Sunday, April 12, 2015

Daredevil, Bloodborne, Jetpacks and LARPing  

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It's been a while since I updated, and free time is (as ever) at a premium, so I'm just going to launch into random topics and let it roll here…



Links First off, here are some links to recent reviews that just went up at @Gamecritics. Be sure to give these a peek, and leave some feedback for our new writers if you can.

First up, new writer @HeavyM3talSushi covers indie mashup Isbarah. It has potential, but misses the mark.  

Next, @NKummert reviews Dreamfall Chapters, Ep. 1 and heaves a huge sigh of relief after an 8yr cliffhanger. 

Then, @MobilesWorking covers Woah Dave! and waxes poetically on its arcade qualities. 

Next, @GC_Danny reviews Elliot Quest, and finds it to be a too-faithful homage that lacks modern sensibility. 

Finally, @CapitalistPig21 reviews the latest Tales From TheBorderlands ep, and it features a very welcome return.  



Daredevil I've been a DD fan from way back when, and I've been pretty curious to see how this new Netflix-fueled iteration would turn out. Now that Marvel is firing on all cylinders and the platform isn’t restricted by network standards and such, my hopes were high…


As of this point, the wife and I have watched the first five episodes, and it's been fantastic. The handling of the characters is excellent, and the cast is great. The show also has a very dark, violent slant to it that’s a good fit for the character and the subject material.

I don't want to say too much because the show just came out, and despite the fact that it seems like half of my Twitter feed has already seen all 13 episodes, I'm sure that there are probably quite a few of you out there who don't want to be spoiled on anything. Check it out for yourself, but so far it's been a huge thumbs up. Can’t wait to see the rest.




The Quest Looking towards a more family-oriented show, we've been watching The Quest on iTunes, which is basically a reality competition show where the contestants pretend to be paladins in a fantasy world. So a Fantasy-Reality? I dunno.


Of course the show is cheesy and ridiculous, and some of the drama I could have certainly lived without, but the central premise was actually pretty fun and my son really got into it – the swords and medieval-style challenges really got him hooked.

If nothing else, I can say that I haven't seen anything else quite like it, and if you're looking for something that's a bit offbeat and accessible for the whole family, it's not a bad choice.



Bloodborne Games-wise, 2015 has been hectic as all get-out and I've had an unusually small amount of time to just sit and play. However, when I have had time to sit down, it's mostly been going into Bloodborne… 


 I'm still working my way through it and it's probably going to take me a good long while yet before I see credits, but I've definitely got some thoughts on it.


Likes:


-The level design is quite good in most places. I haven't seen it all, but it feels like a good mix between the linearity of Demon’s Souls and and the overlappy shortcutting of Dark Souls. I don't get an erection over shortcuts or just the way that some do, but they work well here and I like that their use is balanced out by having some stretches which are pretty straightforward.

-Trick weapons are pretty cool, and I like that they give the player a number of tactical options in each situation.

-The setting is great. The quasi-Victorian stuff is nice, the semi-steampunkish twist to some of the gear is neat, and the horror slant is also appreciated.

-The ‘regain system of restoring health by rapidly counter-attacking is great, and a clever way of encouraging the aggressive style that the developers are clearly after.

Dislikes:

-Although I like the setting, the environmental design is entirely too grey and there's too much clutter in the environments. This combo makes the game hard to read in some areas, and I find it visually boring. A little more color and less clutter would go a long way here.

-Not being able to warp between areas is a drag, and sometimes I can't remember which area is which -- having to go back to the dream after picking the wrong destination is groanworthy.

-Speaking of which… those load times. Do I even need to say anything about this? Not only are they long enough to go check Twitter and make a sandwich, they absolutely kill the pace when you're throwing yourself up against one of the bosses.

-Farming for health vials. Buying them with spare cash helps, and of course not getting hit preserves them as well, but having to go back to previous areas to grind them out when you’re in need is a terrible decision.

-The opening area is pretty atrocious, and comes off to me like a bit of a dick-measuring contest put forward by the developers. With basically no information, no ability to change weapons, hordes of enemies to deal with, overpowering bosses, and no ability to level up until the first boss is reached, it seems like it's working overtime to get people to quit the game before they have a chance to get into it. Ironically, I think the game gets much easier as the player goes on, so starting brutally is kinda wretched.

-I get that Bloodborne is its own IP and that the name of the game is fast action, but I can't help but feel like it’s a stripped-down, sped-up Souls-lite, and some parts of it feel too similar where they should be different. 


For example, in an action-oriented game with relatively few weapon choices, requiring players to level weapons discourages experimentation. Maybe required resources become plentiful later (?) but so far I have to be choosy with what I increase, and as a result, I tend to use what I've already increased because I don't have mats to risk on a weapon that I may not end up using much. Seems like the devs should be encouraging players to use/try all the weapons, not hampering them like this.

With all that being said, I'm still enjoying the game and playing as much as I can, and I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later.



EDF 2025 With all due apologies to @BRKeogh, EDF 2025 is a pretty crappy game, but it does have one thing going for it -- the flying jetpack characters are awesome, and as a sucker for a good jetpack, it’s made the game a hell of a lot more interesting than it would've been otherwise. 


Although I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn’t a jetpack nut, I've been playing a few levels a day with my youngest son, and we've been having fun flying all over the maps and shooting billions of bugs.



MH4U Finally, a big, big shout out to @J_Monster and @Discobeaver for their help in getting my wife and I to G-Rank in MH4U. These guys are absolutely killer players, and we've been leaning on them to get through the tough spots… My wife and I are a great duo, but sometimes you just need extra help, and these guys have had our backs repeatedly. 


