Friday, May 31, 2013

Tea Time with War of the Currents

Rraa... dark knight. Dark knight.
This Tesla vs. Edison gimmick is on thin ice. In fact, we nerds should have probably called it a good run after Five Fists of Science and hung the idea up. Then again, when have taste and moderation been a hallmark of nerdery?

We'll spend this tea time with War of the Currents, a game where Nikola 'Nice Guy' Tesla continues his eternal battle with Thomas 'Did You Know He Was A Dick?' Edison.

Video Review Delay

Sorry everyone, but due to some hardware issues and the new product we're reviewing getting in a bit late, the video review will be out next week instead of Saturday. But I promise it's worth it! I wonder what it could be on...

Also, if you're going to be at A-Kon this weekend, see our own Colby in the Master Debaters panel Friday night at 9 PM!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Remote Play is (Mostly) Mandatory for PS4 Games

What will be a hopeful boost for the Vita owners of the world, Sony President Shuhei Yoshida confirmed in a tweet that unless a PS4 game needs other external peripherals, like the camera or Move, the game must be playable on the Vita as well. While it seems to possibly help boost the sales of the PS Vita, it could also tie developers hands by requiring the game to be available on both the PS4 and the Vita. Though with how well the system can handle current-gen ports, it might be easier to port PS4 games to the Vita and provide the chance generate additional revenue

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Did You Miss...Guacamelee?

Guacamelee LogoIndie titles have been gaining tons of traction lately. With titles like Minecraft and Bastion showing AAA companies and gamers that you don’t need a staff of hundreds to create high quality products, more people have been willing to give good ole indies a try. And that’s how I stumbled upon Guacamelee. I needed something to play on a plane ride and after downloading Final Fantasy VI for the fifth time, I decided I wanted a change. I’d heard the name before, but only knew it was an indie title having something to do with luchadors. On a $15 whim, I downloaded it and played it on my Vita. Is it as entertaining as the title suggests, or would I wish I had just said nah-chos?

Guacamelee stars Juan Aguacate, an agave farmer with a magic luchador mask on a mission to save his childhood friend and possible love interest, who also happens to be El Presidente’s daughter, from the evil undead skeleton Calaca. The story not only features Mexican folklore, but embraces is wholly and gives its own take. From the land of the dead to the building architecture and casual Spanish, this game really takes on the culture of Mexico and makes it accessible by having fun with it.

Guacamelee Posters

This game not only pulls from Mexican folklore, but from internet and video game culture for its jokes. With luchador posters featuring the likenesses of Bane and Batman to Super Meat Boy and Mega Man, and even Grumpy CAt, this game has so many in-jokes, you’re always looking for more. In fact, the primary way you get new moves is by destroying Choozo statues. If you’re a fan of the Metroid series, you’ll spot the similarities immediately. The most impressive thing about these references is that none of them feel gimmicky or out of place. In the same way that Guacamelee takes on Mexican culture by integrating it into the game, so too is the culture cultivated by the gaming community.

The gameplay is excellent. It’s basically a platforming puzzle-ish game with bosses. Think Metroid, but with melee only weapons. Well-balanced enemies along with a snappy and intuitive combat system make fights challenging, but never overly frustrating. After pummeling an enemy enough, you can pick them up to throw them at others, adding another dynamic to play in that you may want to focus on a group of enemies quickly just to pick up one and throw him at the rest, leading you into a tossing parade of baddie carcasses across the screen.

Guacamelee Throwing
"Ever felt the total exhilaration of really flying? Feel this"

It’s great.

Another interesting aspect about the combat is that your special moves are not only utilized in fights, but also just to navigate. The first move you get is a punch that sends you skyward and it acts as a sort of second jump when you need just a little extra height. In the same way bombs in Metroid can let you ball-hop, the versatility of moves in Guacamelee aren’t just limited to combat, a design choice I quite enjoy.

Guacamelee Choozo
Speaking of Metroid, have a Chozo err Choozo

The art style, as you can tell by the images above, is relatively simplistic. It looks almost hand-drawn, like Samurai Jack. The simple art style means that variations in color mean much more. For example, when the hyper-colorful splash screen that means you got a power-up appears, it feels really visually satisfying. The less intense graphics also mean that the frame-rate is buttery smooth all the time.

