inFamous: Festival of Blood is a Quirky Little Standalone Halloween Special

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, NDS, PS3, others

A universal problem with canon — whether for a video game, a television series, a saga in either graphic or prose novel form — is that it takes commitment and following to fully enjoy. A property with a deep canon rewards those who have followed from the beginning and can pick up on all the jokes, references, “previously ons”, and so forth. But if you haven’t been actively following said property, then such a thing might appear daunting; which leads to, “nah, I didn’t play the others, so I’ll skip this one.” One solution that other media has provided is the standalone special: a frivolous holiday themed adventure that requires little knowledge and has no bearing on the story. Think Star Wars: Holiday Special or It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. inFamous: Festival of Blood presents itself as a video game equivalent of such.

Festival of Blood has no particular time or place — it simply chronicles a tall tale told from faithful sidekick Zeke to a prospective woman at a bar. In an attempt to snare her, Zeke goes off about Pyre Night, a local festival in New Marais, and Cole MacGrath’s solitary crappy night celebrating it. That is, how Cole gets bitten by Bloody Mary, a local vampire queen, and spends the whole night trying to figure out how to break free from turning into her vampire thrall.

Review: Sonic Generations Shows That Sega’s Learned From Their Mistakes

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, Games and Music, NDS, Nintendo, PS3, Wii, Xbox

I have to admit, taking on the Sonic Generations review stemmed mostly from my own morbid curiosity; having not kept tabs on Sonic since his abysmal 2006 360/PS3 reboot, I simply assumed that the series continued spiraling downwards, forever rehashing the same terrible ideas plaguing its post-Genesis existence. My cynical presumptions held fast, but news about the quality of 2010’s Sonic Colors — even in the face of another failed revival (this one in 2D) — made me wonder: after more than a decade of experimentation, had Sega actually stumbled upon the secret of making a modern Sonic game?

Amazingly — through one of the greatest exercises in self-control the franchise has seen since Macarena jokes were topical — Sonic Generations comes closer than ever to delivering the true evolution Sonic fans have been anticipating since the advent of the Dreamcast. And even though Sonic entered this world 20 years ago as the anti-Mario, Generations’ liberal borrowing from Nintendo’s school of game design stands as one of Sega’s smartest decisions in years.

Where Are They Now?

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Music

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Where Are They Now?
Can you guess which former game industry personalities ended up on Law & Order, 30 Rock, and the Food Network?

By Ray Barnholt

Video games are an interesting field for a ton of reasons. One would be that we sometimes remember people associated with games even more than the people who actually made them. If you’ve been reading/watching game magazines/shows over the years, you probably have a memory of That Guy who wrote those reviews you like, or That Guy on that one game TV show, or That Guy who played the ninja in that fighting game, or That Guy who was in those silly advertisements.

Dozens of people like that came and went throughout our gaming lives, especially in the ’90s, when magazines were the primary source of getting game information and digitized actors in fighting games and awful full-motion video titles were increasingly becoming the norm. So we handpicked a bunch of those and tracked them down to find out if they stayed in the business, moved on to other pursuits, or at least got better haircuts.

KOMBATANTS

Daniel Pesina

Daniel Pesina

Batman, Saints Row Headed to Origin as EA Adds Third-Party Content

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Music

Saints Row: The Third

EA’s digital PC game distribution service, Origin, is already home to more than 100 games you can purchase and download immediately. Of course, every single one of those games is an Electronic Arts product. That will soon change, as EA plans to make good on its promise to offer third-party games starting next month.

Chief financial officer Eric Brown said last month that Origin would offer third-party content “very soon.” That could have meant days or months; in this case, ‘very soon’ equates to the month of November, as starting then games from THQ, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Capcom will be sold through Origin. And it’s not just smaller games, either; Batman: Arkham City and Saints Row: The Third, two big November PC releases, were each mentioned by name in today’s announcement.

BurgerTime Deluxe Now Available on 3DS eShop

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Music, Nintendo, PS3

BurgerTime Deluxe

If you don’t care about the upcoming HD version of BurgerTime, World Tour, and just want some basic, burger-building action, you’ll be pleased to know that today’s Nintendo Download update brings the Game Boy version of the classic arcade game to the 3DS eShop. BurgerTime Deluxe is available now for $2.99 on the eShop, $2 more than the in-color (albeit touchscreen-controlled) version that’s available on the iOS App Store.

