Tag Archives: Harmonix

Rock Band 4: The Return Of The Plastic Instruments

It’s been awhile since I’ve been excited for a game announcement. Sure, Uncharted 4 looks amazing and Mortal Kombat X looks gloriously gory. But it’s been awhile since, upon hearing of a release announcement that I did a fist pump in the air and thanked the gods. That happened on March 5 when the good folks at Harmonix announced their plans to release Rock Band 4 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Continue reading Rock Band 4: The Return Of The Plastic Instruments

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Harmonix Strikes Again With Innovative ‘Fantasia: Music Evolved’

I have been a big fan of Harmonix for just over a decade now. In my mind, they are geniuses in terms of innovative gaming and the incorporation of music into the gameplay experience. The developers of FreQuency, Guitar Hero, Karaoke Revolution (which I covered for a previous web site for four years) and Rock Band were always ahead of the game with the music game experience and pioneers of the industry. With Dance Central the most recent endeavor by the team, they also managed to incorporate motion and make it a fun experience for all. Naturally, it was time for a new IP to be introduced once the new next-gen systems were announced, and Harmonix has teamed up with Disney to introduce Fantasia: Music Evolved. The announcement trailer is below and while cool, is mostly a tease instead of a comprehensive trailer with gameplay details.

Confused? Most other people were too, but it was intriguing nonetheless. One of the major details you will notice is that it is for the Kinect for both the Xbox 360 and the new Xbox One, so apologies to Sony fans out there. Regardless, I imagine the game will take advantage of the technological advancements that the new Kinect for the Xbox One brings to the table. Basically, the story goes as this: this is basically a continuation of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice part of the film with Mickey and that magical hat. This time, we take over as the apprentice and are able to create, just like Mickey did, our own orchestral arrangements and bring the scene to life. While we probably won’t see any Disney characters in this game, the amount of creativity being touted for this game is unparalleled. Most music games follow an extremely linear path where we hit the notes at the same time with no real way to branch out and improvise. This game basically flips that notion and leaves it to the gamer to create music and possibilities through the waving of hands, body and gestures.

The clip below, courtesy of Gamespot, shows some gameplay elements such as The Shoal, a place to interact with the environment to collect magic energy for your master. Of course, it also shows off Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. This is where the fun begins and I’ll let you watch it below;

That gameplay pretty much did it for me; I’m sold. The way the gamer was able to bounce back and forth between melodies and be able to determine how she wants the music to play out and the different styles. Fantasia: Music Evolved will boast a modern soundtrack with artists like Bruno Mars and Fun. providing some of the music but luckily, the game will also include music from the original Fantasia movie as well so we can play out our childhood and conduct our way through nostalgia and classical music. This game promises to be a revolutionary step in music gaming and I definitely will be looking forward to more information coming out as we still have a bit of a way before it’s release date in 2014. Regardless, Harmonix has yet again delivered a cool, new innovative experience that I can’t wait to partake in.


Images: Disney, Harmonix

E3 2011 Preview: What I’m Looking Forward To

It’s June in Los Angeles, and while that means horrible humidity in the gridlock infested ‘City of Angels’, it also means that it’s time for my summer Christmas treat: The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or as it’s affectionately called everywhere, E3!

I have had the pleasure to go to E3 a few times, and I remember it being probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. It’s pretty much an assault on the senses, where strobe lights and booth babes puts stars in your eyes. The subwoofers buried under the exhibit floors, and concerts rattles your ear drums, and your fingers develop blisters from the severe button mashing and controller switching done at the conference. My favorite thing was to try out the Wii the year before it came out, being treated to one of the best experiences in gaming, and getting to brag about it on the intraweb. Although getting kicked out of the bathroom by Vin Diesel’s bodyguards so he could take a piss was a close second…

Regardless, I’m not there this year and this seems to be one of the best years to attend. There’s a lot of excitement in the air from the ‘Big 3’ and storylines are abound: What is Nintendo’s successor and will it appeal to the hardcore? How will Sony recover from the PSN debacle? Can Microsoft carry the Xbox for a few more years as it now enters it’s swan song?

