Tomb Raider Reboot Skipping Wii U

Posted: January 26, 2012 by Matt Nawrocki in Gaming, News
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Lara Croft in the 2012 Tomb Raider reboot

According to Crystal Dynamics global brand director Karl Stewart, Tomb Raider fans looking to play this fall’s heavily hyped reboot of the series will have to do it on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or PC.  He stated there are currently no plans to port the game for the Wii U launch or any other Nintendo platform.

The reason given for no port was that if they did make one, Crystal Dynamics would want to approach it differently and build it to take advantage of the unique functionality of the Wii U.  Whether that’s polite PR-speak to keep from burning bridges or a sign that the generational tradition of third party developers abandoning Nintendo consoles has already started before the Wii U could even launch, we’ll have to wait and see.  At any rate, it’s tough news for Nintendo fans that like Tomb Raider.

No word yet on an exact release date for the new Tomb Raider aside from the general “holiday season” but we should learn more about that as well as the games that will be on Wii U as we approach this year’s E3.


Helicopters in Minecraft!?

Posted: January 23, 2012 by ashchristians in Gaming
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I’ve been known to dally in Minecraft from time to time and one of the things I’ve enjoyed is the number of mods the community has created.  This little mod here lets you create a helicopter in your cubist world and explore your randomly generated world.  What I find impressive, since one of my hobbies in Minecraft is training to be a demolitions expert with TNT, is it includes weaponry.  I for one look forward to being able to blast holes in mountain sides without having to spend the time of littering the whole thing with TNT and running like hell after I set it off.

On a somewhat related note, I love how at the end of the video the helicopter crashes into a building in his city and sets fire to it.  As someone who thought a quick way to clear out leaves would be to set them on fire, only to see the whole mountain side become a constantly burning Hell for the forest creatures, I like seeing people inadvertently set their creations ablaze.

Resident Evil 6 logo

We knew Resident Evil 6 was coming but now we have a trailer and release date.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Capcom unveiled a new trailer for Resident Evil 6 and announced a release date of November 20th of this year.  The release coming so soon was a bit of a surprise considering we’re already getting Resident Evil:  Operation Raccoon City on March 20th.  While RE:ORC is a mutiplayer tactical shooter made by former SOCOM developer Slant Six featuring a non-canon “what if” style story set between Resident Evil 2 and 3, RE6 is a full fledged sequel working from and building upon 15 years of story from the last five games.

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The Preferred Nerd Podcast – Episode 14

Posted: January 19, 2012 by diablo343 in Podcast
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Direct Download Link

SOPA vote delayed
Games shutting down online servers to protest SOPA
Gaikai, a cloud gaming company, claims either Microsoft or Sony will announce at E3 they aren’t releasing a console next generation
Penny Arcade starting a gaming news site
THQ cancels 2014 lineup and Warhammer 40K MMO, looking for a buyer
THQ also claims this isn’t true
SWTOR’s first update delayed a couple of days
The iPad 3

New releases:

Scribblenauts Remix is an iOS remake of a Nintendo DS game that easily became the best iteration of the series. The game felt like it could have been originally designed for the iOS platorm and the $0.99 price insured that the maximum amount of people would play it. It came with only 25 levels, which is a little less then I would have expected, given other iOS games like Angry Birds, Cut The Rope and Where’s My Water? initially started off with many more levels then that. But who am I to complain. I paid less then $1 for a better experience then I would have paid $30 for brand new or $17 on Amazon right now.

Today I heard there is a DLC pack with 20 more levels on it. But wait, it’s DLC, that means I have to pay more money for more levels. Something you rarely see in iOS games.

I enjoyed playing the first group of levels in Scribblenauts Remix, I even have $40 worth of iTunes cash from Christmas waiting to be spent. I, however, will not be purchasing the new levels. There are plenty of free games and free content updates out there that I don’t want to be supporting a new trend I hope doesn’t catch on.

Max Payne 3 screenshot

Max Payne seeks revenge on video game forum posters making "This game is being developed in bullet time" jokes.

