Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Dark Souls 2 DLCs - Complete!  

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If you read my Top 10 of 2014 post, you'll know that Dark Souls 2 ranks high on my list. I think it's a great game pretty much any way you slice it, and I enjoyed all the time I spent completing the main campaign. I had a few minor problems with it (of course!) but overall, it was fantastic stuff.

I’ve been waiting to crack into the DLC ever since it was announced earlier this year, but due to review responsibilities and the demands of real life, I knew I wouldn't have time for any of until right about… now -- everything that needs to be looked at has been looked at, the write-ups are done, and the madness of the silly season has faded. And really, thank goodness for that.

Anyhow, I took the first available opportunity to jump into all three separate pieces of DLC for Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken KingCrown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the Ivory King.

For the record I completed all of the DLC, but by ‘completed’ I mean finished the proper last boss and earned the crown from each new section. I did not fight or defeat all of the optional bosses. These DLCs were a bit strange for me because I thought the level design was basically amazing in all three cases. On the other hand, I felt like the devs went off the rails with the bosses. Almost all of them (especially the optional ones I skipped) felt like they were intended to be fought in co-op, and the difficulty was scaled too high. Coming to the content this long after release, I found very few players available to be summoned into my game, and most of the ones I did find were not up to the task at hand. It was rough at times, to say the least.

Anyway, for those interested, here are my final stats after wrapping up the final DLC, and brief summaries of each new area follow below.


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Crown of the Sunken King: I heard some people say that they weren't satisfied with this one, but I felt like it was a great place to start. This subterranean level starts off with strong visuals – a tunnel opens up onto a chasm overlooking a temple secreted away in a giant cavern. The devs also made no secret of the fact that there is one big-ass dragon wandering around, and you're going to meet up with him sooner or later. 



This level plays a lot with vertical space, and there are switches which raise and lower platforms, granting access to different parts of the area. This level also features new enemies, spirits that can't be damaged until the player find their corporeal body hidden somewhere else in the level. Although I dreaded running into them, I thought they were a cool idea, and it was quite satisfying to finally find those bodies and rip them all up.

The main boss is the giant dragon that I mentioned earlier. He’s quite mobile, flying around the level and dishing out several swipe attacks and poison gas. Although he looks impressive, I found it was really, really difficult to fight him as a melee, non-magic character. It's not that he was necessarily that difficult, but the camera struggled to keep up with him because he’s so large. It was too hard to keep him on-screen long enough to be able to read his attacks. I honestly don't think the Souls series is built to handle enemies that large (I had the same problem fighting the Giant Lord in the main game) and it was more difficult than it needed to be due to that technical issue.

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Crown of the Old Iron King: Another level that plays with vertical space. The entire area is set inside a tall mountain spire with the inside hollowed out to make room for a giant forge, elevators, and some metalworks. This section also features new ‘idols’ which must be destroyed, but the game didn’t a good job of explaining what they are, or what their purpose was. I eventually figured it out by accident, but I felt like it should've been introduced in a more concise way. This is also the area where the developers play a lot with explosive barrels, and observant players will find many opportunities to use flammable enemies to take out our larger threats and expose secrets.


While I enjoyed the area itself, I hit a massive brick wall at the proper boss, the Fume Knight. The Knight is a tall melee combatant with one short sword and one massive greatsword. It seems like a straightforward battle at first and I had no problem getting past his initial phase. However, once he gets down to about 50% life, his greatsword ignites and the hitbox on it seems to multiply to an unreasonable degree. Of course he does massive damage with it, and even one mistimed dodge pretty much ends things.

I have to be honest, I was having real doubts as to whether or not I would be able to finish him, and I tried a lot of things to get an edge; things like experimenting with different weapons (my favored Drangleic Sword +5 was too slow for this battle) and also started trying spears and other various things with different ranges. I eventually decided to use the Black Scorpion Stinger (a rapier) because it was so fast and I was able to enchant it with magic and bring it up to +5 for a very decent level of damage. However, even with that, I still wasn't able to get the job done.

