September 26, 2013
PlayStation 3 gets Exclusive Arkham Origins Content, Season Pass for All
The PlayStation 3 version of Batman Arkham Origins will be getting a few added extras. These extras will come in the form of two exclusive skins 3 combat maps and 2 predator maps dubbed the Knightfall Pack. The Knightfall Pack skins bring Adam West’s 1966 Batman costume and the Azrael outfit from Knightfall. Azrael stepped in for Bruce when Bane broke his back, though his methods were far more brutal and braking Bruce’s “one rule”, his enhanced costume is still one of my favorites. You can see all you will get in the video below, no work if this will ever come to the PC, Wii U or Xbox 360 versions of the title.
For everyone else, Arkham Origins will be getting a Season Pass filled with content. More than a $30 worth of content, the Season pass can be had for a discounted price of $19.99. The Season Pass includes two exclusive skins, Gaslight Batman and Brightest Day Batman, two costume packs (New Millennium and Infinite Earth’s) for a total of 12 new costumes, new story missions, as well as “Initiation” challenge maps featuring one of Batman’s greatest teachers, Kirigi. Check out the flyer below for everything that you get with the season pass, interestingly enough, there is no mention of multiplayer outside of the skin sets. I guess take that hint with a grain of salt. On another note, the artwork for the flyer and the shot above is awesome in its own right. It is available on the Arkham Origins site as a wallpaper, your welcome.
September 19, 2013
Hiroshi Yamauchi, Former Head of Nintendo, dead at 85
Today is a sad day for the industry as we have lost one of the most influential people to jump start the modern industry. Nintendo of Japan has confirmed that the former head of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, has passed away at the age of 85. Yamauchi was instrumental in the early changes at Nintendo that propelled them to the video game empire they are today. Yamauchi brought in talent like Gunpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamoto and launched products like the Game and Watch, NES, SNES, the Nintendo 64, and the Nintendo GameCube. Yamauchi also purchased the Seattle Mariner, a Major League Baseball club, in the early 1990’s. Yamauchi was hugely influential in the industry propelling the Japanese market as well as jump starting the industry from the crash in 1983. Yamauchi was succeeded by Satoru Iwata in 2002 and remained on the board until 2005. We have lost one of the greats today, hopefully his outlook and confidence in products will invigorate the industry as we enter 8th console generation. 名誉と尊敬で、我々は山内を覚えています。
* Image from Nintendolife.com
September 19, 2013
News Round Up: Electronic Arts New ceo, Sega buys Atlus, and Huge gta v numbers
I was absent yesterday trying to get through Grand Theft Auto V in a effort to finish the story in a timely manor for review, but there was some large moves in the industry in the past two days. EA has finally appointed a new CEO after John Riccitiello who resigned in March of the this year, and that new CEO is the executive vice president of EA Sports, Andrew Wilson. There were several candidates in the running for this position including the former Xbox head and now EA COO, Peter Moore, and EA’s Labels president Frank Gibeau. It will be interesting to see if there is any bad blood between Wilson, Gibeau, and Moore now that the shareholders have spoken. I am curious on several of EA’s next gen launch titles. I an anxious to see how Battlefield 4 handles the new hardware and if their sports titles will be more advanced and better packages than what we are getting on the current gen. I was sorely disappointed with Madden 25 on the current gen, with this year feeling more like a rehash from last year, even more so than previous entries. We will know when the new hardware launches in less than 2 months.
The house that Sonic built has built the house that Persona built. Sega announced this week it has purchased Atlus for $140 million. Sega has really been changing itself over the past couple of years for the better, starting with Sonic Generations and All-Stars Racing Transformed, and they picked up Relic Entertainment during the THQ fire sale. Sega has just recently released the well received Total War: Rome II and Company of Heroes 2, with the great looking Sonic: Lost World coming to the Wii U and 3DS in just over a month. Atlus is known as the niche game savior with the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series. it will be interesting to see how Sega’s new acquisitions play out for them as the publisher returns to form.