Today we had an absolutely stellar run, killing an Akantor, a Kushala Daora, a Teostra, two Dalamadurs and two Ukanlos without a single loss, capping it all off with double ascension into G-Rank. It would've been a much harder, much tougher slog without them, so guys, if you're reading this… Thanks!!  = D



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Mild-mannered independent developer Acid Nerve and raucous game label Devolver Digital have unleashed a unique demo for the forthcoming action-adventure game Titan Souls. Born from a game jam experiment, the Titan Souls demo is a scene-for-scene remake of the original prototype infused with the visual, audio, and gameplay enhancements the game underwent on it’s way to the full release of Titan Souls (store.steampowered.com/app/297130/). Pre-orders for Titan Souls and the demo can be found on Steam, Humble, GOG, and Itch.io for 10 percent off with the game hitting PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC, and Mac on April 14.
Titan Souls and the Titan Souls: Digital Special Edition can be pre-ordered via Steam, Humble, and GOG for 10 percent off prior to launch on April 14. The Titan Souls: Digital Special Edition includes the full original soundtrack, a digital artbook and world map, and a collection of high-resolution desktop backgrounds.
Titan Souls will release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC, and Mac on April 14. For more information and updates on Titan Souls follow @AcidNerve and @DevolverDigital on Twitter.

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Atlus U.S.A., Inc. will publish the Spike Chunsoft-developed title, Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains, for the Nintendo 3DS™ system in North America and Europe. Based on the hit "Attack on Titan" anime and manga, players will defend the three Walls from invading Titans as a member of the elite Scout Regiment with their omni-directional mobility gear and blades. Based on the upcoming Japanese remake of an earlier  Attack on Titan game, Humanity in Chains will be the first Attack on Titan game to reach North American shores, and will release exclusively on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS in May 2015 with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles.

The features for Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains include:
·  Story Mode: As a member of the elite Scout Regiment, defending the outer walls from the Titans will push players to their very limits to save humanity. Enhanced Titan AI behavior will sap every ounce of ability from players as they make a last stand for the human race.
·  Familiar Characters, New  Customizations: Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackermann and others will be familiar faces for players as they pick their favorite Scout member to defend the Walls. Several new additions will join the Scout Regiment, customizable with costumes, weapons and voices.
·  Online Co-op Mode: Defend the outer walls with up to three friends in the all-new online co-op mode with ranking and leaderboards.
·  Fresh Look: Updates to the UI, improvements in gameplay balance and support for the Circle Pad Pro and the New Nintendo 3DS XL system's C-Stick take Humanity in Chains to the next level.
Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be available in North America and Europe exclusively on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS this May. Release timing, pricing, and additional details will be made available at a later date. 

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Video: Finger Derpy, from Mommy’s Best Games


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XSEED Games, the independent-minded console publishing brand of Marvelous USA, Inc., today announced the exciting, long-awaited launch of STORY OF SEASONS for Nintendo 3DS™ family. This series, known as Bokujo Monogatari in Japan, has featureddozens of entries and sold nearly ten million units worldwide. STORY OF SEASONS catapults the cherished franchise into a new era, mixing series staples beloved by fans since its inception with new features such as online connectivity with other players and trade with visiting merchants from foreign lands.

The theme of “Connectivity” expands the world and presents possibilities to players both in and out of the game. In STORY OF SEASONS, the new StreetPass™ connectivity feature grants players the ability to tour one another’s farms, cultivate crops together, and even exchange gifts. The new Safari mode allows players to visit new lands and interact with a wide variety of flora and fauna. Players can also trade with other countries in-game to help grow their crop variety and pad out their coffers, while also aiding the local economy and contributing positively to the prosperity of the entire town.

Familiar friends of a different sort are also present within Oak Tree Town, as STORY OF SEASONS has numerous decorative items available from the Super Mario Bros. franchise, including the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Super Star.

Developed in Japan by Marvelous Inc., STORY OF SEASONS is published in North America by XSEED Games, exclusively for Nintendo 3DS. The game is available in physical format at participating retailers and digitally in the Nintendo eShop for $39.99. This game has been rated "E10+" for Everyone ages 10 and up by the ESRB with the descriptors Alcohol Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes and Violent References.

More information on the game can be found at www.storyofseasons.com. For more information on XSEED Games products, please visit www.xseedgames.com. Fans can also follow XSEED Games on Facebook at www.facebook.com/XSEEDGames and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/XSEEDGames


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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

So you love Bloodborne, but you hated Souls? Tell me more...  

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So, Bloodborne is certainly the game on everyone's lips at the moment, and like it or not, everyone's got an opinion on it.




Me? I'm still not sure what to make of it, but as I've been scanning Twitter and seeing what people have to say, I found myself quite confused by a sizable contingent of people who said that they really like Bloodborne despite not liking the Souls series -- and we’re not just talking a casual "dislike." More often than not, it was closer to a violent allergic reaction.

As someone who is a long-time fan of Fromsoft and familiar with all of the Souls games, I certainly think Bloodborne is its own experience and different from its predecessors, but to hear such drastic about-faces? I was quite curious as to why someone would love one but the other not at all, so I asked a few people exactly why that was…

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@dits Less sword-and-board, and more flowing combat. DS was far too ploddy, but I can hack the hellbeasts down in Bloodborne.


@OnlyInSaudiArab Fast and not easy.


@Cameron_PSLS Me personally, I like the setting of Bloodborne better than Souls.


