Since I first laid eyes on Injustice: Gods Among Us at last year’s E3 Expo, I have been unreasonably excited to get my grubby little mitts on the final copy of the game. Fast forward to nearly a year later, and my excitement hasn’t waned. Normally, I try not to enter into things with inflated expectations, because that’s the quickest road to disappointment, but I’m pleased to report that Warner Bros. Interactive and NetherRealm Studios have hit the nail on its super-powered head. Injustice: Gods Among Us is a surprisingly deep brawler with a robust cast of characters that should satisfy even the most fervent of fanboys. A few minor grumbles aside, this is the fighting game that DC fans have been waiting for, so grab a friend, grab an extra controller, and get ready to prove once and for all that Aquaman would totally kick Batman’s ass. (I didn’t believe it either until I was on the receiving end of a trident assault).
First and foremost, this is a game that won’t just appeal to fighting game fans, but to comic book fans too. With a comic book tie-in, this is a classic DCU Elseworlds set-up: in another universe, the Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane and his unborn son, detonating a nuclear device that was wired to Lois’ heartbeat and destroying Metropolis in the process. Mad with grief, Superman murders the Joker in cold blood, then proceeds to transform Planet Earth into a metahuman police state, ruling with fear and a Kryptonian iron fist. With plenty of twists and turns, the story mode manages to make you care about what’s happening and the overarching plot, a feat which not many fighting games can replicate. Chalk it up to nostalgia or familiarity, but somehow the stakes just seem higher when our favorite superhumans are involved.
Although comment sections across the world will inevitably fill up with, “OMG WHY NO [INSERT HERO HERE]?!”-style posts, Injustice‘s roster is to be lauded for its diversity. Balancing heavy hitters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman with lesser known characters like Killer Frost, Ares and Black Adam, the game offers 24 fighters to choose from and early reports indicate that forthcoming DLCs will add 4 more powerful pugilists to the game’s ranks. That being said, I never found myself bored with the in-game selection, even though I did wish that I could control characters like Martian Manhunter or Atom Smasher, who I spotted lurking in the background of certain stages.
While the game boasts an equally impressive roster of voice talent, I found that one of Injustice‘s main issues comes from inconsistent voice acting. I might be alone in this complaint, but I found some of the line readings jarring or lackluster, to say the least. Overall though, there are some terrific performances and it’s nice to hear Kevin Conroy’s dulcet tones in any medium. It’s less of an outright gripe and more of an acquired taste, which is what I was told about Japanese plum wine, but that stuff is flavor poison, so take this with a grain of salt.
The arenas, however, are one of the game’s highlights. The interactive, multi-part stages are riddled with DCU references and subtle nods to the Universe’s history. At certain points on each stage, you can punch your opponent with such force that they’re launched into another part of the arena, triggering an awesome (and painful) transition sequence that deals damage to the unlucky punch recipient. One particularly memorable moment came when, playing as The Flash, I roundhouse-kicked Killer Frost into one of Superman’s fascist murderbots, who then threw her like a rag doll at 60 MPH towards Giganta and Atom Smasher, who were battling in front of the ravaged Hall of Justice. Catching Killer Frost like a gnat, Giganta then whipped her through a skyscraper until she landed on a nearby rooftop. I stopped for a moment to take it all in, but before I knew it, Killer Frost regained her composure and turned me into the Fastest Popsicle Alive. These moments happen all the time in Injustice, part and parcel of its giddy, childlike appeal. These are the moments I would envision as a child when I spent hours creating epic battle scenes with my action figures, so it gave me a true sense of nostalgic pleasure when I see them happening in real time (with much higher production value) on my TV.
Let me be perfectly honest: I like fighting games, but I have little patience for complex button inputs. Injustice, however, makes me feel like Alan Turing cracking a particularly crafty German cipher. While the combat system is surprisingly deep, the folks at NetherRealm made a point of making it accessible to laymen like myself. To launch into one of the epic super moves, all you need to do is hit both the shoulder buttons (L2 + R2 on the PS3 copy I reviewed) and once it connects, you’ll watch with mouth agape as The Flash revs up and runs around the world to deliver a haymaker at terminal velocity or Aquaman spears you with his trident, then serves you up to a man-eating shark like human hors d’oeuvres.
The combat system offers up relatively simple inputs for basic attacks, which you can combine together to create some seriously stunning combos. At times, I found the input response time to be a bit wonky, which made complex combos difficult to pull off. On the PS3, I found myself using the D-pad over the thumb sticks simply because they offered a greater degree of accuracy for the hyper-specific move sets. Despite the game’s attempt at accessibility, the A.I. is less forgiving, at times, which I learned the hard way, as characters like Killer Frost juggled me up in the air like a human hacky sack and spammed ground attacks on my lifeless corpse until my health meter was fully depleted. Instances like that were few and far between, but still frustrating. Alas, such is the life of a fighting game for a single player.
