Monday, October 13, 2014

First Byte: Fan Expo 2014 Gauntlet Part 2

When I initially conceived this two part series, I did not anticipate how busy school would get this early into the semester.  Although things are crazy as I seem to have a test or project every single week, I am committed to finishing this gauntlet up before any of the games in this final part are released.  If you did not get a chance to read the first part of the Fan Expo 2014 Gauntlet, it focused on the likes of Driveclub, Forza Horizon 2, The Crew, The Order: 1886, Far Cry 4 and Mortal Kombat X.  If you want to read my impressions on any of those games, click the link.  This part will preview the four games that I got over ten minutes of hands-on time playing.
While the majority of the games I played at the Sony Booth left me disappointed, the LittleBigPlanet 3 demo had me excited for more.  The demo was split into two levels, Tutu Tango and the Crypt.  Tutu Tango was a Toggle-centric level that focused on using Toggle's switching abilities to manipulate momentum in different ways needed to advance in the level.  On the other end of the spectrum, the Crypt was a level made entirely for Oddsock that had the dog companion of Sackboy bouncing off of walls and performing precise jumps at a frantic pace perfect for those who love speedrunning.  While both levels were completely different in pace, the controls were responsive and the platforming was spot-on, which are two mechanics not normally associated with previous entries in the series.  Even though the levels were made for specific characters, there were multiple hidden areas that hinted at in co-op play in both levels.  Without creators Media Molecule at the helm, I did not have much faith that LittleBigPlanet 3 could surpass its predecessors.  After playing this demo, LittleBigPlanet 3 has caught my full attention especially when it comes to the single-player portion of the game.
Unlike any game on the show floor, Bethesda pulled out all the stops to engross you in experience of The Evil Within.  The booth consisted of over 20 demo stations all equipped with noise-cancelling headsets and black dividers to keep your attention solely focused on the game.  Thanks to Bethesda's excellent booth design, it felt like I was playing The Evil Within during the middle of the night, which made all the scares that much more frightening.  Unlike any game on the market today, The Evil Within demo brought some true scares as I explored the eerie halls of a derelict mansion.  The atmosphere of the game was perfect as the expert audio design made you feel uneasy at all times and the unpredictable enemy AI, which changes every time you load the game, kept you looking over the protagonist's shoulder constantly.  Much like early entries in the survival horror genre, The Evil Within does not hold your hand as you are free to explore the mansion as you wish.  It also creates tension in a similar fashion by restricting ammo and the use of melee weapons.  From my 20 to 30 minutes with the game, The Evil Within felt like a return to true survival horror rather than the Michael Bay-like action games that some companies are trying to pass as horror these days.  If you are in desperate need of a game that gives you nightmares like the original Resident Evils did over 15 years ago, The Evil Within will certainly fill that void.
Out of all the games at the Microsoft Booth, Sunset Overdrive was the only one I wanted to play no matter.  Ever since I saw the game in action at Microsoft's E3 press conference, I was in love with the absolute insanity developer Insomniac is trying to pass off  as gameplay.  Insane is the perfect word to describe the chaos of Sunset Overdrive's gameplay.  The game flows at an incredibly smooth clip that may be to smooth, in fact, as it can be easy to get lost in the swarms of enemies and explosions.  Like all Insomniac games, the guns are always the highlight of the show with their creative designs and expert handling.  Switching between guns is quick as a flick of the right analog stick, which adds to the chaotic pace of the game.  Apart from the chaotic gameplay, Sunset Overdrive exudes humour and style through humourous character designs, funny one-liners, and unique respawn animations.  All-in-all, my time with Sunset Overdrive was easily one of my highlights at Fan Expo as it was just pure unadulterated fun, and nothing can beat that.
The honour of being the very last game I got to play at Fan Expo belonged to Evolve.  The demo for Evolve was one of the main reasons I wanted to go Fan Expo 2014 in the first place, so there was no way I would leave the show without playing this game.  While I got to play Evolve for a good 20 minutes or so, you definitely need to play the game more than once to get a true feel for its mechanics, controls and subtle nuances.  My first impressions are positive, but just a little tainted due to getting beat before seeing the full potential of the game and the lack of helpful advice provided by the developer/tester advising me.  I played as the Kraken and almost evolved to its ultimate form before I succumbed to the strength and teamwork of my opponents.  The Kraken was very unique to control due to its sheer size in the game world.  Much of my time was spent on the defensive as I avoided combat with hunters and focused on feeding on enough wildlife to evolve.  I felt extremely vulnerable as a level one monster, but became much more competent as I grew in level.  As a whole, Evolve was an incredibly tense game of cat and mouse that was very enjoyable to play.  Hopefully when the game comes out next year, I can get more time with Evolve to hone my skills and possibly avenge my embarrassing loss at Fan Expo.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Launch Station: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

