Kotaku

FarmVille 2 Vanilla Heirloom Recipes: Everything You Need to KnowYou might already be satisfied with the amount of crafting recipes available in FarmVille 2's Crafting Kitchen. But Zynga always releases more. In fact, the developer has released a brand new "Heirloom Recipe" feature to the Crafting Kitchen that will see new recipes released for a very limited time to encourage players to come back for more.



The first set of Heirloom Recipes revolves around the Vanilla plant, which has been re-released in their honor. The Vanilla is planted for 80 coins per square and harvested after four hours. If you never reached the Blue Ribbon level of mastery for this plant, you've got two days to do so, as your progress from before is still intact here, letting you pick up right where you left off. As for the three recipes, you can now use that Vanilla to eventually craft Vanilla Butterscotch Bundt cakes.



The first recipe in this trio is Vanilla Cream, which is prepared using five Vanilla and four Milk. You'll receive eight XP each time you create a batch of Vanilla Cream, and a single batch is sold for 1,230 coins.



FarmVille 2 Vanilla Heirloom Recipes: Everything You Need to Know



The second recipe is Vanilla Butterscotch Filling, which is created with one Vanilla Cream and three Butterscotch candies. The Butterscotch is earned through individual requests to your neighbors. Once you've collected enough to make Vanilla Butterscotch Filling, you'll receive 12 XP for each one you create, which are worth 2,050 coins each.



FarmVille 2 Vanilla Heirloom Recipes: Everything You Need to Know



Finally, The Vanilla Butterscotch Bundt recipe is created using one Vanilla Butterscotch Filling and one Batter. The Batter is created using Wheat, Flour, and Eggs. Crafting a Vanilla Butterscotch Bundt gives you 25 XP, and you can sell each one for 4,260 coins. Remember though, these recipes will only be available for two more days, so make sure to craft as many of these bundt cakes as you can to make the most coins possible within that time frame.



FarmVille 2 Vanilla Heirloom Recipes: Everything You Need to Know



Play FarmVille 2 on Zynga.com >



What do you think of this new Heirloom Recipes feature? Which other crops would you like to see re-released in the game? Let us know in the Games.com comments!



Republished with permission from:

FarmVille 2 Vanilla Heirloom Recipes: Everything You Need to KnowBrandy Shaul is an editor at Games.com



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Kotaku

Let This Halo, Mega Man and Metroid Stained Glass Turn Your Home Into a Video Game House of Worship If you grew up Catholic like me, you can only have one response to seeing the creation above: "Holy Samus, Mother of Metroid, hallowed be thy name." Hang these translucent beauties where they can catch some sun and you might see people genuflecting. Those glowing renditions are the work of Evan Daniels, who sells his wares out of the Martian GlassWorks shop on Etsy. This kind of craftsmanship doesn't come cheap but it's adman sight more classy than a poster or a statue.



Martian Glassworks [Etsy]



Let This Halo, Mega Man and Metroid Stained Glass Turn Your Home Into a Video Game House of Worship Let This Halo, Mega Man and Metroid Stained Glass Turn Your Home Into a Video Game House of Worship Let This Halo, Mega Man and Metroid Stained Glass Turn Your Home Into a Video Game House of Worship Let This Halo, Mega Man and Metroid Stained Glass Turn Your Home Into a Video Game House of Worship


Kotaku

The Most Terrifying Game I've Played In Ages Is Not Technically a Horror GameDeath is coming, and it's coming large. This grim reaper needs no dark shadows or flickering lights. There is no slender ghoul lurking just outside the periphery of vision. Where one would expect shrill violins there is thrilling chiptune. The coming darkness isn't a metaphor—it's the gaping maw of an enormous space worm, and I'm a swipe away from losing everything.



An unassuming little endless runner variant funded through Kickstarter for a mere $3,200, Golden Ruby Games' Worm Run could be classified as survival horror if you tilt your head just right. It's an anxiety generator of the highest order, in which your own mounting terror is your worst enemy.



It looks so innocent. Well, aside from the worm. You are Space Janitor Zeke Tallahassee, trapped in an ever-changing, procedurally-generated labyrinth. A bloodthirsty space worm has caught your scent, and its capability to eat its way through solid rock far outclasses your ability to run, jump and climb. Your job—your only hope, and not a very good one at that—is to make your way through the labyrinth, staying one step ahead of those irresistible jaws as you collect gems to purchase upgrades and power-ups that might help you get a few steps closer to freedom. So freedom doesn't really exist. Zeke doesn't know that.



As threatening as it might be, the worm isn't the primary source of tension in Worm Run—it's the controls. Movement is entirely swipe-based, a control system that's nowhere near as precise as your pounding heart would hope. In any other game such a scheme would be considered a liability. Here it serves to heighten the suspense.





As I delved further and further into the game's progressive environments I found myself begging the controls to work for me. I pleaded as I slowly ascended a twisting mineshaft, the creature so close I could feel its hot, fetid breath washing over me. Power-ups—bombs, ice, spring shoes and the like—only offer brief respite, gained ground quickly lost amidst those twisting corridors.



Worm Run is not a traditional horror game, and that's probably for the best. That sort of horror quickly overwhelms to the point where I have to put the controller down to catch my breath. This is a happier sort of terror, an intoxicating anxiety that keeps me coming back for more sweet, wormy death.








Worm Run



The Most Terrifying Game I've Played In Ages Is Not Technically a Horror Game

  • Genre: Endless Being Chased By Giant Worm

  • Developer: Golden Ruby Games

  • Platform: iOS

  • Price: $.99




Get Worm Run on iTunes




Keen-eyed readers will realize I placed the app review icon in the worm's path. It did not help.


Kotaku

FBI Profilers Don't Believe Violent Video Games Cause ViolenceFBI profilers don't view video games as a cause of shootings and other violent crime, a former profile said yesterday morning on CBS' Face the Nation.



Profilers still include an interest in games when making their threat assessment of whether a person is at risk to act out violently, Mary Ellen O'Toole (above) told the public affairs show. Profilers also examine if an offender used video games as a kind of planning tool for carrying out an attack. However, "We don't see these as the cause of violence," she said. "We see them as sources of fueling ideation that's already there."



O'Toole's remarks align with the finding of another study performed by the U.S. Secret Service, albeit 10 years ago, which found that 12 percent of those who had committed violent crimes at a school had an interest in violent video games. More of them—37 percent—wrote things that expressed an interest in violence.



Christopher Ferguson, the professor of psychology at Texas A&M International and a critic of those who blame video games for violent crime, also appeared on the panel, warning against the "moral panic" that scapegoats new media for societal ills. Ferguson repeated the oft-cited statistic that violent crime among youths has actually receded to its lowest point in 40 years, despite games becoming more sophisticated and ostensibly more violent over that span. Ferguson added that this has no causal relationship to violent crime, either. In January, he noted to Kotaku that there have been more than 100 studies of video game violence and aggressive or violent behavior, and "most of them are horrible."



I'm still cynical that any of this moves the needle on the actual policy debate, however. Once politicians have identified what they think is the cause of a problem, it's difficult to budge them off it, especially if it involves a wedge issue such as gun control.



"We're in a mode of worry about—or panicking about this type of media," Ferguson cautioned. "We may do some putting the cart before the horse, and we may see some people sort of starting with a conclusion and trying to assemble data in a very selective way to try to support that conclusion." I think that's exactly what we've seen.



Former FBI-profiler: "Video games do not cause violence" [The Raw Story]


Kotaku

I Wanted a Bigger Phone, Samsung, But This is RidiculousLast year I switched from the iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Going from the slender Apple device to the five-inch "phablet" took some getting used to, but these days I hardly notice it's larger than guy-sized phone, thanks largely (tee) to my oversized paws. I'm not sure those paws are ready to handle the eight-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.



Coming to North America in the second quarter of this year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is the iPad Mini of the Note line, falling in-between the Note II and the 10-inch Note 10.1. It's a bit prettier than the Mini, its 1280 x 800 display kicking out 189 pixels-per-inch to Apple's 163. It's sporting Samsung's 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4 processor, 2GB of RAM and comes with either 32GB or 64GB of storage. It's a powerful little tablet with an okay screen.



And it's also a phone. A phone so big you could rest it against your face and take a nap on it.



From a gaming perspective I love the form factor. I've said it before and I shall say it many more times—seven to eight-inch screens are the sweet spot for mobile gaming. If you're going to get a device solely for mobile gaming, that's where you should go.



But as a phone?



Maybe if I were big into Bluetooth headsets I'd consider it. It would look great sitting on my desk with a wired headset hooked up. I just couldn't see myself tooling around town with it in my purse. Not that I carry a purse, but I would pretty much have to if this were my primary phone, and then where would I carry my makeup?



Hit up Gizmodo for hands-on impressions of the Galaxy Note 8.0. If only I had bigger hands.


Kotaku





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Meet Meloetta. She's special.



