Harmonix’s Amplitude Reboot Is Club-Ready And Looking Intense

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 4, 2015 in Videogames

Amplitude

Full disclosure: I backed Harmonix’s Amplitude reboot on Kickstarter, for more than the retail fight of the game. But considering the game only barely got funded, I like to think I helped get the game exist at all. Obviously this won’t be for everyone (and since Sony owns the rights, it’s only on PS3 and PS4), but if you’re a fan of music games and never played the original (or its predecessor FreQuency), you’ve been missing out. It might not end up as easily accessible as Rock Band Blitz and its no-fail states, but Amplitude is a proven design that’s really fun, especially on the higher levels. Check out this first trailer to see what the modern version looks like. There are only a few licensed tracks, with the majority of the music to be made by in-house musicians who have done great work in the past.
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PlayStation Explores Its Upcoming ‘Powers’ TV Series

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 18, 2015 in Television

Powers

Last June, PlayStation announced their plans to enter the non-TV TV market occupied by companies like Netflix (House of Cards) and Amazon (Transparent). Their first offering is Powers, an adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’s superhero procedural comic. The ten episode series is produced by Sony Pictures, which previously did Breaking Bad. Of course, since this is a new market for Sony, it’s not a bad idea that they finally put out this behind the scenes overview of the series before its March 10 premiere. Three episodes will go up on the PlayStation Store, with a new episode following each Tuesday. Powers has caught my interest, so I might as well check it out with my PlayStation Plus account. Read more…

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One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Adds Even More Characters

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 10, 2015 in Anime, Videogames

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3

The first One Piece: Pirate Warriors was a fairly enjoyable game, but certain story arcs from the manga were conspicuously absent. Some of those characters and areas were included in the sequel, but that game had an original story. So now we have One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 for PS3, PS4, and Vita, which adds in a lot of those missing elements, most notably Thriller Bark and the fight against Gekko Moriah. I’m interested in playing a more complete version, and I know there are other improvements, going by this trailer. But seeing as so much of this stuff was in the first game, it’s hard to get as enthusiastic about its release. If I find more interest in it, the game is coming out in Japan in March, in the US sometime this summer, and in Europe before the end of 2015.
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PlayStation Kills Music Service, Adds Spotify

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 29, 2015 in Videogames

Spotify

Did you ever use Sony’s Music Unlimited service on PlayStation or other devices? It’s okay if you didn’t, not many people did. So it’s not a surprise that Sony is ending the service on March 29, 2015 in all 19 countries it was offered. But don’t worry, people who actually use streaming music on a console: Sony is adding a Spotify app to PS3 and PS4, as well as various Xperia phones and tablets. You’ll be able to stream the music while in a game on PS4, and Sony is promising more exclusive features. And nearly all of those 19 countries that had Music Unlimited will be in the 41 markets that have access to Spotify. Best of all, both free and premium accounts will be able to use Spotify, so if you’re fine with ads, you can add new music to your games for free. Not bad! Could the next step be persuading Spotify to actually pay artists a decent fee for their music? Read more…

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Dragon’s Dogma Online Coming Soon As Free-To-Play

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 28, 2015 in Videogames

Dragon's Dogma Online

Capcom’s 2012 fantasy game Dragon’s Dogma was surprisingly enjoyable, so it’s good to hear about a new sequel. Capcom is bringing Dragon’s Dogma Online to PC, PS3, and PS4 sometime in 2015. Players can form groups with up to three friends (which can also be AI pawns) in an online lobby towns (up to 100 people) and fight giant enemies. The story will be a follow-up to Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, with a new storyline, new setting and new characters. The game will be free, but supported by item-based microtransactions, similar to Dragon’s Dogma Quest on Vita. I’d rather just purchase the game outright, but I suppose this is the way a lot of games are going, so as long as the microtransactions aren’t obnoxious, this could be a good sequel. Read more…

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Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Out On PS3, Xbox 360 This November

Posted by Bob Muir on Aug 6, 2014 in Videogames

Assassin's Creed: Rogue

Previously rumored as Comet, Ubisoft has announced Assassin’s Creed: Rogue for a PS3 and Xbox 360 release on November 11. Since Assassin’s Creed: Unity is only for current-gen consoles, Rogue will be exclusive to last-gen systems. The story follows Shay Patrick Cormac, a former Assassin who is betrayed and joins the Templars to hunt his former allies. The game is set during The Seven Years War, with locations in the northeastern US. Naval combat should also be returning, which should delight anyone who played Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, a game that added much depth to sailing compared to its predecessor. The only downside is that this isn’t on newer systems; while Black Flag was available on both old and new systems, it had some nice bells and whistles on PS4 and Xbox One, including a higher resolution. With 2014 release trends on these newer systems, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Assassin’s Creed: Rogue: Remastered released in 2015. Read more…

