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Found 86 results

  1. This week Daniel Jones flies solo in an Honorable Mention dedicated to the zen mobile game Alto's Adventure. The endless runner (endless ski-er?) utterly captivated Daniel in early 2015 and has been a game he has found difficult to put down ever since. The premier effort from studio Snowman it managed to generate some significant buzz in the mainstream press who praised its quality. Take a ride with Daniel as he takes you down the slopes of the thoroughly enchanting indie skiing odyssey. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Chrono Trigger 'Neuga, Ziena, Zieber, Zom...' by The OC Jazz Collective and Wiesty (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03411) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes (consider leaving a review!). A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  2. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Jeremy Brown flies solo this week with an episode talking about the show's first mobile game: You Must Build A Boat. A match-3 game from early 2015 that took the mobile world by storm, garnering accolades and perfect scores from across the industry. A sequel to 1000000, Touch Arcade stated that You Must Build A Boat "makes the original game feel like a demo. It’s absurdly fun and nearly impossible to put down." What earns it a spot worthy of highlighting on The Best Games Period as an Honorable Mention? Listen and learn. Outro music: Undertale 'Make Your Life Hell' by LongBoxofChocolate (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03424) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes (consider leaving a review!). A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  3. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Jeremy Brown flies solo this week with an episode talking about the show's first mobile game: You Must Build A Boat. A match-3 game from early 2015 that took the mobile world by storm, garnering accolades and perfect scores from across the industry. A sequel to 1000000, Touch Arcade stated that You Must Build A Boat "makes the original game feel like a demo. It’s absurdly fun and nearly impossible to put down." What earns it a spot worthy of highlighting on The Best Games Period as an Honorable Mention? Listen and learn. Outro music: Undertale 'Make Your Life Hell' by LongBoxofChocolate (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03424) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes (consider leaving a review!). A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  4. Degica Games, the publishers of the well-known RPG Maker franchise, has released a new role-playing creation tool exclusively for iOS called RPG Creator. The app hits the iOS store for free with a premium version available for those who wish to delve deeply into game creation on mobile. Degica touts that the toolset doesn't require any programming skills to operate well and can be used to make engrossing games entirely on your mobile device. RPG Creator seems to feature a number of useful tools, which m a fleshed out map editor for players to create villages, castles, dungeons, and more. Degica claims their game also allows for players to easily create events (which can prove to be a tricky proposition in their RPG Maker series) and will make use of an "extensive database" that allows for the customization of games. While a main selling point for the app appears to be that it can be made without the aid of a computer, development hopefuls will be able to upload their own resources and assets to personalize the games they create with the toolset. Those who use the tool to develop their own games can upload and share their creations via an in-game portal, which can also be used to download and play other games. In theory, this means that those who own the app will be able to play a wide variety of games, depending on what other people create with the tools in RPG Creator. The app has actually been available for about two years, but until now it was only accessible in Japanese. If you are looking to see what kinds of things can be achieved with the tools Degica has published in the past with their RPG Maker series, I'd highly recommend checking out the free game Star Stealing Prince for PC.
  5. Degica Games, the publishers of the well-known RPG Maker franchise, has released a new role-playing creation tool exclusively for iOS called RPG Creator. The app hits the iOS store for free with a premium version available for those who wish to delve deeply into game creation on mobile. Degica touts that the toolset doesn't require any programming skills to operate well and can be used to make engrossing games entirely on your mobile device. RPG Creator seems to feature a number of useful tools, which m a fleshed out map editor for players to create villages, castles, dungeons, and more. Degica claims their game also allows for players to easily create events (which can prove to be a tricky proposition in their RPG Maker series) and will make use of an "extensive database" that allows for the customization of games. While a main selling point for the app appears to be that it can be made without the aid of a computer, development hopefuls will be able to upload their own resources and assets to personalize the games they create with the toolset. Those who use the tool to develop their own games can upload and share their creations via an in-game portal, which can also be used to download and play other games. In theory, this means that those who own the app will be able to play a wide variety of games, depending on what other people create with the tools in RPG Creator. The app has actually been available for about two years, but until now it was only accessible in Japanese. If you are looking to see what kinds of things can be achieved with the tools Degica has published in the past with their RPG Maker series, I'd highly recommend checking out the free game Star Stealing Prince for PC. View full article
