Tag: PlayStation 3

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit: Cutesy, yet gory.

(content warning: cartoony violence and blood within. there’s also an aside about a game designer’s transphobia, but not in the game itself.)

Ever had a moment where you’re scrolling through your library on Steam or some other digital storefront and spotted a game in your library that you have no memory of acquiring? Something that made you wonder “when the hell did I buy this?,” causing you to frantically search Humble Bundle and the 3-4 other discount key storefronts you have accounts on just to have the record of when you purchased that game? Well, the game I’m writing about this time was like that for me, a game that somehow was in my Steam library for literally years. I was confused on how it got there. Maybe I bought it from hell or something.

Or, as the game calls it, “Ugh yeah!!!”

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a… rather bizarre action-adventure/metroidvania (ugh) game that was in my Steam library for a long time. Released in 2012 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Steam, it’s an unusual choice of game in my library mostly because of the game’s publisher: Sega.

“SEG-” *frantically mashes start to get to the main menu*

You know Sega, right? The company that puts out okay-to-great Sonic the Hedgehog games, the amazing Yakuza/Like a Dragon games, and occasionally dabbles in their back catalog once in a blue moon, right? In addition to its main headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and the oft memed USA branch, there’s another important division, an unsung hero of the company: Sega Europe, publishers of iconic PC gaming franchises like Total War, Company of Heroes, Endless Space and Football Manager. They dabble in other games as well, but Sega Europe’s is the reason Hell Yeah! was published by them and not like, 505 Games or something.

Pretty sure this is also the name of a my bloody valentine tribute album.

Hell Yeah! was offered as one of the free gift packages in “Make War Not Love,” a promotion Sega Europe was doing with its iconic strategy game franchises where playing either of those games – Company of Heroes 2, Total War: Attila and Warhammer: Dawn of War II – would result in unlocking content for those respective games. Hell Yeah! was packed in alongside other Sega games like Viking: Battle for Asgard, Renegade Ops and some of the games in the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Classics Collection. All of these were offerings for the third “Make War Not Love” event, which happened in February 2016, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

But let’s talk about Hell Yeah! itself. Developed by Arkedo Studio, a games studio based in Paris, France, was mostly known for relatively forgotten platformers in their “Arkedo Series” of games. Said games had fairly unremarkable titles like Jump!, SWAP!, and Pixel!. Hell Yeah! would be their last major game released while the studio was still active. Eventually one more game would be released not long after the studio shut down: Poöf vs the Cursed Kitty, released one year later and published by Neko Entertainment. Surprisingly this game doesn’t end with an exclamation point in its title.

Don’t try to go to that web address, it doesn’t exist. Though, watch as Google suddenly makes .kom a top level domain…

In Hell Yeah!, you play as Ash, a bunny rabbit who reigns supreme over the realms of hell. Through negligence on his part, pictures of him are taken by paparazzi and spread around the shores of hell, causing it to damage his reputation. With help from his servant Nestor, Ash opts to seek revenge by finding the culprit who leaked those photos in the first place, which requires defeating 100 monsters around the world.

Why does it feel like I’ve waltzed onto a bullet hell shooter?

Ash has a fairly modest arsenal to start. Not long after the beginning, Ash acquires a super-sawing jetpack that allows Ash to drill through certain materials and fly to certain areas. In addition, Ash can acquire a slew of weapons: Slow-firing missiles that can blast through rock and destroy enemies with ease. Eventually after the tutorial area, Nestor gifts Ash with a second weapon: A machine gun, one that looks similar to the famous M41A Pulse Rifle from the Aliens films.

I Am Alive: Ubisoft’s dollar store version of a survival action game.

I never really cared for post-apocalyptic stuff. That stereotypical dystopia of derelict cities fighting off some zombie horde or devastating dust storm while people living in squalor… It all felt a bit too played out to me. Considering what’s happened in the past few years with us living through a global pandemic, I can’t say I’m really interested in playing too many things that hit a bit too close to reality like that.

That doesn’t mean I never play those kind of games. I’ve played stuff like Fallout 3 and Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead which take place in dystopian worlds and yet still enjoyed them. But it’s definitely not something I actively seek out.

Yet, I decided to start 2023 by playing a game that took place in a post-apocalyptic world. One that was recommended to me as something interesting, but fairly clunky. And as you’re gonna learn, feels like the dollar store brand of something more notable.

I mean, it’s better than being dead, I suppose.

I Am Alive – a title that while grammatically correct, still sounds weird to my ears – is a survival action game published by Ubisoft and developed by Ubisoft’s Shanghai studio. Released in March 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and later the PC through Steam and Uplay Ubisoft Connect; the game was one of those aforementioned post-apocalyptic games, coming out just as the survival action genre was starting to take off.

Originally announced as just Alive in 2008, I Am Alive was being developed at Darkworks, a French studio who had done other similar games, such as the interesting survival horror game Cold Fear and the mostly-forgotten Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare

After an initial trailer showing a player surviving a catastrophic event in Chicago, Illinois, the game went dark, with only occasional news reports of the game still being alive (no pun intended). After countless delays, the game was rumored to be canceled until Ubisoft moved the development in-house around 2010, while also shifting the game’s focus from a major retail title to a smaller digital-only title. Darkworks shuttered its doors not long after.

