Monday, April 29, 2013

The Monster Hunter Testimonials, Day Three!  


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After the short break with the last update, we're now getting back to the MonHun... And in case you missed it, I'm running these because one of our long-time readers (Hi Alv!) requested that I take some time to get into the essence of the series, and really get under its skin to explain its appeal, similar to the way our own@GC_Danny dissected his love of the modern classic, Deadly Premonition

I thought this was a fantastic idea, so I decided to go one step further. Rather than Simply sharing my own feelings (which I will do a little later on) I got a host of Monster Hunter fans to help me illustrate what makes it such a singular experience. 


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To me, the real hook of Monster Hunter lies in its presentation.

As someone who balks at the idea of having to play hours and hours of a game before fully comprehending it, I was initially very turned off by the very premise of the series. Never before has a game lacking any real narrative caught my interest enough to want to invest that kind of time, so why would Monster Hunter be any different?

In the end, curiosity and some kick-ass monster designs won me over, and I ended up with a copy of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Nintendo 3DS.

Now, I can’t profess to having played enough to say I honestly know exactly what I’m doing, but what I can say is this: I’m completely obsessed.

Stepping into the world of Monster Hunter for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the cohesive aesthetic of the game and minute attention to detail put into everything from environmental designs to dialogue. While many cautioned me of the notoriously slow first few hours of the game, I found myself content just venturing out into the unknown, exploring terrain, harvesting items, and witnessing the diverse wildlife that populated the early game’s grassy fields.

Of course, the thrill of tracking down one of the game’s many majestic beasts and engaging in the lethal dance that ensues is inarguably the highlight of Monster Hunter. But were it not for the always-amusing interactions with NPCs (they weren’t lying when they said the Guild Sweetheart was a riot!), medieval wilderness aesthetic, and endlessly-charming touches such as the ability to cuddle your farm’s pig, I can safely say I wouldn’t have been nearly as eager to join the hunt.

Monster Hunter excels in creating a world that you just can’t wait to get back to, and I, for one, know it’s a world I will happily spend a hundred hours in.

-- by Anne Lee, @apricotsushi

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One aspect about Monster Hunter that I love is its ability to bring people together. In a time where couch co-op is rare, it is refreshing to see a game that centers on cooperative gameplay.

Each hunter, depending on their playstyle, can do their part.



The Great Sword user can deal the damage, the Bow Gunner can apply crippling statuses, and the Long Sword user can cut the tail while the Sword and Shield wielder can lay bombs and traps. I was the first of my friends to play the game, but because of its cooperative nature, I have been able to attract 6 others to the franchise.

While some critics decry the franchise for its lack of guidance, I see it as a boon to the community. This game’s following is fantastic: multiple podcasts, online wikis, google groups, and chats all work together to better the players and welcome newcomers.

Hunting with friends and family exhilarates me more than any other game I have played. It should not be missed.

-- by @RetroRedemption, http://retroredemption.tumblr.com/

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Like a few, Monster Hunter Tri was my 1st foray into the MH world  - and by the time I stopped playing that version a month or so ago, I'd racked up almost 1,000 hours of gameplay time! Also like most, I didn't really know what I was doing at first. Similar to others - my friend @Leneux on twitter to name just one -  I came into MH with a background of having spent many, many hours on PSO, which was of course multi-platform but GameCube, was my console of choice back then.

So what makes the Monster Hunter so franchise special or unique? This is a tough one to answer.

It's not the story. Although the single player does have one, it was all done after about 60 hours for me in Tri, and that's not what kept me playing. As series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto has said himself, you create your own stories when you play online.


For 4 player online (or local) gaming, there is nothing else quite like MH. The monsters reacting slightly differently each time means no two fights are the same. It's about the camaraderie and the sometimes unlikely victory, grasped from the jaws of defeat - or equally, defeat when you thought you'd most certainly succeed!

It’s about the different play styles that your teammates will bring with their individual weapon classes. Learning how to become an effective team, no matter which three of them you're playing with at that time. 
It’s about that moment of elation, when you finally capture your first-ever Deviljho, or kill your first Alatreon with (literally) moments to spare.

It’s about cutting off a monster's tail or breaking one of its body parts and getting you that same moment of satisfaction every time, and then finding that same item in the rewards because you broke it off the beast, and then finishing that armour set or weapon that you've been wanting for so, so long... And then you see the next weapon in the tree and somehow you want it even more, even though it seems like it's going to take you forever to farm all the materials for it.

It’s also about the fact that a small group of people who you’ve only met online have become some of your best friends (@Discobeaver , @Kainelor , @Huntervp and Painjunkie666 to name just a few) even though we all live in completely different parts of the country and rarely get all together in person. 

These are the kind of things that make MH different. 

It may not be perfect - the 1st 4-5 hours of each game in particular need some reworking if they ever want it to be as popular as likes of WOW or COD - but it fills a hole in my gaming life that nothing else can or ever will.

--by Jeremy Fowler, @j_monster

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I think, in many ways, Monster Hunter fills the primal need to hunt that has largely been suppressed in modern society. The game, to me, is as much about hunting as it is about its titular monsters. Learning how to track and find your prey, learning its behaviour and how it moves, and knowing when it's wounded enough to capture, these are all valuable hunting skills.

But where the game really shines is in establishing the mentor-student relationship. Having someone who knows what they're doing come along and teach you the ropes, in the field: that's Monster Hunter.


Just as you (probably) wouldn't attempt to learn how to hunt game for the first time without instruction, equipment, and a person to guide you, the same holds true in Monster Hunter. The game itself provides only the most oblique hints in snippets of dialog with villagers as to what to do. It almost expects you to have outside help, perhaps betraying its roots as a handheld game with local multiplayer only. When you sit together in the same room, it's natural to help each other out and for experienced hunters to help out newcomers.

That spirit of helping out those less experienced is definitely passed on from one 'generation' to the next. Just as a number of people helped me out when I got started, I feel compelled to help as many new hunters as I can now that I'm the one with experience.

My motives are not just altruistic: to be honest, I want to see Monster Hunter 4 come out in North America, so the more sales of 3 Ultimate we can generate, the more chance we have, right?

In the end, it's that camaraderie and cooperative play that really makes Monster Hunter so enjoyable and rewarding. There's no stronger bond than shared experience, and Monster Hunter gives that to the player in abundance

-- by Eugene Huo

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...And there's still more on the way. The coverage shall continue! 

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Riptide, Soul Sacrifice, Mars War Logs and a whole lotta PR...  


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I’ve still got more Monster Hunter testimonials in the pipe, but I’m taking a short break from that tonight to talk about a few other things. Look for the rest of ‘em shortly, though!

Zinogre is having a bad hair day

Oh, and before I switch topics entirely, here’s my current MH3U status:

132 hours total, HR6 online, and completing 7-star quests in the singleplayer campaign.
Working on completing Urugaan S, Zinogre and Ivory Lagiacrus armors.
Using greatswords the majority of the time, switching off occasionally to longswords or hammers. Best sword in my box is probably the Dio Blade (slime) but I’ve got a couple that are pretty close.

And there you go! Moving on…

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Games: My review of Dead Island: Riptide just went up at @Gamecritics a day or two ago.

