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Games We’re Excited About: April 2017

March was a huge month for games and games hardware, with the launch of the Switch and the arrival of tentpole releases like Zelda, Horizon and Mass Effect. And while April can’t possibly live up to last month, there are some great games in the queue, including some updated ports and one of the year’s biggest RPGs.

 

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Persona 5 (PS4)–April 4
While I (Brian) did not play Persona 4, I have very fond memories of the over 100 hours I spent with Persona 3. Persona’s blend of story, combat and relationship management make it stand out from the rest of the pack. And Persona 5 looks super slick. The story for this latest installment takes place in Tokyo and involves students using their persona powers to travel to an alternate dimension here they must remove corruption from the hearts of adults.

 

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Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PS4, Xbox One, PC)– April 7
When Bulletstorm came out in 2011, we had an absolute blast with its over the top action and low-brow humor. But it was the combat mechanics that made it great–a Scorpion-like energy leash that could pull enemies in for brutal kills, and a reward system that gave you points for creatively destroying enemies. It was like Gears of War on two pots of coffee. This remastered edition includes better visuals, new maps, DLC and gives players the ability to play as Duke Nukem. Bring it.

You can also hear Dan and Brian wax poetic about their love for Bulletstorm in an old episode of the Co-Op Critics podcast right here.

 

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Stardew Valley: Collector’s Edition (PS4, Xbox One)–April 11
We’ve been playing Stardew Valley for a year now on PC, so we know what a treat console gamers are in for this month. This Harvest Moon-inspired gem has you managing a farm you inherited from your grandfather. Farming, fishing, crafting, cooking, fighting monsters and managing relationships are all part of what makes Stardew Valley so great. The soundtrack is amazing, too.

 

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) – April 28
Mario Kart 8 was already amazing on the WiiU, and now it’s coming to Nintendo’s new console with a bevy of extra stuff. All the DLC from the WiiU version, new tracks, new tracks, new vehicles and more. Zelda may have carried the launch of the Switch, but Mario Kart 8 will keep people playing through the summer.

Those are the games we’re excited about for April. What’s on your “to buy” list? Let us know in the comments!

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Co-Op Critics Podcast–No Man’s Sky

In the latest episode of the Co-Op Critics podcast, we discuss our game of the month, No Man’s Sky, look at some of October’s releases, and talk about what we’ve been playing over the summer.

You can listen to the episode right here in the player above, or check us out on iTunes and Spreaker. You can also listen to back episodes on our podcast page. And don’t forget to check out the YouTube page for videos and discussion on all of the games we’re playing!

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Co-Op Critics Podcast–Overwatch

In the latest episode of the Co-Op Critics podcast, Brian and Nick discuss our game of the month, Overwatch, look at some of August’s releases, and talk about what else they’re playing for the rest of the summer.

You can listen to the episode right here in the player above, or check us out on iTunes and Spreaker. You can also listen to back episodes on our podcast page. We’ll be catching up on a bunch of games over the remainder of the summer, so check out the YouTube page for all kids of videos and discussion.

Co-Op Conversations: Alasdair Beckett-King Talks Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet

Brian recently chatted with the creator of Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet, award-winning comedian and filmmaker Alasdair Beckett-King. They talk about everything from the 2007 game that started it all, to the the appeal of adventure games as a genre.

The game arrives on March 22nd for PC, Mac and Linux. You can find out more at nellycootalot.com, and pre-order the game on Steam right now at http://store.steampowered.com/app/317320/.

Game Synopsis:

Join Nelly Cootalot in this indie adventure game, and rescue birds hypnotized by the villainous Baron Widebeard. Explore a charming, hand-drawn world created by award-winning comedian and filmmaker Alasdair Beckett-King. What is Baron Widebeard planning? Can he be stopped? In what way is a frozen volcano involved? To answer these questions comes Nelly Cootalot: pirate heroine and defender of endangered and adorable creatures. Nelly’s journey will take her from Port Rubicund in the South Seas to the lonely isle of Gloomholm in the icy north. She’ll meet outlandish characters and face perplexing challenges in her quest for the Treasure of the Seventh Sea.

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Console Gaming is No Longer a Smoother Experience Than PC Gaming

Seems like you can’t go three clicks on a gaming site these days without reading about broken console experiences. Games like Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Halo: Master Chief Collection have been rife with bugs and major issues since launch. The recent hacks of both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network meant many people who got a new console for Christmas couldn’t download or play games on them. 

As I downloaded the 40GB update for Assassin’s Creed: Unity on XBox One this week (because a screw-up meant the “patch” was actually a re-download of the entire game), I couldn’t help but think:

Has console gaming lost the one true edge that it had on PC gaming for years?

I don’t think I’m alone in the reason I’ve preferred console gaming to PC gaming for years now–it’s been a much smoother experience. Not having to worry about different control schemes, driver updates and compatibility issues was a major reason that I have been primarily a console gamer for most of my adult life. If there was one thing you could count on when it came to console gaming, it was that things would just work. Buy a game, put it in your console, and play.

But not only has PC gaming gotten much easier over the past few years with things like Steam’s ‘Big Picture Mode’ and the fact that most games have controller support, but PC games offer a substantial edge to console games when it comes to pricing. As I type this, you can get the Tomb Raider: Game of the Year Edition for $6 on Steam. And through sites like Good Old Games, you can play classics like the original Deus Ex for $2.50.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have come out of the gate with a lot of the same problems that used to make PC gaming such a pain in the butt–constant updating, lots of bugs and in some cases, games that are broken on arrival and require multiple patches to fix. Add into that their unstable online services, and it feels like console gaming has lost pretty much all of the advantages it used to offer over PC gaming.

Most of the conversation around broken games and constant updates has centered around publishers and developers. But Microsoft and Sony might want to take a larger role in quality control moving forward, because the easier PC gaming becomes, the more likely console gamers are to jump over to the land of better visuals, better prices and a more stable user experience.

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The Walking Dead: Season Two Doesn’t Let Up in its First Episode

As if anyone needed to be reminded, the world of The Walking Dead is a pretty grim place. Zombies roam the earth, and the remnants of humanity fight for survival, usually at the cost of what made them human in the first place. There are no happy endings, and every single day is a struggle against the endless hordes of undead, and the scattered living who are usually worse than the zombies.

A couple weeks ago the second season of Telltale’s TWD episodic series came out, and the focus this time around is all on Clementine, the nine-year-old girl who was the co-star of the first season. In season two, she has to rely much more on herself for survival, and the first episode is an emotionally grueling tale that transforms Clementine as she loses whatever innocence she has left.

My intention was to sit down and play a bit of the episode last night, but I ended up playing through the entire thing, which took me a little over an hour and a half. I have a ten-year-old daughter, so I was immediately sucked into the idea of this young girl having to keep pushing forward in a world where death is literally around every single corner.

I’ve read a good chunk of The Walking Dead comics and have caught up on the TV show as of this most recent season. But I would have to say that Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead adventures games are my favorite incarnation of the universe. The interactivity of the games provides a level of depth to TWD universe that you just can’t get anywhere else. Whether or not that’s a universe you want to get in-depth with is a question you’ll need to answer, because this game pulls no punches. It’s not a “fun” story to experience, but it is powerful and expertly told.

The first episode of Season Two was a great opening act to Clementine’s next chapter. I just hope that somewhere out there in the dark, there are at least a few moments of peace for her.