@TheGeekyHusband The environment, polish, and more responsive movement. I don't feel like dyng is as "unfair" as it was in the past




@Zolbrod It’s more fast-paced and aggressive. I feel like my experience with third-person action games like Bayonetta, etc. is of more use.


@SleepinEyes It feels less technical, more gung-ho approachable.


@Echo829 Many reasons, but the big one is that it feels way more fair. When I die, I rarely feel like it wasn’t my fault. Whereas with Souls, it felt like a pop-up book of frustration and "fuck you" moments that rarely felt fair.


@JakeLear I would say the Regain system in BB feels more forgiving, and getting womped doesn't mean I should immediately die and restart the zone.


@GrnMushroom The controls in Dark Souls never clicked for me. I just felt like I was constantly fighting them... It was hard to get my character to do what I wanted. Bloodborne controls much easier.  I remember giving up within the first 15 minutes of Souls games because I hated the controls, not because of the gameplay. Bloodborne is much closer to other 3rd person action games.


@GTElephant I’m engaged with the Victoriana-Gothic aesthetics in a way I wasn’t with the fantasy style of the opening of Dark Souls. The initial character choices I was offered didn’t feel like they had any hidden traps that would lead to a broken build. Being able to use a gun to stagger gave me what felt like a “safety net”, similar to Witch Time in Bayonetta… That freed me to take risks, and the trick weapons gave me tactical options; I felt capable very early on, if not powerful.




@discobeaver Played Demon’s Souls, skipped Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. Probably played about 4-5 hours between them both.... totally not my thing, found them frustrating, boring and too slow-paced for my liking. Bloodborne on the other hand... I took a massive chance and jumped in due to HYPE and I loved it from the start. Much quicker pace, feels more fluid.


@DavidRobots My relationship with Souls has been complicated. I've always appreciated it from a distance, respected it for what it was, but it's always felt impenetrable to me.

I've always wanted to crack the code, to figure out why the hell I couldn't get into these games. I figured it was something wrong with me, that I was somehow broken. I'd cut my teeth on games like Mega Man and Castlevania - why couldn't I give these a shot?

There was something about the way playing Souls games gave me this sinking feeling in my gut. That feeling of having actual stakes; having something on the line that you can lose (in this sense, time and progression).

I loved it, but hated it at the same time. And for the longest time, I let that fear get the best of me, so they always remained this thing that I'd just appreciate from afar, but never actually attain.

And then, Bloodborne.

I read the reviews, and said "You know what? This is it. I'm going to do it this time" and I bought a digital copy so I wouldn't trade it back in. I'm so glad I made that promise to myself, because for every moment where I've wanted to give up, the feelings of success pulls me back in even more, and this one seemed to grab me a lot faster and more readily than any of the Souls games.

For one, I'm not a huge fan of fantasy settings, and the previous games felt like generic fantasy crap, with dragons and whatnot. I know they're anything but -- they have huge worlds filled with tons of interesting lore -- but at first glance, that's the impression I got.




Bloodborne, with its gothic structures and Victorian-era influences, feels all at once familiar and yet totally foreign, and it gave me something to grab on to during the first few hours of the game. Plus, that familiarity and that slight bit of the real world makes the game feel that much creepier.

And the combat?

I'm not a patient person. I want to go out and slice fools apart when I play a game, and the Souls games were a bit too methodical for me. Hide behind your shield, wait for the opportune moment, and strike. Bloodborne has no shield, so the only defense is a good offense. That, combined with the Regain system makes combat feel so much more visceral, so much more in the moment than it’s ever been.

The other streamlining choices (not worrying about weight, magic, or limiting weapon/combat styles) kept things focused and more manageable for me. Plus, I've figured out how to parry most of the time, so that helps.

I want to go back and give the other Souls games a shot now. Playing Bloodborne, taking down a few bosses, and realizing that, yes, I can do this, makes me want to go back and give them a shot.

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So, I don’t know if I found the answer, but the responses here certainly gave me something to chew on… It seems pretty clear that if nothing else, the increased speed and streamlined elements opened the door for most of this particular group of folks. 

Are these changes ultimately a good thing? A bad thing? It's hard to say, and I do wonder what it means -- if anything -- for Fromsoft’s design philosophy in the future. 

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Friday, March 27, 2015

There's a progression glitch in Bloodborne - heads up!  

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I know a lot of y'all out there are playing Bloodborne right now. I got this info straight from Sony this morning, and I'm passing it on to hopefully save you some heartache. 

Heads up!

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Missing “Lunarium Key” bug:
Following limited early reports from users, the development team has worked quickly to identify, recreate, and ultimately confirm a progression bug regarding the “Lunarium Key” in “Byrgenwerth” not appearing properly.

Criteria:
This bug occurs once the user initiates online multiplayer as a co-op guest (by using the “Small Resonant Bell”) or as a hostile invader (by using the “Sinister Resonant Bell”) in the “Forbidden Woods” area.

Solutions:
  • A 1.02 hotfix is currently being finalized and prepared for deployment. Due to the early detection and reporting of this bug (thanks to the Reddit and GameFaqs communities for escalating), the team is confident the hotfix can be released next week. An exact ETA is not presently available, but we will provide more information as soon as possible.
    • This hotfix will not include previously stated planned improvements to load times and performance; those refinements will be included later in a separate patch.
  • Players are advised to please avoid using either the “Small Resonant Bell” or the “Sinister Resonant Bell” in the “Forbidden Woods” until the hotfix is deployed
  • To the players who have already fulfilled the bug criteria and encountered this issue: the team extends its sincerest apologies for this inconvenience. The 1.02 hotfix will resolve this issue and every step is being taken to deploy it as soon as possible. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bloodborne is here, and it's... Meh???  

