Calendar Man – Week of 6/17

Muramasa Rebirth shot 1

It’s the week after E3 and all game journalists are either hunkered down, furiously typing away at all of the preview pieces borne from last week or passed out from booze and/or exhaustion. Whatever the case, it’s a light week for releases as you can pretty much guarantee zero coverage. At least that’s my theory. I have been wrong before. New Super Mario Bros U. gets the Year of Luigi DLC, the Vita gets Muramasa Rebirth and the Jak and Daxter Collection. XBLA gets two, count ‘em two Dungeons and Dragons ports in Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. Meanwhile, the PC gets Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition, MotoGP 13, Magrunner; Dark Pulse¬†and Dracula 4: Shadow of the Dragon.

Deals

Toys R Us – Buy Last of Us and get any PS3 value game prices $19.99 or less for 75% off.

Target – Buy one, get one free on all Just Dance and Zumba games. Get $10 off any Disney game with a reservation of Disney Infinity.

Best Buy – Save $30 on FIFA 13, AC3, Injustice or Dead Island: Riptide with purchase of a select PS3 or 360 controller.

10 Responses to “Calendar Man – Week of 6/17”

  1. Mark E June 17, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Loved those D&D arcade games, but not that much.

    Last of Us all week for me, interspersed with Animal Crossing, which is the best iteration of that design I have seen yet.

    Man, summer is so damn quiet.

    • Michael Barnes June 17, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      I would be shocked if those D&D games held up…

      I’m playing The Last of Us myself. Almost gave up on it after the first twist, which was almost as much of an eye-roller as a telegraphed death in he first 30 minutes. Take pretty much every zombie/postapocalypse trope in the world and sandwich it between po-faced SERIOUS THEMES (in a game about fungus people) and tediously boring non-gameplay, slather it with astronomical production values and put a girl in it and you’ve got a recipe for a 10/10 game, right?

      I’ll write more later, but I would compare it to early German “hygiene” films (read:porn) than Cormac McCarthy, which is just about the most strained comparison I’ve ever seen “game journos” make.

      It is better than Bioshock Infinite, at least.

      • Mark E June 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

        Haha, I knew that was going to be your reaction.

        I quite enjoyed and am enjoying it. The soundtrack and sound design are fairly stellar work.

        It’s not as fun as Uncharted but I have always been a fan of the fascinating biology behind those ants they based the zombies on, so that helps me enjoy the setting a bit more.

        And it does an excellent job at generating tension, just not during story segments.

        • Michael Barnes June 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

          Oh yeah, technicals across the board are absolutely top flight, no exceptions. Pity about the video game parts. :-)

          • Brandon June 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

            I’m really enjoying it thus far, despite having figured out the early twist. Too many viewings of Children of Men I guess.

            That being said, I don’t watch a lot of German porn so my frame of reference is skewed.

  2. Michael Barnes June 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Oh yeah, they were definitely leaning on some Children of Men, weren’t they?

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a high quality example of a late-generation Hollywoodized entertainment product. But it is not very good at being a video game at all. The video game parts almost feel obligatory, as if Naughty Dog begrudgingly stuck a turgid, lifeless stealth shooter in there to give the player something to do other than to follow behind another character and occassionally help them press the triangle button.

    The popcorn-headed men make me laugh. They aren’t scary in any way, shape, or form. The one-hit kills out of nowhere are fucking stupid.

    Where Uncharted beats this game is, believe it or not, in its subject matter. There’s not a whole lot of competition for swaggering, Indiana Jones-style seat-of-the-pants pulp adventure. There’s not enough of that, there’s WAY TOO FUCKING MUCH post-apocalypse/zombie material out there. I could not possibly care less about anything to do with this story, let alone because every single piece of it fails to tread any new ground whatsoever for anyone over the age of, say, 18. Both games sadly fumble the hardest by equating video gaming with occassional tactile tasks and simulating brutality.

    I’ll explain the German porn thing later.

