Nvidia's Tegra 4-powered Project Shield handheld will be great for playing Android games, but the real draw is streaming PC games from your GeForce PC to the handheld and playing anywhere in your house. I can't wait to play Borderlands 2 in the bathroom without a laptop burning my bare legs.
I'm surprised they didn't film this video in a bathroom at Nvidia, though it is the first in a weekly series, so there's still time.
One of PC gaming's finest co-op experiences is coming to a rectangular productivity-enhancing device near you. How many times will you "accidentally" kill your friends in Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet?
Developed by Ludosity, the folks behind the lovely Bob Came in Pieces, Wizards of the Square Tablet is a whole new adventure in the Magicka universe, capturing all the hallmark features of the series and trapping them in a flat rectangle of power. It's got four-player online co-op. It's got the elemental-combination spell system. It's got plenty of accidental murder. Throw in exclusive items for the iPad and Android versions, cross-platform play and the ability to touch yourself for hours (well, a digital representation of yourself... or whatever, just don't tell me), and you've got a game that most certainly is this one.
I mean, I can't say it'll be amazing, I've not played it yet. I can be excited though, so imagine meet hooting and hopping in my chair.
Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet is coming. They didn't specify, so I can't say soon. Before you die, surely. Hopefully.
I wasn't aware people play video games like Call of Duty in public libraries, but evidently in Paterson, N.J., they do. Or did, anyway. The library board there specifically banned first-person shooters from being played on library computers last month.
The National Coalition Against Censorship, the same outfit that upbraided Massachusetts for yanking light-gun games from state-managed rest stops, has sounded off on the matter. "It is no more acceptable for a library to ban access to certain kinds of video games than it would be to selectively remove other lawful materials," the NCAC writes, reminding again that "Video games, like other forms of media and entertainment, do not appeal to every individual.
"The role of libraries is not to police the use of a perfectly legal form of casual entertainment," the letter says.
Librarians at the Paterson Free Public Library had an informal practice of discouraging youths from playing video games, nagging them to do homework or read something else instead. But they petitioned the library board last month to adopt a policy of outright prohibiting the games, according to this story—which specifies them as "direct-shooter video games."
A ban was needed, said one library board member, because the librarians "wanted something more than their own common sense," backing up their feelings about the game.
"We felt we should do everything we can to prevent our kids from learning these behaviors,'' library board member Irene Sterling said, according to PatersonPress.com.
But the NCAC says it is not a librarian's job to be a babysitter. "They have no way to know that their views correspond with those of parents or guardians. Moreover, the policy apparently applies to patrons of all ages, including adults and minors who are accompanied by an adult."
The letter is cosigned by leaders of four other advocacy groups, including the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.
Paterson Libraries Ban Playing of Violent Video Games [PatersonPress.com]
Word up! After a few short weeks at the top of the free charts, Temple Run 2 takes a backseat to What's the Word?, a word game that uses a set of four pictures as clues. There are two reasons for this.
First off, Temple Run 2 has already been downloaded more than 50 million times across Android and iOS. Everyone has already downloaded it. There are no more people that do not have it. This is one of the big problems with having a popular product—there are only so many people you can sell it to (or give it away to) before you have to start looking off planet.
The other reason is extremely scientific, so try and keep up. What's the Word? is number one on the free app charts because its app icon has a kitten on it. Soon every app icon will, mark my words.
|1.||Minecraft Pocket Edition||2||+1|
|2.||Angry Birds Star Wars||3||+1|
|5.||Arms Cartel Global||N/A||N/A|
|7.||Earn to Die||8||+1|
|10.||What's the Word?||N/A||N/A|
|1.||What's the Word?||2||+1|
|2.||Temple Run 2||1||-1|
|5.||Candy Crush Saga||5||0|
|6.||Zombie Road Trip||N/A||N/A|
|9.||Backbreaker 2: Vengeance||N/A||N/A|
|10.||Fun Run — Multiplayer Race||9||-1|
Dead Space 3 is boring.
Let's rewind a bit. In 2008 we were graced with EA's first Dead Space title. This was a claustrophobic horror game, filled with mystery and an obviously grander, more complex universe than we, as players during that first go, could comprehend. There was clearly more to this infestation of Necromorphs than Isaac could grasp. He only scratched at the surface of what was an increasingly interesting scandal of questionable research, an emerging religion, and a dark power that we had barely any information on. It's all very fascinating and scary. Dead Space introduced me to some of my favorite video game moments, too. Curb stomping corpses is something that is inexplicably pleasurable to me.