Who says crime doesn’t pay? We in all actuality it doesn’t but Grand Theft Auto V cleared a huge $800 million mark in the first 24 hours. Games Industry International is reporting that this is a first for Rockstar and their parent company Take- Two Interactive. Halo 4 reached $200 Million in 24 hours last year, and Black Ops II did somewhere around $500 Million, making GTA V the top grosser. The estimated cost of development was bordering $270 million, that is summer movie territory. I am several hours into the game and have spent ample time messing around in the world and the technology that went into the game is extremely impressive. The way they were able to get this game running on the extremely aging consoles is beyond me, and they should be commended for that alone. The game was released on September 17th.
September 11, 2013
More Star Wars Pinball? Yes Please!
Zen Studios has been churning out great pinball outings since 2007 with the original Pinball FX. Pinball FX 2 (Xbox 360) and Zen Pinball (PS3, Vita) have become hubs of great pinball tables, both original and based on existing franchises. The Marvel tables were a huge hit and well done, culminating 15 great tables each with their own theme. This past spring we received 3 Star Wars tables that were available on the console platforms as well has several tablet and phone marketplaces. They turned out to be superb, and now we are getting even more Star Wars Pinball. “Balance of the Force” add’s three new tables to the existing line up. The three tables will feature their own themes, “Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi”, “Darth Vader”, and “Star Wars: Starfighter Assault”. The tables will be added as add-on’s for Pinball FX2 (since itself is a distribution platform) and for the other version will be an add on to Star Wars Pinball so the content can be found and added with ease. The new tables will be out this fall, and will be available on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN (PS3 and Vita), the Wii U eShop, the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows 8, Steam, Mac App Store, and the Kindle Fire HD. I already own the first three tables (among almost all the other tables available on Pinball FX 2) and convinced my mother to get them on her Kindle Fire HD and she loved them. If you have any love for Star Wars, Pinball, or a game to just pick up and play anywhere, then please try out any of Zen Studios Pinball titles.
September 9, 2013
Gaming in Stereo: Be Aggressive is Released!
The newest album from OverClocked Remix I highlighted last week is out, and it is awesome. Full of high energy music, the album remixes the music from Gunstar Heroes, originally composed by Norio Hanzawa. The album features a lot of electronic beats and guitars mixing with high tempos creating the high energy found with in the game. While I have burned through the first disc and starting on the second, this is already a hit in my opinion. I already have a few favorites on the first disc I am going to share with you today, and hopefully they sway you to download this adrenaline fueled album. The download can be found here and the download nets you both discs (24 tracks in all) and the amazing artwork by The Coop. Let’s check out some of the tracks:
And Heroes Emerge (Opening) – DusK
This track is fairly short, clocking in at 0:49, but is a great lead into the following song. Very guitar heavy, with an awesome drum beat and added synths; the track makes a very good opening statement, “get ready to rock!”. Not all of the album is rock music, a good bit is very electronic, but this opening track and its companion “Loadout” get the album heading in a good direction. I love the snare march at the end that drills into the next track.
Loadout (Stage Select) – DusK
This is the track the previous song interludes. Again, very guitar heavy, but this track has even more synth spread through out. I love at the (0:17) mark where the synth takes over the melody repeating a lot of the guitar riffs, but feeling original. The guitar melody solo against the the synth layover at (1:45) is a nice change of pace for the track. The two opening tracks make the album title fit very well and I am glad they arranged it the way they did. If a more mild track on the album was position first, I don’t think it would have had the same impact as these two. Bravo!
Lunar Ecstasy (Option) – Jakesnke17
This track and the bonus track, the openings I am in love with. A very simple beat, but fun and full of energy; the track hits full stride at the (0:36) mark. Though not as aggressive as the previous tracks, the beat and tempo is constant, making for a fun layout. I love the crash at (2:10) and then the bass and beeps picking back up.
Bonus Track – Square Zero (4 Stage) – Eino Keskitalo
Like the last track, the opening has an intoxicating hook. The beeps and drums has my head bouncing to the beat. It has some heavy guitar parts in the beginning but changes at the (0:53) mark adding a lot of synth to the mix. The great part of this track is at the (2:11) mark until the end of the track feels like a jam session. It sounds like the ReMixer had a lot of fun with ending and letting the music just flow. Enjoy!
