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1:52 PM on 01.15.2014

Burned by the PS+ Sale

Before anyone internet shoots me to death, I want to get it out there that I love PS+ to death, and this latest sale is just another reason to jump onboard- it saves you a ton of money on some very, very good games.

That being said, I was a little ticked off that the Wolf Among Us season pass was discounted. I picked up the pass at full price ($20.00) after I played through the first Episode. I usually don't really have a problem with buying something at full price and later seeing it discounted; but I usually have a chance to play through those games too, so that extra time I get with the game makes up for any price discrepancy.

The thing about this is, there's absolutely no content in the season pass! Episode 2 isn't out until the beginning of February, so I coughed up an extra ~$7.00 for no reason! I've essentially been burned by Telltale (assuming they have say over the price) for being an early buyer.

That being said, I really can't wait to play Episode 2. :D   read

7:43 PM on 01.30.2013

2012: A Year of Great Music in Games

2012 was a big year for music in video games. It certainly feels like the industry is leaning towards putting more effort into their scores. We even saw a Grammy nomination for a song made specifically for a video game- thatís never happened before!

There is some debate as to whether video games should be considered an art form or not, but there is no doubt that the music in video games is more artistic and beautiful than ever before. The year showed us some If youíre still not convinced, then look no further than the list below, where I take a look at some of the music that stood out to me from 2012.

What follows is just a list, not a countdown of any sort- I couldn't actually figure out a way to rank the music of 2012's video games. Enjoy!

Sleeping Dogs

It's one thing to show you the streets of Hong Kong, but to make you feel as if you are actually there is quite another. The sounds in Sleeping Dogs are fantastic; youíll hear conversations in both Cantonese and English happening all around you, and the hustle and bustle of the marketplace feels all too real. However, this list features the best video game music, not sound. Square Enix delivers on that front too, with a deluge of licensed tracks that fit right into the gameís setting and plot. Who isnít bobbing their heads to these songs right now?

Sound Shapes

Sound Shapes is a music-based platformer. Each level is created and designed using a song as a starting point, and the game features a host of artists who lent their musical abilities to the game. The formula works; the rhythm of each song is reflected wonderfully in the platforming. Some of my favourite levels feature the music of Beck (see below), where the music comes to the forefront of the gameplay. Letís not forget the awesome music/level creation tools at our disposal!

Persona 4 Golden

Now, I realize that Persona 4 is technically a game from 2008, but that doesnít make the music any less impressive. The remake gives newcomers (like myself) to the series a wonderful taste of some of the most catchy and entertaining music in a video game. If youíre unfamiliar with the game or the music, take a gander. If you know what Iím talking about, just <em>try</em> to not sing along!

Mass Effect 3

I havenít actually had the chance to completely play through Mass Effect 3 yet (Iím going to play the trilogy all at once), but I think that speaks volumes (haha!) as to how good the gameís music really is. I have no attachment to ME3, but hearing the music makes me want to get back into it! Of course, how the music fits in with the game remains to be seen, but the music is undeniably great.


With the recent resurgence of retro-style games, it was inevitable that the chip tunes of olden times would come back with it. If youíre around my age, then some of the songs weíve been hearing lately will bring back some great memories. Some of the best chip tune tracks from 2012 come from Fez, the XBLA downloadable game. Have a listen, why donít you?


The variety of instruments used in some of the parts of the game just sound beautiful, and can invoke a range of emotions, from fear to sadness to happiness. The memorable parts in the game (Iím looking at you sand-surfing) are made that much more memorable by the music. The parts where youíre scared for your life are punctuated by the music, whether itís the loud booming thuds, or the faintest of string plucking. The music just works in Journey, and it enhances the playerís experience considerably.

Someone mentioned that each song kind of represents a journey, telling a story with a distinctive beginning middle and end. I really†couldn't†have said it better.

Hotline Miami

Another excellent soundtrack (actually for sale now on steam!); If you enjoyed the music in Drive as much as I did, then youíll love the 80ís-style music featured in Hotline Miami. In fact, the game is somewhat influenced by the film, as the director of Drive is thanked in the credits.

Not to mention the plethora of other games that I didn't have a chance to talk about. We saw some other musical games this year, like Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and Lumines: Electronic Symphony. On top of that, there was the great music of other portables like and Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Although the Assassin's Creed III wasn't as well-received as its predecessors, the music delivered as per usual.

I have to say 2013 is looking to be a promising year for music in video games as well. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch features the music of the very talented Joe Hisaishi of studio Ghibli fame, while Fire Emblem: Awakening, part of a series that never fails to produce some great music, comes out next week. We certainly have a lot to be excited for!

I have certainly missed a lot, so feel free to let me know what music hit you hard last year in the comments section below. I can't wait to listen!   read

1:32 PM on 10.11.2012

Doing it Right: The PSN Store Overhaul of 2012

As far back as I can remember (since I bought my first PlayStation), the PSN Store has been the same: A tired blue background and a bunch of uniform tiles that are just big enough to tell what I was looking at. You'd get your featured games on the main screen, but they were basically just bigger tiles!

Boring, right? Not for long! By the time you read this, you've probably already heard about the overhaul Sony's planning to the store layout. It looks pretty cool! The sleek new design puts more of an emphasis on the featured items, giving them an entire dedicated background image, and a big chunk of the foreground. You can see the Assassin's Creed example below.

The UK gets it next week, and us North Americans get it a week later. Admittedly, I'm pretty excited about this; I'm writing a blog post after all! But I really hope Sony doesn't mess this up.†"How could they mess this up?" I hear you all ask. Well with this overhaul, what it looks like Sony's going for is some kind of uniformity. If you've ever seen their other services like Music and Video Unlimited, you'd see some similarities. That's great, I'm all for a uniform design. It makes the products just a tad more tightly knit. But I did notice a glaring omission from the announcement: the Vita. According to all the screenshots, the store update only applies to the PS3 version of the PlayStation Store.

I remember hating the fact that the Vita didn't have PlayStation Plus support at or near launch. We're getting that next month, and I'm grateful for that, but it took a long time to get there. Sony's really pushing for their two current gen consoles to work together. You can tell with all the cross-buy and cross-insert-word-here options that they want the two gadgets to play nice together. There are even talks of bundling the two together for the holiday season!

This makes it even harder to understand why they haven't said anything about updating the look for the Vita version of the PSN Store. If they were rolling out an update for the Vita store at the same time they unveil PlayStation Plus for Vita next month, that would be totally fine and understandable. But then why no mention of it at all? Communicate, dang it!

In any case, I'm still excited to check out the new store when it's available in a couple of weeks. What do you guys think? Does the Vita deserve an update? Do you like the new design? Let me know!   read

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