Every now and then a indie game dev will come a long and put out a game that immediately draws my eyes to it. SuperGiant Games has done just that with their recent release. Transistor is such a beauty to behold that when I watched the trailer for it I just didn’t care how it played; I needed to see more of it. This is a game that has some wonderful graphics. It’s like you’re interacting with a painting.
Have a look at this little video I did to show this very thing off. It started raining and things got a little fuzzy like rain drops on a windscreen.
So the story has a very Noir crime detective feel to it. Like 1930s type old school detective noir books. Bad guys and bad things went down in the place you’re singing at. Your character Red doesn’t speak. Her voice was stolen by the bad guys when they invaded the place, but your sword does talk. The sword is holding the “soul” of a man who appears to be your greatest admirer. The narration has this third person feel since Red doesn’t speak. If you play this on the PS4, go into the settings and turn on the controller speaker. All of the narration then comes out at your hands like you’re holding the sword. It does so much to the immersion.
The gameplay isn’t anything new, hit bad things with your big sword called Transistor. Now you can just hit things with the abilities your garner and combine or you can go into a screen freeze and chain moves. When you come out of the freeze the moves action as you planned them. This is especially useful when fighting bigger bad guys. As you go through the game and the city, called Cloudbank, you gather other “souls” which give you abilities. These abilities can then be used as is, combined with other abilities to make something new, or they can be boosted with skills you earn. This makes for a lot of options when you’re playing and something isn’t working.
I have really enjoyed this game. It has some wonderful ideas about combat options, but above all that it is so amazing to look at. The artists at SuperGiant Games should be commended for the wonderful visuals they have provided. It’s indie developers like them that take something so simple and they give you something so interesting in return. I would put this game up on the same shelf as Flower and Journey. It is a game I recommend everyone play.
So a few of my own highlight from yesterday’s announcements and I’m going to start with my top of the heap favourite. When I heard this news today I actually whooped a little. They’re remastering Grim Fandango.
Of course we have the beauty of the next Assassin’s Creed game. I’m really excited for this. It looks like the free running and combat has been changed and it looks good. I’m also happy to see more building interiors and a floating waypoint.
Then we have the wonderful news of another Uncharted and another Far Cry on the way for our loving joy.
And lastly we have a little puzzle game with some lovely art and should be with us soon; Valiant Hearts. Visually very stunning and just my sort of game.
When I was looking at the new additions to the PSN this week I saw Papo & Yo. I must admit I was a little confused and intrigued. Watched the E3 vid for it and decided that it may be a bit surreal, but just the type of game I enjoy. The PSN description marked it as a puzzle platformer and I’d be inclined to agree, although more puzzle than platformer.
So, you are a boy, Quico, in this very unusual looking landscape of favelas and no one else around when you suddenly see another child. Of course you give chase and the game begins. Only the world around you is a bit dream-like and you can influence it in unusual ways by interacting with the chalk drawings on the walls. This is where the thinking begins too. The standard platform game has you going along a set route and just following it through, not here. In here your way will never be completely straight forward and you’ll pretty much always have to do something to create your path. Sometimes it’s easy, other times it takes a bit of thinking, but it’s always interesting. In the beginning it’s rather standard; pick up box and put on trigger. Very quickly though that changes and you’ll soon be moving houses and watching barrels fly through the air. Did I mention that this is a rather surreal game? Cause well, it really is.
Through the course of the game you’ll become acquainted with the other child and the big pink rhino, Monster. Quico’s relationship with Monster is an important one and something definitely worth mentioning, but I don’t want to spoil any of the metaphors for you. Suffice to say that the whole game, especially Quico & Monster, is a very well presented metaphor for the designer’s, Vander Caballero, very difficult childhood. By time you get to the end, I’m sure you’ll understand; I really found it was presented well.
I know I keep saying metaphor, but trust me when I say it has no effect on the gameplay. If anything it has a positive effect on the atmosphere causing a dreamlike, odd, weird world where you can do the unusual.
