Next week is starting to look good for new releases, with Sleeping Dogs (formerly True Crime: Hong Kong) and Darksiders 2 dropping on the 14th. I really enjoyed True Crime: Streets of LA back in the day, but was pretty meh on the follow-up, True Crime: New York City. I have Darksiders on both PS3 and PC, and in typical Ricky fashion, I haven’t played it for more than a couple of hours. It’s a great Zelda-esque game, but I just haven’t had time to get back to it.

This week, however, we have Sound Shapes, a cross platform music game for the PS3 and Vita. Check the video in the root post – I’m going to get my Becktionary.

Also new podcast coming on Monday!

Sunday, 1:23 pm – Ricky

Welcome Gavin!

Bienvenue Gavin!

¡Bienvenido Gavin!

Gavin xoş gəlmisiniz!

Selamat Datang Gavin!

It’s been a wild and crazy ride here at Gamentary while you were gone, with some games getting finished and pods getting cast. We’re on the cusp of a new week, and I’ve also finished a game: Max Payne 3!

I really enjoyed the Rockstar POV of Max Payne. After picking up the title from Remedy many years ago, Rockstar released a new Max into the world earlier this year (the same day Diablo 3 dropped, no less). Yes, it was prettier, but it certainly was grittier – colorful jungles, vibrant favelas, strange and distant locales compared to the film-noir New York winter. What made it enjoyable was that it was so different from what we’d seen before. Rockstar took Max Payne and really made it their own.

Max is older, fatter, and balder (at points), but he’s no less deadly. Of course bullet-time slow-motion shooting makes a return, but it felt better than it had previously. Maybe this is thanks to Rockstar’s work on Red Dead Redemption, which also incorporated slow-motion shooting mechanics, or maybe it was just a blessing from updated technology. However, while Max is deadlier, so are his enemies. Rockstar also added in cover-based shooting, and it’s definitely a necessary survival skill. Some might scoff and state that this is now the Way of Payne™. I believe it added to the experience, making for more realistic gun battles – well, as realistic as you can get while slow-motion diving from cover through the air, aiming a targeting reticule at 6 different guys’ heads sequentially and knocking each of them off with a squeeze of shoulder button.

Yes, I said shoulder button. While I played Max Payne 3 on my PC, I used the 360 remote. I know, more blasphemy, but it felt right to me. I enjoy using the controller for third-person shooters: the camera control on one stick and the aiming on the other just feels more natural, and the shoulder buttons help round out the shooting/diving/weapon-switching mechanics. The game looks damn pretty on the PC, runs like butter, and clocked in for me at just under 10 hours, including some additional level exploration for collectibles (each level has some parts for golden versions of guns, which, as far as I can tell, have bigger ammo capacity and pack a better punch).

There’s multiplayer too, so I might dive into that at some point (no pun intended). But for now, I’m going to let the latest chapter of Max Payne sink in. Was it perfect? No. Was it just what we needed? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I know that Rockstar won’t put this one to bed any time soon, so I’m sure we can expect to see more of Max’s adventures in murder. Whether he’s still in the south or back on American soil, one things for sure: We haven’t seen the last of the slow-mo-dive-shoot-headshot.

Final housekeeping from me for the weekend: There won’t be a podcast this week, though we may record something on Saturday when we come together at Gavin’s for the Dear Esther Protocol. Details, photos, etc. to follow!

Sunday, 10:40 am – matt

welcome back Gavin, good to see a post again! I’ve been lost in heckesville, the world of gravity rush for the ps vita. I’ve just platinumed the title for my first such trophy on the handheld, and it was a really cool experience. I took my time like any good action rpg’s, finishing all side quests and leveling my character to the fullest. the game itself was a blast to play, but left a number of questions still looming in the story that never quite get wrapped up, which was really disappointing because they were the elements I was most interested in and I’m left guessing myself. but the game itself again was sick, and with the available downloadable content perhaps they will explore the aspects of the story that were still left open, well see when there is a discount on them! 😉 I’m starting to build levels in sound shapes so my time is going to be devoted to that.

