Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Grim Fandango Remastered Is Out Now

Double Fine's Grim Fandango Remastered is now out for PC, Mac, and Linux at GOG.com and Steam, and for PlayStation 4 and Vita on PSN.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book of Unwritten Tales 2: Chapter 4 Review


The penultimate chapter of The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is upon us, and it has a lot to live up to following the fantastic third chapter. Fortunately, it does manage to do just that and brings with it some subtle game play additions that are quite welcome.

Chapter four follows the elf princess Ivo as she tries to find a way to fix the magic that have placed our heroes in so much trouble.  She ends up in a location that was visited in previous chapters and learns that she needs the help of Nate and Critter, which brings our crew back together to work towards saving the world once again.  The task that is ahead of them is difficult, and requires travelling to several different locations to accomplish it, with the help of Nate's trusty air ship, Mary.

The locations can be visited at will, once you discover them, which is one of the best new game play additions to this chapter.  Nate has a map in his captain's quarters, and uses it to choose the destination.  Luckily, you don't have to visit the captain's quarters each time, or even be on-board  the Mary, to do so.  All you have to do is select the map from the inventory, and select a location from there.  The second game play addition that this chapter brings is due to the fact that there are now three active characters. All three characters won't be together at the same time, and there are some puzzles that require rescuing the other characters, but when they are together, they sometimes need work together to solve puzzles as a team.  The puzzles that required teamwork were my favorite of the previous chapters, and now they're even better as a threesome.  There aren't too many like this however, but such puzzles that are here are done quite well.

The art style continues to be excellent.  Most of the locations that are visited are new, and are treated with the same level of detail as the rest.  Some of the places that we have seen previously do get a restyle.  Even the locations that we have seen before are used excellently for the story, and since they came in early on, don't feel overused.  The music style continues to be excellent, and is varied here to fit the varied locations that we visit in this chapter.  The voice work continues to be great as well, with the returning characters giving excellent performances and the new characters delivering performances to match.  There is also a returning character from a previous game, who is quirky, and voiced to match.

The fourth chapter of The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is another fantastic entry in this fantastic fantasy saga.  The art style, music, and voices continue to be excellent.   The new locations are fun, and the previously visited locations are used well.  The gameplay additions that are new to this chapter, multiple locations that can be visited at will, and three character puzzles, are a welcome change.  The best part of this game has been the story, and that trend continues here.  The story hit a high note with it's dark overtones of the last chapter, and that high note continues here. Our heroes are reaching the end of their journey, and the stakes continue to be high.  The story weaves between light and dark as well as the last, and like the preceeding chapter, it leaves a lasting impression, and gives you a strong desire to see how the story concludes.

Final Verdict:

5 out of 5

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Game of Thrones Episode 2 Release Dates and Trailer

The second episode of Game of Thrones, The Lost Lords, now has a premiere trailer and the release dates are set for most platforms. It will release on PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 on February 3rd, on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 4th, and on iOS on February 5th. A release date for Android platforms has not yet been set.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 Coming February 20th

The King Art team is finishing making some bug fixes and polish on The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 as it will leave early access and all five chapters will then be available for PC, Mac, and Linux on February 20th.

Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum Review

The announcement that Telltale was making Tales from the Borderlands came as a surprise.  A cinematic adventure set in the world of a first person shooter seemed like an odd choice.  The results should put any remaining skepticism to rest, as Zer0 Sum manages to deftly craft a fantastic experience, blending the gameplay of The Walking Dead with some of the most important aspects of the Borderlands franchise.

As this is a Borderlands game, the game is set on the planet of Pandora, which is a desolate place full of psychotic people and dangerous creatures.  A company named Hyperion has become rich by supplying weapons to the planet, and is headquartered in a base in Pandora's orbit.  There are two playable characters, a recently downsized employee from Hyperion named Rhys and a woman from Pandora named Fiona who has been raised with her sister as a con artist in order to survive in the harsh conditions of the planet.  The story actually takes place in the past, as Fiona and Rhys are both recounting the the tale of their shared story.  Both of these people are unscrupulous individuals would would do anything to improve their station in life, so both of their stories are exaggerated and can't be taken at face value.