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Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Trailer Highlights HD Improvements

Posted by Bob Muir on Jul 3, 2014 in Videogames

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX

Just how much of a difference does an HD remaster make? Take a look at this video for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, the second of two compilations that collect all but one of the currently-released Kingdom Hearts games. While you won’t see much improvement in textures, everything looks very crisp in a higher, widescreen resolution, with some models having much more “pop.” One of the bigger draws is the additional content in the previous Japan-only “Final Mix” versions of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Note that Sora is wearing a Tim Burton-esque Santa outfit in The Nightmare Before Christmas‘s Christmas Town, as opposed to continuing to wear his Halloween Town outfit like he did in the original North American release. All in all, looking good, but it’s a shame the game’s not coming out until this fall. Read more…

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Another World Releasing On PS3, PS4, And PS Vita Next Week

Posted by Bob Muir on Jun 18, 2014 in Videogames

Another World

Another World (or Out of This World as it was originally known in the US) is one of those unique, highly creative games that retro gamers look back on fondly. The adventure-platformer has you exploring a strange world that you accidentally teleported to, with many cinematic effects and just a generally high level of craftsmanship, thanks to French designer Eric Chahi. Another World has received various ports and upgrades over the years, but the latest 20th Anniversary Edition is the best looking yet, with a bevy of options depending on how you want it to look. This version is coming to every recent platform this year, but it’s debuting on Sony’s platforms — PS3, PS4, and PS Vita — next week on June 25. I’ll certainly be downloading a copy, and any fan of well-made, atmospheric adventure games should consider doing so as well. Read more…

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Sony Reveals Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, PlayStation TV At E3

Posted by Bob Muir on Jun 10, 2014 in Videogames

Sony E3 2014

We close out E3 2014’s “Day 0” with Sony’s press conference. Last year, this was the conference that helped propel the PS4 ahead of the Xbox One in terms of consumer excitement. With Cross-Buy, the ability to buy a game on one platform and get any other version for free (like buying on PS4 and getting the PS3 and Vita versions for free), Sony gives gamers a big incentive to play on all their systems. And this press conference was filled with a ton of game footage — nothing too in-depth, which allowed them to fit in even more game coverage and reveals. Read more…

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Shin Megami Tensei 3 Gets Rereleased On PSN

Posted by Bob Muir on May 7, 2014 in Videogames

Shin Megami Tense 3i: Nocturne

After a quick tease, Atlus has announced that Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, the third core game in the SMT franchise, has been rerleased on PS3 via the PlayStation Network. This game was the first entry in the main series to be released outside of Japan, though spin-offs like the Persona and Last Bible games had previously appeared in the US, sometimes under the brand-name Revelations. It’s also considered to be one of the best entries, as well as being the first time that many non-Japanese gamers were exposed to an RPG with a very high difficulty. If you’re an RPG fan, are tired of modern games being too easy, or just want to play an amazing game, consider buying it, since it’s only $9.99. Read more…

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Harmonix Launches Kickstarter For New Version Of Amplitude

Posted by Bob Muir on May 6, 2014 in Videogames

New Amplitude

Before Harmonix took music gaming by storm with Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central, they were putting out other, smaller games that were no less interesting. One fan-favorite (and personal favorite) was Amplitude, a 2003 sequel to a 2001 game (FreQuency) about “mixing” electronic music by switching between various instrument tracks to fill in the song. It was a direct precursor to Guitar Hero, which would put the focus on one track with more notes (or one track per player in Rock Band), though Harmonix has revisited the core gameplay with Rock Band Unplugged on PSP and Rock Band Blitz on digital platforms. Now, there’s a chance of a full sequel! Read more…

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You May Be Able To Transfer Your Destiny Characters To New Consoles

Posted by Bob Muir on Apr 29, 2014 in Videogames

Destiny

I can’t blame you if you haven’t purchased a current-gen console yet. Yes, the PS4 and Xbox One are no longer considered “next-gen,” but that doesn’t mean everyone has made the switch from their PS3 and Xbox 360 yet. That’s why it’s good to hear about plans like this one. Bungie’s upcoming sci-fi MMO-FPS Destiny will be released on all four of the previously mentioned systems, which means many players may pick it up on last-gen consoles. But if you upgrade your system, you won’t lose all your progress. Read more…

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The Last Of Us Headed To PS4 This Summer