Jump to 2011 when Visceral and EA released Dead Space 2. The series made a transition that I thoroughly enjoyed. The level where we (Dead Space 2 spoilers) revisited Ishimura is one of my favorite video game levels ever. It was nostalgic, it was disconcerting to see the ship so changed and, heck, I still remember how gorgeous the textures on the hazard tarps draped all over the ship were. There were other memorable moments, too, like the haunting nursery level, flush with neon color and smeared blood in such a sick and complementary way. I remember the adrenaline rushes I used to get when being chased down by the regenerative Necromorphs, sacrificing random items I could've picked up along the way because I was pressed for time and life. New Necromorphs were a welcome addition to a game that maintained its franchise-staple creepiness, leading all the way up to that infamous (more spoilers) eye-drilling scene.
The excitement and intrigue of Dead Space 1 and the memorable moments of Dead Space 2 brings us to present day 2013 where the series has officially lost its momentum.
The story hangs flat. We're supposed to be reaching some sort of summation in this third chapter of the series, but it's not until the very latter half of the game that we finally get to experience anything remotely close to that. The Church of Unitology has the most meaningless presence until you get to that bridge, at which point you've already sunk in about 7 or so hours into the most formulaic Necromorph fights just to get there.
There are a handful of memorable moments in the game—moments where the game affords you some extra power and lets you tear through Necromorphs in a gleeful, satisfying battle where the predictable wave after wave of enemies is finally enjoyable—but they're unfortunately outshined by the monotonous, back-and-forth treks and rehashed maps that compose the rest of the game.
Here's the not-so-secret formula to Dead Space 3:
It becomes almost laughable after the first few "NOOOO ISAAAACC COME FIND USSSS" whines from your group members when at this point you are just placing bets as to how long it'll take for the script to cut you off from the group this time. Isaac does so much falling in Dead Space 3 you'd think he'd start using the opportunities to practice diving moves for the next Olympics.
Discussions leading up to Dead Space 3's launch did not come without skepticism from its fans. They feared too much action in favor of real horror. Too many jump-scares in place of twisted hallucinations and psychotic events.
I held onto hope. I was confident in Visceral's ability to make an enjoyable game. And they are still great game makers. But the direction that Dead Space 3 took felt confused. Like it didn't know what it was anymore. It became this Frankenstein creation of every bullet point needed to make a blockbuster hit, with some half-assed creepiness that ended up only serving as a depressing reminder of the husk that the series has become with this third title.
Developer: Visceral Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Released: February 5th (NA)
Type of game: Third-person shooter, survival horror
What I played: Roughly 20 hours of the entire campaign, some parts co-op most parts singleplayer, including a handful of the side missions.
My Two Favorite Things
My Two Least-Favorite Things
Again. I can't believe I'm saying all of this.
Maybe fan expectations are to blame. We've been unraveling so many details about the Markers and the origin of the Necromorphs. We've been seeing more of the religious group studying under the Church of Unitology. We've seen what the combination of these things do to people. Where the research has gotten us. Where it hasn't gotten us. It's all very, very fascinating to me. There are so many unanswered questions that Dead Space 3 would answer, I'd tell myself.
And Dead Space 3 definitely did reveal information that tied the three stories together, but it was told in the weakest way possible. Playing solo, I experienced maybe two, three hallucinations, something that once gave the series its strength but now only highlights where the game is lacking. The Church of Unitology, though a looming idea throughout the entire game, barely shows up until closer to the latter half of the game. I was impressed by how many lengthy side quests there were, and they added more context to the story overall, but the missions were almost identical and so completely repetitive. It felt like a long chore just to hear a few audio logs. You never feel like you're progressing, just wasting time.
That leads me to my favorite thing about Dead Space 3: the text files. The audio logs, too. Reading up on what the engineers and scientists discovered about the Markers, their use, their origins, their connection to the universe and, through all that, the horrors they experienced while discovering all this—that was my favorite part about the game. But the fact that mere text files were the height of my solo Dead Space 3 experience should give you an appropriate frame of reference for how mediocre the entire thing is.
