It seems to be the season of the 3DS here at GamerSushi as both Anthony and I are both enjoying Nintendo’s handheld. True, the 3DS did get off to a slow start, but the number of quality games for it are climbing steadily.
One such game is Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the sequel to the ghost-catching GameCube launch title. Instead of having one mansion to clear, the taller Mario brother now has several homes to go through, each with the sort of hidden collectibles and Boos that you would expect. The new Poltergust 5000 is your tool for battling the ghosts, which functions a lot like the vacuum in the original Luigi’s Mansion (surprise, surprise). You stun ghosts with your flashlight and then proceed to suck them up, holding on for dear life as they try to escape. Unlike the first game, once you’ve got a ghost on the line they can’t break free by themselves; you have to be hit by another ghost or object to lose your grip.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon also has an awesome multiplayer component where you and three other ghost-busters can play either Hunter, Rush or Polterpup in ScareScraper. True, having to make story progress to unlock multiplayer is a bit annoying, but Hunter is a ton of fun. You have five minutes to clear a floor of ghosts, so you have to work both independently of each other to cover as much ground as possible, but also together so you can tackle larger groups of enemies. Despite the limited communication options (the D-pad has four pre-determined call-outs and that’s it), Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon manages to deliver in a big way when it comes to co-op.
Has anyone else played Dark Moon? What do you think?
Can you guys believe that it’s already May? That means it’s time for another bout of Power Rankings. At about half way through the year, I do have to say I’m surprised with the games on this month’s list, and what a surprise 2013 is shaping up to be in terms of variety and the titles available to us. Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite are still kicking strong, but Blood Dragon is a surprise contender out of the blue. And that’s not even mentioning the two 3DS games that are making waves.
So here’s this month’s list of the hottest 10 games that the GamerSushi staff is playing at the moment. I’m actually really looking forward to the shake-ups that are bound to occur for June’s list, when games like Last of Us and Monaco show up in our backlogs.
What do you guys think of this list? What are you playing right now? Go!
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older, have less time, or because most multiplayer games are feeling pretty homogenous these days, but I’m barely able to dive into multiplayer matches any longer. What used to keep me up long into the morning hours before school or work just feels like a chore. Fighting guys that use the same cheap tactics, using the same abilities or progression trees that started in Modern Warfare — none of these things interest me any longer. Even Halo 4, a game whose multiplayer I loved, only had my attention for a few weeks. It seems like CS:GO is the only multiplayer game I can dive into a few times per month.
If other players must be involved, what I love these days is a good co-op/horde mode. It’s far better to kill with friends than it is to kill your friends (virtually speaking, lest I end up on an FBI watch list). I’ve had my eyes on Monaco for this very reason. Besides the fact that it’s a co-op heist game (which we talked about on a podcast a few months back), I just really want a game that allows me to yell at my friends.
But beyond that, my most beloved thing at the moment is still tried and true single player gaming.
Fun or Shun is making a surprise comeback! In this feature, GamerSushi editors take a look at an upcoming game and give their thoughts on whether or not it will be worth your time to play. We’ve also done this with Dishonored and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This time, we’re giving Naughty Dog’s upcoming survival action adventure The Last of Us a litmus test.
As someone who likes to put on his imaginary pretend writer cap from time to time, I’m always interested in the subject of writing when it comes to video games. On the whole, the practice seems so different than what I’m used to that I find it fascinating. In a recent article on Polygon, author Austin Grossman talks about what video games taught him about writing — lessons that he took to pen the bestselling supervillain novel Soon I Will Be Invincible.
Grossman has some interesting things to say about the writing process for video games, which he witnessed firsthand when working on titles like System Shock, Deus Ex and most recently, Dishonored. The biggest lessons that video game writing taught were that stories don’t have to go in a straight line, nobody necessarily wants to read your prose and that people won’t respect what you do. One of my favorite bits:
You learn to be inventive. After all, players are using everything on the screen to form an idea of what they’re doing and why. You learn to sneak story in at the margins. Leave it lying in dusty corners and layered into other parts of the world, embedded into combat mechanics and level geometry and audio cues, or leave half-cues for players to fill in. To this day, I can’t tell a story straight through — Soon I Will Be Invincible and You zoom back and forth from the past and the present.
