Archive for February 25th, 2013

Why I won’t be playing Diablo III on the Playstation 4

, | Games


A community manager on Blizzard’s forums explains that the characters I’ve spent dozens of hours playing in Diablo III, with even more dozens of hours potentially ahead, won’t be accessible in the Playstation 4 version.

While we think cross-platform play would be awesome, there are currently no plans to allow connectivity between PlayStation Network and (this is pretty standard for most games that have PC and console support). As a result, the characters on your account and PlayStation account will also remain separate.

In other words, Valve’s Portal 2 can do what Blizzard can’t.

There’s a certain point where you invest enough in a game that you’re not going to start over just because the developers have adapted it to a gamepad and your couch is comfortable. Diablo III has gone well beyond that point. Still, a Playstation 4 version will be great for people who can’t play Diablo III because they don’t have PCs. If you see any of them, tell them for me.

The new character for Skullgirls thinks inside the box

, | Games


Skullgirls proves that a fighting game doesn’t have to be part of some long-running franchise to be exceptional. One of the greatest strengths of this game is the character design (Peacock was my pick for best character design of last year). And now the developers at Lab Zero have a new character on the way. Squigly is an opera singer with a fire-breathing cyborg snake sticking out of her head. Her unique ability is to literally change the boundaries of the game. From the developers’ description:

Squigly’s jump is floaty, her dashes take some time to build momentum, and her normals can’t reach across the screen. So how does she get close enough to do damage? By singing. As an opera star, when Squigly sings all eyes focus on her, forcibly shifting the game’s camera towards her. This naturally moves the edge of playfield with it, dragging her opponent towards her. No other game has a move like this, and it should open a number of interesting tactical possibilities.

Squigly is the focus of Lab Zero’s kickstarter campaign on Indiegogo. If if passes — actually, when it passes, based on how much it’s made on its first day — Squigly will be a free update for Skullgirls on all platforms. “If we actually manage to make her,” Lab Zero says in their video, “then anyone in the world can get her, so long as you have a copy of Skullgirls.”

Go here for more info or to support the campaign.

Tomb Raider: Lara Croft and the Secret of the Tenth Death Totem

, | Game diaries


One of the many ways that Tomb Raider is as good as Rocksteady’s Batman games is that it’s sprinkled with collectibles. And not just haphazardly. It’s not “hey, go get me some feathers!”, a la Assassin’s Creed. Many of these are artifacts, modeled in 3D as they were in Uncharted, and sometimes worth turning over to discover a hidden bonus, all tapping into the game’s xp system and all arranged in themed groups relating to the game’s setting.

It’s easy enough to find the locations of most collectibles on the map, by either finding treasure maps, usually in tombs, or by unlocking the skill that lets you “ping” the area with Lara’s instinct mode. You can then go into the map and drop a waypoint on an artifact so that its location shows up in the world when you use instinct mode again. This is a great way to find stuff in the more vertical areas, where you’d otherwise go bonkers trying to figure out if an icon is something above you or below you.

But then there are themed collectibles that don’t show up on the map. These are called challenges. They rely on actually exploring, looking around, peering into places you wouldn’t normally peer, basically poring over the world the developers have created to be a place worth poring over. And at times, they’re really hard to find.

After the jump, the challenge of challenges Continue reading →

Making movies out of driving games

, | Games


In what videogame inspired movie will you find the following plot, which I read at Empire Online?

Aaron Paul plays a street racer who goes into business with a rich arrogant car supplier played by Dominic Cooper, only to find himself framed when another friend dies during a race. Sent to jail, Aaron Paul’s character wants revenge and, once released, signs on for a cross-country race for a chance to strike back. But the rich arrogant car supplier learns about the scheme and puts a bounty on his head, forcing him to go up against various illegal drivers in powerful vehicles. Michael Keaton plays the reclusive oddball host of the event who invites the best racers from around the world to compete. Also in the cast is Imogen Poots as an exotic car dealer who connects rich clients with supercharged rides.

Guess the videogame license that inspired this storyline. If you guessed any driving game other than Need for Speed, you’re wrong.

Need for Speed, due out next year, will be directed by the guy who made Act of Valor, which could easily be a Call of Duty or Medal of Honor tie-in if it changed its name.

February 25: wallet threat level red

, | Features


This week’s wallet threat is seriously elevated due to the release of three Star Wars themed tables for Pinball FX. Two of the tables are superlative, and arguably among the best developer Zen Studios has ever made. And the third is, well, still pretty decent considering that the Clone Wars cartoon theme is about as appealing to me as a Rocky and Bullwinkle theme. I’ll have more details tomorrow, but you should put your wallet on standby for about ten bucks.

Also, batten down your wallet’s hatches if you have any interest in old school, party-based, stat-heavy RPGs where you get to draw maps on your Nintendo DS. The basic summary of Etrian Odyssey IV: Something Something the Titan Something is that Atlus has done it again! And this time the new skill trees make character builds less inscrutable, the zeppelin overworld offers more non-linearity, and the casual difficulty level is always there if you find yourself against a brick wall (I haven’t needed it yet!). Etrian Odyssey IV is still a lot of grinding, but that’s just a fact of Etrian Odysseys. I’ll have a full review up after I’ve made more progress, but I can safely say that fellow Etrian Odyssists won’t be disappointed.

I should also warn you that Brutal Legend, my choice for best game of the year in 2009, is out this week for the PC. In case you didn’t know, it’s not just a wondrous open-world game, even for people like me who aren’t into heavy metal and who find Jack Black uniquely grating. It’s also a damn fine real-time strategy game. Don’t come whining to me about how there are no new real-time strategy games until you’ve gotten your mouse and keyboard on Brutal Legend.

I don’t think Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, which is also out this week, is real. Developer Rebellion is probably pranking us. I’m not going to fall for it. But if there is a Nazi zombie army, I can think of no better man to defeat it than an elite sniper. Wait, can zombies tell the direction they’re being sniped from? Someone should make a game that explores that question.