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I wasn't familiar with Trine 2, so the fact that Trine 2: Director's Cut was heading to the Wii U didn't really mean much to me. But when I saw the game on the monitor, I was sucked in by its beauty. Yes, I am that superficial.
But seriously, this game is beautiful. Trine 2: Director's Cut is a 2D platformer/puzzler, and everything from the characters to the backgrounds is full of HD detail. This is one of those games you can play independently on the GamePad as well, and I swear it almost looked better on that than the monitor (perhaps the color wasn't calibrated just perfectly on the TV).
You play as one of three characters: a female ranger, a mage, and a warrior, and work your way through level after level by defeating enemies and solving puzzles. You have to cycle through the characters to find the right one to advance, but the game design is such that there are sometimes multiple solutions to each problem. (Which is helpful when say, your mage is dead, and you need to solve a puzzle to get to the next room where you can resurrect him.) The controls are a little bit complicated, but you'd probably get used to them eventually. Being a demo, I often got confused as to what button I should be pushing. Also, and I know it's only a minor irritation, really, but you can't cycle L and R to move through the characters. Only R. So you have to go around again if you miss. Luckily, there's only three characters! Oh, and you don't really use the touchscreen on the GamePad too much except when using the mage, where your touch activates his telekinesis, or a swipe creates a platform you can use to bridge gaps (if they're not too long).
Since this is the Director's Cut, there are a lot of extras. It includes the Goblin Menace expansion, which includes the Wii U exclusive level "Dwarven Caverns," as well as new powers and abilities. There's also an extra two-player co-op mode called Magic Mayhem, but that's all they would tell me about it at the time!
Trine 2: Director's Cut is looking extremely polished, and with all the multiplayer and hidden items and abilities to collect and upgrade, it should prove a solid addition to the Wii U library when it releases (sometime during the launch window).
UDON Entertainent makes really nice art books, so if you're a fan of Street Fighter, Tekken or Street Fighter X Tekken, you're probably going to want to pick up Street Fighter X Tekken: Artworks, which is released Wednesday, August 29. The book starts with a collection of artwork, including box covers, posters, iPhone cases and whatnot, all with commentary from the artist. The comments become even more interesting in the next section, which is a series of character portraits. Screen grabs from the various game trailers and ending cinematics are presented, with their own commentary. But in addition to the various concept art and character models and stage designs, there are also interviews. And they're quite fascinating. Reading how they merged the somewhat disparate Street Fighter and Tekken universes is genuinely interesting, especially when paired with the various images illustrating the development of the game. Everyone's favorite transgender Street Fighter, Poison, gets a bit of play here and there, but I personally really enjoyed the rejected costumes for Abel where he was dressed as a sailor with a little hat and everything. Also, there's an image of Ryu and Kazuya in loincloths that was printed on towels and distributed at the Aomori Nebuta Festival. They're both facing away, and look like they're not wearing any pants... until you notice the loincloth uncomfortably riding up their cracks! I kind of want one! Street Fighter X Tekken: Artworks is a really solid bit of fan service, offering up some seriously stunning pieces of art alongside some revealing interviews with the people behind Street Fighter, Tekken and Street Fighter X Tekken. And it's all laid out in a clean, stylish design. And at the end, it has some teaser images of the still-in-development Tekken X Street Fighter, so I suppose we can expect an equally attractive book to accompany that game when it is released!
For gamescom, Square Enix released another batch of screenshots for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. And while they're still looking just lovely, I'm still not crazy about playing a lead character who seems to spend the entire game being abused and struggling to survive. She always seems to look really messed up to me. So I'm starting to worry that this game might be too dark and violent for my tastes. Although they also only seem to be showing video and screens of this one section of the game, so hopefully there's others where Lara gets to be the awesome and cool heroine we fell in love with back in the day. I don't know... I guess I'll just have to wait until Tomb Raider comes out on March 5, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, and see what everyone else says first before I commit. But hey, enjoy the screenshots!
The lead character with amnesia is an unfortunately common trope in the videogame world. I've always assumed it's because it lets the player step in on the ground floor and discover the world as the character does. It also explains why a superpowered ninja/spy/soldier/etc. has to be taught their abilities from scratch. But in the case of Capcom's new IP, Remember Me, memories (or lack of) are the centerpiece of the game's story.
In Remember Me, you'll play Nilin, an elite memory hunter with the usual athletic and combat skills who also has the abilities to break into peoples' minds and steal or change their memories. But when Nilin's memory is erased, she has to figure out her own identity and do the usual videogame hero thing of saving the world.