Everyone I talked to had different advice and I tried most of it, but there were two things that put me over the top. First, @Maclark89 suggested I put more points into my ADP stat. I had no idea what ‘iframing’ was but he explained that with more points the window of invincibility during a roll was widened, and that sounded like exactly what I needed. That definitely helped, but the thing that made the biggest difference was that I eventually got frustrated and used one of my rapidly-dwindling human effigies. I got lucky by finding a real person to summon who knew what the hell they were doing, so between the two of us, we were able to make short work of the Fume Knight. It was a huge relief… I was genuinely bracing myself for the idea that I would never be able to finish.

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Crown of the Ivory King: Another excellent level, this one is a huge castle complex with a small township at its base, and the entire area is buried under a winter freeze. Snow covers everything, and many parts of the level are closed off by huge ice accumulations blocking doorways and clamping treasure chests shut.
  

The twist in this area is that the final boss is a huge mob fight followed by a large swordsman. The swordsman is quite easy compared to the other DLC bosses, but getting through that mob was a nightmare. When starting the battle, the game gives one friendly NPC to support you, but the damage it does is pretty minimal, and the AI is not great. It took me a while to figure out, but there are actually three other knights to be found in the level, so it's all about finding these other NPCs to help -- a pretty neat idea, I thought. Once they've been recruited, the fight becomes much more manageable and I blew through it in short order.

Side note, this level also holds an optional mission area the Frigid Outskirts which I didn't even bother to try. I watched a video of it on YouTube and basically said EFF that. Look it up for yourself if you want to see what makes it so crazy, but it seems impossible without a second player, and in general, it looks like FromSoft is (as the British say) taking the piss.

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Overall, these three pieces of DLC are generally excellent except for the difficulty problem with some of the bosses (easily remedied if you have access to friends able to join you) but one of the most satisfying things about completing this content is that From decided to take a very small step away from the ‘cryptic, don't-explain-anything’ stance they usually take, and they just came right out and started explaining things. Some Souls hardcores might object, but I've never been very interested in trying to puzzle together the various pieces of lore into some kind of sensible theory… I mean, I don't need a bunch of in-your-face cutscenes explaining everything, but I don't think the series will be harmed by being a bit clearer about certain aspects. Demon’s Souls actually did a great job of that balance -- it was easy to follow, but there were definitely some mysteries left by the time credits rolled. Dark Souls 2 is a little more overt than Demon’s in the DLC, but I’m absolutely not complaining.

Specifically, there's one NPC in Ivory King which tells the player point-blank who she is and where she's from, and that information has a lot to do with the main game. Following that, there is a lengthy discussion to be had with King Vendrick once the player brings him all four crowns. (Including Vendrick’s own, from the main game.)
 


Vendrick gives a neat item reward for doing so, but the real win here (to me, anyway) was to be able to chat with him and have him explain in perfectly clear terms about what he was doing and what happened in Drangleic. It was a satisfying finish to an excellent game, and gave me some of the closure that did not come in the main game. I mean, when I beat it for the first time, I had no idea who the last boss was, or why I was fighting it. With these new bits of information and some other things that I've come across recently, everything makes sense and I have a newfound appreciation for the level of detail and the depth to which the devs craft their worlds.

(One of my favorite resources? The Dark Souls Two Podcast, highly recommended for anyone who wants a deep, deep dive into the gameplay, level design and lore of this specific game. Highly recommended)

At the end of the day, these three Crown DLCs were all excellent additions to an already-excellent game, and are the kind of additional purchases that I’m glad to make. I’d recommend the trio to anyone who wants more Dark Souls 2, just be prepared for some very stiff, borderline-unfair boss battles… If you plan to go through these new levels, either be a complete badass, or be ready to summon some people to help out.

