ARTICLES

Ni No More Kuni For Me

29 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Ni No Kuni

I am done with Ni No Kuni.

No, I haven’t finished it. I’m just done with it. After stopping for a month to play Bioshock Infinite (twice) and Tomb Raider, the thought of going back to Ni No Kuni was enough to make my body recoil in revulsion. I wasn’t sure why, but I had a similar feeling when I stopped Ni No Kuni the first time in order to play Dead Space 3. But once I started playing again, I found it surprisingly easy to get back into the swing of things. I put 24 hours into it before I took my month-long break.

But just like last time, I decided to throw it back into the old PS3 and see if my sudden aversion to the game would dissipate once I got going again. It didn’t. The moment I started playing I wanted to stop. The first battle I got into was literally the last battle I ever wanted to play in this game, which I think is the crux of the problem. I love the characters, the world and the story, but the battle system, while tolerable for the first 20 or so hours, just suddenly hit a wall for me. I love everything else about this game except for the battle system. I thought back to some of the tedious boss battles I had been through and I knew I didn’t want any part of that again. In the end, they were more of a chore than enjoyable.

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The Last of Us: Fun or Shun?

26 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

The Last of Us

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.

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GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Preorder?

26 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 7 Comments

Preorder

One on the unquestioned traditions for gamers is preordering. No one asks if you preordered something but where you preordered it. What bonuses did you get, etc… Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy and even Steam will routinely shower gamers with gifts in order to secure those advance sales. Some of the bonuses, like early access to a shotgun, are dumb extras that aren’t worth the effort. Others, like a free copy of a related game, are enough to make you question your own intelligence if you DON’T preorder the game.

But after the disappointment of Assassin’s Creed 3 and the still-ongoing disaster that is SimCity, my question to you is this: why do you preorder? What drives you to spend money before you can use the item that you bought? Is it the aforementioned bonuses? Is it simply a habit now, ingrained in our buying rituals so much that we don’t even question why we are forking over money before we can confirm the game is actually worth it?

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Get Your Popcorn Ready: E3 2013 News Round-Up

25 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

E3 2013

Is it already close to that time of year again? The time when all the gaming news outlets start revving their engines in preparation for E3? Seems like it.

The big show is still a few months away, but we’re already getting little bits of information about what to expect from some of the big three console developers. While we’ve already gotten Sony’s rundown of the PlayStation 4, we can expect a few more details in terms of launch date and price, along with a few more morsels of actual gameplay.

But what about the other two? As for Microsoft, some of the recent rumors have proven to be true — the next XBox reveal is set for May 21, which means that E3 will be all about Microsoft showing off a “full line-up of blockbuster gaming experiences”. So yeah, lots of Kinect stuff, probably.

As for Nintendo’s big E3 news? Well, there won’t be any. That’s right, Nintendo is ducking out of its E3 press conference, opting instead for their smaller Nintendo Direct presentations. One wonders if the really awful Wii U sales, as well as Nintendo’s inability to properly convey what the Wii U experience actually is at the last couple of E3 shows are to blame for this.

So that’s the round-up from this week. What are you guys expecting from these guys at E3? Which one are you most excited to learn more about? Sound off!

On Video Games and Writing

24 Apr 2013 | Posted by | One Comment

System Shock

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.

Source – Polygon

Image – Shodan by Jim Hatama

Pixel Count: What Enemy Needs To Retire?

23 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 9 Comments

I’ve played a lot of games in my time. And in those games I’ve stomped on, shot at and slashed my way through millions of different enemies. Some were cute, like the Goombas and Koopa Troopas. Some were ugly like Abobo in Double Dragon and the Flood in Halo. But it didn’t matter: adorable or hideous, I slew them all and moved on to the next one.

But lately I’ve been feeling a bit of fatigue in games, specifically the ones that don’t seem to try anything new and just throw the same tired tropes at us in the hopes that we’ve become too numb to care. Zombies when they want gore, robots when they don’t. Ninjas when it’s time for stealth and Nazis when they want a clear delineation between good and evil. Terrorists when they want a modern game and aliens when its time to go back to the future. I am weary of it all.

