2013 October

October 31, 2013

Free With Your Subscription: November Edition

 

I have been sitting here now for 15 minutes debating on whether or not to write this article. It is not that the games are bad that you get with your subscriptions to wither PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live. There is just a lopsided value and I didn’t want to seem biased. Microsoft announced Games with Gold back at E3 and have had a decent flow of games, two per month, featuring both Arcade games and Games on Demand. Sony, on the other hand, have featured the Instant Game Collection for over a year and has proven to be an incredible value. This month shows that value in a line up that spans 3 consoles including the new PlayStation 4. On Microsoft’s side, well, you get a demo of Kinect Sports Rivals…..yea. Though I must congratulate Microsoft for putting Halo 3 out there for free, I have had an incredible time reliving the multiplayer and the influx of the community returning is fantastic. I still feel Halo 3 is the best multiplayer FPS available on the 360, just my opinion. Lets take a look at what you will be getting with your subscriptions next month.

 

Games with Gold – You get two games this coming month, and while both games are decent, the lineup is kind of lackluster. Typically they pair an Arcade game with a Games on Demand title, this month we are getting two arcade games. I am not complaining because they are free games that I getting with a subscription that I pay for anyways, but compared to their competition, this is pretty paltry. Here are the games you can get and when they will be available

A World of Keflings – November 1st-15th

Iron Brigade (The game formally known as Trenched) – November 16th – 30th

Like I stated both games are worth a look, I have both and enjoy them. Iron Brigade is the stronger of the two and the co-op is a blast. If you are going to download Iron Brigade, spend the couple bucks and grab the Rise of the Martian Bear DLC. Enjoy the games!

 

PlayStation Plus – I just went out and purchased a 3 month membership just so I can grab these games and the PlayStation 4 ones when they go live. This month PlayStation Plus is more than stepping up to plate to deliver goods all on fronts for the Vita, PlayStation 3, and the new PlayStation 4. There is so much to love here, there is over $150 in games that you can download next month on your Sony platforms, lets take a look.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (PS3)

Ibb & Obb (PS3)

Binary Domain (PS3)

Oddworld: Strangers Wrath (PS Vita)

Soul Sacrifice (PS Vita)

Resogun (PS4)

Contrast(PS4)

 

That is quite a list and could have your November taken over despite new releases. I have been wanting to boot up my Vita again and now I have to make room on my memory cards for some great stuff. I played Strangers Wrath when it was originally released and would love to have it on the go, and I checked out Soul Sacrifice when it was released and had a good time with the dark RPG. Resogun is being brought to you by Housemarque, the same people that put together Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation, two of my favorite twin stick games on the PS3. I urge everyone to take  the time and download the game on your new, shiny PS4. As always what you get on certain weeks will be up over at the Official PlayStation blog, but all these games are just a download away with your PlayStation Plus subscription.

October 29, 2013

Halo: Spartan Assault Jumps to Consoles in December

 

Halo jumped into the realm of twin stick shooters on Windows 8 phones, tablets, and PC with Halo: Spartan Assault. Now it will make the jump from the portables (aside for the PC) to the consoles this December. It will be available for the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, but does not come with a cross-buy option, which is kind of a bummer. The game will be adding a co-op option and will come with some extra missions tailored specifically for co-op. The Flood will also make its return to the series, Halo 3 was the last time we saw the plant like parasite that met its demise on the Ark. The title takes place in the 4 year gap between Halo 3 and Halo 4, focusing on Spartan Davis, Commander Sarah Palmer, and the UNSC Infinity. The game was co-developed by 343 Industries in conjunction with Vanguard Entertainment, and scored by Tom Salta (Halo CE: Anniversary, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2). I am a sucker for twin stick shooters (Geometry Wars, Gatling Gears, Super Star Dust, Robotron) and I love the Halo franchise, so in my mind, this is a day one purchase as long as it stays a reasonable price. Vanguard are a great developer that has snatched my money twice with Gatling Gears and Greed Corp, I would be glad to give them my money again. The game will also come with its added on content, Operation Hydra. You can expect it to hit the 360 and Xbox One marketplace this December, price is still yet to be announced. The original announcement trailer is below.