The trailer looks mighty impressive, and although Capcom released some screenshots, they're basically just stills from the trailer. But you could browse them instead of watching the trailer, I suppose. It looks like a weird hybrid of Deus Ex, Psychonauts and Mirror's Edge, but at the same time, it looks like it has serious potential. I'll be keeping an eye on this one up until its currently scheduled release in May of 2013 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC
It looks like everything old is new again, or at least it will be in September, when Double Dragon: Neon is released! An HD update to the classic '80s franchise, Double Dragon: Neon is a side-scrolling beat-em-up with a decidedly retro style. Billy and Jimmy have to save their girlfriend, and will traverse 16 different levels with five degrees of difficulty. And naturally, you can get some help from a friend with co-op play. Most curious is the fact that you can find or purchase songs that have mystical powers you can add to a mix tape. Weird.
The toony, cel-shaded graphics look a little weird... I almost wish they'd gone full-on retro and had them be super-pixellated. But if you want to check out Double Dragon: Neon for yourself, it will be releasing on the Playstation Network on September 11 for $9.99 and Xbox LIVE Arcade on September 12 for 800 Microsoft Points. So break out that old jean jacket and get working on your mullet now so you're ready!
The PlayStation Vita still hasn't had a real system-seller for me (I'm also kind of hoping for a price drop before this holiday season...), but when games were being announced before the portable's release, I definitely perked up when I saw that Silent Hill: Book of Memories was on the list. The title's similarity to the last good Silent Hill game I've played, Shattered Memories, immediately had me hoping for the best.
So imagine my disappointment to learn that it's actually a co-op multiplayer game instead of the usual survival horror. As time went on, I still sort of thought that maybe it might end up being okay, but every time I see screenshots of it, that feeling fades further and further away. I mean, it just looks like Silent Hill: Diablo to me. I mean, that's clearly what they're going for, but when I play a Silent Hill game, I want creepy survival horror that gets under my skin and freaks me out. If I wanted to play Diablo, I'd play Diablo.
Also, the quality of these graphics are kind of disappointing. Is it me, or do these look like PSP-quality? I know the Vita is capable of more. I've seen it. Just not here.
I know Project P-100 is just a working title, but with all the attention it's been getting, I almost think it would behoove Platinum Games to just go ahead and keep it! I heard everyone raving about this game after E3, and so when I saw it at Nintendo's Wii U presentation, I made sure to get my hands on it. I played it just after Pikmin 3, and they both share the same basic concept of collecting help to battle enemies and explore the levels.
Of course, with Project P-100, you're wacky superheroes trying to save the world from invading aliens. So from the section that I played as a demo, there seemed to be less strategy involved. As the game was booting up, I was informed that it came from the guys behind Viewtiful Joe, and as soon as the lead character showed up on screen, I could immediately see the connection with the character design. All big torso, tiny legs and arms and super-spiky hair. What I loved was that the heroes that you collect to add to your armada are all completely individual and... well, insane. The graphics are so detailed that each individual hero in your group has its own distinctive look. Like the guy whose head was a bathtub, and other assorted wackiness.
Using the Wii U GamePad, you explore the city and save the citizens in danger. I was instructed in the use of a rush attack, and then the ability to group all your heroes together into the shape of a weapon. There's a fist, a sword, and a gun. The gun is good for distances, but the hand can also be used to solve puzzles. There's also the ability to block and dodge enemy attacks. You activate these special powers by drawing on the touch screen, which displays the shapes for you. To save citizens and recruit them into your army, you either draw a circle on the touch pad or with the thumbstick.
Towards the end of the level, I was told to enter a warehouse, and then suddenly the game switched completely to the GamePad as the lead character went in alone, and then I was playing it completely on the GamePad. Unfortunately, I got completely discombobulated and couldn't even figure out how to activate the giant hand by myself to turn the dials to solve the puzzle before the timer on the demo ran out. I will say that the graphics on the GamePad section looked not as good as the ones on the TV, but that might have been just because it was zoomed in tighter on the character. It was so brief, and I was so confused by what I was supposed to do, but it almost looked like a portable version compared to a console version. (Albeit a very good portable version!)
After that, I played a boss battle against an absolutely giant robot thing where my group of heroes was basically fighting it out on his hand and forearm. It was kind of insane and over-the-top, but that's pretty much par for the course with Platinum Games. I'd expect nothing less. The demo of Project P-100 that I played was an awful lot of fun, and it seems like they're trying to use the Wii U GamePad in creative ways, which I appreciate. I asked if there was any way to customize the super heroes, or if they were just randomly assigned, but couldn't get an answer for that one. I just think that would be kind of cool. But I'm sure we'll find out more about the game (including maybe a final title for it) between now and when it hits stores during the "launch window!"
