Blackwell Deception from Wadjeteye Games made headlines this fall with a Halloween promotion gone awry. A promotion that once again showed why the internet can’t have nice things. The indie developer tried giving fans a free copy of the game on Halloween together with Steam keys. The Steam keys featured a one per IP limit which the internet promptly found ways around. The result? More than 30,000 copies extracted in mere hours causing the developer to cancel the promotion. The silver lining (if there is one)? The gaming press picking up the story probably got the studio more publicity than the initial free game. So thanks jerks I guess…
But what of the actual game itself and the rest of the Blackwell series? Where do these fall on the scale of adventure games? Should you play through the first four before the final installment is available in 2104? Well, I’m here as your adventure game spirit guide to provide you the answer. Just take hold of this tie…
The Blackwell series began back in December 2006 with Blackwell Legacy. In the game you play as Rosangela Blackwell (Rosa for short) and her spirit guide Joey Malone. Rosa and Joey help ghosts find their way into the afterlife after they are trapped on earth and fail to realize they’re dead (Bruce Willis surprisingly does not make a cameo).
Legacy was Wadjeteye’s second game after The Shivah. It features a great story and really sets the tone for the series. Rosangela is a quirky, introverted freelance journalist while Joey, a sort of a Bogart-esque leading man, provides sarcastic commentary at its finest.
All of the episodes follow basic adventure game mechanics. Each game has a series of locations you can visit to uncover clues and objects. You can switch back and forth between the main character and the spirit guide to accomplish different tasks. You have an inventory and can look stuff up on the internet (though sadly the first few games are all set in pre-smartphone days so you have to go home to do so).
The subject matter is definitely dark (some of the ghosts committed suicide) so its aimed for teens and up. Overall, Legacy is a solid adventure game I highly recommend!
Unbound, the next game in the series, is actually a prequel and follows Rosangela’s aunt Lauren who is referenced in the original story. Joey is also her spirit guide and together they help ghosts to the other side. I played the games out of order so I knew a bit more of the backstory going into this game. There are definitely some common threads but playing out of order didn’t didn’t reveal any major spoilers or hinder my progress in other games.
Unbound introduces a recurring “villain” known as The Countess. It actually worked well for me meeting her in a later game and then returning to the back story. Unbound is very loosely based on real life characters Joseph Mitchell and Joe Gould. It’s definitely interesting in both fact and fiction versions!
My biggest complaint about the series is the dialog puzzles and this game featured some irritating dialog puzzles. It’s not often obvious that you have to keep talking to the same person. I already asked them three different things but the puzzle won’t really unlock until you finally get to the fourth thing. Usually I figure out what the fourth thing IS but it doesn’t exist in the game until I have the conversation. While dialog puzzles are definitely my least favorite adventure game mechanic, Blackwell’s stories are good enough that I eventually get over my seething rage after cheating and discovering I was mostly right.
One “bug” I found amusing in this game was Lauren’s apartment. It has about a bazillion ashtrays in it but she only seems to ash on the welcome mat by the door...
Next up in the series is Blackwell Convergence. Convergence again messes around with the timeline and returns to just after Rosa meets Joey. I played this game last.
Convergence was probably my least favorite. It features a great story arc that comes together nicely but I found most of the game’s individual characters annoying and unlikeable (in the game’s defense most of them were supposed to be unlikeable). Somehow this game just wasn’t really fun to play and, at this point, I was also sick of The Countess.
Deception was the first I played and probably my favorite. It again follows Rosa and Joey but doesn’t feature any other direct connections to characters from the other stories (at least as revealed in this game). Rosa gets a smart phone in this game so, woohoo, not as many trips home!
As with all the Blackwell games Deception has the same dialog puzzle issues. Additionally, the new smart phone search is a bit anal about exactly what you type. It reminded me of some of the old school text adventures and the hours of my life lost to Sierra’s Goldrush getting the exact phrasing of “Put Chains on Wheels” correct.
Deception features great storytelling and voice acting. The graphics are somewhat updated but still fairly old school. It ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger so I can’t wait to see what the final installment of the series brings us in 2014!
The reason why I played the series out of order is the older Blackwell games in the AVS engine don’t work in Steam Big Picture on my PC. I either get sound or video to work but never both at the same time. My system is complicated with a 52 inch TV going through receivers, HDMI, 7.1, etc. I received some troubleshooting help from the studio and the AVS forums with no luck. Ultimately, I gave up and eventually played on the 27 inch monitor with my regular desktop PC instead of the one hooked up to the TV.