The controls aren’t complex, which is a positive thing I think. The last thing you want in a weird game is convoluted controls. At its heart it is a puzzle game though, so you really don’t need complex controls. My only problem I had with the controls was towards the end in a section that particularly platform-y. The double jump timing was being a bit pernickety, but once I grokked it I felt a bit stupid for getting frustrated.
Overall, I’d say get this game. It’s not expensive and I got between 3 and 4 hours of play and it certainly has some replay value. If for no other reason, but to see that great environment again. The art is very interesting and unique. You really feel like you’re in the favelas.
ThatGameCompany has released its final game out of its 3 games that were contracted by Sony. Starting with Flow; where you navigate a series of 2 dimensional planes as a microorganism. Then there was Flower; a game where you play as a gust of wind collection flower petals in a variety of environments. Now there’s Journey, in which you play as a robed figure and travel through different environments in order to reach the mountain in the distance. Journey was released on the PSN earlier this month and has received nothing but praise from everyone I’ve spoken to, and after playing it I can understand why.
It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into the design. The environments are beautifully rendered and react to not only to what you do in it, but also its climate. The desert sands will shimmer and glisten when the sun shines on it and leaves a trail behind you when you move. Powerful gusts of wind will send you flying unless you find shelter in time; in colder climates your robe will slowly freeze and your energy will gradually decrease.
The use of music is quite clever aswell. The more exhilarating and action packed parts come alive with the use of upbeat musical scores, whilst calmer moments will have little or even no music, relying on the sounds of your footsteps moving through the sand or the howling of the wind to set the tone.
The cooperative play is where Journey truly shines. Throughout the game you may encounter another player navigating the ruins and you can choose to either leave them alone, or team up with them and face the challenges ahead together. There’s only a little change in the game play if you have a partner. If you run out of energy, they can restore it by either standing next to you, or by holding the “O” button. Pressing the “O” button will also make your character to emit a sound that resembles a bell, and a glowing symbol will hover over your head for a few seconds. These 2 tools are the only way to communicate with your traveling companion, which can make trying to convey anything rather difficult at times, but it also means there’s no way of using crude language or being offensive; which in my books is a huge plus for a co-op game. Your partner will change from time to time, if they quit, their character will vanish, leaving you to fend for yourself until you come across another player.
Overall I loved Journey. Simple gameplay, interesting use of co-op, delightful aesthetics and a charming way to waste a few hours. If you have a Playstation 3 there’s no reason why you shouldn’t add this to your collection as it’s only £10 and is worth every penny.
Me and this game are besties.
When I first got to know it about a year ago, I thought it was boring. It was nerdy but not in a cool way, I thought. Mannnn, the truth is I’d been hanging out with the bro games and goth games for so long I forgot what nerdy cool looked like.
Sure, it’s got more side quests than a wedding planner. Everybody wants you to get stuff for them. Everybody! My god. The countryside is teeming with people who can’t walk five minutes to fetch a soup bone or something. Why are you not heinously fat, NPCs??? How do you keep your cute little NPC chub-belly so dainty when you can’t walk like, literally, into your own backyard?
How does NPC commerce even work?!?!? Nobody can be bothered to go anywhere! Do they have transporter beams to get goods to the shops? This one guy was even like, Oh I just can’t get that stone five feet to my left. Please get it for me!
What, seriously? Um, okay, BUT ONLY because I am an XP junkie of the nth degree.
No, but seriously, this game made me cackle. Not even like a hen. LIKE A TURKEY. Like, Cogogogoglllaghkakakakakekekekekeheee. And repeatedly! I even hit my head on the back of the sofa hard enough to give myself a headache, I cackled so vehemently. The voice actor for DeathSpank is just that good.
Plus Ron Gilbert wrote it. In case you’re suffering a severe case of the herp derps, I will explain:
YES MY FRIENDS
The best part is that I didn’t have to wrest P1 from LofL’s unyielding grasp: there’s co-op available. It does tend to make the game stupidly easy, but it was super fun nonetheless. The first game doesn’t give you a choice of co-op characters because co-op was an afterthought. That’s fine. It’s still fun. But we’re playing the second game now, and the co-op characters are awesome. I definitely recommend both DeathSpank 1&2.