  6. The Apple event today held an unexpected gaming surprise in the form of Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, taking the stage. Miyamoto revealed that Mario games would be making their way to iOS in the near future, breaking Nintendo's mascot into the mobile gaming realm for the first time. The first title announced, Super Mario Run, was demonstrated live on stage. It features Mario traversing stages as players tap the screen to make him jump, collecting coins and avoiding obstacles within the stage's set time limit. The demo displayed at least six worlds for players to jump and jumble through. The iOS game also includes a multiplayer component. The mode, called Toad Rally, allows players to race one another through stages. Miyamoto stated that players can connect with one another from around the world. Miyamoto also stated that the app will sell for a fixed price and will not include microtransactions. No release date has been announced, but Miyamoto did reveal that players should expect Super Mario Run to release sometime this holiday season. This move by Nintendo follows closely on the heels of the smashing success of Miitomo, Nintendo's social app that became a mild sensation earlier this year, and Niantic's Pokémon Go, which generated an even larger sensation. Nintendo promised shortly after the resounding success of both apps that they would be looking more closely into mobile gaming for future investments. View full article
  7. The Apple event today held an unexpected gaming surprise in the form of Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, taking the stage. Miyamoto revealed that Mario games would be making their way to iOS in the near future, breaking Nintendo's mascot into the mobile gaming realm for the first time. The first title announced, Super Mario Run, was demonstrated live on stage. It features Mario traversing stages as players tap the screen to make him jump, collecting coins and avoiding obstacles within the stage's set time limit. The demo displayed at least six worlds for players to jump and jumble through. The iOS game also includes a multiplayer component. The mode, called Toad Rally, allows players to race one another through stages. Miyamoto stated that players can connect with one another from around the world. Miyamoto also stated that the app will sell for a fixed price and will not include microtransactions. No release date has been announced, but Miyamoto did reveal that players should expect Super Mario Run to release sometime this holiday season. This move by Nintendo follows closely on the heels of the smashing success of Miitomo, Nintendo's social app that became a mild sensation earlier this year, and Niantic's Pokémon Go, which generated an even larger sensation. Nintendo promised shortly after the resounding success of both apps that they would be looking more closely into mobile gaming for future investments.
  8. A new and interesting take on augmented reality games, Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltratiOn allows players to interact with the world of Mr. Robot via a messaging app for iOS and Android. The game takes place in real time over the course of a week as players talk with members of the underground hacker group, fsociety. In the game, players will use the E Corp messaging app to interact with original characters and characters from the USA show with the goal of recovering data vital to uncovering E Corp's plans. To create 1.51exfiltratiOn, Telltale Games teamed up with Night School Studio, the developer behind the recently released and well-received Oxenfree. The game through messaging app idea presented some very unique challenges, especially when extended over the course of a week in real-time. Players interact with the game by using the E Corp app and using its various features or selecting one of several responses to incoming messages to see how all of it plays out. While that not seem as fleshed out as allowing players to write their own messages, the hurdles of predicting text responses needed to be narrowed down. "Night School Studio is one of the most promising small developers in the industry, and seeing Telltale alumnus and writer Adam Hines writing alongside the team at UCP (Universal Cable Productions) and USA on an interactive story with our partners at NBCUniversal makes us proud to present this to MR. ROBOT and Telltale fans everywhere," said Steve Allison, the senior vice president of publishing at Telltale Games. "There's a distinct Telltale style to all of the character interactions that our fans will find familiar, and fans of the show will be engrossed all through the night as they race to help fsociety pull off the unthinkable." Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltratiOn is available now for iOS and Android devices.
  9. A new and interesting take on augmented reality games, Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltratiOn allows players to interact with the world of Mr. Robot via a messaging app for iOS and Android. The game takes place in real time over the course of a week as players talk with members of the underground hacker group, fsociety. In the game, players will use the E Corp messaging app to interact with original characters and characters from the USA show with the goal of recovering data vital to uncovering E Corp's plans. To create 1.51exfiltratiOn, Telltale Games teamed up with Night School Studio, the developer behind the recently released and well-received Oxenfree. The game through messaging app idea presented some very unique challenges, especially when extended over the course of a week in real-time. Players interact with the game by using the E Corp app and using its various features or selecting one of several responses to incoming messages to see how all of it plays out. While that not seem as fleshed out as allowing players to write their own messages, the hurdles of predicting text responses needed to be narrowed down. "Night School Studio is one of the most promising small developers in the industry, and seeing Telltale alumnus and writer Adam Hines writing alongside the team at UCP (Universal Cable Productions) and USA on an interactive story with our partners at NBCUniversal makes us proud to present this to MR. ROBOT and Telltale fans everywhere," said Steve Allison, the senior vice president of publishing at Telltale Games. "There's a distinct Telltale style to all of the character interactions that our fans will find familiar, and fans of the show will be engrossed all through the night as they race to help fsociety pull off the unthinkable." Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltratiOn is available now for iOS and Android devices. View full article
