Archives for : September2013

Aoi Uma Con 2013: A Darker Image Returns!

Ah Fall! A young mans thoughts turn to Grand Theft Auto—uh, I mean Anime. So in light of that The Darker Image crew ; consisting of Myself, Rachel, Thelma, as well as newcomers Robin and my 7 year old Ryan, once again descended upon Louisville and crashed attended Aoi Uma Con. As some of you may recall we attended last year and had a great time! Naturally we were excited to return. Upon our arrival at its new location we witnessed the glorious parade of cosplayers. There are certainly a lot of talented folks in Louisville as many of the costumes were pretty great. We even met a young lady who owned a super rare Pokemon car!

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Also of note was the cool dealers room which had tons of stuff from all your fave Anime. There was definitely a good mix of stuff for sale and it wasn’t the least bit hard for all of your money to fall out of your pockets. We also took part of the many panels and even a game show! Anime Press Your Luck was very lively and host Greg Wicker did a great job of keeping it entertaining. This was definitely one of the highlights of our visit.

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Of course the biggest highlight of any Anime Con is to meet and get autographs from your favorite voice actors and Aoi Uma Con had Cherami Leigh, Lisa Ortiz and Eric Stuart (Who also happens to be a fine musician!). All three were charming and very gracious to their fans. Cherami Leigh has to be the friendliest and nicest person I have ever met at any convention. We are now officially super fans of hers!

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There was never any shortage of things to do or people to see at Aoi Uma Con and all of us had a fantastic time. Hopefully the Aoi Uma Con crew keeps this going for years to come and we can’t wait until next year!

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For more information and to keep updated about next year, please visit http://aoiumacon.com/.

Please note we originally had a lot more pictures but one of our memory cards went corrupt. So if we took your picture and you don’t see it here we apologize.

Oy Ouya! Or WTF Are These People Thinking?

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What they say: Video games just feel bigger and better on a TV screen. Surround Sound. HD. A room full of friends. Console gaming isn’t going anywhere, but console games aren’t as much fun as they could be.
That’s why we made OUYA: a new kind of game console, to bring groundbreaking games to the television in an entirely new way.

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What I say: On the surface the Ouya seems like a good idea. Using its own version of the Android operating system, the Ouya claims to bring casual games to the big screen and make them more fun to boot. If that’s the case then why is it being ignored on an epic scale? Like I said on the surface it looks good. The price is right at $99, and all the games are free to try. That means not getting stuck with stinkers, right? Several indie and big time developers are on board (see game list here) so obviously the problem is with PR and marketing.

Before I go any further take a look at this…

 

Wow. I mean just wow. Who is this supposed to be geared at? Shut-ins? Those wacky gamers? Mutants? I’m just confused and horrified. Mostly horrified. But this…ad…is just horribly wrong and really kind of insulting. Because everyone knows that gamers are fat dudes in their drawls acting silly over games, am I right? But let’s be honest, in order to manage a cock up of this magnitude there have to be deeper issues here.

Lets look at how the system launched. It was funded on Kickstarter with backers promised a unit before release. Naturally that went horribly wrong. Some folks got theirs but a lot didn’t. Meanwhile units went to retail and Ouya sure didn’t have any problem shafting the people that helped make the system happen in order to get units on the shelves. Sure they offered “free games” to those affected but aren’t the games free anyways? Really it just seemled like too little too late.

 

Ouya was even dismissive to the gaming press. You know, the people who cover this stuff for the folks who would potentially buy it. Now some reviews popped up early but those came from backers (you know the ones lucky enough to get what they paid for). Other than the biggest gaming sites like IGN and big name sites like CNET there was not much coverage. Instead of making sure gamers were aware of the console Ouya engaged in moronic stunts like giving them away at the MTV Video Music Awards. You know to celebrities…celebrities who like expensive stuff. Can you imagine this scene…

 

Party at Ice T’s Crib!

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Ice T: Look here son I am playing Black Ops II on my diamond crusted Xbox 360!

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Ice Cube: Shit fool, I am playing Grand Theft Auto V on my PS made out of gold!

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Miley Cyrus: Holla y’all I am playing my free Ouya!