 

 

October 23, 2013

Bionic Commando Rearming the Remix

 

This week has just been a splendid week for video game music as we saw the release and Gaming in Stereo featured soundtrack to Batman Arkham Origins yesterday, and today the release of Bionic Commando ReMixed: OK We’ll Groove! Well to be honest, the latest from OverClocked ReMix hit yesterday, I was just so busy I didn’t have a chance to give it a proper listen. Now that I have the album set to repeat I must say, it is one of their finer efforts. There is a variety of music genre’s that can be found on the album, everything from dubstep (the wub wubs), trance, to synthetic orchestra, jazz, and rock. They somehow mesh very well and some even feature some of the original chip tunes from the NES title. All the tracks despite polar genres, all have a great energy to them. One thing I love about Capcom, even current Capcom, is their high energy music output. I love the electronic mixes we see in Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, and the interesting music we saw from some of their downloadable titles such as Mega Man 9 & 10 and Bionic Commando: Rearmed. I unfortunately was late to the party with Bionic Commando, my first time with the title was in 2008 with Bionic Commando Rearmed. I loved Rearmed, and if fact, just played through it again not too long ago. Bionic Commando ReMixed: OK We’ll Groove is available for your listening pleasure and as a free download over at OverClocked ReMix. Down below is the official trailer for the album and one of my favorite tracks from the album. Have a listen and download the album and support this great community of talented artist.

 

Master “D” is for Dance (Rise of the Albatross) – Gario

I love the high energy and the staccato stops. No your speakers are not broken, just a great effect used well, effectively.

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October 22, 2013

Ah…There is a certain beauty in the stillness. Let’s kill it!

tattooed kittyWith the upcoming Diablo III expansion ‘Reaper of Souls’ comes a brand new class, enter ‘the crusader’. The Crusader is a mid-range melee class wielding a flail/sword and a shield, but also has mid-ranged spells at their disposal using Wrath as their energy source. The class is based on the Paladin from Diablo II. Resourceful and resilient, Crusaders are a different breed of holy warrior, trained to wield powers unlike any before. They are a group of men and women chosen for their prowess and cunning on the battlefield, and also for their unyielding dedication to the Light; their purpose, to hunt down the enemies of Zakarum and rid Sanctuary of their corruption – they will not let anything stand between themselves and their goal finding strength in their unshakable confidence in their cause.

The Crusader

Background of the Crusader
The origins of the Crusaders lie during the time of Rakkis’s crusade against the Western Kingdoms. As Rakkis’s paladin forces moved westward, one of the leaders of his forces sensed Mephisto’s taint in the Zakarum faith, and secretly founded the Crusader order. The order was specifically founded as a separate entity from the paladins for fear of carrying over corruption into their new sacred duty. Over the centuries, the Crusader order was hardened through combat with the foul evils plaguing eastern Sanctuary as their quest to cleanse the Zakarum of Mephisto’s taint, the corruption of Sanctuary as a whole drove them on and they were intent on achieving this goal through any means necessary.

Male and Female Crusader

Primary Skills

Punish
Generates 5 Wrath per attack. Smash your enemy for 130% weapon damage, plus 10% of your shield’s block amount as damage. Your strikes heighten your battle senses, increasing your block chance by 2% for 3 seconds.

Slash
Generates 5 Wrath per attack. Ignite the air 5 yards in front of you with Holy fire, causing 135% weapon damage to all enemies caught in it.

Justice
Generates 5 Wrath per attack. Hurl a hammer of justice at your enemies, dealing 140% Holy weapon damage.

Scourge
Generates 5 Wrath per attack. Scourge your enemies for 120% weapon damage. Striking an enemy surrounds it in hallowed threads which have a chance to jump to 3 nearby enemies.

Secondary Skills

Shield Bash
Costs 25 Wrath. Bash all enemies in front of you with your shield, dealing 270% weapon damage as holy, plus 10% shield block amount as damage as holy. / Enemies struck have a 20% chance to be stunned, increased by 25% of your shield’s block chance. / The skill can also be used to reflect projectiles.

The Fist of the Heavens
Costs 25 Wrath. Call a lightning bolt down from the sky, dealing 220% weapon damage to any enemy within 8 yards. When the lightning bolt hits the ground, it splits into 6 piercing charged bolts that fire outward, dealing 50% weapon damage to enemies they pass through.

