This Week’s Videogame Releases

Any of you buy a Wii U? What games are you picking up for your new console? In addition to Nintendo’s major release, there are several games set to entertain you over Thanksgiving weekend. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a super-fun brawler that brings numerous iconic videogame characters together. Agent 47 makes his return in Hitman: Absolution. Fans of cartoon adventures will want to check out Rise of the Guardians, while those with a predilection for military games will want to check out History Legends of War: PattonDisney’s Epic Mickey 2 is now available for PlayStation 3 and Wii; the game is even more fun with this Mickey paintbrush or this Oswald clicker. Lastly, Seth MacFarlane fans will want to pick up Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse.

Any of you picking up new games this week?

Coffee Talk #540: Your Favorite Aspect of Xbox Live

Xbox Live is now ten-years old. Happy birthday Xbox Live! Microsoft’s online gaming service was and is a big deal for console gaming. It truly transformed what console games could be and greatly extended the capabilities of the actual hardware. It drastically improved the online capabilities of consoles. Hell, there’s a whole generation of gamers that…more

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, STILL not being fooled by the NY Knicks’ hot start, butterscotch vs. caramel, or last night’s X-Factor USA results, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Xbox Live is now ten-years old. Happy birthday Xbox Live! Microsoft’s online gaming service was and is a big deal for console gaming. It truly transformed what console games could be and greatly extended the capabilities of the actual hardware. It drastically improved the online capabilities of consoles. Hell, there’s a whole generation of gamers that has no idea that online console gaming used to be a joke compared to online PC gaming. Features like Achievements, GamerScore, in-game chat, apps, and more were done first on Xbox Live. Many maintain that XBLA still does it better than anyone else.

With all those warm and fuzzy feelings about Xbox Live floating around your brain, I’d love to hear what your favorite aspect of the service is. Is it the online play? Is it the social stuff? Is it the fact that Xbox Live has allowed your Xbox 360 to become a Netflix machine? Kindly leave a comment with your favorite Xbox Live features!

This Week’s Video Game Releases

It’s a huge week for the gaming business with the release of the Wii U and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. In addition to Activision’s monster release and all the Wii U launch titles, a number of notable games hit store shelves this week. Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two continues Warren Spector’s awesome take on the world’s most famous mouse. LEGO Lord of the Rings brings a tried-and-true gameplay formula to Middle-earth. Scribblenauts Unlimited takes one of the most inventive games released in the last decade to a new level. Lastly, if you’re looking for classic arcade action then Midway Arcade Origins will do you good.

Any of you picking up new games this week?

Karateka Remake Available on XBLA

Karateka is now available through Xbox Live Arcade. This is an updated version of a classic game made by one of the industry’s true living legends — Jordan Mechner. The game is a boy-rescues-girl tale filled with martial arts combat. I fondly remember playing the original on my Commodore 64 and was struck by its simple, yet effective, storytelling. At the time, I thought videogames were about bouncing balls off of bricks, shooting alien invaders, and gobbling up ghosts. I had no idea games could tell stories!

The remake’s art was headed by Jeff Matsuda, a longtime Marvel Comics penciller known for his runs on WolverineX-MenGeneration XX-Factor, and Avengers. It has a cool, cartoonish look that retains some design elements of the original work.

Karateka costs 800 MS points, which I believe is $10 to normal humans.

I’m psyched to play a modern version of the game. Mechner is awesome and I’m looking forward to his fresh take on one of his classics. Any of you guys and dolls intrigued by Karateka?

This Week’s Videogame Releases

It’s a huge week for the gaming business with Microsoft’s launch of Halo 4 leading the way. It will surely be one of the biggest releases of 2012. Are you buying it? Racing fans get a pair of goodies with LittleBigPlanet Karting and NASCAR The Game: Inside Line. Do you miss fighting alongside Goku and the gang? Then pick up Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection and raise your power level to over 9,000. Not into shooting, racing, or fighting? How about some farming with Harvest Moon: A New Beginning? As a tactical-RPG mark, I have high hopes for Ragnarok Tactics (hopefully I can find my PSP). Lastly, if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck then you should consider Mass Effect Trilogy and Saints Row The Third: The Full Package.

Any of you picking up new games this week?

