We all knew this day would come. Clearly Ricky’s real life has over taken his responsibilities for Gamentary, and more importantly, the legions of fans waiting for an update.

Apparently not even receiving an all new theme song was enough to motivate our poor lost leader, who is probably still sleeping after moving into his new home with his loving wife (who hopefully did not murder him, which would account for no update…). So here I am to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong and publish this weeks commentary, which will probably now feature no one.

Something called TitanFall comes out. Its an Xbox/PC exclusive that’s supposed to make PS4 fanboys cringe…

discuss

Friday, 10:19 am – Gavin

This week, Yoshi’s New Island came out for the 3DS, and the overwhelming response is that the game is substantially…mediocre.  I can’t say that I’m surprised, to be honest.  From the drop of the first trailer, I had my doubts about it but felt compelled to pick it up simply out of loyalty to the original Yoshi’s Island.  I’ve spoken at length about that game so many times so you don’t need to know my opinion of it beyond my belief that it’s one of the best-designed games in the history of gaming.  Obviously it had large shoes to fill, and I skipped out on the other iterations between it and now.

The general tone of the response is that it just falls flat, but not in any one particular area.  It’s “fine”.  Not necessarily a bad purchase, just not a very worthy follow-up to the original.  I have seen many an internet post that has said that while level design is technically fine, it just appears to lack the charm of the original, most likely due to the fact that there is very little originality about this iteration.  The graphics and pastel art style, which played such a massive part in the original and were completely fresh, are muted in this one to the point of being generic.  Also, the music is far too twee for my tastes.  It lacks the depth of the original music, which was a terrific combination of phenomenally ambient to the point of blending into the background during the tensest of moments, and then omnipresent once you had a chance to breathe and could take stock of your surroundings.  Athletic Theme remains one of my favourite pieces of 16-bit music to date.

It’s immensely disappointing as a fan, but what can you do?  I suppose at times like this, it’s a good thing that I rarely ever pre-order games.  I think I can stand to wait on this one, at least until I have a chance to get through the others that I have.  It’s a shame because I could do with a new 3DS game, but I suppose I have an incredible library as it is (once I wade through the jungles of JRPG garbage).

In other news, and news that I am totally stoked for, Campo Santo studios announced their new game yesterday, Firewatch.  We don’t know anything about the game except what’s on that front page.  For those unfamiliar, Campo Santo is a new studio formed by Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, known better as 1/2 of the Idle Thumbs and the creative leads of season 1 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Olly Moss , a famous and talented graphic designer, and Nels Anderson, creative lead for Mark of the Ninja (and a Canadian!).  They’re joined by, among others, Chris Remo, another Idle Thumb, and lead composer for Gone Home, 30 Flights of Loving, and Spacebase DF-9.  This is an all-star team and while we still have over a year before it drops, I can’t imagine that this game won’t be beautiful, deep, emotionally resonant, and powerful.

In Firewatch you play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot and dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio—and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind.

But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have.

I like all of those words in that order.  I have no idea what to expect, and that’s a great thing.

Plus, two thumbs up for that incredible website design.  Absolutely beautiful and not cluttered.

Thursday, 7:52 am – Ricky

Well, I finally have my PC set up. I also have a TV nearby, and last night, I plugged them into each other. The quality was pretty good! I could see myself playing some Steam Big Picture Mode with this set-up.

Also, I now have unlimited Internet bandwidth. So, of course, I immediately started downloading all the patches and PC games I’ve missed over the past 2 weeks. It feels good not to have to watch my cap.

But enough about awesome PC  and Internet set-ups – who wants to know more about the creator of Flappy Bird? Here’s a link to his exclusive interview with Rolling Stone. Really interesting read!

Wednesday, 12:05 pm – Ricky

I wouldn’t say I forgot about you… I’d say I had no Internet connection for the last 3 days, and that’s a prerequisite for posting on the Internet!

Anyway, thanks matt for picking up the slack.

Just wanted to pop in and share this story with you: Burial at Sea – Part 2 will be dropping soon and will be the final piece of DLC for Bioshock Infinite (my Game of the Year last year). Unfortunately, Ken Levine and Take 2 recently announced that Irrational, the developer of Bioshock Infinite, will be closing.

While that definitely stinks, this latest trailer for the DLC is pretty awesome and classy. A number of developers have their work highlighted in the trailer, and then a link to their resume is provided. Although we often see the industry band together around studio closures, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the closing studio help the departing developers in this way.

Tuesday, 3:56 pm – Gavin

Am I wrong or does Titanfall not have a single-player campaign?  That’s enough to make me never even consider purchasing it even if I did have a new Xbox.  Ugh.

I need to vent about Mario Kart for a minute.  I’m playing Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS right now and I have to say, I’m not enjoying it as much as I should.  I’ve played it a lot and it’s still entertaining, but I feel like they tried to balance the game too much, and in doing so, watered down skill as an influential aspect in the completion of the races.  The 50 cc races are criminally easy, much more so than on the Wii.  The 100 cc races, I really don’t have much of a complaint about them. They’re straight-forward and challenging, but if you’re an adept racer, you shouldn’t have much trouble finishing in the top 3.

But in the 150 cc realm, attempts to  balance the game have, in my opinion, ruined it.  I can deal with aggressive item usage, but I can’t abide by the fact that enemies are artificially sped up at times to make the race closer.  It doesn’t matter what vehicle you choose, what wheels you put on your kart, you simply will not be faster in a straight line than enemies 1-4.  You may be faster than 5-8, but they can move with speed that you can’t.  It is unpredictable, deliberately punitive and unfair, and I get that this sounds whiny, but nonetheless, balancing initiatives are very poorly implemented.  There already are balancing initiatives in the game in the form of aggressive items for poorer racers; combining that with artificial speed increases just makes for a game that isn’t fun.  I’ve got two more grand prix races to go before I’ve unlocked every character, and then I’ll probably just stick at 100 cc for the rest of my playing time.  I’m unlocking the characters out of spite for the game, not because it’s good.  It’s very poorly implemented and it’s ruining the fun factor of the games.  This is possibly the least fun Nintendo game I’ve played, and it’s certainly the least fun I’ve had with

The number of times I have led a race to the final turn, only to be hit by an unavoidable blue shell and then passed is infuriating.  The game is unforgiving, punitive, and when it’s at its worst, it just isn’t fun.  Too many arbitrary system-level decisions are deciding the outcome of the game, not skill.  I shouldn’t win or lose the game just because I’m lucky or unlucky; that’s some basic card-game bullshit.

I’m venting.  I’ll still play MK7, but as soon as I’ve unlocked all of the characters, I will not play at the 150cc level again.

Monday, 1:42 pm – matt

I downloaded the PS4 free title Dead Nation the other day. reminds me a lot of the classic Loaded for the PS1 or Smash T.V from the Nintendo days. Its an old PC port so im pretty sure everyone here has already played it. I’ve also returned to beautiful Los Santos in GTA5, trying to get my online character at least to level 100, but Rockstar keeps playing around with the experience points and cash handouts after missions so its been a bit longer than I would have hoped.

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