But I shook myself from this apathy and decided to poll our esteemed readers on what common video game enemy you would love to never have to face again:

What Enemy Do Want To Retire?

View Results

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Company of Heroes 2 Beta Impressions

22 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

company of heroes 2 beta impressions

It’s crazy to think that Relic’s World War 2 RTS sequel Company of Heroes 2 was supposed to be out already; indeed, it was to be released day and date with StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Thankfully for gamers (and not so much for employees) THQ went under so Relic was not forced to meet their earlier deadline and their new masters at SEGA pushed the release date back until late June. This is good, because while the game is a ton of fun, it isn’t ready yet.

You can get into the beta by liking the Company of Heroes 2 Facebook page, or by pre-ordering the game, and I think a little “Like” on Facebook is a small price to pay. Unlike the original game, which took place on the Western Front, CoH2 features clashes between the Red Army and the German Army on the fields and villages of Russia. Company of Heroes 2 now throws the seasons into the mix, playing on the infamous contributions of “General Winter” to the war.

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The GamerSushi Show, Ep 68: Fill in the Cast

21 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 4 Comments

gamersushi show episode 68

As we inch ever closer to Episode 69, the Return of the Drunk Cast, I bring you this, Episode 68, which has a bit of a different format than previous shows. First, Eddy and I start off with an extended intro where we talk my genetic inability to lie on account of my nationality, and how Eddy knows a guy who has done a lot of cool voice acting.

Then, when Jeff joins the cast we kick into a talk about Heroes on Xbox LIVE, SimCity descending even further into a well of idiocy, and then we bring back Fill in the Blank. You can see the topics below, and as you can image we had some good discussions.

You know the deal, listen, rate and come back next week (hopefully) for the Drunk Cast!

0:00 – 14:44 Intro
14:25 – 21:24 Microsoft is bringing back Heroes on Xbox LIVE
21:25 – 24:29 SimCity adds Colgate-sponsored DLC
24:30 – 25:19 GAME TIME (Fill in the Blank)
25:20 – 40:17 Valve refunding Bioshock Infinite after a customer complained about it based on religious reasons is _____
40:18 – 48:42 Ubisoft Montreal CEO thinks gamers are ready for always online. He’s ___
48:43 – 55:20 Video game prequels underperforming is ______
55:21 – 58:41 Link to the Past 2 and trading in the Xbox 360
58:42 – 1:00:34 Outro

GamerSushi Asks: Favorite Video Game Sidekick?

19 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 8 Comments

bioshock infinite elizabeth

With the recent success of BioShock Infinite, it may be time to revisit the “favorite video game sidekick” topic. Sure, no character will ever beat Mass Effect’s Garrus Vakarian for me (he’s like space-Batman except he shoots people), but the usefulness of Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite may catapult her to the top of many lists.

She finds ammo, health and Salts for you, doesn’t get in the way during combat and her ability to open tears can be handy in a pinch. While shepherding Elizabeth through Columbia is essentially an extended escort quest, the benefits of having her around makes you wonder who’s guiding who. Add that to the fact that she’s an interesting, well-rounded character and you have yourself a strong case.

Of course, there’s always the old stand-by Alyx Vance, but as the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind” and it’s been a long while since we’ve seen her. So, what do you guys say? Who’s your favorite video game sidekick?

Nintendo Announces Link to the Past 2 for 3DS

18 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

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.

But what say you?

The Various Versions of BioShock Infinite

17 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

BioShock Infinite was announced a long time ago in gamer terms: 2010 was the first time we heard about the world of Columbia in any official sense (Irrational had been referring to the game as Project: Icarus before that). Even though we’ve known about it for three years, we can assume it’s been in development for much longer than that. Naturally, any game with a long gestation cycle will undergo a lot of changes, and BioShock Infinite is no exception. The folks over at Outside Xbox have a short video detailing the ways that Infinite has progressed ever since we first laid eyes on it, and I thought I’d share it with you for this week’s “Did You See This” Wednesday.

