Monthly Archives: November 2014

Why do Americans love Godzilla?

He’s in video games. He’s a Hollywood star. He’s on T-shirts and commercials. Godzilla everywhere, man.

So, why exactly do Americans love Big G?

10) He’s independent. Ever see Godzilla’s bff? Big G ain’t living with his folks.

9) He speaks loud and swings a big stick (his tail, that is).

8) Godzilla is a cowboy. He appears from nowhere, does whatever he does, then he’s riding off and gone again.

7) He is the Bomb. Not Da Bomb. The Bomb. Americans love the bomb. We’ve dropped it before and we’ll drop it again.

Don't mess with Big G and Uncle Sam.

Don’t mess with Big G and Uncle Sam.

6) He’ll side with anyone if it serves his interests. He hates people but when there’s a common enemy, he’ll roll with ‘em. Remember Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Soviet Union, etc, etc? All American buddies once.

Rummy was chummy with Saddam...and then he wasn't.

Rummy was chummy with Saddam…and then he wasn’t.

5) Equal Opportunity: everyone in G’s path gets whacked, regardless of race, color, creed, etc, etc.

4) He’s black, but it’s okay because he’s an athlete.

3) Okay, he may be athletic, but he’s also kind of obese.

2) When he gets angry, cities go up in flames.

1) He’s a bully.

Godzilla New Game PS3 Trailer Japan — To You Soon Coming! Oh, no, only Japan!

Godzilla is coming to Japan…again. In all his (or her?) retro awesomeness, the original butt-kicking, white-fire-breathing Monster of Monsters will come to PS3 consoles on December 18, 2014. Only in Japan, though.

The trailer shows His Lizardness in his 1950s latex costume glory, complete with big adorable eyes and pudgy nose. He drops buildings with a swing of his thick enormous tail, skyscrapers breaking apart cleanly in their 3D-built sections like a kid’s toy blocks. Things blow up with a flash. Smoke rises. He battles other monsters from the movies including my favorite, Mothra. What’s not to like about this game?

I love Mothra

I love Mothra

He also takes on reimagined versions of himself including the ugly American makeovers, unfortunately. But it’s all good, because he’s Godzilla and he still kicks butt.

I need to play this game.

Eve Online Gameplay Trailer — This is Eve? Not really…

Eve Online is the MMO where real cash has gone down in flames along with virtual space ships. One player lost a super carrier worth approximately $8-9000 in real cash in a well-planned and well-publicized ambush. The game’s been around for over a decade, and in the latest attempt to capture a new generation of players, is offering a two-week free trial. There’s a new trailer for it, which is one of the best gameplay trailers I’ve seen in a while.

The trailer doesn’t showcase a narrator with a British accent or misleading cinematics. It’s got real gameplay featuring voices of real players. It’s intense. It promises high-action, high-teamwork, high-everything. It’s also edited very well, which is the fake, misleading marketing trick here. It’s like a trailer for a lame comedy – all the best jokes are in the trailer, the rest is blah.

I tried it several years ago. The game takes time. It takes money. It’s like raising a kid or a pet. If that’s the only game you play and don’t mind the babysitting, then it might pay off. For me, it never did. I got bored. I’d get beat up and I didn’t care to rebuild. You don’t even put an enemy frigate in your crosshairs. You program it in and the game does math to figure out if it’s a hit or not. Sometimes that’s cool. Usually, I want to blast things in a game like this.

The concept is cool. The freedom and the organic nature of the game has been very interesting to read about. And there may be moments of heart-pounding action as one of the dudes says in the video. But I’ve got a life and too many other games to play.

Game of Thrones Episode One: Iron From Ice Trailer — Lame Tie-In or Real Deal?

There are 7 really long novels and 40 hours of TV but if you need more Game of Thrones, a new Telltale Series is here with six episodes forthcoming. Episode One: Iron from Ice focuses on House Forrester, a lesser house, which I don’t remember at all from the books or show. But it’s understood they are a real house in the world of Westeros and not one created just for this game. That’s obviously a good way to go if you’re a game developer — a House that’s relatively unknown and unmentioned provides more creative freedom and less threads to weave together.

