Monthly Archives: October 2014

Yakuza Zero Story Trailer — 15 Minutes of Awesome

15 minute video game trailers are awesome. It’s like Cliff’s Notes of games – learn all you need to know without playing the whole thing. It’s especially awesome if there’s a ton of talking and in a language you don’t understand. That’s the experience you’ll get watching all 15 minutes of the new Yakuza Zero trailer.

Don’t want to watch it? Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

It’s 1988 and there’s money, night clubs, bright city lights and hot women in tight outfits. There are two young Yakuzas (supposed to be younger versions of characters from other Yakuza titles). They’re tasked with small Yakuza missions like beating up dudes, taking money, running night clubs and killing people. One young dude looks bad and he looks like he wants to be more bad. The other young Yakuza is bad and he wants to be bad but he’s good. He’s got a pony-tail and an eye patch. He goes to kill someone but he’s not there. Instead, he meets a blind girl who he saves from other Yakuza, runs away with, and probably falls in love. There’s also some dude with power to turn off all lights in the city. Is it a super-power or is he just that rich? I don’t know, I don’t speak Japanese, but I wish I did because I’d like to know.

So do I want to play this game? Heck yeah. It’s the 1980s, man. The ‘80s is my fave decade.

The game is out March 2015 in Japan for PS3 and PS4.

Nvidia PhysX on Lords of the Fallen — True Innovation or Plastic City?

Nvidia shows off its GameWorks Technology in a new Lords of the Fallen video. Watch the video and read more about it in the Nvidia blog. And then think about the PhysX SDK. Don’t think too hard – it’ll make your brain fart – but long enough to ponder upon the business logic of the PhysX SDK. Mainly, the darn thing doesn’t work on AMD GPU. Why not? No other reason than cold hard cash, but is it really the best way to go? Are we looking at another Betamax vs VHS situation?

It’s lame that they put up this fake wall to get people to buy the Nvidia GPU. Whenever anyone tries to place an artificial limitation on technology that, in truth, is not all that special, then you’ve got the tortoise/hare situation. Cash out quick because ultimately someone will catch you with tech that is more universal and it doesn’t matter if your tech is “better” (Betamax was “better” than VHS), it’ll dry up. This is the 21st century. Tech takes leaps, not steps.

Instead of putting up BS moats, sell licenses to developers. Man-up and compete with superior products and true innovation. That would be a better option, and better for the industry, and most of all, better for gamers.

Lords of the Fallen looks good, though. The particle effect is amazing. The game looks like something I can put off until later, much later, but it looks good.

Open Panzer – Operation Uranus Walkthrough

The first scenario of a campaign is usually the easiest. But this is Open Panzer and it ain’t for pansies. Operation Uranus, the first scenario of The Great Patriotic War campaign, is tough. It’s tough to win but also tough to stomach. Everyone will die. Or nearly everyone. That’s the way it was in the Eastern Front and that’s the way it is in Open Panzer. The walkthrough below will help you accept the inevitable.

Here are other Open Panzer walkthroughs: Lodz-Warta River and Huertgen Forest

Operation Uranus

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You are the Russians in the campaign to push the Axis out of the Motherland. In Operation Uranus, you will engage with the Romanians and the Germans to take control of the Chir River. The primary objective is to liberate two towns along the river, one in the center and one in the south.

Your forces are divided into two groups, one in the West of the River and another in the East.

Two groups, two objectives.

Two groups, two objectives.

The group in the West consists of infantry, artillery and armor. This is the decoy group. Your infantry and artillery will suffer high casualties. There’s no way to avoid it. They will do their duty, charge the enemy lines and will get slaughtered.

The smaller group in the East consists of tanks, cavalry, and some artillery. Your core units will be included in this group.

You also have a fighter in the airfield up north.

You start with 4000 prestige points. Buy several T-34s or other medium tanks. Don’t buy artillery, infantry or aircraft. These will be placed north of your first Objective (you will need to move your starting units first to make room for new units).

STRATEGY

The overall strategy is to use your infantry to divert the enemy’s main forces so that your armor can flank and squeeze through holes in the enemy’s line. They will need to survive and move quickly in order to take the objective in the south. If your armor gets bogged down, you will lose the battle.

Most of the guys in the left will die.

Most of the guys in the left will die.