    • Brandon June 18, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Given how much I’ve played this already, I much prefer it to Uncharted 3. Uncharted 3 went so crazy with the action set pieces that it forgot that people actually liked the characters. At least that’s how it felt to me. And to be honest, I think the combat in Last of Us is much preferred to the terrible combat in Uncharted 3. Maybe it’s because I haven’t run into a SWAT team zombie that has to be hit with a howitzer so that I can kill it while a dozen other zombies all try and kill me.

      I don’t care that Last of Us isn’t treading new zombie ground. If something is entertaining me, the originality of it all is not as important. Having just finished Remember Me, an original but deeply flawed game, I much prefer playing an enjoyable game that treads common ground than something original that’s a chore to get through. Obviously the best would be a combination of both, but if I have to choose between a good game and an original one, I’ll take the good one. Also, sometimes just seeing the creator’s vision of a particular trope is good enough for me. I mean, hell, The Road covered a lot of ground that The Stand covered a couple of decades earlier, but I wouldn’t not read it for that reason.

      So far, I like Joel and Ellie. I want to see where their journey takes them. I’ve certainly seen a fair amount of immersion breaking stuff along the way that would prevent me from calling the game a masterpiece, as some have, but it’s way too early for me to pass judgement on it. I need to see where this thing takes me before I can do that.

      Finally, from a technical aspect, seeing what they can do with their engine, in terms of environments and performances is well worth the time spent in the game. It’s kind of like Prometheus. It was a goofy movie, but I liked so many of the design and technical choices that it was enjoyable just to soak that all in. Granted, that was two hours and this is 10 – 13 but Michael Fassbender never tried to learn to whistle either. ;)

      • fring June 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

        So far, I’m with Brandon on this one. I enjoyed the first two Uncharted games, but got totally bored and didn’t finish the 3rd one. I am definitely going to finish the Last of Us, but it could take awhile. I’m a little bothered that I’m really bad at this game if the obviously telegraphed death came for Barnes at the 30 minute mark. Because that was more like the 3-4 hour mark for me. In my defense, I totally got hit with the saved game bug, but that’s still a lot faster than me.

        I’ll probably try to enter the discussion more in the anti-TLoU post, but I think this game is doing a decent amount of stuff right. Of course, it’s not as good as all those 10/10 reviews are claiming, but I’m actually really enjoying playing a dark and violent version of Uncharted with survival horror mechanics. It’s kind of funny, that, while playing, I’m finding it pretty easy to come up with nit-picks and things I don’t like, while any summary of my actual reaction to the game would start with: “It’s good”.

        • Michael Barnes June 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

          Oh, that OTHER telegraphed death…dude, that character was SUCH a red shirt, it’s not even funny. Come on, you’ve seen enough TV and movies to know that the minute that somebody starts talking about stuff they’re going to do “when this is all over”, they’re 20 minutes or less from death.

          There was a REALLY nice character beat right before said death though, when the character in question did not recieve what was expected from another character in question. It was a very well done little piece of body language, all in the eyes.

          Good god, what is the “violent” version of Uncharted? There’s as much shooting in those as a Call of Duty game! :-)

          Anyway, ZombiU is a far, far better use of survival horror mechanics…Metro: Last Light is too, for that matter.

          • fring June 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

            I totally agree that the death was extremely telegraphed, but I do feel better knowing that you were referring to a different death. Also, totally agree about that whole interaction scene, it was really well done.

            I’m calling The Last of Us violent because the violence in Uncharted is essentially cartoon violence. As I recall, the typical stealth kill in Uncharted 2 involved pulling/pushing a guy off a cliff. Here, you strangle them while they flail and cough and then gurgle. I also don’t recall smashing people’s faces into bloody messes in Uncharted. To be clear, I thought even the level of (cartoon) violence in Uncharted was completely at odds with the game and the story and the characters.

            Having recently finished off Metro, I’m liking the survival horror mechanics here more. So far, it seems that in both games the living humans are way less dangerous than the monsters the world is populated with, but maybe I just suck at fighting zombies. Okay, I’m really truly moving to the other post and continuing the discussion.

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