Review: Storm

Review: Storm

This past weekend I had the honor of demoing Storm, from Indie Pub.  In the game you control various elements and assist in guiding a seed to fertile land where it can grow into a mighty tree.  With the use if wind, rain, thunder, etc, this puzzle game requires thought, strategy, and some skill to achieve your goal.  My initial play through of the first levels left me wanting more, and that is exactly what I got as I continued playing for the next few hours without concept that time had passed so quickly.  In fact, if not for my wife coming in to tell me that dinner was ready, I might have continued playing longer.

When I downloaded Storm, I was immediately impressed with the breathtaking visuals and soothing sounds.  I felt as though I could actually listen to the opening screen for hours while relaxing.  The first couple levels were fairly easy, and allowed me to get used to the controls.  However, at about level four it started to become more difficult.  Not insanely difficult in which I was ready to rage quit, but in a way that made me realize that this game was not simply one I could mindlessly blow through without forethought.  I loved that about this game.

Storm is currently available on Xbox Live for only $9.99, and can be purchased for the PC on Indie Pub’s online store for the same price.  $9.99 is definitely worth every penny for this game, and I highly recommend it for anyone that enjoys a great puzzler.  I look forward to seeing what comes next from the minds at Indie Pub.

Hit the jump for the official press release…

Essel Pratt 17.06.2013 On Jun 17th 2013 with with 0 Comments
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Xbox One: You Don’t Own The Games

Xbox One: You Don't Own The Games

So far, the Xbox One has been a source of controversy among gamers.  Many aspects of the system are fantastic in theory, but upon closer look could be a buzz kill for the console.  Always on is a confusing topic, for example.  Although the console does not need a consistent connection to the internet, it is probably safe to assume that most will remain logged in rather than connect every 24 hours manually.

The purchase of used games is another issue that many are upset about.  What is the fee for installing a used game on the console?  Will it be close to full retail?  What will happen to businesses such as Gamefly?

Although there are many open questions, one has been remained fairly clear, yet many are unaware of it.  What about games that you purchase brand new?  In short, you will not “own” the games.  Instead you license them, according to their policies governing game ownership, sharing and privacy.  There is a lot of information to skim through in the link.  In fact, it is not all in one place. Lucky for us, our friends over at Engadget compiled a list of the important details:

  • You do not own the games you buy. You license them.
  • Discs are only used to install and then license games and do not imply ownership.
  • People can play games installed on your console whether you’re logged in or not.
  • 10 people can be authorised to play these games on a different Xbox One via the cloud, but not at the same time, similar to iTunes authorised devices.
  • Publishers decide whether you can trade in your games and may charge for this.
  • Publishers decide whether you can give a game you own to someone for free, and this only works if they have been on your friends list for 30 days.
  • Your account allows you to play the games you license on any console.
  • Your Xbox One must connect to the internet every 24 hours to keep playing games.
  • When playing on another Xbox One with your account, this is reduced to one hour.
  • Live TV, Blu-ray and DVD movies are exempt from these internet requirements.
  • Loaning and renting games will not be possible at launch, but Microsoft is “exploring the possibilities”.
  • Microsoft may change these policies or discontinue them at any point.

Although it is pretty commonplace in most ToS, the last point is the most interesting.  I have a feeling that all of the points prior to it will go through some sort of change over the course of its launch.

I find it utterly disappointing that I will not own the games that I spend a great deal of money on.  Sure, I do not expect to own the content on the disk with every purchase, but the actual copy of the game should be mine to keep, trade, sell, etc.  Now, I am a collector of consoles and games.  So, I am not one to actually trade in or sell a game that I have already beaten.  But, I do enjoy buying used copies.  Especially rare games that I would not otherwise have found at launch.  I feel that the Xbox One has taken the pride of owning a game from me.  How do you feel about it?

At this point, I do not think I will purchase the Xbox One at launch.  There are just too many extras on the console that I do not need at this time.  I am also not sure I want to deal with paying to play a used game, or the hassle of installing a new game only to know that it is not actually mine to own.  Of course, the concept of licensing a product is not new.  In fact, it is fairly commonplace in the Microsoft world.  Buy any software, such as Microsoft Office, and you are buying the license for it.  Now, I am oddly okay with licensing software, but games don’t seem to fall into a licensing category for me.  I guess it is because I look at a game the same as I look at a good book.  The story builds, the characters evolve, and I can become part of the adventure.  I don’t get that same feeling when compiling a spreadsheet.

What are your thoughts?  Will you be buying at launch (assuming pricing is not an issue)?  How would you feel if Nintendo or Sony implemented similar licensing policies?