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Before getting into my next entry in the “Brad is the most popular guy on the internet” series, here are some quick links…



First up, I was a guest on the @Gaymebar podcast, and we talk turkey on Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate. It’s a fun, fun show and I’m a big fan of these guys, so give a listen!

Next, we had some new stuff go up at @Gamecritics.

Here we have my review of the outstanding PSN exclusive, Helldivers. So, SO good.

Here we have a brief interview with NISA’s Souhei Niikawa from @CapitalistPig21.

Also from @CapitalistPig21, his review of Game of Thrones, Episode 2.

@TayoGC covers indie shooter Blue Flamingo here.

Here we have @GC_Danny’s take on Funk of Titans.

Finally, we have newcomer @MobilesWorking covering WiiU’s Art of Balance.

Now, on to the main event…



So, Bloodborne is finally out, and my copy arrived today from Amazon.


I was so confident that I would be all-in on this game that I ordered the limited edition and didn't hesitate for a moment. Ironically, it just so happened that I had the day off from work (seriously, I did not call in sick, it was just good luck!) so I got to spend a fair amount of time with it this morning.

First impressions? Not too great, honestly.

The biggest thing that bothers me is that I find it to be very muddy and cluttered, visually. It’s waaaay overdone with iron fences and crates and detritus on every streetcorner and so on. The color palettes are extremely dark, and it all blends together so much that it’s hard to tell the difference between areas. Unlike the previous Souls games, I’m not finding good landmarks to guide myself by – it all looks the same to my eye.


The developers are also clearly going back to Dark Souls for inspiration in their level design – the opening area (and the rest of the game, I’m guessing?) are places that are stacked on top of each other and doubling back, full of shortcuts and crisscrossing. I'm not one of those Dark players who got an erection over unlocking shortcuts, so this style combined with my inability to visually navigate means that I often find myself going in circles and getting lost constantly.

It’s frustrating to be confused whether I’m going forwards or backwards, and when I finally find a new area (and inevitably get killed) I can't remember how I got there. Maybe it's just the way my brain works, but it seems to me the environments need more visual clarity.

I'm also not liking how the game starts in general. The opening area is quite tough, and although the developers do give some text prompts, it's a little unclear to tell when you're supposed to "parry" with a gunshot, and how that system works. I'm sure that will come with time, but a little more of an introduction would've been nice. The saves also feel far apart, and it took a good long while before I was able to unlock the option to level up. I’m guessing it’s meant as a sink-or-swim welcome to the game, but it feels a bit much.


After a while, I stumbled upon a boss called the Cleric Beast. Like the environments, I found his visual design to be muddy, and it was difficult to see his tells. I defeated him on my first try, but it was an unsatisfying win. I didn’t know that you could target different parts of his body, and the camera was often spazzing out of control. Looking directly up a boss’s rectum during a fight? Not helpful. Similarly, I often find myself wheeling the camera around trying to keep enemies in view, and I'm often surprised from behind during fights. The lock-on function frequently drops as well, so that can lead to some inopportune deaths.

I don't mean to sound entirely down on the game because I plan on putting more time into it, but I gotta be honest in saying that it's not clicking with me so far. Perhaps it's going to work out that I only love every *other* Souls game? If that's so, then whatever comes after Bloodborne should be my new favorite…



Otherwise, I'm still chipping away at Monster Hunter 4U (the Crimson Fatalis dragon went down like a chump), I’m still putting time into Helldivers every night (love it!!) and I'm just about to write a review for [embargo’d game] which turned out to be something of a disappointment.

Chump

I can’t name names right now, but it was one of the things I was most excited for this year, and now that I have it in my hands, I find myself falling asleep every time I play it. The funny thing is that I think it's technically sound, and it definitely shows some good ideas. On paper, it seems like it should be a homerun. It's really lacking that spark for me, though… 

I can see some people falling head over heels for it, but for me, I don't think I'm going to finish.

Sigh.


**************PR/NEWS/INFO**************


Independent developer Croteam and philosophical game label Devolver Digital have announced The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna, an upcoming expansion pack for the award-winning first-person puzzler The Talos Principle. Set in the world of The Talos Principle, Road to Gehenna follows the narrative of Uriel, Elohim's messenger, as he explores a strange, hidden part of the simulation on a mission of mercy and redemption in an attempt to free the souls of the damned at all costs.

The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna will consist of four episodes that take experienced players through some of the most advanced and challenging puzzles yet. The Talos Principle writers Tom Jubert and Jonas Kyratzes have returned to pen the expansion and show players an entirely different side of Elohim's world through a journey to Gehenna filled with new characters and a new society with its own history and philosophy.

The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna is coming to Steam this spring while The Talos Principle and the expansion pack will launch on PlayStation 4 and the Nvidia Shield platforms later this year. For more information and updates on The Talos Principle follow @Croteam and @DevolverDigital on Twitter.

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BioWare™, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) studio, today announced brand-new downloadable content (DLC) that expands the singleplayer experience for Dragon Age: Inquisition, winner of over 100 Game of the Year awards. Now available for digital download, the Dragon Age: Inquisition - Jaws of Hakkon DLC adds an exciting new story arc to the campaign and expands on its already vast world with a new region of Thedas to explore. Dragon Age: Inquisition - Jaws of Hakkon is available first on Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC via Origin™ for $14.99.
Dragon Age: Inquisition - Jaws of Hakkon will reveal the fate of the last Inquisitor and the powerful dragon he hunted. The new content expands the land of Thedas with a massive new playable area covered in mountains and lush forests, where danger lurks in the shadowy undergrowth. As players explore the vertical landscape and dense wilderness fighting off vicious enemies, they will collect legendary armor and weapons before unearthing an ancient secret that could destroy the world.

