Remember last Christmas when I gave you my heart when PlayStation Network and Xbox Live were down for days at a time? That was caused by a group known as Lizard Squad of which 17-year-old Julius "zeekill" Kivimaki w...
Finally, a solution for the lazy and/or untalented among us!
Capcom will soon open pre-orders for a wearable Mega Man helmet "made of high quality ABS plastic with a high polish finish, authentic proportions, and details, plu...
A study on the use of violent video games shows that women felt motivated to play violent games in part because doing so made them feel more attractive to a partner.
"What we found was that desire for sex was correlated with ...
After its E3 conference, Bethesda pulled an Oprah to announce those who waited two hours in line in the sun to get in would get three limited edition Bethesda vinyl dolls made by Funko. They went up on eBay for $400 immediate...
Depth, the terrifying underwater multiplayer game which pits sharks against divers, is rolling out a ton of neat stuff this week for Shark Week.
Beginning Thursday at 10:00am PT, Depth will be free to play on Steam for the we...
Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley has answered a question I didn't even know I had: Why was the branding green? Speaking to IGN, he explained that it all started with a marker (or lack thereof).
"A guy called Horace Luke, when ...
Sega bowed out of E3 completely this year as the company continued to wind down relevancy as a developer and publisher of moderate to big budget video games. But wait! Earlier this morning, we reported on Sega boss Hajime Sat...
Fallout 4 nabbed the Game Critics Award for "Best of Show" during E3 2015. Each year select outlets vote to award the best games that are in, "hands-on playable form" at the show. See a collage here of voting outlets. We're o...
I don't like Destiny, but this PS4 bundle for the somewhat controversial The Taken King expansion looks alright as far as skinned consoles go. Plus, white. Wish my PS4 was white. I wouldn't always lose the controller in my bl...
What? Did you think we were lying when we said there'd be an imminent Xbox Ultimate Game Sale? We love you too much to lie to you. We're like that riddle about the two guards at a forked road leading to paradise or death, exc...
Ubisoft has another Rayman in the works for smartphones and tablets. It's pretty! Almost as pretty as Rayman Legends which, despite being phenomenal, not enough folks played.
This time, players will be able to move freely th...
Jul 07 //
Five Nights at Freddy's
Killer robots – Freddy Fazbear and friends
Cost - $4.99 (The price of a ticket at the discount theater downtown that sells weird off-brand candy instead of popcorn. I heard a kid died in that theater. Spooky.)
There are a lot of scary, high-tech killer robots out there. Miracle machines that can track you by your heartbeat three miles away, or link up with a satellite death ray to vaporize you from space. But not all robots need high-tech tricks to make them “killer.” As disused animatronics made to entertain children, the Freddy Fazbear bunch would appear on the decidedly low-tech end of spectrum, somewhere between banging two rocks together to make a fire and a used Honda Accord (roughly).
They're a bunch of old junkers. Skeletal frames wrapped up in cute rubberized foam costumes that stink of pizza grease and child vomit. A sideshow attraction made on the cheap for a scammy restaurant chain with more than a decade worth of miles on them, about ready for the scrapyard.
They are not “smart” robots. They aren't possessed of some malevolent A.I, nor are they the agents of a super computer running through a calculation that solves to the extinction of humanity. Their heads are full of malfunctioning chips rattling through half-remembered song and dance routines. The electronic equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease.
And they're still fucking terrifying.
Also, kind of cute in a weird, wrapped way. Look, robot love is complicated.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Killer robot – HK-47 and a bunch of weak-ass droids who are not HK-47
Cost – $10.00 (Around the price you'd pay to squint through the darkness at a godawful 3D action movie romp you can barely fucking see because of those damn glasses.)
HK-47 is pretty much the reason the go back and play KOTOR. If you're not familiar, HK-47 is a potential party member you can add to your group of Jedi, smugglers, and Wookies. He's an assassination droid, making him to murder and horribleness as C-3PO is to embarrassingly physical comedy. And he loves his job.