No matter what, Super Smash Bros. elicits a rabid response from gamers around the globe.  The years leading up to the newest iterations have been no different as gamers deeply analyze every piece of media Nintendo released to the public through character reveal trailers and Miiverse screenshots.  Instead of just one Smash Bros. release this time around, there will be two; one for the 3DS and Wii U respectively.  Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is leading the pack as it releases this Friday while the Wii U version will release by the end of the year.

Since Super Smash Bros. for 3DS will be the first Smash Bros. to release on a handheld, many gamers have had reservations over how the chaotic gameplay will translate to the small screen.  Nintendo's answer to these worries is by placing outlines around all characters in order to improve visibility especially when the camera zooms out.  Although both editions of the new Super Smash Bros. share the exact same roster, gameplay and multiplayer modes, there are a few areas where the 3DS version deviates from its Wii U brethren.  Mainly, all the stages, aside from stages like Final Destination, Battlefield and Brinstar, are exclusive to the 3DS version as they pull from handheld games such as Pokemon X & Y, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and Super Mario 3D Land.  Apart from the stages, the main exclusive for the 3DS version of Smash Bros. is the Smash Run mode.  Very similar to Kirby Air Ride's City Trial mode, Smash Run places players at random locations in this large open environment with the goal of collecting as many stat-boosting power-ups as possible in five minutes.  After the five minutes are up, these super-charged combatants are put in a randomized match to determine who made the best of their run.  Along with the Wii U version, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS also allows players to create their own Mii Fighters, customize move sets for preexisting characters and use Amiibo to train computer-controlled characters.  One heavily rumoured feature, which cannot be confirmed until the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, is the ability to use the 3DS as a controller for the Wii U version of the game.

No matter the size of the screen, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS looks to be a worthy of the Smash Bros. name.  From my time with the demo, I found the controls to take quite a while to get use to and the visibility of the characters to be difficult to follow in four-man brawls.  Despite my reservations with a few mechanics, the demo is loads of fun and I highly recommend giving it a swing before picking up the full game.  Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is one of the most highly anticipated games for a reason.  It's just about time to settle all your differences and conflicts in Smash!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

