Saturday, April 21, 2012

We have MOVED!

As some of you know we have moved! You can now see all of our work on! We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dragon's Crown Scheduled For 2013 Release

 In a press release received minutes ago from ATLUS, Dragon's Crown has been announced for the 2013 calendar year (even thought the website notes a 2012 release). The only details that we have so far is that it will be a 2-D co-op action RPG that will be released on the PS3 and Vita platforms. Feel free to check out the website yourself!

Click Here To View Dragon's Crown's Website

What do you think? Leave us some comments below!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Amazon Releases Information about new God of War Early

God of War Ascension, the newest game in the God of War series, has been outed by This happened a full day before the game was announced by Sony according to their product description. Then it was taken off of the site...
Join Kratos as he seeks freedom, redemption, and the clarity to avenge his family in the most ambitious God of War adventure in the series so far
 So it seems like it's really not straying from the story much.  Lets see what the teaser trailer looks like, also posted on earlier tonight:

Well everything in the trailer points to a prequel of sorts, which makes sense as there really wasn't many gods left alive at the end of the trilogy's bloody warpath.  The voice does talk about his life BEFORE he was consumed by vengeance, so this game will most likely be about his servitude under Aries.  Of course, the game series has been known to surprise us before...

Anyway, look forward to the official release tomorrow! Who's excited for the new game?

Spirit Camera: Is that a ghost in your pocket?

     Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir just (appropriately) came out on Friday, the 13th on the 3DS. The "spiritual" successor to the Fatal Frame franchise, Spirit Camera reiterates on the original game's photography mechanic. The game takes advantage of the handheld's impressive 3D camera to create an augmented-reality horror experience.
      Tecmo Koei's newest release looks to attempt to bring the horror off your TV and into the world around you. The game utilizes the 3DS's camera to project enemies and other ghostly threats directly in your environment in an attempt to fully immerse the player in your own personal nightmare world! Wonderful!

Does anyone know how to remove urine from electronics?
     In all seriousness, the 3DS seems to be designed for a game like this. Early in the DS's life cycle, a lot of games were just ports with a gimmicky touch screen support, but in the later years developers began to take full advantage of the system's strength to create some awesome experiences. Tecmo Koei seems to be ahead of the curve here, in that they designed a game around the hardware instead of trying to shoehorn in a lazy port. This game definitely intrigues me, and I hope that more developers take this route in designing games for handhelds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teaser Video of the Upcoming SSX DLC

EA has released a teaser video of the new SSX DLC for including Mt. Eddie and classic characters. Enjoy what the snow shredding action for yourself!

You will be able to purchase Mt. Eddie and the classic characters as a bundle for $7.99

Throwback Review: God of War III

Covered in the white ashes of his slaughtered family, Kratos is back for his forth blood bath in God of War III. The 4 part saga is coming to an epic close, but is this epic worth the price of admission? Santa Monica Studios sure hopes so. The stakes have been raised, but is it to the height of the expectations that have surrounded God of War 3 for the past 3 years? You may just have to follow Kratos up Mount Olympus to find out.

The boost in presentation will be the most significant change that is noticed in the new God of War III. The presentation is nothing short of gripping. Within the first fifteen minutes of game play you get a sense of what type of scale this battle is waged on. As you make your assent up Mount Olympus everything carries its weight well. The climb is grueling. Gyia provides an interesting vessel as you make your way around her rocky exterior to fight off numerous combatants. Where God of War 3 really sets the tone is with the first god that you face. Epic only begins to explain the size and type of this battle. This feeling is not only consistent throughout the game, but only grows the deeper into the playing experience you get.

While there was some worry that God of War III would only be playable in 720p I am happy to say that statement is not true. The game can be viewed on a glorious 1080i scale. That is truly where the beauty of this game lies. It was stated that God of War III only used 50% of the PS3’s power, and I can say without question that this is graphically the most beautiful game I have seen. Kratos has never looked more defined, every detail has been looked over with a fine comb to make sure that the player feels deeply entrenched with the character. The set pieces are also beautiful, but during some of the transitional phases from one set piece to the next I felt like I was looking at subpar texturing to the point I was having PS2 flashbacks.