While I didn’t get to test out the online multiplayer, I can attest that the local Versus mode is damned fun. Much like the appeal of games like Super Smash Bros., Injustice is a title that a friend and I could play for hours on end, testing our mettle with every permutation the game’s roster has to offer. Also worth noting is the recently released free-to-play iOS app which offers up touch-based 3-on-3 combat and the ability to earn points and experience toward unlockables in the console version. The cross-platform nature of the game’s WBID system makes switching back and forth between the two relatively simple and incentives repeated play-throughs to help you unlock all manner of alternate costumes, concept art and more.
Further adding to the game’s replay value are the S.T.A.R. Labs mode and the aptly named Battle mode, which offer up plenty of reasons to while away the day in front of the TV long after you’ve completed the twelve-chapter Story mode. S.T.A.R. Labs offers up dozens of objective-based missions that put you in control of a specific character with unique parameters (e.g. use Superman to defeat Batman while executing a 5X combo and avoiding getting hit by a Batarang). Each mission is graded on a scale from 1-3 stars, so your inner perfectionist will find plenty to conquer therein. The aforementioned Battle mode is similar, but sticks to the game’s core mechanic: using superheroes to kick each other’s asses. With a variety of unlockable scenarios, you put a fighter through a ten-fight gauntlet in order to earn experience and unlock their “endings,” which contextualize what happens to each character at the end of the game’s main campaign. It’s a nice touch by NetherRealm, and an interesting way to reinvigorate players who find themselves longing for more than the Story mode’s twelve chapters.
Bottom line: Fans of fighting games, hypothetical bets and larger than life pop culture icons doing righteous battle with outrageous powers will find themselves hard-pressed to find a better offering than Injustice: Gods Among Us. Though not without its foibles, the fun factor is more than enough to make this title a must-have for anyone who’s ever wanted to punch Hal Jordan right in his handsome face.
The prospect of stealing sweetrolls from all across Tamriel with hordes of other player characters is pretty enticing, but if The Elder Scrolls Online looks half as good as this new trailer, then we’ll be there on Day 1 ready to punch a mudcrab in the face. The video showcases the three alliances in the game – the Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Covenant, and Ebonheart Pact – who will be waging bloody war for control of the Imperial City. Can’t wait to dive headfirst into a civil war for the fate of Tamriel?
Nothing like the end of the year – it’s a time for looking back at all the awesome games we played and have lavish award shows to celebrate them. Over the weekend, Spike’s Video Game Awards and Machinima’s Inside Gaming Awards rewarded the games they (and their viewers) picked as their best games of the year. This weekend also gives us cause for celebration thanks to the new looks we get at the most anticipated games of next year. This year was no exception, as trailers were unveiled for Dark Souls II, The Last of Us, Bioshock: Infinite and Tomb Raider, just to name a few. So sit back, relax, and put on a bib to catch all of that drool, because here they are:
The Last of Us (PS3, Naughty Dog)
In case you’ve been living under a rock or actively ignoring any and all video gaming press, then you’ve probably heard of Naughty Dog’s gorgeous post-apocalyptic survival action game The Last of Us, which comes exclusively to PS3 on May 7th, 2013. A dystopian nightmare-future has never looked this good, and this Story Trailer from the VGA’s shows us that The Last of Us is more than just a pretty face. Don’t worry – there are no spoilers for those of you who like to experience your games fresh-faced and dewy-eyed. May has never seemed further away; we’re champing at the bit to try our hand at surviving in the ruins of the old world with Joel and Ellie.
Although there’s still no details on the multiplayer, Naughty Dog did confirm two pre-order bonus packs: the Sight & Sounds Pack will be available at select retailers and includes an official soundtrack of the game, a PS3 dynamic theme featuring the game’s cover art, and two avatars for your PlayStation Network profile – Winter Joel and Winter Ellie. The second pack, the Survival Pack, is a GameStop exclusive, which nets you the goodies in the Sights and Sounds Pack plus bonus experience points in multiplayer, a multiplayer melee attack booster, special customizable character items for multiplayer, bonus skins for Joel and Ellie, and extra in-game starting cash. Hey, when it comes to surviving the post-apocalypse, we need all the help we can get.
