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Articles – Page 3

8 Teenagers, 1 Ski Lodge – Until Dawn

*Please note now that Until Dawn is a story-driven game and I am about to spoil the hell out of it*

I have been meaning to cancel my PS+ subscription for several months now. Originally, I only signed up for it so that I could play Day of the Tentacle Remastered for free and get a deep, deep discount on TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan. Day after day in June, I kept telling myself to turn off the auto-renewal. And then July 1st came around and I got the email saying that Sony had charged my credit card for another month. Rats!

But this worked out nicely for me in the end, because one of July’s free PS+ games is Until Dawn. I had no idea what it was before seeing it in the PS+ menu, but the description sold it as a horror adventure game (which is 100% in my wheelhouse), so I decided that I might as well take advantage, as my $11 was already spent.

When I began playing the game, it immediately became clear what was going on: a bunch of sexy teens are for some reason caught in a secluded ski lodge and would be killed off one-by-one. Well, that’s maybe generalizing a little too hard. The game has plenty of surprises tucked away in its sleeve. Its gameplay, for instance. You wander around, waving your flashlight at things, occasionally stopping to look at a point of interest or pick up clues. Then spooky things happen, and you slowly unravel the greater mystery. Also you occasionally stop for brief interludes in which you are talked down to by an arrogant psychiatrist and asked to complete simple tasks that will vaguely influence things you see in the game. Sound familiar?

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You want to know something that I’m not done talking about yet? Wii U games. I probably should be, because there is basically nothing but garbage-lookin’ indie games coming out on it anymore. Maybe a Virtual console release here and there, and I guess there was that remastered version of Darksiders that came out last month (which I would love to purchase again on something more… portable). But mostly garbage-lookin’ indie games.

All that aside, today I have a whole lot of things to say about a garbage-lookin’ indie game that came out several months ago. And to be completely honest, it doesn’t actually look that bad if you’re just checking out screenshots. This game is Citadale: Gate of Souls, and I had literally zero interest in puchasing it until I heard about it on a podcast which I very much enjoy. It sounded like a miraculous garbage fire, and we all know how strongly I feel about garbage fires.

So I went right ahead and I plopped down my $5 or whatever it was, and I got me some Citadale. Much against my better judgement, but I think I may have been drunk at the time. I think I bought Wario: Master of Disguise at the same time, which is something I never would have done sober. That’s just a straight-up Bad Video Game. Citadale is, fortunately, entertainingly bad.

Okay, take a moment now and scroll back up a bit. Take a good, long gander at that logo. Remind you of anything? No? For shame. Citadale’s logo looks suspiciously like the logos of most of the Castlevania games on GBA/DS. Like, it’s just a font and differently stylized C away from being a complete rip-off. That’s a little bit gutsy, I’ve got to say. Wearing your inspiration on your sleeve is one thing, but copying it wholesale and then charging money for it is a whole different ballgame. Congratulations on your hubris, Nitrolic Games.

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Mighty Gunvolt Burst

Are you aware of Mighty No. 9? That game that blew up (the good way) on Kickstarter and then blew up (the bad way) during its development cycle? The knock-off Mega Man that ended up being so much less than Mega Man? I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but you have probably forgotten about it, like the entire world did shortly after it actually released.

Although Beck’s first major outing flopped hard, it’s actually not the only game he’s starred in. Long before the Mighty No. 9 debacle, co-developer Inti Creates had made their own little Mega Man-esque title on 3DS called Azure Striker Gunvolt. I haven’t played that game, but it came bundled with a free retraux game that was even more in the vein of classic Mega Man, Mighty Gunvolt.

Mighty Gunvolt was a neat little crossover that let you play as either Beck, Gunvolt, or some girl from a game that I still don’t know what it is. It was only five or so stages long, but it was tightly designed, tough as nails, and the three playable characters all had their own style and unique abilities. Needless to say, I liked it a lot.

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The Tale Of Eventide Island

The day before Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were released, I had a bit of a lapse in my spoiler-avoidance. I took a good, long look at the full map of Hyrule. Though it was completely void of any marks or notes, I did see some interesting buildings and landscapes that I decided that I would prioritize in my travels. One of those places was an island off to the southeast of the mainland, quite a ways out into the ocean.

It doesn’t look so bad from far away…

During the hours of gameplay leading up to me reaching that island, I quickly learned that Link could not swim very far before running out of stamina and being warped back to the last solid ground that he’d stood on. Much, much later, I discovered that rafts were common around larger bodies of water, and many more hours after that, I found that I could use a korok leaf to generate wind to sail those rafts around. And thus, I was finally able to access Eventide Island.

Little did I know, it would become my greatest nightmare.

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Board Games I Never Had

In these glorious days of adulthood, I find myself wanting for things much less often than I did as a child. It’s probably because I make my own money now, and can go out and recklessly buy whatever it is I want, whenever I want. Or perhaps it’s because I have so much less free time than I did as a child, and the things I have are more than enough to fill it.

