StarDrone Extreme Spins Vita Right Round [Review]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 10:00 am
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While big, blockbuster games from established franchises will certainly be a welcome boost to the PlayStation Vita's growing library; I'd argue that it's going to be the smaller, cheaper titles that take advantage of the hardware's unique input methods that will help set the portable console apart from the competition.

StarDrone Extreme is one such game. Sporting a $3.99 price tag and around 70 levels of gameplay that mixes the antics of Angry Birds with physics-based racing (sort of), it's a game that offers plenty of bang for your buck, shiny graphics, a decent soundtrack and a hard focus on touchscreen controls.

From Beatshapers and Orb Games, StarDrone Extreme is an updated version of a PSN title with several new bells and whistles thrown in for good measure and, despite a few nagging complaints, a fast and furious brand of gameplay that works well in short bursts.

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Bloodforge is Pure Arcade [Review]

Monday, April 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm
Bloodforge -- sound and fury.

When I play a game as a reviewer, I try my best to take the game on its own terms. I have a tendency as a consumer to expect certain elements to be present in the games that I play, regardless of whether or not these elements are necessary. For instance, when detailed information came out about the upcoming Game of Thrones RPG, I was actually miffed that it didn't look like I'd be able to create custom facial features for the playable characters. I'm a big fan of the universe of A Song of Ice and Fire, so I was really hoping for the opportunity to insert my own creation into the midst of all that lore and intrigue. But that was not an entirely reasonable expectation. To reiterate: I was mad that the main characters of the game were going to have faces.

This is a long-winded way of saying that I'm usually not huge on hack-and-slash action titles, but in reviewing Bloodforge I did my best to see the game without prejudice. Bloodforge, a new XBLA barbarian killfest in the style of God of War, does not have dialogue choices or profound back-story, but it shouldn't be adjudicated based on that.

When all goes to plan, this genre does some things irrefutably well, and we can judge Bloodforge based on those things. Strong atmosphere is a big requirement of a good hack-and-slash: it takes great design to keep the player in that sweet spot between not pumped enough and too pumped. Gameplay composed of pure inertia is also key -- in the best cases, you feel as though you're orchestrating a symphony of gore, moving fluidly from one kill to the next. And finally, variation is a big must-have for action titles. If you want me to crack skulls for hours on end, it helps if you give me a couple options on how to crack 'em.

So does Bloodforge succeed based on these criteria?

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Portal Turret Goes Skydiving!

Monday, April 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Kotaku reader Alex has such a rad life that he can take a gigantic inflatable Portal 2 turret up in an airplane and then jump the fuck out of it at like 2 miles up and live to submit the tale. I don't actually get jealous much, but this seems like such an amazing experience, and something I'm just not sure I have the rocks to do.

Anyway, it might be made  to look awesome by the choice Portal 2 soundtrack that accompanies the whole thing. Playing "Science is Fun" behind just about any activity ramps up the intensity a few notches.

It's Just Evolution

Monday, April 23, 2012 at 10:00 am


Gamers are a fickle bunch. I speak as one, and I'm sure the rest of you have your moments as well. More than once I have been heard to shout "Passive voice! You're using passive voice! Stop it!" at a video game when a character is speaking. It is poor grammar. It irritates me. When I see my academic background reflected in video games, my reaction is usually a twitch of rage, and then something distracts me enough that I am able to look beyond it. Gamers are, as I said, a fickle bunch, when it comes to presentation, writing, and the evolution of the medium.

Video games continue to evolve in ways that appear to be more focused on getting more people into games than pleasing the people who currently play. The medium is spreading out among the mobile crowd. I don't have an iPhone, but during my daily errands for my job, I see more than one person playing a game (Angry Birds, Words With Friends,etc.) while they wait in line at the bank or the post office. My phone has a little dice game on it, but the extent of the game is that I cue up the app, and shake the phone. It's not terribly engaging as any kind of game game, and it's guaranteed to amuse me for all of about five seconds. Perhaps mobile games for some phones have a ways to go.

