Month: May 2014

The Future of Street Fighter on PC Revealed Today - 2014-05-30 15:18:29

The Future of Street Fighter on PC Revealed Today

Even though the release of Ultra Street Fighter 4 on PC is still a few months away, users will be happy to know that Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition has now migrated to Steamworks.

Customers who own a digital copy though Steam will automatically transfer your save files to Steamworks. Owners of physical copies will be able to activate their CD key though Steam.

Unfortunately, all paid DLC obtained though the physical version will not be transferable.

Good news for those who lost their DLC, or need a copy of a game, as both the game and DLC are currently 75% for today only.

Games For Windows Live was a DRM “solution” by developers to use for their PC games. Companies such as Capcom, Rockstar, and WB Games used the service. Although paying customers had to “jump though hoops” just to play a game though it, pirated copies could completely get past all DRM.

The servers for Games for Windows Live will officially shut down on July 1st, and judging by gamer reaction, it doesn’t seem like they’ll miss it much.

PSN Scheduled for Maintenance Next Week

If you wanted to use some PSN features on Monday, you might have to wait. That’s because Sony announced there will be some scheduled maintenance.

The news came from PlayStation blog. They said the maintenance will take place between 12:50p.m.-6:30p.m. but some features will still be available. It will affect the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Home, and Account Management.  You’ll still be able to play games still and access apps like Netflix though.

Hyperdimension Neptunia PP (PS Vita) Review 3

Hyperdimension Neptunia PP (PS Vita) Review

Only In Japan

There’s no denying that culture has an impact on arts and entertainment. An art film from France has a distinctiveness about it that no other country can match. A fine American horror novel has a feel all its own, and when it comes to Japan, there are also certain things that can only come from the mind of a creative personality born and raised there. Games like Hyperdimension Neptunia PP are one of those products. While the rest of the gaming world is deeply entrenched in shooting things from a first person point of view, HNPP takes the Neptunia world—which was already pretty crazy—and thrusts it into a “simulation” where players create the ultimate idol singer. No other country could have come up with this.

 hyperdimension_neptunia_pp_insert1

Welcome To The World Of Showbiz

The main Hyperdimension Neptunia RPG series was about a world called gameindustri (pronounced “game industry”) rule by “goddesses” that manifested as cute anime girls that were physical incarnations of game consoles. This side-game is not a canon addition to the series, instead taking the girls and their world and creating a new crisis. An idol group called MOB48 is stealing the “shares,” the spiritual currency that fuels goddess abilities, thus depowering the console girls. They summon a gamer from our world to be their producer so they can fight back as idols with even better dance routines and catchy tunes, and the battle is on. This is obviously not meant to be a deep, serious game, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Typical Japanese comedic lunacy abounds with all the expected idol/dating simulation tropes like the “tsundere” girl and awkward/creepy harem moments that are the norm for anime/manga comedies and romance. This game, like most games published by NIS, is aimed at the otaku crowd that enjoys the unique “Japanese-i-ness” of games from the East, and while this is actually a relatively easy game for neophytes to get into, there’s an expectation on the part of the story that the player is familiar with a lot of these clichés.

[pullquote align=”right” class=”blue”]”Typical Japanese comedic lunacy abounds with all the expected idol/dating simulation tropes like the “tsundere” girl and awkward/creepy harem moments that are the norm for anime/manga comedies and romance.”[/pullquote]

The game itself is straightforward for those with a lot of experience in Japanese simulation games. The majority of the game is menu-driven, using a lot of quality manga illustrations of the girls as the player chooses what activities to perform during the day, whether it’s training to build up stats, publicity to get more fans, or interacting with various characters to build up friendship and romance. None of this is action oriented at all, relying more on wacky writing and emotional investment in deranged characters to carry the player through. The more “interactive” portion is the actual concert where players have the choice to control camera angles and use stage effects to build up audience enthusiasm, and thus garner more fans and “shares.” Proper 3D polygonal models are used here, but the actual interaction is more about button presses timed to certain cues and making sure to pair the right song to the right venue than anything else. This game, like most Japanese simulation games, is really more about plot and the occasional choice than constant, highly active interaction.

hyperdimension+pp_insert2

Unfortunately, it’s also very, very slight. For an idol simulation game about J-Pop stars, there’s a meagre total of five songs. The actual duration of the game is also pretty short, with one playthrough running about three hours or less. There’s a total of four characters, and the game’s “clear save data” carries over the stats of each idol to a new playthrough, so the game is clearly intended to be played multiple times. At $40.00, that feels a little steep, compared to games with lengthy playtimes, such as Toukiden or even Demon Gaze. However, it’s an idol simulation game on the Vita, and there’s a real dearth of that genre not just on the Vita but most platforms.

