The epic quest begins. Finally...

After a seemingly endless amount of delays, South Park: The Stick of Truth, arguably the last really big last gen exclusive you'll see, is FINALLY out for PS3 and 360. Of course after all the delays and hype, the real question is: Is it actually any good? I'd say if you are looking for a deep involved rpg on the same level of games like Fallout: New Vegas, this might not be it. If you are looking for a hilariously accurate representation of South Park wrapped in a light fun rpg system this'll be right up your alley. I'm several hours in enjoying the hell out of it and I'm really more of a casual fan of show, occasionally watching it on Hulu. I hadn't even seen the trilogy of episodes that lead into the game until about a week ago (which were great). I'm not a huge fan of gross out humor and I've heard there's plenty. But there also plenty of brilliant subtle things about kids playing fantasy and rpg tropes that have continuously made me laugh along with not particularly deep but well-balanced fund battles against elves, rats, hobos and Mongolians. Bottom line if you even remotely enjoy South Park, you should have no hesitation in picking up this wonderful bit of fan service. And it's not bad as a fun little rpg either.

You can check out the trailer here for the newly revealed Batman: Arkham Knights trailer. I own Origins, but have barely played it, it just hasn't really grabbed m. But all the new info on this supposedly final installment (I can virtually guarantee it's not the last "Batman" game, probably the last one with the name "Arkham" though) is really positive such as that there is no forced awful multi-player and that it's being developed only for next-gen consoles means no compromises to make it a similar experience on last-gen consoles. This actually might make me interested enough to get through Origins and finally gives me a next-gen solo title to look forward to besides The Order: 1886.

That's really all for today, I should get another post up in the next couple of days, most likely a gamer cinema.


Gamer Cinema: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

I think most people are aware that there was a really awful Tomb Raider movie starring Angelina Jolie back in 2001. And of course the amazing thing about it is the idea seemed like a no-brainer. It didn't have to be Oscar-worthy material. Just a hot girl shooting thugs and discovering treasure. It could've been Indiana Jones with a woman without much effort. Instead, it wasn't even National Treasure with a woman because it managed to be just to dumb and filled with horrible action sequences. Not really Angelina Jolie's fault as she played the role fine but it was still an awful film.

So yeah even though that flopped clearly those behind the film felt something was salvageable as they made a sequel titled the Cradle of Life (and apparently there were plans to go ahead with a third but Jolie didn't want to do the role anymore). The storyline itself is perfectly fine-Croft trots the globe looking for the "Cradle of Life" which is where all civilization began before an evil industrialist who is also looking for it because Pandora's Box is there and it has a plague he wants to unleash (seemingly for financial gain?). Anyways it's a throwaway excuse of a plot but for a film like this that's just fine.

And that's pretty much what this film is. Just fine. That it isn't a complete pile of garbage automatically makes it one of the better films based on a video game out there. The action sequences are perfectly functional if a little underwhelming, Jolie was still good as a real life Croft. It's the kind of perfectly competent yet forgettable action fare you often see on straight to video releases these days. Would I recommend it? Only in a sort of if there's aboslutely nothing else on and you are too lazy to grab the remote/controller and look for something else kind of way. But at least it wasn't extremely painful to sit through like any of Uwe Boll's cinematic efforts.

That's all for today, definitely look for a post about South Park: Stick of Truth in the next couple of days...


The state of the Vita...

As much as people talk about how bad Nintendo is doing with the Wii U, there's always the comparison of well, at least it's selling better than the Vita. And of course Vita is a portable system which is in a different ballpark than home consoles. But it's getting decimated by the 3DS which by any measure is a far less powerful and frankly a whole let less slick.

