ARTICLES

Lessons in Efficiency from Walking Dead: 400 Days

10 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Walking Dead 400 Days

I’ll be honest, when I heard that Telltale was releasing 400 Days, The Walking Dead’s first official DLC (excluding the episodes, of course), I may have squeed a little. OK, maybe a lot. Even though I was a little saddened that we were seeing the world through the eyes of a handful of new characters, I was still happy to be stepping back into Kirkman’s zombie-verse, as depicted by Telltale. And once I played it, I wasn’t disappointed.

For any of you that loved The Walking Dead, do yourself a favor and pick up 400 Days. It’s a handful of stories of brand new characters, including a long-haired stoner, an escaped convict, a former drug addict, a young kid on the run and a big sister trying to soften a hard world for her younger sibling. And while the DLC might only be a few hours long, Telltale shows that they’re as efficient as ever in crafting memorable, fully realized characters in such a short span of time.

What amazed me most about 400 Days is just how invested I was in brand new characters, even though you really only spend about half an hour (or less) with each of them. It makes me wish that other studios would start taking notes about how to craft characters, how to introduce them to us right when their lives change, and how to make us identify with them right off the bat. At just $5, the game will easily return what you spend.

Have any of you played 400 Days yet? Thoughts? Go!

The Addictiveness of Animal Crossing: New Leaf

9 Jul 2013 | Posted by | One Comment

animal crossing new leaf

Very few games compel me to play them every day. Sure, there are times when I’m obsessed with a game for a few days, but rarely do I log on every day consecutively for weeks at a time.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one such game. This is my first experience with Nintendo’s long-running life-simuilator, and it’s got me hooked. For Animal Crossing veterans, some of the experience will be familiar: you collect fruit, seashells and various flora and fauna in your attempt to accrue enough bells to stay out of debt with Tom Nook.

The kicker this time around is that you’re the mayor, and as such you can build public works and enact ordinances to change how your town functions. I typically play Animal Crossing on the bus to work at 8:00 am, but the shops don’t open until 9. With the “early riser” ordinance, I can force the shops to open at 8. The only downside is they close a little earlier, but it’s better than having to wait until lunch to sell my pockets full of goodies.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf isn’t typically the sort of game I play. It’s cutesy and there’s no combat, but it’s deep, addictive and a heck of a lot of fun. Because the game keeps track of the clock (a long-running feature of Animal Crossing) this is a title you can play for years on end if you want. In terms of value for your money, there’s few games that can offer that.

Who else is playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf? What did you name your town? Does anyone want to come visit Assville?

The GamerSushi Power Rankings: July 2013

8 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 9 Comments

Company of Heroes 2

Half of 2013 has come and gone, and maybe it’s just me, but this year already seems like it’s offered us some huge surprises — almost too many, if my nasty backlog is any indication. Fortunately, July is the month that we can sort of start catching up, putting old titles behind us in preparation for the blitzkrieg of the fall.

That’s not to say there aren’t any new titles worth playing, though. Between The Last of Us, Animal Crossing 3DS and Company of Heroes, we’ve had our hands full. You’ll see these guys making appearances in our monthly top 10, along with some old classics. So here we are, the top 10 games we’ve been playing for the last 30 days.

What do you guys think of this list? What are you playing right now? Go!

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Broken Age Gets Broken in Half to Ensure Completion

4 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 8 Comments

broken age needs more money

Tim Schafer, a luminary figure in the gaming industry who holds a position akin to everyone’s favorite uncle, might have burned up some of his good will earlier this week.

In a letter to Kickstarter backers, Tim Shafer announced that Broken Age is getting split in half in order to make sure that the game can be completed in full.

According to the letter, Broken Age got pretty large; so large in fact that internal predictions at Double Fine put the game’s release in July of 2014 with a significant amount of content being cut. Instead of releasing a smaller game at a later date than promised, Double Fine will be selling the first half of Broken Age through Steam Early Access in January of 2014 to fund the rest of the game.

Backers will still get their full game as promised; what the Steam Early Access will do is open the game up to people who didn’t back the game on Kickstarter and will hopefully create the revenue Double Fine needs to finish it off. Double Fine thought it would be improper to get money from an actual publisher or go back to Kickstarter.

