Monday, October 6, 2014

Mega Linkage, Shadow of Mordor, Frozen Synapse Prime, Chariot, and 1984's D&D  


Links: We've had a crapton of stuff go up at @Gamecritics (and elsewhere) over the last week, so here are some quick links for your reference in case you missed them on Twitter…

Destiny Mistakes Busywork For Fun – Editorial from @Horrorgeek
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die (XBO) – by @GC_Danny

Shadowgate (PC) – by @SparkyClarkson 

Wayward Manor (PC) – by @JimB_85

Natural Doctrine (PS3/PS4/Vita) – by me!

Velocity 2X (PS3/PS4/Vita) – by @MikeSuskie

Wildstar (PC) – by @Gelles22

Blood Knights (PS3/360) - by @GC_Danny

Tex Murphy: Tesla Effect (PC) – by @GC_Danny

The Adventures of Pip (PC/WiiU) Preview – by @SnakeyDavid

And finally, here's a re-enactment of an interview between Next Generation magazine and Sony's Steve Race from 1995. I play Steve and @DefunctGames is NextGen... It sounds a bit weird since we recorded our tracks separately, but hey.

Whew! Now, on to the blog as usual…


Games: I’ve spent most of my recent free time playing Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I was pretty hyped for it after I saw it at PAX and mentioned it here at Coffeecola several times. After having completed the campaign last night, I think the game delivered on much of what I promised, although not all of it. 

The action is great, very reminiscent of what I thought Assassin’s Creed should've been since the start, and the links to The Lord of the Rings are good. Fans of that franchise will be satisfied, I suspect.

On the other hand, the main character is boring and the plot doesn't feel fully baked. Worse, the really fun "brainwash the orcs" mechanic that was so heavily promoted in the demo isn't even available to the player until about two thirds of the way through the adventure! Rather than being the core mechanic that I was led to believe it was, it ends up being rushed in at the end, and doesn't play nearly as large a part in the campaign as it should. 

Despite this disappointment and a few other concerns, it remained a positive experience overall… It's not the home-run that I thought it would be, but still quite good. Look for my full review soon.

In other review game news, I've been playing Frozen Synapse Prime for a while on Vita.

To be honest, I feel somewhat torn over it. Essentially, it's a very pure tactics experience where the player has quite a bit of control over their characters… It's somewhat reminiscent of the original XCOM in some ways, and when things go according to plan, it makes you feel like a genius. On the other hand, the tutorials don't really scratch the depths to which the game goes, and I've got some concerns about the AI and the things that are going on underneath the hood.

For example, there have been numerous times when I posted a guard pointing straight at a door in the highest readiness state, and when the enemies come around the corner, they somehow still get the drop on me?  Some of the win/fail conditions also feel a little draconian in their implementation, and despite how much I've been enjoying it when I win, the frustration factor of playing (and replaying) the campaign is quite high… I've been stuck on the same mission for three or four days in a row, and I'm starting to question whether I'll be able to complete it.

That said, I've heard it's absolutely brilliant in the versus mode and I haven't had a chance to test it out yet, so that's next on my list. Either way, fans of tactics should absolutely give it a once-over… There's a lot to like despite my misgivings.

Finally, I just started playing Chariot today with the wife. 

It is absurdly cute, and functions as a local co-op game where two people must bring a king’s coffin to his final resting place. The hook is that the coffin is on wheels, and the two characters must use ropes while pulling and pushing to get the coffin over various obstacles and towards the goal.

We didn't get a chance to play much, but we absolutely loved what we saw… Can't wait to play more, but at the moment, it seems like an obvious thumbs up.


TV: I've been mining my own past for things to share with my five-year-old, and one program that I recalled enjoying as a child was the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series which first ran in 1984.

In a nutshell, six kids were on a roller coaster ride that went into a D&D-themed funhouse, and somehow they get warped into a fantasy world where they all assume a class role and start questing. 

The first time I saw it, I must have been eight or nine, and clearly my taste wasn't quite as developed back then as it is now. As I sat through the first episode, I thought it was a pretty wretched piece of garbage… Definitely not one that holds up past the rose-tinted glasses.

There was no real intro or 'start' to the series past the opening theme song sequence, there's no pacing at all with each scene coming right on top of the last (and none of it giving the actors any time for anything but reading as fast as they can) and the action was quite lame, to boot. I'll watch a couple more because, hell, I bought the damned thing, but it's amazing to see how terrible it is after all these years. 

Epic sadface!


