Thursday, January 9, 2014

Introducing A Very Promising Kickstarter: The Interactive Canvas!

If there ever was anything that could be considered a labor of love, this upcoming project by Digitally Downloaded's Editor-in-Chief Matt Sainsbury is definitely such a thing. The argument over whether games can be considered art has been debated time and time again, but the Kickstarter in question plans to create a book featuring interviews with a profusion of different developers-- big and small-- speaking of each team's creative inspirations and how each has their own interpretation of how video games indeed have artistic merit. Such names already featured and interviewed include: American McGee (Alice Returns), Jonathon Blow (Braid, The Witness), Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone), among many more announced and those that have yet to be announced.

To read even more about this very intriguing Kickstarter and to support it with your donations, check out this link. Very few times do we at SuperPhillip Central endorse Kickstarters, but this is one that we also feel passionately about, just like the author and interview subjects that make up this hardcover book project. Please give if you can to see this project come to life!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

14 in '14: Most Wanted Games

It's the start of a new year, and while all of us have already failed at our new year's resolutions, we're taking the beginning of 2014 in stride anyway. Why? Because our first feature for the year is a look at our most anticipated games from now until December 31st. From Xbox One to PlayStation 4, Wii U to Nintendo 3DS, this list of 14 games for 2014 has it all. After we've made our handpicked games known, feel free to share what your top desired titles are!

Titanfall (X1, 360, PC )

Recently, Titanfall made some waves, but not in a positive sense. The reveal that the multiplayer would only support 12 players soured some gamers out there. However, the saying "quality instead of quantity" seems apt here. Titanfall will no doubt make waves in stellar ways; no doubt being a system seller for the Xbox One, especially those looking for an online multiplayer title (Titanfall is online only) that stretches the idea of what a first-person shooter can be. Plus, who can resist piloting kick-ass mechs?

Destiny (PS4, X1, PS3, 360)

The first game of Activision and Bungie's ten-year publishing contract, Destiny is a game that blurs the line between a first-person shooter with always-online functionality and an MMO. The developers at Bungie have been quick to strike down the idea that Destiny is an MMO. This is for good reason. Despite sharing some features with an MMO, Destiny will have a "shared world" where players are matched up with others to play together as opposed to being put in an online world with everyone. We're hoping it's in our destiny (har-har) to get in on the beta coming this summer. The final product releases September 4.

Infamous: Second Son (PS4)

Sucker Punch's Infamous series makes the leap from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4 in style. Infamous: Second Son takes place in Seattle, Washington and features an abundance of powers for protagonist Delsin Rowe to utilize. Not only that, but using these powers is much easier, allowing the player to simply use a targeting reticle to fire them off without needing to enter an aiming mode. You may not be playing as Cole MacGrath, but there's still a wide amount of parkour action to enjoy, as well. All in all, Infamous: Second Son is shaping up to be the first must-have PlayStation 4 exclusive.

Sunset Overdrive (X1)

Given a nebulous 2014 release date, Sunset Overdrive is the first Insomniac Games (Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance) title to hit a Microsoft platform. Sunset Overdrive is set in an open world infested with mutants.. Thankfully, according to the trailer shown at E3 2013, the player will have some tricks in their arsenal to combat the mutant menace, including a repertoire of quick skills, acrobatics, and the ability to run along walls. Insomniac Games may not have been batting .500 lately, but Sunset Overdrive excites us from morning to way past when the sun falls.

Dark Souls II (PS3, 360, PC)

We are ready to have our backsides handed to us over and over again once more. The original Demon's Souls and its spiritual sequel, Dark Souls, kicked our butts more times than we'd like to admit. Then again, that was how pretty much everyone's experience with the series turns out. The Souls series isn't for the faint of heart, so beginning gamers need not apply! You'll probably just end up severely frustrated, as Dark Souls II is not lowering the bar for entry and survival by any means. That's all right, though. We accept your challenge, Namco Bandai!

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles (PS3)

We have great memories of sitting down during the hot months of our summer vacation and becoming immersed in the worlds of Tales of Symphonia. Now, we get to experience this all over again, but this time in high definition and with some new bells and whistles. Also included is the not-as-great Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the Wii sequel. Still, for the price point, Tales of Symphonia Chronicles looks like a smart purchase for any RPG fan.

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

The Wii U isn't selling well. Guess what? That's too bad. While people play "Nintendo should have done this" and "Nintendo should do that", we'll be too busy playing the upcoming crop of what seems to be quality titles for Nintendo's struggling system to care. Mario Kart 8 is one of the games, due out this spring. With anti-gravity (rubbing salt in that old F-Zero wound), HD visuals, online play, video records to share with friends and on Miiverse, bikes, sixteen awesome-looking new tracks (of those revealed) alongside sixteen returning ones, kart customization, underwater and air sections, and more, Mario Kart 8 makes us wish we could take our victory lap in spring early.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS (Wii U, 3DS)

It's important to note that these are two different games, featuring completely different stages, unlockable trophies, and art styles. However, the character roster will be the same among the two games. That said, we wanted to combine the two into one entry because the games strike us as somewhat similar. Despite there being no cross-play between the two games (obviously because of the aforementioned unique set of stages for each game), characters can be transferred from one game to another. Just what this accomplishes remains to be seen. Regardless, as fans of Nintendo, we're excited to view what's in store for this fourth and fifth installment of Smash Bros.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Although it was a bit disappointing for us to see Retro Studios' much-hyped Wii U title be revealed as a sequel to the 2010 Wii return to the Donkey Kong Country franchise, we have since grown to very much hype this Wii U sequel. With more detailed and dynamic levels, HD visuals, swimming sections, a wholly Dave Wise-composed soundtrack, and three playable partners for Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze comes across as a game we didn't know we wanted until we saw more of it.