Of course the real issue is that the Vita isn't even in the conversation. Even Sony barely talks about it. Sure it can be used to play the PS4 remotely, but that's an extra $200 on top of your shiny new console. I have one and frankly I don't even use it for that. It's got a pretty solid library of games, especially if you count all the PSP titles available digitally. It probably has the most comprehensive library of great jrpgs for one system, that alone made it a worthwhile purchase for me. I'm looking forward to going through nearly all of them. But games in the future? There's not much. Borderlands 2? That'll be amazing if they can make that portable and fully intact, but it's also a pretty old game that I imagine anybody who gives a damn about it already owns at this point.

Sony just doesn't seem to know what they want to do with the Vita and as a result it's just a weird hodgepodge of things. If Sony really spoke to it's strengths they might be able to get the needle to move somewhat. Nintendo has made the 3DS the best selling system of the last year by really utilizing it strengths with some amazing software, and hell it's best games used the features of the 3DS to enhance already amazing games, but was sure not to focus the game itself around those features. Many of the better games available for the Vita do the same. Persona 4 Golden is arguably the best game on the system and it uses none of the features. Tearaway would be a solid game even without use of the touchscreen and back touchpad.

Can Sony turn the fortunes of the Vita around? Most likely. Will they? Probably not, they are too focused on the PS4 (which by all rights they should be) to give any attention to their flailing little console beyond tying it to their current success in a somewhat vague manner. It's too bad because it's a fantastic little system with plenty to offer. If only their own damn company would realize it...

That's all for today look for another post up by Thursday...


Like a Thief in the night...

Hey it's the first really big current-gen game of 2014 (that is also available on last-gen however)! Thief is out this Tuesday and should be snapped up by voracious gamers who only have an Xbox One or a PS4 and desperately need SOMETHING to play on it. Me? I like the setting but I'm not huge on stealth games. Splinter Cell with arrows is not something that appeals to me and frankly the previews I've listened to on various podcasts have not sounded horribly promising. Thankfully I've got plenty of other stuff to play on my various systems and odds are unless you are dying for a shiny new stealth game you are better off skipping this as well.

Now if I had an Xbox One, I would seriously be looking at Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare even though I've barely played the previous games. Why? Because despite it possibly seeming like a lame cash-in, at least it's offering something different to really stand out from other shooters that all seem way too similar whether they be in space or Afghanistan. I bet if this can actually find an audience it'll prove to be at least a fun competent chance to do something a little different every now and again with your online friends.

The only other release this week I really want to talk about is the PS3 release of Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, which since it's a package containing a Gamecube rpg and a Wii rpg, many people may never have played. The Tales series has had a pretty good run this past generation. Vesperia, Graces & Xillia were all pretty good, but as someone who has played a large majority of the series, Symphonia is my favorite. If Stick of Truth wasn't hitting in a week, I'd probably pick this up now and enjoy it all over again. It also includes the direct sequel, which frankly was not very good, but the first game is more than worth the price all by itself. If you are a fan of action rpgs with rich characters and stories, this is one of the best, so check it out. As it is I'll probably get it sometime soon as we don't really know when games like Witcher 3 or Dragon Age III are actually coming out yet.

That's it for today, I wasn't really able to get around to a Gamer Cinema this weekend, but hopefully I'll have that or something else up by Tuesday.


Now YOU can overcharge would be heroes for shitty weapons!

Seriously, you ever get the idea that shop owners in rpgs are ripping you off? Here's your chance to make awesome weapons and charge them ridiculous prices in Weapon Shop de Omasse for the 3DS. At only eight bucks it looks like a fun little title but it will probably be a little while before I give it a go seeing as after beating A Link Between Worlds I picked up Bravely Default, still have a little ways to go in Mario & Luigi Dream Team, and a pretty good chunk of Persona 4 Golden left to play, so my portable plate is incredibly full at the moment.

And the Wii U gets its first big 2014 release with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Which is great if you love insanely hard 2D platformers. I like challenge, but the DKC series usually veers into wanting to throw your controller against the wall hard, and seeing I haven't quite gotten through Mario 3D world yet, I'm in no rush to give this a shot. There might be a few digital releases here and there, but I think the next major Wii U title I'm buying is either Smash Bros or Monolith Soft's upcoming rpg, whichever hits first.

