I think the game developers are also too busy playing Tears of the Kingdom to put any new games out. What other excuse would they have for such a light output this week?
Humanity (PC/PS4/PS5/PSVR/PSVR2) – Releases May 16th
Developed by: THA Ltd.
Published by: Enhance
Humanity looks bizarre. Fun, but bizarre. In Humanity, players take on the role of a Shiba Inu dog and must guide massive crowds of people to an end goal. It’s like Lemmings, but with thousands of units to keep track of at control all at once. Throw in an optional VR mode and this has the makings of a head inducing, rage filled evening if you aren’t careful.
LEGO 2K Drive (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 19th
Developed by: Visual Concepts
Published by: 2K Games
Have you ever been playing Forza Horizon and thought, “this could use some LEGO cars“, well 2K and Visual Concepts must have been reading your mind because LEGO 2K Drive is, basically, that. Zoom around an open world filled with LEGO buildings, vehicles, and people as you partake in races and other car related stuff. I poked fun at this game in my video, saying it was only for children, but this trailer is pretty rad and I can certainly see myself picking this up on Black Friday for $14.99 at Walmart.
Is she nice?
- Love on Leave (PC/Switch) – Releases May 17th
- Cyber Citizen Shockman (PS4/Switch) – Releases May 18th
- Firmament (PC) – Releases May 18th
- Murtop (PC/Switch) – Releases May 18th
- Winter’s Wish: Spirits of Edo (Switch) – Releases May 18th
Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 years ago:
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released May 22nd, 2013: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: The Hangover Part III – Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, and John Goodman
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
*Click here to listen to the album*
Listen up kid…I’m gonna tell you the story of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. Originally conceived in the late 1890’s by the great Buffalo Bill, it would take over 100 years for the concept to reach the offices of Ubisoft in France, after Rayman creator, Yves Guillemot, bought the manuscript at auction in 2010, calling the woman running the auction, “hot tits“. Getting into his BMW Z4, flipping off anyone who looked at him, Guillemot took Buffalo Bill’s design doc to his favorite 3rd party developer, Techland, and told them to make a game that, quote, “sucked far less dick than ‘The Cartel’, and also Janet in accounting“, who he called “sassy skirt“, on account of how her skirts made her look more attractive. He hoped she would wear them more often.
Producers Pawel Zawobny and Krzysztof Nosek knew they had to deliver a banger of a project, or else Guillemot would visit their wives and show them the pictures. The design doc that Buffalo Bill wrote was, it turns out, just ramblings about the state of America and how McKinley was just fuckin’ things up for everyone. Lots of racial stuff, like, A LOT. Finally, Nosek noticed that there was a term underlined in bold, red ink, “unreliable narrator”. He gasped, “GASP!” and the concept hit him.
The previous Call of Juarez game, The Cartel, was universally hated by everyone, literally, ask anyone, they’ll tell you they hate it. I hate it, Steve hates it, Brenda hates it, “Sassy Skirt” hates it, I asked your mom and even she hates it. To help figure out what fans of the series wanted, Ubisoft sent out a survey, asking owners of The Cartel why it sucked so much, and how exactly the series could get back on track. The responses were, overwhelmingly, “the modern era sucks” and “make it a cowboy game again“. Of course! A game set in the old West with an unreliable narrator, that’s what the kids want! Ubisoft and Techland had hit gold, thanks to free advice from idiots who bought The Cartel, the exact words of Yves Guillemot.
To tell the story of Gunslinger, Techland created a fictional cowboy named Silas Greaves. The old gunslinger rides into town and enters the saloon, telling stories about his life to the nearby patrons, which is where the gameplay comes in. As Silas tells the story, the events begin to appear on screen and players guide Silas through his adventure, though as he is an unreliable narrator, the level will often change and distort to fit his lie. This includes sections of the level you just completed being erased, and characters appearing/disappearing suddenly. It’s a very clever trick and is what makes Gunslinger stand out from the rest of the games in the Call of Juarez franchise.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger was a massive critical and financial success. It allowed Guillemot to purchase a large quantity of cocaine so he could make that Beyond Good & Evil 2 trailer, just to fuck with everybody. The team at Techland had their children returned to them due to the game’s success, as it would go on to win not just Game of the Year, but Game of the Century, and we were only 13 years into it! Of course there has been a new Call of Juarez game every year since then, dethroning Call of Duty as the best selling video game franchise of all time, and has led to a very popular film series starring John Cusack as old Silas and Timothée Chalamet as young Silas, leading to one of the most shocking Oscar moments of all time when both men were given the award for Best Actor.
If you’d like to play this game today, although I’m sure you already have, you can pick it up on PC or Switch, but of course the best way to play it is on the Game Boy Advance de-make, which was such a hit that Nintendo actually manufactured new devices so that people could have access to the game (a version for the GBA app for the Switch online service is TBD, Nintendo still has to release Scrunt and Mr. Methulton’s Chocolate Fun Town). All praise and glory to Ubisoft and their masterpiece, I’ll see you all at this week’s Sunday mass where we watch Dr. Disrespect do a full playthrough of the game, yet again, as he says something about Biden that will be quite offensive.
