Handsome Jack Invites You To Pandora

Hey, a new Borderlands 2 trailer! Hey, it has guns and robots and funny bits! Hey, can I have the game, like, right now?

Handsome Jack wants you to come to Pandora and kill him. That seems at odds with his mission statement of not dying. Oh well, I guess he knows what he’s doing. It is me, or does it look like he has a face attached to his face? That’s gotta itch something awful.

Death’s Grand Design: Ten Hours with Darksiders II

I’m about ten hours into Darksiders II, my planned review a victim of poor timing, New Hampshirean shipping mishaps and an unforgiving system of chronological rigidity. Needing to eat, sleep, work and spend time with family certainly didn’t help, although I tried to mitigate those factors as much as possible. I’m telling you this so that you understand that what follows is not a review of Darksiders II. I guess you could call it “early impressions”, but I seem to be too far along for that. These could be mid-game impressions, if I knew where I was in relation to the story. See, this is what happens when you try to pigeon hole things.

Be they early impressions, mid-game impressions, near-finished impressions or “one idiot’s rambling thoughts”, they amount to this: so far, Darksiders II is a very good game. How much of that holds up as the game continues remains to be seen, but I know that I am very, very interested in finding out.

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It Came From Gen Con: Playdek Announces Three New Games

Just in time for Gen Con 2012, Playdek has announced the next three titles in their quest for digital board gaming domination. The next three games are, in no particular order:

  • Smash Up! – Smash Up! is a soon to be released shufflebuilding game from AEG in which you shuffle decks of two different factions, say pirates and zombies or ninjas and dinosaurs and then use your mixed up deck to beat the tar out of your opponent. No word on whether you can shuffle pirates and ninjas together or if their natural aversion to one another would rip a hole in the space-time continuum. Smash Up! won’t hit retail until September, but if you’re at Gen Con, you can buy it there. Lucky you.
  • Tank on Tank – Lock ‘ n Load’s tactical tank-fest might be the perfect way to get young Timmy addicted to tactical wargaming, possibly creating the next Bruce Geryk in the process. No word if Timmy will also turn into a brain surgeon, but hopes are high! Tank on Tank places you on the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944 and tasks you with liberating France from the Germans. Said liberation can be completed in a lunch hour should you want to feel better about your lack of progress at work.
  • Can’t Stop – I gotta tell you, the description of this game makes it sound like it gets you addicted to throwing dice. Can’t stop! Won’t stop! Keep rolling until you lose it all!

In addition to these three new games, Summoner Wars is coming to Android! Woohoo! No word yet on whether there will be cross platform play with iOS or what the time frame for the Android release is, but rest assured, we’ll keep you abreast of details as they come on.

Finally, all of Playdek’s iOS offerings are on sale to celebrate Gen Con so hit the App Store and start shopping! Yay, commerce!

Too Much Junkie Business

Reading through Todd’s great  piece  last week on his apathy toward video games, I found myself thinking over and over again “I could have written this”. I feel almost exactly the same way he does down the line about where the industry is heading, how it abuses its customers, and how spending time with your kids simply blows away anything you will ever do in a video game. What really struck a chord with me more than anything else though was this- “why on Earth should I make time for the hundred-hour slot-machine slog that is Diablo III?” Continue Reading…

Professor Layton and Paper Mario to Grace 3DS this Fall

With the 3DS XL’s imminent release, Nintendo has finally decided to start supporting the stupid thing. Oh, I’m sorry, does that come off sounding bitter?

Whatever. Nintendo released a host of 3DS release dates today, including a whole bunch of painting and fashion games that I could care less about. Buried within these games were a few things I actually am anxious to play, namely Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask on October 28th and Paper Mario: Sticker Star on November 11th. I’ll leave it up to you to parse the logic of being excited about a game featuring distinctly 2-D characters released on a 3D console. Oh wait, I never play with 3D on. That explains it!

Missing from the list of releases is the 3DS sequel to Luigi’s Mansion. It is currently slated for an early 2013 release, but I’ll believe it when I see it. At this point, I think the game was something they made up for 2011′s E3 and nothing else.

Jumping the Shark Podcast #138

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jumping the Shark #138 makes itself the unofficial sequel to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles this week as Bill recounts his epic journey from New Hampshire to Lancaster for the World Board Gaming championships and the largely successful launch of Road to Enlightenment. I don’t want to spoil anything, but his life was in mortal danger more than once. We also hear more about on the other side of the booth. Brandon picks it up with everything he’s able to talk about in Darksiders 2. (Hint: Not a lot. Stupid embargo.) And Todd is dismayed by yet another unexpected software install, courtesy of Wings of Prey.

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Calendar Man – Week of 8/13

It’s Darksiders II week! Woohoo! Finally, the dog days of summer are behind us and a spate of new releases lay before us, glittering like jewels. Let us rejoice in their bounty!

Alongside the aforementioned Darksiders II, Square Enix’s Sleeping Dogs wakes up and smells the Hong Kong, The Last Story gets a North American release, Xbox Live Arcade gets Dust and PSN gets Papa & Yo.

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A Growing Apathy

I started writing about games in 1997, half way through my final year at university. The video games portal of the, then fledgling, Microsoft Network (may it stay dead) was looking for some writers they didn’t have to pay. I wrote a review for Front Page Sports: Baseball (my first such effort), submitted it, and the rest is history; albeit history only of interest to me. In one capacity or another I’ve been writing about games ever since. To some extent that’s because I have an internal compulsion to write and this is what I know, but also because I enjoy sharing with people what I love about games. It’s why I wrote the Mordin piece a few weeks back and the piece about my son and his DS last year. I’m proud of those articles and the handful I’ve written like them the last couple years. I wish I could post pieces like those every week. You may have noticed that hasn’t so much been happening…

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Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106 Review

New Judge Dredd iOS game book from Tin Man Games

I have never been a particular fan of the famous 2000ad comic, in spite of it being a central fixture in the life of most British boys and indeed nerds. But I can’t say the same for its central character, Judge Dredd. I’ve devoured the stand-alone trade paperbacks of his exploits many times over, and played the related board games many more. So you can imagine my delight when I heard Tin Man Games were bringing a Dredd gamebook to iOS, and the further delight when they offered me a copy to review.

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Dishonored’s Myriad Deaths

Boy howdy, there are a lot of ways to kill dudes in Dishonored. Bethesda wanted to show you some of them, hence this video. I will play Pearl Jam’s “Rats” in my head every time I call forth a swarm. Ben, the two of us need look no more.