Mafia III Officially Revealed

Standard

Earlier today (overnight for many of us) Mafia III was revealed at Gamesome in Germany. This official reveal comes after many rumors and a bit of teasing on the part of the publisher, 2K. Said teasing seems to be in the vein of the way Bethesda handled the reveal of Fallout 4, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more games are introduced in this fashion.

It appears that this entry into what is, in my opinion, one of the most under-appreciated video game series’ of the past few generations, will place us in the bayous of Louisiana following the Vietnam War. According to GameSpot, Mafia III will tackle issues surrounding racism and war, and will also turn the tables on the series, gearing a focus more toward dismantling the mob rather than serving it. Very little is known so far, but it looks like the main character will be Lincoln Clay, a war veteran who seems to have turned to crime after living life on the frontline, not unlike Vito Scaletta, the protagonist of the most recent entry into the series.

I found a few things worth noting in this trailer, the first of which being that the main protagonist is biracial, which is something that is still criminally underrepresented in the gaming industry.

Second, it appears that this entry into the Mafia series may not just focus on the Italian mob, but may also delve into other crime syndicates considering the appearances of the other characters featured in the trailer.

2916857-mafia02

Mafia III’s new “family”.

Third, the gray-haired fellow in the trailer appears to be Vito from Mafia II, which makes me (and I’m sure other fans of the series) very happy.

11845061_10208095504408670_7720609521867295709_o

I’m very excited for this game, and it’s almost instantly been catapulted into my most-anticipated list for the near future.

Check out the trailer below and let me know what you think!

Advertisements

Final Fantasy XII Apparently Getting a Remake

Standard

Though I’m not a massive Final Fantasy fan by any stretch of the imagination (always fancied myself as much more of a Chrono Trigger guy), and I’ve never even picked up a copy of FFXII, I felt the need to report on this bizarre bit of news because it occurred in the strangest locations… my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

Apparently, at the Distant Worlds concert Saturday night, composer Arnie Roth let it slip that a remake is coming.

While it’s definitely possible that Roth confused the term “remake” (think the recently announced FFVII remake) with “remaster” (more along the lines of 2013/2014’s FFX HD port), either direction this story takes will be of interest to fans of the series.

It’s certainly not hard to imagine that this would be a nice piece of fan service, as well as a way for Square-Enix to generate some buzz for the other Final Fantasy titles coming in the future.

I still just find it completely bizarre that this slipped out in what used to be one of the most blue-collar, hard-nosed, steel towns in the country, and not some super technological epicenter like Japan… but I guess Pittsburgh has always kind of been a little different.

The Walking Dead to Get an Interesting Video Game Treatment

Standard

Earlier today, IGN reported that the Walking Dead would be crossing over with the indie, prison break game, The Escapists. I am not too familiar with the game itself, but it appears that you navigate your pixel art character through the prison system, devising a plan for escape.

The Walking Dead franchise should lend itself well to this sort of gameplay, and it will certainly be fun to test your survival skills in the pixelized, post-apocalyptic, Georgia backdrop.

No release date has been mentioned as of yet, and it seems the game will draw from the comic lore rather than the AMC tv show. Check out IGN’s video below

Dying Light Devs Launch “#DrinkRightDyingLight” and “DrinkForDLC” Campaigns

Standard

Techland, the developers of Dying Light, took a shot at Bungie’s Destiny/Redbull partnership earlier this weekend while generating some interest for their own game by asking players to tweet pictures of themselves drinking water with the hash tag “#DrinkRightDyingLight” to get free downloadable content.

The message went viral, and now Techland is backing it with a new hashtag that promises even more DLC depending on how many folks get on board.

dyinglightdrinkfordlc-555x844

If you’ve got this game, a Twitter account, and like free stuff I suggest you get on board. I know I did.

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 12.37.02 PM

Gamestop Officially Selling Retro Gaming Consoles and Games

Standard

At around noon eastern time today, the official Gamestop Twitter account tweeted that the retailer would be diversifying its product lineup and will now be selling retro gaming products to the masses via Gamestop.com.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 12.29.56 PMThis comes on the heels of not only the purchase of Think Geek, but also a trial period selling retro merchandise in select markets.

With the continuously surging popularity of digital downloads, it appears the gaming giant is looking to find new ways to sustain business. At this time the prices don’t look too steep considering the ability to use store credit and promo codes toward purchases, though it will be interesting to see the condition of the pre-owned merchandise being shipped out to customers.

