Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Following the Light - The Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is a fantastic story-driven experience. With a slightly creepy atmosphere and a world full of narrative tidbits and mystery put together by the player, there's a real joy in exploring every aspect of the game. The collectibles for trophies can be off putting and the running speed isn't very fast, so patience is required, but definitely rewarded.

Some game locations are great for their escapism, dragging the player to far away places that are hard to reach in our own world, such as a fantastic castle in some fantasy kingdom or a gigantic space station in the middle of the universe. It's this escapism that draws us all in, enticing us to explore a world we couldn't see any other way. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture captures that similar power of bringing the player to an escape, but this diversion is a small, seemingly mundane English village, and if that sounds odd, it's because it is. But the oddities are what make Everybody's Gone to the Rapture so charming and hard to put down.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gamers Source #24 Sony's Last Handheld and Voice Actors Using Their Voice

Images courtesy of damnlag.com and iEmoji.com
This week's episode Shuhei Yoshida puts the final nail in the PS Vita's coffin confirming there probably won't be a successor while video game voice actors are talking about going on strike for better working requirements. So, without further ado, the news...


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gamers Source #23 - Konami Conundrum and Post TGS Random Stories

Image courtesy of Konami
This week's episode we delve into the rumors and speculation that Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami is pulling the plug on all of its triple A game development as well as some assorted news that really is random as hell. So, without further ado, the news...




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gamers Source #22 - Tokyo Game Show - ho! Sony News from TGS 2015

Image courtesy of Gematus.com
Hello and welcome to the Gamers Source, your destination for today's gaming information. This week's episode is a long one, with news on what went down at Tokyo Game Show 2015, which was a big surprise for most. So, without further ado, the news...




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Gamers Source #21 - The Free Games of September and Nintendo is Bringing the Small New 3DS to the US

Image courtesy of IGN.com
Hello and welcome to The Gamers Source, your destination for weekly gaming information. Sorry for the delayed post but I am switching some things around to make this podcast easier on myself as well as easier for listeners to get a hold of. From today on I plan on releasing episodes every Wednesday. 

This week's episode is a long one, with news on the attempted shooting at the Pokemon World Championship, Sony's PS Plus Games and Xbox's Games with Gold for the month of September. So, without further ado, the news...





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ico-Lite: The Toren Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: Toren succeeds at being a unique, artistic look at the concept of time and a hero's sacrifice. Watching yourself grow older and seeing the numerous sacrifices made is interesting, but the wonky combat controls and the sparse details to story can make the two hour experience feel jagged at times.

Ico has long been revered as one of the best examples of minimalist story telling in a AAA video game. Dropping players into the shoes of a mysterious little boy with no backstory and no narration, the game is excellent at telling the game's story without beating players over the head with narration or even text. Surprisingly enough, this format hasn't been emulated all that much in games, possibly because it's very difficult to balance. Toren is a great attempt at using the world to build a unique and whimsical story, but the game falls short of the well designed game it is influenced by.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When Should A Game Be Episodic?

Image courtesy of TelltaleGames.com

Time is getting shorter for everyone. As technology progresses and entertainment becomes easier to obtain, it becomes much more difficult to portion out time for everything. So it's a natural progression for television shows, which are broken down into episodic chunks, to become more popular since they are easier to digest over small, broken out periods of time. Even games are moving in this direction. The popularity of episodic is on the rise, with talented developers like Telltale Games making engrossing stories that players can pick up over time. However, the trend is starting to move towards games that don't necessarily need this type of broken out form. So when is it right for a game to be episodic?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Gamers Source #20 - Important Video Game Research And New Nintendo Mysteries

Image courtesy of ZeldaUniverse.net
Hello and welcome to The Gamers Source, your destination for weekly gaming information. This week the Pew Research Institute released a very interesting report on teens and gaming while Nintendo has dropped some minor tidbits on its future. So, without further ado, the news...





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This is How the Batman Died: Not With a Whimper, But a Bang - The Batman: Arkham Knight Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: Though the Batmobile can be hit or miss at times, the city of Gotham has never been bigger nor felt more alive. Whether beating up thugs or tearing up the streets in the car, it feels good to be the Bat. A few story beats fall flat, but this is by far one of the best Batman stories told by Rocksteady and one of the most fun open world experiences out there.
 