WEST

Advance your infantry and artillery toward the town directly to the south and engage the Romanian line. The enemy is strong and well-supported. Attack with your artillery but keep the infantry moving and defensive. Do not attack with them as they will get slaughtered. The idea is to prolong the battle as long as possible.

Move the armor south between the town and the river. Use cavalry from the East group to scout ahead to avoid ambushes. The idea is not to “break-through” the Romanian line but to slip through the cracks. Avoid engaging the enemy unless necessary and only if the odds are in your favor. If the odds are not in your favor, avoid the engagement and keep your armor moving south.

Once the armor has moved past the Romanian line, keep them moving south toward the second primary objective. Depending on how it’s going with the first primary objective, they may need to support the East group.

Most, if not all, of your infantry and artillery in this group will die. There’s really no way to save them. If your armor is able to get through more or less in one piece, then the sacrifice will not be in vain.

EAST

Choose your engagements well in the East. Don’t fight the superior German tanks if you can. Keep your armor moving toward the primary objectives.

Use your fighter to take out the enemy bomber. When the bomber is gone, the fighter’s mission will be to pick out enemy guns.

Use cavalry to scout and attack weaker infantry and field guns. Like in the East, both your infantry and cavalry will be cannon fodder. They need to keep the stronger enemy units, especially panzers, occupied so that your armor can go after the primary objectives.

Once your armor has made it to the first town, attack the infantry and guns defending it. As long as their panzers are busy fighting your infantry in the north, it should be easy to dislodge the defenders in the town and take the control point. Once you take the control point, put a strong armor unit there to defend it and a backup unit just in case.

Flank the town with your tanks and attack from all sides.

Flank the town with your tanks and attack from all sides.

All other armor, move South.

SOUTH

All of your armor will converge on the final primary objective in the south. You should arrive by around turn 7.

Your map should look like this by Turn 6.

Your map should look like this by Turn 6.

They need to move fast because heavy German panzers are on their way. Hit the defenders hard and quickly. Do not engage enemy units not occupying the control point. Keep your attacks focused and you’ll take the town and you’ll give meaning to the deaths of the thousands of comrades who died in this battle.

Avenge your comrades!

Avenge your comrades!

SENRAN KAGURA: Bon Appétit! Announcement Trailer — Please pass the…well, just pass…

I’ve been waiting for an awesome cooking game and so when I heard that Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! is out November 11 on PS Vita, I realized…I’ll have to keep waiting.  The spin off from the Senran Kagura series is an action cooking game.  It’s one of those annoying deals where your agile little fingers have to hit the keys that side-scrolls at ever-increasing speeds.  I don’t know what’s up with these Japanese games but they also have anime women who lose parts of their clothing if they lose.  Okay, sure….  I don’t know what the attraction is unless you’re some adolescent dude or Japanese, perhaps.

The best cooking game isn’t Cooking Mama or the Iron Chef game.  Actually, the best cooking game isn’t even a cooking game.  It’s the RPG Suikoden 2, which came out in 1999 on the original playstation.  That RPG had a cooking  mini-game, which rocked.  Read about it here.

Sunset Overdrive Gameplay Trailer – Energy Drinks are Evil!

If Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is Yin, then Sunset Overdrive (SO) is Yang. If CoD is Laurel, then SO is Hardy. If CoD is the New York Yankees, then SO is the Boston Red Sox.

The gameplay launch trailer for Sunset Overdrive is out and it’s fresh air after downing the fizz of the CoD: Advanced Warfare trailer.

I know, it’s apples to oranges, but the CoD story guys might need some of this Overcharge Delirium XT. Here’s what up: they’re both about mega corporations. In CoD, you’re fighting for one: a mercenary group run by Kevin Spacey. In SO, FizzCo’s greed has turned the people of Sunset City into monsters via their energy drink, Overcharge Delirium XT. In CoD, you have some really cool, advanced…but super clichéd…weapons like drop-pods, mini-guns, and jet packs. In SO, you have some really not-cool, ad-hoc…but super interesting…weapons like TNTeddy (Teddy bear grenade launcher) and AK-Fuckyouup. In CoD, it’s about democracy and freedom and honor. In SO, it’s about survival and the “OD’d” and the evils of energy drinks.

Which is more awesome?

Sunset Overdrive is exclusive to Xbox One and out on October 28, 2014.

