The annual East Coast Penny-Arcade Expo is always a sensory overloading amazing time. This year I hit the floor for 2old2play and interviewed a few studios. More info to follow on those interviews in the coming weeks. For now, here’s a rundown of some of the highlights and games you might want to check out.
Indie Mega Booth Favorites
This year PAX East had a lot of space set aside for indie games on the showroom floor. There were over 50 developers showcasing more than 60 games in a space dubbed The Indie Mega Booth. Within the mega booth was also a mini-booth showcasing three different games each day. And behind all that was the indie showcase which highlighted mobile games. Being our resident indie “expert” I didn’t know where to begin but here are two studios that stood out above the rest.
Lunchtime Studios had a great Prohibition Era style booth (complete with Flapper) with a playable demo for their game in development-Lords of New York. The game is a hybrid of adventure and RPG and encourages multiple playthroughs to unravel the stories of the different characters. A key game play element is poker matches where each character has different specialties, tells, or cheats. Maybe I’ll finally learn how to play card games through the magic of video games! There is currently a Kickstarter (which just added support for WiiU) so help make this game! They also get double bonus points for coolest swag as they were giving away thumb drives shaped like cask barrels with screenshots and videos of the game.
With games like Drunken Robot Pornography showcased, Dejobaan was basically daring you to enter their booth. They feature a variety of games from shooters to rhythm. The game I am most interested in checking out (available on Steam) is titled Monster Loves You. It's basically a choose your own adventure book come to life complete with cute things and bad jokes.
March has been pretty good to gamers so far: Pax East just wrapped up, Tomb Raider finally released, EA dropped SimCity with an auspicious (that was sarcasm) start, Sony players got a new God of War game, and Nintendo took a giant Wii U dump releasing several new titles. March isn’t over yet, and this last week is going to be a doozie. Multiplatform goodness abounds as we visit a city in the clouds and two guys take on the Devil’s Cartel...don’t you just love spring?
The moral of this week’s new releases article is to research how many games are coming out before you volunteer to write! At least there are a few I’m planning to pick up and with Nintendo’s prolific schedule I might actually be dusting off the WiiU. If this week had a theme it would be: Now available on more platforms in more countries!
Please take it gentle on me, 2old2play community, as this is my first attempt at the weekly new releases on a tight deadline with a bunch of games that aren’t really my cup of tea. Through bonus insider info I did playtest one of these at the studio about a year ago. I hope it crashes less when it ships to Steam this week!!
PS3 God of War Ascension
I never really got into the God of War series and every time I see ads for it my first thought is they gave Quan Chi his own franchise?! This 7th title in the series is a prequel to all the other games. It’s also the first to feature multi-player. Took them long enough, then again it is Sony so their network probably won’t stay up long enough to play anyway...
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2
This sequel to Sniper Ghost Warrior (I think marketing could have went a little more creative on the title, perhaps an Electric Boogaloo?) hits PS3, XBox and Windows. The release date was pushed back 3 times so fingers crossed they actually hit the target on this one. Get it snipers? Targets? Sorry I’m not an FPS gal so that’s all I got...
Darkstalkers Resurrection (PSN, XBox live)
The Darkstalkers franchise has been resurrected for 2013 so clearly what characters would you highlight? Vampires!! In fact for the Japanese release its called Vampire Resurrection. Available this week on PSN and XBOXLive it’s an HD update of Darkstalkers Revenge & Darkstalkers 3 featuring multiplayer, online sharing and unlockables.
Monster High Skultimate Roller Maze
Previously available for Wii, Monster High now in 3D or probably more like ON 3D and not taking advantage of any of the features of the 3DS. I’m not sure how I’d feel about my non-existent children being excited about this franchise but at least but at least the characters names are terrible puns (like Draculaura) and every child needs more roller derby in their life!
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
This is the first expansion pack for Star Craft 2. This pack features over 20 new missions and continues the campaign with the Zerg race. There goes the neighborhood! Also: YOU MUST CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS!
Go Home Dinosaurs & PC version of Slambot Scrapers
About a year ago I actually got a chance to head to Firehose games to play test these two titles. Woohoo free pizza and finding out either I’m terrible at them or they haven’t quite nailed down the game play yet (probably a mix of both). Go Home Dinosaurs is a brand new tower defense game involving lots of cute things. Slambot Scrapers was the studio’s first original IP released for PSN and now ported to PC. Both will be available on Steam this week.