The Sound FX in God of War III are spot on. The cracking of bones, ripping of flesh, and scream of burning victims is nothing short of authentic. The FX accompanied by the orchestral backdrops during large scale battle makes you feel like you are in the center of a large budget motion picture. The voice acting is over the top, which in this genre can be expected.   

As much of a cliché the line, “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” is, there is really no other way to describe it. Instead of looking to take other routes with the fighting system or completely trying to overhaul it Santa Monica Studios took what they had and shaped it to be an even smoother fighting/action experience. Now different magic is linked to the different weapons, making for a more fluid transition between using the two. A gripe I have is the difference in the weapons. The core weapons come off as being almost identical to the “Blades of Exile”. They have very little aesthetic difference and play very similar to one another. The most notable difference of course is the Cestus (two lion heads). A nice thing about the weapons is the ability to change them “on the fly”. In the midst of battle you can change from on blade to the next seamlessly, creating a symphony of blood in which you are the conductor.

Kratos also has learned a few new tricks. The addition of being able to pick up an enemy and barrel through dozens of others is a gimmick that does not grow old. This linked with the multiple ways to mutilate a body will leave you giddy with joy on how you will take apart your next victim. The QTE, (Quick Time Events) are still a large stable in God of War III. This time they have been taken to a new level and made a bit too easy for my liking. Instead of the buttons showing up near the action on the screen, they show up in the areas of the screen where the button is located on the controller (Square appears on the left side, circle on the right, ect.) making it rather easy for anyone who is even slightly familiar with a Playstation 3 controller to pull off these incredible feats. Overall you are getting what you expect and a little extra from the game play in God of War III.

The Value is, and always has been the story campaign. Making your way through the tragedy that is typical of Greek plays is what’s to be expected. This is a story about loss, pain, suffering, and revenge, all through the eyes of a man who became a god, and now again reduced to mortality. If you can’t appreciate the direction that this franchise is taking then I question why you picked up the second one of the series. The story telling is not as crisp at times with God of War III, but it doesn’t ever fall to the point of not being comprehendible. Don’t be surprised if the ending leaves you wanting more.


In Closing…
I didn’t want to like this game as much as I did. I constantly asked myself, “How in the world could this game live up to the hype?” My questions were answered no sooner than fifteen minutes into the game. The rest of the journey became more enjoyable as I progressed and I strongly recommend God of War III for your Playstation 3 collection. Giving depth to a “button masher” is difficult, but Santa Monica Studios has prevailed.

Throwback Review: Saints Row the Third

Sandbox games are a mixed bag for me.  The freedom in the actions that you have to choose from is fresh and exhilarating, but the missions that further the story and open up more options are a little too boring, blah and formulaic.  There was never really any reason for me to trudge through the story.  Grand Theft Auto is a perfect example of this.

An average playthrough of GTAIV consists of getting into pointless scuffles with the police, wasting ammo, almost dying, then finally getting to a destination where the missions are just... ok... and then starting it all over again.

Granted, I could mix it up by "going to see some teeeeeeeeties" with my cuuuuzzin, play darts, bowl, or even watch some television... but after that, I have to get to the story to open up more options.

Saints Row III showed me just how crazy that formula could be shaken up.  Watching ads for previous installments, I always thought that the games were a little more focused on gangbangers.  I'm really not interested in working the 'thug life'.  You can do that again in Saints Row III, or...

you can just turn the game upside down and have an absolute blast!

The Story:
The Third Streets Saints are looking to expand.  Deciding to take over the city of Steelport, however, was a poor business choice. The local gang, the Syndicate, doesnt appreciate the competition, and does a pretty good job of removing you as one.  Its now your job to build up your empire from the beginning all over again. Simple premise that won't win any awards, but it does it's sandbox job.  See, building up your empire is pretty much entirely up in the air.  Do you want to steal a penthouse from one of your rivals?  Thats great, lets parachute into their rooftop pool.  Now you have a base of operations.  The set up allows the creators to be a crazy as they want.
This completely removes the monotony of the genre and all the problems that I ran into with similar games!
One of the early missions has you tearing through a sex-slave house, freeing hookers and trying to help a pimp named Zimos out of captivity as a... how do I put this delicately... pony cart worker that will... entertain you for "eighty an hour".  This is a main story mission and one of the most tame in the game.  They become more ridiculous as you go on.  These are the missions that I was more than happy to play through to get to the rest of what SR III has to offer.

