Grim Fandango didn't need a remaster as much as it needed a re-release. Many, myself included, have found it difficult to track down a copy to play. We've had an entire digital catalog--GOG.com--devoted to getting good, old games up for sale on a digital storefront, but no Grim Fandango?
The touch-ups are appreciated. You can switch between the original and remastered look at the touch of a button. The latter has some nice dynamic lighting and new character models, but I stuck mostly with the former for its more vibrant colors. The in-game commentary is a nice touch. The non-tank controls are welcomed (as is the cheeky trophy for playing with tank controls).
No bones about it, though, Grim Fandango holds up on its original merits as a stylish, humerus adventure.
The Fifth Element came on TV the other day, and it really got me thinking about mise-en-scène versus characterization. It’s one of my absolute favorite movies, and is an exemplar of sci-fi in cinema without being too derivative of other works. The grittiness of futuristic New York, the contrast between earthtones and bright colors in the costume and set design, and the excellent choreography of the action scenes come together to make a great movie.
What’s a movie though without characters that entertain, blossom with personality, and can be empathized with? Would The Fifth Element be as entertaining without the bluster of Bruce Willis, the innocent sexuality of Milla Jovovich, or the ridiculous Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod? Can well-crafted artwork, concept, and background come together to make a good production regardless of the characters within it? Those are the questions that Citizens of Earth brought to mind.
We're closing out our Project Scissors: NightCry pre-release interview series with director Hifume Kono by bringing the focus back on the historic pairing between developer Kono-san (Clock Tower) and his new partner in horror Takashi Shimizu (Ju-on, The Grudge). This was the second biggest paring of a horror film director and a game developer that I heard about in 2014. The first was Guillemo del Toro and Hideo Kojima, who are currently working to develop Silent Hills.
I asked Kono-san what he thought of the pairing between Kojima and del Toro, how his collaboration with Shimizu-san might work to combine the best aspects of Ju-on with Clock Tower, and for a final word on what makes Clock Tower/Project Scissors so special.
Thanks again to Kono-san for sharing his one-of-a-kind insights and inspirations with us. He has left and indelible mark on the evolution of the survival horror genre. It will be exciting to see what fascinating, nail-biting tour of doom he takes us on next.
Pornhub, which I am told by other people familiar with the webpage is a site for viewing adult, pornographic films, has released its statistical year in review. It's not as detailed on the videogame console side of things like last year's data, which we covered here deeply, but the infographics are still interesting, particularly as porn terminology is hilarious in the abstract.
Teen, lesbian, and milf all retained top search billing, for example, but "step mom" pole vaulted into the top 5 worldwide search terms (number 2 in the US) and "step sister" into the top 15 worldwide (the biggest ranking change, going up 53 spots in 2014), top 10 in the US.
Back to the videogame side, there's been a shift. The 2013 numbers attributed 55% of console porn viewing to PS3 users (compared to 39% on Xbox). 2014's numbers have Xbox at 45.7%, PlayStation at 40%. The Wii (8.2%), Vita (5%) and 3DS (1.1%) finish things off.
That marks a 69.9% increase in the Wii's market share, which is funny 'cause that's a sex number. Because these numbers are a percentage of a shared whole, it doesn't mean fewer PlayStation users are using their consoles for porn (plus, this is just data from one porn streaming service, of which I am told by people familiar with them there are many), but it is likely that a lot more Xbox users are using the service, which would account for their turgid, swollen numbers.
Ugh. Mondays, am I right? They're a day that people don't like because you have to do stuff and things after (maybe) not having to do those things, you know? Lame. Let's turn our frowns upside down and instead talk about something positive: videogames we are real keen on playing this year.
2015 can't be any worse than 2014, where most of our most anticipated games ended up not coming out at all. Plus, there's Metal Gear and Persona to look forward to. And all those games that got pushed into 2015 like Batman and The Witcher. And cool stuff like Hyper Light Drifter and the full release of Invisible Inc and that waifu bartending game.
Plus The Last Guardian, Half-Life 3, Agent, Final Fantasy XV, Prey 2, God Hand 2, MediEvil 3, Bushido Blade 3. Man, it's going to be a great year!!!
Want to feel old? January 2014 was just about one year ago. That's one whole season of a TV show or a complete Earth's orbit around the sun. Way back then--I can hardly remember it in the shadow of the god awful year--the Destructoid staff did a list of our most anticipated games of 2014.
And what suckers we were! Most of the damned things didn't even come out. Chris was right to go with sure-thing Dark Souls II. It would've been hard to mess up (or not release). And a few folks who picked things way back in the first Year of Luigi (AL) didn't follow up for various reasons, but be assured that Patrick Hancock was definitely happy with Super Smash Bros.
It was a weird year of games, though, rife with big-name delays, big-name flops, and lovely games that came out of nowhere to end up being the most fun (like Invisible Inc.) Maybe 2015 will do right by us (or us by it). For now, let's look back.