If you’re interested at all in how video game writing works, or if you just like reading smart things by good writers in general, I’d suggest checking it out.
Nintendo’s been hit with a bit of the Legend of Zelda bug as of late, it seems — and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. In addition to the HD Wind Waker remake due out this fall, Nintendo has also announced Link to the Past 2, releasing for the 3DS this year.
The sequel to the much loved SNES game debuted during yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, introduced by the big Reggie himself. It takes place in the same world as Link to the Past, features some 3D dungeons and even allows link to become a wall drawing in order to solve some puzzles. While I never played Link to the Past (I didn’t own an SNES), I did watch a friend play quite a bit of it. I have no doubt that there are certain GamerSushi fans (and a few of its staff) that are freaking out about this news.
Another month, another update to the beloved, ever-changing GamerSushi Power Rankings. If you’ll remember, March had us loving games like Ni No Kuni, FarCry3 and Dead Space 3 above all others. Well, things have changed quite a bit in April. You see, some of the year’s best games and biggest surprises have all come out one after the other, which leaves us quite a few new contenders. And some of those contenders will probably linger for a while to come.
So without further ado, here are GamerSushi’s top 10 most played games for the month of April. Tell us why we’re nuts, and what we’re doing wrong. We’re listening.
Hey look, a post that’s not about Bioshock Infinite… for now. I actually finished Ken Levine’s masterpiece (and yes, that word is appropriate for Infinite) this weekend, and the game certainly lives up to the hype in terms of what a sheer breathtaking experience it is — even if it’s sometimes lacking in the gameplay department.
One thing that I found disappointing about the game, for all its wonders, was the fact that the game was almost completely on rails. Mighty fine rails, mind you, but still, I’m the kind of guy that likes a hub, or a home base of sorts, where I’m free to weigh my options and pursue them at my leisure.
Welp, time for another Bioshock Infinite post. I’m sure you guys are getting sick of these by now, but I suppose you’ll have to suffer through our praises of this game for just a little longer.
As I already noted on Monday, Bioshock is a gorgeous game. The worldbuilding and the design of Columbia are enough to take your breath away for the first few hours, and everything begs to be explored. But what happens after that? You get sucked into the story, and soon you’re rocketing along faster than skyrails.
Every now and then, I find myself trying to slow everything down, though. Not in a bad way, like the game is moving too quickly. But more in a way that I want to appreciate everything instead of tackling it at a breakneck speed. Certain story games prompt me to blast through them and enjoy the ride no matter where it takes me, but with Infinite I find that I’m trying to pull back just long enough to remember the experience and make it matter more.
So my question for you guys is: when is the last time a game did this for you? Do you try to take your time with games, or just push through them as quickly as possible on your first playthrough? Do you pace yourself? Go!
One of the next big releases on the gaming calendar happens to be the release of The Last of Us in May. Developed by Naughty Dog, this game is set to be a new IP for the PlayStation 3, just in time for the end of this console cycle.
The release of the newest Red Band trailer for The Last of Us shows off even more of the story and the world than ever before. In this trailer we see more than just Joel and Ellie, we see communities, other survivors, some of the infected and different locales as well. Early trailers just showed off bits of the overgrown city, so it’s cool to see that the game opens up in a bigger way, with what looks to be a crosscountry trip of sorts.
What do you guys think of the new trailer? While I’m not completely sold on the actual game yet, I do have to say that Naughty Dog’s storytelling abilities are almost unmatched in the industry at the moment, so I’m excited to see what kind of journey they have in store for us. Some of the thematic stuff looks like what the Walking Dead show tries to tackle but constantly fails. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
You guys should prepare yourselves, because I’m guessing a lot of our upcoming posts for the next couple of weeks will have to do with Bioshock Infinite in one way or another. Not only is it just a hot commodity right now in terms of gaming news, but the thing is just really damn good.