Coming to Pokémon Black and White and Black and White 2 as part of a distribution campaign throughout GameStop stores for three weeks starting March 4, Meloetta is the first combination Normal and Fighting-type creature to grace the series, as long as you take her out to the right bar.



It also helps if you don't refer to her as "it."




Players who attend the GameStop distribution event will receive Meloetta at Level 50 in its Aria Forme, in which it fights as a Normal and Psychic-type Pokémon. If a battle calls for a change of tone, Meloetta can switch to its Pirouette Forme and become a Normal and Fighting-type character-the first-ever Pokémon with such a type combination.



Meloetta changes Formes using Relic Song, a special damage-dealing move that can only be learned when Meloetta is added to your party and listens to the music of a guitar player at Café Sonata in Castelia City. When players receive Meloetta at the distribution, however, it will already be outfitted with a suite of powerful moves-Close Combat, Teeter Dance, Psychic, and Round.




Here's how she looks in her Aria Forme


The Latest Legendary Pokémon Transforms Into a One-of-a-Kind Creature



And in her Pirouette Forme


The Latest Legendary Pokémon Transforms Into a One-of-a-Kind Creature



To get her you've just got to get to a GameStop starting March 4. Don't worry, you don't have to go inside.


Kotaku

Tomb Raider: The Kotaku Review I never wanted to have sex with Lara Croft. And I didn't want to protect her either. In the early Tomb Raider games that I played and loved, the relationship was simple. The lethal, archly snippy adventurer was me and I was her. I wanted what she wanted: to unearth the relics of antiquity. To go where human footsteps had never tread. To forge ahead into mystery. God, I remember swimming to Atlantis in Tomb Raider 1 so vividly. Any game that could create that much awe in me deserved its accolades, no matter what shape the character's polygons were sculpted into.



But, then, Lara got lost. Too many games with too little to recommend them made it so that people only focused on her body and what she wore. (Yes, 2006's Legend recaptured some of the good ol' days, but its spark wasn't enough to keep the series' fires burning.) So it's meaningful, then, that this Tomb Raider reboot starts Lara off at a new beginning. Also significant is the notion that the character who became one of video games' biggest stars gains—and loses—some vigor on her new journey.



In the game, allusions are made to Lara's lineage—as before, she's the daughter of a renowned explorer—and they're heavy with symbolism. "I don't think I'm that kind of Croft," she says to her mentor at one point. "Sure you are," he replies. "You just don't know it yet." This game's all about making Lara into a survivor, both inside the game and out on real-world store shelves. In many ways, this Tomb Raider is a game of catch-up, something to establish parity with the other bankable personas and franchises of the modern gaming landscape.



Tomb Raider: The Kotaku Review
WHY: Tomb Raider is a taut re-imagining of the iconic Lara Croft as a more vulnerable but increasingly empowered heroine.




Tomb Raider


Developer: Crystal Dynamics

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 (version played), PC

Released: March 5th



Type of game: Action/stealth origin story with survival horror overtones and online play.



What I played: Played through all of the single-player campaign in about 15 hours. Raided a few tombs.






Two Things I Loved




  • Yamatai is a palimpsest of despair, a richly designed environment that echoes throughout history. Axis German troops, U.S. Marines from the early 1900s, 17th Century Japanese military forces… everyone was on this island! Finding remnants of previous lost souls makes you want to avoid sharing their fate.

  • The primal feeling of wielding the bow and arrow as a means of survival is tough to beat in Tomb Raider.






My Two Things I Hated




  • Tomb Raider 2013 can feel unrelentingly gloomy. Don't go in expecting to feel like a wisecracking badass.

  • Every time I felt forced to resort to modern firearms, I felt dirty.






Made-to-Order-Back-of-Box-Quotes




  • "Best zip-lines ever!" —Evan Narcisse, Kotaku.com

  • "Attention, DC Comics and Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment: Steal everything applicable from Tomb Raider if you want to make a kick-ass Green Arrow game."

    —Evan Narcisse, Kotaku.com




You can feel the ambitions of the Crystal Dynamics creative team in the design of the game's component parts. The presentational elements—plot, dialogue, voice acting and art design—all shine. Some characters lean too heavily on type but not so much as to be really annoying. This is a beautiful game to look at, too, with great animations and modeling/texture work that's bursting with vivid, horrid detail in the characters and environments.



That last bit is key, as Tomb Raider quickly establishes it's going to be far more horror-inflected than its predecessors. We meet Lara as part of an archaeological reality television show, heading out in search of a mysterious lost civilization called Yamatai on a ship called the Endurance. Crew members' personalities run the gamut from gruff to kindly and—in the case of the show's star Dr. Whitman—desperately egotistical. The Endurance wrecks on the coast of Yamatai and, from there, Lara must stumble through tableaus of human sacrifice, cult religion and agonizing despair to learn the skills necessary to save her friends.



I kept wondering how passionately this game would embrace awe and astonishment while mired in grit. Yamatai itself—and the men prowling it—provides the answer. The game's locale is a cursed place, an island-of-no-return in the Pacific where ships and planes have been crashing for centuries. Players will find journal entries from the people who had been trapped here long ago and you learn that no one ever left. The latter-day stranded are pirates and mercenaries belonging to a cult called the Solarii. Their charismatic leader believes the freak storms that keep them trapped there are powered by the ancient Japanese legend of the Sun Goddess.



The Solarii also conduct ritual sacrifices of women castaways aimed at ending their exile and Lara's friend Sam is on deck to become their latest victim. As far as made-up mythologies go, it's not a bad one. The Sun Goddess element feels better for the skepticism some of the enemy rank-and-file have about the myth. This installment also treats the existence of the fantastic with better build-up and a trepidation that's more believable. The lore embedded into the game builds an oppressive air that adds fuel to the desperation at the core of this Tomb Raider.



Much of Tomb Raider re-contextualizes elements that will be recognizable to anyone who's played a third-person action game in the last five years: specially timed finishers in melee combat, shooting sequences that rely heavily on cover mechanics and a segmented open-world design that opens up as you gain more tools and weapon modifications. Likewise, Tomb Raider uses an experience system that aggregates points as you play and offers up scads of unlockable collectible challenges. Lara's Survival Instinct—a special sight that highlights enemies and collectibles in the environment—will also be familiar. There's stealth, too, and thankfully it feels meaningful rather than tacked on. Brawling or blasting away out in the open is never a path to victory for Lara.



As Lara explores the massive Island, you can set up camps, which act as save hubs and fast-travel stations for when you want to return to certain areas. Those camps are also where you upgrade weapons, skills and gear with salvage that you collect.



Are there tombs in Tomb Raider 2013? Yes. They're entirely optional, though, and are mostly hidden, combat-free zones concerned with environmental puzzle-solving. Exploring tombs gives you secrets and rewards—like skill points for upgrades and maps that show where relics and other collectibles are—so it's worth the investment of playing through them. They're also a quiet remove from all the human/animal aggression on the game's main path.



The Metroidvania elements to Tomb Raider's game design feel well thought-out, too. When you get the Rope Arrow ability, for example, it comes across as the result of Lara's increasing ingenuity, not just an expected design feature. The skill unlocking makes getting around Yamatai feel like the most fun part of a grim enterprise. As you launch climbable ropes across previously uncrossable chasms or destroy barriers with grenades or shotgun blasts, Lara feels less and less like she's at the mercy of the environment.



The key difference from, say, Batman: Arkham City or any Uncharted game is how effectively Tomb Raider drives home the physically grueling experience of being an adventure hero. After all, you never see Batman sweat and, despite his grumbling, Nathan Drake tends to be very well-adjusted to what he has to endure. Not the 2013 edition of Lara Croft. She yelps, groans and screams in combat and traversal. You know she's going to make that jump. But it's going to sound really unpleasant when she does. And when she dies? The game unleashes truly gruesome death scenes—which, yes, call back to previous TR games—that turned my stomach no matter how often I saw them.



Tomb Raider: The Kotaku Review Ominous dread replaces intrepid sauciness in this reboot, and there's little of the breathless wonder that distinguished the first Tomb Raider games. You will see beautiful vistas, yes, but not much joy accompanies those moments. A tight claustrophobic camera zooms in on Lara when she squeezes through tight crevices and, even in the game's more open environments, a tense anxiety is never too far off. But that dread makes the play of the game feel deeply satisfying.



I grew to love the bow and arrow intensely in Tomb Raider, so much so that it was still my go-to weapon even after I'd gotten a shotgun and a grenade launcher add-on for my rifle. Lara spends so much of the game with wracked nerves and hiding from bigger, more vicious male aggressors. The bow gives you a way to weaponize all that angst. I always tried for headshots, to make sure the awful bastards shooting at me went down as egregiously as possible. Kotaku video editor Chris Person did the same, only he aimed for the crotch. Either way, pulling the string taut and letting fly feels like dishing out comeuppance.



Take the oppressive mood, the women-centric plot and the intimate nature of Tomb Raider's violence and this feels more desperate than any Uncharted game. There isn't as much dissonance between the narrrative and the play. You'll believe in what's at stake and in the need to come out on top.