Our heroes thanking the QA team for their fine work.

Readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of the first game, and even though it had some rough edges, it was a pretty brilliant experience. Unfortunately, Riptide isn't able to match up to that first title. The new character who uses hand-to-hand combat is lots of laughs, but the game itself feels like it was slapped together with very little care and isn't nearly as immersive or as atmospheric as the original.

My next review will be Soul Sacrifice on Vita. This one has been heavily anticipated by Vita owners for quite some time, and is coming from Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega Man. I put about nine hours into a "good" character before restarting as "evil" and putting another four or five into that one...

Nothing in the game is as cool as this looks.

Reviews are still under embargo until April 30, but those covering it have been encouraged by Sony PR to share impressions and previews. To that end, all I can say is that my current impressions are not very favorable at all.

Finally, a quick heads-up on Mars War Logs. Here's the latest trailer



I don't know a ton about it, but it's from French developers Spiders, and I was a huge fan of their work on XBLA's Faery. My review of that game is right here, and if Mars War Logs is on par with that, then I'll be a very happy camper. It's out right now on Steam, with console versions to follow.

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Book: It's been a bit of a long road lately, but I'm finally in the home stretch on my book revisions and plan to send the edited draft to my editor this weekend.

I'm hoping that there won't be any more edits requested (although realistically, there probably will be) but it will be great to get that off my plate for a little while, at least.

I started all of my writing projects when I had a lot more free time, so now that other things have piled on, I'm feeling pretty pressed on several sides. Just a couple more days and I can put a big check mark by that item on my to-do list!


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


Experience the complete Skyrim collection with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® Legendary Edition -- arriving in North America for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on June 4 ($59.99 USD) and throughout Europe and Australia on June 7.  

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition includes the original critically-acclaimed game, official add-ons – Dawnguard,Hearthfire, and Dragonborn – and added features like combat cameras, mounted combat, Legendary difficulty mode for hardcore players, and Legendary skills – enabling you to master every perk and level up your skills infinitely.
 For more information on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® or Legendary Edition, please visit www.elderscrolls.com.

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NIS America is excited to announce that the highly anticipated Japanese RPG PlayStation®Portable title, Black Rock Shooter The Game, is now available for purchase on PlayStation®Network. The Game is widely recognized for its stunning character designs from renowned artist Huke which were given voice by the ever popular Hatsune Miku! What started as just a character design has now evolved into an explosive PlayStation®Portable title! About Black Rock Shooter The Game: 2032 AD—Earth has been ruthlessly assaulted by extraterrestrials, and nineteen years of nonstop battle now threatens the very existence of humanity. The last hope for human survival is BRS, a heroine created solely to save planet Earth; she is the ultimate battle android. But when she is awakened to end the conflict once and for all, there are only twelve human beings left on Earth left for her to protect…

For more information, visit www.nisamerica.com/blackrockshooterthegame

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All hail POTUS as Deep Silver announces today that the Commander in Chief Edition for the upcoming Saints Row IV is available as a free upgrade to pre-orders at major freedom-retailers across North America. In this ball-busting, open-world and-other-PR-words installment in the Saints Row franchise, developer Volition continues the story of the Third Street Saints by elevating their status to the highest level – the leaders of the free world.  

But the leaders of the free world are under attack from an alien invasion in the land of the free, and it’s up to you and your gang to save the world, Saints-style. To help you combat the alien terrorists you will encounter, the Commander in Chief Edition is a free upgrade for all pre-orders at participating retailers and comes fully loaded with a Screaming Eagle that fires rockets out of its talons and can invoke the “Sonic Scream” attack, leaving your enemies dazed, confused and likely scarred for life.

Additionally, if you’re going to save the world you should look good while doing it, which is why the Commander in Chief gives you a limited-edition Uncle Sam uniform, made in the US of good ‘ol A (apple pie not included.) And since you need the best [read: most ridiculously overpowered weapons ever conceived] fighting tools available, Volition and Deep Silver are giving you a stimulus package, “'Merica”,  full of incredibly astonishing firepower: flamethrowers, ultra-powered dub step guns and rocket launchers are yours for the taking. Crown thy good with brotherhood, indeed.

The Commander in Chief Edition is priced at $59.99 (console) and $49.99 (PC). The Commander in Chief Edition will be available globally. Saints Row IV launches August 20th, 2013 across North and Latin America and August 23rd worldwide. For more information please visit:


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Your friends at Klei Entertainment are happy to announce that we've released Don't Starve! As of now, we consider Don't Starve ready for general consumption, and a complete game in its own right. However, we're not quite done yet...We’ve promised six months of post-launch content updates, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. For now, our team needs a bit of a break, so our next update will come in four weeks, on May 21st. To celebrate the release of Don't Starve, we've put together a retrospective trailer showing each update we've launched during the beta. You can get it on our Official YouTube channel below.

http://youtu.be/Fae9tlgS3w4

We're also announcing the official Don't Starve soundtrack is now available for download! Containing original instrumental music composed and arranged by Vince de Vera and Jason Garner, this soundtrack DLC has 9 tracks of game music and more presented in magnificent high-quality FLAC and MP3 formats. Also, those who pick up a copy will get new tracks as they are released in the game!

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Deep Silver today is putting the pedal to the metal with more details on the upcoming action game Ride to Hell: Route 666. In the world’s first real time tactics beat’em up, players will beef up their pack of road warriors, provide them with the right gear, and take them to the streets in a merciless battle for every mile of the legendary Route 66. The trip starts this summer, when the game is scheduled to hit the PlayStation® Store, Xbox Live® for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Steam.

Tactics are essential when up against a colorful cast of enemies. Players will be able to bark orders at their fearless gang members to bring them into the right formation on-the-fly with easy, accessible controls. Clever tactics will be rewarded, opening up enemy defenses and allowing you to get in on the action: as the leader of this lawless bunch, you can support your warriors at the front line or issue instructions from the back. Pick up and play action controls allow the players to get involved in the fight at any time. You’ll also be recruiting new members to join your gang, with each one bringing their own special abilities to a fight, from big bad bruisers to sultry medics. 

Ride to Hell: Route 666 is set within the Ride to Hell universe, a world of bare-knuckle violence, and rip-roaring motorcycles. Later this year the setting will be extended by two further titles featuring the unique and incomparable biker lifestyle; Ride to Hell: Retribution and Ride to Hell: Beatdown.
For more information about the Ride to Hell universe, please visit:


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UNWINNABLE, an industry-leading website specializing in sharp, experiential essays on videogames, film, comics and pulp culture, is today announcing PLAYABLE. This new venture will showcase small videogames developed by a variety of top indie talents and will be available on Unwinnable.com, beginning Summer 2013.

PLAYABLE is an ongoing series of short, experimental indie experiences from critically acclaimed and creative developers. Its goal is to expand and illuminate the process of what making a game is really like. Each developer will work with Team Unwinnable writers to provide background stories, essays and other content detailing the development process in order to enlighten and entertain our readership.

