From Top to Bottom: Joel negotiating, Joel making friends, Joel’s “Texas Twist” firing stance, Joel enjoying the warm beaches of… Pittsburgh.
Here’s to a Helluva Good Time: Doom Reveal Impressions
Thanks to my travelling man stint courtesy of my job, I happened to get access to the closed-door reveal event for id Software’s Doom revival held at the 19th annual Quakecon. Yeah, they showed the game in action. Cutting straight to the point with a spinning chainsaw blade, the footage was absolutely fucking killer. I’ve never been so excited for Doom.
The presentation began with some foreplay — precursory details about the game that set the tone for where id is heading with this quasi-reboot. Namely, we’re going back to Mars, a setting the dev team felt Doom belonged (which all but squashes the originally proposed Earth backdrop). Though it’s unlikely you need any more preamble past “demons and shotgun,” the story revolves around a research institute called UAC experimenting on Hell’s denizens, combining machine and monster because… there’s nothing else to shoot on Mars?
id scrapped the “Doom 4" moniker in favor of just "Doom" for a reason. It’s not a remake so much as it’s an homage to everything about the series that’s been lauded and beloved by fans over it’s nearly twenty year lifespan. It was stressed that this game doesn’t fall in step with the modern day FPS convention of "cover-shooting" that forces you to wait behind barricades while your health regenerates. As in days of yore, this Doom has you running and gunning, dodging flying projectiles and getting in your enemy’s face for the kill. What was shown off was fast-paced, almost reckless gunplay that called back to the genre’s formative years.
The footage had our helmeted space marine navigating a darkly atmospheric environment that resembled a cross between Aliens' LV-426 and Hellraiser's torture-scapes. The levels aren't one-dimensional planes, either. More than a few times, our marine dabbled in light platforming to get up and above; he's even got himself a short jet-pack burst that serves as a sort of double jump.
Stopping and smelling the Martian roses became a secondary endeavor, however, once demons started spilling onto the scene. This… this is where I felt a yawning maw of a craving for this game and it’s because of a new combat mechanic that, honestly, every FPS might gladly rip-off once Doom drops. In the gorey heat of battle, you’ll sometimes notice a pulsing glow envelop enemies you weaken with gunfire. That gives you the ability to launch into an instant kill finisher that literally tears demons apart. We saw chest cavities caved in, heads knocked clean off, and things happen to jaws that shouldn’t happen to jaws.
The moves are contextually sensitive, meaning that if you’re near a wall, well of course your Doom Guy will bash a demon’s skull into it. Are they down on the ground? You’re mashing skulls like you’re making wine. Happen to be mid-air? Imagine the real world result of Mario descending boots first upon a Goomba. It adds a layer of moment-to-moment choice where the result is you mincing up a room of enemies in the most horrifically pleasing way possible.
And because you’re looking to revive your health instead of regenerate it, the dev’s cleverly have demons drop healing pick-up’s, encouraging you to blast and mash away in order to chain kills and keep your energy from falling. Instead of feeling like a holdover from FPS days of yore, it actually adds this frantic, kinetic feel to the combat that just makes me salivate.
The game plans on throwing the entire hordes of Hell and its next-door neighbors at you. Some fights escalated to rooms packed with a mixed-bag of enemy types. Fireballs and claws filled the player’s vision. Luckily, a new weapon radial allows you to pause the action Mass Effect-style and choose the best killin’ instrument to make sweet music with. And, man, do the weapons look awesome. There’s an automatic shotgun equipped with rapid-fire, an intensely accurate plasma rifle, the classic overpowered double-barrel, a friggin’ rocket launcher and — though conventional — a good ol’ fashioned chainsaw that provided the demo’s most gruesomely satisfying moments of bifurcation.
Multiplayer was confirmed, though only insomuch as to confirm it existed. Beyond that, 1080p and a silky 60fps were guaranteed for the next-gen title (yes, it being Quakecon, any mention of consoles was met with immediate and resounding “Boo’s”).
The footage killed it for the crowd, ovations and loudness ensuing. For me… It made a crater of an impression. What was shown doesn’t just seem like an evolution for this series but the potential push the entire FPS genre needs to break away from tired ideas introduced last-generation. It looks fast, bloody, and incredibly fun. id definitely has something big on their hands here. Bigger than a BFG.
Somebody must have tasked Phil Spencer with two missions yesterday when he took to E3’s stage in Los Angeles: 1) Avoid showing off anything regarding, related to, or even remotely reminiscent of TV apps and 2) Slowly strangle anyone who dares utter the word “Kinect” while staring into their eyes as their soul fades from their body like a light dimming.
I say this because Phil made damn sure the only thing that took center stage besides camera-shy, stammering game developers was the games themselves. What ensued was probably one of the better conferences held by the company in quite some time — Microsoft wasn’t going to let Sony blacken their eye again like at last year’s event.
Below, I’ve collected (almost) every title named at the Xbox presser. Be sure to click on each game’s name to peep an accompanying trailer.
See, don’t I take care of you guys?
Watch_Dogs - “Alone” Gameplay
I’m learning that Watch Dogs has tons of surprises hiding about Chicago’s virtualized nooks and alleyways. The Digital Trips rank as my favorite discoveries.
The idea is a trench-coated individual of loose morals sells you basically a VR acid trip. Why Aiden Pearce considers tripping virtual balls in the middle of his revenge-quest a worthwhile pursuit is anyone’s guess and, secondly, who cares? He gets to play psychotropically induced mini-games that exist in his head, which is basically what video games will be next-next generation.
