JOURNEY

DEVELOPED BY: Thatgamecompany

PUBLISHED BY: SONY Computer Entertainment

DIRECTOR: Jenova Chen

ARTIST: Matt Nava

Aaron Jessie

COMPOSER: Austin Wintory

RELEASE DATE: March 14th 2012  ( EU )

PLATFORM: PS3

Little over a month ago I decided I’ve taken enough of a break from writing and re-start this short lived Gaming Blog. To be honest with everyone, the first few post were just my version of “BETA testing” to see how this blog would be received, I had to decide on a tone that fit and something that wasn’t as tiring or debate centered.  In the time I spent drafting around my feeble existence in the Gaming Universe, I somehow managed to have my PSP stolen. Well great I thought to myself. The Gods of Gaming have spoken, I was to work my way back up again.

So I set on a Journey across the ocean in search of the truth. To be specific, I went to France and picked up a PS3 Slim 160GB for myself from the VIRGIN Store.  I didn’t get any games so when I got back home and hooked it up I just starred at my now burned up Debit Card exhausted of funds. I depleted what little I had left in it to buy myself  Thatgamecompany’s  latest release. “JOURNEY”

About 10 minutes and 15 Dollars later I find myself in the world of Journey expecting to see a dialog box pop up and tell me what to do…

No such luck…

I knew I shouldn't have eaten those Mind Controlling French Fries!

Instead a controller just faintly shows up showing you how to control your character… and… that’s about it. I find myself in the middle of a dessert feeling … to be honest, kind of lost.

BUT I MUSTN’T FEAR ! A quick scout of my surroundings reveals the faint shadow of a building? This game instead of giving you a bunch of answers just gives you questions really, lots of it.  In the form of “What the fuck now?!”

After a while of walking around down it’s quickly evident, how beautiful this game looks. The sand, the cloth you’re character is wearing floating in the wind.

And without the game having to pop up this huge ass dialog box saying “GO THERE! THERE!’ the game assumes ( quite rightly ) that you have to head in the direction of this Mountain with light spewing out of it’s mouth like it’s a Bat Signal.

I was sort of disappointed to find no such Bat Signal.

So 2-hours later, the game’s done. There isn’t much to say about this game, since I’d just be spoiling everything else for you.
The game isn’t in the traditional sense a “Game”, I would call this a game at all to be honest, and that’s a good thing. Journey is as the name suggest, a Journey, you have to experience it on your own. The world of Journey is stunningly beautiful.

Regarding the Multiplayer ?

Though it’s fun to run into another player suddenly while playing it’s really more fun to be alone, it just excites the experience that you’re alone. Journey may well reflect your inner loneliness as a gamer and show you what wonders we can do to fill in that loneliness with beautiful fictional worlds we all want to escape to.

Or maybe I’m just full of shit. The game doesn’t show you who that other player really is, it does nothing to tell you how old he or she could be, you can’t talk to each other. Merely use these feebly audible shouts your character can do ( which is all it can really do ) to signal each other. Not sure how you’re supposed to respond to it either.

Finishing the game will only then reveal to you who you met online, and you’ll probably notice that you actually met more than one person. The game actually shuffles the players that you meet, you think you’re playing with the same person when in reality you’re just bumping into other just as lost gamers as you.

Visuals : 8/10

Controls : 7/10 ( There isn’t much to say regarding it since there isn’t much to begin with )

Music : 8/10

Re-play Value : Disappointing amount of trophies really, but worth the Journey.

Overall Panda Points : 7/10

Thatgamecompany is really no stranger to these artsy games though, they’ve spun out beautiful pieces such as Flower and Flow before. Flower is another definitely must try if you’re into that, uhmm, Hipster *Cough* thing?

Why does this remind me of Japanese Hentai?

Written by : @kingofcuteness

Katawa Shoujo


DEVELOPED BY: 4 Leaf Studios

DEVELOPMENT TIME: 5 Years

DEVELOPMENT TEAM SIZE: 21

RELEASE DATE: 3rd January 2012


It’s pretty much common sense that the more time one spends in creating something the more likely it is to come out nicely. Most of us shat bricks when we heard that Skyrim spent around 5 years in development. The game ended up boasting a fuck-tonne of quest and more than 300-hours of ignoring any life you may or may not have had knowing what “reality” is.

And you start asking this question…

It was...

But Skyrim IS an open ended sandbox styled RPG that required the utmost attention paid to every aspect of the game to ensure quality and a minimum amount of glitches and bugs. ( Pfft, what am I talking about? It’s Bethesda after all )

What if that same amount of attention was paid to a far simpler game? What if you took a Romance Novel and added Anime visuals to it and made into a game similar to R.L. Stine’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of Goosebump books?