Hyperdimension Neptunia PP is all about player predisposition. There’s absolutely NOTHING here to convince the anti-Otaku crowd to change their minds. Even for those that like Japanese culture, $40 for a short game with minimal interactivity might be asking a bit much. But for those that love games like Idolm@ster and are starved for a Vita—or even just plain English—version, this is it. It’s entertaining, there’s just not a lot of bang for $40.

 

Transistor Resists the Easy Path of Sequels - 2014-05-30 15:12:01

Transistor Resists the Easy Path of Sequels

After 2011’s Bastion, developer Supergiant Games could have rested on its laurels. Bastion was a great debut, establishing an imaginative and talented new presence. It would have been easy—maybe even advisable—for a small studio to capitalize on the critical and popular success of its first game by getting straight to work on a direct sequel. Instead, Supergiant made the far riskier decision to start developing the recently released Transistor, a follow-up with a brand new setting and approach to gameplay. Those who have played Bastion will recognize stylistic similarities between Supergiant’s two titles—an in-game narrator, a combat system blending action and RPG mechanics—but, other than a handful of distinctive features, Transistor is completely original.

This isn’t how it usually goes.

[pullquote align=”right” class=”blue”]”Transistor is exciting because its players are venturing into unfamiliar territory when they boot it up for the first time.”[/pullquote]

Videogames, more than any other creative industry, are dominated by sequels. Every year sees the return of new entries to proven franchises, from Halo and Assassin’s Creed to Call of Duty and Super Mario Bros. Each fall season is dominated by sequels to popular game series, the industry’s “blockbuster” season filled with familiar characters and styles of gameplay. In many cases, these sequels make substantial improvements to the games that came before them, attempting to provide players with more of what they already liked while also improving what didn’t work before. Even though this kind of refinement can result in some extremely entertaining experiences, sequels can’t offer the sort of excitement that comes from exploring unfamiliar settings and learning entirely new mechanics in totally original titles. Players keep buying new entries to their favourite series because they know what to expect. But overindulging in the comforts of familiarity will cause a medium to stagnate—we need originality to keep things exciting.

Considering how expensive the development of a mainstream videogame is—and will continue to be now that the current generation has further increased audio/visual quality—the prevalence of sequels isn’t surprising. Publishers have to recoup the investment they make in a developer’s production costs, after all. It’s still disappointing, though, that new concepts are so rare. The traditional advice is to turn to independent studios for originality, but this isn’t always a solution either. We’re pretty quick to exempt indies from taking part in uncreative business models, imagining that just because a studio is small it is somehow free from the financial realities that encourage endless sequels. This isn’t true. Indies may function without the kind of publisher oversight that is partly to blame for the problem, but most small teams also hope to make money from their work. If a studio has been lucky enough to create a recognizable game, they’re as prone as anyone else to the temptation of taking advantage of brand recognition when planning future titles.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTik6sYT_BE”]

This is why Supergiant’s decision to resist creating a Bastion sequel is so welcome. After gaining a fan base on the strength of their debut, Supergiant could have played their next project safe and created a continuation of Bastion’s story that made good use of a familiar “franchise” name (it doesn’t matter that the first game’s ending was so final; there is always a way to write around that sort of thing if you want to). Instead, it dreamed up a brand new world, populated by unknown characters. It gave us a game that is exciting because its players are venturing into unfamiliar territory when they boot it up for the first time. We don’t know anything about protagonist Red, the talking Transistor sword she fights with, or the sci-fi city of Cloudbank the plot takes place in. The story and gameplay are a gradual process of discovery that keeps the player engaged because nothing is familiar enough to let her/his mind wander. It may only be a personal preference, but I like to play games in order to experience new things. I want to learn new ways to interact with gameplay systems—come to understand characters I’ve never met before and be told a story that isn’t weighed down by references to previous games.

It’s easy to bemoan the state of the medium when so many game releases are known quantities, and so many studio announcements are for familiar titles with a higher and higher number tacked to the end of their names. But, it’s also important to make note of the developers who buck these trends and strive to provide players with brand new experiences, even if doing so may be a risky financial prospect. Supergiant Games is one of the studios that people fed up with sequels should pay attention to. We should congratulate them for creating work as original and innovative as Transistor.

Check out our review of Transistor!

Pikmin 3 Update  - 2014-05-30 13:45:37

Pikmin 3 Update

Pikmin fans have a reason to go back to the series. Nintendo has announced that they will update their control scheme for Pikmin 3.

The new controls will be more akin to the Nintendo Land Pikmin game. There were some issues when Pikmin 3 launched when it came to the touch screen. Fans felt the controls weren’t as intuitive as they should be.  Now, that might not be an issue.

This announcement comes just after Nintendo started a promotion that includes Pikmin 3 as a free game from Club Nintendo with the purchase of Mario Kart 8.

