Are you going to play Resident Evil 6? Get your button mashing fingers ready, prepare yourself to twirl some analog sticks, and tape the following advice to your fridge. It may (hopefully!) help you get the most out of Resident Evil 6.
There are no spoilers forthcoming. Just some advice...
All three main campaigns in Resident Evil 6 hop through the game's one lengthy timeline. The game's main menu has a "special features" option that leads to a "cutscenes" screen. In this section, you'll see icons for all of the game's cutscenes (once you've encountered them in the game), laid out across the game's proper timeline. You'll be able to see which scenes occur when, relative to everything else. The timeline will show you that Jake and Chris' campaigns involve the earliest events in the game, but the game won't play those out in that order. Here's the best advice we can give for going through the campaigns in their narrative order:
You can't juggle two mid-chapter save files at once, so you'll need to complete each chapter before hopping to something else.
The classic typerwriter-based save point system is long gone. Resident Evil 6 now auto-saves, but it doesn't do it as often as you might think. The game will frequently flash a notice that it has checkpointed your progress, but it is not saving your progress when it does that. If you quit the game after most of its checkpoints, you will lose a lot of your progress. Make sure you actually see a notification that the game is saving. It'll be accompanied by a little typewriter.
Each of the game's three main campaigns stars a pair of heroes. You can play solo or co-op, and, either way, will have a chance to choose who you want to control. RE stand-by Leon Kennedy? Or newcomer Helena Harper? Well, there's not much of a difference between them. Jake or Sherry? He can reach some places she can't thanks to an acrobatic leaping move and he has a special hand-to-hand fighting style. He's cool. But she's got an electro-shock baton, so it's a wash. Chris and Piers? There's a difference. Chris is our machine gun guy. Piers is more of a sniper. But more importantly, if you play as Piers, you just mind find the narrative of the Chris and Piers campaign more satisfying. Without going into spoilers, please trust us. We're professionals.
If you're playing solo and you leave your online options open, someone may join your campaign. They might take on the role of your partner, but they also might just be dropping in as characters from one of the other campaigns, in one of the numerous moments when the game's campaigns intersect. More importantly, by keeping your game open, you'll be able to be invaded by players who are using Agent Hunt mode to take control of enemy monsters and make your Resident Evil 6 adventures more difficult but also more interesting.
Ammo isn't that scarce in Resident Evil 6, but you'd still be wise to learn the art of running up to an enemy zombie or J'Avo and smacking him with a strong melee attack. Your moves will be strongest if your stamina bar is high. This is the one limitation on the series' otherwise total abandonment of run-and-gun restrictions (meaning, yes, you can shoot while running). Your stamina bar will drop if you spam your melee attack button. So move in close, then strike. Alternately, pull both your aiming trigger and your shooting trigger at once when an enemy is nearby. This will drain a lot of your stamina gauge, but it will also stun the enemy, leaving them open to a fatal melee move.
Well, learn how to roll out of the way of enemy attacks. Mess around with it a few times. And then learn how to dive away from an attack. It may take you a few tries to realize that you must let go of your left trigger in order to get up after diving away. This will make more sense as you play; so just find some space and train yourself to roll, dive and get up.
Resident Evil 6 is chock-full of Quick Time Events—cinematic sequences that you can fail if you don't follow the button input prompts that pop up on screen. Some of these prompts appear to be asking you to twirl one analog stick. Don't fall for that! Twirl both. It usually helps.
You will often be low on health in this game. Don't panic. Learn to use your inventory to your advantage. You can access the inventory on the fly, but the game will not pause when you open it up. If you have two health items—two green herbs or a green and a red—you can and should combine them. You need to do this fast, while you're probably near death. And then you need to consume them. How in the world do you do that? Well, on the PS3, the quick combo is this: Triangle, X, X, X, X, Circle, R3, R3, R3. This opens the inventory, mashes two health items together, puts them in your health-pack slot, closes the inventory and then lets you consume the tablets. Press R3 six times if you've combined a green and a red.
The Agent Hunt mode that unlocks after you finish any one of the game's main three campaigns is the coolest thing in all of RE6.
If you have useful tips of your own, please share them below.
