Calendar Man – Week of 10/7

This is quite the week for PC and console gamer alike. If you’re into games, there’s a pretty good chance that something is either coming out this week or has already come out that interest you. If you’re not into games, I have to wonder why you’re here, other than the occasional recipe and the chance to ogle me. Come to think of it, that’s an excellent reason to be here. Carry on.

We got you covered if you like blasting aliens, being a supernatural assassin, bending magical creatures to your will via combat, Kinecting your way through Fable, Harry Potter and Dragon Ball Z or shaking your booty to the finest dance hits. And that’s just what I could think of off of the top of my head. Enough blather, let’s get started.

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The Testament of Sherlock Holmes in Review

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not very good at solving mysteries. I watch a lot of procedurals on TV and rarely do I ever pick the killer, usually only doing so when the killer is portrayed by someone from another show that I watch or by Chip from “Kate & Allie”. If you’re watching TV and Chip from “Kate and Allie” comes up, you can bet he did it. Doesn’t matter what it is, murder, robbery, burning the souffle, improperly taping up the drywall seams, being a half step behind on the pasodoble. If it’s wrong, Chip did it.

I mention this because having finished playing The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Frogwares’ latest entry in the Sherlock Holmes adventure games, other than figuring out who was behind everything , I had no idea what was going on until the grand plan was revealed. That’s par for the course for me, but in this case, I’m not sure if it should be.

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Cracked LCD- The Kickstarter Carnival

 

The first Kickstarter project I ever funded was the revised black box edition of Glory to Rome. The idea was that the publisher, Cambridge Game Factory, had hired an actual artist (Heiko Gunther, a name to watch) to redo the whole thing since the original edition was one of the most notoriously ugly games on the market. Among the stretch goals was a signed apology from the first edition’s illustrator. I like the game- sort of an advanced San Juan-style tableaux builder with some decent interaction- so I felt like it was a good project to support. I finally received the game last week, after almost a year of excuses as to why the game had not been produced or shipped. Many backers still haven’t seen their games, and the excuses continue to mount. Continue Reading…

Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition Review

I’ve said this before and after playing the PC version of Dark Souls my position hasn’t changed one iota: Dark Souls is the best game of its generation.

Sure, you can say, “Yeah, well, you know that’s just like, your opinion, man.” It is. Dark Souls is the epitome of masterful game design by almost every conceivable measuring stick. It’s not just what is in the game, and Dark Souls is stuffed with so much goodness it could fill an Estus Flask, it’s what’s not in the game that makes it such a seminal role-playing experience.

There are no dialogue trees. No awful voice-acting. No faux-sexual tension between party members. No ‘famous’ cameos. No beating you over the head with prose, trying to make you care for things you don’t need to care about. No hog-tying you into a “class” and making you play a certain way based on the choice you make during character creation. There’s no hand holding, no invisible walls preventing you from falling off a cliff, and there are no cool down timers.

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The Great Pokemon Extinction Event

Pokemon Black/White 2 comes out on Sunday and while I will most likely pick it up, I fear that it will confirm something that I’ve known for quite some time now, namely that I don’t really give a crap about handheld gaming any more.

It’s a difficult realization to come to. Handheld gaming has been a big part of my life for years now, but over the past 18 months or so, things have shifted and I find myself less and less enthused about the hobby’s diminutive offerings. Pokemon Black/White 2 may end up being the last handheld game I ever buy.

Cue the hyperbole machine!

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Walking Dead Episode Four Trailer

The Walking Dead has quickly become one of my favorite adventure games and now it’s heading to Savannah, one of my favorite cities. I have no idea what will happen when our intrepid group arrives in Georgia’s First City, but I can assure you, I will get them all killed trying to get some hog hammers from The Distillery. The last time that I was in Savannah, I would only go in the city’s many cemeteries during the day, and even then, the tolling of nearby bells creeped me the hell out. I don’t see this game doing my irrational fears any good.

 

Jumping the Shark Podcast #145

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jumping the Shark #145 begins on a ponderous note as we come up with scenarios to explain why Bill is, once again, absent. Brandon was closest with, “Desperately wants to be here, but is trapped under something heavy.” And what a time to miss, as we discuss our thoughts on the PC demo for Firaxis’s upcoming take on X-COM. What we can take away from it? Where does it look good? Where are the yellow flags? Etc. We all know I’m in on this one, but is Brandon prepared to take the leap into unknown waters? The less than surprising answer is within. After that Brandon digs deeper into Borderlands 2 and I spend some more time with Guild Wars 2 and the iPad version of Bastion. Enjoy!

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Calendar Man – Week of 10/1

This week’s marks a respite from new games for me as I haven’t played a Resident Evil game since the one that was on the GameCube. You know, the one with the President’s daughter and the blonde guy. I never finished it. I’m assuming the girl made it. Maybe not. As much as people like these games, I just can’t get into them. I’m not into inventory shortages as a means of amping up tension. All I see are hours of lost progress.

In other news, NBA 2K13 and War of the Roses are released this week, as well as a bunch of games getting releases on new platforms. Fun times all around.

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Bribes, Guards and White Women – Another Day in Sleeping Dogs

At some point, I started playing Sleeping Dogs. I’m not sure how it happened, but there it is, next to the 360. Sleeping Dogs. I can only assume that there was a lull between finishing Darksiders II and starting Borderlands 2 and the idea of not playing a game was too much for my addict brain to handle. It knocked my conscious mind out, rented Sleeping Docs and here we are.

I’m not proud of it, but at this point in my gaming career, I can’t say that pride has much to do with anything. It’s not the act of playing Sleeping Dogs that fills me with shame, but the fact that the idea of going five days without anything to play drove me to pick it up.

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Last Night on Earth Review

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game from Flying Frog

I don’t believe there’s a meme in all of geekdom that’s been used and abused quite as much as the good old zombie. It’s been in films, books, comics and videogames that span the chasm between sublime art to complete trash. And speaking of trash, you’ll find a hundred of them in Zombies!!! which is perhaps the worst hobby board game ever committed to card and plastic. But game-playing zombie fans need not despair, because there are many better zombie games to try. One of them is Last Night on Earth, and the question is: how much better?

Well for starters, compare the box of Last Night on Earth with that of “generic zombie game #346”. Notice anything different? GZG #346 will certainly have some low-grade pop art on the front. Last Night on Earth, by contrast, features photo-based art of actors and actresses in costumes and special effects makeup. It’s a striking and realistic look (realistic enough to terrify my children) which is carried on throughout the card art. There’s also plenty of well-sculpted plastic miniatures of heroes and zombies inside the box and a pleasingly gloomy modular board. The photo art isn’t to everyone’s tastes: some people think it looks tacky. Personally, I love it and with the other high quality components I felt compelled to list this as one of the five best looking games ever made.

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