What else can you do exactly?
Well, you can just drive between missions a la GTAIV, you can fly a hoverjet, or you can hijack a moped and pimp it out (my particular favorite ride was an ATV with green under-glow and spikes that popped out of the tires).  There are 500 stunt jumps hidden throughout the city, I saved up enough money to make my gang all wear hot dog costumes, threw 'fart in a jar' grenades to make my opponents puke, and then finished them off by beating them up with a giant dildo.

All of this, plus much more is way more satisfying to discover as you drive around the city of Steelport.
Side missions have their own flair to it as well, where you are slowly trying to take over the city by accomplishing tasks.  Maybe you will commit insurance fraud by throwing yourself repeatedly in traffic.  Sometimes you will take part in Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax, a murderous game show where you make 'ethical kills'.  All activities give your gang clout, and more importantly, money.
The customization doesn't end with your gang and your rides.  Your character can basically be whatever you want it to be.  I ran through my first play through as zombie Hitler.  Yup.  With green scarred skin, blue eyes, and even a zombie voice to accompany it.  There are chrome skins available, hooker outfits, mascot faces, even a giant toilet form if you wish.

So the answer to that question earlier really is: anything you want.  You can do anything.

So what could possibly be bad about a game such as this?
Once you get to fly one of these babies, you will never need
another car.  Ever.
If you are savvy about what to buy in what order, say, saving pennies until you can buy the highest earning properties first, and then whittling down the rest of Steelport with your vast riches, you can easily earn a hefty sum of money.  With this money, you can buy upgrades to your character, eventually enabling it to withstand any damage at all.  The game almost breaks itself with its 'do what you want to' attitude.  This may be late in the game, but knowing that you will become so powerful the game becomes less fun.
The difficulty curve is a bit extreme as well.  The game starts out OK with the first mission, making sure you are well equipped and ready, but when you are taken down a peg, the difficulty spikes.  You really do feel like you've lost everything, and it takes a few missions to get back on your feet. This all goes away though, once you do.

This game is immensely fun. The characters, story, and game play provide such a unique blend. After sinking hours into it, I can honestly say it's an experience that I've never had with any other game. I can't recommend Saints Row the Third more. This is definitely a buy and one that just can't be passed up.

Dust off the drum set with A-Band on Xbox

About time you could use those drums again.
Indie developer, Flammable Games, has just released its' first game on the Xbox Live Indie Store this past Friday, the thirteenth of April. Twelve indie bands from around the world have joined together to create a one-of-a-kind track list that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping as you pound your way through every crescendo. A-Band allows you to break out the old Guitar Hero and Rock Band drums to test your metal while learning new songs.


Two unique features of A-Band are the Record Studio and School of Rock modes. With Record Studio you can create your own beats and save them to show off later. School of Rock, which is the best feature in my opinion, teaches you how to drum properly with a balanced learning curve for the beginner drummer. The art style of A-Band is reminiscent of a Sin City comic. The black and white noir look plays well with the bits of color to really make notes and stages pop.


Band List:

10 Year Vamp, Red Velvet Line, The Rebels, Noiseaux, Helladonna, Just Dave, Bedford, Faye Gatley, The Jaywalker, Imari Tones, Sananda, and Los Rockers

If the passion to rock still beats deep within your soul then A-Band may be your answer. Flammable Games efforts can be purchased now on the Xbox Live Indie Market for only 240 Microsoft Points. Check out their website for more information including news and band information.

Still up for some drumming? Is the genre dead? Let us know what you think in the comments and link this article on Facebook.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Demon's Souls to be taken off PS3 servers

Just this week ATLUS announced that Demon Souls (the game that catapulted their name from just "the guys who published Persona" to a full fledged, awesome game publisher) will be closing it's PS3 online doors.

Created by From Software, the prequel to Dark Souls, Demon's Souls is a game that denied classical genre classification. A brilliant game that had aspects of RPG character creation, strategy game planning, action game reflexes, and old school gaming difficulty.  I mean, really old school.  The game is so difficult I had to stop myself from throwing my controller on numerous occasions.  One thing that really kept me going though, were the interactions I got from fellow players.

