Sunday, March 31, 2013

PAX East 2013 Part 2 - Transistor, Rain Slick 4, Duck Tales Remastered, KH 1.5 HD Remix


Supergiant Games, creators of the marvelous and beautiful Bastion, just released the debut trailer for their upcoming title Transistor. In this title, you take control of Red, a famous singer in a futuristic world whose had her voice stolen and life threatened. Upon picking up a sword with the spirit of what seems to be her body guard, maybe her boyfriend, in it, Red is on her way to beat The Process, an all-seeing technological hivemind that polices her city.

The game features the narration stylings of Logan Cunningham, the same narrator from Bastion. His character is different and voice is less deep and grumbly, but it’s definitely him. The gameplay is similar to Bastion in that the fixed camera is set on an isometric plane. What’s new, and quite frankly wonderful, here is the new fighting system. Though you can wail away at enemies with a few different attacks, the strategy comes in when stopping time. Red moves at super speed, meaning you can plan your attacks and execute them with the same button. This mechanic is balanced in that you have a meter which goes down with both movement and actions, not unlike Valkyria Chronicles. After the onslaught, Red is left defenseless for a few seconds in order to recharge her meter. The demo also added another power which blinks the player across the map quickly, consuming the same attack meter mentioned earlier. These powers are culled from the bodies of the dead you find lying around in the road, so it’s almost as if their spirits are trying to help you beat the Process.

The writing is incredible, the gameplay is frantic at times and calculating at others, and the art is absolutely gorgeous, filled with colorful buildings, backgrounds, and characters. Remember how I mentioned Watch_Dogs was near the top of my watch list? Transistor is higher.

Release Date: 2014 maybe (their words, not mine)
Platform: I dunno man it’s like platforms are hard, y’know? They’re developing on PCs though!

Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4

That title never gets shorter. Zeboyd is back at it with the finale of the Rain-Slick series. Done in classic Zeboyd style, the game features turn based combat with the same mechanics we saw in Rain-Slick III, along with some high quality sprite art and an extraordinary level of writing. Well duh, what’s different? you may ask.

A number of things, actually!

First off, you control the main characters of the game, Gabe, Moira, Jim and (dun dun DUN!) Dr. Blood, but you don’t fight as them. Instead, you use avatar monsters that live in MonstOrbs to do your bidding. You can catch more monsters along your journey and they take on the stats of their trainers, this way the fighting system is a bit looser and allows you more choices and customizations to your characters. 

Another large change is the map. No longer are we on node-path world maps, ladies and gentlemen. We’re off to a true world map! You have no idea how happy that makes me. Node-path always feels so claustrophobic to me and having the ability to run about the overworld, even if it’s only the illusion of choice that I’m granted, feels so much freer and like I’m actually exploring instead of being led by the hand. The demo only covered the first few areas of Underhell (finish the DLC for an explanation on that), but they all seemed pretty red/brown/yellow to me. Lava and bones will do that I suppose. Hopefully we’ll see some more color variations as the game progresses.

One last thing — the developers have confirmed with me that, yes, you will be able to fly around the world map at some point. They didn’t want to commit to the word Airships (knowing Jerry, it’s probably going to be a dragon made entirely of spines), but I’ve been assured that I can fly around on the map. My life got about 2x better in that moment.

Release Date: Spring 2013 (boy that’s ending pretty quick)
Platforms: PC, XBLA

Duck Tales Remastered

If you didn’t know, Duck Tales Remastered exists and it’s coming out! It looks and feels like the old version, but looks worlds better. Capcom also got all the original voice actors form the show to reprise their roles to make this game as accurate as possible. That’s really all there is to say. Have a pretty picture and if you want some gameplay, to play the original, then just imagine that in 1080p. Rock out to the moon theme.

Release Date: Summer 2013
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix

Square has finally decided to cash in on the Kingdom Hearts franchise in the form of a compilation HD remake. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix includes Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, the version not released in America, along with Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, both remastered in glorious HD graphics. Also included on the disk is 2.5 hours of cinematics explaining Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

Besides the graphics, not much has changed. Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix finally has the camera mapped to the right joystick, helping to alleviate the camera issues in the Atlantica level. The cinematics explaining 358/2 Days are also new and aims to compress the incredibly depressing story down to 2.5 hours of straight watching. Yes, these scenes aren’t spliced into Re:Coded despite taking place at the same time, but are rather one large chunk of viewing. A bit of a poor choice to not let us take it in chunks during the game, but at least they put in the effort of summing up the third worst KH game so we don’t have to play it to be thoroughly saddened.

