Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

It's difficult to describe what Demruth's Antichamber is, mostly because it's in a constant state of flux. What appears to be a crudely outlined room quickly becomes far more than that. Colors draw meaning where there was no meaning before. There's more to everything than meets the eye. Nothing is as it seems in Antichamber and Alexander Bruce's brainchild becomes a far richer experience because of that.

Don't expect to learn much about the minimalistic, Escher-like world of Antichamber. Players are thrown into the fire immediately and asked to escape. There's no tutorial, a very limited backstory that unfolds through vague clues along walls, and, in fact, there isn't even a main menu. The game starts inside a small central hub, where game options can be adjusted along the hub's wall. There's also a map that allows players to jump to any room they've previously discovered. This becomes critical, because it's easy to get hopelessly lost.

Antichamber is a major exercise in lateral thinking. "Progressing" requires solving a series of odd logic puzzles. The start of the game contains a "leap of faith" that can't simply be solved by jumping, but by using the walk button, a floor will slowly materialize underneath and allow safe passage. A different chamber features dual staircases (one red and one blue) that both lead nowhere. Perception and alternative perspectives are the key to solving many of these puzzles, while some others are an easy matter of just walking forward. In fact, a number of these solutions are the kind that will make you kick yourself for not thinking of them before.

Other solutions will not be available until the player finds a cube gun that looks aesthetically similar to Portal's classic portal gun. Cubes help add a dimension of depth to many of the puzzles, as they can be used to unlock doors or prop open sliding doors. In keeping with Antichamber's lateral thinking theme, cubes can even be used to create platforms or bridges. There are four different cube guns to be found and they all open up new possibilities--assuming you can find them.

A lot of Antichamber's appeal can be credited to its pressure-free environment. There are no enemies, no time limits, and no deaths. Players can move along at their own pace, allowing for the opportunity to think outside the box. I could potentially stand in front of a puzzle for minutes at a time and not feel the pressure to rush a solution. It's a sense that's enhanced by the game's minimalist art style--there aren't any intimidating set pieces that make me feel rushed, but rather, the game is filled with simple line drawings and primary color splotches that make me feel more relaxed.

Despite Antichamber's low-pressure presentation, however, it's hard to tell if you're actually making any progress. Many of the chambers double back around, creating a sense of wandering in circles. It's a sense that increases if you find yourself falling down a pit, since many of the pits converge along the same dead end path. You'll often find yourself repeating some of the same puzzles again in a vain attempt to find that one elusive solution that finally yields something new. You'll also find yourself taking breaks several times in an attempt to regroup the tatters of your broken mind. On one hand, the crushing difficulty is frustrating, but once a particularly demanding solution finally reveals itself, there is an immense sense of satisfaction to be had.

Antichamber is a pleasant (albeit mind-numbingly tough) puzzle game experience. It's aimed at all audiences looking for an alternative to the traditional puzzler, but its punishing difficulty means only genre diehards will see this one through to the end. Those with a ton of patience, however, will find Antichamber to be a challenging and highly rewarding experience that's worth savoring.

This Antichamber review was based on a digital PC version of the game provided by the publisher.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

We started to hear rumblings yesterday, but today EA Sports made it official: the next game in its football franchise will be named Madden NFL 25, and it's coming on August 27. The title is a clear break from its usual naming convention, which would otherwise call this year's edition "Madden NFL 14."

This year's cover athlete will once again be chosen by a bracketed voting competition, but this year it will pay some homage to the series' long history with classic players in the mix. One 32-player bracket will be composed of all-time greats, and a separate 32-player bracket will feature modern players. In the final round, the last man standing from each bracket will go head-to-head. Will influence and legacy beat modern-day fame? Probably not, but you never know. Voting begins in March.

The name is in honor of the franchise's 25th anniversary, leaving it a mystery what we should expect from next year's game. It may go back to tradition with Madden NFL 15, or EA Sports could intend to break from titles that call attention to their annualized nature.

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

Weekend Confirmed is back, and this week, Garnett Lee, Jeff Cannata, "Indie" Jeff Mattas and Nikole Zivalich convene to talk about some new releases. Garnett kicks things off with some talk about his experience with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which is followed by some discussion about the recently-released indies, Skulls of the Shogun and Proteus. Naturally, the crew brings it all home with a batch of Finishing Moves, and the final post-show NFL TailGate of the season.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 150: 2/1/2013

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If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 150 directly.

Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 - 00:00:38 - 00:13:39

    Whatcha' Been Playin Part 1 - 00:14:55 - 01:00:04

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 01:01:32 - 01:30:46

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News - 01:31:46 - 02:06:00

    TailGate 02:06:47 â€" 02:16:14

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Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Nikole Zivalich @NikoleZ

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Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter @delriomusic.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Media Molecule's little bundle of papercraft joy Tearaway hasn't been talked about much since it was announced at Gamescom last year, but Sony has opened up the proverbial floodgates by showing off a watery new area. The company has released a new trailer showing off Sogport, an island surrounded by glue.