Just saying…  

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Top Ten games of 2014  

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Welcome back to Coffeecola!

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s now time for me to partake in the sacred videogame tradition of putting things into a ranked order and declaring a few ‘bests.’

Of course, it would have been impossible for anyone to play everything that deserved a critical examination, but I do what I can and go from there. As such, these were the ten (plus one!) best experiences I had over the last twelve months – I’m sure there were plenty of other great things that I just didn’t have time to get to, but hey, I'm only human.

Without further ado, here are my top ten (plus one!) games of 2014!


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Plus One> Marvel Puzzle Quest, Demiurge Studios (PC, Mobile)

It may sound strange to hear, but I put more time into Marvel Puzzle Quest than any other game this year, and by quite a large margin. Although it’s a match-three at its core, the developers have been introducing new characters at a steady rate, and the game has seen constant improvements in terms of overall design and game mechanics. They’ve been very responsive to player feedback, and it’s just a better game every time an update comes along. This is pretty much the only mobile title I need, and it’s one of the very few ‘free-to-play’ efforts I’ve seen that holds up as a legitimate game with depth and nuance, rather than just another whale-squeezing scam.


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10> Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Monolith Productions (Multi)

I have to admit, I'm mixed on Shadow of Mordor. The campaign’s pace is bizarre, the Nemesis system did nothing for me, the story isn’t great, and the endgame is a rushed mess. However, the developers get so much right when it comes to the gameplay that it was tough to put down. Although many games attempt an open-world formula, very few let the player accomplish important things when not on a mission. Not so here. The important characters the player must assassinate are always in the world, and being able to pounce on them whenever I felt like it was a breath of fresh air. The mobility and abilities of the character were admirably done, too. Combining a ranger and a wraith was brilliant, and maneuvering across the landscape and up castle walls felt natural and intuitive. Although this particular game wasn't everything it could've been, the developers are absolutely on the right track when it comes to empowering the player in a living, breathing world.


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9> The Fall, Over The Moon Games (PC, WiiU)

It feels like it's been a long while since I've played a thought-provoking game with strong science-fiction themes, but The Fall scratches that itch. The story is quite intriguing, but what really makes it stand out is the impeccable way the narrative, characterization, and gameplay all work together in cleverly cohesive fashion -- the tasks the player performs actually reinforce the ideas in the story, and vice versa. That's an incredibly hard trick to pull off, but The Fall makes it look easy. Double points are awarded for the game coming to a totally satisfying conclusion despite the fact that it’s the first part of a planned trilogy.


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8> Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Young Horses (PC, PS4)

Comedy is incredibly hard to do in games, but Octodad not only pulls it off with snappy writing and clever jokes, but also through its very play -- controlling a floppy octopus as he stumbles around urban environments is inherently humorous, and if there’s a game that makes the act of walking more fun than this one, I’ve yet to see it. I also appreciate that the player’s family was a healthy, loving one despite the fact that the father is a cephalopod. The messages delivered from start to finish are ones of positivity and love, and in the gaming landscape these days, that’s something quite rare. (Also, best theme song ever.)


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7> Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, Marvelous AQL (Vita)

Out of all the games on this list, this is the one that I absolutely never imagined would be something that stuck with me. Based on appearances, it was nothing more than a T&A fanservice piece, but once I sat down and started paying attention, I was quite impressed. Half visual novel and half musou action, this formula seems like it absolutely should not work, but it really, really does. The combat bits are excellent because they’re quite brief, and each character feels significantly different from the rest. The visual novel side was impressively done with interweaving storylines and a layer of complexity that shows the writers went above and beyond to make it a quality product. While it’s true that the fanservice is present in ample supply, there's also a legit game on offer for a title could have easily skated by on jiggle alone. Big respect to the developers for going the extra mile.