I do like a good pinball game, and I like Marvel Comics super heroes... and you all know what a sucker I am for anything in 3D. So I'm rather intrigued by the June 28 release of Zen Studios' Marvel Pinball 3D. The game will feature online leaderboards, hot seat multiplayer, multiple viewpoints and rewards for playing and accomplishing specific table missions. There will be four tables: Iron Man, Blade, Captain America and The Fantastic Four. Marvel Pinball 3D will be released for download June 28 in the Nintendo eShop for $7.99 in North America and €7.00 in Europe. I know Zen Studios has a bunch of Marvel pinball games, but I don't know if they're any good... I mean, they should be good. I liked Pinball FX on Xbox LIVE. Maybe they'll release a demo? I don't mind paying a couple dollars for something sight unseen, but $8? Hm...
I know there's a lot of Persona fans out there, so you're gonna love this one. UDON has announced that they are publishing Persona 3: Official Design Works, a 144-page softcover art book from the hit Atlus game! Persona 3: Official Design Works naturally features the usual sketches, production artwork, early design work, CG models, storyboards, backgrounds and whatnot, but Shigenori Soejima has added additional commentary to more than half the book! From his creative process to his feelings on the work and the characters, it's all there, including an 8,000 word interview. So this is one art book you're actually going to want to read! UDON went out of the way to make this one of their best art books ever, and included special paper, foil stamping on the cover, silver ink accenting on every page, and used a special printing process to make it their prettiest yet. Persona 3: Official Design Works will be in stores on June 26 for $39.99.
People may be complaining about the lack of innovation at E3 this year, but I feel like that's because Sony only mentioned their upcoming indie PSN games in the vaguest possible way. It was just a quick montage of logos and clips that said nothing about the games. And knowing that they're from developers like Twisted Pixel and the like, you know they're probably worth investigating.
Not that there's much to know so far about The Unfinished Swan, being developed by Giant Sparrow. You play as 10-year-old Monroe as he chases after a swan that has sprung to life from one of his mother's unfinished paintings. You will journey into a surreal unfinished landscape where you must throw paint to reveal the world around you in the stark whiteness.
I don't care if we have to rely on indie studios to provide the innovation in gaming, because when you get stuff like this, it doesn't matter where it comes from. The Unfinished Swan looks clever and utterly stunning visually, so I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on it when it releases exclusively on the PlayStation Network sometime this year. I just hope you don't actually need to use the Move controller to play, because while that's obviously the best way to be flinging paint at your TV, I don't actually own one!
Nintendo pleased a great many fans during its E3 2012 press presentation when it revealed the development of a new Scribblenauts game for the Wii U called Scribblenauts Unlimited. As an aside, they also mentioned that it would also be ported to the 3DS, but it also turns out this one's coming to the PC as well!
Scribblenauts Unlimited will have you helping Maxwell solve puzzles and challenges by summoning objects as varied as anything your twisted mind can come up with, but this time around, the game will actually offer up some of the hero's backstory, with information about his parents, twin sister Lily, and how he aquired this magical notepad.
"Bringing Scribblenauts Unlimited to new consoles lets players become Maxwell and experience the game play in entirely different, inventive ways," said Samantha Ryan, Senior Vice President, Production and Development, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "On Wii U, for example, the game is further enhanced by the touch screen on the new controller giving players an innovative way to interact with the action and a simple way to type in the word of his or her desire."Both the Wii U and PC versions of the game will feature a brand new "Object Editor" that takes the creative gameplay to the next level by allowing you to make, name and share your creations online. You're no longer limited to what's in the in-game dictionary. Now you can create your own objects from scratch or customize any in-game object by tweaking it however your fevered brain desires. You can then store these creations in Maxwell's "magic backpack" for future use. Scribblenauts Unlimited can also be played cooperatively with your friends in local multiplayer on Wii U. That's all Warner Bros. and 5TH Cell are saying at this point, but don't worry, they'll surely have much more to say between now and the game's "holiday" release date, so we'll pass the info along when we get it!
The Shin Megami Tensei series of RPGs is both phenomenally popular and critically-acclaimed, and Atlus has now announced that it is bringing a remastered version of Persona 4 to North American PlayStation Vitas this fall entitled Persona 4 Golden. Persona 4 Golden will present an enhanced and expanded portable version of the original with remastered visuals that Atlus promise will take full advantage of the Vita's OLED display. They've also added voicework to offer one-and-a-half times the voiced dialogue of the original. There's a new online dungeon rescue feature that will let players call on other gamers to help them when they're about to die in the TV world. Other added content includes new Personas to collect, new story events, an all-new character, new anime cutscenes (including a new opening animation and song from Shiji Meguro) and a host of "fan suggested tweaks and changes." Leave it to Atlus to not half-ass a portable port. They always go the extra mile to please the fans. That's why we love them so. Enjoy the first batch of screenshots below!
As always, PAX East was full of cosplay, whether from film, TV, games or anime/manga, and I have to say that the hotness was on full display this year. Seriously, there were some damn fine guys inside some of those damn fine costumes. (And girls, too! I don't discriminate!)