Sunset Overdrive First Impressions

Standard

I don’t exactly remember when I learned about Sunset Overdrive, but I remember being incredibly bummed out when I saw the reveal trailer. I wasn’t bummed out because I thought the game looked bad, in fact I felt quite the opposite, I was bummed because the game was an Xbox One exclusive.

When I began to consider buying into the new console generation, I decided I would buy a PS4, maybe a Wii U eventually, and probably an Xbox One sometime way down the road. I bought my PS4 in May, and then I picked up a Wii U in July after going through a pretty serious Nintendo bender, but I was adamant that I was going to wait until at least Halo 5 to buy an Xbox One.

I caved and bought one two months later, in September.

I caved because in my opinion, Xbox has the best exclusives in 2014. I was sold on the thought of playing Forza Horizon 2, The Master Chief Collection, heck I even enjoyed Ryse: Son of Rome (I know, it came out last November, whatever), but I was most excited for Sunset Overdrive. Sunset Overdrive sold me on the Xbox One, and I’ve grown to love the console, but Sunset was what I was pining for.

Sunset Overdrive’s pitch was that it wasn’t similar to other games. It’s wacky, over the top, and humor driven. I like humor. It’s colorful and alluring. I like colorful. It’s largely an unstructured sandbox. I like that too! It’s also big on customization. I FREAKING LOVE CUSTOMIZATION!!!

Then, back in June, rival developer Ubisoft fell under fire for the lack of playable female characters in their newest game, Assassins Creed: Unity. It was a PR nightmare, with officials from the company stumbling over themselves trying to give a politically correct answer tiptoeing for fear they might say they wrong thing… which they usually did. At this point, Insomniac Games, developer of Sunset Overdrive saw this as a chance to get ahead. They quickly released an episode of their video series “Sunset TV” which, as you can probably guess, is about Sunset Overdrive. In this episode they revealed that personalization is everything in this game. You can be a female, a male, whoever you want to be. Does your guy want to wear a skirt? Whatever you want! They even slyly placed imagery of a female character wearing an outfit incredibly similar to those worn by the assassins in Assassins Creed.

I thought this was awesome. I love when companies have the tenacity to call one another out, especially in the highly competitive world of video games. Better competition means better games right?

Well, customization is the first thing that disappointed me in Sunset Overdrive. With all the hype surrounding being whoever you want to be, and a bunch of comparisons being made to a Tony Hawk Pro Skater game, I figured the customization had to be on par with THPS’ “Create-A-Skater” mode. Well, as it got closer and closer to release, it was revealed that there would only be two different body types for each gender. There’s skinny and bulky. You know, the two body types we normally see in games. A little disappointing, sure, but I figured the game would still probably feature a ton of customization. I was wrong.

I picked the game up on Tuesday, and left myself relatively in the dark about it so I didn’t spoil anything. I came home from the mall, popped it in, and got ready to create a character. At first, you’re just creating a base character for the opening tutorial, so there aren’t many options. That’s fine, but when the game opened up and I got to dive into the customization, I was severely disappointed.

There are multiple skin shades to use, which is great, but only three pre-set face types you can use. Uh, okay. So I went on to hair. You can pick from a decent bit of hairstyles, but you only really have two choices: super wacky, or bald. Okay, whatever. I guess I have to lighten up and embrace the cartoony style of the game. Well, you see, clothes are unlocked throughout the game, so the initial selections are a bit paltry, and your only options are pretty much extremely wacky, or stuff with Vans logos on it. This was all really disappointing to me. I thought I could be anyone I wanted in the game? Instead I’m stuck with a skinny guy with a generic face, a three foot high faux-hawk, and covered in Vans merchandise. Maybe this changes as I unlock things, but right now, at about five hours in, I’m really disappointed.

After exiting customization, I expected to be let loose on Sunset City. Eh, not so much. After about an hour of basic fetch quests, I realized that this game is very different than what I expected. Outside of boss battles, every mission is a fetch quest or tower defense. I’m not kidding, every mission I’ve run has been one of the two. Characters are funny at first, but become hollow stereotypes quickly, and the humor wears on you. Some jokes are genuinely funny. I’ve laughed out loud quite a bit at this game, but when every other word is a punchline, it gets exhausting. One thing I can appreciate though is their take on video game tropes. They often make inexplicable events like talking to another character on the phone while not actually holding a phone funny and lighthearted. This holds up as a redeeming quality for the dialogue outweighing the constant “below the belt” humor.

