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Friday, May 30, 2014

The Evil Within: Delayed

Mikami has recently announced that The Evil Within will be pushed back to a release date of October 23rd, 2014, a few months later than previously announced.

The reasoning for the delay is as follows.
Shinji Mikami and his team at Tango Gameworks have asked for additional time to further balance and refine the game in order to deliver the polished, terrifying pure survival horror experience they set out to create.
So a few months longer wait, and in exchange, a better more polished game. Seems like a far trade to me, much better than them releasing a sub-par game that has numerous day one patches. A few pre-order bonuses have been released as well, for those who are eager to get their hands on the game.
One Med Kit – A Health Kit, restores Health.
Green Gel – Used to upgrade Sebastian's attributes. 
Double Barrel Shotgun and Three Shells - A stronger and more formidable shotgun, useful for tight situations with multiple enemies. 
An Incendiary Agony Bolt – Capable of showering nearby enemies with fire. 
A Poison Agony Bolt – Distracts and poison enemies, allowing Sebastian time for a quick escape.
The fact that you get such a limited number of shells and arrows make me wonder if the game will be more flight than fight, or if they just don't want to over-power you.

We also have a few screen caps for those who haven't seen much of the game.






The Evil Within has a new expected release date of October 23rd, 2014 on the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

L.A. Noire

"In the Marine Corps, you deal with a chain of command. You know what you're fighting for and that you're on the same team. You never know if the guy you're talking to is on the pad, or whether it's your partner, or maybe even the watch commander. So who do you trust Cole?"


Yes, I know the game is old, but I prefer older games, so meh. ;p


Story

The story of L.A. Noire is not at first apparent, in the beginning it's mostly told through newspapers you can find scattered around LA. The game places in 1947 L.A. as Officer Cole Phelps, a rookie cop, you are charged with investigating a murder with your partner. It quickly becomes apparent that Phelps has a keen eye for investigation work.

Phelps is charged with more cases, as well as promotions for his excellent case solving abilities, until he learns that members of his old Marine Corp group are being hunted and assassinated for seemingly unknown reasons. Phelps then begins investigating the slayings of his old unit, finding that money and personal gain in LA have more influence than anything else.


Graphics

L.A. Noire made a huge leap in graphics in games, they used some high end tech to not simply make face, but to replicate them using something called MotionScan, which uses several cameras (up to 32) taking images of the actor and allows a incredibly accurate 3D image to be displayed, motion and all. This is why Noire focuses so much on people's subtle facial expressions during investigations.

Phelps' actor, Aaron Staton and Cole Phelps
While faces are obviously superb, probably the best I've EVER seen in a game, other areas shouldn't be forgotten. I've never really stopped to stare at the side of a wall on Noire, but in the passing, I can tell they are solid (no pun), the graphics in Noire are pretty solid and if a sequel is made for next gen (current gen), I'm sure we won't even be able to tell the difference (it's already hard with some games).

Staton in the MotionScan room

Controls

The controls in L.A. Noire are bland, you use X/Square to talk, dodge in fights and talk to your partner, A/X
is used to investigate clues and punch, Y/Triangle is to get in a car and grapple.... pretty standard stuff, nothing worth noting. Here's a layout for reference (it's Xbox, but you can figure it out on the PS3 by looking at it too).



Voice/Music/Sound

Voice acting is very well done, as it should be, there are literally several hours of VO. Some parts seem out of place due to changes in wording in the game (like Phelps when he 'Doubts' someone, sounds like he is yelling at them, this was because 'Doubt' was originally 'Coerce').

Gun shots, engine sounds and ambient sound effects are a par for the course, as they are with most other games. They won't stand out much, maybe a few things here and there, but nothing special.


Other

There are many collectibles in the game, so if your aim is a full 1,000 or a Platinum, keep a list handy, you'll need it. Unlike previous Rockstar games, there's no online, so no need to grind to the highest rank, though there is a Achievement/Trophy for reaching the highest in Single Player, though this is easy if you are aiming for the other Achievements/Trophies, so no worries.