I would have been hard-pressed to pick a favorite until this guy who dressed as Rick from The Walking Dead. He was literally the last cosplay photo I took, as I was on my way out of the convention center on Sunday to go home when I ran into him. I knew who he was and asked for a picture, and didn't even see his sign until he held it up. But after I snapped the first photo and he flipped the sign over, I almost couldn't take the second picture I was laughing so hard. (Seriously, Carl is such a pain!)
Please to enjoy the elaborate costumes... and the hotness... after the jump!
One of the more... interesting games I saw at this year's PAX East was at the SEGA booth: Arkedo's Hell Yeah! Basically, it's a Metroidvania-style platformer full of over-the-top violence and gore. You're Ash, a devil rabbit and the prince of hell, but some scandalous photos of you and your rubber ducky in the tub were leaked on the hell-ternet, so it's up to you to find the person responsible for your humiliation, and take out everyone else on the way just for fun. There are 100 monsters to kill in 35 different ways across 10 huge game worlds. When you kill a monster, you'll enter a brief button-mashing mini-game (there are 35 of them) that lets you perform a completely insane finishing move. Not to mention the various weapons and upgrades you can buy with the money you collect... you can even change your outfit if you want to get all fashion-forward about it! It's all a bit much. And it's all a bit awesome and hilarious. What I played was bright, colorful, gory, violent, and most importantly, fun. When I asked Arkedo's co-founder Camille Guermonprez what inspired this ridiculously insane platformer, he admitted that it emerged from their frustration at dealing with a publisher who refused to pay their studio for the work they'd done on a game. "So we had to start to work for hire for once," he said. "And we did not like it at all. We had to do exactly what other people wanted us to do and we hated every moment of that and we kept on promising each other every week... 'Okay, next game it's ours and we kill monsters... and there's gonna be blood, right? And we're gonna kill them real hard, yeah?' 'Yeah, I promise you. Let's finish this job and I promise you the next game we will kill monsters and do it in awful ways.' But that's the basic idea of the stuff, it was frustration." The game is quite dark and violent, but infused with a lot of humor. "I was in charge of a bit of the writing of the game, and it's really hard," Guermonprez confessed. "Because we are trying to be irreverent, but not insulting. There are all the bad... the penis jokes, the boob jokes, the fart jokes... you've got them all in there. But we wanted also to make it the Pixar way. You know when you have parents and children and they are laughing at the same scene for two completely different reasons. And it's something that we are really trying to do and having quite a lot of difficulties translating stuff. Because it's a very fine balance, to be... that stupid!" Hell Yeah! has been rated Pegi 12 in Europe, and was recently given a 17+ here in the US, but Guermonprez admitted that they would have to do quite a bit of tinkering to get some aspects of the game through censors in Japan. But he insists that while the game is dirty and violent, its "in a cute way. That's the thing. Being outrageous, but in a very cute way!" Hell Yeah! is slated for download later this summer on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
Well, now that PAX East 2012 is over, I have to sort through all the information I gathered so that I can pass it on to you. I played plenty of games, and there's the annual cosplay gallery of cute guys in costume to post later on, but I wanted to start with the game that was to me, the surprise of the show.
Coming from Square Enix this summer on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC as a downloadable game, Quantum Conundrum is a first-person puzzle game. You play as a 10-year-old kid dropped off at his uncle's house, and this uncle is a mad scientist who has gone missing. It's up to you to use your uncle's invention, the IDS device, to manipulate the world around you and solve physics-based puzzles to proceed. You can make things fluffy (light), heavy, slow down time and reverse gravity. And you'll need to cleverly switch between each of these powers in order to figure out how to get out of the room you're in, past doors, switches, glass windows, laser beams, and whatnot.
If this sounds a little bit like Portal, there's a very good reason for this. The creative director of Quantum Conundrum is Kim Swift, who was the lead designer on Portal. So while it has a similar kind of feel to it, moving through a series of rooms and solving puzzles using physics, it's more than different enough. First off, there's no portals anywhere! Seriously, though, the time I played with the demo was super-fun and I loved the lighthearted humor and creativity of the puzzles. Granted, it was only a demo, but when you suddenly figure out what you need to do to proceed, those "ah hah!" moments are always worth it.
Unfortunately, I wasn't actually able to finish the entire demo, because at the very end, there was a lot of jumping, and I was playing the PC version, so I wasn't as good with the keyboard and mouse as I would have been with the PS3 gamepad at the other station. And I was running out of time with my appointment and decided to cut the demo short so I could talk to Swift and find out more about the game for you. See, I'm always thinking of you guys.
Quantum Conundrum should be out this summer on the 360, PS3 and PC, and there's no price point yet, but I should think it would be reasonable since we're talking about an average of 10 hours of gameplay depending on your skill level. I'll keep you updated when we do get a confirmed release date, though! Don't worry!