PLAYABLE, a long-time goal for Unwinnable.com, is the first step in a far-reaching project that will also include physical anthology collections and public exhibitions. Influenced by Pippin Barr’s browser games, PLAYABLE’s objective is to create an environment to stimulate greater conversation about videogames as a medium while establishing a vehicle to examine the mostly-unexplored craft of game development, in a way no other videogame site has ever done.

PLAYABLE will feature original games from designers across the industry, including:
RICHARD HOFMEIERCart Life, winner of the 2013 Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game

PIPPIN BARRLet’s Play Ancient Greek Punishment

HARRY LEEMidas, co-organizer of the Lost Levels Unconference

JAKE ELLIOTTKentucky Route Zero

ANDY SCHATZMonaco, winner of the 2010 Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game  

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Shin Megami Tensei IV (SMTIV) will launch as a premium RPG title for the Nintendo 3DS™ system and will include several items to aid Samurai as they serve the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado by battling hordes of demons. In addition to being a fully voiced title that takes advantage of the 3DS system's 3D and StreetPass™ functionalities, Shin Megami Tensei IV will include: 
Strategy & Design Book - Produced by Prima Games, longtime publishers of video game strategy content, and packed with walkthroughs, charts, maps, tips, and more, this official starter strategy guide will give the newly selected Samurai a distinct advantage as they begin their journey through the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado and beyond.  The design side of the book will feature full-color pages of artwork ranging from concept art to in-game pieces to never-used designs from new Shin Megami Tensei series character designer, Masayuki Doi.

Shin Megami Tensei Music Collection - Offering a collection of tracks specially selected from across the 20-plus-year history of the Shin Megami Tensei series, this CD presents the series' musical history highlights from the ethereal atmospheric music to the classic power-guitar anthems. It also includes a special recording exclusive to the Music Collection CD.   
Collectible Slipcase Packaging - SMTIV will come in a deluxe-sized slipcase package featuring full-color key art designed by Masayuki Doi and depicting the divergent paths of law and chaos between which Samurai must travel and make their choices knowing of the potential foes and allies that lay on either side.
 All bonus collectors' items are limited to the first printing of SMTIV; subsequent printings will only include the SMTIV game.

Shin Megami Tensei IV will be exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS system and sold as a premium title beginning this summer. The game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. More details will be revealed in the future, with updates on the official SMTIV website at http://www.atlus.com/smt4

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505 Games, a global publisher of video games, today announced that the block-building smash hit Terraria is headed to the PlayStation®Vita system (PS Vita). In development by Engine Software, Terraria for PS Vita will be available in summer 2013.

Originally released in 2011 for the PC by creator/developer Andrew Spinks' Re-logic studio, Terraria has received universal, critical acclaim and over 2 million "Terrarians" have struck out on their own adventures and fallen for it's mix of side-scrolling, action-adventure gaming and emphasis on crafting and exploration.
For all the latest news and updates on all things Terraria head over to https://www.facebook.com/TerrariaOfficial or https://twitter.com/Terraria_Logic.

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Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced the next chapter in the METAL GEAR SOLID franchise, METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN, will be released on the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. To reinforce the announcement and address all the questions fans have been asking all year, Kojima Productions unveiled a brand new trailer for the new title at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco.

First unveiled in METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER, the new METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN trailer shows the fall of Mother Base and provides visual hints that unveil the connection between METAL GEAR SOLID: GROUND ZEROES and METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN. The trailer also showcases the FOX Engine's exceptional level of visual quality with seamless integration of gameplay and cut scenes.For the newly released METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN trailer, please make sure to visit: www.metalgearsolid.com.

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN will be released on the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. For more information on METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN, please visit: www.konami.com

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It's here! After lots of packaging, tweaking, and testing, we're rolling out the new Torchlight editor - GUTS. In this action-packed update we have some important information on what exactly GUTS is and how it can work for you. You might want to bookmark this page for later. Ready? Here we go!

Modding in Torchlight 2

Torchlight 2 now fully supports Steam Workshop. A new launcher synchronizes any mods you have subscribed to,  and lets you customize their activation state and loading priority. In addition, when playing Internet games in the lobby, you will be able to filter modded games by mod combination, and with a single button click, subscribe to those mods. Torchlight 2 will then restart, synchronize them, and activate them before returning you to the game.

When playing modded games, you can view your mod history, any previously played mods, and the impact disabling mods may have on your character.

We've tried to make the process as seamless as possible, with a focus on allowing modded multiplayer games with a minimum of fuss.

GUTS

GUTS is our in-house development tool, now fully integrated with Steam Workshop. You can publish directly to Steam Workshop when you compile your mod, making it available immediately for others to play.

We've also added a special tool to GUTS designed to convert pre-GUTS mods into the official mod format, with an eye toward making the transition much easier for our ambitious early modders.

New to modding? Here's how to get started with GUTS - the Torchlight Editor wiki that we've been creating. You will definitely want to bookmark this resource! http://docs.runicgames.com/wiki/Getting_Started

New content for everyone

We've been working on lots of new content! Here is a taste of what awaits you ...

*The NetherRealm tileset - new NetherRealm dungeons can be found via portals throughout the world
*New Monsters
*New armor sets
*New weapons
*New pets - including the Headcrab!
*New endgame map content
*Some additional new dungeons in New Game plus modes in large overworld area

Click here for the complete patch notes. http://forums.runicgames.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=54098

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Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is now available for download on the PlayStation®Network for PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita, and PlayStation®Portable.  Presented as a parallel world to the events that unfolded in Persona®2: Innocent Sin, Persona 2:  Eternal Punishment delivers all the gameplay and action from the original Eternal Punishment title, delivering the missing chapter to fans to complete the full Persona experience.  The title is priced at $9.99.

Set in the metropolis of Sumaru City, Eternal Punishment takes place after the events of Innocent Sin, however exists as a separate story unrelated to Innocent Sin.  Players control a party of oddballs brought together by disturbing events in Sumaru City: teen-focused magazine reporter Maya Amano, her unlucky-in-love boxer friend Ulala Serizawa, the upright police detective Katsuya Suou, and a shady Taiwanese fixer known as "Baofu."  Together, the four characters become involved in the investigation of a serial killer known as the "Joker", and must unravel the mystery of the Joker Curse.

As in the other Persona titles, players have the option to fight demons encountered or negotiate with them to earn items, assistance, or their Arcana cards in order to fuse new Personas and gain access to more powerful attacks.  Additionally the game incorporates a rumor system, where players collect and exchange rumors throughout the game. Rumors taken to the Kuzunoha Detective Agency can be spread for a fee, changing the dynamic of the gameplay to alter storefronts and other gameplay elements.  
   
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is rated M for Mature.  
  
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Independent developer NeocoreGames revealed today a spectacular new gameplay trailer and screenshots for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, demonstrating the much anticipated Rage and Power-up System, whereby players have the ability to tailor skills on the spot. Whether it is killing foes instantly or freezing them in place, players have an enormous selection of abilities to take advantage of while they combat twisted creatures born in secret laboratories.

Watch or download the trailer and check out the latest screenshots here.

Enabling players to have up to three active skill modifiers, called Power-ups, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing delivers an abundant amount of pathways to follow within legendary monster hunter Van Helsing’s skilltree. By charging up the power-ups and utilizing Rage points collected from impressive feats, players are capable of taking down the most gruesome bosses and mythical beasts.