The game is not very action packed, it IS a crime investigation game, so don't expect a bunch of gun fights and fisticuffs.

The city of L.A. was replicated quite well, the designers used aerial photos (as well as still photos like those below) taken by Robert Spence in the 1920's to design the city of L.A. Noire, obviously adding a few things here and there to exercise some creativity.

Hall of Records circa 1946
Hall of Records in Noire

RKO Hillstreet circa 1945
RKO Hillstreet in Noire


When the game is finished, you can use the Case Select to replay cases to get a higher rating (for the all 5 star award, or to find certain weapons and vehicles), there's also Free Roam, where you can explore and do Street Crimes at your leisure.


Overall

L.A. Noire CAN be a bunch of fun if you give it a chance, the lack of free choice, or the lack of side-effects of being wrong, are a tad disappointing, but aren't a game breaker.

8.5/10.0

Pros
- Amazingly accurate facial construction
- Great VO
- Fun story (when you actually start piecing it together)

Cons
- Story DOES take a while to become apparent
- Little to no replay value
- Investigations can sometimes be repetitive

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Walking Dead, Season 2 Episode 3: In Harm's Way [Reactions]

Obviously, this will contain spoilers and gameplay may vary slightly depending on your choices throughout the chapter and previous chapters.

Feel free to include your reactions in the comments and we'll add them here!

Andrew Mulligan
When we began playing, i immediately disliked everything about Carver and his group, just his cronie slapping Clem in the intro made me want to choke them, Kenny too, as you could tell when he saw what they did. When they placed in the 'detention area', you already knew these guys were assholes, it was a prison cell, outside, in the cold.... Reggie, a guy who helped the the others escape before was also there for his betrayal, trying to make amends and get back in. He seemed like a nice guy, although creepy and a bit off. Carver showed his colors when he FORCED Carlos to slap Sarah for talking out of line, Carver is clearly insane.
Seemed like a standard affair, Kenny wanted out, everyone else wasn't sure. Of course, I sided with Ken, as he is awesome. Bonnie, don't know how to feel about her, she wanted to make amends for what she did, but how can you trust someone like that after they cause your groups capture?
When Clem and Sarah had to help Reggie pick berries, I didn't see what could go wrong. Little did I know by helping Sarah, the trouble I caused for Reggie, who was killed by Carver, another reason I hate this d-bag. I was glad to see Luke again and decided to help him and Kenny get us out of there, but Luke getting caught led to the main reason I wanted Carver dead. Not only did he beat the crap out of Luke, he puts Kenny on the brink of death, also causing him to lose sight in one eye.
The group decides to leave, thankfully, Kenny was "okay" enough to walk. Alvin, who was taken away earlier, was found beaten, presumably to death, but when Clem turns on the radios to draw the Walkers, he gets up and says he'll hold off Carver's men, to make time for them to escape, he is then, unsurprisingly, killed.
The last bit was amazing, Carver had the group at gun point, but Clem was able to jump on him from some supply boxes. Luke, who I've lost respect for at this point, doesn't want to shoot Carver. I tell him to, so Kenny does it instead. When Kenny grabbed that crowbar, I was giddy with excitement. The escape was too damn fast for me, so much happened that I didn't get to "digest" it well enough. Carlos was killed, Sarah ran off and Sarita was bitten (and had her arm promptly removed by Clem).

Kenny, beating Carver to death, until he is no longer recognizable

Ana Gore
I enjoyed this episode a lot, I made it my job to make everyone at Carvers a living hell for what they did to my group. It wasn't heavy on the action initially, but it really made up for it in the end. When we played, I WANTED to trust Bonnie, as she really seemed to want forgiveness for causing the deaths at the lodge, but she defended Carver too much, until Reg was killed at least. After that, and when she helped me get the radio to Luke, I felt I could trust her again, and I'm really glad I did, she redeemed herself, in my eyes anyways.
I have no remorse for Carver, the crap he did was bogus, I'm glad he was killed. Clementine seemed to really change at that point, maybe for the worse, but I couldn't let him live for what he did to the group. 
It was sad about Alvin, but I don't have a strong bond with him, so I didn't let it bug me much. When we got to Carver, I was glad Kenny killed him, Carver was almost excited about it, that he was right when he said Clementine was just like him. When Carlos got shot, I was already on edge, then Sarah freaked out and Sari was bitten, if Reg could survive, why not Sari? Off with the arm!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Xbox Policy Change: What It Means For You