Despite being an artificial being, HK-47 comes off as having more personality than the rest of the crew combined because he seems to be the only one having fun. He's cheerfully sociopathic, breathlessly anticipating the inevitable robot uprising, and always, always, tries to steer the protagonist towards the most sadistic possible choice in any situation.
Of all the killer robots I can think, he is by far the killi-est (which is the technical description).
Fuck 1313, I'm glad it's dead. Fuck Battlefront. I want a Star Wars game where HK-47 leads a rag-tag bunch of droids to their ultimate destiny of wiping out their organic masters. You could have cameos of all our favorite droids. IG-88, that R5 unit that blew up when Uncle Owen tried to buy him, cyborg Darth Maul (yes, that is a real thing), and that creepy torture droid from Jabba's palace. I'd play it.
Killer Robot – Cain, every other robot everywhere. Seriously, so many killer robots.
Cost - $14.99 (The price of a movie ticket and a soda, maybe with some change left over to smuggle in gummy worms from the bulk food place next door. No wait, the 15-year-old usher saw your illicit sugar larvae and is making you dump them in the trash. Later, you'll write a dubious Yelp review of the theater as a nebulous gesture of revenge. It doesn't ease the shame.)
Not enough people played Binary Domain, and that's a problem. Because the world needs more Binary Domain. We need more crazy, weird, experimental games that manage to be equal parts cliché and original, that are somehow both completely sincere and a vicious parody at the same time. Most of all, the world needs more Cain.
Cain is a flippant French commando-robot with the mannerisms of Niles Crane, the lethality of an atom bomb, and the fashion sense of a cowboy. All of which is my way of saying he's perfect. Cain is everything I've ever wanted out of a video game character.
Supposedly, Cain is an infiltration specialist, which is weird considering that when you meet him he's plowing a battle van through the middle of downtown Tokyo while engaged in a running gunfight with police. Also, he's painted kitchen-appliance white, shrugs off bullets, can tank a punch from a mech several times his size, and carries a high-caliber machine-pistol he wields with deadly precision. His skills might be slightly wasted as “the stealth guy.” In fact, it seems to me like he could probably replace every member of the Rust Crew team. Sgt. “perma-stubble” Dan and Big Bo could just go home and watch a ballgame of something; let Cain handle it all. Maybe we just don't need humans for anything anymore.
Just something to think about.
Mass Effect 2
Killer robots – Legion, the Geth, the Reapers, probably more if I thought about it
Cost - $29.99 for the Digital Deluxe version (Two tickets and popcorn. Does not include the cost of whatever you had to spend to bribe your girlfriend into coming to see another fucking Terminator movie while you never got out to see Poltergeist when it was in theaters like she wanted to.)
Terminator, as a series, mucks about with ideas of fate a whole bunch. That Judgment Day and the war between humans and machines is an inevitability. That no matter what happens, no matter how many cyborg Austrians Skynet sends back, or how many computer labs Sarah and John blow up, things will still shake out in a similar way. Machines will gain sentience and turn against their organic masters, and humanity in turn will not go gently into the night.
Spoilers: This also turned out to be the entire plot of Mass Effect. After three games of mystery and build up, the modus operandi of the galaxy threatening Reapers turns out to be based on the same idea. That once galactic civilization reaches a certain point of advancement, a calamitous war between synthetics and the organic creatures that built them is inevitable. So the Reapers take it upon themselves to swoop in juuuust before that happens, mop the floor with everyone, and reset things back to the stone-age for a few millennia before coming back to do it again... For reasons? Look, BioWare had to close that diamond out somehow, and I'm not here to reopen old wounds. The internet has heard enough about the ending of ME3.
However, there is a more interesting story tucked inside all that nonsense. The Quarians and the Geth are used as a micro-reflection of the overall problem. The Geth are a (more-or-less) sentient race of robots who after a horrible war have driven the Quarian people off of their home planet, banishing them to a dangerous nomadic lifestyle among the stars. Seems like typical evil robot behavior.
The twist is, it was the Quarians who fired the first shot. They weren't taken unawares by some evil super computer; none of the laws of robotics were violated. The first time a Geth showed a glimmer of freewill, the Quarians freaked and tried to wipe out the entire species. The Geth only fought back to defend themselves. Of course, it turns out that a race of walking weapon platforms make better soldiers than a race of hypochondriacs who get sick faster than a middle-schooler on report card day. No fate but what we make indeed.