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Gameplay Trailer — Mercenaries? Really?

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare takes place in the distant future where body suits allow you to jump from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. The new trailer also showcases advanced tech that you’ve seen in a myriad sci-fi flicks, shows, and games. Drop pods, space marines, jet packs, little fighter planes that remind me of the snow speeder thing from Empire Strikes Back. There are other clichés like Kevin Spacey in a suit talking all arrogant.

That’s okay, I guess. It is what it is. I’m not one of those purist types that says one thing’s gotta be one thing only. CoD didn’t always have to be WW2. It could roll out a new “vision” (as they call it), and use the branding to sell copies. This Advanced Warfare seems like a different game, almost to the point of ridiculousness. Do I really need to jump a hundred yards and then fly around in a jet pack blowing things up with a minigun strapped to my waist that has no recoil whatsoever? I’ll play Titanfall, instead. But change is not bad, as long as it’s not change just to change.

I don’t like being fooled, though. Like with Ghost Recon back in the day. Ghost Recon One and Island Thunder were awesome. I bought Ghost Recon Two thinking more of the same awesome but turned out they changed the gameplay all out. That sucked. I had the same concern with CoD: Ghosts but that game turned out all right, though I could do without rifles with names like Honey Badger.

The biggest issue I have with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is that it’s about mercenaries. Fighting for your country is a Duty. Fighting for money is not. Risking my life charging the Nazi trenches and blowing up Panzers to save the free world from oppression is a Call of Duty. Fighting the Russian separatists or even those annoying South Americans is a Call of Duty. Giving my life to make some C-suite executive rich is NOT a Call of Duty. It’s very much American these days, but not really a Call of Duty. Is that why this game is out on Election Day? It’s a day when Americans do their “duty” only to make wealthy Americans even wealthier.

Maybe there’s some noble thing that comes out in the Advanced Warfare story. I’m sure the twist is that the Kevin Spacey character is actually the bad dude and we end up fighting our old employer.  That’s very American going back to the Revolutionary War. I hope that’s what it is, as cliché as it may be.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is out on Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on November 4, 2014.

Infection (iOS) Review – Infectiously Addictive!

Game Experience: Low

Game Value: Low

Quiche says: I don’t know why I’m still playing this game but I am

Here’s how I review my games.

Infection on iOS is repetitive, morbid, insensitive, and mindless. But the F2P is also extremely addictive. The objective is to create a disease, spread it, and send the 6.5 billion members of the human race into extinction. If one person survives, you lose. If a cure is found, you lose. Everyone must die.

You start by picking your ground zero country. From there, you choose various traits to inspire the virus to spread and infect as many people as possible. You then decide on the symptoms and resistance factors that will guide your lovely disease to kill. Again, the goal is to kill. Everyone must die.

The gameplay is simple. There’s a map of the world. Each country has its unique combination of characteristics: climate, wealth, urban, rural, etc. Depending on the nation’s traits, your virus may or may not be effective. For example, if your virus is more effective in colder temperatures, it will not be as effective in Africa.

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You tap on a country to start and the clock starts running. The game is paused only to give you time to shape your pet virus. You accumulate DNA points for new infections and mutations and growth and lethality, which are ultimately used to add traits and develop the virus into a killer disease. You also get DNA points for popping red and yellow bubbles that appear. To infect other nations, you need transmission via airplane or ship, which are shown on the map as airplanes and ships. There are ports and airports but not all countries have ports and airports. The game continues until one of two things happen: all the people that will die are dead, or a cure is found. You get points for how fast you kill off the world.

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There are various missions with different challenges as the game progresses to give it some semblance of a campaign. For example, you have to win with a virus that doesn’t do so well in wealthy nations, etc. As the challenges get tougher, the F2P business model kicks in, tempting you to spend money to win.

Here’s the basic strategy:

Infection Stage

    • Start with a nation with many borders, a port and an airport.
    • Transmit via water First, and then Air, and then depending on your nation’s traits, choose between rat, bug, cow or birds. You don’t really need the blood.
    • Make sure to max out the transmission that will infect via ship because Greenland and Madagascar can only be reached by sea, and those two take a while for the virus to reach them.
    • Spend DNA points on a few resistance traits such as Drug Resistance or cold Resistance, but don’t spend anything on Symptoms because doing so will trigger cure research, which will shorten your game, and you won’t be able to kill everyone.
    • Once the disease is on a good pace, don’t spend any more DNA points. Save them. You should have at least 50 points left.
    • Wait until everyone is infected.

