not simply more explosive and cinematic.

Perhaps after two successive games that failed to light the fire of the fans, BioWare no longer deserves instant optimism when they make a new game. However, to assume that they are finished and can never make a good game again is just as short sighted. It’s a new console generation and, like many other developers, BioWare has a chance to make a fresh start. Let’s see what they do with it before we start making judgments.