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Found 328 results

  1. Review: Rime

    Rime begins with stormy seas, a red scrap of cloth buffeted by the wind whipping through the air, and a young boy washed up on the shores of an island covered in the ruins of a once mighty civilization. Without a word, players assume control of this child and help him to move through this world full of spirits, magic, and ancient technology. In fact, Rime contains not one line of dialogue – Tequila Works communicate their entire narrative through breathtaking visuals and an absolutely astounding score by David Garcia Diaz. Bright colors swirl across the landscape making everything feel alive and vibrant. The use of these popping colors make it all the more potent when the adventure inevitably descends into darkness and mystery. Majestic soundscapes weave an element of vanished magic into the game, as if the music itself was always grasping to reclaim just a little more of the lost glory the island’s ruined spires. The world of Rime is one that has been afflicted by something terrible. Something so destructive that it has shattered the very fabric of the world. This loss permeates every facet of the adventure. Weeping statues and grasping, shade-filled halls lay in the world’s forgotten corners. For every bright, shining moment in the sun, there is one in which the shadows envelop the red-caped protagonist. That ever-present conflict between light and dark? That escalating tension and deepening mystery? Those are the building blocks of every great adventure. The entire presentation readily draws comparisons to the work of Studio Ghibli, a similarity noted in other reviews of Rime. While I think the observation surprisingly apt for the audio-visual elements, Ghibli tends to make their work aimed squarely at children – Rime takes aim at an older crowd. While it can certainly be enjoyed by younger gamers, the themes and payoff will affect more seasoned players on a deeper level. The seemingly overplayed narrative carries an edge that cuts to the bone with loss and love. <a data-cke-saved-href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack" href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack">RiME (Deluxe Soundtrack) by David García Díaz</a> Each step of Rime’s journey presents an obstacle to be overcome, puzzles to be solved, or enemies to defeat. However, Rime isn’t about any one of those aspects on their own. There are some platforming sections, but it isn’t a platformer. Problems beg for solutions, but Rime isn’t a puzzle game. While sometimes enemies do make an appearance, few would ever describe Rime as a game about combat. Instead, Rime places its focus squarely on maintaining a sense of adventure and subtle storytelling. That emphasis on adventure smooths the gameplay experience. Few will need to grab a strategy guide or watch a walkthrough in order to find the solution to a puzzle. The platforming demands little in the way of reflexes. Combat is about as far from hack and slash as one can get; it’s more of a larger, faster puzzle than anything else. One might wonder how Rime manages to remain compelling with its gameplay when enjoyment doesn’t come from reflexive skill. The narrative hook of learning what happened to the island and our protagonist pulls the player relentlessly forward. Lacking any dialogue to explain the situation or internal monologue to learn what kind of a person the protagonist might be, all we learn about him is from what we can see during gameplay – how he chooses to interact with the world. Perhaps most informative interaction comes from the child’s ability to shout, which causes different interactions with objects throughout the world. Sometimes that shout is a call; other times it becomes a humming sing-song of a half remembered song; and as danger mounts it becomes a whimper. That one interaction can show our protagonist cry, laugh, and grieve. But through all those emotions, he continues to move through the world on his journey, leaving much up to the player’s interpretation. Rime certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. A relatively focused playthrough can make it from beginning to end in about four hours. Tequila Works doesn’t reuse puzzles – though occasionally similar puzzles reappear as character-building moments. The short length works in Rime’s favor and lends itself to multiple playthroughs. Players who love to scour every inch of their game worlds will find a nice challenge in discovering all the knickknacks hidden away (which all serve a narrative purpose as well). There are certain tropes that fledgling story writers are taught to avoid at all costs: Never open a scene with an alarm clock going off; do not include a gunshot followed by a cut to black; and never ever end with the dreaded phrase, “it was all a dream.” The overuse of these storytelling devices drill them into the public consciousness and rendering them clichés. However – and this is one of storytelling’s biggest secrets - a story can use a cliché, provided that it works. For example, a house full of alarm clocks fills the opening of Back to the Future and that works because the movie revolves around our human relationship with time. The film makes appropriate use of the device in a refreshing way - it’s played as a joke that reinforces the central premise of the film - turning it from a cliché back into a trope, and tropes are just tools in a storyteller’s toolbox. In a gaming landscape filled to bursting with indies, many might take a look at Rime and imagine it to be the latest in a long line of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw dubbed Small Child, Scary World (SCSW) games. Limbo, Ico, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Braid, these games all take similar forms and tackle themes of being alone in an unknowable world that threatens danger at every turn. The storytelling trope of SCSW has certainly proven to be effective, but its overuse threatens to plunge into cliché territory. And while Rime certainly does fit into the same category, it turns the very concept on its head in a way that works beautifully. Conclusion: Some people might have certain expectations as to what Rime will be – Set those expectations aside and to go into it blind. While Rime certainly might seem to have the trappings of indie gaming tropes that are coming closer to cliché, Tequila Works subverts those expectations in a masterful fashion. 2017 has been a fantastic year for video games – so many quality titles, both big and small, have released. It is a testament to Rime’s quality that it stands as the best thing I have played so far amid the AAA giants that have flexed their gaming muscle over the past several months. It conjures up a mythical adventure that sweeps players up in its majesty. Rime expertly plays with emotion like a master pianist would compose a captivating solo. Rime ends on a haunting final note that doesn’t deliver the empowering resolution many might desire, but it leaves the player with something much better: A powerful artistic statement about how beautiful and terrible and lovely and difficult life can be – and how we can all recover from the worst tragedies and find peace. Rime is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC - a Switch version is scheduled to release later this year
  2. Feature: Review: Rime

    Rime begins with stormy seas, a red scrap of cloth buffeted by the wind whipping through the air, and a young boy washed up on the shores of an island covered in the ruins of a once mighty civilization. Without a word, players assume control of this child and help him to move through this world full of spirits, magic, and ancient technology. In fact, Rime contains not one line of dialogue – Tequila Works communicate their entire narrative through breathtaking visuals and an absolutely astounding score by David Garcia Diaz. Bright colors swirl across the landscape making everything feel alive and vibrant. The use of these popping colors make it all the more potent when the adventure inevitably descends into darkness and mystery. Majestic soundscapes weave an element of vanished magic into the game, as if the music itself was always grasping to reclaim just a little more of the lost glory the island’s ruined spires. The world of Rime is one that has been afflicted by something terrible. Something so destructive that it has shattered the very fabric of the world. This loss permeates every facet of the adventure. Weeping statues and grasping, shade-filled halls lay in the world’s forgotten corners. For every bright, shining moment in the sun, there is one in which the shadows envelop the red-caped protagonist. That ever-present conflict between light and dark? That escalating tension and deepening mystery? Those are the building blocks of every great adventure. The entire presentation readily draws comparisons to the work of Studio Ghibli, a similarity noted in other reviews of Rime. While I think the observation surprisingly apt for the audio-visual elements, Ghibli tends to make their work aimed squarely at children – Rime takes aim at an older crowd. While it can certainly be enjoyed by younger gamers, the themes and payoff will affect more seasoned players on a deeper level. The seemingly overplayed narrative carries an edge that cuts to the bone with loss and love. <a data-cke-saved-href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack" href="http://music.greybox.com/album/rime-deluxe-soundtrack">RiME (Deluxe Soundtrack) by David García Díaz</a> Each step of Rime’s journey presents an obstacle to be overcome, puzzles to be solved, or enemies to defeat. However, Rime isn’t about any one of those aspects on their own. There are some platforming sections, but it isn’t a platformer. Problems beg for solutions, but Rime isn’t a puzzle game. While sometimes enemies do make an appearance, few would ever describe Rime as a game about combat. Instead, Rime places its focus squarely on maintaining a sense of adventure and subtle storytelling. That emphasis on adventure smooths the gameplay experience. Few will need to grab a strategy guide or watch a walkthrough in order to find the solution to a puzzle. The platforming demands little in the way of reflexes. Combat