Other new additions aren’t quite as noteworthy, although a new video in the Nintendo Video app features Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey attending a musical based on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The other 3DS-only game this week is simply entitled Pyramids. It’s a puzzle/platform game where you have to build paths to allow your character to navigate the environment while avoiding enemies and traps. Interestingly, you can unlock new levels from the Pyramids website using a QR code that can be scanned in with the system’s camera.

Review: PixelJunk SideScroller is a Sublime "Shooter" From Another Time

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, Games and Music, PS3

Being a fan of the PixelJunk Shooter games, I found it an odd but mostly pleasant surprise that developer Q-Games was branching out with PixelJunk SideScroller — it’s definitely not the free-moving planetary spelunking game that Shooter is, but instead a much more cramped shoot-em-up from back in the day. You may think that’s a step back, but it’s really a step sideways — making a pretty good complement to two great games.

From looking at SideScroller, it has a decidedly retro look to it in more ways than one: First, there’s the vector-inspired look that makes the game seem like it’s being played on the world’s most bad-ass oscilloscope — complete with monitor curvature effect. And it’s also, duh, a side-scrolling shooter, as familiar as classics like the beloved Gradius — though in this one you can’t die by touching walls. That said, SideScroller is not some direct parody/tribute/homage to any one game: The boss fights may likely remind you of a boss in so-and-so game that had a similar attack or something, but otherwise, this is an original piece of bullety mayhem.

Mass Effect 3’s Multiplayer Already Alternates Between Fun And Unnecessary

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Music, Games and Players, Xbox, others

Until last month, you could have called Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode the biggest secret in the video game industry — unless you recall EA Chief Operating Officer John Schappert’s comments that every EA game shipping in fiscal 2011 will have an online component. Developer BioWare has said little to hint that the mode even existed. But then the multiplayer confirmation story spread across the Internet, prompting a very mixed reaction from fans of the series. Some welcomed the idea; others completely dismissed it. And to some degree the arguing makes sense: Mass Effect plays like a fun science-fiction action role-playing series. Up until now, multiplayer has not been a part of the series’ DNA.

I recently had the opportunity to play an early build of Mass Effect 3’s new multiplayer mode, called Galaxy at War; the easiest comparison for the new multi-user dungeons is “Horde mode” — the survival-focused cooperative game mode of Gears of War 2, but with some RPG elements. Galaxy at War pits a squad comprised of up to four players against multiple waves of enemies. You do not play as series protagonist Commander Shepard or any of the supporting characters from the Mass Effect series in this mode. Instead, Galaxy at War has its own character creator, and you’ll construct a soldier based on one of six available races. Through repeated play, you’ll tackle missions and win resources for the Galactic Global effort that goes on in the single-player campaign. BioWare reps confirm that your customized character from multiplayer will make an appearance in the main campaign as well.

Phoenix Wright Movie Slated for February Release (in Japan, of Course)

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, Nintendo

Phoenix Wright movie

As announced back in May, the movie based on Phoenix Wright is real and will be out in 2012. A more precise release date than that has now been attached to the project: it’ll be in theaters on February 11, 2012.

That date, of course, only applies for Japan. There’s no word on a potential release of the film, first alluded to earlier this year, in North America or Europe. At best we can probably hope for a dubbed version to be released on DVD or for a fan translation to show up online.

Get PlayStation Vita Early by Pre-Ordering a Bundle

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, NDS, Sony

PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle

Thanks to it being region free, you can import a PlayStation Vita from Japan and not have to worry about whether North American or European games will work on it. If you’d rather not resort to importing but want to get your hands on the system before anyone else, Sony is now presenting you with an option to do so.

By pre-ordering the PlayStation Vita First Edition bundle, you’ll be able to get the system on February 15, a week ahead of its scheduled release on February 22. The caveat is it’s bundled with some things you may or may not want, resulting in some extra costs.

Japan Review Check: Super Mario 3D Land, Uncharted 3

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, Games and Music, Nintendo

A quick look at the highlights among the games coming out in Japan this coming week, courtesy the review pages of Famitsu magazine:

- Super Mario 3D Land (9/9/10/10, 38 points): The top scorer of the week seems to fulfill all of Shigeru Miyamoto’s stated goals for a 3DS Mario game, if Famitsu’s editors are any indication. “From the length of the stages to the placement of enemies and tricks to the difficulty, everything seems just right here, making for a really comfortable play experience,” one wrote. “The bits of the game that take advantage of 3D depth are a lot of fun, inspiring you to hunt around for all of the hidden stuff. There’s a wealth of helper functionality for beginners, and there’s also a lot of cute little touches to the game that will bring up twinges of nostalgia.”