Read more about the Rage and Power-up System at Neocore’s active developer blog, here.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a gothic-noir steampunk action-RPG that is set to release on Windows®PC this spring and Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft later this year. Players experience fierce battles with familiar supernatural foes all within a dark storyline influenced by Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

For more on The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, read the team’s DevBlog, ‘Like’ the game on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Monster Hunter: the Testimonials Continue  


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Continuing the testimonial series I started with the last post, tonight's entry is from a fellow member of the @TeamworkPodcast, Alex Han. Although, if you follow the podcast or Monster Hunter in general, you may know him better as K.O.Han, or @Nahxela.

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I’m one of the many people who got drawn into the series when Tri came about, sinking hundreds of hours into the game. It had such a lasting effect on me that I eventually went out and picked up a copy of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for the PSP, sank hundreds of hours into that, imported a copy of Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, sank hundreds of hours into that, then picked up a Wii U and Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate

And, yes, I’ve put hundreds of hours into that!


But what exactly is it about the series that’s so engrossing? There are few games that really compare in how obsessed I get, and it’s hard to say what exactly I find so alluring. It’s really not just one factor, there’s a lot about the game that I really enjoy.

One of the main things that Monster Hunter delivers is challenge. When I play a game -- especially a game with action/real time combat -- I like a challenge. Having that sort of experience really gets me into figuring out all sorts of quirks present in the gameplay. Monster Hunter provides that, where players are met with a wall they need to climb. At first, it’ll be rough and the player might barely scrape by, but as time goes on, you’ll keep playing and noticing different elements, adapting new strategies, and you eventually overcome that wall.

For instance, the Barroth was a common wall people had when they first came to Monster Hunter Tri. It’s a dinosaur that’s pretty reminiscent of a pachycephalosaurus, but switch the domed skull with a snow plow and give it the ability to use mud as armor and projectiles. Prior to this monster, you’d see a number of raptors, birds, and leviathans. Somewhat threatening, but nothing that posed a huge challenge. They’d growl, try to slap you, tackle you, or maybe have some cool tricks up their sleeves, like clapping explosions or summoning minions to help them out. However, when you get to the Barroth, you’ll meet a number of new elements.

The Barroth

First off, when he sees you, he lets out a deafening roar that flinches you and forces you to cover your ears. No monster before it had anything like that, and it could come as quite a shock. Second, if you beat up a monster enough, it gets mad and hits harder and moves faster. However, when you enrage a Barroth, he lets loose another deafening cry, and starts hitting like a truck. He’ll cover you in mud, ram you with his thick skull, and give you a ton of grief.

My first attempt was pretty rough, where I consumed a large amount of healing items and barely scraped by, having taken 40 or so of the allotted 50 minute time limit. Nonetheless, I would return to the fight and pick up on various quirks. He’d charge at you and end with a swing of the tail, so not only do you need to get out of the way of the charging skull, you’d also need to keep an eye out for that tail. Maybe roll out of the charge’s path, then wait for the tail swing, and launch an attack.

This is one of Monster Hunter’s greatest strengths as a game. It offers great challenge, and allows for the player to become more skillful and grow as a hunter. Furthermore, this growth is reliant on the player’s own skill. There are a lot of games where certain difficulties can be overcome with things like overleveling, stocking up tons of healing items, and other methods. In Monster Hunter, you’re always limited on your healing items. Additionally, the only way you can really level up is to get better equipment, and to get better equipment, you have to defeat stronger monsters.

In the end, it’s all about how you, as a player, can improve yourself.

The armor made from the Barroth, after a victory

Another great aspect about the game that comes after the monster slaying is the equipment forging. It is incredibly satisfying to take down the monster that was your nightmare, and turn it into a stylish armor set, or to even incorporate the parts into your weapon to make it an even stronger one. This is another fun aspect that expresses growth as a player, since your new equipment is often the reward for overcoming the challenges presented in the game.

The designs of the monsters and the designs of the equipment are another great part of the game. You can pick up a pair of minichainsaws and use them as dualswords, you can forge a hammer made out of a giant stone fist, and you can even catch a fish to wield as a greatsword.

To complement your weapon choice, you can dress up in all sorts of wonderfully designed armor sets, from reliable leather to the classical dragonforged set, or from the funktastic Techno Space Viking to the set reminiscent of Ezio and the Assassins. There are a ton of fantastic designs in this armor, as well as in the monsters themselves. It’s not hard to be completely engrossed in picking out what looks cool or what looks great to show off to your friends, and is another shining component of Monster Hunter.

These are just two of the elements of the game that I really enjoy, but there are many more. If you’re a fan of action games, especially of the Capcom sort, I highly encourage you to check out the series. If you’re already an avid fan, then I hope to see you in the hunt.

- By Alex Han, of the Teamwork Podcast

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Stay tuned, folks… More Monster Hunter testimonials coming soon! 
(And if you want to submit a testimonial of your own, hit me up!)

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Monster Hunter: The Testimonials  


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When my Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate review ran at @Gamecritics, one of our long-time readers (Hi Alv!) requested that I take some time to get into the essence of the series, and really get under its skin to explain its appeal, similar to the way our own @GC_Danny dissected his love of the modern classic, Deadly Premonition

I thought this was a fantastic idea, so I decided to go one step further. Rather than Simply sharing my own feelings (which I will do a little later on) I got a host of Monster Hunter fans to help me illustrate what makes it such a singular experience. 


To open this series, a few words from Teamwork Podcast member @Nick_LaLone.

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Every once in a while, a person needs a pick-me-up. 

In 2005, I was pretty much at rock bottom so it was certainly time for mine. I wasn’t into drugs or deviant behavior or anything like that, I was just a guy trying to reboot his life and at the time it wasn’t working. I was ready to drop out of college because of bad advising. Semesters of financial aid were lost and and I sometimes ended up spending nights alone without a place to sleep. I would wander Austin under street lamps reading and napping.

You see, what I had wanted to do was devote all my time to my studies. In order to do this, I took a low pay, low effort job. However, because of bad advising there wasn’t anything to do --  all the classes I was in were a waste. I ended up dropping most of them and only had to go to campus once every few weeks. 

Without money or a meal plan to use in Austin, I spent some of my free time stealing food to live. My only source of income was from my job – $240 a month managing an apartment building and $24 dollars per million gil in Final Fantasy 11. So, after a particularly rough patch of wasted time, I received a refund of financial aid and decided to take a trip to visit a friend.

Now, I haven’t owned a car in over a decade and haven’t really needed one, so renting a car is always a special treat. I bought myself groceries, went to a restaurant and ate non-ramen food, bought a pair of nice pants, some clever t-shirt, and headed to Houston to visit my friend. When I walked in, he was playing videogames and I saw a guy on his television screen holding something. It sounded like a gun, but looked like bagpipes. I could see bullets coming out of the gun and they were heading toward some sort of red dragon-looking thing.

I have to admit that at the time, I thought it looked stupid.

So this game (which was called Monster Hunter) was explained to me as a 'boss fight' game. You slowly wore down a large monster (usually resembling a dragon) until you could capture them or kill them. Once you did this, you carved parts off of them and used those parts to make hats, weapons, pants, and more.

