Possible PlayStation 4 Announcement – February 20

There has been a lot of anticipation within the gaming community as to what Sony is going to announce for their next-gen console.  Well, if the video posted on the official PlayStation blog is any indicator, the wait for an announcement may soon be over.

The video only contains teaser elements and no solid proof that it’s a PlayStation 4 announcement but it could be possible.  The Sony event will take place in New York City at 6pm EST on (you guessed it) February 20.

Source: Kotaku

Grand Theft Auto Release Date!

Rockstar Games finally announced a release date for the hotly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V!  They have pushed back the release from spring but at least we now have a solid date to look forward to.  Get your calendars ready!  GTA5 will finally come out on September 17 and I can’t wait!

Source: Kotaku

Temple Run 2 Review

I’m usually not a fan of the “endless runner” genre of mobile gaming.  I wasn’t even a fan of the first Temple Run;  there’s a certain charm that this one has that makes me want to keep playing though.  Between the beautiful updated graphics to the additional gameplay elements not present in the first iteration, Temple Run 2 can be very addicting.  It’s very easy to get lost in it, to get sucked in with the attitude of “I’ll get farther next time!”

Although it’s a graphically appealing game for the genre and the gameplay is fun most of the time, I don’t like the fact that it relies heavily on a tilt mechanic.  I haven’t had any issues with the swipe mechanic (turning left or right, jumping or ducking) that always seems to execute smoothly.  However, one thing I’ve noticed is the fact that it doesn’t always recognize a legitimate tilt.  I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve had to use ‘Save Me’ (which is a nice feature to have) at the cost of a gem or two because of this.  Let it be noted, I played on both an iPhone 5 and a Kindle Fire.  This issue may not be present on all devices.

In this sequel, they have also added zip lines and mine carts.  The mine carts are very tilt-reliant which can be extremely tedious if you’re unlucky enough to get a lot of mine cart areas back-to-back.  What’s unfortunate is the fact that the issues with tilt are still present in the mine carts; due to the areas being reliant on tilt, this can be problematic.

Temple Run 2 can be very addicting at times, but due to the tilt issues I experienced it can also be very frustrating.  Because of the problems I had with tilt, I give it a:

3-5-stars

You can purchase Temple Run 2 through Amazon, Google Play, or the Apple iTunes store.  It was on sale for Free at the time of this posting.

Neverwinter to Receive Beta Weekends

Neverwinter, the MMO by Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment, will start beta testing with three weekend stress tests.  The first test will be February 8-10, followed by a test March 8-10, with the final test taking place March 22-24.

There will be multiple ways to gain access to these beta weekends.  You will be able to get promotional codes through outlets such as PC Gamer, events like PAX East, and also community giveaways.  If you don’t want to chance it, you can ensure your access by purchasing a “Founder’s Pack”.

Before I go into detail about the Founder Packs, let me first make a personal statement.  I know there’s a lot of debate about whether or not these types of promotions are fair/ethical/what-have-you, but I see both the positive and negative of such a business platform.  It’s just that though; it’s a business move.  They aren’t forcing you to pay money to play the game, only to play an early version of the game that won’t carry over into the retail release.  If you’re patient enough, you really won’t have to pay a cent!  It’s good for the game developer in that they get an early revenue stream from dedicated fans that will help with the development process.  TLDR:  You don’t have to “pay-to-play”, it’s just an option if you want to see content early and get goodies.

With that being said, there are three Founder’s Packs with only two granting guaranteed beta access.  The three Pack tiers according to Kotaku are as follows:

Starter Kit ($19.99 USD) including:

  • ‘Adventurer’s Helper Pack’ containing six different types of in-game items
  • ‘Small Bag of Holding’ for twelve extra inventory slot
  • ‘Amulet of Protection’ item

Guardian of Neverwinter Pack ($59.99):

  • Three day head start in the Neverwinter open beta
  • Unique Gold Moonstone Mask Regalia head piece
  • Unique Armored Horse mount
  • Unique Direwolf Companion
  • In-game and forum “Founder” title

Hero of the North Founder’s Pack ($199.99):

  • Five day heard start in the Neverwinter open beta
  • Beta Weekend friend invitation code
  • Exclusive access to the “Menzoberranzan Renegade” race, a Drow race like the (in)famous Drizzt Do’Urden
  • Unique Amored Spider mount
  • Unique Panther companion
  • In-game and forum “Founder” title
  • VIP game access to get priority game log-in

If interested, you can purchase the Founder packs at the official Neverwinter site.  As stated previously, you don’t have to buy a Founder pack for beta access, but if you’re worried about not getting in then it would definitely help.