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6> Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, MercurySteam (PC, 360, PS3)

I did not like the first Lords of Shadow, and the only reason I started playing the sequel was because no other writer at @Gamecritics would accept the assignment. However, once I sat down and gave it a chance, I was blown away. The combat is tight and entertaining, the art design is impeccable, it looks great, sounds great, the setpieces are amazing, and I have quickly become a huge fan of the way MercurySteam has rewritten the Castlevania lore as something somewhat familiar, yet altogether different. Despite my efforts to evangelize the title, it seemed destined to be ignored from the start, and that's a real shame -- it’s a fantastic (and fantastically overlooked) action-adventure any way you slice it.


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5> Persona Q: Shadows of the Labyrinth, Atlus (3DS)

Take the excellent cast of characters from Persona and combine it with the incredibly polished dungeon-crawl mechanics of the Etrian Odyssey series, and the result is a match made in videogame heaven. While it was initially difficult to conceive how these two franchises would come together, it turns out that they are a natural, complementary fit, and the game delivers on every level. It’s clever, it’s well-balanced, the writing and voices are fab, and it’s polished to absolute perfection… The developers have thought of everything. It's a near-perfect 3DS game, and a wonderful new entry into the Persona canon.


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4> 1001 Spikes, Nicalis (Multi)

I've always said that a high level of difficulty doesn't bother me as long as the developers implement it fairly. Tune the mechanics to 'Swiss watch' precision, and I will happily accept any stiff challenge that someone nudges my way. Enter 1001 Spikes. No joke, the game is one of the most difficult I've played all year, but it's honed so perfectly and everything is so spot-on that all of its adversity is surmountable given enough practice and dedication. Fully completing this game from start to finish felt like an incredibly satisfying achievement, and it just goes to show how important craftsmanship is to a final product. If the developer had come up short in even one aspect, I probably would've tossed it aside in anger and given it the finger as it sailed away. Instead, it's a true masterpiece.


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3> Dark Souls II, FromSoft (PC, 360, PS3)

Speaking of polish, the developers at FromSoft clearly heard the criticisms of the first Dark Souls and created a new entry which addresses them while still delivering an epic, satisfying adventure truly worthy of the Souls name. Beautiful vistas, sweat-inducing fights, and a huge world to explore kept me occupied for a hundred hours this year, and I can honestly say that I was not bored for a single minute of it. Even better, it's more approachable and more welcoming to new players while not removing the challenge and intrigue that series fans have come to love. FromSoft is at the top of their game here, and if you've never played a Souls before, this is the one to get into. (And in my humble opinion, it's arguably the best of the series!)


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2> The Last of Us: Left Behind, Naughty Dog (PS3, PS4)

I don't think I've ever given end-of-year awards to a piece of DLC before, but Left Behind is a stunning, stellar work that genuinely advances videogames as a medium in terms of characterization and narrative, and deserves to be recognized as such. The relationship on display between Ellie and Riley was one of the most believable, natural, touching, and utterly human relationships I've ever seen in a game despite the fact that it was about survivors in a fungal-zombie wasteland. The time spent with these two was profoundly nuanced and real, and should be seen as a lesson to anyone who attempts to craft a story that aims to do more than shuttle a player from level to level.


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1> Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc & 
Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair
     Spike Chunsoft (Vita)

Yep, this year’s top dog is a twofer. 

These visual novels starring groups of high school kids killing each other for survival kicked its sometimes-snoozy genre into high gear, and was proof that games about reading text could be just as thrilling and engaging as anything else out there. The writing was funny, smart, dark, and absolutely perfect for the tone it was trying to deliver. The mysteries to be solved were engaging and satisfying, and the way the two games connect didn't seem to make a lot of sense at first, but the developers absolutely knew what they were doing – between the two titles, they’ve crafted a single narrative that comes together in a perfectly brilliant, perfectly surprising way. 

Danganronpa leaves other visual novels in the dust thanks to the tightness of the scripting, the extra care and attention given to the visual presentation, the great voice actors, and a hardcore dedication to its concept. It was a fantastic experience from start to finish and set a new standard for what a visual novel could be. I'm absolutely ravenous for more in this series, and until then, I'll be hugging my Monokuma plushie while waiting for the next installment or spin-off to arrive.


