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‘South Park’ Brilliantly Mocks The Console Wars In Latest Episode

15 Nov

I’ve lost interest in South Park over the last few seasons, with many of the the more recent episodes just not delivering the laughs. However, Wednesday’s “Black Friday” saw Trey Parker and Matt Stone at their absolute peak.

The PlayStation 4 launches in mere hours, and the writers used this as an opportunity to do what they do best: take a timely event and intertwine a pop-culture parody that is completely unrelated. In this case, Cartman and Kyle, along with the majority of their friends, are planning to buy the Xbox One following Thanksgiving. Stan, on the other hand, wants the PlayStation 4, and the two sides fall into a Game of Thrones-style war of clans.

This could have been hit or miss, but Stone and Parker clearly know their stuff, mentioning the PlayStation 4’s touchpad and the Xbox One’s multitasking. They even took jabs at the fanboys amassing on both sides, with several characters making overgeneralized claims about the other side’s fans.

This isn’t the first time South Park has focused an episode on games. Past topics included the Nintendo Wii (Cartman freezes himself to help pass the time), Minecraft, and perhaps most famously, World of Warcraft.

Last night’s episode ending in a cliffhanger, so I expect to see a follow-up before the release of the Xbox One. Make sure to watch this one soon, as they don’t stay up on the official website for the entire season.

 

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World Of Warcraft’s Next Expansion Gets Trailer

9 Nov

Today Blizzard Entertainment revealed the latest expansion in its mega-successful MMO series, World of Warcraft.

Titled “Warlords of Draenor,” the trailer opens with “War, it is the lifeblood of this world. We are its children.” It appears to taken players to a diverse array of locations, including fiery depths, a barren wasteland much like Burning Crusade, and snowy regions similar to that of Wrath of the Lich King.

New features mentioned in the trailer include the ability to upgrade garrisons, new character models (far improved from past installments), and a level cap of 100.

Players will also be able to immediately boost level 90, which is likely a strategy by Blizzard to encourage newcomers and old players to rejoin the game.

It was just revealed yesterday that World of Warcraft has dropped to 7.6 million players, and as one of the few MMOs still using a subscription model, it may have a hard time ahead of it in the face of blurred-line MMOs like Destiny and The Division.

Mists of Pandaria — the current expansion for World of Warcraft released last September — received largely positive reviews from critics, but nowhere near as high as previous installment Cataclysm.

The game is currently playable on the Blizzcon show floor. Check out the trailer below.

 

blink-182 To Play At Blizzcon

5 Nov

World of Warcraft and Diablo developer Blizzard Entertainment have announced that pop-punk legends (and my favorite band) blink-182 will be ending popular event Blizzcon this year. The show begins this Friday and ends with the concert the following night.

Blink-182 — or at last co-frontman Mark Hoppus — is no stranger to video games. His Twitter is regularly full of jokes and pictures about Animal Crossing, Pokemon and other 3DS titles.

https://twitter.com/markhoppus/status/391526429080694784

Blink hasn’t released a new album since 2011’s Neighborhoods, a divisive record that drew influences from other projects, such as the short-lived band +44 and guitarist Tom Delonge’s other band, Angels and Airwaves. The band plans to go back into the studio early next year to record a follow-up, which they have claimed will be an “edgier” record. They’re currently celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the “Untitled” album, a more experimental release featuring hits like “I Miss You” and “Feeling This.”

Blizzcon veteran and comedian Jay Mohr will once again host the event, which was cancelled last year to the dismay of many fans.

Jay Mohr, on the other hand, could probably not host this one and I’d be totally fine with it. He’s pretty awful in everything.

Here’s a music video for After Midnight, one of my favorite songs from Neighborhoods.

Batman Shows No Sign Of Slowing In Games Or Movies

27 Oct

With the release yesterday of both Batman: Arkham Origins  and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate for handhelds, it appears that the Batman brand is now more popular than ever before. Both Batman’s games and his movies have had very big ups and downs. Most fans of the Caped Crusader died a little inside when Joel Schumacher took Tim Burton’s film series and destroyed it with an overly campy tone and nippled costumes, and well, this was once a Batman game.

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Games Industry Has Three Bad News Pieces In One Week

17 Oct

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In addition to the delay of Watch Dogs, which I detailed over on Gurwin’s Wordin’ yesterday, Ubisoft has also reported that Splinter Cell Blacklist and Rayman Legends — two of the company’s best titles thus far this year — have not performed to expectations, lowering projections for 2013 to roughly $1.4 billion.

While a reduction in projections is never a good thing, this number is actually roughly the same as the company’s 2012 gross profits, which were bolstered by the released of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and the runaway success of Far Cry 3. This also means that there is a good chance Watch Dogs, The Division, The Crew and a new Assassin’s Creed game will all release in 2014. For this holiday season, Ubisoft will be relying on the success of Assassin’s Creed and South Park: The Stick of Truth, which was originally supposed to release earlier this year while still under THQ’s control.

Today it was also revealed that 2K Marin, the developer behind Bioshock 2 and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, has undergone “massive layoffs,” with one source telling Polygon that the studio may be completely closed. The Bureau was previously predicted to flop, and the game was a pretty big disappointment for me. One also has to wonder how this will affect development of future Bioshock projects, as 2K Marin had previously helped with development.

 

Pokémon Appealing To First Generation Of Fans With New Game And Animated Special

12 Oct
Image Credit: Nintendo

Image Credit: Nintendo

After over 15 years of sprite-based handheld games, Pokémon will finally be going 3D with the series’ latest installments, Pokémon X and Y, when the game releases tomorrow. Players will have access to the brand-new Kalos region and a new type of Pokémon: fairy. The game will also feature mega-evolutions,” giving certain Pokémon enhanced abilities for the duration of a battle.

However, with this new leap in technology, Nintendo also aims to win back the older gamers who had previously loved the series. The original three starting Pokémon from Red and Blue will be available for the player to choose, suggesting that Nintendo realizes how anticipated the games are.

In addition, an animated special is scheduled to launch on November 15th, hence this post’s inclusion on this blog and not my other blog, Gurwin’s Wordin’. Unlike the longtime show starring Ash Ketchum, Pokémon Origins stars Red, the protagonist from the original game. It’s expected to be much more faithful to the original games than the popular animated series has been.

While the main games in the Pokémon series have always been well-received, the recent spinoff titles have somewhat tainted the brand. Pokémon Rumble U currently sits at a score of 48 on Metacritic, but X and Y look to continue the trend of excellent, family-friendly role-playing games that we’ve come to expect from the series.