Nothing felt cooler than non-verbally celebrating a tough battle together.
The game was excellent at making the player feel alone.  Very alone.  You had to survive on wits, instinct, and a little smart planning if you wanted to keep playing.  But, if you so chose, there were little messages written on the ground from players who had been there before you, and you could also see visions of the last breaths and actions of others before their inevitable deaths.  These slight interactions with others not only showed you that others were playing and having the same difficulties you were, but also showed you that others were dying all around you.  Occasionally you could be visited by other players (some to help you, some to hunt you down), but these were only brief non-chatting interactions. In the end, when you have to remember where all the traps were and how to take down that monstrous boss, you were alone.

Well, players of the game should really start getting used to that feeling. Since being released in October of 2009 the game's PS3 online servers will go offline for good on May 31st, at midnight.   This does not kill the game, and you can still enjoy it.  Just not to it's fullest extent. The game will get punishingly hard for those who need the help from the messages on the ground and ghost glimpses, but I'm sure that you will be able to find solace from those on the internet.

So why did this have to happen?
Well, ATLUS is not a giant publisher akin to the likes of Activision or EA.  Hosting a server that houses hundreds of thousands of daily interactions is not cheap.  The answer is simply this:  They ran out of money to host it. Coming directly from the press release: 
"It was also of the utmost importance for us to sustain the game's online experience as long as possible, even beyond the point at which sales could help to offset the expense.  Regrettably, the online servers cannot be sustained forever and now the end draws near."
With a sequel that they are focusing on, Dark Souls, and other game desires, they couldn't keep it open any longer.  There are petitions open and demands for a kickstarter to be, ahem, started, but I doubt that these will work.
In December of 2010 the admins of ATLUS' forums were talking about how overjoyed they were that they could afford an extension of the life of their servers for the game, a mere year after the game was released. 
So can someone else help out?  I doubt that other publishers will be willing to fund the bill for one of their competitors.  Maybe someone that directly benefited from the game's release?  Maybe Sony, the home of the exclusive title? Well, after the recent news that Sony has revised their loss projections to make out for a $6.4 billion dollar loss, I really don't think that they can foot that bill either.
'Sorry Demon's Souls fans, we're kinda in a hole here too!'
So what can you as a player do?  Enjoy the product to it's fullest while you can, and continue to show support for ATLUS to make them a bigger company.  It was their creative genius that brought us the game, lets show them that we love them for it.  Buy their other games new, be active on their game's forums, and support them.  
You have till midnight on May 31st to get your slaying on, get to it!
"It has been a tremendous honor and privilege for all of our staff at ATLUS to have been involved with so innovative and groundbreaking an interactive entertainment experience.  We poured our heart and soul into every facet of our involvement with Demon's Souls..."
 -ATLUS Development Team (taken from official press release)

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Crysis 3 is on it's way...

This morning EA released information on the new installment of the Crysis series. It looks to be set in a New York jungle like area. Listed below from the press release are the different perks for pre-ordering the “Hunter Edition”. Also shown are screen shots and box art. Crysis 3 will be available spring of 2013

·        Stalker Pack – Includes the base game, all Hunter Edition content and the following early multiplayer unlocks: for players who like to stalk their prey from the shadows the Stalker Pack provides early multiplayer access to the deadly semi-auto Jackal shotgun. This powerful, close-range shotgun comes with a unique silencer attachment, custom weapon skin and two exclusive themed in-game dog tags.
·        Overkill Pack – Includes the base game, all Hunter Edition content and the following early multiplayer unlocks: the Overkill Pack features early multiplayer access to the Typhoon assault weapon and skin. Spewing 500 rounds a second, the Typhoon gives players the ability to go guns blazing to take back the Liberty Dome. Also included are two exclusive Overkill themed in-game dog tags.
·        Predator Pack – Includes the base game, all the Hunter Edition content and the following early multiplayer unlocks: the Predator Pack delivers early multiplayer access to the Feline submachine gun and exclusive camo. With an extremely fast rate of fire and a 60 round magazine the Feline is highly effective and deadly, at short range.