So what do you guys think? If you’re a backer, what’s your take on this?

Source – Gamasutra

Klei Introduces its Tactical Espionage Game, Incognita

3 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Incognita

Anyone that’s played Mark of the Ninja or Don’t Starve by Klei knows that these guys are some talented developers with a knack for creating some crazy fun games. Mark of the Ninja, a 2D stealth game, is one of the more creative titles I’ve played in years — and probably some of the best stealth gameplay in this generation. And while I haven’t played Don’t Starve, I’ve heard the alpha access, community building and the fun take on survival gameplay made the title an interesting experiment that’s worth taking part in.

Klei’s newest game, Incognita, announced yesterday, sounds just as ambitious as their previous titles — with a brand new take on stealth. Taking inspiration from XCOM, a game that I fell in love with, Klei is aiming to make Incognita a turn-based tactical espionage game, where information is power.

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Review: The Last of Us

29 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

the last of us review

While Naughty Dog might be more well known for the Uncharted series when this generation is said and done, the buzz that surrounded The Last of Us before release was monumental.

Having journeyed across the fungus-infected zombie plagued United States of America, Anthony and Mitch are tackling The Last of Us in a dual review. Or will it be more of a duel review?

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The Backwards Reviews of Company of Heroes 2

27 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

company of heroes 2 reviews

One of my most anticipated games of the year, Company of Heroes 2, is finally out, and it’s being met with some pretty good review. Well, the number at the end of the review is good, but if you actually read the review, it paints quite a different picture.

Despite the praise heaped upon the multiplayer of Company of Heroes 2, and the new Theater of War missions which work a lot like an RTS version of Modern Warfare 2′s Spec Ops mode, a lot of criticism is heaped on the campaign. I can’t quite speak on CoH 2′s campaign yet, but I find it odd that a review would focus on the negative aspects of a game and then spend a little bit of time talking about the good parts and give it a pretty good score. Check out the reviews below:

Now, I don’t want to seem like I’m criticizing, but if I’m going to give a game a high score I’d list the good things in detail instead of the bad parts. I’m still looking forward to trying out some Company of Heroes 2, but what about you guys? What do you think about these reviews? Are you going to give CoH 2 a try?

Enjoying the Freedom in Final Fantasy VI

25 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Final Fantasy VI

As part of our summer schedule, I’m happy to bring you guys a new edition of What We’re Playing. Like I imagine many of you guys are doing, I’ve been diving headlong into an ancient backlog for the time being, partly because there’s a break of game releases (besides the Last of Us, of course) and partly because I’m preparing to auction off a few items in preparation of new console releases. Next up on my list: Final Fantasy VI.

The most interesting thing that I’ve been experiencing in Final Fantasy VI at the moment is how great the illusion of freedom actually is, for a game so old. For any of you that are unaware, a critical moment comes halfway through the story that results in the destruction of the world, rearranging/reshaping it and scattering your party members far and wide. Once you resume control, you can go after them in almost any order, or go tackle some of the game’s many sidequests, or just go face Kefka in his mighty tower.

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Review: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

24 Jun 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

luigis mansion dark moon review

Luigi’s Mansion was a bit of a cult hit on the GameCube, and fans of Mario’s scaredy-cat brother have been anticipating his return to ghost-busting for years.

Luigi is back with his paranormal vacuum-cleaner, but this time he’s on the 3DS. How does his newest adventure fare?

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Xbox One Does a 180 on DRM, Online Requirements

19 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 12 Comments

Xbox 180

Giving the Internet an ego boost it did not need, Microsoft reversed their controversial polices regarding DRM and always-online as it pertains to the Xbox One, their next-gen console scheduled for release in November of this year.

Giant Bomb reported that multiple sources were suggesting that Microsoft was poised to do the mother of all walkbacks and fundamentally change their approach to used games, DRM and online requirements for the Xbox One. Shortly after that, Microsoft did in fact reveal the changes, which are highlighted below:

  • The Xbox One does not need to be online at all with the exception of a one-time initialization during set-up.
  • The Xbox One will not be required to check-in online every 24 hours.
  • Disc based games will be played from the discs, the same as with the Xbox 360. Installing the game is no longer required.
  • All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
  • No additional restrictions on trading games or lending discs
  • Xbox One will be region-free.