Hyrule Warriors (Tentative Title) (Wii U)

It seems all that Nintendo can do regarding third-parties is to collaborate with them-- giving them license to its properties. We've seen this to great results in the past, and we've even seen collaborations of different franchises that you wouldn't expect. The latest is what is currently known, but most certainly subject to change, as Hyrule Warriors, a Dynasty Warriors take on The Legend of Zelda franchise. ...Or is it the other way around? Anyway, this title came out of nowhere during the latest Nintendo Direct from early last December. We're quite skeptical of the quality and end result of the project, but we can't deny we're extraordinarily curious, too!

Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)

Platinum Games' second Wii U project, Bayonetta 2 takes the femme fatale and gives her a bit of a makeover in the form of a shorter 'do. No doubt the character-driven action of the game and taking down colossal creatures and demons in ever-escalating set pieces will make fans of the genre salivate and take down foes with glee. One has to wonder if Nintendo will ask SEGA about porting the original Bayonetta to the Wii U for those who did not have the chance to play it to catch up and see what all the commotion is about.

X (Tentative Title) (Wii U)

We have seen little of this next game apart from the initial unveiling shown a year ago and some clips here and there. Despite this, Monolith Soft's first Wii U project is looking as ambitious as their work on Xenoblade Chronicles, one of the best RPG's of the last generation (and SuperPhillip Central's Best Game of 2012, cough, cough). We do know that the so-called "X" is absolutely stunning, and has gameplay that allows you to enter and exit giant mechs seamlessly. Whether X gets a 2014 release is up in the air, but that's currently what Nintendo's release schedule is saying...

Bravely Default (3DS)

Our Japanese, European, and Oceania pals already have sunk their myriad teeth in one of the most original and intriguing titles to come out of Square Enix in years. While the company heads towards a more mobile-centric approach, Bravely Default on Nintendo 3DS is getting wide acclaim across the pond. While we North Americans must wait a little while longer (less than a month to go!), the wait is a little less annoying, as we have a demo to enjoy, one that is wholly separate from the main game.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS)

Borrowing some ideas from Wario Land on the Virtual Boy (most notably the shifts between the player being in the foreground and in the background), Kirby: Triple Deluxe is the latest in the long-running series starring that cuddly pink puffball. 3D is used to great effect here, having hazards that come in from the background towards the screen and used when changing from the foreground further back into the level. Collectible key rings showcasing the history of the series show up to give players fun collectibles to acquire. Kirby: Triple Deluxe hits Japan this week, but us Westerners will have to patiently wait for a release date.

Monday, January 6, 2014

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - New Year, New VGMs

Happy 2014 everybody! It's a new year, and we're celebrating it right with a new installment of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGM. On this edition we have it all-- Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, The Last Story, and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. We can't wait any longer-- time for some great music!

v536. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) - Taking to the Skies

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch won runner-up at our SuperPhillip Central Best of 2013 Awards, coming just behind The Last of Us. Ni no Kuni is like an interactive fairy tale that presents the player with a magical world to explore. Joe Hisaishi's soundtrack (the same man who does the music for Studio Ghibli's films) for the game assists in this greatly.

v537. The Last Story (Wii) - Invitation to Madness

The team of producer Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu deliver an interesting RPG world with the Wii exclusive The Last Story. While the game does not outshine the likes of its same console competition in Xenoblade Chronicles, there's no denying that The Last Story is still a worthwhile game to play and own in the Wii library.

v538. Xenosaga III (PS2) - Assault #2

The third and final Xenosaga game, Xenosaga III had its music composed by Yuki Kajiura, and in brilliant fashion, might we add. Yuki Kajiura's previous credits include Xenosaga II, .hack//SIGN, and Noir. Xenosaga III would not be as engrossing a game without Kajiura's musical presence.

v539. Golden Sun: The Lost Age (GBA) - Mars Lighthouse

Famed composer Motoi Sakuraba lent his many musical talents to the Camelot-developer Golden Sun: The Lost Age, the sequel to Golden Sun. Both games released on the Game Boy Advance, and it's quite amazing how Sakuraba-san crafted music within the parameters and limitations of the Game Boy Advance sound capabilities. Such a great example of this is the theme we've chosen, Mars Lighthouse.

v540. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP) - White Fatalis Theme

Imagine that you're walking along an icy valley when suddenly you turn around and are greeted by a colossal white beast and this theme begins playing. That is what many Monster Hunter Freedom Unite players experienced when they first encountered White Fatalis. That and a lot of one-hit knockouts!