  10. Pokémon Go has been sweeping the world for the past several days. To say that the game, which allows players to search out Pokémon in the real world, capture them, and fight over gyms, has created a social craze would be a bit of an understatement Going to any centrally located Pokéstop or gym usually reveals dozens of small groups of players searching for Pokémon or vying for gym control. A certain spirit of camaraderie exists between players of the the mobile game, sheepish grins and conversation exchanged between those who bump into one another in public. A great deal of enjoyment and fun has been had with the app already with more to be had in the future. That being said, Pokémon Go has had a number of problems during its launch that developer Niantic could improve upon. Chief among them has been server stability keeping players from logging in to the app, preventing the app from refreshing Pokémon in the area, and cancelling the capture of Pokémon (c'mon, I was just about to catch that wily Ghastly). Players have also been noticing certain improvements that could be made with app compatibility, safety, and respect for certain areas. This has led to a number of petitions being filed for Niantic to improve or change Pokémon Go. The largest of these petitions asks for Pokémon Go to be made compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 10 mobile, which is currently sitting at over 43,000 signatures. The next largest seems to be the petition with almost 35,000 signatures asking for the app to run on phones that use Intel processors. Several other petitions exist that ask for a Windows phone compatible version of Pokémon Go. Regarding safety concerns, players have begun a petition for a feature that limits Pokémon Go while driving in order to protect against distracted driving, which is an actual problem. The petition's creator, Charles A, envisions an update for the app, "that can detect increased fast movement via the GPS on a user's phone and disabling certain features in the game." He also adds that, "the ability to disable this [...] if there happens to be passengers playing Pokemon Go and not the one operating the motor vehicle to prevent frustration should also be considered." One of the final petitions asks for Niantic to remove Pokéstops and gyms from cemeteries. For obvious reasons, having crowds of people wandering in and around cemeteries playing a game can be disruptive to those who want to pay respect to their deceased loved ones. One might think to themselves, "Oh, that's a silly thing to start a petition over. Of course no one would go into a cemetery and disrupt a funeral or the mourning of other people." Except that reading the comments on the petition clearly indicates that there are a lot of people who could care less. One of the signatures comes from Cheryl Tyiska, the manager of a cemetery in Washington D.C., who states that, "Pokémon Go players have disrupted funeral processions and put themselves in potentially dangerous situations with regards to the roads." View full article
  11. Pokémon Go has been sweeping the world for the past several days. To say that the game, which allows players to search out Pokémon in the real world, capture them, and fight over gyms, has created a social craze would be a bit of an understatement Going to any centrally located Pokéstop or gym usually reveals dozens of small groups of players searching for Pokémon or vying for gym control. A certain spirit of camaraderie exists between players of the the mobile game, sheepish grins and conversation exchanged between those who bump into one another in public. A great deal of enjoyment and fun has been had with the app already with more to be had in the future. That being said, Pokémon Go has had a number of problems during its launch that developer Niantic could improve upon. Chief among them has been server stability keeping players from logging in to the app, preventing the app from refreshing Pokémon in the area, and cancelling the capture of Pokémon (c'mon, I was just about to catch that wily Ghastly). Players have also been noticing certain improvements that could be made with app compatibility, safety, and respect for certain areas. This has led to a number of petitions being filed for Niantic to improve or change Pokémon Go. The largest of these petitions asks for Pokémon Go to be made compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 10 mobile, which is currently sitting at over 43,000 signatures. The next largest seems to be the petition with almost 35,000 signatures asking for the app to run on phones that use Intel processors. Several other petitions exist that ask for a Windows phone compatible version of Pokémon Go. Regarding safety concerns, players have begun a petition for a feature that limits Pokémon Go while driving in order to protect against distracted driving, which is an actual problem. The petition's creator, Charles A, envisions an update for the app, "that can detect increased fast movement via the GPS on a user's phone and disabling certain features in the game." He also adds that, "the ability to disable this [...] if there happens to be passengers playing Pokemon Go and not the one operating the motor vehicle to prevent frustration should also be considered." One of the final petitions asks for Niantic to remove Pokéstops and gyms from cemeteries. For obvious reasons, having crowds of people wandering in and around cemeteries playing a game can be disruptive to those who want to pay respect to their deceased loved ones. One might think to themselves, "Oh, that's a silly thing to start a petition over. Of course no one would go into a cemetery and disrupt a funeral or the mourning of other people." Except that reading the comments on the petition clearly indicates that there are a lot of people who could care less. One of the signatures comes from Cheryl Tyiska, the manager of a cemetery in Washington D.C., who states that, "Pokémon Go players have disrupted funeral processions and put themselves in potentially dangerous situations with regards to the roads."