At this point, I thought sounded like a stupid premise as well!

Now, remember that I was in desperate need of a pick-me-up and my PS2 had all but broken because of its constant use as a Final Fantasy 11 machine. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time it had been turned off! It couldn’t read discs anymore; so I bought a slim PS2, a copy of Monster Hunter, and a new memory card to set about trying to learn how to hunt monsters. I thought the game seemed pretty silly, but I was so down that I was willing to try anything at that point.

It didn’t grab me at first. 

I mean, all you did was hunt for mushrooms and maybe, just maybe, you needed to kill some raptors (I’m sorry, velocidromes). I had a similar experience as Yahtzee did for his Zero Punctuation review

It was also a difficult game; I mean, when you got down to it, the trash-mob monsters could kill me if I wasn’t careful. So, I made my character, hunted my mushrooms, visited with my friend, packed up and went home a little depressed that I had just bought a new playstation in order to do something silly like play a game by myself as opposed to with tons of other people like Final Fantasy 11.

I honestly didn’t think I would ever play again until I was told that I could play online with people for free. Once I got home, I logged on and met up with everyone in the online portion of the game. They introduced me to Yian Kut-Ku.



My friends also introduced me to making armor, using different weapons, and more. I also started to read the quest text. I mean, there was a reason that everyone needed these mushrooms! Suddenly, I started to feel like I was doing the world in the game a favor as I hunted monsters. All of the quests were like, “Oh god, this monster has invaded this territory and now we’re all in trouble! Save the village!”

It was really amazing to see how this world was set up. It was amazing to see how the difficulty of the game wasn’t in dissonance without the world it was set in. Even if you had all the best weapons in the game, wyverns could still find ways to destroy you. So, this game’s cognitive dissonance, the feeling that occurs when the knowledge of the character and the knowledge of the player are not in sync, is perfectly stable. 

There is no cognitive dissonance here.

Every weapon had its own playstyle, and they all felt like they were massive, heavy things and you and your character discover these weapons together. I couldn’t remember when a game managed to portray that feeling so completely.

It was at this point that I ran across a zone during a hunt and slammed a Diablos in the side with my hammer. I knocked it over just as it was about to kill one of my friends -- the same friend that had introduced me to the game.

I suddenly felt like a hero!

I smiled as this massive, horned dragon writhed on the ground because of me. I felt useful. I felt strong. I felt…amazing. It wasn’t cruel or malicious, this feeling. It was heroic that this threat to all of us met my weapon and fell over. He wouldn’t have given any care to murdering any of us. And this was a game; a video game was eliciting an emotional response! I hadn’t had this before, and the fact that all my friends were sharing this with me meant that I was immediately hooked.

That pick-me-up had finally arrived, only it didn’t end there! About a week went by and my friend Damon called me while I cleaned the carpets of an apartment. He told me that we were going to fight Lao that night. 

“Lao?” 

I wondered what he meant. 

“Yeah! Lao-Shan-Lung!” I had to admit that it sounded pretty silly and surreal. It sort of felt like this commercial for Everquest.

This monster sounded ominous. Still, I had gotten used to just about every monster, and so the game was starting to stale. I wondered if I had had enough of feeling that awesome. 

I finished up what I was doing, booted up the game and went to the city (AKA, online multiplayer). 


After meeting up with everyone, I was greeted with a massive fortress and an enormous red dragon walking down a narrow canyon. The story of the quest was that Lao-Shan-Lung was running from his mate and was heading right for town! It was up to our tiny band of monster hunters to get Lao to turn around, or to slay him before he trampled the town.

Now, this fight is weird because you have to fight a face -- literally, a face -- as it slowly saunters down the canyon to the fortress. I makethis fight sound pretty awful, but it is such an incredible feeling to fight this thing because his face is the only thing that you can reach without being trampled yourself by a gigantic body that was in a real hurry to get to where it is going.
  
So, as he gets closer and closer to the fortress, you have to go to different arenas. The last arena, the fortress itself, has a device on top called the Dragonator. Essentially, it's a machine with a bunch of drill bits that stab outward. It does an amazing amount of damage to the dragon and once it does, this song begins.
  
So you’re at the base of the fortress fighting a massive dragon desperately as it throws itself against the fortress wall. This heroic music is blaring over Lao’s roars, and all you can do is swing your weapon. I don’t think any number of words can truly capture this feeling.

If I had let my depression take me along the path I was on, I wouldn’t have been able to experience how great it made me feel later. I think I can honestly say that Monster Hunter saved me from an entire gamut of things related to depression, and thanks to my co-hosts at the Teamwork Podcast, it has even expanded into technical skills like audio and video capture and manipulation. We all strive to bring that feeling Monster Hunter gave us to everyone we can find.
  
For me, Monster Hunter has a sense of valor and heroics that can only come through truly working with other people as a team. It was the reason I loved early MMOs like Everquest and Final Fantasy 11. While comparing things to MMOs is a danger zone, the relatively minimal effort required to achieve a sense of accomplishment is certainly worth noting -- it can take hundreds of hours, even hundreds of days to achieve the feeling in an MMO that Monster Hunter gives you within the first 10. 

If you’re feeling low, alone, or sad but love video games, check it out. It might seem silly (because it certainly seemed silly to me) but give it a fighting chance and you’ll find your effort rewarded.

- by Nick LaLone, of the Teamwork Podcast

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Stay tuned, folks… More Monster Hunter testimonials coming soon! And hey, if you want to submit a testimonial of your own, hit me up!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hands-On Preview with: State of Decay (XBLA)  


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Several sites including GameCritics.com were invited to a preview event for the upcoming XBLA title ‘State of Decay’ on April 12. The gathering took place at Undead Labs, located in Seattle Washington. I attended, and was able to spend about four hours with a near-final build of the game. In addition, several of the developers were nearby throughout the day to answer questions.



For those not familiar with State of Decay, you can catch the latest trailer here, you can read my interview with one of the writers here, and I also covered an earlier build of the game here.

In a nutshell, it's a zombie title that avoids being a standard shooter by focusing on what it might be like to try and survive through a zombie apocalypse - maintaining a group, conserving supplies, fortifying a long-term base, and so on. Very few titles have attempted such an approach, and this is a project I've been excited about ever since first laying eyes on it. Zombies may be passé when it comes to being gun fodder, but I'm of the opinion that there is still plenty of fresh material to be explored. The Walking Dead proved that be true, and State of Decay appears to be another zombie title with a different spin on the genre.

The game begins with two men returning from a camping trip and being set upon by zombies. They are unaware of what's happened in their absence, so after fighting off some nearby undead, they make their way to a ranger station where other survivors are holed up.



Once there, they are instructed to climb a nearby water tower and survey the area. This is a smart mechanic similar to the one that makes portions of the map visible in Assassin’s Creed, although I think it's more sensible and convincing here. The character can see what's immediately visible from the tower (interesting locations are marked with ‘?'s) and after spending a little time looking at each, they will be able to identify what’s there and mark it on the map. However, the ability to see and identify these areas is dependent on a character’s 'Wits' stat. Someone who's not too bright will see and identify less than someone who’s on the sharper side.

