Big column today so let's jump right in:
If you've seen the cartoon at all, or the shadowed promo image, the main playable characters in Young Justice: Legacy should come as no surprise. [By the way, if you haven't seen the show, what's wrong with you? It's awesome!] The upcoming action-RPG from Little Orbit will feature the whole regular cast of Kid Flash, Artemis, Superboy, Robin, Miss Martian, and Aqualad. Six additional characters will be rounding out your upgradeable squad when the game launches in February 2013 (PS3, 360, Wii, DS). Before you start guessing though, remember that the game i set to take place between seasons one and two. You may have to think back and try to remember when Zatanna and Captain Marvel first started hanging with the team. Red Arrow (Speedy) is probably a safe bet regardless. The developers have also announced the first six villains you'll be facing. This is a pretty heavy duty line up for the youngsters, including Lex Luthor, Sportsmaster, Cheshire, Icicle Jr., Killer Frost, and Black Manta. Six more baddies are also on the way.
Codemasters isn't exactly a developer at the top of watch list, but they do have a pretty solid record for racing games (like DiRT and F1). Not being as flashy or sexy as some of the iterative FPS or franchise tie-ins it's easy to write them off. Which I almost did since their only story right now is the expansion of two more facilities Warwickshire and Birmingham, creating 125 more jobs in the UK. Then I remembered how many sudio closures and job losses I've written up lately. In light of so many studios having financial troubles, it's nice to be able to mention a good story as well. So congratulations to Codemasters for succeeding in a business that tends to only favor the Activisions and EAs of the world.
Did you just look at your calendar and realize you forgot to pre-order the special edition of Max Payne 3 by the April 2nd deadline? Whoops, now what? Pay a fortune to a reseller on eBay? Nah. Rockstar has extended the special edition orders until the May 15th release date. What changed their mind? It apparently comes from "unfortunate recent retail issues in the UK and elsewhere in Europe which have affected preorder availability." They aren't calling out GAME, a high-profile UK retailer that recently came under administration (British for bankruptcy), but it's pretty clearly related. Those still seeking the special edition are encouraged to order from the Rockstar Warehouse, though it's also available at GameStop.
Did you think the music gaming fad was dead? You're probably right, but not totally. Harmonix has got a new game in the pipe for PSN and XBLA, Rock Band Blitz. Despite the name, this won't feature a full plastic instrument band. It's actually played with a standard controller and is more of a throwback to Harmonix's original rhythm games, Amplitude and Frequency. Comparisons to Rock Band Unplugged on PSP are also reasonable. The game will come with 25 songs, but could have a library of nearly 3,700 (over that byt the time the game launches this summer) depending on how much DLC you've bought for the Rock Band franchise. Not only will all of your previously downloaded content work in the new game, the 25 it includes will also be playable in Rock Band 3. The first five of the 25 songs have been announced:
Grasshopper Manufacture has had some great, if not completely successful, games over the years. This is mostly due to Suda51's brilliant concepts, that sometimes just don't make enough sense. Still Killer 7 was one of the games that really put Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture on the map and it's a little odd for the industry that it's been idle so long. Their newest game announced, Killer is Dead - 2013, may make you think that's changing. But, despite the similarity in the title, the new game is an all new IP. The player is a prisoner, sentenced to death, who must kill his own assassin before the execution takes place. Suda 51 promises this will be in the spirit of Killer 7 and No More Heroes, a "dark side 007" with sexy ladies. The No More Heroes style swordplay also returns with some new elements in the mix. As always with Grasshopper, I'm looking forward to seeing more, even though I'll never understand what I'm seeing.
The Sony version of Super Smash Bros. looks to finally have an official name. Previously going by the temporary moniker Title Fight, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale will get its official reveal and preview at E3 in June. wow, that name is a mouthful! Title Fight is a little too generic, but friendlier. While we still have to wait until June for official announcements, there are a few tidbits already known about the game. For instance, Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Sly Cooper, Nathan Drake, Colonel Radec, Fat Princess, and PaRappa are al expected in the melee. Expect to be brawling in levels based on Buzz!, LittleBigPlanet, Hot Shots Golf, and Sandstorm Village. BSR! will have a few 'bots on the ground at E3, so expect to see more about this one the first week of June.
Still playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning? Want to be playing it, but you've done it all? Good news, more DLC is dropping this month. "Teeth of Naros" will feature an all new city, new enemies, new dungeons, new etc. Expect plenty of additional armor, weapons, and cards. The floating city, Idylla, is named for an ancient Troll god. The add-on will be available April 17th for 800 points ($10).
