Monthly Archives: April 2013

'The Evil Within' Announced by 'Resident Evil' Creator

A new survival horror game called The Evil Within has just been announced by Resident Evil creator, Shinji Mikami. The Evil Within is set to be released on next-generation consoles, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2014.shh

Mikami released a statement saying, “We’re incredibly proud to announce The Evil Within. My team and I are committed to creating an exciting new franchise, providing fans the perfect blend of horror and action.”shh

Although nothing in particular is known about the game yet, this leads me to believe that maybe this will be the new Resident Evil that everyone (ME) wants. The fact that he specifically mentioned a “perfect blend of horror and action” made me think of the exact thing that has made the recent Resident Evil games so disappointing. Or it could completely replace Resident Evil, seeing as it does have the word ‘EVIL’ in it. Who the hell knows? As long as I get a solid survival horror game, I am happy!shh

Check out the logo for The Evil Within below.shh


Capcom's Recent Games Fail to Meet Expectations


Capcom has announced that it is lowering the sales expectations of its current big-name titles, and blaming their lack of quality on outsourcing. They mentioned an “insufficient coordination between the marketing and game development divisions in overseas markets” as one of several reasons for the disappointing sales figures that they’re receiving for both Resident Evil 6 and DmC: Devil May Cry.shh

Capcom now expects Resident Evil 6 to sell 4.9 million copies, which is down from 5 million with original sales estimates being 7 million copies. DmC: Devil May Cry is now projected to sell 1.15 million copies, which is down from its original expectation of 2 million copies.shh

In light of the recent decline in its game sales, Capcom has warned of a “special loss” in its business as part of a 7.2 billion yen (£48 million/$73 million) restructuring. Because of this process, Capcom will “strictly” re-evaluate some currently unannounced games in production.shh

At the very least, I’m happy that Capcom is admitting that there are problems and is willing to take a big hit to try and fix them. The Resident Evil series has been in a decline for a while now, and the most recent iterations have been huge disappointments. They need to get back to the survival horror roots rather than focusing on action and big explosions. Having a more focused production rather than all this outsourcing I think would definitely help steer the company back in the right direction.shh

It’s unfortunate about the low sales for DmC: Devil May Cry, as I have played it and think it is a great reboot that still feels very much like Devil May Cry while also introducing many new things to make it fresh. This is what happened with 2005’s Resident Evil 4, but unfortunately that was also the beginning of the end as that success brought a focus on the more action-oriented elements of the game.shh

Fans know when they are being shortchanged and being given a product that is well below the series’ standards. These games are $60 a pop, and even for a fantastic game that is an expense that not a whole lot of people are thrilled with. Now, given the fact that these current games have been lackluster, most people are waiting for price-drops if they even buy the games at all. Bring back the quality that you have brought before, and you will most certainly bring the fans back.shh


'God of War: Origins Collection' Review


In case you were wondering (oh, you weren’t?) the God of War Collection is one of the best game collections you can own on PS3. It took two of the best action games from PS2, and brought them over to PS3 in glorious HD fashion. Players now had slicker visuals, trophy support, and the fact that you had God of War I & II for a very cheap price. Without question, if you hadn’t jumped into the God of War experience yet, there was no better place to start than right there.

Guess what? God of War: Origins Collection brings a similarly awesome experience, with God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta offering even more chaotic and bloody fun. The main difference between the two collections is that the two games collected here were originally PSP games rather than PS2 games. As you can imagine, the process of porting a handheld game to a console compared to porting a console game to a newer console is very different. Luckily, the games look fantastic on the big screen, with Ghost of Sparta even surpassing its PS2 counterparts in many regards.

Chains of Olympus was released after God of War I & II were released, but it serves as a prequel to those games. Kratos is in service of the Olympian Gods and is sent to the city of Attica to help defend it from the invading Persian Army. However, things soon start to take some unexpected twists as Kratos begins to hear a haunting flute melody that he recognizes to be the same one that was played by his deceased daughter. What begins as a simple tale of war becomes a tale of finding answers that would shed light on Kratos’ dark past.

This game is probably the weakest in terms of overall plot, but there is no question that it is an absolute blast to play. The combat is ramped up, the enemy encounters are intense and the orbs you get to enhance your abilities never seem to stop flowing. In fact, I would say that Chains of Olympus rewards you with the most orbs out of any God of War game up to this point, which puts an even greater and more frequent emphasis on skill and weapon enhancement. I liked this a lot, as it made me feel like I was consistently working towards a new ability to learn or a new weapon to increase. The Gauntlet of Zeus is also introduced during the course of the game to shake up the combat, and it quickly became my favorite weapon added to the series thus far.

Ghost of Sparta really ups the ante in terms of plot, offering a story that is much more personal and emotional for Kratos that takes place after the first God of War game. An oracle foretold that the demise of Olympus would come by a marked warrior, and we learn from a series of flashbacks that the warrior was Kratos’ brother, Deimos. When he and Deimos were young, Ares and Athena interrupted their training and kidnapped Deimos to prevent the demise of their home. Kratos tries to stop them from taking his brother, but is not nearly powerful enough to match Ares and Athena. From that point on, he believed that Deimos was dead. All is not what is seems, however, as Kratos’ mother returns to him and tells him that Deimos is still alive, and her dying wish is for Kratos to save him.

I loved that this game had a story that was even more personal to Kratos, and even though it still isn’t as focused as the combat it is, it made everything seem a little more meaningful. Kratos is probably one of the most unlikable protagonists you’ll come across in any major gaming experience, but after the events of this game you really do feel bad for him. The ending is both epic and heart-wrenching, and even though I knew the outcome it was still very sad. For the first time you get to see what Kratos was like as a child, and you even get to witness the event that resulted in one of his now famous facial scars.

From a gameplay standpoint, Ghost of Sparta was even more intense and varied than Chains of Olympus. The environments were more impressive, the combat was relentless and the boss fights were constantly jaw-dropping. As mentioned above, the finale was electrifying, and is honestly my favorite boss fight that the entire series has offered up to this point. What’s most interesting, however, is the fact that you get much less orbs this time around. It seems like each enemy and treasure chest gives you far less than what you got in Chains of Olympus, and by the end of the game I had many weapons and magic that I was not able to max out. I took this as the game making the player more strategic in what categories they wanted to be better in, instead of making you a freakin’ monster in all facets of the combat.

An interesting addition that Ghost of Sparta brings to the combat is Thera’s Bane, which infuses Kratos’ blades with fire. This ability is given its own meter and replenishes after a few seconds of waiting, and is necessary to defeat many different enemies in the game, such as ice monsters and automatons. This adds a nice bit of strategy to the combat, as it doesn’t allow you to just jump into any battle and smash the square button. This fire also makes the regular battles easier, creating a more powerful impact that causes a greater recoil on some enemies. This is accompanied by the typical magic meter that is now a staple in the God of War games, which offers a variety of different spells such as lightning and vortexes that replenish when you acquire blue orbs. The added variety to the combat is refreshing, and even though it doesn’t completely change the game, it does make the many different battles more interesting.

Just like with the God of War Collection, this set packs all of the special features that were originally packaged with the games. You get a bunch of behind-the-scenes videos, image galleries, bonus costumes and more that reward subsequent playthroughs. Chains of Olympus has a cool feature called “Inside Ready at Dawn Studios“, which shows a brief and often funny snippet of everyone belonging to the studio backed with the epic God of War music. There’s also a video showing some levels that didn’t make it into the game and a video documenting the creation of Attica. Ghost of Sparta brings some more cool features with a mode called Challenge of the Gods, which subjects the player to a series of challenges asking you to do things like, “Open all 6 chests placed in the arena without dying” and “Kill all the enemies without taking a single hit”. There’s also a combat arena that lets you fight enemies from the game at a variety of different arenas, The Temple of Zeus which is used to unlock new features for the game, and plenty of videos and galleries detailing just about everything you would want to know. The amount of bonus material at your disposal here is exhaustive, and is really unusual and welcome for regular versions of video games.

The biggest knock against both games is that they are very brief. I beat both Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta in under 6 hours each, and in both cases I was saying, “No, I want MORE!”. Seeing that they were originally PSP games, I knew that they would be quicker games, but the quality and production values were so high on both games that you can’t help but crave a longer playthrough. Still, the amount of replay value that each game packs will certainly dull the pain when their stories comes to an end.

