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November 11, 2012

All Quiet on the Gaming Front

Hello, this is The Dude with the keys to the AoSHQ Kingdom ready to bore you with gaming crap

Thankfully for me though there really isn't much to talk about other than Nintendo did another big blow out of their upcoming system, the Wii U (they should have gone with the name of what they are using in pr in Japan, the Super Wii). Where they promise you that they still care for core gamers and third party support by having companies release old ports and then have the third parties abandon them in a year when the actual next gen starts with Microsoft and Sony.

More below the fold

Took forever but Nintendo finally announced the specs of something no one will ever use, the web browser

In a brief flash of Nintendo finally "getting online", they announced no more crappy friend codes but rather a standardized login to be used in everything

Of course, notice in how I said brief as they drop three turkeys with the announcement of how you transfer content from your dusty Wii, How to play the small amount of good Wii games and that you can't save downloaded software to an SD card.

So spend your $350 on the 18th for your very own dust collector where you can have some fun for the 2 good games released a year.

All right, no more shitting on Nintendo.

THQ continues their streak of bad news as not only did they announce the delays of their upcoming money making games (Company of Heroes, the South Park RPG and the Metro sequel), news also came out that they have defaulted with Wells Fargo to the tune of $50 million. No savoir coming to them, with their debt, it's not worth the cash. Just let them finally close their doors and buy IPs and Relic, Volition, Vigil Games and 4A Games. Wouldn't mind WB picking up the good bits myself.

Sad that Black Friday looks like a bust on videogames but hopefully Amazon and Valve will step up

And once again in other news, Vita is still dead (or Sony isn't that far behind). Seriously, the Vita is selling worse than the Dreamcast ever did.

And since I'm alone posting (aoshqgaming at gmail dot com), I'm going to dump my Best of Halloween games doohicky that was supposed to be posted the Sunday before the 31st (hey, it was a light week and I am here to melt your modems with walls of text and videos)

Unlike most Best of Halloween Game lists, I'm bringing you some overlooked and/or under appreciated gems that for the most part I still play each and every year at this time (except for the Clock Tower series and Rule of Rose because I lost them moving and I'm too fucking cheap to replace them as they're fucking expensive as shit)

Pathologic (PC)
Eurojank at it's finest, too ambitious, hilariously bad translation and a few bugs thrown in for good measure. But if you can take it, it's one of the most unique experiences that you can ever have. You get three different characters who arrive in a town that is being over run by a mysterious plague with only three days to uncover what is happening. You will fail, you will fail quite often but that's part of the game as you will have an over abundance of quests and you can only do so many during each day which it then lets you decide on who will live and who will die. Think of it along the lines of a more ambitious The Last Express. Do you save a rich dude or a dissolute kid? Which one will drop a nugget of info on what is happening in town? Don't know but it's there for the taking. Or you could just sit back and let the good times roll as you just watch everyone die off. But if anything is certain, it is that you will be playing it repeatedly till you unlock every scrap of info on this mysterious plague. You can typically pick it up cheap on sale and it's worth throwing a few bones their way.

Penumbra: Overture & Penembra: Black Plague (PC)
Everyone knows of Frictional's masterpiece Amnesia but don't overlook the games they had before it (except for Requiem as it ruins characters as it tries to fill in some story) as you would be doing an injustice in skipping their Lovecraftian series (more so than Amnesia), Penumbra. You play as Philip who after his mother's passing receives a letter from his long lost father urging him to come to northern Greenland. And like every horror cliche, he follows to find his father. Unlike Amnesia, though weapons are scarce and not really advisable, you can actually fight back against the monsters with hammers and pickaxes. The basic insanity mechanics of Amnesia got their bones from this series as it slowly drives you insane from sounds and it's dense atmosphere. If you can get over some rough patches (namely AI pathing), you will be rewarded in 10 hours that does everything that the term Lovecraftian means. Very much worth the $5-$10 that the collection runs you around this time of the year.

Clocktower 1 & 2 (SFC, PSX)
There are four games in the series and a spiritual successor named Haunting Ground but the first two are the ones to play. Series started off on the Super Famicom and ported to the WonderSwan and PC (yes, to play the first one you will have to pirate it and grab a English patch or stumble through Japanese with a copy of the SFC cart) and it's one of the creepiest "unstoppable force" horror series around. In the first two games, you play as Jennifer Simpson who is adopted by the mysterious Mary Barrows and is brought to her mansion. Game starts off as your standard slasher but as you delve deeper into the story, it opens up quite a bit into a tale of a psychotic mother and her children. Game play is your standard point & click adventure on a single plane, that is until you have the series mainstay Scissorman pops out of the darkness and chase you down. Can't do anything to him except hide. Not counting the story, this is where the fear comes in and sets itself up being different than the majority of p&c games. Don't know when he will appear so you are best to be on your toes. Quite a bit of replayability as there are nine different endings.

The second game which is a direct sequel came out in the US under the name Clock Tower is Jennifer Simpson as she is on the brink of psychosis being adopted once again by a psychologist by the name of Helen Maxwell who is infatuated by her Jennifer Simpson's tale of survival. And before you can say go, Jennifer is abducted and brought back to the Barrows mansion and Scissorman once again stalks her. Gameplay is the same but with more of an evolution in puzzles to solve with an added bonus of a second character to play as you get Helen Maxwell's story. To be honest, the sequel doesn't exactly live up to the predecessor but it's a crucial play through as it ties up the story with a nice bow while walking through horror cliches.