Oh, BioShock, how we’ve missed you. All this talk about Rapture and December 21st has kept us in a vicious cycle of excitement and immediate disappointment. Thanks for nothing, Mayans. Though we have to wait until March 26, 2013 to experience BioShock Infinite in all its much-delayed glory, this world premiere trailer from the VGAs will tide us over until then. Unlike the claustrophobic underwater environments of Rapture, this game finds our intrepid heroes – former Pinkerton Booker DeWitt and bad-ass damsel in distress Elizabeth – traversing the massive, open-air city of Columbia. We haven’t seen this many brutal high-speed murders since that dubstep Dishonored video made the rounds. And zip lines. So many zip lines.
Gears of War: Judgement(Xbox 360, Epic Games)
The last time I saw Gears of War: Judgement footage was in a small, overly air-conditioned room with former Epic Games guru Cliff Bleszinski and several other journalists and developers at a private showing during E3 2012. It looked good then, but it looks even better now. Set 30 days after Emergence Day, the game follows Kilo Squad, led by our ol’ pal Lt. Damon Baird, after they are accused of treason by Col. Ezra Loomis after stealing classified documents from the Coalition of Ordered Governments during a battle against the Locust at Halvo Bay. Featuring old favorites like Damon Baird and Cole Train as well as newcomers Garron Paduk and Sofia Hendrik, Gears of War: Judgement looks like it’s shaping up to be an exciting look at the downfall of the Coalition of Ordered Governments and may shed further insight onto Baird’s seemingly endless well of sarcastic remarks.
Tomb Raider (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Square Enix)
Lara Croft has seen many different incarnations since the halcyon days of booty short, locking your poor butler in the freezer, and hunting for fabled “nude codes” like a pubescent Ahab’s white whale. This latest version of Tomb Raider from Square Enix sees Ms. Croft as less of an eye-poppingly proportioned sex symbol and more of a survivalist-in-training. This isn’t the Lara Croft we’re used to; she’s younger, rawer, and less experienced. This is her origin story, and it’s never been more fun to play. Shipwrecked on an island? Check. Mysterious group of mercenaries trying to murder the survivors? Check. A heady blend of Lost, The Hunger Games and Uncharted? Dear lord, yes, please! After our hands-on time at San Diego Comic-Con, we are nervously whittling makeshift spears and carving arrowheads until March 5, 2013 when we can hop into Lara’s shoes once again.
Dark Souls II (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, FromSoftware)
If you’re anything like me, you only recently recovered from your routine of playing Dark Souls to the point of weeping, throwing your controller at the television, going to buy a new television, then rocking back and forth while crying in a cold shower. That’s how brutal of a game it was. But damn if it wasn’t addictive as hell. Now, Namco Bandai and FromSoftware are back with Dark Souls II, a sequel to the punishingly pleasurable action-RPG. The trailer, which debuted at the VGAs, shows off a new hero, a new world, and new multiplayer to deliver what Namco Bandai is calling “an unrelenting challenge.” Challenge (and tears) accepted.
Spike VGA Winners: The world got its surprise on when, for the first time ever, an episodic DLC-based game won Game of the Year. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead won GOTY in addition to 3 other prizes.
GAME OF THE YEAR The Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
STUDIO OF THE YEAR
BEST XBOX 360 GAME Halo 4 (Microsoft Studios/343 Industries)
BEST PS3 GAME Journey (Sony Computer Entertainment/thatgamecompany)
BEST Wii / Wii-U GAME New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo)
BEST PC GAME XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2k Games / Firaxis Games)
BEST HANDHELD/MOBILE GAME Sound Shapes (Sony Computer Entertainment/ Queasy Games)
BEST SHOOTER Borderlands 2 (2k Games / Gearbox Software)
BEST ACTION ADVENTURE GAME Dishonored (Bethesda Softworks / Arkane Studios)
BEST RPG Mass Effect 3 (Electronic Arts / BioWare)
BEST MULTI-PLAYER Borderlands 2 (2k Games / Gearbox Software)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SPORTS GAME SSX (Electronic Arts/ EA Canada)
BEST TEAM SPORTS GAME NBA 2K13 (2k sports / visual concepts)
BEST DRIVING GAME Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Electronic Arts/ Criterion Games)
BEST FIGHTING GAME Persona 4 Arena (Atlus / ARC System Works / Atlus)
BEST INDEPENDENT GAME Journey (thatgamecompany)
BEST ADAPTED VIDEO GAME The Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
BEST SONG IN A GAME
“Cities” by Beck (Sound Shapes)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE Journey (Sony Computer Entertainment/ thatgamecompany)
BEST GRAPHICS Halo 4 (Microsoft Studios/ 343 Industries)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A HUMAN MALE
Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A HUMAN FEMALE
Melissa Hutchinson as Clementine (The Walking Dead: The Game)
BEST DOWNLOADABLE GAME The Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
BEST SOCIAL GAME You Don’t Know Jack (Jellyvision Games)
BEST DLC Dawnguard – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks / Bethesda Game Studios)
MOST ANTICIPATED GAME Grand Theft Auto V
CHARACTER OF THE YEAR
Claptrap (Borderlands 2)
BEST GAME OF THE DECADE Half-Life 2
Machinima IGA Winners:
Game of the Year Halo 4 (343 Industries)
Best Competitive Multiplayer Halo 4 (343 Industries)
Best Co-Operative Multiplayer Mass Effect 3 (BioWare)
Best Downloadable Game The Walking Dead: Season One (Telltale Games)
Best Narrative Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Development)
Best Animation Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Vancouver)
Best Environmental Design Dishonored (Arkane Studios)
Best Character Design
Lee Everett – The Walking Dead: Season One (Telltale Games)
Best Trailer The Last of Us Gamescom 2012 Trailer (Naughty Dog)
Best Original Score Fez (Polytron)
Most Original Game Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)
Best Indie Game Fez (Polytron)
Best Additional Content World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (Blizzard Entertainment)
Best Game Cinematography Mass Effect 3 (BioWare)
Best Art Direction Journey (thatgamecompany)
Best Sound Design Halo 4 (343 Industries)
Gamers’ Choice Award Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft)
Do you agree with the awards? What game are you most excited to play? Quemment below and let us know!