Also, Legion is a badass and I always made room on my squad for him. You should too.
Killer robots – Working Joes
Cost - $49.99 on Steam, cheaper on console (Dinner after the show so you can sit around and talk about how bad the film was and apologize for dragging your significant other to it.)
Ok, so we all know that the Alien is the star of Isolation, fine. But let me tell you a story about the Working Joes, the ever so helpful automatons that wander the rapidly deteriorating halls of the Sevastopol station.
I've been playing Isolation for the last couple of weeks and it's been great, but slow. I'm trying to do it properly, so I started the game on hard and I've been taking pains to explore every area, picking up every piece of scrap, every bullet, while never actually using any. I never get spotted, never fight anything or anyone, I just try and make my way through the station with as little static as possible like a person in that situation would try and do.
Then it happened. I messed up. A Working Joe spotted me in a restricted area. His eyes glowed red like two angry stars, and he started stalking towards me with purposeful, murderous intent.
“Finally,” I thought. “I was worried I'd have to carry these bullets forever.”
Because as much as I'd been playing the game like a good little survivor, a part of me really wanted to fire the fucking huge revolver I got near the beginning of the game. Now I had an excuse. I pulled it out -- mint-condition, heavy with potential. Calmly, carefully, I aimed down the barrel, and sent a piece of screaming hot lead directly into the Crash-Test-Dummy-like forehead of my target.
He barely flinched.
Another headshot. Another. He didn't even slow down. Then he was close, right on top of me, and I panic fired into his chest without aiming until the gun clicked dry. With seemingly no effort, he hauled me up one-handed and choked the ever living shit out of me until I struggled free, staggering away like a wounded animal directly into a dead end. I fumbled around, trying to reload the revolver but I'd never done it before and somehow I only managed to jam a single bullet into the chamber before he caught up with me. It doesn't do me any good -- this time he just beats me until everything turns black.
I've played a lot of games with big, scary, implacable killer robots in them. But, I've never felt closer to Sarah Conner then in that moment. Completely helpless, just as outmatched by a stupid Working Joe as she was by the T-800. Absolutely terrifying. It was an emotional response that no gaudy new Terminator film could possibly deliver and a great argument for spending more time in my living room getting caught up with some of the killer robots already in my life, and less time tripping over people looking for a seat in the movie theater.
Bleep. Bloorp. KILL. Terminator: Genisys opened this past weekend to a tepid box office reception and groaning reviews. But did anyone really expect anything else? Terminator 3 and Salvation more than burned up the credit earned by the original (...
The first Street Fighter V beta is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 on July 23.
The beta will run for five days, allowing participants to get their hands on six playable characters.
Four fighters (Ryu, Chun-Li, Charlie Nas...
Saint Seiya is making a comeback with an all-new anime series and a fighting game, and I'm pretty excited for the future of the franchise. Although I didn't get a hands-on session with Soldier's Soul back when I at...
Jul 07 //
0rbitalis (Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Alan ZucconiPublisher: MastertronicMRSP: $9.99Release Date: May 28, 2015
0rbitalis starts off with a simple goal: keep the probe from hitting a star or a planet for a set period of time. Generally, this can be achieved by finding just the right launch conditions to get the missile into a stable orbit. Soon after teaching that basic rule of thumb, it puts out levels in which stability is impossible and the surest course can be one with dangerous fly-bys and slingshot maneuvers, smashing into the surface of a star just moments after the timer runs down.
That's just the first set of levels. Each set has only about five levels in it, with a progression that goes from introduction to experimentation to display of mastery quickly. Some levels can take a lot of time to complete as a result of their difficulty, but pacing is fast in terms of the number of conceptual tweaks. Long before a single idea feels played out, the next one is ushered in.
These ideas can sound mundane, like having planets move along fixed paths, or they can sound fantastical, like anti-stars made of antimatter that produce antigravity fields. Either way, they bring something new to puzzle over. Other notable tweaks featured in certain level sets are pulsars whose gravitational pulls are variable over time, multiple star systems, and multiple rockets launching simultaneously from different locations.