If you like Kingdom Hearts, this is going to fill your need until KH3 is announced, or at the very least KH2.5HDR is announced. Man that’s a terrible acronym.

Release Date: Q3/Q4 2013
Platform: PS3

Read Part 3!

PAX East 2013 - Zeboyd Interview

Rain Slick 4

The two genius-minds behind Zeboyd Games sit down with me to talk about Penny Arcade's On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4, the final game in the series. They talk about some of the design choices, changes from the last game, and get my mouth all frothy about having a traversable world map and flying device. You can read more about my impressions on the game here. You can stream the interview below:

Or download here directly

PAX East 2013 - Supergiant Games Interview

Transistor Game

Greg Kasavin from Supergiant Games tells me more about their latest game Transistor, goes in to how this game is a large perspective shift for him as a writer, and talks about how important bonding with the player is. You can read more about my impressions on it here. You can stream the interview below:

Or download here directly

Saturday, March 30, 2013

PAX East 2013 - Day Z Panel

The developers of Day Z give us an update on how the game is doing, some new mechanics (and bugs), and give some direction for the future.

PAX East 2013 Report Part 1 - Watch_Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Saints Row IV, and Last of Us

PAX has become a sort of mecca for gamers—as much a pilgrimage as it is a spectacle. When the first one was announced, gamers went ballistic. What? You mean I can go to a gaming convention where big name titles will be showed off? A convention that devs take seriously? Count me in! Since its inception, PAX has now spawned four separate conventions. Last week, I packed my bags and went to snowy Boston to brave the 50,000 some-odd people to go to my first PAX East. Was it all I had hoped for or should I have stayed at home and skipped all the Dunkin Donuts?

The devs came out in droves, from the megahuge (technical term) Bethesda to the two-man Zeboyd team, and they did not disappoint. Here’s the rundown of the biggest/best games at PAX East 2013.


The trailer we saw at the PS4 reveal was pretty much identical to the video Ubisoft showed off on the expo hall floor. Alex stealing someone’s bank account info, stopping a potential murder, catching the offender, and running away from the police. The video shown off at PAX East, however, was from the perspective of the ctOS, the city-wide operating system controlling all public functions, with narration by presumably some sort of law enforcement figure. The change in viewpoint also yielded some new information about what exactly Alex is hacking to get all this done. It’s a combination of hacking the ctOS and a beta police program to identify potential victims before crimes happen. So now we know Alex has access to at least what the police have access too, making him even more dangerous a character.

The trailer also revealed a sorta-new character. If you hadn’t already picked up on it, someone besides law enforcement is watching Alex through ctOS. The developers have also mentioned you could watch the game from any device, so maybe this is how they wrote in a third, all-seeing eye to monitor Alex, but the implications of someone other than Alex having access to as much as he does is interesting as well. We may not have learned much, but Watch_Dogs remains near the top of my watch list.

Release Date: Q4 2013
Platforms: PC, Wii U, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Admittedly, I haven’t been very excited about Assassin’s Creed IV since it was announced. If you would have asked me after Revelations if having a lead character who was a pirate assassin who commands his own ship, I would have screamed my vocal chords to shreds in excitement. However, it seems like they’re moving further and further away from stealth, a component I feel used to be at the heart of the AC franchise. ACIII saw the biggest departure from this, after making straight-up murdering people so much easier, de-emphasizing sneaking in missions and adding ship fights. You can’t really sneak around in a ship. Or maybe you can and I was just doing it wrong.

Assassin’s Creed IV seems like an even larger departure, showing our new protagonist Edward Kenway as a ruthless cutthroat. He inspires loyalty in his men, a crew you must manage within the game. You get into ship battles, sail to different islands to explore them, and of course, murder some Templars along the way. Though one of the developers in the video said stealth would be more emphasized, I don’t see how that could be true when so much of the game is non-stealth. I suppose we’ll see later this year, but at the moment, the only thing I’m excited about is potential bug fixes to the ACIII engine.