Sweep Attack
Costs 25 Wrath. Sweep a mystical flail in a wide arc through enemies 20 yards before you, dealing 230% weapon damage to all enemies caught in the arc.

Blessed Shield
Costs 25 Wrath. Hurl a celestial shield at enemies, dealing 200% weapon damage and 10% of shield block amount as damage. The shield will ricochet to 1 targets nearby.

Blessed Hammer
Cost: 10 Wrath Summon a blessed hammer that spins around you, dealing 125% weapon damage to any enemy hit. Hammers have a 100% chance to pierce.

Defensive Skills

Shield Glare
Cooldown: 12 seconds. Light erupts from your shield, blinding all enemies 30 yards in front of you for 4 seconds.

Judgement
Cooldown: 20 seconds. Pass judgment on all enemies in an area, rooting them in place for 4 seconds.

For more information about Diablo III and what the game is all about check out the game guide here: http://www.battle.net/d3/en/game/what-is. While you’re at it, you could grab yourself a virtual ticket to Blizzcon 2013, along with your ticket you get a Diablo III in-game gift – the Murkalot, this is a murloc based on the Crusader. The crusader sounds like a fun character to play, I can’t wait. For gamers who love their MMOs there are often difficult decisions to be made regarding how many games you play at any one time, in my own experience I have a main game that I play in-depth, WoW, and try to play other games in my downtime – but Diablo III is a bit of a rogue element, it’s definitely going to be getting a good share of my time once the expansion is released. Killing monsters and looting dungeons hand-in-hand with some apt one-liners… bring it on!

October 22, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: The Dark Knight Rises

 

This Friday sees the release of Batman: Arkham Origins, a prequel to Arkham series developed by Rocksteady. Arkham Origins takes place roughly 5 years before Arkham Asylum and puts the Dark Knight in first contact with many of his rogue’s gallery that we know of today. The game takes place during the Christmas holiday, and as a blanket of snow covers Gotham, Black Mask issues a death warrant on the caped crusader. The game not only received a new development team, WB Montreal, but a new composer as well. Christopher Drake took the musical reigns from Ron Fish and Nick Arundel, and created something that sounds both familiar to both fans of the Arkham franchise and the recently wrapped Nolan trilogy. Though Drake has scored Batman media before ( Batman: the Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Under the Red Hood, and Batman/Superman: Public Enemies), I was hesitant, just as I was with the new voice cast, until I heard the final product. The final product maybe one of the best Batman soundtracks to date, to no discredit of any previous soundtracks. The soundtrack is well put together with sweeping stings, racing electronic beats, deep brass, exploding percussion, and even some well know Christmas jingles make cameos. Let us dive into the defining soundtrack of Batman: Arkham Origins.

 

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Arkham Origins Main Title – Christopher Drake

This is the main theme for Arkham Origins. The beginning of the this track is very reminiscent of Hans Zimmer score from the Dark Knight trilogy. Starting at the (0:11) mark we get that same electronic beat, explosive percussion, and deep brass sound. At (0:33) the track makes its own impression with a sweeping strings and a proud lower brass sound at (0:53). At the (1:26) mark, the track kicks the tempo up again including a chorus this time. This track feels like we are watching Bruce in a flashback of the events leading him to become the hero he will be. The main theme seems to hold the same character building we will see from the story, and we couldn’t have asked for a more grandiose entrance.

 

Assassins – Christopher Drake

Now I have not played the game yet, but from the title I am guessing this the main theme for villains Black Mask has assembled to hunt down the Batman, and it could not be more epic. Starting with racing strings and a deafening bass hit, it goes directly into a low key piano romp at (0:09), the track doesn’t let up. I love the use of the brass, especially towards the (0:30) mark with the staccato notes followed by the whaling note. The track is as epic as the villain cast charged with hunting down the Dark Knight, enjoy!

 

Arkham Origins Suite – Christopher Drake

There are a lot of familiar sounds from the previous tracks but there are hints at other tracks, including the very spine chilling Joker theme, which is a twisted version of Carol of the Bells. Nothing like hearing the Joker’s cackle over a Christmas jingle. Enjoy the culmination of the Arkham Origins soundtrack.