Guacamelee Colors
This just looks so Samurai Jack to me it hurts

The game also features co-op, letting one other friend join in on the baddy smashing action. Though you do have to be connected to the same system, meaning no luck for Vita-only owners, you can connect the Vita to a PS3 to jump in.

Another quick point to note is that the power-up controls felt sloppy on the PS3. I had no problems selecting what move to use on my foes on Vita, but when I switched to my old Sixaxis, I had to be more precise with my motions.

Guacamelee Luchador

Verdict: Overall, Guacamelee is a fantastic game, especially for the price. It’s funny without being annoying, the combat is fluid and dynamic, and it has enough replay value to warrant playing a few times. If you like games like Metroid or the enemy-juggling of Devil May Cry, Guacamelee is the next indie title you’ll fall for.

May 2013 Podcast

Casey, Devin, Colby, Ben, and Nine discuss the Xbox One announcement and compared Microsoft's new baby to Sony's PS4. Nintendo's announcement to not do a press conference at E3 was also discussed.

Subscribe to us on iTunes

Or download here directly

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

AristoGamer May 2013 Podcast

Summer's here and with it, tons of gaming news! Tonight we'll be talking all about

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox One vs PS4
  • E3 this year

How to download and use Teamspeak

Date: Tuesday, May 28
Time: 8:00pm Central Time

Mojang's Upcoming Game Scrolls Enters Beta

The creators of the still popular Minecraft have finally brought their next project, Scrolls, into open beta.  This is the same game that gained notice when in 2012 Bethesda slapped Mojang with a lawsuit over the trademark use of Scrolls, claiming it infringed on the Elder Scrolls franchise. Thankfully, the lawsuit was settled with the promise that Mojang "would give Bethesda the trademark, get to keep the name, and won't make an Elder Scrolls competitor using the name. The actual document I signed was like a billion pages, so at least we know a bunch of lawyers got rich. Good, wouldn't want them to starve".

Based on what's seen in the trailer (posted above) players will collect cards and build decks that use characters and abilities on a battle field, both in single and multiplayer mode (including the ability to trade cards).  Though seemingly simple in design, this is Mojang we're talking about and we know that they're not ones to be considered lacking in creativity.

Beginning June 3rd, PC and Mac owners can purchase a key for the open beta off the game's official website for $20.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tea Time with WGRealms 2: Siege Breaker

One month at wizard gym and
he cuts the sleeves off of his robe.
The wounds have had time to heal. Duke Nukem Forever was almost two years ago. We should put it behind us and remember a time where Duke was a parody and not an ill-advised throwback to some era that never existed.

This tea time, we're playing WG Realms 2: Siege Breaker, in which the Duke of Nukem is transported to Ye Olde Fantasye Worlde and fights demon knights with a rotary saw.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Epic Mickey 2 Coming to Vita In June

In news that doesn't involve Microsoft or the Xbox One, the sequel to Epic Mickey will be ported over to the Playstation Vita. Though Epic Mickey 2 was released to poor reviews, and even caused a studio to close down, Sony is moving forward with the port and is releasing it on June 18. Whether or not it will help the game remains to be seen, but it is another game to help get past the lack of anything else.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Welcome to The Xbox One