Unless some Darkworks developer held on to some unfinished development code, this particular version of I Am Alive is presumably lost, with only some proof of concept trailers still available online.

Even after moving development to Ubisoft Shanghai, they opted to take Darkworks’ concept and start completely fresh, basically making a new game under the same name. Let’s see if they revived this concept, or if it should’ve stayed dead.

It’s like I’m watching a found footage movie!

In I Am Alive, we’re introduced to the playable character, a boring, run-of-the-mill dude protagonist whose name is never mentioned at all during the game. For some reason, I thought his name was “Ethan,” but all the sources I checked have him unnamed, so he’ll be named Our Hero going forward. 

After The Event – the nebulous term the game uses for the apocalyptic event that ravaged the country – Our Hero returns to Haverton, a fictitious New York-like locale. He goes to find his wife and daughter – who do have names unlike Mr. Unknown here – but after finding that they’re not home, Our Hero then gets wrapped up in a journey that involves reuniting other families, getting supplies, and taking advice from various strangers around Haverton to eventually escape out of this hellhole.

Ezio Auditore he ain’t.

Games I beat in 2018: Enemy Front, possibly the true successor to Medal of Honor.

Welcome to the first Secret Area post of 2019. Here’s something that was several months in the making. This was mostly due to procrastination. Naturally, I’m writing about a game I finished last year, two days short of a year after I had beaten it. And it’s a callback to a post I made last June. Let’s do this.

Last year, I had written a somewhat scathing review of the 2010 Medal of Honor reboot, which took the legacy of a long-standing WWII FPS franchise and basically ruined it by being a Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare copycat. You can check that post out here. At the end of that post, I had hinted towards a game that I had said was just as close to the original Medal of Honor games.

Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch, but it is a World War II FPS, and surprisingly a decent one at that.

Enemy Front was a shooter released in 2014 for various platforms, including PC. Released by CI Games, it was a fairly unknown budget shooter in an era where those kind of shooters were slowly disappearing due to the drought of retail games as well as the prevalence of Steam making it a newer (and cheaper!) haven for the cheap schlock of the past.

I had heard of it thanks to a certain YouTube personality. Ahoy – later a maker of wonderful flashy documentaries about Doom, Half-Life, the Amiga, and many others – had done a video chronicling the arsenal of Enemy Front. He had done similar videos before for Call of Duty and other franchises, and would later be revised to an all-purpose format with his Iconic Arms series of videos. I’m still waiting for the new season of Iconic Arms, just to see what games he uses as an example for the weapon he’s talking about.

Though, it wasn’t just a British YouTube personality talking about a budget polish-developed FPS’s weaponry that got me to snag Enemy Front. It was also dirt cheap on a Steam sale. All it takes is something to be under $5 and you’ve caught my interest almost immediately.

Broadcasting your war diaries doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

Enough preamble. Let’s get to the meat and actually talk about Enemy Front proper. You play as American journalist Robert Hawkins as he reports the stories of a resistance front all around Europe. Hawkins’s voice sounds familiar to me. There’s no voice cast in the game itself, and IMDB only gives a brief unconfirmed list. I swear I heard him in that infamous Duty Calls game I also wrote about long ago, but there’s no proper credits for that one (or for Enemy Front).

Later meeting up with resistance fighters, Hawkins must stop the Nazi menace in various locales around Europe, including during the Warsaw Uprising. A fair share of the game takes place around that Polish conflict. It’s fitting, considering developer/publisher CI Games is based in Warsaw, Poland.

Human shields are a good way to be threatening. Until they realize you just grabbed some expendable low-ranking goon.

Remembering PlayStation Home.

PlayStation_Home_Logo
R.I.P. August 7, 2008 – March 31, 2015.

On March 31, 2015, a piece of PlayStation history died. PlayStation Home, the strange graphical chat client that had been running for about seven years, was ending on that day. I had almost forgotten about it until someone had mentioned it to me. Despite me publishing this on April Fools Day, I can assure this is a genuine post of remembering one of the more infamous moments during Sony’s floundering period of the PlayStation 3.

There might be some of you who read about this little thing somewhere on Wikipedia, or even when some YouTubers mention it as a gag for laughs. For those who never experienced it, PlayStation Home was a graphical chat client that was meant to be used as a social hub. It was like Second Life but more PG and with less phallic objects.

PlayStation Home was announced by then-Sony executive Phil Harrison, complete with this silly, fake-looking trailer:

(Video courtesy of IGN.)

Naturally most of us laughed it off and mocked it incessantly. Webcomics, gaming sites, among other places were lambasting the idea, even more so when it was released to the public for everyone to try. For its entire lifespan, Home was more of a punching bag than it was a legitimate thing people cared for.

Then again, it's hard to take it seriously when you see stuff like... this.
Then again, it’s hard to take it seriously when you see stuff like… this.

When I got my PS3 around 2008, I actually tried the system during its closed beta. In spite of the internet dogpile, I decided to hop in and give it a try. As the years followed, there was always that moment of “Oh right, Home is still a thing,” and I’d pop back in to give it a look to see what’s happening. Usually this moment happened when a big event had a space in PlayStation Home, like during E3 events. For instance, back in 2013 I actually did a video of me roaming around Home’s E3 Studio, which was quite the interesting experience despite how goofy it all was.