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Ryse: When Games Play Themselves

18 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

Ryse

Hello, fine GamerSushi friends. In continuing with our summer schedule, today is “Did You See This”. Naturally, with another E3 come and gone, the industry is still buzzing and writing some fantastic pieces on the things they saw last week, so that’s where we’re headed — and more specifically, to Ryse.

For those that are unaware, Ryse is one of the games that was highlighted by Microsoft at the XBox One press event. Developed by Crytek, Ryse looks like God of War had a baby with Gladiator and Dynasty Warriors, offering historical-looking action and dozens of quick-time events.

Only the quicktime events play themselves.

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The GamerSushi Show, Ep 72: E3 2013

17 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

gamersushi show e3 2013

It’s the Season Finale of The GamerSushi Show! At the end of this season of the podcast, we talk about E3 2013: the press conferences, the games, and how we felt about the whole thing!

All five of us assembled like some sort of giant robot or mighty super-hero team, so it’s a pretty great cast. Unfortunately I had to duck out early thanks to work things coming up, but the guys brought it home in grand style.

So, you know the deal. Listen, rate, and eagerly await our return in September (or August, if Saint’s Row 4 has anything to say about it).

0:00 – 5:02 Intro
5:03 – 30:59 Microsoft’s press conference
31:00 – 54:21 Sony’s press conference
54:22 – 1:04:05 Nintendo’s….presence at E3
1:04:06 – 1:12:53 E3 wrap up thoughts
1:12:54 – 1:17:20 Outro

GamerSushi Asks: What Have You Kickstarted?

15 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

broken age kickstarter

Kickstarter is something that isn’t going to go away any time soon, what with the massive success that so many games have seen on that service.

While Kickstarter may have worn out its welcome with me personally, there are some cool projects that have come through, like Double Fine’s two games, Broken Age and Massive Chalice, or FTL.

As awareness about Kickstarter has grown, there have been some massive funding undertakings, so I think it’s probable that at least a couple of Sushians out there have Kickstarted something. So, what have you put your money towards? Anything you regret Kickstarting now?

Pixel Count: Which System Will You Be Playing in 2014?

13 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

E3 has come and the Big 3 have shown us what they have in store for us over the coming months. There has been so much news, updates, retractions, clarifications and denials that it is kind of hard to keep track of everything. Still, this has been an eventful E3, one where the details of two new consoles were revealed, where fanboys waged war and where Nintendo did whatever it is they do. Microsoft brought the games, Sony brought the Internet to its feet and Nintendo brought its beloved franchises.

So now that we have a clearer picture of what Microsoft and Sony are going to do with their next gen systems, it only makes sense to take a poll of our loyal readers and find out where your current desires lie. A lot can change between now and release but it seems reasonable to assume that some of you have made up your minds. So tell us in the poll below which system you plan on doing your gaming in the near future. Please leave the reasons for your vote in the comments!

Pixel Count: Which System Will You Be Playing in 2014?

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Towers Crumble in Battlefield 4: Siege of Shanghai Multiplayer Trailer

11 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

You guys probably knew this was coming, but after Battlefield 4′s strong showing at the EA press conference yesterday, there’s no way I could pass up sharing this.

DICE showed off a 64-player Conquest mode match on a map based in Shanghai, displaying the revamped Commander mode (which you can do through a tablet as well as in-game), Levolution, and a few things besides. While the gameplay is live, the players are quite obviously following a script, but overall it’s a great trailer. Have a watch!

So yeah, consider me super impressed by Battlefield 4! EA had a great press conference, even if they did spend a little too long on sports (which I understand, even if it’s the genre of games I find the least interesting). What do you guys think of Battlefield 4′s multiplayer? Looking good?

Sony E3 2013 Press Conference Highlights

10 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 9 Comments

PS4 E3

Now that Microsoft has sounded off this morning, it’s time for Sony to jump in with their own version of what the next generation of video gaming should look like. As these things tend to go, the conference had its share of highs, lows, hyperbole, hype and exciting moments. But most of all, some shots fired at Microsoft.

