g1 Previews February 2013: Castle Rock
MH: Hello there g1s. Welcome once again to the g1 Previews, the show where we look at certain games and judge them solely on their trailers and demos, like all good gamers do. With me once again is my loyal partner, Gear12.
G12: Hello again ScrewAttack! We have a lot more to cover than last month because the industry actually decided to release stuff in February.
MH: Absolutely. Before we go, I'd like to apologize to Ron Gilbert for not including The Cave in the previews of last month. I did not know it was coming out in January, and I apologize. With that out of the way, let's take a look at the freaky deaky schedule and begin!!
Fire Emblem Awakening
Release Date: February 4 (NA), Somewhere in April (EU)
Developer/Publisher: Intelligent Systems/Nintendo
MH: I'm not going to lie here, I am not a fan of the Fire Emblem series. This is not the series' fault, as I love to use Marth in Super Smash Bros Melee. It has more to do with the fact that I'm simply not a fan of strategy RPGs, and no matter how hard I try, I find they have too little game in them, and find them a bit boring to be honest.
MH: However, that's not going to cloud my judgment and, I must say that this game is looking mighty fine.
G12: Because I made the brilliant decision of buying an American region 3DS right before moving to Europe, I've been able to get my hands on the demo and play it. I'm not a fan of the series but I'm legitimately impressed by it. I'm a sucker for a good strategy game, though I usually prefer real-time. Fire Emblem Awakening has changed a number of things since the Radiant Dawn: You can create and customize your own player avatar, who I decided to name "Butts" because I am a mature adult. [Editor's Note: I would have done the same thing: my skeleton in Ni No Kuni is named "Boner."] They also included an "easy mode" that removes the perma-death of characters. [Editor's Note: Those are two different settings: the game offers an easy, medium, and hard mode, but it also contains Casual and Classic settings that determines whether your characters permanently die.]
MH: Interesting. Create your own character? The trailers made it seem like some bloke named Chrom was going to be the main character. He isn't? In any case, the story looks pretty interesting, with some force doing evil things. That part is pretty dull, but there is also a mysterious masked warrior claiming to be the legendary Marth.
G12: I can tell you that Chrom is certainly an important character, but the player does get to create their own avatar, who, of course, has amnesia because storytelling is hard. Despite how much the demo impressed me, it's not a guaranteed buy though due to the fact that I'm still not a big fan of turn-based tactics games. I think Fire Emblem fans are really going to like it though.
MH: Indeed. While I'm not a big fan of the genre, Awakening has me honestly intrigued. We didn't even mention just how beautiful this game looks. It's mighty impressive. It’s been a while since we got a new Fire Emblem (If Shadow Dragon, which was a remake, doesn't count, it’s been since 2008's Radiant Dawn), so it’s good to see that the series is back. I've got a feeling that this game is going to be good. If only I could've played the demo.
Gear’s Hype Level: 6/10. A Steel Longsword with half of its durability left
MadHero’s Hype Level: 7/10 A Thumbs Up that fights for its friends (I'm sorry, that was terrible)
Dead Space 3
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: February 5 (NA), 7 (AU), 8 (EU)
Developer/Publisher: Visceral Games/EA
MH: Oh boy, we've got a doozy right here. The Dead Space franchise was one of the few franchises that stuck with its horror elements. The first one was a pretty frightening experience, and the second, which I haven't played, is said to be even better. However, Dead Space 3 looks great, but is it really Dead Space?
G12: I'm not going to lie; Dead Space has never really interested me. Keep in mind that I've never played any of them, but they never really do anything that interests me. The idea that you're fighting off the Necromorphs with your engineering tools was always kind of cool, though. This seems to be strangely absent from Dead Space 3. Now you're using conventional weapons like assault rifle or shotguns. We're set for games where you shoot freaky monsters with guns, EA; did we need to turn another horror franchise into one?
MH: The original Dead Space was cool in that it felt like an up-scaled Alien. Here you are, a lone engineer on an extremely depressing spaceship, suddenly trying to kill these horribly deformed monsters. The strategic dismemberment made it so that you didn't always aim for the head. And while you were just waiting for a monster goes BOO, it works because it’s still very tense. Dead Space 3 seems to have none of that. Dark depressing spaceship which made you claustrophobic? Nah, let’s put you on a giant ice planet. Sense of loneliness? Give it some co-op. Oh, and let’s put in some micro-transactions and Uncharted style action sequences, because all the cool kids are doing it.
