Monday, May 12, 2014

Pulling Out Of A Nosedive  

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Although 2014 started off in a fantastic way with a string of great titles like Danganronpa, Lords of Shadow 2 and Dark Souls 2, we are definitely hitting some lows right now -- I've had nothing but duds for review lately, and whenever I play too many weaksauce titles in a row, it always bums me out.




It started with Amazing Spiderman 2


From the first few moments after I started, I knew it was going to be a dog, and that instinct proved correct. Although it was running on PS4, the engine was super-creaky, the gameplay felt totally outdated, and it came off like yet another rushed-to-shelves crapper meant to cash in on being a movie tie-in.




After that, I moved on to Strike Suit Zero, also on PS4. In general, I would say that spaceships transforming into robots would be filed under ‘super interesting’, but this game manages to make spacebound missile-firing mecha boring. 


Each mission boils down to shooting a thousand guys in space, and there's no supporting content to keep the player engaged. It controls fine and I haven't played a spacefaring game like this for a while, but it's impossible to stay interested when all you're doing is highlighting bogeys over and over.




Finally, I had high hopes for Bound By Flame, and I'm definitely a fan of Spiders, the studio that developed it. Unfortunately, it’s probably the worst game they've done so far, and it comes off as a slapdash embarrassment despite the fact that there are two or three really brilliant ideas on display. 


For example, I think the combat engine’s design is incredibly interesting, and the concept of having a player possessed by a demon which then causes you to second-guess other characters is pretty ripe for exploration. However, the game barely scratches the surface of what it attempts, and what it does do is pretty bad.




Feeling desperate for something worthwhile to play, I dug into my backlog and came up with a couple of winners.




First, I checked out Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition on theVita. I picked it up for $12 and although I initially wanted it for PS3, I think it's a good fit for the handheld. NetherRealm is on a real tear lately, and between this and the recent Mortal Kombat reboot, these guys are making some of the best fighting games they’ve ever done. 


The combat engine is super solid, there are great environmental interactions, and the characters have a good spread of abilities and styles. They story mode is neat too, and has a lot of great moments -- double Batman, anyone? Although I'm not much of a DC guy, it's a super-enjoyable fighter with a boatload of content to get through. For $12, this is an absolute no-brainer.




Aside from that, I downloaded Of Orcs And Men quite a while ago and tonight was its night to shine. It was one of those odd titles that caught my eye way back when, and after an extremely extended delay, I was incredibly surprised to see it available when it stealth-launched, fanfare-free on PSN. I've only just started it, but it hooked me right away.


The premise is that humans are expanding their kingdom, and they've not only taken away territory from the orcs, but they've also enslaved them. The player takes on the role of a battle-hardened berserker orc, who soon joins up with a super-stealthy, throat-slitting goblin. Naturally, the pair of them go on a mission to assassinate the human Emperor.

Not only is this game interesting because humans are the nasty evildoers, but because the two-character system of a tanking orc and a quick, stabby gob asks the player to stack attacks and watch them play out automatically while switching between the pair.

The writing and voice acting are much better than expected so far, and I really like the way the game is flowing. My opinion may change (I've already seen a few rough edges that are definitely in need of polish) but at the moment, I'm finding it pretty fascinating.




If you’ve read this far and you need something else to check out, @RichardNaik hosted a great @Gamecritics Podcast on Dark Souls 2. Give that a listen if you're so inclined.

Also, may I humbly suggest checking out our recent reviews for…









 …And also, HEY MY BOOK IS OUT!!! 

See the previous post or click on the sidebar to your right for more details.  ^_^




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




The day has come. It's finally time to test your mettle with Daylight, the frightening first-person survival-horror game from Zombie Studios. Available RIGHT NOW  for PlayStation 4 and PC, it's time to fire up those live streams and start scaring the pants off yourself. Oh, and don't forget. Because Daylight is procedurally generated, you can't predict when or where the scares are coming from! Especially when your friends in Twitch chat can type in key words that trigger scares... 
To see what you're in for, click here for the launch trailer:

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Lose yourself in the kaleidoscope of color that is Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! for PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, to be proudly published by Aksys Games in Fall 2014. Deciding that one exclamation point wasn’t enough, we’ve decided to match the intensity of the game by including a total of five! Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! promises to provide players with copious combo creations, panoramic pics, beautifully detailed backgrounds, and 23 adorable combatants in this fully feminine fighting game from EXAMU Inc. and ARC SYSTEM WORKS CO.,LTD.—basically, it’s an air-dashingly good time!
Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! has not been rated (RP) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.  For more information, visit www.esrb.org. For more information about Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!!, please visit the official website.