First Byte: Fan Expo 2014 Gauntlet Part 1

A few weeks back, yours truly made the long trek to Toronto for Fan Expo Canada.  My main reason for going to Fan Expo this year was the plethora of upcoming games available to play at the event.  In total, Fan Expo had well over 30 games to play including Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor, Halo: Master Chief Collection, Assassin's Creed Unity and Destiny.  While I was hoping to play every game on the show floor, that ambitious goal did not come close to happening.  In fact, I only got to play ten games.  Although that number might not seem like a lot, I got to play the games I was most interested in trying, and those with the shortest lines.  Considering I did not get a whole lot of time to fully experience each demo, I will be doing brief impressions on the games I played instead of doing separate first impression previews for each one. As I cannot fit all ten games in one article, there will be two parts to this Fan Expo Gauntlet.  The first part focuses on the demos I got less than ten minutes with while the second part previews the games that I got much more hands-on time playing.
First things first, I learned a valuable lesson at Fan Expo: I am horrible at racing sims and that's a fact.  I played three different racing sims on the show floor in Driveclub (exclusively for PS4), Forza Horizon 2 (exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox One) and The Crew (available on all platforms), and each game had a unique take on simulation racing.  Driveclub was solely focused on providing an experience that expertly replicates the nuances of driving.  With crisp graphics and precise controls, Driveclub seems to be tailored for a gaming steering wheel and throttle.  While Driveclub focused on a pure simulation of driving in a pristine environment, Forza Horizon 2 took the similar precise controls and crisp graphics and threw it in an open world.  The race I played in Forza was very interesting as the race dynamically moved from tarmac to dirt to grass causing me to think on the fly about how to control my car through the constantly changing terrain.  Even the great grip of the tarmac can be easily erased by a downpour, all thanks to Horizon 2's dynamic weather.  Although I ended up last in both Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2, I enjoyed my time with each game.  The same cannot be said about The Crew.  Ubisoft's unique street racing sim with a focus on team-play did little to impress due to the incredibly loose control of the cars and the complete lack of direction.  It may be nice to have an open world to drive around and explore, but when the only person able to initiate anything in the demo is the Ubisoft rep, there's a big problem.
Coming out of E3, The Order: 1886 looked like a promising new IP from Sony, but I still had some reservations due to the lack of demos on the game.  Once I saw that the game was going to be at Fan Expo, I was ecstatic to play it.  In fact, it was the first game I played on the show floor.  My ecstasy for The Order subsided when the demo ended after a mere three minutes.  You are dropped in the middle of Chapter 3 of the game with the objective to escape the alleyway.  Using the termite gun, you fire off a few rounds, try the special bullet time-esque pistol move, jump from multiple points of cover, activate a quick-time event and the demo is over.  Three minutes is nowhere close to enough time to form an opinion on the game other than hoping there is much more in the final product.  With only six months left until release, I hope Ready at Dawn has a lot more up their sleeve than this three minute disappointment.
Much like The Order: 1886, Far Cry 4 had a really good showing at E3 so again I was excited to get my hands on the game.  Very similar to my time with The Order, Far Cry 4 left a lot to be desired.  While The Order's problems stemmed from showing barely anything, Far Cry 4's problems stemmed from ridiculously long load times and severe pop-in.  You can give the benefit of the doubt to Ubisoft, but to show a game to the public in such a poor state does not help push pre-orders.  It will cause exactly the opposite to happen.  Despite those issues, Far Cry 4 gave you three scenarios in which to siege an enemy fortress: sneak, ride and fly.  I chose the ride option which allowed me to ride an elephant to siege the fortress.  While the destruction the elephant caused was a sight to behold, I found attacking the fortress to be ill fit for one person as I was easily swarmed and overwhelmed by the enemy AI on multiple occasions.  In my opinion, the demo would have greatly benefit from having two people cooperatively siege the fortress.  Due to the poor quality of this demo, my expectations for Far Cry 4 have lowered quite a bit.
In light of the small amount of time I got to play Mortal Kombat X (a mere three minutes, in fact), I am going to keep this short and sweet.  Mortal Kombat X was a lot of fun.  The controls felt responsive, it was a lot more approachable than past entries as I put together some unique combos with ease, the interactable elements were well integrated and the game has more than enough blood, gore and violence to keep any Mortal Kombat fan happy.  Although my time was short, I came away impressed with how Mortal Kombat X is progressing.  Finishing foes with fatalities cannot come soon enough.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Silver Bit @ Fan Expo 2014

On Friday, August 29th, yours truly made the trek down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the heart of Canada's largest city for this year's Fan Expo Canada.  Fan Expo Canada is a multi-day event annually held at the very August.  Originally the convention was made to bring together fans of multiple genres, mainly comic books, science fiction, fantasy and film, Fan Expo has gone on to include a vast range of popular media such as video games, anime, manga and horror.  Over the years, the convention has grown to fill four whole days with panels, workshops, special screenings, tournaments, meet and greets, after parties, signings and photo ops among a plethora of other attractions.  Fan Expo Canada is easily the largest convention in all of Canada as it fills both buildings of the Toronto Convention Centre to capacity.

It has been four long years since I last went to Fan Expo Canada and a whole lot has changed since then.  I was astounded on how the convention has grown in size especially video game portion of the convention.  Back in 2010, the entire convention was held in the North Building of the Toronto Convention Centre with less than five percent of that space being dedicated to video games.  This year, the video game portion of the convention took up a whole quarter of the South Building and a large area of the North Building.  The video game industry was more than well represented at Fan Expo 2014 and a lot of the thanks has to go to EB Games Canada and their Gamer Zone.  EB Games Canada brought in the likes of Ubisoft, Sony, Microsoft, Bethesda, Disney, WB Games and 2K Games to demo some of the most anticipated games coming out in the next year.  There were well over 30 games on the show floor to demo including Evolve, Destiny, Far Cry 4, Sunset Overdrive, The Evil Within, Mortal Kombat X and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.  Personally, I spent the majority of my time in this section playing all the upcoming games I could get my hands on.  Considering I went for the one day, I only got to play about a third of the games available, but it was well worth all the kilometres traveled and the time spent waiting in lines.  I look forward to sharing my impressions on the demos I played in the coming weeks.  So stay tuned.