is about as far from hack and slash as one can get; it’s more of a larger, faster puzzle than anything else. One might wonder how Rime manages to remain compelling with its gameplay when enjoyment doesn’t come from reflexive skill. The narrative hook of learning what happened to the island and our protagonist pulls the player relentlessly forward. Lacking any dialogue to explain the situation or internal monologue to learn what kind of a person the protagonist might be, all we learn about him is from what we can see during gameplay – how he chooses to interact with the world. Perhaps most informative interaction comes from the child’s ability to shout, which causes different interactions with objects throughout the world. Sometimes that shout is a call; other times it becomes a humming sing-song of a half remembered song; and as danger mounts it becomes a whimper. That one interaction can show our protagonist cry, laugh, and grieve. But through all those emotions, he continues to move through the world on his journey, leaving much up to the player’s interpretation. Rime certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. A relatively focused playthrough can make it from beginning to end in about four hours. Tequila Works doesn’t reuse puzzles – though occasionally similar puzzles reappear as character-building moments. The short length works in Rime’s favor and lends itself to multiple playthroughs. Players who love to scour every inch of their game worlds will find a nice challenge in discovering all the knickknacks hidden away (which all serve a narrative purpose as well). There are certain tropes that fledgling story writers are taught to avoid at all costs: Never open a scene with an alarm clock going off; do not include a gunshot followed by a cut to black; and never ever end with the dreaded phrase, “it was all a dream.” The overuse of these storytelling devices drill them into the public consciousness and rendering them clichés. However – and this is one of storytelling’s biggest secrets - a story can use a cliché, provided that it works. For example, a house full of alarm clocks fills the opening of Back to the Future and that works because the movie revolves around our human relationship with time. The film makes appropriate use of the device in a refreshing way - it’s played as a joke that reinforces the central premise of the film - turning it from a cliché back into a trope, and tropes are just tools in a storyteller’s toolbox. In a gaming landscape filled to bursting with indies, many might take a look at Rime and imagine it to be the latest in a long line of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw dubbed Small Child, Scary World (SCSW) games. Limbo, Ico, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Braid, these games all take similar forms and tackle themes of being alone in an unknowable world that threatens danger at every turn. The storytelling trope of SCSW has certainly proven to be effective, but its overuse threatens to plunge into cliché territory. And while Rime certainly does fit into the same category, it turns the very concept on its head in a way that works beautifully. Conclusion: Some people might have certain expectations as to what Rime will be – Set those expectations aside and to go into it blind. While Rime certainly might seem to have the trappings of indie gaming tropes that are coming closer to cliché, Tequila Works subverts those expectations in a masterful fashion. 2017 has been a fantastic year for video games – so many quality titles, both big and small, have released. It is a testament to Rime’s quality that it stands as the best thing I have played so far amid the AAA giants that have flexed their gaming muscle over the past several months. It conjures up a mythical adventure that sweeps players up in its majesty. Rime expertly plays with emotion like a master pianist would compose a captivating solo. Rime ends on a haunting final note that doesn’t deliver the empowering resolution many might desire, but it leaves the player with something much better: A powerful artistic statement about how beautiful and terrible and lovely and difficult life can be – and how we can all recover from the worst tragedies and find peace. Rime is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC - a Switch version is scheduled to release later this year View full article
  3. I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for just over a month now, but it’s already my preferred way to play video games. As a father, I have very little time to relax once everyone goes to sleep, so I often have to choose between playing video games and just vegging out and watching Netflix or YouTube. With my Switch, I don’t have to choose, I can do both. I’ve also gotten some use out of the system’s built-in portable co-op, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my nephews and, more recently, playing Death Squared with my wife – in bed, nonetheless. Death Squared released earlier this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, but like so many other independent games, it feels most at home on the Switch. The puzzle game tasks players with moving two or four different-colored robot cubes across grid-based levels from point A to point B. In single-player mode, each joystick on the Joy-Cons controls a different robot (two at a time). Things can get a bit tricky when you have to move both robots at the same time. However, in co-op, with the Joy-Cons detached, each player can naturally control a separate robot independently. It’s simple and intuitive to just pick up and play the game – in a way that only really works on the Switch. Death Squared never over complicates things on the gameplay front. The only input you need to know is how to move the joystick. That’s it. The rest is a matter of learning the various traps and mechanics that are layered on top of that simple premise of getting each robot to point B without dying. The game feels right at home among easy-to-learn but difficult to master Nintendo games like Mario Kart 8 and Arms. As the name implies, Death Squared uses death to teach players how the game works – which isn’t always to its benefit. Each new puzzle layers new challenges onto the formula, oftentimes without warning. For example, you only learn about the spikes that pop up from the floor and kill your robot at the very moment they kill your robot. Playing in co-op, dying repeatedly due to your partner’s impatience, incompetence, or mischievousness can be a good time. But in single-player, the trial and error gameplay can feel unfair and quickly becomes maddening as you gingerly try to navigate around each level while the game’s characters – a man named David and his A.I. overseer – mock your poor performance. It’s all much more enjoyable while playing co-op and can become pretty addictive once it sinks its hooks in you. With each level lasting no longer than a few minutes, once my wife and I got into a groove, we didn’t want to stop playing. With each new conundrum, we became better at coordinating and anticipating the game’s dastardly traps. My wife, who rarely plays games, ended up getting sucked into the clever puzzles and every time I suggested we quit, she would plead for just one more level. While a lot of credit goes to SMG Studio for designing the most enjoyable co-op puzzle game I’ve played since Portal 2, I can almost guarantee that my wife would’ve balked at the idea of playing Death Squared on PlayStation 4. The difference comes down to simplicity. Despite the controls being essentially the same across platforms, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons present a far less intimidating form factor than the sixteen different buttons on the Dual Shock 4. It’s not that my wife is a simpleton (in fact, she’s much smarter than I am), it’s just that she isn’t as fluent in the language of video games. Neither are most people outside of the gaming bubble that we often find ourselves in. My three-year-old daughter never showed an interest in actually playing video games until I brought home my Switch. Now she can actually finish a race in Mario Kart 8. She hasn’t beaten me yet, but I look forward to the day when she does. So, even though the game is relatively friction-less for newcomers, some frustration rears its head through odd design decisions and technical quibbles. Each of the game’s test rooms (read: levels) are designed as floating constructs in some seemingly dark, vast warehouse. None of the test rooms have walls, so you’ll often just fall off the side of the structure and die when all you were trying to do was navigate in a straight line, especially in single-player when you’re often controlling both cubes at the same time, similar to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. So many times, I knew what I needed to do, but actually executing it was not as easy as it should’ve been. This makes simply going through the steps of completing a puzzle more frustrating than it needs to be. This is especially compounded by the fact that the game doesn’t consistently auto-save. Too often, I would load an old save only to find that I had to start a couple of levels back from where I had last stopped. And when simply moving around the environment can be treacherous, that problem isn’t as minor as it would otherwise be. Despite some of its minor issues, I’m still having a blast with Death Squared, and I think my wife is too. We haven’t made it through all of the game’s 80 plus levels (which is why you shouldn’t consider this to be a full review), but we have every intention of going back and seeing what new predicaments we can solve for those adorable little cubes. I can sincerely say, this is a game I’d much rather play on my Switch over any other system - and the list of games I can say that about is rapidly growing in number. A game as simple and accessible as Death Squared just makes more sense on Switch, but the fact that it’s also a smaller indie title that released to very little fanfare on other systems doesn’t hurt either. With less competition, now is the perfect time for games like this to find an audience. Death Squared benefits from being a kid friendly pick-up-and-play game on a kid friendly, mobile console. Though it isn’t a perfect game, it deserves to be seen and played by more people, and I’m glad it might have that chance on Nintendo’s nifty young console. View full article