While we’ve already talked about its design and storytelling on the most recent podcast, one thing that’s stuck out to me as I traverse through Infinite’s floating Americana utopia of Columbia is just how gorgeous of a place it is. Bioshock Infinite might be one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. I don’t mean that from a graphical fidelity standpoint, but more in terms of the game’s design.
After a short break from the cast, we’ve got a whole crew on for this edition of The GamerSushi Show! That’s right, Nick joins us for the entire cast. We were pretty excited when we saw him pop up on Skype.
As for what we talk about during the cast, we have a fairly restrained conversation about SimCity, discuss John Riccitiello leaving EA and what that means for the company, and Jeff breaks down why he thinks Tomb Raider is awesome. Anthony then has an unscheduled rant about Final Fantasy Versus XIII reportedly being turned into Final Fantasy XV for the PlayStation 4. It’s fairly entertaining.
So, you know what to do. Listen to the podcast, rate it up on the iTunes with all the stars you can muster, and be nice to each other. Seriously, find a gamer and give them a hug. We’re an angry group of people that just want to be loved.
0:00 – 2:04 Intro
2:04 – 21:00 SimCity
21:02 – 28:24 John Riccitiello Leaves EA
28:25 – 46:20 Tomb Raider
46:21 – 54:55 Pre-Ordering Games and BioShock Infinite
54:56 – 1:05:24 – Final Fantasy Versus XIII Goes Next-Gen/Anthony’s Square Rant
1:05:25 – 1:08:38 Outro
You’ve been there before. It starts out as a trickle. A game that wasn’t even a blip on your radar, or maybe one that you had never even heard of before, suddenly shows up. Maybe it’s in the form of a review, or positive buzz from gaming sites. Soon, the trickle gains some steam as overwhelming praise starts to sound from corners of the web. Then a friend plays it and loves it. Then multiple friends play it and sing its praises. And before you know it, love of this game has become an avalanche, ready to knock you from your footing of carefully budgeted gaming purchases.
This is my story right now with the Tomb Raider reboot, especially after our most recent podcast (which will be up on Sunday), and Jeff’s stellar Tomb Raider review. Whenever this happens, I tend to panic. I start checking the game’s price on different outlets. I find myself stopping at Redbox stations to see if the game is available for rent. I wonder what I might stop playing in favor of it. The really silly thing about doing this with Tomb Raider is that I’ve already got an impressive backlog, and I’m in the middle of a Ni No Kuni playthrough. As a scholar once said, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Has this happened to you guys recently? Do you try to avoid the avalanche when a new game comes out that you weren’t expecting to be great? Do you just give in, or wait? What games have done this to you? Go!
Tomb Raider’s 2013 reboot from Crystal Dynamics comes with a lot of expectations up front. Lara Croft and Tomb Raider have been a huge part of gaming and pop culture since the first game was released in 1996. The original series spans a total of nine(!) games including the Anniversary remake, all of which stick to a fairly standard formula: rich, buxom Croft runs around underdressed in ancient tombs, shooting things and solving puzzles.
That formula combined with total media saturation in the late 90s and early ‘aughts meant that Tomb Raider slowly but surely slid into the realm of disappointing sales and irrelevance. If any game franchise was due for a complete overhaul, Tomb Raider is it. Gritty reboots are fashionable these days, but does that mean you should give Tomb Raider the time of day?
Nothing is more fitting for this week’s “Did You See This” Wednesday than the reveal trailer for Supergiant’s (the creators of Bastion) next game, Transistor. Moving away from the fantasy setting of Bastion, Supergiant takes their isometric prowess to sci-fi. Don’t worry, they haven’t left the more verdant color pallets behind; Transistor is just as visually pleasing and varied in tone as Bastion. Whether or not Logan Cunningham makes an appearance as a narrator is unknown, but I bet Supergiant don’t want to cast themselves as a one-trick pony. Here’s the trailer.
