Beware the cellist.
CELLOS ARE DANGEROUS.
If you're playing Cello Fortress, don't say I didn't warn you. The new game pits one controller-holding player against a cellist. It's something of a tower defense game, with the player controlling the attacking tanks, and the cellist controlling the base defenses.
Fast notes activate flame throwers. High notes? Machine guns. Low notes trigger mines. And as the attacks get more intricate, the music gets crazier.
Nice. If they make a saxophone version of this, I will take all comers.
(Via Jorge Albor)
Totoro, what have they done to you? This... this isn't right. You're supposed to be soft and cuddly. I'm supposed to want to bounce on your belly. Instead, Laughing Squid found THIS:
As well as THIS:
Imagined caption by our own Chris Person, who also created the gifs in this post: "Would you be my neighbor? I'd be my neighbor." *Goodbye Horses plays in the background*
A Skin-Tight Totoro Full Body Spandex Suit [Laughing Squid]
When it comes to deciding what game gets my attention and why, I am absolutely ruthless. I don't care how much better it's going to get, I don't care that it's actually an amazing game and I just have to give it a chance. No. If you mess up in the first hour of a game, I'm done.
I call these missteps 'deal breakers,' in reference to when there is something you can't overlook in dating—something that outweighs all other redeeming qualities.
Deal breakers don't have to happen in the first hour, of course—most of them do for me because once you've already invested hours into a game you might feel obligated to finish what you started. There's almost this expectation, right? That you can't talk about a game unless you've played it from start to finish, even if we're not talking about a review or anything.
This expectation/guilt is what drove me to finish Max Payne 3, even though I think I outright dropped the controller when Max said that even he has no freaking clue what's going on in the game anymore.
Early on though, there's no remorse. It's quick and painless to drop a game.
Recently I tried picking up Planetside 2. I liked MAG; I'm excited by the idea of large-scale warfare. I figured that Planetside 2 would be a good idea to try out, since it's an MMOFPS that promises "epic, massive combat" in battles that might last "days or weeks." Alright, cool. That sounds like a great premise! Count me in!
So I boot up the game, I pick my faction, and I'm dropped into a match. I see players all around me, they're running someplace else. I look at my map. I don't know where to go or what to do, really.
But I figure the best thing to do is to just follow other folks—I mean, this is a shooter, right? How complicated can the objective be? I'm probably supposed to go somewhere, capture a point or something like that. Simple stuff. All else fails, I know that left click shoots.
I play for twenty minutes, following people, going off on my own, scaling buildings to get a better view of what's happening. I die a few times. At best I understand there's an area where I'm supposed to be, but I have no idea what to DO there. So I stopped playing.
Could've looked it up. Could have asked people. ...Could play a game that just gets it right instead of rewarding shoddy introductory levels where nothing is explained. I'm not even sorry; again, no remorse—there are games that get it right and those are the ones I'm going to spend time with.
Then we have games that treat me like an absolute idiot and overexplain everything—the tutorial never effing ends. I hate those too, and have been known to stop playing a game if it becomes too grating. But at least these set ups make it so that I actually know what the heck is going on!
Planetside 2's approach, where little is explained, CAN work. The most sophisticated introduction to a game is the one where nothing is explicitly said, and instead everything is communicated through design alone. In this, Super Mario Bros is famous: there's a goomba coming, and you only have a few seconds to figure out how to jump. In jumping, you're likely to find out about mushrooms—the breakdown of that level and its design genius is a fascinating read.
Worse than both the under-explained and the over-explained start to a game is the boring start to a game. A game that starts too slow, takes too much of its time, assumes that you will be into it merely because it exists.
These games probably won't grip you with an in medias res start, which is kind of like a running start in the middle of the action, as in Uncharted 2. They won't even give you an interesting premise to go off from, as in The Walking Dead's opening scene where you're in the back of a cop car. No. You will suffer through the boring and you will like it.
Unfortunately, as much as I adore Persona 4, I wouldn't blame anyone for dropping it because of its 4-hour throat-clearing. The game doesn't give you enough in the start to truly appreciate the sleepy town of Inaba, and if it weren't for the strength of Persona 3, I'd likely not have put up with Persona 4—which reveals that yes, deal breakers have some wiggle room.
And then finally we have a thing that is running the danger of becoming a deal breaker for me: games designed specifically to make you feel guilty about something, while absolving the developer's hand in making the mechanics intoxicating in the first place. Like Andrew Vanden Bossche says in reference to Spec Ops: The Line, and more overtly, a trend in violent games in 2012:
Video games are pretty eager to blame players for killing when designers are the ones that turn on slow motion every time I score a head shot.