Lost Kingdoms II (GameCube) – Released May 22nd, 2003: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Pokémon Heroes – Starring Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart, and Ikue Otani
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Deftones – Deftones
*Click here to listen to the album*
These days, if a new title by From Software is announced it will have the video game world buzzing for months until it comes out and we instantly declare it a masterpiece. Back in 2003, however, if you knew about From Software it was probably because you were a hardcore Armored Core fan, or a huge, HUGE, dork. While Armored Core made up most of From’s output, they would often deviate into action/RPG territory, putting out titles that were usually praised for an interesting world/concept, but would often fall flat due to poor controls and confusing gameplay. These games often would not receive sequels, though every now and then you’d get a follow-up title, like 2003’s Lost Kingdoms II.
A GameCube exclusive franchise, the first Lost Kingdoms game came out in May of 2002, with the second title coming almost year later exactly. Set decades after the first game, Lost Kingdoms II follows the story of a young woman named Tara Grimface (what a name), a member of a renowned thieves guild, who lives with a chip on her shoulder after being abandoned as a child. A lone wolf of sorts, Tara is shunned/feared by almost everyone as she is able to control a True Runestone, a magical device that allows her to summon creatures to aid her in battle. As players progress through the game, they learn about Tara’s origins and what led her to be abandoned all those years ago.
Like the first game, Lost Kingdoms II is centered around card battles, though not like you would see in Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh. Instead, players use cards to battle enemies in real time, sometimes by using a single attack, other times by summoning a creature to the battlefield and having the AI fight for them. Players don’t gain levels like they would in a traditional RPG, instead they get strong by collecting more powerful cards that are hidden around stages, and granted at the end of each level. For tabletop players, this is akin to a deck building game like Dominion or Legendary, in which you start off with a weak deck of cards and gradually become stronger as you collect new ones and trash old ones.
That all sounds pretty interesting, right? Hey, From Software can craft a tale and come up with really unique gameplay, there’s no doubt about it. However, when it came to controls, as well as sustaining long-term interest, they hadn’t quite found the perfect formula yet, and Lost Kingdoms II, like a lot of their early action/RPG’s, suffers because of it. Reviews were mixed to poor, failing to even match those of the first game. Players pretty much ignored the game and the Lost Kingdoms franchise was put to bed. If you want to play this title today you’re going to either need to have a couple hundred bucks handy for a physical copy, or own a PC that can emulate GameCube games. I don’t recommend either scenario, honestly, the game isn’t good, move on with your life.
MechWarrior (SNES) – Released May 1993: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Posse – Starring Mario Van Peebles, Stephen Baldwin, Billy Zane, Tone-Loc, Melvin Van Peebles, Tiny Lister, Big Daddy Kane, Reginald VelJohnson, and Blair Underwood
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Janet Jackson – Janet.
*Click here to listen to album*
Like last week’s 30 year old notable title, Shadowrun, this week’s title, MechWarrior, is also based on a tabletop game from the company FASA, and also developed by Beam Software. The major difference here is publisher, with Activision releasing the game in North America and Europe. Oh, the other, OTHER, major difference is the gameplay and overall quality of the game. MechWarrior is an action game in which players control a giant robot, or mech, and use it to defeat other giant robots. The core story revolves around the player character, Herras, who is a MechWarrior for hire, using the money he gains from contracts to upgrade his mechs as he pursues the killers of his family, the Dark Wing Lance.
MechWarrior is played in a first person perspective, with players battling against enemy mech’s in real time. Stages are typically contained to small islands with various terrain that can hinder players movement, making flight a necessary option, at times. However, flying does pose the problem of overheating, making your mech a sitting duck to your enemies. Once a stage is cleared, players are sent back to their garage where they can repair their mech, upgrade it, or purchase a new model.
MechWarrior is a bit slow and clunky at first, but as you amass wealth you’ll be able to afford faster mechs, get stronger weapons, and increase your armor. In a way, MechWarrior is the forefather of From Software’s Armored Core series, which takes a lot of the ideas seen in MechWarrior; taking contracts, using funds to upgrade, deep customization, dystopian future, etc., etc. Critics were fairly impressed with the game, giving it above average reviews, though they were not really feeling the beginning of the game. Like me, they also found it to be slow and tedious, only picking up once you’ve gained some real firepower.
Over the years we have received several more MechWarrior games, with the most recent release in 2019. This was also not the first game to be called MechWarrior, as a PC game released in 1989, though the SNES release is completely different. Your choices for playing the SNES MechWarrior are slim today, with emulation being the easiest solution, followed by finding a physical cartridge. I didn’t love this as much as Shadowrun, but there’s an addictive quality to the game that makes you want to play just more more battle. Check it out if you get a chance.
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