At times, new IP – intellectual property – seems like it’s becoming increasingly rare in the video game industry. The holiday seasons typically feel like a sequel parade, with number trailing after each AAA game title. But if we take a quick step back, we’d see that independant game companies are making new IP all the time. The front page of Steam is littered with budget-conscious titles from small or even one person studios. 

This week, we get Gunpoint, an interesting puzzle game and labour-of-love from Tom Francis. We also get Remember Me, a new IP in the “AAA” category (at least, it’s a game with a marketing budget behind it). I suspect that, with the new generation of consoles on their way in, we’ll see more and more new IP in the next year, complete with hits and misses. Hits will become our numbered sequel parade entries in the Holiday 2017, and misses will go the way of Kameo.

Friday, 3:01 pm – Ricky

In a way, Microsoft is right. They’ve created a console exclusively catering to those with a reliable broadband connection. So, every Xbox One owner will probably have a broadband connection. What we’re shocked by is the fact that they’re so blatantly thumbing their noses at gamers without a broadband connection.

I’m really, really sold on the idea of the PS4. I’m pretty invested in Playstation, with my Move, Vita, and Playstation Plus subscription. I need some more time to see how their launch and hardware will pan out, but as of this moment, it’s the console leading the pack for me.

That said, I’ve been spending most of my gaming time on the PC lately, and this article from PC Games N explains some of the reasons why I’m considering skipping Microsoft and Sony’s offerings for the foreseeable future in favour of a new PC. I’ve got a massive PC game backlog, and the PC is the only platform I can upgrade and maintain my library (at this point anyway – we’ll see what happens at E3).

On a related note: I finished Telltale’s The Walking Dead on PC last night. I need a hug.

I don’t quite know how to describe why you should play this game. “Point and click” adventure games aren’t really the new hotness, and there are many people who play games but may have never played a point and click game. I think it’s a generational thing, but Telltale has been holding the modern day torch. It does have the license: The Walking Dead is a massive hit TV show on AMC and the comics that have inspired all of these other pieces have been critically acclaimed for years.

Games have the innate ability to connect you emotionally to characters – I think it’s due to the player’s interaction with the world vs. passive consumption of text and images in other mediums. So when a game comes along that has well fleshed out characters, a world you’re interested in exploring and a story that’s engaging, it’s probably going to be a hit. For anyone who followed game of the year awards last year, you know that The Walking Dead was lauded for all three areas and is celebrated as Telltale’s best game to date.

“But Ricky” you say, “I don’t watch the TV show, and I’ve never read the comics! Plus, I really don’t like the way point and click adventure games control”. Well, dear reader, to you I say, time to broaden your horizons. This is a modern adventure game, which means it controls better than any game in the genre before it (though, admittedly, that’s still isn’t very well). And if you’re a fan of video games, which I’m pretty positive you are if you’re reading this, and if you like a good story in your game, I’m 100% sure you’ll like this game, even if you’ve never seen the source material. For what it’s worth, this is an original story set in the Walking Dead universe, so no previous knowledge is needed. It’s a zombie apocalypse, that’s all you need to know.

I won’t go into any more detail – just play it. Thank me later.

Friday, 9:24 am – Gavin

I would say that of the three console reveals we’ve seen so far, Sony did the best job in actually communicating entirety of the console’s features.  Nintendo’s reveal and post-reveal marketing has been woeful, and Microsoft’s reveal focused almost exclusively on the ancillary features like TV integration.  However, Microsoft has slowly been slapping people in the face since the reveal, with such ideas as paying to play your old games and mandatory online check-in for game-playing (once a day at home, once every hour if your profile is on another system).

But then, something like this happens: http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/connected

Here’s the key sentence: A new generation of games with power from the cloud: Because every Xbox One owner has a broadband connection

WHAT

Assuming that everyone who has a broadband internet connection wants to hook up their video game system to the internet is faulty, but assuming that everyone has a broadband internet connection full-stop is just stupid.  Not everyone lives in urban clusters.  Just last year, Ars Technica revealed that 119,000,000 people living in America do not have broadband Internet.  26,000,000 people live in areas that are not even serviced by broadband, let alone choosing to have it.

The deciding factor for me in my next-generation console purchase was “can I play Mario and Metroid on it?”, so it was sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy that I picked up a Wii-U.  But considering I never planned to get a PS4, my one last consideration was Microsoft’s next-generation console.  Hearing things like this just reaffirms the choice I made.

Thursday, 8:43 am – Gavin

any game that exists in our world in which you have no way of defending yourself against enemies should be sealed over in a Mexican landfill waiting for some stupid hosers from an ottawa videogame studio to dig up

Counterpoint: Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which is terrifyingly awesome, and leaves you with no way to defend yourself from the enemies.