  12. When BioShock launched in 2007 for Xbox 360 and PC, it transported players to a world lost to time and some not-so-subtle Randian-inspired madness. Players navigated a city embroiled in self-obsessed insanity brimming with otherworldly powers and twisted human forms. One part horror, one part action, BioShock was one of the first hugely popular mainstream titles that people could point to and say, "This game? It's not only about mature action; it's about mature ideas, too!" Nine years later with a remaster on the horizon, is BioShock 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: Super Smash Bros. Melee 'Hank Jankerson's Wild Ride' by LongBoxofChocolate (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03376) 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! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  13. When BioShock launched in 2007 for Xbox 360 and PC, it transported players to a world lost to time and some not-so-subtle Randian-inspired madness. Players navigated a city embroiled in self-obsessed insanity brimming with otherworldly powers and twisted human forms. One part horror, one part action, BioShock was one of the first hugely popular mainstream titles that people could point to and say, "This game? It's not only about mature action; it's about mature ideas, too!" Nine years later with a remaster on the horizon, is BioShock 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: Super Smash Bros. Melee 'Hank Jankerson's Wild Ride' by LongBoxofChocolate (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03376) 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! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  14. Hey Extra Life Community - We have some exciting news to share! In an effort to help make fundraising more fun, more accessible and ultimately easier, we’ve added a new application to the Extra Life experience. Now you can fundraise through our mobile app made possible by a grant from the ESA Foundation! Extra Life Mobile App Manage and share your Extra Life experience on the go with our new Extra Life mobile app. This free app lets you fundraise and connect with others through SMS, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Email. You can update your Extra Life page and check your fundraising progress all from the palm of your hand. Learn more in our best practices section! Download the app here: iPhone | Android We’ve also spent the last couple of months improving the mobile experience on the Extra Life website so give the new apps a try. We want to hear what you think so send any feedback and ideas to community@extra-life.org or comment below and let us know! For The Kids, Mike Kinney Team Extra Life Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals View full article
  15. Telltale concludes its Borderlands series next week and has one more trailer up their sleeves to build anticipation. The developer teases an unprecedented amount of explosions, revelations, and climactic tension as the cast of characters races for the riches of a vault with a nearly assembled key. Tales from the Borderlands Episode Five - The Vault of the Traveler releases on October 20 for PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3; October 21 for Xbox One and Xbox 360; and October 22 for iOS and Android.
  16. Telltale concludes its Borderlands series next week and has one more trailer up their sleeves to build anticipation. The developer teases an unprecedented amount of explosions, revelations, and climactic tension as the cast of characters races for the riches of a vault with a nearly assembled key. Tales from the Borderlands Episode Five - The Vault of the Traveler releases on October 20 for PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3; October 21 for Xbox One and Xbox 360; and October 22 for iOS and Android. View full article
  17. The final episode of Tales from the Borderlands hits in less than two weeks. In honor of the finale, Telltale Games is releasing the first episode of the series for free across all platforms starting today. Anyone who hasn't checked out the series yet should really take the opportunity to see what it's all about, especially as it comes highly recommended. The trailer announcing Episode One releasing for free includes a small teaser for the finale. Titled The Vault of the Traveler, the final Telltale adventure set on Pandora concludes on October 20 for PC, PS4, and PS3. Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners will have to wait until October 21, while October 22 will see the episode coming to iOS and Android.
  18. The final episode of Tales from the Borderlands hits in less than two weeks. In honor of the finale, Telltale Games is releasing the first episode of the series for free across all platforms starting today. Anyone who hasn't checked out the series yet should really take the opportunity to see what it's all about, especially as it comes highly recommended. The trailer announcing Episode One releasing for free includes a small teaser for the finale. Titled The Vault of the Traveler, the final Telltale adventure set on Pandora concludes on October 20 for PC, PS4, and PS3. Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners will have to wait until October 21, while October 22 will see the episode coming to iOS and Android. View full article