Check Out the Dragon Age: Inquisition - Jaws of Hakkon Trailer Here: https://youtu.be/fElIdKZX6p0

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Take the fight to the surface in Arc System Works' latest title, Damascus Gear, available today on PlayStation Vita. With a fleet of elite humanoid good robots called GEAR to pilot, you will lead an squad of soldiers to claw Earth back from the RAGE, bad robots that have gone berserk and annihilated 80% of the world's population.

From the broken husks of dead RAGE, you will take parts to customize your GEAR. Whatever your fighting style--from long range rifles to blades to a friggin' laser cannon--you can customize to your robot-bashing heart's content. Once you've built the ultimate fighting machine, head out to take on harder missions, or visit the arena and test your strength against other GEAR pilots.
For more information please visit the official website: http://www.damascusgear.net/tokyo-shisen/eng/

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Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, announced a partnership with Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest regional theme park operator, to bring the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate experience to guests at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the “Thrill Capital of the World.” As part of the campaign, the park’s Goliath roller coaster will be re-themed to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate beginningMarch 28 and through August 10. To help kick off the opening weekend of the program, the national Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate traveling Caravan Tour will also be making a stop at Six Flags Magic Mountain for special event days onMarch 28 and 29.

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When Etrian Mystery Dungeon releases on April 7, people who own the game will be able to get all the DLC for free. This offer lasts through May 5, so don't dawdle! The DLC consists of five quests that have various bonuses! After May 5, the DLC will revert to paid, with the prices indicated below. 

The first three DLC quests require you to find a lost adventurer in the dungeons. Once you do, they will give you recipes that unlock meals prepared by the NPC Niralda in the Amber Cafe. Players can purchase the meals for each of the party members to apply buffs that last until they leave the dungeon! 

Find a Wanderer for me! Find the master chef Wanderer to unlock three new recipes for the Amber Restaurant! ($1.49)

Find a Princess for me! Find the stray Sovereign to unlock a meal fit for a king in the Amber Restaurant! ($1.99)

Find a Landsknecht for me! Find the adventurous Landsknecht to unlock three new recipes for the Amber Restaurant! ($1.49)

The last two DLC quests are repeatable quests that players can get from Niralda as well:
Know the Red Pookas? Slay a Red Pooka wandering around the dungeon to receive a Golden or White potion for extra experience! ($1.99)

Slay the Gold Guardian! Defeat an elusive Gold Guardian in the dungeon to receive a Nugget of Gold fragment for extra gold! ($1.49)

Beginning March 31 (a week before the game launches!), an Etrian Mystery Dungeon theme will be available on the Nintendo eShop for 99 cents! The static theme has scrolling character art (hand-drawn and 3D), plays the main Etrian Mystery Dungeon theme song, and has custom folders. We made a short little demo video of the theme you can check out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w11ZoqvHzJc 

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We’re pleased to announce The Evil Within: The Assignment is available! This first piece of DLC for The Evil Within is the first in a two-part, story driven experience and will be followed up with The Evil Within: The Consequence later this Spring.
In The Evil Within: The Assignment and The Evil Within: The Consequence, players take on the role of detective Juli Kidman, Sebastian Castellanos’ mysterious partner, in a concurrent story that looks to answer some of the questions surrounding her whereabouts during The Evil Within. Along the way she will encounter disturbing new enemies, discover new mysteries, and uncover new horrors. The Assignment and The Consequence give fans of The Evil Within the perfect opportunity to discover detective Kidman’s hidden motivations and her mysterious connection to Mobius, the shadowy group thought to be behind the gruesome events of The Evil Within.  

Both The Assignment and The Consequence are available as part of The Evil Within’s Season Pass. Priced at $19.99, the Season Pass offers savings on all three add-ons for the game, including the third DLC, The Evil Within: The Executioner, and is available on PSN, Xbox LIVE, and PC. Pricing and release dates may vary by territory and/or platform. The Assignment is also available for purchase separately and is priced at $9.99

The Evil Within has been rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on The Evil Within please visit theevilwithin.com.

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Get your hands a-clapping, because the idols of Omega Quintet are coming! Our first ever PlayStation­®4 game is set to arrive in North America on April 28th in both physical and digital formats. It will hit Europe on May 1st and will be available digitally for European markets May 6th.

In a world overrun by a mysterious, malevolent darkness, the only hope for humanity rests in the music of singing idols known as "Verse Maidens". Wielding weapons of sound, they are tasked with fighting back evil and restoring the world, but it won't be easy! These five plucky girls - with the help of their manager Takt - will have to give the performance of a lifetime to stop this darkness from claiming the last of humanity. Will they be able to band together and blow this evil away, or will they fight only to discover that the darkness has been lurking within them the whole time...? 

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Helldivers, htol#NIQ, Flame Over, Zelda+MH4U, Prof. X in MPQ... AND MOAR  



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Games: I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned, there really hasn't been a first-quarter lull this year. It seemed like we got about a week or two to chill after the madness of the holidays, but then the games started coming out, full steam, and there's been just a ton of really quality stuff out there.




For example, Helldivers (PS3, PS4, Vita) I saw this one last year at a tradeshow and it looked okay, but this is one of those cases where you really can't grasp what makes it so amazing until you sit down and put some time into it.