I did not spend my entire Friday in the video game section of Fan Expo.  There were tons of vendors selling video games, comics, art books, t-shirts, framed artwork, action figures, plush toys and anything you can think of.  Out of thousands of items available to buy, I picked up two Official Nintendo Legend of Zelda shirts for 40 dollars.  A lot of time outside of the games section was spent taking pictures of all the incredible statues set up on the floor such as giant Lego statues of the Shedder and Lord Business, and life-sized models of Prowl from Transfromers G1 and the Batmobile from Batman: Arkham Knight.  I also got to watch the very first episode of Star Wars: Rebels, the new Star Wars animated TV show set between Episodes III and IV, in the John Bassett Theatre with tons of excited fans both young and old.  It was a completely different experience watching a show with hundreds of other people as you got to hear live reactions from everybody in the audience, not just yourself.  While Rebels is geared towards a young audience, I found it to be very enjoyable for Star Wars fans of all ages.  It will definitely worth a viewing when it premieres on Disney XD this October.

Last but not least, I got to meet the cast of Reviews on the Run and Electric Playground along with famous video game composer and founder of Video Games Live, Tommy Tallarico.  Even though I met most of these gaming celebrities before, I was incredibly starstruck in front of all of them.  Some people idolize athletes, film stars or musicians, I idolize people in the video games industry including the developers, journalists and game analysts.  While I may have awkwardly stumbled over my words while talking to them, they all made me feel welcomed and appreciated.  I would like to thank Victor Lucas, Ben Silverman, Jose Sanchez, Marissa Roberto, Steve Tilley, Raju Mudhar and Tommy Tallarico for making a great Fan Expo even more special for me.  It was an excellent day and I cannot wait to go again next year.

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Byte: New Nintendo 3DS

Just over a year ago, Nintendo surprised everyone with the reveal of the 2DS, a value-priced model of the 3DS without the system's signature glasses-less 3D feature.  While the opinions on the 2DS were polarizing upon its initial announcement, the system has by no means been the flop like many suggested.  In fact, the 2DS has sold well over two million units since its launch back in October of last year.  Seeing the success of the 2DS must of inspired the decision makers at Nintendo announce yet another model of the 3DS before the end of August because the Big N is at it again.

In the wee hours of the morning last Friday, Nintendo announced the New Nintendo 3DS during a Japan-only Nintendo Direct.  The New Nintendo 3DS is very similar in design to past models, but there a significant amount of additions to the hardware that justify the title of "New".  The most noticeable features of the New 3DS are the additions of a small analog nub referred to as the C-Stick, the ZL and ZR shoulder buttons, coloured face buttons and a volume slider located on the top screen.  The other features of the New 3DS include built-in NFC functionality in the touch screen for use with Amiibo, facial tracking via the inner camera to improve the line of sight for the glasses-less 3D effect, the use of Micro SD cards instead of SD cards for storage and more processing power to improve download speeds and graphics capability.  With the additional processing power, Nintendo has confirmed there will be exclusive games, such as an enhanced port of Xenoblade Chronicles, coming to the New 3DS.  Sadly, these games will not be compatible with previous versions of the system.  The New 3DS is currently set to release in both standard and XL versions on October 10th in Japan with no official announcement on worldwide release at this time.

The announcement of a brand new system, be it console or handheld, is suppose to bring excitement and joy for the next advancements in video game software and technology.  When I saw the announcement for the New 3DS, I was stunned and not in a good way.  In all honesty, I love Nintendo and the 3DS XL is one of the best designed handheld systems on the market today, but I do not understand Nintendo's incessant need to annualize the release of 3DS hardware especially when it alienates owners of previous versions.  Video game handhelds are in a completely different beast than smartphones and tablets because people look for a dedicated system to take the quality gaming experiences on the go rather than a multipurpose machine where gaming is not much of a focus.  Due to these opposing mindsets, there is no need to adapt the practice of updating hardware (no matter how minor) annually that is so prevalent in the smartphone and tablet market into Nintendo's handheld strategy.