Many people said that this year was Sony’s to lose. So how did they do?

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Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference Highlights

10 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 8 Comments

XBox One

Well gents and ladies, E3 is here, which of course means one thing: time for press conferences! The big gaming show is about the only time of the year that I get excited to listen to executives throw a bunch of scripted marketing speak at me, since it (sometimes) means I’ll get to look at some new games — and, if it’s a really good year, maybe some new tech and a few new IPs as well.

So how did Microsoft deliver after all the hubbub they’ve caused in recent weeks with the reveal of the XBox One? Let’s find out.

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GamerSushi Asks: E3 2013 Predictions

8 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

e3 2013

E3 2013 is right around the corner (seriously, it’s on Monday!) so it’s time to bust out those E3 predictions! Gaming yearly extravaganza always seems to sneak up on us, even when we know exactly when it’s coming.

This year is going to be especially interesting considering that both Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles have been announced. With Microsoft’s recent info-dump about the Xbox One’s stance on used-game and its once-a-day mandatory Internet check in, I wonder whether they’ll concentrate mainly on games or try to do further damage control.

So! What do you think is going to happen at E3? What are you looking for out of the press conferences? Of the big two, since Nintendo is skipping E3 this year, who do you think will come out on top? Will EA announce SimCity 2? Go!

The Last of Us Reviews Explode Onto the Web

6 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 10 Comments

the last of us reviews

Man oh man, if there’s one game for the rest of this year that might be able to topple BioShock Infinite off of its lofty perch, it’s The Last of Us. Sure, everybody might have their own personal Game of the Year (come on, Battlefield 4), but I predict that those two giants will be slugging it out for that prestigious award come December.

What makes me say that, you ask? Well, in case you missed it yesterday, the review embargo for Naughty Dog’s fungal-fueled post-apocalyptic title lifted and there are some fantastic reviews out there. Here’s a round-up of what some outlets are saying about it:

Pretty much unanimous across the board, except for Polygon’s review which highlights a few inconsistencies with the shooting mechanics. The multiplayer is of particular interest to me, especially considering I kind of forgot that The Last of Us even had this mode.

The game is out next Friday, so what do you guys think about these reviews? Are you getting excited?

The Scourge of Teenage Game Center Hackers

4 Jun 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

Game Center

If you’ve played many games on an iPhone or iPad, you’ve probably spent a little time in Game Center, Apple’s achievement and score tracking app. If you did, you may have noticed that the public leaderboards for most iOS games are almost entirely full of impossibly fake scores at the very top. I’d always hoped that there weren’t actually people with enough free time to make it to level 10,000 in Infinity Blade II, and this article at Edge confirms my suspicion. Apparently leaderboard hacking is incredibly common in iOS games, and it’s oftentimes perpetrated by teenagers playing around with programming.

If you think about it, it makes sense. A lot of iOS games were created by very small developers who don’t have much time to spend policing bogus scores on the global leaderboard. I’m occasionally interested in seeing where I stand on a big leaderboard, but most of the time I only really care how I’m doing in relation to people I actually know. In the big scheme of things, bogus scores on the global leaderboards don’t have much impact on my use of the app. They’re just an oddity I’ve always been curious about.

My favorite quote in the article comes from Terry Cavanaugh, developer of the punishingly difficult Super Hexagon:

“If it was really quite difficult to hack, then I could understand it,” says Cavanagh. “But it is so easy that a kid could do it. Maybe [the person] wants to pose as an elite hacker, saying, ‘Oh look what I was able to do,’ but even to hackers that must look pretty pathetic, because there is no protection in the game… If somebody wants to set a fake score on the leaderboard, it’s just kind of an embarrassing thing for them, really. It’s just so shameful; I feel like by deleting it I’m covering up just how awful they are.”

When it comes down to it, iOS games will probably never be a big deal in the world of eSports, where leaderboard scores actually matter, so for now the hackers seem to be doing it just for the hell of it. It’s fascinating the things you learn about people on the internet.