Friday, 3:05 pm – Gavin

Well, it’s been a good two weeks abroad, but I’m back. Not much on the video gaming front while I was away – just some more Final Fantasy VI, but I’ve backed myself into a corner in one section and I’ve got no choice but to die and then restart from a save point well far back. Dammit.

I spent a significant amount of time in rural Scotland these past two weeks. Nowhere near the Hebrides, but close enough to make me yearn for Dear Esther. I haven’t played it yet; the local Gamentary boys plan to play it on my projector outside on a huge screen. Regrettably I don’t live anywhere too quiet in the city, but it should still be a nice environment.

Not a whole ton to report otherwise. I’ll get back into it next week – I’m still stuck in travel mode!

Friday, 2:11 pm – Ricky

I never beat LittleBigPlanet 2, only LBP1. I blame matt though, because I had no one to play co-op with.

It looks like Blizzard listened to our most recent podcast (or maybe it’s that they listened to the community at large), but they’ve announced a ton of changes coming to Diablo 3 in the upcoming 1.04 patch.

In general, lots of changes coming to make co-op more fun, change the difficulty of certain Champion and Elite packs in Inferno, and add some much needed buffs to skills and weapons, including legendaries.

And just for Albert, here’s how the blog post was signed off:

*P.S. We’re getting rid of the Invulnerable Minions monster affix.

Mice and keyboards everywhere cry out in joy this day.

Thursday, 4:40 pm – matt

while i agree the second title was bit of “more the same” from the first game, you did actually beat it, how many games can you honestly say that about? and i know you havent picked it up since then (even i havent really gone back) but what games have you gone back to play after finishing it? when did you last play twisted metal? gta 4? whens the last you played motorstorm? hell insert blank title here and you havent played it a second time, so why the hate?

ign actually just posted a video explaining how with the touch screens and the effectiveness sounds shapes showed in level creation, lbp on the vita might just be the biggest game yet on the system. now what the flying hell are you possibly waiting for Albert?

Thursday, 8:22 am – Ricky

You bastards, ganging up on me!

Look, I loved LittleBigPlanet. I played through it with matt and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I put it away and never thought about playing it ever again. The 2nd one barely saw any play time, and I certainly didn’t experience the 7 million community levels. It’s been out almost 2 years, and I have no intention of going back to it. Was it a commercial success? Definitely! Was it a video game success? Probably, I just didn’t see it that way.

That being said, I am STILL really looking forward to LittleBigPlanet Vita – this Shacknews preview has me chomping at the bit – so I hope it can solidify it’s own place in my platforming Hall of Fame with the likes of Mario and Sonic. It’ll be a unique place all it’s own, but that’s OK.

Albert, get a Vita and escape the talons of Kairosoft! Embrace the talons of Sound Shapes!

Wednesday, 6:12 pm – Albert

Haha, I never get tired of hearing how wrong Ricky is! I can’t wait to try Sound Shapes on a Vita… I just need to find one… somewhere…

I made a mistake last night. I started playing Game Dev Story.. again. It is hard to put down. Ricky and I spoke about Kairosoft on the podcast which is the creator of Game Dev. They put out the most addictive games that i’ve ever played on my iPhone. It’s insanity. I need help. I’ll be playing this for the next 2 weeks at least. I’ll see you then.

Wednesday, 2:35 pm – matt

wow, so wrong, on so many levels. 😉

while little big planet features “floaty” physics, I hardly think you can claim it had been “downed” by it, they just announced over 7 million levels have even created so whether people might not like the engine, it has hardly failed…

little big planet took place in a fantasy land featuring cupcakes as modes of transportation, so I feel the floaty engine actually is better suited for the look and feel of the game. sonic was all about speed and while some didn’t appreciate it, the game still sold hundreds of millions of copies. not a fail, just different.

it’s true Mario was the tried and tested platform we to be compared to, but they are different games in a similar package, like call of duty and battlefield, both will have fans and neighsayers, Ricky is simply a little big planet neighsayer… 😉

Wednesday, 7:49 am – Ricky

I also downloaded Sound Shapes last night and took on the first two “worlds”. I’m really enjoying it so far – I wasn’t super wild on the first 4 tracks by I am Robot and Proud (???), but the Jim Guthrie (of Superbrothers fame) album is scratching all the right itches.