Although I do fear Nintendo is looking at smartphones and tablets as influence more than they should, my main problem with the New 3DS stems from the exclusive games for the device.  In no way has Nintendo officially confirmed if the New 3DS is their next generation handheld, which leaves the system feeling like it is caught between the current handheld generation and whatever Nintendo creates next.  Considering the New 3DS sits amidst two handheld generations, it begs the question: why should someone buy a New 3DS when the next generation of handhelds is maybe two to three years away?  The exclusive games seems like Nintendo's way to elicit people to ignore that question, yet the install-base of the New 3DS will never reach a point where it is more viable sales-wise to release large portable franchises like Pokemon exclusively on it.  With that thought in mind, I do not see the New 3DS's exclusive games being more than Nintendo-published ports like Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story, and experimental titles such as WarioWare.  In my opinion, the whole exclusive games conundrum will cause more division between the 3DS consumer base than unity because there will be two groups of gamers with systems that are compatible in some ways and incompatible in others.  Much like Nintendo's missteps with DSiWare during the DS era, it is a short-sighted move by Nintendo to coerce people into buying a New 3DS with exclusive games.

While the New Nintendo 3DS adds some highly requested features like a second analog stick and improved stereoscopic 3D, it is not needed at this point in time.  The 3DS is the most successful console on the market today.  There is no need to change up the formula or make significant changes to this system to ensure success other than continuing to release compelling software for the 3DS on a regular basis.  Gamers would rather see a remake for Majora's Mask or a new 2D Metroid over a brand new 3DS with the processing power of the Wii.  I may sound like a broken record, but Nintendo needs to focus on improving the sales of the Wii U over anything else.  The poor sales of the Wii U is the main cause of Nintendo's current financial woes, so it is better to right that ship than meddle with the one that is raking in all the money.  The final verdict on the New 3DS will have to wait until it reaches North American shores sometime in 2015.  Right now, I am no where near convinced that the New 3DS is worth my hard-earned cash especially after buying a 3DS XL earlier in this year.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Launch Station: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

In the last couple of years, crossovers have become more common on Nintendo consoles.  From full-on retail releases such as Pokemon Conquest, Project X Zone and the upcoming Hyrule Warriors to smaller experimental pieces of downloadable content like Nintendo character costumes in Monster Hunter 4 and Bayonetta 2, or special Yoshi's Story and Legend of Zelda stages for Sonic Lost World, crossovers are seeing much more attention in the video game industry now than in generations past especially here in North America.  Continuing this large surge of video game crossovers is Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a brand new 3DS adventure that brings together two franchises that made their names on past Nintendo handhelds.

Transported to the medieval city of Labyrinthia, Professor Layton, Phoenix Wright and company are tasked with solving puzzles and winning court battles in order to help Espella Cantabella, a girl who is wrongly accused of being a witch, prove her innocence and find a way back to their respective universes.  Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is divided into two distinct sections that coincide with each franchises respective gameplay.  The Adventure section of the game will be awfully familiar to Professor Layton fans as you are searching environments for clues and interacting with characters.  Through your interactions with the environments and characters, you open up a multitude of thought-provoking puzzles which earn Picarats, the currency from the Professor Layton games used for unlocking extra puzzles and buying hints, and advance the story.  The other section of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is the Witch Trial.  This is the section where Phoenix Wright and the gameplay from the Ace Attorney series takes centre stage.  Using the clues from the Adventure section, Phoenix must cross-examine witnesses and find contradictions in their testimonies in order to pull out the not guilty verdict for Espella.  Although finding contradictions involves the standard pressing for information and presenting of evidence that the Ace Attorney faithful are accustomed to, there are a couple twists to the standard Ace Attorney formula which spice up the proceedings quite a bit.  These twists are the ability to cross-examine multiple witnesses at a time and the addition of presenting magic spells as evidence. After completing the main game, there is additional content such as special episodes and art galleries available for players to download for Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney via the Nintendo Network.