Rule of Rose (PS2)
You know, I put this game on my list as it's a must play if you dig horror or videogames but actually talking about it is impossible. When people list the most disturbing games ever, there is a reason why this one is always on top of the list. The game is seriously fucked up and so damn good. Play as Jennifer who is lead to an orphanage that is run by a group of kids that is ruled by a hierarchy, a hierarchy of cruelty. Gameplay wise, it sticks to the Silent Hill formula but throwing in the wrinkle of having you and a dog be given periods of time to find something to give as an offering to the children while they constantly humiliate you each month. Shit is graphic and legitimately disturbing. With some sexulaization that isn't titillating but also really disturbing thrown in for good measure. The game is one of those that you will have to play more than once to actually get. But if you can stomach through it, you get one of the most powerful anti-rape and incest statements in entertainment. Thing is fucking breath taking in it's beauty. That's about all I can say other than if you can snag a used a copy for under $70 on ebay, I implore you to do so.

Theresia (DS)
In a war torn land, you find yourself locked up in a dungeon. Can you break out and find out what the fuck is going on? This is the third part of a series of mobile phone games but the only one to be released in English. Gameplay wise, it's a standard point & click but moving between rooms is done in first person all the while taking D stylistic instant death traps. If that sounds remotely interesting, you're in for a bit of a treat as you find yourself picking up breadcrumbs on what is a kin to a airborne bubonic plague while waning on a mother's love, tormented love but love none the less. Once beaten, you are given a second playthrough as someone on the other side of the war. Though it keeps quite a bit of the psychological side from the first part, it goes more into body horror as you see the effects of the plague up and close. If you can find a used copy at Gamestop, you could do worse than dropping $3 for it.

Siren: Blood Curse (PS3)
Well, it took them three games but they finally got the formula right in Siren: Blood Curse which for all intents and purpose, is a remake of the first game with a different story and characters. You play as an 18 year old American who gets a letter from a friend to come with them as they film a tv special on a cursed village in Japan. As to be expected, spooky shit happens as shibito (Japanese zombies) come out of the woodwork. Gameplay wise, it's more about stealth as you make your way through village while shibito stand guard while not trying to knock stuff over to alert them to your presence. Sure, there are some weapons you can use but stealth is the way to go. Thick in atmosphere with a top notch art design. Game had a weird release, it's a direct PSN purchase at $15 each for a pack of four episodes (12 episodes in total) or $40 for the full game. Or you can import a UK or Asian (Asian release and not the Japanese release) release on disc for about $30.

Fatal Frame (PS2, Xbox, Wii)
Oh how I love this series, other than the running speed, the series is picture perfect in everything it does. Even the weak link Fatal Frame III was top notch. But if I had to choose which stands above every other entry, there can only be Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. Seriously, this game doesn't miss a beat on anything with likeable protagonists, awesome ghost story, amazing ghost designs and refined combat mechanics. You can't but help to hope that Mio and Mayu can somehow make through this ordeal even though you know that dread is awating. Throw in the ghosts that help you along your path and......man, I am so getting lovey dovey with this game. It's on my personal perfect game list. Throw in the Director's Cut version for the OG Xbox and Wii and it's straight butter. Maybe not the scariest game ever but I wouldn't change a thing about it. It's just.....fuck, if you've never played it, have an OG Xbox or Wii (with a freeloader disc which you should have anyways for Another Code: R) then you have no reason not to play through this. Sure, it may cost you $40-$50 but fuck is it well worth it. Sadly, with Nintendo essentially owning the IP, we'll never get the fourth game nor anything else outside of Spirit Camera (which though cool, is way too short and pretty barebones without any the charm) since they have no fucking balls to release anything for the hardcore (fuck you Reggie and your pleading that you care about the hardcore here in the US) or anything that isn't Mario. Even NOE wouldn't even release the fourth fucking game. Cocksuckers...all of them

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (PC, Xbox)
Of games that should have gotten another chance, this is one of the biggest ones for me. Sure, it's not exactly The Shadow Over Innsmouth but then did a bang up job with the material even with some frustrating action sections and some bugs on the side of Eurojank (though bugs are patched out and made easier with an un-offical patch). Even with the problems, the critics loved it (six years after it was announced) only for it come out to a major thud and the closing of the devs who had plans for two more Lovecraft games. If it's ever on sale, buy it for the pittance price, download the fan mod and strap in for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Eternal Darkness (Gamecube)
You know, there was a time where people didn't hate Silicon Knights, this and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain are the reasons. As a student at your granfather's mansion, you find a book called The Tome of Eternal Darkness (ie Necronomicon) that transports you to different tales in history as people fight an Ancient (ie Old One). Gameplay wise is a bit more action oriented with being able to attack and kill monsters with a lot of puzzle solving but the coup de resistance is the game's sanity meter. The more damage and unsightly things you see, the more the game takes an active role in fucking with you, the player. The most infamous being it bringing up a screen saying that the Gamecube crapped out and your memory card has been erased. Can't lie, the graphics are a bit dated (it is 10 years old) but it's very much worth the $10 or so for a used copy to pop into your Wii and have some fun

Kuon (PS2)
If there was ever a developer to have your eyes on over the years, FROM would be on top of my list. Like Eastern Europeans, they may have bigger ambitions than their talent levels but they sure know how to make something fun and this is other notch in their bedpost. Their main staples in genres has typically boiled down to three catagories: Mechs (Armored Core and Chromehounds), Action-RPG (King's Field and their spiritual successor Souls series and Lost Kingdoms) and Horror (Echo Night series). This game on the other hand weaves a good little kwaidan story of an exorcist unleashing hell during 11th century Japan. Gameplay wise is action oriented with a weapon and magic upgrade system (akin to their Otogi series). But running hurts your health and draws demons to you. You get three different stories and quite a bit of playtime. Have to admit, it's been a few years since I dug this out and played it. Remember having a blast with it though. Got a reprint so it's a cheap game, run you about $30.

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posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 03:27 PM

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