Where is my happy ending? Where have all the JRPG's gone? Part 1

My first real RPG experience.

Stop the presses! The best video games during the NES era came from Japan. Sorry for doing that to you, but I couldn't continue without getting everyone on the same page. I remember playing Dragon Warrior on the NES, and falling in love right then and there. It was clear that this was the genre of games that really appealed to me. It had a story (primitive as it was), it had gameplay, it had a large over-world that needed to be explored, and it had slimes!

Awwwwwwww.... Look at him!!!
As I grew up, I have always played high quality Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs). On the Super Nintendo I had Chrono Trigger. On the Playstation I had Wild ARMs (You thought I was going to say Final Fantasy VII). On Playstation 2 I had Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4. Let's just say I have had a high quality run of JRPGs to rummage through. 

The current generation of consoles have created a change in the JRPG market, and what has been available for the past few years has been few and far between. Western game developers have created a new breed of RPGs that have stuck with the fans during this cycle. In part one of this opinion piece the fall of JRPGs will take center stage over the past generation. During part two we will look in to the future of Japanese games here in America, discuss what is taking their place, and discover that they are not dead, just miniaturized. I personally feel that this market is still a viable option for publishers, but their expectations will need to be tempered as the new breed of gamers continue to fill the market. 

Consoling the Console JRPG

This is what your mom sees herself looking like on Wii Fit.
With the market trending in the way of the shooter over the past six years the JRPG has had a fall from grace. They once held a prominent space on the shelf as some of the biggest releases of the year. Walking in to a game store today you would see few if any of the genre being displayed face out. Maybe there is a Final Fantasy XIII or XIII-2 sighting, and possibly even Tales of Graces f, since it is a very recent release.  The spaces are reserved, and rightfully so, for games that carry the potential for more sales. All of the Call of Duty games will be prominently displayed, even if they are four years old. Other spots are held by eight workout games between Jillian Michaels and Mel B. for the Kinect in an effort to attract the bored parents of children who roam the store. Can you blame them for trying to find the next Wii Fit that sold around twenty million units?

With no shelf space, and few advertisements, it is easy to see what the biggest problem for new JRPGs would be, cost. CNBC reported that game costs are reaching staggering amounts with God of War III hitting 44 million. In 2010, reported, and other sites corroborated on these budgets, that Final Fantasy XII cost nearly 48 million, and FFXII was on the PS2! At the time of this writing I could not find any source that would verify the cost of FFXIII. The closest I could come was an estimation of 65-70 million dollars, but that was a very rough estimate. Unfortunately, a high production JRPG would reach staggering heights when trying to compete with today's gaming heavyweights. This extreme spending would make any developer's, and publisher's, accountant hide in the corner, and wish the bleeding would stop. What scares them about an undertaking so large is the possibility that the game won't return on the investment.

If only he would have listened...
The biggest problem that traditional JRPG's face involves more than just space on a shelf and rising cost. Consumers today are not buying the genre in heavy numbers compared to the major sellers of the year. I hate to keep referring to Final Fantasy XIII, but with it being the biggest showpiece of the JRPG circle it is difficult to not use it as comparison fodder. The most popular Japanese role playing series managed a respectable 6.65 Million units worldwide on both platforms within five months in the U.S. Compare that number, however, to a middling first person shooter like Medal of Honor (2010) and the number is not so impressive. Medal of Honor has sold 4.87 million units combined worldwide according to It is true that Final Fantasy XIII sold more than Medal of Honor, but we are comparing the most popular JRPG with a poorly reviewed first person shooter. Juxtaposing it to any Call of Duty would be a complete joke.

Finally, the biggest fall of the JRPG during the 360 and PS3 era is the declining review scores. There are a lot of decent to good JRPGs this generation, but there are very few GREAT ones. Using Metacritic to research many of the previous scores I have seen an interesting trend.

Final Fantasy XIII - 83%                                Final Fantasy XIII-2 - 79%
Tales of Graces f - 79%                                  Star Ocean: The Last Hope - 79%
Infinite Undiscovery - 68%                            Blue Dragon - 79% 
Lost Odyssey - 78%                                       Tales of Vesperia - 79%
Xenoblade - 92%

Wait. What?
Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii just might be the savior of JRPGs in the future. Will it sell well in the U.S.? That remains to be seen, but I am not holding my breath. What it did do is prove that the boat hasn't sailed on this ailing style of gaming. Xenoblade Chronicles is the example other developers must follow. They must change their mindset if they want to keep up with the Western RPGs that have dominated this generation. 