G12: Oh the micro-transactions. As if EA didn't already want enough of our money. It's like they're not even trying to hide it anymore. In all seriousness though, I'm getting increasingly worried by retail games putting micro-transactions in as well. Micro-transactions are supposed to be used in a FTP game to purchase additional content or temporary boosts to speed up gameplay. NOT as EA is using them, which is basing the micro-transactions around a vital mechanic in a 60 dollar game.
MH: It works in a free to play game, or at most one with a low entrance fee. Not in a game where you already pay 60 dollars, with stuff like DLC. It doesn't make sense. Worst part is that a lot of people will most likely fall for it
MH: As it stands, the game might be fine. From what I've seen, it actually looks good. The problem is that this isn't Dead Space. EA could've taken any other of their sci-fi franchises and used that instead. That simply doesn't make me excited to play this game. You can cry foul at the new Devil May Cry all you like, at least that game kept most of its style.
Gear’s Hype Level 3/10. A jump-scare that trips and falls over itself
MadHero’s Hype Level: 3/10 A Plasma-cut Thumbs Down
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Platform: PS3, PS Vita
Release: February 5 (NA), March 27 (EU)
Developer/Publisher: Sanzaru Games/Sony
MH: This is going to be interesting. The PS2 used to be a holy haven for mascot platformers, with Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, and Sly Cooper. Out of those three, only Ratchet made it out to do more things in the next generation (though Insomniac is very busy messing it all up). But now, the raccoon is back! I'd normally be excited for this. These types of games simply don't come out much anymore, and you want to support it. From what I've played though, I'm a bit worried.
G12: The Sly Cooper franchise is one that has always interested me. It looks really cool. A stylized stealth game based around a group of animals. However, from what I've played, Thieves in Time... isn't very good. The controls are awkward and slightly floaty, which is a problem in a 3D platformer. It has a cool disguise mechanic that gives you different powers depending on what costume you're wearing. This could be used really well if I knew what I was doing. The demo I played, which for the record is different from what Madhero15 played, didn't tell me what to do. Accuse me of being a casual scrub all you like, but there's a difference between a game not holding your hand and a game not telling you shit.
MH: It should be noted that this game wasn't made by Sucker Punch (they've moved on to InFamous) but by Sanzaru Games, who made the Sly Cooper HD Pack, and the PS2 version of Secret Agent Clank. This is their first big project, so maybe some of those things have to do with them being an inexperienced studio. I cannot really feel like I can judge this game well because I haven't played the other Sly Coopers, but I did get to play this one, and what I played, unfortunately did not impress me, which is a huge bummer
G12: It's sad to see a game developer's first big release be so disappointing. Sly was always a cool franchise to me. I hope it's better than the demo made it seem, but seeing how well that thinking went with Epic Mickey 2, I'm not getting my hopes up. If nothing else, it looks very good and it has some good ideas. I hope this game sells well enough to warrant a sequel that fixes all the problems of this one. As it stands now though, I'm not gonna pick this up.
MadHero’s Hype Level: 4/10 A time-travelling Thumbs Down
Gear’s Hype Level 4/10. A raccoon that smells faintly of wet dog
Aliens Colonial Marines
Platform: PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360
Release: February 12
Developer/Publisher: Gearbox Software/SEGA
MH: Who doesn't like the Alien franchise? Ok, you're free to hate on the AvP franchise, and Alien 3 and Resurrection aren't all that great, but the series continues to stand tall thanks to the first two absolutely excellent films, and some nice games along the way. Colonial Marines has been a very long time coming (it’s started development in 2001, then died, and got resurrected in 2006), and finally it arrives. As a fan of the franchise, I'm looking forward to it, but I'm starting to get more skeptical for some reason
G12: The Alien franchise is great. I love the idea of a good game set in the Alien universe where the aliens are a credible threat. It's being developed by Gearbox Software, and they know their stuff when it comes to FPSs. They've shown us some of the cool new alien designs already, and it promises to be heavy on story and horror, unlike a previously mentioned shooting game published by EA.
