We're less than a month out from the launch of Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, and we have another Nintendo Direct video to help build anticipation. You can head over to Shacknews for a full textual recap of the 35+ minute presentation, but there are two major announcements I think people will be interested in.
- Mewtwo will be available as a downloadable character sometime in the spring for owners of both the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game.
- An all new 8 player battle mode will be included in the Wii U version. It will only be playable offline, and you won't be able to use all of the stages, but if you have 7 friends and controllers, you may be able to have a hell of a Smash Bros party.
Super Smash Bros launches November 21 on the Wii U.
It's nice to detour around the discussion of actual games from time to time in order to talk to one another about the ergonomics and hardware of playing them. We've only ever grazed the issue, but there are nearly unlimited variations on the theme of gaming hardware, and there are loads of things to be said about how each of us chooses to play and what interfaces we choose to use. When and whether we use controllers or mice or keyboards or speedpads says a lot about our tastes and priorities (and budgets, sadly.) It'd be lovely if we could make it a regular part of our conversation, though the last thing we need is to add a hardware backlog to the one we already have.
You could very easily call this week a lull, a quite week in the middle of what’s become the Fall rush. not a lot is coming out this week, as indicated by the biggest games this week being Race the Sun and Escape Goat 2. And that’s really it. There’s a ton of games on sale this week if you’re looking for some older stuff this week, including the first week of a two week Halloween themed sale. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Battlefield 4 Premium Edition ($59.99)
Escape Goat 2 ($9.99)
Fluster Cluck ($14.99)
Just Dance 2015 ($49.99)
Race The Sun ($9.99, Cross Buy)
Samurai Warriors 4 ($59.99)
Shadow Warrior ($39.99)
The Legend of Korra ($14.99)
The Walking Dead – Season 2 ($24.99)
Battlefield 4 Premium Edition ($59.99)
F1 2014 ($59.99)
Just Dance 2015 ($39.99)
Race The Sun ($9.99, Cross Buy)
Samurai Warriors 4 ($49.99)
Spelunker HD Ultimate Edition ($16.99)
The Legend of Korra ($14.99)
The Voice ($49.99)
3-In-1 Mega Bundle ($9.99)
Race The Sun ($9.99, Cross Buy)
Samurai Warriors 4 ($39.99)
PS Plus Sales:
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon PS3 $6.00
Armored Core: Verdict Day PS3 $5.00
Dante’s Inferno PSP PSP $3.89
Dante’s Inferno Ultimate Edition PS3 $5.99
Dark Souls Artorias Of The Abyss PS3 $2.50
Darkstalkers: Resurrection PS3 $5.24
Daylight PS4 $7.59
Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition PS4 $5.99
Dead Nation PS Vita PS Vita $3.19
Dead Nation PS3 PS3 $3.19
Dead Space 2 PS3 $3.89
Demon’s Souls PS3 $9.79
Dragon Ball Z Battle Of Z PS3 $13.19
Dragon Ball Z Battle Of Z – PS Vita PS Vita $10.19
Draw Slasher PS Vita $1.50
ENSLAVED: Odyssey To The West Premium Edition PS3 $5.00
Fatal Frame PS3 $4.89
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly PS3 $4.89
Fatal Frame III: The Tormented PS3 $4.89
Fluster Cluck PS4 $8.99
Manhunt PS3 $3.99
Namco Museum Essentials PS3 $2.50
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst PS3 $5.24
One Piece Unlimited World Red PS3 $28.12
Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures PS3 $10.49
Plants Vs Zombies PS3 $4.19
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare PS3 PS3 $14.99
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare PS4 PS4 $19.87
Plants vs. Zombies Ps Vita PS Vita $5.39
R.B.I. Baseball 14 PS4 $10.00
R.B.I. Baseball 14 PS3 $10.00
R.I.P.D.: The Game PS3 $4.99
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City PS3 $9.79
Ridge Racer PSP|PS Vita $3.75
Ridge Racer 7 3D License Version PS3 $5.00
Ridge Racer Unbounded PS3 $6.25
Saint Seiya Brave Soldiers PS3 $23.09