Check back soon for part 2 as we complete this look at what has happened to the JRPG. Next time we will explore the competition in the West and what other ways the Japanese developers can still make their mark in the U.S. Leave a comment below, like us on Facebook, and share us with your friends.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bargain Bin Reviews (April 15-21)

Hello and welcome again to the Bargain Bin Reviews! This is the feature where we take time finding the good games on the cheap so you don’t have to! This week we have turned our focus more on one title apiece so you could gain a bit more insight. As always feel free to pick up any of the games we talk about by clicking on the Amazon link to the right.

Steve’s Pick

Just Cause 2

The point of these Bargain Bin Reviews is to inform you, the buyer, of cheap games that are more than worth your money. They are also designed to introduce you to games that could be considered hidden gems. If you are looking for a good story then Just Cause 2 might not be for you, but if your goal is to run around an island while blowing up as much stuff as you can then you are set. Bad guy driving you crazy? Grapple him to the back of your car, and drag him around. Need to catch a ride on a helicopter? Grapple on to it and hold on. Falling from the previous helicopter? Don’t worry just grapple on to the ground. “Why does that work,” you ask? Just Cause (2).

Tanner’s Pick
Splinter Cell: Conviction

Splinter Cell's 2010 reboot is everything that I love about modern gaming. All of the important information is projected on the environment rather than cluttering up your HUD, and the game cleverly alternates between color and black-and-white to let you know when you are hidden. You can exploit the enemy AI by luring them to the last position that they saw you, and mark and execute all of the fools in a room if you're good. Besides a compelling single-player story, the game also has a separate co-op campaign as well. Nothing is more fun than setting up ambushes with your buddy or simultaneously performing silent kills to keep a low profile. This game has a ridiculous value for $20.
Matt’s Pick


If you want to talk about games that came in “under the radar” in 2010 Darksiders has to be towards the top of your list. Imagine for a second that I told you about a game that took the best elements from the Legend of Zelda series and the best elements from the God of War series…awesome right? That is exactly what you have with the game Darksiders as you take control of one of the four horsemen during a time of chaos. Make your way though dungeon upon dungeon, upgrade your weapons and abilities, and hack and slash your way through some rather creative enemies. With the sequel on its way Darksiders is a no-brainer to pick up for under 20 bucks. 

Kory’s Pick

House of the Dead: OVERKILL Extended Cut 

I love ridiculous games.  This one is ridiculous on a cocktail of speed and steroids.  A classic feeling light-gun game with fast action and even more over the top language (this game has literally set the record on total swearing in a single game), coupled with the option of Move capability and you've got a recipe of bargain bin gold. As the cherry that’s on top of this already delicious sundae of a game, this is the extended cut edition, meaning more guns, more levels, and even more zombies to blast! Pick this up while its on sale at Amazon!

David’s Pick

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Explore a mysterious and mind-bending mental maze armed only with an oil lamp and your lack of sanity, constantly being pulled in by the fascinating nature of the story that lies buried.  Frictional games really take the tension and dread of weapon-less survival horror to a whole new level, leaving the player with a masterfully designed soundscape and some frighteningly unlockable doors to hide behind.  Sometimes you'll want to leave and never return, but the game's world is so fascinating that you will want to keep discovering, keep playing.  If you've ever wanted to be completely sucked into an experience, if you've ever wanted to over stimulate your fight or flight response, or maybe if you've ever wanted to be strangled to death by your own fear of pixels and code, then you
owe Amnesia your time.

Juan’s Pick


Inspired by a previous article by one of +10Damages own, I had to recommend Prey. If the mind bending, fast action shooting doesn't sell you than maybe one of the best opening sequences in all of gaming will. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't played it, but it's definitely worth the 15 bucks just for the first 10 minutes of this game. Add some solid visuals, gravity defying weirdness, as well as some solid fast paced multiplayer and you will  be checking the corners and ceilings in no time.