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…And there you have it, my top ten games (plus one!) of 2014.

 If there are some games on this list you haven’t tried, I encourage you to give them a shot. You might just find a new favorite! And if you have tried these, let me know if you agree with my assessment… or if even you don’t!

And now, bring on 2015!


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

4th Quarter burnout, Warframe can suck it, and Fantasy Life is fantasy fun  

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Welcome back! It’s been a while!




First up, a mention of my wife’s game-oriented craft site, where she has pics of the shirts and coffee sleeves she’s made for folks, BUT she also takes custom orders. If there’s a character or logo or anything like that you’d like to have on a shirt or whatnot, hit her up! Her stuff is all handmade and tip-top quality!



Next, here’s a roundup of some recent reviews @Gamecritics has published…

Dragon Age: Inquisition by @RichardNaik


Road Not Taken by Paul Stuart

Spirits of Spring by @SparkyClarkson

Escape Dead Island by…. Me!


Volgarr the Viking by @GC_Danny



Whew! Now, let’s move on the the usual Coffeecola chatter…

SO, this is been a really crazy 4th quarter, and like most Decembers past, I'm now reaching the burnout point where I just can't put up with the rapid-fire reviewing that the holiday release schedule demands anymore. My brain and my body are telling me "enough" and I want to get back to a more reasonable pace. As such, I took a break from the grind to try to catch up on some stuff that I haven't had time for recently, but… it didn't really go too well.




I've heard many people say that Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of their favorites this year, but I jumped into it and played until the third or fourth level... It seems fine, but I don't really derive a lot of pleasure from straightforward shooting, and I’m at a point in my life where walking around blasting Nazis doesn't do much for me. Nothing wrong with it at all, it just didn't grab me and I can't see myself putting any more time into it.



Later on, I had the wild idea that I would give Warframe another chance. I tried it when the PS4 launched, but it was just too rough at the time -- I figured I’d come back to it once it had been more polished. I heard it got a big update so I restarted a couple of months ago, but got distracted with something else and didn't even finish the tutorial. I came back tonight and wanted to delete my character and start fresh, only to find that… You can't.


I didn't remember what the controls were, I didn't remember anything about my character, I didn’t remember anything about the systems, I couldn’t re-do the tutorial… I find it totally unbelievable that the developers never foresaw a circumstance in which a person would want to delete an old character or start a new one.

I tried to remember where I left off, but too much time had passed and the game is a mess of too many menus, too much information and too much weird terminology all over the place. I found the whole thing incredibly unfriendly, and as much as I like the weird bio-organic visual aesthetic, these developers really don't have any frigging clue how to make it more approachable. I’m not sure they even care. I just deleted the thing and said to hell with it… I'm not going to work hard to get into something if the devs aren’t going to meet me halfway.




While those two things were fails, I’ve been more than a little surprised to find that I've actually been enjoying Fantasy Life on 3DS quite a bit.

Although it popped up on my radar a while ago, I didn't have any plans to play it for two reasons. First, I'm not a big fan of level-5. I think their visuals are phenomenal, but their game designs always feel tired and grind-heavy to me. Apart from Professor Layton, it's been years and years since I've enjoyed any of their work. The other reason is that quite a few reviewers took a dump all over this game, calling it repetitive and shallow. That fit right in with what I expected from Level-5, so I bagged it.

So what made me change my mind and give it a shot? Well, I’m a superfan of the @Gaymebar podcast, and I really respect what those guys have to say. Although I don't always agree with them, everybody on that show is whip-smart and they made an incredibly convincing case for it over the last few episodes. If not for Toups and Jeremiah, there's no way I would have given Fantasy Life a shot, but they really won me over and I'm glad that they did.

