Short-Takes 4/11/14

The Last of Us Remastered confirmed for PS4, releasing this Summer

Simon Wu:

Leaks have been dripping here and there and now we finally have confirmation on something we all knew was coming. The cinematic commentary is an interesting take, and lends a great deal of credence to the title's frequent description as "cinematic". Not only will there be a movie based on this game, this game now also has the video game equivalent of director's commentary. While this might be seen in material like Bungie's famous ViDocs, rarely is it on disk and integrated with the game. The last time I really can vividly recall something similar is with Valve's Developer Commentary on some of their earlier titles.

Jonathan Tung:

Despite the scant amount of footage shown regarding the updated version, I anticipate this game to help move many more PS4s in the long run, though this will depend on what Sony will be showcasing at E3 in June. As for the added content itself, I think it would be a much better idea to rename this the Game of the Year Edition, since it seems to contain just about everything featured in the season pass and then some, though Sony didn't seem to mention whether or not the game came with an online pass of some kind. In addition, I find the suggested MSRP of $60 to be rather high for a title like this.

Alex Miller:

As we have said in previous Short-takes this is definitely a great move. Giving people the chance to buy one of the best games ever made for the PS4 again with just enough new content to not feel ripped off is a great business plan, and as Simon adds the inclusion of what amounts to director’s commentary is a nice addition to have on disc. The most important thing about this move, though, is that It brings a real heavyweight contender to the currently not so full PS4 catalogue. Giving people access to the best reviewed game of last year on the new generation (seeing as GTAV has yet to make the jump) would be a serious statement by Sony that they are committed to getting the best exclusives this generation by reminding people what they had last go round. How this remastered version would line up against a rumored Halo 2 remastered edition is an interesting question, one I seriously hope we get to ask.


Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel announced

Simon Wu:

It's amazing to see how far Borderlands has come since its complete restructuring from another brown FPS. While a largely unexpected hit, Gearbox has taken that in stride and not rested on their laurels. They've made and positioned Borderlands as a sort of comedy and fantasy RPS that's simultaneously pretty deep story-wise. Now their lampooning and slight poke at the video game industry continues with the "pre-sequel," making fun of the industry’s penchant for sequels on sequels. If you look at Gearbox's recent releases, it looks like their atrocious games (read: Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever) serve just as a cash flow for Borderlands development.

Alex Miller:

If Simon’s guess there is true, you can’t blame Gearbox for milking cash cow IPs to fund their truly great Borderlands series. However, the question is will they remain truly great if it’s not Gearbox at the helm? As far as this goes, I have to say I am not too terribly concerned. While it may not have been developed by Gearbox, 2K Australia is in part responsible for Bioshock Infinite which I think gives them a fair amount of “street cred” when it comes to game development. A popular series changing hands doesn’t always work, but given the title is from the same humorous vein found in previous games, in this case I think it will.

Report: LucasArts canceled Darth Maul game in 2011

Simon Wu:

There are two characters in the main canon Star Wars universe that come back a surprising number of times. First, of course, is the Emperor, who has like 10,000 clones and equally as many doom weapons of ever increasing size and plans of ever increasing amounts of doom. Then there's Darth Maul. Yeah, we all know Kenobi cut him in half, but that Clone Wars series I've forsworn apparently brought him back, and he actually fights Kenobi again. Then he dies and rises again and fights Vader. Then he dies and rises again and fights Luke Skywalker. Anyways, I'm sensing that this was a tie-in to the Clone Wars animated series when that was at its height, but when Lucasarts was in decline.

Alex Miller:

As Simon says, Darth Maul seems to turn up a lot, never quit dead even when you think he must be. This handy skill means as a character he would have access to a large portion of the late republic/early empire era in the Star Wars universe to play around in. However, while playing as Darth Maul in a game inspired by Arkham Asylum would no doubt be badass, I just can’t quite imagine him pulling off a buddy-cop story with the somewhat masochistic Darth Talon, a Sith who fought Luke Skywalker’s great grandson. I’m not sure how well it would have worked and perhaps this was for the best.

 

PS Vita hits US May 6

Simon Wu:

Wait the Vita is still a thing? Ok fine it's still a thing. This time, however, Sony's gone for broke and really tried to address the problems that made the original Vita and the PSP before it such mediocre sellers: high price, poor battery life. That it's gotten more ergonomic as well is just a plus now. I argue though that it's not doing enough to compete with smartphones. As smartphones more or less hardly do voice calls at all these days, with easy replacements such as Skype, Sony could potentially have a game changer by putting Android on it, creating a special store for the games, and allowing cell data.

Alex Miller:

Sony’s second screen strategy has always held the Vita at its center, unlike Microsoft, who have focused on creating an app for the smartphones people already have which interact with their console. Because of this, I have always thought of Microsoft’s as the better approach to second screen implementation, as widespread use leads to further usability. However, Sony are still doing their best to keep their fighter in the ring, and I think the steps they’ve taken here are definitely good ones. First, a starting price (including a game) for less than their main handheld console rival in the form of the 3DS is certainly a good starting point. Secondly, battery life is crucial to handholds, so the relatively minor trade off in terms of screen quality is vastly outweighed by the ability to actually play the device for longer. Hopefully for Sony this boosts Vita sales, but I’m not sure it will. Being second best in a market already deeply affected by mobile games is far from ideal, but I think that is where the Vita will end up staying.

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