The Q1 Game Check

BioShock Infinite

Man alive, there are a ton of games coming out between now and the end of the quarter. Some of them look good, some of them, not so much. As I know many of you await my opinion before deciding whether or not you should even consider looking at a game, I figured I would bring the benefit of my foresight to bear on this upcoming crop of games. Truly, my benevolence knows no bounds.

Some of these games I will buy, some I will rent, some I will cast aside, their worthiness unproven to me until someone tells me I should play it and then I probably will. I know that there are games coming out that I’m not listing here, so if I have, please sound off in the comments so that all games may benefit from the exposure brought about by my gaze.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #160

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bill is Down with the Sickness this week (literally), so we reprise the Brakke/Cackowski-Schnell Hour of Power (TM) for this installment of Jumping the Shark. This week we run with the, now-confirmed, rumor attaching J.J. Abrams to Star Wars, discussing in exacting detail why Brandon hates Star Trek, except for the Abrams movie, and why I think Abrams is a great fit for Star Wars and a lousy one for Trek. Then Brandon gets in deep with Devil May Cry and why, even though it’s a good game, it takes the easy way out when it comes to mocking the good ole U.S.A.

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Calendar Man – Week of 1/28

calendar man 1-28 hitman hd trilogy

Yet another week of pretty much nothing, which is just fine by me. The Hitman HD Trilogy (PS3, 360) releases as does a co-op action game thingy called Dungeonland, a military shooter called Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear (360, PS3) and the long awaited XBLA title Skulls of the Shogun. For me, I’m looking to finish AC III, keep on keeping on in NFS:MW and start up Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Should be interesting. I haven’t played a Call of Duty game since Call of Duty 2 launched with the 360. I hear this one has ponies!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #159

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With the travel this past week and general mid-week craziness, posting this week’s show fell completely off my radar. Probably wasn’t helped by the fact that if I’m not actually on a show it’s fair to ask, did it, in point of fact, happen? Brandon and Bill insist it did, so I’ve now dutifully linked it. Here’s Brandon’s description from Libsyn:

Todd is in Rhode Island but that doesn’t stop Bill and Brandon from talking about Brandon’s foray into The New Science, Bill’s ongoing game of Risk: Legacies and Brandon’s time with Penny Arcade: Gamer’s vs Evil on the iPad. Then, it’s time for some TV talk. Woohoo!

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No Violence Please, We’re Gamers

Red Dead Redemption violence

Turned my back and grabbed my gat
And guess what I told him before I shot it:
‘If you don’t quit, yeah, if you don’t stop, yeah, I’m lettin’ my gat pop’
Cause it’s 1-8-7 on an undercover cop

That chilling threat came over my headphones, backed up by a sinister bassline, while I was waiting queueing for some trivial purchase in a shop. Jarred by the disconnect between the prosaic setting and the shocking sentiments I was hearing I wondered: why did I find the rap unsettling, while the fact I killed twenty men in Red Dead Redemption the night before cause not a flicker of emotion?

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Cracked LCD- River’s Games

 sneaky

Among the loot that Santa Claus brought my son- who just turned three- were of course, a couple of tabletop games. Don’t be silly, I didn’t get my kid Advanced Squad Leader Junior and I didn’t give him the Mage Knight expansion as a stealth own-gift. I got him proper preschooler games. Well, at least partially. No Hi-Ho Cherry-O, no Candy Land, no Snakes/Chutes and Ladders. Not even Cootie. It was the first time I’ve ever bought games for a child, which is an entirely different process altogether. And since I missed a lot of “normal” kid games when I was little because I was already into the hobby stuff at an early age, it was actually kind of odd. Continue Reading…

DMC Impressions- Doofuses May Cry, But This Game Rocks

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One of the worst- and woefully dated- things about Capcom’s Devil May Cry series is Dante. Sorry to send those of you who still think that a guy with white hair in a red trenchcoat is “cool” crying into your Trigun cosplay jacket, but Dante is a bad character that really ought not appeal to anyone over the age of 16. It’s that charmingly clueless sense of whatever Japanese “cool” is that’s kept him afloat all of these years, and the fact that he’s starred in at least three great action games that all have their share of clunk and junk ranging from terrible writing to bad pacing to unbalanced design.

So after all of the fan rage over Dante’s makeover, we’re left with the new title in the franchise, DMC, and a host of things that Ninja Theory has done with this long-running brawler franchise. I’m just a couple of hours into the game, having just ushered what the game calls a Succubus to a rather gruesome death in the bowels of an energy drink factory, but I’m not hesitant to state that the new game is the most refined, slickest game in the series. It’s by far the best-written, it’s the best looking, and it is the most seamlessly fun. Continue Reading…

DmC: Devil May Cry in Review

dmc review shot 1

When you spend a lot of time covering games, either professionally or for a hobby, it becomes very easy to think that every fan of games falls into the same shrieking hell pits of frothing insanity brought about by this change or that ending. The reality is that most of the people who play games not only don’t know about the various “Insert game name here”-gate style brou-ha-has that pop up, seemingly every day, but they don’t care. They see games that they may like, buy them, play them and usually enjoy them. If they don’t, they move on to something else and live happy lives, unencumbered by the nautical miles of internet rage that accompany almost every release these days.

I mention this because, in playing DmC: Devil May Cry, Ninja Theory’s reboot of Capcom’s brawler, I had a brief shining glimpse of what it’s like to live in that rarefied air of  Not Giving A Crap Mountain. As I have mentioned here before, I have no connection to the Devil May Cry series, so I don’t care what Dante looks like, or what clothes he wears. I played DmC because I heard it was good and lo and behold, it was.

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Calendar Man – Week of 1/21

sega E3 preview the cave shot 1

There’s slightly more stuff out this week than last week, but still not enough to warrant more than a paragraph talking about it. Sorry folks, but seeing how another holiday season is right around the corner, fast on the heels of the last one, this is all you get. This week’s two big releases are Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on the PS3 and The Cave, coming to a bevy of digital download services near you. I played both of these games at E3 and both are beautiful, very stylish games. Unfortunately, given my current slate of games, I don’t need another 40 hour game. A 2D adventure game, on the other hand, will fit the bill quite nicely. Other stuff comes out too, including the PC release of DmC, ShootMania Storm, Strike Suit Zero and Dawnstar. Yay, PC shooting.

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Dungeon Command Wave 2 Review

dungeon-command

You may remember that I wasn’t hugely impressed with the initial releases in the new mix-and-match miniatures skirmish line Dungeon Command from Wizards of the Coast. The absorbing tactics of the maneuver phase had to be counterbalanced against a dull and predictable combat mechanic. But there was potential there, the maddening hint of unfulfilled promise.

Stand-alone games don’t get a second bite at the cherry. But this isn’t a stand-alone game, it’s a series of modular packs meant to combine together and increase your options. And so I thought I’d put the second set of releases, Tyranny of Goblins and Curse of Undeath through their paces to see if they pushed the envelope, did something more impressive with the creative ideas that underpinned the concept.

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