While the majority of the 20 or so titles launching tomorrow for the PlayStation Mobile platform on Android and PlayStation Vita remain up in the air, the ones I know for certain — Eufloria and this, Beatnik Games' side-scrolling rhythm action game Samurai Beatdown — are certainly worth the price of admission.
I'm a huge fan of putting any sort of action to a beat, and that's what Samurai Beatdown does. It's like a sequence ripped out of the hip hop-heavy anime Samurai Champloo, marrying beats with sword slices. Each level has its own song and feel.
In the announcement for Samurai Beatdown, Beatnik managing director Sherif Aziz does shed a little light on PlayStation Mobile, mentioning that the platform allows developers to update when and how they please, and explained why he was excited about PSM.
I think the market for PlayStation Mobile is very exciting. The nature of the devices supported (finally we have buttons - Vita and Xperia Play) I feel we could make some very interesting and cool games people will really enjoy on mobile devices (I loved Super Crate Box but I cringed when I played on the iPhone – however I think PlayStation Mobile is an ideal platform).
Steam is now selling non-game software, which means that, yes, non-game software can now get achievements.
This has the potential to be hilarious, and GameMaker: Studio is taking advantage of that. The game-making software offers 24 achievements, allowing you to earn virtual medals for racking up compiler errors and getting your game to run on Windows.
Here's the full list:
Good luck racking up those errors!
We've been keeping an eye on Stoic's Kickstarter'd strategy role-playing game The Banner Saga for a while now. The small studio, consisting of three ex-BioWare developers, describes their game as "role-playing meets turn-based strategy, wrapped into an adventure mini-series about vikings."
In this video above, the developers spend a long time (too long a time) walking through Kickstarter rewards, but if you skip to the 7:00 mark, you'll get to see some of the game in action. It looks a bit like a viking-tinged version of Card Hunter, which is just fine by me.
Welcome, then, to the Panel Discussion
Dozen Quintet, where I pick out just-released or out-soon comics that I think are worth paying attention to. Ready? Then, let's meet the sequential art that'll be draining your wallet this week. Be sure to chime in with the books you'll be picking up or that you think everybody should be ready in the comments.
Action Comics #13
As a concept, Krypto shouldn't work in modern-day comics. Oh, sure, the idea of an animal test subject getting fired into space before a human subject makes sense. But the idea of a super-powered dog being a kindly crime-fighting sidekick is hard to swallow in the modern-day. Yet, Krypto is a favorite character of mine. Not because of any nostalgia but because of how Krypto highlights and alleviates Superman's loneliness. This should be a good one.
Detective Comics #13
A few years ago, John Layman's Chew became a sensational hit from Image Comics. Now he moves to Batman, in a new storyline that has the Penguin ruling Gotham's underworld with a rough hand. It's a nice talent addition that should give readers a different take on the Dark Knight. We'll see if Batman starts solving murders by eating random foods.
Black Kiss II #3
Comics legend Howard Chaykin understands sex. From American Flagg to Blackhawk, he's drawn and written stories that show a deep understanding of why people want it, how they use it and the joyous and ugly before-during-after timeframes surrounding intercourse. The first Black Kiss series was controversial because of how explicit its sexual portrayals were, but there was a turbulent subtext about power and repression amidst all the garter belts, too. This sequel follows suit. So, don't let that cover fool you. You might not wind up getting turned on at all.
Avengers vs. X-Men #12
You all saw what happened last issue, right? Given that we've seen some of the Marvel Universe's immediate future, we can rule out certain outcomes in this last issue of the publisher's crossover. Still, it's going to interesting to see how much reckoning happens here and how much set-up for the new status quo happens here.
Halo: Fall of Reach
The miniseries that offered insights into the Spartan program and Master Chief's past gets collected into a nicely presented hardcover this week. Just the thing to tide you over until Halo 4 comes out.
When Blizzard publishing head Mickey Neilson began working on (Pearl of Pandaria$24.99, DC Comics), Mists of Pandaria did not exist. He was kicking around ideas for the book around the time The Burning Crusade, World of Warcraft's first expansion pack. He wanted to showcase the fan-favorite furry bear race, exploring their culture and history—subjects no one imagined at the time would be ever be broached in-game.