The simplest way to describe it is if you took DiabloDestiny, and Starship Troopers, mashed it altogether and added 50% more awesome to the mix. I picked it up on release day and I've been playing every day ever since… The hook (or at least, one of the hooks) is that the game is super-lethal, but not in an annoying way-- in a way that makes the player more cautious, and that gives everything much more significance.

The biggest example of this is that friendly fire is always on, so spraying lead haphazardly around the battlefield will quickly result in dead teammates. You also have to be very conscientious about where and when you reload, and things get incredibly hot and heavy at any time. In the blink of an eye, things can go from totally quiet to being a raging-hot firefight with enemies going down, allies was going down, rushing to revive them, running away to reload, and a thousand other things happening at once, while always trying to be cautious and not blowing your fellow soldiers away.

Oh, did I mention you can call down a beefy mecha exosuit, Titanfall-style? And that there are jetpacks? JETPACKS.




I played a good bit solo and that was fine, but the game really came alive with a partner-- in fact, I've been enjoying it so much, I went out and bought a third PS4 controller so that my wife and my son could both be on my squad at the same time. Up to four people can couch co-op in the same room, and having good coordination and each member bringing a different loadout leads to strategic, tactical play. OTOH, if you don't have that many people around, having randoms join in (or joining random games yourself) is incredibly easy and there are loads of people playing. It really does feel like taking part in a galactic war.

I wasn't planning to review the game, but I've been enjoying it so much that I decided I should probably put out the effort… Sadly, I’m gonna spoil my review right now and say that this game is friggin’ awesome.




In terms of games that are not so good, I was checking out htol#NIQ: The Firefly Diary (Vita) which is a recent new-IP effort from NISA. On the surface it seems tailor-made for me with an enigmatic story, cute characters, and puzzle-based gameplay. However, I bounced off of this one pretty quick and I don't think that I’ll be back.




The game begins with touch controls, and I just don't think they suit this game at all… Touching the front screen moves a "light" fairy, and touching the rear screen moves a "dark" fairy. The main character will blindly follow the light fairy around, which is how you get her from place to place. At the same time, you frequently need to manipulate the way the light from the fairy falls in order to set up shadows so the dark fairy can travel in them and move around each room.




There's more to it than that, but getting to the point, I found the game to be incredibly difficult and annoying at the same time, and within the first 15 or 20 minutes I got quite stuck and frustrated with what was going on. There’s an achievement for dying ten times in an area, and I earned it in the second level, if that gives you an idea of how it goes.

It's worth noting that there are alternate controls games so apparently people can use standard controls which (I'm sure) makes it a better experience, but the level of difficulty and the obtuseness of the game didn't have anything to do with the controls. My first impressions were pretty negative, and I might give it another shot at some point in the future… But probably not.




Speaking of negative impressions, I've been putting a little time into Flame Over (Vita) from Laughing Jackal, which is a "Pyroguelike" which features a small, cartoonish fireman who goes into procedurally-generated levels to put out fires and rescue people. I like the concept and while I see a lot of good ideas happening here, it feels like it falls really short in the execution.

The game starts off with no tutorial whatsoever, so a lot of what's going on is totally not clear. What's the point of turning off electricity? How do you earn the coins to buy items? Why can I keep continuing to play when the Grim Reaper shows up? What was that item I just picked up?





The mechanics don't feel totally polished, either. Sometimes fires are obscured by the geometry of levels, and manipulating the camera is done with the same stick that also aims the water hose and fire extinguisher the fireman carries, so toggling back and forth between them feels unnatural and stutter-stoppy.

I lost track of how many times I've played it, but I haven’t even managed to finish the first level yet, and I’m rapidly losing patience. And just to be clear, I'm not the kind of player who’s easily scared off by roguelikes in general or games that offer difficult experiences -- it just doesn't feel like the parts of Flame Over are put together correctly. I wish I had more positive things to say about it, but overall it feels like a case of "almost, but not quite".




In other any games news, I'm still playing Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate, of course. I hit a bit of a stalling point a while ago, but I think I'm back on track. I’m currently working on making the Brute Tigrex armor and trying to finish off the end of the single player campaign.


If you play Monster Hunter yourself then you probably already know about the free DLC, but in case you haven't heard, Capcom will be releasing new bunches of DLC on the first Friday of every month for the foreseeable future. You can watch a detailed preview of what came in the first batch right here, the highlights being a clockwork Insect Glaive and a bunch of armor and weapons taken directly from The Legend of Zelda. Yes, really.

Also, are you one of the many, many folks who watched @AEvanko’s MH tutorials lately? If so, do him a solid and chip him a few bucks so he can improve his working gear!




Finally, one quick note about @MarvelPuzzle Quest. The game recently released Iron Fist as one of the new three-star characters, and he is a complete badass. I wouldn't be surprised if he got nerfed before too long, honestly. If you get a chance to use him, go for it.




Otherwise, the new PVE just hit, and the top prize is a new four-star character, Professor X! It's hard to tell at this early stage, but according to my quick read of his abilities, it seems like he's going to be an absolute monster… Get in on it and try to shoot for the top while you can!




Finally, here's a whole slew of links to content that went up recently at @Gamecritics:


>Gravity Ghost by Tera Kirk

>Tears To Tiara 2 by @GC_Danny


>Marvin's Mittens by @Insrtcoins

>Ironclad Tactics by @JohnVanderhoef


>Runers by @GC_Danny


>Grow Home by @MikeSuskie


Thanks for reading!!!




******************PR/NEWS/INFO******************

Strength of the Sword Ultimate is heading to consoles!