Even though we at GamerSushi are extremely happy with the end product, it’s crazy to think what could have been. BioShock Infinite isn’t wildly different in its final form, but Elizabeth’s powers were more broad in scope and the combat arenas were much more open and dynamic than they were in the final game. What do you guys think? Happy with how Infinite turned out? What features from 2010 would you like to have seen stay in the game?

Pixel Count: The Best DLC

16 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

With Blood Dragon coming out soon for FarCry 3, I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about DLC. It’s hard to imagine several things about the scenario that resulted in one of the year’s top sellers creating an 80s-themed sci-fi story: 1) that someone would have this idea and feel strongly enough about it to 2) pitch it to suits who would then 3) agree to make the damn thing.

Taking beloved mechanics and applying them to a wild shift in setting is fascinating, and it made me start thinking about the types of DLC we have available to us. From simple add-ons like weapons and maps to full-blown sequel-bridging epilogues, DLC has really come a long way in the last few years. While there are some bad apples, it seems that developers for the most part are starting to be more creative about what they offer, and when.

So that being said, let me hit you up with a poll. Vote and tell us about your favorite DLCs in the comments!

Which Type of DLC Do You Prefer?

View Results

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Not a Review: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

16 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

metal gear rising revengeance

One thing that is nice about GamerSushi is that we’re not compelled to review each and every game that comes out. Sure, we do review a large chunk of the big-name releases each year, but there isn’t that pressure to get our written thoughts up on day one.

That kind of explains why there hasn’t, and will never be, an official GamerSushi review of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, unless one of the other Editors wants to take a stab at it. While Revengeance has achieved some critical acclaim the consensus didn’t gel with my experience.

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Pushing Through in Tomb Raider

15 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Tomb Raider

Coming off Bioshock Infinite, I was anxious to start Tomb Raider, a game I have had my eye on since the first E3 reveal way back when. But once I started, there was one big problem: I just couldn’t get into it. There were a number of reasons for this: I was tired, I was trying to get in a little more WWE ’13 before trading it in and I had a pretty busy week with lots of “real life” obstacles getting in the way. I liked what I played, but being only able to play in 20-30 minute sessions a night wasn’t allowing me to get invested in Lara Croft and her tribulations in the Dragon’s Triangle. Even during cut-scenes, I found myself checking Twitter instead of paying attention.

But, as I knew it would, the game finally grabbed me this past weekend, when I was able to play for a few hours in one sitting. Little things like upgrading your weapons, exploring the areas and the really fun use of the bow managed to reel me in and after one gorgeous and harrowing sequence where Lara must climb an insanely tall radio tower, I am now riveted. The mystery of the island and how Lara overcomes these dangerous situations have got me playing through the story at a fairly decent clip now. The voice acting is great, with perhaps the exception of Whitman, who’s characterization just feels out of place with the rest of the cast and the gameplay is tight.

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GamerSushi Community Night: CS: GO

14 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 9 Comments

Counter-Strike: GO

It’s that time again, Sushians.

We’re hosting another community night next weekend, and we want as many of you as possible to join us, because fragging fellow Sushians makes for a good evening. Over the last couple of game nights, we’ve jumped headfirst into Team Fortress 2 and Goldeneye Source — and this time we’ll be going back to our roots in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

So yeah. Tell us in the comments which night this weekend would be good for you guys (although Saturday always seems to be the best night for everyone), and we’ll make this thing happen. And if you haven’t, join up at our GS Steam Group so you can get updates as we near the time/date.

Who’s in?

Update: This is happening tonight, April 20, at 10pm CST! Let’s have some fun, dudes. We’ll post the server IP closer to game time.