MH: These all tend to be good signs, but last time we got a long-time-coming FPS from Gearbox, we got Duke Nukem Forever. Granted, they only finished the game, but that left a bad taste in many people's mouths. I want to be excited as an Aliens fan. Gearbox are fans, they've even talked to series creator Ridley Scott (there may some links to Prometheus in the game), and it looks like they've really hard to build the world of Aliens. AND. YET. I'M. STILL. WORRIED!
G12: A number of fans have drawn attention to the fact that the graphics look kind of sub-par. To which I propose this simple question: what were you expecting? It's been in production since 2001. They weren't about to scrap all their art and start over for a new console generation. If they did that, we'd never have this game see the light of day. I'm remaining cautiously optimistic, because unlike Duke Nukem Forever, I highly doubt that Gearbox will punch out a broken and unfinished product. They remember Duke Nukem Forever as well as you and I do. They don't want that to happen again.
MH: Considering a lot of Gearbox had defended/is still defending Duke Nukem Forever, I somewhat doubt that. :P
MH: But yeah, I was expecting the meh graphics. Either way, I hope that the game is going to be fun and true to the Alien franchise. It's been a long time coming, but the game is finally coming out. Gearbox, the ball is in your court. Impress me. Please!!!!
Gear’s Hype Level 8/10. An entire squad of marines being violently mauled by xenomorphs
MadHero’s Hype Level: 6/10 A face-hugged thumbs up (but a very worried one)
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release: February 19 (NA), 21 (AU), 22 (EU)
Developer/Publisher: Crytek Frankfurt/EA
MH: Oh shit, that's coming out. That was my reaction when I looked at the February release schedule. Yeah, this game has been flying under the radar it seems
G12: I hope you recently upgraded your computer because it's Crysis time again. Crytek's series of computer-melting shooters is back with more bows and arrows that ever before! It hasn't been getting a lot of press, but I'm still pretty pumped for this. The trailer is pretty damn awesome and Crytek knows how to make good games.
MH: I know they do, Crytek knows their stuff about making a shooter. The problem is, I don't particularly care. The original Cryis was known for being nearly impossible to run on a PC. But the sequel fixed that (partially by putting it on consoles) and then what remained? The cool nanosuit and all of its powers, but that's really it. It’s weird. For all its nanosuits and aliens, Crysis always seemed kind of bland to me. So I'm not really looking forward to this
MH: It does make me curious that there has been so little press for this game. That either means that EA simply doesn't care, or knows it has a turd on their hands and is trying to slip it by.
G12: I see where you're coming from there. If nothing else, it's sure to be damn pretty. To me, it's more for the spectacle than anything. I don't know if I'm going to play it, but I'd like to see it sell well because Crytek needs to make more games.
MH: Crytek will be fine, I think. I'm simply wondering why EA seems to not really do anything with this title. It could be good, but I believe Crysis 2's only real achievement was that it was the most pirated game of 2011, and that it looks great
G12: I blame Dead Space for lack of a better explanation
MadHero’s Hype Level: 5/10 a Nanosuited thumb to the side
Gear’s Hype Level: 6/10 A very well-rendered, hopeful thumb up
Metal Gear Rising: Revengance
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: February 19 (NA), 21 (AU), 22 (EU)
Developer/Publisher: Platinum Games/Konami
MH: Well, here we are. The Metal Gear series has always had some weird entries (remember Metal Gear Acid?) but this one really takes the cake. A continuation of MGS4 starring Raiden, a character a lot of people still don't like, in an over-the-top action game, rather than a stealth one. It’s an odd title, and I love it. :D
G12: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a strange one for me. I'm a huge fan of Metal Gear Solid 3, so seeing the franchise have such a super different game spawn out of it is confusing for me. On the other hand, said spinoff looks completely awesome, and based off what I've heard from people who have played the demo, the combat is super awesome. It's being developed by Platinum Games, who have an excellent track record with action games, so this one is looking great.
MH: The original Rising that we originally saw was dead and buried, with the team having no clue how to progress, and Kojima silently canceled it. Then Platinum up and made a completely different game. While Metal Gear always had something over the top about it, this game seems to take it to a whole different level. It originally left fans cold (including myself), but as it went on, the game has warmed up to me, and the demo was freakin’ awesome
G12: This game seems like it would be right up my alley. Super satisfying acrobatic hacky-slashy fun times combined with the balls-to-the-wall awesomeness that has ingrained itself in the Metal Gear Solid universe. Also the game is damn beautiful. For me, the only downside to this game is that I don't own a console to play it on.