The game’s teaser trailer shows a different look than The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us. It has less of that comic-book feel to it now. I’m all for new things but this isn’t new. Maybe there is a contractual obligation to maintain realistic likenesses of the actors in the show (Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer, Peter Dinklage), but the quality of the graphics is very iPad-ish.

telltale_game_of_thrones_dinklage

But I can get used to that as long as it plays like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. As I noted a year ago when it was announced, the key to a successful Game of Thrones episodic game is how it handles its characters. The book delves deep. The show not as much. An episodic game should come somewhere in between. How will Telltale deliver? Both the RPG and MMO tie-in games sucked, but they didn’t suck because they didn’t explore the characters. They sucked because they just sucked. An episodic game is expected to explore. Can’t be plot-driven.

I was excited a year ago. After seeing the new teaser trailer, my expectations are somewhat lowered, but considering the episodic model requires excellence to sell its subsequent episodes, and given Telltale’s track record, I’m betting Iron of Ice will be pretty darn awesome.

telltale_game_of_thrones_headey

Escape Dead Island — Escape Dead Gilligan’s Island might have been better

Escape Dead Island is out and I’m wondering what’s appealing about this game besides blasting zombies. It’s a psychological mystery game with the same psychology issues that all zombie games have. Better to die or live in fear? Who is the enemy – the undead or the living? Ho-big-Hum.

And it’s not only about solving a mystery, but escaping the island. So, Zombie meets Gilligan? Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad premise. Take away the guns, the tech, the vehicles, the computers, everything. You gotta make bombs out of coconuts. Knives out of clam shells. Flame throwers out of bamboo trees. Now, that would be a killer survival Z-horror game.

Almost as awesome as the Best Zombie Video Game Ever.

Escape Dead Island is out now on Windows, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Could the Professor make the ultimate Zombie-killing gadget with palm leaves and lobster claws?

Could the Professor make the ultimate Zombie-killing gadget with palm leaves and lobster claws?

Armikrog Trailer — Clay Fan-imation!

The most interesting thing about Armikrog is not that it’s clay animation or that it raised almost a million dollars last year on Kickstarter — it’s the fan-buzz it’s already getting even though the game won’t be out until next year. Check out the fan page and the fan art. There are also numerous interview videos of its developers. The point-and-clicker is definitely niche, but that niche is pumped-up.

The game is unique. It’s really clay animation. Not digital animation that looks like clay animation. It’s actually old-school Gumby/Wallace&Grommit/David&Goliath clay animation. That’s impressive, and probably time-consuming. Based on the trailer, the game has some imaginative art design and easy-to-play but challenging puzzle-solver action.

So, it looks like a winner and based on the success of The Neverhood, Armikrog might end up more than just niche, and perhaps the fan hype isn’t that big of a surprise after all.

Armikrog will be out on Windows, OS X, Linus, Wii U and PS4 next year.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Some revelations are better off not revealing

Capcom released 3 gameplay videos for Resident Evil Revelations 2, each showing various functions like how to use a flashlight.

WHY???

Some videos hurt the game more than help it. In this case, after watching the videos, I’m convinced that Resident Evil Revelations 2 will feature NOTHING NEW. Same old gameplay with the same old interface with the same old same old. Swinging a crowbar or a knife is the same action going back to way back when. Likewise with changing weapons, characters, and shooting zombies. Evading and strafing is like late ‘90s Shadows of the Empire feel.

And the graphics aren’t killer new-gen either. A box explodes when hit with a crowbar like they did in the old N64 Zelda games. Box don’t bust up like that. And the Zombies move like Gene Kelly on the ballroom floor. Yes, Kelly was graceful, zombies are NOT supposed to be graceful but they side-step oh so smoothly.

I can understand those Zelda games having a gameplay videos to show off its innovative target-lock system. Or another N64 game, Goldeneye and its multiplayer.   But Revelations 2….  I love the old school Resident Evil and had I not known what I know now, I might have picked up Revelations 2 just on the nostalgia factor.