Announcement source on Polygon.

J.J. Abrams the Official Director of Next Star Wars

I reported last week that there was a rumor that Mr. Abrams would be the new director for Star Wars: Episode VII.  Well, it was officially announced by Lucasfilm that this was indeed true.  Hooray!  Apparently, George Lucas agrees with me that J.J. Abrams would make a great director for the franchise:

I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.” He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.  –  G. Lucas

J.J Abrams seems pretty excited to be a part of the legacy as well:

To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor.  I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.  –  J.J. Abrams

Personally, I think this is fantastic news!  I have the utmost faith in J.J. and I believe he’ll do a fantastic job.  Well, as long as they don’t cast any more Hayden Christensens this time around! (Joking, but not really..  He ruined Episodes 2 & 3!)

With this announcement, I pose everyone question.  What are your thoughts on this?  Are you excited? Worried? Skeptical? Elated? If you aren’t too fond of Abrams, who else do you think would have been a good choice?  Leave your thoughts and comments below!

For the official statement, visit http://bit.ly/VfrL55

Tons of Wii U News from Nintendo Conference on Janurary 23

There was a massive amount of announcements from Nintendo, this past Wednesday, regarding the future of the Wii U.  There were seven new games announced and a even new HD remake of a GameCube game.

The breakdown of all the wonderful Wii U announcements below:

  • A brand new HD Zelda game with a new vision on how to handle the traditional gameplay.  Possibly rethinking dungeons having to be completed in sequence and being single-player only.
  • An HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker!  Nintendo as stated that they plan to expand on the original experience; there will also be Miiverse integration and the ability to play fully on the GamePad.
  • A slew of Mario games are currently in development.  No footage was shown but they promised reveals at this year’s E3.  Smash Bros (Developed by Namco Bandai), Mario Kart, and a 3D Mario game made by the developers of Super Mario Galaxy 1/2 will all be present.
  • Atlus and Intelligent Systems are currently developing a crossover game involving Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem.
  • A new RPG for the Wii U being made by the developers of the Xenoblade series.  Speculation points to a new Xenoblade game, possibly a sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • The Virtual Console is coming to Wii U in April.  The library of games won’t be the same as the Wii’s to start with, but will begin with NES and SNES games.  Games will be from $5-$9 USD and you can pay $1 if you already own them.  You can still play your Wii versions in Wii Mode but you won’t have access to the Wii U specific features such as save states, GamePad play, and Miiverse support.  They are also having a trial promotion now through July that offers one game every month for the low price of $0.30.  Game Boy Advance titles will also arrive sometime in the future which hints at possible crossover play between the Wii U and 3DS.
  • Wii U Party announced.  The game will be a collection of minigames a la Wii Party.  It will be mainly designed to showcase the new features of the Wii U and what it has to offer families.  The game will also support your collection of Wiimotes.
  • Yoshi’s Land (placeholder) for the Wii U was announced.  The game is being developed by the same studio that did Kirby’s Epic Yarn and you can definitely see that influence in the game’s visuals.  Yoshi is made of yarn and it looks to be a 2D platformer but this has not yet been confirmed by Nintendo.
  • Upgrades to the OS and Miiverse will be pushed out in Spring and Summer this year.  Improvements to load times were mentioned.  They will also add the ability to create your own communities in Miiverse and access to Miiverse ill soon be available on smartphones (possibly a future app) and PCs.

These all sound like great announcements to look forward to in the coming months and later this year.  I personally can’t wait for the new Zelda and Mario games!

For further information and videos, please visit IGN at the respective links above!

 

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia For Sale on January 29

I know there must be a ton of Zelda fans on here.  I’ve had my eye on the new Zelda book being released in English very soon.  This “Encyclopedia Zelda” covers everything from lore and history to character development and concept art for all of the games.  It’s definitely a must have for any serious Legend of Zelda fan!  It even includes an official timeline of the entire Zelda universe.

Dark Horse, the publisher, says that they’re selling both a regular and collector’s edition, however I have been unable to locate a link for the collector’s edition purchase (will update ASAP).

Below are some preview scans courtesy of Kotaku!

zelda1 zelda2