Release Date: October 29, 2013
Platforms: PC, Wii U, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360

Saints Row IV
It’s crazy, it’s over the top, and it’s coming back at you. I was so taken aback by this game I wrote about it the night after seeing the video. You can read what I thought here. Spoilers: it seems like insanity drowned in madness.

Release Date: August 20, 2013
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Last of Us
The line was long, I couldn’t get in. My bad. I wanted to play it as much as you wanted to read about it, probably more. Here’s some impressions from someone who did get in.

Release Date: June 14, 2013
Platform: PS3

Read Part 2!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tea Time with Star Stealing Prince

I want to use his chin to open cans of soup.
Back in the day, kids had to send their brilliant ideas to Squaresoft if they wanted it made into a game that only coincidentally resembles a combination of The Sword of Shannara and Tenchi Muyo. The Internet changed all that; was it for good, or for evil?

This tea time, we'll be spending our two hours with Star Stealing Prince, an indie RPG where every character is way too concerned with making sure the camera gets their good side.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Metal Gear Solid 5 Confirmed

In true good fashion and half-hearted surprise, Hideo Kojima showed up at a recent GDC panel wearing bandages as a self advertisement for the recently announced Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. In the Panel, Kojima showed a nice cinematic trailer with a lot of confusing images from exploding oil rigs to flaming unicorns, then a small amount of gameplay footage displaying how snake has been in a coma for 9 years and is trying to crawl his way out of his hospital room. It has been confirmed that MGS5 will be released on the Ps3, 360, and PC, but from the cinematic trailer, it looks ready for a next gen port.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saints Row IV Preview with Screenshots

If you know about it, you probably have a polarized opinion about it. The Saints Row franchise isn't for everybody, but one thing's for certain -- it knows what it's good at and continuously pushes its boundaries. Saints Row the Third saw the series pushed to its most surreal limits yet, but the recently announced Saints Row IV takes it a few steps further. We got to take a look at the new title at this years PAX East 2013. Have they jumped the shark, or will this hit their fans where it feels good?

Though we could not take any video, two representatives from the developer company showed us a guided walkthrough of some of the new features in IV, starting off with some melee moves. A buff man wearing star-spangled pants slides through a civilian's legs and flips him over by his groin. He then poses and says a catch phase.

"Oh, and by the way, the leader of the Saints is now the President of the United States."

Saints, man.

Not only is he the president, but so much strangeness has happened to the free world that it almost lost me to start off with. Aliens have invaded Earth and captured the Saints in order to brainwash and indoctrinate them to convince them to join the side of the aliens. To do this, they're placed within their own, personal hells with Steelport as the backdrop.

In this virtual simulation, the president sill has to take down aliens, run amock, and generally wreck things to get anything done; and to help him with the job, the developers have armed the protagonist with new weapons we got to see -- the inflate-o-ray and the dubstep gun.

Yes, the dubstep gun.

The inflate-o-ray, when shot at someone, inflates their head until it's twice the size of their body, then their eyes pop out ala Total Recall before popping and collapsing dead. Though this sounds a bit gruesome, I assure you it's hilarious. The dubstep gun elicited the best response. When fired, loud dubstep music plays, the lights turn into a rave and everyone starts gettin' down. And as you drop the bass, they drop to the floor. It was hysterical.

As if that wasn't enough, the main character also gets superpowers like super speed and gliding. Both of these make getting around the environment much faster and exponentially more fun since you can now also jump as high as buildings. I can now see the hours of youtube videos all titled "SICK SAINTS ROW IV JUMP."

The game releases August 20th and though we don't know too many details on the plot, we're assured we get to explore the nightmare worlds of all the Saints with the same drop in, drop out multiplayer we all love. If you're not afraid to dive in to what amounts to Mars Attacks + Saints Row, then you'll definitely want to check out Saints Row IV.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tea Time with Conclave

My astral self has been to prison
and she ain't afraid to go back.
Have you ever wistfully stared at your phone or tablet while your friend dismantles you in Words With Friends? Were you dreaming of repeatedly stabbing that triple score they just made because screw you, since when has sacbut been a word? What if I told you that instead of playing Scrabble with the serial numbers filed off, you could be a cool kid and play Dungeons & Dragons with the serial numbers filed off?