Actually, looking over Nintendo and Sony’s licensing, it is interesting to note that both “license” the product to you, not actually “Sell” the product:

Essel Pratt 10.06.2013 On Jun 10th 2013 with with 0 Comments
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Lightning Returns Launch Gets Delayed, But Also A Release Date

Lightning Returns Launch Gets Delayed, But Also A Release Date

Today Square Enix released the newest trailer for Lightning Returns, however they also released that the game will not be released this year.  Although there was no reason given for the delay, it was given an actual launch date.   The game will now launch in North America on February 11, 2014, followed by a launch on February 14 in Europe for the PS3 and Xbox 360. If lightning had to wait 500 years for this chapter in her journey, I think we can wait eight months.

What are your thoughts in the delay?  How do you feel about the newest trailer?

Essel Pratt 06.06.2013 On Jun 06th 2013 with with 0 Comments
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Fable Remake Teased, Or Could It Be A Direct Sequel

Fable Remake Teased, Or Could It Be A Direct Sequel

Could we see a Fable remake in the near future?

Lionhead Entertainment has been fairly active on its Fable forums recently, and many have been wondering what it means.  Many believe that the activity and overhaul of the forums hints at an HD remake of the original game.  They might just be correct.  Lionhead Entertainment has issued a statement saying that they have heard the fans, adding more fuel to the rumor.  It is also possible that an HD remake could include The Lost Chapters content.  Although it has not been officially announced, many will be watching anxiously at E3 for news of an HD release.

As exciting as an HD remake might be, there is even more exciting news that Jack Blades might make a return in a direct sequel to the original.  In the tease, Jack Blades noted that he has been gone for too long and is making his return.  A sequel would be welcomed with open arms, as long as it  is not another Kinect powered adventure.

Fable is a great game and I am hoping that a direct sequel is announced at E3.  However, what about the HD remake?

I love HD remakes/remasters/Reboots of classic games, but are we getting too many?  Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, Windwaker HD, etc…  As much as I love to relive the excitement of the games, I almost feel as though HD remakes should be reserved to reintroduce fans to the series in preparation for the next installment-and only after a significant amount of time has passed.  Otherwise, it is just fanservice.  Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD is perfect timing, fans new and old are able to re-live the series in preparation for the next installment in the series.  Windwaker HD and FFX/X-2 HD, although I am extremely excited about both, seem that they are just being released to bring something to the fans that is guaranteed to sellwithout bringing anything new to the masses.  I think I would be more excited if a Final Fantasy X prequel were to come along soon, or a Windwaker direct sequel.  The Fable remake also intrigues me, especially if a sequel is in development.

What are your thoughts on the Fable news?  What about HD remakes in general?

Essel Pratt 04.06.2013 On Jun 04th 2013 with with 0 Comments
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Remember When Rayman Legends Was A Wii U Exclusive?

Remember When Rayman Legends Was A Wii U Exclusive?

Ah yes, it was not long ago when Rayman Legends was touted as a Wii U exclusive.  Then, as if some weird force was controlling their staff, they took back the exclusivity, trashed Nintendo, and hid in fear as the fans retaliated.  Coming out only when the dust settled.  As a peace offering, they decided to offer the Nintendo fans a free demo of the game, as  well as exclusive content.

Now, Ubisoft has announced that Rayman Legends will be making its appearance on the PSVita.  No doubt this a cue from Sony in an attempt to revive the all but forgotten handheld.  This will be the first announcement that the game will appear on a handheld device.  The touch controls will be utilized to zoom in/out, manipulate the environment in various ways, and take out enemies.  It seems to me that some of the exclusive content that the Wii U has with use of the GamePad, might be snuck into the Vita version in a roundabout way.  IGN asked Abderrazzak Elkaouni about what makes the Vita version unique from the three consoles:

“Rayman Legends Vita captures the magic of the other platforms while adding many unique features and fun to the game,” Elkaouni told IGN. “Players can use two consoles in local multiplayer, and play all the levels in the game in co-op mode. You can use the zoom feature at any point in the game, which gives you a chance to check out the graphics in more detail or even find some hidden goodies. One thing we’re really excited to add this year is that players can use the Rear touch pad to avoid blocking the view with their finger.”

He goes on to explain more of the features:

“Gyroscope is something we’ve featured a lot in our videos and demos for Legends and it translates really well to the Vita,” Elkaouni explained. “Second, as we said we’ve made a big improvement with the Rear Pad for the touch sequences, in order to free the player’s line of sight in game. Finally, we have been able to create specific ‘touch screen’ levels which give a whole new type of gameplay element for Vita players.”

What are your thoughts on Ubisoft’s move to port the game to the Vita, instead of the 3DS?  Is this a good move on Ubi’s part, or are they just setting themselves up fro more controversy?  Has EA’s recent bickering with Nintendo made Ubisoft’s decisions less important?  Share below.


Essel Pratt 30.05.2013 On May 30th 2013 with with 0 Comments
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