Tag: PSN (page 1 of 4)

walking dead the game

RELEASE: 4/2012 (Episode 1) | DEVELOPER: TellTale Games | ESRB: M for Mature

Walking Dead The Game is the best point and click game I have ever played. As a fan of the comic book series and of the AMC TV show I felt duty-bound to play. However, I did have my reservations: I’m not super-into point and click style games and I’ve been burned by TellTale games before, see Jurassic Park or Back to the Future. This game has won tons of awards and has been reviewed by just about everyone but you came here for my two cents, so read on, in my spoiler free review below.


Shopping can be especially tough during a Zombie Outbreak

We’ve been over what a point and click adventure is before. To summarize, it’s the videogame equivalent to a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Basically, you are presented with a series of multiple choice options and each answer will move the story along in a different direction. TellTale has improved on their point and click games with some serious updates. Multiple choice scenarios are now timed making your answers more instinctual rather than well thought out. Consequences are more severe in this game and sometimes very hard to deal with emotionally — unlike the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the past where you could simply keep your finger in place to skip back to the moment before your bad decision.

Walking Dead The Game is one of the first successful games sold in TellTale’s episodic fashion. Five episodes make up the complete game, which were originally sold separately and released months apart. Each episode lasts about 2-3 hours. This was an intriguing sales gamble, the primary risk being that gamers would not be interested in buying a partial game. Although, there was an option to “subscribe to the season” for a lower price. I believe their gamble paid off and having five separate release dates helped push awareness of the game and keep gamers talking about it. “What is going to happen next” tweets reminded me of old fashioned water cooler talk at the office.

Will these gentlemen be friends or foes?

 The art style is fairly loose, if such a description has ever been applied to a video game. The illustrated graphics, a bit jarring during the first couple of episodes, actually improves over the course of the episodes. The characters felt a bit bobble-heady to me at first, but as I got used to the art I barely even noticed that. By the final episode you will be so engrossed in the game you will literally forget how childish it looks when compared to the live action TV show. It’s a wonder though, why didn’t they go with Charlie Adlard’s already established look? I would have liked to see that.

Is this my Walking Dead? Fans of both the comics and the television show will enjoy this companion story. It fits neatly into either fiction by introducing (mostly) all new characters. I’m purposely avoiding talk about the story here. You play a survivor in the wake of the zombie outbreak. Your character has a back story, an attitude and ultimately a goal: to protect a young girl named Clementine. Clementine is smart, winsome, nine-year-old girl and the heart of the story.

It may not be my favorite game of the year but certainly deserving of many accolades. The compelling story will keep you playing. I imagine it will be the first platinum (100% completion) trophy for many casual players since simply completing the story will unlock it. It’s nice to step out of your comfort zone and try a different kind of game. Hopefully, trying something as simple as a point and click will inspire shooter and sports game aficionados to try some new games. Unlike those kinds of games, I don’t see a lot of replay value in Walking Dead The Game. Once your spoiled on the story it is spoiled, so be careful.


If you cry easily, bring some tissues

This is a great game for fans of the Walking Dead or any TellTale point and click games. Rarely has a game pulled off the “protect me” scenario but you’ll find that you feel sincerely compelled to protect Clementine. The game forces you to pick sides and choose favorites amongst the characters. It is clever how even the main menu in the game reflects this Television mentality with fast forward and rewind buttons. Each episode adds to an already dense serialized story but also leaves itself open for additional “seasons”.

Like I said in the beginning, Walking Dead The Game is certainly the best point and click game I have ever played. However, like all point and click games I’ve played I sometimes feel robbed of the action. With dramatic cutscenes that look like they might be more fun to play than watch or the nuisance of having turn over (figuratively) “every rock” to find the little piece of the puzzle to move forward, sometimes I just want to blast everything and move on. Available on most every platform, the first episode is even free on iOS. Obviously, the game is worth checking out.

B+
Nom nom nom for more
 

E3 2012: playstation keynote by verdeberg

Sony, where to begin! I was anticipating news regarding games such as God Of War Ascension and Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us but I got so much more!
Let me start at the beginning after the jump.