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Ice T and Ice Cube: Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

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Yeah. You know it would go exactly like that. So instead of worrying about getting the word out to thrifty gamers, they wasted God knows how many units on folks that will throw them in their closets and forget about them or give them to homeless folks that don’t have electricity…or TVs. Stunts like this only show how little Ouya staff understand the market.

 

But the bad news keeps pouring in for Ouya. Like the fact that 73% of Ouya owners have never purchased a single game, not a one. But then again when you give them to people that don’t want them, it shouldn’t be the least bit shocking. If I was a developer for Ouya I would be pissed. It seems like its hard to turn a profit on a smaller game anyway, let alone if you are saddled with a such a poorly run ecosystem.

 

But the latest cock up is perhaps its most telling. Ouya started a “Free the Games” fund. If your game gets funded on Kickstarter Ouya will match funds in exchange for a window of exclusivity. Naturally things have gone horribly wrong. Since the rules were overly vague, people are being screwed out of their promised funds. Now rules are surely made to be followed but if the floor shifts as you go and with Kickstarter chiming in as well, its yet another bad scene.

 

Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman has “clarified” things and made a statement. Once again is it too little too late? Should ANY developer give these people the time of day? Should we? And how the hell does she still have a job?

Discover Techland’s Hellraid in Interactive Video, Edyn’s Escape

Techland offers a glimpse of its story-driven co-op slasher in a unique interactive movie in which the viewer decides what happens next.

Edyn’s Escape is set in the environments from the game and uses items available during gameplay. The movie’s action takes place two weeks before the events from the game where players will be fighting forces of Hell for the survival of mankind.

The main goal in Edyn’s Escape is to escape from a monastery overrun by hellish monsters as the viewer plays the role of a monk named Edyn. A special reward awaits those who see the movie through to its conclusion.

Hellraid is a video game that offers a single-player, story-driven campaign of hack & slash action and unique, competitive cooperation multiplayer that pits four players against the armies of hell – and each other – in a battle for points, rewards and fame. The game is developed by Techland and scheduled for a 2013 release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

For details about Hellraid visit www.hellraid.com and www.facebook.com/hellraidgame

About Techland
Techland is a leading Polish developer, publisher and distributor of PC and console games since 1991. Its proprietary Chrome Engine 5 technology is among the world’s most advanced game engines, with full PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation®3 system compatibility while its latest Chrome Engine 6 has full support for PC, and current generation consoles, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 . With a staff of over 200 specialists in three development offices in Wroclaw and Warsaw, Poland, and Vancouver, Canada, Techland is committed to delivering top-quality titles such as the Dead Island and Call of Juarez series for worldwide markets. Currently the company is working on several high-profile titles including Hellraid and Dying Light which is developed for current and next-gen consoles and PCs.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2: PS3 Game Review

Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Tecmo Koei
Purchase a PSN card here!

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What they say: Sail again with the Straw Hat Crew in One Piece Pirate Warriors 2, exclusively for the PlayStation 3! After two years of training and gaining new skills, the Straw Hat Crew is back and better than ever as Luffy continues his quest to become the Pirate King! Luffy and his crew will appear with their New World outfits and all new attacks to take down hordes of Pirates and Marines that will flood the screen. Immerse yourself by playing the “New World” with your favorite characters and their latest techniques and costumes.

one piece 2What I say: One Piece is quite an entertainment juggernaut. Manga, anime, movies and of course video games. If you are a fan of the series you definitely have options to fully explore Oda’s richly developed world. The most recent video game title, Pirate Warriors 2, does not follow the main series storylines like the first Pirate Warriors did. This game serves as a “Dream Story” that was written just for this game. Taking place during the New World time period the characters feature new moves and their New World costumes. The story involves most of the crew going rogue after being exposed to an odd purple gas. So Luffy and Nami have to defeat their friends in order in free them. Add in Smoker and the Marines and Luffy as their prisoner (and unwilling partner) and you have an entertaining story that moves things along quite nicely.

