FEZ – Change Your Perspective

There’s a new old-school game making waves this week. Check it out!

From USA Today:

It’s been a very long road for Polytron Corporation, the independent studio behind Xbox Live Arcade title Fez, out today.

As chronicled in the film Indie Game: The Movie, its creator spent several years crafting Fez, struggling through difficult early demos and legal action threatening the game’s release.

Thankfully for video game players, Fez was well worth the wait. It’s a charming puzzle game delivered in a beautiful retro package.

Inspired by classic Nintendo Entertainment System titles such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, Fez follows lead character Gomez living inside a two-dimensional universe.

Suddenly, he discovers his world contains a third dimension, and sets off to learn more with the help of a magical Fez he wears on his head.

Fez hearkens back to classic video games with its pixelated lead character and environments and whimsical music.

The game breaks down into a series of levels suspended in mid-air and presented on a 2-D plane. However, players can rotate these levels by 90-degree increments using the left and right triggers.

So, while Fez is very much a platformer that requires players to jump to the next ledge, the puzzle elements involve manipulating the perspective of a level to find that next platform to jump to or door to open. Gomez can also jump, pick up and grab objects. The game mechanics are reminiscent of the PlayStation 3 title echochrome.

Fragments of large cubes are scattered throughout the world that Gomez collects. Each formed cubes opens new levels to explore and pushes Gomez one step closer to unlocking more details about this third dimension.

The concept of Fez is both simple and surprisingly soothing. There are no enemies to kill. If a player misses a jump and falls, they are immediately placed back at their last location. They simply explore this open universe, travelling to any level they choose to collect cube fragments.

Sound boring? That’s the weird thing. It’s not. The quest for cubes and new places to explore reveals other surprises. Also, the puzzles grow a bit more challenging as players press forward. It’s a very relaxing experience, yet environments are fascinating enough that you want to keep searching for that next realm to visit.

In a video game world that seems littered with sequels and online passes, it’s wonderful to see developers still embrace originality and creativity through games like Fez.

SKYRIM: DLCs are on their way. Very, very slowly.

Well, there’s just a little bit of news from JOYSTIQ about the hotly-anticipated Skyrim DLCs, but it’s something that is definitely going to get players excited in the coming months. Let’s just pray it’s not too long a wait. We can’t take it.

Game Director Todd Howard was at the Spike Video Game Awards yesterday to accept a well-deserved Game of the Year award for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and he said to Joystiq that the game’s popularity has surprised even the development team. “We thought it would do well,” he said, “but it has gone above and beyond.” One of the surprising effects of that popularity is the many YouTube videos (and “arrow in the knee” references) out there, but Howard says one in particular stood out to Bethesda. “I think our favorite really is putting the buckets on the heads,” he laughed. “It was like day two, and we went, what? Do we fix that? Our lead programmer is pissed and wants to fix it, and I said I’m not sure we should. That’s one of those where maybe we leave it in.”

Howard couldn’t yet share plans for DLC, but he says it will be focused on “ways to make the game better, not just have more, because the game is so big. So we’re going through ideas right now, and processing everything people are doing in the game, and trying to think of ways that we can improve it.” There will be multiple releases (as with Bethesda’s past games), but Howard says they “don’t have a timetable. They won’t be quick, and they’ll have a lot of meat on them.”

For all of its successes, the one thing Skyrim doesn’t have is other players. Is there a chance we’ll ever see a multiplayer title, or even an MMO, from Howard and his company? “You can never say never to anything like that,” he admitted, “but it’s not what our focus is. This type of game is where our hearts are, what we get excited about, and that’s what we want to focus on. We don’t want to lose that focus and we never want to sacrifice anything in the singleplayer game just to have it be multiplayer.”

Star Wars Times Square Freeze Mob Video

Plainclothes warriors join the battle among Jedi and Sith in the first ever lightsaber freeze mob duel in the heart of New York’s Times Square. Watch as over 100 fans joined the battle to celebrate the launch of STAR WARS™: The Old Republic.

Star Wars FX Lightsabers

Intro to the video game, Star Wars The Old Republic on Youtube.com:

BIOSHOCK: The New LED-Lit BIG DADDY

As you wander through Rapture, you’ll see a ton of Big Daddies and their Little Sisters and when you do, it’s usually a good idea to protect yourself by checking out what kind of mood the Big Daddy is in. Green light and he’s completely calm, Yellow light and he’s warning you or a Splicer to steer clear and if there’s a Red light, well, he’s probably trying to take you out for crossing the line.

Now you can recreate all the negative and positive emotions of a Big Daddy with this new Bioshock toy fitted with LED lights! If you’ve got a Little Sister toy on-hand, you’ll want to be extra careful when you set this pair up.