So, what about it? Basically, the player starts off with a generic character and the game offers 12 different jobs for them to learn. They break down into a few major groups: combat, crafting, and gathering. Outside of mastering each of these jobs (or really, only as many as you want to) there's also a main storyline and a metric ton of sidequests for people who want more to do.


Basically, pick a job and start mastering it. If you're a combat class, then your sensei will have you going out to kill certain animals in order to increase your skill. If you're crafter, then you need to seek out ingredients in order to practice making the things that you make. If you're a gatherer, then you'll have a list of things to go out in the world and find, and then those resources can be used to make things or can be sold.


One of the strongest aspects of Fantasy Life is that there are just so many different things to do. I started off as a Hunter and began killing things, but once I got tired of that I became a Miner and started gathering things. Once I got tired of that, I became a Chef and started cooking things… It's all very simple and open, and the game is all about letting players jump back and forth between activities anytime they feel like it. You're never locked into doing something that you don't want to do, and there's always something else to try if the thing you're doing isn't fun anymore.

The game also goes above and beyond when it comes to keeping organized lists of all the different quests and pointing a player in the right direction. There are lots of reminders about what can be done and how to do it, and there's never really any question about what you should be doing next… There's always a wealth of things to do, and clear instruction on how.

Ironically, a game like this can easily be seen as busywork, but it really captured my attention because I've had such limited free time and no real ability to sit down and focus on anything for marathon sessions, so the simplicity and approachability of the game has been a perfect fit for me. It also helps that it's cute as hell, and there's something very appealing about being set loose in this small-scale world and learning the lay of the land… At some point you'll need to go into a forest to kill an animal, but later on you'll come back to find minerals, or to chop trees. Giving each area multiple uses lends the world a greater degree of depth -- being able to learn the area and see it from different angles is something that few games can pull off easily.


I have to say, something like Animal Crossing doesn't have a fraction of the depth that Fantasy Life does, not to mention AC feels much more limited and repetitive, so I'm not quite sure why so many people were quick to embrace AC while writing FL off as a grindfest. I mean, it’s certainly not a grand-scale RPG with a sweeping narrative and a vast world to explore… It’s a series of small jobs that people can do in small bites, but it does it well and it's all very nice and neat. Maybe those reviewers were expecting something else, but I think Fantasy Life is really great at what it does, and at this point in my life, I am definitely a customer for what it's selling.



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



Far off in the mountains, the small village Aslarga becomes a hub for adventurers looking for fame and fortune from the Mystery Dungeons. But dire challenges await even the most stalwart adventurers in Etrian Mystery Dungeon, the upcoming turn-based action RPG roguelike from Atlus U.S.A. Inc., and developed by ATLUS and Spike Chunsoft. Exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS™, Etrian Mystery Dungeon mixes Etrian Odyssey's vast RPG party and skill customization aspects, and Mystery Dungeon's infinitely random dungeon adventures. Etrian Mystery Dungeon will be available in spring 2015 in stores and on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS for $39.99. Game details and updates will be posted on the official website: www.atlus.com/etrianmd

There's no hand-holding in Etrian Mystery Dungeon. The action/turn based combat means that battling monsters is not just about using the right skills, but becomes an elegant Pas de Quatre of strategic positioning. Players form their parties with familiar Etrian Odyssey classes, such as Landsknecht and Runemaster, customize individuals using Etrian-style skill trees, and then take up to four members into the dungeons. Always randomized with various levels and paths, the dungeons require plenty of exploration, not to mention the incredible loot rewards -- just be wary of what waits among the deepest depths... 