  4. I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for just over a month now, but it’s already my preferred way to play video games. As a father, I have very little time to relax once everyone goes to sleep, so I often have to choose between playing video games and just vegging out and watching Netflix or YouTube. With my Switch, I don’t have to choose, I can do both. I’ve also gotten some use out of the system’s built-in portable co-op, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my nephews and, more recently, playing Death Squared with my wife – in bed, nonetheless. Death Squared released earlier this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, but like so many other independent games, it feels most at home on the Switch. The puzzle game tasks players with moving two or four different-colored robot cubes across grid-based levels from point A to point B. In single-player mode, each joystick on the Joy-Cons controls a different robot (two at a time). Things can get a bit tricky when you have to move both robots at the same time. However, in co-op, with the Joy-Cons detached, each player can naturally control a separate robot independently. It’s simple and intuitive to just pick up and play the game – in a way that only really works on the Switch. Death Squared never over complicates things on the gameplay front. The only input you need to know is how to move the joystick. That’s it. The rest is a matter of learning the various traps and mechanics that are layered on top of that simple premise of getting each robot to point B without dying. The game feels right at home among easy-to-learn but difficult to master Nintendo games like Mario Kart 8 and Arms. As the name implies, Death Squared uses death to teach players how the game works – which isn’t always to its benefit. Each new puzzle layers new challenges onto the formula, oftentimes without warning. For example, you only learn about the spikes that pop up from the floor and kill your robot at the very moment they kill your robot. Playing in co-op, dying repeatedly due to your partner’s impatience, incompetence, or mischievousness can be a good time. But in single-player, the trial and error gameplay can feel unfair and quickly becomes maddening as you gingerly try to navigate around each level while the game’s characters – a man named David and his A.I. overseer – mock your poor performance. It’s all much more enjoyable while playing co-op and can become pretty addictive once it sinks its hooks in you. With each level lasting no longer than a few minutes, once my wife and I got into a groove, we didn’t want to stop playing. With each new conundrum, we became better at coordinating and anticipating the game’s dastardly traps. My wife, who rarely plays games, ended up getting sucked into the clever puzzles and every time I suggested we quit, she would plead for just one more level. While a lot of credit goes to SMG Studio for designing the most enjoyable co-op puzzle game I’ve played since Portal 2, I can almost guarantee that my wife would’ve balked at the idea of playing Death Squared on PlayStation 4. The difference comes down to simplicity. Despite the controls being essentially the same across platforms, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons present a far less intimidating form factor than the sixteen different buttons on the Dual Shock 4. It’s not that my wife is a simpleton (in fact, she’s much smarter than I am), it’s just that she isn’t as fluent in the language of video games. Neither are most people outside of the gaming bubble that we often find ourselves in. My three-year-old daughter never showed an interest in actually playing video games until I brought home my Switch. Now she can actually finish a race in Mario Kart 8. She hasn’t beaten me yet, but I look forward to the day when she does. So, even though the game is relatively friction-less for newcomers, some frustration rears its head through odd design decisions and technical quibbles. Each of the game’s test rooms (read: levels) are designed as floating constructs in some seemingly dark, vast warehouse. None of the test rooms have walls, so you’ll often just fall off the side of the structure and die when all you were trying to do was navigate in a straight line, especially in single-player when you’re often controlling both cubes at the same time, similar to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. So many times, I knew what I needed to do, but actually executing it was not as easy as it should’ve been. This makes simply going through the steps of completing a puzzle more frustrating than it needs to be. This is especially compounded by the fact that the game doesn’t consistently auto-save. Too often, I would load an old save only to find that I had to start a couple of levels back from where I had last stopped. And when simply moving around the environment can be treacherous, that problem isn’t as minor as it would otherwise be. Despite some of its minor issues, I’m still having a blast with Death Squared, and I think my wife is too. We haven’t made it through all of the game’s 80 plus levels (which is why you shouldn’t consider this to be a full review), but we have every intention of going back and seeing what new predicaments we can solve for those adorable little cubes. I can sincerely say, this is a game I’d much rather play on my Switch over any other system - and the list of games I can say that about is rapidly growing in number. A game as simple and accessible as Death Squared just makes more sense on Switch, but the fact that it’s also a smaller indie title that released to very little fanfare on other systems doesn’t hurt either. With less competition, now is the perfect time for games like this to find an audience. Death Squared benefits from being a kid friendly pick-up-and-play game on a kid friendly, mobile console. Though it isn’t a perfect game, it deserves to be seen and played by more people, and I’m glad it might have that chance on Nintendo’s nifty young console.
  5. Starting July 5, Rocket League will get just a little more schwifty. As a part of the two-year Anniversary Update Rocket League will be getting some new Rick and Morty themed customization items. Players can get the titular characters in antennae form and Mr. Meseeks, Mr. Poopybutthole and a Cromulan will be available as toppers. There will also be a thematic rocket boost and wheels. These items will be free and can be found as a part of common drops for both online and offline matches. Some bad news though. According to the Rocket League site "Szechuan sauce not included." Other updates with the anniversary include a new arena, battle cars, goal explosions, achievements, trophies, soundtrack options and more. The update will also signal the start of season five. What do you think of the Rocket League update lineup? Are you excited for Rick and Morty meets car soccer? View full article
  6. Starting July 5, Rocket League will get just a little more schwifty. As a part of the two-year Anniversary Update Rocket League will be getting some new Rick and Morty themed customization items. Players can get the titular characters in antennae form and Mr. Meseeks, Mr. Poopybutthole and a Cromulan will be available as toppers. There will also be a thematic rocket boost and wheels. These items will be free and can be found as a part of common drops for both online and offline matches. Some bad news though. According to the Rocket League site "Szechuan sauce not included." Other updates with the anniversary include a new arena, battle cars, goal explosions, achievements, trophies, soundtrack options and more. The update will also signal the start of season five. What do you think of the Rocket League update lineup? Are you excited for Rick and Morty meets car soccer?
  7. After setting the record straight on the future of the company earlier this month, developer Io-Interactive announced June 20 that the beginning of Hitman would be free to play on all platforms. The move appears to be a celebration on securing the rights to the company's signature series. "I'm proud to announce that our first hello as an independent studio is to invite all gamers to play the beginning of Hitman for free," Hakan Abrak, CEO of Io-Interactive, said in a press release. Io-Interactive had been dropped by former owner Square Enix citing "extraordinary loss" as their reasoning for letting go of the team. With that news, it was uncertain where Io-interactive would head and whether or not they would be able to retain control over the Hitman IP. The Danish studio seems to be recovering, securing a buyout from Square Enix and retaining Hitman. The ICA facility, including all the content released for the area, is free to download now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. What do you think the future holds for Agent 47? Will you be playing the beginning of Hitman for the first time now that it is free? View full article
  8. After setting the record straight on the future of the company earlier this month, developer Io-Interactive announced June 20 that the beginning of Hitman would be free to play on all platforms. The move appears to be a celebration on securing the rights to the company's signature series. "I'm proud to announce that our first hello as an independent studio is to invite all gamers to play the beginning of Hitman for free," Hakan Abrak, CEO of Io-Interactive, said in a press release. Io-Interactive had been dropped by former owner Square Enix citing "extraordinary loss" as their reasoning for letting go of the team. With that news, it was uncertain where Io-interactive would head and whether or not they would be able to retain control over the Hitman IP. The Danish studio seems to be recovering, securing a buyout from Square Enix and retaining Hitman. The ICA facility, including all the content released for the area, is free to download now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. What do you think the future holds for Agent 47? Will you be playing the beginning of Hitman for the first time now that it is free?
