Sunday, 30 June 2013

Review: Rogue Legacy (PC)

After storming the castle for thousands of years my clan of brave adventures finally started to make headway, at first slowly eeking their way a little further into the foreboding structure, killing the occasional spirit or disembodied eyeball, only to meet an untimely end at the hands of a more powerful denizen of that dreadful place. As time wore on, and future progeny had the mantle of responsibility for furthering the family cause thrust upon them progress was finally made. Bosses fell before their swords, treasures were discovered, and slowly the path to victory appeared before them.

This is the tale that has unfolded before me while playing Rogue Legacy, a roguelike action RPG hybrid from the folks at Cellar Door Games. It's one of the most addicting games I've come across all year, constantly tempting me to have one more run at the castle before turning in. Maybe I'll be able to make it a little further into Maya this time, perhaps I'll score some nice armor blueprints or a useful enchantment rune, or, if nothing else, I'll be able to avenge the death of the last patriarch of the family, Sir Useless III, whose chronic case of irritable bowel syndrome ultimately proved his undoing.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Review: Hexodius (PC)

Back in the day twin stick shooters were a great way to unwind with some mindless mayhem, use one stick to move your on-screen character and the other to shoot in a desired direction. There were so many games to get this right over the years with classics like Smash TV, Total Carnage, and Robotron. In recent years we've seen a bit of a revisiting of this sub-genre of game with titles such as Geometry Wars and Waves leading the charge.

Hexodius is the latest attempt at bringing twin stick shooters into the modern era, but it fails terribly in making a compelling experience by forgetting why these games are fun in the first place. Instead of having fast-paced action that players can dive into whenever they want, we're forced to slog through an incredibly dull story mode first, and only as new areas are unlocked there do we start to also unlock new arcade areas to play in. Even worse, the arcade modes are dreary, uninspired dross themselves.

Preview: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (360, PS3, PS4, XBO)

I'm unclear as to why Konami releases details of Metal Gear Solid game. Does anyone really know what's going? Never mind the larger narrative and connection between games in a series that spans more than 25 years, I have trouble following what happens moment to moment. So, when Konami provides some of the story details of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which involves Big Boss waking from a coma and heading into Soviet-era Afghanistan to investigate (i.e. destroy) the "mysterious" XOF organization my brain simply turns off in order to protect itself.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review: Fist Puncher (PC)

riot breaks out

So, another day, another beat 'em up. There's certainly been a bit of an uptick in releases for the genre of late. Thus far results have been mixed with Sacred Citadel on one end of the spectrum (the terrible end), and Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara on the other far more entertaining side of it. Where does Fist Puncher fall into this? Much more towards the pretty good side of things, but it isn't without its flaws. The game provides a good amount of face punching action, and a bunch of unlockables, but it also suffers from very inconsistent difficulty and only has local multiplayer.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PC)

I've always been a big fan of beat 'em ups. From the genre's early days playing the likes of Double Dragon and Bad Dudes to its renaissance in the 1990s where we were showered with hit after hit with games such as Streets of Rage, Final Fight, and legions of arcade classics, there's so much to like about these games. Capcom was the publisher to lead the charge with this, and they pumped out tons of beat 'em ups. My favorites from them were their games carrying the Dungeons & Dragons license.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Review: Deadpool (PC)

deadpool versus a group of baddies

It's hard to walk two steps without tripping over a game or movie cashing in on the popularity of comic book heroes. Whether it's Iron Man, Superman, The Avengers, or a myriad of others, the eyes of game and movie executives the world over are seeing dollar signs from this sort of thing right now, and we are just getting saturated by it.  In the realm of gaming, Deadpool is the latest superhero to get tossed at us. It's a competent action-laden affair with plenty of crude humor and wacky hi-jinks, but the game is about par for the course for what one should expect from a hacky, slashy, shooty superhero game. Moreover, it's incredibly short which, despite it's relatively budget price tag, is very hard to ignore.

Giveaway! Fuse for PlayStation 3

The Armchair Empire - Infinite is giving away one (1) copy of Fuse for PlayStation 3!

"How do I enter myself for a chance to win this?" you ask.

It's never been easier! Just give us a "Like" on Facebook and you're entered! (And if you already "Like" us on Facebook, you're already entered!) The one restriction we're putting on this is that since the game's rated 'M' you must be of the appropriate age!

It's just that easy!

* Contest closes 11:59PM on June 30, 2013.

Preview: South Park: The Stick of Truth (360, PS3)

South Park: The Stick of Truth is in development at Obsidian Entertainment (Neverwinter Nights 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Alpha Protocol) so it's no surprise that the game takes a role-playing path through the South Park universe.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Preview: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (360, PC, PS3)

The original Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse appeared in 1990 on the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive depending on where you lived). The singular goal was to rescue Minnie Mouse from the clutches of Mizrabel by journeying into the Castle of Illusion and collecting gems to build a rainbow bridge to Mizrabel's throne room. In hindsight, the action was pedestrian and simple to navigate, but at the time I recall being utterly enthralled by the animation.

