It's another quiet December week for video games, but Xbox One owners are about to get their first hot post-launch exclusive, and... well, that's pretty much it. But let's not have the winter break stop a new edition of Tuesday Game Room!
What have you been playing this week?
This is a public service announcement: If you're in Europe, you must go out and buy a copy of Bravely Default this instant. If you're in the US, preorder it, and wait patiently till next February. Because if you ever once held the JRPG genre or classic Final Fantasy close to your heart, this game isn't just highly recommended, it is a must play for genre fans.
Oh Bravely Default, let me count the ways. From the incredible classic fantasy aesthetic, directly from the pen of Akihiko Yoshida, one of the greatest Japanese game artists of all time, the actually-amazing use of 3D to make 2D backgrounds suddenly look like deep, pop-up-book esque (aided by a camera that zooms far out when idle, allowing you to savour sumptuous views of the games marvellous cities and landscape) paintings, the slightly janky but still loveable voice acting, the incredibly awesome soundtrack (JUST STOP EVERYTHING YOU'RE DOING AND LISTEN TO THIS BOSS THEME OH MY GODDDD) from the dudes behind the opening themes for Attack on Titan, to the deeply satisfying and addictive combat system, a blend between traditional turn based gameplay and fresh twists like the Brave Point and Default mechanics... there's just too much for me to mention here, and I adore it all. It's a game that just exudes charm and whimsy at every opportunity, a love letter to the golden days of Japanese RPGs that is reverent of the past and yet mindful to change things up mechanically and keep it feeling new and exciting. It's all my love to long ago, bundled in a tiny little 3DS cartridge.
It might just be my favourite game of the year.
It's another week of slim pickings, with hardly anything coming out - Peggle 2, a timed exclusive thanks to EA and Microsoft's dealmaking earlier this year, makes its way to the Xbox One this week, and Doki-Doki Universe hits PS3, PS4 and the Vita. That's it!
Unless you're interested in phone games, because Angry Birds Go!, the Angry Birds Kart racer you've always wanted, hits the App Stores on iOS, Android and Windows Phone too.
And now, the News: VGX 2013 Edition
Once again it's time for a few select picks from the last week of Gaming news, via Eurogamer, but with a twist - here's all the announcements from Saturday night's... well, let's be polite and say cringetacular, Spike TV VGX awards:
- This year's Tomb Raider reboot is getting dolled up for Xbox One and PS4 in January - I really enjoyed Tomb Raider earlier in 2013, although I'm not entirely sure I'd be willing to throw down for what is essentially the PC version of the game with a few more sparkly effects and some Multiplayer DLC, especially at full price again. Especially with the concerns I raised earlier this week about Lara's new face model. Cash907 helpfully pointed out it's to bring the likeness of Lara closer to that of her voice actress, Camilla Luddington, which makes me feel less bad about the change - but I still feel a bit disappointed that Crystal Dynamics are retroactively changing what I felt to actually be a really good character design for Lara Croft, and making her a bit prettier looking in the process.
- Cranky Kong, aka the original Donkey Kong, in the new Donkey Kong Wii U game was Nintendo's big VGX reveal - I guess there's a reason Nintendo haven't shown up to events like this in the past, and choose to reveal their news in their own unique way. But yes, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will see Cranky Kong (who was the original star of the Donkey Kong arcade game - the current DK is actually his son) appear as playable character. Please Understand.
- Telltale games are working on both a Game of Thrones game and... a Borderlands game? - Well, half of this announcement is really weird. I mean, I love Borderlands, but I'm not entirely sure it screams 'episodic choice based adventure story game' to me... but still, hooray for Game of Thrones! It's based on the show rather than directly from George RR Martin's ASOIAF novels, so we could see some characters or even V.A's from the series, but no one knows much yet - other than the fact that it's out next year, and that Telltale are now working on 4 big projects concurrently, between these and The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead's second season. It'll be interesting to see if they can cope with the upkeep in 2014.
- And then 4 people from Guildford managed to blow everyone away with No Man's Sky, a gorgeous, intriguing Sci-Fi exploration game - I find it amazing that after trailer after trailer for explosive AAA games at VGX, Hello Games, the tiny indie team behind the Joe Danger series, managed to quietly saunter on screen and proceed to steal the entire show. From the moment that trailer aired, No Man's Sky was on everyone's lips as something to watch out for. Very, very excited to see more from this.
Don't forget, voting is still open for the O-Deck's first Community Game of the Year Award! If you've still not voted, head on over to this post for a summary of the rules and to leave your comment. You've got until Midnight EST on December 30th.
We'll be back this time next Tuesday for more gaming discussion, but for now, sound off in the comments with the games you've been playing, and what you're looking forward to this week - and don't forget to join us on Steam!