Main features in Etrian Mystery Dungeon include:
·  Infinite Dungeons to Explore - Etrian Mystery Dungeon incorporates the random map feature, which changes the floor terrain each time a player enters the dungeon. This core mechanic, inherited from theMystery Dungeon series, challenges the players with a new maze and stronger monsters every time, offering them unlimited replayability! 
·  Attention to Detail - The Etrian Odyssey tradition of party customization is in full effect for Etrian Mystery Dungeon. After the first journey as a Landsknecht, players can freely choose their party of 4 from up to 10 different class types. While each class has a unique skill set of its own, characters can also unlock new skills through skill trees.
·  Not Your Grandfather's Combat - The unique perspective in Etrian Mystery Dungeon means that special care will have to be given when selecting party members and upgrading their abilities. With dungeons chock full of enemies and all the loot and money collected at stake, being 100 percent certain in your party's abilities is crucial for making it out alive.
Etrian Mystery Dungeon will be available in North America in Spring 2015. The game will be available exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS and is rated E10+ by the ESRB. For more information, visit the official website www.atlus.com/etrianmd

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Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced the digital release debut of METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS via the PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on December 16, 2014, for an SRP of $19.99. The release marks the first time the acclaimed tactical espionage game has been made available as a digital download.

METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS is set in a battle-scarred future where huge conglomerates fight for supremacy using armies of handpicked mercenaries. This devastated world is seen through the battle-weary eyes of an older Solid Snake who is tasked with infiltrating a number of key locations across the globe, including the Middle East and South America. Snake’s story delivers a deep and involved campaign, filled with eclectic characters that push the aged hero to his limits.

Originally released in 2008, the groundbreaking METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS was the series’ first exploration of non-linear stages, heralded the addition of a remote-controlled ‘Metal Gear Mk. II’ droid -- the revolutionary OctoCamo suit that allows Snake to blend in with his surroundings -- and introduced an enhanced Close Quarters Combat (CQC) system. All of these elements have been carried forward and are being implemented on a larger scale for the upcoming, highly-anticipated METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN.

METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS for the PlayStation Network will be a 30 GB download.

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He’s back! Fan favorite and classic S.T.A.R.S. member Barry Burton will be returning in Resident Evil Revelations 2.  The man himself can be seen in the brand new reveal trailer and new batch of screenshots just released. Headed for the remote prison island in search of his missing daughter, Moira Burton, Barry meets brand new character Natalia Korda, a little girl who has a strange power that allows her to sense enemies and hidden items. Using this skill alongside Barry’s proven combat abilities, players will need to alternate between the two to survive the mysterious island and find Moira.

Each episode in Resident Evil Revelations 2 includes Raid mode content and two full playable scenarios focused on the previously announced Claire and Moira campaign and the newly confirmed Barry and Natalia storyline. Barry and Natalia will need to uncover clues as they fight to survive and their journey will lead them to terrifying encounters with two brand new enemies:  The Rotten and The Revenant. The Rotten have bones that are visible through their bodies and stop at nothing to hunt down the living, and the horrific Revenant are formed from parts of human beings sewn together.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 will release as weekly digital episodes at $5.99/£4.99/€5.99 each on the following dates next year:  

PlayStation Store North America
PlayStation Store EMEA territories
Xbox Live Global
Steam Global
Episode 1
17th February
18th February
18th February
18th February
Episode 2
24th February
25th February
25th February
25th February
Episode 3
3rd March
4th March
4th March
4th March
Episode 4
10th March
11th March
11th March
11th March

We’re also pleased to confirm that the following content is included in the Complete Season, available to purchase for $24.99/£19.99/€24.99:  
- All four main episodes plus:
     o   Two additional spin-off episodes that focus on telling the side stories of each of the two new Resident Evil characters:  Moira Burton and Natalia Korda*
     o   Additional Raid mode character:  Hunk*

A full retail box set will be available March 10, 2015 across North America for $39.99 MSRP and will feature all of the below content:
- All Complete Season content:
     o   All four main episodes
     o   Two additional spin-off episodes that focus on telling the side stories of each of the two new Resident Evil characters:  Moira Burton and Natalia Korda*
     o   Additional Raid mode character:  Hunk*
Plus:
     o   Additional Raid mode character:  Albert Wesker*
     o   Four alternative costumes (one for each of the main characters):  Claire, Moira, Barry and Natalia*
     o   Raid mode “Throwback Stage Pack” featuring four stages from recent Resident Evil titles*

*All additional content will also be available to purchase as separate downloadable content on each platform’s respective online marketplace.