October 21, 2013

Countdown to Blizzcon 2013

tattooed kittyWe are now on the final leg in the run up to Blizzcon 2013, 8-9 November at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. It’s a great time to be Blizzard fan with so much being offered up this year whether you are into WoW, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone or Heroes of the Storm. Whether you’re joining Blizzard at the Anaheim Convention Center or taking advantage of the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, you can find the schedule of events here: http://eu.battle.net/blizzcon/en/event-info/schedule/friday-schedule and ensure that you don’t miss a thing.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
“Malthael, the Angel of Death, grows restless. Having sieged the historic city of Westmarch, he now sets his sights on a new metropolis: Anaheim, California — the great gamer haven of the West” Blizzard.com. There will be 300 stations set-up to demo Reaper of Souls where all five original Diablo III classes will be playable, as well as the new Crusader class, a fierce mid-range melee warrior. It has also been confirmed that there will be a playable version of Reaper of Souls on the PS4 at Blizzcon this year, players will also be some of the first in the world to get their hands on a DUALSHOCK®4 controller to enhance their monster slaying rampage through the Nephalem Rifts.

reaper of souls crusader class

Heroes of the Storm
Blizzard All-Stars, formerly Blizzard DOTA is notably absent from Blizzcon 2013, the reason being because it’s changed it’s name to Heroes of the Storm. If you remember, about a year ago Blizzard and Valve engaged in a legal battle over the DotA name after Valve revealed that it was going to title its sequel to DotA, DotA II. That battle was eventually won by Valve and led to Blizzard naming its DotA sequel Blizzard All-Stars. And in true Blizzard style they have produced a trailer for Heroes of the Storm which can mean only one thing – we are bound to be seeing more about this one at BlizzCon.

Hearthstone Innkeeper’s Invitational
“The idea behind the Invitational is simple: Take some of Hearthstone’s most passionate players and pit them against each other in a no-holds-barred deathmatch” Blizzard.com. Blizzard have lined up Day[9] Vs. Reckful and Hafu Vs. Kripparrian in the top bracket and Trump Vs. Husky and Noxious Vs. Artosis in the bottom bracket, each player brings three decks with three different classes and play each other in a set of best-of-five matches – but if one of their decks loses then they will be eliminated, only one player will survive to be named ‘Grandmaster of the Hearth’, all live on stage at Blizzcon.

If you don’t have the option of going to Blizzcon in person, pick up your Virtual Ticket now and be part of the action http://www.battle.net/blizzcon/en/. Tickets are £24.99/€29.99/$39.99 and include: panels, interviews, and exclusive content; contests; the closing ceremony; in-game goodies and on-demand replays. Learn more about the ticket at http://www.battle.net/blizzcon/en/virtual-ticket/faq.

Don’t miss out, get your virtual ticket now! See you in November.

October 18, 2013

Second Next-Gen Title, Drive Club, Pushed to 2014

 

Confirmed today by Sony’s own Shuhei Yoshida (head of Sony’s Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment) via the Official PlayStation Blog, Evolution Studio’s next gen title, Drive Club, will be pushed to 2014. Drive Club was the launch title coming from Evolution Studios, know mostly for the Motorstorm franchise that launched with in the “launch window” of the PlayStation 3. Motorstorm was a hit and spawned 2 sequels on the PS3 and two spin offs, one on the PSP, the other on the PS Vita. This delay hurts a bit more than Watch Dogs for Sony, as a version of Drive Club was going to be free on launch day as part of the Instant Games Collection that coincides with the PlayStation Plus membership program. There is good news to this push back though. Drive Club will still be offered when it hits the PlayStation 4 next year and there is a replacement game in the meantime, Contrast. Yoshida also gave info on a free Killzone: Shadow Fall multiplayer weekend on December 28th and 29th. Like I stated with Watch Dogs, I am all for delays if they bring a better product to market, I wish the films industry would have pushed some films back in hopes of better outcomes. Hopefully Evolution Studios puts the time to good use.