September 6, 2013
Gunstar Heroes To Receive OverClocked Treatment
Right off the heals of the last album, OverClocked Remix is putting out another album announced today. “Be Aggressive!” is the title of this new album and will a remixing of Gunstar Heroes soundtrack. Gunstar Heroes is still considered one of the best Sega Genesis titles of all time, and is one of my personal favorites. The album will consist of 24 tracks and will bring a high sense of energy to the track listing. Gunstar Heroes is a action platformer and developed by Treasure. Gunstar Heroes was the first title developed at Treasure, Treasure would then go on to develop classics like Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga, Guardian Heroes, Bangai-O, Sin & Punishment, and its sequel Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. The album will be released soon, that is the best specific date I can give you. However, there will be an early listening party this weekend on Arecibo Radio. The pre-release recording will air on September 8th, at 6 p.m. EST. Be sure to tune in and check out the latest and greatest from the great people over at OC Remix. The official trailer for the album is below and I hope that all of the trailers music is on the album, awesome stuff. Here is the link to the community page that has the official track listing and Remixer(s) on the project.
Bonus Track: To keep up with the current Kickstarter campaign started by Video Games Live creator and game composer Tommy Tallarico, OC Remix is offering up a remix he and Dweezil Zappa had done for Pac-Man World Rally in 2006. The track is title “Cloud Garden” and has some fantastic guitar riffs, with some added nostalgia effects. The track is a bit on the short side but worth the listen and download, which can be found here. The Kickstarter campaign can be found here , there is just a few days left. Help support video game composers and their music!
August 28, 2013
Help Fund the Next Video Games Live Album!
Going through Kickstarter can be a risky business. We have seen games get the funding they need through this start up, and we have seen games fail to get the funding they need as well. Video Games Live, the decade running concert series, is giving a crack at Kickstarter to fund their third full length album. Video Games Live: Level 3 will be comprised of 15 to 18 tracks and including a whole list of titles that VGL has never done before. To note, this album, if funded, will be recorded in studio rather than live. They mentioned Shadow of the Colossus, I really hope they do a rendition of The Opened Way (a track which I am listening to right now on repeat). If you donate at least $5, you will receive a special 15 track compilation that will not be sold in stores or online. The album has a $250,000 goal and so far they have reached $128,000 with 15 days to go in the campaign. I am donating to this campaign. I have spent that past year or so on this site trying to highlight the incredible music this industry has produced since its inception. I have maintained support for Video Games Live and outlets like OverClocked Remix, showing how much musical creativity there is in the industry and the community. Help show your support with a simple donation, the donations start at just a $1. Information on the Kickstarter campaign can be found here and you can find out if Video Games Live is making a tour stop near you right here.
August 28, 2013
Wii U getting a $50 Price Cut, Fall Line Up Realigned
Starting on September 20th, the Wii U will be receiving a $50 price cut. This move was seen by many analyst as the PS4 and Xbox One come to the market this holiday season. The $50 price cut will be on the Deluxe bundle and the new Zelda: Wind Waker edition. The Wind Waker edition will come with the deluxe console, a voucher for a digital copy of the Hyrule Hystoria, and a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. There fall release schedule received a revision as well, putting Super Mario 3D World ahead of Donkey Kong and some lower entry prices for certain titles. Here is the revised list:
The Wonderful 101 – 9/15 $59.99 (Wii U)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD – 9/20 Digital Copy, 10/4 retail copy $49.99 (Wii U)
Super Mario 3D World – 11/22 $59.99 (Wii U)
Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze – 12/6 $49.99 (Wii U)
Pokemon X & Y 10/12 $39.99 (3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – 11/22 $39.99 (3DS)
Mario Party 3DS – 11/22 $39.99 (3DS)
The Zelda Wii U bundle will release on on September 20th when the price drop goes into effect. This is a good move by Nintendo. The PS4 and Xbox One will be harder to get this holiday, and they need to show the value of the Wii U. I think with this price cut they may take a hit on every console sold, but I think in the long run it is for the better of the console and their bottom line. Sony cut the PS3 just over a year on the market and took a hit, but was selling more units at that lower price. I am really surprise at the lower MSRP of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, it is a AAA title from Nintendo and Retro Studios; but the lower price maybe to attract a passing parent at the shops this holiday. I am kind of upset about the Zelda Wii U, since I already own a Wii U. The same thing happened with the 3DS, bought one close to launch and then a few months later the Zelda 3DS hits stores beside Ocarina of Time 3D. Oh well, at least I have one ready to play some of these awesome titles later this year. Will the price cut help the struggling Wii U? Sound off below.