  9. When I woke up this morning, I didn't expect to be writing about a new Bubsy game. I mean, for crying out loud, the last Bubsy game released in 1996 - that's over two decades ago! Through some kind of alchemy that doubtlessly included human sacrifices, Bubsy has a new game slated for release this year. With the aid of Billionsoft, an investment company that revives old gaming IPs with an eye to make a profit, Accolade has risen from the grave to create an all new Bubsy game. Titled Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back, the reinvention of the classic platformer has our furred hero traveling to various locales in search of the golden fleece. Bubsy returns this September on the PlayStation 4 and PC. View full article
  10. When I woke up this morning, I didn't expect to be writing about a new Bubsy game. I mean, for crying out loud, the last Bubsy game released in 1996 - that's over two decades ago! Through some kind of alchemy that doubtlessly included human sacrifices, Bubsy has a new game slated for release this year. With the aid of Billionsoft, an investment company that revives old gaming IPs with an eye to make a profit, Accolade has risen from the grave to create an all new Bubsy game. Titled Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back, the reinvention of the classic platformer has our furred hero traveling to various locales in search of the golden fleece. Bubsy returns this September on the PlayStation 4 and PC.
  11. Rebellion, the developers behind the successful Sniper Elite franchise, are trying their hand at something a little, dare I say... strange? They have pulled back the curtain on their newest game titled Strange Brigade, a third-person shooter for 1-4 players to tackle solo or co-op. We don't know much beyond those few facts and what's provided in the reveal trailer. The shooter takes on the decidedly campy tone of a 1930s adventure serial. Players will be exploring a far flung corner of the British empire and come face to face with an otherworldly threat amidst the sprawling ruins of a once magnificent city. Zombies, colossal humanoid monstrosities, and even ancient gods all converge on the Strange Brigade to tear them limb from limb. The one thing that strikes a dissonant cord for me in this trailer is the character design of the black woman. Her design is weirdly exotic and "othering" compared to her companion characters in the ensemble. Maybe the full game provides more context or perhaps I'm being overly critical of a game meant to be taken as a camp throwback, but it struck a sour note in a trailer that otherwise appeals to me. Overall, Strange Brigade appears to possess a great deal of promise as a co-op shooter in a similar vein as the Left 4 Dead franchise. More details will be released next week at E3. At the moment, Strange Brigade is slated for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  12. Rebellion, the developers behind the successful Sniper Elite franchise, are trying their hand at something a little, dare I say... strange? They have pulled back the curtain on their newest game titled Strange Brigade, a third-person shooter for 1-4 players to tackle solo or co-op. We don't know much beyond those few facts and what's provided in the reveal trailer. The shooter takes on the decidedly campy tone of a 1930s adventure serial. Players will be exploring a far flung corner of the British empire and come face to face with an otherworldly threat amidst the sprawling ruins of a once magnificent city. Zombies, colossal humanoid monstrosities, and even ancient gods all converge on the Strange Brigade to tear them limb from limb. The one thing that strikes a dissonant cord for me in this trailer is the character design of the black woman. Her design is weirdly exotic and "othering" compared to her companion characters in the ensemble. Maybe the full game provides more context or perhaps I'm being overly critical of a game meant to be taken as a camp throwback, but it struck a sour note in a trailer that otherwise appeals to me. Overall, Strange Brigade appears to possess a great deal of promise as a co-op shooter in a similar vein as the Left 4 Dead franchise. More details will be released next week at E3. At the moment, Strange Brigade is slated for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  13. The first Mega Man Legacy Collection released back in 2015 and covered the first six titles of the Mega Man series. Those first six games represent the entire NES era of Mega Man. Capcom has announced that a second Legacy Collection will release containing the further adventures of side-scrolling Mega Man that released following Mega Man 6. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 will contain Mega Man 7-10, covering the period of time when the series broke out of 8-bit graphics and into 16/32-bit action before returning to its 8-bit roots. Since 9 and 10 are modern installments, both will contain all DLC released for them to date. There will be minor tweaks and improvements throughout the four games of the collection. One of the major additions that could help new players appreciate Mega Man without the frustration is the new "Extra Armor" option that halves all damage taken and a checkpoint system to help pick up the action from a convenient distance instead of starting the level over from scratch. If that seems too easy, stages have been remixed for difficulty in the new Challenge Mode where players can compete and compare completion time with others around the world. For those who value gaming history, Capcom has also included an in-game museum that includes production art, sketches, development material, concepts, and a music player to listen to all the catchy bloops and bleeps of the Mega Man soundtracks. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 releases on August 8th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Oddly, the title doesn't appear to be coming to the Nintendo Switch at this time. View full article
  14. The first Mega Man Legacy Collection released back in 2015 and covered the first six titles of the Mega Man series. Those first six games represent the entire NES era of Mega Man. Capcom has announced that a second Legacy Collection will release containing the further adventures of side-scrolling Mega Man that released following Mega Man 6. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 will contain Mega Man 7-10, covering the period of time when the series broke out of 8-bit graphics and into 16/32-bit action before returning to its 8-bit roots. Since 9 and 10 are modern installments, both will contain all DLC released for them to date. There will be minor tweaks and improvements throughout the four games of the collection. One of the major additions that could help new players appreciate Mega Man without the frustration is the new "Extra Armor" option that halves all damage taken and a checkpoint system to help pick up the action from a convenient distance instead of starting the level over from scratch. If that seems too easy, stages have been remixed for difficulty in the new Challenge Mode where players can compete and compare completion time with others around the world. For those who value gaming history, Capcom has also included an in-game museum that includes production art, sketches, development material, concepts, and a music player to listen to all the catchy bloops and bleeps of the Mega Man soundtracks. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 releases on August 8th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Oddly, the title doesn't appear to be coming to the Nintendo Switch at this time.