MH: I still have to see how it’s going to fit into the MGS universe. If this is canon, then Platinum has done some heavy stuff, stuff that I don't think the fans will appreciate (because it’s a very different tone from the original) the game looks fantastic though. Platinum knows action, and while it may not work as Metal Gear game, it still looks like a fantastic game that's going to be really interesting. God bless you Platinum, you crazy fools
MadHero’s Hype Level: 8/10 A Zan-Datsu'd (cut and taken) Thumbs Up
Gear’s Hype Level 9/10. A perfectly carved watermelon thumb up
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan
Release Date: February 26
MH: You're going to have listen to Gear, because I've only barely heard of the Etrian Odyssey series. I haven't played them, I don't even think I've seen a trailer or gameplay video of any of them. So Gear, could you maybe explain what this game is all about?
G12: I admit, this is mostly for me. I'm such a huge nerd for the Etrian Odyssey games. I played all of the DS ones and loved every second of it. It's the kind of hardcore RPG experience that is hard but fair. You begin by putting together a party from a number of awesome classes, including your standard fighter, wizard and cleric, but also including awesome things like a samurai or a pirate.
Your goal is to go into the local massive dungeon and explore it to uncover its secrets while taking a variety of jobs from the townsfolk. The monster designs are completely awesome, and the games do a great job of building the world as you uncover more about it. Moving around the dungeons is done in a tile-based first person view. It adds a level of immersion seldom seen on handheld RPGs. Most interesting of all, you have to keep your own map on the bottom screen, using a grid to draw on and a selection of icons to keep track of what you've done. In a lot of ways it's similar to Dungeons and Dragons. If you like an RPG you can really sink your teeth into, I highly recommend Etrian Oddysey. The fact that they're making one for 3DS makes it all the more sweet with the badass updated graphics. I'm super pumped for this game.
Gear’s Hype Level 10/10. Hardcore thumb up IN 3D
MH: Um, yeah. That (I really know nothing about this series, sorry)
Platform: Wii U
Release Date: February 26 (NA) 28 (EU, AUS)
Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft
MH: After the Rabbids took over Rayman's career, I never saw him return to gaming. The original Raving Rabbids was going to be a new cool 3D platformer, but we all know what it became. The revival did happen though, in the form of Rayman Origins, which to this day, is probably one of the best 2D platformers I've ever played. Here comes the question. Can Legends possibly top it?
G12: Rayman Origins is without question one of the best 2D platformers of this generation, maybe even of all time. The controls are super smooth, it's hard without being unfair and the art style and music are gorgeous. And now there's a sequel? Where do I sign up?
MH: The idea that this is actually happening is astounding, since Origins did not sell extremely well (FFFFFFOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLSSSSSSS), but it is, and I couldn't be happier. Coming exclusively to the Wii U, it does some extremely cool things with the Game Pad. Stuff I don't think Nintendo themselves could have come up with
MH: DAT CASTLE ROCK!
G12: The demo has been out for about two months now, and I have to say I'm extremely impressed. The Wii U gamepad is really well-integrated, and the art and music are just as gorgeous as Origins. It's great to play with a friend as you coordinate difficult platforming segments with a great mix of strategy and speed. The rhythm level in the demo is genius, and I hope that they're all at least as awesome as that one. My hat's off to Ubisoft for doing something right for a change. One big question I have is how the Gamepad works for single player. You'd need 3 hands to play that properly.
MH: Despite all of my excitement, I am a little worried how it’s going to tackle single player. When I was playing alone and came across puzzles that could only be solved by Murphy (the character you control on the Game Pad): you were forced to play as him, and the game was playing Rayman Super Guide style. I do wonder how this will be tackled, but letting the game play itself isn't very fun.
For the rest though, the game is looking brilliant. Ubisoft has truly blown me out of the water, and I am stoked to get this game when it comes out. I want, no, need this game now.
Gear’s Hype Level 10/10. 2 Castle-Rocking thumbs up
Madhero’s Hype Level: 10/10 A Huge, huge, huge, huge, HUGE thumbs up
MH: And those are all the games we've had in store for February. Join us next month, where we'll be talking even more high profile games. Games like Castlevania: Mirror of Fate, the Tomb Raider reboot, the South Park RPG, and many many more!
G12: Thank you once again for having me, it was a blast. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch that Castle Rock trailer again.