The graphical presentation fits right into the Borderlands universe, and the presentation of the story manages to do so as well.  The decision to opt for the two tale presentation of the story helps the game a lot.  It's a return to Telltale's comedic routes, and the fast pace, brought on both by the urgency of the stories, and by the nature of the way the stories are told, makes for a very enjoyable game.  All of the characters are well rounded, even this early in the season, and each is voiced extremely well.  Bay Area Sound has done their usual excellent job on the sound front, as in addition to the impeccable voice talent, the music in the game is superb as well.  The game's opening song, in particular, is a great choice.  The Borderlands games are known for having memorable moments in their introduction videos.  Zer0 Sum manages to stand up with the best of them, and the song choice is a big reason for that.

The gameplay is mostly like the style found in all of their main games since The Walking Dead.  The gameplay is mostly choice based, and as usual there are decisions that affect the fate of the characters.  There is also action mixed in, which, as usual, are quick time events.  Telltale has managed to blend their style with Borderlands quite well in the action aspect, as the action is dispersed with heavy weaponry and machinery.  Telltale also makes good use of the bionic eye implant that one of the main characters, Rhys, is outfitted with.  Every object which can be viewed with the usual look command can also optionally be viewed with the bionic eye.  This gives a detailed readout of the description of each object, and is used to great extent in both providing more insight into the game's universe as well as a unique opportunity to deliver some funny jokes.

Zer0 Sum is one of the best cinematic adventures that Telltale has produced yet.  The two story, big fish tale presentation leads to some clever ways to deliver the story, and the well written and well voiced characters help to make that story memorable.  The graphical presentation and music are also top notch, and the choice based mechanics are used to great effect.  The thing that brings this game up to the heights of the best games in Telltale's cinematic adventure catalog is the addition of features that are new to Telltale's arsenal.  The choice of weapons to deploy is nice, and helps to give this game a real Borderlands feel.  But the real gem of this game is the bionic eye.  It's mostly totally optional, but it really adds to the game, as it is used well to provide story background and humor.  Hopefully Telltale goes even further with it's use in further installments, as that gameplay mechanic has great story telling potential.

Final Verdict:

4½ out of 5

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Second Wave of LucasArts titles Now On GOG.com

Update January 27: The rest of wave 2 is more Star Wars games, as suspected: Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, Star Wars Republic Commando, and Star Wars Starfighter. Hopefully wave three will bring more adventure games, or at least more games that don't use the Star Wars intellectual property.

Update January 22:  The second part of wave two is here, and they too are all Star Wars games: Star Wars: Empire at War Gold, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D, and Star Wars Rebellion.  We won't know for sure until the final part of wave two hits in a few days, but it looks like we might have to wait for wave three for LucasArts games that aren't Star Wars.

The second wave of LucasArts titles has been released on GOG.com.  This time they're all Star Wars games: Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, Star Wars: Galactic Battleground Saga, Star Wars: Dark Forces, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords, and Star Wars: Battlefront II.

There is also a 20% off sale on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the adventure games The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition and Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis.  If you aren't interested in any of the games from this batch, the good news is that this time we don't have to wait very long for more LucasArts games to be released.  More LucasArts games are coming on Thursday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Grim Fandango Remastered Now Available For Pre-order

Update: January 22: It's available to pre-order from Steam now as well.

It's not much longer now until Grim Fandango is available for purchase once again, this time in a remastered version by Double Fine complete with improved textures, improved lighting, and bug fixes over the original. Grim Fandango Remastered is now available to pre-order for PC, Mac, and Linux at GOG.com and for PlayStation 4 and Vita on PSN.

You'll get HD wallpapers with your purchase from GOG.com as well, so if you enjoy the art from Grim Fandango, head over to GOG.com and pre-order now. It will be released on January 27, 2015.