At the start of development of Arkham Knight, Rocksteady set out to make the largest, best Batman game the studio thought possible to end the trilogy with a bang. After reaching 100 percent completion in the game and letting the ending movie and credits wash over me, it dawned on me just how successful the studio was in creating that game. Though Arkham Knight has a few misses, this is the perfect game for Rocksteady to go out on and the perfect game to make you feel like you ARE the Batman.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gamers Source #19 - More Xbox Gamescom Details and PS4's Vote to Play is Live

Image courtesy of GameZone.com
Hello and welcome to The Gamers Source, your destination for weekly gaming information. This week, the news is early! More details about Microsoft announcements from Gamescom emerge and Square Enix updates the world on its Collective initiative. So, without further ado, the news...





Friday, August 7, 2015

Gamers Source #18 - Xbox At Gamescom In 15 Minutes

Image courtesy of BleedingCool.com
UPDATE: In this podcast I mention Xbox having cross buy functionality between specific games on Xbox One and Windows 10. Microsoft has corrected this statement, so I will as well - this functionality is specific to DLC for Cross Buy games for now. As time goes on, Microsoft will continue to listen to fans as to what it is desired. This correction completely changes my thoughts on Microsoft's plans. This is a half measure, placing Microsoft still behind the much better Cross-Buy systems that Sony has in place. And now, to the original text...

Hello and welcome to The Gamers Source, your destination for weekly gaming information. This week, the news is early! Gamescom was this week, and Xbox had an excellent conference with lots of gameplay shown as well as some terrible news about Konami. So, without further ado, the news...





Whispering Willows is Solid, But Missing Some Heart - The Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: Mechanically sound with an interesting premise, Whispering Willows fails to elevate itself above a generic adventure game. The ability to Astral project is a great mechanic, and the story has all the makings of an exciting tale, but ultimately the game comes off as bland and forgettable.


Adventure games have a long history, dating back to when games started to grow into a viable past time. Though there was a slow fade in the late 90's/early 00's where the genre seemed to be dying off, adventure games are alive today and more diverse than ever before. With games like the heavily narrative based Telltale's The Walking Dead, re-releases of classics like Grim Fandango, and brand new games built to emulate the classics, like Broken Age, it's really hard to recommend the bland and simple Whispering Willows over these examples and others like them.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gamers Source #17 - China Lifts its Console Ban and Wii U Passes 10 Million Units Sold

Image courtesy of Nintendo.com
Hello and welcome to The Gamers Source, your destination for weekly gaming information. This week, Square Enix has announced two different versions of Dragon Quest XI, Nintendo announced that the Wii U has finally sold over 10 million units and China lifts its console ban. So, without further ado, the news...





Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Entwined is Better Left Behind - The Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: Though it tries to emulate the same emotional experience of games like Flower and flOw, Entwined falls way too short of those artistic experiences. The control scheme is never comfortable and the arcade style levels clash with the calming art style. Unfortunately, if you're looking for a calming, emotional experience, keep on looking. Or go back and play Flower, because it's awesome. 


Games have come a long way since the humble beginnings of vector graphics and pixel art. Today it's possible to pick up slow moving and emotional masterpieces like Journey, which stands alongside narrative driven experiences, such as Telltale's The Walking Dead or action oriented game play like God of War. The artistic approach to crafting games is an area that is growing rather quickly, but not all of these games hit the emotional core they are intended to strike. Despite all of it's efforts, Entwined stumbles out of the gate and never reaches the heights of the games it aspires to be.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gamers Source #16 - Xbox Is In Legal Trouble And Rise Of The Tomb Raider Gets PC And PS4 Release Windows

Image courtesy of TheWeatherSpace
Hello and welcome to The Gamers Source, your destination for weekly gaming information. This week, Microsoft takes a financial hit and may end up in court over 360 issues while Square Enix announces the Rise of the Tomb Raider release window on PC and PS4. So, without further ado, the news...





Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gamers Source #15 - Somone Put Minecraft in My Dragon Quest!

Image courtesy of YouTube
Welcome to the Gamer's Source, your weekly destination for gaming information! Minecraft is everywhere as Telltale Games details Minecraft: Story Mode, Mojang announces a bunch of updates for the game and Square Enix announces a Minecraft clone in the Dragon Quest franchise. So, without further ado, the news.



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hohokum is Hohodrum - The Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: The cute aesthetic and desire to adventure into the world are mired by annoying puzzles and lack of communication to the player as to what he/she is supposed to do. Rather than feeling free, you'll often feel annoyed and wondering what the hell is going on.

