Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, as all fans of tactical espionage action and their grandmothers know, is the exciting new almost-sequel-but-mostly-spinoff of Hideo Kojima’s exalted Metal Gear franchise. The crazy things about this entry, of course are A) the genre shift from a stealth/shooter hybrid to a balls to the wall hardcore action game and B) Platinum Games being behind development with Hideki Kamiya (The freaking creator of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta) spearheading the insanity. This is not a Metal Gear game in the traditional sense. Pack up everything you thought you knew about the franchise (except for nanomachines of course) and get ready for one of the wildest rides the genre has to offer. Forget buckling up; seatbelts are for nerds.
MAGfest (or the Music and Gaming Festival) is the Woodstock of conventions. By that, I mean you can see several hours of live music, get drunk, play Pac-Man Versus with a bunch of random strangers at five o’clock in the morning, stumble into your room hours later, then wake up early in time to attend an intellectual panel on the issue of gender dynamics within the video game industry. It’s a hell of an event, and this year’s was bigger than ever: attendance grew to (ugh) over 9,000 and the annual Child’s Play charity auction hypefest brought in over 20,000 dollars.
I get way too excited for HD re-releases. Nothing beats that feeling of a fusion of nostalgia and awe that comes with revisiting a classic game from the past with a fresh coat of high-definition paint. Sure, sometimes it doesn’t work because either something goes wrong or the game in question isn’t interesting enough in the right ways to justify the touch up, but I’ll eat my words if I encounter a set of games more fitting for such a treatment than Zone of the Enders.
It wasn’t until after I had been playing for a while that I learned that NIS America’s latest publishing effort, Clan of Champions, is actually part of a series of sorts. I was told by a fan of the series, since the game itself makes no effort to acknowledge the fact. I’ve never played any of the “Gladiator series,” and to be frank, Clan of Champions hasn’t done much to motivate me.
When I fist approached Ragnarok Odyssey, I was expecting a game derivative of Monster Hunter, but with more anime-themed silliness. I was afraid, because as much as I like to admire Monster Hunter from afar, I am super terrible at it and my initial eagerness at the beginning of each game quickly turns to discouraged sadness after the first big dinosaur monster stomps me to death. Much to my chagrin, Ragnarok Odyssey turned out to be much more in line with the likes of Phantasy Star Online with a slight touch of Monster Hunter, which is much more appetizing to me both because PSO was a game in which I was much less terrible.
Aquire largely has a history in stealthy ninja games, being the creators of Tenchu, Shinobido, and Way of the Samurai. Fans of those games tend to know exactly what they’re going to get when a new game in one of those series drops, and are also usually satisfied with the results, regardless of budgetary limitations. Interestingly, in recent years, Acquire has branched out from their feudal comfort zone, delving into new genres with games like What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? and Sumioni, the former being an RPG and the latter being a touch screen action game. With Orgarythm, published by XSEED, Acquire has given a defiant middle finger to genre convention, and come up with an auto-scrolling real time strategy music rhythm game. No, I did not just make that up.
The world of Dokuro is introduced as a dark place, ruled over by a sinister, shadowy monster known as the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord kidnaps the Princess from somewhere much nicer and brighter than his kingdom, and traps her away in a cage. Meanwhile, a nameless, minion-level skeleton vies to be noticed by anyone. The Dark Lord is too busy to care and he has no friends to speak of. He is enamored by the Princess, and strives to help her escape. She still doesn’t notice his existence, but he refuses to give up, risking his life (?) to get her safely through all of the Dark Lord’s traps and underlings.
As you all know, I really like Torchlight II. I had a blast during the open beta test, and when Runic Games hooked us up with the real deal, I knew I was going to have even more of a blast. This review was written before I even needed to start thinking about it. Torchlight II is an awesome game. It is of course, perfect by no means, but Torchlight has taken me for a ride that I never expected from a series of click-happy dungeon crawlers. I’m no PC gaming enthusiast, but Runic Games is a developer that I will be following for years to come.
Man, every time I get wind of a new arcade style brawler coming to a contemporary console I jump on the hype train and stay on that sucker all the way until release. Especially if the game in question is a wild re-imagining of one of the great classics of its respective era. Sure, sometimes the situation ends in tragedy (Turtle soup, anyone?) but it’s a risk I am always willing to take. This time around Wayforward, developers of games like Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Contra 4, found themselves behind an attempt to revive the once legendary Double Dragon franchise. Double Dragon has a bit of a rocky history, and even though it was featured prominently on The Wizard, doesn’t have much of a claim to fame these days. It’s a shame, but Wayforward took the property and knocked it so far out of the park it still has yet to hit the ground.
They Bleed Pixels, the first retail release from developer Spooky Squid Games, is a Lovecraftian 2D platformer/brawler that subscribes to the N+ and Super Meat Boy school of thought. The main character, a troubled little girl sent to a school for troubled little girls, finds a glowing book that gives her some unsavory powers and the ability to fight her nightmares, the implied reason she’s at the school in the first place. What follows is a lot of jumping, stabbing, collecting, and of course dying. But is it fun?? Meh.