There’s just something about Guild Wars 2 and giving away 1,000 free trials. We teamed up with the folks at ArenaNet/NCSOFT to give away 1,000 beta keys in advance of the game’s launch, and now, in celebration of their second major content update and newly-announced “Refer-a-Friend” program, we’re giving away 1,000 4-day free trials to the most important Tyrian citizens of all: you guys.
To enter, simply head on over to our contest page and enter your e-mail address (see that page for complete official rules). Then, if you win, you and 999 of your closest Nerdist friends will be able to take to the battlefields of Tyria from November 15th through November 18th. To sweeten the pot, this weekend marks the launch of the “Lost Shores” weekend event, a massive one-time event that promises big adventure, bigger loot, and the biggest monsters you’ve ever seen. So, go ahead, treat yo’ self to a weekend of massively multiplayer fun by entering our Guild Wars 2 giveaway and proving your PVP prowess.
If Halo is Combat Evolved, then Halo 4 truly is Halo Evolved. From the opening cinematic of the single player campaign to the completely fresh feeling multiplayer, everything about Halo 4 feels like a classic Halo experience, but also feels like something completely new. A lot of this growth is due to an updated look for the series and a much more cinematic and personal story for Master Chief.
When last we saw Master Chief, he had ended a galactic war, been presumed dead, and locked away in cryo-stasis with his AI life-mate Cortana on the damaged Forward Unto Dawn. Cut to 4 years later, and Master Chief is brought out of stasis when arriving into the orbit of a forerunner planet. Oh, and a covenant fleet is hanging out for shiggles as well, and apparently this is a fanatical religious sect of the covenant, because up until now we’ve only dealt with the well-meaning wanting to destroy the galaxy covenant. After that, you rather quickly get sucked into the Forerunner planet via a gravity well, meet a race of creatures called Prometheans that really don’t want you there, and then meet a big bad that upon first meeting you aren’t even sure Master Chief can take down, all while Cortana hangs in the balance as an AI’s life cycle isn’t meant to last 7 years. And this is all within the first few hours of gameplay.
I’m focusing a bit on the story because I feel like this is the first Halo game that really had a fully developed arc instead of a string of battle scenarios held together by a loose plot. There is even a certain amount of comparing that one could do with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, as the game actually manages to deal with some of the same themes of where we come from and where we’re going, not the kind of thing Halo ever went for in the past. In Halo 1 & 2, Master Chief is saving the world because he’s a soldier and it’s his job. In Halo 4, Master Chief is fighting to save Cortana and, through plot points I won’t spoil, he has to go against orders to save humanity once again. The storytelling component of the series is so improved that it is the highlight of the game for me. I care about what happens to Master Chief. That’s not what I expected from a Halo game. I go to Mass Effect for my feels, not Halo. But I’ll be damned if Halo 4 doesn’t draw an emotional response from me. I don’t want to just beat the game for once, I want to see how the story ends.
Visually, this Halo is far superior, as it feels more theatrical than previous iterations of the franchise. The game does rely on cinematics a lot more than in the past, but they’re well-timed breathers from the action for the most part, and, as I said previously, the story is enthralling enough that you want to see them. Cortana and Master Chief both have updated looks for the first Halo from 343 and Master Chief definitely got the better redesign. Just when you think he can’t look more bad-ass, they go and do it. The game is stunning to play. It’s a more vivid and colorful gameplay experience than in the past, and if you don’t understand my meaning, play ODST again. Dark Grey, Dark Grey Everywhere.