I have to say, none of the gameplay trailers do DeathSpank any favours. It doesn’t look fun (not to me, anyway) but it’s reeeeeeallly fun. The challenge in this game is doing enough of the side missions and using the weapons you get correctly — that is to say, not a challenge at all. It’s basically one giant, convoluted vessel for hilarious voice-acting and a brilliant script.
~ Alice M.
Sony are gradually bringing the PSN network back up in North America and in Europe. There’s an update for the PSN, but we knew that was going to happen.
So this is what we’ve got from the Sony Blog
Thank you for your patience and encouragement over the last few weeks. As covered in the post from earlier today, you can now update the firmware on your PS3 and change your password. Kazuo Hirai just announced that we have begun the phased restoration by region of some of the services, starting with online multiplayer functionality.
Please note that these services will take a bit of time to be turned on and rolled out to the whole region. The process has begun and some countries are being turned on now, so please be patient as we reach you.
In the meantime, now’s a great time to get your PS3′s firmware updated and change your password, both of which are required to get online.
So we’ll be waiting with baited breath for everything to come back up. You can do the update before the PSN is back up in your area, I have. And best to get in there before everyone tries doing it all at once.
I’m just happy it’ll be back up in time for L.A. Noire. W00T!
By now everyone who games is aware of the problem with the Playstation Network over the last week. There have been countless stories on all over the major and minor gaming news websites. With all of this attention there has been mass speculation on what has happened that caused Sony to take the PSN and Qriocity networks down.
The most popular reasons that have been batted around are a DDOS attack and an attack on the developer network. Both involving actual hacking attacks that garnered the attackers details of the members.
So whatever the reason behind the attack, it was still an attack. Even if there was negligence on the part of Sony with regards to their network, it was an attack. Okay sure, Sony should have had things locked down harder maybe.
We can be happy knowing that the credit card data was encrypted and they’ve always said that the security codes had not been taken. So even if they were negligent; they had been vigilant in keeping that secure. Although Sony have never said that credit card details were taken, but warned members just in case.
Through all of this over the last week, I have read many many articles on the outage and attack. The article contents were essentially repeating the same information over and over. It was the comments that actually angered me.
One theme that seemed the keep repeating what not only the blame being out on Sony, but that they brought it on themselves by going after GeoHot for the PS3 hack.
Now, I personally believe they did exactly the right thing be pursuing GeoHot for the hack, but I do know people disagree with it. To say that Sony should have seen this coming for pissing of “the hackers” is a load of bullshit. Seriously, they should have not done what they believed for fear of attack from what is essentially a ghost? No, that’s not right.
This is speculation at its worst. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Anonymous denied having made the attack. This type of speculation is just arrogant and probably from wannabes and script kiddies.
Something I think is easily being forgotten is that this was an attack. Even if Sony was negligent with their developer network security, they didn’t ask for this. No company wants to be attacked and they don’t ask for it. Sony did the right thing as far as I’m concerned. As soon as they knew they were being attacked they took it all down immediately. They have kept it down until they could securely bring it back up. Sure their communication probably could’ve been better, but I think they did the right thing with the networks themselves.
Out of all of this, we can at least hope that the networks are more secure and more resilient than they were previously.
Got some news from from Sony regarding the PSN network and the compensation. I have more to say, but that’ll be another post. Click the link to read the news.
From the PSN Blog.
SOME PLAYSTATION NETWORK AND QRIOCITY SERVICES TO BE AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Phased Global Rollout of Services to Begin Regionally; System Security Enhanced to Provide Greater Protection of Personal Information.
Tokyo, May 1, 2011 – Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI, the company) announced they will shortly begin a phased restoration by region of PlayStation®Network and Qriocity™ services, beginning with gaming, music and video services to be turned on. The company also announced both a series of immediate steps to enhance security across the network and a new customer appreciation program to thank its customers for their patience and loyalty.