August 26, 2013
I fell in love with Mass Effect 3’s Multiplayer All Over Again
Mass Effect 3 shouldn’t have multiplayer, and it shouldn’t work. I am a big advocate of not shoving multiplayer in titles were it does not belong. Bioshock 2 and Tomb Raider are two more recent titles that are good examples of this. They provide great single player content and have tacked on multiplayer to try and grab the attention of the crowd that has to have multiplayer in everything. When Mas Effect 3’s multiplayer was announced a couple of years ago, I remember my reaction, I didn’t want anything to do with it. The previous games had such a strong focus on the single player aspect culminating in dozens of hours of spectacular space opera content, how dare they put some half baked multiplayer in my Mass Effect, turns out it was for the better. Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer is different. You have yourself and 3 teammates taking on hordes enemies, while accomplishing objectives on various waves. Teamwork is essential, and going off on your own can cause a mission failure. Ironically, the multiplayer is nothing more than single players combat sections with friends and it works. It works so well that after 161 hours pumped into the multiplayer, and even leaving it for a few months, I am back and addicted to it more than ever. Typically it has been my youngest brother, Joe (ScrotusKilmystr), and myself undertaking missions and improving our challenges and N7 rankings late into the weekend nights. The reason I am addicted to the multiplayer versus more popular outings is the teamwork that is involved. Loving the series, the aesthetics, the tech/biotic powers, different alien races, weapons, music, the enemies, and customization is just icing to the team play cake. I am not one for numbers, Kill/Death ratios in other games annoy me, and I find it a poor way to rank anyone’s talent. I look at overall scores in ME3’s post round report to decide if my current load-out is working, where I need to put more skill points into, and what equipment I set before each match so that I can be more helpful to my teammates. I want to finish personal challenges, earn more credits so I can buy more unlock packs in the store, and earn more full extractions; the only way to do that is teamwork.
Outside of the teamwork perspective, the sheer amount of content that the multiplayer has is ridiculous, and it is all included. 5 DLC packs included new maps, re-imagined maps, weapons, enemies, difficulty settings, equipment, and multiplayer characters; but the best part it was all free. 161 hours in and I am still missing a few characters, weapons and equipment. Most publishers charge you about $6o for all the content that was added to Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. There were balancing passes made as well, making it one of the best multiplayer gaming experiences of this generation of consoles. Though support for this title ended in May, around the same time I took a break from it, there is still a strong community of player still out there. The game retails for under $20 and all the DLC is still free, so their is no excuse not to fire it up and give it a try. If you do jump in and give it a try or already play, you can check out all your stat info and unlocks right here at the N7 HQ.
August 22, 2013
Gamescom: Batman Arkham Origins latest Trailer Leaves Me Very Optimistic
As much as any fan, I was worried when Warner Bros. Interactive announced Arkham Origins. The game had a different team developing, there was a different script writer, and almost none of the voice actors would return (there are about 4 or so returning or playing different roles). With each new trailer, however, I grew cautiously optimistic; and with this latest trailer, that caution is fading. The game will be taking place years before the first Arkham incident, being a proving ground for our Dark Knight in training. Black Mask has a hit out on Batman and only Gotham’s finest lunatics come calling. The newest to join the group, and featured in the trailer, is Firefly; and the trailer shows off the other announced villains as well. What really has me excited is seeing how Bruce’s relationship with Alfred and Gordon pan out. In the trailer Alfred calls him out as a “A young man with a trust fund and too much anger”, color me very interested. If there in one absolute I love about super heroes, it is watching them fall and dealing with their consequences. The game should have been titled Arkham Year One, it looks to be taking ques from Frank Miller story arc. The game will launch worldwide on October 25th for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC.