Now that all talk of misogyny, mistreatment and objectification of women has been put to rest; now that we've all decided to live together in perfect harmony and treat each other as respected equals; now is the time for preorder bikinis and shots of half-naked video game characters sparkling with rivulets of shimmering sea water.
"Sensual in-game swimsuits for female characters" reads the official news that not one but two sets of revealing "bunny-style" swimwear will be available to the men and women that preorder Dead or Alive 5. GameStop purchasers will score the 'DOA Angels' set of white swimwear for Kasumi, Leifang and Hitomi, while Amazon buyers get the 'DOA Devils' set, featuring dark swimsuits for Christie, Tina and Ayane.
It's also fortunate that everyone in the world suddenly agreed that retailer-specific preorder items are perfectly wonderful and we love them.
GameStop customers can also opt to pay $79.99 for the special Collector's Edition of Dead or Alive 5. Wrapped lovingly in an embossed steel case, this special package includes swimsuits for all of the female characters, a hardcover art book filled with "lush imagery" and a copy of the game's soundtrack.
Let's see what it looks like!
Sorry, that's the only image that came with the news.
In case you were on the fence about preordering a copy of LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation Vita, LittleBigDaddy and LittleLittleSister are here to push you over the fence, and maybe kill you just a little.
This wonderful pair of costumes comes the BioShock Pack, one of two preorder packs for the Vita version of Sackboy's wonderland. What's the other pack? Who cares? We're justifying an appearance in PlayStation All-Stars here!
Pre-Order LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, Get Knights and BioShock Costumes [PlayStation Blog]
If you've ever thought that point-and-click games are too slow-paced, McPixel just might be the game for you. Rather than put you into a lengthy series of linear puzzles like most point-and-click games, McPixel throws you into absurd situations and gives you 20 seconds to solve them… or they explode.
The game has a wonderful sense of momentum, pushing you from puzzle to puzzle whether you've succeeded or failed, and you'll find that you quickly go through the various options in a given puzzle without ever feeling stuck or bored.
Okay, so "save the world" is actually a bit lofty—there's nothing so grand in most of these scenarios. But that's perfectly fine—McPixel has got a wicked sense of humor and is both extremely dumb and surprisingly smart. You can pick up the whole game for ten bucks at the McPixel Website. You'll get the kicky soundtrack bundled in for free, and if you donate a video or fanart, you can save yourself a buck or two.
You can also play a free demo through the site to see if this game is for you.
Here's another trailer with more gameplay:
Lego: Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is the best Batman-Superman team-up video game I've ever played, though it's worth mentioning that it is also the only Batman-Superman team-up video game I've ever played. (It might be the only one that exists.)
This new game is the 10th of the popular Lego action-adventure games that began with 2005's Lego: Star Wars. At times, the series has soared. Other times, it has fallen into formula and then innovated again. With Lego: Batman 2, we've got a game in two parts. One half of the game is the series at its peak. The other half sees the creators of the series taking one of their biggest chances and failing.
Here is a game that would be better if the people who made it hadn't tried so hard—or if they had had somehow done a very difficult thing perfectly the first time they tried it.
The good parts of Lego: Batman 2 are numerous, so I will be kind and mention them first.
This is a game about Superman's relationship with Batman and Robin, which is extraordinary just for the fact that this is a Lego video game about anything other than adapting a movie. The story in this one is original and, in a series first, is voice-acted,. It explore the amusing dynamic among a cheerfully arrogant Superman, a Batman who doesn't want his ultra-powerful pal to lend a crime-fighting hand and the loyal Robin who can't help but be awestruck every time Superman shows up. These guys make for a great comedic trio that entertains far more successfully than their foils, Lex Luthor and The Joker. Superman could swipe in at any time and solve most of the problems Batman is facing in the game, which is the running gag, except when there's kryptonite around.
The Superman-Batman-Robin dynamic works well in the gameplay as well. Superman shows up early in the game's 15 super-sized chapters, but before he does, our heroes—Batman and Robin—are the standard land-locked heroes of most of these Lego games. They can beat up bad guys and perform some terrifically-animated finishing moves. They can toss their batarangs, smash just about anything that is made up with Lego pieces and they can don special suits that let them like turn invisible to slip past security cameras or vacuum up water to then clean away pools of toxic waste. Then the Man of Steel shows up. You can control him. He can fly. He can hover high above the game's linear levels. He can't be hurt by bad guys. He can freeze water with his breath and destroy gold bricks with his heat vision. He is so powerful that he feels like a bunch of cheat codes wearing on a red cape. It's so wonderful to play as him that we soon realize what Robin has realized: that all these levels would be easier if we could have just called Superman in from the start. Batman—and Lego: Batman—just won't allow that.