The keynote started at 9:01EST with Jack Tretton thanking the gamers and then he gave the stage to David Cage of Quantic Dream (who gave us Heavy Rain). Cage introduces us to their new game Beyond Two Souls. The game’s main character, Jodie Holmes, is played by Academy Award nominated, Ellen Page. She is a mysterious woman with a link with an entity of the dead. We are shown a game intro in which Holmes is being questioned by a local police officer. Holmes is just sitting silently offering no answers but then demonstrates a mysterious power. Just then, the swat team shows up. Cut to a montage of destruction. Beyond Two Souls is “a game about death and what’s on the other side”
Then came the unveiling of the “Toast to Michael”, PS’s viral teaser is revealed to be promotion for Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. This game is Playstation’s answer to Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers. Available for Playstation Vita and Playstation 3 and works with the new Cross Compatibility between both platforms (CrossPlay) allowing people to compete with friends on either platform via the Playstation Network. The game is slated for Holiday 2012.
Sony announced that they were doubling down with their Playstation Network, with over 200 downloadable games over the next 12 months. They have sweetened their Playstation Plus offerings, for a $5 per month subscription offer, with the promise of 12 free games per month and all of the attendees of the keynote received a free year of Playstation Plus.
Playstation Vita was up next with the announcement of such new games as Call Of Duty Black Ops: Declassified, When Vikings Attack, Retro City Rampage and Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation as well as the announcement of the availability of Playstation One Classics (yes!) starting with Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy VI! Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation will be available later this year in a highly anticipated PS Vita bundle. The new bundle comes with a Crystal White PS Vita and a 4 gig memory card.
Ubisoft’s was next on the stage with a closer look at their AAA title: Assassin’s Creed 3. Set during the American Revolution, we see Assassin’s Creed break new ground with, a new character, Connor battling on land & now at sea with full control of a boat and its cannons! Dan Hay was next on stage for Ubisoft showcasing Farcry 3. The PS version will have an exclusive, intense, 4 player co-op campaign.
Playstation Move had its moment on the stage. Presented by Andy House, the new President and Group CEO, is Wonderbook. Wonderbook is a reinvention of the storybook that is interactive using augmented reality. The announcement of JK Rowling’s Book of Spells was the big deal and was showcased by Dave Ranyard. Wonderbook has a lot of potential if I had children I would be very excited about this.
Playstation Mobile is announced in partnership with HTC, a leader in the smart phone industry.
The Keynote then took a turn for the dramatic, on-screen gameplay from God of War Ascension and Todd Cappy simply saying “March 12th, 2013″. The room went dark and the ultra violent gameplay for Naughty Dog’s (Uncharted) The Last of Us began with a ton of violence and bleeped gameplay dialogue.
Overall, Sony’s keynote was pretty eventful. They didn’t make me yearn to go out and buy a Playstation Vita but they did make me feel like I was missing a lot by not springing the 5 dollars a month to subscribe to Playstation Plus. I was left with a need to know more about Beyond’s Jodie Holmes and what the “Dawn of the Wolf” posters are all about in The Last Of Us.

________________

RELATED LINKS:

E3 2012: microsoft keynote
E3 2012: home viewing guide

E3 2012: home viewing guide

Once again, it’s that time of year to gaze upon the oracle of gaming-to-come, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). My NeverEnding Story of trying to get inside is still being written. The gatekeepers to the kingdom of gaming (the E3 committee Sphinxes’) have thwarted even my most “Atreyuian” moves towards the gates.
Nevertheless, E3 2012 is happening June 5-7th with major keynote addresses starting on Monday, June 4th. You’re viewing choices have grown (slightly) this year over last, with more network choices and dedicated streams over the Internet. Televised on Spike TV and sister Viacom Media Networks, including MTV2; MTVU; VH1; Tr3s: Música y Másand will all air the coverage simultaneously. Check your local listings for their correct channels. The Microsoft keynote will be airing for the first time on XBox Live through an app called: Playbook 360. I’m starting to wonder if by attending E3 you actually risk not seeing everything; and the best move may be getting all the information in one massive media download.