It’s a dangerous mechanic to include, but in my experience, it is often incorporated well in games – Amnesia, Limbo, and then in sections – the Blackbird section from Chrono Trigger, the tear-collection from Zelda: Skyward Sword, the skyscraper and diplomat sections from the original Rainbow Six, etc.  If you’re going to make an entire game of it, your mechanic can’t be the main point of focus for the entire game – people will get frustrated with it (unless, like Amnesia, your game is not overly long).

Still, it’s not my preferred kind of game, unless it’s only in sections, like the aforementioned.  I like a good stealth game that hybridizes the approach.  Combat mechanics are available, but they’re secondary to avoiding the enemy.  The Seoul section from Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is the best.  You have to remain generally out of sight, and you can’t kill anyone, but you do have the ability to incapacitate; of course, enemies can be revived if found.  It’s my favourite of those kinds of levels.

Wednesday, 5:15 pm – matt

fuck uncharted, give naughty dog some love for Crash Bandicoot!!!

Im in same boat as you gavin, currently working on Resident Evil 6 and I bought Alan Wake for $4.99

I still wish I had that 5 bucks…

any game that exists in our world in which you have no way of defending yourself against enemies should be sealed over in a Mexican landfill waiting for some stupid hosers from an ottawa videogame studio to dig up. alan wake must fend off hoardes of “shadow” people using a flashlight and handgun. yes both are needed to fight off enemies, first blast them with light to weaken them up, then shoot their asses for the kill. sounds terrible? it gets worse.

not only do you have limited ammunition, but also flashlight batteries are as scarce as betty crockers snacking cake, and unless you power up your flashlight by consuming more batteries, enemies can fully attack you while being blasted with light. lets also mention you are always fighting groups of enemies, so your singular flashlight may incapacitate one mother fucker, but the 3 others throwing axes with pin point accuracy will surely get you. oh wait the axes also respawn, so even if you try and run, they can either decide to throw countless projectiles, or simply out run you and catch up… awesome.

alan wake is shinning example of how marketing can make a game appear to be something it is not. (kinda like the Aliens lawsuit Sega is currently dealing with)

Wednesday, 3:49 pm – Gavin

I, on the other hand, celebrate this week by playing more old shit!  I played and beat Bulletstorm and VVVVVV.  Both were sort of impulse plays in that I needed something lighthearted after To The Moon, and VVVVVV doesn’t tax my video card so my laptop battery lasts much longer, so I could play it on the couch.

Bulletstorm is quite a mindless game that I wasn’t invested too heavily in, but I did really want to finish it.  The combat got fairly repetitive considering I’m fairly confident at least half of their “skill kills” are impossible.  I ended up performing the same murderous actions over and over again, because experimentation just got you dead quicker.  There is one skill-kill that awards you points for killing an enemy by shooting him in the groin.  I’m pretty sure the developers didn’t actually code that one in though, because I shot every possible iteration of an enemy’s crotch with every possible weapon, including a sniper rifle, and still never unlocked it.

It’s a fairly fun game to play though – the main character is alternately the straight foil to the game’s ridiculous plot, with some modicum of emotion for his dead buddies, and a primary source of dick jokes.  The writing is puerile, but it’s very obviously intentionally so and quite satirical, rather than being some naive form of writing that the developers thought would resonate with gamers of all ages.  They’re very obviously making the numerous dick jokes tongue in cheek.  By far, the best vocal delivery comes from the game’s main antagonist, voiced by Anthony De Longis, a voice and screen actor who has done a ton of stuff, but never taken the spotlight.  The protagonist does a serviceable job, at times sounding like John Dimaggio, Fred Tatasciore, and then completely unique.  It’s Steven Blum, a very renowned voice actor whose IMDB credits took me half an hour to get through.  The female protagonist is played by Jennifer Hale, because fuck, apparently there are only three female voice actors in the video game universe, and the other protagonist is played by Andrew Kishino, otherwise known as early-90s Canadian rapper Kish.  I RHYME THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, BABY.

I’m not itching to get back to it, but I did have fun with it.  It didn’t break any new ground, but I will say that it did have one fantastically-directed cutscene (no spoilers): part of the hook of this game is that you have a leash that lets you whip enemies out from behind cover and hurl them towards you.  It is an essential part of the game.  One of the antagonists also has one, and there is a cutscene where you get whipped, and it’s all shot from the protagonist’s point of view.  Very cleverly done.