  15. Today, Bungie held their explosive worldwide reveal of Destiny 2's gameplay. The event showed the opening mission of the game, titled Homecoming, in action as well as a new trailer and plenty of details on what Destiny 2 will do differently from the original Destiny. The event opened with a neat backstory trailer, which you can see here at 14:10 of the livestream. This new bit of story follows Zevala, one of the Guardian Vanguard, as he is resurrected to be a defender of humanity. He fights and dies and then fights again. We see him helping to build the Tower and securing the city... but all of that is just set up before the fall that begins Destiny 2. With just that cinematic, it's clear that Destiny 2 will be more focused on story and building up characters. Luke Smith, Destiny 2's director, took the stage to confirm that Destiny 2 would be tackling many things differently than its predecessor, really hammering home that this was a fresh start for both the franchise and its fans. Smith laid out the the number one priority of Destiny 2's vision by saying, "this is about having a story you can relate to. It's about having characters you want to hang out with, characters you want to work with. This is about having enemies, of course enemies, that you want to face. it's about the way we build our environments at Bungie. We want to create experiences that make you want to seek what's around every corner." The second focus of Destiny 2 will be to provide players with a robust assortment of activities. Exploration has been reworked to include side-missions, treasure maps, global objective events, and more. Those side-missions will have a storytelling focus involving vocal NPCs and send players into Lost Sectors, dungeons that are filled with enemies, loot, and bosses. They have also reworked how PvP will work in Destiny 2. In the upcoming incarnation of the Crucible, all PvP will take place in 4v4 matches. The HUD has been changed to include information on opponents, such as their loadouts and whether their super ability is ready to fire. There will be new game modes, such as the now revealed Countdown mode - the first attack-defend game type. There will be new strikes, a new raid, and more. Players will be able to launch all of these new things while exploring the alien worlds of Destiny 2 without going into orbit. Speaking of the planets, Destiny 2's campaign, titled The Red War Campaign, consist of Earth, Titan, Io, and Nessus. The Earth area is known as the EDZ (European Dead Zone) and it represents the largest in-game space Bungie has designed to date by a factor of two. This is where humanity has retreated to after the fall of Tower. Titan is an oceanic moon on which humanity built massive stations during its golden age. Now the Titan stations are slowly falling into its waters. The Vex have infested Nessus and transformed it into a new machine world covered in their technology and weaponry. Finally, Io stands as a holy world for Destiny 2's warlocks. It was once touched by the Traveler and now presents a number of mysteries that could aid Guardians in their fight to reclaim Earth. The final part of Destiny 2's vision is always having someone with whom to play. Luke Smith estimates that about 50% of Destiny players weren't able to access the multiplayer endgame content like raids or high level strikes. This was largely due to Destiny lacking a matchmaking system. Bungie made the choice to drop matchmaking for Destiny because they believed the toxic nature of gaming communities could lead to too many terrible experiences for players if they were matched with strangers. In Destiny 2, they feel as if they have a solution. Clans will be directly integrated into Destiny 2. Players will be able to fill their own rosters, create clan banners, and fashion descriptions of their respective clans. Bungie plans to implement a reward system that will benefit everyone in the clan when players collectively achieve goals. Not everyone will have to be a part of a clan to care about the clan system. In order to solve the matchmaking conundrum, Bungie has created what they call Guided Games. Solo players looking to raid will be able to pick clans with which they want to play. Clan descriptions can be perused to find good groups of players. This will, in effect, work as a sort of matchmaking curation directed by each player. In Bungie's view, this acts as a win-win. Clans will be able to fill empty spots and solo players will be able to access that endgame content. Bungie showed a portion of the Homecoming mission. Players experience the attack on Tower first hand as fleets of ships deploy troops and artillery bombardments. This slice of gameplay displayed the new class super abilities in action. Hunters can summon the Dawnblade, a fiery sword that grants players the ability to fly, slice enemies, and shoot plasma slices into the distance. Titans can make use of the Sentinel, a shield that both protects its bearer and can be thrown to serve as a powerful attack that ricochets between enemies. Lastly, Warlocks have the ability to summon the Arcstrider, a mystical monk staff empowered by electrical energy that sends its wielder with acrobatic combat energy. The story of Destiny 2 follows the aftermath of a major invasion of an alien called Dominus Gall, the leader of the Red Legion. Gall is an extremist who believes the Traveler chose poorly when it selected humanity to receive its power. He aims to take that power away and use it for its own ends. In taking that power, he destroys the Tower, the last safe human city on Earth. Destiny 2 is a game about loss and then recovery. Players will be starting fresh, having lost everything. The main objectives will be to reunite the leaders of the Guardians, the Vanguard, who have scattered across the solar system. In finding the Vanguard, players will hone and recover their abilities, perhaps building up enough power to challenge Gall. The game will include more cinematics than Bungie has ever created before and more story missions, all in service to the more narrative focused approach the studio is taking for the follow up to Destiny. To cap it all off - Destiny 2 will be available on PC for the first time. That's not news, but now we know how Destiny 2 will be available: Blizzard. Bungie is working with Activision to create Destiny 2 and Activision is calling in Blizzard to support the title via Battle.net. People interested in buying Destiny 2 on PC will only be able to buy it through Blizzard's platform to exist alongside games like StarCraft 2, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch. The Destiny 2 Beta will launch sometime this summer, so be sure to free up the 68Gb of space needed to store the game on your hard drives! You can watch the entire livestream of Bungie's event below. Destiny 2 officially launches for PS4 and Xbox One on September 8. The PC version doesn't have an official release set. Bungie says that they want to do the PC version right, so it is possible the PC version of Destiny 2 will be released sometime after September 8. View full article
  16. Today, Bungie held their explosive worldwide reveal of Destiny 2's gameplay. The event showed the opening mission of the game, titled Homecoming, in action as well as a new trailer and plenty of details on what Destiny 2 will do differently from the original Destiny. The event opened with a neat backstory trailer, which you can see here at 14:10 of the livestream. This new bit of story follows Zevala, one of the Guardian Vanguard, as he is resurrected to be a defender of humanity. He fights and dies and then fights again. We see him helping to build the Tower and securing the city... but all of that is just set up before the fall that begins Destiny 2. With just that cinematic, it's clear that Destiny 2 will be more focused on story and building up characters. Luke Smith, Destiny 2's director, took the stage to confirm that Destiny 2 would be tackling many things differently than its predecessor, really hammering home that this was a fresh start for both the franchise and its fans. Smith laid out the the number one priority of Destiny 2's vision by saying, "this is about having a story you can relate to. It's about having characters you want to hang out with, characters you want to work with. This is about having enemies, of course enemies, that you want to face. it's about the way we build our environments at Bungie. We want to create experiences that make you want to seek what's around every corner." The second focus of Destiny 2 will be to provide players with a robust assortment of activities. Exploration has been reworked to include side-missions, treasure maps, global objective events, and more. Those side-missions will have a storytelling focus involving vocal NPCs and send players into Lost Sectors, dungeons that are filled with enemies, loot, and bosses. They have also reworked how PvP