October 17, 2013

Arkham Origins New tv Spot and Soundtrack Preview Does Not Disappoint

 

 

Hot off the presses this morning is the newest trailer in the marketing machine for Batman: Arkham Origins, and it does not disappoint. The trailer clocks in at only 0:53, not even a full minute, but what we get from it is so much more. The trailer shows how the one traumatic event scars Bruce for life, leaving him emotionally dead. Though now a man with a purpose, I love how they show through the years and even through his training, he is broken; those emotionless eyes are haunting. This could be one of the most emotional trailers I have seen for any medium, reminds me of the Dead Island trailer from a few years back; you get goosebumps every time you watch it. One event, one random act of violence, one life voided of emotion, and that life changed for ever. I was on board with this title since the last trailer and seeing actual gameplay via E3. Though Rocksteady may not be doing the title, it will be using many of the mechanics and changes they made to the Unreal 3 engine. With Arkham Asylum and City, WB Games have created a franchise that has come to define action/open world games and superhero games in general, I highly doubt they would let that bar slip now. Again, below is the new TV spot for Batman Arkham Origins which is out on October 25th worldwide.

 

 

 

 

The next section talks about the soundtrack and some of the titles maybe potential spoilers, read with caution.

While I was looking for the trailer above, I came across a sampling of the soundtrack from Arkham Origins. Thanks to the people over at the YouTube channel BatmanArkhamVideos, they have taken the samples of the official soundtrack and strung them together into one huge preview. Overall I am very impressed with what I heard. I was hoping that we would get the return of Ron Fish and Nick Arundel from Arkham City to reprise their efforts, but instead they landed Christopher Drake in the composers chair. Drake has scored several other DC media, mainly animated features, with his most recent outing on the animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. The whole soundtrack interest me, but there are a couple of track in particular that interest me. The main theme (#1) and the end titles (#31) have reoccurring themes that I would like to see develop into something grand. Arkham City had an incredible main theme, here is hoping Origins can outshine it. Two other tracks that have caught my ear is is The Night Before Christmas (#2) and Carol of the Bells (Joker’s Theme) (#12). I love the chimes and sleigh bells in (#2) giving it a eerie feel reminiscent of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Carol to the Bells is a traditional Christmas Carol, that is turned on its head and been given a nice, big smile. The bells and distorted guitar bring a haunting and evil presence to something that is suppose to be filled with joy, I love it. There is a lot to love from this soundtrack, and if you want to hear more of the these tracks, there is another preview over at Water Tower Music’s SoundCloud page.

 

October 15, 2013

Watch Dogs Delayed Until 2014

 

One of my most anticipated titles of the year has been put on hiatus for just a couple more months. Ubisoft announced to day that the open world title will be pushed back until spring 2014.  Here is the official statement from the Ubisoft press release :

“Our ambition from the start with Watch_Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming. It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until Spring 2014.

We know a lot of you are probably wondering ‘why now?’ We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune every detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the way you respond on the web, at events, press conferences and during other opportunities we have to interact. Your passion is what drives us.

We can’t wait to see you in Chicago next Spring. We are confident you’ll love this game as much as we love working on it.”

 

Now I am all for delays if they make the overall quality of a title better, this seems a little late coming, since the title was suppose to release in a month. Now comes the question of what retailers will do with the pre-orders they have already taken. The game was suppose to release along side the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a launch title, and may retailers were offering bundles that included the game. It will be interesting to see if the extra time does improve the game, or if this is just marketing talking since Ubisoft has another big open world release this fall with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag that is still on track for a late October release and launching along side the next gen consoles.

October 9, 2013

Obliteration comes to the Battlefield 4 Beta

 

Winding down into its final week, DICE has upped the mode count to three today by adding in Obliteration. Obliteration is now available on all platforms hosting the beta. The new mode is a 24 players on current gen and 32 players on PC and next gen. The two sides battle over a bomb that spawns in a random location and must take it to one of three objectives. Once there, you arm and protect the package. After the detonation, the process starts over. This sounds like it could be a blast, and reminds me of a Halo like game type. I played nothing but objective based games in Halo, for Battlefield on the consoles it has always been about Rush. Obliteration will take place on the Siege of Shanghai map that is currently available. I am off to go try the mode out for myself. I have been playing the beta since the 1st, and have enjoyed myself despite the map being a little too large for just 24 people; it feels a bit empty from time to time. Enjoy the public beta, it ends next Tuesday, October 15th.

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