The game is structured pretty much the same as the Dynasty Warriors games. one piece 1Basically beat up a ton of dudes (including the various bad guys from across One Piece history) and complete objectives, rinse, repeat. The driving force in these games is playing as your fave One Piece characters. The bulk of the game is set in the Pirate Log, as this mode is where all of your story missions are. Also of note are the crew missions which unlock as you encounter and free them in the main game. These crew missions enable you to upgrade and use these characters as your assistants in the story missions. There is also a challenge mode which basically features Boss battles. In each mission your get Beli (the One Piece currency). This can be used to buy galleries, consumable items, as well as story videos and so on. If you are a completionist this area will keep you quite busy and motivated to keep going.

The new story helps with alleviating part of the repetitive nature of the game. one piece 3The story is fun and lends itself to this game type well. Presentation wise it does a great job of putting forth Oda’s designs. It looks just like an One Piece episode. There is always a ton going on at any given time with up to 100 attackers at a time and the game does just fine with no slowdown or anything else. On the downside is that fact that there is only Japanese audio. This normally wouldn’t be a problem but the subtitles are bad, I mean hardcore engrish bad at times. You can still follow what’s going on but man does it throw you occasionally. But being as that’s the only gripe I have that’s not so bad right?

With lots to do and unlock, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is well worth the purchase and it will certainly occupy you for a good while. And if you are a fan you will be especially happy with the presentation, just be ready for those wacky subtitles.

Rating: 8/10

 

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is only available as a digital download on PSN. 

Diablo III: PS3 Game Review

Publisher/Developer: Blizzard
Purchase here!

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What they say: Evil is in its Prime
Twenty years have passed since the Prime Evils were defeated and banished from the world of Sanctuary. Now, you must return to where it all began—the town of Tristram—and investigate rumors of a fallen star, for this is an omen that the End Times have begun.

Call Upon Your Allies
Play solo or form a party of up to four heroes—either with local players together on the same screen or network players online (or mix and match).

Pick Up and Slay
Take a stand as one of humanity’s last defenders—barbarian, witch doctor, monk, demon hunter, or wizard—and level up with devastating new powers and abilities.

Conquer a Dynamic Battlefield
Lay waste to hordes of evil throughout randomized 3D environments. Face innumerable demonic foes, uncover quests in new locations, and lay claim to masses of loot every time you play.

diablo 1What I say: After years of PC exclusivity Blizzard has finally returned to consoles with the release of Diablo III. I for one absolutely hate gaming on the PC. All the drivers and hardware issues drive me insane. So naturally I have missed out on most of the Diablo series and I am quite happy to report that Blizzard and Diablo has arrived on PS3 in fine form. Diablo III picks up several years after Diablo II and begins with something falling from the sky and hitting a cathedral in Tristram. Once you select one of the five character classes, which consist of wizard, monk, witch doctor, demon hunter, and barbarian, you are off to investigate the new crater and see what evil awaits.

The game carries over through four acts that will eventually take you all across the world of Sanctuary and beyond. The larger storyline of the various evils planning to revive Diablo and storm Heaven its self works well with your characters story and how you will fit into it. You will run into both factions in your adventures and the story is actually pretty compelling. The cutscenes are especially well done and do a fine job of immersing you in the games world.

The PC version of Diablo III used the keyboard and mouse to control your diablo 2character but this console version of course uses the controller and I could not be happier. Controls have been redone to take advantage of the Dual Shock 3 with the best addition being a dodge roll that is done with the right stick. This move does not make you invincible but it will get you out of quite a few scrapes. The controls feel tight and the game feels like this how it always should have been. Sorry, some console player bias popped out there.

diablo 4After you beat the game there are new difficulty levels unlocked and playing at these higher difficulty levels means better loot. After your first playthrough you will have some decent stuff but start back up and you will start seeing some really cool stuff. Also of note in this release is rich multiplayer system. You can play multiplayer locally on your couch with friends or head online and find some new partners or any mix thereof. It’s a fine system and while the game is very playable solo it is much more rewarding playing with others as the loot drops improve to go with the increased difficulty of having more players.

Graphics wise the game is a little rough in the actual game as the models all diablo 5look fine but there are some rough edges. The game world however looks fantastic with lots of variety and detail. As I said before the cutscenes are fantastic and they really draw you in.

 

Diablo coming to consoles has been a long wait but it was definitely worth it. The game plays great and the cool story really bring it all together. Hopefully Blizzard will continue to bring their games to consoles and I look forward to continuing to put time into this great game.

Rating: 9/10
Highly Recommended!!!