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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed new pre-order bonus details for 
Mad Max. All those who pre-order Mad Max will receive an additional Magnum Opus car body called “The Ripper,” which packs a powerful V8 engine, upgraded exhaust with custom off-road tires, a ramming grill and a tuned suspension so it can take on a variety of Wasteland surfaces. Also revealed today was box art for the game.  

Set to launch September 1 in the Americas for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC, Mad Max delivers open world gameplay in a post-apocalyptic setting where cars are the key to survival. Developed by Avalanche Studios, gamers become Mad Max, a lone warrior who must fight to stay alive in The Wasteland, using vicious on-ground and vehicular combat against savage bandits. Following the theft of his iconic Interceptor, Max must align himself with a gifted, but peculiar, mechanic named Chumbucket and others to build the ultimate war vehicle as he works to escape from the dangerous Wasteland. More information can be found at MadMaxGame.com.

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Get ready to explore the vast labyrinth of ruins as you dive into La-Mulana EX, now available across North America on the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system from Rising Star Games and Pygmy Studio!

One of the original archeological exploration action games, La-Mulana EX is packed with challenging enemies, treacherous locations, huge bosses, and absolutely punishing but ultimately rewarding gameplay. La-Mulana EX is guaranteed to be a must-have title for PlayStation®Vita system owners and is available now!

About La-Mulana EX:
Set in the fabled ruins of La-Mulana, players will help Professor Lemeza Kosugiembark on an exciting but incredibly deadly adventure. Armed at first with only his trusty whip, he'll traverse through the lost city, finding treasures and discovering a bounty of unexplored caves, unsolved riddles and ravenous monsters. But with the ruins having claimed the lives of everyone that has ever entered, will Lemeza be able to survive in the quest to find the secret to life itself?

 La-Mulana EX Key Features:
Travel almost anywhere in the game right from the start
All-new Monster Bestiary allows players to view beautiful artwork and analyze details of the monsters slayed and characters met

Players now have the option to undo the "Hard Mode" curse
Improved translations and language support for English, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, and Russian

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Sierra has launched Shiftlings, independent developer Rock Pocket Games’ original side-scrolling puzzle platformer, for current-generation consoles and PC.

Shiftlings’ inventive spin on physics-based puzzle platforming comes from its two leading characters, a pair of half-witted extraterrestrial engineers whose space suits are hilariously linked by a single air hose. By passing gas back and forth, the Shiftlings can expand and deflate instantaneously to slip through tight spaces, move heavy objects and bounce to new heights, dragging each other along with every step.

Shiftlings features more than 50 clever stages of traps to traverse and collectibles to discover across five astronomical worlds. Players can take on the universe alone, controlling both cosmic custodians, or tether to a friend for two-player cooperative multiplayer online or locally.

Set within an intergalactic reality television show, Shiftlings’ cartoonish presentation lends itself to plenty of humor between its comically unaware stars and the watchful announcer, casting players as both participants and viewers through the adventure.

Shiftlings is now available for $14.99 on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system via the PlayStation®Network and Windows PC. It will be available for the same price on March 4 for Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, through the Xbox Games Store. This game is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB.

For more information, please visit www.rockpocketgames.com/shiftlings, and follow Rock Pocket Games on Facebook and Twitter.


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Techland announced that the second content drop of the Season Pass for Dying Light will launch on March 10th. The Ultimate Survivor Bundle brings a collection of unique items to the quarantine zone, including blueprints for four one-of-a-kind weapons: The Constable, the Night Club, Lacerator, and Buzz Killer. On top of that, the bundle comes with three distinctive character outfits: the Ninja, Urban Explorer, and Special Agent. The Ultimate Survivor Bundle will be available across all platforms as a part of the Season Pass offer or separately at 4,99 USD/ 4,99 EUR / 3,99 GBP.

Also on March 10th, a new free update for Dying Light will be released. Along with various improvements to the game’s performance, gameplay balance, online functions, and visual fidelity, patch 1.4 will introduce a specially designed Hard Mode, allowing players to add extra challenge and realism to their game. Furthermore, the update adds an additional tier to weapon rarity level, extra rewards for completing the game, more character outfits, and dozens of new weapons. All content of patch 1.4 will be available for free on all supported platforms.

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inXile entertainment announced that the best-selling PC game, Wasteland 2 is currently in development for Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft via the ID@Xbox self-publishing program and PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, slated for release late summer.

 Currently available for PC fans (http://store.steampowered.com/app/240760/), Wasteland 2 is one of the most successful crowdfunded games of all-time. Total Biscuit, who commented that this “really does feel like Fallout 4, if Fallout were to go back to its CRPG roots,” awarded Wasteland 2 as the “Best Thing to Come out of Crowdfunding”. Wasteland 2 also won game of the year from PC World for 2014. The game features 70+ hours of highly re-playable gameplay in which no two people can have the same experience.

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NIS America is thrilled to announce that first print copies of the Wii U™ version of 
Rodea the Sky Soldier will also come packaged with the Wii™ version of the game! The Wii™ version will be exclusive to the retail version of the game and available for the first printing. This is currently planned for both North America and Europe. Players will be delighted to experience creator Yuji Naka’s original vision for Rodea!

To view the trailer, please use the following link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf1uoFg69tg 

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ISLAND PARADISE – Kitty Lambda Games (The Real Texas, Paradise Perfect) and Devolver Digital (The Talos Principle, Hotline Miami 2) have unveiled Paradise Never, an action RPG set in 2027 on an island colony of France in the midst of turmoil and revolution. Relive the same three days over and over in an attempt to right your wrongs and free your quiet island community from its imperial oppressors while trying to keep your close-knit group of friends-turned-rebels alive. Paradise Never will launch this summer on PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, Humble, and GOG.