I think it would be pretty cool to have a game about how cruel oppressive systems survive by pushing their problems onto individuals.
If 2013 continues this trend, there's gonna be a lot of unfinished video games in my library.
But ultimately, the reason that so many of my deal breakers happen at the start of the game is that it's the most important segment of the game. It sets the mood, the tone, the pacing—everything, really. If my introduction to something goes awry, what is to say the rest of the game is redeeming? I shouldn't have to stick around to find out.
Do you have any game deal breakers—stuff that makes you drop a controller and go, nuh uh, this ain't happening? Share below!
Not everyone is pleased with Ninja Theory's take on the new Dante. That hair, that demeanor, that easy gameplay? These are some complaints I've heard from fans since the reviews started hitting for Capcom's latest entry in the Devil May Cry series, which released just yesterday.
But reviewers love it! They love the action, and the sequence of moves you can pull off. They love the weapon system. So let's hear more about what everyone had to say, from the less convinced review to the most glowing one.
Despite a couple of problems, Devil May Cry is a lot of fun for any fan of action melee, whether or not they're veterans of the franchise. The style rating system gives you a reason to play through multiple times as well as motivating you to explore using the entirety of the arsenal made available to you. Thought it takes a lot of time to get used to, the weapon system does a fine job of making you feel in control, even if you're just frantically mashing buttons. Aside from Dante's cheesy one-liners, the atmosphere of the game is dark and brutal, with the shattered environments adding to the feeling of a world on the verge of annihilation.
This, it was claimed after we first saw the new Dante, is a genre that could only truly be understood by Japanese studios, doomed to fail. What an overreaction that was to a makeover and some dubstep. This is the best entry in its genre since Bayonetta, and might just be the best game Ninja Theory has made to date.
There's a point in DmC: Devil May Cry where everything just falls into place, a point where—after being mollycoddled through hours of gentle combat—you're finally let off the leash. And at that point, chaos ensues. The gates of hell are opened, once-timid demons become tremendous horrors, and Dante transforms into a fighter of glowing theatrics and tense technical wizardry. Immense, over-the-top combos flow from the fingertips, unleashing all manner of visually enticing carnage with a precise, fluid feel. So entertaining is the combat, in fact, that it's easy to overlook what a wonderful achievement DmC is as a whole.
Long-time Devil May Cry fans unsure of Ninja Theory's treatment can abandon their fears. DmC hurls Dante into a newer, better world, complete with a glorious combat system and enough style to make old Dante proud.
This is digital action at its finest, steeped in the blood of angels, spiced with gunpowder, and garnished with a middle finger.
It's fast, hard and raunchy, so much so that any small inconsistencies are swallowed up by the next fight, new weapon or new ability. Its story seems crafted specifically for me, or at least for a market in which I am the target consumer. It pokes fun at the real-world machinations of bogus news networks, stars a confident, swagger-laden hunk with supernatural abilities, and leaves a wide array of weapons at the player's disposal. Each of these aspects on its own is a reason to get behind a game, but by far the most important one—for a Devil May Cry reboot especially—is the fighting. DMC does action extraordinarily well and manages to make Dante look like the epitome of cool with every move, and it's wonderful to see this feat in motion. Over and over and over again.
I brought no personal baggage to Ninja Theory's take on Devil May Cry, having played and enjoyed the original game way back when but then steering clear of the series after its poorly received second entry. Whether you're a longtime fan (with an open mind) or a total newcomer just looking for a solid character action game, it's hard to imagine anyone feeling overly dissatisfied with this new game. It's almost wholly successful at what it tries to do, and seems like the start of a promising new direction for what was otherwise a nearly forgotten franchise.
It'd be easy to reduce the game to They Live with liberal social commentary with its demonic robber baron villains. This game updates the elements of the Devil May formula—combat flow, maximizing a moveset in a personalized way and slashing around biblically influenced lore—to make it feel like it belongs in the present day. Is it more grounded and serious? Yeah. This new Dante looks like someone you'd walk past in the street. But the surprise is how much that switch works. Ninja Theory's still mining a vein of self-conscious character creation but the winking is far more knowing than it was in the previous DMC games. However, the play is so good that it makes you reconsider the entirety of the work being done. The new Devil May Cry isn't from the netherworld after all. Fact is, for action fans, it's a slice of heaven.
YouTube user Marflus1 has created this musical gem, which is described as follows:
An Arrangement of "Still Alive" from Portal, produced using the Wintersday Bell and Pipe Organ in Guild Wars 2, a little bit of pitch editing in Audacity, and an awful lot of time in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Whatever it takes!