will work in Destiny 2. In the upcoming incarnation of the Crucible, all PvP will take place in 4v4 matches. The HUD has been changed to include information on opponents, such as their loadouts and whether their super ability is ready to fire. There will be new game modes, such as the now revealed Countdown mode - the first attack-defend game type. There will be new strikes, a new raid, and more. Players will be able to launch all of these new things while exploring the alien worlds of Destiny 2 without going into orbit. Speaking of the planets, Destiny 2's campaign, titled The Red War Campaign, consist of Earth, Titan, Io, and Nessus. The Earth area is known as the EDZ (European Dead Zone) and it represents the largest in-game space Bungie has designed to date by a factor of two. This is where humanity has retreated to after the fall of Tower. Titan is an oceanic moon on which humanity built massive stations during its golden age. Now the Titan stations are slowly falling into its waters. The Vex have infested Nessus and transformed it into a new machine world covered in their technology and weaponry. Finally, Io stands as a holy world for Destiny 2's warlocks. It was once touched by the Traveler and now presents a number of mysteries that could aid Guardians in their fight to reclaim Earth. The final part of Destiny 2's vision is always having someone with whom to play. Luke Smith estimates that about 50% of Destiny players weren't able to access the multiplayer endgame content like raids or high level strikes. This was largely due to Destiny lacking a matchmaking system. Bungie made the choice to drop matchmaking for Destiny because they believed the toxic nature of gaming communities could lead to too many terrible experiences for players if they were matched with strangers. In Destiny 2, they feel as if they have a solution. Clans will be directly integrated into Destiny 2. Players will be able to fill their own rosters, create clan banners, and fashion descriptions of their respective clans. Bungie plans to implement a reward system that will benefit everyone in the clan when players collectively achieve goals. Not everyone will have to be a part of a clan to care about the clan system. In order to solve the matchmaking conundrum, Bungie has created what they call Guided Games. Solo players looking to raid will be able to pick clans with which they want to play. Clan descriptions can be perused to find good groups of players. This will, in effect, work as a sort of matchmaking curation directed by each player. In Bungie's view, this acts as a win-win. Clans will be able to fill empty spots and solo players will be able to access that endgame content. Bungie showed a portion of the Homecoming mission. Players experience the attack on Tower first hand as fleets of ships deploy troops and artillery bombardments. This slice of gameplay displayed the new class super abilities in action. Hunters can summon the Dawnblade, a fiery sword that grants players the ability to fly, slice enemies, and shoot plasma slices into the distance. Titans can make use of the Sentinel, a shield that both protects its bearer and can be thrown to serve as a powerful attack that ricochets between enemies. Lastly, Warlocks have the ability to summon the Arcstrider, a mystical monk staff empowered by electrical energy that sends its wielder with acrobatic combat energy. The story of Destiny 2 follows the aftermath of a major invasion of an alien called Dominus Gall, the leader of the Red Legion. Gall is an extremist who believes the Traveler chose poorly when it selected humanity to receive its power. He aims to take that power away and use it for its own ends. In taking that power, he destroys the Tower, the last safe human city on Earth. Destiny 2 is a game about loss and then recovery. Players will be starting fresh, having lost everything. The main objectives will be to reunite the leaders of the Guardians, the Vanguard, who have scattered across the solar system. In finding the Vanguard, players will hone and recover their abilities, perhaps building up enough power to challenge Gall. The game will include more cinematics than Bungie has ever created before and more story missions, all in service to the more narrative focused approach the studio is taking for the follow up to Destiny. To cap it all off - Destiny 2 will be available on PC for the first time. That's not news, but now we know how Destiny 2 will be available: Blizzard. Bungie is working with Activision to create Destiny 2 and Activision is calling in Blizzard to support the title via Battle.net. People interested in buying Destiny 2 on PC will only be able to buy it through Blizzard's platform to exist alongside games like StarCraft 2, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch. The Destiny 2 Beta will launch sometime this summer, so be sure to free up the 68Gb of space needed to store the game on your hard drives! You can watch the entire livestream of Bungie's event below. Destiny 2 officially launches for PS4 and Xbox One on September 8. The PC version doesn't have an official release set. Bungie says that they want to do the PC version right, so it is possible the PC version of Destiny 2 will be released sometime after September 8.
  17. Swedish game developer Villa Gorilla announced today that they will be partnering with publisher Team17 to bring their combination pinball-platformer to life. Yoku's Island Express offers a strangely enticing mix of pinball gameplay and platforming with pinball elements. Players take on the role of Yoku, a heroic dung beetle wh- wait, hear me out! I know video games are sometimes weird just for the sake of being weird, but this one seems weird AND cool. Yoku has arrived on Mokumana Island, a land of anthropomorphic animals, in order to take over for the old pterodactyl's mailman job. Though he thought this island gig would be relaxing, he soon discovers that Mokumana's guardian deity has fallen into a deep sleep plagued by nightmares. The slumbering god's troubled dreams create earthquakes and misery for the colorful characters of the island, even bringing down Yoku's post office. So, in order to get the relaxation he always wanted, Yoku sets off on a mission to awaken the troubled god and restore peace to Mokumana. Using Yoku's travelling ball, you know, as dung beetles do, players can help him navigate the pinball-like stages to explore the world, collect fruit, and rebuild the ruined post office. The hand-painted world of Yoku's Island Express was created by industry veterans and ex-members of Starbreeze Studios (Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), Jens Andersson and Mattias Snygg. Andersson explained the new relationship with Team17 by saying, "with Team17 we’ve found a publishing partner that cherishes innovation and style – something we recognized way back when we played Alien Breed on our Amigas. We feel that their commitment to quality and fun gameplay is a perfect match for us." Yoku's Island Adventure will be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2018. View full article
  18. Swedish game developer Villa Gorilla announced today that they will be partnering with publisher Team17 to bring their combination pinball-platformer to life. Yoku's Island Express offers a strangely enticing mix of pinball gameplay and platforming with pinball elements. Players take on the role of Yoku, a heroic dung beetle wh- wait, hear me out! I know video games are sometimes weird just for the sake of being weird, but this one seems weird AND cool. Yoku has arrived on Mokumana Island, a land of anthropomorphic animals, in order to take over for the old pterodactyl's mailman job. Though he thought this island gig would be relaxing, he soon discovers that Mokumana's guardian deity has fallen into a deep sleep plagued by nightmares. The slumbering god's troubled dreams create earthquakes and misery for the colorful characters of the island, even bringing down Yoku's post office. So, in order to get the relaxation he always wanted, Yoku sets off on a mission to awaken the troubled god and restore peace to Mokumana. Using Yoku's travelling ball, you know, as dung beetles do, players can help him navigate the pinball-like stages to explore the world, collect fruit, and rebuild the ruined post office. The hand-painted world of Yoku's Island Express was created by industry veterans and ex-members of Starbreeze Studios (Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), Jens Andersson and Mattias Snygg. Andersson explained the new relationship with Team17 by saying, "with Team17 we’ve found a publishing partner that cherishes innovation and style – something we recognized way back when we played Alien Breed on our Amigas. We feel that their commitment to quality and fun gameplay is a perfect match for us." Yoku's Island Adventure will be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2018.