For this week's tea time, we're playing Conclave: a mobile-friendly multiplayer game that will allow you to finally reveal to your friends that you've been a treeperson wizard on the inside all along. Like always, it will have just two hours to impress us. In this case we're being nice and not making those two hours continuous.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

EA Launches Interactive Website For Battlefield 4

If it's a new year, it's time for another Modern Military Shooter(MMS). Whether poor timing after EA head John Riccitiello was let go, or just a simple coincidence, a new website was put up revealing that Battlefield 4 is in the works. The website is a screen with rain blurring out what is in the background. People can swipe at the screen with their mouse to reveal tanks in the background and the more people that log in and interact, the more is revealed. If you're hoping for a look at gameplay from the new shooter, March 27th is the day to tune in as it seems EA will reveal more then. While it seemed obvious enough that another Battlefield would be in development, it is surprising to hear about it so soon into the year. Either way with an announcement this soon, I'm sure there will be more at E3 in June.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Greatest RPGs You Haven't Played (Part II)

Hello again, good ladies and gentlemen! On the last installment of The Greatest RPGS You Haven’t Played I left you with a thrilling turn-based RPG in immortal steampunk adventure land, as well as a strategy-based RPG set in the trenches of something suspiciously like World War II. (Except, y’know, with mystical ancient Egyptian laser beams. Like if the Nazis actually HAD gotten the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones.) But enough of that nostalgia! We must press onward into the recesses of bargain bins of game stores everywhere in the hopes of finding the great unplayed RPGs of years past!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SXSW 2013 Gaming Report

SXSW 2013 Gaming Logo

As they do every year, tons of companies flocked to Austin, TX to show off the latest and greatest in tech to the world at South by Southwest. Though the gaming portion of the show isn’t the biggest or most prominent, the presence of the industry is growing with a few industry giants. I was lucky enough to pop by the show this year and see what the hubbub was about. Though I wasn’t expecting much of the budding gamer show, both Nintendo and Xi3 offered far more than I bargained for.


SXSW 2013 Gaming Nintendo Booth

The Wii U has been out for four some-odd months, but there aren’t any really huge, drawing titles yet. Though console sales are marginally successful and a handful of exclusives are alluring, there’s no real “I HAVE TO BUY THIS” title yet. As such, I wasn’t expecting much going into Nintendo’s large booth positioned right at the entrance, but I was wowed a few titles that weren’t even on my radar.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Monster Hunter 3 UltimateIf you like Monster Hunter, chances are you’ve at least heard of the latest and greatest revamp of the third game in the series. The first and most striking thing is the graphics. Holy wow, the graphics are great. Crisp textures, high definition resolution, and effects that really bring the series up to where it belongs – on a powerful console running in full HD resolution. Even my annoying AI sidekicks were cuter than in the previous games.

The gameplay is mostly the same, but there are more weapon class options, more weapon tiers, and a revamped inventory system. When using the Wii U gamepad, you simply click on the item to use and you use it, no menu scrolling, no required forethought, just quick item access. You have the option of setting your on-hand item still, but why would you when you can clearly see what you want on the gamepad and click it?

The other great thing about this game is that it’s not only on Wii U, it’s on 3DS as well, and the two play nice with each other by offering local, cross-platform multiplayer. Now multiple friends in the same room can go hunting together on multiple systems. The major problem with this functionality is that online play works with the Wii U, but not 3DS. With a series that emphasizes group hunts so much, you’d think they’d include this feature in the 3DS version as well, but they haven’t and have no plans to. It’s rather unfortunate and feels like a missed opportunity.

Overall, the game looks great, plays well, and is a decided upgrade from previous iterations of the game. It’s definitely worth a buy.

The Wonderful 101

The Wonderful 101
If you’re confused about this kinda-Pikmin, kinda-Viewtiful-Joe game, join the club. I had no idea what I was doing, even after playing it a few minutes. Then it all just kind of clicked.

You take control of a band of heroes who recruit citizens to become heroes as well to take down an alien menace. You can rally everyone together around one person, separate them between two enemies, or come together to use special attacks. The demo I played let me have two special modes – sword and fist – that allowed for special attacks like sword smashing or giant fist punching. These moves trained our collective “battery,” but were quite powerful. It was great fun chaining together group attacks and specials to create a lethal combo for the aliens. The other interesting thing about the special modes was that they also allowed for context-sensitive actions. So for instance, you could turn into a hang glider, rope, or chain with the sword mode, and turn giant cranks with the fist mode.