They made me piss my pants as a kid... no joke.

It seems that 5 years ago, a group of people who may or may not have met each other on 4chan decided that they’ll do exactly this. The results is Katawa Shoujo ( Disabled Girl ) , a Visual Novel  styled game, a genre of games that may be sightly alien to those of you outside of Asia.

The game put a demo out a couple of years back, and even then it gained a bit of a following. A simple DeviantArt search will reveal that despite it’s mere couple of days since release there is already an impressive amount of fanart available. The game puts you into the shoes of Hisao Nakai, a Japanese High School boy who suffers from a congenital heart defect that forces him to be sent to a school for disabled children where you’ll be given the chance to pursue the love of 5 incredibly beautiful girls each with their own unique stories and personalities    disabilities.

These girls…

From left ; Lilly, Hanako, Rin, Shizune and Emi

The game starts of a bit bland sadly and if you’re not patient you may quickly lose interest, as the game quickly jumps into a depressing self-pitying monologue by your character. Once you get pass this and arrive at the school gates however, you will quickly gain a strong interest in what comes next as you’re shown what seems to be the front of a beautiful school, which from the couple of scenes you won’t notice but, SPOILER ALERT : All the backgrounds will seem like a picture but they really aren’t!

You will then be introduced to the first girl available to be pursued. Which by the way I want to point out how well character introductions are done in this game, I like how you were given a lot of time getting to know each available girl thoroughly before you were introduced to the next girl. The game dedicates the entire first ACT of the game getting you acquainted enough with each of the five girls to be able to make a decision on who to pursue.

Oh, by the way, it is possible to LOSE in this game during this first part, you can die. I won’t spoil that for you though, it’s quite fun really.  :)

I must stress though, this game is NOT a dating-sim and it isn’t even an eroge to begin with. You will be treated to some sex-scenes towards the end of the game, assuming you get the “good” ending for the girl you choose to pursue in ACT 1 of the game…

What do you mean "no sex"?!

When playing this game, you’ll want to be patient and go through all the scenes as if you’re reading a book, and trust me. That IS good thing.  The game is split into four different parts. ACT 1 till 4.

Act 1 does the necessary introductions and girl choosing.

Act 2-3 will be mainly story with some decisions to make thrown here and there. These parts are full of dialogues and heavy monologues especially if you chose the Rin path. This is basically the novel part of the game. The game is very well written and you’ll be constantly stumbling upon very quotable lines you’ll want to tweet and and post on your Facebook straight away! The game uses the theme of disability and shines it directly under a very serious and mature light. ( As in totally not sex but rather heavy thoughts in dialogue and metaphors )

No sex yet? Sure.... Sure~

Act 4 ( IF you get an Act 4 ) will be the climax of the story ( no pun intended ) and be straight run towards the end usually with your character going back to the self-pity but not as bad to show that he has learned from the people of the school, specifically the girl you pursued. 

Which yeah, is the part where you MAY get the sex. Yes, you can fail here too.

Moving on from sexual innuendos, another thing I like about this game is the atmosphere created by the simple but effectively used Soundtrack that sticks to a rather serious tone but it works even through the humorous sections of the game. I wouldn’t mind purchasing the soundtrack for this game, so uhh, 4 Leaf Studios, Soundtrack album please? :)

The game is surprisingly long compared to other visual novel styled games I’ve played and took me around 6-hours combined ( distractions from external sources included ) to finish one character path. So you’ll be pretty much glued to this game for the entire night, or day… but I don’t recommend this on your desktop at work…

Overall I’d say this game is very well produced for an independent game studio and it’s a bit of a tragedy that 4 Leaf Studios has stated that it will be the only game they will ever make. The lack of Voice-acting slightly turned me off and I feel that the introduction to the the main character itself requires a LOT of work.

Plus there’s no reason NOT to try this out especially if you’ve never tried Visual-Novel games before since this game is ABSOLUTELY FREE!

All in all here’s the verdict ;

Visuals : 8/10

STORY: 9.5/10 ( Fucking Introduction spoils it )

Music : 5/10

Re-play Value : You’ll definitely replay this since they’ll be another 4 girls each with 2-3 possible endings to them 

Overall Panda Points : 7/10

The game can be downloaded here > http://katawashoujo.blogspot.com/2012/01/katawa-shoujo-released.html

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MASS EFFECT 3 ( Expectations )

DEVELOPED BY: BIOWARE

PUBLISHED BY: Electronic Arts

DIRECTOR: Casey Hudson

WRITERS: Mac Walters

Neil Pollner

RELEASE DATE: March 6th 2012

PLATFORM: PC/PS3/XBOX 360


 

Around early of June last year Bioware put Mass Effect 3 up for pre-order along with the N7 Digital Deluxe Edition of the game.