Revelations 2 is out early 2015 on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC.

Gameplay 1
Gameplay 2
Gameplay 3

Conan, Assassin’s Creed and How to Kill a Brand

While watching Conan’s Clueless Gamer on Assassin’s Creed: Unity, I couldn’t help think that Ubisoft might be you-be-gone soon. There are two new AC’s right now: Unity and Rogue. Both are very similar to each other and very similar to previous ACs going back years. In short, different time/different place, maybe more eye-candy, but they’re all the SAME.

That’s how you send a brand to the guillotine.

It’s one thing to re-hash things that work, but to re-re-hash it without much innovation is suicide. But okay, Rogue has a BB gun. I guess that’s new. And Conan milks the accent thing on Unity, which I pointed out after the trailer in the summer. Why do French dudes have English accents? That’s like Koreans having Japanese accents. Or UCLA Bruins wearing USC red. More insult.

Here’s the message. Take time to develop something cool. I know you want the buck, but you gotta think about the AC brand and more importantly, the Ubisoft brand. We don’t need an AC every black Friday. And give the French dudes French accents. You gave the Italian dudes Italian accents in Brotherhood, right?

Save the brand, don’t suicide it. Or sell it off to some indie who’ll kick rear on it.

Blizzard’s Overwatch — Koreans will dominate this video game

Overwatch will rock it. Yeah, it’s Team Fortress 2 déjà vu all over again. And it’ll probably be an F2P with all the crap that comes with F2Ps. But it’ll rock. After all, it’s got a kick-rear gorilla in a space outfit and a sniperess called Widowmaker.

And no one will rock it more than them Koreans.

We already know Koreans are take-names-later gamers. (Read here for why Koreans are so good at video games.) And they rule the world when it comes to Blizzard’s other games. No doubt they’re gearing up for this one and it’s not even beta yet. There’s even a Korean version of the trailer.

Also, the missions are all team-based. There’s no kill-all, deathmatch. Got to work together, know your place and serve the greater group. No Lone Rangers. That’s Korea, man. Yep, stereotype, but that’s the way it is.

The first three maps are set in England, Japan and Ancient Egypt. It boggles my mind they don’t have a map in Korea. Someone remind the Blizzard marketing peeps that Koreans dominate games. Will Korean gamers play the “Haramura” map? Yeah, but the dudes will be like, “Why are we playing in Japan?”

For sure they’ll have a Korea map eventually. What it would be? Ancient Silla capital of Kyung-ju is a good option. Or one of the huge temple complexes. Or Mount Baekdusan.

Overwatch enters open beta early 2015. The game is for PC and Mac, no word on consoles.

Zpocalypse: Survival on Kickstarter — The Zombie Game we’ve been waiting for

Zpocalypse: Survival is the game I’ve been waiting for. Or it sounds like it will be. It’s currently on Kickstarter at $15K of $35K with 15 days to go.

The premise is similar to The Last Stand: Dead Zone, an F2P on Yahoo Games. Essentially, gather survivors, beef up your base, protect against zombies, scavenge and survive. Of course, Zpocalypse is much more than that. It’s an RTS that incorporates team strategy and morale. You not only have to fight zombies, you have to be an HR Manager – make sure everyone’s cool and get rid of those who aren’t cool. The only difference is if someone is uncool, you don’t terminate him with a paper and a final paycheck, you terminate him with an axe to the head. Hopefully.

You have to people-manage as well as kill zombies.

You have to people-manage as well as kill zombies.

There’s also exploration, base-building, and some procedural world-making.

It’s also creepy.

The gameplay video gave me the same crawly-in-the-spine I got watching the original Night of the Living Dead. You know that scene in the house where the zombies are starting to break through? Yeah, that feeling.

The graphics won’t wow you (at least, not yet), but when the biters, walkers, creeps, et al, are swarming from the dark and the gun can’t fire fast enough, you feel helpless and panicky…at least a little bit. That’s just from the video. This game’s going to be intense.

The deadline is November 25, 2014. Give money now and let’s fund this thing.