It’s impossible to write a review of Halo and not mention the multiplayer. For once, the single player campaign is strong enough that I could avoid it, but the truth is that Halo 4‘s multiplayer is good again, and I didn’t realize Halo multiplayer had gone bad. The variety of games and the point-based scoring instead of straight kill count in infinity slayer make multiplayer a worth while experience, even if you’re not the best player around. Adding in the ability to unlock loadouts and armor, a multiplayer mechanic in other shooters that are almost solely multiplayer in design, gives players an investment in continuing to play, and even gives a slight advantage to people who vary their play styles.
Halo 4 is the best Halo game so far, and if this is the direction they’re going with the next few games, then I’m all for it. A cohesive and engaging storyline, compelling characters and incredible visuals make Halo 4 one of the best games of the year. It’s a return to form for an amazing franchise that didn’t feel dull until it reinvented itself and made you realize how much more it could have been.
For more details on Spartan Ops, check out Dan Casey’s demo from Comic-Con. You can also enter to win a sold out Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Master Chief vs. Hunter Statue now based on scenes from Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn on Machinima Prime (highly recommended viewing on the YouTube app on your Xbox instead of on a cramped computer monitor).
Welcome to another exciting edition of Beta’d, dear reader. L.A.’s Culver City Fire Station was home to a media preview event for the finalists of IndieCade 2012, the independent gaming expo that invades Los Angeles this weekend. All work and no play makes Dan a dull boy, so I will cut to the chase and present you with the five best games I got my hands on.
Developed in 8 weeks by MIT’s GAMBIT Game Lab, the JRPG-esque A Closed Worldis a unique adventure RPG that, according to developer Todd Harper, is “inspired by games like Earthbound.” The game follows a teenager who is so fed up with her surroundings that she up and leaves, winding up in a mysterious village adjacent to a demon-filled forest from which no one can escape. Determined to reach the other side of the forest – a feat which has never been accomplished before – the hero sallies forth and does righteous combat with the forest’s many denizens. Eschewing traditional RPG staples like melee attacks, spells and items, ACW‘s combat system uses the power of conversation – namely Logic, Passion and Ethics – to outwit and out-reason the Studio Ghibli-meets-pixel-art monsters. Fans of oddball RPGs and gameplay elements like L.A. Noir‘s interrogations or Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s conversation battles will find plenty to like from this free-to-play offering.
Developed by DigiPen’s David Scamehorn and Alexander Baard, the confusingly-named Super Space ____ (pronounced “Super Space Blank”) is a “a couch co-op arcade shooter about competition, cooperation, communication and the democracy of physics.” If that description didn’t hook you, then the frantic competitive but team-based co-op multiplayer will. Each player controls a turret on a spaceship whose steering is based on recoil from shooting, and you all compete for points and power-ups. The rub, however, is that you must work together to destroy asteroids aplenty and escape from other environmental hazards. Thus, the team is put into a prisoner’s dilemma: do you screw over your teammates for immediate gain and risk everyone’s death in the cold, unforgiving vacuum of space? Or do you take one for the team and sacrifice your high score so you can bank the ship starboard to avoid a fiery death? Either way, it’s addictive and we’re coming back for more.
Don’t let the title fool you; this is a surprisingly deep racing management simulator that would give FIFA’s Manager mode a run for its money. Currently available for iOS (and soon for Android), UK developer Playniac’s International Racing Squirrels puts you in the shoes of a manager/breeder in the high-stakes world of, well, squirrel racing. From training your squirrels to increase their stats to upgrading their digs to micromanaging the race itself through judicious use of power-ups, this management simulator is fun, flashy and proves to be a more compelling play than its title would suggest. Fans of titles like Monster Rancher, Pokemon, and sports games’ manager modes will definitely find something to love here.
With lush graphics and a stellar soundtrack, Cipher Prime’s Spliceis entrancing to watch, let alone play. The puzzle game puts you in a microbial microverse in which you must sequence, mutate and shift cell structures to fit a predetermined pattern. With a limited number of moves – or “splices” – to complete the sequence, Splice puts your brain to the test, often surprising the player with the way in which the binary cell structures react to their poking and prodding. Add in the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack in the background and you have the building blocks for one incredibly fun-filled organism.