Taking all of this in with the controls, maps, and learning what attacks do what took time. This is not a “pick up and play” title, but it’s fairly close. After five minutes, I was a human-sword wieldin’, battery eatin’ son of a gun.

This game is tons of fun from what I’ve played. The only concern I have is whether it’s still going to be as fun in hour 10 as it is in hour 2. At the moment, I’d say rent it, but after giving it a proper go, I could easily see this turning into a buy.

Lego City Undercover

Lego City UndercoverThis game is the one that surprised me the most. I’ve liked the Lego games, but they haven’t really been my cup of tea. The gameplay was fun and the humor was pretty good, but it just never clicked with me.
Lego City Undercover clicked with me instantly.

This game has been called Lego GTA. And aptly so. As Detective Chase McCain, you’ll run around Lego City catching bad guys, driving cool cars, and rebuilding justice brick by Lego brick. Lego City itself is incredibly vast, offering rich landscapes and detailed architecture. The colors are bright and vibrant, the controls for vehicles are fun and intuitive, and the ambiance is absolutely perfect for a Lego game.

The thing that stands out the most about this title is the humor. You know how comedians like Brian Regan are really funny, and you realize later that it’s also family friendly? For some reason, we have a stigma associated with all-ages humor that’s really undeserved. And I’m not on a high-horse about this, I completely expected for this game to feel like it was directed at an audience younger than me, but it really wasn’t. From the opening cut scene to the murmured conversations I passed by on the street, the humor is smart, and incredibly funny. And you know that humor in cartoon shows where there’s a joke for a kid and a joke for an adult? That doesn’t happen here. All the jokes apply to all the people all the time. Whoever the writers were for this are excellent and deserve more than they’re probably getting paid.

Based off of the responsive gameplay, expansive world, and refreshingly brilliant humor, I’m not only paying attention to this game, I’m buying it on release day.


Ever since it was first rumored to be an official Steam Box, Xi3’s Piston has been turning heads. And for good reason. What’s not to love about an 8GB, 1080p resolution gaming, low power dynamite gaming PC that can fit in your hand?

Xi3 Piston Xbox Controller

The full specs haven’t been entirely released, but what we do know is that the base model comes with a 128GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and a 3.2 GHz Quad Core processor. In talking with one of the reps, I learned that not only is the processor an AMD APU, one of their graphics-heavy desktop processors, but it’s on a socket that AMD has committed to supporting for the next ten to twelve years. This means if you buy a Xi3 Piston, AMD has promised you can upgrade your processor at any time in the next ten years. This information is hugely significant, as it can be difficult to justify spending a ton of money on something that’s not future proofed.

And you will be spending a relatively high amount of money. I was told that the base model starts at $999, but the website is listing it for $899, with upgrades to the hard drive coming in at $340 additional for the 256GB SSD, and $750 for the 512GB SSD.

Xi3 Piston Cases

The specs are impressive. When compared to a current gaming rig, the Piston can hang in there with the best of them for a relatively similar price point. Not much hard drive storage for a reasonable price, but it has a few other advantages. Not only is the form factor small enough to fit two in an orange juice carton, but it draws very little power. At their booth, the Piston was playing Transformers 3 in 1080p while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 at ~30 frames per second while drawing less than 25W. For comparison, that’s about as much as some monitors. And at maximum, it can only pull less than 65W. When you compare that to modern desktop systems where the PSUs are rated for 400W on average, and it’s easy to see why this is impressive. Another benefit of the low power, besides saving you money, is the heat output. Less power means less heat. While running the movie and playing the game, the console felt as warm as a hamburger straight from the drive thru.

SXSW 2013 Gaming Xi3 Booth

I love this system and if I had a use, or if my gaming rig needed updating, I’d purchase it plus an external drive (there’s four eSATA ports if you need more storage).

Though I came to the Palmer Events Center expecting gamer-branded nonsense, indie games, and app developers trying to make a name for themselves, it seems big players in the industry are taking notice of SXSW and treating it seriously. Nintendo’s great Wii U lineup coupled with Xi3’s incredible product showing marks what I believe to be a rise in the importance of SXSW as a gaming show.

March 2013 Podcast

SimCity is the talk of the town as gamers rage against both Maxis and EA. Devin, Colby, and Casey explain the fiasco, discuss EA CEO John Riccitiello's departure from the company, cover the impending release of Ouya, and touch on TF2.