 Like I said, I’m super pumped about this year, and while it may not encompass what everyone else is interested in, there is a comment section so feel free to say what you want to see. And with that, let’s start off with the honorable mentions:

Honorable Mentions:

Final Fantasy XIII-2

Other than the fact that FFX-2 was an absolute debacle, (yes, decent game…until you realize it completely ruins FFX’s story in my opinion) I’m still curious to see this game.

I have yet to beat the original, but I dug the combat system (although XII still has a special place in my heart). The trailer is below, but apparently it ruins the last game, so  SPOILER ALERT in case you don’t want it ruined for you. Also, apparently feathers are to Final Fantasy like doves are to John Woo…

Bioshock Infinite

I like the Bioshock games, I don’t love them. I get that I’m in the minority in that but my reasoning is that System Shock 2 is one of the most fantastic games of all time, so anything that is supposed to be a psuedo-sequel/spin-off has a hard time to capture my heart.

Still, they are considered great games and it’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. That and I LOVE the trailer.

The New Harmonix Game

I love Harmonix. The creators of Frequency, Karaoke Revolution, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central, should I keep going…? They are extremely innovative when it comes to music genre, and more importantly, we are at a crossroads in music gaming. Guitar Hero is basically dead, there’s no Rock Band this year. What does Harmonix have up their sleeves? Guess we’re going to find out this week…

UPDATED> New Harmonix Game will be: Dance Central 2!

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

I’ve been playing through the 2nd one and I dig it. It’s a lot less repetitive than the first, so I assume the third is even less repetitive and this 4th part of the series should be good times. And also my mentioning it gives an excuse for Dr. Kronner to a picture of Kristen Bell

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Now, I like the Elder Scroll games because you can do whatever the hell you want in them. I also hate the Elder Scroll games because they’re so absolutely non-linear that I never remember what the main quest is after I’ve decided to become an assassin, who specializes in real estate and being a traveling merchant.

Daggerfall remains one of my favorite games of all time, if not also the most frustrating because for the life of me, I have no clue what the hell I was supposed to do in that game.

 

Star Wars Kinect

Yes, I need an excuse to purchase the Kinect. Having my avatar wield a light saber with my movements would be that excuse.

X-Men Destiny

This is kinda a cool concept where you customize your character, decide if you want to go X-Men or Brotherhood and it’s written by X-Men Legacy writer Mike Carey. Obviously, not like Marvel Alliance where you pick up any character but it gives the idea of growing your mutant into a team and making your own storyline. Intriguing of course so I think it’ll be something this site will follow for the months to come.

Now, to the Things I Really Want to See…

In this order: 

Battlefield 3

I love Battlefield all the way back to the 1942 days. There’s something about mass chaos and being able to fly, drive, shoot, or snipe your way to glory. The battle also made me pee my pants a bit. I normally do not play a lot of FPS (I think Halo is overrated to be honest) but sometimes you just need to jump into a game and just go nuts. Plus it honestly looks like the most amazing thing I’ve seen in awhile. Or at least until the end of this conference. It’s a long trailer but considering it’s all gameplay, you better take a look at this.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

It’s freakin’ Zelda. Why the hell should I explain why you should be excited for this game? One more reason? Okay, with the new Wii motion plus, you can actually control where the sword strikes, hits, swings very accurately. Hold the sword to the right, Link will hold it ready to the right. Hold it back to charge, guess what? You just charged your sword. Again, this is stupid why I have to explain, because it’s FRIGGIN’ ZELDA.