Pearl of Pandaria was originally more of a travelogue than an adventure. The coming of Mists of Pandaria brought changes to the script and redesigns for the art team, headed up by the incredibly talented Sean "Cheeks" Galloway.
As Neilson told me during a phone interview with he and Galloway prior to the book's launch, it was through insane coincidence that Pearl of Pandaria became an adventurous tie-in to the fourth World of Warcraft expansion pack.
The graphic novel tells the story of Li Li Stormstout, an adventurous young cub that eschews the self-imposed exile of the Pandaren living on the back of the giant turtle Shen-zin Su (aka the Pandaren starting zone), setting off on an adventure across pre-Cataclysm Azeroth in search of her famous uncle, Chen Stormstout. The graphic novel is being followed up by the four part Quest for Pandaria, an online tale that takes the characters from Pearl into the Mists era.
The story of this dauntless young explorer experiencing Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms for the very first time takes me back to 2004, when places like Stormwind and Orgrimmar were strange and exotic places, filled with mystery and wonder. She is the millions of people that crowded the servers in late November eight years ago, eager to take it all in and fearless in the face of danger.
I'm jealous of Li Li's fresh experience. My first steps into Pandaria as a level 85 mage showed great potential, but soon I was trapped once more in a series of kill-eight-spiders type quests, a place I've been far too many times. I envy Li Li's sense of wonder — her uncanny ability to wander the land without having to collect or kill a certain number of things.
That sense of wonder is due in no small part to the animated movie quality artwork of Galloway and his team. The soft-spoken artist doesn't play World of Warcraft himself, worried that he'd "get too addicted and get nothing done". Members of his team know the game like the back of their hands, however, and it shows in every panel. If there ever was an animated cartoon based on the MMO, Galloway, who was an artist and character designer for The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, would be a guy I'd love to see take the reins.
With 128 colorful pages presented in landscape format to give it that cinematic animation feel, Pearl of Pandaria is a gorgeous graphic novel that is so much more than an introduction to the Pandaren race for World of Warcraft players. Indeed, Neilson feels the unique volume has the potential to reach beyond Blizzard's built-in audience.
"I hope this kind of book appeals to not just the hardcore or casual players, but to folks that haven't played the game at all."
Siegel: The fascination for mermaids is somewhere in the half-human, half-other. Kind of like the fascination Cylons or Borgs might exert. There's a tension, an impossible contradiction between their lower and higher parts… Sex with a mermaid is problematic at best. I played with that all over Sailor Twain, because I find it intriguing that they're so sexually attractive and yet "down there," it's never going to happen. In one scene, the captain is asleep and dreaming that the mermaid suddenly shape-shifts and has human legs . . . only to realize his own legs turned into a fish tail! So there's something in all this about fertile/sterile or potent/impotent…
Kotaku: It's hard to imagine nowadays how important steamboats were to the 19th Century. What would you compare them to today in terms of importance and/or symbolism?
Siegel: Until the train overtook and eventually replaced steamboats, they were one of the wonders of their age. In 1887 on the Hudson, when Sailor Twain unfolds, there were hundreds of paddle-wheelers plying the river. They transformed industry, commerce, and tourism, and they were seen as things of beauty, icons of progress in the new Industrial Age. In a short time they were everywhere in people's lives. I think the iPhone, the Blackberry and such might be today's equivalent. If you stop in any busy street or on a crowded train, the transformation in the world's appearance and behavior is startling.
Kotaku: What were the weirdest variants of the mermaid myth that you discovered in your research?
Kotaku: What do you think a culture loses when it stops believing in the supernatural? I mean, as recently as 150 years ago, people still used to think mermaids and other creatures might have existed. When that belief wanes, what changes does that kind of breakage wreak on a society?
Siegel: With the Industrial Revolution we entered an age in which the modern mind puts all its belief in science. The scientific method is best for exploring the mechanics of the physical realm, but has limits beyond it. Mythical thinking (not superstition) isn't incompatible with science; it just explores different dimensions. In his book Iron John, Robert Bly explores this in a fascinating way, how mythical thought can still reflect truths about the human journey, and help us plumb different depths of our existence.