Catwoman in Arkham City: E3 Gameplay!

Following the big reveal that Catwoman would feature as a playable character in the upcoming ARKHAM CITY, we’ve now got some official gameplay footage of the feline femme fatale showing what happens when you underestimate a beautiful woman.

She looks awesome and it’s about time she got a game worthy of her. Her design is impressive and a toughened-up version of her current comics incarnation in Gotham City Sirens and while we’re skeptical about the heels, we’re excited to watch her take out the bad guys in Gotham.

ARKHAM ASYLYUM 2 GETS A TITLE: “ARKHAM CITY”

EXCITING NEWS! KOTAKU reports that Arkham City is the title of the follow-up to Rocksteady’s incredible Arkham Asylum! And the first promo pics have been released! Augh!

Batman: Arkham City, follow-up to the bone-crushing, dark Batman: Arkham Asylum, is in development for the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 for a Fall 2011 release, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment said this morning.

The sequel, in development by Rocksteady Studios, has players taking Batman into Arkham City, the new maximum security home for all of Gotham City’s criminals. This new prison is described as a heavily fortified walled-prison in the heart of Gotham City.

The game will include story that “draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight,” according to the press release.

Also coming up and something I will definitely snag as a fan are DC Direct’s Arkham Asylum figures. They’re based on the very-awesome game models and after having seen them at SDCC this year, I’m even more convinced that I need these figures–especially Harley and Scarecrow. Click the pic below to take a look at both these figures and the next series!

New Assassin’s Creed 2 Figures: Ezio in Black and White

Standing at about 7 inches tall and boasting 20 points of articulation and retractable blades on his arms, these renderings of Assassin Creed 2’s protagonist Ezio are yet another brilliant example of the kind of quality the designers and painters at NECA are able to produce with their awesome figure line. And with Assassin’s Creed 3 on the way, along with more being added to a franchise that already seems to possess a great deal of depth, these are an excellent addition to any gamer’s toy shelf as the software companies move into more and more mainstream merch. Ezio comes in two versions, black and white, and they are some great-looking toys.Check ’em out!

That said, if you’re still on Altair and haven’t managed to snag the second entry into what can now officially be called the Assassin’s Creed trilogy, here are the Amazon links to grab it on X-Box, PS3 and PC!

Assassin’s Creed II for The Xbox 360

Assassin’s Creed II for the PS3

Assassin’s Creed 2 for the PC

And one more thing for those following the development of the next entries. Here’s some interesting new information on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s “Chaotic” Multiplayer Mode from MTV.

When we first learned that “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” would have multiplayer, there was some concern that the mode would be tacked on to justify another $60 purchase. Having played a handful of adversarial matches, however, it’s obvious that the mode fits in with the rest of the franchise extremely well.

There’s a whole complex backstory behind the multiplayer of “Brotherhood.” Technically you’re playing Templars, disguised as assassins, being uploaded into the memories of those assassins. As I said, it’s complex. For clarity’s sake, we’ll just say you’re playing as an assassin and save yourself the headache.

The mode I checked out was an 8-player free-for-all match set in Florence. Players pick from a handful of character models and hop into the game. Each player is then assigned one of the other players to kill. Kill the wrong player or kill one of the hundreds of hapless AI citizens wandering around and you’ll lose points. Unfortunately for you, the AI citizens are the same models used by some of the players, so you have to use your Sonar-style tracker to confirm that you are, indeed, next to the correct target.

The trick to the game is to think like a member of the AI citizenry. Sprinting at full speed or climbing on buildings is only going to give you away as a player, so you’re better off walking slowly through crowds until you get close enough to make your move on your target.

Unfortunately once you get close enough, your target will be alerted to your presence and will probably sprint away for survival. Just like killing your mark, escaping your assassin will give you points, so you could theoretically win the match just by dodging your would-be killers. Falling gates and hay stacks offer nice hiding places, but you’ve also got smoke bombs and other abilities to help out.

Now this makes for an interesting cat-and-mouse game, but you have to remember that it’s not just two of you out there. There’s eight. And someone else is trying to kill you while you’re trying to kill your target while they’re trying to kill someone else. This is where the chaos comes in, and the game could probably use some tweaking. In our few matches, every time I managed to get close and kill my target, my assassin was right behind me to kill the second I pulled the knife out. It makes for a ridiculous line of people waiting for other people to make a kill, which is a little less elegant than it should be in “Assassin’s Creed.”

Of course, this is only one mode, and despite the chaos, I did have a lot of fun with it. Hoping to spend time with the single-player campaign this week during E3, so stay tuned for more on “Brotherhood” soon.