At every Sony event this year, the portable rhetoric was identical -- the Vita is getting games, but they're ports, or in rare cases, multi-platform releases of existing games.
As an original Vita and 32GB memory card owner since day one, I will be the first to tell you that I love playing it when I feel compelled to do so. I'm so glad that I was an early adopter and got to keep that OLED screen, as it's one of the best portable experiences I've ever had. I enjoyed exclusives like Tearaway and Gravity Rush for months on end. It was awesome.
Then the games stopped. The Vita still gets the occasional unique game like Toukiden: The Age of Demons, but for the most part, it loses exclusives these days. I'm not against ports and sometimes the Vita is my preferred method of playing them, but the platform is not sustainable without system sellers and exclusives.
Coming off of Yacht Club Games' 300k sales of Shovel Knight on the Wii U, 3DS, and PC, they have just announced that the game is coming to PlayStation platforms. It'll arrive on the PS3, PS4, and Vita sometime in the near future.
Also, a Kratos boss fight was teased, which looks pretty damn amazing. It's really cool to see the team partner up with Sony like this to get the game on these three platforms and have a licensed tie-in.
Expect to see it in quite a few Game of the Year conversations. It's their first game, people!
The Tales series may not have the same cachet in the West as do other prominent role-playing game franchises, but its renown is definitely on the rise. Bandai Namco has expressed more confidence in the franchise in recent years, showing a willingness to push Tales as a global brand rather than just a curiosity for Japanese audiences.
It seems there's a market for this sort of thing -- a healthy niche that appreciates something more antique in a world so obsessed with pioneering and being cutting-edge. Time marches on and the Tales series digs its heels into the ground, refusing to yield to fads and ephemeral trends. It's old-fashioned to a fault. But would you have it any other way?
In 2011, I lost a chunk of my life. An insidious tendril of addiction, despair, and obsession caught me by the ankle and dragged me into the The Binding of Isaac's darkened basement. I lost dozens of hours, whole days at a time. I let life slip by around me while muttering a demented mantra of “just one more try, just one more try...”
Now with the release of Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, a 16-bit looking half-remake, half-sequel of the original, I can feel the same cold touch on my leg. Its grip is stronger than ever, pulling me back into the same dark pit. I should kick and scream and try to escape... Well, maybe just one more try won't kill me.
While the Dynasty Warriors series is often heralded as the pinnacle of Omega Force's hack-and-slash catalog, the lesser-known Samurai franchise has been churning out some of the best games in the stable.
Based around the Sengoku era of Japan, Samurai Warriors mixes things up with unique offerings like ninjas, samurai, and historical figures such as Goemon Ishikawa and Musashi Miyamoto. If you can get past the repetition, Samurai Warriors 4 delivers another hearty helping of action the developer is known for.
Vib-Ribbon is a game by NanaOn-Sha (Parappa the Rapper, UmJammer Lammy) that was originally released on the PS1. It came to the United States for the first time just recently, by way of PSN. The original game allowed you to take the disc out of the PS1 and replace it with any CD. You could then play levels based on the sounds found on that CD. That's part of why the game has such minimalist visuals. The game's code had to be small enough to be stored in the PS1 on its own. Hence the black and white vector-based graphics.
It's amazing how NanaOn-Sha was able to create such charming and memorable characters with just a few lines. Vibri, the game's star, is a lovable scamp with tons of personality. With this article, I will do my best to follow in his footsteps by using as few lines as possible in my effort to convey to you the joy of Vib-Ribbon.
In the world of Senran Kagura, excess is the rule. The outfits are skimpy, the plot threads are ludicrous, and the breasts are laughably large, so huge in fact that you wonder how the skimpy bras the girls are eventually stripped down to are actually wrangling those things.
But beneath a veneer of silliness and near-parodical levels of fan service lies a brawler with plenty of hack and slash goodness to offer.
Natural Doctrine is a strategy role-playing game with a sadistic side. It's a brutal and uncompromising experience, one keen on taxing players and pushing them to their limits with its intense difficulty.
The architects behind the title invite comparisons with Dark Souls, and have certainly built a similarly steep hill to climb. Natural Doctrine is enigmatic and soul-crushing, but lacks execution and self-awareness. Simply being tough as nails doesn't make an experience rewarding.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was an intelligent riff on the perils of high school -- you know, if you had thrown a murder mystery in between classes and the principal was a maniacal stuffed animal.
Its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, takes a beleaguered trope and turns it on its head. This is one "trapped on a desert island" story that takes things to another level entirely.
When you're faced with imminent danger, what's the first thing you do? Do you gear up to fight back? Do you see if you can land the first punch? Or do you take all of your clothing off? I'm guessing that's a pretty uncommon reaction, though it's something you'll get used to seeing on a regular basis within Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed.
The otaku-come-Yakuza special is actually Akiba's Trip 2 in Japan, and it's the first time the series has reached Western audiences, who may or may not have been ready for its bizarre machinations. But for those who were willing and able to take the trip, what awaited them was a strange and colorful world full of plenty to do and discover.