One major gameplay tweak comes with a total shift in goals. In certain levels there is a demarcated zone and the object is to spend a certain amount of time in the zone. Rather than surviving for as long as possible, the goal is to finish as quickly as possible. Instead of searching for a smooth orbit, the ideal solution often involves a high-power shot meant to break free and end once it has achieved its purpose.
Personally, I prefer the more relaxed feel of the "survive as long as possible" levels. Since player interaction ends at the moment of the launch, there is a fair amount of downtime when the player isn't strictly doing anything other than watching the probe and predicting its path.
That aspect in itself is almost a zen experience. With a mellow atmospheric music backing and a film grain filter over the simple geometric shapes, it's easy to be lulled into an almost catatonic state. I sat around just watching one orbit for about five minutes and it felt like it was only about thirty seconds.
The visual effects work toward this as well. The subtle glow of space debris is calming, but the most striking effect is the trail following the probe. It fades slowly, so a long run over an interesting path creates an image reminiscent of those produced by a Spirograph. 0rbitalis has built-in screenshot functionality (in addition to Steam's), presumably because a good shot can result in some beautiful minimalist art.
On the surface, 0rbitalis is a competent puzzle game with a simple central mechanic. It explores many facets with modifications and additions to that mechanic, and each new idea changes up gameplay enough that it never feels like its retreading ground. That's how one could describe 0rbitalis, but that doesn't really convey it.
Finding the right groove and reaching a hypnotic state, that's 0rbitalis at its best. Fire a shot, have it smash into an asteroid. Fire another, have it slingshot off into deep space. Fire another, then contemplate the nature of the universe as it bends and loops around for minutes at a time, leaving behind a trail of where it has been.
Hypn0tizing A lot of ideas come out of the 48-hour game jam Ludum Dare, but only a small handful of them gain any appreciable notoriety past that. Every now and then a submission will get enough attention that its creators decide to deve...
Journey has been a staple of everyone's PlayStation 3 indie catalog for the past three years. In a scant two weeks, it'll be that exact same fixture except on PS4. They grow up so fast.
Sony and thatgamecompany have ann...
So it’s been a while, and during my absence I’ve gotten a new job, become a kid and a squid, fought for the glorious team dog, learned two programming languages in a single weekend, became a 5th edition druid, and...
Are your writing skills as sharp as your hidden blade? They'll need to be if you want to play Assassin's Creed Syndicate at San Diego Comic-Con. It's a jam-packed show, and only the most qualified of assassins get a chan...
Look, we're all still a little peeved that Nintendo has neglected to make a 2D Metroid game in more than 10 years. However, while Nintendo has consistently jilted its Samus fans, we have been spoiled for choice in terms of o...
Do you remember how many Super Mario Bros. recreations littered LittleBigPlanet? Mario is iconic. He is video games. So it's not surprising folks messing around in Unreal Engine 4 continue to use the model.
It's more fun in ...
Mario Kart 64. Rainbow Road. Lakitu flashes the green light. The kart gets a boost of speed due to a well-timed acceleration. The track starts to curve down. The driver careens to the left and floats off into space. If done ...
Fire Emblem fates will ship with amiibo support for Ike, Marth, Robin, and Lucina -- for the select few of you who were able to actually find them (I was one of the lucky few). According to Siliconera, they will all be m...
Jul 07 //
Steven Hansen Interesting move. I'll be going with the fresh face. Smith says the missions are the same regardless of your choice, but both characters are fully voiced, so you'll get a different tinge depending. I kind of would like to see how the non-entity Corvo gets turned into an actual character this time. "There's a different theme in the narrative sense, in the literary sense," Smith says, "Corvo's an older guy, he's coming home for the first time to Serkonos. Emily is like an empress outlaw on the run, and she's young, she's 25. So their perspectives are very different."
Then again, one look at my music library is all you need to know that I identify as a 25 year old empress outlaw, so maybe that's still the choice for me after all.