Sony's other big 2014 exclusive, the Order: 1886 finally has a new trailer, and it looks pretty cool, one thing worries me though, and that's quicktime events. I loathe quicktime events with a passion, they pretty much ruined the God of War series for me, and I'm not sure they can ever be used well, because if you fail them, it's annoying as hell and there's just no variety or creativity to them. Hopefully they will just be a minor part of the gameplay. We'll just have to see when it hits.

That's all for today, hopefully have a new gamer cinema up by Sunday, maybe something in-between if I can manage.


Nintendo's most exciting new title is a Soccer rpg?

Ok, maybe not really. But there was a Nintendo direct today and honestly the soccer rpg Inazuma Eleven for the 3DS seemed to be one of the more intriguing options. I love rpgs, I love wacky soccer games (i.e. Mario Strikers & Sega Soccer Slam), so this seems like a no-brainer. But $20 for a game I can't try a demo of and don't really know about seems a bit steep atm, so I may at least wait til some reviews hit. Seeing as it's out right now that shouldn't take too long.

And then there's the weapon shop rpg, Weapon Shop de Omasse. I love this idea, running a weapon shop in a rpg sounds incredibly fun, and it'll only be $8 when it hits next week. This is good because as I've mentioned before while the 3DS release list is fairly packed, a lot of the stuff just isn't peaking my interest much. But these two titles make me believe once I finish Zelda & get done with Bravely Default (when I pick it up, haven't done that yet) there will be plenty of fun stuff for me to play with still.

The Wii U side of stuff was a bit lighter, but I was fairly excited to see Little Mac get a spot on the Smash Bros roster as I've been saying he should be in it for years. Monolith's new rpg looks like Xenoblade with mechs, which might be the most awesome thing ever. Bayonetta 2? Eh. The game looks way too full of itself to be fun, I've been playing the latest Devil May Cry titles thanks to my PS plus subscription and that seems to hit the notes that the Bayonetta series tries way too hard on and misses. Mario Kart 8? It looks pretty, but frankly the last two were underwhelming. I don't think my Wii U will be collecting dust or anything if for no other reason I've actually got a decent backlog on it (still haven't quite finished 3D World, and still have to start up Earthbound & restart Skyward Sword), but I also don't think I'll be buying anything for it for awhile either (ok maybe Link to the Past).

That's it for today, but I'll try and have something up Saturday.


Gamer Cinema: 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience

To say American arcades are completely dead is far-fetched, but whereas they used to virtually litter the landscape, nowadays you have to go a little out of your way to find one. After all, why waste possibly hundreds of dollars when you can get a similar if not superior experience at home with a one time fee and the you get to keep it forever? And that's of course just console experiences, there's also the portable stuff (phones, tablets, gaming systems) that fits right in your pocket/bag.

100 Yen is a crowd-funded documentary that takes a pretty brief look (it only runs a little over an hour) at the evolution of the Japanese arcade scene from it's huge beginnings and the trends to what they are like today and what challenges they face. From shooters to fighters to dancing games to the UFO catchers and horse racing of today (yes for some reason, horse racing games are freaking
And that's really the issue. I get that it's a documentary on a limited budget, but it just glosses over nearly everything so quickly when each topic has enough material for a documentary all on it's own. Maybe they should've gone with an episodic series, each covering  specific era? Because as is it only serves as a very brief cliff notes version about the history of the Japanese arcade scene and the challenges it faces today. And yet it feels a little padded on, with weird detours in to the present American arcade scene (I guess for comparison but not really necessary since the subject matter isn't about that) and the Evo championship which is a fighting game tournament which is has some loose ties to the arcade scene but again not necessary and feels out of place in a documentary that is supposed to be focusing on the history of arcades in Japan. It's not bad if you just want a brief idea of the arcade scene in Japan, but frankly I was hoping for something meatier with more detail.

That's all for today, I should have another post up tomorrow or Wednesday.