Today is the day the flame wars re-ignite with a fervor. Microsoft announced their new console, the Xbox One, and it was quite...interesting. It started off with Don Mattrick, the president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, talking about the new experience the Xbox One is going to deliver. He used bullet points like "Harmonizing your experience" and put a lot of emphasis on connecting the devices in your home to make a seamless transition. After a lot of cool phrases and powerful lines, Mattrick let the Xbox One speak for itself, showing off a video of the console itself, the new Kinect and controller it will ship with, and finally showing all the hardware on stage for everyone to see.
After switching presenters to another Microsoft Executive, Yusuf Mehdi, The Xbox One was used as a cable box, watching TV directly through the menu, switching back and forth from games, to movies, to music, all with new, streamlined Kinect gestures and voice controls. Mehdi boasted about the Xbox One being a center for all of your entertainment needs, and how well it integrated with watching TV. The whole demonstration was impressive from a technical standpoint, with a lot of fast navigation and even the ability to multi-task on the Xbox One. Another bullet-point speech talked about how innovative the architecture and hardware behind the new system, the new Kinect, and Xbox Live would improve on the already awesome community. Mehdi showed off the ability to search on the internet while watching a movie and answer a skype call, which was a really nice segue into the new services and partnerships that were introduced at this conference.
Sports and ESPN were showcased heavily with the ability to watch a game live and update fantasy sports teams on the spot, and switch back and forth from game to game, viewing replays and clips that also can be shared with your friends. To accompany the sports services, EA sports made an appearance, revealing 4 new games that will be out for Xbox One within a year, and a new Fifa game type exclusive to the X1. Their biggest sports announcement was a partnership with the NFL, and then that was almost all of it.
Microsoft did promise 15 exclusives in the first year, but all we heard about in the presentation, besides the sports games, was another Forza title, the new Call Of Duty: Ghosts, and a new IP titled Quantum Break, which wasn't more than a live-action scene and a ship crashing into a bridge. They also announced a partnership with Steven Spielberg and 343 to create a Halo TV series.
In my opinion the conference was overall boring. While I know I'm not the target audience for games like Fifa, Madden, and Call of Duty, but there wasn't anything really that excited me beside the fact that there is a new console. I know Microsoft is going to have a lot of info and a lot more games at E3, but I wish that there was more for the early adopters that will support the system when it launches. Tune in next week when we discuss the new Xbox One and what the Aristogamer thinks about the conference.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tea Time with Synaesthete

Never pay attention to seizure warnings.
This week marks the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, an event where people all over the world gather around to yell at Europe for voting incorrectly. Why did you pick another ballad over rapping astronauts? Look at what you've become, Sweden.

In honor of bad musical choices, this tea time features Synaesthete, a rhythm game that has a few things to share with you concerning the nature of existence.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Google Thinks Sharing Is Caring

In the recent Google I/O event, many different presentations were held showing off all the amazing things Google is planning for the future. Whether any of these "amazing" new features are going to be any good remains to be seen, but they did announce something very interesting regarding games on portable devices. First they announced the Google Play Game Services which will introduce leaderboards and achievements similar to Apple's game center, with a very nice twist. The service will be tied to your Google+ account and will be available on both Android and iOS devices, meaning you and your friends don't have to fight about who has the better phone since you can all play games together. They also showed off playing a game across different tablets, phones, and everything in between, taking another step in the direction of universal play, no matter what device you have.
See? Look at all these different devices get along!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ghouls and Glitches: Revisiting the Sony/Bethesda Relationship

Last week, Bethesda announced the development of it’s newest title - Wolfenstein: The New Order. This new installment of the Wolfenstein series takes place in an alternate 1960, in which the Nazis won World War II. Also, the Nazis have the giant death tripods from War of the Worlds, along with several other overzealously destructive weapons. Based on the initial info provided, it seems like a promising first person shooter! Hooray for overthrowing the Nazis! Hooray for alternate realities! Hooray for giant laser beams! Hopefully, for Sony console owners, this game actually works properly.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Capcom Announces Details on Ace Attorney 5

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is one of the best selling game series for the Nintendo DS, providing stimulating puzzles, entertaining in-depth storylines, and creative gameplay, all set in the world of a courtroom. Capcom has now FINALLY announced the next official sequel to the series (previously only known as Ace Attorney 5) as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies. This long awaited sequel is set to take place eight years after the 4th installment to the game series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.

In this announcement, Capcom also released the official trailer (seen above) to give some insight into the new game. The game starts in a literally and metaphorically destroyed court room, setting the stage for the player. With the help of his new assistant Athena Cykes and the young Apollo Justice, Phoenix Wright is to use a brand new Mood Matrix system during interrogations and cross-examinations in order to trip up the witness with contradictions between their statements and emotional state.  Players can expect to enjoy classic gameplay from the previous installments, as well as clever dialogue and witty interactions, all while using the beautiful graphical capabilities of the 3DS. Not much is known in the upcoming storyline or other characters that are to be included in this game (whether it be returning characters or new ones, including the anti-hero prosecutor). However, given the success of the other games, I think it's a safe set high hopes with Dual Destinies.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies is set to be available for digital download on the Nintendo 3DS in Fall 2013.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tea Time with Red Rogue

How do I always end up looking
fantastic in every game I play?
Roguelikes are perhaps the oldest form of nerd torture: a program made to evoke the feeling of that kid who you don't really like but who is willing to DM sitting across the table from you, smugly announcing that he rolled 94: 3 Tyrannosauruses on the random encounter table.