With the future of media consumption in constant flux, Netflix has had one solid advantage over Amazon Instant Video, availability on gaming consoles. That's all changed this week with the service now available on PlayStation 3. It's currently the only console running this service but I wouldn't expect that exclusivity to last. Installing the app is simple to do directly from the XMB under "TV/Video Services." The service currently boasts over 120,000 movies and TV episodes for rental or purchase. The real boon, of course, comes from Amazon Prime membership, allowing free access to over 17,000 videos. Prime membership is $79 per year and comes with a free 30 day trial. Signing up for Prime, full year or trial, can also be done directly from your PS3. One of may favorite parts of Amazon's service is that buying many of their DVDs and Blu-Rays gives you temporary access to stream that same content immediately. So if you buy a new release, you can usually watch it streaming while you wait for your disc to arrive.
In addition to Epic Mickey: The Power of Two making its way to home consoles, the franchise is also going portable with Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion for Nintendo's 3DS. Zombietron's got full coverage with the press release. While the game does take place in Wasteland, it also harkens back to Mickey's Genesis days as he'll be squaring once more with Mizrabel in the Castle of Illusion (which has fallen into Wasteland). Gameplay seems to be equal parts sidescrolling platform (a la Castle of Illusion), paint and thinner mechanics (a la Epic Mickey), and incorporating player drawings (a la Drawn to Life?). Is it weird that I might be more excited for this one than its console brother?
Few things can make an old fart like me grin as much as this one. It probably doesn't hurt that I'm listening to The Muppets Soundtrack as I'm doing this column. Anyway, Wayforward Technologies and Majesco have announced a reboot of their Double Dragon franchise from 1980's. Thankfully the reboot isn't an update in the same way GRIN attempted with Bionic Commando. Instead, Double Dragon: Neon is an old school, side-scrolling, beat 'em up. Just how retro are they going to go? Neon health bars with synth and guitar solos for the soundtrack. Billy and Jimmy Lee will be brawling down Adobos on PSN and XBLA this July. Pricing is not yet announced. I guess we'll find out at the end if you still have to fight your brother or not.
It's no secret that the 'bots around here have been huge fans of Marvel [Zen] Pinball. We've been eating up every table on release day since the game launched. The next table to hit is going to be no different. World War Hulk will be the first table released in the Avengers Chronicles set. When the Gamma Giant returns from involuntary exile, it's a bad time to be Illuminati, X-Men, or the Fantastic Four. This table will be dropping sometime this spring, with the remaining tables in the set (The Avengers, Infinity Gauntlet, and Fear Itself) soon to follow.
Amidst the uproar about the ending, Ray Muzyka (Bioware, co-founder) has unveiled the plans for their tweaks to the ending of Mass Effect 3. The Extended Cut DLC will be free and releasing this summer. In what seems to be a case of severely missing the point, it appears the only extension will be additional epilogue scenes, rather than addressing the most vocal concern: that the choices that supposedly mattered really didn't. According to Muzyka, "Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team's artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe." I still haven't decided exactly how I feel about the whole controversy, but I'm already inclined to think this won't actually satisfy (or silence) the critics. I'll still wait and give it a fair shake this summer, which is probably about the time I'll be finishing my Insanity run, if I can even make it that far. Arse-bot has covered this a little more extensively. I think we disagree on a few key points, but I can't really explain why.
The media releases for Aliens: Colonial Marines have been releasing at a steady clip. It's about time too. Hasn't this game been in development for at least a decade? Then again, who cares when it looks this aweseome? Check out the videos Zombietron's posted.
Are you still having trouble with glitches in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Bethesda is rolling out patch 1.5 to help. There's the obvious glut of fixes for stability and abnormalities that, generally, have seemed to improve the way the game runs. But, for those that haven't actually had any problems, there adding a few things for you as well. For the full list of bug fixes, check out Bethesda's blog. For the short list of other tweaks:
As revealed a few issues ago, four new maps for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception are coming soon. Two of the four, Graveyard and Old Quarter, were revealed at that time. The other two are London Streets and Oasis. London Streets is a bar brawl at the Pelican Inn. Oasis is a Bedouin camp. All four maps will have dynamic events that Naughty Dog is keeping under wraps for now. The pack will be available for $9.99 on April 11th. It does come free with the Fortune Hunter's Club. Speaking of which, if you want to join that club you'll need to do so by April 17th. If you're still planning to get all of the DLC for this one, you'll want to join the club by that date in order to get the best deal.
Finally, that seems to be it for the week. Check back Tuesday for all of the weekend's updates.