  19. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was born from the vision of filmmaker Josef Fares. Fares, a Lebanese refugee, managed to escape the country's civil war in 1987 and relocate to Sweden with his family. He became a prolific director in the Swedish film world and made Jalla! Jalla!, one of the most popular films in the country. Released by Starbreeze Studios in 2013, Brothers adopted a highly unconventional dual joystick control scheme for its isometric adventure game. It became an instant critical darling, but what did it do right to earn that praise? Perhaps things are different when revisiting the game from a 2017 perspective. Is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons worthy of the praise it received for its cinematic vision and unique control scheme? Is it one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 'Love and Loss' by Sebastien Skaf (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03484) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  20. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was born from the vision of filmmaker Josef Fares. Fares, a Lebanese refugee, managed to escape the country's civil war in 1987 and relocate to Sweden with his family. He became a prolific director in the Swedish film world and made Jalla! Jalla!, one of the most popular films in the country. Released by Starbreeze Studios in 2013, Brothers adopted a highly unconventional dual joystick control scheme for its isometric adventure game. It became an instant critical darling, but what did it do right to earn that praise? Perhaps things are different when revisiting the game from a 2017 perspective. Is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons worthy of the praise it received for its cinematic vision and unique control scheme? Is it one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 'Love and Loss' by Sebastien Skaf (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03484) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  21. Feature: Review: Dark Souls III

    The Dark Souls series has defined itself as a fight around the idea of entropy. Should we embrace that all things must come to an end or rage against the dying of the light? Or perhaps find another way entirely? This conflict forms the central theme that permeates every nook and cranny of the game world, clarifying itself with each new enemy and boss. That struggle makes up the Dark Soul itself. The kingdoms of men in the Age of Fire, for all their strength, are doomed to fade and succumb to a curse brought on by time and the gods themselves. When the curse awakens, it makes men immortal, living on in a state of undeath, but once undead, humans begin to lose bits of themselves as time passes. Time eventually wears them away into hollows, mindless monsters who hunger for purpose. There is only one way to lift the curse: A hero must arise and brave the dangers of a world deteriorating into chaos to rekindle the First Flame, a bastion of power that preserves the world. After braving horrors and madness, players are given the option of rekindling the First Flame with their life or snuffing it out to usher in the Age of Dark, a new world order that embraces a fireless world - but there may be other choices hidden to all but a few. Players entered the world of the first Dark Souls shortly after the curse had begun afflicting humans for the first time. No matter how that great cataclysm is resolved, the events of Dark Souls II take place far into the future, in the middle of the Age of Fire. The second game has players fighting to ascend to the Throne of Want, a throne that looks strikingly like a kiln. Again, no matter how players decide to end the story, Dark Souls III happens. This time, the Age of Fire has begun to literally choke on its own ash. The First Flame is dying. It has been linked so many times that one powerful soul can no longer relight it. Now several are needed. In an effort to avert almost certain death, powerful beings from history have revived as Lords of Cinder to become sacrifices, however all but one refuse their duty to continue the world. One more bit of unkindled ash arises from the graves of heroes and receives the task of uniting those Lords and relighting the flame – the player. From the beginning, the world of Dark Souls III feels tired and broken. Ash litters the ground. Violent religious cults abound, each with their own ways of coping with their hopeless plight. The player isn’t even a lowly undead as in previous titles, but the dregs of ashen souls randomly reforged. Even immortal dragons have begun to succumb to decay of mind and body. This is the Dark Souls that players have known and loved since the beginning of the series, but all around the edges of that Dark Souls identity threads come unraveled. Of course, when I say “this is the same Dark Souls,” I mean thematically and visually. The mechanics of Dark Souls III have undergone a revision that incorporates lessons learned from the development of Bloodborne. When Bloodborne released, people compared its fast, aggressive combat favorably against the more deliberate, measured pace of the Dark Souls series. You can see that quickened sensibility translated into Dark Souls III in a number of little ways. For example, the player gets locked into fewer animations, something that in previous Souls games could mean death by accidental button press. More weapons feature transformations between distinct move sets, something that Bloodborne certainly popularized. Combat occurs with a desperate finality. The enemies players encounter act as if they know they are living in a world with a mortal wound, a fatal injury that affects them as well. And as the saying goes, “nothing is more dangerous than a wounded animal.” Enemies throw themselves into combat ferociously, adopting frenzied patterns of attack. Sometimes these patterns can seem unfair, but the core fun of Dark Souls has always been in learning those patterns and overcoming obstacles either alone or in jolly cooperation with other players. Dark Souls III feels rigorously balanced to avoid luring players into cheap deaths. Often it feels like if you’re just vigilant enough, you could deal with anything the game might throw at you. Though that confidence is often immediately undercut by a blistering encounter - if nothing else, Dark Souls III keeps players humble. Developer From Software describes their artistic approach to Dark Souls III as “withered beauty.” I wasn’t sure at first if the style of a dying world in all its dilapidated grandeur stemmed from a conscious choice or if the aesthetic was an extension of series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki’s reluctance to return to the series. He had made some statements in the past that indicated he wanted to be done with Dark Souls and that too many sequels would muddy his original intent. After spending almost 100 hours in its intricate, crumbling world, I feel comfortable saying that, yes, Dark Souls III is an entirely intentional work of art that brings the series full circle. While the core game does conclude on a definitive note regardless of player choice, the DLC ultimately brings things to a climactic final coda at the end of all things: A clash between the old world and the possibilities of the future. Ashes of Ariandel invites players into a world of rot and ice, a refuge from the apocalypse in the outside world. However, the shelter from ending possesses its own dangers and stands out as providing one of the most unique encounters in Dark Souls III. It also introduces a largely disposable multiplayer Vs. Mode, though I am sure many will derive some joy from fighting friends and strangers. Ashes of Ariandel ultimately exists to set the stage for The Ringed City DLC. This lore-heavy expansion has players delving into the legendary home of the Pygmies, an obscure, but important race of beings in the Souls universe. However, some characters and creatures have persisted within the city’s walls for countless years, standing firm to ward off intruders who come hoping to lay claim to the titular Dark Soul. Strangely, the final encounter in this DLC doesn’t end with an explosive cutscene or much exposition, just an intimate battle to the death and a subtle revelation hidden within the Ashes of Ariandel. It’s quiet, and that muted finale subverts expectations in a game that goes big so often. But that ending gets at the heart of what Dark Souls III and, indeed, what the larger Dark Souls series was about from the beginning. Conclusion: Dark Souls has been about the continuation of a toxic cycle, a cycle that offers diminishing returns with each renewal. Miyazaki purposefully left that cycle open to interpretation as an artistic statement. Does it represent addiction? Depression? Existentialism? One can interpret the cycle of spiraling rebirth and death to mean quite a number of things on a personal level – that, along with the near perfect "firm but fair" mechanics, is part of what allowed so many people to identify so strongly with the series. Dark Souls III sees that cycle finally spiral down toward its ultimate conclusion. The world can continue to struggle on, locked in an endless twilight, take the plunge into darkness where hope might one day be born anew, or the cycle can be broken into something else entirely. Even in this ending, Miyazaki leaves what the series could mean up to each player’s interpretation. There are some who see nothing in it, a pointless exercise in rehashing the Dark Souls adventure for a third time. There are some who see some truth in that portrayal of the world. Personally, Dark Souls III seems to be a meta commentary on the creative process – it is an adventure that seems limitless until limits are imposed upon it by solidifying an idea and making it real, and then creativity dies or stagnates or, very rarely, soldiers on toward something new and unknown. Indeed, while Miyazaki might not have initially desired a Dark Souls III, he and his team made the most of it while operating within the constraints of the franchise. Now From Software is working on something new, a new world on a new canvas. Dark Souls III is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC View full article
  22. Review: Dark Souls III