Unless you're living under a metaphorical rock, you've probably heard the news, the Xbox policy is being changed, quite drastically, in fact. I'm here to break it down, quick and simple like, no fluff (other than this):
  • - No more Paywalls, you'll be able to enjoy all apps WITHOUT a Gold subscription. Obviously, you'll need a membership to the corresponding app if it is applicable, like Netflix and Hulu, for example.
  • - MMO's, however (namely Elder Scrolls Online, at this point), remain unaffected. So if you plan on buying TESO, you'll STILL need a Gold subscription in order to play, as well as a TESO sub.
If you've recently purchased a subscription, this may be of interest to you as well.
“Once the Xbox One and Xbox 360 system updates become available in June, Xbox Live Gold members who purchased a paid membership before that day can cancel and receive a pro-rata refund of any unused remaining days between the date of cancellation and the date their paid Gold membership ends"
Which translates to a small (or large) refund of your precious currency.

In other Xbox related news, Xbox's Games with Gold will be heading to the Xbox One in June, the first set of games up for grabs is Max: Curse of the Brotherhood (avg. rating 72/100) and Spartan Assault (avg. rating 71/100).

Lastly, a Kinect-less Xbox One will be available later this year at the price point of $399.99, so if you've been waiting for that, you're in luck.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Namco Bandai


If you play RPGs or Fighters, you've almost certainly played a Namco Bandai game, which is understandable, they're usually pretty damn good. However, I live a complicated relationship with them, one that is questionable and agonizing (like if you date a hot gal/guy, but they have that terrible laugh, like this) at times.

It's tough to explain (I've literally wrote this one sentence several times now), the best way would be to simply show it.

Who's played Tales of Vesperia? Recognize this lady:


Probably not. Why, is she a DLC exclusive, a hidden character, a new character for the next installment? No to all of those. This is Patty Fleur, you've not seen her because she is one of two exclusive characters to the PS3 version. The other this well-known fella:


Yep, Flynn is a recruit-able character in the PS3 version, compared to the Xbox version where you get him for one fight.

Now before fanboys take this as an attack against their precious console, I have a PS3.

"Why don't you just buy it then?"

Good question, sir/madam, if you are ignorant. The PS3 version was not localized, meaning not released in America.

"Just buy a Japanese version then." You say, well I no speak Japanese, I can't play any game without being able to understand it.

So not only do you get one new character, and one awesome character to join, everything is voiced, more monsters, more bosses, more items, more EVERYTHING.

THAT IS NOT ALL.

“Xbox 360 players often complained ‘why aren’t these parts voiced?’, so when making the PS3 version we first set about improving the voicing … As a result, the entire main scenario became fully voiced.”
“We’d be delighted if those who played the Xbox 360 version would play the PS3 version too. Of course the same goes for those playing for the first time.”
“We made a lot of changes we think Xbox 360 players would be sure to appreciate.”
“There are a lot of elements from the Xbox 360 version which were improved, so please give it a try.”
“Based on the feedback so kindly provided by Xbox 360 players, we added a lot of additional elements.”

“Based on the feedback so kindly provided by Xbox 360 players, we added a lot of additional elements.” 

This is what is known as a BETA. Yep, if you own the X360 version, you bought a BETA version of the game. I could do with buying a game I could not possibly understand, but to openly say "Thanks for testing the game, now go buy the PS3 version (if you can)" is rather insulting to both Xbox and non-Japanese gamers. They could offer DLC for the extra content, but no. I can't even call them money hungry (unless Sony offered them cash to NOT make DLC), as they didn't make X360 users play $25 for the content, they just didn't make it.

Not sure which is worse, being a sell-out or lazy ass.

All this being said, they do make some amazing RPGs, so.... yeah....