Game genres have morphed and changed so much that it's becoming harder to simply classify them. This can become an exercise in frustration at times, but ultimately it means that the medium as a whole is growing and expanding, combining things we've come to know and love into new experiences. Not all of these episodes culminate into something worth playing, and unfortunately, Hohokum is one of those experiences.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Gamers Source #14 - Sony's Crowdfunding and Nintendo's Plans Post NX Launch

Image courtesy of SlashGear.com
Welcome to the Gamer's Source, your weekly destination for gaming information! Sony starts its own crowd sourced site for internal projects and Nintendo discusses the future of 3DS and Wii U post NX launch...



Friday, June 12, 2015

Ether One is A Buggy Disappointment - The Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: Aspiring to be on the same level as other famous first-person exploration games, such as Gone Home, Ether One is a buggy disappointment that makes it hard to play and the story even harder to follow the plot. All of its potential can't help make this game good. I would recommend skipping this one.

As more and more tools become available for smaller developers to create and publish games to the mass audience, the first-person adventure genre seems to become almost as common as first-person shooters. There's a reason why these types of games are so popular: they put the person inside the game. There is a feeling of being involved that is harder to emulate when you create character for players to control rather than allowing the user to feel like it is he/she inside the game. Ether One is one of the newer first-person adventure games to join the fold, but it just doesn't live up to the greater options out there.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Gamers Source #12 - Fallout 4 is Happening and E3 Leaks Abound

Image courtesy of Kotaku.
Welcome to the Gamer's Source, your weekly destination for gaming information! Bethesda blew us away with the announcement of Fallout 4 plus a ton of game announcements and leaks this week. So, without further ado, your news...



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Class Field Trips to the Battle Field - The Final Fantasy Type-0 Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: The fast paced combat satisfies, especially with the numerous options available to you, but the story falls off on the last chapter and the camera can make you nauseous. The combat makes it a great game for newbies and old fans alike, though not for the hardcore JRPG gamers.

Final Fantasy has been on a downhill slope for quite some time. Love them or hate them, the Final Fantasy XIII games have left a bad taste in a majority of fans of mouths (including this fan). Despite Final Fantasy Type-0 having more to like than the previously released games of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, it's still lacking the punch of entries of yesteryear.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Gamers Source #11 - June's Free Games and Konami Clarifies its Future

Image courtesy of Polygon.
Welcome to the Gamer's Source, your weekly destination for gaming information! Sony and Microsoft have announced June's free games for their platforms and Konami has gone on record about it's 'Mobile First' future. So, without further ado, your news...



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fanservice For The Pirate Manga At It's Best - The Take Your Time One Piece: Unlimited World Red Review

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Quick Note: For fans of One Piece, there isn't a better adaptation of the tone and feel of the characters and the world. The combat can get stale outside of boss fights, but between the all new story, the ability to play your favorite pirates, and the extra content there's plenty of game here. Never heard of One Piece? You probably should stay away.

Anime translations to games don't always work out the way fans want them to. You would think that taking the impossible battle sequences or outlandish powers and bringing them to a medium where players can interact with them would be simple, but often times the transition leaves behind something special, making the game feel like it's glossed with the anime inspired coat of paint, but missing the heart of the source material. One Piece: Unlimited World Red is the opposite: as an adaptation of the anime/manga, it feels and looks amazing; as a game, it leaves me wishing there was just a little bit more there.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Gamers Source #10 - Take-Two Sells Millions and Pre-E3 News

Image courtesy of Rockstargames.com
Welcome to the Gamer's Source, your weekly destination for gaming information! Take-Two is selling millions in Borderlands, Evolve and Grand Theft Auto V and Sony is opening up a study dedicated to Morpheus development. So, without further ado, your news...



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time To Fix Nintendo's Membership Program

Image courtesy of PureNintendo.
Earlier this year Nintendo announced that the company would be ending it's Club Nintendo program and replace it with a newer, better program. This announcement came tied with the reveal that Nintendo would be developing mobile games, and the reason for ending the Club Nintendo program was to create a program that will work cross platform. Fast forward to today, and Nintendo still hasn't given too many details on what this program will look like, despite the fact that Club Nintendo's end is quickly approaching. So let's break down what would be the best changes Nintendo needs for Club Nintendo's successor. 

True Cross Platform Usage

Nintendo has already announced that the new program will be cross platform with not only the current Nintendo consoles, but PC and mobile as well. Aside from this fact, no other details have been announced, such as what this actually means. What Nintendo needs to do is make this a true cross platform experience that includes purchases that span multiple devices and saved data that can be accessed from multiple devices.

This is the start of Nintendo's vision. (Image courtesy of NintendoLife)
For years Nintendo fans have paid and repaid for the same game every time a new piece of hardware is purchased. On Wii, I purchased Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. On my 3DS, I have purchased Super Mario Bros. 3 and plan on purchasing the original Legend of Zelda. All of these games are trapped on the devices I have downloaded them on, despite the fact that all of these games are playable on multiple devices I own. 

This is the number one problem that Nintendo needs to address. The excuse at the moment is that Nintendo wants to keep the value of games up rather than discounting continuously to try to aim for more sales. It's a noble excuse, and one that has some merit, but it can only be used so much before it looks like a thin veil to not give up something that is making the company money. If the upper management feels that handing out multiple copies on multiple devices will bring down the value of the game, there could always be a cheaper license purchase for players who own the game on a separate device. So rather than paying $5.99 for Legend of Zelda on my Wii U when I already own it on my 3DS, I could pay $.99 to buy a license and utilize it to re-download the game on this new device. It's silly that players have to re-buy these games over and over again and, honestly, it feels a bit like a let down, as if Nintendo doesn't care that it's consumers have to re-purchase these games.

Having to purchase these separately is silly and kind of outrageous. (Image courtesy of Engadget).
The ability to carry over save files between devices is also something that needs to be addressed. As more of these games become available on multiple devices, the ability to pick up and play on the go only to come home and move to the big screen is important. Sony has mastered this with the PS Vita and PS4/PS3, and has even left it up to developers to implement into their games, requiring Sony only to ensure that there is a back end that works well. Even mobile games have cross save play so players can move from mobile to tablet to PC without having to worry about anything in between. This feature is a no-brainer and there really is no excuse anymore.

Keeping Score

Hate them or love them, Trophies and Achievements are important to PlayStation and Xbox owners. Not only is there evidence that games with these features sell better, these games often have longer retention, depending on how the feature is implemented. Nintendo won't create a similar system, nor should they. Keeping score between friends isn't really Nintendo's style and creates a competitive nature that sometimes leads to hostilities that Nintendo does not want to deal with in it's online community. However, creating a unique system to show off accomplishments and compare with friends online is some thing Nintendo needs to implement. 

This is a start, but keep it going Nintendo! (Image courtesy of games.niooz.fr)
The funny thing is, Nintendo has already started this system with the 3DS: the badge collection system. This is a system that is perfect for Nintendo, because players can earn badges by completing challenges within games without placing a score to it. The system isn't so much competitive with your friends as it is more about competing with yourself and showing off your cute little achievements to your friends. It is the core of what the Trophy and Achievement systems started as but have left behind for this score chasing game. Badges can be cute, customizable for your devices (including your smartphone) and can be shown off through a friend profile and street pass. I mean, how cool would it be to collect all 8 gym badges in a Pokemon game and be able to show them off on your gaming profile? It would be amazing! The ability to show off and compare these badges with friends can go a long way and keep the positive online environment Nintendo cherishes.

And if Badges aren't what Nintendo wants to do then something similar, such as Stamps or a Garden to collect plants that relate to these systems. Anything is better than nothing, and knowing Nintendo, the company can create some system that is not only creative, but undeniably charming and cute at the same time. Having this system to span all devices and Nintendo games would be fantastic.

Maintain the Miis

The biggest thing Nintendo has over Sony and Microsoft when it comes to social gaming networks is the Mii system. Miis can be kind of a joke, but ultimately they are the best solution to keeping Nintendo unique and can help maintain a social network specific to Nintendo games and products.  And unlike the Avatars that Microsoft uses for Xbox, Miis are utilized for Mii Plaza and other social areas. 
 
This is a start, but make it a little bit more interesting (image courtesy of Nintendo wiki).

Keeping this concept and expanding on it will create a creative and interesting gaming social network that can do the same thing as PSN and Xbox Live, but also create a social area to interact with other players. Sony tried this with PlayStation Home, but ultimately it was too separated from the gaming space that players start in. To get to PlayStation Home you have to go out of your way. It is too ambitious. Keeping it simple, but building on Mii Plaza, Nintendo can capture this social area interaction while keeping players close to the games they want to play.