So, what do you think? Are you eager to try Supergiant’s next game? What do you think of the art style? Bummed that it’s coming out in 2014 as opposed to right now? What do you think of Supergiant saying that they “haven’t chosen” which platforms to release it for?
Between Sim City, and the new announcement of Assassin’s Creed 4, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way gamers set and manage their own expectations when it comes to new games.
The disappointment for Sim City comes from knowing that a ridiculously good game might be lying beneath the surface of some extremely frustrating mechanical issues. From the servers not working (I was put into a 20 minute queue last night in the middle of a session) to the ancient-feeling social interactions, and some of the really odd rules of gameplay (too-small cities and some unhelpfully helpful Sim guides), I’m disappointed because Sim City might be a masterpiece completely stepping on its own feet.
With Assassin’s Creed 3, I felt a little lured into a game that was ultimately a total bomb. From carefully selected vertical slices of gameplay for hands-on previews to unbelievably cleverly edited trailers, Assassin’s Creed 3 looked set to put the series back to what it was with Brotherhood, while simultaneously striking out in a bold, new direction. What we got instead was a total mess, and it made me evaluate the way I take in my gaming news, which I’m already pretty strict about to begin with. Needless to say, I won’t be excited about AC4 anytime soon.
So I figured for today’s poll I’d ask you guys where you derive most of your expectations for upcoming games. Hit up the poll, and then the comments!
Time for another edition of Random Encounters, where I share my thoughts on a variety of subjects that are currently on my mind:
1. I have no proof and only baseless Internet speculation, but I can’t help but wonder if Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was originally a side-story like the Ezio trilogy and was rebranded as a numbered sequel in order to take people’s mind off the bitter disappointment that was Assassin’s Creed 3. It just seems odd that the AC 4 is in roughly the same time period and is a prequel, which means it might not even forward the Desmond story set in the future. We will have to wait and see, but if that is the case, it’s kind of disgusting, akin to Square Enix allegedly releasing Final Fantasy Versus XIII as Final Fantasy XV.
Seems that this last week has been pretty slow for gaming news, so we only have the premier trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to show you today. While it’s all pre-rendered, as is the way with Ubisoft’s announcement trailers for Assassin’s Creed, it does get me hyped for the game against my better judgement. In Black Flag, you’ll be playing as Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3 and protagonist Connor’s grandfather. In the trailer, infamous pirate Blackbeard gives us an introduction to our new assassin.
This seems a little odd for the series, as pirate and assassin don’t really mix, but I’m down for it. Apparently the game world is an open ocean with a few major ports and a lot of little islands to explore. So far I’m down with Assassin’s Creed IV, but I’m definitely waiting for a bit after release before I buy it. What say you? Are you on board with Assassin’s Creed IV? Did the trailer work its magic on you?
I promise I’m not trying to make weekly videos a theme, but it was hard to resist the idea of showing you guys these two music-themed videos. And seeing as how one is related to Bioshock Infinite, a game that many of you are pumped about, and the other is related to Journey, which I feel has one of the best gaming soundtracks of all time, I didn’t think you all would mind.
The first video is a brief clip of two of Bioshock Infinite’s actors, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, singing an old spiritual song that appears in the game, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This is a classic song, and I love the time period that it establishes Columbia in. It’s a lovely duet, and it’s pretty cool that it appears in the game.
If you thought February was rough on your wallet, then I have some bad news for you: March is going to ruin your finances. Just to give you an idea, for the poll choices, I like to select the noteworthy games for the month and my original list was 12 and I had to trim a few off to make this thing look less like ALL the March releases.
It all begins today with Simcity and Tomb Raider, both of which are garnering stellar reviews. I plan on picking up Tomb Raider a little further down the road, but Simcity is already pre-ordered and ready to go. I literally can’t wait to start plopping buildings and building my own version of Florida in a digital form. The GamerSushi SimCity Region will never be the same once my chuckleheaded Sim-citizens start wreaking havoc.