For a deeper look into the Barry and Natalia storyline, head over to 
Capcom-Unity now. 

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Arc System Works, developer of world-class fighting games such as the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series, brings its brand new action RPG to the West. Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy releases today in the United States for PlayStation Vita as a digital download on the PlayStation Network, followed internationally in Q1 2015.

Choose one of four heroes -- a justice-obsessed swordsman, a mysterious Crow with a penchant for guns, an inventress with a giant robot and a bone to pick, or a well-muscled luchador -- to fight the Decoders and save the world!

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Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today announced Street Fighter V exclusively for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and for PC. Through a strategic partnership between Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and Capcom, the next game in the legendary series will offer cross-platform play that will uniteStreet Fighter® fans into a centralized player base for the first time ever. More game details on Street Fighter V, including release timing, will be coming soon.

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During its keynote address at the PlayStation Experience community event in Las Vegas, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced a partnership with SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. to release Yakuza 5, the much awaited fifth installment in the critically acclaimed main Yakuza™ series, on PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system in 2015. Yakuza 5 will make its Western debut as one of the most requested titles from the #Buildingthelist campaign, Gio Corsi, Director of Third Party Production at SCEA, announced at the event. Both companies also revealed that Yakuza™ 4 and Yakuza™: Dead Souls are available on PlayStation®Network today.

A direct sequel to Yakuza 4™, the game continues the epic story of Kazuma Kiryu<
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuma_Kiryu> alongside four other protagonists, following their struggles and conflicts in the seedy underbelly of Japan’s Yakuza underworld. Featuring a new graphics engine versus its predecessor, Yakuza 5 takes players to five major Japanese cities to venture through a life of crime and power.

Yakuza 5 features more mini-games than previous titles, a modified battle system as well as enhanced customizations and interactions in the signature hostess bars of the franchise. In addition to these features, Yakuza 5 also introduces “Another Drama” which is a series of side stories that focus on each protagonist in-depth and are separate from the main story of the game.

“The world of the Yakuza series has fascinated gamers in Japan and the West for many years,” said John Cheng, COO and President of SEGA of America. “We know fans have been eagerly awaiting a release of Yakuza 5 here and we are thrilled to finally launch this spectacular entry in the series in North America and Europe.”

Yakuza 5 will launch in 2015 on PlayStation®Network for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.

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*Inhale*

Persona 5. PS3 + PS4. 2015. 

*Exhale*

Atlus U.S.A., is confirming the news from the PlayStation Experience keynote that development of Persona 5 for North America will include the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system in addition to the originally announced PlayStation®3. 


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Enter The Gungeon - Reveal Trailer
http://youtu.be/OMh0tw0bADs

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As the rules that govern our civilization crumble, a new order of things is bound to emerge. In the latest trailer for Dying Light, Techland for the first time ever give a sneak peek into the storyline of their open-world, action survival game.
Looking for inspirations for Dying Light, we delved into classics of international literature, such as Albert Camus’s The Plague and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” – explains RafaƂ Orkan, a novelist and co-author of  Dying Light’s story. “With our game,  we wanted  to evoke similar emotions and offer players an insight into how people react to the extreme.”  
Roaming a city devastated by a mysterious epidemic that turns people into zombies, players will assume the role of Kyle Crane, an undercover operative sent to infiltrate the quarantine zone. Sheer chaos, warring factions and a suspicious mission all tug at Crane’s decisions for what he has been told is “the greater good”. Yet who decides when greater good turns into necessary evil?
Dying Light Story Trailer

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Blood Bowl 2 announcement trailer

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Project Root announcement trailer

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