Taking this concept to mobile and PC platforms would be simple as well. A Mii app for mobile phones that would allow players to customize Miis, chat with friends and even compete in mini games and show off their Badge Collections (SEE HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER NINTENDO!) would be perfect. Sony has it's own PlayStation App, which works well, but Nintendo could implement this and expand on it with it's own unique twist to create an experience players want to be a part of.

Online Essentials 

The final thing Nintendo needs to address is it's own mentality towards the internet and it's features. There are plenty of essentials that PSN and Xbox Live continue to build on that Nintendo refuses to utilize, namely communication. Voice Chat and better Messaging needs to happen. 
 
Let me talk with my friends while playing games, Nintendo! (image courtesy of zeldainformer)

Yes, the internet can be vitriolic. And yes, not every player is going to be nice to other players, but in order to make the Mii system expand and incorporate a trophy-esque system, the online social features need to be expanded to match that of the competition. Party matchmaking and social media integration is also a plus, but the voice chat and messaging are where Nintendo needs to start. Limit the usage or offer the option to turn these features off for specific games that are being aimed at a younger audience, but don't make everyone suffer to 'protect' the younger audience. 
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These are the starting blocks that need to be addressed. For years the company has taken hits for it's refusal to upgrade this system of online features and usage. From being unable to tie everything to one ID to the inability to use the gaming systems to communicate with friends online easily, it's time to change. If these features listed above can be implemented appropriately, Nintendo could not only catch up to Sony and Microsoft, the company could supersede it's competition as the leader in how to build a positive social structure within it's gaming world.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gamers Source #9 - Nintendo Is Making Money And New Membership Program Details

Image courtesy of Forbes.
The Gamer's Source is taking a different direction in the form of a podcast Check it out below. Nintendo had a direct specifically for Splatoon, so lots of details have emerged as well as some small details on Nintendo's next membership program. So, without further ado, your news...



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Gamers Source #8 - Free May Games And Yooka-Laylee Excitement

Image courtesy of IGN.
The Gamer's Source is taking a different direction in the form of a podcast Check it out below. Xbox and Playstation have announced the free games for the month of May and the spiritual successor of Banjo-Kazooie has been announced! So, without further ado, your news...



Monday, April 27, 2015

Gamers Source #7 - Double Up for a News Week Twofer

Image courtesy of The Guardian.
The Gamer's Source is taking a different direction in the form of a podcast Check it out below. Due to an abscence last week, this episode is packed with two weeks worth of news, including sales figures for Bloodborne and more details on the next Guitar Hero game.  So, without further ado, your news...



Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Mixed Bag of Puzzles and Mayhem - The MonsterBag Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: The Cartoon Network style graphics hide a simple, yet violent, puzzler. Great for players looking to play something in quick bursts or those who enjoy puzzles, but be ready for the difficulty spike with the last few levels.   

Despite what many fans (and detractors) may think about the lack of big titles on Sony's handheld, the PS Vita is the perfect playground for smaller, independent games that are great for pick up and play sessions. MonsterBag joins this pantheon of games that fit so well on the Vita, though it falls just short of the greatness many more before it have reached.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Light in the Darkness - The Child of Light Take Your Time Review

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Quick Note: Between the beautiful painting style graphics and the solid JRPG battle system, Child of Light hits all the right notes for any fan of a JRPG. Plus, it's short play time and simple play style makes this the perfect game for anyone curious in the genre. Child of Light is the perfect JRPG for pretty much anyone.   

My favorite games have always been predominately Japanese RPG's. From starting with Pokemon and moving into Final Fantasy, the turn based battle systems and magical abilities have always been something I have been drawn to. The 90's and early 00's were the golden years for JRPG's, with hundreds of hours worth of great story telling, interesting characters and amazing combat. That all seemed to stop with the last generation. Sure there were a few gems, but the glut of JRPG's seemed to stop, especially with the large franchises like Dragon Quest, which was almost completely absent, and Final Fantasy, which fell down a hole known as Final Fantasy XIII.


To fill in the void, smaller, shorter JRPG's that fit better into a busy schedule have been popping up, and none of them are better than Child of Light. Built by a small team within Ubisoft Montreal, Child of Light takes the traditional story, combat and exploration of JRPG's and makes it fresh and enjoyable again.