Overall, I highly enjoyed these games.The strong story telling makes up for annoying dialog puzzles and dated graphics. I am really looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up in the final installment due out this year.
Released by indie developer roll7 exclusively for the Playstation Vita, OlliOlli, is a side scrolling skateboarding game with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. The game features over 50 levels and 250 challenges to achieve that will have your thumbs doing can-cans and knack-knacks in your sleep!
How can I describe OlliOlli without downplaying how great it is? In a time when everyone is looking for the ultimate HD experience, OlliOlli is both simple in design and graphics. That is not to say that the simple design takes away from the game in any way, in fact, I appreciate the simple design. I enjoyed not being bombarded with flashy explosions and a soundtrack that boasted the latest Top 40 which apparently passes for music nowadays. This game is a nice break from HD, 3D, and all the other “D’s.”
OlliOlli features a tutorial that gives you the gist of how to play this game. You’ll perform simple tricks, grinds and combos which will eventually bring you to the first stage: Urban. Each stage features a few challenges to accomplish while you try to string together all the tricks you can before the end of the stage. Using only a combination of the left stick, left and right bumper and the X button you execute your tricks and grinds-trying to land them perfectly to achieve the highest score possible and complete each stage’s challenges. Be warned though, should you wipe out, you must start the stage over. Completing an Amateur stage with a combination of challenges and high scores unlocks the next Amateur stage in the level. Should you complete all the challenges in an Amateur stage, you’ll unlock the Pro stages in that level providing you with even more challenges to complete. Each mode of play: Career, Spots, Daily Grind and Rad Mode features their own unique challenges and game play, giving you an abundance of opportunities to perfect that Frontside, Shove-it or any of the other tricks in the “Tricktionary.” Want to challenge your friends or others? OlliOlli’s Daily Grind mode gives you all the practice attempts you want but only one chance to run the course to prove your skills against others.
Personally, I enjoyed playing this game, and while I still have to hone my skating skills, OlliOlli gave me the opportunity to practice to achieve that high score. It brings back the nostalgia of Paperboy or Castlevania. Ahhh...the good ole days of 8-bit graphics! One side effect of playing OlliOlli, the unrelenting need to go out and jump on a board and shred some concrete, I unfortunately became acquainted with again! Word of advice, if you're over the age of…hell what am I saying, most of us at 2old2play should know better than to try to ride a skateboard at our age, emphasis on “should!” Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go nurse my scrapes. Seriously, I highly recommend this game, dude.
In Ryse: Son of Rome, players are introduced to Marius Titus in epic fashion as he is guided through the dramatic last stand of Rome, fighting his way through the swarming barbarian horde with a single purpose: get Emperor Nero to safety. Marius, being the competent soldier that he is, accomplishes his objective and delivers Nero safely to his panic room, but the intentions of Nero’s savior and sole protector are in question as Marius starts to tell his tale.
The tale of Marius Titus starts as he returns home just before being dispatched to join the 2nd Legion in Alexandria. The elder Titus, a former soldier and evidently a big fan of foreshadowing, presents his son with the Blade of Damocles, regaling Marius with the tale of Damocles’ betrayal and ultimate revenge. This happens literally seconds before his entire family is murdered by barbarians, spurring Marius into an unquenchable bloodlust and on the path to revenge. Vitallion, a respected general and friend of the Titus family, gives Marius his chance for revenge by pulling him out of the fruity 2nd Legion and placing him in his own 14th Legion, destined for blood in jolly old England, where his heroic ferocity in battle and natural leadership abilities get him promoted to Centurion on the first day of combat.
Unpacking my Adjectives
Ryse is both epic in scope and beautifully rendered. The CryEngine, which was behind one of the most realistic and beautiful games of the last generation, Crysis 3, utilizes the Xbox One’s remarkable power, producing one of the most realistic and visually engaging games I have ever had the good fortune to play through. Fire, hair, and water, the notorious graphical stumbling blocks, have been deftly overcome by the Crytek development team. Combat is very fluid, and even in the grandest battles there is virtually no framerate stutter. The superb voice acting is perfectly synchronized with the characters speaking the lines, resulting in some very convincing character performances.
The story itself is very well-written, exciting to play, and steeped in both history and mythology, incorporating a bit of the mystery and mythical with the more visceral aspects of Roman soldiery. There was never a moment that I felt that Marius was acting out of character: he acted exactly as I would expect a soldier of his caliber, loyalty, and morality to act. Had Ryse been a CGI movie, and not a video game, it could have been the greatest computer-made movie ever.
