Tales from the Borderlands announced

Borderlands

Today is the videogame awar… VGX.  And with that, not only do we get some game of the year winners courtesy of GameTrailers, but also some exciting new game announcements.  With that, the first announcement to come from VGX is Tales from the Borderlands.  The game will be a collaboration between Telltale Games, the fine folks behind The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, and Gearbox Software, the studio behind the Borderlands and Brothers in Arms franchises.  The game will be an episodic adventure, in traditional Telltale fashion.  Stay tuned to PowerUp for more on Tales from the Borderlands.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 trailer is live

The second season of Telltale’s award winning The Walking Dead is coming to consoles, PC, and mobile soon and to drum up some excitement for what is sure to be a heavily emotional experience, they’ve released this brief teaser.  The first season was easily some of the finest adventure gaming I’ve ever experienced with some incredibly heavy moments (the season finale was just brutal), so I’m really looking forward to what this next season has to offer.

Feast your eyes on the new The Evil Within trailer

Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami is bringing a new vision of survival horror to consoles and Windows PC next year.  From the trailer below, it looks like it’s shaping up nicely.  In a disgusting and terrifying sort of niceness.

Diablo III console edition impressions

diablo-3

I can’t really label this a review since I haven’t completed the game yet and don’t really have a fully formulated opinion of it.  But, I have spent several hours with the console release (specifically the Xbox 360 version) of Diablo III and have some thoughts I’d like to put down on digital paper.  The game is over a year old on PCs now and so it doesn’t really warrant a review in that sense.  It’s Diablo – the king of dungeon crawlers.  It’s awesome.  Yada yada.  But how does it play on consoles?

Pretty great, actually.  Honestly, for several years now I’ve been favoring console dungeon crawlers over their PC counterparts.  There’s not always a whole lot of ports, but since the days of the Dreamcast, I’ve been doing most of my killing and looting with a controller in hand.  This isn’t to spark a PC vs. Consoles debate, this is just my preference (and you’d damn well better respect my preference).  PC gamers tend to have a bit of apprehension when it comes to ports of their beloved mouse and keyboard exclusives.  Sometimes they’re right to be worried (typically, real-time strategy games (RTS) don’t translate well to console controls), but sometimes their apprehension is unfounded.  Thankfully that’s the case with Diablo III.

diablo-3-demon-hunter-02Personally, I wasn’t worried about the transition.  I had enjoyed Torchlight immensely in its console release (and sincerely hope that its sequel gets some new life on consoles) and knew that Bilzzard was more than capable of delivering a high-quality port.  They did, too.

I think the biggest selling point for me on the console version is the couch co-op.  I can be old school at times and so I’d much rather be playing a game with my friends in the same room as me than as disembodied voices over the internet.  It’s a much more enjoyable experience.  That being said, killing, questing, and looting is so much more rewarding to me when I can sit back on the couch and maybe throw back a couple of drinks with my pals while making clever or not-so-clever quips.  It’s great to have that social interaction mixed in with my favorite hobby.  It also helps that the translation to consoles didn’t affect the fun factor of Diablo.

It would be insulting to say that there’s not much to the game on PC, but in playing games like Diablo it has a missing sense of control.  With playing the game with a controller in hand, I feel much more like I’m playing a game.  My character moves where I’m leading him and reacts to my every move – I’m not just telling him what to do and he follows my commands; I’m given a much greater sense of control.  That is what I like about playing Diablo III on my console.  Does the console version have its drawbacks?  Sure.  It’s not perfect, but it offers to me as a gamer more of what I’m looking for in a game than the PC version does.

The biggest disappointment I have with Diablo III is less of something the game did wrong and more of a hugely missed opportunity.  Couch co-op is great.  I love sitting with my pals and playing this game on the same screen.  However, sharing the screen during inventory management sessions sucks.  Only one player at a time can view his or her inventory or have any interactions with merchants.  This breaks the flow of the game and results in several sessions of checking facebook or playing games on your phone while you wait for your pals to finish up their shopping, crafting, and customizing.  This is something that could have been easily remedied with SmartGlass.  Let’s say that you’ve got 3 friends over and you’re all looking to score some epic loot.  Well, while Johnny McSlowshopper is browsing the shops, you can connect with SmartGlass and interact with a shop keep or examine and manage your inventory on your phone while the television is occupied with someone else’s menu.  This would have been a great solution in keeping the game moving at all times rather than making every trip to town a 20+ minute ordeal because you have to take turns managing your inventory.  With that said, it’s a relatively minor complaint.  It’s not a broken gameplay mechanic or a fatal flaw in the game, it’s just a painfully missed opportunity.

Diablo_III_Character_Classes

Diablo III on the console is a blast.  It’s pretty much everything you can expect from a Diablo game while giving you a little bit more joy with couch co-op.  It’s a welcome addition to my gaming library and I’m sure I’m going to sink many, many hours into its loot-filled world.

 

Diablo III is currently available on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.  A PS4 release is planned and in development.

Tex Murphy returns in glorious FMV

The next Tex Murphy game is headed to Steam in early 2014.  It’s been years… many, many years since the last installment and the gaming world has changed drastically since Tex has been relevant.  That doesn’t mean Tex has to change with the world.  The game looks wonderfully retro, albeit more high-rez, with full motion video (FMV) cutscenes packed with just the right amount of camp.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this 8-minute trailer to the game:

Nintendo announces the 2DS

2DS

Gamer’s looking to experience Nintendo’s new handheld library (like the upcoming Pokemon X and Y), but unable (or unwilling) to shell out the cash for a 3DS will be happy to hear that Nintendo is releasing a cheaper alternative.  Dubbed the 2DS, this new hardware will allow gamers to play classic DS and 3DS games at the lower entry fee of $130.  The system doesn’t have the clam shell design of DS systems past and doesn’t have a 3D display, but does offer the capability to play games made for the 3DS without the risk of eyestrain.

It’s no doubt this new entry in the DS family will confuse consumers (and more than likely disappoint eager children this holiday season), but it’s, in my opinion, a needed move by Nintendo to try to expand the 3DS user base.  Having a cheaper system out there will drive up hardware revenue and have a positive impact on attach rate as well as boost the sales of the system’s upcoming killer app – the aforementioned Pokemon games.

The 2DS goes on sale October 12.

Ryse: Son of Rome Gamescom trailer

Xbox One is not that far away now.  And, since it is not that far away, Microsoft needs to drum up a little more interest in the system.  What better way than to show off some new footage from the absolutely gorgeous launch title Ryse: Son of Rome?  There is no better way.

The trailer starts off with a pre-rendered segment before showing off gameplay in Gladiator Mode.  It’s violent, it’s bloody, and it’s beautiful.  I noticed some neat new things with the finishers.  It appears now that button prompts are gone (which is great) and are replaced with colored outlines.  I could be wrong in this assumption, but I’m fairly certain that the colored outlines indicate what button to press.  Instead of an obtrusive button prompt on your screen, a slick colorful outline will help keep you immersed.  You’ll see in the trailer yellow and blue outlines which seem to indicate Y and X button presses.

Anyway, the game’s looking better now than it did at E3 with more depth than a simple quick time button masher.  Take a look for yourself.

Amnesia: : A Machine for Pigs available for preorder

Upcoming horror game Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is now available for preorder.  The game is a sequel to 2010’s horrifying adventure game Amnesia: The Dark Descent.  Preorders for A Machine for Pigs are now available on Steam and GOG for $15.99 (20% off the game’s release price of $19.99).  Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs will be released on Windows PC, Mac OSX, and Linux on September 10, 2013.

 

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs on GOG and Steam