Other than that, though, it’s hard to find anything at all to knock against the God of War: Origins Collection. Both games offer some of the most fun and rewarding gameplay available today, and it still shines in comparison to games that were released years after them. Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica Studios have created a foundation that is so solid that it appears that they could throw Kratos into any kind of story and it would come out the other side being awesome. If you have a PS3 and haven’t played these games yet, then this a no-brainer. Even if you did play them on the PSP I’d say get this collection anyway, because now you get to experience them on the big screen, which has now made both of these epic games even more epic.


IGN Reveals Dark Souls II Gameplay

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The first taste of Dark Souls II gameplay is here! IGN got together with the Dark Souls II director Yui Tanimura and Global Producer Tak Myazoe and they walked IGN through some new things that they have to offer in the upcoming game. You can check out the video and all of the Dark Souls madness it brings at the end of the article.shh

After watching the demo, I can say that this sequel looks very similar to how the original Dark Souls plays. You have expansive environments, dark corridors and huge enemies waiting to kill you instantly at every turn. It appears that the game will be very similar, combat-wise, as the layout has carried over identically. This is all to be expected, as they are going with a direct sequel this time, rather than changing the name completely like they did when releasing Dark Souls after Demon’s Souls.shh

However, where I think this game is going to differ the most is in the amount of detail that each battle, environment and interaction will bring to the table. From the demo, it seemed like most of the areas had a lot more personality compared to the often stark and abandoned areas players have come to expect form the series. One area has a hallway that was embellished with huge paintings and furniture, while an area shown at the end of the demo had a huge castle that almost seems suspended in midair while dozens of dragons fly around its perimeter (pictured above). It’s these kinds of details that I think will make Dark Souls II an even more epic experience.shh

A few new things were mentioned about the combat, as well. It sounds like the enemies are going to be even more viscous than they ever have been before. One of the best assurances you had in Dark Souls was the fact that if you snuck up behind an enemy, you would be able to surprise them with a back-stab that would score you big damage on them. From the demo, it looks like those back-stabs are no longer a safe bet, as new types of enemies can now fall backwards on you and crush you. To make matters even worse, the bad guys can now crash through walls in their pursuit of you, making the escape of a battle even more difficult. The demo showed a giant beast behind a cell that was just standing there, but when the player shot an arrow through the bars the beast became enraged and smashed through the wall for payback. Gulp!shh

It seems that there is still a lot more to be shown from this game, and the biggest thing that still remains hidden is the story. From the first official trailer of the game, it appeared that the story would be more in-depth and focused than in previous games. The director of Dark Souls II even brought up the fact that this game would be a more emotional and interactive experience than previous games were, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a meatier story is on the horizon. I don’t think it’s a big deal since the gameplay is so incredibly fun, but I think it would offer a nice change of pace.shh

So there you have it! We have gotten our first taste of gameplay for the sequel to the fantastic Dark Souls. I can’t freakin’ wait to get this game and then die in 4 seconds, only to try again and die in 2 seconds! Never has a game been so addictive and aggravating at the same time, and from what I’ve seen so far Dark Souls II will be bringing a whole lot more of that madness. The game does not have a release date, at the moment, though we know that it isn’t coming to next-gen consoles. That would make me think that a late 2013 to early 2014 at the latest release date could be expected.shh

You can check out the 12-minute IGN demo at the top of this post and the official trailer for Dark Souls II below!shh



Alternate 'Bioshock Infinite' Covers Available Now

shhBioShock Infinite developer Irrational Games has made eight alternate box art covers for the game available now. You can download them on the game’s website for free. The artwork comes with printing instructions in an Adobe PDF file.
The alternate covers initially came about when fans voiced displeasure with the artwork the developer went with (pictured below).shh

Official Box Art

shhFans can download two versions of leading lady Elizabeth on the cover, two version of Elizabeth and co-lead Booker, three concept art covers and an artwork of Booker trying to catch Elizabeth as they fall from the flying city of Columbia (pictured above).shh

BioShock Infinite has been getting rave reviews across the board, so any disappointments with the box art luckily did not translate to the actual game.shh

Just play the damn game, kids.shh