This is “Alone,” where Aiden blows up darkness spewing generators guarded by laser-shooting androids with surveillance cameras for heads. So, yeah, your standard acid trip. The kind of high five the person who came up with Alone deserves would shatter every bone in their hand. Here’s a snippet of my time battling this Philip K. Dickian nightmare-verse.
I’ll come clean; I don’t know much about Strider. My familiarity with the character begins and ends at his inclusion to the rosters of Capcom’s Vs. titles. I’d always confuse him for Shinobi, if we’re being perfectly honest. Can you blame me? Not that there were many chances for me to get acquainted with Strider Hiryu before now. The last installment came out fourteen years ago.
But a crash course on the series isn’t needed with admission. Whether you’re fresh to the series, such as myself, or if you’re reuniting with Hiryu once again, it won’t stop you from enjoying this fast-paced, satisfying — if not filling — slice of side-scrolling Metroidvania action.
Ninjas, cybrogs, and side-scrolling. Great glowing swords, did 1989 come back to life? Join me as I stream my very first time playing Capcom and Double Helix Games’ Strider revival!
Stream’s done and over, but if you click the link, it’d sure be mighty green of ya to give my channel a follow!
Nintendo’s first truly original Zelda installment on the 3DS — not to dismiss the tremendous effort it took to make Ocarina look that gorgeous on such a painfully small screen — delves into the series’ past for inspiration. Yet calling A Link Between Worlds a “sequel” to 1995’s A Link to the Past only serves the definition in the most clinical sense.
The top-down perspective and setting are lifted from the SNES classic, but Between Worlds is very much its own game. It achieves a unique feel through its mechanics and thoughtful, unobtrusive use of three-dimensional gameplay. It’s a kinetic adventure where the familiar — what we’ve come to know as “Quintessential Zelda" through the years — is infused with small, progressive tweaks and an expanded suite of free-roam options, creating this refreshing cocktail of old school design and modern innovation.
Pardon my pun a thousand times over, but it’s the best of both worlds.
The Red Herb’s Machinarium Giveaway!
It’s that rare time again, folks. It’s time for me to uncharacteristically give away free stuff without the expectation of goods and favors in return! It’s just like Christmas. A really cynical Christmas.
Here’s what’s up for grabs:
- An App Store download code for Amanita Design’s rusty robot point n’ click adventure MACHINARIUM. I’ve got ten codes, so ten entrants have a chance to win (that math checks out, I think).
You can redeem the code for PC, Mac, or most of your iDevices. All youse guys have to do is reblog this post for a chance to earn one of ten codes. I appreciate your likes, I do, but only reblogs count for contest entry. U.S. applicants only (apologies to my six fans in Alberta, Canada).
Winners will be messaged their codes this Sunday at 10 P.M. EST.
This year’s bulb is almost out, folks. And what a goddamn year it was! If it wasn’t enough that a high profile title hit market just about every other week, 2013 also saw fit to usher in a new generation of home consoles, bringing with it a wave of innovative, game-changing releases— Nah, I’m kidding. They just ported over some shooters and racing games.
See, despite the starter pistol having gone off for the next-gen race, 2013 belonged to the current-gen. Through years of strife and growth and learning, developers were able to forge some of the best games we’ve seen in a while, leaving gamers with a slew of graceful sendoffs to a generation in its twilight. Here are my favorite games of 2013 (that I got around to playing… really important to remember that).
Merry Khristmas From The Red Herb!
Thanks to a lazy Sunday and tinkering around with the PS4, The Red Herb is now on Twitch TV, son!
Forgive my use of the factory mic for commentary. Forgive me twice for my commentary. Be sure to subscribe so I can have another obligation riding the guilt centers of my brain. Hooray for obligation!
UPDATE: Be sure to follow me on Twitter for streaming announcements and random gaming prattle. @KevinApocalypse
Something decently awesome happened today. The Red Herb hit 1,000 followers.
Big whoop, right? There’s twat-shot blogs and blogs dedicated to digitally swapping babies’ heads with their parents that have tens of thousands of followers. But you know what? It is a big whoop. I’m infinitely grateful to every one of you that viewed my mundane slice of the internet and somehow didn’t instantly forget it. Sincerely now: thank you for following.
A shout out is deserved toward the kind editors of the #gaming tag that, irrationally, also don’t hate what I post and have given me undue exposure. Thanks for your support, guys. Really.
I’m currently bombing around North Carolina, setting up another show for Glitch, but when I get back, I’ll find some cool way to give back in celebration of my tiny milestone. It’ll likely just be a wallet chain. But just you wait for the wallet giveaway happening after I hit 10,000 followers.
Halloween is just hours away, folks! While some of you are out there meticulously preparing a wickedly spooky costume to spill keg beer on, us introverts are lining up a marathon of murder, madness, and the macabre. That’s not some alliterated threat I’m making. I just mean we’re going to burn up the devil’s birthday watching horror flicks in the anti-social solitude of our darkened apartments.
As a habitual gamer, though, I grow restless passively watching blood and guts tossed about. I also like to take part in the blood and guts tossing (this article will be used against me in court someday…). I like to keep in season with a rotating program of horror video games. From Silent Hill to Dead Space to that one about the mid-western cops in a zombie filled mansion (why the hell can’t I remember that game’s name?), I just find interactive scares far more stool loosening than the static frights movies hold.
So, here I am, between a tower of Carpenter and Romero flicks on the one side, a separate stack of survival and action horror games sitting on the other. And, thusly, I had my peanut butter cup moment. We’ve already got ourselves some examples of horror films brilliantly adapted into games (2002’s The Thing hurt in all the right ways) but the industry’s still missing out on some killer properties to mine for inspiration. Here’s my top picks for a few more genre classics that deserve to cross mediums: