Sequels and Progress

Monday, November 28, 2011 at 10:00 am

There are no original ideas. Everything is a remake. Nobody is doing anything new or interesting. Everything is a sequel.

Sound familiar? Those statements could refer to anything in the entertainment industry. You'll see those words thrown at movies, at music, at books, and, louder and louder lately, it seems, at the games industry. Think about the games that have come out this year, the ones that you itched to get your hands on. If you're a gamer, be you an Xbox 360, a PS3, a Wii, or a PC person, it's likely that you own a big release that came out this year, and it was probably a sequel.

I remember uttering, "Everything is a sequel", myself, back during this year's E3. When games were being presented, the biggest offerings were all sequels, including Gears of War 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, and Uncharted 3. Even as I complained about the prominence of game successors, I knew that I would own at least three games on that list.

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The Funeth Overfloweth - Rayman Origins Review

Friday, November 25, 2011 at 10:00 am
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I remember the first time I picked up an NES controller to play Super Mario Bros. Despite the fact I was clumsily guiding Mario headfirst into goombas and bottomless pits, I was overwhelmed by the simple joy of watching that little plumber run and jump (and die over and over again) because of the buttons I was pressing on the controller.

Eventually, I had Mario cruising around that screen like an Italian Ballerina; running, jumping and squashing heads with great precision.

Few games have captured that sort of 2-D platforming perfection over the years. Even fewer, now that the genre has all but died out in physical retail form. But games like Earthworm Jim and the original Rayman series will always stand out in my mind for the amount of fun they managed to cram into every square inch of their worlds.

It's been a long time coming, but Rayman Origins is back to remind us all just how wonderful such a game can be.

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Happy Thanksgiving From Joystick Division

Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 9:00 am
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy your day, and enjoy this video from Random Encounters Entertainment. It has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but it does involve birds, so close enough.

See you all tomorrow!

Spec Ops: The Line Trailer Is A Horrifying Shining Light

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm
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A year and a half ago, I sat in at 2K's booth demo room for Spec Ops: The Line. The space was small, loaded with overstuffed chairs facing a projector. Crystal chandeliers plastered the ceiling. The walls were dusky and unlit, with images of distant buildings appearing faintly in the background. We were meant to feel like we were in the glass-enclosed lobby of an upscale resort in the heart of Dubai. But it was dim. False sand dunes were covering the outside. The illusion was that we under the rubble of the desert, an audience in an avalanche of sand.

This is how 2K markets their products. They tailor their booths to mimic the majestic set-pieces of the games. And I think they strive to emphasize the atmosphere that pervades the story of a game throughout its whole life cycle, through trailers, teasers, and in the final product. Rare, when gameplay and action tend to carry the flag for most other video game publishers. I've always liked where 2K puts its priorities, and it looks like they are heading the right way with Spec Ops: The Line. The game promises to be a complicated, heady mess of a story, set in sandblasted Dubai to the tune of Heart of Darkness. You'll see what I mean in this fucking radical trailer.

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WWE '12 Is a Solid Contender, Not Yet A Champ - Review

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm
By Caleb Newby

Pro wrestling is something of a reoccurring on again/off again thing for me. I got hooked back in the mid 80s during the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection era. After getting back into it and getting juicy info from the dirt sheets I quit on it like most fans until the nWo and Attitude Eras. That lasted until this crazy thing called MMA showed up and I was ready to jump ship... albeit temporarily, as I was back whenever Shawn Michaels was working his magic or the WWE was running a particularly interesting program (i.e. the famous CM Punk "shoot" interview from a few months back). 

Along the way I've reviewed my fair share of wrestling games and was eager to give the new WWE '12 game a go.

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Put Your Butt On This! [Sumo Lounge Gamer Review]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm
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Remember, we're here to talk about the beanbag.
Not long ago, I had the the chance to review unlikely gaming accessory the Selk'Bag, a wearable sleeping bag suit. Now I've had the chance to check out the Sumo Lounge Gamer, a giant beanbag chair. You might think these sound like random selections for a video game site, but we're all about anything that improves the gaming experience, be it clothing or furniture.

And trust us, you'll want to plop your booty down on this.

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Resistance Vol. 1 [Game Comics Review]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Resistance Vol. 1

Writers: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Mike Costa

Story Consultant: John Garvin

Artwork: C.P. Smith, John Paul Leon, Ramon Perez, and Kody Chamberlain

Letters: Wes Abbott

Colors: Smith, Tony Avina, and JD Mettler

Original Series Covers: Smith

Cover: Rodrigo Ribiero and Grant Hollis/Insomniac Games

Publisher: WildStorm/DC Comics

Collecting Resistance #1-6 and Resistance 2 #0


Insomniac Games' entertaining first person shooter series Resistance series has never been a game shy on ambitious scope; as the first game begins, the entirety of Russia and Europe has been taken over but the Chimera, and the series' first hero, Nathan Hale, finds himself up against the Chimera's attack on the United Kingdom. With the second and third games, the series moved to America, with the fate of the country and eventually humanity as a species at stake. And with an ambitious scope comes a lot of backstory, from tie-in novels to the Project Abraham ARG. So it was only natural that comics would eventually enter the fray.

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It's not a Bird! It's not a Plane! It's an Easy Superman Game [Superman Review]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

Lex flexes his muscles against the Man of Steel.
The Golden Age Superman is a badass, although, in the light of modern comic books, his adventures are pretty harmless and campy, replete with cardboard characters and sayings like "Oh, no! A meteor is going to destroy Metropolis! Save us, Superman!"

Chillingo's iOS videogame Superman is no different, capturing the days when Supes regularly smashed Lex Luthor's face in the names of Truth, Justice and the American Way. You can learn its gameplay faster than a speeding bullet. But is it more powerful than a locomotive?

My early verdict: I've seen stronger Angry Birds.

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OK. You Win. We're Bringing News Back. Sort Of.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 8:00 am
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We've heard some great feedback from our lovely readership as of late. And because we love you all (hell, we all write for you), we want you to know that your voices have been heard. We're going to be bringing back news items for you to enjoy. But there's a catch. You're going to need to hear me out.

It isn't going to be ten items a day. What I'm personally going to try to do in re-inject a bit of news and gaming trends back into our daily routine. Expect only the shit we think is important, and expect it every day but not every hour. I've come to realize that we need a balance, and that once that balance is struck, we'll make more and more people happy.

So, starting later today, we will be reviving some news for you. Breaking stuff will always be found here, and things that we come across that we feel are particularly relevant. Don't expect to hear about the new Portal 2  stuffed plushies that some obscure site is hocking. Expect to hear about how the new indie game by PlayDead is leaking details, and how that is going to impact us.

Cheers, and good on you for keeping with us as we transition. Thanks, and good day. 

Hawkins out.

Musing on Ghost Rider in 55 Words [Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Review]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Look into his awesomeness.
As an upgrade to Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 features 12 new characters, including Rocket Raccoon (Marvel Comics), Frank West (Dead Rising series) and Ghost Rider (Marvel).

That trio comprises my ultimate team. A photojournalist/zombie basher. A rock'n'roll raccoon. A hell of wheels. With these guys, I have a decent chance defeating such additions as Iron Fist and Phoenix Wright, both of whom have a penchant for jarring ground and aerial combos. The 12 newcomers are powerful, if not more powerful than such long-standing fighters as Ryu and Wolverine. (Read JD's notes on Marvel vs. Capcom 3 here. Ultimate is very similar, save for new characters and maps, if you care about those.)

But I have a hunch that Ghost Rider is the most powerful character of them all. I can tell you why in 55 words, not in a poem.
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