  19. There are a lot of things to love about the Tales from the Borderlands series from Telltale Games. It’s often laugh-out-loud funny, equal parts charming and violent, and can even muster up the capacity to be heartfelt from time to time. There is this underlying sincerity to it all that makes the series work better than one might expect from a story-driven adventure set in the insane universe of Borderlands. While an enjoyable segment of adventure, Episode Three was essentially the set up for the craziness that makes up the meat of Escape Plan Bravo. Our heroes, backed into a corner and left with no other option, must undertake the biggest con of their lives to secure the final piece of the puzzle that will lead them to a legendary vault. Failure to secure the piece will mean death for everyone involved. It’s a classic set up that slowly becomes more and more convoluted as parts of the plan fail or run into snags. By the end of the episode, just when things couldn’t possibly become worse, the stage is set for the finale with an improbably catastrophic turn of events. In the middle of all the enjoyable con artistry, the game pauses for an unexpected character death. It serves as a reminder that Pandora is a harsh and violent place where death is never far away, even during hijinks and heists. More importantly, this scene again shows that Tales from the Borderlands can achieve more emotional high-notes than laughter and visceral excitement. The death hits home as genuinely sad. It is an effective send off for a character who has become a staple of the series, though I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if that character turned out to have survived through a series of improbable events. Picking the highlight of Escape Plan Bravo is easily done. Towards the end of the episode, an imaginary gun battle breaks out with a bunch of accountants who are upset about discrepancies with the books. The amazingly creative and hilarious scene features dozens of accountants getting finger-gunned down and imaginary grenade explosions. It injects some levity into an otherwise tense con. Those two aforementioned scenes demonstrate the solid construction of the individual episodes of Tales from the Borderlands. It all feels balanced. Events are funny, but never wander into outright farce territory. An element of danger always underlies the humor. However, that danger is managed in such a way that it never feels suffocating, allowing the humor to speak for itself while making the tragedies encountered over the course of four episodes feel earned or at least understandable. It’s a precarious path for the series to walk, but it manages to toe the lines with apparent ease. From a technical perspective, Escape Plan Bravo ran the smoothest out of any of the Tales from the Borderlands episodes to date. I encountered no graphical hiccups or bugs during my two hour playthrough, which led to a very pleasant experience. Not much else to say on this other than it works without a hitch. Visually, Escape Plan Bravo is probably the most diverse and eye-candy filled episode in the series to date. We get to see more than the blasted surface of Pandora, which makes for a nice diversion from crazy psychos, monsters, and eccentric locals. There is an air of novelty to the visuals that is hard to pin down on any one part of the visual design. Perhaps a part of what makes thing so interesting to look at is that they come with a lot of meaning. People who have played through Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 will get a lot more out of Episode Four as it deals rather heavily with Handsome Jack. It manages to humanize the character to such a degree that it is perilously easy to forget that a cold-hearted villain lurks beneath Handsom Jack's outward charms. The one complaint that I can possibly level against Escape Plan Bravo is that the overarching plot is very predictable. If you have ever seen a heist or con movie, you’ll understand where Episode Four is going. Even if you haven’t, the set up leads to a large chunk of the episode feeling like formulaic moving from Point A to Point B in the most over-the-top ways imaginable. There’s nothing wrong with that, but part of the fun of previous episodes was the blindsiding unexpectedness of encountering Pandorans living their hyperbolic lives. Conclusion: It is a Telltale Game. Expect great writing, game-changing choices, and some really interesting scenarios. Escape Plan Bravo comes close to being a new high for the series between its dramatic and comedic turns. With the overarching mystery laid out in the framed narrative still unsolved, Episode Five is sure to hold a lot of bombshells and insanity. As it stands, if you played the first three episodes of Tales from the Borderlands, you will be doing yourself a favor by playing Episode Four. Tales from the Borderlands Episode Four – Escape Plan Bravo is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android devices.
  20. There are a lot of things to love about the Tales from the Borderlands series from Telltale Games. It’s often laugh-out-loud funny, equal parts charming and violent, and can even muster up the capacity to be heartfelt from time to time. There is this underlying sincerity to it all that makes the series work better than one might expect from a story-driven adventure set in the insane universe of Borderlands. While an enjoyable segment of adventure, Episode Three was essentially the set up for the craziness that makes up the meat of Escape Plan Bravo. Our heroes, backed into a corner and left with no other option, must undertake the biggest con of their lives to secure the final piece of the puzzle that will lead them to a legendary vault. Failure to secure the piece will mean death for everyone involved. It’s a classic set up that slowly becomes more and more convoluted as parts of the plan fail or run into snags. By the end of the episode, just when things couldn’t possibly become worse, the stage is set for the finale with an improbably catastrophic turn of events. In the middle of all the enjoyable con artistry, the game pauses for an unexpected character death. It serves as a reminder that Pandora is a harsh and violent place where death is never far away, even during hijinks and heists. More importantly, this scene again shows that Tales from the Borderlands can achieve more emotional high-notes than laughter and visceral excitement. The death hits home as genuinely sad. It is an effective send off for a character who has become a staple of the series, though I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if that character turned out to have survived through a series of improbable events. Picking the highlight of Escape Plan Bravo is easily done. Towards the end of the episode, an imaginary gun battle breaks out with a bunch of accountants who are upset about discrepancies with the books. The amazingly creative and hilarious scene features dozens of accountants getting finger-gunned down and imaginary grenade explosions. It injects some levity into an