No other literary property had such a strong motion gaming presence at E3 this year as Harry Potter. Whether it’s the bicep-busting reps you’ll work through with Wonderbook: Book of Spells or the full-body engagement of Harry Potter Kinect, you can’t enter the world of J.K. Rowling in 2013 without breaking a sweat!
Wonderbook: Book of Spells presents the perfect mix of upper body workout with the lower body flexibility of yoga. Work that wand arm to defeat mischievous dragons while holding a perfect Baddha Konasana pose with your legs! Don’t forget to switch hands between routines or you’re left side might need a shot of Engorgio!
Ready for a high impact workout?! You’ll swear P90X stands for Potter-times-90 once Harry Potter Kinect is done with you. Relive classic scenes from all hefty 8 books as you jump, lunge, duck, and swing through this game’s 30 levels spread across 4-6 hours of action! Play alongside your favorite characters as HPK puts YOU in the game… and under the Sorting Hat. Change spells with your powerful voice by yelling out ‘FURNUNCULUS’, ‘INCENDIO’ or ‘RIDDIKULUS’! Cool down after a tough workout with some herbology in Professor Sprout’s gardens.
She broke your heart with the Harry Potter novels and in 2013 J.K. Rowling is back to break your ass!
Friday night we started out playing Dance on Broadway that Katy and I were genuinely interested in but after it wound up being a big bummer we worked our way back through Karaoke Revolution on PlayStation 2 and I somehow ended up finally playing 2004′s Lifeline for the very first time. Watch a good half hour’s worth of early game madness as I try to tell a space waitress how to shoot poop slugs with a handgun. I’d really like to play more of this some day… when there aren’t any other games left to play. That includes N3II.
The whole crew is back this week in tip-top form! Maxx kicks it off with his souring experience with OnLive (he bought Borderlands for PC), Katy and I fantasize about Agent sex in Crackdown 2, and Dana fills us in on Blizzard’s unsettling Real ID/Battle.NET mess. Oh, and we all flipped out over that Steam summer sale and detail a bunch of games we bought that we probably won’t ever finish! All that and all this too!
Listen to the show right here in this very page or, as always, head over to our Talkshoe page to rate and review the show, subscribe via RSS or iTunes, and check out all of our past episodes! Thanks for listening and letting us know what you think! Leave a comment here, e-mail us at podcast (at) gameluv (dot) com, hit us up on Twitter @GameLuv, or give us a ring at (646) 504-GAME. We hope you like it!
The backbone of OnLive is pretty amazing stuff; streaming PC gaming that requires little more than a web browser and a controller. But ever since the service launched and Maxx and I got invited in it’s felt more and more bleak. Losing the right to serve up any games from EA (for now) has left OnLive with a tiny roster of titles and the payment structure in general is a little confusing. There’s not a lot of PR coming out of the company yet so I was pleased to see that their first new release, LEGO Harry Potter, came with some fanfare.
That fanfare would be a contest in which the first person to complete the game by having found all 200 Gold Bricks and completed a Voldemort bonus level will win an Apple iPad with the next five players who meet the stiff criteria winning an iPod Touch. I especially like the way in which you prove your progress. Since OnLive is a streaming service it’s always backing up the last several seconds of your game and you can simply hit a button combo to save that footage as a Brag Clip. It harkens back to the days when you’d take a photo of your TV to prove to Activision you really did get a top score on Astro Blast, but the rules nowadays are understandably more complex. Good on ya, OnLive! Here’s to progress!
Continue reading or just watch the game’s intro level. Sums it all up!
With Trine 2 having just been announced at E3 it seems the time has come to finally write something about my hours spent with the original. After playing the PC demo on my friend’s super rig, wishing I could play it on my own, waiting impatiently for the PlayStation 3 version, slightly upgrading my computer’s video card and stumbling into a sale on Steam, I finally had the game all to myself. But for all the anticipation it wound up being a game I’d play for an hour here and there and then put down for weeks. Maybe I didn’t want the magic to end or maybe I’m just not so keen on sitting in front of my PC monitor and mouse/keyboarding my way through a game anymore.
Don’t let my lack of firey commitment fool you, though. Trine is a gorgeous game, one that pushes beyond my meager GeForce 9500 GT and one that pulls off the same kind of fantastical whimsy of an adventure like Fable. It’s something in the audio to be sure. That narrator makes me wish I were English and that he were my grandfather so he could read me bedtime stories the way he does Trine’s poetic prose. Long after the next level has finished loading he’ll be going on about how your characters are in for a surprise or how the magical world used to be a serene wonderland. The characters play off of each other pretty well, too, but there’s some definite Eastern European voice talent at work here. Above all, though, it’s the music that makes Trine special. Despite the endless stream of skeletons and the detailed worlds the music almost always stays playful with horns and strings setting the tone more than accompanying the action.