Like I said before: this game bored me. There's nothing fun about running back and forth in the same areas, always on a fetch quest. At most on a rescue mission. There's nothing fun about facing the same boss three times over, fighting mostly the same choreographed fight each time, just to have the big, tentacle-y thing crawl its way out of there. Yet again.
I don't want to be too harsh on Dead Space 3. It has a redeeming quality. A quality that most dedicated fans hated it for before even getting their hands on it: co-op. Everything that is boring and trite in single player feels pretty enjoyable in co-op.
Having a companion lets me excuse the game's faults because I get to enjoy playing a third-person shooter with a friend. I don't think of it as a Dead Space game. This is simply a third-person shooter with enemies that are fairly unique when lined up next to the soldiers of the shooter genre's various worlds. With decent surround sound audio for added atmosphere, adding a heightened sense of panic to the game, because it's so difficult to gauge where the Necromorph gurgles are even coming from. It's a shooter with lots of different guns that you can construct. So when you're playing co-op with a friend your buddy can marvel at how your particular version of the plasma cutter sets your enemies on fire. You can show off your creations. Maybe your friend will introduce you to the power of a cryogenic-blasting shotgun while you let them in on the secret of crowd-controlling saw blades (a personal favorite). The weapon construction in this game is impressively robust.
Developer: Visceral Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Released: February 5th (NA)
Type of game: Third-person shooter, survival horror
What I played: Roughly 7 hours of the campaign, completing all the co-op specific missions.
Two Things I Loved
My Two Things I Hated
And the guns truly are great. The workbench might be a little cumbersome for newcomers, but it's exciting to see what weapons you can craft, and how you can completely morph and change them. A weapon can start out with a freezing ability but you can swap it for flames. You can have two totally different versions of one weapon, and it's fun to play show and tell with a friend.
Dead Space 3 is a better game when you ignore that this is meant to be the third installment of a horror series. It's a better game when you ignore that it's a Dead Space title and just play for the co-op experience.
There aren't many games with decent co-op campaigns. There are more games with multiplayer than there are games that allow for co-op campaigning. And for that, I think it's worthwhile to play Dead Space 3 if you're looking for just that kind of experience. While playing with friends, I got the impression that the game was built with the intention of focusing on cooperative play. Besides simple things like a workbench being built for two and the loot system fairly offering the same loot to both parties, the combat itself also felt great to play. It's certainly not as tense with a companion nearby, but it still feels fluid. You can coordinate with your buddy, shouting out enemy positions while you both concentrate on your corner of the room the Necromorphs are invading. Everything that sucked in single player sucked a little less with a friend to share the burden. Puzzles were more interesting to play cooperatively, and even that obnoxious boss was made all the better with a friend flanking from the opposite end.
The absolute best reason to play cooperatively over solo Dead Space 3 play, though, is the co-op-specific missions. These missions reveal more about John Carver, your companion. He has a dark history and his place in the game is to come to terms with that. It reveals an interesting character—perhaps the only interesting character in this particular Dead Space title, sorry Isaac—and an interesting relationship between him and Isaac. The game finally feels like Dead Space again when it's taking you down horrific memories long buried, but now unearthing in a violent, cryptic, and beautifully twisted way. Finally, Dead Space is trippy again.
Even in co-op, though, the game is still marred by the same issues I had when playing solo. Though the game is immense, it often feels like you're spending a lot of time going nowhere what with all the backtracking you'll do. Wasn't I just here? Didn't I just fight the same exact sequence a mere 30 minutes ago? Yeah, you did. It might've been a reused, slightly reskinned level or just literal walks back and forth. Either way, it's not fun, no. But it's at least less bothersome when you're hanging out killing Necromorphs with a friend.
The co-op experience itself is not without its own flaws either. The lack of a jump-in/jump-out feature and a sometimes unreliable checkpoint system that's exacerbated by the fact that if your friend dies, you die, makes the experience a somewhat fidgety one. And I found lots of interesting bugs when playing with a friend, like getting trapped in the ceiling when I just nearly missed the elevator ride because my co-op buddy was too impatient to wait for me to get both feet on the platform (you know who you are).
It's still a glaring fault that the third Dead Space title doesn't feel like it has the variety of enemies the first two games had. You face what feels like the same waves of enemies over and over again. This kind of transparency is one of the biggest hindrances to enjoying Dead Space 3 the solitary way. But Necromorph battles aren't the only area of the game that's completely see-through.