Initially, players will have to weather too many incredulous and affirmation-style statements—"Oh, God, what am I doing?," "I can do this," etc.—but eventually, Lara starts growling back at her antagonists. Despite that, Lara winds up feeling like a sacrificial lamb on the altar of commercial video games. This is a video game icon becoming who she needs to be to stay alive and you're privy to an exhausting rebirth. Even when you come to the end of the game, you desperately hope that you and Lara will never, ever have to go through anything like that again. I liked what I played but I really want Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics to get Lara on her way to being cockily self-assured again.



Even if you know nothing about the earlier controversies that swirled around this game last year, it's impossible to play 2013 Tomb Raider and not breathe in all the subtext in its atmosphere. It's irresistibly ripe for interpretation: a cult of violent, trapped men forming around the myth of a vengeful Sun Goddess and a young, outmatched woman who gets bruised ad infinitum on her Hero's Journey. On its face, Tomb Raider doesn't appear to be about the portrayals of female characters in popular entertainment. But it's certainly ready to be read that way.







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That layering—like the overall shift in tone—serves to gin up the experience in a counter-intuitive way. It's the kind of feel-bad that feels good. If you miss the old Lara, you're compelled to finish this title to get her closer to the snarky, actualized persona of the PS1 era. In the game, Lara has been a doubter of the tales her father brought back home with him. "The lines between our myths and the truth is blurry," she realizes at the game's end. The truth here is that this game is a finely crafted reboot, one that ensures that Lara Croft herself won't become a relic of the past. It's gloomier, yes, and laden with a thick sheen of meta-awareness. This new origin story throws more trouble at its heroine than ever before. But the changes folded into this Tomb Raider add a turbulent urgency that the old adventures lacked. We're left with a Lara Croft that we know better. She can handle what's coming, especially when it looks like she can't.



Note: Tomb Raider offers online multiplayer but I hadn't yet sampled the experience at press time. Once I get the chance to evaluate the game's online modes, I will update this review.


Kotaku

Street Fighter X Sanrio Arcade Fightstick Pro: The Kotaku ReviewHow many times can one website review the same fighting game controller with different graphics on it? Let's see, one, two, three... three times. There is nothing else to say about the hardware itself. It's lovely, certainly worth the $159.99 asking price to a hardcore PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 fighting game player.



So the only question is do the pink color and Hello Kitty-Meets-Street Fighter graphics make this a better stick than those other three versions we reviewed?



Yes. Yes they do.

Street Fighter X Sanrio Arcade Fightstick Pro: The Kotaku Review Street Fighter X Sanrio Arcade Fightstick Pro: The Kotaku Review


Kotaku

The Kingdom Hearts 'Remix' Is Coming To North America This Fall As A PS3 Exclusive



For PlayStation 3 only, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix—yes, that's the full name—will be coming to the U.S. this fall, Square Enix said today.



From Square:




Fully remastered in HD, KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5 ReMIX is a compilation of the critically acclaimed KINGDOM HEARTS FINAL MIX, previously exclusive to the Japanese market, and KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories. In addition, the two-in-one-disc package will feature HD cinematic story videos from KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days, enhanced gameplay mechanics and PlayStation 3 system trophies.




Still no news on Kingdom Hearts 3, or as Square will probably call it, Kingdom Hearts 14%xzqorb&*(*&)!( Memories.


Kotaku

Development Costs Mean Next-Gen Leap 'Won't Be As Obvious' as the Last, Says BioWare's Art DirectorIf you're accustomed to a new console generation delivering a big leap forward in technology, particularly visual fidelity, BioWare's art director suggests you temper your expectations.



The PS4 and whatever Microsoft is cooking up will be "a big leap, but it won't be as obvious," Neil Thompson told Official Xbox Magazine. Noting that the transition from PS2/Xbox to PS3/360 was anticipated to be a "ten times improvement," studios and publishers threw huge amounts of money at next-gen development. That simply can't be the case now, considering how much already is being spent on the current generation. Spending 10 times more this go around would mean "you'd have to sell 20-30 million copies before you broke even," he noted.



That's not to say there will be no improvements, Thompson added, but developers will have to be more clever in how they allocate their resources and what they ask the new hardware to do. "The main thing is that the industry doesn't get itself into a corner where it becomes economically unviable to make a game," he said.



Thompson and OXM discussed a range of other subjects as well; the remainder of the interview is at the link.



A new era: BioWare's art director talks Dragon Age 3, Mass Effect and next gen visuals [Official Xbox Magazine via Eurogamer]


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