Multiplayer is an online-only cooperative affair inside the ever-changing environments of The Colosseum. Multiplayer takes advantage of special co-op combos and finishing moves. The environments themselves are very dynamic, with new elements and environmental dangers being constantly introduced into the arena. Despite the lack of head to head or local co-op, Ryse multiplayer is a lot of fun, albeit not very competitive.
What Went Wrong
First, despite the fact that the story is engaging and well-written, the writers went to Maximus Decimus Meridius, Bruce Wayne, Ezio, Connor Kenway, and Death Wish for motivating their protagonist to revenge: killing his family. I’m not saying that murdering an entire family isn’t a viable way to motivate a game character, but it’s been done...a lot. The writers also went a little heavy on the foreshadowing. I would like to have experienced the progression of the story without the writer spoon-feeding what was going to happen later.
The biggest problem faced by Ryse is the constrictive linear environments. Every level is point A to point B with no deviation and no room for exploration. You take the path that was written for you, complete your objectives, then move on to your next cutscene. No lollygagging. Oh, and why do all the Romans have English accents? Thanks, Monty Python, you’ve officially ruined Latin. Romani ite domum.
The repetitive nature of the combat and enemies is enough to steal a full star from Ryse’s final rating. Marius will fight the same five or six barbarians throughout the entire game, using the exact same strategies, then finishing off with special moves. Finishing moves were cool during the first couple of levels, but after using them on absolutely everybody that I killed, I started to get sick of them.
Ryse does a lot of things right: the story is immersive, the environments felt authentic, and I could genuinely empathize with Marius and understand his motivations. Co-op is a blast and the single player story is the very best currently extant on the Xbox One, with ACIV running a very close second. Kinect integration is smooth and natural, the graphics are stunning, but I often felt like I was muddling through the repetitive combat just to get to the next cutscene so I could progress the story, instead of playing the game. Gameplay should never come second to the story in a video game, and I feel that this was Crytek’s greatest error: they made such a great movie that they forgot we were playing a game.
Ryse: Son of Rome is not a bad game, but neither is it a great game. There is virtually no replay value to the single-player campaign, but the co-op may extend the life of this title a bit. You’ll definitely want to finish the game to see how it all ends, but actually picking up the controller to get there will eventually seem like a chore. Pick this one up on the cheap.
There is a large, loose affiliation of gamers who meet each night, across several different online lobbies, to drive digitized representations of real life cars around digitized tracks all over the world. Some of the races are a casual affair for fun, some have a semblance of organization to them, and some have rule books the size of a small dictionary. Regardless of how many rules, laps, or players are involved in these races, they all center around one name: Forza.
The first Forza game released in 2005, on the original XBox, with a modest roster of 235 cars and a mix of real world and fantasy tracks. The fifth installment of the series (Horizon doesn’t count), the appropriately titled Forza 5, launched on November 22nd, in support of Microsoft’s third console: the inappropriately name XBox One. Fans of the Forza series have alternately supported and condemned changes that Turn 10 has made to the Forza series over the years, but the new Forza game may be the most controversial in franchise history. Did Greenawalt and crew go too far this time...or not far enough?
Dan Greenawalt stood up on a stage at E3 2013, next to a McLaren P1, and told the gaming world about Drivatars. These digital clones of Forza players would learn their respective players’ driving habits and, through the power of cloud computing, theoretically reproduce avatars that possess both the skills and habits of the players who trained them.
At E3, and the months that followed, Turn 10 talked about Drivatars, the new physics engine, paint, reflective surfaces, new tracks, and the “hundreds of cars” that would be present in Forza 5. We were promised a beautifully realistic Forza game with realistic avatars of the folks who are our racing friends. Turn 10 delivered on half of that promise: the cars in the game are the most beautifully rendered vehicles of any racing game on any console. The tracks were laser scanned and look exactly as they look on TV. This is quite possibly the closest to real life I have ever seen in a game. The new physics engine is supposed to be more realistic, and the cars certainly feel right on the track. I found that I lost a considerable amount of grip between Forza 4 and Forza 5, and I had to alter my tuning adjustments to make up for that loss of grip. It is much easier to lose control of a car in this game than in previous entries, especially bone-stock models on street tires. If you don’t know how to tune, now is a very good time to learn.
Cooter’s smiling because you’re about to crash.