Naturally the Deluxe Edition would cost more, which is to say a good $10 more than the regular one. Guess what else is as natural as men masturbating and women in the kitchen?

Completely ignoring the cheaper regular version and not waiting for more than a week to buy the Digital Deluxe Edition of the game.

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the excellent advertising campaign BIOWARE churned out in the form of this video.

It wasn’t the offer for the addition of some bad-ass weapons and armor, it wasn’t the promise of my own personal Dog on the Normandy.

It wasn’t even the promise of  the Tits and Arse of Liara T’Soni and Miranda Lawson that made me buy this game so quickly!…

Ok... maybe the tits and arse are the reason

You see, the thing that really made me sell my rare Hatsune Miku CM Version figurine and starve myself to the edge of death and misery is the fact that the Mass Effect series is everything I expect from a game that sells you a sci-fi story, by creating an entire fucking universe filled with religions, races, politicians and everything that could possibly be our future. Best part? They get actual writers and Hollywood actors to do the movie magic. Something most game developers are still not getting when it comes to making interactive-movie styled games.

Mass Effect 3 is the final step in the Mass Effect series that promises to wrap up everything from every possible angle for our hero Commander Shepard. Boasting more than 1,000 possible variables and a brand new Multiplayer campaign that also affects the main game! Having so much to offer, any regular gamer would only be sensible to ask a certain discerning question when it comes to game sequels…

“Will it be better than the last game?” 

Well if a picture is worth a thousand words, than maybe we should be able to put the following picture to context.

Oh...fuck...

That’s the Reaper Invasion, that’s the Big Ben. The Big Ben is on Earth….  and no, that’s not the scale you are fighting for. It’s much bigger than that. As Commander Shepard the scale you’re fighting for is literally, the entire universe, but you won’t be doing this alone, or rather, you shouldn’t be doing this alone. You better hope that whatever allies you made and lost in the previous two games don’t come back to bite you in the ass.  Cause according to Bioware, the Paragon path won’t necessarily be the best, they’ll be bad consequences to certain decisions you made that looked like a good idea back then. But then again, that’s exactly what makes Mass Effect 3 something worth looking forward to.

Cause everything you tried to do perfectly, everyone you tried to save, every ounce of power you thought you had over your own fate, may finally be stripped away. We’ve been given so much control over everything in the first two games, that could well be the big FUCK YOU we were waiting for, the exact change that would make us as gamers, vulnerable again.

And with all the hype over the game with the addition of this award…

Everyone is starting to expect more and more from this game, and we’re all raising the bar for it.

Everyone’s waiting to hear more quotable dialogue from Shepard.

Everyone’s waiting to hear Jennifer Hale as the female Shepard again.

Everyone’s waiting for little blue babies from Liara T’Soni.

Everyone’s eager to know if they’ll ever see Tali’Zorah Vas Normandy reveal her face.

An entire motherfucking campaign was started to find a cure for Thane Krios!

I personally want to see EDI placed in a Humanoid Cyborg body to have her married to Jeff “Joker” Moreau

Say what???!!!

The fans have placed this incredibly heavy pile of expectations on the guys at Bioware, and guess what? It seems that they’ll be managing it quite well actually.

I do however have my reservations against the Multiplayer addition to the game. I wonder if it’ll be similar to how Rusty Hearts tackled putting a story to a Multiplayer online game. Will it be played out level by level so you can only jump into certain levels according to how far you’ve gone, or can you choose to do whatever mission you want and their entirely different campaigns and stories like how Left 4 Dead does it?

Whatever it is, we can sure as hell expect to be in for a ride alongside our favorite characters from the series and see the fruits to the seeds we planted in the previous games, some of us attempting the games more than once to get a perfect play.

Because lets be honest with ourselves, if the game doesn’t turn out to expectations, we will go fucking nuts, bite on our fingernails, do Jell-O shots all night long and flip every god forsaken table in town as you promptly buy a ticket to fly off straight to the Bioware HQ  to slap the Bioware team with that Giant Purple Dildo you spent 100-hours of your life in Minecraft building.

This is why you need God.

PS : Special shout-out to Miss Robin Burks from Fan Girl Confessions ! Without her, I wouldn’t have played this game! :)

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BIT.TRIP RUNNER

DEVELOPED BY : GAIJIN GAMES

PUBLISHED BY : AKSYS GAMES

CREATIVE DIRECTOR : ALEX NEUSE

PLATFORM : PC/MAC/Wii/ Nitendo 3DS

Retail Price : USD 9.99

 Available Through : Steam / Wii Shop

 

 

 

 

When I choose to play a game, I always challenge myself to complete the main quest-line/game as fast as I can, if possible in one sitting surrounded by a dozen cans of Coke and the nearest McDonalds on Speed-dial.   I usually set the game on Normal and then only play the game again to get whatever I missed to aim for 100% completion.