Subscribe to us on iTunes

Or download here directly

Monday, March 18, 2013

AristoGamer March 2013 Podcast

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for the March 2013 podcast. Let AristoGamer take you into spring with these topics:

  • SimCity and DRM
  • PetaCraft
  • MechWarrior
  • TF2's evolution and Oculus Rift support

How to download and use Teamspeak

Date: Monday, March 18
Time: 8:00pm Central Time


Minh Le, AKA Gooseman, one of the co-creators of the original Half-Life mod Counter Strike, has announced that the game Tactical Intervention will have an official release on March 28th of this year. In fact, the game is now in open beta should anyone wish to check it out before launch at the Tactical Intervention website.

Minh Le left Valve some time after Valve acquired Counter Strike in order to pursue further game developments, culminating to this upcoming release.  The game is a team based FPS that utilizes the Source engine, pitting terrorist and counter-terrorist teams in a variety of game modes including team deathmatch, hostage rescue, escort, and staged mission modes.

...Yes, we're talking about Tactical Intervention, even with how eerily familiar this all sounds.

Minh Le has shown in the trailer (seen below) that even though it is similar to Counter Strike, Tactical Intervention shows to include new features including reactive NPCs (possible potential hostages to grab), car chases, and attack dogs.

Hopefully the final game shows to be a bit more unique than anticipated because based on the play from Beta, it feels more like 85% unrefined Counter Strike and 15% Call of Duty mechanics. Hopefully Counter Duty isn't the real future of this game.

Full Trailer:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tea Time with Star Conflict

Another Friday, another pot of tea. Each week, we spend just two hours getting to know a game. If we don't approve, we know not to speak of them again.

For this tea time, we have invited Star Conflict: a free-to-play space combat game with a matchmaking system that is primarily focused on PVP. If anyone expresses exasperation at this style of game becoming popular, feel free to slowly turn the volume up on your boombox until they're drowned out by Danger Zone.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nintendo Loses Patent Lawsuit: Owes 30.2 Million

The very platform that Nintendo marketed their 3DS portable device on, which was the concept of "3D without the glasses," was stolen from another company, Tomita Technologies. In July 2011, Tomita Tech filed a lawsuit against Nintendo stating that Nintendo had infringed upon their patent which related to "diplaying stereoscopic images on-screen for viewing with the naked eye." That technology, which was the basis of the 3DS hardware, was patented by Tomita in 2008, and now Nintendo owes them more than $30 Million in damages. If it wasn't enough that the WiiU wasn't selling as well as they had hoped, we can imagine how this lawsuit will cut into their profits.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tea Time with Wine & Roses

Welcome to the first article in a new ongoing series here at AristoGamer: Tea Time! Each week, we'll examine a new game during a leisurely tea break. They'll have just two hours to show us what they've got. If they can't impress us by then, they're not trying hard enough.

This week, we'll be sharing our time with Wine & Roses, an indie game constructed in RPG Maker. Wine & Roses was officially completed in early November of last year, featuring a unique soundtrack, gothic art, and a steady stream of quotes from horror writers to remind you that the lab battle music is supposed to be scary dubstep.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dungeonland Review

J enters the realm of Dungeonland, a dungeon crawler that couldn't possibly have a more generic name. Could that be indicative of its quality, or is it as deceitful as J's mustache is glorious?

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

As The cliched title might suggest, the internet has graced us with more information about a few new games that are slated to be released later this year. Company of Heroes 2 will be releasing June 25 with much anticipation after having been in production for a while. After the IP was acquired by Sega through THQ's asset auction, the game will finally be releasing in about 3 months.
If point-and click dramas are more your style, Telltale's Season 2 of The Walking Dead is on track for a fall 2013 release window. After the resounding success of season one, and plenty of questions left to be answered, I'm sure many are waiting with baited breath for the newest set of episodes set in The Walking Dead Universe.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Greatest RPGs You Haven’t Played (Part I)

It’s a very interesting time of development for the gaming industry. Nintendo released the Wii U last November, and after a somewhat lackluster release lineup, 2013 looks as though it could be the year that the Wii U really shows its potential. Not only that, but Sony recently debuted some of the technical specs and initial release lineup for the PS4, and Microsoft will most likely announce their next generation system at E3 in three months’ time.