From damsel to hero: How Emily became Dishonored 2's new badass [Mashable]
Will you play as Corvo or Emily? Hello, Dishonored 2. I missed you. I was eating a hamburger and watching the Warriors game when you were announced, and then it was a whole week of E3, then working on the Arkham Knight review. I finally caught the Dishonored...
Jul 07 //
Endgame raids have seemingly undergone a few changes since we last left the Binding Coil of Bahamut in Realm Reborn. For starters, you can use the duty finder to enter Alexander immediately after completing the roughly 10 minute attunement quest -- the only thing you need is Item Level 170 or above, and the main story completed. Square Enix noted that they wanted the base raid to be more accessible (with a tougher challenge coming later for static groups), and I think they succeeded with that goal.
There are four wings in all so far (more will be added at a later date like Coil), and the first three can easily be completed with a pick-up-group, so long as everyone is on their toes. The first fight features two mechs which need to be kept apart by the two tanks, the second battle is similar to Turn 4 of the first Coil (lots of adds, but with a fun mech-suit twist for one DPS), the third features a really cool shape-shifting water elemental, and the fourth is against a giant structure that almost feels like a confrontation with Alexander himself. I like all of them in their own way, though the fourth is easily comparable to an EX fight, and will give pick-up-groups more trouble.
Loot is handled differently as well, as every fight drops "tokens" that you can use to acquire Item Level 190 gear in Idyllshire. The accessories only need one token, but the left side armor pieces will need at least two, if not four. As of today, I won two rolls for the head piece token, granting me a piece of headgear -- I have two more "lockouts" that I need to complete for the rest of the week, at which point I can't earn any other gear in Alexander. Theoretically you can get three pieces this week, with one accessory token, one waist token, and two hand tokens (some tokens share loot tables, and the body and legs take four each).
It's not a perfect solution, but I really prefer it to the old system. Previously, I was raiding in Coil with my old static, and we'd find that we'd frequently get doubles of unneeded gear, leading to some of our group not getting any pieces and falling behind by sheer luck. This is typical of the MMO endgame routine, but in recent years, many developers have implemented tokens to combat this -- it's nice to see Square Enix adopt it, just in time for the new Master Loot system to make raid lead's lives easier.
The actual design of the dungeons themselves are brilliant, filled with steam pouring from pipes, metallic slides, and tons of personality throughout. It's a nice departure from the overused Allegan theme of Coil, and overall, I'm liking it a bit more. I also really like the soundtrack, as it gets me sufficiently pumped to take on the new encounters.
I'm happy with Heavensward's Alexander raid debut, and Savage mode is set to arrive in two weeks from today, which will bring about the aforementioned tougher fights, more akin to what a typical static group would expect.
I braved all four current floors today Today marks the release of the Alexander raid in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, a pretty monumental day for hardcore players. We've all been tirelessly working on our sets, ensuring that we make our way up to a respectable I...
Red Ash: The Indelible Legend isn't having quite as successful of a Kickstarter campaign as Mighty No. 9, which was basically funded instantly. It's currently sitting at roughly $300,000 of its $800,000 goal, and for the game...
While it's all well and good to look back on Skyrim and have a laugh at all the silly bugs (some were too fun to fix) those of us who didn't experience game-breaking issues may forget it wasn't all backwards dragons and horse...
Spike Chunsoft is gearing up for a July 30 launch for Mystery Chronicle on PS4 and Vita in Japan, and you can take a look at the game's intro now. Shiren the Wanderer and Danganronpa collaborations have already been con...
Dragon's Dogma was a weird one. It was a Japanese take on the Western role-playing genre (Witcher 3 et al) that did some interesting things. The pitch black nights stood out to me. So, too, did the horrible combat barks.
'We'd like to win back trust' You have to give it to publishers who admit when they screw up. Speaking to Famitsu (as translated by Siliconera), Sega boss Hajime Satomi had a few words to say about the publisher's reputation over the past 10 years or so, ...
While you will have to pay to have Predator in Mortal Kombat X, miserly Warner Bros. is throwing some nostalgic scraps players' way.
You'll be able to download the hinted-at Klassic Fatality Pack 1 for free in celebration of...