It’s a big week of releases! Watch Dogs comes out for all systems except for the Wii U (coming later this year), but Wii U owners will have Mario Kart 8 to tide them over for the summer and, very likely, beyond.

Reviews for MK8 have been stellar, to say the least, so I’m eager for Gavin to get his hot little hands on a copy. I’m toying with the idea of picking up the MK8 Wii U bundle, but if i’m being honest with myself, I really won’t have time to give that system the attention it deserves. Plus, I have Watch Dogs coming on PC tomorrow, and open world games always eat up large chunks of my time. Reviews are still pending for Watch Dogs, but early impressions from leaked copies has been positive!

It’s been a pretty eventful month! What are you playing? “The Waiting Game” is not a valid response.

Friday, 7:09 pm – Albert

Friday! The weekend is probably where the crew has the highest chance of playing a game. Let’s roll the dice baby!

I just downloaded State of Decay: Lifeline. It’s the latest DLC for State of Decay and its centered around being a soldier with tons of guns and resources and you slowly lose more people and resources while trying to accomplish missions and goals. Check out a quick look thanks to SurrealBeliefs.

Thursday, 7:30 pm – Albert

My choice this weekend (for a very brief moment) was Tropico 5. I had preordered it a long time ago and I eagerly anticipated an amazing game. While I’ve only played the tutorial — it has not disappointed! The dialogue and the text of the buildings and tutorial so far have been humorous and I really look forward to plunging in this weekend.

On an unrelated note, I had a friend over this weekend who tried Batman: Arkham City and Walking Dead and he said he had a blast with his brief trial of the two games. With the constant conversations on this site re: The Walking Dead — I am in dire need of catching up! In the meantime I went back in time and played Double Dragon: Neon in local multiplayer. It was a blast. I haven’t played a beat-em-up in a VERY long time. Interesting and quite cheap at the moment.

For the first time since the new generation of consoles have been out i’ve actually had a feeling of wanting to get one to play EA’s UFC. Something about the need of slapping a choke hold on someone or a spinning back fist has awoken in me. Someone who has a PS4/Xbone — Tell me how it is!

New Submission Mini-Game Below:

Tuesday, 9:17 am – Gavin

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Mario Kart 8 lands this week and I’m quite excited.  I have to admit at the forefront that I’m not convinced that the gameplay mechanics are going to be demonstrably better than on MKWii, but it looks absolutely beautiful, and hopefully as Nintendo starts to realize the value of doing things the American way with respect to video games, we’ll see more tracks come as DLC.  I know that Nintendo has a natural aversion to DLC in general and hates to release incomplete games (let’s be honest, most DLC is just because developers were too lazy or greedy to include it in the first place), but this is something that Nintendo could really benefit from – $20 a year from now for all back tracks in the MK catalogue would go a long way.

I hate to be all “graphics are important” because we all know that even the most simplistic of games can be among the most engaging, but MK8 really does look absolutely gorgeous.  I understand that it’s native 720p, but it runs at 60 frames per second, and the frame rate is much more important than the resolution (besides, the overwhelming majority of people cannot distinguish between 720p and 1080p on your average size television anyway).

The other bonus is that until July 31st of this year, when you buy Mario Kart 8, you also get a free downloadable game.  But not just anything – actually some top-tier AAA titles!  Choose from New Super Mario Brothers U, Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3, and Wii Party U, which sounds like an Andrew W.K.  I’m undecided between Wind Waker and Pikmin 3.  I’ve never played either, and while it seems like a no-brainer to go with Wind Waker since I’m a huge Zelda fan, I do note that a lot of people say how relaxing Pikmin is, and I do love to relax.

(The preceding three paragraphs brought to you by Nintendo)

In other news this week, Kaz Hirai announced that the PS4 is already profitable on a hardware basis for Sony.  This is a huge shift from the money pit that was the PS3, and bodes very well for Sony’s gaming division.  The rest of Sony is floating about as well as a boulder, so it’s nice for the company to have a little bit of good financial news.  Sony’s extremely dire financial straits flew under the radar with respect to gaming because of Nintendo’s bungles, but the parent company has been suffering for years, held afloat by their life insurance division in Japan.  It’s great to see some good news for them.

I’ve also had some time to digest my recent experiences with The Walking Dead, S2E3. I’m going to say up-front that I am enjoying this season and I find it to be well-written and engaging.  I say that now, because I have been complaining about this season since the beginning of it.  Truth is, it’s nowhere nears as engaging as season 1 because the writers have made it more of a movie than a game.  It’s a well-written and well-told movie, but it’s suffering compared to S1. There are almost no player-controlled interactions with NPCs, which is fundamentally what drove the engagement in season 1.  Everything is told through exposition and cut-scenes.  There are no problems to solve, no hubs to engage in NPC interaction, nothing. Character deaths fall extremely flat because there’s no emotional impact to them.

To be clear, it’s still an enjoyable season, but it’s nowhere near as good as the first, and that makes me sad.

Monday, 11:19 am – Ricky

Back in action this morning after a weekend away! Many, MANY games await me this week. I just don’t know when I’ll have the time for them… Still, I’ll at least install Tropico 5 and Watch Dogs and admire their Steam icons.

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