Server IP: 173.62.11.99:27015

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 67: BioShock Infinite Spoilercast

14 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

the gamersushi show ep 67

Welcome, welcome, one and all, to the 67 episode of The GamerSushi Show. On this three man cast, we finally delve into spoiler-talk about BioShock Infinite, so be warned if you’ve yet to complete the game.

Not that Eddy doesn’t try and spoil it a couple times in advance of the actual discussion, but I, your fastidious editor, made sure that his attempts at trolling were for naught. Sorry in advance to you headphone users, though. In addition to BioShock, we talk about Disney closing LucasArts, EA winning the Worst Company in America award for the second time in a row (they’ll annualize anything, won’t they?) and the out-of-control rumor mill surrounding the next Xbox.

Listen, rate, and we’ll catch you on the flip side! Of the coin. Get it? BioShock reference.

0:00 – 3:47 Intro
3:48 – 10:55 Disney closes LucasArts
10:56 – 17:24 Ea is the Worst Company in America (Again)
17:25 – 33:50 Next Xbox is a Cable Box and Always On
33:51 – 1:20:00 BioShock Infinite Spoilercast
1:21:41 – 1:23:50 Outro

GamerSushi Asks: Favorite Video Game Moments?

12 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 8 Comments

Elizabeth Infinite

When I tend to think back on my favorite games, I tend to reminisce on particular moments rather than the experience as a whole. Sure, the experience as a whole is worth replaying as well, but usually there is one bit that I have focused on above all others, one instant where everything came together and burned itself into my brain forever.

Recently, Bioshock Infinite has held several of those moments for me. I won’t venture into spoiler territory here, but I will say that besides the ending, a moment that stood out to me was in the basement of a broken down bar, where Booker DeWiit picks up a guitar and plays Let the Circle Be Unbroken while Elizabeth sings. It’s one of those things that catapulted straight to the lead of my favorite gaming memories, and I remember being breathless in the moment itself.

There are plenty of others to choose from. Climbing that ladder in MGS3. Talking to your party members for the final time in Mass Effect 3. The ride into Mexico in Red Dead Redemption. I’m sure we’ve asked this question before, but it’s always a good time to stop and update. What are some of your recent favorite video game moments?

The GamerSushi Power Rankings: April 2013

11 Apr 2013 | Posted by | One Comment

Tomb Raider

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.

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FarCry 3: Blood Dragon DLC Trailer Is Absurd and Awesome

11 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

I barely have the words to describe Blood Dragon, FarCry3′s new standalone DLC, but I suppose I’ll try my best. Imagine if FarCry3 were re-invented as a really terrible 80s science fiction movie starring Michael Biehn of Aliens and Terminator fame. Yes, that’s what Blood Dragon actually is. Oh, and there are also robot dragons that shoot lasers out of their eyes.

In what it is seriously one of the most bananas moves I’ve ever seen by any video game company, Ubisoft is going completely off the rails with FarCry 3′s new content — and I couldn’t be more excited, even if I have no idea where this inspiration comes from. I can’t say I’d mind playing FarCry3′s mechanics in a ridiculously hilarious ode to 80s science fiction. And for $14.99, I can’t see why I wouldn’t jump right in with two bionic legs.

So what do you guys think of that trailer? If you’re interested in more, IGN has the game’s first 15 minutes on YouTube. Who else thinks they’ll be purchasing this come May? Go!

The Next XBox Wants Complete Control of Your Living Room

11 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 4 Comments

XBox TV

Sometimes it’s nice to get some vindication. While I’m not normally one to harp on when I get something right (since it so rarely happens), I would like to point out that the following news is something I’ve been hypothesizing for years — the next XBox is going to focus on TV programming, according to a report from the Verge.

While many of the console makers have been saying for years that they want to make their system of choice into your all-inclusive entertainment box, Microsoft actually seems to be taking a legitimate step in that direction with their plans for the next XBox. Not only will the new system function as a DVR of sorts, it’ll also have HDMI-in for your cable TV.

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