That's 80-hours of my life spent not fapping.

Then a certain game studio… GAIJIN GAMES decides to come along and say, fuck that! We know how you do it bitch, and we’re going to make you our bitch by making you play a game that’s hard as fuck, eats up your soul in relation to how much of the game you didn’t complete on each level and make it  addictive, and trippy… like a drug… like acid.

The game starts of easy enough, it’s almost laughable. You take control of Commander Video and all you have to do is press the jump button and time that right. Do note however that I use the term “all you have to do” rather loosely. The game doesn’t tell you this, but GAIJIN knows you’ll do it anyway, you can totally get pass every level without collecting all Power-Ups or Gold-Bars but be warned…

The game has no check-points whatsoever or a “lives” system like most games. Instead, if you stall Commander Video mid-level he will basically go all Prince of Persia on you and simply rewind to the start, it doesn’t matter if you were merely 1 more obstacle away from the finish line, if you miss it, it’s back to square one, and here’s where you start flipping tables…

Fuck this, I'm going to Sparkle.

Same rules apply to boss-fights too, yes, as if the regular levels weren’t difficult enough, they had to have boss-fights,  but then again… what’s a platformer game without a boss-fight eh? ( A lot less frustrating )

However so, even if the game does tend to drive you nuts, it’s selling point is how beautiful this game really is. Not in the sense of *cough* Modern Penisfare 3, but rather more in the sense of being ACTUALLY CREATIVE with the art-style that combines 3D and 8-bit graphics. Combine that with the incredible Soundtrack that by the way features motherfucking ANAMAGUCHI on two of the tracks, and you get this incredible experience of wonder, nostalgia and awe mixed with I want to fucking flip all the tables in this house right now.

I mean, the game-soundtrack actually intensifies for every little thing you manage to do in this game, so getting a perfect score on a level actually means you get a perfect score! As in you know… a musical score…

Lets pretend this makes sense...

The best part? The game actually gets better with it’s difficulty, because it successfully rewards you with that feeling of accomplishment every-time you get pass a level. Here’s the math ;

( Number of Times Level Attempted x Gold-Bars collected ) x Tables Flipped = EUPHORIA LEVELS

There’s even this nifty bonus level you get that throws you all the way back to the days of the Atari =3

Warning : You will fail

There aren’t many controls to the game as this game is meant to seem like a classic NES game. So around 10-12 levels through the game and you’ll be less frustrated than in the beginning of the game. Oh, but then the learning curve for this game just laughs at you as the game introduces an extra move towards the end of the game that just fucks up everything you were used to up till then. So I suggest having a spare table if you want to finish this game in one sitting.

The game doesn’t have that many levels ( Around 50 ) but you’ll be playing this for a long time considering how many times you’ll be replaying each level. So that alone is enough reason to spend $9.99 on it.

Here’s my overview of what I think of this game .

Visuals : 8/10

Controls : 5/10

Music : 8/10

Re-play Value : As long as you haven’t won the game and have enough tables left in the house.

Overall Panda Points : 7/10

So if you’re the type of gamer that loves a challenge with a genuine sense of achievement at the end. Get this game, or if you already did get it during the 4th Humble Bundle and haven’t played it  yet, GET READY TO FLIP ALL THE TABLES!

First!

Now that title up there would have been annoying, WOULD HAVE BEEN, had this been the comments section, but it’s not so you may proceed to put that flame-thrower of yours down.

Now lets try not to kill each-other and at least let me introduce myself to you first.

I am The Gaming Panda .

My job will be to inform you of what I think of certain games new and old, I will not ask for anything in return despite my sacrifice of sleep in order to do the job. However if you wish to reward me for my generosity, I will happily accept.

So before we continue, you may ask, why should you care what I think?

Why should you, the one reading this currently, a homo-sapien of whom I assume is a normal strictly law-abiding citizen who may or may not know who Zelda is ( Hint : has a vagina ) care what I think?  Well of course you must care, I’m an educated, responsible, honest, non-drug using citizen who doesn’t masturbate to Hentai Porn. I have qualifications to do this thing, don’t believe me?

Check the ‘ About The Gaming Panda ‘ tab up there.

Satisfied? Good.

Lets play some games bitchez.

PS : I may also decide to miss-inform you of certain things, for the purpose of humor… for myself.

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