“The end of A.I.” Did Drivatar deliver on simulations of real-life players, actively reproducing their driving habits through the magic of the cloud? No, it did not. What we got instead was lobotomized versions of ourselves aggressively smashing into our friends and stupidly braking on apexes. I actually witnessed Gizzie’s Drivatar brake on a fucking straight with no one in front of him and no corner in sight: Gizzie does not drive that way in a race...I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him apply his brake. He may not even be aware that they provide one in the game.
A driver is so much more than cloud-based mathematical computations. I know which of my friends are going to stupidly run into the back of my car on a corner because they can’t seem to remember that muscle cars or luxury sedans need to brake earlier to make a turn than the exotic with full aero that they are driving. I know which friends brake late, who uses FWD, who is going to reciprocate if I bump them, who will make a mistake if I put the pressure on them, and who is going to drive off and not be seen again until the start of the next race. I received messages, both through XBL and Twitter, complaining about the aggressiveness of my Drivatar. I can be a bit assertive, but never to the point that someone felt obligated to message me to tell me I drive like a dick. So much for cloud computing: the Drivatars are not as accurate as advertised.
Turn 10 continued their long standing tradition of omitting tracks to make way for the newness. The game contains 14 tracks, at launch, and I hope that some of the omitted tracks make their way into the game at some point down the road. Tracks from previous games that made the Forza 5 cut are:
The Bugatti circuit at Le Mans, introduced in Forza 3 only to not return in Forza 4, was added back to the track roster. Silverstone underwent some changes in track configuration and starting line placement, with only the National Circuit remaining nearly the same as before.
Australia’s Bathurst, with its crazy straights, elevation changes, and suicidal turns is probably the worst track in the world to race V8 Supercars, but why would that stop the Aussies? I feel fairly certain that a good portion of this track was the inspiration for the Blue Mountain track in the first Forza game. Players may want to resist the dual temptation of Mount Panorama’s two long straights and bring a car that can handle the wicked turns in the hills instead of a straight-line monster...but only if you’re interested in leaderboards or actually winning races.
Hollywood loves Prague, with its crazy mix of Medieval and Renaissance architecture, arches, plazas, famous statues and bridges...lots of bridges. XXX and the first Mission Impossible were both, at least partially, shot in Prague. Forza 5’s Prague track reminds me of Positano with legs. Racers should expect a fair amount of bricks and cobblestones, cable car tracks, elevation changes while turning, and several sweeping turns. Bring a balanced car with good brakes and acceleration, and just enough grip to hold sweepers. Four configurations.
Belgium’s Spa is one of the most player requested tracks in Forza history. Spa sports a good mix of long straights, elevation changes, chicanes, 90s, and sweepers, and starts with a very acute hard right at turn one. Acceleration and a fair amount of grip are required to keep it clean at Belgium’s Gran Prix track.
Yas Marina in the United Arab Emirates was obviously designed with Formula racing in mind. Two nice, long straights with some very tight turns and wicked chicanes to break up the monotony of oval racing. When not driving a Formula car, bring something with a shitload of grip: the straights mean nothing if you’re blowing turns. Five configurations.
The Test Track Airfield is set at an abandoned airport somewhere in the Mojave. The single track configuration is a very tight course that runs through hangars, a parking lot, and around the outside of buildings. This track combines the imminent danger of hitting a building with a light-post obstacle course...bring something grippy that you don’t mind smashing up.
A great deal of the controversy surrounding Forza 5 centers around the tragic loss of tracks. Let’s have a moment of silence for the former Forza tracks that didn’t make it to the new game:
At launch, Forza 5 had 213 available cars for those who pre-ordered the Limited Edition. It included another ten if, unlike me, you’re the type who buys Day One DLC. Here’s the deal about that Day One car pack...most of the cars that are in it were already in other Forza games. Does Turn 10 seriously think that players are going to lay down ten bucks for fucking cars that they already had? What kind of dickhead publisher charges for downloadable content on the day the game comes out? EA, that’s who. If you’re following the insidious business model of one of the most hated companies in the world then you should probably brace yourself for some negative feedback.
The cars looks great, and there is very little fat on the roster. There are no shitty hybrids, no Pintos, no PT Cruisers, and very few dipshit daily drivers. What we are left with are the very best offerings from the respective manufacturers, and only Audi and BMW are seriously over-represented with different year models of the same car. We may be racing with fewer cars this time around, but we are also racing with better cars. However, once again, a new Forza game launches without a single Porsche in the game. Other glaring omissions include NASCAR-style stock cars, Bentley, Wiesmann, Morgan, DeTomaso, Devon, and many others. My favorite muscle car, the XXX GTO, is also a no show. Base models are also a thing of the past. If you want a Gallardo, you get the Superleggera. If you want a Veyron, the SS is your only choice.