So when it comes to the evolution of the medium, when a developer comes along and explains that they want to breathe some new life into an old product - clearly, the cynic states, an appeal to a certain gaming crowd based purely upon sentimentatilty and nostalgia - why, then, do the loudest and most irate of gamers immediately shriek that this type of action is a travesty, an outrage, it cannot be done. Leave our game alone! they bellow at the developer.

I may be exaggerating the reactions of the gaming masses, here, but you get my point.

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This Mortal Kombatant Is A Classy Lady

Friday, April 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Just kidding. Classy ladies aren't really a thing (or, they are exactly that: things?) in fighting genre video games. But if you're a fan of Mortal Kombat, you'll be excited to see this Mileena trailer. 

It is only a brief teaser into what the next iteration -- the PlayStation Vita version -- will bring, but if you like chicks walking awkwardly on on loose, pebbly ground -- with each step potentially being ankle-shattering -- then boy oh boy, will you be into this.

It's a Golden Age for Gaming

Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10:00 am
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 It's a great time to be a gamer.

Call this a reassurance topic if you like. Or maybe it's just the ravings of a man staring at the world through rose-tinted glasses. Either way, I can't help but feel like much of the negativity surrounding gaming these days is unwarranted.

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about any particular occurrence or current hot topics, but rather the state of gaming as a whole. It seems like no matter where I look, I keep stumbling upon folks claiming that gaming has gone downhill on a fast track this generation; that the hobby is doomed, stale and being run by greedy publishers willing to run the industry into the ground if it'll mean a few more bucks in the pocket.

I, for one, take a look at the gaming landscape of 2012 and can't help but feel like we've never had it so good.

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The Mushroom That Charges Gadgets

Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Here's a quick-hitter for you today which is appropriate given that Earth Day is right around the corner. I've had a chance to check out the Bracketron Mushroom Green Zero travel charger, and I'm definitely happy with it. It's a simple gadget with only a couple aspects to talk about. It plugs into a wall socket and gives you another USB charging port to plug your gear into. I don't know about you, but I can never have enough USB ports. I've been using the Mushroom to charge my PS3 controller, which I could never seem to keep juiced up before. 

Of course, the big selling point for the Mushroom is that it using zero "idle energy." Once you plug in your USB gadget and hit the big green button, it shuts off power flow automatically when charged. Not only do you gain an extra USB charging port, but you cut down your energy usage as well. Nice. Plus it doesn't hurt that this thing is just cute. It looks like something Mario would use to charge his cell phone. 

The Bracketron Mushroom Green Zero charger will be available next month for around $28. 

Holographic Tupac Shakur in... Star Wars?

Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Okay, so not really. But this is kind of funny.

Ever since Dre produced a light-trick version of the deceased rap legend, videos and discussion of the impact have exploded all over the internet. This is an example of someone making a stupid and clever video about it. And Star Wars.

Who knew? Thanks, Internet. For being so awesome.

New God of War Game "Ascension" Trailer Here!

Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 10:00 am

Just when you think you've had too much Kratos for one lifetime, Sony pumps out this gem of a trailer. The teaser isn't what you'd expect. It isn't Kratos hitting shit and looking generally pissed off. Instead, it is a trailer of beginnings. What he was before he was hitting shit and generally pissed off all the time.

Now, that's not to say that you should expect anything different when the game releases, because what's happening to Kratos is going to make him pissed. And hitting shit is what Kratos does when he's pissed. Which is all the time.

More details to come!

Say Goodbye to Diablo III Beta Servers On May 1

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm
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If you're currently enjoying Diablo III's beta, then you will be alarmed but not surprised to find that your lovely little beta you love so much is gonna be shut down, effective May 1, 2012. So, you can stop leveling up your Barbarian, because he's going to disappear like DB Cooper into the night once they shut down, and never ever exist again.

Sorry to bum you out, but you don't have to wait long until Diablo III the full game comes out -- look for that one May 15, 2012. Or so they promise.

Tags: beta, Diablo 3