First things first: stop reading this and go play Guacamelee. You will thank me later. The inventive co-op platformer from Drinkbox Studios is equal parts Castlevania, Metroid, and Nacho Libre. Drawing from traditional Mexican culture, the action-platformer puts you in the shoes of musclebound luchador Juan Aguacate, who is tasked with saving the world when El Presidente’s Daughter is kidnapped by evil skeletons. What follows is a case study in classic gameplay that has you battling all manner of colorful baddies, running from Chupacabras and shifting through alternate dimensions like “The World of the Dead” and “The World of Nightmares.”
Even more exciting is the cross-play functionality between the PS Vita and PS3 versions. Not only can you play co-op simultaneously across both systems, but if you prefer to go the single-player route, your saved game is preserved on both systems, so you can pick up and play exactly where you left off on the gaming device of your choice. Indie game? Hell, there are plenty of “mainstream” games that can’t pull that feat off. Whatever you do this IndieCade, just make sure to suplex, pile drive, and/or give a little sweet chin music to any and all who stand between you and the chance to play Guacamelee. NOTE: Please don’t actually engage in physical combat with other IndieCade attendees unless you’re both hooked up to some weird virtual reality device.
Will you be at IndieCade this weekend? What games are you excited for? Quemment below and let us know.
Welcome back to Beta’d, dear reader, for another exciting edition of the latest and greatest in video game news. Craving some cortex crudo? Have a hankering for bouillabaisse of brains? Then, you’re in luck, because Capcom’s highly-anticipated Resident Evil 6 comes to Xbox 360 and PS3 on Tuesday, October 2nd. But before you run headfirst back into Raccoon City, there are some things you might want to know.
6) It’s a leaner, meaner Resident Evil. It’s a nice balance of action-packed and the stutter-step suspense of previous titles. One of the biggest surprises is that you can now move and shoot: Resident Evil 6 was designed to improve the shooting elements, a decision for which you will be grateful, because not only are the enemies faster, but they’re smarter too.
5) It’s not scary; it’s nerve-wracking. From my time playing Leon’s campaign at SDCC, it became clear that you don’t get the same “jump in your seat”-style scares as some of series’ previous outings, but you are on edge before you turn every corner, open each door or pause to reload. Few things are more stressful (in a good way) than running out of ammunition in a long corridor as zombies are pouring through the windows in a concentrated effort to eat you. Fortunately, Leon is Raccoon City’s Keanu Reeves equivalent – he knows kung fu.
4) Vintage Japanese beer ads inspired one of the game’s monsters. [WARNING: Spoilers Ahoy!] In a recent interview with Famitsu, the game’s director, Eiichiro Sasaki, revealed that one of the game’s bosses, Deborah, is based on a series of ads featuring beer-swilling bikini-clad pin-up girls that were popular in Japanese izakayas (pubs) in the years following World War II. [END OF SPOILERS] So, remember Umbrella’s terrifying legacy the next time you pop the lid on a frosty can of Asahi Super Dry.
3) Variety is the spice of life and, in RE6, the spice must flow. The game’s three campaigns should provide an enjoyable experience for gamers of all stripes. Leon’s campaign is slower-paced, more tense and akin to old-school Resident Evil outings; like his recent trip to Africa in RE5, Chris Redfield’s campaign is much more action-packed; and the third campaign, which follows that ol’ meanie Wesker’s son Jake, is RE at its most experimental. It varies the quest types markedly from the other two campaigns and you spend a good deal of time being hunted by one oversized enemy, the Ustanak.
2) Brace yourselves…multiplayer is coming… in the form of paid DLC. In addition to game’s Mercenaries mode, Resident Evil 6‘s first wave of multiplayer DLC will be timed exclusives for the Xbox 360. The pack includes 3 separate modes: Survivors, which has you chasing your friends around as a zombie (similar to Left 4 Dead‘s “Versus” mode); Predator mode, which puts you in the oversized shoes of an Ustanak B.O.W.; and Siege mode, in which you must protect one NPC at all costs from an undead onslaught. Each mode supports up to 6 players and will use maps from Mercenaries mode, so study up or chances are that you’ll be in dire need of a red herb before you know it.
1) The inventory is no longer like playing a fruitless game of Perfection. In the past, opening the inventory not only brought the game to a complete halt, but it felt like you were being punished as it pushed your spatial relations and your wits to their respective ends. The new system is more reminiscent of a series like Dead Space – it’s clean, fluid, mappable to the D-pad, and it doesn’t stop the action when you’re fiddling around for some First-Aid Spray. So, remember to break into a nice jog before you try to heal yourself when you’re surrounded by ungodly horrors from beyond the grave.
Are you excited for Resident Evil 6? Quemment below and let us know!