Batman: Arkham City

A terrific game gets a sequel, and I know it’s be covered ad nauseam by us, with reveals of Catwoman and trailers and such, and it will only continue to grow as we inch closer to October. The first game was terrific and actually gets me to tell the story of Dr. Kronner’s first attempt with the game. He was on the rafters and was ready to swoop down to take out the bad guy. So he does his Batman glide down and you can see Kronner’s eyes light up as he has taken control of his boyhood hero, and is about to make his first victim feel the wrath of the Dark Knight. About 3/4 of his dive down on top of the victim, I noticed that his line was a bit off and that he was going to miss horribly so my eyes started to widen with glee. Kronner lands in front of the bad guy. Shot in the face. Dead. One of my favorite video game moments ever. Regardless of first try follies, I know he loves this game, I love this game, you love this game, and that most likely means you’re going to love the follow-up.

Contra

Contra is possibly one of my favorite games of all time. It’s also one of the most frustrating games ever this side of the first Battletoads (more specifically the speed bike stage, I mean C’MON).

So imagine my excitement that they are bringing it back. I mean, yeah, they brought it back once before for the Playstation and that blew ass, but it’s Contra.

If they go back to what made the originals awesome, we will have zero issues here.

So here’s the Gamespot link, because there’s no big news on it as of yet. I’m sure however, we’ll have good stuff to deliver by the end of this week…

Mass Effect 3

I love the Mass Effect series and it’s been one of the most engrossing games I’ve ever played. Plus, to actually carry your character over from the first game all the way to the last game without having to start new characters and stat distributions is genius. They have had the best storytelling and character development I have seen in games and it’s not surprising considering that Bioware, responsible for the Knights of the Old Republic series, is behind this effort. This is the last game of this trilogy and I cannot wait. Now if the combat system can finally be fixed…

Rage

The next first person shooter from ‘id software’, responsible for Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake? Yeah okay, I’m in. They always push the envelope on what to expect from shooters, but let’s be honest, when Half-Lifecame out, we began to look at Valve as the best FPS developer out there. But enough time has passed for id to reclaim the throne. I believe they have a great shot with this game. Check the trailer and judge for yourself.

Gears of War 3

Dear God yes. I love these games and it has the best co-op I ever played in my life (sorry River City Ransom). This game series really put me on edge while playing it, just like seeing the first bezserker in the first game to having bunches of fun on top of the giant riding things (my research is impeccable). Having one of the best single player campaigns ever really works in your favor but like I said, it’s all about the co-op. I think my old roommate and myself played through the first Gears 5 times on different difficulty levels and the second one 4 times just because it was that damn fun. So yeah, I’m pumped for this one and can’t wait to finish this trilogy off.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

We’ve mentioned Bioware before, and how awesome they are right? They did Mass Effect, Dragon Age, even the oldie but goodie Balder’s Gate. Well, they also did Knights of the Old Republic. They basically were in the golden age of Star Wars games with their RPG, and the FPS Jedi Knight series (which was AWESOME for multiplayer) and guess what? They are going back to Star Wars with this online game.

Now, let me get this straight, Galaxies was cool then sucked pretty fast. The outset was great, but the more you played the game, it made you miss being jedi because you had to be “chosen” in order to accomplish that feat. Instead I was a sniper killing farm animals while Kronner’s Wookie charged in with a giant hammer. Try doing that for 2 months straight. Regardless, if anyone was going to revive the series, Bioware was the right pick.

Check it out : HERE

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Yeah, another game I’ve pretty much talked about a lot.

So I’ll just post a new gameplay trailer, reiterate that Infinity Ward is behind it and they are better than Treyarch as a developer, and it’s full of pure awesomeness. That is all.

Wii 2/Project Cafe

Oh yeah. This is coming out. Touchpad controller? More powerful than 360 and PS3? HD? A callback to hardcore gamers instead of soccer moms? Well, I want this system. I’m watching the Nintendo conference as we speak so expect a report and that’s why I made this one last. Because I’m pretty sure that this will change gaming. Again. Like the last time. Sort of. Please don’t let me down Nintendo.

UPDATE>>>

So that’s what I got. And I’ll be doing updates throughout the week. Especially after the Nintendo presser…happy gaming people.