Following a criminal cyber-attack on the company’s data-center located in San Diego, California, U.S.A., SNEI quickly turned off the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, engaged multiple expert information security firms over the course of several days and conducted an extensive audit of the system. Since then, the company has implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information. SNEI and its third-party experts have conducted extensive tests to verify the security strength of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. With these measures in place, SCE and SNEI plan to start a phased rollout by region of the services shortly. The initial phase of the rollout will include, but is not limited to, the following:
• Restoration of Online game-play across the PlayStation®3 (PS3) and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems
• This includes titles requiring online verification and downloaded games
• Access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers
• Access to account management and password reset
• Access to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
• Friends List
• Chat Functionality
Working closely with several outside security firms, the company has implemented significant security measures to further detect unauthorized activity and provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information. The company is also creating the position of Chief Information Security Officer, directly reporting to Shinji Hasejima, Chief Information Officer of Sony Corporation, to add a new position of expertise in and accountability for customer data protection and supplement existing information security personnel. The new security measures implemented include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Added automated software monitoring and configuration management to help defend against new attacks
• Enhanced levels of data protection and encryption
• Enhanced ability to detect software intrusions within the network, unauthorized access and unusual activity patterns
• Implementation of additional firewalls
The company also expedited an already planned move of the system to a new data center in a different location that has been under construction and development for several months. In addition, PS3 will have a forced system software update that will require all registered PlayStation Network users to change their account passwords before being able to sign into the service. As an added layer of security, that password can only be changed on the same PS3 in which that account was activated, or through validated email confirmation, a critical step to help further protect customer data.
The company is conducting a thorough and on-going investigation and working with law enforcement to track down and prosecute those responsible for the illegal intrusion.
“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry. These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security. We take the security of our consumers’ information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data. In addition, the organization has worked around the clock to bring these services back online, and are doing so only after we had verified increased levels of security across our networks,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “Our global audience of PlayStation Network and Qriocity consumers was disrupted. We have learned lessons along the way about the valued relationship with our consumers, and to that end, we will be launching a customer appreciation program for registered consumers as a way of expressing our gratitude for their loyalty during this network downtime, as we work even harder to restore and regain their trust in us and our services.”
Complimentary Offering and “Welcome Back” Appreciation Program
While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.
The company will also rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity “Welcome Back” program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide our consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.
• Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
• All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
• Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.
Additional “Welcome Back” entertainment and service offerings will be rolled out over the coming weeks as the company returns the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to the quality standard users have grown to enjoy and strive to exceed those exceptions.
SNEI will continue to reinforce and verify security for transactions before resuming the PlayStation®Store and other Qriocity operations, scheduled for this month.
So I was perusing the PSN a couple weeks ago and found Stacking in the latest releases. The description kind of intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure still so I hit the internet for a trailer.
Basically you’re a the smallest doll in a Matryoshka Russian stacking doll. This is key to the gameplay as you get things done by stacking into other dolls with different abilities that are bigger than you. You use the abilities of the other dolls to solve the puzzle that is in front of you. Genius. To make it even more interesting each puzzle has several solutions. This of course extends the game time if you make sure to solve all of the solutions and can be a little mind bending as you try to think of other ways to resolve something.
This is a game that is all about thinking. It especially encourages thinking outside of the normal gaming box when trying to solve these puzzles in order to move forward in the game. This stacking and unstacking is super simple to master and once you’re inside other dolls you can use their abilities with ease.
Probably the most amazing thing about Stacking is the animation. Double Fine have managed to take flat limbless characters and give them real personality. The graphics are lovely and really lend to the game. The music/sounds also are very well done and work perfectly. Have a listen to the sounds you hear when you’re stacked into different dolls.
Overall I’d say this is a gem well worth getting it. It’s not a long game, but it sure is a lot of fun. I really wanted it to be longer just so I could keep playing it.
I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a PSN addict. Every Thursday, like clockwork, I check the new store items. I realised recently that I can’t actually remember the last time I bought a physical game for my PSP. Why would I when I can get a pretty good selection right off the PSN and I only have to wait as long as it takes to download.
So why don’t I have a PSP Go? Well I can answer that easily, but not rationally. I like my UMD disks. I like to have the option despite the fact that I haven’t used that option in quite some time. It’s a completely irrational reason to keep a piece of hardware that has lower specs and capabilities despite not using the one feature I’m keeping it for. I do have one rational and very good reason for not having one though; the price tag. As much as I love my handhelds, £250 is still a bit steep for me. Considering you can buy a whole console for way less than that.