When crossing over two completely different franchises, you always wonder how their signature elements such as gameplay, audio and art style will co-exist.  In the careful hands of both Capcom and Level 5, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney looks to strike a careful balance between the unique gameplay, art styles and designs of each franchise in a way that truly compliments one another.  Although it took four long years since its initial announcement to reach North America, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney should be a quality third-party title to keep 3DS owners satisfied until major titles like Pokemon and Super Smash Bros. release this fall.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bit by Bit: August 2014

As the weeks pass, we continue to inch ever so closer to the end of the summer.  For most including yours truly, the end of summer means the beginning of school.  With a new school year, I move from the craziness of managing two jobs, this blog and life to insanity of managing four university courses, a volunteer position at the university newspaper and a co-op job search on top of everything else mentioned above.  Before all that awesomeness becomes reality, there are two more weeks to relax and make the most of the summer.  Among the large list of things to do in these two weeks, I am going to Fan Expo Canada this coming Friday, August 29th.  It has been four long years since I last went to this event and things have really changed especially on the video game side of things.  Expect plenty of impressions on Fan Expo and all the games I get a chance to demo at the event in the weeks to come.  While all that amazing content is going to coming to Silver Bit in the near future, it is that time again to take our monthly trip down memory lane in Bit by Bit.

Game of the Month
License games do not have the best reputation among gamers.  Most of these projects do a poor job in translating the properties they represent to the video game medium that many have soured to license games altogether.  Every once and awhile, there comes a diamond in the rough to show us the great potential of coupling a huge license, be it a movie, comic or television show, with this interactive medium.  The latest diamond comes from the fusion of Broforce, a side-scrolling action game made by Free Lives that honours and parodies 80s action films and unabashed American patriotism, and the Expendables, Sylvester Stallone's action movie franchise that plays with nostalgia for a bygone age of blockbuster action movies and their larger than life stars.  From this match made in heaven came the Expendabros.

Expendabros is a free standalone expansion to Broforce which gives players a taste of Broforce's hectic gameplay with bro-ified versions of the Expendables 3 cast.  To describe Expendabros' gameplay as anything short of insane would not do the game justice.  Destructible environments, bombastic weapons, buckets of pixelated blood and enough explosions to bring a tear to Michael Bay's eyes kept a grin firmly planted on my face throughout my time with the game.  As much fun as I had with with the Expendabros, I did run into a good amount of slowdown especially when there were lots of explosions on screen and while loading new levels or cutscenes that took away from my experience.  While Expendabros has a few problems, the game has put Broforce on my radar of games I need to play and I highly recommend those who own a PC to give this free game a try because it is loads of fun.

Most Anticipated Game of the Month
I try not to have many repeats for Most Anticipated Game of the Month, but Azure Striker Gunvolt is the exception especially considering the game is less than a week away from release.  Comcept and Inti Creates' spiritual successor to Mega Man Zero will be available to download from the Nintendo eShop this coming Friday, August 29th for 15 dollars.  Those who purchase Azure Striker Gunvolt within the first three months of its launch will receive Mighty Gunvolt, an 8-bit side-scrolling crossover between Gunvolt, Mighty No. 9 and Gal Gun, free of charge.  From the brief gameplay trailer, Mighty Gunvolt looks to be modeled after the NES era Mega Man games with some new gameplay twists such as character specific abilities.  Seeing as Capcom will be sitting on Mega Man aside from re-releasing past games on new platforms for the foreseeable future, I am glad that Keiji Inafune, Comcept and Inti Creates are taking it upon themselves to fill the void with quality successors to the Mega Man name.  I cannot wait to get my hands on the fruition of their hard work later this week.

Video of the Month
When was the last time a game legitimately scared you?  For me, it was BioShock.  The dark, unsettling setting of Rapture combined with its disturbing residents caused me to debate whether or not to venture further into the level or shudder over the haunting screams that echoed through those halls many times.

While I personally hate horror movies due to their predictable plots and over reliance on blood and gore, I find survival horror games and games with significant horror elements very engaging because I am directly involved in the horrific events rather than a passive observer.  With the drop in quality among survival horror games (Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark) and the need to give players an overabundance of firepower and strength in action games with horror elements (BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us), games that truly scare are few and far between.

Konami looks to change that situation with its new additions of Silent Hill, which will be developed by Kojima Productions with the help of horror movie aficionado Guillermo del Toro and starring The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus.  With a lot of big names behind these projects, it seems like Konami is finally taking the Silent Hill franchise serious once again, but that is not all Konami did.  To show the new direction for these Silent Hills, Konami released P.T. (Playable Teaser) as a free download on PS4.  The one-two punch of the announcement trailer and playable teaser has generated an incredible amount of excitement for these new installments in the Silent Hill franchise.  I strongly encourage everybody to try out the unique yet incredibly scary P.T. for themselves or watch a walkthrough online if you do not own a PS4.  While P.T. may be more of an interactive experience than a game, it is something that all gamers mature enough should take the time to experience.