In some cases, whether it's the Hindu pantheon, or the Greek, the Egyptian, or the Native American White Buffalo Woman, there are extraordinary, invaluable insights into the universe and our psyches, but the scientific method has a hard time reconciling that as anything other than primitive faith.
In the case of the mermaid, I think that myth belongs among cautionary tales-a warning about some of the lures we might run into in our lives, that some compulsions are dangerous and powerful.
Kotaku: You riff a bit at the changes in media culture from the 1800s to now, with having an author character whose true identity is a secret. Is there any artform today where the creators are ciphers like they were centuries ago?
Siegel: In the 19th century the public life of celebrities was a bit different—no constant Twitter feed of what Herman Melville had for breakfast, for example. Nowadays there are reclusive authors, but less and less. J.D. Salinger comes to mind. In other artforms? It seems rare, in our more exhibitionistic age, to retain real mystery around a public persona.
Kotaku: Did you set the book around the Civil War to home in on the idea of twoness that's a subtext in the book?
Siegel: Great question! Captain Twain's name is no accident (no relation to Mark Twain, as the captain grumbles when asked about that)… His birthday puts him under the sign of the Twins, and one of the side-effects of the mermaid's song-for most of her victims-is a kind of splitting. 1887 was the year R.L. Stevenson's Jekyll & Hyde came out in America… So yes, there's a flashback to the Civil War at the heart of the story; there's a Civil War in the outer world, and there's a Civil War within, in the human battleground that we can become, when we are torn apart by opposing forces.
Sailor Twain [First Second]
Valve sent over a press release today to announce the news. Here's what they have to offer:
ArtRage Studio Pro
Many of the launch titles will take advantage of popular Steamworks features, such as easy installation, automatic updating, and the ability to save your work to your personal Steam Cloud space so your files may travel with you.
GameMaker Studio, for example, features integration with Steam Workshop that allows GameMaker users to share their work via Steam.
You can browse through Steam's software offerings—all 10% off during the launch—on their website.
Just when we start thinking that the world has accepted that gaming is a widespread, diverse hobby on the same level as any other form of media, an awful marketing campaign comes along to remind us that, oh yes, some people still believe that "gamer" is a dirty word.
"I am not a gamer," proclaims 16-year-old Olympic gymnast Gabrielle Douglas in this new commercial for Nintendo's 3DS and New Super Mario Bros. 2. "With my 3DS, I'm a coin-collecting champion." Because she wants to make it clear that no, she's not one of those fedora-wearing neck-bearded acne-ridden gamers; she's just a girl! Like you! Play Mario! Buy a 3DS!
The other advertisements in Nintendo's campaign are similar. "I am not a gamer," says actress Dianna Agron in one of the other commercials. "With my 3DS, I'm an artist."
This sort of misguided advertisement campaign is especially disconcerting coming from Nintendo, the company that helped link gamers and non-gamers all across the world with the widely-appealing Wii. That was a console marketed for everyone, from your aging grandmother to your little brother to your squealing children. And the Wii's ads did a pretty decent job of reflecting that diversity.
So why has Nintendo suddenly taken a step backwards? Instead of trying to bridge the gap between people who play lots of video games and people who don't, this advertising campaign is widening it. Spokeswomen like Douglas and Agron are propagating the stereotype of a "gamer," disavowing the word and making it quite clear that yes, they might be playing video games, but they're not like all those other gamers. It's okay for you to play New Super Mario Bros. 2. You won't suddenly start growing unkempt facial hair and eating Gamer Grub.
Playing games is already as acceptable a hobby as reading books or watching films. In an era where gaming is a $20 billion industry and massive franchises like Angry Birds and Call of Duty have taken over modern culture, the word "gamer" might very well be obsolete. Everyone plays games. Which makes it even grosser when a company like Nintendo conveys the patronizing, condescending message that being a gamer—that is to say, being someone who stays up to date on gaming, who spends tons of time on Steam and Xbox and maybe even plays some Mario and Zelda—is not something to be proud of. It's admirable that Nintendo wants to appeal to people who don't play a lot of video games. But do they really need to step on some of their biggest fans along the way?