Posted by Bob Muir on Apr 10, 2014 in Videogames

The Last of Us Remastered

As rumored, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is getting a PS4 release. First released in June 2013, the original version pushed the PS3 to its limits, using what Naughty Dog learned from making the Uncharted trilogy, and won tons of awards. However, it’s not surprising that Sony would like the game to have a longer tail when it comes to sales, and putting it on their new system will help. The Last of Us Remastered will run at 1080p and is targeting a frame rate of 60fps; all the DLC will be included, as well as a commentary track. Those are all the details shared so far, so it’s not yet clear if there will be any other improvements. It’s a tough proposition for many gamers, though. Read more…

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Sega Bringing More Hatsune Miku Games To NA And EU

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 26, 2014 in Videogames

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd

After several years, Sega finally released a Hatsune Miku PS3 game in North America and Europe last year, with a Vita version released just this month. Apparently Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F did well enough that they’re bringing over the sequel — also on PS3 and Vita — to both territories this fall. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd will continue the music series, which has players pressing buttons in time with music made using Vocaloid voice-synth software, specifically the most popular version featuring virtual idol Hatsune Miku. I wouldn’t say that it’s my favorite music game, but I put a decent amount of time into the original Japan-only PSP game, and it’s pretty fun. Whether you enjoy this comes down to whether or not you enjoy the 40 new songs and returning favorites, but it’s worth trying out if you get chance. Read more…

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Dark Souls II Tries To Inspire You Before Your Inevitable Death

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 20, 2014 in Videogames

Dark Souls II

Dark Souls II is going to be hard. Even if it’s a bit easier than the first Dark Souls, that’s still really, really tough. Past trailers for the series have played this up (with slogans like “Prepare to Die”), highlighting the insurmountable odds and oppressive atmosphere that saps the hope from players eager to progress. But this latest trailer is a reprieve, trying to restore some hope that you might finish the game, that your deaths along the way won’t be in vein. It’s a nice idea, but any Souls players know the truth: this is but a trap, meant to lure in fresh blood to be spilled either by the game or by other players invading the newbie’s game. God help them. Read more…

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Latest Trailer Reminds You That Thief Reboot Is Almost Released

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 5, 2014 in Uncategorized, Videogames

Thief

Did you know that Thief, the reboot to Eidos’s stealth-franchise, is coming out on February 25? There isn’t much buzz, which probably stems from the delays the title has had during its troubled development. But watch this latest trailer, because despite a smaller marketing budget, this game looks pretty cool. I know some longtime fans of the series seem to have concerns, but as someone who has never played any of the previous games, I’m liking what I see. It looks like a good mixture of stealth and action, and the fact that you could play through the game without killing any enemies is surely enticing to those looking to do more than just build up a body count in a game. Read more…

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Square Enix Recaps Final Fantasy XIII’s Story In 16-Bit

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 30, 2014 in Videogames

Final Fantasy XIII 16-bit

Final Fantasy XIII has a pretty convoluted story, not at all helped by a horrible presentation that seems to delight in requiring you to know certain information, but not giving that information for hours, requiring a look at a list of terms in a dictionary, which makes the eventual explanation boring. If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of the poorly-written game or its sequel Final Fantasy XIII-2. But Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the third and final entry, is out soon, so Square Enix made this awesome recap of the story so far. It boils everything down to the bare minimum, and best of all, it’s done in 16-bit graphics like the classic SNES entries. It almost makes things comprehensible! I just want Square Enix to do more with this style of graphics. Read more…

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Dark Souls II ‘Curse’ Trailer Looks Brutal

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 16, 2014 in Videogames

Dark Souls II

Dark Souls II is out on March 11, 2014, so it’s time for those trailers to start rolling in and hyping up all the ways you can die. As expected, you play a cursed character of some sort, and you’ll be dying over and over again against brutal defenses in order to progress through the game. Look at some of those bosses! Though it’s not the most impressive enemy, the guy in shackles creeps me out; maybe I’m thinking of the deformed (and unkillable) Lisa Trevor in the Resident Evil remake on Gamecube? Regardless, everything here looks deadly. It should be fun! Read more…

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Sony Announces PlayStation Now Streaming Service

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 8, 2014 in Videogames

PlayStation Now

When showing off the PS4, Sony shared its desire to be able to stream PS3 games from their servers to the PS4 since the PS4 couldn’t play PS3 games due to its different chip architecture. The console launched, but the game streaming wasn’t ready yet, as we had been told from the start. But it seems we’ll have game streaming soon, as Sony has announced PlayStation Now. The streaming service will work not just on PS4, but also on PS3. Streaming is also planned for PS Vita, as well as most 2014 US models of BRAVIA TVs, and in the future tablets and smartphones. Sony is using the Gaikai tech they purchased to help stream across multiple devices, even keeping your save progress in the cloud. Read more…

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Alien: Isolation Is A New Survival Horror Game Based On Alien

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 8, 2014 in Cinema, Videogames