It’s interesting to ponder what’s in store and its affect on how the industry is fairing. E3 has high expectations associated with it, namely first look at new consoles. While I personally don’t think we will be seeing any new hardware besides the Wii U, there are some highly anticipated games we can expect to hear about.

The Gamedae E3 2012: Home Viewing Guide is below.


GAMEDAE E3 2012: Home Viewing Guide
A Guide to Where and When to get the most of E3 from your Couch.
UPDATED AS NEW URLS BECOME AVAILABLE

FRIDAY JUNE 1st (Weekend before the expo)

10:30 PST / 1:30am EST || Konami Pre-E3 Show

SUNDAY JUNE 3rd
 || Nintendo Direct Pre-E3 2012

MONDAY JUNE 4th (day before the expo opens)

9:30am PST / 12:30pm EST || XBox: Entertainment Evolved
  • Expectations: Halo 4, Fable: The Journey, the newest Call of Duty and a Spotify-like Music Service
  • On XBox Live through an app called: Playbook 360.
  • TV: Spike TV and sister networks
  • WEB: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/e3
1pm PST/ 4pm EST || Electronic Arts: The Download at the Orpheum Theater in LA
  • Announced Featured Content: SimCity, Crysis 3, Battlefield 3, Medal of Honor Warfighter, Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13 and other unannounced projects
  • TV: Spike TV and sister networks
  • WEB: http://www.ea.com/e3 & GameTrailers.com
3pm PST/ 6pm EST || Ubisoft
   
5:30pm preview, 6pm PST / 8:30pm preview, 9pm EST || Sony

TUESDAY JUNE 5th (First day of Expo)

9am PST/ 12pm EST || Nintendo All-Access
  • Expectations: New Mario Launch game, Wii U redesigns, release date and price
  • TV: Spike TV or MTV2 networks, watch the presentation live with no commercial interruptions
  • WEB: the Nintendo All-Access @ E3 2012 website at http://e3.nintendo.com
1pm PST/ 4pm EST || E3 Conference Coverage
  • TV: E3 2012 LIVE continues on G4
WEDNESDAY JUNE 6th (Second day of Expo)
3pm PST/ 6pm EST || E3 Conference Coverage
  • TV: E3 2012 LIVE continues on G4
6pm PST/9pm EST || Nintendo Software Showcase
    •  WEB: http://e3.nintendo.com/

THURSDAY JUNE 7th (Third day of Expo)

3pm PST/ 6pm EST || E3 Conference Coverage

journey

PLATFORM: PS3
RELEASE DATE: 03/2012
PUBLISHER: Sony
RATING: E for Everyone

More along the lines of an art concept about wonder and discovery than a video game. From the makers of Flower and Flow comes the enchanting downloadable game Journey. Available exclusively on the Playstation Network. The designers at ThatGameCompany have crafted an innocent, little adventure in a world filled with blockbuster style shooter games. 



Journey takes place in a beautifully rendered world, though not detail oriented but with a highly polished focus on texture. The sand of the sparkling desert seems to move with a life of its own; reacting to the wind and light and of course yourself. Compare it to stepping deep into a patch of snow for the first time or disrupting a perfectly combed beach. The landscape seems to go as far as the eye can see, an almost flawless trick of good coding.



Spoilers aside, Journey has some charming characters. These characters and the story itself are purposely vague to have a broader appeal without stereotypes. Your character is some sort of desert native with a blank face and a long robe. The story is devoid of detail and is simply a quest to the mountain in the distance. In fact, there is not one word spoken through the entire experience.