Soulcalibur II HD Online PS3 $5.00
Star Trek-Game PS3 $13.75
Tales Of Graces F + Tales Of Xillia PS3 $15.00
Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles PS3 $10.19
Tekken 6 PSP|PS Vita $4.50
The Cursed Crusade PS3 $5.00
Tiny Brains PS4 $3.99
Tiny Brains PS3 $3.99
Touch My Katamari PS Vita $4.50
Zombeer PS3 $4.87
Ace Combat Assault Horizon PS3 $11.99
Aquapazza PS3 $9.99
Armored Core: Verdict Day PS3 $9.99
BioShock PS3 $7.99
Class Of Heroes PSP $7.49
Conception II: Children Of The Seven Stars VITA $24.99
Crimson Gem Saga PSP $7.49
Dante’s Inferno PSP $6.49
Dante’s Inferno Ultimate Edition PS3 $9.99
Dark Souls: Artorias Of The Abyss Add-On PS3 $4.99
Darkstalkers Ressurection PS3 $7.49
Daylight PS4 $9.49
Dead Nation PS3 $3.99
Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition PS4 $7.49
Dead Nation VITA $3.99
Dead Space 2 PS3 $6.49
Demon’s Souls PS3 $13.99
Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Z VITA $16.99
Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Z PS3 $21.99
Dragon’s Crown VITA $19.99
Dragon’s Crown PS3 $19.99
Draw Slasher VITA $2.99
Enslaved: Odyssey To The West: Premium Edition PS3 $9.99
Fatal Frame PS3 $6.99
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly PS3 $6.99
Fatal Frame III: The Tormented PS3 $6.99
Growlanser: Wayfarer Of Time PSP $9.99
Gungnir PSP $9.99
Hexyz Force PSP $7.49
Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble PSP $7.49
Knights In The Nightmare PSP $7.49
Namco Museum Essentials PS3 $4.99
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst PS3 $7.49
Odin Sphere PS3 $4.99
One Piece Unlimited World Red PS3 $37.49
Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures PS3 $14.99
Persona 4 Golden VITA $19.99
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment PS3 $4.99
Plants vs. Zombies VITA $8.99
Plants vs. Zombies PS3 $5.99
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare PS3 $19.99
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare PS4 $26.49
R.I.P.D. PS3 $4.99
Ridge Racer VITA $7.49
Ridge Racer 7: 3D License Ver. PS3 $9.99
Ridge Racer: Unbounded PS3 $12.49
Riviera: The Promised Land PSP $4.99
Rock Of Ages PS3 $4.99
Saint Seiya Brave Soldiers PS3 $32.99
Persona PSP $9.99
Persona 2: Innocent Sin PSP $9.99
Persona 3 FES PS3 $4.99
Persona 3 Portable PSP $9.99
Persona 4 PS3 $7.99
SMT: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army PS3 $4.99
Soulcalibur II Hd Online PS3 $9.99
Star Trek PS3 $27.49
Stella Deus: The Gate Of Eternity PS3 $4.99
Tales Of Graces F + Tales Of Xillia – Combo Pack PS3 $29.99
The new trailer for Dragon Age Inquisition introduces us to three of a possible nine companions you'll be able to recruit in the game. Iron Bull the warrior, Sera the archer and Dorian the mage each get an introduction, in the video.
I feel comfortable calling the Dragon Age series one of the more divisive out there. Lots and lots of people have played them, and few either love or hate the games without reservation. In particular, I think DA2 took some significant steps forward, while also regressing in other aspects. Bioware has apparently taken these criticisms to heart in developing Inquisition, so we're going to get the improved combat and character management from 2, but with the expansive story and setting of 1.
We'll see if they're successful when Dragon Age Inquisition is released November 18 for last- and current-gen platforms.
The launch trailer for Insomniac Games' Xbox One-exclusive Sunset Overdrive is here, and I still don't quite get what the game is about. It's a shooter, but it also seems to revolve around grinding rails or blazing zip lines. Even after a year of trailers and info, I'm still largely in the dark about how the game plays, and that's worrying. I'm a huge fan of Insomniac's Ratchet & Clank series, but their other efforts - Resistance and Fuse - really haven't grabbed me. I like the brightly colored visual style of Sunset Overdrive, but 'adult' humor seems pretty forced. As of now I don't see any plans for a demo, which may be another bad sign.
