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Jenny LeClue: The Journal of Professor Zazer

I just found out about the upcoming Jenny LeClue adventure game today (through this article), and when I saw there was a free playable teaser available, I quickly gave it a try during my lunch break. This is a decent length demo (about 30-45 minutes), and I really liked what I experienced, from the art direction and sounds, to the story bits and exploration. Definitely a game I want to play once the full release is out.

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Gwent (Beta)

I surprisingly still haven’t played The Witcher III (I’m thinking of getting to it during the holiday break), but I have heard plenty about Gwent, the in-game fully realized card game this is now spinning off into its own game. I was pretty excited to try this – as I’m a longtime Magic: The Gathering player, and generally enjoying card games – and was pretty happy to get into the closed beta last month. To my surprise though, I didn’t get into it. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time, but I just couldn’t get a good handle on a proper strategy to use, having trouble wrapping my head around when to stop playing cards, or pushing my luck (and then being left with almost no cards for later rounds). I’m currently down on it, but who knows, I might be tempted to give it another try someday.

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Watch Dogs

I’d never gotten around to playing the first Watch Dogs, and got access to it about a week before Watch Dogs 2 came out, and so I decided to finally dig in. The weirdest thing was that for a while, I was playing Watch Dogs at lunch time every day (on my PC at work), while playing Watch Dogs 2 at night at home, and it was really screwing me up because of the changes in controls, and also because there’s just so much more you can do in WD2 – I’d be playing WD1, and keep wanting to do stuff I just couldn’t (different way to hack stuff and people). I definitely much prefer WD2, especially because of the more colorful world and fun cast, but I’m still having fun with the first one (I haven’t finished it yet). 

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Games

The Touhou Project

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I really like shooters/shmups, yet I wasn’t really aware of the Touhou Project, a fascinating indie series of bullet hell shooters, and in fact so much more. I now know all of this thanks to this great article on Waypoint — and here’s a primer video too. I really need to play a bunch of these, which I’ll need to do on my PC at work because I don’t have a PC at home — thankfully, that’s what lunch time is for.

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Games

Pavilion

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Pavilion is a puzzle-based game I remember seeing a few times over the years at events in Japan — one third of the trio (Visiontrick Media) who made the game is based in Tokyo — and it’s just come out for PC/Mac. I’ll be waiting for the upcoming PS4 (and Vita) version before playing it, but if you’re more of a PC gamer, do take a look. I’m in love with the visual richness found in the environments.

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Fashion Games

New Galak-Z T-Shirt

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My buddy Jake Kazdal runs his 17-BIT studio from Kyoto, and the latest game they launched was the fantastically fun shooter Galak-Z: The Dimensional (out on PC and PS4, with a mobile version on the horizon). I love this new Galak-Z t-shirt that just launched on Fangamer — you can bet I’ll be adding it to my growing collection of 17-BIT tees, that includes the one with the 17-BIT logo, and one for the studio’s first game, the excellent Skulls of the Shogun (released when the studio was called Haunted Temple Studios).

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Astro Boy: Edge of Time (Demo)

This has just launched as a Kickstarter campaign, and what’s really nice is that they’ve released a demo that you can check out, that gives you a try at the card gameplay (a tech test of sorts). As I just wrote, I love card games, and I love the creations of Tezuka Osamu, and so this sounds like it would be just up my alley. Playing the game, I had a lot of fun, and it’s given me the urge to play more, and to experience the story too – yeah, just because it’s a card game doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fun story too, and the premise is pretty interesting (it’s the end of the world/universe, and Astro Boy has disappeared). They’ve gotten a ton of fantastic artists to do art on the cards – in fact, that’s what the Kickstarter is for – and the music is really groovy. I really hope this gets funded.

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Elder Scrolls: Legends (PC Beta)

I like card games a lot (been playing them most of my life, from the first years that Magic: The Gathering showed up on the scene), and have actually been quite looking forward to release of this game. I’ve had a chance to try it out during its PC Beta, and gotta say that I’m liking what I’ve experienced so far. It definitely takes some inspiration from what Hearthstone has achieved in the digital card game space, but mixes it up enough to feel different. I definitely want to play more of this when it comes out as a proper release.

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Stories: The Path of Destinies

During my lunch breaks this week I’ve been playing this game (I’m playing on PC, but it’s on PS4 too), and it’s something I’m really enjoying. It wasn’t at all on my radar before its release (this week), and then when I did find out about it, I thought it looked like a cool action RPG-like experience, with nice cartoony aesthetics. Having played it, I can say that the combat is super fun and fluid, and I’m digging unlocking new skills and abilities. What’s even cooler though is the story structure. As you play through chapters, each time you have a choice of two, and that leads you to an ending. But then, the first time you do that, the game opens up, and you re-start, but you now have new chapter choices, and so it doesn’t feel like you’re playing the same game again, yet you continue to level up your character – and uncovering clues to what will lead you to an ultimate ending. In terms of presentation, you’ll be reminded of Bastion (narrator tells the story, and the world is made up of floating land masses), but I think it still feels like its own thing. I recommend it. 

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Overwatch (Open Beta)

So I got to try out the open beta for Overwatch today – a game I kept getting confused with Battleborn, and vice versa – and let me tell you, it doesn’t take long before you feel just how slick and polished this thing is, in the way Blizzard is just so damn good at doing. Despite the fact that I thought Battleborn’s aesthetic’s were quite nice, there’s just something about Overwatch that feels nicer – maybe it’s a personal taste thing. I also had a lot of fun playing a few matches – although it can be frustrating when you’re playing opposite a team of players who obviously have experience – and tried a few characters, and can see that a lot of the fun of this game would even be in just trying out all of them, as they really do feel unique. In the beta showdown (Battleborn vs. Overwatch), for me, I think Battleborn is the one I would get the most fun out of, and that’s simply because I’m more into playing co-op story missions than mutliplayer deathmatch type stuff. But there’s something special about Overwatch, and I think that’s going to make it hard not to want to get it when it comes out next month.