otherwise tense con. Those two aforementioned scenes demonstrate the solid construction of the individual episodes of Tales from the Borderlands. It all feels balanced. Events are funny, but never wander into outright farce territory. An element of danger always underlies the humor. However, that danger is managed in such a way that it never feels suffocating, allowing the humor to speak for itself while making the tragedies encountered over the course of four episodes feel earned or at least understandable. It’s a precarious path for the series to walk, but it manages to toe the lines with apparent ease. From a technical perspective, Escape Plan Bravo ran the smoothest out of any of the Tales from the Borderlands episodes to date. I encountered no graphical hiccups or bugs during my two hour playthrough, which led to a very pleasant experience. Not much else to say on this other than it works without a hitch. Visually, Escape Plan Bravo is probably the most diverse and eye-candy filled episode in the series to date. We get to see more than the blasted surface of Pandora, which makes for a nice diversion from crazy psychos, monsters, and eccentric locals. There is an air of novelty to the visuals that is hard to pin down on any one part of the visual design. Perhaps a part of what makes thing so interesting to look at is that they come with a lot of meaning. People who have played through Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 will get a lot more out of Episode Four as it deals rather heavily with Handsome Jack. It manages to humanize the character to such a degree that it is perilously easy to forget that a cold-hearted villain lurks beneath Handsom Jack's outward charms. The one complaint that I can possibly level against Escape Plan Bravo is that the overarching plot is very predictable. If you have ever seen a heist or con movie, you’ll understand where Episode Four is going. Even if you haven’t, the set up leads to a large chunk of the episode feeling like formulaic moving from Point A to Point B in the most over-the-top ways imaginable. There’s nothing wrong with that, but part of the fun of previous episodes was the blindsiding unexpectedness of encountering Pandorans living their hyperbolic lives. Conclusion: It is a Telltale Game. Expect great writing, game-changing choices, and some really interesting scenarios. Escape Plan Bravo comes close to being a new high for the series between its dramatic and comedic turns. With the overarching mystery laid out in the framed narrative still unsolved, Episode Five is sure to hold a lot of bombshells and insanity. As it stands, if you played the first three episodes of Tales from the Borderlands, you will be doing yourself a favor by playing Episode Four. Tales from the Borderlands Episode Four – Escape Plan Bravo is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android devices. View full article
  21. Just when people thought their time on Pandora might be taking a hiatus, Telltale swoops in with a trailer that teases the first episode of their Borderlands series. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn't give any hints as to a release date, but it looks like Telltale is still planning to release it in 2014. While we were shown a preview of the first episode in action back during E3, the first episode finally has a name: Zero Sum. Additionally, we now know the official casting details, final casting details. The season will feature Troy Baker as Rhys, Laura Bailey as Fiona, Chris Hardwick as Vaughn, Erin Yvette as Sasha, Patrick Warburton as Vasquez, and Dameon Clarke reprising his role as Handsome Jack. We can also confirm that there will be five total episodes of the Tales from the Borderlands series. Tales from the Borderland will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC, with some slight variations in price. It looks like the console versions will retail at around $4.99 per episode with season pass options for $19.99. The PC version will be a season pass for $24.99. Android and iOS devices will also see the first episode of the Telltale's Borderlands before the year is out. View full article
  22. Just when people thought their time on Pandora might be taking a hiatus, Telltale swoops in with a trailer that teases the first episode of their Borderlands series. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn't give any hints as to a release date, but it looks like Telltale is still planning to release it in 2014. While we were shown a preview of the first episode in action back during E3, the first episode finally has a name: Zero Sum. Additionally, we now know the official casting details, final casting details. The season will feature Troy Baker as Rhys, Laura Bailey as Fiona, Chris Hardwick as Vaughn, Erin Yvette as Sasha, Patrick Warburton as Vasquez, and Dameon Clarke reprising his role as Handsome Jack. We can also confirm that there will be five total episodes of the Tales from the Borderlands series. Tales from the Borderland will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC, with some slight variations in price. It looks like the console versions will retail at around $4.99 per episode with season pass options for $19.99. The PC version will be a season pass for $24.99. Android and iOS devices will also see the first episode of the Telltale's Borderlands before the year is out.
  23. To those of you still clinging onto some hope that BioShock Vita might still be happening, I'm sorry. To the rest of you, prepare to visit Rapture once more on iOS sometime this summer. Despite the recent shuttering of Irrational Games, 2K Games retains the rights to make more BioShock titles, including re-releasing past BioShock games. Thus, 2K tweeted today that BioShock will be coming to iOS sometime "soon." Screenshots have also appeared on the web, which you can check out on the Extra Life Facebook page. Even though BioShock came out seven years ago, 2K Games' China studio clearly had to make some sacrifices in the graphics department to fit within Apple's size limits. While Extra Life hasn't had any direct hands-on time with the mobile title, Endgaget has a great preview that details their brief stint with iOS BioShock.