CGMPodcast Episode 109 - Michael Bay and Explosions - 2014-05-30 13:07:50

CGMPodcast Episode 109 – Michael Bay and Explosions

On this week’s CGM podcast, Harmonix has a successful Kickstarter then fires a bunch of people. Guess that crowd funding stuff ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Edgar Wright walks away from the Ant-Man movie which is actually some pretty horrible news for concerned geeks everywhere, and Watch_Dogs is finally out, and it’s good, it’s just not going to change your life.

Take-Two CEO Hints at More BioShock and Red Dead Redemption - 2014-05-30 12:02:41

Take-Two CEO Hints at More BioShock and Red Dead Redemption

Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick had nothing but good news for gamers today at the Cowen & Company Analyst Conference when he discussed 2K’s highly selective release strategy and announced a steady future for many of 2K’s key franchises, including Grand Theft Auto, Borderlands, NBA, Red Dead Redemption, and BioShock.

He started with a discussion about 2K’s release schedule, emphasizing quality over quantity.

“The risk [of releasing multiple games] is that you end up just bulking up your release schedule, and that isn’t really what consumers want. Consumers want better, not more,” he said. “So our selective approach which we’ve taken since ’07 I think has paid off. Now, we have gotten more by taking that approach; we’ve launched one new successful franchise ever year, and I would like to keep doing that particularly because I talk about permanent franchise, but not everything is going to be a permanent franchise.”

He pointed to GTA, Borderlands, and Red Dead in particular, saying that “it seems obvious that Red Dead is a permanent franchise.”

Zelnick later spoke of the BioShock franchise, claiming that there’s still more to explore with the franchise and that BioShock “is important and something that we’re focused on; something 2K Marin will be responsible for shepherding going forward.”

No further details about whether or not these games are currently in development were revealed, but it’s safe to assume that eventual installments to both franchises are forthcoming and have probably been discussed within Rockstar and 2K Marin respectively. Here’s hoping we learn more about both franchises soon.

 

 

ARMA 3 Now Has Kart Racing, Developer Outlines New DLC Plan 2

ARMA 3 Now Has Kart Racing, Developer Outlines New DLC Plan

The realistic sandbox military shooter game ARMA 3 now has a karting DLC pack.

Originally intended as a joke for April Fool’s Day, fan response towards the karts was so great that developer Bohemia Interactive started development on it for real.

The Karts DLC will feature a new single player content which will be five different time trials, as well as the ability to build new tracks with new track items.

What started off as an April Fools Day joke is now real DLC for ARMA 3.

This will is the first step in Bohemia’s new approach to DLC. In a recent blog post, they mention that one of the biggest problems with paid DLC is how it fractures it’s user base into players who own it, and players who don’t.

Bohemia will be starting to experiment with “reasonable restrictions” on all DLC content. This means that players who haven’t purchased the DLC will be able to play with users that have, and will be able to access some features of it.

Don’t want to be a backseat driver in this helicopter? Then you have to buy the DLC.

As an example, if players haven’t bought the ARMA 3 helicopters DLC, they’ll be able to use it in the editor, but not in single player and multiplayer games. They’ll still be able to ride in it, but not be able to pilot it. The more they use this content, they’ll experience gradual notifications to buy the premium content.

A portion of the ARMA 3 Karts DLC will be given to the Czech Red Cross. The grand total of how much they raised will be revealed later in June.

The Wolf Among Us and Walking Dead Heading to Next Gen Consoles - 2014-05-30 11:30:37

The Wolf Among Us and Walking Dead Heading to Next Gen Consoles

Telltale Games has announced that The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead will come to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this year.  No actual date was announced, but they did say “later this year.”

Along with this announcement, Telltale Games said they will release The Walking Dead Season Two and The Wolf Among Us will launch on disc for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Much like their next gen iterations, a release date hasn’t been released.

Update to Broforce Adds New Bros, Giant Death Mechs - 2014-05-30 10:47:09

Update to Broforce Adds New Bros, Giant Death Mechs

The latest update for Free Live’s Early Access game Broforce has arrived, and with it comes two new bros and a mech.

The first bro is the Bronaversal Soldier, a spoof of the movie Universal Soldier. His ability allows players to resurrect dead enemies and bros to help them out with extra firepower.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 10.33.41 AM
The Bronaversial Soldier has the ability to resurrect dead enemies and dead Bros to lend a helping hand.

The other bro is Time Bro, a play on the movie Time Cop played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. As his name suggests, Time Bro can slow down time around him .

Mechs will be new enemies to fight. The “Mechanized Terror Units” have a massive amount of firepower and are tough to beat. Bros that do beat them can then get inside of them and destroy everything.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 10.34.57 AM
After being defeated, Mechanized Terror Units can be jumped into and used to decimate enemies.

The update also adds improvements to online multiplayer, and some rebalancing to some bros, the helicopter boss, and Indiana Bros.

Broforce is now available on Steam via Early Access and the Humble Store, with the full version set to release later this summer.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQlmZaOCwrM”]



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