Just two months from its intended release, Take Two Interactive announced today the planned March launch of Max Payne 3 has been pushed back to May.  No specific release date is announced yet, just the month.  The cause for the delay is to “ensure quality,” which is presumably PR spin for “Holy crap, this game has way more bugs than we expected.”  Kind of scary in an industry where even Skyrim’s troubling glitches didn’t hurt sales and PR too much but at this point, delays seem like standard operating procedure for Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games.

In fairness, a two month delay is pretty much nothing seeing as Max Payne 3 was previously expected to release at the end of 2009.  Considering the long development time and bold changes, it’ll be interesting to see how this game stands up to the original two classics in the series.  While the bullet time mechanic returns, the game leaves the dark and gritty noir atmosphere of New York City in favor of São Paulo, Brazil.  Rockstar is hyping innovative technology developments for the game and specifically mentions their new Natural Motion physics and Rockstar Advanced Game Engine.  If nothing else, it should be fun to see how these work.

However, in the “glass half empty” department, the timing of this delay hints at significant problems.  A May release pushes Max Payne 3 out of the current fiscal year, which ends April 1.  Take-Two Interactive’s revenue expectations drop from $1 billion to $770-790 million, which would actually give the company a net loss in 2011.  This could spook investors and lower the company’s stock price.  They wouldn’t take this kind of risk unless the game’s delay was absolutely necessary.  Whether there’s major cause for concern or Rockstar releases another classic in the acclaimed Max Payne series, hopefully we find out in May without even more additional delays.

Let’s See a Movie: Bunraku

Posted: January 16, 2012 by ashchristians in Movies
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It’s like if Kung Fu Hustle hooked up with Newsies in a craft store.

That is exactly how I described the film Bunraku to a friend.  If that hasn’t hooked you yet, allow me to explain further.  Bunraku at it’s core is a samurai movie.  It’s also a spaghetti western.  It’s hard to believe that two genres so distinctively East and West can fit together so seamlessly in one story but when you begin to examine the tropes of both styles, they’re not so different after all.  Both samurai movies and westerns share themes of a stranger coming into town for revenge and leading a trail of bodies in their wake.

Bunraku takes place not in a past where Asian immigrants meet up with cowboys, but in our future.  The world has been destroyed by violence and those who have survived have pledged to create a world without guns, resurrecting the way of the sword.  The back story is told through bunraku, an ancient style of Japanese paper puppet shows, with modern CG filling in to draw you in with a sense of beauty and whimsy like that of Neil Gaiman.  This stylized interpretation is carried out through the whole move, in its sets, transitions, and even subtitles; looking as if the whole story was taking place inside of Little Big Planet.  It’s an experiment that people will ever love for its creativity or hate for its unrealistic interpretation.  The entire movie was shot on stages with constructed sets or green screens, bringing to life director Guy Moshe’s post-apocalyptic vision.

This isn’t the tale of one stranger coming to town though; it’s the tale of two.  The Drifter (Josh Hartnett) is a Doc Holiday-esque vagrant quick with his fists and a gift for cards.  The character is countered by Yoshi (Gackt), a Japanese samurai living his life according to Bushido.  One man is on a path of revenge; the other looking for a golden dragon medallion; both leading toward most powerful man east of the Atlantic, Nicoli the Woodcutter (Ron Pearlman).  The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) unites them to face down the top 10 killers in the Red Army as well as presenting the tale of Spider-Man as a Greek myth with his hobby of pop-up books, a lost art if there ever was one.

Demi Moore’s character serves to provide insight into Nicoli being fully aware of his mortality and functions as the motivation of the Bartender’s back story, but for the most part seems tacked on.  It’s in these moments where I can’t help but wonder what ended up on the cutting room floor.  The character was involved enough with the other pieces to add depth to them, but made almost no moves of her own on the board.

Much like Yojimbo or the Magnificent Seven, Banraku is a hybridization of East and West, paying homage to both in a way that shows a fan of one can easily enjoy the other.  Add to that the imaginative paper-craft visuals and you have a modern, stylized take on two classic genres.