Journey introduces a unique co-op concept into the fray. Gamers are thrown together randomly and have to communicate with pure body language or a chime sound. Even the most ferocious “Timmy” will have to bite his tongue and think a little to communicate. This chime is a simple button press; pressing softly will produce a mere whimper pressing harder or hold down for a loud chirp. Wander along solo or follow another random player through the sand. If you are connected online Journey will automatically pair up players. Platforming moves include jumping and floating which are simple to master. Your scarf will grow as you store up more jumping skill. Eventually, you will combine all the different jumping maneuvers in a race for the summit.
Everyone into video games should play through Journey. It’s as refreshing as it is beautiful to look at. Pick it up for a perfect change of pace in your gaming rotation. As wonderful of an achievement that Journey is, I’m not going to be forgiving about the shortness of the game. Journey is a full priced downloadable game ($14.99) and a simple playthrough is just over two hours long. When I think of a journey, the last thing I think of is short.

B+

sideway: ny


Sideway: NY (2011) is a truly unique, 2D platformer experience with a 3D twist to it. Enter a world of graffiti with fun graphics, great tunes and hours of replay value. I first saw this game at a New York Comic Con booth, I didn’t even bother to wait in line, I knew it was an essential purchase. You could say, love at first sight. Pick it up as a downloadable title on PSN or for PC. Details below…


 

The writing on the wall

While graffiti has been interwoven into almost every video game in most cases, it’s just a garnish; often overlooked. Texture artists use it as commonly as they do pixels and polygons. Few titles have historically tried to make graffiti as part of game play. Most recently there was Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure (2006). You could even say Super Mario Bros. Sunshine (2002) took a stab at graffiti (albeit more anti) in gameplay. Probably the closest comparison would be from way back on the Dreamcast system: Jet Grind Radio and JSRF: Jet Set Radio Future. Rarely, has the subject of graffiti been the foundation of the gameplay like it is in Sideway: NY. You are the actual graffiti on the wall. This entire game is restricted to the flat surfaces of the walls of the city.
Enter the comically rendered, urban setting of New York City. Its muted colors keep it just a shade away from looking like a “kids” game. Nox is a graffiti artist that has been battling with his rival named Spray. Unbeknownst to Nox, Spray has this ability to enter the 2D planes of the graffiti walls. Nox is then coerced into the graffiti walls to confront Spray head on. There is a bit about his missing girlfriend as well, but this game isn’t really about the story. Oh and Spray is the bad guy, now let’s play.

Getting up

As a platformer, Sideway: NY basically about getting from the start to the level boss. The levels are challenging and include some “wait-a-minute” puzzle moments. The controls start out with a simple jump, punch and slide mechanic. In later levels Nox will acquire more advanced moves such as jump attacks, ground pounds and paint grenades. The different moves are explained quite well through Nox’s mentor, Fume. Button directions are also conveniently tagged up on the walls when you need them. Eventually Nox can gain up to 16 unique moves, quite the arsenal. Gameplay also includes 2 player co-op (drop-in, drop-out couch style). The second controller plays as Nox’s mentor, Fume.
Travel the flat surfaces of the cities’ buildings and rooftops. While confined to the painted (think “flat”) surfaces of buildings, you can climb up and over drainpipes and scaffolding. You can cross planes around smooth corners and travel from building to building via connecting  billboards or bridges. Gather score bubbles, health and paint along the way to rack up high scores.

Then there are the monsters that you will need to battle. Nox has his basic punch move and eventually learns jump kicks. Slide moves and paint grenades can stagger certain opponents. Level ending, boss battles usually require a recently learned new move as the key to defeating them.

As with most platformers you will find a few “cheap-death” instances, nothing I would consider flawed just don’t expect Sideway: NY to be a walk-in-the-park. As expected, the game does ramp up the difficulty in the later levels. Levels can be replayed to try and finish objectives or just get a higher score. Game time is not nearly as long as a full-priced game release but for the price point it’s well worth your time.

Wildstyle

The entire soundtrack to Sideway: NY is made up of custom beats and rhymes performed by SkullCandy artist Mr. Lif. This hip hop is smooth, whimsical and perfectly matched to the gameplay. Sunny side streets are accompanied by quicker more upbeat verses, while darker areas of the game transition into more melodic and eerie beats. This is a soundtrack you could learn the words to; I only wish there were more tracks to choose from.

Top-to-bottom

Sideway: NY comes off not only as entertaining but also authentic in it’s subject matter. Not focusing on the darker gangster qualities of graffiti but rather the fun and color of the paintings themselves. While I was not quite old enough to fully enjoy the 80’s this game reminds me of the photos and stories of graffiti culture’s roots and not the negative stigmas that exist in reality. The art style comes off very genuine and not as just some gimmick.
Pick up Sideway: NY and test your platformer skills. Recommended for music fans and gamers looking for something light but also challenging. Animation fans will enjoy the art style and coloring. At a low price point of $9.99 it is well worth the downloading time.
A
You stole my “e” bro

critter crunch

PLATFORM: PSN

RELEASE DATE: 10/2009
PUBLISHER: Capybara Games
ESRB RATING: E for Everyone
Trophies: 33%

Want to play a fun puzzle game? Give Critter Crunch a try. This lighthearted game will be an easy transition for any Tetris, Bejeweled, Bust-a-Move or Dr. Mario player. Instantly charming, fun and challenging, this is a colorful downloadable you’ll play again and again.

In a gaming world invested with insufficient “casual games” it’s nice to find a good, quality product like Critter Crunch. Judging by the hand-drawn animation graphic style this looks like a game that was a labor of love to create. You are an uber rare species called a Biggsliocaucus (Biggs) that is essential to the ecosystem of this enchanting Krunchatoa Island in which you dwell. Sounds kind of silly? The story very much is, but that doesn’t matter this is a puzzle game at heart and the game play very much over shadows any story line involved no matter how cute.

The game is played with Biggs below a game grid made up of vines. Along the vines are scrolling waves of critters that are descending upon you. By maneuvering the critters you can pop them and hold off their advance. Grabbing critters into your mouth with your long, sticky tongue then spitting them elsewhere on the game grid to move them. You can feed smaller critters to larger ones. Filling up a critter with two other critters will cause it to pop. Popping the critters helps you clear the game’s grid and they drop jewels. Collecting the fallen jewels will help you fill your hunger bar. Filling the hunger bar will beat the level. Continue popping critters on the vines before they descend upon you.

Critters also come in different colors that you can use to cause a chain reaction when you line them up right. Popping a pink critters next to a row of five other pink critters will pop them all. Pop eight or more for a bonus involving Bigg’s son Smalls and “barfing”. The hierarchy of the different critters comes into play when you line up critters in threes that can all eat one another. This is called a “Food Chain”. Food Chains are basically score multipliers and will temporarily boost the value of your scores.

The game is a high scoring bonanza that adds many additional critter types and objects making the process harder or to give you an edge. Objects like “Paint” that can change up the colors of the critters or an “Anvil” you can use to drop on a competitor, knocking them out for a few seconds. Additional critters are vegetables, bombs, and hatchlings that add extra elements to the game play making it increasingly more complicated. For example, vegetables won’t eat meat (of course) and have to be popped using an adjacent like-colored critter. The levels can get overwhelming very fast in the more challenging levels which will have you grinding your teeth.

Bonus puzzle solving levels encourage you to eliminate a static set up of critters using as little moves as possible. Others will require you to eliminate the critter swarm in a short amount of time. Some of these puzzles require you to get critter chains together while other require you to tighten your thinking cap and pull off some smooth moves.

While it isn’t an entirely original game, Critter Crunch has a home on my PS hard drive. Fast paced and fun is how I would describe it to someone interested in buying it. Great game to play after the pounding of gunfire from your first person shooter leaves you exhausted. Break it out when you have people over and they will be clamoring for their turn. It’s a bargain at $6.99 (or free with PS Plus), the replay value alone, will have you coming back for many more critter popping sessions. Finished the adventure mode? Go back and finish those puzzle levels you skipped Give the online competition a try in a head to head or cooperative match, online players are very good but you’ll adapt quickly.

B
Affectionately known as Critter Crunchers in my house
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