The PI system was overhauled again. The new car classes are D, C, B, A, S, R, P, and X. D is the new F, A is the new S, S is for supercars and V8 Supercars, R is Hypercars and the GT equivalent, P is Indy and Formula car territory, and X is suicide prototype territory.
Rivals mode is about the same, with the exception of leaderboard integration. This is good news for hotlappers, who can now pick and choose their track and class and be rewarded with experience, affinity, and Forzabucks while testing tunes or chasing clean LB laps. Affinity no longer rewards players with discounts on upgrades, instead it increases monetary rewards incrementally as a percentage. The more affinity you have with a manufacturer, the greater the percentage boost on pay day.
Autovista makes an unwelcome return, but is now available for every car. Players are now able to prowl around inside, around, and under the hood of any car in their garage, without the superfluous Clarkson commentary. I don’t really give a shit about this feature. Why would Turn 10 devote developmental assets to this useless feature when they could have been laser scanning Nordschleife or a 67 GTO? Fucking ponderous.
There isn’t one.
Also conspicuously absent from Forza 5. Players, however, are free to donate tunes and designs to the public, and maybe get paid if enough people like your work.
Gone. Good thing you’re already in a clan and have folks to race with.
Do I look pleased?
Never in the history of online racing has multiplayer been such a pain in the ass. Players can only join a private match after accepting a party invite. Why do you have to be in a party to join a fucking race with friends? This was never a prerequisite in previous games. The lobbies themselves are still problematic. I was having audio issues at one point, but don’t know whether to point the finger at Turn 10 for the game or Microsoft for the console, so I’ll just flip both of them the bird. I also experienced lag and rubber banding in online lobbies...and there were only a couple of other guys in the room with me. Another race dropped a guy from the race, but replaced him with his Drivatar...while he was still in the party.
The loss of the ability to cherry pick which of my friends’ races I wanted to join, and then join that race without the hassle of fishing for a fucking invite is the harshest blow of all. It’s far worse to me, personally, than the lack of cars or tracks. After the annoyance of having to ask for a party invite and race invitation, jacking around with the party settings once you’re there, I find out the the room does indeed include the friend I wanted to race with, but the guy who dropped me off his friends list is also there as is the guy I kicked off my list because he belches into his mic every thirty seconds. At this point I feel obligated to remain for a few races just because it felt like work getting there.
The inability to share designs and tunes with people on your friends list is the final unforgivable sin. The guys in 2Old4Forza are talking about setting up a spreadsheet to share tunes amongst the clan. A fucking spreadsheet! Are you fucking kidding me? Did I just go back in time to 1995? Why can’t we gift tunes? For a developer that claims to be community minded you’re working awfully hard to alienate the community. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of community, the hub of Forza Motorsports, forzamotorsport.net, has the absolute shittiest and most argumentative fucking forum moderators of all time. Some mod named TG (testicle glutton?) Wormburner banned a 2o4f member until the year 2165...literally without explanation. If this is the hub of Turn 10’s racing community, then I am so fucking not impressed.
Forza 5 is a beautiful racing game and an awesome single player experience, but the inept implementation of key features, the inclusion of unnecessary fluff, the loss of tracks and cars, multiplayer aggravation, and the complete and sudden disregard for the social side of the game left a very bad taste in my mouth. It feels unfinished or rushed. If I could go back, I would buy a used or deeply discounted copy of this game instead of forking over 80 bucks for the Day One LE. I’m disappointed, but playing anyway. Finish your fucking game, Turn 10.
The pirate image and legend has left an unmistakable and lasting impression on the world. Much like the cowboy, pirates are often vilified and romanticized as hard drinking thrill seekers with a deadly reputation, and it was only a matter of time until someone developed the next great pirate game. Ubisoft Montreal released Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in the last week of October, 2013. Does the new AC have what it takes to dethrone Sid Meier’s Pirates for the “Bane of the Briny” crown?
Lots of developers tried their hand at making a worthwhile Batman game over the years, and most of these efforts to place players in the Dark Knight’s boots failed. At least that was true until Rocksteady brought us Batman: Arkham Asylum back in 2009. Asylum was the “Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever,” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Arkham Asylum got the voices right, gave us the gadgets, the Batman look, the moves, and gave us the fearsome reputation to make the bad guys shit their pants! Batman: Arkham City gave us a little more city to play around in, a few more villains, and more puzzles and fetch quests.