February has come and gone and we are March-ing into spring, my well-aged fellow gamers. Time to store that smelly, old parka in the coat closet and stock up on some AA batteries, because March is going to be a month to remember. This week features a heroic port to the Nintendo side of the gameverse, a new portable Castlevania title in 3D, a whole lot of baseball going on, some shootin’, some Simmin’, and some tomb raiding. Buckle up, amigo.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Your friendly neighborhood Spider Man is coming to a Wii-U console near you this week. This is the same game that already released on every other platform on Earth, but if you own a Wii-U then it’s new to you. A deluxe version comes with every scrap of DLC pre-loaded on the disc: bonus costumes from the movies, Stan Lee Adventure Pack, Lizard Rampage Pack, Rhino Challenge, and the Oscorp Search and Destroy Pack. Will the Wii-U Spider Man be able to stand up to his Microsoft and Sony rivals? Don’t ask questions that you already know the answers to. Nintendo console gamers can start their web-slinging careers starting March 5th, unless you live in Australia, in which case you can buy it...never.
MLB 13: The Show
Sony is still tweaking their MLB: The Game series. 2013 adds seven new minor league parks to the game, a new beginner mode, instructional enhancements, Vita sync, and tweaks to create a true pick up and play baseball experience. In addition, in the spirit of the age-old baseball tradition of cheating, MLB 13: The Show allows players to skip that pesky baseball season and go straight to the postseason. Way to keep it real, Sony. Available March 5th on the PS3 and Vita.
Providing an “unprecedented depth of simulation”, the ability to control up to 16 cities, and a brand new multiplayer mode makes SimCity, actually Will Wright’s 5th game in the series, “the most responsive and personal SimCity ever.” In other words: it’s a PC game where you build stuff, but it’s newer than the others. I use my PC as a typewriter with digital ink! Available for PCs everywhere, starting March 5th.
2K’s mighty baseball juggernaut is back for another season. Featuring authentic commentary, a pain in the ass to master right analog pitching scheme, realistic environments and crowd pleasing modes like My Player, Franchise, and Postseason, MLB 2K13 is the closest thing you can get to going outside without actually doing it. This one slides into home on March 5th, for the PS3 and XBox 360.
We had some great AAA releases this month, but unfortunately, February has decided to go out with a whimper. Just as well, I’m still trying to game away the stench of Aliens: Colonial Marines. The only notable release is a Japanese 3D title for the 3DS, so continue on with what you’re already playing...unless you’re into that sort of thing, weirdo.
The fourth installment of the Etrian Odyssey series is the first to make it to 3D. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legend of the Titan looks a lot like early Final Fantasy games, before they got all fancy and moved away from their turn based RPG roots. This game is brought to us by Japanese developer, Altus, which tells me all I need to know about the game: players will start out as a kid, bad stuff happens, kid grows up, theres a big sword around somewhere, and none of it will make sense. Doesn’t bode well for adults, but your kids are going to LOVE it! This is a 3DS exclusive, and it hits shelves on Feb. 26.
Well, now that we got that lovey-dovey Valentine's Day crap out of our systems we can get back to doing what we do: keeping the game industry alive one disc at a time. This week is a double shot of AAA goodness as we head to the Liberty Dome in nanosuits and chop the shit out of everything with a sword.
Crysis 3 is going to make every other shooter its bitch in the third installment of Crytek and EA’s Crysis saga. The story follows Alcatraz back to NYC, 24 years after the events of Crysis 2. This time the bad guys are terraforming New York City into a rain forest and it’s up to Alcatraz, some guy named Prophet and a couple of nanosuits to stop them. Expect some decent multiplayer featuring a hunter mode. Crytek has beefed up system requirements so that the high-res will “melt down PCs.” Better get a console version, just to be on the safe side. This one drops Feb 19 for PC, PS3, and XBox 360.