Welcome back for another exciting installment of Beta’d! In case you’ve been living under a rock, or if you’re so relentlessly patriotic that you think E3 is the world’s only video gaming trade show, you may want to sit down and take a deep breath, because what I’m about to tell you may shock you. Gamers descended on Tokyo this week for the Tokyo Game Show, one of the world’s largest gaming expos, and the volume of new trailers and info can only be described as torrential. Fortunately, we’re here to help you separate the wheat from the digital chaff.
Trailers, Trailers Everywhere
Soul Sacrifice (Vita)
Mega Man designer Keiji Inafune is having one hell of a TGS; not only were fans chomping at the bit for Soul Sacrifice‘s heady blend of co-op alt-history action, but they had an unnatural hunger after Team Ninja announced they were working with Inafune on the zombie action game Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. Do we have you all excited now? Well, then, I’m sorry to have to tell you that it’s been delayed until Spring 2013.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z (PS3, Xbox 360)
Speaking of Yaiba, let’s cut to the chase. It was one of the biggest reveals of the event and for good reason: Inafune is collaborating with Team Ninja on a Ninja Gaiden spin-off that follows a cybernetic ninja cutting a swath of bloody terror through legions of undead as he pursues series stalwart Ryu Hayabusa to exact his revenge. Need more? Didn’t think so.
The Unfinished Swan (PS3)
If you have AAA, you may want to call them for some roadside assistance in picking your jaw up off of the floor. One of the most charming and creative titles of the show – and one Matt told you to watch out for at Gamescom – was The Unfinished Swan. An introspective, artful fairy tale, the game follows a boy who follows the trail of the titular swan when it goes missing from his favorite painting. Your only ability? Throwing black blobs of paint to reveal elements of the otherwise completely blank level. As fans of negative space and innovative video games, we’re unreasonably excited for this one.
Ace Attorney vs. Professor Layton(3DS)
Phoenix Wright has a busy caseload this year; not only is he starring in the newly 3D Ace Attorney 5, but he’s also going head to head with the Nintendo 3DS’ other super sleuth, Professor Layton. Co-developed by CAPCOM and Level-5, Ace Attorney vs. Professor Layton should prove highly unobjectionable to fans of smart puzzle games.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, Xbox 360)
Solid Snake has also been busy at this TGS. He’s starring in GREE’s foray into smartphone stealth, Metal Gear: Social Ops, which has players engaging in a turn-based card game to sneak from point A to point La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo. For those of you who don’t care about activating Revolver Ocelot’s trap card or squaring off against Psycho Mantis’ Dark Magician, then Platinum Games will let you vent your frustrations by cutting everything in half. Seriously, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance lets you rend a preposterous number of things asunder, and it’s damn fun. Having played it back at E3, I had an unexpectedly enjoyable time slicing everything from Roman columns to a watermelon to a helicopter in half. As it turns out, when you’re playing a cybernetic ninja like Raiden, taking a note from Bayonetta‘s action-packed gameplay ain’t such a bad thing.
Resident Evil Vs. (Mobile)
Speaking of GREE, the mobile gaming giant not only had a booth bigger than Square Enix’s, but it had a catalog to back it up. In addition to the aforementioned Metal Gear: Social Ops, it teamed up with the show’s other ubiquitous entity Resident Evil for Resident Evil Vs., a shooter similar to RE: Mercenaries which puts you in Chris Redfield’s shoes as you try to survive wave after wave of baddies and famous faces from previous games. For a mobile game, it looks remarkably sophisticated, but we’re hoping for a co-op mode or death match to really satisfy our appetite for stopping the undead.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (PS3)
Square Enix has a tough gig: its back catalog has such an obsessive following that it can’t put out a new title without legions of fans yelling at it to make HD remakes of titles like Final Fantasy VII. Well, it turns out it has been listening… to some of you. Thursday saw the announcement of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix for PS3,a 3 game collection featuring Kingdom Hearts Final Mix HD, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories HD, andKingdom Hearts 358/2 Days with cutscenes in HD. While there’s no Kingdom Hearts 2 HD in this collection, there is trophy support for all 3 games. Still not satisfied? Buy 2 copies when it drops and pretend you’re playing Kingdom Hearts 3.
PS3 Does P90X
No, Sony didn’t announce the PlayStation 4, but it is trying to stay competitive with Nintendo’s Wii U this holiday season by shedding some extra pounds and getting down to show weight. Available in charcoal black or classic white, the newly announced PS3 model is 50 percent slimmer than the 2006 tanning bed model (which I still have in my apartment because backwards compatibility is the best) and 25 percent less bulky than the current PS3 Slim. In a concerted effort to look more like a tiny George Foreman Grill, Sony has replaced the slot-loading disc drive for a mechanical cover that slides across. The price point however seems to have gained weight; Sony will charge $270 for the 300 GB model and $300 for the 500 GB model.