The Walking Dead by Telltale games took the video game industry by storm when it was released in 2012. Whether it was gamers or journalists, the game was very well received and earned many Game of the Year awards. Having changed the landscape of the video game industry, Telltale went back to work on their often delayed graphic adventure game which is based on Bill Willingham's Fables comic book series. After many delays and a name change, The Wolf Among Us has now finally been released.
As soon as one starts playing this title there are certain things that will quickly become apparent. Telltale has taken their familiar brand of graphic adventure gaming and upped the quality tenfold. No small feat for a company who took home many accolades in the past. The game starts off with alerting you to the fact the choices you make during the game will have an effect on the outcome of the story. The mechanics that are used to make these choices are greatly improved. There should be no complaints about controls this time around as they feel smooth, accurate and very intuitive. There is a bit more action in this title than in The Walking Dead series and thus it was essential that Telltale nail down a control scheme that makes it easy to bounce back and forth between action and decision making.
Maybe it is because The Wolf Among Us, in this writer’s opinion, has a better subject matter and location than The Walking Dead, but visually this game looks downright stunning. With the hand drawn characters and signature New York City aesthetics, the seedy underbelly of NYC has never looked so good. The use of color and neon coupled with the nighttime lighting really makes each scene pop off your screen. Murder isn’t so bad when dressed to kill.
The Wolf Among Us’ story doesn’t take a backseat to anyone or anything. It has what should be familiar characters to really anyone that had somewhat of a decent childhood. The roster in the first episode includes such names as the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, The Woodsman, one third of the Three Little Pigs, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Beauty and the Beast, and more. These childhood characters once lived freely in their make-believe world. However, something has happened which has forced them to leave their world and now they are tasked with living in our world. In order to protect their identity and assimilate into an ordinary lifestyle, they must purchase a spell called Glamour, which according to one famous toad, has seen a dramatic increase in price but with decreasing results. Fabletown, which is now part of New York City, has it’s fair share of inner city problems. All of which fall under the jurisdiction of Sheriff Bigby Wolf, aka the Big Bad Wolf.
In the first episode, which is roughly two hours of gameplay, Fabletown experiences their first murders. Snow White, now a clerical assistant for the Mayor, discovers the first murder victim and quickly alerts Bigby. The victim, a Fabletown resident turned prostitute, was a recent acquaintance to Bigby as he just saved her from catching a serious beating at the hands of The Woodsman, a nemesis to the Big Bad Wolf. From here Bigby and Snow White set out to find The Woodsman, the victim’s husband and more importantly, identify the identity of the victim.
The Wolf Among Us no longer has to stand in the shadow of The Walking Dead. In the first of five episodes, Telltale has laid the groundwork for a series that once again breathes fresh air into an industry that can quickly grow stagnant and repetitive. From the well developed characters and gorgeous artwork, coupled with the mature subject matter, Telltale proves that a murder suspense can be just as intense and riveting as any Zombie hack and slash. After completing this first episode, you will be on the edge of your seat anticipating episode two, Smoke and Mirrors.
The Grand Theft Auto series has been one of the most profitable and consistently highest rated game franchises in the history of console gaming. San Andreas was the highest grossing game on the PS2, and folks on my friends list were still playing GTA IV up until the moment when they left the house to stand in line at midnight to get the new game. GTA V is already considered a blockbuster, selling 15 million units and sporting a metacritic score of 97-98, but does the game match the hype once it’s spinning in the disc tray?
Hailing from Sweden, Image & Form were a relative unknown developer prior to the release of SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. Up until this point, they released SteamWorld: Tower Defense on Nintendo's DSiWare and an iOS game called Anthill. What they didn't know, but secretly hoped for, was that their next title, SteamWorld Dig, would be their breakout hit. And boy is this a case of dreams come true! When I spoke a few weeks ago with Brjann of Image & Form, for my interview with him on the GamersInBeta.com podcast, he told me the game was in development for eight months (October 2012 to May 2013). His team of 11 worked longer and harder on this title than any other previous title, even taking an extra month at the end to add some last minute polish. Certainly, their hard work and dedication paid off as SteamWorld Dig is a joy to play from beginning to end.
Being 2old2play’s resident pinball expert (I own three pinball tables) and WiiU owner, I was tapped to review Zen Pinball’s Star Wars Pinball tables for WiiU when 2o2p scored a review copy. Are the tables worth it for either hardcore Star Wars or Pinball fans? Read on for my take.