Title: Grand Theft Auto V
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platform: XBOX 360, Playstation 3
Rating: M for Mature
Release Date: Available Now
The pull comes with every new GTA. That desire to just veg out in a chair in front of a TV and lose myself in the somehow very real world that Rockstar manages to craft out of their digital clay. Every time a new entry in the series comes out, the trap gets deeper. With the PS2 trilogy, I lost hundreds and hundreds of hours spread across three games and when GTA IV came out, even though I was a more responsible (arguably) and older (not arguably) adult I still had trouble pulling myself away. Now, here we are in 2013 at the launch of GTA V. Even older, even more (arguably) responsible, full-time “big boy” job, family, no time and yet all I want to do is wreak havoc in Los Santos. This is why Grand Theft Auto is among the most powerful forces in all of entertainment media. It’s not the violence (although it’s there). It’s not the storytelling (although it’s great). It’s not even the game play (although it’s a blast). It’s the pull. It’s the fact that the series drops you into its world and dares you to fight your way out of it, and I’m pleased to report that GTA V is the best world Rockstar has created to date.
An enchanting night out in the rain.
Developer: SCE Japan Studios
Rating: E for Everyone
Release Date: Available Now
The art of storytelling is not just in the content in which one builds the world from its story. Instead, it’s in the creative delivery, where words and actions are used to portray emotions and ultimately, a meaning that may or may not be readily apparent.
Developer: Autumn Games and Lab Zero Games
Platform: PC, PSN, XBLA
Release Date: Out now!
Last time I checked ninjas threw throwing stars instead of syringes and hats didn’t grab nearby people and plant them head first into the ground. But apparently I was wrong, because Skullgirls takes a cast of mismatched characters, dips them into some lethal sauce, and places them on a movie set themed fighting stage. Skullgirls has been re-released on PC from the PSN platform and is available on Steam for $14.99.
Secret Ponchos is sort of a mini MOBA. MOBAs are flying out of studios since League of Legends Has exploded and DOTA 2 has followed up with another large MOBA scene. Secret Ponchos, however, is not your standard 5v5, 3 lane with a jungle, farm farm farm for gold and items. Ponchos is a 2v2 dual against a rival team of gunslingers. Ponchos takes the pace and tactics of a MOBA and the simplicity of a top down shooter and smooshes them together.
Heading into PAX Prime, Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us was easily one of my more anticipated titles. As a huge fan of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series (with a general interest in fairy tales), I was interested to see how the company would follow up such a tremendous success. After going hands-on with the game, you can rest assured that Bill Willingham's Fables franchise is in good hands.
As I sat down to play Dying Light, few words were uttered to warm me amidst the undead: “this is going to be mean.” And they were right; this demo, taken from late in the game, left me far more awake than I’d been all day. But what they forgot to say was that it was also going to be manic, fun, and full of zombies, though I think the last one goes without saying.
The Nintendo 2DS is a new handheld in the DS family due out on October 12 for $130, in red and blue. As its name suggests, the 2DS plays all 3DS and DS games, but in 2D. It's a solid piece of hardware, no hinges, with dual screens the same size as 3DS screens, one circle pad, a camera, a single speaker and standard DS face buttons. Nintendo calls the 2DS "an entry-level dedicated portable gaming system."
SteelSeries, the leading global innovator of gaming peripherals, today introduced the Siberia Elite Gaming Headset. Delivering the newest generation and highest-quality SteelSeries audio drivers, the Siberia Elite headset is equipped with Dolby® technology for realistic 7.1 virtual surround sound. Siberia Elite’s amplified design includes extra-large memory foam ear cushions, SteelSeries’ signature Siberia self-adjusting suspension system connected to a sandblasted steel arc, and illumination with a choice of 16.8 million color options that radiate from each earcup. Dials on the earcups power the Siberia Elite’s audio and microphone-mute controls, while new levels of customization are supported by the newest version of peripheral configuration software, SteelSeries Engine 3. The new software will enable users to select illumination and equalizer settings, activate microphone features and more all through an intuitive and easy-to-navigate layout. Built for gaming and entertainment across multiple devices, the Siberia Elite offers limitless connectivity through its swappable cable system making it instantly compatible for PC, Mac®, tablets and phones.
The days of Microsoft Points are numbered. Microsoft chief product officer Marc Whitten explained in an Xbox Wire blog post today that the controversial currency system will be replaced by local currency on Xbox 360 via the next system update.
"This change was a direct result of customer feedback," Whitten said. "You told us you want to be able to buy things using money instead of points, and we listened."
Today, we’ve learned of two 3DS XL models that are an anime fan’s dream. Nintendo and Namco Bandai have announced the One Piece 3DS XLs. I’m not even a huge fan of the series, and I’m salivating. They’re both just so beautiful. I want at least one of them, even though my knowledge and interest in One Piece is fleeting.
Unsatisfied Ouya Kickstarter backers are entitled to free store credit on the Ouya marketplace.
Backers have faced a variety of issues, such as consoles being delivered much later than promised, problems with controllers (if they weren't outright missing), and poor customer service. An email has been sent to backers of the Android-based game console informing them they may receive $13.37 that can be used on any purchases made on the Ouya's Discover store as a way of making amends for the rough launch.
Just before Comic Con’s preview night kicked off I had another in-depth hands-on play session with Disney Infinity. For those of you that have been living under a rock, Disney Infinity is the equivalent of “you got your video game peanut butter stuck in my collectible figure chocolate”. What I mean by that though is you take an assortment of the adored characters created by Disney/Pixar. Create high quality, collectible figures that will appeal to kids and their parents. Add in Avalanche Software, the creators of easily the best licensed game to movie tie-ins this generation with Toy Story 3. With that combination you’ve got one of the summer’s most anticipated releases with Disney Infinity.