VVVVVV is a quick game, but it will wreck your life if you aren’t careful.  It’s one of those games that prides itself on killing you a lot, like Super Meat Boy or I Wanna Be The Guy.  Entirely 8-bit, stupidly simple controls, easily-understood physics and puzzles that aren’t so challenging as to be ridiculous, but aren’t so easy that you could just walk through them.  I died a LOT playing this game (657 times total, to be exact, as the game has a death counter), but I never ever got really frustrated the way I did with Super Meat Boy, which I found to be just a lazily-designed game from top to bottom.  Anyone can design a game that is nearly impossible to beat, but the folks who developed VVVVVV made one that is challenging but forgiving in the right places, not cheap (OK, The Tower is pretty cheap in places, but that’s about it), and really wants you to succeed, rather than mocking you for your failures.

Make no mistake: VVVVVV is a very hard game.  But it’s not cruel on the level of SMB or IWBTG.  It’s adorably charming, doesn’t really rely on irony as a hook, can run on a calculator, and it’s never discouraging.

Regarding The Last of Us, it really sounds like this is the definitive PS3 title.  Everywhere is just raving about this game, the Metacritic rating is through the roof, and I’ve yet to see a single rating below 90.  I look forward to seeing what it’s actually like, as I assume Ricky will end up with it at some point in the not-so-distant future.  Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here, quietly waiting for something to be announced for the Wii-U.

Shut up.

Wednesday, 1:20 pm – Ricky

Truth or hyperbole? Another week and a half and gamers will find out for themselves. “Gaming’s Citizen Kane moment – a masterpiece”

Wednesday, 10:51 pm – Ricky

Well, looks like we have some more to discuss about new IPs today. Reviews for The Last of Us – from Naughty Dog, creators of Uncharted – are stellar, and many reviewers are heralding it as the greatest PS3 game ever. Bold words and strong praise for a game that, on the surface, appears to hit all the run-of-the-mill checkboxes: 3rd person shooter, zombies, apocalyptic world, blah blah blah, stuff we’ve seen before. However, it seems like Naughty Dog has given these themes enough of a twist that it’s all fresh, new, and well-implemented.

The game drops June 14th, which is a bit odd but likely timed to miss the explosion of E3 news from earlier in the week.

lastofusreviews

Wednesday, 8:12 am – Ricky

Hooray for video games! Letting us live our nightmares and unrealistic fantasies equally!

Speaking of nightmares, I played a bit more The Walking Dead last night. Play it. Do it now. I’m definitely going to be wrapping up the game this weekend and can’t wait to see where they take the story.

Continuing on our “weekly topic”, check out this really interesting twist on turn-based strategy. Skyward Collapse has you playing god in a world with two warring factions, Red and Blue, but instead of picking a side, your job is to play both sides and ensure they are balanced. Sound simple? Check out the trailer to take a peek at the depth. This is a great example of a studio forgoing visuals in favour of the creative execution of a unique idea. New  IP doesn’t have to come in a $60 package: Skyward Collapse is $5 and takes a stab at redefining a genre.

On a side note: Purchasing this game and supporting this developer is what I’m missing the most as part of my Backlog Challenge.

Tuesday, 3:38 pm – matt

PS+ user unite! I’ve been waiting to try machinarium for a while and once again glad I waited to get it for free. I still haven’t played too much Sleeping Dogs as of yet because ive been a bit busy with work, but I have gotten to complete a few chapters in Resident Evil 6, and now only have the Chris Redfield campaign to finish. I won’t ruin story lines (frankly because I still have very little idea of whats going on) but if you had any intention of playing the game or not I would say just let it pass like a trampled on piece of garbage blowing in the wind…

On a side note I won the NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks going a perfect 38-0 in a condensed season and playoffs.

Monday, 2:53 pm – Ricky

Well, this came out of nowhere. Open-world 3rd person shooter zombie survival game State of Decay comes out on June 5th for $20 on Xbox Live. A PC version is planned as well, but I guess it’ll follow at a later date. Here’s a pretty crazy vid, because that’s a thing I’m doing with all of my posts today.

Monday, 2:00 pm – Ricky

Playstation Plus is really proving its worth again this month… assuming you’re out of the gaming loop a little bit. Here are the games coming free of charge to Playstation Plus members in June:

  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3)
  • Machinarium (PS3)
  • Saints Row: The Third (PS3)
  • Orc Attack (PS Vita)
  • Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (PS Vita)

Want some motivation to check out these titles? Here are Gavin and Albert lauding Deus Ex: Human Revolution with heaps of praise, and below is a video of me and Albert playing Saints Row: The Third.

Monday, 8:00 am – Ricky

Here’s a video about Gunpoint. I like it.

Advertisements