Even with Carver's addition to the storyline, the entire plot outside of that is simply weak. And who are the rest of the characters you're grouped with? You might remember Ellie from the previous Dead Space title. Even if not, the game makes it clear that there's history there. Now she's shacking up with some other dude, and he seems kind of like a dick. Ok, so there's some personality, some story here. But who are these people really? Why should I care about them? All they do is group together for safety while they send me out to risk my life for some bitch mission. They may as well force me to sit in the tiny middle seat in the back of the space shuttle like a goddamn infant.
The things that seemed exciting in Dead Space 1 and 2—the things that made their debuts in those games—are either missing or stale in Dead Space 3. The same old meaningless jump-scares of Necromorphs bursting out of ventilation shafts and appearing behind you make the game feel predictable. The lack of excitement behind the story makes the game feel sad, and the essence of Dead Space forgotten. The attempt at making you care an ounce about any of the characters you associate with and the poor execution of the storyline makes the game feel eye-rollingly transparent.
If you can forget for a moment that you're playing a Dead Space title, you just might enjoy playing what feels like a decent cooperative experience, even if the redundancies are still an issue. Oh, and, I suggest you play on Impossible mode, since the game seems to scale to the easier side from my experience.
This probably isn't the Dead Space game you were hoping for. It sure as hell wasn't what I was hoping for. But once I got over my frustrations with the direction the series has taken, and once I grabbed a friend to suffer the long ride of repetitive battles with me, I was able to focus on fighting interesting creatures with amazingly fun weapons. And maybe that's enough.
Since the start of the manga back in 1990, there have only been two video games made in the Berserk franchise. The first was the Dreamcast game released in the West as Sword of the Berserk: Gut's Rage. There was, however, a second Berserk game which never left Asian shores: Berserk: Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Holy Demon War for the PlayStation 2.
The game's plot covers the story of volumes 22 to 27 in the manga, with an original side story or two added in for good measure.
The game itself plays a lot like God of War (though it was released nearly half a year before that game) and features hundreds upon hundreds of demons and trolls being cleaved in half by a giant sword. It also comes complete with quick time finishers, berserk mode, and a myriad of sub-weapons—including the ever-popular arm canon.
To see how the game looks in action, check out the video above.
Berserk: Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Holy Demon War was released on October 7, 2004, in Japan and Korea for the PlayStation 2. There has never been a Western release. Stay tuned to Kotaku East for our import preview later this week.
Over the past year, Berserk has returned to the limelight in a big way with a trilogy of movies based on the first arc of the popular manga. I panned the first of these movies as an ugly, inferior rehash when compared to the 1997 anime adaptation of the story. I felt that the second movie at least attempted to correct the mistakes of the first film, but only occasionally surpassed the TV anime. But where the previous two films fell short, Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent reigns supreme and delivers an experience surpassing even the original manga in both emotional turmoil and eye-wrenching ultra-violence.
My biggest complaint about the last two Berserk films was the horrible-looking CG models used for the characters in action scenes in lieu of traditional animation techniques. This has been completely corrected in Descent by animating the faces traditionally and the bodies with the cost-saving CG (in all but the widest of wide-angle shots). Instead of clashing as one might expect, this art style looks great. The armor-clad bodies are consistently more detailed and their motions more fluid than those found in traditional animation, while the faces maintain the dynamic emotional detail we have come to expect in modern anime.
Descent completely surpasses its '97 anime counterpart not only in animation quality but also in storytelling. This last, and quite depressing, section of the first arc tends to drag in the beginning a bit when dealing with the characters' confrontation with their suddenly uncertain future. Despite this, the film keeps even this portion of the story moving at a fair clip—and then focuses nearly half the film on the most (in)famous scene in all of Berserk: the eclipse.
What surprised me, as a Berserk fan, was that many of the events in the manga are cut out of the story—most noticeably the vast majority of Rickert's adventure. The entire encounter between the Band of the Hawk and the demon outside of the eclipse is nowhere to be found. The same cuts were also made in the ‘97 anime.
This is actually for the best, however. As much as I would have liked to see these scenes and others, their removal gave the movie both focus and a better pace. And, unlike the ‘97 anime, Descent made sure to include the pivotal character of the Skull Knight and even reveal some of his backstory.