From there, the character must escort some survivors to a nearby church. It seems simple enough, but the developers were clear to say that they wanted the world to be open and explorable as soon as possible, and they weren't kidding. Just a few moments after the game begins, the player is free to ignore the instructions and hike anywhere on the map that they can reach.



My initial impressions after the first fifteen or twenty minutes was that State of Decay is huge. Bigger than huge, really… It seemed absolutely massive. It's been stated that this game is the largest ever released on XBLA, and the developers confirmed this.

 As a quick example of how big and open it is, the reviewer sitting next to me completed the church mission within five or ten minutes, whereas I discovered an abandoned campsite and started scavenging for usable goods. From there, I started checking out other interesting locations, and before I knew it, at least half an hour had passed before I had accomplished my actual goal.

Once I finally reached the church, there were a collection of survivors within the fortified building. They had some basic amenities like a kitchen, places to sleep, and a central place for all characters to store supplies, tools and goods. Within its walls it was immediately obvious that there was a lot going on and a lot to do. Many systems are either clearly on display, or suggested. Unfortunately, the game stumbled here.



To be brutally honest, I was surprised at the lack of tutorials or substantial introduction to the various workings of the formula. State of Decay will likely be different than players might expect and I think it's safe to say that not much will be immediately intuitive. In light of so much complexity, it was hard to understand how many obvious cues and teaching moments were omitted.

For example, some citizens requested that I build new facilities such as extra sleeping bunks, an infirmary, and so on. It's not at all obvious how to do this, or what's required. Once I figured out that raw materials were required, I didn't know what they looked like, where to get them, or what to do when I found them.

Other aspects were also in need of greater illumination. Fatigue and strength play a crucial role in the game -- when one character gets worn out from too much running or too much fighting, they need to rest or else they become easy pickings for the undead. I ran out of healthy, active characters soon after reaching the church, and I couldn't figure out how to get new ones, how to rest the ones I already had, or to activate people that were in my area but not selectable.




There were a number of crucial gameplay mechanics which went surprisingly unexplained, and I had many, many questions about what was going on and how things work. I don't mean to sound negative, but the number of obvious oversights that I noticed will likely play a crucial role in its success -- there's no question in my mind about the depth or complexity in the State of Decay experience, but getting players into the game and teaching them how to actually play is step one in the process. The developers took notes from myself and the other reviewers who had similar concerns, and I hope there’s enough time left to make a few tweaks before launch.

Once I had all of my questions answered and started to get a better understanding of the systems State of Decay contains, I was surprised to see how much of a sim experience it is, and just how detailed things get.

In one scenario given by one of the developers, he explained that the general health of the community must be maintained with proper sleep, medicine and nutrition. If those things aren’t taken care of, people will start fighting or leaving, and less manpower means a smaller chance of survival.



Interestingly, to supplement this system, there are series of perks and bonuses that can be awarded when the right type of person is in the right type of facility. If you find a chef and put them to work in the kitchen, the food is so tasty that it can grant a bonus to the community. If there's no chef available, people will still get fed, but there's no bonus. If you put someone who is completely clueless about food in the kitchen, they may not recognize that some food has spoiled and serve it.

If community members eat spoiled food, there's a chance that they may get sick or some members may die. If the player has a doctor in the community, they can arrange for medicine-retrieval missions and will know how to heal those who need it. If there’s no doctor in the community, then it's likely that some will perish or be rendered inactive for some time. This was just one example, and there were others given of the different ways having the right characters in the right circumstances with the right supplies can have a great impact on the player experience and the overall survival of the group.




In terms of the characters themselves, the game takes an approach where each member of the community is important, although there is no one central protagonist to the game. The player takes a “god game" role and can jump into the body of any survivor at any time, as long as they are in "friendly" status.

Each character has ratings in Stamina (running/attacking), Wits (searching for items, surveying territory), Combat (brawling and melee weapons) and Guns (shooting).  These skills all level up individually with use. For example, running more often will increase a character’s stamina. Using melee weapons will increase their fighting, and so on. Since these skill levels are unique to each character, the player will soon develop preferences for which person to do which job, and judgment must always be used – in State of Decay, the death of any character is absolutely permanent, so it's wiser to keep someone with a high science or medical ability back at base, rather than sending them out to do a scouting run or to collect supplies.

Individual relationships between the characters do factor into events, and the player may need to take action to make problematic community members a part of the team, or to kick them out if they're causing too much trouble. Some characters may become lost or infected, and it's up to the player to gauge whether the effort of resolving the situation is worth losing an opportunity elsewhere. Very often, missions are on an invisible timer, so minutes spent keeping a lid on things at home or carrying supplies from abandoned houses back to base means that someone is going without help somewhere else, or a zombie horde is roaming around unchecked.



When asked about the campaign, it was confirmed that there is an actual beginning, middle, and end to State of Decay, so people concerned about not getting a complete single player experience can rest easy. The game is described to have a fairly structured beginning before branching out into a lot of open-world, sandbox-style play in the middle, and then once a certain number of objectives have been achieved, the game will start rolling towards a conclusion to events. From what I gathered, the ultimate goal of the plot is to survive long enough to help everyone escape the valley where the game takes place. However, that didn't seem to be immediately obvious, so players should be prepared to spend quite a bit of time on keeping the community going and taking advantage of the resources and commodities that can be found in the area.

That's not to say that real-time combat doesn't happen in State of Decay, though. Players will spend quite a bit of time finding melee weapons and guns to use, and vehicles are also a great way to get rid of unwanted crowds. The zombies in the game are surprisingly alert, so any gunfire or careless searching in homes will quickly draw large numbers. Taking out one or two zombies is a simple thing, but any more than that becomes a real threat that's not easily dispatched. Certain strategies must be used to survive, such as simply avoiding some areas or coming back later when there are less zombies around, or by creating distractions to lure the undead away from areas that are critical.



After activating a debug mode, we saw the full selection of weapons, items and abilities in the game, and it was quite diverse. Dozens of firearms, all sorts of swords, bats and tools, mines, grenade launchers, even airstrikes and sniper teams. I wouldn't say that the game is anything at all like a GTA in the sense that players can run around at random and cause all sorts of havoc (the stakes are too high and the resources are too limited) but there is definitely some potential for amusing mayhem to happen.

Before arriving at the event, I took a few questions via Twitter from my followers, and here are those responses:

> What gun do you get first?

I'm not sure if the starting equipment is randomly generated (and it also depends on how much searching you do at the start of the game) but I had a rifle and a pistol just a few minutes after the game began.


> Can you alternate between characters, or do you need to die before you can switch?

Players can switch between any “friendly” character at any time.


> What are the plans for DLC or future support of this title?

According to the developers, any future support depends entirely on Microsoft and what they decide. They had no information at all on any future plans after release. However, the game is built with a certain structure which is very conducive towards adding new items or other content in the future. The possibility is certainly there.


> How do other survivors factor into your campaign? Will they fight you, or raid your supplies?

The answers I was getting were a little vague, but the overall sense I got was that while other survivors and groups are in the area, they will not be a major source of conflict.