Marflus1 previously figured out how to wring "Billie Jean" out of Guild Wars 2.
Portal's "Still Alive" in Guild Wars 2 [YouTube]
We can expect to hear something official, and soon, about the game Bungie is building for Activision, rumored to be a sci-fi epic titled Destiny. GameSpot reported today that the studio is scheduled to give a talk about its new game at Game Developers Conference in late March, which would indicate a more formal reveal by the publisher is coming before then.
An Activision representative said the publisher had no comment about the appearance.
The GDC panel will be led by the game's art and design directors and will deal with the studio's world-building techniques, GameSpot reported. The panel's title is "Brave New World: New Bungie IP." The event description indicates that Bungie's next 10 years' worth of games will be set in the universe it's creating for Destiny.
A leak of a marketing document back in November established this world as a future Earth where humans have retreated to a single city in the face of an alien invasion. Humanity is protected by a large spacecraft, an alien ally. Destiny is suggested to be "a highly social experience" somewhat like an MMO.
Bungie discussing Destiny at GDC [GameSpot]
Founded in 2003 by the last remaining members of Westwood Studios—fathers of the modern-day real-time strategy game (see Dune II)—Petroglyph Games has spent the past decade continuing to build on that proud RTS tradition. Now the developer has taken an unexpected turn towards mobile social games, to Coin a Phrase.
Coin a Phrase is a pleasant little free social game in which players take turns (turn-based!) trying to solve a phrase before their friend or randomly-chosen opponent. Players can draw cards or spent coins earned through winning to uncover hints to give them a leg up on the competition as they attempt to suss out song and movie titles, popular sayings, sports teams and a number of other categories available for in-app purchase.
Making a move into social mobile gaming is a smart choice for any developer given the state of today's market. It's just incredibly strange seeing a name like Petroglyph attached to this sort of experience. It's like thinking you're eating one thing and then discovering it's something else entirely—not something bad, just not something you were expecting.
Coin a Phrase [iTunes]
A memorable boss fight is not just about gameplay or battle themes—slaying zombies can get tedious after a while, no matter how well-made the fight is. Luckily developers never forget to ensure that we encounter the most ridiculous-looking (probably in a good way!) and nonsensical bosses from time to time.
We collected a bunch of them. Let us know in the comments if you find even stranger ones!
source: sanata1000's longplay of the game
source: Conkerkid11's video of the boss
source: Dap642's longplay of the game
source: Tuwoa's video of boss fight
source: TriLink12's video of the fight
source: MortalP's longplay of the game
source: Zashtheman's longplay of the game
source: MasterLL's longplay of the game
source: AeroClash's longplay of the game
source: EpicNameBro's longplay of the game
source: Cubex55's longplay of the game
Every year, a game developers conference is held in San Francisco. In GDC 2013, Valve's Joe Ludwig plans to give a talk about porting Team Fortress 2 to virtual reality goggles in a talk titled "What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality."
A summary of the talk:
Several people at Valve spent the past year exploring various forms of wearable computing. The wearable effort included porting Team Fortress 2 to run in virtual reality goggles. This session will describe lessons learned from Valve's porting experience. Topics covered include an overview of what stereo support entails, rendering 2D user interface in a 90 degree field of view display, dealing with view models and other rendering shortcuts, and how mouselook can interact with head tracking in a first person shooter. In addition to the lessons that apply to Team Fortress 2, there are also several lessons that would apply to any new virtual reality game. A game designed for VR could avoid many of the issues that came up with Team Fortress 2. These topics will also be covered.
Naturally, porting to VR goggles isn't easy. So there's another talk by Michael Abrash, titled " 'Why Virtual Reality is Hard (And Where it Might be Going).'
Hopefully these talks aren't just nods to idle experiments, but a look at what we can expect in the future when it comes to interfacing options on Team Fortress 2. One can dream!
Valve to talk head-mounted display research, Team Fortress 2 VR port at GDC 2013 [GDC News and Information Blog ]
Witness Australia's Firemonkeys as they put more effort into the next installment of mobile's flagship racing series than most console developers put into their $60 games. Not only are they recreating famous race tracks, they're imagining new race tracks in real world locations.
Firemonkeys and EA have been teasing us with footage of Real Racing 3 since last August, rolling out the console-quality graphics and polish every time Apple needed to show off some shiny new hardware. Now they're racing towards a February finish, and we've got the second in a series of videos you hardly ever see with a mobile game — the developer diary.
If they treat it like a console game and promote it like a console game, will the console gamers come? All I know is this is going to be one hell of a reason to have an HDMI out for your mobile device.
For more unfair teasing follow Real Racing 3 on Facebook.