Descent is quite simply the most graphic mainstream anime movie I have ever seen. The eclipse is just shocking, and it far surpassed my personal tolerance for graphic violence. And unlike many gorefest films, Descent never hits the point where the gore becomes so over-the-top, it's funny. Instead, it remains genuinely horrifying from beginning to end. I would even go so far as to say that the eclipse is even more disturbing than it was in the manga. In still frames, it was shocking (to say the least); but in motion with an aural accompaniment, it was nearly unbearable.
But as graphic as it is, Descent is not ultra-violent for the sake of being ultra-violent. More than anything else, it's a tool for character development—a way to show you just what will drive Guts for the rest of the story. Every excruciating detail is meant to make you empathize with Guts and teach you the true definition of an unforgivable act.
The night terrors are just a happy side effect.
Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent is a great improvement over the previous two films and is a well-paced and beautiful (if such a word can be applied) adaptation of the Berserk epic. It is also, however, a film that is by design very difficult to watch. It is nothing less than an emotional hammer, and the amount of graphic rape and ultra-violence make this movie unwatchable by anyone with a weak stomach for such things. Of course, none of that stopped me from loving it.
But really, what boggles my mind is that what I saw was the "edited" (r-15+) version of the film—though I didn't know that until after I had left the theater. Late night showings (r-18+) are reportedly uncut. Frankly, I cannot imagine what could have been considered "too violent" compared to what I saw. And honestly, I don't really want to.
If those North Korean propaganda games weren't odd (and unsettling) enough, the country's state media is incorporating Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and "We Are the World" to show the U.S. under attack. Yeah.
Never mind that "We Are the World" was written by Americans (Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson) or that North Korea probably (um, definitely?) didn't get permission to use this bit from Modern Warfare 3, the entire thing is one complete and very scary mindfuck.
Uploaded by North Korean propaganda agency Uriminzokkiri, the video, as LiveLeak points out, is a dream sequence that shows a North Korean rocket—the same kind the country recently launched into space. As an elevator music version of the USA for Africa charity song plays, the rocket circles the globe, an elated Korea is reunited, and at around the 2:15 mark, an American flag is draped over a bombed out New York City.
That scene of destruction will look familiar to anyone who has played Modern Warfare 3, because it is from Modern Warfare 3. It's as though the North Korean propaganda wizards were unable to render destruction of New York on their own, so they had to borrow images from Call of Duty.
"Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing," reads the caption on the propaganda video (via LiveLeak. "It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze with the fire started by itself."
Then the man in the video believes that his dream will "surely come true". A caption on the video reads, "Despite all kinds of attempts by imperialists to isolate and crush us... Never will anyone be able to stop the people marching toward a final victory."
All this using "We Are the World" and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3! Sure, the whole thing is unsettling, but the irony is beyond baffling. Surely, North Korea knows, right?
The video was uploaded over the weekend. But this morning, The Guardian is reporting that a North Korean nuclear test is "imminent".
North Korea video shows US city under attack [LiveLeak Thanks, Sean for pointing out COD!]
He was taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with erosive gastritis, after being served detergent in a Coke cup at a McDonald's in Northeastern China. The customer's girlfriend drank it, thinking it was soda. She then experienced a burning feeling in her throat and esophagus, reports Want China Times. "This has caused great harm to me and my girlfriend. My girlfriend is still receiving treatment in hospital," said Mr Liu, the customer who ordered the meal.
The McDonald's apologized, saying that an employee put a Coke cup filled with detergent on the counter. The customer, thinking it was his order, picked up the cup and brought it to his girlfriend. The McDonald's in question said it will compensate the woman. Mr. Liu wants the restaurant to cover any future health problems, should his girlfriend encounter them.
In recent years, McDonald's in China is viewed as a healthy alternative to other restaurants because the food is perceived as safe.
Shenyang McDonald's apologizes after woman served detergent [WantChinaTimes]
A pair of Angry Birds are, wait for it, angry. Garfield and Donald Duck are rightly pissed, too. And don't get the Chinese God of Wealth started. He's livid.
Several migrant workers cosplayed as famous characters to draw attention to unpaid wages. According to Offbeat China, the five workers sat in front of China National Radio's headquarters and held a sign that read, "Pay back my blood-sweat (hard-earned) money."