Yet, one of the most popular examples of a Roguelike is arguably Diablo 2. Everyone loves Diablo 2, right? And Binding of Isaac did well! Our guest for this tea time, Red Rogue, has been well received since its December release. I wasn't eaten by a tyrannosaur, so I'm tentatively pleased as well.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Grand Turismo Event May Reveal Next Title In Series

With the 15th anniversary of the Grand Turismo series coming up this month, it seems only appropriate that a lot of cool things happen to commemorate one of the franchises that has been on a sony console since the beginning. Polyphony Digital, the development company behind the GT series, is holding an event in the UK celebrating the franchise and "provide and update on the future of the Grand Turismo franchise..." Earlier this year, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe executive Michael Denny said that GT6 would be released in 2013 on the PS3, so it remains to be seen whether this is just the official announcement or possible another kind of prologue/demo release that Polyphony has been know to do in the past. Sony also sent a teaser trailer with supposedly some hints about the new game, but I'm not sure if I see any.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Oh Nintendo, Why Do You Confuse Me So

It seems like there is a lot of smoke and mirrors behind a major decision that a company makes. I don’t work at Nintendo, so I couldn’t begin to explain why they would launch the 3DS without at least a few strong launch titles. I also have no basis for understanding why they decided to not hold a major press conference at E3 like their counterparts. I mean come on Nintendo, there are a lot of things that you can do but sometimes you just confuse me.
Look at all the cool things it will do someday! A bunch
of developers want to make games for it, I promise!
I am a pretty big fan of Nintendo. Most of the people I know have memories of the NES or SNES, playing with friends and spending time beating the last level of Super Mario Bros or finishing off Ganon in Legend of Zelda. And every time they come out with a new system, Nintendo generally, eventually offers really strong titles that are fun, engaging and memorable. However, the company also does things that seem to make no sense at all. The WiiU seems to be faltering on sales and is definitely not as successful as the Wii was at launch. Ever since the WiiU was revealed, Nintendo has been trying to get everyone excited, showing off this gamepad that lets you play games on it without the TV, and all the different games that utilize this giant touch screen in the middle of a controller. They even made a video with various developers talking about how awesome the WiiU is and the kinds of things it can do. Yet even now, there isn’t much to do on the thing except play Nintendoland and Monster Hunter. That’s not a bad thing either, as both of those games are really good, but when a new console is released and has been sold around the world for 5 months, I can’t help but wonder what else is on there.
Nintendo has had to reduce their expected sales figures for the WiiU twice now, from the expected 5.5 million units back in 2012. Now they have only sold 3.5 million units worldwide. Not only that, but the 3DS sales were lower than expected as well. And I think both problems tie into the same paradigm that has haunted Nintendo for a long time: A lack of strong titles at launch. When I use the phrase “strong titles,” I usually refer to games that can sell systems, or games that make you want to buy the system. Nintendoland is a great game, but it isn’t what I want to play for the next month or so when I buy the system. When the PS4 was officially announced, Sony brought out a slew of games that were expected to be available at, or near, the launch date. If even only a fraction of that were available for the WiiU during the holiday season, I bet more units would have been sold at the time and shortly after. Sure, more titles will be released as time goes on, with interesting games that utilize the WiiU’s gamepad and can sell the system, but if the WiiU has to compete with the PS4 and Microsoft’s unannounced next-gen console, Nintendo needs to change their perspective on what they believe will make more money. After having to announce 2 consecutive years of profit loss, I think it’s time for something to change. Nintendo was on the right track with the Nintendo Direct Press Conferences, and then they decided to not have a major press conference at this year’s E3.
The Nintendo Direct Press Conferences is one of the smartest moves that the company has made. While slightly irregular in their releases, the conferences have released more information about games that I am interested in than the past 2 or 3 E3 Press Conferences put together. The fact that they are putting these videos out straight to fans over the internet is a really smart move, letting them continually put out solid content and keep fans interested in both the WiiU and the 3DS. Yet, that doesn’t mean that they can just disregard one of the biggest stages for generating possible revenue. To be fair, Nintendo is still going to have a presence at E3. Instead of having a large, hour and a half conference, as many other major developers do, Nintendo is going to have a smaller conference that is open only to developers and distributors. It seems likely that they would also have at least one Nintendo Direct Conference ready and plenty of demos on the show floor, but that may not be enough, especially with both Sony and Microsoft threatening to make them an afterthought with their new consoles. If Nintendo wants to try and reach the sky-high numbers of sales that the Wii hit, Nintendo Direct Press videos and game demos at E3 aren’t going to be enough.
Satoru Iwata speaking bad english on the internet is not the way
to generate more revenue for the WiiU and 3DS
One of the reasons the Wii was so popular was because people who don’t normally play video games bought the system. Every other grandfather, aunt, uncle, principal, and lawyer had a Wii because it was a great game to play with family or with their children. Those people probably don’t habitually watch Nintendo Direct Press Conferences, or check in with gaming sites to see the latest news. It feels like Nintendo is at odds with itself, having decisions that are great and will be good paths for them in one hand, and then decisions that are bad ideas with potentially devastating effects in the other. The WiiU gamepad looks like a great tool for developers, essentially making a larger DS, with players having a personal screen to play around with. But that cannot be the sole reason to buy a console, especially when there are only a few games that utilize the screen well. I can only imagine how a strategy game or puzzle game would really benefit from the Gamepad, with all of the screen space in your hands for puzzles, strategy and interaction, and your TV screen devoted to really good graphics. Yet playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II is frustrating and ridiculous. Since E3 is coming up and we are sure to see a few more Nintendo Direct videos, Nintendo has a chance to really sell the WiiU with new games that a lot of people are hoping for.
Even through all of this Nintendo-Bashing, I want them to succeed. I want to see what they might do next with another Zelda or Donkey Kong title, or even new IPs that haven’t been announced yet. There are plenty of games out there to play and Nintendo has always been able to catch my attention with strong titles like Super Mario 3D land or The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and at this point all anyone can do is wait and see what else the company has to pull out of their hat.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