> How much changes between play sessions? If a person can't play the game for a week or two, will your camp be completely overrun in your absence?

If there are any buildings that were started or if any characters are currently collecting resources, those actions will be completed while the player is away and the machine is off. Players do not have to worry about coming back to a camp full of zombies, since negative consequences will not occur when the player is not present. The developers wanted to be clear that this game isn't supposed to be the sort of ‘virtual pet’ that will die if you don't check in once a day, although certain events will continue during downtime.


> Will maps be randomly generated every time you start a new game?

The landscape and buildings are not randomly generated. Those features will remain consistent in every new game. Characters, quests, available items, number and location of zombies and so forth will be assigned based on certain formulas, and will vary from game to game. While every game will still have the same story beats and beginning/middle/end, there's quite a bit that can change or happen differently.


> How long is the game?

Obviously quite a bit will depend on how much of the peripheral activities of player engages in, and how thorough they are in their play style. It was estimated that if someone was trying to crit-path their way through the game by moving as quickly as possible, doing the absolute bare minimum required to pass, and skipping all of the non-essential content, they would clock in somewhere around fifteen hours. Based on what I saw and how much time I spent myself, I could easily imagine this game running for forty hours or longer, depending on a number of things.


> When will the game be released?

Sometime in June. It is not known whether or not the game will be part of the expected ‘Summer of Arcade’ promotion.

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That's it for my preview coverage on State of Decay. While there are definitely a few rough patches that are in need of polish, the core experience was refreshingly different, and much deeper than I expected. I'm even more excited for this title now than I was before, and I can easily imagine the game eating up days at a time while I board up windows and fend off the undead.

Infinite thanks to PR superstar Sanya Weathers for organizing the event, and to all the members of Undead Labs for being so open, welcoming, and eager to have us there and give us such an up-close look at what they've been working on for the last couple of years.

Also, thanks to the Twitter folks who sent in questions, including @G_Brett_96, @PMewse, @ColeCervo, @19mitch84, @srodd15, @SaulDarias, @Ron_Perlman_DDS, @JoelPepper1, @josh999josh, and @rossi_bill. Apologies if I overlooked anyone!

Thanks for reading!

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Friday, April 12, 2013

A quick check-in!  


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Alright, so I know I haven't been updating nearly as often as I have been.

Sorry about that, but I do have my reasons -- I’m deep in the middle of editing my book (the deadline is the end of this month and I can feel it breathing down my neck!) and when I'm not doing that, Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate has been consuming my every free moment, of which there have been precious few. 


So, please forgive the lack of new content here. ^_^

In terms of the near future, I'm expecting updates to remain slow until the beginning of May when my workload will lighten up a bit... however, I'm currently prepping a series of testimonials from people who are Monster Hunter fans. That should go up next week.




I'm also going to Undead Labs tomorrow to get a hands-on with State of Decay for XBLA. You might have remembered I mentioned it here at the blog a few times, and it's one of my most-anticipated games of 2013. I'll have some preview coverage just as soon as I can get it written.




In the meantime, you can check out my recent review of Guacamelee! (which was totally awesome) and please give a listen to the brand-new, re-launched @Gamecritics Podcast. We've got a fantastic new host and a new publishing schedule, two things which will be of interest to fans of the show. And hey, if you're not a fan, listen anyway... you soon will be!

Finally, I've accumulated quite a few PR announcements over the last week or two. I'm going to post them all down below, so skim through the titles and see if anything catches your eye.

TTFN!


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Independent adventure game publisher Wadjet Eye Games has brought their best seller Gemini Rue to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Inspired by the point-and-click classics of Sierra, LucasArts, and Revolution, this award-winning game combines "old school" adventure gameplay with gritty, low-res graphics and a gripping neo-noir narrative. Gemini Rue is currently on sale on the App Store for $3.99 (regularly $4.99): https://itunes.apple.com/app/gemini-rue/id614678683

 A Universal App, Gemini Rue runs on iPhone 3GS and above, iPod touch 3G and above, and all iPad models including iPad Mini.

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We’re pleased to announce that QuakeCon 2013 online pre-registration is set to open on April 15th! While general admission to QuakeCon remains FREE for all attendees, when pre-registration opens we will be offering premium packages. These premium packages are limited and will be available on a first-come first-serve basis.  Pre-registration for QuakeCon will begin Monday, April 15th at 7:00pm CST/8:00pm EST on http://registration.quakecon.org/.

For more information visit: www.quakecon.org. Images for the QuakeCon premium packages can be downloaded from this link:https://www.yousendit.com/download/UVJpNWNqQzd0d0VYRHRVag 

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Mr. Runner 2: The Masks -- the sequel to the widely popular Mr. Runner which has more than five million downloads -- will be arriving on iOS in a couple weeks. 

Players are thrust into the comical, unpredictable running platformer made up of the main character’s dreaming subconscious as he avoids deadly yet imaginative obstacles to catch an enigmatic figure that holds the key to his identity. As the crazy cartoon world changes around him his mask temporarily morphs to resemble pop culture icons, everything from your favorite super hero to a classic video game figure is likely to appear. 

The game will officially launch Wednesday, April 24 on iOS.

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NIS America is thrilled to announce that we have partnered with ATLUS, a brand of Index Digital Media, Inc., to publish Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan throughout Europe this summer. The game will be available in physical format at retail stores, as well as a digital download version on the Nintendo eShop. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan contains plenty of challenges and gameplay for fans of old school dungeon-crawling RPGs, exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. A demo which includes 2 dungeons will be available on eShop early this summer leading up to the game’s release, for those fans who want to get a nice sneak peek of Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan! 

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Independent game development studio Minority Media announced today that Papo & Yo, its critically-acclaimed emotional adventure game, is now available internationally for pre-order on Steam, Amazon and other PC-based direct download platforms. Starting today through the PC launch on April 18, 2013, gamers can pre-order the game to receive 10 percent off the $14.99 purchase price and a free copy of the wildly popular Papo & Yo original soundtrack (OST).

For the full list of digital distributors, please visit http://www.weareminority.com/blog/pre-order-papo-yo-for-pc and pre-order Papo & Yo today. For more information about Papo & Yo and Minority, visit www.weareminority.com/ or connect with Minority on Twitter: @we_are_minority.

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505 Games, a global publisher of video games, today announced that the block-building smash hit Terraria is headed to thePlayStation®Vita system (PS Vita). In development by Engine Software, Terraria for PS Vita will be available in summer 2013.

Originally released in 2011 for the PC by creator/developer Andrew Spinks' Re-logic studio, Terraria has received universal, critical acclaim and over 2 million "Terrarians" have struck out on their own adventures and fallen for it's mix of side-scrolling, action-adventure gaming and emphasis on crafting and exploration.

For all the latest news and updates on all things Terraria head over to https://www.facebook.com/TerrariaOfficial or https://twitter.com/Terraria_Logic.

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It's here! After lots of packaging, tweaking, and testing, we're rolling out the new Torchlight Editor - GUTS.

Torchlight 2 now fully supports Steam Workshop. A new launcher synchronizes any mods you have subscribed to,  and lets you customize their activation state and loading priority. In addition, when playing Internet games in the lobby, you will be able to filter modded games by mod combination, and with a single button click, subscribe to those mods. Torchlight 2 will then restart, synchronize them, and activate them before returning you to the game.