Apropos of nothing, here are some great-looking screens from The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Techland recently released a new gameplay trailer for Dying Light to showcase the asymmetric multiplayer aspect of the game. Featuring a game-changing day & night cycle, unprecedented freedom of movement, and vast open world with 50+ hours of gameplay, Dying Light will also offer a full-fledged co-op multiplayer for up to 4 players – with a twist.
“The game is absolutely huge as it is, but to provide the ultimate zombie survival experience, we added an extra element of unpredictability to our nighttime gameplay” – says Dying Light’s Producer Tymon Smektala. “Online players can face the threat of a possible invasion of their game by the Night Hunter, an extremely powerful, human-controlled zombie mutation. These invasions are an inherent part of Dying Light, available on all platforms for all online players from day one. However for our hardcore fans who pre-order, we’re offering them a bonus Be the Zombie which lets you actually take control of the Night Hunter and invade online games of other players.”
Dying Light can be pre-ordered from the game's official website, from select retailers and is also available for pre-purchase on Steam. These pre-orders and pre-purchases come with the free Be the Zombie DLC, letting players take control of the Night Hunter themselves. By playing as the Night Hunter and invading other games, players get access to a completely new character with a unique set of moves and abilities which can be upgraded using experience points. The Be the Zombie mode will be available across all platforms.
Dying Light will be released in 2015 on January 27th in the Americas, January 28th in Australia and New Zealand, and January 30th in Europe and Asia.
D3Publisher (D3PA) and Marvel Entertainment announces that on October 3 Marvel Puzzle Quest will celebrate its 1-year anniversary since its worldwide launch on the App Store and Google Play.  In commemoration, Marvel Puzzle Quest will be the first Marvel video game to feature the brand new character, Thor: Goddess of Thunder.  Thor: Goddess of Thunder will be a legendary (4 star) character reward for Season VII and all players will be able to test her powers in a battle starting on October 17th

The celebration of the 1-year anniversary will also bring Devil Dinosaur as a playable character to Marvel Puzzle Quest via an Anniversary Pack and as a daily reward for Day 365 players starting on October 8th.  In addition, the days leading to the Thor: Goddess of Thunder reveal, Marvel Puzzle Quest will be featuring fan-favorite special in-game events based on a recent poll with the community.

For New York Comic Con Convention (NYCC) attendees, the Marvel Puzzle Quest team will be at Booth #347 inside the Javits Center during show hours on October 9 – 12, 2014.  Visitors to the Marvel Puzzle Quest booth at NYCC will be able to go hands-on with the game on tablet and PC to discover the expanding gameplay within the Marvel Universe.  Members from the team will be on hand to walk players through gameplay and discuss upcoming in-game tournaments and events.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to earn in-game resources for Marvel Puzzle Quest at the booth via a free raffle.  For a limited time only, D3Publisher will be offering bonus Iso-8 resources to new users that download the game now through October 18th.  

Marvel Puzzle Quest is developed by Demiurge Studios and available for free on the App Store for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod®, iPod touch®, Google Play for AndroidTM devices, and Steam® for PC.  The game is rated “T” (Teen – Violence, Blood, Suggested Themes, Drug Reference, and Mild Language) by the ESRB for PC.  For more information on Marvel Puzzle Quest, please visit and follow us on Twitter @MarvelPuzzle or like us on Facebook


SEGA® of America, Inc. and  SEGA® Europe, Ltd. today announced that  fan-favorite Japanese role-playing-game (RPG) Resonance of Fate  is now available for purchase for the first time on PlayStation® Network for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.  Resonance of Fate is a unique RPG set in a dystopian future where Earth is no longer capable of sustaining life. Adding a fresh spin to the RPG genre, the game features a cinematic action gameplay system centered around gun-play and a fascinating steampunk-styled world.
As part of the Private Military Firm, our heroes (Vashyron, Zephyr and Leanne) seek out and complete quests for their clients but are eventually led on a journey that will reveal the dark secrets behind the world they live in. Key features of the game include: 

         Battle System: Battle in fantastic cinematic action as your characters wield firearms in a semi-real time gameplay system
         Hero Actions: Pull off spectacular moves and precision attacks through this special mode designed to chain attacks together
         Unique Story: Built around a gigantic tower-like machine, the story will delve deep into fate and the machinery that controls it
         Beautiful environments: Masterfully crafted environments pepper this title to illustrate the deep tapestry of this dystopian world
         Customization: Customize your characters and give them a unique look within the game

o   Extensive Weapon customization allows your character to have specialized weapons from parts unlocked or bought throughout the game
o   Change the look of your character by unlocking costumes along the way