Happy Valentine’s week everybody! I know that you romantic, smooth talking devils are taking your significant other out for a night of romance and heartburn before you trudge through three feet of snow to catch A Good Day to Die Hard at the old Cinema Cineplex, just across from the Singer Sewing Company. This is the perfect week for an unimportant and useless holiday, because only one title drops this week, but it’s a doozie! Get ready for assault rifles, acid blood, and Xenomorph hunting.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
I know that every single game based on the Aliens film franchise sucked major ass. In fact, only the first two movies were any good, after that Ripley shaved her head, died, and was cloned...I call BS! Randy Pitchford and his merry band of Alien lovers at Gearbox promised us a true Aliens experience and, if the trailers are any indication of their sincerity, we are in for a real treat. Set as a sequel to the second movie, directed by James Cameron, Aliens: Colonial Marines features authentic space marine gear like the pulse rifle, the motion tracker and Ripley’s flamethrower. Some of the in-movie sets were recreated to give players that claustrophobic Aliens feel. I watched the trailers with headphones on and it even sounds like an Aliens movie.
Game modes include a single player campaign, 4-player drop in/out co-op, a 6 vs 6 player deathmatch, a 4 marines vs 4 Xenomorphs Escape mode, a gauntlet mode, and several objective-based multiplayer modes. Sealing doors, utilization of motion trackers, turret placement, face-huggers, and use of the loader from the Aliens climax are all part of the game....and I saw a Xenomorph Queen in one of the trailers! The LCE includes characters from the game, like Hudson and Hicks...but no Ripley. If Gearbox pulls this off, we could have an early GOTY contender on our hands. Aliens: Colonial Marines hits shelves on February 12, for PC, PS3, and XBox 360.
So, you finally blew through all the games that Granny got you for Christmas and you’re back in the mood to spend some of your own cash on your habit. January saw very few releases, so I took a month off to play some Far Cry 3 with a little Doom on the side...not a bad way to spend a month. However, I’m ready for the latest and greatest in electronic entertainment and not a moment too soon: developers are about to drop some AAA goodness atop our grateful noggins. Aliens: Colonial Marines, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, Crysis 3, and Bioshock Infinite will release in the not too distant future. This week, a space engineer kills a third wave of necromorphs and Sly Cooper stars in a Time Bandits remake.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Someone has stolen the Thevius Raccoonis, a book chronicling Sly’s family bloodline and exploits, forcing Sly and the gang to travel time and retrieve this priceless book. Sanzaru Games played developer for the fourth installment in this popular platforming purloiner. Sly still possesses his skills from previous games, and gains a new wardrobe in this installment. Costumes, each providing Sly with a unique ability, are scattered throughout the game, and are necessary to clean up on all the loot on every level, all of which can be revisited. Solve the mystery, read a book, meet Sly’s ancestors, and give them rabies. Available on the PS3 and PS Vita starting February 5. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is part of Sony’s Cross Buy initiative, which means if you buy the PS3 version you are entitled to download the Vita version for free. I just checked the prices on this one and Game Stop has the PS3 version selling at $39.99, and $29.99 for the Vita.
Isaac Clarke has had a rough couple of games. He has had to battle necromorphs almost single-handedly on both The Sprawl and USS Ishimura, his girlfriend got herself killed, religious zealots want to kill him, he suffers from near-fatal hallucinations, and got a needle driven into his eye. In the third installment of the space shooter horror survival franchise, Clarke teams up with Han Solo and travels to the ice planet Hoth. I mean Clarke teams up with John Carver and travels to an ice planet that is not Hoth, in order to destroy the final marker and put an end to the necromorph menace once and for all. Developer, Visceral Games, has deepened the Kinect experience with Dead Space 3, adding co-op and allowing players to heal each other, reload, share ammo, etc utilizing Kinect’s voice command feature. Another new feature allows players to roll into cover or out of the way...where the hell was that feature in the last 2 games? Keep cool, Jones, it’s here now and that’s all that matters. Dead Space 3 drops on February 5th, for XBox 360 and PS3 players, cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in Clarke’s eye.
Survival horror has a new name and it isn’t Resident Evil... it’s “Depends.” A package of Depends should come with each copy of Dead Space 3! You will be sharting every time a necromorph jumps out at you when you least expect it. For those of you doing Pilates, Yoga, Crossfit or other types of core physical workouts, you should be fine as your abs of steel hold your sphincter tightly closed while playing through this game.