Of course now I might as well wait for the PSP2. If I’m lucky the rumours will be true and Sony will be making an announcement on the 27th. That’s 3 days before my birthday. Come on Sony, make me a happy birthday girl. Announce something awesome that isn’t anything like the failed PSPGo. Okay truth be told; I’ll settle for a touch screen and a analogue stick that doesn’t break my thumb.
Usually I’m not one to advocate movie tie-in games. Generally speaking games made to tie-in movies are a bit shit. Just this once though I will break my rule. Truth be told, I’ve been waiting more for this game than the movie. As you may have guessed, the movie I’m referring to is Scot Pilgrim vs The World. I haven’t actually seen the movie yet. I will eventually, but just not gotten there yet.
No, my main reason for anticipating this game has a name and that name is Paul Robertson. He’s the artist that drew the game. I’ve been following him for quite some time and really love his artwork.
PRobertson is pretty much made of awesome though. The guy is a master of 16bit art. To add to the package he’s a bit on the twisted side of odd, which is nothing but a bonus in my book. I bought the game though on the PSN the day it came out. It’s a side scrolling beat ’em up which I think we can all agree his art is perfect for. The game is 1-4 players which is great cause you can play with friends like we used to do in the arcades. Luckily no massive roll of quarters are needed to play this game for hours.
I don’t know what to say, just go buy it; it’s on the PSN and XBox Markeplace. My hope is that this will help Paul and maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see him doing more “retro” games in the future.
I do not recommend clicking that link to his page at work by the way. It’s not porn, but there are naked pope dressed women involved.
I swear the PS Network Store is going to kill me or at least make me broke. I have never ventured into the Xbox 360’s store even once and was never tempted. The way they do the pricing by having you buy points always put me off. I want to know how much I’m paying up front and not some arbitrary point amount MS has assigned to thhe game.
The PSN Store got me a few months back with the additions to Dead Space. From that moment on I was truly addicted. Every Thursday I check the store for what’s new and worthy of my attention. And almost every week there’s some game that’s been released that I want. And unlike the xbox 360 store, I actually kniw how much I’m paying for the game I’m buying.
Last week saw me give way to my carnal desire for yet another puzzle game and Zuma got downloaded. I also grabbed Asteroids on crrack, Super Stardust HD. Me and City were istantly addict4d to Stardust and played it most of the weekend.
This week sees me Numblast, another puzzle game, and Topatoi The Great Tree Story, a 3D platformer, have both found their way onto my PS3 somehow. It’s really hard to say no to games when they cost less than a tenner. This of course is always my excuse.
As I sit here writing this I’m very impatiently waiting for Numblast to finish downloading so that I can play it before I have to start working. I fear I may lose my life to this simple little game though. Puzzle games are seriously going to be the death of me.
As mentioned here, Patapon 2 will be a digital only release in North America. Now while I can understand the irrational attachment to having a physical UMD disk, I really do think this is the way forward. I have an irrational attachment to my physical disks, but I’m trying to let that go and embrace digital only releases. I like the idea of being able to just pay and poof I’ve got my game. No more waiting for the postman and hoping it doesn’t get lost. No more cursing at the cost of postage or hunting down a site that doesn’t charge me postage.
I actually have several small games on my PSP and PS3 that are digital only. And ya know what? I’m actually rather happy with them. They’re on my HDD or mem stick and if I like I can download them again whenever I like should I lose them. So all those people bitching about losing it forever if they lose their memory stick can fuck off. And those saying that memory sticks are exensive, they can fuck off too. I paid £20 for my 4GB memory card for my PSP. That’s cheap.
I do think digital only prices for major release games should be cheaper than what buying them physically. Here in the UK Patapon 2 is £20 from the PSN. I can buy it from Game for £18. Not a huge price difference, but it’s enough for me to buy it from Game instead of buying it directly from the PSN digitally.
Besides, if people hadn’t noticed, this is the future. Memory and HDDs are getting cheaper by the day. There’s really little reason these days to have a hard copy pther than an irrational attachment to it.