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Backflip Studios today announced the mining puzzle game Dwarven Den is now available free on the iTunes App Store. In Dwarven Den, you play a group of dwarves seeking adventure and sparkly treasures buried deep within the earth. Your dwarven ancestors have been trapped in vast underground mines. Armed with only a pickaxe and a mighty beard, you’ve got to dig down deep by excavating floor after floor. Simply tap to dig through ancient civilizations, choosing your next move cautiously to avoid cave-ins and cartoon monsters. With challenging puzzles and simple controls, the app has already been deemed “What’s Hot” in its Canadian beta phase. Free with optional in-app purchases, players can download Dwarven Den today!

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The super-awesome dev team Zoink! Games and Indie Publisher Ripstone announced today that Stick It To The Man! is out now on PlayStation®4 in Europe and is totally free for PS Plus users! The insane mind-reading game will also be sticking itself to the US PlayStation Store May 6th - where it will (of course!) be completely free to download for stateside PS Plus users too!

Stick it to the Man! priced at £6.99 / €7.99 / $9.99 follows the hilarious adventure of Hardhat Tester Ray Doewood, who lives in a word made of paper and stickers. After a bizarre accident at work one day; Ray wakes up with a giant pink spaghetti arm sticking out of his brain - giving him extraordinary mind-reading powers! Suddenly, Ray can hear people's inner most thoughts and transform the paper world around him by tearing it, folding it and using the crazy stickers he finds to solve brain-twisting puzzles! Digging in the brains of his fellow citizens - including Santa Claus, Captain Ahab and Elvis (to name but a few!); it's up to Ray to gather clues from countless deranged characters all while trying to get to grips with his awesome new abilities and evading the evil clutches of 'The Man'! Can you help to get Ray out of this sticky situation?

 Check out the website for more information www.stickitgame.com or head to the Facebook page for sneak peeks and competitions. You can even get involved in the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #StickItGame.

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Techland officially announced that its upcoming dark fantasy game will run on a new engine, while the game itself went through an overhaul and is now heading to next-gen consoles alongside the PC release, with Steam Early Access planned for autumn.

Since its reveal last year, Hellraid has expanded and evolved thanks to the developers’ experience and players’ feedback. While the game will remain faithful to its first-person co-op slasher gameplay, Techland has decided to implement new features and technology, and is now ready to announce them and show it all off in a brand new trailer.

The game is currently undergoing a transition to the Chrome Engine 6, the latest version of Techland’s proprietary technology, which is also used by the next-gen zombie survival horror, Dying Light. Thanks to this technology, Hellraid will benefit from a new physics-based lighting system, more detailed locations and character models, complex animations, advanced particle effects, and state-of-the-art AI systems.

With new gameplay features and technology, Hellraid moves from past-gen consoles to the next generation with the announcement of PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions coming in 2015.
Hellraid will also receive a Steam Early Access release in autumn 2014, which will be regularly updated based on players’ feedback until the final version is launched. For more information visit hellraid.com and like the game atfacebook.com/hellraidgame.

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Lace Games and Stage 2 Studios are pleased to announce that the release date for the hugely anticipated and critically acclaimed indie PC game 'LIFELESS PLANET' has been confirmed as 6th June 2014.

Developed almost single handidly by Alaskan based David Board (Stage 2 Studios), 'LIFELESS PLANET' is a third-person action-adventure game that puts the player in the moon-boots of an astronaut on a one-way mission to a life-bearing planet far outside our solar system.  But after a rough landing, the promise of a new Earth soon fades with the discovery that the planet he was to explore is now barren and inhospitable. The adventure truly begins when he discovers he is not the first human visitor to this mysterious world!

'LIFELESS PLANET' will be available to purchase from Steam and all other leading digital retailers from 6th June 2014.  The game will feature English text and voice overs along with full text and subtitled localisation into German, Russian, French and Spanish languages. Selected UK retailers will also be stocking physical copies in stores on the 6th June 2014 with further releases to follow throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

For those gamers who would like a taste of some of the games early levels but can't wait until 6th June 2014, 'LIFELESS PLANET' is available to buy at a discounted price via Steam's Early Access program - http://bit.ly/1izkScO.  The full game will then unlock on 6th June 2014 at no extra cost. To find out what other gamers are saying about the Early Access version take a look at this video - http://bit.ly/QYMw7A

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Evergreen Studios today released Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet, the official mobile game of the Tales of Honor science fiction storyworld based on David Weber’s Honor Harrington novels. The space-combat strategy game is available now for free on the App Store. The game is also coming to Google Play in the coming weeks.