Sunset Overdrive launches next week exclusively on the Xbox One.
As the commander of an immensely powerful star destroyer, you’ll battle pirates, explore anomalies, befriend aliens, scavenge battle wreckage, mine asteroids, and discover artifacts. Choose your path as a roguish do-gooder, crafty space-trader or power-hungry privateer – or maybe a little of each! Buy larger and more powerful craft with your hard-earned credits, and outfit them with a variety of wicked weapons and defenses. Set in a galaxy of fantastic sights, and secrets to be found, Rebel Galaxy is above all a space epic of adventure, exploration, and combat.
Space action games have had a resurgence of late, and while not a traditional space-flight sim, this looks like it has a decent amount of action mixed in with the ship building and trading.
Rebel Galaxy is set for a 2015 release on the PC and PS4, with an XB1 release a possibility.
Hey we’re back! Sort of. Some of us are back. Not all of us. We’re partially back!
Look, I’m rusty at this, give me a break.
There are lots of reasons for the lack of episodes this time around, and we talk about some of that within – basically, a big part of it is that in addition to being busy with other stuff, I’ve been feeling kinda crappy about gaming for a little while, because in a lot of ways it’s been crappy. If it could stop that, it’d be swell. It seems to be getting better, but clearly there are bumps in the road we’re traveling.
But we still love playing games and talking about games, and focusing on the good helps, so we do a lot of that. We don’t just focus on the crappy stuff, don’t worry. There’ve been some sweet games out there lately – Clayton walks us through the surprisingly high-quality Wolfenstein: The New Order, for instance, and I gush unreservedly over Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. And Steam curation! And Blizzard canceling Titan! And Notch getting unfathomably rich! There’s lots of stuff, give it a listen and hear for yourself.
Each will be playable for free, presumably until sometime late Sunday, and will be available for purchase at a big discount. I have extensive experience with three of the games - Awesomenauts, Killing Floor and XCOM - and can say they're all a lot of fun. Looking forward to trying out Don't Starve and Blade Symphony.
Destiny, in case there was any doubt, is very far from perfect. We continue to play and assess the game so that we may, every week, tell you in detail how broken, shallow, or disappointing any particular mechanic happens to be. But we do keep playing it, don't we? That phenomenon is hardly unique to Destiny, and it's hardly new. Broken (or mildly sprained) mechanics can't quite suppress the pleasure of solid moment-to-moment gameplay. Wrong or right, it's hard to ignore and not at all worth the effort of denying, though it's probably time to look away to some other game that has no hope of living up to its hype.
Not strictly a gaming story, but one I'm sure many of you will be interested in. At the quarterly Time Warner shareholder meeting, HBO CEO & Chairman Richard Plepler announced that the company would start offering standalone HBO subscriptions in the United States sometime in 2015.
This is, really, a huge shift for the industry. 'Cord-cutting' was fought tooth an nail by all carriers and most broadcasters. Time Warner and HBO going the over-the-top route means many others will follow suit, although few will likely be as successful as HBO. We don't know exactly how much the standalone sub will cost, when exactly it will launch in the US, and when it will come to other territories.
GOG.com is offering free copies of the cult fave Aliens vs Predator Classic 2000 as a tool to attract beta testers for the company's soon-to-go-live Galaxy standalone app. While recent efforts at AvP have been less than stellar, the 2000 edition is regarded as a classic of asymmetric multiplayer. And lets face it, if you have a PC now, you can run it.
You can grab your copy by signing up for the GOG Galaxy beta. You have to sign up within the next 48 hours or so - and wait for a code to be sent to you - but once you add the game to your account, it's yours to keep. GOG will also soon be pushing a cross-play update that will allow you to play AvP with your friends on Steam.
The company has also added a number of Hasbro titles to the roster of Linux-compatible titles - including Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment - bringing their total roster or Linux games up to 100.