I find the controls are pretty responsive, but maybe a bit loopy at points – I had a bit of a hard time staying on a very narrow platform because the movement stick is so sensitive. But it just took a bit of getting used to and I was fine. My hope is that the game doesn’t fall prey to what “took down” Little Big Planet: the controls. Platformers have been around forever, and there are platformers that have pretty much nailed the controls, so we know what it’s supposed to be like, and anything less the solid is immediately apparent.

Still, I’m looking forward to playing some more this weekend. I’ll be diving into the editor and the community levels, too. I saw that there are already a few highly rated levels available, including the Kingdom Hearts theme song and a level by Moriarty from IGN. That’s just from day one, so I have a strong feeling this will be a big feature going forward.

Game on!

Tuesday, 10:35 pm – matt

SOUND SHAPES IS HERE, SOUND SHAPES IS HERE, SOUND SHAPES IS HERE!!!

holy crap this game is really freaking cool. so as described below you collect music beats that build a composition as you progress through the level. but the vita console makes interacting with friends and fellow gamer across the world is really easy. meeting new level creators and friends new creations is very easy in the slick and polished menus, and can i say the music is more than amazing? featuring a vast collection of musical and graphic artists ensures the “worlds” (broken down as albums from beck, deadmaus and others) have plenty of variety.

with the cross play feature in full effect you get both the ps3 and vita version for buck 65 15 bucks and cloud syncing your progress between the two is snap. i am hoping this is the push some people need to get off the fence and pick up the vita.

Tuesday, 12:36 pm – Albert

Sound Shapes sounds amazing and really cool. I can’t wait to explore the game and see what it has to offer. I always enjoy games that can really immerse you with music. There is something about a great game that makes you “feel”

I’m a huge zombie fan. I mean, like the 1 billion other people in the world facinated with zombies, you know i’m excited for Day Z but I wanted to give it some time to work out the kinks (much like Project Zomboid – YES i mentioned it again). Well turns out Day Z will be a standalone game developed by Bohemia Interactive. Amazing news for the mod.

I’ve been slacking on the games but I told Ricky I would get into Anno 2070 soon. Wish me luck. I’m going to need it… and an additional 100+ hours

Monday, 7:05 pm – matt

sound shapes is going to be a HUGE title for the cross play ps vita/ps3. a two-dee side scrolling platformer where the collectibles in each stage are music notes that compose together and create a full musical score as you progress through the level. so golden coins but instead there is drum beats and guitar riffs.

similar to little big planets “play, create, share” ideology, gamers can then make their own beats and music, and create their own platforming levels based off their musical creation. big name artist such a deadmaus, beck, David Guetta and more are on board with the title, which is launching this Tuesday on the playstation network.

developed by a local studio in Toronto, sound shapes has been a multiple handheld game of the show winner at various videogame events, and has been tempting vita owners since its announcement last year. the wait is over tomorrow.

Monday, 5:40 pm – Gamentary

Gamentary: A Novel by Sapphire (or, how a twosome became a threesome) – We reminisce about the Commodore 64, then you can listen to some chitter chatter about Terraria as well as three 3s (Diablo, Saints Row, Max Payne). We also hit on some mobile games.

Gamentary Round 8 – August 6 2012 (right click and “Save As” to download the mp3, or use the player below)

Monday, 12:06 pm – Ricky

Ah, holiday Monday. In Canada. Not Quebec. Suckers.

Here’s Beck talking about his new tracks in Sound Shapes, releasing this week.

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