See the game in action in the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc5Yb4O5OBM
Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet is now available for free on the App Store. The second comic issue of Tales of Honor: On Basilisk Station is now available in comic stores and digitally on Comixology.com.
For more information on the Tales of Honor storyworld, comic books and interviews with the creative team, please visit www.tales-of-honor.com.

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We have your back to the wall. You have just witnessed the Conception, and in the wake of the catastrophe, you find out that you have been turned into a demon. Now you must navigate through the aftermath of the destruction, in a do-or-die journey to bring order to the chaos and stop the hordes of demons. 

The acclaimed PS2 RPG Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is back and now available for PlayStation 3 as a PS2 Classic. There's over 100 fiendish demons to recruit as your allies in battle. Will you be the herald of a new world or the harbinger of its destruction? Will you survive the fall from grace or be one more god rejected? 

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XSEED Games, the independent-minded console publishing brand of Marvelous USA, Inc., today announced that the battle adventure title, SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI VERSUS, will be coming exclusively to the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system as a digital download later this fall. For the ultimate of fans, XSEED Games will also be producing a limited run “Let’s Get Physical” retail version of the game, which will include a soundtrack CD and “Shinobi Syllabus” containing profiles of the shinobi students, gameplay strategies, and illustrations. The follow-up to last year’s Nintendo 3DS hand-held system title, SENRAN KAGURA Burst, SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI VERSUS takes the game’s signature over-the-top style and raises the bar in every possible way, from characters to art style, combat mechanics and story.

SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI VERSUS is developed by Tamsoft together with MarvelousAQL Inc. of Japan, and will be released in North America for PS®Vita by XSEED Games in fall 2014. XSEED Games will share more information in the coming months.

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Dear Gamers,

We know you’ve been waiting on a Dying Light release date for quite some time now. After careful consideration, we have decided to release our upcoming game in February 2015. Since this means Dying Light will launch a few months later than originally planned, we feel obliged to explain the reasons that influenced this important decision.

When we started the development of Dying Light, we were committed to innovation. We wanted to give you a freedom of movement unprecedented in open world games. After many improvements and months of hard work, we have now come so close to realizing our initial vision we feel we cannot stop before it is ready.

We believe the Natural Movement element of our game will change what you expect from the genre, and we don’t want to sacrifice any of its potential by releasing too early. This quality-focused thinking underlines all our development choices and we hope you share our belief that the gameplay must always come first.
The new date ensures that we can fully realize our vision of an innovative open world game. We won’t need to make compromises or trade-offs on any of the five platforms we’re working on. For you, it means an outstanding, original game that makes the wait more than worthwhile.

Finally, we would like to thank our publishing partner, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which fully supports our decision. It’s a real pleasure to work in an environment where quality is universally accepted as the top priority. We believe that this is the only way to make truly incredible games.

We also have an additional announcement for you: starting next month at E3 2014, we’ll be telling you much more about all the exciting features and different aspects of Dying Light. Stay tuned!
-- Dying Light Team

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The Bridge, a black-and-white indie puzzler in the style of M. C. Escher, will be available on both Mac and Linux for Steam on Friday, May 16, 2014. The price of The Bridge is $9.99, and it will feature SteamPlay with cross-platform cloud game saves. The Bridge released for Windows and Xbox 360 in 2013 and has received tremendous critical and audience praise, selling over 125,000 copies to date. The Bridge has received international attention after receiving nominations in contests such as the IGF, PAX 10, Indie Game Challenge, and IndieCade. Below is a complete list of accolades for The Bridge:

The Bridge is a 2D logic puzzle game that forces the player to reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective. It is Isaac Newton meets M. C. Escher. Manipulate gravity to redefine the ceiling as the floor while venturing through impossible architectures. Explore increasingly difficult worlds, each uniquely detailed and designed to leave the player with a pronounced sense of intellectual accomplishment. The Bridge exemplifies games as an art form, with beautifully hand-drawn art in the style of a black-and-white lithograph.

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Idea Factory International is excited to announce today that its first PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system title, Monster Monpiece, will be released in digital format via PlayStation®Network on May 27 for the North American market and on May 28 for the European market. Monster Monpiece will be available to purchase for $29.99.

Monster Monpiece is a card-battling strategy game with light RPG elements, providing a simple yet strategic card-based battle system with a charming story. Monster Monpiece also supports Ad-hoc and Network multiplayer game modes, so you can test your customized decks against other players online!


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