Preview: Call of Duty: Ghosts (Multi-Platform)

Set in the near future when the United States is no longer considered a world superpower, Call of Duty: Ghosts features the emergence of a threatening "unseen enemy." Rather than simply install a carbon monoxide detector or have the heat exchanger on their furnace checked out like most other countries would, the US forms a rag-tag group of elite soldiers to combat the threat. Commence dramatic rappelling! 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Feature: Why Video Games Can Make Great Dates

In general, guys are terrible at planning dates.

What's so fun about going out to a restaurant on a first date, swapping resumes and watching each other chew food? What's so great about sitting next to a stranger in a dark room with the monkey chatter in your head thinking, "Oh my God, what's this person thinking?" I was guilty of planning the exact same dates when I was younger, immature and inexperienced. It wasn't until I started to ask myself, "What sets me apart from the competition and makes me better than the other people I'm competing with?" Part of that is planning great dates.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Review: Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)

From my 2010 Wii review of Donkey Kong Country Returns:
"Stop rolling into the pits!" 
This happened to me again and again. For some reason, to perform the ground attack a player has to quickly shake the Wii Remote. That's fine. However, if you happen to be moving forward at the time, you'll roll forward. That's good for attacking enemies and bashing things but it's also a very efficient way to send you wheeling into a hole. There are some really tricky platforming elements in the game and the inability to just press a button to perform this action makes some areas far more difficult than they needed to be.

Preview: Watch Dogs (Multi-Platform)

Watch Dogs puts the player in the hacker boots of Aiden Pearce in an open world environment where (it looks like) most everything is hackable. Diving into the personal details, rerouting traffic signals to snarl traffic, "leaping" from security cam to security cam to eavesdrop and help other characters sneak around undetected, but it's not just about swiping bank information and "information warfare" there's action, too.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: CastleStorm (XBLA)

Ninjas versus pirates. Birds versus pigs. With CastleStorm on XBLA, add knights versus vikings to the list of enemies that don't like each other very much in tower defense-type games. But this isn't a typical tower defender. CastleStorm relies on a lot more strategic elements, including deploying troops and creatures on enemies and unleashing heroes with classic old-school hack & slash brawling to bring victory and vanquish the opposing castle dwellers.

CastleStorm is more than just an Angry Birds copycat. There is more than one way to win besides knocking down walls, although the best strategy is to pound the enemy's castle and secure a win through destroying theirs first.

Friday, 14 June 2013

E3 After-Action Report

It's been busy down here at E3. I've been running myself ragged, whipping from one side of the L.A. Convention Center to the other and back trying get the latest on what publishers and developers are going to release in the next year. While I couldn't hit everything, I got quite a bit, as well as talking shop with other industry professionals. Here's a taste of what I found this year, much of which I'll go into further detail in upcoming previews.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Review: The Night of the Rabbit (PC)

Night of the Rabbit recalls fond memories of my favorite adventure games from my past – be it the Sierra or LucasArts classics or even some of the lessor known Dynamix titles like Willy Beamish or Heart of the Dragon.

The Willy Beamish mention was quite deliberate – the games have a similar spirit to them - taking control of a young boy in a beautiful animated world. Whereas Willy Beamish was a contemporary world, Night of the Rabbit is its own creation – a world almost taken direct from beloved children's books such as the Velveteen Rabbit or Winnie the Pooh.

Preview: Dead Rising 3 (XB1)

It's three days after a terrible zombie outbreak in Los Perdidos and Nick Ramos is about to have a very bad day. Or possibly, series of days. As the third game in the Dead Rising franchise (in development at Capcom Vancouver) there needed to be a shift from the confining mall and Vegas-like settings of the previous games and the developers have done so by making the game open world.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Weekly Checkpoint 55 - Xbox One, Konami, and More...

Jeff rounds up the week that was in game news discussing more Xbox One drama to emerge this week, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow coming to PC, Keifer Sutherland taking over the role of Solid Snake in the West, and an interesting new mod for Neverwinter Nights 2 that recreates the whole of the original Baldur's Gate.  Give it a listen. ^_^

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Video Review: Don't Starve (PC)

Jeff presents a video review of Don't Starve on AE's YouTube Channel.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Review: Star Trek The Video Game (PS3)

Open a burlap sack and throw in every damn cliché of video game criticism. Fans of the genre, set phasers to fun, mixed-bag, movie tie-in. Close the sack with a chewed piece of rawhide and beat the whole thing with a pillow case filled with hammers then set the burlap ablaze.

Douse it with gasoline just to be sure it catches.

It's hard to escape the low-hanging fruit when writing a review for a game like Star Trek The Video Game...

Very specifically, THE GAME, you know, just in case anyone might mistake it for Star Trek The Cookware Set or Star Trek The Prostate-Specific Antigen Test. Though either one might be preferable because The Game's a bit of a transporter accident.