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Kill Stage

    • Again, you should have saved at least 50 points here. Spend it all right away on symptoms. Start with Coughing and move up choosing the most lethal. You should have about 25% of your lethal meter filled right off the bat.
    • Once your lethality and visibility is up, the world will start to research a cure, and the race is on.
    • Pop blue bubbles to slow research. Add more lethality and resistance with DNA points.
    • Keep up the pace and your disease will wipe out humankind.

 

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Elegy for a Dead World on Kickstarter — The Writing is the Mission

Ever play a game with a story that sucks and you bragged about how you could write a story that sucked less? Now you can! Well, that is, if Elegy for a Dead World gets funded on Kickstarter (currently $38K of $48K with 6 days to go).

Dejobaan Games’ work-in-process is a “game about writing fiction.”

I’m not sure I can call it a game yet – it seems more like a multi-media writing exercise. When you take a creative writing course, a popular exercise is where you have to write a story based on the first part of a sentence. For example, “The man walked into the room, placed a spatula on the table, sighed, and….” You finish the sentence and continue the story for five minutes. Sometimes that exercise becomes a full story or a novel, even. That’s the point. Something to get you going. This “game” is the same, but there are pretty pictures to go with your pretty words, plus music.

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In Elegy, you are an explorer left alone on a strange planet. Your job is to document the world and its mysteries. The “gameplay” is simple. Your character walks around and at certain points, you get a writing prompt. For example, “I felt the frigid air and realized….” Your job is to finish that sentence, and create a story. And then if you want, your work gets judged on Steam Workshop, which will be pretty cool for the niche group that will actually feel comfortable about putting their crap for others to rate.

Your story doesn’t influence the game. Elegy would be a real game if there’s an algorithm that picks up certain key words in your story and causes a “choose-your-own-adventure” effect that changes where you go and the things you see. Like if you wrote, “I felt something was watching me. The ghosts of those who lived here thousand years past”. The word “ghosts” triggers images of the supernatural that enters your story.

Elegy for a Dead World isn’t complex, but it’s still a cool concept. It’s at least an educational tool to get people to write more. Nothing wrong with that.

It’s out Q1 2015 for Windows, Mac, Linux on Steam.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue Story Trailer – A BB gun???

After checking out the new story trailer for Assassin’s Creed Rogue, I’m thinking Assassin’s Creed Unity is the way to go this winter. Rogue, developed by Ubisoft Sofia, is another revenge story: a noob Assassin (Shay Patrick Cormac) gets screwed by the Assassins and so he joins the Templars and hunts the Assassins who made him do bad things (e.g. mass murder). Kind of like Rourke in CoD Ghosts or even Anakin Skywalker. Of course, Shay’s revenge factor is more justifiably ethical, I suppose. Fans wanted to be a Templar and what fans want, fans get. The masses are ignorant, but powerful…like in the French Revolution. Assassin’s Creed Unity, which takes place in late 18th century France, features another noob, Arno Dorian. Arno is more like previous leads of the AC series like Ezio Auditore – he gets in the Brotherhood and has to prove himself. Nice, straight-forward, less cliché-ish.

Rogue is a sequel of sorts to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag with ties to both Assassin’s Creed III and Unity. It’s got Adewale among others. Like Black Flag, it’s got naval battles, which I thought was gimmicky going back to the weak Leonardo DaVinci naval mission of Brotherhood.

Rogue’s also got an air rifle. An air rifle?!! Come on, man! Like a BB gun? An Assassin with a BB gun? After all these years, I know they have to keep coming up with new stuff, but think I can come up with a better weapon than a BB gun.

The Air Rifle - glorified BB gun?

The Air Rifle – glorified BB gun?

Most of all, the revenge story could be more interesting and original. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be so ethical and justifiable. Remember the movie, Old Boy? The Korean one, not the Spike Lee garbage. Now, that is a revenge story. And it ain’t some grand noble purpose. It doesn’t have to be clean, either. Like Gods will be Watching, there could be some dirt. Let’s play with that. Let’s be new once in a while.