Traversal was touted as another feather in the cap for Sunset, and while it is simple and fun, the camera can often make it frustrating. Furthermore, it’s been pretty repetitious from what I’ve played thus far, though I did get the ability to boost in the air before calling it quits earlier today. That addition seemed to spice things up a bit, but it’s largely jump, bounce, grind, rinse, and repeat. It doesn’t help that there is only one controller setup to choose from, and it seems slightly over-encumbered, using “X” to grind, and roll, and wall run, and switch from grinding to sliding.

Gunplay and weapons, yet another aspect of the game that was highly marketed, are fun and arcade-like. This aspect I’ve enjoyed a lot, and it’s clear that Insomniac didn’t want to let the comabt get bogged down too much by reality and complex systems. That’s okay, as it’s easy to pick and get firing. My only complaint is that even with the use of power-ups and a pseudo-leveling system, old weapons quickly become obsolete.

When I started seeing reviews for the game come back with scores that were largely positive, I expected a lot. Many have compared this to a Dreamcast style game akin to a Jet Grind Radio or Crazy Taxi, and it isn’t hard to see how those comparisons are made. Sadly, this game feels like it is a Dreamcast era game. Nothing less, and nothing more. It will certainly take quite a bit more from the rest of my time with this game to have me lumping the survivors of Sunset City in with the classic GG’s of Neo-Tokyo.

MLB: The Show 14 – Wild But Effective

Standard

 

As you may or may not know, the PS4 version of MLB: The Show 14 was delayed for about a month after the release of its PS3 counterpart, presumably for Sony’s San Diego Studios to get all of their ducks in a row for the much anticipated jump to next gen.

I, being the huge baseball fan I am, couldn’t wait… literally… so I went out and picked up the show for PS3 when it launched at the beginning of April. Quite a few new features were added like a draft showcase for the Road to the Show mode, as well as Player Lock, which, you guessed it, locks onto a specific player on the team, allowing you to only focus on their appearances, and Quick Counts, a feature that gives every batter a randomly generated count to speed up gameplay.

Now, I don’t really play Road to the Show, so the new Draft Showcase, however cool, didn’t really excite me. Player lock is pretty useless to me as well, as taking at-bats and plays as one singular player just seems boring to me… another reason why I don’t do RTTS. I also don’t care for quick counts. The possibility of starting an at-bat 0-2 just seems lazy and infuriating. Apparently it speeds up the game a lot, but with the possibility to shorten seasons and save in-game, I don’t see the point. If you’re looking for quick games, you’re picking the wrong sport.

So what was I most excited for outside of obligatory roster update? The jump to next gen. We literally got no information on the PS4 version of the game leading up to its release outside of a developer diary and a screenshot or two (which all looked amazing), so I was expecting something huge going into it. Unfortunately, I’m pretty disappointed.

*sigh*

*sigh*

I am happy though that I didn’t pay full price to go from one version to the other. Gamestop was offering a $20 trade up promotion from PS3 to PS4 for fans who wanted to play it early, exploiting an oversight on Sony’s part. It would have been awesome had they offered the $10 upgrade the way they did with Call of Duty Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and Assassins Creed IV.

One of my largest complaints about the PS3 version of the game was that load times were eternal, even with the optional install. That hasn’t changed with the PS4 version, mandatory install be damned. This is largely the same game as it’s counterpart, just with a better lighting engine and a few new animations. I even had issues with transferring my save from one to the other, a feature that is supposed to be seamless, resulting in me just restarting my franchise.

In addition, the controls just seem touchier this year, resulting in a ton of throwing errors each game, and I even over ran a few ground balls here and there. That coupled with the fact that not only do higher difficulties feel cheap at times, but they also make bugs more visible, left me wanting to smash my controller when playing a few games consecutively.

 

But man, do those beard physics look great!

But man, do those beard physics look great!

So far, the biggest bonus for me has been the ability to play the game on the Dual Shock 4, but you can even do that on PS3 so long as the controller is connected via USB.

All in all, I wouldn’t suggest the upgrade from PS3 to PS4 if you already own the last-gen version of the game. Outside of the Gamestop promotion, which requires you to have purchased your original copy from one of their stores, the money just isn’t worth it. That really upsets me to admit, but it’s the truth.

If you don’t already have the game, the PS4 version is the definitive version, but not by much. Be prepared for prettier lighting, but have your phone or tablet handy to kill time during the excessive load times.

I don’t think I’ll do a proper review of the game, but if I had to rate it right now, I’d give it a 7.5/10. The game is still great at it’s core, but the jump to next-gen isn’t nearly as graceful as it could have been. Ultimately the game is weighed down by unfair difficulty spikes, touchy controls, and bugs that crop up at the worst times.