Regardless, I don’t have a real wishlist these days. Things that I desire never seem out of reach, and there aren’t really that many things that I want. But back when I was a kid? Oh, you’d better believe that I coveted every cool-looking toy that had a commercial aimed at my demographic. Don’t get me wrong, I was spoiled silly and had tons of toys and games and books etc, etc, etc. Being the materialistic monster that I am, of course I always wanted more and more and more.

Some of the things that stick out the most in my memory are less obvious than you might expect: board games. I had plenty of those, but I don’t recall too many of them being the fancy-pants kind with whirring gizmos and electronic kajiggers. I hold some of the board games that I did own in great reverence, but the dreams of what could have been will always linger. So today, we’re going to take a quick look at the ones that got away.

These are not in any particular order, mind you, and the descriptions are mostly cobbled-together half-memories from the commercials and my own imagination. That said, let’s we go, amigos!

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

One of the Switch’s launch games was a timed exclusive of the next hotly anticipated DLC expansion for Shovel Knight: the new Specter of Torment campaign. While I did get constant development update emails because I was a Kickstarter backer, I decided to ignore them for the most part, and went into this one almost completely blind.

To set up the story: Shovel Knight is right up there on my list of favourite games of all time. I loved it to pieces when it launched in 2014 and have played it routinely every few months since then. The first expansion was Plague of Shadows, which released in September of 2015. It added a entirely new story that ran parallel to the original, and Plague Knight had a completely different play style, making the game feel totally fresh even though it was mostly the same, save a few small new areas and a new final boss. Although it was a masterful expansion, it was still just that: an expansion.

Knowing basically nothing about it pre-release, I assumed that Specter of Torment would follow roughly the same rules: play through the same stages with a handful of new rooms and the same old bosses, enjoy a few revised challenge stages to test Specter Knight’s unique abilities, and then a showdown with a new final boss. But I was wrong. I was oh-so wrong.

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Six terrible Wii U eShop games!

The Wii U is dead and I’m the only person who liked it.

Okay, maybe not the only person, but some days it sure feels like it. Wii U lived a short and underwhelming life, but it was home to some of the best games that I’ve ever played. Super Mario Maker, Splatoon, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Xenoblade Chronicles X, et cetera, et cetera. It’s also host to some absolute stinkers. Games so bad that no person should ever have to suffer their existence.

Fortunately, these games are squirreled away in the depths of the eShop, where they can be forgotten and die without harming too many with their terribleness. It’s very much opposite the Wii, where there were rows and rows of awful shovelware populating store shelves, tricking naïve parents into buying the absolute worst games for their kids.

As a bit of a last hurrah before the Switch’s launch in a few days, here is a short list of six Wii U eShop games that nobody should ever play. Not that you would. Because you don’t own a Wii U. Jerk.

So why did I buy them, you ask? Either because I thought they may have some legitimate merit to them, or they were on sale for a dollar (give or take) and I figured they’d be good for a laugh. Your job is to figure out which is which!

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The First Skunk Bundle

I don’t know if I’ve ever really gotten into it here, but I am endlessly fascinated by bad video games. I like bad movies, too, but terrible video games are even more delicious. And they’ve got to be real bad. If a game is just mediocre, that’s boring and no fun to dissect. But when you have a game that is consistently making you wonder what the heck the developers were thinking, that’s the real good stuff.

To put it simply, the more of a “complete garbage fire” a game is, the better.

And that’s where The First Skunk Bundle comes in. A $25 eShop game that for some reason went on sale for free a while back, this is a pack of five games that range in quality from passable to, well, complete garbage fire. Let’s have a look-see and break down the contents.

No, wait. First, I feel obliged to mention that the music on the game select screen is a piss-poor piano rendition of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. So poor, in fact, that I thought that it was a piss-poor rendition of the Friends theme at first. In retrospect, they do have seem to have a similar melody. Maybe? Am I crazy?

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The Top 12 Video Games of 2016

“Why” you ask, “did you choose to list twelve games?”

The answer is simple. Because sixteen (for 2016) seemed too many, and ten is too cliché.

“But doing a Top X Things of Year list is in itself too cliché!”

Shut up!

(You should know my Top Video Games rules by now: Any game that I beat in 2016 is fair game, regardless of what year it was actually released in. No remakes or remasters allowed.)

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2016 Xmas Gift Roundup!

Oh my, has yet another year passed already? Well, I guess three years if you’re just going by the last time I wrote one of these things. Remember how it used to be an annual tradition? Did I write this exact same intro paragraph last time? Ehh, I’ve already recycled the idea and the banner, might as well re-use some of the text as well.

I think that, for the most part, I stopped doing these because I began to feel embarrassed about all of the stuff I get for Xmas. I mean, it’s not like it’s all that excessive (especially with my lack of wife), but it’s easy to look at these articles and think to myself “gee, I sure am spoiled, aren’t I?” Maybe next year will be the year I finally act on my desire to volunteer somewhere and help those less fortunate.

But probably not. That would also require leaving the house, and my incredible selfishness is a defining character trait.

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