The PlayStation Blog also revealed a new messenger, named atoi. The new character joins iota as one of the two known (so far) messengers who can accompany you on your journey through the paper world. We'll have a fresh preview coming soon, but in the meantime check out the new trailer below.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

A PC port of Skullgirls was announced all the way back in May of last year, and since then we've heard nary a peep about the game. Autumn Games has now announced that it's preparing to start work on the port, thanks to a publishing arrangement with Marvelous AQL.

An update on the official site (via Polygon) gave word that Marvelous and Autumn are in the final stages of signing an agreement, which means the developer will be starting work on the PC version "in the coming weeks."

It may be a long way off, though, since work hasn't begun and Marvelous has opted to fund a slower port with additional features. Autumn expects the project to take approximately four months, and the fruits of that labor will be the indie fighting game with expanded multiplayer options like lobbies. It also plans to host a public beta closer to release.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

This Sunday, you'll probably be watching large men crush each other on the figurative field of battle for your entertainment. Sony figures if you like seeing angry men devastating everything in their path, God of War: Ascension is right up your alley. To that end, it's produced a new live-action trailer for the game.

The trailer is about 2 minutes long, but if you happen to be watching the Super Bowl online in live stream form you can catch a 1-minute cut. The PlayStation Blog didn't mention why the spot is only airing on the live stream, but we'd bet it has something to do with the $4 million price tag for a regular ad.

Shacknews - John Keefer

PlayStation 3 owners waiting to experience the new additions to Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim can finally get excited. After Bethesda confirmed that the game's three DLC packs were coming in February, the publisher finally has nailed down the dates.

Dragonborn, the latest of the DLC launched, will be coming on February 12, with the smaller Hearthfire coming a week later on February 19. Finally, Dawnguard will be released on February 26. Bethesda reiterated that all PS3 users who buy the content will get it at a 50 percent discount to make up for the delay.

Prior to the DLC, the 1.8 title update is expected to hit. The update has cleared North American certification by Sony, and Bethesda is just waiting for the OK from Sony Europe to launch it all together.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Last night, Sony began teasing an upcoming event on February 20 to "see the future" of the PlayStation brand. The announcement of the event kicked off speculation that we'll finally see the Orbis revealed, and various sources have now chimed in with more details.

The Wall-Street Journal reports that its sources have confirmed this will be the debut of Sony's next console. They go on to say the system will be released this year, and claim this console will focus more on social aspects and how users interact with it than a strict focus on hardware power.

The social aspects could be tied into the controller. Sources tell Edge that the controller will feature a "Share" button. The system will reportedly record the last 15 minutes of play, and hitting the button will allow you to quickly edit and share screenshots and video.

Meanwhile, Polygon reports that Microsoft is planning its own reveal event for spring. This means Sony would beat Microsoft to the punch in talking about the next generation, despite CEO Kaz Hirai's recent comments to the contrary.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

BioWare is revving up the engines for its next bit of Mass Effect 3 downloadable content, having recently teased it with a pair of screenshots. A title update has now reportedly leaked some more details, including an intriguing multiplayer mode that brings in progress from the single-player campaign.

Eurogamer reports that a Clevernoob forum user data mined the update, which hints at a multiplayer mode that uses your campaign save data to factor in your paragon/renegade values, reputation points, and game progress. The details align with a Reddit leak, which promised co-op story missions, a new co-op mode, four new maps, and harder variations on earth maps.

A greater focus on story would make sense of BioWare's remarks that all eight writers are chipping in for this one. These details aren't confirmed, but BioWare has had several of its Mass Effect 3 DLC packs leaked from data mining in the past. The company is expected to share more details later this month, as we approach the one-year mark since the release of the game.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

CD Projekt RED announced the latest iteration of its open-world RPG engine today, REDengine 3. It will make its debut in the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, as the engine has been crafted specifically to support CD Projekt's style of open-world, non-linear stories popularized in The Witcher 2.

The first engine was used for The Witcher 2, in fact, and the second for its Xbox 360 port. The latest version boasts face and body animation systems, various tricks to make more detailed visuals, and an updated REDkit editor with a focus on building branching quests.

"If we look at RPGs nowadays we find two approaches, one which emphasizes the story but limits the game world and one that builds a vast open-world but hampers and simplifies the story," said CD Projekt head Adam Badowski in the announcement. "With the REDengine 3 we combine the positive aspects of both approaches for the first time, creating an open environment with a complex, multi-thread story. Together with believable characters, a captivating tale and a world where players can roam freely without loading times, we will be able to move gaming to a new level with a realistic feel and full player immersion."