Nintendo’s New Pad
Once the initial squealing over the Wii U returned to non-deafening levels, Nintendo revealed new peripherals for the Wii U and the 3DS XL aimed at making the system’s controllers more akin to its competitors. The Circle Pad Pro for the 3DS XL acts as a cradle of sorts for the already oversized handheld, adding an additional analog stick. While con-goers are reporting that it feels comfortable in the hand, you’ll be hard-pressed to fit the handheld in your pocket with the peripheral attached unless you’re wearing Yao Ming’s cargo pants.
Nintendo also revealed the Wii U Pro Controller (a.k.a. the Wii U GamePad), an alternate controller for the upcoming system, which looks like someone dipped an Xbox controller in a molten vat of the Apple Store. Much lighter than its Microsoft counterpart, the Pro controller seems to be taking a cue from Sony’s SixAxis by omitting force feedback capability. So, if you’re hoping to rumble while you play Bayonetta 2, might we recommend consulting a seismologist to find the nearest active fault line?
What are you most excited about from TGS? Quemment below and let us know!
On November 18, you can finally wait in line to buy the Wii U. This week, Nintendo announced the release date and pricing of its next home console. There are two boxes offered this time around: For $299, you get the Basic Set, a white Wii U with 8GB of memory, a white GamePad, power cables, a sensor bar, a stylus, and an HDMI cable. For $349, you get the Deluxe Set: a black Wii U with 32GB of memory, a black GamePad, power cables and cradles, a sensor bar, a stylus, an HDMI cable, and exclusively to the Deluxe Set, the theme park inspired mini-game game Nintendo Land. The more expensive set also gives you access to the Deluxe Digital Promotion: You earn points when you download games that you can spend on who knows what.
I’d like to thank Nintendo for putting an HDMI cable in the box: Dear Nintendo, thanks for putting an HDMI cable in the box. Love, everyone who purchased a 360 and/or PS3.
Graphically, the Wii U is very powerful. For now, It’s better than the competition. I’m sure it will be overpowered by the jocks of console gaming shortly, but who cares? What matters is the quality of the games. Graphics are great and all, but the Wii U has some real potential thanks to the GamePad.
On day 1, we’ve got access to some truly great titles including New Super Mario Bros. U (the new flying squirrel suit is neat!), ZombiU (my personal favorite that I’ve played), and Assassin’s Creed III. Not long after that, we should see about 50 titles available. That’s pretty huge. We’ll see the next Pikmin by the Big N themselves, as well as Black Ops 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Wii Fit U, and many, many more. It’s comforting to see such great support from third party developers right out of the gate. Nintendo even picked up the hyper-sexualized, hack and slash Bayonetta 2 after Sega dropped it, making it exclusive to the Wii U. This will surely tick off some of the fans of the original, but if Nintendo didn’t pick it up, we’d probably never get it.
The game that has me pumped up more than an old pair of Reeboks is LEGO City: Undercover. It’s basically Die Hard meets GTA, but for kids. The GamePad will act as a forensic scanner and a scope that you use to fight plastic foes. I think something that is hard to accomplish is a particularly funny game, and this looks to deliver. That classic LEGO action saturated with 80’s action movie tropes is quite charming.
I think the Wii was a huge let down. I gave mine away years ago. I’m selfish. I don’t give things away, but the Wii just sat there mocking me. I’ve had the chance to sit down with the Wii U a few times and I have no problem saying that I love it. There is a ton of potential. Nintendo appears to have learned from its mistakes and has figured out a way to balance a customer base of both casual family players and hardcore gamers. The GamePad is comfortable and inventive. Its screen really does add to the HD picture on your television. I’ve always thought the DS was an inventive way to interact with games that you can’t port to any other machine. Of course Nintendo would adapt those ideas for the living room.
There is one feature that I’m not so sure about: You can use the Wii U to aggregate all your streaming services, Tivo, and live TV into one interface. Nintendo is not too great at developing applications that are intuitive and efficient. Not much is known about the service, so hopefully I’m wrong. I’d like to be wrong.
Overall, I’m excited for the Wii U and the oncoming wave of new gaming tech. How about you?
Nerdist is a place where we nerds come together and share the nerdery that we find. It's also my home to various elements of the Nerdist Empire. You might recognize me from TV. You don't realize that's where you know me from, but it is. You think you went to college with me or I look like your cousin's friend, but that is not the case. At one time or another you stumbled upon me on your moving picture box in such cerebral gems as MTV's "Singled Out" and Noam Chomsky's "Shipmates." and so much more...