Paradise Never uses a sophisticated NPC behavioral system, a complex object interaction mechanic, and a tropical paradise that regenerates with each three day cycle to create a living, breathing world bustling with activity with or without your direct intervention. Talk to NPCs at different times in different circumstances to better understand their motivations and gain the knowledge you need to save them all. Strike down your opposition with your battle-ready electric guitar or outfit your boat with new cannons to take the battle to the open seas - but keep the casualties down or the goddess will reset the time loop and you’ll restart your quest.

TRAILER
http://youtu.be/ZAynnQCRF4Y

WEBSITE
http://www.paradisenever.com 

Attendees at PAX East will be able to go hands on with Paradise Never with developer Calvin French at the Indie Megabooth (#6155). For more information, please visithttp://www.paradisenever.com or follow @Psysal and @DevolverDigital on Twitter. 

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– Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced that the highly anticipated conclusion to the METAL GEAR SOLID V Experience, METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN, will be released worldwide starting September 1, 2015.

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN is the series’ largest and most ambitious edition to date, expanding upon themes and content seen in the METAL GEAR SOLID V Experience prologue: METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES. Set within huge open-world environments, METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN is brought to vivid life with realistic weather patterns and day/night cycles. Thus, players can adapt their tactics to match the changing environment, creating an intuitive and non-linear gameplay experience. Similarly, a host of acclaimed METAL GEAR SOLIDtroops return in hugely advanced forms, including expanded CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) skills, vastly improved enemy AI, online elements that complement the single player campaign, and an all-new version of METAL GEAR ONLINE, a competitive multiplayer mode, included within the main game.

The September window will see a number of product options available to passionate fans of the series, with METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN releasing both a special “Day 1 Edition” and a limited “Collector’s Edition”. 
“Day 1 Edition” Content (Physical Version*)
MAP
DLC items
Adam-ska Special Handgun
Personal Ballistic Shield (Silver)
Cardboard Box (Wetland)
Fatigues (Blue Urban Snake Costume)
METAL GEAR ONLINE XP BOOST
*Digital Version contents to be announced at a future time
**Steam version will include the above DLC content at launch
Collector’s Edition Content (Physical Version Only):
Half Scale Replica of Snake’s Bionic Arm
Collectible SteelBook
Behind the Scenes Documentary & Trailers Blu-ray Disc
MAP
Exclusive Packaging
DLC items
WEAPON & SHIELD PACK
Windurger S333 Combat Special Revolver
Adam-ska Special Handgun
Maschinen Taktische Pistole 5 Weiss Special Handgun
Rasp Short-Barreled Shotgun Gold
Personal Ballistic Shield (Olive Drab)
Personal Ballistic Shield (Silver)
Personal Ballistic Shield (White)
Personal Ballistic Shield (Gold)
CARDBOARD BOXES
Cardboard Box (Rocky Terrain)
Cardboard Box (All-Purpose Dryland)
Cardboard Box (Wetland)
SNAKE COSTUMES
Fatigues (Black Ocelot)
Fatigues (Gray Urban)
Fatigues (Blue Urban)
Fatigues (All-Purpose Dryland)
Other
"VENOM SNAKE" Emblem
MGO BOOST
METAL GEAR ONLINE XP BOOST
MGO Items
Metal Gear Rex Helmet
AM MRS-4 GOLD Assault Rifle
WU S. PISTOL GOLD
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN including METAL GEAR ONLINE, will retail with an SRP of $59.99 for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system; the Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft; and Steam, and $49.99 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Xbox 360. “Collector’s Edition” SRP will be $99.99 for the PlayStation®4 and the Xbox One. The Steam version ofMETAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN will be released on September 15, 2015. 
To pre-order METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN, please visit: https://www.konami.com/mgs5/
Formats: PlayStation®4, PlayStation®3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Steam

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Bethesda Softworks, a ZeniMax Media company, today announced Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, the standalone prequel to the critically-acclaimed first-person action-adventure shooter, Wolfenstein®: The New Order™. In development at MachineGames, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood will be available digitally for $19.99 on May 5, 2015 for Xbox One®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 system, and PC.
The year is 1946 and the Nazis are on the brink of winning World War II. In an effort to turn the tide in the Allies’ favor, B.J. Blazkowicz must embark on an epic, two-part mission deep within Bavaria. Part one of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood - Rudi J├Ąger and the Den of Wolves - pits BJ Blazkowicz against a maniacal prison warden as he breaks into Castle Wolfenstein in an attempt to steal the coordinates to General Deathshead’s compound. In part two – The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs – our hero's search for the coordinates leads him to the city of Wulfburg where an obsessed Nazi archaeologist is exhuming mysterious artifacts that threaten to unleash a dark and ancient power. 
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is rated M for mature by the ESRB. For more information on Wolfenstein: The Old Blood visit: www.wolfenstein.com.

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505 Games and Rebellion today announced that Sniper Elite 3 ‘Ultimate Edition’ for console is now available for digital download
and at retailers nationwide.

 This new offering brings the award-winning original Sniper Elite III game and also bundles an additional nine DLC packs including all three expansive ‘Save Churchill’ missions and 18 additional weapons in one explosive package.  Also included in the package are the bonus multiplayer maps and modes added since launch. This new experience is designed to give players everything they need to traverse the unforgiving yet exotic terrain of North Africa as they embroil themselves in a savage conflict against Nazi Germany’s elite Afrika Korps and infamous SS special forces. 

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