Dishonored – The Tales from Dunwall, Part 1

Behold this new, animated short about beautiful Dunwall before plagues and assassins and murdering people became normal parts of every day conversation.

I knew that whale oil was important to Dunwall, but I didn’t know that the guy who made it so important did so after seeing some homeless people throw it on a fire. No one ever figured out that whale oil was flammable up until that time? Not exactly dealing with a bunch of Rhodes Scholars, or the Dishonored equivalent, are we?

You may recognize Chloe Grace Moretz as the narrator, or maybe you stopped listening ten seconds into the clip due to how overwhelmingly terrible the narration is. Hey Bethesda, if you’re going to go through the trouble of hiring a famous person to do your narration, you might want to find out if they can, you know, narrate.

Darksiders II: Argul’s Tomb in Review

B. B. King famously wrote that he was paying the cost to be the boss and while his sentiment was aimed at a woman who was less than thrilled with how King spent his time, the phrase kept sticking in my head when thinking about Argul’s Tomb, the first piece of Darksiders II DLC. In my game, Death is the Boss, capital B: level 30, almost the entire Harbinger skill tree maxed out, a pair of scythes that steal health faster than I can lose it. Like I said, Boss, capital B. In this case, the cost of being such a high level boss is that dungeons like Argul’s Tomb hold very little challenge and even less reward.

Is this going to be an issue with other people who were less dedicated to making Death the very best horseman he can be, or those still playing the game? Certainly not, but I can’t be the only one with a high level character and while Argul’s Tomb may have some clever puzzles and an explosively entertaining rail gun section, I think it’s still better suited to those just starting out Death’s adventure, an unfortunate situation given that the game came out a month ago.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #144

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

The Straw is absent for Jumping the Shark #144, but we threw a rock out a window and happened to hit Tom Chick, who came in to join us for the show and punk me over Guild Wars 2 in the process. By all mean, enjoy yourselves… Oh yeah, and before that Tom and Brandon talk in considerable depth about Borderlands 2 and before all is said and done Tom lets us know what separate Torchlight 2 from Diablo 3.

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Calendar Man – Week of 9/24

Are you ready for some football, and by football I mean soccer. Sorry rest of the world, but we decided that our football was better than your football and now we just call it football. But hey, soccer is a perfectly nice name! And don’t worry, once we leave our shores, we’re pretty clueless, so feel free to prank us accordingly.

This week also has a new Dead or Alive game, a new Sherlock Holmes game, pandas running amok in Azeroth and other delights to go along with your footie.

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Ciao, Vita

Yesterday I packed my PS Vita back into its original box and shipped it off to some guy in Texas that Bought it Now for $200 on eBay. Before that, I wiped the memory, flushing away Persona 3 and a couple of other games along with save data for others that I’ll never finish. I kind of grimaced, holding it for the last time because it’s such a damn good handheld, probably the best I’ve ever seen. Probably the last one I’ll ever own. Continue Reading…

The Good and Bad of Borderlands 2

For a game that was one of my most anticipated of the year, I haven’t played Borderlands 2 for nearly as much as I would have liked. Alas, just as I got started getting into it, something else for review dropped into my lap and I had to devote some time to it. Such is the way of a game reviewer, you go where the money takes you. Wait, we’re not getting paid for this?

Get my agent on the phone!

I have put in enough time with the game to talk about some of the stuff that I like, and some of the stuff that I don’t, though and I’m happy to share it, thereby gaining me a small respite from Bill’s incessant cries for a piece about my Borderlands 2 impressions. A real taskmaster, that Abner.

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Dungeon Command Review

I’ve made no secret of my basically limitless adoration for the new range of Dungeons & Dragons board games from Wizards of the Coast. It’s great that there’s another big beast on the publishing block, better that they’re putting out superbly designed and innovative games. So I was obviously keen to take their newest offering, the modular tactical miniatures game Dungeon Command for a spin.

Each box of Dungeon Command comes with a set of pre-painted miniatures, some double-sided jigsaw board pieces and two decks of cards, one that has the stats for the creatures in the set and another with orders to make them do neat stuff. You need access to at least two boxes to play a proper game, and if you have more then you can have three or four player set-ups. Everything in each box is interchangeable so the potentially bottomless nature of recombining these things should be obvious. And online retailers are offering sets at prices that make owning several of them entirely feasible.

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Cracked LCD- Lyssan in Review


Sam Brown’s Lyssan is yet another board game fresh off the Kickstarter bandwagon. Like most of its crowdfunded peers- at least the ones I’ve played- it’s another compelling design that stops short of greatness. Like Empires of the Void, it feels like it’s a couple of development rounds short of being potentially a great game. It lacks that final coat of polish that you really need a professional publisher and pro-level post-design development for, but with that said it’s definitely a very good and really quite original title that offers some novel concepts and some terrifically nasty gameplay. Continue Reading…

Farewell to the Doctors

Yesterday it was announced that BioWare co-founders and the bane of gaming journalist spell checkers everywhere, Doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk were retiring and not just retiring from BioWare but retiring from gaming altogether.

To be honest, this comes as no surprise to me, although I am saddened to see it happen. I work for a small company that was bought out by a very large company and the person who built our company lasted about as long under the new company as the doctors lasted under EA. That’s not to say that EA is the cause, or that EA is a horrible company to work for, but it’s been my experience that people who build companies traditionally want to keep building or rather than maintain that which got them bought out.

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Humble Indie Bundle 6 has arrived

Man, these Humble Indie Bundles. Not only do they just keep coming, they are also pretty much perfect for me, the psuedo-new PC gamer (on a Mac, yes) who has basically gone 75/25 indie. Oh, sure, I still play “big” games, usually something like a year after they come out, and I take my sweet, sweet time with them. But really, most of my playing time these days comes courtesy of crazy Steam sales and humble bundles, and I couldn’t be happier.

I’m sure you know the drill by now. You set your own price to receive 5-6-ish well-received indie titles from the recent past. Most of the money goes to the developers,but you can set it up so that the EFF and Child’s Play get a cut of your contribution, as well as the Humble Bundle service itself. So it’s a win-win-win: you get good games, you get them for ridiculously cheap (if you care to), and some of that money goes to charity.

Of course, none of this helps you if you’ve already got the games. This time around, the bundle includes Torchlight (which everyone loves), Rochard (which is excellent – I reviewed the PSN version back in the old GameShark days), S.P.A.Z., Shatter, Vessel, and Space Pirates and Zombies. If you pay higher than the average, you get Dustforce thrown in for good measure.

Everything works on PC, Mac and Linux. No excuses, people.