New to modding? Here's how to get started with GUTS - the Torchlight Editor wiki that we've been creating. You will definitely want to bookmark this resource! http://docs.runicgames.com/wiki/Getting_Started

Click here for the complete patch notes. http://forums.runicgames.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=54098

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Meteor Entertainment, publisher of the much-anticipated mechanized robot shooter, HAWKEN, has revealed that their advanced interactive Mech store is officially online - www.playhawken.com/store

The Mech store is the result of weeks of hard work, late nights, and passionate dedication of the entire METEOR / HAWKEN team to ensure a seamless and visually spectacular player experience, both within and outside of the game itself. Visitors to the site will find everything they need to immediately acquaint themselves with the game and the hardware they will need to wreak havoc in online warfare.
TO VIEW THE MECH STORE:

Just visit www.playhawken.com/store or point your browser to the www.playhawken.com homepage and click on the image near the top of the screen labeled “Browse the Online Mech Catalog – MECH STORE OPEN NOW”

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It's been nearly ten years since the last chapter closed in the original Shin Megami Tensei® role playing game (RPG) series, but the long wait is nearly over. Developed by the award-winning ATLUS team, Shin Megami Tensei IV (SMTIV) features powerful new demons, expansive dungeons, epic story arcs with branching plot lines, game-altering decision making, and more. Built specifically for the Nintendo 3DS™ system with optimized graphics, 3-D dungeons, voiced dialogue, and StreetPass functionality, SMTIV will be a premium title available this summer.
  
Shin Megami Tensei IV will be exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS system and sold as a premium title beginning this summer. The game is expected to receive an M rating from the ESRB, but is not yet rated. More details will be revealed in the future, with updates on the official SMTIV website at http://www.atlus.com/smt4

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ATLUS, a brand of Index Digital Media, Inc. announced Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is now available for download on the PlayStation®Network for PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita, and PlayStation®Portable.  Presented as a parallel world to the events that unfolded in Persona®2: Innocent Sin, Persona 2:  Eternal Punishment delivers all the gameplay and action from the original Eternal Punishment title, delivering the missing chapter to fans to complete the full Persona experience.  The title is priced at $9.99.

As in the other Persona titles, players have the option to fight demons encountered or negotiate with them to earn items, assistance, or their Arcana cards in order to fuse new Personas and gain access to more powerful attacks.  Additionally the game incorporates a rumor system, where players collect and exchange rumors throughout the game. Rumors taken to the Kuzunoha Detective Agency can be spread for a fee, changing the dynamic of the gameplay to alter storefronts and other gameplay elements.  
   
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is rated M for Mature.  
  
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Kalypso Media has released a new single-player demo of Omerta - City of Gangsters for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft .

The demo features two levels from the Prohibition-era gangster game that mixes city conquest with turn-based combat and heist planning. Grab the demo to get a taste of Omerta, and see if you can become the ultimate crime lord in 1920’s Atlantic City.

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They say there’s no freedom like the open road, and no bigger badasses than bikers. Deep Silver is proud to take gamers deep into a world of bare-knuckle violence, seedy strip clubs, and rip-roaring motorcycles with the Ride to Hell universe, revving into homes starting June 2013.

Ride to Hell: Retribution tells the story of a lone rider, Jake Conway, a man with either a gun in his hand or a girl on his lap (and on more than one occasion both!). He’s on a merciless path of revenge against a brutal biker gang called The Devil’s Hand, armed to the teeth with an arsenal of deadly weapons to enact his vengeance on foot and on bike. The only law Jake answers to is his own.  Hit hard, ride fast and leave 'em in the dust on June 25, 2013, in North America and June 28, 2013, in the rest of the world for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Windows PC, and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.

Looking to lead your own pack of fearsome bikers? Ride to Hell: Route 666 is just for you, taking the player on a journey to conquer legendary Route 66. Players will recruit and lead a gang of bikers from Chicago to Los Angeles,fighting for every mile of the road using both brain and brawn. Fast paced arcade combat combined with easy to understand tactics – anyone who understands team sports will be able to dive right in to commanding their gang. Get ready to rule the road with Ride to Hell: Route 666 in June 2013 on the PlayStation®Store, Xbox LIVE® Arcade for Xbox 360 and Steam.

Last, but certainly not least, the Ride to Hell universe will be rounded out with Ride to Hell: Beatdown, a rock’n’roll brawler set to light up the mobile space, on the go! More details on this title will follow soon.

Ride to Hell: Retribution is developed by Eutechnyx, Ride to Hell: Route 666 by Black Forest Games.

For more information about the Ride to Hell universe, please visit one of the following official sites:

Web: http://www.ridetohell.com
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ridetohellgame
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RideToHellGame
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/deepsilverhq 

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Independent developer NeocoreGames revealed today a spectacular new gameplay trailer and screenshots for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, demonstrating the much anticipated Rage and Power-up System, whereby players have the ability to tailor skills on the spot. Whether it is killing foes instantly or freezing them in place, players have an enormous selection of abilities to take advantage of while they combat twisted creatures born in secret laboratories.

Watch or download the trailer and check out the latest screenshots here.

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Ubisoft® announced its new line-up of digital titles, adding to the portfolio of games to be released in the coming months.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon lets players get the girl, kill the bad guys and save the world in a VHS-era vision of the future!  As Sergeant Rex Colt, you are part man, part machine, all American.  You are a state-of-the art Mark IV cyber-commando on a mission...of vengeance.

Flashback
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Flashback is back in 3D and HD.  Updated for the new millennium by its original creator and rendered in 3D by the power of the unreal engine, a new generation of players can now experience a game that helped define sci-fi Action/Adventure games.

Cloudberry Kingdom
Unhappily ever after?  That’s how it starts.  The Orb resurfaces and the classic characters return.  Kobbler with his mania, Princess with her endless boredom.  It’s only a matter of time before Bob, our hero, shows up to put order back to madness.  Three powers struggle for victory and the fate of Cloudberry Kingdom hangs in the balance.  
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Metro: Last Light is a first person shooter and the highly anticipated sequel to the extraordinary Metro 2033. In the year 2034, a nuclear war has turned the world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In Moscow, the tunnels of the Metro have become a new home for the former inhabitants of the city. Within the catacombs, they fight for their survival, fending off hordes of hideous mutants born from the toxic atmosphere, as well as other factions desperate to take control of what little hospitable land remains. As they fight, they also search for a doomsday device that could be the key to their victory. A civil war is inevitable. During these dark hours, the players will embody Artyom, and become the last light for all of mankind.

Today Metro: Last Light sees an epic bombshell of gameplay action released as a beefy strategy video guide, Ranger Survival Guide, Chapter 1 is now available. The first of three creature-filled videos to come, the guide takes you deep under the city and prepares you for the foes you will meet, the items you will need, and gives sheds some light on the dark, fascinating story of Metro: Last Light – all cloaked in stealthy action. YouTube: http://youtu.be/pTqqL8QWXP0 

For more information please visit: www.enterthemetro.com.

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