    The Dark Souls series has defined itself as a fight around the idea of entropy. Should we embrace that all things must come to an end or rage against the dying of the light? Or perhaps find another way entirely? This conflict forms the central theme that permeates every nook and cranny of the game world, clarifying itself with each new enemy and boss. That struggle makes up the Dark Soul itself. The kingdoms of men in the Age of Fire, for all their strength, are doomed to fade and succumb to a curse brought on by time and the gods themselves. When the curse awakens, it makes men immortal, living on in a state of undeath, but once undead, humans begin to lose bits of themselves as time passes. Time eventually wears them away into hollows, mindless monsters who hunger for purpose. There is only one way to lift the curse: A hero must arise and brave the dangers of a world deteriorating into chaos to rekindle the First Flame, a bastion of power that preserves the world. After braving horrors and madness, players are given the option of rekindling the First Flame with their life or snuffing it out to usher in the Age of Dark, a new world order that embraces a fireless world - but there may be other choices hidden to all but a few. Players entered the world of the first Dark Souls shortly after the curse had begun afflicting humans for the first time. No matter how that great cataclysm is resolved, the events of Dark Souls II take place far into the future, in the middle of the Age of Fire. The second game has players fighting to ascend to the Throne of Want, a throne that looks strikingly like a kiln. Again, no matter how players decide to end the story, Dark Souls III happens. This time, the Age of Fire has begun to literally choke on its own ash. The First Flame is dying. It has been linked so many times that one powerful soul can no longer relight it. Now several are needed. In an effort to avert almost certain death, powerful beings from history have revived as Lords of Cinder to become sacrifices, however all but one refuse their duty to continue the world. One more bit of unkindled ash arises from the graves of heroes and receives the task of uniting those Lords and relighting the flame – the player. From the beginning, the world of Dark Souls III feels tired and broken. Ash litters the ground. Violent religious cults abound, each with their own ways of coping with their hopeless plight. The player isn’t even a lowly undead as in previous titles, but the dregs of ashen souls randomly reforged. Even immortal dragons have begun to succumb to decay of mind and body. This is the Dark Souls that players have known and loved since the beginning of the series, but all around the edges of that Dark Souls identity threads come unraveled. Of course, when I say “this is the same Dark Souls,” I mean thematically and visually. The mechanics of Dark Souls III have undergone a revision that incorporates lessons learned from the development of Bloodborne. When Bloodborne released, people compared its fast, aggressive combat favorably against the more deliberate, measured pace of the Dark Souls series. You can see that quickened sensibility translated into Dark Souls III in a number of little ways. For example, the player gets locked into fewer animations, something that in previous Souls games could mean death by accidental button press. More weapons feature transformations between distinct move sets, something that Bloodborne certainly popularized. Combat occurs with a desperate finality. The enemies players encounter act as if they know they are living in a world with a mortal wound, a fatal injury that affects them as well. And as the saying goes, “nothing is more dangerous than a wounded animal.” Enemies throw themselves into combat ferociously, adopting frenzied patterns of attack. Sometimes these patterns can seem unfair, but the core fun of Dark Souls has always been in learning those patterns and overcoming obstacles either alone or in jolly cooperation with other players. Dark Souls III feels rigorously balanced to avoid luring players into cheap deaths. Often it feels like if you’re just vigilant enough, you could deal with anything the game might throw at you. Though that confidence is often immediately undercut by a blistering encounter - if nothing else, Dark Souls III keeps players humble. Developer From Software describes their artistic approach to Dark Souls III as “withered beauty.” I wasn’t sure at first if the style of a dying world in all its dilapidated grandeur stemmed from a conscious choice or if the aesthetic was an extension of series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki’s reluctance to return to the series. He had made some statements in the past that indicated he wanted to be done with Dark Souls and that too many sequels would muddy his original intent. After spending almost 100 hours in its intricate, crumbling world, I feel comfortable saying that, yes, Dark Souls III is an entirely intentional work of art that brings the series full circle. While the core game does conclude on a definitive note regardless of player choice, the DLC ultimately brings things to a climactic final coda at the end of all things: A clash between the old world and the possibilities of the future. Ashes of Ariandel invites players into a world of rot and ice, a refuge from the apocalypse in the outside world. However, the shelter from ending possesses its own dangers and stands out as providing one of the most unique encounters in Dark Souls III. It also introduces a largely disposable multiplayer Vs. Mode, though I am sure many will derive some joy from fighting friends and strangers. Ashes of Ariandel ultimately exists to set the stage for The Ringed City DLC. This lore-heavy expansion has players delving into the legendary home of the Pygmies, an obscure, but important race of beings in the Souls universe. However, some characters and creatures have persisted within the city’s walls for countless years, standing firm to ward off intruders who come hoping to lay claim to the titular Dark Soul. Strangely, the final encounter in this DLC doesn’t end with an explosive cutscene or much exposition, just an intimate battle to the death and a subtle revelation hidden within the Ashes of Ariandel. It’s quiet, and that muted finale subverts expectations in a game that goes big so often. But that ending gets at the heart of what Dark Souls III and, indeed, what the larger Dark Souls series was about from the beginning. Conclusion: Dark Souls has been about the continuation of a toxic cycle, a cycle that offers diminishing returns with each renewal. Miyazaki purposefully left that cycle open to interpretation as an artistic statement. Does it represent addiction? Depression? Existentialism? One can interpret the cycle of spiraling rebirth and death to mean quite a number of things on a personal level – that, along with the near perfect "firm but fair" mechanics, is part of what allowed so many people to identify so strongly with the series. Dark Souls III sees that cycle finally spiral down toward its ultimate conclusion. The world can continue to struggle on, locked in an endless twilight, take the plunge into darkness where hope might one day be born anew, or the cycle can be broken into something else entirely. Even in this ending, Miyazaki leaves what the series could mean up to each player’s interpretation. There are some who see nothing in it, a pointless exercise in rehashing the Dark Souls adventure for a third time. There are some who see some truth in that portrayal of the world. Personally, Dark Souls III seems to be a meta commentary on the creative process – it is an adventure that seems limitless until limits are imposed upon it by solidifying an idea and making it real, and then creativity dies or stagnates or, very rarely, soldiers on toward something new and unknown. Indeed, while Miyazaki might not have initially desired a Dark Souls III, he and his team made the most of it while operating within the constraints of the franchise. Now From Software is working on something new, a new world on a new canvas. Dark Souls III is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
  23. There was once a game called Advent Rising. It was hyped up as the next great science-fiction adventure that would transcend games and become something more. Unfortunately, it released in 2005 with a multitude of bugs in an era where patching post-release was a rarity at best. Advent Rising caused the implosion of its development studio, GlyphX Games. A group of individual developers escaped the studio's downfall, banding together to form Chair Entertainment. The newly minted indie studio went on to develop and release Shadow Complex in 2009. The 2.5D metroidvania sidescroller adopted a more realistic aesthetic and spawned a series of novels authored by Orson Scott Card. The game released and seemed to fill a niche in the indie gaming world that hadn't been filled in quite that same way before. With a recent remaster, it seems like a perfect time to ask the question: Is Shadow Complex one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Tales of Phantasia 'The Koan of Drums' by djpretzel (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01500) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  24. There was once a game called Advent Rising. It was hyped up as the next great science-fiction adventure that would transcend games and become something more. Unfortunately, it released in 2005 with a multitude of bugs in an era where patching post-release was a rarity at best. Advent Rising caused the implosion of its development studio, GlyphX Games. A group of individual developers escaped the studio's downfall, banding together to form Chair Entertainment. The newly minted indie studio went on to develop and release Shadow Complex in 2009. The 2.5D metroidvania sidescroller adopted a more realistic aesthetic and spawned a series of novels authored by Orson Scott Card. The game released and seemed to fill a niche in the indie gaming world that hadn't been filled in quite that same way before. With a recent remaster, it seems like a perfect time to ask the question: Is Shadow Complex one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Tales of Phantasia 'The Koan of Drums' by djpretzel (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01500) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  25. The curtain has been pulled aside and a new adventure into the apocalypse has been revealed! The fine folks at Gematsu spotted a listing on Amazon for the upcoming THQNordic action title and managed to grab some details from the listing before it went dark. The new Darksiders title will focus on Fury, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who has been tasked with cleaning up the cosmological mess created by War in the first Darksiders game. To that end, Fury must use her whip and magic to hunt down the Seven Deadly Sins who have been dubbed "the enemies of existence" before they can wreck irreparable harm. Her journey will take players from the ruins of Earth to heaven, hell, and beyond as she struggles to balance the forces that threaten to rip apart the fabric of reality. Players will have to traverse an open world that holds many secrets to be uncovered by adventurous and canny players. In the tradition of games like Metroid and The Legend of Zelda, those who explore old areas with new items and abilities will be able to reap many rewards. As Fury progresses on her journey, her magic will allow her to take on many new forms for combat, exploration, and style. Shortly after Darksiders 3 appeared on Amazon, IGN revealed the first trailer for the title. Darksiders 3 will release in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC View full article