Two words: Duck Dynasty. Everything else this week is superfluous. For the three of you that doesn’t do it for (freaks) there’s also The Evil Within, Nidhogg, and the Vita version of some game called “Minecraft”. Nothing huge in sales this week, though who can think of sales when there’s Duck Dynasty to play? Nobody, that’s who. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
The video game franchise with the most prolific film spin-offs will also be making its way to the small screen. Eventually.
German production company Constantin Film has announced plans to continue the Resident Evil franchise after the release of the next movie, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which is currently slated to begin filming this summer. The Final Chapter will be the seventh Resident Evil live action film to hit theaters, and the series as a whole has a worldwide gross of nearly a billion dollars. Constantin also announced a TV series based on the Mortal Instruments series of books, the first of which was adapted into a poorly-received film in 2013.
My initial thought here was, why? The movies did surprisingly well worldwide, but that sort of success rarely - if ever - translates down to a TV series. Then I saw this story about the season premiere of The Walking Dead hitting a new high in the ratings of 17.5M viewers, and the pieces clicked into place. Constantin has a property with a modicum of name recognition that could easily transition into a new zombie show. It almost certainly won't hit the heights of TWD's ratings, but it doesn't have to. A cheap & dirty show, sold to networks like SyFy in the states, could be profitable. I don't know if I'd watch it, but with even shows like Z Nation doing decent ratings, I imagine lots of others would tune in.
At this moment there are, by my count, eleventy gillion movies and TV shows based on superhero properties. Somewhere deep in the bowels of Hollywood, an intern is desperately searching for an old superhero property that their studio masters could turn into the next big thing. None of this is news to anyone reading this site. What may surprise you is the general dearth of games based on these movies and shows. We're arguably at peak superhero, but you could make a strong argument that we're also at the nadir of superhero games.
Now, there are superhero games out there, lead by Rocksteady Games' Batman Arkham Whatever series. You also have Beenox' Spider-Man line, and while I'm sure some people will quibble with it's inclusion, I'll add the High Moon/Edge of Reality Transformers titles. Add to the list a veritable host of games in the mobile/MOBA/CCG/etc categories. But considering how all-encompassing the Capes are in 2014 in other media, their absence from the mainstream game space is glaring. So why are they MIA?
For starters, licensed games are much less common now than they were a decade or so back. The decline is mostly for two simple reasons: money and money. Firstly, the cost of making a game has increased to the point that the cost of the license often outweighed any benefit from having a known property. Why would Bioware spend tons of money on the Dungeons & Dragons or Star Wars license when they could just make their own fantasy or sci-fi settings? Secondly, publishers realized that owning an intellectual property outright meant they could reap all of the non-gaming rewards of that property. Every major game property has been optioned for the big screen, and profit potential from a box office blockbuster has every publisher salivating.
In other words, a decade ago we would have had an Avengers game hitting alongside the film, but today the numbers just don't work out for a licensed game. So what about non-licensed games? What about Disney and Warner Bros - the corporate parents of Marvel and DC respectively - making their own games? Warner Bros is more active in this realm, publishing the Arkham titles as well as the DC fighters from Netherrealm, but neither company is beating down the doors. Disney has largely, with the exception of Disney Infinity, withdrawn from the packaged games market, putting their efforts into the mobile sector. But after two solid years of almost non-stop theatrical hits from the Marvel catalog, you'd think that they'd reengage with mainstream gamers. After all, that was one of the major reasons Disney bought Marvel: to broaden their appeal to young males. And there aren't a lot of things you could advertise on TV that would appeal to young males more than a big budget, action-oriented Marvel universe game.
I'm not saying that doing a Marvel U action game would be easy. The Arkham games work well because you're just playing as Batman or one of his allies. Creating a set of mechanics that works well with the power sets of disparate characters is difficult. That's why they seem to see multi-character games so often fall into the RPG or MOBA realms. But I don't want to settle for that (although a JRPG where you can play as any Marvel Universe character would be awesome). I want an action game where I can play as The Human Torch, or Wolverine or Captain Marvel. And I think the closest experience to that is Mass Effect. Specifically ME3's multiplayer portion. You had a decent sized roster of characters, each with their own powers and abilities. I could absolutely see the basic mechanics of Mass Effect 3 adapted into a spectacular Marvel, or DC, title.