Alien: Isolation

The most recent game based on Alien/Aliens was 2013’s Aliens: Colonial Marines, one of the worst games of the year that failed to live up to any of the apparently-false advertising and press demos. Everyone’s rightfully wary of any future games in the franchise, but let’s give Creative Assembly (known for Total War) a shot. They’re making Alien: Isolation, a survival horror game about Amanda Ripley — the daughter mentioned as having died of old age at the beginning of Aliens — exploring a space station to find info on Ellen Ripley and the Nostromo. Instead of hundreds of xenomorph enemies that are treated like cannon fodder, there’s only one, nine-foot-tall, formidable xenomorph that hunts Amanda throughout the game; they’re clearly aiming more for the horror of Alien than the action of Aliens with this game. Read more…

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Skullgirls Encore Rereleasing In January 2014 On Consoles

Posted by Bob Muir on Dec 18, 2013 in Videogames

Skullgirls

It’s a shame that Lab Zero’s Skullgirls has had so many problems. Being an indie fighting game designed by fighting game players already seemed risky, since it’s hard to launch new fighting games from unknown companies and get a community going. But of course, there are more and more problems. The latest one stems from co-publisher Konami, who Lab Zero dropped to only be published by Autumn Games because Konami was dragging their heels on additional DLC characters funded by fans on IndieGoGo. Because they’re no longer the publisher, they arranged to have it delisted from Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network by December 31 because their name is on it. But there’s still some good news. Read more…

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Assassin’s Creed IV Gets Story DLC Today, ‘Freedom Cry’

Posted by Bob Muir on Dec 17, 2013 in Videogames

Freedom Cry

I’ve only had my PS4 copy of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for a month, so it’s easy to forget that the game was out a bit earlier for last-gen systems. In that context, I suppose it’s not too strange that it’s getting its first story-based DLC today, after some previous multiplayer content. The DLC is called Freedom Cry, and it follows first mate Adewale in his quest to free slaves 15 years after the main game’s events. There are nine missions, and as a reminder, you get them for “free” if you purchased the Season Pass. The game is getting a great reception, so more content is good, but I’m more curious if they’ll make a sequel to this game, perhaps even separate from the Assassin’s Creed series proper. Read more…

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Last Chance To Buy Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 & 3

Posted by Bob Muir on Dec 16, 2013 in Comic Books, Videogames

Marvel vs. Capcom 2

People keep asking me why I prefer physical media in an increasingly digital world. Today, I get to give another reason why. Though they didn’t give a specific reason, Capcom has announced that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will soon be delisted from Xbox Live and PSN, along with all related DLC. You won’t be able to purchase them digitally after December 17 (North American PSN), December 19 (European PSN), or December 26 (global Xbox Live). Anyone who has previously purchased the games and DLC will still be able to redownload the games from their download history if need be. While there are still physical copies of UMvC3 out there, there will be no way to buy any extra characters or costumes for it, while the HD version of MvC2 will disappear completely.

And this is the reason why I not only prefer having physical copies of games, but also am wary of DLC and digital-only games. I recognize the boon digital releases have been for indie developers or smaller games from big-budget publishers, because many of those games might never be made and released at all if they needed a physical release. But the idea of this content becoming inaccessible in the future due to whatever reason — I’d imagine that Capcom can’t justify the cost of renewing Marvel’s license — just plain sucks for consumers who may want to purchase these games in the future after hearing about them from a friend.

And even if you have already purchased the content and downloaded it to your hard drive, what happens down the road when this iteration of Xbox Live and PSN are taken offline? After Microsoft shut down Xbox Live for original Xbox consoles, any DLC for those games became forever lost and no longer available to redownload. What happens when your hard drive inevitably fails in the future and you need to redownload unlicensed content from a service that is no longer running?

Many gamers probably won’t care and might put down money for a future rerelease, such as the soon-unavailable HD version of MvC2, which made the game affordable and accessible to those who couldn’t acquire a copy of the original releases from 2000 to 2003. But for those who care about the preservation of these works for future generations to enjoy, the whole thing is nothing but a headache.

Source: Kotaku

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Namco Bandai Announces Tales of Zestria

Posted by Bob Muir on Dec 13, 2013 in Videogames

Tales of Zestria

Next-gen consoles like PS4 and Xbox One may be considered “current-gen” now that they’ve released, but as with the PS2, it will be a while before developers fully abandon the PS3 and Xbox 360. Case in point: Namco Bandai has announced that Tales of Zestria, a game marking the 20th anniversary of the Tales series, will be released on PS3, presumably sometime in 2014. The announcement was a worldwide announcement, confirming the game’s release in North and South America, in addition to the usual Japanese release. Other statements seem to imply a European release as well. Read more…

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