Trine isn’t just mood setting music and glorious visuals, it’s a physics puzzle/platformer — the kind of stuff that’s right up my alley. The setup is that there’s a magical crystal that three very different people with very different abilities lay their grubby hands on at the exact same time. The Wizard, Thief and Knight are sucked into the crystal and only one at a time can come out to play. The Wizard can levitate objects and conjure up simple boxes and planks, the thief has the ranged bow and can grapple onto wooden surfaces to swing around, and the Knight is the muscle to push objects and deal with firey traps.
And that’s all there is to it. The triptych trio set out to put an end to a dark force bringing skeletons back from the grave and filling the world with booby traps and physics puzzles. You’ll typically encounter a new area, see what you can interact with or where you can climb to, conjure some objects or push some stuff around, fight a dozen skeletons on your way out and repeat. That’s quite the boiled down description but I assure you it’s fun and, just like Portal, you’ll soon be scratching your head for a solution and then laughing at how you managed to conquer the last impasse.
If simply passing through each stage isn’t challenging enough there are a ton of hidden Experience potions that are usually easy to spot but fiendishly hard to reach. You don’t need them to progress as skeletons are literally bursting with Experience but to find all the hidden treasures (which are ability augmenting trinkets) you’ll need the bonus powers and beefed up magic reserves that they unlock. Plus, they’re just as head-scratchingly fun to collect as puzzling through the story so stop moving forward and start screwing around!
Mischief! That’s the defining characteristic of Trine. From that playful music to the numbskull skeletons that you mess with by dropping objects onto, to the bouncy, springy physics that invite you to play around. Trine is medieval mischief, a fun little game that does its thing in a splendid looking fantasy world that I can’t wait to get back to either by playing the new DLC or the sequel.
I caught most all of the Electronic Arts, Konami and Ubisoft press conferences from E3, and in a timely manner no less, so here’s a little two-post roundup thing.
Clearly they aren’t speaking to me with this stuff. Besides the sports games which I’ve never cared about, Medal of Honor, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Dead Space 2 and The Sims all washed right over me. EA’s social network, Gun Club, seems cool but if it revolves around their online shooters it’s also a wash for me. I can’t wait to see what EA Sports Active 2 for Kinect is like, Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm are both right up my alley, and maybe I’d still get into APB if my PC can even run it. Of everything they showed, Criterion’s reboot of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (watch above) was the only game to ping my radar. And even that didn’t look all that fun, but it’s still early and they already nailed the exotic-cars-in-interesting-locations vibe of the original.
While I agree with the consensus that Konami’s presser was the “Train Wreck of the Show” I came out more excited for several of their games than I was going in. The localized version of Otomedius Excellent was a great surprise and I’ve always wanted to play a ‘-dius’ shooter that didn’t require importing a $90 cartridge. Adrenaline Misfits gets a pass only because there’s a slim chance that a kart-style racer might be fun using Kinect and I’m still open to Castlevania: Lords of Shadows somehow being fun.
What really won me over was Iga’s presentation of the other Castlevania, Harmony of Despair but I talked about that already. Metal Gear Solid Rising looked zan-tastically datsu-m (sorry) with controller-based sword play that seems more precise and fun than all that cludgy junk on the Wii! A break from the traditional Metal Gear Solid gameplay while still getting to hang out in that world seems perfectly timed for me. I wasn’t all that crazy about Ninety-Nine Nights 3 before but after Tak Fujii’s awkwardly casual intro and his fantastic dreadlocks I’m willing to support anything the guy does. But even his play for applause wasn’t as uncomfortable as the DanceMasters presentation.
DDR Producer, Naoki Maeda and Thomas Nagano pretty much pretended to play the game as a video of it was displayed on the screen in front of them. At several points you see shots of them in the game and they’re wearing different clothes than they are on stage! They did let people play it on the show floor so I’ll forgive the deception but mostly because Naoki is amazing engrish man (VERY EX’CISE!!) and I never got to play ParaParaParadise.
Even before the invention of Nintendo’s motion tracking Wii remote there have been plenty of people trying to put video games and fitness together. Yourself!Fitness on the original Xbox was one of our favorites but you could go back as far as the NES Power Pad and the Sega Activator as pioneering examples of getting gamers off their duffs. But the Wii changed everything, combining revolutionary motion tracking with a focus on the casual and family markets and everyone wanted in. Wii Fit, EA Sports Active, Jillian Michaels’ Pocket Trainer, and countless other titles featuring “famous” experts and celebrities have already come and gone.