So someone out there could make a kick ass Marvel or DC game. Unfortunately, I doubt the owners of those properties will be able to do what it necessary to make it happen, so gamers will just have to hope that the Cape renaissance spreads to gaming eventually.
Halloween is coming soon, and Evolve is using the holiday as an excuse to get you to help them test their game. Turtle Rock Studios will be holding a closed 'Big Alpha' event starting October 30 on the Xbox One and Halloween on the Playstation 4 and PC, and running through November 2. In addition to an invite, you'll need a Xbox Gold or PSPlus sub to play the alpha.
You can head to the Evolve official blog for to sign up for a chance at the alpha. Consumers who pre-order are guaranteed a spot in the alpha.
The Fall rush continues this week, with Drive Club and Alien Isolation hitting this week. There’s a good number of smaller games coming this week too, with the very promising Styx: Master of Shadows, Pix the Cat (don’t laugh, watch a video), and Jet Car Stunts. Old school PS fans will be happy to see Vib Ribbon finally make it’s way to North America after nearly 20 years. It’s the first update of the month so the new games in the Plus rotation are up,which include the above mentioned PIx the Cat, the PS4 release of Dust: An Elysian Tail, the D&D arcade brawler compilation Chronicles of Mystara, along with a few others. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Alien: Isolation ($59.99)
Dust: An Elysian Tail ($14.99)
NBA 2K15 ($59.99)
Spelunky ($14.99, Cross Buy)
Styx: Master of Shadows ($29.99)
Pix the Cat ($16.49, Cross Buy)
Curve Digital PS4 Mega Bundle ($24.99)
Alien: Isolation ($49.99)
NBA 2K15 ($59.99)
Jet Car Stunts ($7.99, Cross Buy)
Strider 2 ($5.99) [PS1]
Disney/Pixar Monsters Inc. ($9.99) [PS2]
One Piece UWR Prestige Edition ($59.99)
Pix the Cat ($16.49, Cross Buy)
Jet Car Stunts ($7.99, Cross Buy)
Curve Digital Triple Features – Action Pack Bundle ($23.99)
Curve Digital Triple Features – Adventure Pack Bundle ($29.99)
One Piece UWR Prestige Edition ($49.99)
Vib-Ribbon ($5.99) [PS1]
Dust an Elysian Tail (PS4) [Free]
Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PS3) [Free]
We should forfeit our lives at the following link.
We've done enough work in Destiny by this point to justify a shift away from a ravaged future earth and toward the strife and conflict in Middle-earth. We haven't made that move yet, but it's becoming harder to avoid with every stream, review, and friends list testimonial making it clear what a great game we're missing out on. We generally can't stand being late to a party, but it's looking more and more like we'd be fools to wait much longer. There's every chance, then, that by next week's show we'll have hung up our guns and strapped on our swords in their place.
After what seems like an eternity of waiting, Nintendo has finally announced that Super Smash Bros Wii U will launch on November 21 in North America, and December 5 in Europe.
Nintendo also announced details of the first two waves of Amiibo, their line of NFC-enabled figures. The first wave of Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox, Samus, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Pikachu, Kirby and Marth will hit stores in North America on November 21 (alongside Super Smash Bros Wii U), while Zelda, Diddy Kong, Luigi, Little Mac, Pit and Captain Falcon will hit in December. The Amiibo figures will cost $13 a piece, and will be usable in multiple games, including both versions of Super Smash Bros, the already released Mario Kart 8, and the upcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
We're about a month away from our next historical trip with the Assassins & the Templars. Assassins' Creed Unity brings the stabbing to revolutionary France, and judging from this trailer they've turned the dial up on the story to 'soap operatic.' I've enjoyed the Assassins Creed games generally, but the success of the story rests, in my opinion, on the shoulders of the main character. If they're charismatic and engrossing - Ezio, Aveline - the story is fun. If they're dour and bland - Altair, Connor - the story suffers as a result. Whether Arno from Unity falls into the latter category or the former is still unknown.
Assassins' Creed Unity will be released November 11 for the XB1, PS4 and PC.