Now Editor-in-chief of Arcade Sushi, Luke Brown is an experienced video game journalist who has contributed to Official Xbox Magazine and Games Radar. An avid comic fan and action figure junkie, he also founded The Quarter Bin, and co-hosts one of the top-rated video game podcasts on iTunes, the Continuecast.
Luke Brown Biography
Five years after the last full retail release, Harmonix has returned with Rock Band 4. Like your favorite band that's been out of the studio for too long, Harmonix's return is a welcome one. Who better than the masters of the genre to bring back one of the most storied franchises of the last decade for another run at greatness? With new platforms and audiences to reach, the time seemed right for Rock Band to once again make a claim to the throne of the ultimate music franchise. Much of what makes up Rock Band 4 will be immediately familiar to longtime players, but that's not a bad thing. Rock Band 4 brings back feelings you didn't even know you were missing, and improves upon the formula just enough to make everything feel fresh and new, while being as comfortable as a pair of worn-in leather pants.
Given the recent success with Batman: Arkham Knight, it makes a lot of sense for Warner Bros. Interactive to keep the big guy around in some form or another
As promised, there's a new update for Batman: Arkham Knight available today that brings the Tumbler from Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy to the video game. There'll be a pair of new race tracks based on those movies, too. You'll also be able to use the Tumbler on the streets of Gotham itself... provided you've already eliminated every single drone tank in the game. It's another of Arkham Knight's instances where it almost got something right. I mean, the Tumbler is pretty dang close to the Arkham Knight version of the Batmobile, but it still has these weird restrictions on how it can be used. The same was true of the Batman '89 Batmobile and will likely also be true of October's Batman '66 Batmobile, which shouldn't be confused with the Batman '66 Batmobile skin that was offered as a PlayStation 4 pre-order incentive. Of course, weird restrictions has been the story of the Batman: Arkham Knight add-ons ever since they first started dropping. You could play as all the characters so far individually (Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Red Hood) in their specific stories, but none of them were accessible in the open world of Gotham's streets. At least, not without modding on a PC. The same will hold true for the Nightwing adventure, GCPD Lockdown. The first actual story content developed by Rocksteady (previous add-ons were from WB Montreal), there's a chance this little bit of Dick Grayson goodness will be the first DLC worth the price of admission. Hell, it might even actually last longer than 20 minutes. You know what still won't be coming? The ability to play as Nightwing throughout all of Gotham.
If you thought taking the characters of a fan-favorite role-playing game and throwing them into a fighting game was as drastic a departure for the Persona series as was humanly possible, Persona 4 Dancing All Night proves otherwise. Combining the beloved grind-fest RPG with a rhythm game takes Atlus' outside-the-box thinking to a whole new level. All the characters you've spent hundreds of hours with over the course of the past few years return again, only this time they've set their sights on saving the world through the universal language of dance. It shouldn't work. Persona 4 Dancing All Night is probably the largest deviation from the core concept a franchise has ever received, yet somehow, it manages to be everything fans could possibly have hoped for.
While at first Lego Dimensions appeared to be yet another NFC figure game built to cash in on the success of Activision's Skylanders series, but in the months since it's been revealed to be a game built to cash in on Skylanders' success with some interesting improvements to the formula. With the concept of having to actually build all the figures and vehicles, Lego Dimensions offers enough difference from its competitors at the onset to make it appealing. Factor in the inclusion of just about every license under Lego's belt, and you've got a game that lets you team Scooby-Doo and Batman with Doctor Who, while they try to stop an invasion into Springfield. After months of lead-up, the arrival of the ultimate fan fiction mash-up game is almost here.
The animated life of Ghost in the Shell is a complicated machine. You've got the original 1995 film adaptation of Masamune Shirow's landmark cyberpunk work, then there's the 2004 sequel, and then the 2008 remastered Ghost in the Shell 2.0. Of course, you've also got Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the 2002 animated series, which also had a few feature-length chapters during its run. And let's not forget the most recent iteration, Ghost in the Shell: Arise, a complete re-imagining of Shirow's story, which took place before the original manga, but also had a movie release this year in Japan. People love their Major Kusanagi, no matter how convoluted her story becomes throughout all the various incarnations. Though there hasn't been quite as many Ghost in the Shell video games, that hasn't stopped the franchise from being equally confusing. The original PlayStation One title, Ghost in the Shell (based on the first film) managed to survive just fine on its own, but two different games based on Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which were both titled simply Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, arrived on two different systems and offered two different styles of play (one a third-person shooter, one a first-person shooter). For this latest attempt at bringing Ghost in the Shell to life as a video game, Nexon has again turned to Stand Alone Complex for inspiration. Unfortunately, it's also going to be a free-to-play, online multiplayer-only, squad-based FPS.
I don't know if you know this, but Star Wars is kind of a big deal 'round these parts. It's such a major event, we got the gang back together for a special episode of your favorite listicle video to talk about the greatest hero the Star Wars universe has ever known. No, I'm not talking about those Skywalkers. I'm talking about a man with a vision and a purpose; a man so smoooooooooth he could talk a bantha into eating its own dung. I'm talking about the one, the only, Lando Calrissian.
Earlier this year, Joe Madureira hinted at the possibility of Battle Chasers, his creator-owned series, returning in some form. After leaving comics for a time to focus on game development, and then releasing two games with Vigil Games and THQ, it seems the time is now right for Gully, Garrison, Calibretto and the rest of the gang to make their comeback. Battle Chasers: Nightwar will see Joe Mad return to the series and characters for the first time in almost 15 years, but this time the franchise is stepping into a new arena --- video games. Using Kickstarter to fund the development for PC and Mac (other platforms will follow if stretch goals are met), Airship Syndicate is bringing the fan-favorite comic to life as a JRPG. If you're at all familiar with Battle Chasers, you know just how perfect a fit the world of that series is for a role-playing game steeped in the traditions of Squaresoft and Enix, but with a modern twist. That means there'll be loads of turn-based battles, mana and dungeon crawling to go around, but the dungeons will be generated randomly and have a bit of that Diablo flare.
The rains at Sebring International Raceway have been coming down hard throughout the day, and there's no sign they'll be letting up before the green flag drops. The wiper can barely keep the windshield clear enough to see beyond the edge of the hood, but this race is happening no matter what. The asphalt and concrete, slick beneath the rubber tires, is treacherous even at the lowest gears. Then come the puddles. If you're quick, you can avoid them. If you're too quick, you can't. Before there's time to react, both driver and car are embraced in a futile dance with physics as they careen all the way off the track and into the tire barricade. You're no longer competition; you're a warning from Mother Nature. Be wary, racers, for the same fate awaits you if you don't respect the elements.
Competitive platforming has always been one of the weaker spots in my gaming repertoire. I'm a major spaz, and often my twitch reflexes guide me down the nearest endless shaft of doom or into a wall of spikes instead of keeping me out of harm's way. That doesn't mean I avoid games like Rayman Origins or New Super Mario Bros. all together, though. Quite the opposite in fact, as I just can't seem to keep myself away from these kinds of games. That's part of the reason I found myself awaiting the release of 13AM Games' Runbow. The other parts have to do with the frantic nine-player multiplayer action and that sweet visual aesthetic.