  24. To those of you still clinging onto some hope that BioShock Vita might still be happening, I'm sorry. To the rest of you, prepare to visit Rapture once more on iOS sometime this summer. Despite the recent shuttering of Irrational Games, 2K Games retains the rights to make more BioShock titles, including re-releasing past BioShock games. Thus, 2K tweeted today that BioShock will be coming to iOS sometime "soon." Screenshots have also appeared on the web, which you can check out on the Extra Life Facebook page. Even though BioShock came out seven years ago, 2K Games' China studio clearly had to make some sacrifices in the graphics department to fit within Apple's size limits. While Extra Life hasn't had any direct hands-on time with the mobile title, Endgaget has a great preview that details their brief stint with iOS BioShock. View full article
  25. I’ve been directed through a labyrinthine maze of small meeting rooms and temporary walls that represent the barrier between Wargaming’s inner workings and the public spectacle they have going on outside. E3 is fully underway and I’ve arrived at the heart of the colossal structure that is Wargaming’s E3 booth; a veritable two-story behemoth that’s larger than most houses. With the hugely successful World of Tanks continuing to rake in new players every day, World of Tanks 360 proving itself to be very popular among American gamers, and World of Warplanes spreading its wings, Wargaming has set its sights on finishing World of Warships. That’s why I am there; they will be showing me live, pre-alpha gameplay from their latest build of World of Warships. Christine Yeo, Wargaming’s PR manager, and Ivan Goldensohn, a marketing specialist for Wargaming, greet me at the door to meeting room #8 (mind you, this is on the show floor and I am in a hallway that has more meeting rooms on both sides). After a minute or two of introductions and chatter, the three of us begin talking business. On one wall of the meeting room hangs a giant television on which Ivan begins showing me World of Warships. He has to talk loudly to avoid being drowned out by the realistic sounding explosions. Later I would find out that the explosions sound authentic because the sound design team finds, fires, and records each specific gun and cannon type used in World of Tanks, Warplanes, and Warships. If they can’t find a working model for the gun they need to record, they recreate it to the best of their ability and record the facsimile’s sound. Ivan talks, almost yelling over the sound of explosions, “So, now my plane has been sent out, I’m switching back to macro-management, as I like to call it, versus micromanagement. My turrets are rotating, I’ll see if I can get one more here… See, but this guy’s in a cruiser, so it’s going to be a lot harder to [an explosion drowns out his words and a siren begins blaring].” In World of Warships, players can send out scout planes to get a view of the battlefield (battle-sea?). These planes are controlled by AI, but players can set waypoints for the planes to follow. As you can imagine, these planes represent a huge combat advantage, so both teams will have to pay attention to who has the most vision in the skies. There are a number of different tactics to consider when facing down enemy ships. Two of the most important factors to keep in mind are your target’s hull integrity and the hit points of the individual gun emplacements on the target. You can focus on either sinking the ship or defanging it and eliminating its total hit points. Depending on the class type of your enemy and what warship you happen to be piloting, one option or the other might be more effective. To that end, there are different methods of attacking. We were shown sniper and torpedo modes. The artillery mode previously shown in 2013 has been removed from the game since it incentivized players to hang back behind islands and shell each other. This just ended up rendering the game not as much fun. The sniper mode works much as you might assume from the name. Players enter a sniper-esque view and aim their cannons at their intended target and then take into account distance and adjust accordingly. Torpedoes are one of the most deadly weapons on the seas and can easily destroy an unprepared ship. They can be aimed quickly and will travel in a straight line until they hit something. Players can adjust the spread and aim of the torpedoes; a narrow spread will equal more damage, but is more likely to miss, while a wider spread will more likely score a hit, but do less damage. Ivan continues to show me the various features of World of Warships, “You’ll notice at the top we are seeing some base capture icons. Similar to World of Tanks, we have this Capture the Flag style game. I don’t think they have anyone who’s fast enough to catch up with us, but this looks like torpedo central to me, so I’m going to lock on to him. I’m going to increase my spread to have a greater chance of hitting him. I can then follow these torpedoes and I can actually switch between them. It’s all the little features like this [the explosions of a nearby enemy ship drown out Ivan’s words] help the game come together. Being able to watch your torpedo actually slam into the enemy-[explosions from his torpedo fill the screen as the sound fills the meeting room]” I laugh, “You got him!” Even in pre-alpha, World of Warships looks gorgeous. Wargaming is aware of how great their game looks and has added various ways to get up close with the action and drink in the visuals. A perfect example of this is the ability to have your camera follow torpedoes that you’ve launched. This leads to a few tense seconds of “will it hit?” nail-biting and the opportunity to see a glorious explosion or two or three, depending on how many hit their intended target. Wargaming even added the ability to switch between the torpedoes to capture the action from the best possible angle. Given the presence of scout planes shown in-game and the history of the time period that Wargaming seems to be on a mission to capture, I ask the inevitable question, “Are there any plans to have cross over [between World of Warships] and World of Warplanes?” Christine responds with what seems like a practiced reply, “You know, that is something that people always ask us. We are definitely thinking about different options, but right now I can’t say anything in the near future. It’s just a lot of balancing that