EA Obtains Video Game Rights to 'Star Wars' Franchise

Many Star Wars and gaming fans were dealt a surprising blow last month when Disney dissolved LucasArts, the classic video game development arm of Lucasfilm. Some fans were devastated, as LucasArts was an iconic company, responsible for major successes such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Star Wars: TIE Fighter. However, LucasArts' most recent projects had been met with a great deal of criticism, and some Star Wars fans hoped that a new development studio could reinvigorate the video game franchise. 

Yesterday, Disney decided the fate of Star Wars video games by giving exclusive development rights to the software company Electronic Arts. EA Labels President Frank Gibeau was thrilled to give the announcement, stating that "Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe." EA continued by announcing that future Star Wars games would be developed by in-house teams, including Bioware and Visceral (responsible for the creation of Knights of the Old Republic and Dead Space, respectively). 

For some fans, this news could herald a positive future for the Star Wars universe. Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic remains one of the most popular Star Wars video games ten years after its release, as well as one of the highest ranked games of the 2000-10 decade. Another Star Wars release from Bioware would be an exciting prospect. 

However, EA has been criticized on many fronts for its poor management and development of video game releases. Even EA CEO John Riccitiello acknowledged the company's faults in a 2007 press release, in which he stated that "We're boring people to death and making games that are harder and harder to play. For the most part, the industry has been rinse-and-repeat. There's been lots of product that looked like last year's product, that looked a lot like the year before."

The future of the Star Wars video game universe is rather uncertain, to say the least. Will a lack of competition among developers decrease the quality of future installments, or will EA rise to the challenge and set new standards for the Star Wars franchise? Only time will tell.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tea Time with Dragons' Descendants

Don't do it kid, night elves are jerks.
After enjoying Wine & Roses so thoroughly, another indie RPG offering from developer Craze (teaming up with fellow designer LouisCyphre) should be smooth and refreshing on the roleplaying palette.

This tea time, we review Dragons' Descendants, an in-development RPG where you can't quite shake the feeling that Nobunaga is going to burst through the wall at any moment, waving around a lightsaber pokemon?!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Warframe Review

J tries his hand at Warframe, a new online third person shooter that's currently in open beta right now. Will this one be the online co-op shooter we've been waiting for, or is it another Huxley?

You can find out more about the game here:

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