505 Games and Hidden Path Entertainment announced the official launch of Defense Grid 2 (DG2), the long-awaited sequel to the 2008 quintessential tower defense game, Defense Grid: The Awakening.DG2 introduces new worlds and threats to test player's tower placement strategies in single-player mode, online player-versus-player and multiplayer co-op campaigns. With 21 engaging maps and countless ways to win, DG2 will challenge your strategy skills and redefine the tower defense genre.
Defense Grid 2 features gorgeous landscapes and intuitive gameplay as players defend against new threats to ensure the survival of the human race. The game features dynamic level movement, a rich story and cast of characters, hundreds of challenge mode experiences, new multiplayer modes, and a procedurally driven audioscore. DG2also introduces players to DG Architect, a level creation tool set connected to Steam Workshop, in which players can create their own unique levels to share and potentially sell.
Defense Grid 2 is priced at $24.99 for digital download on Steam (PC, Mac, Linux), PlayStation®4 and Xbox® One. A special edition of DG2, priced at $29.99, is also available on Steam and includes: the digital book, The Art of Defense Grid 2; the ebook,The Making of Defense Grid 2: The Complete Story Behind the Game by Russ Pitts; and additional content including “A Matter of Endurance,” a new original audio story written by Hugo award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal and performed by the English voice cast. 

Defense Grid 2 for Mac and Linux is now available to play and will be optimized for each platform on October 14.
A new trailer is available for launch:


The wait is over, HE is here. Slender: The Arrival, launches today on PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Tomorrow, Xbox fans will have their chance to experience The Arrival on Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft; both are priced at $9.99. Slender Man takes to the big screen with his first foray into the world of console gaming, promising big thrills and chills for a whole new audience.

Developed by Toronto indie team Blue Isle Studios and the only official Slender Man game, The Arrival puts you at the heart of a mystery surrounding the enigmatic Internet persona that has captivated and terrorized millions. Experience lives touched by Slender Man and follow the trail to connect them all to this unstoppable force of evil. Slender: The Arrival wraps players in a dark, foreboding atmosphere and a story fraught with terror, paranoia and other-worldly forces lurking behind every turn.

Written by the creative team behind Marble Hornets, this latest iteration in the Slender Man universe expands the canon established by the original web-series, with some new twists and extended content. Building on the successful Steam launch last Halloween, Slender: The Arrival comes to consoles with brand new story elements and features extended levels that continue to unfold the Slender Man mythos. Players are enveloped in a world of sensory deprivation filled with haunting visions and audio cues that create an ominous backdrop perfect for fostering a healthy dose of tension and paranoia. Follow the clues and unravel the mystery, that is, if you can survive.

The new content will be offered to Steam and PC players who already own Slender: The Arrival at no additional charge as free DLC. More information about this offering will be announced in the coming weeks.

Slender: The Arrival is rated T for Teen and is available starting today on PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system for $9.99 digital download from the PlayStation®Network, and tomorrow (September 24) on Xbox 360 for $9.99 digital download from the Xbox Live Games Store.

Independent publishing label Midnight City will also release Costume Quest 2 this Halloween season from Double Fine Productions.

For more information, please visit our website:
For more on Blue Isle Studios, please visit:


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released Gauntlet, a fully modernized reboot of the celebrated dungeon crawler, on Steam for PC, offering full support for SteamOS and the upcoming Steam Machines shipping next year. Developed by Arrowhead Game Studios, the game is available for an M.S.R.P. of $19.99.

Players select from four classic fantasy-based characters: Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, or Elf. Each character has its own distinctive play style and unique strengths and weaknesses. Upon selecting a playable character, the gameplay is set within dungeons where the object is to fight through the chambers slaying evil creatures and completing challenges. An assortment of special items can be located in each dungeon that can restore the player's health, unlock doors, and shift the odds in the player's favor with magical relics which can aid the player in surviving longer in the Gauntlet. The enemies are a vast assortment of fantasy-based monsters, including ghosts, grunts, demons, spiders, sorcerers and skeleton warriors.

Players can improve their heroes' abilities and powers by unlocking achievements called "perks." Multiple difficulty settings add to the game's replayability. 
Gauntlet consists of environments like dusty crypts, dark caves, and fiery dungeons, each with varying styles of gameplay. Some dungeon maps allow players to explore and fight their way through chambers slaying evil creatures, completing challenges and discovering hidden secrets and gold. In other levels, Death itself chases players through an unpredictable labyrinth. There are also endurance maps where players must defeat waves of monsters to survive.

Gauntlet is rated Mature for Violence, Blood and Gore, with a setting to disable the game's gore.

For more information on Gauntlet, please visit 


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