This Week’s Videogame Releases

It’s an absolutely loaded week for game releases, with heavy hitters like WWE 13 and Assassin’s Creed III hitting store shelves. The latter is accompanied by Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, which serves as a companion quest for the PlayStation Vita. But wait, there’s more! Need For Speed: Most Wanted might have a recycled name, but it (allegedly) brings all-new racing-action to the table. Ragnarok Odyssey brings the world of the hugely popular Ragnarok Online to the Vita. A group of Konami classics gets the compilation treatment in Zone of the Enders: HD Collection, while Sony’s venerable Killzone series gets bundled up as the Killzone Trilogy Collection. Lastly, if you’re looking for a game about a bunch of guys (made up of blocks) walking to a volcano (also made of blocks) then LEGO Lord of the Rings will be right up your alley (portable versions hit first).

Any of you picking up new games this week?

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Preview / Interview

Please check out the video interview above with Josef Fares, game director of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and read my preview-ish thoughts below. This downloadable game is set to hit PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC in Spring 2012 courtesy of Starbreeze and 505 Games. I checked it out a few weeks ago and was really enamored with its art style and gameplay. The controls are simple, but used in a unique and compelling fashion. In some ways, it reminded me of a cross between Ico and Heavy Rain, but with a refreshing originality that was all its own. Continue reading “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Preview / Interview”

Will You Buy a Halo 4 War Games Pass?

Microsoft has announced details and pricing for Halo 4‘s War Games Pass. This $24.99 subscription gives gamers three upcoming Halo 4 map packs at a discounted price. Fans will receive the Crimson Map Pack, Majestic Map Pack, and Castle Map Pack  in December 2012, February 2013, and April 2013, respectively. Here are additional details from Microsoft’s Major Nelson:

Retailing for $24.99 USD (2,000 Microsoft Points), the “Halo 4” War Games Map Pass confirms your access to three War Games map packs as they become available in December, February and April, and represents a savings of more than 15 percent versus purchasing the packs individually. In addition, Map Pass purchasers will receive two bonus in-game helmets, as well as a unique in-game emblem.

There’s no doubt that Microsoft will sell millions of copies of Halo 4, but will it also sell millions of Halo 4 War Games Passes? The discounted price is sweet and unique in-game items are always fun, but some players will want to wait to see how the map packs are reviewed before spending money on them. Then again, it’s Halo. The quality has been consistent and there are tons of players that will always want the latest.

How about you guys and dolls? Do you see yourself paying $24.99 for a Halo 4 War Games Pass?


This Week’s Videogame Releases

It’s a big week for Xbox 360 racing fans with the release of Forza Horizon, the latest installment in Microsoft’s venerable driving-game series. If shooting is more your bag then Medal of Honor: Warfighter should keep you happy. PlayStation Vita owners have a pair of new titles for great gaming on the go: Street Fighter X Tekken and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz. Lastly, The Unfinished Swan is available for all PlayStation Network members this week. I really, really hope some of you guys and gals give this game a shot. It’s wonderfully different.

Any of you picking up new games this week?

Halo 4, CraigsList, and Piracy-For-Profit

The full version of Halo 4 has leaked and opportunistic people are selling Xbox 360s — with the game preloaded — on CraigsList. Kotaku’s Evan Narcisse did some honest-to-goodness (and high-quality) journalism on the matter. He interviewed some of the sellers and found a wide variety of justifications. None of them were very good. Disappointingly, though not surprisingly, these sellers will surely find customers.

Let’s be honest. I’m sure that most of us have pirated a song or a movie at some point. While it’s a bad practice, one of the common justifications cited is that pirating a movie/song doesn’t necessarily mean a sales loss for the publisher. In this case, Microsoft is definitely losing sales. People that spend a lot of money to buy pirated copies of Halo 4 almost definitely would have purchased the game legitimately.

Piracy-for-profit is just bad news. If it becomes more rampant (and I think it will) then companies — big and small — will tighten their belts. While some pirates justify taking advantage of large corporations like Activision and Microsoft, the people making “normal” wages at these companies will be the first to suffer. If people sell pirated versions of games developed and published by medium- and small-sized companies, the ramifications are even scarier.

That’s my take on it anyway. What do you think of the Halo 4 piracy-for-profit deal? Will this develop into a bigger issue for several companies? Or do you think it’s no biggies? Definitely check out Evan’s article when you have a chance. It’s one of the best pieces of videogame reporting I’ve read all year.