You know what that means to this writer? Absolutely nothing, as of now. I may be one fancy individual with the grace and nobility of Daniel Day Lewis, but as I have not yet acquired any oil fields in the deep south, I do not own a swimming pool of money. And despite what some gamers might say, food is slightly more important than new gaming pursuits. So I have been spending my recent gaming time going through the great RPGs of past years; games with rich and compelling worlds, well-written characters, an engaging combat system, and a beautiful soundtrack. I’m certainly excited for the new horizon of the gaming industry, but there are some games that I will always hold close to my heart.

These RPGs are not major blockbusters like Final Fantasy XIII or Skyrim. They may have caught your eye once or twice, or were recommended to you by a wise friend, but you were too busy blasting halos with your gears of war to pay attention. So I thought I would share some of these wonderful games with you before the next generation systems are released and you spend all of your gaming time enjoying their 3D compatibility, super HD resolution, motion controls, six-layer axis controls, pineapple dongles, and other such things. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Get Excited for Treasure Adventure World

Do you like Metroid? Did you decide to forgive Castlevania for making you feel bad at platforming games when they started releasing handheld titles? What are your feelings on parrots?

Treasure Adventure Game was released as freeware in late 2011. It had it all: platforming, hook hands, sidequests, and a charming minimalist design that will barely keep your rage in check as you just miss that jump.

It's moments like this that help me keep away the darkness inside.
In what I hope is becoming a tradition for stellar indie games, Treasure Adventure Game is getting the Cave Story treatment with an upcoming rerelease: Treasure Adventure World. This is a full on remix and not just a retooling. In addition to improved graphics, a new soundtrack (not that the old one did the game a disservice), and cutscenes that will assuredly be AAA quality and full of attack helicopters, there will also be general upgrades to the AI, puzzle design, and collectible-hunting.

You know what that means. It's time to play Treasure Adventure Game right now so you can be all hipster about World.

There's a lot of good to be seen in TAG: if you sincerely think Metroidvania should be a real game and not just a colloquialism, you'll find yourself at home here. You play a young boy who, after being woken up by his grandmother, sets out for adventure.

In 2012, one in ten boys suffered injury or death after they attempted to adventure under the influence of being woken up by a maternal figure.
Yeah, that sounds familiar. A lot about the game is familiar, which happens to be a plus for the discerning nostalgic gamer. Treasure Adventure Game delivers that kind slowly-fill-in-the-blanks gameplay that awakens the player's inner completionist. Initially, you're lead around by the nose a bit. The further you progress into the game, however, the more things you have to mark off as being "for later."

Between the "oh man, I bet this thing will finally let me get that treasure chest I saw at the beginning of the game!" feeling and the diverse sprite environments, TAG really does feel like a big place. Treasure Adventure World promises not only redone puzzles but also new equipment and collectibles, so you can expect even more places to tromp around and more annoyingly placed paintings of old men blocking your way to a chest. Don't worry, I'm sure that magic paint thinner is just around the corner.

For all its charm, TAG does have a few pitfalls that we at Aristogamer are hoping to see addressed. In the first thirty minutes of playing this game you will likely end up standing awkwardly outside of a store you need to get into that's been locked for the night. Luckily, time passes when you're tabbed to your browser, so it'll likely be open by the time you're done browsing forums to confirm that, yes, there is a time-sensitive element in this game but no immediate wait or sleep utility.

For the most part, the general difficulty of the platforming, puzzle solving, and monster slapping is in the right place. There are some segments, however, that feel straight out of the S/NES playbook. Some developers may have had some kind of rationale for making things frustrating or repetitive to extend playtime back in the day, but is it really necessary now? Not all nostalgia is good, especially if it's being invoked by falling into a previous area and having to retrod your way through content you've already cleared just to try again.

Don't let that put you off. All in all, Treasure Adventure Game was an incredibly polished indie offering that felt like a sincere love-letter to the Zeldas and Metroids out there. Treasure Adventure World promises even more of the same, and a tightening up of whatever missteps its predecessor may have made.

Also, I'm told the last boss is likely Frieza.

Missed out on Treasure Adventure Game and want to see what all the fuss is about? Get the full original game for free at Robit Studios.

Want to read more about Treasure Adventure World? Check out the trailer and press release.

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