With Sony and Microsoft getting into the motion tracking game this year with PlayStation Move and Kinect it was hard to find an E3 lineup without leotards, sweatbands, or overactive presenters. This all came to a head this morning when I spotted a press release for Get Fith with Mel B which, in its defense, sounds like a pretty big deal for the United Kingdom. Its unveiling at E3, which makes it sound more like Yourself!Fitness than a truly interactive workout, sent me on an hour-long quest to round up all the exergaming announced at the show this year.
It’s not as overwhelming as my headline makes it sound and there probably won’t be a year that everyone gives up on exer-play but I’m already getting a little tired of all the fitness and dancing coming to Kinect, Move and the overburdened Wii. That said, I know Katy will be all over EA Sports Active 2, all of us here at GameLuv are interested in Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, and I find myself strangely drawn to the breathing simulator that is Innergy. Hey, it’s got sweet art design and I’ll never be able to forget Joel McHale’s jokes about the pulse sensor. Any of these have you ready to move or is it just getting in the way of the good stuff like head tracking in Forza and The Fight?
Ok, this one’s going back to the beginning of the year and it’s going down shotgun style right now!! Pump~Blat~Pump! Part One: Go!
Fret Nice (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade)
Sort of like LocoRoco meets Vib Ribbon? Run side-scrolling style and defeat enemies with rhythmical chain attacks that your character (or you with a guitar controller) unleash with perfectly-timed button presses. Like Vib Ribbon, the iconography you rely on to know which buttons to press isn’t very intuitive, here corresponding to their number of eyes, antenna and limbs. Awkward and kind of frustrating, I like the LocoRoco-ish art style and the oddly customizable player characters but it’ll require a hefty price cut to get me to buy.
Darwinia+ (Xbox Live Arcade)
For as indescribably perplexing as everyone made it out to be, I found this game to play like Pikmin only sometimes you can directly attack enemies and most of the time they ambush you and spawn out of nowhere to ruin your best laid plans. Clever or just cheap? It’s pretty at the least, trippy and full of demoscene love but I quickly deleted it from my 360.
Castlevania the Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
I actually bought this one but it’s such a short and feature-free game that it might as well have been a trial! Classic 8-bit Castlevania gameplay (and graphics) guaranteed a challenge that I wasn’t all that crazy about but was prepared for thanks to some pre-purchase coverage. Apparently it’s loosely based on a Game Boy Castlevania title but has been augmented to be almost unidentifiable. There’s a couple neat ideas that would warrant a second playthrough like access to alternate routes but I couldn’t get past the health-sucking maze of death with enough energy to reach Dracula, let alone finish. Retired within a week.
Lazy Raiders (Xbox Live Arcade)
I’m a sucker for games that let you use your Xbox Avatar, mostly because I’ve spent real money dressing up my virtual Shawn and any time I can use him in a game I feel a wee bit more justified. Lazy Raiders lets you flip and slide your pretend persona around a series of 3D mazes, not unlike a marble in a wooden puzzle box. The game looks fantastic since it’s locked in a 2D view with nice details and lush lighting. The physics feel nice too as you rotate the world and even flip it around like a coin to access a dark alternate version of each stage to find collectible treasures. I was pretty close to buying it but decided to wait for a sale at which time I still didn’t bit but, dammit, I wish I had right now!
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)
I would just like to reiterate for the umpteenth time: the PSP does not have enough buttons or a comfortable enough layout for a serious 3D action game, especially a Metal Gear Solid title. I had my fingers wrapped up like a pretzel just trying to pop out from cover and I couldn’t even pull off the final CQC maneuver they showed me in the tutorial. It looks gorgeous and I really want to experience it but this is the absolute last place I’d ever want to play a game that focuses on the patient study of plodding soldier patrol paths. Please, Kojima-san, port this to XBLA or PSN ASAP, KTHX!
Final Fight Double Impact (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade) “HE HE HE, Mister Haggar!” There’s no denying my love for Final Fight and this version — with for-real Achievements and separate in-game stat tracking rewards — is probably as much love as the brawler is ever going to get. It looks flawless, includes silly visual tricks to emulate the arcade machine and it even comes with the equally-loved Black Tiger on the flipside of the great user interface. You’d really think I would’ve bought it but I was still invested in Deadly Premonition at the time.
Part Deux brings us up to The Now and it’s coming tomorrow and then I think I’ll be caught up!