Most of the game follows Batman, Superman and Robin tussling in some way with Lex Luthor and the Joker. Luthor is running for President and has decided that his best shot at winning requires a giant Joker-shaped robot to gas people at political rallies. The gas makes them like Luthor more, of course. The plan is appropriately absurd and suits the tone of these ever-comedic Lego games.
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Platforms: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS, Vita, PC
Released: June 19th
Type of game: Crime-fighting, kid-friendly adventure built for up to two players, starring the World's Finest super heroes.
What I played: 34.3% of the game, finishing all 15 lengthy storyline levels, finding 50 of 150 mini-kits, 79 of 250 gold bricks and 14 of 50 citizens in peril.
Two Things I Loved
Two Things I Hated
Made-to-Order Back-of-Box Quotes
From afar, the game's 15 levels will appear to be formula. They let one or two players play solo or co-op (locally, not online), while smashing bad guys and collecting Lego studs. As before, you can re-visit levels with newly-unlocked characters in order to unearth more secrets and collect more stuff. Regular players of the series, however, will appreciate what is yet another step in the progression of level design quality in the series. Slowly but surely, from 2010's Lego: Harry Potter: Years 1-4 to 2011's Lego: Star Wars III to this game, the missions comprising the story parts of these games have become more and more fun to play. They are designed, basically, as interactive pop-up book pages that encourage players young and old to poke and pull to see what happens. That overall appeal to our desire to poke at anything we come across is twisted by the occasional structural twist. Some levels in Lego: Batman 2 involve chunks of action set on moving vehicles or in freefall. Many involve a chase sequence using special Bat-vehicles. Some require a tiny bit of stealth; others take advantage of Superman's ability to break the traditional bounds of Lego levels, while others poison him with Kryptonite to box the level back in. Room after room, the moment-to-moment action is delightful.
The problem with Lego: Batman 2 is Gotham City. That's a big problem, because Gotham City is Lego: Batman 2's big new idea and is a massive disappointment. The storyline levels of prior Lego games were connected to a hub—the Mos Eisley spaceport in Lego Star Wars, Hogwarts in the Lego: Harry Potters. The pinnacle achievement of this was Lego Star Wars III's gargantuan hub spaceship which was full of secret rooms, cool Star Wars characters and a hangar from which you could launch Star Wars fighter craft only to discover, once they were aloft, that there was a second, massive bad-guy ship that serves as the second half of the massive hub. Lego: Batman 2's hub is even bigger, as it is a vast city. It's as big and packed with buildings as a metropolis in a Grand Theft Auto or an Assassin's Creed. It is, however, far less interesting than the cities in those series. (Hey, it's their first open-world game. This kind of thing is tough.)
Lego: Batman 2's Gotham is a bore. It may be full of civilians who need rescuing from the burst fire hydrants and it may contain dozens of roofs capped with gold cages that need to be melted by Superman's heat vision. But those things—and, really, everything in the game's Gotham—is not fun to interact with by the fourth time you find them in the city, let alone the fifth, sixth or seventh. The game's city contains many of the Lego: Batman 2's 250 gold bricks, all 20 of its red cheat-code bricks and hides many of its unlockable characters. Few of these are fun to find. The better ones require you to put Robin in his acrobat suit and have him twirl his way to the top of a skyscraper. Some require you to switch from Batman's gadget-hacking electricity suit to his glass-shattering Bat-Suit. Some of that is fine. But most of the game's hidden treasure is tucked into corners that are not fun to access. The delight of discovery apparent in each of the game's 15 storyline levels is incongruous with the tedium of trawling through this game's Gotham.
Much of this virtual Gotham's problems involve the game's weird open-world flight controls and its abominable radar. The flight controls that work so well in the game's mostly-2D storyline levels are replaced by what initially feel like exhilarating controls that let you fly anywhere in any direction in Gotham. But you don't really want to fly in any direction like a drunk Man of Steel. You want to land on the top of that nearby skyscraper to grab some Lego studs. Or you want to go to that other roof to punch the Joker out and add him to your roster of characters. Unfortunately, you will struggle to land Superman on that rooftop because your options are either 1) to nudge him there without triggering full-speed flight or 2) to try to swoop above and dive-bomb the roof. You can't just glide over, which is what you want to do.
If you're targeting a specific roof, you've at least figured out where you want to go, which means you've triumphed over the game's ultimate villain: its map. The vast in-game map is accessible at any time, but can only be pinged to reveal the locations of collectible characters and Lego bricks when you're at one of about 15 special Bat-computers in the city. The ping is just that: a quick check of the surroundings. Briefly, you'll see where the bricks are on this 2D map. And then you won't. Did you remember what you just saw? You can place a marker where one of them was, but then you'll return to playing the game and struggle with the fact that this open-world game, unlike just about every other one in the genre, does not give you a mini-map. In theory, a compass should suffice, as it did in last year's equally-vast Batman: Arkham CIty, but the radar is full of icons pointing to places you'll never care about, such as the location of the game's metro stations and its zoo. That's not what you want to be pointed to. You want to know where that marker you laid down is. You want to know if you've just flown past wherever the map indicated Killer Croc was hiding. You want to have some sort of hint as to where the red brick you just pinged on the Bat computer actually is. But the game's radar—combined with its bad flight controls—make these tasks as unpleasant as a kiss from Clayface.
Most of the Lego games hook me and keep me playing for a couple dozen hours, well past storyline completion and closer to something like 70% or even a 100% done-everything end. I know the systems of these games and enjoy being pulled through them. They're my gaming guilty pleasures. You play the story to unlock the main characters. You re-play the story missions in freeplay to earn enough Lego studs (money) and gold bricks to unlock characters and vehicles and cheats. Eventually you are rewarded with the most exotic characters and a hidden bonus level. I have cheerfully played through variations on this system through three Lego: Star Wars games, the first Lego: Batman and the first Lego: Harry Potter as well as part of the still-idling second. I was not hooked by Lego: Indiana Jones nor Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean because, I thought, I was not very interested in playing a game about their source material.
Lego: Batman 2 should have been able to hook me easily. I grew up reading and enjoying the comic book adventures of Batman and Superman. I have a weakness for these characters, yet I do not expect I will play any more of this game. I won't unlock more characters, nor will I seek more gold bricks. I won't for two reasons: 1) it's just not fun to do this stuff in Lego: Batman 2's Gotham and 2) there is at least one more Lego game coming out this year—Lego: Lord of the Rings—and maybe a second, the Wii U's Lego City: Undercover. What Lego: Batman 2 gets wrong with Gotham perhaps Lego LOTR will get right with its massive Middle-Earth hub. Or maybe the open-world Lego City game will benefit from an improvement on top of the mistakes of this game.
Risk-taking deserves at least the reward of acknowledgment. It's a myth that no risks are taken in the long-running Lego series. Last year's Lego: Star Wars III added a surprisingly involved real-time-strategy ground warfare mode. This game tries to make a Lego game work in an open world. Good idea; poor execution.
Bonus paragraph: Close observers of the full title of Lego: Batman 2: DC Super-Heroes may have noticed that I did not yet mention the appearances in this game of The Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash and a few other Justice League greats. Like the game, I've left them to the end and not given them much attention. If only these heroes'' 11th-hour appearance led to many interesting things for them to do. Save it for a Lego: Justice League game, I guess, when Green Lantern's interesting ability to construct massive green trains and hammers out of green Lego pieces might come into play—or when the Flash's super-speed can have a level built to suit it. I'd give a Lego: Justice League a shot. If nothing else, the faltering ambition of Lego: Batman 2's Gotham and the polish of its wonderful storyline levels earns the people behind these games that benefit of the doubt.
Games are talky sons-of-bitches these days, and the more lines of spoken dialog we get the more chance we'll have an option to toss words up on the screen. Commenter invadingduck wants to know how you feel about that. Also, his brother talks to himself.
OK, so you got games, right? Do you got games with a lot of spoken dialog? Probably! So this game most likely has options as well. And it probably has an option called "subtitles-On/Off" or something too.
So, my question: Do you like to play games with subtitles on?
I know I don't. I'm one of those people who get distracted kind of easily. So if I'm trekking through some backwoods in some kingdom killing goblins and such, it kind of breaks the immersion when some words pop up at the bottom of the screen. Even if it isn't an exciting part of the game, my eyes will follow the words and not the animations. So I usually turn them off.
But my brother is the exact opposite and needs subtitles on at all times. Like me, he get easily distracted, but usually with his phone or when he talks to himself. So a lot of the time he misses what people say or he mishears them. To avoid confusion, he just leaves the subtitles on.
So what's your audiovisual preference? Subtitles on or off?
But what of the gamer's that took it upon themselves to write their own epilogues?
FanFiction.net's Mass Effect archives are loaded with entries from players that wanted to give their own spin to the story. Some of them crafted their tales as soon as the credits rolled. Others hastily committed pen to paper once they heard BioWare would be revising the official finale via DLC.
While tomorrow morning's free content is a dream-come-true to many, for the writers of Mass Effect 3 fan fiction, it's the closing chapter in their own speculative saga.
Let us honor them.
And while we honor them, keep in mind this article is going to be riddled with spoilers, both real and imaginary, so if you don't want to ruin the game, don't read on.
Writer acevolkner begins his post-Mass Effect 3 story "All in the Mind", which he stresses is not a fix-it fic, with an acknowledgement that tonight's downloadable content might render it null and void.
This isn't, or at least, I don't think it's a fix it fic. I'm trying to keep as close to canon as possible following the ending of ME3. Honestly, I didn't HATE the ending like most of the internet did. I mean, I didn't like it, but then I had decided back in January that I'd never like any ending purely because it was an end to the trilogy. Also, just in case future people read this (I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. Your mandibles are to die for), I'm scribbling before the Extended Cut DLC comes out, just in case it renders this story useless.
The story itself doesn't differ much from the real ending, with the exception of the ultimate fate of the Normandy — fan fiction writers almost unanimously agree that didn't actually happen. If it did, Shepard and Liara wouldn't be separated again, a reversal of the events that followed the first Mass Effect. And we couldn't have gushy insight like this.
She pictured Liara, now, alone. She had seen what her death had done to the Asari first hand. Even now that they were together again, Shepard still felt the occasional pangs of her pain and grief. During their melds, the two years of Shepard's absence were walled off tightly, a cold bitter corner in Liara's otherwise warm and loving mind. Neither Human or Asari were to blame for it, of course, that fell solely on the Reapers. But those two years were still there, a poisonous lump of hurt that Shepard worried would never fully disappear.
Other authors are not so gentle, changing the entire ending to fit their vision of universal salvation. Of these my favorite (I am not being sarcastic here either) comes from E350, who twists the anticlimax into something straight out of a big budget science fiction movie in "Mass Effect: Endgame". There's drama! There are explosions! There are twists!
A tremendous volley of mass-accelerated shells, combined with blast from her Thanix Cannon, blasted the Crucible. The super weapon, already enveloped in green light, began to shake as shot after shot collided with its superstructure.
And then it went up.
Shepard fell backwards as the whole Citadel was rocked by recoil. A massive beam of green light fired from the Crucible, sapping energy from the arms of the Citadel. For a few moments, it stopped at the edge of arms, soaking up the energy.
Tali looked over the console.
"It's like a massive virus," she realised, "It's designed to delete the Reaper's code. The Crucible isn't a weapon, it's a massive supercomputer."
Man, that's some good stuff. It doesn't get much better than that, though it does get a little stranger.
HotaruGFC's "Beyond All Odds" is an interesting exploration of the post-Reaper world through the eyes of a survivor Shepard, delving into the reconstruction efforts on Earth. I, however, only read it for the gushy bits.
"But at least we survived. Somehow, I survived." She had no memory of what happened after the explosion, but Chakwas had told her she was found on Earth, about a mile away from the Conduit's location. They had started to give up on her, but somehow she had held on. She knew she was in pretty bad shape when she was found; the good doctor had given her the litany of broken parts and conditions at one point, but she didn't care to remember them. She just knew that, even though she was cleared to leave the hospital, she was definitely NOT cleared for duty... or pretty much anything else.
The door opened next to her and she turned to see Kaidan-my Kaidan, she thought-climbing in next to her. He grinned at her like a schoolboy as he took her hand and kissed it lightly.
"Ready to go home?"
She laid her head on his shoulder. She knew he meant the settlement in the country, but it seemed such a empty question. She never really had a home, always growing up jumping from place to place. Home was her family-or what was left of it. Slipping her rail-thin arm around his, she interlaced their fingers.
"I already am." She whispered.
Imo-musume's self-explanatory "Garrus Haiku" is a four-part longing memory of a lover lost.
Our worlds are burning
ashes rising to the sky
... is she looking down?
Author Sakura123's "A Wild Sheploo Has Appeared" isn't exactly an ending; it's more of a post Mass Effect 3 fever dream, but it does feature one of the best lines I've ever read about anything ever.
Instead he broke down and cried; he cried for the loss his pie, his sister and the absence of Thane, completely oblivious to the Thresher Maw about to pounce.
I know I have a habit of viciously tearing fan fiction apart, but there are some truly gifted writers out there, just waiting to be discovered. Hit up the link below to explore the countless possibilities of Mass Effect 3, before BioWare closes the book.
Mass Effect 3 Fan Fiction [FanFiction.net]
Once upon a time a young man named Beau Brians and his friends created a Super Smash Bros. parody of Cee-Lo Green's "Forget You". "Up B" was a completely ridiculous song that, at first, had me blushing sympathetically in embarrassment with the college students participating.
And then it got under my skin. Now I can't hear the original song without singing about Falcon kicks and "jump, jump c-stick". What I am trying to say here is Beau Brians is a jerk.
And now he's a jerk in Japan with a beard, transforming another already catchy tune into something much more relevant to me as a gamer. He might not be the best singer in the world, but his lyrics aren't bad, his grooves infectious, and that is one fine beard he's cultivating.
Super Mario Bros. 3 is a legendary game, but it didn't do much for furthering father / son relations in the Bowser family. The mighty lizard king, one of the most powerful beings in the entire fictional universe, placed his own children between him and the one thing in the mushroom kingdom he fears.
He still gets World's Greatest Dad mugs; they're just made of shell and filled with blood.
For more sick and twisted video game comedy, follow the link to Dorkly.com.
She just never learned how to sit on the couch.
It's not her fault. The youngest daughter in a family of professional stock photo models, growing up surrounded by flashbulbs and fashion doesn't afford one many opportunities to sit on the couch like a normal person. Decorated by the most accomplished avant-garde designers to maximize feng shui, ergonomic sitting spaces were the order of the day. The couch, as you and I know it, did not exist in her world.
The lifestyle was stifling, so she broke free. She went to college and earned a doctorate in physics. She bought a PlayStation 2, got into poker and half-heartedly eating pizza.
She purchased a couch.
Come on, give her a little credit. At least she's trying.
She's even managed to recruit her identical sisters to her rebellious cause. While they share her inability to sit properly, they've mastered playing poker and puffing away at an unlit hookah.
And would you look at that! With her sisters pinning her legs behind their backs, she's actually managed a sitting position! Let the pride of that triumphant shout wash over you. Imagine the scene playing out in slow motion with the theme song from Chariots of Fire playing in the background. One can almost make out a cheering crowd in the blank space over their heads.
Now all she has to do is maintain that pose when they leave, and she'll be a couch novice no longer!
"Kate," Mike Fahey announced proudly to Kotaku's group chat, "I just made birds poop on your city."
I switched tabs to look and lo and behold, yes he had. Waves of seagulls appeared, dropping their ugly white bombs all across my otherwise-happy little hamlet. The war was on. I immediately went to Mike's town and started drilling holes in the bottoms of all his rowboats. I also made the ice cream in his ice cream factory melt, and kicked up the gravel in the driveway of his Mayor's mansion. Because that, apparently, is how we feud: pettily.
It's SimCity Social that we both ran off to play, when it launched in an open beta earlier this afternoon. I've had a couple of hours to poke around in it, so far, gathering impressions. Right now, my overriding feeling is that while I was really hoping that SimCity Social would be a little more SimCity and a little less Same Old Facebook Social, I seem to be getting disappointed. It's a Facebook game through and through, in so many ways:
That said, not all social features are bad. SimCity Social actually handles them rather well. The ability to create relationships with other cities is pretty entertaining—especially as they can either be friendly overtures, or petty rivalries. And that's where the guano comes in. Fahey earned enough points, from being my rival, to build a Turbine of Evil in his city.
The biggest thing that sets the experience apart from Sim City games of old (and, likely, next year's as well) is the thoughtlessness. A UFO crashed just outside my city limits early on, and I thought for a moment that I might be dealing with an actual disaster. But no: it's a series of diamond-requiring quests that you unlock as your city population grows. It doesn't matter all that much how you plan your layout or place your roads. Industrial and residential buildings can sit right next to each other, and your perky animated assistant (and her garrulous animated uncle) will have no problem with that. Other than raking in the cash, energy, and associated other rewards, there's not that much to think about when planting your stake on Facebook. It may "reticulate splines" and all the rest while loading, but the deeper, more consequential gameplay just doesn't load with it.
SimCity Social, so far, is great for petty vandalism and begging others to play with me, but not so great for building the simulation of a working city. As a Facebook game, it's at least pretty well balanced. Aside from the diamonds, it's not too money-grubbing and it's easy enough to keep advancing just by playing slowly.
Alas, the juvenile joy of bird crap wears thin pretty quickly. It was only fifteen minutes into our little war when Fahey announced he was already tired of the bird poop bomb. And truth be told, I was starting to feel worn from mocking his decor and blocking his citizens' driveways.
Maybe I'll go back tomorrow and wreck his toy factory, instead of his ice cream. That'll be a nice change.