we need to take into consideration.” “Well, yeah, it would certainly be a huge undertaking,” I say. It isn’t as simple as just slapping together the code for World of Warplanes and World of Warships together. Balancing how the two games would interact with each other while still maintaining the level of strategy and fairness that have been cornerstones of Wargaming’s titles would be a game designer’s nightmare-level challenge. “Right,” returns Christine, “But [it is understandable] that people ask because the fact that you can send out scouts and meet with aircraft carriers, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.” “And you know, we are always open to suggestions and what players want is what we usually do,” Ivan pitches in his two cents. As the match ends, Ivan turns to me saying, “It is still in alpha stages. It’s not perfect, but it looks gorgeous. The level of complexity is there, but the ease of use and jumping into it is really cool. And, you know, some of the more complex elements like sending out a scout plane, you’re not going to have to deal with until you get up a couple tiers, so the game is going to dynamically introduce you to those concepts.” “So what elements are not present here that will be in the final version?” I ask out of curiosity. “Well that is a really good question. What’s cool about developing a game like this, is when we are talking about changing it we are not like, ‘we’re going to make this gun slightly bigger’ or ‘this tank, this plane, this ship is going to be slightly faster.’ We are saying fundamentally, from the ground up how do we modify it to be exactly what our players want.” As an example, he mentions the elimination of artillery that was stifling gameplay options for their players. Another thought occurs to me, “What happens when you ram into another ship?” “A lot of damage,” laughs Ivan. “A lot of these models aren’t finalized, so the damage on them isn’t complete. But, I mean, in the final game you are going to be seeing stuff like ships breaking based on where they were hit. So, if you blow off the back of a ship with a killing blow, you will actually see that ship break in that spot, or torpedo damage will cause ships to sink in a different way from overall damage, or bomb damage from airplanes will cause different damage to the top of the ship. So, all that stuff is cool, but then in the fundamental game mode we will be constantly switching it up.” The eventual goal is to have battles flowing and allowing players to join 15v15 warship battles. Even though the game is in pre-alpha, it is hard not to feel a jump of excitement at the prospect of thirty players going at each other on the high seas. Ivan then hands me an iPad to try out World of Tanks: Blitz. As I begin to play (I’m going to fess up, I am absolutely terrible at World of Tanks on PC and I fared little better in World of Tanks: Blitz), I notice and comment about how great the game looks for an iPad app. Ivan launches into an explanation of how they fit Blitz onto an iPad, “This could be a PC game, but this is running from my iPad right now. […] People say, ‘where did you have to make sacrifices to put this on an iPad? What did you have to pull out of a 30GB PC client?’ The answer is nothing. Instead of taking things out, what we did was modify the game to be more app friendly and we used that to our advantage. So, you see we have the module system, all of this is just as complex as the PC. I can switch out the engine, my turret, and my tank. All of this is going to affect my percentages and every detail from your equipment I can put on my tank and there are five different consumables that I can use. What we did instead is we said, ‘where is the game different as a mobile game and how do we change that?’ So, all the maps are a fifth of the size. They are tiny. It is so much more fun. Suddenly you have this little map you can run across the whole thing in a minute and a half and everybody is jumping right into the battle. You have these super focused, super intense battle modes. It is like instead of taking out content, we switched it to make it mobile and it ended up helping everybody.” It turns out that while the PC version takes up around 30GB, the app uses a minuscule 500MB. And it does look remarkably good. The presentation is a bit barebones, but the things that are in-game look great. The maps are just as small as stated, but for a mobile game that’s perfect. I fiddle with the iPad for a few minutes before a Finnish player takes me down like a clumsy, tank-sized bull in a china shop. People who are into fast-paced, military combat games and are looking for a mobile title to fill that particular void couldn’t do much better than World of Tanks: Blitz. It is free and currently available. The conversation turns to World of Tanks 360 and the updates that they have been rolling out for it since release. To sum up the changes these updates have had/will have in the near future: Weather variance to will be added to maps that provide different visibility and aesthetics. New autoloaders, new tanks, new maps, new modes are constantly on the way. World of Tanks: Soccer is a game mode released specifically for the 2014 World Cup. Like the title suggests, players battle it out on the soccer field in tanks trying to score goals by any means necessary. Platoon groups can now go up to seven members instead of three. The conversation draws to a close and I begin to make my way out the door. I think to myself how glad I’ll be to return to E3 next year and see the next incarnation of Wargaming’s immense booth and have another opportunity to sit down and chat with people who are as passionate and committed to their game as Christine and Ivan. There are a lot of video game developers out there these days, especially in the free-to-play market, but Wargaming is special. Wargaming’s commitment over the years to responding to its massive player base is something from which many developers of online games could learn a thing or two. On top of that, they deserve praise for how well it handles free-to-play, right alongside Riot Games. I might be awful at playing their games, but I respect Wargaming for making those games well. As of the writing of this article there is still no official release date for World of Warships, though the beta is speculated to be beginning sometime in the next couple months.
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